House of Representatives
the March 24 decision of the European Commission (EC)
in its Microsoft antitrust case, a bipartisan group
of representatives and senators, along with the U.S.
Department of Justice, expressed their objections and
concerns about the adverse impact on trade, antitrust
laws, and the global economy. The undersigned organizations
respectfully request that you join them in articulating
your own disapproval of the EC's decision.
ensure prosperity for all in the modern global economy,
countries must respect the decisions of others to protect
against economic double jeopardy. The EC's decision
clearly demonstrates the problems that can be created
when regulators ignore the precedent of legitimate decisions
in other countries.
nearly five years of litigation in the United States,
the Microsoft case reached its conclusion. But the EC's
ruling against Microsoft undermines the very substance
of this prior U.S. resolution. Worse, the EC decision
demonstrates that companies unhappy with outcomes in
U.S. courts can "forum shop" their complaints to other
international jurisdictions. Without consistent, coherent
policies across nations, companies have to navigate
a morass of conflicting regulations and incur high costs
for regulatory compliance.
economic damage of such a system does not limit itself
to the targeted company. Software developers remain
off-balance with uncertainty over what will or will
not be included in the Windows operating system. Arbitrary
rulings in every nation threaten to disrupt the creative
process, and businesses in any industry can face delay
and uncertainty that thwart investment, innovation,
would not stand for the Justice Department wasting limited
tax dollars by writing computer software for consumers
and businesses in this country. Neither will they stand
for EC bureaucrats substituting their software "expertise"
for our own professionals.
EC's order raises the specter that they will actively
regulate Microsoft's products on an ongoing basis, often
limiting how the company adds new features to Windows.
Attempting to dictate the development process at Microsoft
would create a domino effect that would stall new software
and features at hundreds of American and foreign companies
that depend on Microsoft's products. In the end, consumers
danger to the global economy and the United States'
success in that environment that has been created
by the EC's decision cannot be underestimated. While
Microsoft is the current subject of the EC's onerous
and ill-conceived regulations, other U.S. companies
are also in jeopardy the next time a competitor seeks
to achieve in a foreign court what it cannot achieve
in the marketplace. One need only look at the General
Electric-Honeywell merger blocked by the EC after it
had already been approved by U.S. authorities.
undersigned organizations urge you to inform the EC
of your objections to the March 24 decision and to support
congressional and executive branch efforts to overturn
and mitigate the damage caused by that ruling.
Parde, Executive Director
American Legislative Exchange Council
Jeffrey Mazzella, Executive Director
Center for Individual Freedom
Thomas Schatz, President
Citizens Against Government Waste
Nancie G. Marzulla, President
Defenders of Property Rights
T. Rogers Wade, President
Georgia Public Policy Foundation
John Berthoud, President
National Taxpayers Union
Pacific Research Institute
Karen Kerrigan, Chair
Small Business Survival Committee