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EU Set To Charge Microsoft Over Ruling Breach

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the listen-to-the-law dept.

Microsoft 254

New submitter quippe writes in with some bad news for Microsoft. "Microsoft Corp will be charged for failing to comply with a 2009 ruling ordering it to offer a choice of web browsers, the European Union's antitrust chief said on Thursday, which could mean a hefty fine for the company. U.S.-based Microsoft's more than decade-long battle with the European Commission has already landed it with fines totaling more than a billion euros ($1.28 billion). The Commission, which opened an investigation into the issue in July, is now preparing formal charges against the company, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said."

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I hope they use it wisely (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485641)

And not just bail out Spain and Greece

Re:I hope they use it wisely (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485679)

You, sir, know nothing about politics.

Re:I hope they use it wisely (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485743)

Oh, he does. Sort of. FOXNews-politics and DailyMail-politics.

Re:I hope they use it wisely (1, Insightful)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about 2 years ago | (#41486291)

You're wasting your time. You're talking about people who are too stupid to download Firefox or Chrome without government involvement.

Hint: The answers are all no (2)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 2 years ago | (#41486555)

"You're wasting your time. You're talking about people who are too stupid to download Firefox or Chrome without government involvement."

So you are saying they don't have to run a major attack vector just so that they can avoid running a major attack vector? What about when they want to keep their computer secure by using Windows Update; can they avoid using Internet Explorer by using Chrome or Firefox? Can they simply uninstall IE so they it won't run against their wishes at various times? Can they stop Windows from interrupting the Update process and prompting for the inevitable IE updates that attempt to shove Bing down their throat?

They have to ban Windows in EU (5, Insightful)

aglider (2435074) | about 2 years ago | (#41485661)

If they want to really make any pressure on MS.
If I fail to pay the fines to city police, they seize my car until I pay.
The law should be equal to everyone.

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485675)

Nah, what would make a bigger impact is to revoke Microsoft's copyright in the EU and splash MS software downloads all over the governments websites.

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (4, Insightful)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 2 years ago | (#41485703)

Nah, what would make a bigger impact is to revoke Microsoft's copyright in the EU and splash MS software downloads all over the governments websites.

And that might have the "unintended" consequences of hurting sales of Apple's shiny-shitty (not exactly a disaster), hurting adoption of Linux and LibreOffice (sad, but not affecting very many), and slightly boosting the sales of anyone making software for Windows (the biggest tragedy).

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (1, Insightful)

mumblestheclown (569987) | about 2 years ago | (#41485825)

So, you still honestly think that linux has a snowball's chance in hell on the desktop?

The mass shift from PC to Mac by many users show conclusively that the fabled "lock in" and "path dependence" with regards to consumer operating systems that you guys have always used as your excuse for why linux wasn't doing well was more myth than fact. The simple reality is that linux on the desktop, as it is now and certainly as it was in its heyday when it was on the cover of major magazines as the "next big thing" has been judged by the market and has been found wanting. If you're giving it away and still find adoption rates are near zero, at some point it's time to realize that your product just isn't as good as alternatives out there.

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (-1, Redundant)

pointyhat (2649443) | about 2 years ago | (#41485905)

Linux doesn't have a chance. I've tried it on and off for desktop use since 1997 and TBH, it will never get there.

And there is no mass shift to Mac - it's stable at around 5-6% market share of browser users and I'm not sure that is correct as there are a shit load of Windows machines that aren't connected to the Internet. One of our clients has 40,000 workstations which are not connected to the Internet. Pretty much noone uses MacOS in the scale of things believe it or not.. The people who do are noisier than everyone else. That's all it is.

Oh do shutup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41486003)

40,000 workstations is just one small division of many in my neck of the woods and we're rolling out Linux clients to the rank and file.

You're just a speck!

Re:Oh do shutup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41486035)

Poor users.

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (4, Interesting)

beelsebob (529313) | about 2 years ago | (#41486081)

And there is no mass shift to Mac - it's stable at around 5-6% market share of browser users

Actually, it's risen steadily from 5% to 7% over the past few years. It may sound like a slow rise, but when you consider that only 20% of the PC market is home machines, and the rest is enterprise. Then you consider that paired with apple having near 0 penetration into the enterprise market, and you get to the conclusion that apple's share of the home market has gone from 25% to 35%... That's walking about money.

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485963)

The mass shift from PC to Mac by many users show conclusively that the fabled "lock in" and "path dependence" with regards to consumer operating systems that you guys have always used as your excuse for why linux wasn't doing well was more myth than fact

No. No, no, no, no, NO!

Do you REALLY believe that vendor lock-in did not and does not exist? It does. Want to take a guess at the cost to hire programmers to write a piece of software to the level of Word 97 to run on varying arcitecture, no OS inbetween, working the same way with the same window display and without getting sued?

Linux on the desktop ... has been judged by the market and has been found wanting

And thus to my point. The market (which is only just becoming computer-savvy) found it didn't work the same as Microsoft Office, and most help sites only helped with windows. Thus everyone complained that openoffice and staroffice didn't work EXACTLY the same as microsoft office - the only piece of software 90% of people knew, understood and could train people in. Where it failed extremely was not allowing the automatic opening and saving in Word format (which microsoft changed a few years later anyway), which made headaches for inter-company communication.
Now we've had technically minded people in the workforce for a number of years, and software has become modular and way, way more complex. Complex in this case meaning that a few lines of code by a code monkey extrapolates out to complex routines that used to require a geniuses to work out or a ton of code written.
Thus programs are being written far more easily, and ported between multiple platforms in far less time. There are far more developers writing software as well.

The real blow to linux adoption that I see at the moment is due to Mac. They took the "right" path - re-released their own version of *nix, and they gained their software base. Which happens to already have Windows emulators. Hey presto, you now have a machine that's the best of all three worlds - and the *nix part is already intergrated.

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (4, Interesting)

philip.paradis (2580427) | about 2 years ago | (#41485973)

Speaking as someone who's been using Linux and championing it in server and limited, special purpose desktop environments since the 90s, I wholeheartedly agree with your general premise. That said, I think there's an important lesson here that you probably see yourself, but didn't express.

Apple went from Mac OS 9 in 1999 (the final progression in the "classic" series beginning with 1.0 in 1984, closely followed by Windows 1.0 in 1985 [albeit only a highly limited MS-DOS graphical shell]) to Mac OS X in 1999/2000 following the purchase of NeXT in the 90s. This essentially meant Mac OS became a *nix operating system with a pretty GUI; the emphasis on its lineage is further reinforced by the release of Mac OS X Sever prior to a general desktop OS release. Especially considering the company's prior struggles and obvious challenges maintaining its existence as an integrated systems vendor (operating system plus their hardware), they really bet the farm on this.

