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Brussels set to rule against Microsoft

From the Financial Times:

Guess I don't get it...  How is it that the EU has any jurisdiction over an American company?  Would someone fill me in?

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Because the EU can rule against companies that do business in Europe?

A PS2 Programmer
Tuesday, January 27, 2004

International trade law.  If you want to export to a certain country, you gotta play by their rules -- or they'll lock you out.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Well, Bill can call up Jack Welch to commiserate on getting rebuffed by the EU.

Mark Hoffman
Tuesday, January 27, 2004

For the same reason the Bush administration decided to impose a tariff for steel imports unilateraly instead of first arguing his case at the WTO?

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

"impose a tariff for steel imports unilateraly"

Sorry, but this type of tariff by definition is going to be unilateral. The US doesn't need another country's approval or blessing to impose tariffs on products it imports onto it's own shores.

...Granted, the US will have to face the retaliation and the risk of a trade war, but tariffs are up to each country to decide if they are worth the risk for the political gain.

Mark Hoffman
Tuesday, January 27, 2004

As far as I am aware, Microsoft is at liberty to sell anything it wants within Europe, but if it does so through a company incorporated in any European country then that company is subject to European regulation, directly by the state in which the company is registered and indirectly via Community legislation. Broadly speaking this is the same as being required to comply with both State and Federal law within the US.

I don't think there is anything standing in the way of Microsoft selling different products in Europe from the US and elsewhere, or even of withdrawing from Europe completely should they so wish.

If I recall correctly, the case in question was first raised by Real Networks, another US owned and controlled corporation, through their European subsidiary. Just as Microsoft is subject to European regulation, so Real's subsidiary - being resident in Europe - is perfectly entitled to seek such protection as they think the European Commission can offer. Perhaps American companies feel that they cannot obtain adequate redress against monopolistic practices through their own legal system?

With regards to US steel tariffs, the US had signed up to the WTO treaty and has the option of withdrawing from it at any time. If it doesn't choose so to do, then it should play by the rules of the game it chose to enter. In reality, the decision to impose tariffs was political and the problem far better addressed by reducing the value of the US dollar, thus making 'foreign' steel imports much more expensive and 'local' product relatively cheaper. This has now happened, but please don't whinge when the rest of the world stops funding the horrific overdraught that the US is running.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Now what would be cool is if the EU said we want $$$ not free licenses.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Actually the steel tariffs were illegal under multi-lateral agreements signed up to by the USA, and everyone else.  So no you can't go on imposing tariffs just because you want to shore up some local vote for a while.

The current issue that the EU has with Microsoft is the bundling of the media player.  Microsoft has agreed in principle, now we're waiting on the actual outcome, either a fine which represents sales made or some kind of quid pro quo.

Most insider money is on a deal at the moment.

And if people think its unfair that an American company is taken to task by the EU, its actually the Microsoft companies in the EU that are in the firing line.

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, January 27, 2004

"Now what would be cool is if the EU said we want $$$ not free licenses."

Why? the EU is perhaps even a worse buearocracy than most governments. Why would you prefer them to have the money? Seems to me the main MS shareholders are doing more "right" with the cash than those self blessed mobs called "governements".
Wether there are any real merits to this case is irrelevant. MS's mistake is that they make money, and keep a lot of it around in desirable form. To every leach on the planet this is like a red rag to a bull. They'll find a way to take it away from you. MS apparently didn't pay of these "officialized" protection rackets enough, so now they constantly find their shops vandalized, their phonelines cut, their purses snatched  and their tires slashed.

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Couldn't have said it better myself:,2933,109654,00.html

"Let me see if I get this straight. The socialist governments that cradle their companies are going after an American success story that cradles its windows."

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Why? the EU is perhaps even a worse buearocracy than most governments. Why would you prefer them to have the money?""

Well in the US MS got off pretty free.  They were allowed to run their printing press to issue licenses - IT COST THEM NOTHING!  That's why.  I just believe a fine should be a fine.  The EU can generally f off in my opinion.  I would just be happy to see MS pay real dollars once.  That it would go to the EU would suck, yes.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

I'm not sure I understand exactly how the EU has any jurisdiction over a US company.

Sure, countries have a right to have whatever laws they want, but how exactly did they create the law the requires Microsoft to do business in Europe in the first place?

Several people have complained that leaches are stealing Bill's hard earned money just by pointing out that he failed to obey the law in those countries while doing business in those countries, but I used to think that Microsoft could legally simply choose to close all their European offices and choose not to export any product to countries that they choose not to do business in.

Oh, wait a minute, I think I get it now.

You all know that Bill chose to do business in those countries, you're just mad that he's not allowed to ignore the laws there.

Would you all be equally supportive of European companies opening branches in the US and completely ignoring all US laws, even the ones that Microsoft actually fully supports? Cool, it's not ok for foreign companies to pirate Windows. That's quite an interesting idea you people have.

Sure you would. I really believe that. Oh, and I've got more bridges in Arizona than I know what to do with, so would you all like to buy a few?

Thursday, January 29, 2004

>> "Would you all be equally supportive of European companies opening branches in the US and completely ignoring all US laws"

Uum...  Europe would actually have to have a company as bold and innovative as Microsoft - which is highly unlikely in their coddled little socialistic environment.  888

Monday, February 2, 2004

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