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05.11.09

Confirmed: Microsoft Tries to Turn Regulators Against Google (Again)

Posted in Antitrust, Google, Hardware, Law, Microsoft at 7:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Girl over there
“It’s him! The fiend! Get him!”

Summary: Antitrust dealings that involve Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Intel

Microsoft is using regulatory bodies against its competitors. There may be some history to this strategy against Google [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9], but this post is not about the Apple/Google grilling which could be invoked by Microsoft; it’s actually about Microsoft’s own defense over in Europe. There are some more reports about the issue we wrote about on Sunday, namely that Microsoft may want to align the EU against Google. In addition we find this, which was sent in by a reader:

Not to be outdone, Microsoft has entered the antitrust game, too. It recently made an investment in T3, a small vendor of mainframe-like computers, which in January lodged a complaint with the European Commission, alleging that IBM kept it from competing by refusing to license mainframe software to T3’s customers. Microsoft has also lobbied American antitrust regulators to tackle Google, encouraging them to look into an online-advertising deal between the search giant and its rival, Yahoo!, which was eventually abandoned.

[...]

IBM, for its part, would appear to have little to fear. It is hard to argue, with so many different computer systems around, that mainframes still constitute a separate market—a necessary condition if IBM’s behaviour is to be judged anticompetitive.

The reader also drew attention to this new report.

Over the past couple weeks, antitrust regulators have launched reviews of online giant Google. The DOJ is investigating a settlement Google made with book publishers and authors. And the FTC is reviewing the board ties between Google and Apple, which some antitrust experts argue are competitors.

And then there’s this.

Microsoft’s Secret Campaign Against Google Includes CEO’s Ex-Girlfriend

[...]

Sounds like The Economist got it wrong on the Google-Apple investigations being abandoned. The Post’s article was published today.

“Looks like an online yellow journalism rag rather than a reliable source,” says the reader, “but it’s interesting if even parts are true.”

It all comes at a very interesting time because antitrust rules in the United States are said to be tightening. [emphasis in red is ours]

The new enforcement policy would reverse the Bush administration’s approach, which strongly favored defendants against antitrust claims. It would restore a policy that led to the landmark antitrust lawsuits against Microsoft and Intel in the 1990s.

Here is some more:

The new rules mark a return to the antitrust policies of the Clinton administration, which brought a major action against Microsoft. These days, similar questions are being asked about the market dominance of Google.

The crimes of Intel is a subject that we last covered properly back in March when Korea had nailed it. Soon it will be Europe’s turn and here is an early glimpse:

European competition authorities are expected to release their verdict on Intel’s allegedly anti-competitive behaviour this week, and it’s not looking good for the chip maker.

The Commission’s decision was sent to national bodies in April and will be presented to the Commission on Wednesday. The court is widely expected to find Intel guilty of anticompetitive behaviour.

It’s said to be about one billion Euro in fines, which would be record-breaking.

Reports from Europe suggest the European Commission (EC) will levy a substantial fine on Intel for breaches of competition rules.

Microsoft may try to pretend that such fines don’t pose a threat to it, but a closer look suggests otherwise. Microsoft has in fact begun selling debt.

This morning came a preliminary prospectus supplemental filing from Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT). In this filing was the intent to sell 5-year, 10-year, and 30-year debt instruments for undisclosed terms and undisclosed amounts.

There is more information about it in Bloomberg.

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