As it turns out, Mac OS X became what many people expected from the "Linux on the desktop" dream, at least in terms of basic *nix underpinnings and reasonable extensibility. This occurred because Apple drove the campaign bus, so to speak, as a single corporate entity bent on carving out its share of the market pie. They delivered what the market judged to be a good product, largely based on usability principles (that we may or may not personally agree with) and reputation for It Just Works reliability.

Consequently, Apple is now the most valuable company in the world [forbes.com] . While I continue to operate all my server infrastructure on Debian, I'm typing this from a three year old MacBook Pro. In my view, consistency, stability, support, and marketing to tell the world about all of it have won the day for Apple. I have yet to see a single Linux vendor competently fulfill those requirements when it comes to mass market desktop sales. Perhaps I never will. In the end, that's actually okay with me, since I will simply continue to use the tool that works best and is best accepted in business environments for different roles. For several years running, that's mostly meant Debian on servers and Mac OS X on desktops, and things Just Work.

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (4, Interesting)

sgbett (739519) | about 2 years ago | (#41486157)

QFT. If the extremists could stop treating OS choice as some kind of religion they might find that your post pretty much sums up the optimum setup for your typical *nix guy.

Of course there are plenty of trees you can use to justify this not being the wood you are looking for, confirmation bias (which I realise I am also guilty of by singling out the parent as being all that is right with the world!) is strong, no more so then in the nerd, whose superior intellect quite easily rules out the subpar opinions of others!

I think those that are locked into windows face the toughest challenge, the initial switch is hard. Redhat 8 was my baptism of fire. What *is* up with this 'X' thing why does it look so farked, why can't I hear anything, why are my graphics so shit, why doeas my machin keep locking up? wtf I can't access the network etc etc happy days :D

For anyone that can (ie isn't *truly* dependant on windows as opposed to just not wanting to learn something new) take the plunge into the *nix based world though, there awaits freedom choice and power.

So for me, really OSX is "linux on the desktop". It's just another distro, I tried several and when I hit osx it was game over, thanks everyone else for playing.

OSX's hackery to the standard base is no more or less weird than your other monolithic distros' changes. Their package manager is shit hot. There are no driver issues, the gui is slick etc etc I know its not free as in beer, or free as in speech. Those things are way down my list, I just need to get shit done. If freedom or freeness is important to you, then OSX is not for you.

Apple attracts its fair share of haters in absolute terms thats inevitable because of its penetration in the market. It would surely be interesting (if it were possible to measure such a thing?) to know what the relative satisfaction of each OS userbase was in percentage terms.

I know us OSX users are stupid and not real developers, dbadmins, sysadmins etc. It's odd though I never feel the need to deride people that stick with Linux. My advice (if you can call it that) comes from a genuine delight in having found what I think is a great setup, and I want to share that with people. If they aren't interested then that's their choice (and if they haven't even tried it, then its hard not to feel a little bit of pity, however patronising that might sound).

The name calling really undermines the credibility of any argument against OSX being the best *nix on the desktop out there. With linux (gentoo for me, but please choose whichever you like best) on the server boxen, It really feels like the best of both worlds, i've never been happier.

I don't get why all the OS rage from windows/linux desktop users? it's almost like something might really be amiss ;)

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#41486487)

I don't get why all the OS rage from windows/linux desktop users? it's almost like something might really be amiss ;)

I'm really not full of rage when I tell you a company that is moving its overpriced barely upgradable closed computers to overpriced closed electronics. With software tied to hardware is a *NIX guys dream [I think I felt the marketing wave make me feel ill at that point].

Personally I'm a little tired of large posts containing nothing but adversing slogans ;) The bottom line is though Apple is a vile company that needs to boycotted. :(

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41486519)

As soon as you said you ran Gentoo on your servers I knew they/you weren't serious business. But thanks for playing. Comment again when you have more than a few dozen servers.

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41486685)

I know us OSX users are stupid and not real developers, dbadmins, sysadmins etc

If freedom or freeness is important to you, then OSX is not for you

This is the core of the matter. If freedom or freeness is not important to you, then you are stupid and not a real developer, etc.

Those who is criticize you for using OSX are really criticising you for embracing unfreedom and vendor lockin. And they are absolutely right.

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (4, Insightful)

cripkd (709136) | about 2 years ago | (#41486111)

What the FUCK is "desktop" anyway?

I keep hearing people like you saying linux isn't prepared for the desktop and here I am using it for years.
* I do web development at work and I have everyhting I need on Ubuntu. I've used it on desktop and laptops without issues.
* My wife and my kids use it at home (my kids are 6 and don't even know what Windows and Linux is, or care, they just use the browser for flash games). My wife uses it for browsing and for document editing (at a level where google docs would suffice).
* I use it at home for web development, browsing, soemetimes even RAW image editing (for which I admit I boot to a 3 years old XP install I only need for Lightroom/Photoshop)

What does "the desktop" mean ???
Audio editing, CAD, 3d modelling (blender?), video editing?

Aren't those too "niche"? Not beeing able to run Avid or Maya to build the next Avatar movie disqualifies it as usable for the desktop?
In MY opinion that's not "the desktop", sorry. That's a niche you need specified hardware and software anyway.

Note:
I do run into issues sometimes, but SO DO I ON Windows XP!

Otherwise I'm perfectly able to:
plug my DSLR and download images off it,
i can play dvd's,
I can create dvd's,
I can capture DV video of a handycam,
I can quickly edit images in GIMP (crop, resize, a bit of contrast, etc, light stuff),
i can write documents, I have a choice of great music players/managers and had them when windows had ... Winamp 3.x or something,
I can connect to ftp servers
I can use .torrent links/sites
I can write code, debug code, install and use a web server

and most of all I can do ALL these AND OTHERS from the first second I installed Ubuntu. Try all of the above right after installing Windows XP or 7
.

What the fuck is wrong with linux on the desktop?

I can't play games, but then again, I never was a gamer. Is that reason to dismiss it? Are gamers like 80% of the desktop market? If yes, then we're screwed!

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (3, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#41486307)

What the FUCK is "desktop" anyway?

It's basically browser, email, mediaplayer, office suite and that one, age-old, weird, custom Windows-only application that nobody besides you even knows exits and you absolutely cannot do without.

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41486461)

What the fuck is wrong with linux on the desktop?

Calm the fuck down, okay dude? You're going to stroke the fuck out if you keep going like this.

People who say things about Linux on the desktop refer to the continued supremacy of Microsoft's wretched "Operating Systems" installed on computers used in the home by the majority of PC owners/users in the world, or at least in the US, where Microsoft has a virtual monopoly. When I type that MS has a monopoly, what I mean is there is NO OTHER SOFTWARE COMPANY MAKING SOFTWARE THAT DOES WHAT THEIRS DOES FOR USE ON IBM-PC/COMPATIBLE/CLONE COMPUTERS. Linux doesn't count because of the GNU and Copyleft. It's not FOR SALE. Remember DR-DOS? Remember OS/2? Those were their competitors, along with a few less note-worthy others.

