The European Commission's Case Against Microsoft: Fool Monti Kills Bill?

LE Lab Working Paper No. AT-07-04

69 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2004

See all articles by Roberto Pardolesi

Roberto Pardolesi

Libera Università degli Studi Sociali (LUISS) Guido Carli

Andrea Renda

Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS); College of Europe

Date Written: August 19, 2004

Abstract

The recent decision issued by the European Commission against Microsoft raises legitimate concerns under many respects. First, the way the Commission handled the whole proceeding highlighted all the impasse that characterizes antitrust authorities when dealing with complex cases from the high-tech world. Secondly, the Commission's decision adopted a mistaken approach to interoperability, confusing it with perfect emulation of Microsoft's copyrighted source code. Thirdly, the Commission showed little or no attention to the economics of technological leveraging in dealing with the media player market, and ended up awkwardly mimicking the rationale upheld by the US District Judge in the "browsers war." We conclude by calling for more sound economic analysis at the European Commission, and suggesting what possible solutions could have been endorsed, which would significantly improve the level-playing-field in the server software and in the media player markets, without hindering incentives to invest and consequently stifling innovation.

Keywords: Antitrust, intellectual property, Microsoft, interoperability, technological leveraging, essential facility

JEL Classification: K21, L22, L41, L86, O32, O38

Suggested Citation

Pardolesi, Roberto and Renda, Andrea, The European Commission's Case Against Microsoft: Fool Monti Kills Bill? (August 19, 2004). LE Lab Working Paper No. AT-07-04. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=579814 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.579814

Roberto Pardolesi

Libera Università degli Studi Sociali (LUISS) Guido Carli ( email )

00162 Rome, Roma
Italy

Andrea Renda (Contact Author)

Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) ( email )

1 Place du Congres
Brussels, 1000
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.ceps.be

College of Europe ( email )

Dijver 11
B-8000 Brugge, Oost Vlanderen 10000
Belgium

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