Here We Go Again? The Transatlantic Fireworks over Microsoft Begin …

Cite this Article
Joshua D. Wright, Here We Go Again? The Transatlantic Fireworks over Microsoft Begin …, Truth on the Market (September 19, 2007),

EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes responds to the USDOJ Antitrust AG’s criticism of the recent Microsoft decision:

“It is totally unacceptable that a representative of the U.S. administration criticized an independent court of law outside its jurisdiction … The European Commission does not pass judgment on rulings by U.S. courts, and we expect the same degree of respect.”

While it is relatively novel so far as I know, I can’t say I’m too bothered by the DOJ commenting on a ruling of an EU court outside its jurisdiction. The missions of both U.S. antitrust agencies have traditionally included some level of advocacy. The implications of foreign antitrust enforcement may certainly be felt by American consumers, and this is especially the case where the foreign standard is significantly more restrictive than the domestic one. There is no doubt that antitrust counsel to U.S. firms operating in Europe will be forced to reckon with this decision. Open dialogue about the merits of these competing standards, including U.S. standards of course, seems like a good idea to me.

UPDATE: Danny Sokol also fears that the Microsoft judgment will strain U.S.-E.U. relations.   Hanno Kaiser reacts more favorably to the Microsoft decision, describing it as “a tributary of the US case” that “completes or at least complements the original DOJ case against Microsoft.”