UNIX wasn't really ever a competitor because the target demographic is completely different, at the inceptions of M$ Win/DOS UNIX wouldn't run on such low-end machines as it was made for, and as time marched by, and home computers got more powerful, the hegemony of the Wintel monopoly ensured that software targeting home computer users was principally for them. Games, desktop publishing, etc., that once came out for the Apple, (Apple II, IIc, IIe, and later the Mac,) then came out for the PC, and in the early days other platforms, such as the Atari and Commodore machines. As they died off, consoles took over that subsegment, and as the popularity of Windows increased with the release of 95, and later 98, it came to pass that software, specifically games came out for the PC first, then Apple as an afterthought.

Apple isn't really in competition with Microsoft in the purest sense of the word because Microsoft, speaking generally and historically, (disregarding for the moment the "Surface" and mice and keyboards,) hasn't made hardware, and because Apple, (disregarding the things they've had to make for themselves because no one else wanted to,) doesn't make software, just hardware.

"But what about OS-X?!? Is that not software?" you ask? Glad you asked. Yes, it's software, and yes, you can even walk into a store and buy a copy of it off the shelf. But until you can install it on a PC-type machine, they're NOT in direct competition with Microsoft, despite MS holding them up in court as "proof" that they don't in fact have a monopoly. That's utter bullshit, of course, because as I said, NO OTHER SOFTWARE COMPANY OR VENDOR is producing software you can pay for, install on your home computer, and use it in the place of, and instead of Microsoft's Windows, to run programs specifically written FOR use on computers running Microsoft Windows.

Know this: it's not because people don't want to use alternatives to Microsoft's wretched software. It's not because no one has ever wanted to make such a product as one that would replace M$ Windows. Linux (and the various MS Windows copying Desktop Environments, such as FVWM and KDE, etc.) is just one example of software that tries to do just that. BUT, BUT, *** BUT *** it's not made FOR SALE. The whole reason Linux was possible, the way it evolved, was that the GNU tools and GPL under which Linux is released make (reasonably) sure that no one will ever profit from the code written by others financially. People donated their time, their knowledge, their skills, happily to make something they could all use, (Linux,) but would NEVER EVER have done so for a private company to steal their work, make fat slugs who never worked a day in their lives but instead subsisted parasitically off the work of others, rich, or if they already were, RICHER, by releasing what they labored over, and then reaping the benefits for FREE.

Microsoft's software reign over the PC universe is unlikely ever to be broken because too many people don't want to have to be computer scientists or experts to get their computers to "just work". Microsoft's software, I will admit, does this now, and does it well enough that people, even now that Linux (and many other similar things, like the various BSD's, etc.) exist, will continue to use it for as long as they have PC's, because they're too busy living their lives, browsing the web, typing e-mails, playing games, etc., to learn BASH commands, shell scripts, how to use mount and umount with /etc/fstab and how to read /etc/mtab, how to configure LILO or GRUB, why one of your partitions needs to be type 82 when the rest are 83, how to use builtins like ls, cat, and man, how to grep, how to use the pipe (|) to send the results of a program directly to another, what lives in the /etc directory, why it's necessary to have an unprivileged account with /home/(username) as its home directory rather than doing everything as "root", etc. etc. etc. etc. you get the idea.

Even if you use a distro that boots to a GUI, installs for you, autodetecting everything, does so without a hitch, and you never have to screw with the CLI, the simple fact of the matter is it will still be foreign and alien, and unless some (or all) of your friends are already using it, odds are, you won't, because Windows (by which I mean M$'s Windows,) XP and 7 work well enough that it makes little sense for most people to try and replace them, considering that there are football games to watch, chicks to pick up at bars, work to be done, taxes to be paid, doctors and dentists to be visited, families to be reunited periodically with, drug and alcohol interventions to be staged for poor aunt (fill in the blank) who acted really weird at the last family reunion... people are fucking busy and don't have time to invest in something that at best, will get them right back where they already are.

And all this is BEFORE we talk about Linux distro fragmentation, the constant battles between the legions of Gnomes versus the forces of KDE, or the LXDE fanboys, the fact that despite that we have LibreOffice and Firefox, and all manner of other software that is in most respects better, and FREE (as in beer and/or as in speech) you still may have trouble opening a file someone sends you, if that person has been slavishly upgrading to the most current version of MS Office every time Microsoft demands further tribute because if ONE company or person you share documents with upgrades... everyone has to.

Microsoft has very deceitfully and illegally done many things over the years, from the FUD campaign and changes to Windows 3.x that destroyed DR-DOS and the enmeshing of MSIE code into Windows 9x that instituted a form of performance tax, in that it made it quicker to launch Internet Explorer than competing browsers because much of the code was loaded at or just after boot time, and you couldn't remove it... to making office file formats that they wouldn't tell people what was in them so no one else could make software that could reliably read them... is that all fair? OF COURSE NOT! Doesn't change the reality though, that M$ still has much of its monopoly, and will continue as long as PC's (not Apple products) are bought and used. Maybe eventually if there was some version of Linux, some Distro that was just as easy to use, looked and acted exactly like Windows, could run all software written for Windows natively, and didn't change significantly over time, wasn't prone to viruses and other malware... and was besides free...

But there's the rub. Many people would rather pay for what they could have for free because they KNOW and UNDERSTAND Microsoft's motives, and feel they can predict what they have done and will do. They're for $$$ PROFIT $$$, and so people know they can be trusted to a certain extent. People who have/run businesses may feel they can't trust some shadowy group of bearded hacker hippies and their free software, because they don't understand what their motivation will be to continue to develop and maintain it.

I look at it this way: if someone paints your house for you every year, but it will cost way more money to have a professional do it in the future because the paint the guy uses to do the job is incompatible with the regular paints, you might hesitate to let him do it, even though he'll do at least as good a job, and he'll do it for free, but he expects you to know some things about paint, and since he's doing it out of the goodness of his heart, (he's not actually your friend or a relative or anything, there's no sense of obligation...) how can YOU know he'll still be doing it next year, that he won't have grown tired of it? Then you'll have to pay someone to strip all the old paint off, and give your house a fresh coat of the for-pay paint. On the other hand, even though it costs more, you KNOW the company that paints houses for money will ALWAYS BE IN BUSINESS and always be willing to paint houses, and yours specifically because people will always need MONEY.

So maybe if someone made an OS for PC's, for MONEY, as part of a professional company, Microsoft's hegemony in the field could be displaced. But that company would have to compete with Microsoft. Good fucking luck, guys. Considering many see Apple as a close-enough to competitor, since you can get OS-X and use it instead of Windows, all that's required in addition to the software to use it is, of course, an Apple computer. Of course, many who might flee Microsoft and defect to the cult of Apple won't do so because they see Apple's control over their cult as being just as bad, or indeed worse, than Microsoft's. By comparison, Microsoft is the good guys, because at least they have to make their software kinda sorta work, and don't have the fact that no one else makes anything that runs on the hardware they sell to fall back on.

