SC admits unfair trade appeal against Microsoft
A bench headed by Justice GS Singhvi admitted the statutory appeal filed by Delhi-based law firm Singhania and Partners LLP alleging that Microsoft, with a market share of 90%, was abusing its dominant position by offering software licences for its Windows and Office software at a lower price to original equipment manufacturers (OEM) while business houses had to buy the same at higher prices from the manufacturer.
It challenged the Competition Appellate Tribunal's order that upheld the fair trade regulator Competition Commission's ruling that Microsoft did not abuse its dominant position regarding sale of software licences.
“...by merely changing the label of the licences, though the end use of the licences is the same, the respondents (Microsoft) cannot create two different tie-up arrangements and charge substantially different prices for the licences in question.
By charging substantially different prices for differently labeled same product, the respondents are violating Section 3(4) of the Act (The Competition Act of 2002). The charging or substantially different price for differently labeled licences having same end use, is not a reasonable condition, as contemplated by Section 3(5) of the Act,” the petition stated.
Earlier, antitrust watchdog Competition Commission of India (CCI) had rejected the law firm's appeal on June 22, 2011 due to lack of evidence, saying it did not find “prima facie” any substantial material against the claims that differential pricing strategy adopted by Microsoft raises
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