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EC Sends Statement of Objections To Microsoft For Violating Anti-Trust Agreement

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the go-to-court-like-it's-1998 dept.

Microsoft 173

dkleinsc writes "Three years ago, Microsoft came to an agreement with EU regulators that required them to provide users with a choice of web browsers. Last July, they found Microsoft in breach of that agreement. Today, they announced that this will result in charges, potentially resulting in fines as large as $7 billion." Microsoft gets one last chance to defend itself.

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Fine (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41751219)

I doubt the fine would be anything close to $7 billion. I bet the amount won't even be enough for Microsoft to worry about.

Something like a ban on Microsoft bidding for EU government contracts would do more damage.

Re:Fine (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751577)

Something like a ban on Microsoft bidding for EU government contracts would do more damage.

I would like to see them invalidate their copyrights and patents to put into the public domain. That would hurt more than anything, but unfortunately, it's a pipe dream.

*sigh* If only the public would stand up and demand such things, or at the very least vote for people that represent the public's interest. Europe's multiple political parties, which are sabotaging their economies, are proving to be no better than the US two party system, and every bit as corrupt.

Re:Fine (3, Interesting)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751771)

I would like to see them invalidate their copyrights and patents to put into the public domain. That would hurt more than anything, but unfortunately, it's a pipe dream.

It's a pipe dream because if the EU did that, the U.S. might turn around and do the same with EU companies in the U.S.

Re:Fine (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751891)

That would be a great thing for the rest of us who want to see the abolition of copyrights/patents altogether.

But, as you said, I'm looking forward to seeing rainbow shitting unicorns

Re:Fine (3, Funny)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751981)

which would leave the world in a much better place.

Re:Fine (3, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#41752047)

I would like to see them invalidate their copyrights and patents

Invalidate their business license. It's as simple as that. I don't know why it isn't done more often. You mess up in a car and your driver's license is in jeapordy with points, suspension or revocation. Hold businesses accountable for their actions via the licensing system as well. QED.

Re:Fine (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 2 years ago | (#41752091)

Let's say the EU decided to bankrupt Microsoft... which is what invalidating copyrights would do. The patents could be sold off, but it is doubtful that they would be worth much - they might get $10 million for the whole package.

Why would this bankrupt Microsoft? Because Microsoft has no other asset than copyright on the software. The software by itself is worthless, as would quickly be found by everyone. I do not see that EU could isolate this to EU residents only - it would suddenly become legal to make copies as desired and distribute Microsoft software. That would effectively eliminate all revenue the company receives.

Obviously, Microsoft would petition the US government for relief, which it would not get. However, the threat being made clear the US would have to do something. One option would be to do the same thing to some EU-based company but there are no EU-based companies with anything like the value of Microsoft in copyrights. Maybe revoking all copyrights of all EU companies, thereby bankrupting the entire EU software industry.

OK, so now 95% of the world is left without an operating system that is maintained and without an office suite that is maintained. Could Linux pick up the slack? Doubtful without a lot of man-years of effort, and in the environment we are talking about VC money for a software startup would be non-existent as would any other sort of financing. Apple would be in serious hurt because their rights to the iOS and OSX operating system would be seriously questioned. They might survive a bit longer because they would still be shipping "true blue" Apple products, but without any sort of protection half-assed clones would appear calling into question the value of all of the products. How would anyone know if they were buying an Apple product vs. a cheap clone?

I'd say there would be a lot of people out of work and there would be a big resurgence of desk calculators. And nobody other than hobbists would be putting money into computers and software.

Re:Fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41752179)

Invalidating copyrights would not bankrupt Microsoft.

Copyrights are only used by companies to sue other companies, bankrupting them.

Invalidating copyrights would remove one revenue generating prong from the business, which would require them to get off their fat asses and actually innovate (like they once did), rather than collecting money for crap products like Apple is doing.

Copyright laws already have forfeiture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41752671)

You can already lose your copyrights for abuse of those copyrights.

And you could still only get "Microsoft(r) Windows(tm)" from Microsoft, so precisely why would losing the copyrights bankrupt Microsoft? Not to mention the XBox isn't copyrighted.

Re:Fine (0)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#41752633)

The alpha sociopaths will always claw their way to the top because they are unencumbered by conscience and morality. Anyone who thought the number of Parties mattered is either a fool or Pinkie Pie.

Re:Fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41751595)

I doubt the fine would be anything close to $7 billion. I bet the amount won't even be enough for Microsoft to worry about.

Something like a ban on Microsoft bidding for EU government contracts would do more damage.

Microsoft Windows is a good product and governments around the world need to use it. I know it is popular to hate on Microsoft around here but this is a bad idea. Windows helps keep the business of government moving. Yeah it would do damage but not just to Microsoft. Its like cutting your nose to spite your face.