Our best chance to break Microsoft's monopoly is to keep them from invading the tablet space, and as tablets take over PC land, much as laptops, notebooks, and later netbooks have, (though of course, not completely) is to make sure not to fall into the trap of using anything running Windows 8, 9, or 10... (let's all hope it stops there, and that there never is a Windows 11...) by shunning any tablet or desktop or anything in between, INCLUDING PHONES running a M$ O$.

As for Linux, until someone starts charging $195 per copy, there are going to be people who won't bite because it's free.

Until Linux's market share of home, desktop (and similar, i.e. laptop) PC's equals or exceeds Microsoft's Window's market share, people will say it is not yet the time (day, month, year, take your pick) of "Linux on the Desktop".

Okay? So keep your shirt on. No one's saying Linux is dead, or dying, and if they were they'd be lying considering Linux also underpins Android. Now can we get back to the EU ruling on MS violating their orders? Thanks.

Microsoft is going to defy any such order in the face of any penalty as long as they stand to make more money defying than complying. It's that simple. They're a fucking (for profit) corporation, and as such they are a machine, made of people, working in and operating facilities belonging to the corporation, for doing one basic thing. MAXIMIZING PROFITS. The fact that they're staring down the barrel of over a billion dollars in fines and continuing their misbehavior despite, only means that they (those people running Microsoft) feel that it would cost more profit to knuckle under and do as their told. All this means is that the fines aren't steep enough, or they're figuring worst case scenario, they'll just lose Europe. If that's the case, they'll never pay the fine, and tell the EU to suck their dicks. What are they going to do? Does the EU have Predator Drones? Are they going to raid the Redmond campus? Of course not.

If Microsoft were an EU-based business, things might be different. If the US kowtowed to every order from the EU, things might be different. The situation is more nearly analogous to where if Uzbekibekibekistan fined you for something they didn't like. Would YOU pay it? Probably not, if you live in the US, and never travel to, through, or over, or even near Herman Cain's favorite country. Of course, M$ does business with and within the EU, but they don't have to, and if they make it more expensive or unprofitable, they'll simply leave. It's very telling that Microsoft refuses to play fair, since that obviously would be detrimental to their bottom line, screaming in words that cannot be ignored that by their actions, Microsoft is effectively admitting they could not play fair and still make a profit, that without their dirty tricks they would LOSE to any competition, because of course, their whole business model is predicated on making crappy software that is just good enough to make it more of a pain in the ass than its worth for the majority of users to switch to a competitor, while making sure that users will always be bound to continual upgrades year after year for fear of being stuck with software that is out of date and increasingly vulnerable to malware attack, as Microsoft abandons support of old versions in favor of new ones, so people are trapped into this never ending cycle of upgrades.

Every so often, as they did with XP and again with 7, Microsoft screws up and makes something that's actually half-way decent and usable. They redeem this mistake with each successive version, like ME and Vista, and no doubt, 8.

So that's why, in a nutshell, Microsoft will do what they do. As for the idea of banning Windows, all that means is Microsoft will shut-off Windows Update for any user in the EU, cutting them all off, and leaving them vulnerable to all the bugs and flaws Microsoft has programmed in as job-security for themselves, and anyone with any brains at all in the EU will be FORCED to switch to something else, and Apple would just FUCKING LOVE THE FUCKING SHIT OUT OF THAT because if you think for a moment that they'll all switch to Linux, you're out of your mind. Until Linux is easier to install, use and maintain, and until people can know that there is a for-profit company out there that will support and update, etc. the software, they'll run to Apple first despite the annoyance and locking-in that Apple does.

So Microsoft is not really in a position to have-to comply, and probably won't as long as it makes economic sense for them to do so. Now, if on the other hand, the EU hired bounty-hunters and assassins to go after the people at Microsoft making these decisions, and the EU was willing to kidnap them, bring them to the EU, put them on trial, jail them, etc., or worse, assassinate them for their flouting of their laws and judicial acts, things might be very, very different. But I don't really see that happening, esp. since the EU isn't really a country. One of its member countries would have to do it, and I ask you, which EU country is going to order hitmen to start hunting down Microsoft's leadership, really? And besides, the EU people know how capitalism works, know M$ is a corporation, and probably know just as well as anyone every single thing I've typed here. I doubt I'm running any risk of putting ideas into anyone's heads.

Holding the leadership of Microsoft liable anyway is senseless, since all they're doing is the bidding of the directors, the shareholders who demand maximum return on their investments. So the real villains are the greedy shareholders who want MORE MONEY. The EU would have to hunt THEM down, but even in such a case, others will simply snap up the stock as it becomes available, so the real REAL villain here is Capitalism itself. Of course, no other system can come close to generating wealth and prosperity and progress for people who live in Capitalist societies, so perhaps the real real REAL REAL villain is people wanting to have indoor plumbing and air conditioning, the bastards.

I suppose the real problem is that regulators didn't fix this when they had the chance, by demolishing Microsoft for what they did when they released Windows 95, but regulators can't be faulted, the computer industry and software vending was too new a thing for people to have a good idea what the future would reveal as the consequences of decisions they were making. It's not like we're talking about the consequences of digging a well for a village in an area that is polluted in one way or another, where we've known for a long time why THAT'S a bad idea, or why you don't build a city below sea-level right near the ocean... or maybe at the end of the day, people are just plain stupid.

I don't know, I'm just a person.

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (1)

kiriath (2670145) | about 2 years ago | (#41486691)

Uh, what the heck is a 'shiny-shitty' ?

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (1, Funny)

pahles (701275) | about 2 years ago | (#41485693)

Do you suggest they raid almost every home in the EU to seize all Windows computers? Or do you want the EU to make it impossible for Microsoft to send updates to Windows computers? Or do you want the EU to detain all Microsoft CEOs (or whatever they're called), like they did in Brazil with the Google CEO? Please tell me what it is you want if you say they should ban Windows?

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485741)

It would be sufficient to ban them from taking any further licensing fees in the EU.

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485747)

I believe he meant with banning is to not allow selling any new windows's and NEW computers with windows pre-installed.

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485925)

"Please tell me what it is you want if you say they should ban Windows?"

What the parent would have meant, most likely, is the ban of further sales of Windows in the EU. Not exactly rocket science here. This would mean no more Windows PCs available in shops, and any PC preloaded with Windows trying to be imported would risk being seized at the border.

It would likely mean any PC trying to be imported would end up in customs as well if they were going to be serious about it.

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (1)

aglider (2435074) | about 2 years ago | (#41485937)

Eu commission should simply ban Windows for downloads, sales, updates, cloudy stuff and so on.
Just like (or more strict than) cocaine. It's forbidden to have, to sell, to use, to show and so on.
Placing a fine without any result but making money is useless as far as the law enforcement is concerned.
If the EU MS offices/officials would break the law, then they'd apply the law for illegal acts.
Your question should have been: and what should we do in the meantime?
My answer is: use the alternatives (Solaris, Linux or OS X) which comply with the law.
You have to change your habits, of course as it's hard to use a different OS to mimik Windows.
And it's doable: we successfully did already so when we jumped from DOS to Windows95.

