Even though the FTC Federal Trade Commission is ending its probationary period for Microsoft, a few states in the United States are not. Why you ask? Well, I believe it is because of their in-state businesses in the high-tech field that they wish to protect from Microsoft. For instance in California the Attorneys General has met with industry leaders in the high-tech sector and other state attorneys generals to extend sanctions.
A recent story came across the AP stating that the regulators wanted to extend the sanctions against Microsoft for five whole years longer. The US District Court was petitioned, by why? Surely it is for protectionism barriers for California’s high-tech competing businesses, exactly the same thing that is going on in the EU, it is about protectionism, trade barriers and exactly what Adam Smith warned us about.
Apparently, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly will consider this since in November of 2007 the expiration of the settlement is over. If you will recall the biggest complaint on Microsoft was the bundling of their free Internet Browser for their customers and thus no one was ever damaged.
The companies at the time that considered it a big win were companies like AOL, which turned out to have given some incredible forward looking statements costing shareholders millions and almost bankrupting Ted Turner, who also got suckered into the deal from false earning projections.
From a pure free-economic statement this on-going harassment of Microsoft does not help the consumers, nor does it help competition in the marketplace, rather it gives an advantage to Microsoft Competitors like Google and others who clearly do not need it. And in doing so will make them lazy and thus unable to compete in more fierce foreign markets. Economically speaking it is a very bad idea and it speaks of hypocrisy.
Personally, I am worried about these types of cases, not only here in the US, where they should never occur, but around the world as others learn our bad habits and destroy free-trade and free-enterprise making markets suspect and making companies weak. Sincerely, Lance.