Today, the European Union’s Directorate-General for Competition (DGC) imposed a €497.2 Euro ($613 million) fine against Microsoft for integrating its Windows Media Player technology into its Windows computer operating systems. According to the Center for the Advancement of Capitalism (CAC), the DCG’s decision represents yet another assault on success and the rights of businessmen to their property.
“As with the United States, the European Union now claims that Microsoft’s integration of new technology into its operating systems represents a coercive threat against other businessmen and the public. As different from the United States, the European Union is now demanding Microsoft disintegrate Windows and pay heavy fines,” says Nicholas Provenzo, CAC chairman.

“Both the United States and the European Union are wrong,” says Provenzo.

“It is not Microsoft, but the antitrust laws themselves that are the coercive threat. The antitrust laws give regulators the right to define what a product is, how it may be improved, and who may improve it,” says Provenzo. “Yet a product belongs to those who create it and it is theirs to sell on the market as they see fit. EU Competition Commissioner Mario Monti could never build Microsoft Windows or successfully sell it, yet he and his antitrust regulators get to decide if a great American corporation may or may not improve its products.”

“Many in the US will criticize the seeming divergence between American and European Union antitrust enforcement,” says Provenzo. “Yet fundamentally, both sides of the Atlantic share the same view: businessmen are serfs who must place the success of their competitors ahead of their own success. In antitrust, the European Union and United States differ only in terms of degree.”

“The EU’s case against Microsoft underscores the need for a fundamental reexamination and ultimate abolition of antitrust,” says Provenzo. “Rather than insinuate that Microsoft’s “ongoing behavior” is “illegal”, Mario Monti would be better served rethinking the morality of his own agency’s actions.”

“Yet until businessmen themselves choose to wake up to the defects of the antitrust laws, we will continue to have great corporations like Microsoft placed under shackles for the crime of improving its own products,” says Provenzo.

Voice of Capitalism

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