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (2)

pointyhat (2649443) | about 2 years ago | (#41485895)

That's a bit naive.

People really need to understand exactly how important Microsoft is to the world if you like that concept or not. They provide the computing infrastructure for all your utilities and all your jobs. Everything is machine driven these days and they are the first choice vendor because to be honest, their shit works, is cheap and there are plenty of skilled people out there.

If this was to happend, first the importers will fall, then the resellers, then the e-commerce outlets, then the businesses, then the consumers, then the food chain. I don't really want to be in that world.

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (4, Interesting)

aglider (2435074) | about 2 years ago | (#41485971)

Microsoft OS is not important, they don't provide any infrastructure at all.
Servers running Linux and other Unix-like OSes are much more important.
Most of the PCs you see in offices just run a browser to access a centralized application. When HTML5 will be made the standard, this situation will become more and more widespread.
Microsoft Internet Explorer is not important any more [toptenreviews.com] . But it should be just a browser, not a piece of software tightly bolted into the OS.
And when you buy a brand new PC you have to pay also for Windows in almost all the world. whether you like it or not.
Shops could have PCs without any OS on the shelves. It's be up to the customer to ask for an OS of they choice and later on to choose the browser they like.

NO, you are definitely wrong. Microsoft is not important. Freedom is.

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (0)

Aryden (1872756) | about 2 years ago | (#41486001)

Speaking for one of the largest corporations in the world, with a massive IT department and several of our own datacenters... we sadly run everything on windows....

And FYI, I have the freedom on windows to run whatever browser I damn well please. I haven't loaded up exploder on any of the desktops in my house in about a decade. No one bitches that OSX comes with safari preloaded.

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (1)

aglider (2435074) | about 2 years ago | (#41486367)

Can you get rid of Interweb Exploder?
When you buy your car, you choose what you want: color, type of engine, type of gears and tyres and so on.
You cannot choose how many tyres or whether have the steering wheel or not.
Why cannot I do the same with my PC? With my (it's mine because I pay for it) OS?
IE is like the steering wheel? Or is it more like the body color?

And, finally, I'm really sad for your company. Sincerely.

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41486535)

Try to get rid of safari on mac os. Its damn near impossible.
And once apple implements their iTunes/iMonoploy trusted computing lock down bs on OSX (probably next year), it won't be a viable platform for me either.

I like apple's products. They make rock solid hardware, but the iTunes lock-in with iOS apps is unsettling and that they're in the process of doing this to their desktop os as well. MS will do the same thing with windows 8. Surface will only run Win8 and iOS will be the precedent that makes it ok.
And we're overwhelmingly saying its ok by buying their stuff.

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (1)

aglider (2435074) | about 2 years ago | (#41486739)

If you choose to stay in a jail don't complain for lack of freedom!

Windows (XP) is probably the best UI ever seen on PCs. But that's all. Everything else just sucks.
Maybe Linux distributions are not that rock solid, but they are indeed very effective even on old hardware.

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (1)

pointyhat (2649443) | about 2 years ago | (#41486559)

You don't get to choose what operating system your ECU uses do you?

IE is a blob of software. Its use is inconsequential.

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41486539)

If you don't think there are a lot of Microsoft servers out there, you need to get out of the basement more...

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (1, Redundant)

pointyhat (2649443) | about 2 years ago | (#41486545)

I think you are living on another planet. Some corrections:

They don't provider any infrastructure. Neither does UNIX/Linux. Most of the infrastructure is dedicated hardware still. People like F5, Juniper, Cisco, Alcatel, Lucent etc. Most of this stuff runs on custom platforms and kernels and occasionally something esoteric like Erlang. Hardly any of it sits on *NIX platforms, bar mail relays.

As for servers running UNIX/Linux - yes there are lots. I mean look at Google, Facebook and most of the hosting companies out there. However you miss one important point: none of these are supporting critical business functions. Even if you look a the mainframe and big iron side of things (ex Sun/Unisys territory), it's all moving to Windows as the value proposition is better. The only thing that remains is mass market web hosting, cloud providers and the odd obscure installation of specialist systems (supercomputers, trading platforms, big finance, people stuck with Oracle).

As for the comment about most offices using a browser to access a centralised application: that is utter crap. Most people are still using Office and mailing documents to each other cluelessly - and that's not a problem because it works for them. The next upscaling option for them is to use a Windows fileserver. The option after that is Sharepoint. As for dedicated applications, it's all desktop still. The uptake of "HTML5 wah wah" is purely a consumer market and very small business thing. From medium to large enterprises and a lot of industry sectors, it's actually pretty much illegal to throw your stuff in the cloud or push it out. Internal web applications (which I will say that I architect for a living) are literally at the cutting edge in business - there is virtually no market penetration and businesses still don't trust them.

Internet Explorer: it's a component. It's a flipping COM server that sits in MSHTML.dll. It's called code reuse. It's a good thing. It's like having a shared library on UNIX. As a counterpoint "Ubuntu default install ships with XPI .so - get the EU to ban it". It's also hardly embedded into the OS if you've ever looked. You can unregister it and remove IE completely and it functions fine still (bar some MMC plugins).

You don't have to buy Windows. We buy stuff without windows because we've got a volume license so it makes no sense. We get stuff without Windows from HP, Dell, DNUK. That is bollocks. Consumers don't care - they want something that they can turn on and get warez and pr0n on. It's only a minority that give a crap.

Now I'm a fan of UNIX based operating systems. I like the design of them, I have used them for 25 years, I have a Sun Ultra 30 sitting next to me with OpenBSD on it which does some of my specialist donkey work and runs crap I write 15-20 years ago so I don't have to port it, but the Lenovo T61 with Windows 7 that sits next to it does the stuff that pays the bills and talks to the things that other people talk to.

Getting shit done is orders of magnitude more important than politics and being the finest zealot.

Re:They have to ban Windows in EU (1)

aglider (2435074) | about 2 years ago | (#41486767)

I am not 100% sure, but I would bet that all that "dedicated" hardware is just embedded Linux/BSD/QNX/whateverNix.
For sure is not embedded Windows nor dedicated silicon.
Please, prove that

it's all moving to Windows as the value proposition is better

I don't believe that.
Security holes ii OSes are the worst beast. Windows holes get fixed in a matter of weeks (to be optimistic). The other OSes get fixes within days.

I don't understand why they're doing this (1, Interesting)

pointyhat (2649443) | about 2 years ago | (#41485687)

I don't understand why they're doing this. There has been a browser choice screen shipped with it and via windows update for ages now. It stinks of profitteering on the part of the EU. You don't hear them suing the crap out of pharmaceutical companies for a monopoly either.