And without that revenue from government contracts how do you expect them to keep innovating? What would be their incentive? Better to let the market handle this one. It works if you let it.

Re:Fine (1)

yagu (721525) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751645)

Who ARE you? Just, wow.

Re:Fine (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751809)

Sir, don't you realize that this is Slashdot, where my favorite distro of Linux is by far the superior OS, forever and for all time?!?!?

Re:Fine (3, Funny)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751949)

And without that revenue from government contracts how do you expect them to keep innovating?

Catering to three year olds seems to be working for them.

The only way... (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751233)

The only way to make corporations behave is to make the fine firstly remove all profits from the nefarious acts and then add enough on top that the risk/reward ratio is larger than 1 so that they don't do bad things on the chance that they're not caught often enough to matter.

In other words, the fine must really hurt otherwise it's just the cost of doing business (c.f. the paltry 1bn that intel had to spend for years of blatantly illegal market fixing).

Re:The only way... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41751279)

Corporations never do anything profitable. Just ask anyone in Hollywood. I suggest going after up to 200% of revenue directly or indirectly related.

Re:The only way... (1, Interesting)

xigxag (167441) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751387)

Be that as it may, the fine should in my opinion be commensurate with the severity of the wrong. Microsoft has a dwindling brower share of a dwindling platform. It's impossible for it to dominate the internet anymore - as of late, Apple and Google have both proven themselves more adept at doing so. You don't throw people in prison for jaywalking; a fine of billions of euros would seem more like spitefulness than a reasoned response to a minor violation.

Re:The only way... (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751549)

Microsoft has a dwindling brower share of a dwindling platform. It's impossible for it to dominate the internet anymore -

But they made a lot of money in the past through this domination. Basically, you're saying they should more or less get away with it because it no longer matters.

This case has been running a very long time.

With your suggestion, it is worth the corporation stalling for as long as possible. That way, the chances are if they can stall for 10 years or more, it won't be nearly as important.

The point is to prevent them doing it again.

The prevention only works if it is simply not worth the risk.

Re:The only way... (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751701)

But they are getting away with it....
This case is not about past wrongs, it is about activity over the last year or so.

Re:The only way... (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751783)

This case is not about past wrongs, it is about activity over the last year or so.

The only reason they have this is because of past wrongs.

In the criminal world it's like excusing a parole voilation because "the original crime was a long time ago".

Re:The only way... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41752291)

This is the civil world. Microsoft hasn't "committed" "crimes". They are in violation of a contract.

Re:The only way... (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751939)

p>But they made a lot of money in the past through this domination. Basically, you're saying they should more or less get away with it because it no longer matters.

This case has been running a very long time.

With your suggestion, it is worth the corporation stalling for as long as possible. That way, the chances are if they can stall for 10 years or more, it won't be nearly as important.

The point is to prevent them doing it again.

The prevention only works if it is simply not worth the risk.

I would think that the purpose behind an anti trust law is to prevent the monopoly from remaining a monopoly, and thereby allow competitors a chance to offer competition. Since the market resolved the issue without government intervention it's hard to argue that there really was a monopoly, or at least monopoly abuse, in this instance. I don't think that corporations will stall in the hopes that they'll lose marketshare. That wouldn't really be a Wall Street smart plan.

Re:The only way... (1)

Archtech (159117) | more than 2 years ago | (#41752127)

But they made a lot of money in the past through this domination. Basically, you're saying they should more or less get away with it because it no longer matters.

Precisely! When United States v. Microsoft was decided in 2000, instead of breaking up the company or forcing it to publish its source code - as had widely been speculated - the DoJ was satisfied with Microsoft promising not to do it again.

Imagine if the accused in a murder trial were to propose such an outcome. "Don't punish me for this murder, and I promise I shan't do it again in future (at least I won't murder the same guy again)".

Netscape was *already dead*. Promising not to kill it again was a fairly easy commitment to make.

Re:The only way... (1)

xigxag (167441) | more than 2 years ago | (#41752225)

They haven't gotten away with it. They've already paid tremendous fines to the EU.

The point is to prevent them doing it again.

Why not? Microsoft no longer has the power to leverage their monopoly into web traffic. Worldwide, mobile web traffic share continues to increase and in some markets is on the verge of eclipsing desktop traffic, a trend that is likely to continue no matter what Microsoft does. When will Apple and Google be forced to offer browser selection? At what point does the already wounded giant get to compete on a level playing field?

Re:The only way... (2)

aliquis (678370) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751607)

What about the AppStore? Or whatever it's called now.

