NCTA Fires Microsoft Shots - Multichannel

NCTA Fires Microsoft Shots

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If anyone has an Internet monopoly worthy of government regulation, it's
Microsoft Corp., not cable companies.

So said the National Cable & Telecommunications Association in a lengthy
filing Monday with the Federal Communications Commission in another effort to
show the agency that Microsoft-supported regulation of cable broadband is
totally unnecessary.

"After all, it's Microsoft, not cable operators, that, like telephone
companies, was found to have engaged in numerous anti-competitive practices in
an antitrust suit brought by the Justice Department," the NCTA said in an
apparent reminder that Microsoft did not come to the debate with clean
hands.

The trade group added that although 95% of Internet users rely on Microsoft's
"Explorer" browser, just 22% of all U.S. Internet users subscribe to cable-modem
service, a penetration level that hardly gives cable disruptive market power
over Microsoft or, for that matter, over anyone on the Web.

The NCTA is trying to fend off rules that would potentially bar cable
operators from favoring affiliated Web merchants. Pushing for the rules with
Microsoft are Yahoo! Inc., Amazon.com Inc., The Walt Disney Co. and various
trade groups.

In its filing, the NCTA pointed out that many proponents of cable regulation
appear to violate, or reserve the right to violate, the prohibitions they seek
against cable.

"In particular, both Yahoo! and Amazon.com broadly restrict commercial uses
of their services without any indication that such uses will in any way
interfere with the operation or harm other users," the trade group
added.

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