**** 과거엔 WMP가 문제였다
당시 EU가 한방에 쏜 벌금은 무려 8억9900만 유로(미화 약 13억 5000만 달러, 한화 1조 2730억원). 이에 따라 ‘소프트웨어 시장을 교란했다’며 부과한 7억7750만 유로(최근 반독점 위반으로 4억9700만 유로 및 2억8050만 유로)와 함께 EU가 MS에 부과한 전체 벌금 규모는 16억7650만 유로로 늘어난 바 있습니다.
아무튼 EU는 MS를 상대로 독점 이슈를 강하게 제기하고 있고, 실제로 장기간의 조사를 통해 벌금까지 부과하고 있는 상황인데요.
**** 이번엔 IE가 문제다
15일 드디어 EU가 새로운 법적 조치에 착수했습니다. 이번에는 "IE(인터넷 익스플로러) 기본탑재에 문제가 있다"고 지적한 것입니다.
MS 웹브라우저 끼워팔기 조사는 1년전 시작된 것입니다. 당시 노르웨이 업체 '오페라 소프트웨어'가 반독점 소송을 제기했었지요.
오페라는 당시 자료에서 "MS가 웹브라우저를 끼워팔아 경쟁 업체에 피해를 줬을뿐만 아니라 웹표준도 따르지 않았다. 윈도에 IE 이외 브라우저도 기본 탑재할 수 있도록 해 달라" 고 요구했습니다. 당시 오페라의 언론 보도자료는 http://www.opera.com/press/releases/2007/12/13/ 에서 볼 수 있습니다.
EU 집행위원회는 "MS가 시장지배적 지위를 남용, OS에 끼워 팔기를 해 90% 시장 점유율을 유지하고, 기술 혁신을 저해했으며, 소비자 선택권을 제한했다"는 내용을 담은 '이의성명'(Statement of Objections)을 지난 MS 측에 15일 발송했습니다. 즉 법적인 조치에 착수하기 시작했다는 것을 의미합니다. 사실 이는 북미-유럽간 통상 마찰까지 확산될 있는 사안이어서 더 주목됩니다.
MS는 이의성명을 받은 뒤 8주 이내에 답변해야 하고, 청문회에 참석해 변호도 가능합니다. 결국 과거 지루하게 진행됐던 '윈도미디어플레이어' 끼워팔기 법정 공방과 비슷한 양상으로 진행될 것으로 보입니다.
MS도 이러한 사례가 소모적이라는 것을 알고 있고, 따라서 (개인적인 생각으로는) 어떤 식으로든 합의를 할 가능성이 높아 보입니다. IE를 제거하게 될지, 아니면 경쟁 브라우저를 함께 탑재하게 될지는 잘 모르겠네요.
**** EU의 공문, 어떤 내용을 담고 있나
Antitrust: Commission confirms sending a Statement of Objections to Microsoft on the tying of Internet Explorer to Windows
The European Commission can confirm that it has sent a Statement of Objections (SO) to Microsoft on 15th January 2009. The SO outlines the Commission’s preliminary view that Microsoft’s tying of its web browser Internet Explorer to its dominant client PC operating system Windows infringes the EC Treaty rules on abuse of a dominant position (Article 82).
In the SO, the Commission sets out evidence and outlines its preliminary conclusion that Microsoft’s tying of Internet Explorer to the Windows operating system harms competition between web browsers, undermines product innovation and ultimately reduces consumer choice.
The SO is based on the legal and economic principles established in the judgment of the Court of First Instance of 17 September 2007 (case T-201/04), in which the Court of First Instance upheld the Commission's decision of March 2004 (see IP/04/382), finding that Microsoft had abused its dominant position in the PC operating system market by tying Windows Media Player to its Windows PC operating system (see MEMO/07/359).
The evidence gathered during the investigation leads the Commission to believe that the tying of Internet Explorer with Windows, which makes Internet Explorer available on 90% of the world's PCs, distorts competition on the merits between competing web browsers insofar as it provides Internet Explorer with an artificial distribution advantage which other web browsers are unable to match. The Commission is concerned that through the tying, Microsoft shields Internet Explorer from head to head competition with other browsers which is detrimental to the pace of product innovation and to the quality of products which consumers ultimately obtain. In addition, the Commission is concerned that the ubiquity of Internet Explorer creates artificial incentives for content providers and software developers to design websites or software primarily for Internet Explorer which ultimately risks undermining competition and innovation in the provision of services to consumers.
Microsoft has 8 weeks to reply the SO, and will then have the right to be heard in an Oral Hearing should it wish to do so. If the preliminary views expressed in the SO are confirmed, the Commission may impose a fine on Microsoft, require Microsoft to cease the abuse and impose a remedy that would restore genuine consumer choice and enable competition on the merits.
A Statement of Objections is a formal step in Commission antitrust investigations in which the Commission informs the parties concerned in writing of the objections raised against them. The addressee of a Statement of Objections can reply in writing to the Statement of Objections, setting out all facts known to it which are relevant to its defence against the objections raised by the Commission. The party may also request an oral hearing to present its comments on the case.
The Commission may then take a decision on whether conduct addressed in the Statement of Objections is compatible or not with the EC Treaty’s antitrust rules. Sending a Statement of Objections does not prejudge the final outcome of the procedure.
In the March 2004 Decision the Commission ordered Microsoft to offer to PC manufacturers a version of its Windows client PC operating system without Windows Media Player. Microsoft, however, retained the right to also offer a version with Windows Media Player (see IP/04/382).
**** MS의 공식 반응은?
EU의 공식 문제제기에 따른 MS 보도자료입니다.
그런데 사실 MS 기업블로그에도 같은 정보가 담겨 있습니다. MS가 지난 9일부터 시작한 기업 블로그입니다. 댓글도 익명으로 남길 수 있을 정도네요. legal, policy issue 를 다룬다고 합니다.
We’ll provide a formal response to DG Comp within the next two months. In the meantime, since this is a legal matter, we won’t have much to say publicly. But, in the interest of transparency, we wanted to make sure you were aware of the issue and heard about it directly from us.
MICROSOFT STATEMENT ON EUROPEAN COMMISSION STATEMENT OF OBJECTIONS
January 16, 2009
“Yesterday Microsoft received a Statement of Objections from the Directorate General for Competition of the European Commission. The Statement of Objections expresses the Commission’s preliminary view that the inclusion of Internet Explorer in Windows since 1996 has violated European competition law. According to the Statement of Objections, other browsers are foreclosed from competing because Windows includes Internet Explorer. The Statement of Objections states that the remedies put in place by the U.S. courts in 2002 following antitrust proceedings in Washington, D.C. do not make the inclusion of Internet Explorer in Windows lawful under European Union law."
“We are committed to conducting our business in full compliance with European law. We are studying the Statement of Objections now. Under European competition law procedure, Microsoft will be afforded an opportunity to respond in writing to this Statement of Objections within about two months. The company is also afforded an opportunity to request a hearing, which would take place after the submission of this response. Under EU procedure, the European Commission will not make a final determination until after it receives and assesses Microsoft’s response and conducts the hearing, should Microsoft request one.“
-- Microsoft Corporation