Re:The only way... (1)

moronoxyd (1000371) | more than 2 years ago | (#41752397)

Microsoft was found in violation of monopoly laws because they have a near monopoly on desktop OS' and abused that position.

As much as I dislike Apples business practices: They have neither a (near) monoply on the phone market nor the tablet market. They are a very big player in both, but there is actual competition.

Re:The only way... (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751687)

But 70%, easily, of their market share is because of their monopoly. So while they are no longer a monopoly on browser users they do on PCs.

But personally I do not even agree with the initial ruling.

Re:The only way... (0, Troll)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751623)

I think the misconception here is that Microsoft has done anything wrong.

All they did was include only IE preinstalled on their OS. Somehow that is lawsuit-worthy? Do I see Apple shipping computers with Firefox or IE on them? Of course not. Each brand of OS manufacturer is going to include their own browser. It's not as if MS was PREVENTING someone from installing a competing browser, it just wasn't included with their own branded software pack.

I think the EU regulators are the ones who need to lay off the crack pipe and realize exactly what they're doing - which should be clearly defined as EXTORTION if you look up the definition.

Re:The only way... (0)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751921)

actually for Windows based computers the problem is that Microsoft basically has told Computer OEMs that if you preload X Y Z products (MSIE Office and Media Player commonly) AND don't also preload any competing products then your price per computer sold for Windows (and any other MSGoodness) is $XX but if you don't your price per computer sold is $Y*X (which approaches Retail Cost for some OEMS)

As to why Apple does not have the same problem

1 they sell the hardware also
2 most iFolk will either know how to download say FireFox or would prefer Safari anyway

Re:The only way... (-1)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#41752021)

The whole case is a relic from the 90's, back when Netscape was bitching about MS including their own browser in their OS (before including a browser in an OS was standard practice). It's no more relevant today than if the current owner of Wordperfect suddenly suing Apple and MS for including Wordpad and iWork in Windows and OS X. If it weren't for the money involved and the fact that MS is an American company, the whole case would have been tossed out a long time ago.

Re:The only way... (4, Insightful)

moronoxyd (1000371) | more than 2 years ago | (#41752567)

Not the "American company" argument again...

Microsoft had a binding contract with the EU comission, and they broke it.
If they hadn't, the browser ballot would bee a thing of the past in a few months and nobody would care about it anymore.

But Microsoft fucked up, and now they have to face the music for breaking a contract.

And the EU doesn't treat American companies any different from European companies. Ask Gaz du France and E.on whether they liked their fines of half a billion Euro each for collusion: http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=1_39401 [europa.eu]

Re:The only way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41752695)

I looked up the definition. Maybe you should look it up as well.

Re:The only way... (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751713)

A better way would be to revoke their corporate charter and put their 'intellectual property' into the public domain. Send a real message.

Re:The only way... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41751715)

I disagree. The only way to prevent bad behavior is to make execs personally responsible. Fining a company does harm anyone. Never has at that level. Small business, okay. Not multi billion dollar company, no matter how big the fine. The execs just don't feel any personal pain with fines. Never going to happen though, so companies will always be licenses for sociopaths.

Re:The only way... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41752441)

to be frank. the EU shouldn't have made the browser requirement in the first place. the competitor should never be required to promote your product. and since there is nothing in place to stop you from installing another browser yourself there isn't even anti competitive practices being implemented by microsoft.

Slashdotters torn by conscience? (0, Flamebait)

mumblestheclown (569987) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751287)

On one hand, everybody knows that the ruling was politically motivated bullshit. Squeeze the american company for a few billion pesos, even if in just a few short years technological and market developments have proven conclusively that the EU lawsuit was full of shit.

On the other hand, it is microsoft.

How will slashdot react? for once, acting with a bit of consistency and integrity? or more MS bashing? or both?

Re:Slashdotters torn by conscience? (5, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751351)

I admit it's hard to feel sorry for microsoft. Anytime you see a company that's been as consistently evil as someone like MS has been finally get taken down by an even bigger, meaner bully you can't help but feel a little gleeful.

Re:Slashdotters torn by conscience? (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751371)

Maybe we should condemn microsoft because they actually are guilty as hell and DESERVE to suffer, and not just because we hate their guts?

We punish their reputation by boycotting them.

Re:Slashdotters torn by conscience? (2)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751983)

Either way works for me. Win-Win.

Re:Slashdotters torn by conscience? (0)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#41752081)

Maybe we should condemn microsoft because they actually are guilty as hell and DESERVE to suffer

What, for the "sin" of including a web browser built into their OS? Don't forget, that's what this is all about. Back in the 90's that was considered an actionable offense. Today, you would be laughed out of court with that shit.

