Competition tribunal upholds CCI’s clean chit to Microsoft

PTI New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on October 10, 2012

The Competition Appellate Tribunal has upheld the fair trade regulator Competition Commission’s ruling that Microsoft did not abuse its dominant position regarding sale of software licences.

The Commission’s order came on allegations that Microsoft offered software licences at a lower price to original equipment manufacturers (OEM) while business houses had to buy the same at higher prices from the company.

“There is no question of any denial of market access for the reasons stated by us earlier to the effect that respondent no 1 (Microsoft India) was quite justified in refusing to sell the OEM to the appellant who was not the original equipment manufacturer. In short, we find no controversy of ... for that matter any other provisions of the Act,” COMPAT has said in the order.

Microsoft was represented by the law firm Amarchand & Mangaldas in the matter.

The complainant — law firm Singhania and Partners LLP — had alleged that Microsoft, with a market share of 90 per cent, was abusing its dominant position. It also alleged that business houses had to buy the overpriced volume licenses.

The Commission’s order, dismissing the complaint, had come on June 22, 2011.

The regulator did not find “prima facie” any substantial material against the claims that differential pricing strategy adopted by Microsoft raises competition issue.

Differing from the majority view, one of the Commission member had opined that Microsoft appeared to have exploited its monopoly in the software market and had asked for a probe by the regulators’ Director General.

The tribunal dismissed the petition along with the minority view of the CCI member.

The COMPAT Bench, headed by its Chairman Justice V.S. Sirpurkar, said, “ ... we must express that we do not agree with the learned member in minority judgment“.

It also rejected allegations against Microsoft India that it maintains full control its various software through its licensing policy.

Published on October 10, 2012
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