Network Solutions Cleared on Both Sides of Atlantic

Network Solutions said regulators from the EU and the U.S.
have closed their antitrust investigations into the dominant
registrar of Internet addresses, without further action or
inquiry.


The separate decisions by the EU and the U.S. Department of
Justice (DoJ) were made about a week apart. Brian
O’Shaughnessy, a spokesperson at Network Solutions, said:
“We felt all along we would be vindicated. We were confident
about our position.”


He said the company had been cooperating with both
European and U.S. officials.


The probe by the DoJ focused on determining whether the
company was violating antitrust laws by monopolising the
master list of names and Web addresses in generic top-level
domains. Rivals also complained that Network Solutions had
moved too slowly to add new addresses.


The European Commission (EC) examination, under way since
August 1998, focused on whether Network Solutions was
locking in current licensees that prevented them from going
to new rivals. The Commission also investigated complaints
about two Network Solutions contracts with Internet
companies known as ‘test-bed registrars’ in Scandinavia.


The company lost its U.S. government-endorsed monopoly
over the domain name business in June 1999, and now more
than 100 other companies are certified to assign domain
names too.


O’Shaughnessy pointed out that although “this has been an
astronomical year for Network Solutions, it is difficult to say
what the effect was on our business.”


But the separate decisions came as a sigh of relief, he
added. “Any time a business, especially an Internet business,
has that anxiety lifted from its shoulders, it’s a relief,” he
said.

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