|FROM ||Ruben I Safir
|SUBJECT ||Re: [hangout] Re: status
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Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 10:21:53 -0500
From: Ruben I Safir
To: Dave Williams
Cc: David Sugar , Bruce Perens ,
ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com, fairuse-at-nylxs.com, hangout-at-nylxs.com, jays-at-panix.com,
Subject: Re: [hangout] Re: status
References: <20030211110150.ADE8824568-at-perens.com> <200302110957.32861.dyfet-at-ostel.com> <1044976813.7959.12.camel-at-connie>
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Fresh Europe antitrust complaint aims at WinXP leveraging
By John Lettice
Posted: 11/02/2003 at 12:12 GMT
The Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), a serial
Microsoft antagonist, has filed a fresh complaint with the European
Commission, claiming that Microsoft has perpetrated "new and widespread
violations of European competition law," and asking the Commission to
intervene to "restore competition to the markets that Microsoft now
dominates and to prevent future harm to these and other markets."
The complaint appears to be a conscious effort by the CCIA to move the
terms of the antitrust arguments on from the territory covered -
somewhat unsuccessfully, depending on your point of view - in US versus
Microsoft, and to a lesser extent in the current European Microsoft
investigation. The US action focused on specific historical areas where
Microsoft was eventually deemed to have acted anticompetitively. But by
the time this happened all the kings horses and all the kings men
couldn't put Netscape together again, and the case had very little to
say about monopolies new, using new mechanisms. At the request of the
States Judge CKK did consider a widening of the case, but then declined
The European investigation is certainly a little more forward-looking in
that it covers Media Player and the danger of a Microsoft monopoly in
the European server market, but it's still narrow in the sense that it's
looking at specific areas.
Which is where the new complaint comes in: "Microsoft's abusive
behaviour designed into or accompanying Windows XP serves both to
protect its superdominant position for desktop operating systems and its
related superdominant positions for PPAs [new one on us - they mean
Office] and browsers, as well as to leverage those superdominant
positions into markets where it has not yet achieved such dominance."
Indeed. And the CCIA proceeds with a short list of examples - media
player software, email clients, instant messaging, server software,
authentication software, multimedia content management (inc DRM),
consumer portals and internet advertising, handheld device software,
smart phone software, and software for non PC devices, inc games
consoles and set-top boxes.
Microsoft can use its products, XP at the moment being the prime
example, to leverage itself into dominant positions in these markets,
and any other new market it happens to think of. So:
"The forms of Microsoft's abusive conduct are often closely
interrelated, and their market foreclosure effects in many instances
reinforce each other. The effectiveness of Microsoft's anti-competitive
behaviours in preserving Microsoft's existing desktop dominance and in
leveraging that dominance into related markets can only truly be
understood if these behaviours and their exclusionary impact are viewed
as a whole, rather than examined in isolation from each other."
This is a pretty obvious point, but its one the US legal system has not
been able to address; nor, indeed, has anybody made a serious attempt to
do so, and any such attempt would surely fail. The European system
however is considerably more flexible, and the Commission has a
considerable amount of latitude (or quasi-dictatorial powers, if you'd
prefer to put it like that) in the way it can handle such matters. So,
having bounced off on the other side of the pond, starting again in
Brussels seems a shrewd move for the CCIA. It stands a pretty good
chance of getting a hearing.
You can get access to a summary of the complaint and supporting
documentation here, where you may note with some horror (as did we) that
the CCIA now reckons the current European verdict, 'imminent' since
Methuselah was a lad, is now due this summer. And it might be right... ®
On 2003.02.11 10:20 Dave Williams wrote:
> I'm going to have to agree with David on this one.
> Bruce, I guess you tuned out of this thread after feeling attacked by
> But if you were reading these messages in between cab rides around
> Holland, you may have noticed something.
> The question was "Why is Microsoft participating in this event?"
> Mr. Stanco, Esq., gave a nice soundbite about being in the middle of
> camps, and how good that was (he must be doing something right, or
> something like that).
> Dr. Stallman succinctly pointed out that the conference appeared to be
> primarily about advocacy for Open Source Software in government, but
> organizers have been hiding behind the explanation that this is an
> "academic" conference that requires fairness and balance whenever
> someone asks about Microsoft.
> Mr. Perens has avoided the question. He has defended Mr. Stanco and
> pointed out that Mr. Safir is an unpleasant person (a "poleaxe", I
> It appears that in exchange for a seat in Mr. Stanco's GWU Cyber
> group, Mr. Perens is willing to allow the Open Source movement to be a
> attached to Mr. Stanco's personal ambitions. If not Mr. Stanco's then
> somebody's ambitions at least.
> The conclusion is the same: If this is advocacy remove Microsoft. If
> this is academic change the title.
> I'm with David on this one: Mr. Peren's offer to have a "long Q&A"
> kind of patronizing, along the lines of "Oops, you caught me! Look,
> getting a lot out of this Tony guy, so just play nice. Here's a bone
> for you, though."
> - Dave
> On Tue, 2003-02-11 at 09:57, David Sugar wrote:
> > Bruce,
> > what you said is precisely the reason why I think it was wrong to
have them at
> > this event in the first place. What this has done is given them a
> > forum to try and persuade a less than fully suffisticated audience
> > Shared Source is a form of Open Source, and that freedom does not
> > this is the substance of their presentation. It was wrong to do
> > abstract was accepted in the first place and it remains wrong to do
> > I tend to agree that one cannot easily revisit the original flawed
> > without some fallout. One cannot fix the problem effectivily by
> > extending their Q&A, which, of course, as they are now a
> > at this event, they are not obligated to accept, as that would be
> > selective treatment of speakers, which also would be wrong to do.
> > I have come to believe a terrible error has been made, and we can
> > have differening opinions of how this came about, but that does not
> > these facts. The question is what can be done to fix this problem,
> > minimum negative impact. What I would suggest as a valid option is
> > program committee exercises it's authority to eject an inappropriate
> > from the program. Would it have some negative impact at this stage?
> > would. But I think it would be both a responsible decision since I
> > the original decision to accept their abstract was flawed, and
> > less damaging than some of the other options I have heard being
> > considered.
> > Another option that Richard suggested would be to change the nature
> > conference and presentations appropriately. That the conference was
> > presented as essentially an opportunity to educate and market OS/FS
> > governments is clear by the forum and style of presentations sought
> > cfp. If this conference wishes instead to become some kind of
> > to discuss or debate software licensing, that is certainly fine, but
> > it is far too late to do such a large change, nor fair to the other
> > who are appearing based on the former assumption.
> > I am not offering any solutions in this message, but simply pointing
> > flaws with your suggestion and past comments. Having such a
> > front of an audience that you have not yet fully educated and which
> > already likely been in many intense and closed vendor sponsored
> > promoting their message is counter-productive. All it does is send
> > message and dilutes the already hard work of the other speakers
> > On Tuesday 11 February 2003 06:01, Bruce Perens wrote:
> > > Well, I certainly have no problem with tacking on a _long_ Q&A
> > > this program. Is that what you want, and can you ask polite
> > > they will have trouble answering without it becoming a food fight?
> > > I will strongly advocate that to Tony and will find someone
> > > respectable to moderate. Note that MS will be _very_ well
> > >
> > > I think it's extremely important that we be dignified in front of
> > > expected audience of this program.
> > >
> > > Thanks
> > >
> > > Bruce
> New Yorker Free Software Users Scene
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