In what is shaping up to appear like court imposed taxation, Microsoft lost its appeal in a major anti-trust case at Europe’s second highest court yesterday. The European Union’s Court of First Instance backed the European Commission’s 2004 decision to fine Microsoft and order the software giant to change its Windows operating system to make it more compatible with rival systems. The 2004 verdict imposed a record fine on Microsoft in the amount of $497 million.
The long feud appears, by some at least, to be a case of over regulation by the EU, and a propping up of their own sagging technological market at the expense of consumers. It is, at the very least, a classic example of not trusting the free market to correct any perceived problems or inefficiencies with Microsoft operating systems.
Are iTunes and Apple next?
Here’s a roundup to our running coverage of the Microsoft issue, including Alberto Mingardi’s commentary, titled, Letter from Turin: The EU’s Immoral Case Against Microsoft. In his piece Mingardi said, “What these companies don’t want is for Microsoft to ‘prevent’ them from succeeding in the European market. What competitors really fear is Microsoft’s ability to satisfy consumers better than they do, at a cheaper price.” .
Full Acton Commentary by Alberto Mingardi
Jordan Ballor also weighed in on the PowerBlog:
EU Conflicts of Interest
Open Source, Closed Markets
Also for a valuable look back at Microsoft’s anti-trust past battles in the United States:
Microsoft’s Innovation, Service, and Foresight Result in Consumer Trust and Government Antitrust Action, by Joseph Klesney
Free-Market Morals and the Microsoft Case, by Jason Miller
Microsoft: A ‘Monopoly’ for the Consumer, by Robert Crowner