Partner Charles (Rick) Rule quoted, <em>National Journal Technology Daily</em>,

Partner Charles (Rick) Rule quoted, National Journal Technology Daily, "Antitrust: Experts Debate Impact of Microsoft Case on U.S.-EU Relations"

In the April 28th National Journal Technology Daily, an article entitled "Antitrust: Experts Debate Impact of Microsoft Case on U.S.-EU Relations," noted that "[a] panel of lawyers on both sides of the European Commission's recent antitrust decision against Microsoft...disagreed on the impact the ruling could have on relations between the United States and Europe....Charles (Rick) Rule, a partner at the Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson [LLP] law firm, sees potential for long-term harm to U.S. businesses operating in Europe and elsewhere. Rule, who represents Microsoft, said he was speaking on his own behalf at the event. 'In a situation like this where you have the same company, and basically the same case, where the U.S. has investigated and has imposed remedies which have been thoroughly reviewed by U.S. courts, to have another jurisdiction reopen the whole matter bodes ill,' Rule said. 'It says each jurisdiction can follow the last and impose additional, potentially onerous remedies.' The United States has requested formal consultations with the European Union on the issue under a 1991 agreement, according to Rule. While the two sides continually consult informally, the request is only the second use of the consultation mechanism, he said....Rule tracked the evolution of the EU case from 1998 to this year's EU ruling, showing how it had shifted toward areas not covered by a U.S. settlement with Microsoft. The original EU objection to Microsoft's practices was partially based on a complaint from Sun Microsystems and asserted that competitors need access to protocols for Microsoft's Windows computer-operating system. The second EU objection - issued in late summer 2001, about the same time as the U.S. deal - referred for the first time to the integration of Microsoft's Media Player. In the third and final objection, which preceded last month's ruling, the European Union fully included the integration issue by calling for Microsoft to offer a version of Windows without 'middleware' such as Media player...Rule suggested that the EU ultimately stretched its case to find a server market - workgroup servers - where Microsoft appeared to have a dominant position."