Irvine, CA–Last Thursday European Union authorities threatened Microsoft Corp. with fines that may reach a billion dollars for “overcharging” rival companies for proprietary information.

“European regulators should have no power to determine what the price of Microsoft’s intellectual property should be,” said Dr. Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute. “That is Microsoft’s right.”

“The European Union justifies its assault on Microsoft’s property rights by claiming that the company ‘has abused its virtual monopoly power’ and engaged in ‘unfair’ competition by setting ‘unreasonable’ prices.

“But the only thing that is abusive and unfair in this case is the European Union’s use of force to violate Microsoft’s rights in order to help its competitors. Microsoft has no power to force anyone to buy its products; if its prices were truly unreasonable given the interests of its customers, then its customers would not pay them. What prices are reasonable should be up to the choice and judgment of buyers and sellers–not European bureaucrats who, by their own admission, think Microsoft should charge nothing for its proprietary information.”

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