Re:Slashdotters torn by conscience? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41752307)

For the "sin" of extorting funds if you chose to include a competitors browser.
For the "sin" of forcing companies to pay for MS licenses even if the computer they sold was sold with Linux.
For the "sin" of being MS - which Jerry Lewis spent many years trying to raise money to rid the world of.

Re:Slashdotters torn by conscience? (4, Insightful)

tuppe666 (904118) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751439)

everybody knows that the ruling was politically motivated bullshit. Squeeze the american company for a few billion pesos.

You are aware that the economy of the European Union generates a GDP of over €12.629 trillion (US$17.578 trillion in 2011) ...and they were guilty as sin.

Re:Slashdotters torn by conscience? (1, Flamebait)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751697)

Frankly, if people are too lazy or disinterested to go try another web browser for themselves after the fact, I doubt they're going to know the difference, or care, when they have 5 options presented to them during an installation process they probably didn't go through since they bought a PC with the OS already installed and configured. I definitely don't think it is a $7 billion question. I doubt there is anything close to $7bn worth of equity in web browsers. They're all given away for free, except the less obnoxious version of Opera (which still sucks, but it's a European product and is probably what this whole thing is really about). These are definitely punitive damages and not compensatory damages, and thus are inherently political. It doesn't matter if it is a drop in the bucket of the aggregate GDP of EU countries -- no one said they were planning on funding their governance with this.

And of course, I doubt we'll see any judgements against Apple for only providing Safari any time soon, and the fact that they only provide Safari didn't stop me from getting Firefox on my MBP. The fact that my Thinkpad came with Windows and thus IE, plus Lenovo-installed Chrome didn't stop me from going to downloading Firefox. And *GHASP* I managed to adjust my browser selection on my Linux workstation in my office, too.

Maybe it's just that I'm not 14 anymore like I was when I opened this account, but I just don't really take glee anymore in watching MS get bashed around for what amounts to petty crap. It's just a damned web browser.

Re:Slashdotters torn by conscience? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41752137)

Actually it's not even about individuals. It's about European corporations mandating use of IE6 - even now, at the end of 2012, I have customers who demand that we make our web apps for them compatible with IE6 because that's the only thing that their IT approved and their IT does not plan on approving anything else.

Who is John Galt? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41751709)

Guilty of what exactly? Not conforming to the laws of the EU that were put in place just to spite Microsoft. How does the EU have the right to tell a company they cant included their own product in their software?

Re:Slashdotters torn by conscience? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41751515)

Squeeze the american company for a few billion pesos

Astroturf? It's nonsense. In the EU anti-trust action is taken much more seriously than in the US. Same with privacy and a number of other essential elements of consumer rights that the US are only playing with at present.

Re:Slashdotters torn by conscience? (0)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751739)

This should not be modded flamebate.

I agree, mostly.
MS should be fined billions for creating and taking advantage of a monopoly.
But I do not agree with the initial EU ruling, MS should not have to give users a choice in software. No idea if it was politically motivated or not, though.

Re:Slashdotters torn by conscience? (1)

Archtech (159117) | more than 2 years ago | (#41752269)

MS should not have to give users a choice in software.

If MS did not have a virtual monopoly in PC operating systems, it wouldn't matter very much. Since it does, however, its energetic and long-standing attempts to make the average, non-technical user forget that there are other browsers is culpable.

At one point in United States v. Microsoft, one of MS' highly-paid lawyers told the court with a straight face that IE was an organic part of the Windows operating system, and as such could not be separated from Windows or replaced by another browser without serious damage.

Simultaneously, I imagine, his colleagues were burning up the lines to Redmond warning the engineering managers to start work on *making* IE an organic part of the Windows operating system that could not be separated from Windows or replaced by another browser without serious damage.

Re:Slashdotters torn by conscience? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#41752473)

Which makes sense, except if you consider what is best for the users. A OS needs a set of basic included software products, and it is not at all better to ask the user for each one which one they prefer.

Are we going to fine Tim Hortons (THE canadian coffee shop) over not giving customers a choice over what type of beans goes in the default coffee? Are we going to fine Mcdonalds for not asking if a customer would possibly not prefer a Burger King burger instead?

This ruling shows an absolute disregard of what is best for the people, and an obvious contempt for their intelligence (give them a basic internet browser, and they can install another if they want to).

Look over there! (-1, Redundant)

djlemma (1053860) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751299)

Would "Hey guys, look at what Apple is doing!" be a valid defense? Also, obligatory.... [xkcd.com]

Re:Look over there! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41751585)

I was thinking the same thing. Considering how many ipads have been sold vs PC's this year. All Ipads come pre-loaded with safari. Sure you can get other browsers but that requires one to do work. I don't see how that is different than the Win 7 system.

