Saturday, April 2, 2011

Microsoft's Antitrust Turnabout

Wall Street Journal
April 2, 2011

Invoking Romeo and Juliet's Mercutio seems like the most natural response to Microsoft's complaint to the European Commission over Google's allegedly anticompetitive behavior—a plague on the houses of Gates-Ballmer and Page-Brin would be well deserved. Even Brad Smith, Microsoft's long-time general counsel, was compelled to call attention to the "irony"—his word—of Microsoft's calling in the Commission to investigate the search giant.

Microsoft, after all, suffered more than perhaps any other at the hands of Brussels's antitrust cops, and the company knows full well how difficult it is to run a business in the fast-moving tech space with regulators rummaging through your virtual file cabinets for evidence of ill-intent.

Not that Google is above playing pin-the-regulator-on-the-rival, either. It milked the net neutrality crusade for as long as it was useful in keeping Internet service providers at bay. And four years ago Google filed a brief in court arguing that Microsoft's Vista operating system violated the Redmond, Washington company's consent decree stemming from the Justice Department's interminable case against the software maker.


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