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (5, Informative)

pahles (701275) | about 2 years ago | (#41485701)

You can ship the screen in the code, but if you never show it to users what good is it then? Microsoft admits they didn't comply, so what's the problem with the EU fining Microsoft?

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 2 years ago | (#41485809)

You can ship the screen in the code, but if you never show it to users what good is it then? Microsoft admits they didn't comply, so what's the problem with the EU fining Microsoft?

A billion dollars for a browser choice dialouge? It is beyond my comphrension how this could be considered rational or acceptable in any way.

Why not make it a trillion dollar fine and fill out interpols most wanted roster with Microsoft employees?

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485823)

How about a $10k fine? $10k is a lot of money to you and me. If I got a $10k fine, I would pay attention and so would you. Give Microsoft a $10k fine and possibly not even their accountants would notice until someone does an audit in 2030.

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (2)

GNious (953874) | about 2 years ago | (#41485847)

A billion dollars for a browser choice dialouge? It is beyond my comphrension how this could be considered rational or acceptable in any way.

Has it been stated anywhere that they will also fine this specific violation at 1 billion dollars?
I mean, just because the last time Microsoft violated EU laws it got slapped with a fine of that size, it does not follow that this different violation will get the same penalty.

Anyways, the fine is "up to 10% of yearly global revenue", and could include daily fines if Microsoft doesn't fix the issue in a timely manner.

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#41486347)

Anyways, the fine is "up to 10% of yearly global revenue", and could include daily fines if Microsoft doesn't fix the issue in a timely manner.

Is it just me who thinks that "up to 10% of yearly global revenue" might possibly be worth it for Microsoft?
It certainly could have been worth it back when they were the clear browser-war winner.

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (4, Insightful)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#41485855)

Ignoring a court ruling would land most people in jail for contempt of court. I think the EU should start fining corporations percentage of revenues for contempt of court (a billion is a start, but it should be higher if it has to have any effect on microsoft)

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41486023)

Or rather, put corporate leaders in jail, for contempt of court.

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#41485863)

A billion dollars for a browser choice dialouge? It is beyond my comphrension how this could be considered rational or acceptable in any way.

It's proportional to the company profits. All the big number means is that Microsoft earns a lot of money.

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41486503)

Surely it should be proportional to the damage caused by them breaking the rules.

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (2)

Schmorgluck (1293264) | about 2 years ago | (#41486635)

You're confusing fines and damages. Fines are a punition and are part of criminal law, damages are for reparation of prejudice and part of civil law.

They follow different rules. No general principle of law exists that forbids fines to be adjusted to the means of the condemned.

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485995)

The fine is set so high because Microsoft repeatedly and willingly ignores what the EU tells them to do, not because what Microsoft is doing wrong is worth a billion.

If you keep parking your car in a no-parking zone and just pay the low fines because you can afford them at some point the police will just impound your car and haul you in front of a judge. This is the corporate equivalent.

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (4, Interesting)

martyros (588782) | about 2 years ago | (#41486013)

A billion dollars for a browser choice dialouge? It is beyond my comphrension how this could be considered rational or acceptable in any way.

Well the point of the fine is to make it economically adventageous for Microsoft to follow the law. Suppose that they were expecting to benefit by $250M (through network effects of having a larger market share, &c) by having 28 million people running IE by default instead of being given a choice. And suppose they thought there was a 50% chance they'd just get away with it. Ignoring morality or commitment to rule of law or anything like that, and looking only at money, what's the rational decision for the following fine amounts?

  • $100,000: Expected value of breaking the law is $250M - (0.5 * $100k) = $250M (rounded to 3 decimal places). No-brainer.
  • $100,000,000: Expected value of breaking the law is $250M - (0.5 * $100M) = $200M. This is just a 20% tax, but still well worth it.
  • $500,000,000: Expected value of breaking the law is $250M - (0.5 * $250M) = $0. But maybe our chances are a bit better than 50% -- and it's so easy, we might as well do it as not. Besides, at least we get to be evil, which we enjoy.
  • $1,000,000,000: Expected value of breaking the law is $250M - (0.5 * $1B) = $-250M. Ah -- probably not worth it then.

Given the size of Microsoft, and the potential benefit they get from breaking the law, a "rational" fine is one big enough to make it "rational" for MS not to play games with the EU anymore.

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (1)

brisk0 (2644101) | about 2 years ago | (#41486435)

= $250M (rounded to 3 decimal places)

Just to be pedantic, that would be three significant figures, not decimal places.

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (1, Interesting)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#41486341)

A billion dollars for a browser choice dialouge? It is beyond my comphrension how this could be considered rational or acceptable in any way.

The browser choice thing is one of many possible solutions for the underlying problem that is anti-competitive behaviour.
This anti-competitive behaviour was largely (though not solely) responsible for the downfall of Netscape.
Whether that is worth a billion dollar is a different matter.
It's notable that neither iOS nor Android has been subject to such regulation, despite both claiming to have the type of marketshare Microsoft had at the time.

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (1, Informative)

pointyhat (2649443) | about 2 years ago | (#41485915)

It did show to the users - all our laptops popped up with it causing much confusion to our users. Our desktop machines, it didn't as we didn't apply the patch. So both the positive and negative cases are confirmed.

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (1)

westlake (615356) | about 2 years ago | (#41486255)

You can ship the screen in the code, but if you never show it to users what good is it then?

How long did it take the EU bureacracy to discover that the browser choice screen was missing on some systems? A year? Two years? Did anyone outside the bureacracy give a damn one way or the other?

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (0)

pointyhat (2649443) | about 2 years ago | (#41486627)

You are right. Absolutely noone actually gave a fuck apart from a few zealots on Slashdot and about 10 people at a couple of browser vendors.

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485719)

If you really don't understand then you must be an idiot.

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485725)

Well last two times I installed Win 7 professional, that I got from msdnaa, I did not see a browser choice

It didn't ship for 17 months (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485749)

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/07/17/microsoft_ec_browser_choice_fresh_investigation/

So 28 million Windows went out without the choice, and Microsoft got away with it for 17 months. I don't see why you have difficulty understanding it, it all seems pretty simple to me. It's not like they can claim ignorance, they were told by their competitors it wasn't showing the browser choice and they chose to 'investigate' it for a heck of a long time before finally fixing it when Brussels became involved.

It's just Microsoft being Microsoft, they'll never change, just hit them with a big fat non-compliance fooling-nobody fine and move on till the next time (which will be the 3rd time) they do it.

Looks like 100 million units (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485829)

I made the mistake of taking that 28 million at face value, but that number comes from Microsoft wishing to downplay what it did.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_7

"On March 4, 2010, Microsoft announced that it had sold more than 90 million Windows 7 licenses.", so when SP1 was introduced it was 90 million.
"On July 12, 2011, the sales figure was refined to over 400 million end-user licenses and business installations"
So when they fixed it they'd shipped 400 million.

