Monday, December 24, 2007

“Justice” Employed to Effect

What’s fair or not depends on how European you are. Once again, Microsoft is getting sued in Europe over its web browser, this time by the makers of Opera. The term double jeopardy appeared nowhere in the discourse of course.

Microsoft Corp. was accused of abusing its dominant position in Internet browsers -- the first major new antitrust complaint against the tech giant since it lost a landmark European Union case in September.

Yesterday's complaint, lodged by Oslo-based Opera Software ASA, a Web-browser maker, followed on the ruling here that confirmed the European Union's power to regulate Microsoft's behavior.
”Anti-trust” defined by this:
"After four years of no growth, Opera is looking for someone to blame for its failures, and Microsoft is always an easy target. With the Firefox Web browser grabbing as much as 20 percent of the market in some European countries, it is clear that companies can compete and beat Microsoft in the browser market. ... Windows users have nearly unlimited choices for their web browsing and Internet search needs. Windows XP and Vista allow users to choose any Internet search provider as their default provider and to run searches using any browser – including Opera's."
It’s all about doing protectionism another way, and in the end, forcing your own population to have to live with it – either in the form of higher prices or limited choices, even if in the case of Opera, no-one is stopping the public from loading it, or the even more successful and free Mozilla Firefox. No matter.
Microsoft said that it is ready to cooperate with the latest proceedings, but it will be deeply unenthused by the prospect of returning to Brussels to defend yet another competition case. In September, the company suffered a bruising blow from European judges who upheld a record €497 million fine. The penalty was imposed on Microsoft for abusing its dominant market position by bundling its Media Player software, used to access video and audio content online, into Windows.
It’s about making others’ success unlawful. Case in point: “our trust” trumps “anti-trust” in a bid to provide poor services at high prices. may not offer free delivery on books in France, the high court in Versailles has ruled.

The action, brought in January 2004 by the French Booksellers' Union (Syndicat de la librairie française), accused Amazon of offering illegal discounts on books and even of selling some books below cost.

The court gave Amazon 10 days to start charging for the delivery of books, which should at least allow the company to maintain the offer through the end-of-year gift-giving season. After that, it must pay a fine of €1,000 (US$1,470) per day that it continues to offer free delivery. It must also pay €100,000 in compensation to the booksellers' union.
Damages to the Booksellers’ UNION, not anyone actually aggrieved by their “free shipping” thing. This is probably because there is no harmed party to be found.

Even in a stitched up market within stitched up market, (cartel vs. any startup, France cartel vs. other European entering their market, etc.) that there are more buyers that sellers, and that other than a handful of book-sellers, logistics companies who could just as well be trucking potatoes around, as well as those they’re “protecting” in a puny vertical market, that no-one, no-one benefits from these rackets. Not one consumer, or even the merchant in the long run even benefits from this loony habit of using tribalism one day, nationalism the next, and them a phony anti-trust case the next.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, business needs a little palm greasing to remain as “competitive” as these books peddlers which they know you should read.
AN Indian court overnight ordered police to complete a probe into charges that a bribe was paid in a multi-billion dollar deal to buy Scorpene submarines from a French defence firm.
The Delhi High Court told the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to complete its inquiry within three months and report back to a two-judge bench.
The judges also told the CBI to press criminal charges against "accused persons" if it could establish an offence had been committed in the^€2.4 billion ($4.03 billion) deal.

[ ... ]

Earlier this month, India said it was scrapping a $US600 million ($700.16 million) deal to buy 197 military helicopters from the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) after allegations of corruption in the bidding process.
India banned middlemen in military deals following charges of bribery in a multi-billion-dollar artillery deal in the 1980s with Swedish firm Bofors.
Of course the answer just to this month's thievery will be “but everybody does it!” Erm... No, Spanky. They don’t.

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