The American Antitrust Institute Press Release
For Immediate Release , 12/22/04 Contacts: Robert Lande, American Antitrust Institute, University of Baltimore Law School, (301) 585-5229
Norman Hawker, American Antitrust Institute, Western Michigan University College of Business (269) 387-6118, (269) 349-5909
Europe’s Christmas Gift to Consumers in the Microsoft Case
“Consumers awoke this morning to find a gift under their Christmas trees from the European Union’s Court of First Instance,” said Robert Lande, a Senior Fellow at the American Antitrust Institute and the Venable Professor of Law at the University of Baltimore.
Now that Microsoft must begin offering a version of Windows without the Windows Media Player, “consumers, not Microsoft, get to choose which media player gets installed on their PCs,” said Norman Hawker, another Senior Fellow at the American Antitrust Institute and an Associate Professor of Business at Western Michigan University.
The disclosure remedy in the workgroup server market will also benefit consumers by giving them access to more types of computer services. “In a competitive market, Microsoft would want PCs to work with as many other types of computers as possible,” said Lande. Hawker said, “this remedy simply restores the conditions that would exist in a competitive market.”
While European consumers will enjoy the most immediate benefits from today’s ruling, the opening of these markets Europe should spur innovation by Microsoft and its competitors which will ultimately benefit consumers everywhere.
Lande and Hawker emphasized that although the European case was distinct from that brought by the U.S. government, the basic principles applied by the European Commission “are consistent with American antitrust law.” “It’s worth noting,” said Lande, “that the Court of Appeals upheld the U.S. District Court’s decision that Microsoft repeatedly violated the antitrust laws.”
The American Antitrust Institute’s “Background Briefing on the European Microsoft Case” is available at: http://www.antitrustinstitute.org/recent2/260.cfm