So 310 million windows were shipped, and Microsoft is claiming less than 10% market share for Europe? Seriously? They've previously claimed that 35% was Europe giving a number more than 100 million....

Re:Looks like 100 million units (3, Informative)

Your.Master (1088569) | about 2 years ago | (#41486199)

The bug was that if you didn't see the choice screen before installing SP1, you would never see it. Most of those 400 million were sold with the original Windows 7 with no service pack, and got the choice screen as soon as they clicked the blue e.

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (3, Informative)

Dupple (1016592) | about 2 years ago | (#41485785)

I don't understand why they're doing this. There has been a browser choice screen shipped with it and via windows update for ages now. It stinks of profitteering on the part of the EU. You don't hear them suing the crap out of pharmaceutical companies for a monopoly either.

Here's a little back ground

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union_Microsoft_competition_case [wikipedia.org]

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (4, Interesting)

buglista (1967502) | about 2 years ago | (#41485865)

And some MS (I assume?) installs keep sneakily reverting me to fucking Bing. The offence is not having a monopoly - it's abusing it, ie. leveraging your other crap onto people's desktops by virtue of having dominance in the OS arena.
If you had read the fucking article, you would have seen that MS admits the breach anyway: "The company acknowledged its mistake in July, saying it was now distributing software with the browser option and also offered to extend the compliance period for an additional 15 months."

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485873)

Because Microsoft is a successful American company and the EU is pissed off about how popular its products are, which is why they apply a special set of standards to Microsoft that don't apply to anyone else.

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485877)

They are applying existing laws. They didn't make this up for MS. You are an idiot. Go and inform yourself

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41486421)

Right, like how Apple aren't allowed to ship with Safari as the default browser, and Canonical aren't allowed to ship Ubuntu with firefox as the default browser, and Google aren't allowed to ship ChromeOS with Chrome as the default browser. Same rules applying to everyone.

Oh, wait...

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#41486085)

The US government has also taken action against Microsoft for abuse of their monopoly status. Independantly.

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41486007)

They need the money to bailout Spain...

Think you need to look in your own backyard (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#41486575)

They need the money to bailout Spain...

You would think America would get Apple;Google and Microsoft to pay tax hitting $16 trillion

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41486579)

Yeah, because 1.2 billion sure helps a lot when spains total debt is 1.2 TRILLION. 1/1000th. Yeah, pretty certain that's why, and not because Microsoft is an evil monopoly illegally using their monopoly to kill competition.

Re:I don't understand why they're doing this (1, Interesting)

Splab (574204) | about 2 years ago | (#41486177)

Oh really? Perhaps you should start reading news from other sources than the spoonfed 'merican sources.

The EU are more than happy to sue the crap out of anyone who breaks the law, whether it's a local company or foreign megacorp. Also, it's not about profitteering, it's about protecting the consumers and competition, both locally and globally - 1 billion euro is nothing, it's a drop in the bucket when you deal with economics of the EU scale - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Greece [wikipedia.org] Greeze owes more than 300 billion euro, a one billion fine wouldn't even cover the interest for a quater of a year (let alone a month, depending on rate).

Also, as Microsoft hasn't actually paid it's fines, using fines as a mean of providing income really isn't feasible...

This is slashdot (0, Troll)

mumblestheclown (569987) | about 2 years ago | (#41485699)

So will we see gratuitous microsoft bashing or instead will people here admit the obvious fact that the ruling was utter nonsense that basically amounted to legalized extortion for no legitimate public policy reason?

(checks comment titles: "They have to ban windows in EU") ... sigh.

Re:This is slashdot (1)

Guignol (159087) | about 2 years ago | (#41485781)

This is slashdot

Ahh thank you sir for pointing that out, I could have been thinking I was looking at gmail or something like that
Some people are really helpful, last time I was about to watch a show, and a guy went completely out of his way, he almost killed himself just to tell me that "It's...." but then the flying circus jingle started

Re:This is slashdot (2, Insightful)

metacell (523607) | about 2 years ago | (#41485815)

How do you figure? Microsoft clearly violated the terms of the ruling, which resulted in a fine. Are you objecting to

a) the court's interpretation of the law?
b) the anti-monopoly laws in effect in the EU?
c) anti-monopoly laws in general?

Question: have they ever paid a single Euro? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 2 years ago | (#41485763)

We keep reading that they're being investigated, charged, "fined", but cut to the chase: what actual sums have left Microsoft's account and gone into the Brussels swill trough?

Re:Question: have they ever paid a single Euro? (5, Informative)

metacell (523607) | about 2 years ago | (#41485817)

We keep reading that they're being investigated, charged, "fined", but cut to the chase: what actual sums have left Microsoft's account and gone into the Brussels swill trough?

The summary says $1.28 billion, i.e, just slightly more than Apple got from Samsung in a patent lawsuit where the jury didn't understand how prior art worked.

Re:Question: have they ever paid a single Euro? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41486547)

I picture you hunched over obscure comic books or action figures in between such insightful posts.

Re:Question: have they ever paid a single Euro? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485821)

Those 1.2 billion have indeed be paid, as far as I know.
Because I read back then, that they started to comply, when the EU started fining them several million *a day*. So it must have hurt them.
And I can remember that they once actually banned Windows XP and MS Office from sale until they complied.

BTW: I wanna see that level of fines in the US. (Remember: They fined the European division.)
Not just $100,000, "paid" with completely worthless "licenses for Windows and Office" given to *schools*... which is an insult and like somebody convicted for selling meth being able to give "free meth" to school children to get out of jail... which on top of all isn't even actual meth that took actual work with actual worth, but a mere copy (like only a picture) with only imaginary worth. Brash, brazen, Microsoft.

Hooray, now invest that funding! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485773)

The EU funded worthwhile projects like minix 3... if they are going to be using the money from microsoft to do something directly useful to choice of compliant browsers then maybe that money could be spread among the other browser developers or maybe even be used to help promote them.

$1.28 billion? No problem! (1)

metacell (523607) | about 2 years ago | (#41485779)

$1.28 billion? No problem, Microsoft can win that back with a patent suit or two !

warmup fo the the main event (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485805)

Windows 8 "app store" will make this seem like a flea bite

Re:warmup fo the the main event (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#41486245)

If the fine is the same size, then $1.28B is a small price to pay for the type of money and power that controlling Windows software sales will bring.

At least the final result is good. (3, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#41485959)

FTA:

Market share of Microsoft's Internet Explorer in Europe has roughly halved since 2008 to 29 percent so far this year as it has lost clients mostly to Google's Chrome.

Chrome controls 29.3 percent of the European browsing market, while Mozilla's Firefox has 30.3 percent of the market, according to web research firm Statcounter.

That's 90% of the market equally shared over three browsers. With the other 10% for the rest. Well I'd call that a rather healthy situation, and a great progress from 90%+ for IE.

