E-Commerce Times Talkback
See Full Story
Microsoft reportedly is in preliminary talks to settle two pending antitrust investigations now before the European Commission. Microsoft wants to end these probes before the Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes leaves office at the end of the year, according to the scuttlebutt. Both of the antitrust investigations began in January 2008. One was sparked by a complaint from Norway-based browser maker Opera, accusing Microsoft of violating European antitrust regulations by bundling Internet Explorer with its Windows operating system.
Who can blame Microsoft for wanting to settle when fines are so high? But the ICC is on the case in their paper of 2nd July on the Commission's fining policy. The ICC points out - rightly i think - that fines are now so high they are like criminal sanctions - but the procedural safeguards are missing, so the Commission can act as judge and jury in the process of imposing fines. And the people who get penalised are the shareholders - who aren't involved in the infringing conduct. There's no benefit in introducing a compliance programme - the whole emphasis is on deterrence. This needs reform.