Internet Antitrust – US and EU

14 June 2009 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog
Authors: Peter Vogel

Apparently the US Justice Department is investigating anticompetitive behavior concerning among others Google, Yahoo! , and Apple since many Internet companies restrict recruiting and hiring of one another’s employees. Since anticompetitive employment agreements in the technology industry are the norm it’s particularly interesting that the Justice Department is pursuing these companies. Internet and IT companies rely of these non-competition provisions to protect trade secrets and Intellectual Property so it will be interesting to see how this develops.

EU Unhappy with Microsoft for Not Distributing a Browser

Following the antitrust dispute in the EU regarding Microsoft’s alleged monopolization of the browser market, Microsoft recently announced that when it distributes Windows 7 there not be any browser. The EU regulators are unhappy with this solution, even though on the surface it does seem that the complaining browser companies (Google, Mozilla, and Opera) should be pleased since they claimed that Microsoft’s embedded Internet Explorer violates antitrust laws.

Are Antitrust Laws Out of Touch with the Internet?

Since antitrust laws evolved from the need to try control monopolies in the 1800’s how much sense does it make to still use these concepts in the Internet world of 2009? Microsoft’s deployment of its operations systems took over the PC market was great for the users since before Microsoft there was no operating system standard on PCs. My Internet Third Big Bang was the 1981 advent of the PC, not just because IBM and Microsoft got into the market, but as result of the PC Clones using Microsoft operating systems a de facto standard developed on Microsof. As a result users could depend on continuity and consistency between software and applications. So maybe the US and EU should re-evaluate antitrust laws for the Internet and IT world that we live with today and in the future.

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