For Continued Microsoft Oversight, Antitrust is Increasingly on Thin Ground

by on September 12, 2007 · 2 comments

There are two related articles in today’s papers that – one on technology and the other on yesterday’s Microsoft antitrust hearing. A New York Times article discusses thin client computing, a technological development that will provide new competition to traditional PCs and desktop software. And a Washington Post article describes how a group of six states and the District yesterday asked a judge to extend the terms of Microsoft’s antitrust settlement through 2012.

The more I read about the state AG request for continued oversight of the Microsoft antitrust consent decree, the more I’m convinced that they’re engaging in political grandstanding instead of sound legal principles.

Quoting from the Post:

Kollar-Kotelly said that its [the consent decree’s] effectiveness should not be measured by
Microsoft’s market share, because the 2002 decree did not specifically
set out to reduce Microsoft’s dominance. Its intent was to correct
Microsoft’s anticompetitive practices, she said.

Remember that in the U.S. monopolies are not per se illegal – just the illegal maintenance of a monopoly. But Microsoft’s desktop dominance is far from secure. Quoting from the Times:

The business strategy behind the thin-client push is different than it
was a decade ago. Today, thin computing is not part of an
anti-Microsoft crusade. The technology has “matured, by and large,
around delivering the Microsoft desktop experience remotely,” said Tad
Bodeman, the global director of Hewlett-Packard’s thin-client business.

For more on why it’s time to but this consent decree process to bed, I invite you to read ACT’s position paper here.

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