If you can't beat them, fine them (The EU's wrong policy on Microsoft)
March 8, 2007 2 Comments
While I’ve agreed with many of the decisions the EU has made with respect to Microsoft, I have to admit that I don’t agree with this one. From the article:
Neelie Kroes, antitrust chief for the European Commission, tried again last week to show Microsoft Corp. who’s boss. She declared that the software giant is overcharging other companies for access to technology that, in her opinion, doesn’t represent “significant innovation,” and threatened another massive fine: perhaps €1 billion or more. Ms. Kroes’s new assertion of power to assess innovation and to regulate its pricing should get the attention of businesses everywhere. When government officials feel comfortable second-guessing markets on such decisions, no business is safe and no property right secure.
Things like this should be decided by the market, not by Governments or courts. When a monopoly abuses its power, that’s one thing. In some situations like that, the court is the only one who has enough leverage to remedy things. I don’t think anyone, be they Open Source proponents or proprietary vendors, want courts and judges deciding what is “significant innovation” and what value should be placed on it. We’ll have to see how this plays out.