Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hard landing for Microsoft

The big news in international trade is yesterday's judgment in Microsoft v. Commission, in which the Grand Chamber of the of the Court of First Instance of the Court of Justice of the European Communities largely sustained a 2004 European Commission ruling that Microsoft, the U.S.-based high-tech giant, had "abus[ed] its dominant position" in violation of the Treaty Establishing the European Community. In a decision that spanned nearly 1,400 paragraphs, the Court of First Instance agreed, thus affirming the fine of 497 million euros, or $690 million. That's pocket change to Microsoft; of longer-lasting effect will be what the company has to do to comply with European regulators like Dr. Neelie Kroes (above right, #59 on Forbes' powerful women list), the European Commissioner who led the challenge.
Comprising the Grand Chamber were President Bo Vesterdorf (Denmark) and 11 other Judges, among them 4 women: Ingrida Labucka (above left, from Latvia), Maria Eugénia Martins de Nazaré Ribeiro (above center, from Portugal), Irena Wiszniewska-Białecka (right, from Poland), and Virpi Tiili (left, from Finland).
The judgment was unanimous, of course: unlike the European Court of Human Rights and many common law courts, the ECJ follows a civil law tradition that disallows dissenting or concurring opinions.

No comments: