Thursday, December 17, 2009

Competition Regime Getting Stronger Worldwide

Anti-competitive practices are a bane to free consumer society. They induce arbitrary elements in the fair business dealing for the personal gain of the some. This has necessitated a competition law regime all over the world.

With the growing use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) all over the World, competition law has been invoked times again to redress consumer’s grievances and to uphold their interests. Even the most powerful and influential ICT services and product providers have to comply with the requirements of competition law regime.

Anti-trust actions have been taken against many ICT giants of the world from time to time. In a recent development, Microsoft has bowed to pressure from the European Commission over the dominance of its web browser product Explorer, making a legally binding promise to give consumers a choice of browsers when installing software to surf on the internet. The company has also pledged to disclose coding information which will make it easier for consumers to use word-processing and spreadsheet products from rival companies on its operating systems.

Efforts have also been taken to strengthen Indian Competition law regime. Praveen Dalal, Managing Partner of Perry4Law informs that Indian Parliament has recently passed a Bill to facilitate transfer of anti-competition cases pending before the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) of India to the Competition Appellate Tribunal. While the newly constituted counterpart of MRTPC, known as Competition Commission of India (CCI), has started functioning it has not settled any case. Thus the Tribunal had not been given adequate work, necessitating an ordinance for transfer of work from the MRTPC.

Similarly, the US Federal Trade Commission has recently sued Intel alleging that the computer chip-making giant used anti-competitive practices to maintain its dominance. The suit claimed that Intel coerced computer makers not to buy rival chips and redesigned software to stunt the performance of non-Intel computer processors. Such actions were part of a systematic campaign to "put the brakes on superior competitive products that threatened" Intel's market share, the FTC said.

The move comes just one month after Intel agreed to pay its main rival Advanced Micro Devices $1.25 billion to settle that company's claims against it. But Intel still faces antitrust complaints from European Union regulators and from New York state.

Although anti trust and anti competition actions are increasing, yet they have to be more rigorous and frequent to advance the rights of the consumers.