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Monday, March 01, 2010

20 Years of Solicitude, and Commissioner Kroes, An Apology

As HPL points out in the comment on my previous post, I intimated too much credit to Commissioner Kroes, she merely appended some words to the June 2009 mobile roaming regulation. I look forward to giving her more credit when prices are reduced from 20,000%+ above wholesale cost, in the near future.
But lets give her credit where its due. In 1990, the Federal Trade Commission began its inquiry into Microsoft Windows pricing/bundling policies. In 1997, the great State of Texas (full disclosure: I am an honorary citizen), began its landmark antitrust action against Microsoft for bundling Internet Explorer into Windows95 -  which it fought to the bitter end in 2004, even though Dubya's DoJ spat the dummy.
Today marks the day that Microsoft finally is giving consumers a (somewhat redundant and almost mandatory) choice of browser under settlement of the EC case which began in 1993 (Novell) and again 1998 (Sun). Its in your Update - I keep having to stop it happening as I use Chrome - that address/search bar is bundled genius.
And just as the Roaming Regulation is carried over from Commissioner Reding, so this remedy is carried over from Commissioner Kroes. So well done!
That brings me to the complaint against Google. I am expecting 20 years of activity on this, too - though as with Microsoft and its Passport/.NET case, I expect Google to find its relations with privacy law - yes, Mme Reding - to become sticky long before any antitrust action. I have a research student engaged in research in this field, and its only tangentially relevant to net neutrality (its a counter-attack aided by Vodafone and Microsoft if you believe the rumours and of course the Barcelona speeches at the Congress).
Gloves are off, battle will commence.

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