EU Fills in for DOJ

The European Union has been filling in for the still hobbled and given up for lame-duck Antitrust unit of the US Department of Justice. Interestingly, the EU Antrusters continue to concentrate on the Wintel players – Microsoft and Intel. The latest Microsoft antitrust allegations are against the browser tying irregularities of Microsoft and the failure to provide interoperability information in a timely fashion to others including IBM, Oracle, Sun, SAP, etc. This latter issue seems particularly pernicious given that the US DOJ has virtually signed off on its Antitrust oversight saying that Microsoft is meeting its antitrust compliance obligations.

Even with the departure of Bill Gates from the day to day Microsoft executive suite this July, my guess is that CEO Steve Ballmer and CRSO Craig Mundie will outweigh CSA Ray Ozzie and CTO David Vaskevitch in turning Redmond away from its legal entanglements and outright brutal battles. Of course, given the pronounced swing to Open Source and SaaS this will leave Microsoft treading the EULA protected retail software market – something that Open Source will replace at a much faster pace then ever before over the next few years. Its hard to switch from a formerly winning formula- and Redmond is now the Darwinian example.