Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Posted by D. Daniel Sokol
Harry First of NYU Law School weighs in on Netscape is Dead: Remedy Lessons from the Microsoft Litigation.
ABSTRACT: On March 1, 2008, AOL officially pulled the plug on the Netscape Browser, killing off the killer app of 1995 whose success had led Microsoft on an exclusionary campaign which eventually triggered the now-famous Microsoft monopolization litigation. Although the government plaintiffs in the United States were eventually successful on the merits in the monopolization litigation, Netscape's death highlights the problem of remedy. Microsoft retains its monopoly position in the desktop PC operating system market; Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser still has nearly 75 percent of the browser market, despite the challenge from the technologically superior Firefox browser. The European Commission's parallel case has fared no better. Microsoft was found to have abused its dominant position by tying its media player to Windows and by refusing to disclose necessary server-system interoperability information. But the Commission's media player unbundling remedy failed completely and its interoperability order has not halted Microsoft's progress toward dominance in the work group server operating system market. In fact, in 2008, after imposing more than $2.3 billion in fines on Microsoft for the initial violations and Microsoft's failure to comply with the Commission's remedy orders, the Commission announced that it was opening two new investigations into Microsoft, one of which involves the tying of Internet Explorer to Windows.