Re:Look over there! (1)

BenJury (977929) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751683)

My guess would be as soon as Apple go out of their way to stop other browsers working on their machines, people will start to notice.

Re:Look over there! (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#41752125)

They're already doing it on iOS (and getting away with it). The other browsers on iOS are just skins, using the Safari rendering engine.

Re:Look over there! (1)

BenJury (977929) | more than 2 years ago | (#41752449)

I was thinking about iOS apps and that you're not allowed to list anything on the app store that competes against Apples own.

I guess they have two mitigating factors, firstly that its always been locked in, in that you've always bought the device knowing these limitations; rather than Windows where it was essentially open but they just tried to block certain applications. Secondly, and possibly more importantly, there is a competitor in Android that has by some metrics a larger user base than iOS.

It would seem Apples 'arch enemy' is in fact doing a great deal of good for the company...

Re:Look over there! (1)

djlemma (1053860) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751805)

iPads, iPhones, iPod touches... all bundled with Safari. As an added bonus, all software for those devices must have Apple's approval (which can be revoked) and must be sold through Apple's store (where they take a cut). I like Microsoft products and I like Apple products, I just feel like the legal standards being applied to the two companies don't match up too well.

Re:Look over there! (3, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751637)

No, that's not a valid defense. All that does is argue that Apple is committing the same crimes as Microsoft.

Another way of thinking about it: If I steal $1000, and you steal $2000, does that make me not guilty?

Re:Look over there! (1)

Ferzerp (83619) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751879)

That's not the argument.

The argument is that if it is ok for you to steal $2,000, why is it not ok for me to steal $1,000.

There is a big difference there.

You suggested that both our stealing is wrong. The defense would be "You seem ok with the other guy stealing $2,000. That suggests to us that this is a politically motivated action and not based on the merits of your case because if it were, we would expect suit against the more egregious offense where there is none".

Re:Look over there! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41752377)

Except no "stealing" is occuring and no "crimes" (i.e criminal law) are being committed.

Re:Look over there! (1)

Ferzerp (83619) | more than 2 years ago | (#41752435)

Correct. I was merely adapting his analogy to more accurately fit how it could be used as a defense instead of the straw man he'd made ;)

Re:Look over there! (1)

djlemma (1053860) | more than 2 years ago | (#41752393)

I know it's not a REAL defense, I was using a joke to voice my frustrations. :) Although, I could sure use $2000, and if I get to steal it without any legal problems because the law is after you and your $1000, it sure would be tempting!

Re:Look over there! (1)

moronoxyd (1000371) | more than 2 years ago | (#41752655)

No. Because Apple does not have a Monopoly or near Monopoly in a market segment. ("iPhones" and "iPads" are not a market segment, "smartphones" and "tablets" are.)

Microsoft wasn't fined for pushing IE, but for leveraging Windows' position as a Monopoly tu push IE.

bundle (2)

jbolden (176878) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751309)

I could understand Microsoft being a pain in the browser department when they were building an entire stack on top of I.E. with:

a) Active Desktop / Channels
b) Active-x (i.e.windows binaries as a web format)
c) A specialized Java that ran much faster than standard Java
d) Deep ties with IIS

And then for the later IE6 years, I can understand the advantages of only offering a crippled web browser once they won the browser wars to keep people locked into the Microsoft desktop.

But today's newer web apps are being built browser and OS independent, a lot of them are built on Macs and a lot migrate their functionality over from Linux. IIS specific software isn't popular, and even where it is deep ties with IE isn't. Today's IE is rather full featured and aims at standards compliance.

You have to wonder why they can't just throw in Opera, Firefox, Chrome, Safari in a "other browsers" folder and be done with this whole mess. What is the logic from their perspective? Why even bother with this fight anymore. What do they get out of it?

Re:bundle (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751399)

What is the logic from their perspective? Why even bother with this fight anymore. What do they get out of it?

I as an individual do not get to break the rules and flaunt the punishment. Yet you are saying Microsoft should. Even though Microsoft crippled competition and the Internet for years!

All that todays more vibrant choices of browsers has shown. Is the need to protect competition and with it innovation against abuse monopolies.

Re:bundle (1)

jbolden (176878) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751627)

get to break the rules and flaunt the punishment. Yet you are saying Microsoft should.

Where am I saying that? I'm saying I'm not even sure why Microsoft is bothering to break the rules.

Re:bundle (0)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#41752199)

Microsoft crippled competition and the Internet for years

Oh, give me a fucking break! MS didn't do any such thing. I've always been able to run whatever browser I damn well wanted to on Windows (can't say the same on iOS, BTW). I have been using Windows since 3.1 and have never once used IE (and I've been on the Web since the Mosaic/Cello days). If MS really wanted to cripple other browsers, they could just make a walled garden like Apple's, banning other browsers, and be done with it.

