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Re: Take No Comfort

  At 20:21 97/12/17, charles mueller wrote:
  >        Then there's the news today that a handful of our 50 state attorneys
  >general-- and the EU, Japan, etc.--are looking at Microsoft's monopoly.
  >Forget it.  (...)
  >        More enlightened antimonopoly policy in the EU, Japan, Australia,
  >etc.?  On the contrary, of the 60 plus countries with antitrust statutes on
  >the books, virtually none enforces even its most elementary anti-cartel
  >provisions:  Corporate thievery by collusion on price, for example, is a way
  >of life in all of them.  Bust up a real- world monopoly in Europe, Japan,
  >South Korea, South Africa, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, and so on?  Of
  >course not.  Monopoly pulls in the money and, with the big bucks, one can
  >buy 'antitrust protection' in all of the 200 countries around the globe.
  I have to disagree with you in the principle regarding EC competition law.
  In my view EC competition doctrines are quite adequate to tackle the
  Microsoft practices. The problem regarding its enforcement in this case is
  a political one. The EC Comission competition directorate (DGIV) seems
  unlikely to do much more than just mimick whatever the DOJ does. This is
  what happened regarding the Microsoft I case where Microsoft's undertakings
  accepted by DGIV merely reproduce the US consent decree. Cooperation
  between the DOJ and DGIV in this case apparently aimed at a consistent
  approach, that is to say, EC law doctrines could not be applied if they
  would reach a result inconsistent with that of the DOJ. The heart of the
  matter is that this is a US dispute. I don't see the European Commission as
  being ready go on the war path over this (as it did in the Boeing case
  where European PRODUCER interests were at stake). Any likely rivals of
  Microsoft are American and CONSUMER protection arguments are not enough to
  force DGIV to act.
  Actually, I believe that US policy regarding Microsoft can be seen as an
  example of strategic trade policy on the part of the US, as consumer
  exploitation at home is arguably compensated by domination of the world
  softare industry.
  Miguel Moura e Silva
  Assistant Professor of Law - University of Lisbon Law School
  e-mail: miguelsilva@mail.telepac.pt
  Universidade de Lisboa
  Faculdade de Direito
  Alameda da Universidade
  1699 Lisboa Codex