A Critical Appraisal of Remedies in the EU Microsoft Cases

41 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2010 Last revised: 18 Jan 2014

See all articles by Nicholas Economides

Nicholas Economides

New York University - Leonard N. Stern School of Business - Department of Economics

Ioannis Lianos

University College London - Faculty of Laws; BRICS Competition Law & Policy Centre - HSE National Research University

Date Written: December 15, 2009

Abstract

We discuss and compare the remedies in the two cases antitrust cases of the European Union (EU) against Microsoft. The first EU case alleged (i) that Microsoft illegally bundled the Windows Media Player (WMP) with Windows; and (ii) that Microsoft did not provide adequate documentation that would allow full interoperability between Windows servers and non-Microsoft servers as well as between Windows clients and non-Microsoft servers. After finding Microsoft liable and imposing a large fine, the EU imposed as remedies the requirements on Microsoft (i) to sell a version of Windows without WMP (Windows-N); and (ii) to publish and license interoperability information. Windows-N was a commercial failure, and there has been only limited cross-platform server entry. In its second investigation of Microsoft, the EU alleged illegal tying of Internet Explorer (IE) with Windows. The EU settled with Microsoft with Microsoft undertaking the obligation to ask (through compulsory Windows updates) consumers whose computers have Internet Explorer pre-installed to choose a browser from a menu of competing browsers. Thus, the EU imposed quite different remedies in the two cases: an unbundling remedy for the WMP but a close to a must-carry requirement for IE. We analyze and compare the different approaches.

Keywords: antitrust, remedies, Microsoft, complementarity, innovation, efficiency, monopoly, oligopoly, media player, interoperability, Internet browser

JEL Classification: K12, L12, L13, L41, L42, L63

Suggested Citation

Economides, Nicholas and Lianos, Ioannis, A Critical Appraisal of Remedies in the EU Microsoft Cases (December 15, 2009). Columbia Business Law Review, Vol. 2010, No. 2, NET Institute Working Paper No. #09-29, NYU Law and Economics Research Paper No. 10-02, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1523908 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1523908

Nicholas Economides (Contact Author)

New York University - Leonard N. Stern School of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

44 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10012
United States
212-998-0864 (Phone)
212-995-4218 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/networks/

Ioannis Lianos

University College London - Faculty of Laws ( email )

London
United Kingdom

BRICS Competition Law & Policy Centre - HSE National Research University ( email )

28/11, Shabolovka ulitsa
Moscow, 109028
Russia

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