Re:bundle (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751651)

why they can't just throw in Opera, Firefox, Chrome, Safari in a "other browsers" folder and be done with this whole mess. What is the logic from their perspective?

Because then they would be responsible for support of those browsers. Since they would ship with the product that you purchase from Microsoft, you can hold Microsoft accountable for that support.

Re:bundle (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 2 years ago | (#41752275)

You have to wonder why they can't just throw in Opera, Firefox, Chrome, Safari in a "other browsers" folder and be done with this whole mess. What is the logic from their perspective? Why even bother with this fight anymore. What do they get out of it?

Um, freedom from lawsuits, for a start. Let's see, if they put Firefox on and the translation for some obscure language has mistakes in it - offensive mistakes - Microsoft now finds themselves in court defending their actions of including a defective product that they had no control over.

This isn't like a Linux distribution where it is clearly stated that it is a collection of random bits that have no affiliation with each other or the packager. Microsoft is delivering a unified product and goes to great lengths to make sure it appears as a unified product. Including random bits from other people destroys their brand to start with and opens them up to almost unlimited liability if there are problems.

About the only way they could "include" this would be as some sort of optional add-on that was clearly marked as not being anything from Microsoft and that this could be installed by the user at their discretion but had nothing to do with Windows at all. Clearly, they do not want to do that or it would have been done already. It would also introduce all sorts of support issues which would result in people calling Microsoft for support on stuff they know nothing about. Microsoft has enough people calling about non-Microsoft products already, they do not need any more of that sort of thing.

Nope, Microsoft packaging non-Microsoft products and putting them into the base of Windows isn't ever going to happen.

you do not have permission (1)

issicus (2031176) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751325)

to delete internet explorer , dave.

Hal, delete Internet Explorer (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#41752359)

I'm sorry, Dave, I can't do that

(Humor lesson... it's not the joke, it's how you tell it.)

Well, the EU has to make money some how (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41751337)

Good. At least with windows you can install a new browser. Next go after the ipad.

Re:Well, the EU has to make money some how (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41751423)

Can't install another browser on the iPad or iPhone?

Chrome
Dolphin
Opera
Mercury
Atomic
Dingo

Re:Well, the EU has to make money some how (3, Informative)

jader3rd (2222716) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751699)

Can't install another browser on the iPad or iPhone?

Chrome Dolphin Opera Mercury Atomic Dingo

Besides Opera those are all skins around Safari, they are not new browsers. Opera's a little special because it's not a browser, it's more like a browser previewer where the browser actually runs on Operas servers.

Re:Well, the EU has to make money some how (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41751901)

There is much more to a browser than the rendering engine. I don't use Chrome on my desktop because it uses webkit, I use it because I like the features. Same goes for Chrome on my iPhone.

Re:Well, the EU has to make money some how (1)

djlemma (1053860) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751813)

You could always install other browsers on Windows as well. That wasn't what the lawsuit was about....

It takes 15 months to start enforcing a decision? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41751467)

They should have just fined MS in July 2011. Heavily fined. No-one will take these things seriously without serious enforcement.

Need a better summary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41751489)

"A sanction could top $7.4 billion or 10 percent of its revenues for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012 -- but the final figure is expected to be lower, as the infringement covered only a short period of time."

Notice that the last part is quite important. Or even the part where $7.4 billion is 10 percent of it's fiscal year's revenue. I think whomever wrote the story was going for shock value.

It shouldn't be revenue. Rather, it should be a portion of their profit.

You know, maybe Microsoft should have opted not to provide a browser with Windows. You know, let people install Windows then let them surf the web to download a browser of their choice. Oh, wait. Or maybe they can hop online and mail order a copy of their browser of choice. Oh, wait.

Is Internet Explorer considered a free product they were giving away? Aren't most web browsers free products? Can someone explain it to me how it was damaging for them to do that?

Re:Need a better summary. (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751567)

It shouldn't be revenue. Rather, it should be a portion of their profit.

There are a number of profitable businesses that never make a profit. Someone already mentioned movies. Every so often you see people burned by movie contracts that pay a percentage of the profits rather than a percentage of the revenue.

what about iphone charger? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41751551)

why EC doesn't sue them for using wrong connector. I thought all mobile phones must use the same one

Re:what about iphone charger? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41752155)

because:-

1) their charger can charge other (non apple devices) as the output is a USB Port
2) thier cable plugs into ANY standard USB Port.
I carry the Apple PSU with me on my travels simply because it is a darn sight smaller than the one for my HTC Android phone. The charger is used for my iPod (4+yr old)s well,

What the EU decreed was to get rid of all those thousands of different/slightly different PSU Bricks with the cable soldered in.

