09.22.08

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New Class Action Lawsuit Against Microsoft; Microsoft Loses Anti-Monopoly Case in Japan

Posted in Antitrust, Asia, Law, Microsoft at 7:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Monopoly has money

There are two news reports which are worth presenting in isolation because they demonstrate Microsoft’s behavioural issues (in the sense of “market behaviour”). The first is this report about Microsoft being sued.

In the US, a Greenfield Online stockholder has filed a class action lawsuit, alleging that the firm’s acquisition by Microsoft for $486m undervalues the company.

There are other ongoing class action lawsuits against Microsoft. There are also antitrust investigation in Europe (involving OOXML abuses, Silverlight, and more) and now comes this setback from Japan.

Japan trade commission rules against Microsoft

The Fair Trade Commission in Japan told Microsoft on Friday to void clauses that it said violated antimonopoly law in contracts with Japanese personal computer makers.

Microsoft had contracts with Japanese PC makers with clauses that blocked them from taking legal action over patents involving the Windows operating system, the commission said in a statement dated yesterday, citing a Sept. 16 ruling.

The decision relates to a case going back more than four years. On July 13, 2004, the FTC told Microsoft to remove the anti-lawsuit clauses. The company, based in Redmond, Washington, excluded the conditions from new contracts effective Aug. 1 of that year. Clauses in contracts concluded before the watchdog’s order are still in force, the commission’s statement said.

Since the question about whether or not Microsoft is a monopoly makes the rounds, the above is important. Microsoft is still an abusive monopolist, so observers must not fail to see this. They can rely on the judgment of high-tier courts.

“The danger is that Microsoft is using strategic monopolistic pricing in the education market, with the government’s asistance, to turn our state university systems into private workforce training programs for Microsoft.”

Nathan Newman

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A Single Comment

  1. Yfrwlf said,

    September 22, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Gravatar

    Love this site btw.

    I think the biggest problem that should be addressed, which always seems to get beaten around, is the actual problem with selling software at low prices to educational institutions, OEMs, and others. That problem is in the exclusivity part. Exclusive sales should be illegal. They are obviously and clearly anti-competitive, as all sales deals should be accessible by anyone, yet businesses enjoy fragmenting the market and making exclusive deals to “reward” companies that obey their interests. If Microsoft’s software had a single price that they had to grant all around, it would provide a level field for true market competition, and unfortunately for them it would remove one of, if not the, biggest card they have in their hand.

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