The U.S. gave up regulating monopolies in technology years ago and the decision by the European Court of First Instance to force Microsoft to open up its monopoly should be welcomed. Yes, Microsoft will appeal but the pressure to open up its system and allow competitors (many of them European) to plug in is a major win for innovation. Consumers are bound to win as well, with more choices for them. Of course, the marketplace is already providing serious competition to the Microsoft monopoly, with Firefox, Linus and Google online providing alternatives. IBM just announced Symphony, a suite of applications that compete with Microsoft’s Office—and it’s free.
The sad truth that monopolies are very hard to crack by regulation or the legal system. Microsoft is proving that. But it is nice to see that someone out there is trying to keep competition open. Someone out there is promoting innovation. And that someone is Europe.
OK, now I await the posts on how Microsoft is so innovative. Or not.