6. Media Player: Monopoly?

6. Media Player: Monopoly?One way to limit competition is to only sell a product bundled with another product—one in which you have a monopoly. The text mentions Microsoft’s bundling of its browser, Internet Explorer, with the Windows operating system. Bundling meant that people could get Internet Explorer without paying any extra. This made it impossible for Netscape to sell its competing browser.A related issue is Microsoft’s bundling of Media Player, a piece of software that plays audio and video on the World Wide Web. Purchasers of Windows could not buy Windows without Media player, something that made it hard for companies selling competing products (like RealPlayer and QuickTime). The European Commission, which enforces pro-competition rules in the European Union, heard an antitrust case against Microsoft Europe.Use the accompanying sources, and any others you know of, to weigh the advantages to consumers of bundling RealPlayer against the disadvantages. Suppose the sole issue is the benefits to consumers. In that case, how should the European Commission rule? Should Microsoft be required to offer a version of Windows without Media Player, at a lower price? Provide as much support as you can for your answer.EU/Competition–Antitrust/Antitrust cases—this portion of the EU web site offers information on enforcement of pro-competition rules. Look at the links below the text, “Arranged by Company Name.” Click on “M” there, and then on “Microsoft Europe” (you will need to scroll down the page) to see the most recent material on the case. http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/index.cfm?fuseaction=dsp_at_comp_name&comp_name_first_letter=Mse. Microsoft PressPass–The Journalist’s Resource for Microsoft News—this portion of the Microsoft web site provides links statements, press releases, and other information about the company. Click on “Legal News” to see materials relevant to the EU antitrust case. http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/default.mspxPC World magazine’s web site has a section devoted to the Microsoft Antitrust cases. Click on “BROWSE BY TOPIC,” the letter “M,” and then “Microsoft Antitrust Case.” http://www.pcworld.com/

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