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Re: Microsoft -- remedies and IBM's 1984 EC undertaking

  This is the sort of thing that the DoJ should aim for, not a break up. This
  could be stated generically, moreover, so as to apply to other outfits.
  The Europeans do not particularly abjure monopoly per se. They simply insist
  that it not beggar the rest of national industry and trade.
  Thnx Jamie and PLAYON JRBehrman sends.....
  James Love wrote:
  > --------------------------------------------------------
  > Info-Policy-Notes | Available from listproc@cptech.org
  > --------------------------------------------------------
  > December 18, 1997
  >       Remedies for Microsoft anticompetitive practices --
  >       One model is the EC's 1984 IBM Undertaking
  > I was in Brussels last week, where I met with a number of EC officials
  > about the Microsoft case.  In one meeting we spent some time looking at
  > the IBM's 1984 EC undertaking, which I believe is cited as Bull. EC
  > 10-1984, pages 96-103.  The 1984 IBM undertaking was quite relevant to
  > the broader issues of conduct rules for Microsoft, with respect to
  > interoperability with the OS (or important MS applications, like MSIE).
  > When (and if) the EC gets involved in these issues, it will be model
  > that one looks at.  It sets out specific rules by which IBM agrees to
  > share information and provide assistance to its competitors, who market
  > software and hardware which interoperates with the IBM products. IBM not
  > only signed the agreement, they reportedly carried it out in good
  > faith.  It is striking how much of the 1984 IBM agreement speaks to the
  > same problems now presented by Microsoft's manipulation of Windows.
  > Many readers will see a model that could very easily be modified for
  > Microsoft.  (I have a paper copy of the undertaking, but would
  > appreciate pointers to a copy in digital form, on the Web or from
  > Lexis.)
  >       James Love (love@cptech.org, 202.387.8030, http://www.cptech.org)
  >    Here are a few sections from the undertaking, which give a sense of
  > the agreement:
  >     Section 6
  >     If IBM makes a change to an existing interface (hardware interface
  > or program external of an existing release) in such a way that it would
  > make System/370 products attaching to such existing interface
  > inoperable, IBM will disclose the change to any competing undertaking at
  > announcement which shall be sufficiently in advance of general
  > availability to permit such undertakings to make the necessary
  > adjustments in products so attached.  Also, if IBM makes a change to the
  > additional information supplied in lieu of program externals for the
  > purpose of attachment, and the change causes an attached product to
  > become inoperable, then IBM will, on request, either supply the changed
  > information or provide sufficient assistance to make the attached
  > product operate.
  >    Section 14
  >    IBM recognizes the widespread interest in interconnecting systems and
  > networks of different manufacturers.  IBM favours such interconnecting
  > systems and networks of different manufacturers.  IBM favours such
  > interconnections and has published and will publish extensive
  > information about it including formats and protocols which facilitate
  > attachment by competitors of their systems or networks to IBM SNA
  > networks.  IBM understands that to the extent that SNA is different from
  > OSI, competitors depend upon IBM information to be able to interconnect
  > their products with IBM SNA products.  IBM has an interest in issuing
  > information on SNA formats and protocols as soon as possible and it
  > confirms that it will take all reasonable steps to expedite the
  > availability of the relevant documentation.
  > Accordingly:
  > (a)  On announcement of a System/370 product that implements
  > enhancements to SNA on System/370, IBM will identify the functions in
  > such products that implement such enhancements.  At announcement, IBM
  > will, upon request from interested persons, identify use of existing
  > formats and protocols.  Where that product uses enhanced SNA formats and
  > protocols, then subject to paragraph 7, IBM will as soon after
  > announcement as the relevant SNA formats and protocols are reasonably
  > stable and the architecture has been formulated and described or at
  > general availability whichever is the earlier, publish the SNA formats
  > and protocols that implement such enhancements, together with
  > appropriate product documentation, in order to enable attachment of
  > other systems (which may be comprised of multiple products) and networks
  > to the IBM SNA network.
  >     [snip]
  > (b)  IBM has actively participated in international standards efforts in
  > support of open system interconnection (OSI) and will continue its
  > active support of OSI as the standard for interconnecting systems,
  > products and networks of different manufacturers.
  >      --------------------------
  >    The agreement has 19 other sections, plus definitions and two
  > Appendices.
  >    The suggestions by Microsoft that the current DOJ dispute over OEM
  > licenses and bundling the MSIE represents some type of radical meddling
  > by the government seems odd, given the far reaching undertaking that IBM
  > signed in this earlier case, without much damage to IBM's ability to do
  > business.
  >     Jamie
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