CyberTech Rambler

September 17, 2007

The significance of losing the Trustee in Microsoft EC antitrust appeal

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 12:22 pm

On the surface, it appears that Microsoft loss seriously on its appeal of EC antitrust. Yes, it lost most of its claims bar one, the appointment of the trustee. That came as a surprise to me, an outsider.

The remedy used by EC to date is two fold: One is the punitive fine levied on Microsoft, especially those that are still being incurred on a day-by-day basis until Microsoft complied. The second is the trustee. EC appears to be using the punitive fine as a means to tighten the noose and is not the main tool to enforce compliance. The trustee is therefore the main tool to assess compliance. What the court says is that EC has no legal power require the appointment of the trustee and to get Microsoft to pay for the trustee. Hence, the EC either have to find some other mechanism, or enter into a “contract” with Microsoft with reference to the trustee.

If I were a betting man, I will bet on Microsoft dragging this issue on how to assess compliance as long as it can. Simultaneously, it will appeal this appeal. Time is on Microsoft’s side.

As such, I do not think that the judgement, in reality, is a lopsided against Microsoft.

Nonetheless, it is a significant victory for EC because it upheld all its decisions. The trustee issue is an annoyance and hey, one do not really expect the status quo to stay on appeal.

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