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Regardless of the outcome, the Microsoft suit, like the IBM case, has "already changed the dynamics of the industry," said DeLamarter. For instance, it has kept Microsoft from crushing the upstart Linux movement, and Microsoft's rivals seem to have a better idea of how to compete against the company, he said.

A Major Legal Battle May Change How Digital Game Sales Work | WIRED

Microsoft refused to comment for this story. The world has changed quite a bit since IBM first came under attack.

The mainframe has become a diminishing force in the industry due to flat profits and ferocious competition from high-powered, cheaper Unix boxes from Sun and other rivals. In fact, many customers felt they had leverage over IBM. Nevertheless, many IBM users said the consent decree actually benefited them by keeping the market more competitive. Reflecting this change, in January , a federal judge opted to end most of the consent decree restrictions on nearly all of IBM's products and services.

Right now, the Department of Justice thinks Microsoft is," said Massoglia.

Long antitrust saga ends for Microsoft

Despite whether remnants of the decree are in place, IBM is largely free to pursue its strategies, which tend to involve e-business and are heavily skewed to services, he said. Monopolies in the high-tech trade and its predecessor, the tabulating machine industry, are nothing new. Watson, then head of sales at NCR, proclaimed his innocence but was found guilty and fired. In , the conviction was set aside and the matter settled with a consent decree in which NCR agreed to not engage in unfair behavior. For instance, IBM would only lease machines, not sell them, preventing customers from buying used machines from one another, rather than from the company.

These tactics have included one-to-one lobby meetings, coordinating industry sign-up letters, mobilising corporate members, commissioning research to support industry positions, and holding or sponsoring elite events. Evidence indicates that member states in the Council such as Germany could be promoting industry positions. Everytime you are online, via a laptop, computer, or smartphone, you are under commercial surveillance. Your digital data including the content of your emails, the websites you browse, and the purchases you have made, together with metadata data which includes to whom, when, and where your communications are sent is monitored and collected, including via tracking cookies and other mechanisms.

This sensitive information is then sold on and used to target commercial advertising or political messaging at you, and can be used by governments too.

Is History Repeating Itself With Antitrust Battle?

EPrivacy must therefore ensure the confidentiality of your online communications. It was always clear that the topic of ePrivacy would be the focus of serious lobbying. On ePrivacy, industry does not always speak with one voice. Telecoms companies are already subject to the current ePrivacy rules but newer platforms which enable you to communicate online such as Facebook, Google, WhatsApp, and Skype are not.

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Telecoms companies, already unhappy about the ePrivacy laws they must adhere to, would like them to be scarpped. Failing that, they at least want to level the playing field so that newer providers have to follow the same rules. The newer platforms would obviously prefer to keep things much as they currently are, and for ePrivacy rules not to apply to them. Meanwhile the companies that provide online advertising fear that ePrivacy changes will undercut their current business model. The online advertising and marketing lobbies have closely collaborated on the ePrivacy dossier with newspaper and magazine publishers who are increasingly reliant on online advertising revenue derived in this way.

On the other side of the debate, the European Data Protection Supervisor the EU's independent data protection authority , digital rights campaigners and consumer advocates point to the fundamental rights laid out in the EU treaties, especially on data privacy and the right to a private life. Public opinion appears to back this approach. According to a Eurobarometer survey , 89 per cent of its respondents agreed with that suggestion. Number of Commission meetings on all topics, with top officials since December GSMA Europe.

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And while some individual companies held behind-the-scenes lobby meetings with senior Commission officials during Deutsche Telekom had five meetings; Facebook, two; Google, three; and Microsoft, five , many left it to their respective trade associations to lead the public charge. Large parts of the tech and telecoms industries have been opposed to the whole concept of a revised ePrivacy law.

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Trade associations representing app developers, publishers, telecoms companies, advertisers, and other digital service providers publicly united to demand that the ePrivacy Directive was simply repealed. This was an ironic argument for industry to make, considering that many of them had lobbied hard albeit mostly unsuccessfully to gut the GDPR. Another familiar tactic is organising high-profile conferences. Just a couple of months later, a further telecoms industry conference , this time organised by ECTA European Competitive Telecommunications Association , brought together Ansip, Viola, and many of the key industry lobbyists again.

But not all interactions took place in these large fora. Other invitation-only events , and private lobby meetings all provided ample opportunities for industry to ensure that the Commission knew its positions on ePrivacy during the proposal drafting phase. In there were at least 41 lobby meetings held with Commissioners Ansip or Oettinger, their cabinet members, or Director-General Roberto Viola, which clearly included discussions on ePrivacy. Of these 41 meetings, 36 88 per cent were with corporate interests and only 5 were with civil society, indicating a high degree of corporate bias.

This very much fits with the pattern of corporate privileged access previously exposed by ALTER-EU which showed that Oettinger and Ansip, responsible for ePrivacy in , were the Commissioners with the second and fourth highest proportions of corporate meetings, with 83 per cent and 78 per cent respectively. However, the figure of 41 meetings is likely to be an under-estimate. Commission-organised stakeholder roundtables do not seem to be included in this list, while many other private lobby meetings may well have touched upon these issues on data protection or the Digital Single Market, for example , but did not include ePrivacy on the reported agenda.

This meeting followed a joint letter to Ansip and Oettinger from IAB Europe and EMMA, with the support of over 90 European publishers, which typifies the attempts of the industry to reframe the political debate on ePrivacy.

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These must include advertising. A recent blog by digital rights campaign EDRi dissects the key arguments of proponents of the tracking-based advertising model and discusses alternatives. Close drawer menu Financial Times International Edition. Search the FT Search. World Show more World. US Show more US. Companies Show more Companies. Markets Show more Markets. Opinion Show more Opinion.