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On the 7th of June, 2004, the European Commission of the European Union filed a case against Microsoft for abuse of its dominant position in the market. It started in 1993 as a complaint from Novell of Microsoft licensing practices with a ruling not decided until the 17th of September, 2007. Thats fourteen years of what I can imagine to be a lot of lawyers fees.
But it wasn’t all over for Microsoft, on the 6th of March, 2013, the European Commission fined Microsoft for non-compliance with browser choice commitments. The EC showing how serious it is about antitrust and proving that its initial case was not just a very public slap on the wrist.
But we are far from finished with antitrust cases from the European Commission and now it’s Google in the spotlight. From the FT yesterday, Google in peace deal with Brussels, “Google is bowing for the first time to legally binding constraints on how it presents search results, according to a draft agreement with the EU’s top competition authority.
Several people familiar with the deal told the Financial Times that the US internet giant will revamp its results page to include prominent links to rival search engines and clearer signposts for its own in-house services.“
While fair trading is clearly important to the EU competition authority, are they going too far? Google’s search engine isn’t forced upon me in any way. I make the decision to trust Google with my questions because I’m happy with its results; it’s never let me down. Furthermore, I use their web browser, Chrome, which, yes, does default its search queries to Google’s search service but this was my choice also and, equally, I am provided with the option to change search engine preferences to another provider. One of the many reasons I like Chrome. Its pro-choice!
Should fair trade regulation replace letting the best man (service) win? I choose no!