Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 7th Oct 2009 17:36 UTC
Internet & Networking After long negotiations and back and forths between the EU, Microsoft, and other browser makers, Microsoft's browser ballot proposal has been amended and offered up for debate yet again by the EU; this time around, it will actually be tested out by consumers. A number of changes have been made since the first proposal, so let's take a look.
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Neelie Kros, head of EC, has said
by MollyC on Wed 7th Oct 2009 20:18 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Kroc"
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at least implicitly, that having a dominant marketshare (which she defined as over 50%) itself was "illegal". (She was talking about Microsoft server share at the time, I believe.) That that was the abuse in an of itself. She went on to say, "Our goal is to drive Microsoft's share down to below 50%" (as opposed to our goal is to end abuse, etc). So that, no matter what Microsoft did to address her concerns, it was inadequate if it didn't drive down Microsoft's marketshare to an acceptable level.

And there've been rulings in the EU where, if a company obtains over 50% share of a particular "market" (as defined by the EC), then that company is required to assist its competitors.

Lastly, there is a major difference between US antitrust law and EU antitrust law, in that the former's goal is to protect consumers, while the latter's is to protect competitors. So in the US, a company can do what it wants unless it can be shown that consumers are hurt. In the EU, it's whether competitors are hurt that is paramount, and "punishment"/"remedies" are imposed even if consumers haven't been hurt, indeed, even if those punishments/remedies hurt consumers.

This ballot is imposing an inconvenience on consumers (throwing a ballot in their face) in order to help competitors, even though the consumers haven't been hurt because they already have plenty of browsers to choose from, and do.

Edited 2009-10-07 20:23 UTC

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