Microsoft Judgment and its Implications for Competition Policy Towards Dominant Firms in Europe, The

Interoperability and Competition Policy and Antitrust

Article Snapshot


Christian Ahlborn and David S. Evans


Antitrust Law Journal, Vol. 75, Issue 3, pp. 887-932, 2009; conference paper from the Searle Symposium, “The End of the Microsoft Antitrust Case?”, Nov. 15-16, 2007


This paper looks at the impact of the Microsoft case on business in Europe.

Policy Relevance

Antitrust rules that punish ordinary business practices are likely to harm growth.

Main Points

  • The European Court of First Instance (CFI) rejected Microsoft’s attempt to overrule the EU Commision’s ruling that Microsoft must license its intellectual property to rivals.

  • This ruling is inconsistent with law in the United States, and with merger law within the EU.

  • The CFI ruled that:
    • The Commission did not need to prove harm to consumers.
    • The Commission did not need to show that Microsoft’s refusal to supply rivals excluded all competition.

  • The CFI’s rule means that firms operating in Europe have reason to fear forced sharing of property and that ordinary business practices are suspect. Standard-setting could also be more difficult.

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