I think trade secrets in business have been around since the beginning of business. You don't have the protection of a patent, but then again if no one knows about it then they can't figure out a work around that you could from analyzing a patent... It seems however that Europe is very interested in "opening" up the market by having two companies share what traditionally has been seen as trade secrets.
When companies went from protecting their inventions to hoarding litigation tools, I decided that the patent system is currently a "bad thing." But I do think trade secrets still have their place as this is still a method to protect your ideas and inventions and there is no way to hoard this as a litigation tool. What the EU is forcing be done, is that now MS and Apple will have to patent their technology so that they can share and license this technology.
So I say, Apple and Microsoft, pull out of Europe. Open up your other markets. When Europe wants you back, come back graciously. This allows them to start their own industry in this area and gives opportunity to their businesses.