Reply to post: Re: Big fines are just a cost of doing big business

Fork it! Google fined €4.34bn over Android, has 90 days to behave

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Big fines are just a cost of doing big business

... AFAIK, it would be illegal....The law says "apply a fine", so the executive applies a fine. They can't just go around and invent funky, crowd-pleasing new punishments, they really have rules to follow.

Well, you're wrong. So wrong that I conclude you've not had any engagement with competition law, any relevant education on the matter, nor followed the judgements in many cases. The competition authorities most certainly CAN go round inventing all manner of funky punishments, under the title of "remedies". These can be "structural" such as breaking up a monopoly, or they can be "behavioural" in which case it is a measure imposed to persuade a company to change its ways. And short of corporal and capital punishment, very little is ruled out.

If the authorities deem any action to be an appropriate means of changing anti-competitive behaviour, they can impose it, or negotiate it under threat of a more conventional but even less welcome alternative. How come MS had to put in a browser choice screen? That was at the time a funky remedy. Ofgem in the UK have done a similar thing by imposing sales ban under the terms of energy supplier licences as punishment for misdemeanours, and whilst that's rather separate from competition law, it shows that the concept of a retributive temporary ban on commercial activity has been used by the state to change behaviour.

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