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Interoperability, Standards and Market Power

The Standards Blog - Andy Updegrove - Yesterday the European Commission issued a brief press release (reproduced below) announcing that it has opened a formal investigation: assess whether The MathWorks Inc., a U.S.-based software company, has distorted competition in the market for the design of commercial control systems by preventing competitors from achieving interoperability with its products.
The press release states that the investigation was triggered by a complaint, but does not disclose which company alleged that it had been denied a license for reverse-engineering purposes.
This latest investigation arises in the context of a broad array of litigation, investigations and policy announcements in the EU focusing on the importance of standards in achieving interoperability, principally involving mobile device manufacturers and technology owners, such as Motorola Mobility and Samsung. It also highlights the different strategies that dominant companies may adopt in relation to market demands for interoperability, and also the divergent positions that U.S. and EU regulators sometimes take in response.