The Companies on Monti's Docket
It now appears likely that the company will only get its wrist slapped by the U.S. But the EU has been investigating the company for several years and continues to consider tough remedies, such as forcing the company to share its copyrighted Windows "source code." Such a severe action would draw sharp criticism from the company's defenders.
This is probably the most explosive issue. If U.S. regulators green-light the deal and Monti blocks it, the EU competition chief could be accused of excessive meddling with two U.S. companies. Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic could get dragged into the fray.
After winning a package of minor restrictions on the company's business practices in 1999, the FTC dropped its suit against the chipmaker. Many observers questioned whether the suit should have been brought at all. But the EU has recently launched an investigation of its own, looking into such issues as the company's marketing subsidies.