Bending the World to Its Rules

Europe’s growing ability to dictate global regulations and business practices is worth watching.
 

A regulatory war has erupted between the European Union and the United States. Just ask executives at Microsoft. In mid-January, they were forced to set aside their whiskey sours and golf clubs and dig out their pinstriped suits and law books when EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes initiated a new antitrust investigation into the goliath of American companies.

Kroes’s January 14 announcement was salt on an already painful wound for Microsoft. Barely three months had passed since the American behemoth caved in and ended its opposition to a 2004 decision by the EU that exposed the inner workings of Microsoft’s operating system to European competitors, reduced its royalty collection, and ensured it would pay fines imposed by the EU.

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