Good way to solve the debt crisis. (1)

BlueKitties (1541613) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751559)

Lets see an international law that says a corporation's country of origin is allowed to choose a charity to donate the money to. Taking billions from foreign countries is far too tempting, especially when you're having money problems. This is much like in ancient Rome, where tax collectors were given their pay as part of the taxes they collected, and they were responsible for deciding how much tax to take -- and we wonder why no one trusted tax collectors! This isn't much different. An appropriate law enforcement scheme would see sentences that directly impact the governing bodies of the corporations, while not creating a conflict of interest with fines that are exacted.

Re:Good way to solve the debt crisis. (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751935)

Lets see an international law that says a corporation's country of origin is allowed to choose a charity to donate the money to.

Well, I guess that money would go to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, wouldn't it . . . ?

Next up: same for iPad/Safari? (0)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751561)

Next up the regulators - the same treatment for the iPad and the Safari browser...er...right?

wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41751575)

Microsoft quite possibly has more (and better) lawyers than the E.U.

Good luck...

What exactly are they doing wrong? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41751583)

The idea that a corporation needs to provide a choice of browsers on their own OS is asinine. It may have been valid back when all of the OS hooks only used IE for anything, but that's no longer the case. Chrome, FF, Opera, etc, all work fine, and setting them up for default operations works.

Apple does the same thing with OSx, and forget iOS, where the only real browser experience is Safari because they actually DO limit the javascript engine access for other apps.

This, really, makes no sense, at all.

Thank you American Chumps! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41751591)

This will help bail us out!

Back to working 2 hour days and retiring at 34!

Re:Thank you American Chumps! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41751865)

34?!?!?! Since when did they raise it to 34?!?!?

I have an inalienable human right to retire at 27 and have someone else pay my way for the remainder of my life.

LET'S GO RIOT!!!

Lawyers must be stark raving jealous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41751719)

What trial lawyers could not accomplish in 300 years of perfecting the profession, governments have accomplished with a few minutes of legislative decree.

I'm sure the $7B will come in handy for supporting the EU member states' addiction to spending and entitlements.

Can't figure out how to use anything but outlook? (1)

garyoa1 (2067072) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751755)

Never grasped the concept behind this ruling. IE is essentially integrated into the OS. It's free. There are tons of free browsers out there.

On the other hand, outlook, the email prog that hackers love, stays and no one even mentions it. Even tho there's a bunch of not free email progs out there that have to compete.

Foul EU (0)

AdmV0rl0n (98366) | more than 2 years ago | (#41751831)

This steaming pile of undemocratic garbage is spoiling for a fight. Its got a lot of gravy train mouths to feed and the EU population and nation states are in wrack and ruin through this EU social and economic disaster, ne ' experiment'. These states are going to refuse an Budget. Which means the business and free market hating communist scum at the centre of this new 'Empire' need money, taxes, and 'funding' to further their imperium.

Whats a few billion between friends.

Europeans are approaching a time where they need to decide if this really is what they wanted. At the end of the day, Whatever charge you leverage against MS - its going to be dragged from the population directly or indirectly in higher living/usage costs, and the money will be taken by an entity that burns it as if confetti. It won't be used in products, or innovation, on poured away on a gravy train of unfit political new age elite EU types.

7 billion? Somebody has to actually try to establish why its a 7billion fine. What for? A Browser choice? Really? In 2012, 2011, 2010 - I never lacked choice in browsers you stupid bastards.

Even if I was an MS hater - I'd not like to see this kind of bullshit levied in a fantasy crime by these morons. Today these idiots come from MS, tommorow it will be you, or your company, or your family, or your bank. Its just the start.

Re:Foul EU (3, Informative)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | more than 2 years ago | (#41752439)

7 billion? Somebody has to actually try to establish why its a 7billion fine.

Scaling. Because it doesn't do anything if you fine a company with 50k if said company makes 3 billion a quarter.

Re:Foul EU (3, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#41752571)

7 billion? Somebody has to actually try to establish why its a 7billion fine. What for?

Violating the terms of the settlement. And a big enough fine to make it not having been worth the effort to voilate the terms.

If the law can't prevent infractions, then it's toothless.

A Browser choice? Really? In 2012, 2011, 2010

Ah well, it's well past so we should let them off the hook. No! Of course not!

Today these idiots come from MS, tommorow it will be you, or your company, or your family

You mean these "idiots" coming at coportations who repeatedly break the law and making them stop? Of course you and your family should be above the law!

or your bank.

