Monday, September 17, 2007

Microsoft suffers stunning EU antitrust defeat

Stunning for Microsoft, perhaps, but not for those of us who've had a ringside seat to Microsoft's business practices over the last 20 years. Perhaps the Europeans have stiffer backbones and greater intestinal fortitude than their American counterparts. Perhaps the Europeans can lead by example the more timorous Americans. One can only hope.
The company has weathered a series of defeats in antitrust cases in the last decade and sees legal setbacks as almost part of its business model and a price for its near-monopoly.
What a cynical point of view. Microsoft is in this position precisely because it has behaved as a predatory monopolistic business. They didn't just stumble into this, they deliberately planned to get here. Microsoft's business history is riddled with examples of market manipulation going all the way back to MSDOS. And they're "downbeat"? They need to be beat to a bloody pulp.
Microsoft has already moved to new battlegrounds such as seeking acceptance of its technical standards across the industry, while continuing to bundle new features into its new Vista desktop software.
You bet they have. And the rest of the world, having already learned the hard way what happens when you fail to act in a timely fashion against Microsoft's aggressions, has successfully beaten them off, most recently in their attempt to have OOXML accepted as a standard. Here's hoping for a brighter IT future. Thank you Europe.


Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, in an opinion piece on eWeek, posits that the ruling and fine won't do a damn thing to change the way Microsoft does business. And I'm afraid he's right.

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