Remember a while back Microsoft blogged about its proposal to settle the IE antitrust issue with EC? Back then, Andy Updegrove has an excellent analysis of what it means? We had Opera’s immediate responses back then. Most of the points that Opera raises about the settlement proposal are not discussed in any detail and I am a bit lose on why they are not good enough. Moreover, at times it looks like Opera are complaining for the sake of complaining or trying to take advantage of the situation by demanding more than I would like to give them as remedy to their injury.
Now, Mozilla Foundation had completed its analysis of the proposed settlement and decided to launch a public discussion, or as Johnston aptly call it, blogging campaign. By putting more meat on the arguments and spending more time polishing them for public consumption, I find that where Mozilla shares the same concerns as Opera, I now understand the reasoning clearer.
These are healthy development in the antitrust issue. A regulator, no matter however competent, like the EC, cannot foresee a lot of potential problems with the proposed settlement. The purpose of putting the proposed settlement out is precisely to allow other players in the industry, including the competition, to go through the remedies and suggests clarifications and changes. This is an important part of the remedy process. To tell the truth, if you compare US courtroom-based approach where a judge OK a broad range of measure then take periodic review and make minor adjustment, to EC’s approach of outlining the broad principles, then fine-tune it later as in the case of protocol access by SamBA, I think the EC’s approach is better. It is less confrontational and allows decisions to be made more timely and in small increment. It has more potential to achieve its aim then the periodic review process which has the problem of potentially abrupt change of course and lengthy consideration time before the judge decides on what to do.