Which one? Both of mine are now owned by the government. Most of the rest are being investigated for large scale price fixing.

So, yeah, these "idiots" are coming at my bank. Good on them. Nail the bastards to the wall for illegal acts costing tens to hundreds of billions of dollars.

Through illegal companies have illegally enriched themselves (i.e. taken my money through illegal means) to the tune of hundreds of billions---vastly larger than all the thefts and burlgaries combined.

Yet you seem to think that people coming after them are "idiots" and somehow your or your family should be above the law.

You wouldn't call the police idiots for pursuing a burglar who robbed you. But because you clearly feel that one day you maybe able to get these ill-gotten gains for yourself you seem to think it's OK.

wait till the next EU trick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41752051)

Oh im sorry, if you want your application to work "properly" you have to go through this single, uninstallable store and pay Microsoft 30% commission & a n$ digital cert provider for the privilege.

you ain't seen a shitstorm yet, but believe its coming.

This is kinda silly :/ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41752073)

There's so many other problems in our society right now, this is like removing a needle out of someone's shoulder who has a sword piercing their chest.
Doesn't help much in comparison to all the other problems |:

Choice of Browsers is MS's Burden? (1, Interesting)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 2 years ago | (#41752079)

Firefox: www.firefox.com
Opera: www.opera.com
Safari: www.apple.com/safari

WTF? I can find dozens of other browsers with a cursory google search. Why is it up to MS to pre-package a bunch of browsers and let the user choose one that will no doubt already be an out-of-date pile of security holes by the time the PC hits the desk?

Have people become so lazy (or stupid) that they can't even go download a browser by themselves?

Fuck sake people. Me thinks this is just another big government money grab. After all, EU governments have a lot of mouths to feed.

Re:Choice of Browsers is MS's Burden? (5, Informative)

KevinIsOwn (618900) | more than 2 years ago | (#41752639)

Have the standards for posting comments gotten so low that people don't even completely read the submission title? (I already know nobody reads the article or the whole summary even...)

Here's a quick (rough) overview for you and the mods who put you at +5:

1. Microsoft was accused of unfairly using its monopoly in the OS market to get people to use IE over Netscape.
2. Microsoft and the EU came to an agreement that Microsoft would offer a choice of browsers to users., or be punished.
3. Microsoft is now accused of breaking that agreement.

The fact that firefox, opera and safari are easily reachable with a Google search is completely irrelevant. Microsoft made an agreement with the EU and broke it.

And one more thing: No, most computer users do not go and download a browser. You can call them lazy and/or stupid all you want, but that doesn't change the fact that many people just don't care what browser they are using. They turn on the computer, and they start using the internet. The browser is completely irrelevant to them. In the context of Microsoft's OS monopoly in the 90s, it makes perfect sense for users to be asked what browser they want to use up front.

Microsoft's bad decisions just keep coming (4, Interesting)

dtjohnson (102237) | more than 2 years ago | (#41752197)

It was a bad decision to tie the IE web browser function into the Windows operating system. It was a bad decision to fight the anti-monopoly folks when they came calling. It was a bad decision to drag their feet about offering browser alternatives in Windows. And, now, it has been a bad decision by Microsoft to blow off the EU regulators when they were ordered to include browser alternatives. Microsoft was gifted with their Windows monopoly thanks to being in the right place in the right year with the right software. Now, however, the world has moved on and the Windows monopoly is tottering. Microsoft should have just quietly enjoyed their monopoly while planning for its eventual demise rather than attempting to enjoy it in perpetuity. Now, the entire Microsoft 'empire' built on the Windows monopoly is in jeopardy...and the end will probably come much sooner than anyone thinks. It was stupid back a few years to ignore the EU and it is even more stupid now, given the new market realities that Microsoft faces. Microsoft needs new leadership...they need it really soon...and even then it might be too late.

Lame. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41752565)

I can think of a hundred modern software providers that limit my choices in much more anti-competetive ways than MS shipping a browser with its OS. Anyone ever try to use a smart phone? WTF is this bundled browser on my phone?? Why don't I get a list of alternatives?? What about Google's new Chrome book? Does it supply me with a list of alternative browsers? etc. I can't fathom how we singled MS out for this. I know it's more legally complicated than simply bundling, but I mean, come on. Way worse shit is happening these days we just let slide, so what's up with the anti-MS culture STILL. And this late in the game? It's been a decade and more... So why this now, right when MS is poised to compete on the the computing market again? ... And so we fine them? This just stinks of bias.

What about other OS? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41752619)

So, why doesn't the same rule apply to OS X, iOS, Android, etc.? They also come with preinstalled browser.

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