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
Date Written: August 19, 2004
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: Suggested Citation