Browser selection screen or not, the dominance of IE is obviously broken without any other browser becoming dominant, and that I'd say is good. Very good. The next step is a proper html standard, and a standard interpretation/rendering of that standard.

And was that because they had to put choice in? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41486073)

And was that reduction in share at least in part due to MS complying with the law and putting a choice screen in their installation for that time? A process they are no longer doing, therefore may be done merely to stop them losing market share?

Re:At least the final result is good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41486483)

So in a few years, the EU should sue Google because Chrome is not displaying a browser choice?

I have a better idea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485967)

Force microsoft to pop up a screen that says:
1) If you would like the EU to track you for your saftey, click here
2) If you would like the EU to track you for your saftey, just scan your face here.
3) If you would like the EU to track you for your saftey, just scan your face here and select this option so we get money from American companies to do so.

In other news.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485985)

Microsoft to bail out Greece and other struggling EU member countries under the guise of 'fines'.

Re:In other news.... (2, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | about 2 years ago | (#41486145)

Or:

Multiple-convicted monopolist company with assets on a par with the entire EU annual budget, seeks to avoid legal redress by failing to implement agreed-to legal measures (or only implementing them half-assedly) and claim they didn't know, nor bother to check, they were working for several YEARS, after already being fined half a billion Euros and made to implement those measures in the first place (after ANY NUMBER of appeals and legal arguments failed because the evidence was just so overwhelming).

It's all in the spin, really, and it's hard to have sympathy for the convicted monopolist worth more than a lot of EU countries combined, when they are basically here because they can't be bothered to instruct one person within their company to keep an eye on their half-a-billion-pound + expenses mistake and the complementary obligation they were legally required to implement over several years.

If you wanna do business in the EU, you have to stick by EU law, no matter how ridiculous you think it is or how much you disagree with its application. If that's a problem, don't do business with it. And if you don't want a repeat of your half-a-billion-dollar-plus-expenses blatant disregard for that law, maybe you should have one of the many very expensive lawyers, or even just someone involved in implementing the solution, keep an eye on it once a month, say, for the duration of your punishment.

FROM GREECE, SPACE, ITALY: YAY !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485991)

We need more filthy american money !!

WTF? (0)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 2 years ago | (#41486113)

How did they ever think they could get away with this?! If I were deciding the penalty, I'd probably take them for all they're worth. They were blatantly violating the ruling! They obviously aren't expecting the court to take this seriously.

Wait until you see the UEFI case... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41486133)

Windows 8 certification of ARM: must not be able to run any other operating system:

MANDATORY: Enable/Disable Secure Boot. On non-ARM systems, it is required to implement the ability to disable Secure Boot via firmware setup. A physically present user must be allowed to disable Secure Boot via firmware setup without possession of Pkpriv. Programmatic disabling of Secure Boot either during Boot Services or after exiting EFI Boot Services MUST NOT be possible. Disabling Secure MUST NOT be possible on ARM systems.

Re:Wait until you see the UEFI case... (0)

pointyhat (2649443) | about 2 years ago | (#41486641)

Same on iPads. Windows 8 on ARM is basically an iPad. What's the issue?

Brilliant Solution! (0, Troll)

some old guy (674482) | about 2 years ago | (#41486205)

Never mind bailing out Greece, Spain, and Italy for the umpteenth time.

Just fine the living hell out of Microsoft and apply it to to their debts. Truly an inspired way to recapitalize the ECB before the Euro crashes.

What the heck, find some pretext to grab a slice of the Apple pie too.

Positively wizard!

What do you expect? (0)

anonieuweling (536832) | about 2 years ago | (#41486323)

I mean: from a company that has never ever shown a real grip on reality, on perceptions, on quality or whatsoever.
Windows 2008R2 has loads of bugs, even I (a simple sysadmin) encounter them on a daily basis, despite the R2 and despite the updates and fixes. The MFing OS corrupts it's own files (related to `features` and `roles`) when just applying the fixes after install.
And they only have been busy with a more or less serious Windows since 1993 or so?
And now you want them to implement a simple feature to select a webbrowser to be 100% according to your wishes?
That ain't gonna happen!

OTOH the sum of the fine will of course be lobbied heavily and is subject to change to the downside.

The should just stop nagging.. (0)

SuperDre (982372) | about 2 years ago | (#41486353)

As a EU citizen I think the EU should stop bothering MS over this browser selectionscreen, otherwise they should also go after Apple for not providing the same option for iOS and MacOSX. MS has already payed enough, and letting 'dumb' users decide which browser to use is one of the most moronic things to do as they have no clue as to which browser is better (they all have their positives and negatives), they propably will select the one that has the nicest icon or name... Stop wasting EU tax money on such stupid things...

Re:The should just stop nagging.. (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#41486747)

As a EU citizen I think the EU should stop bothering MS over this browser selectionscreen, otherwise they should also go after Apple for not providing the same option for iOS and MacOSX. MS has already payed enough, and letting 'dumb' users decide which browser to use is one of the most moronic things to do as they have no clue as to which browser is better (they all have their positives and negatives), they propably will select the one that has the nicest icon or name... Stop wasting EU tax money on such stupid things...

Ignoring the EU citizen bit. I personally believe. The EU should have been more vigilant in preventing the Monopoly happening in the first place. The sanction should not be money, but replacing IE as an option from the slection screen :).

I hate eliteist comments like yours attacking moronic(sic) users. The selection screen is a useful way of quickly informing users about the choices available to them.

Microsoft should obviously be penalised for it failing to comply with the 2009 ruling, but the EU should also make sure that Microsoft is paying the right Tax in the EU, and tax loopholes closed if their are any. I am tired of Mega corporations not paying tax.

Can someone please explain the original ruling? (1)

dohzer (867770) | about 2 years ago | (#41486619)

Why do they need to give the option? It's not like they are charging extra money for a browser... it's free. As are most other browsers.
I guess I never understood why they don't also need to present alternatives to basically every other application that comes with Windows (MSPaint, Calculator, Solitaire, Notepad, etc). Why not?

Re:Can someone please explain the original ruling? (2)

ledow (319597) | about 2 years ago | (#41486721)

Nobody, not one person, initiated complaints in the "plain text editor", "basic bitmap editor", "calculator" software categories that were proven in a court of law to be a monopolistic misuse of power to ensure that ONLY their calculator/whatever dominated the market for years.

And the "real" Office suite is an entirely separate (and therefore optional) product.

Which is lucky because if MS were sued by every software manufacturer whose market they had manipulated contrary to anti-monopoly laws, there'd be an awful lot of these "You owe us $0.5bn" messages on some executive's desk. AV/spyware is probably the next major category, but I'm not aware of them doing dirty tricks like paying their end distributors NOT to put McAffee/Norton on machines that already have Windows Defender etc.

It's not a case of what they did. It's a case of what was brought to, and can be proven in, a court of law as deliberate monopolistic manipulation of the relevant market. Either they don't do it in other markets, or they haven't been brought to court for it (yet?).

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