EU antitrust ruling a jolt for Microsoft

first_imgIn the past two months, EU regulators have charged Intel Corp. and Rambus Inc. with antitrust abuse. This week, it will hold closed hearings in which Apple Inc. will defend itself against allegations that it restricts customer choice with separate national iTunes stores. And Google Inc. will soon have to seek EU approval to take over DoubleClick Inc., a deal some rivals claim will give Google too much power over personal data and online ads. “The decision very clearly gives the commission quite broad power and discretion,” Microsoft lawyer Brad Smith said. “There are many companies in our industry that have a very large market share.” He added the 248-page ruling would actually affect “every other industry in the world.” In Washington, Assistant Attorney General Thomas O. Barnett said the ruling “may have the unfortunate consequence of harming consumers by chilling innovation and discouraging competition.” “In the United States, the antitrust laws are enforced to protect consumers by protecting competition, not competitors,” he said in a statement. “In the absence of demonstrable consumer harm, all companies, including dominant firms, are encouraged to compete vigorously.” EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes was dismissive of “scare stories” that the court decision would herald disaster for technology companies wanting to protect their innovations. “There is one company that will have to change its illegal behavior as a result of this ruling: Microsoft,” she said. She added that Monday’s victory was “bittersweet” because customers have no more choice than they did three years ago when Microsoft was originally fined. “The court has confirmed the commission’s view that consumers are suffering at the hands of Microsoft,” she said. Kroes refused to say what implications Monday’s decision would have on other legal fights between the EU and Microsoft, particularly one related to its recently released Windows Vista operating system. Microsoft’s rivals have raised issues with Vista’s bundled security software, its integrated Internet and desktop search, and digital-rights management tools used to protect copyrights. The Court of First Instance’s overwhelming endorsement of the commission’s monopoly-abuse case against Microsoft is a massive boost for the officials in Brussels who took on one of the world’s most powerful companies. “They will certainly gain significant confidence and continue to be very aggressive,” said Ted Henneberry, a former Irish regulator and lawyer with Heller Ehrman LLP. “You’ll see more, not less, complaints by other competitors about their rivals in the hopes of sparking some interest. That’s another danger the commission’s going to face, and I think they’re aware of it that they’re going to be used as a forum for disgruntled competitors.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! BRUSSELS, Belgium – The European Union’s second-highest court affirmed the EU’s nine-year pursuit of Microsoft Corp., rejecting the software maker’s appeal and strengthening the bloc’s hand as it pushes ahead with cases against other major technology companies. The European Court of First Instance ruled Monday that the European Commission was correct in concluding that Microsoft used its dominance in desktop computers to muscle into server software and media players in the 1990s – and that Microsoft still poses similar threats. It also upheld the record 497million euro ($613million) fine imposed on the company in 2004 – the largest ever levied by EU regulators. The resounding victory for the EU – successful on all but one point – cements Europe’s role as the lead international regulator of market-dominant companies around the world. The EU persisted with its case against Microsoft even as the U.S. Justice Department settled in 2001 and many of the original plaintiffs dropped out. “In global markets, the antitrust policy that matters is the most restrictive one,” said M.J. Moltenbray, a partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. last_img read more

Bucks Close Out Bradley Center with 102-86 Win over Magic

first_imgMILWAUKEE (AP) — Eric Bledsoe replaced the injured Giannis Antetokounmpo as the Milwaukee Bucks’ all-purpose threat and ran circles around the Orlando Magic.Coach Joe Prunty was just as impressed with the contributions from his quick point guard that didn’t make the stat sheet.Bledsoe had his fourth career triple-double with 20 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in a 102-86 win on Monday night in the final regular-season game at the Bradley Center.“For as good as he was statistically tonight, there are things you don’t see on the stat sheet and that ability to get on the ball and defense,” Prunty said, “and that’s critical for us.”Shabazz Muhammad added season-high 22 points and helped spark a 20-6 run in the third quarter for the Bucks, who leapfrogged Miami for sixth in the Eastern Conference. The Heat lost to Oklahoma City on Monday.A win on Wednesday night on the road against the Philadelphia 76ers would clinch the sixth seed for Milwaukee.“We put ourselves in a position to where we’re in a pretty position to determine where you want to be if that’s what you want to do,” center John Henson said. “But we want to be the highest seed possible, so that’s the goal.”Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo winks from the bench during a time out in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Saturday, April 7, 2018, at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Bucks won 115-102. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)Nikola Vucevic led Orlando with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Bismack Biyombo had 14 points.The Magic fell to 24-57 but had reason to be confident after beating the Bucks 126-117 in their last meeting on March 14. Orlando was 18 of 34 from 3-point range that night to withstand a 38-point outburst by Antetokounmpo.The shooting touch was missing Monday, when Orlando was just 5 of 24 from behind the arc.The Magic couldn’t make up for the misses on the defensive end, especially in the third quarter.“It’s been the case all season. Our defense has never been consistent enough,” coach Frank Vogel said.Milwaukee won its second straight game without Antetokounmpo, who is resting a sore right ankle. Both victories came against 50-loss teams.They got a huge lift on Monday from Bledsoe, with help from Muhammad and Jason Terry off the bench. They helped push the Bucks on the 20-6 run over the final 5:27 of the third to build a 74-67 lead.“We stopped getting stops. We were defending really well up until that point,” Magic forward Aaron Gordon said.Terry, the savvy veteran guard, immediately gave the Bucks a spark by forcing a turnover on the inbounds play after Bledsoe’s two foul shots. Muhammad gave the Bucks a presence off the dribble to help make up for the absence of the free-wheeling Antetokounmpo.“Shabazz played a (great) game all night long, played in attack mode … got to his strengths in the paint,” forward Khris Middleton said.The Bucks led comfortably the rest of the way to close out the regular season at the Bradley Center. A new arena is scheduled to open in the fall on an adjacent lot in downtown Milwaukee.TIP INSMagic: Asked for his memories at the Bradley Center, Vogel recalled a time when then-Celtics coach Rick Pitino got into an argument with guard Dee Brown off the court while Vogel was Boston’s video coordinator. “Not a … fight but just a (verbal) flare-up,” Vogel said.Bucks: G Malcolm Brogdon (left quad) returned following a 30-game absence. The 2016-17 NBA Rookie of the Year scored two and played 13 minutes, all in the first half.AT THE HALFA game that had the feel of a Milwaukee blowout turned tight after a cold-shooting second quarter for the Bucks. They missed their first 12 shots in the period, with a Bledsoe-to-Middleton layup finally ending the scoreless streak with 5:07 left.The pace picked up again once facilitators Bledsoe and Middleton (18 points) re-entered the game, with Milwaukee taking a 45-42 lead at halftime.STAT LINESVucevic added 10 rebounds to pick up his 29th double-double of the season. … Biyombo was 6 of 7 from the field. … The Bucks with a regular season record of 668-536 in their 30 seasons at the Bradley Center.QUOTABLE“Complacency. I think that is kind of what happens to a young team with early wins.” — Gordon, on Orlando’s struggles after starting 8-4 this season.UP NEXTMagic: Wrap up the season by hosting the Wizards on Wednesday.Bucks: Finish the regular season with a trip to face the 76ers.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more