Sunday, October 20, 2002

Defenders of the World Trade Organization, and similar bodies, frequently say that claims of its detractors are exaggerated. The WTO, they say, doesn't have the power to invalidate laws in its constituent countries, but just to authorize trade sanctions against countries with laws that restrict food additives, ban noxious chemicals, or otherwise, in the view of the trade organizations, restrain trade.

Defenders of Microsoft may want to take note: it has no more power than the WTO. After an Australian court acquitted a guy accused of selling chips to modify PS/2 consoles to play imported games, Microsoft is dropping heavy hints that they will withhold their Xbox game console from the market unless the law is changed more to their liking. Which would count as a minor sanction; they aren't threatening to withhold Windows security updates. Yet.


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