Reply to post: Re: Since when have US laws been applicable to UK or Japanese companies?

Twist my Arm why don't you: Brit CPU behemoth latest biz to cease work with Huawei – report

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Since when have US laws been applicable to UK or Japanese companies?

I guess you're unfamiliar with the concept of "extraterritoriality", which is a shame as e.g. the story of UK IT business Systime (starting in the 1970s?) hinges around whether US extraterritoriality is legit or not.

"Systime plc was an entrepreneurial company founded in Leeds by Mr. John Gow and others in the mid-seventies. Its major business developed around retailing of equipment purchased mainly from Digital Equipment Corporation, with additional parts and software. DEC, as Digital is known, is the second largest computer company in the world, based near Boston, Massachusetts. It built up its huge sales mainly by wholesaling equipment to companies, such as Systime, which then sold the equipment to end users.

In 1979, Systime's management discovered that it was about 25 per cent. cheaper to buy equipment direct from DEC in the United States than from DEC's subsidiary in the United Kingdom. DEC UK objected to the loss of profit that that implied, and persuaded DEC US to insist that equipment could be bought only from the subsidiary. Subsequently, when DEC US tried to break its contract with the Systime subsidiary in the United States, Systime's management commenced an anti-trust action in which the British Government took an amicus curiae position. DEC drew back and agreed to a partial continuation of supply. Systime appeared to have won a breathing space, but it was only temporary. That is apparently the only time that the British Government have openly defended Systime, and, significantly, the only time that DEC has drawn back.

In 1979, DEC UK, under its American manager, Mr. Darryl Barbé launched a formal campaign known as the "Kill Systime" campaign. He had the full support of the American management. The DEC president, Mr. Ken Olsen, was subsequently overheard leaving a board-level meeting with another company, declaring that he wished to see Systime out of business. Mr. Pier-Carlo Falotti, European vice-president of DEC, said to DEC staff: "I want you guys to go out and kill Systime."


DEC's most senior vice-president, Mr. Jack Shields, was regularly in the United Kingdom, supervising the events that I shall set out. Between 1980 and 1983, Systime grew rapidly, making sales to the British and United States Governments, and commencing the manufacture of ruggadised computers for the Ministry of Defence. Exports also grew to the benefit of the United Kingdom.

The British Technology Group, the Government's investment arm, and others invested heavily in Systime. By the end of 1982 the need for new cash to support the now rapid growth of the company became urgent. That was well known to DEC, which took unique and wholly improper advantage to destroy Systime.

Besides the openly declared "Kill Systime" campaign, there was a secret investigation conducted on DEC's behalf by a private detective agency, Network Security Services. I was told by one ex-DEC employee that Network Security Services "have contacts everywhere."

(continues - extracted from

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