Microsoft EU Antitrust Case

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Case Details:

Case Code : BENV005
Case Length : 16 Pages
Period : 1998-2006
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Microsoft
Industry : Information Technology and Related Services
Countries : US, European Countries

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Excerpts Contd...

Microsoft Complies But...

The judgment meant that Microsoft would have to start working on the remedies proposed by the EC, as soon as possible.

Smith said that the company would comply with the order immediately and start offering Windows without the media player from February 2005 onwards, at the same price. Microsoft submitted a list of nine proposed names for Windows O/S without the media player. Microsoft was initially keen on naming the trimmed version 'Windows XP Reduced Media Edition', but this was rejected by EC on the grounds that the name was unattractive and would drive customers towards the full version...

The Hearing

The hearing of the Microsoft - EC case began on April 24, 2006. Microsoft's lawyer Jean-Francois Bellis (Bellis) began the argument saying that the EC committed a 'serious error' through its ruling two years ago. He said that removing the media player led to the loss of several functions in the trimmed O/S and deprived customers of the ability to play music provided by Yahoo! and Napster. He claimed that there were only a few takers for the trimmed version and that no computer manufacturer had shipped a computer pre-installed with this new version...

The Road Ahead

The hearing on antitrust case ended on April 28, 2006 and the judgment was expected in early 2007. In a statement, Smith said, "This has been a very engaging and valuable week. The outcome of this case is critical not only for Microsoft, but for future innovation in our industry. Companies need to have confidence they won't be forced to hand over their valuable intellectual property to their competitors. In addition, companies need to have confidence they can develop new products with the features their customers want."...


Exhibit I: About Microsoft
Exhibit II: Chronology of Events in the Microsoft - EU Antitrust Case
Exhibit III: EU Competition Policy


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