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Microsoft Fined €561 Million For Non-compliance With EU Browser Settlement

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the five-minutes-of-revenue dept.

EU 401

Seeteufel writes "Microsoft's failure to comply with an antitrust settlement about browser choice has severe consequences. The European Commissioner for Competition Almunia set a fine of €561 million (~$732 million) for the unprecedented break of agreement. Microsoft admitted its mistakes and offered further concessions." A pretty costly bug it seems. From the EC press release: "This is the first time that the Commission has had to fine a company for non-compliance with a commitments decision. In the calculation of the fine the Commission took into account the gravity and duration of the infringement, the need to ensure a deterrent effect of the fine and, as a mitigating circumstance, the fact that Microsoft has cooperated with the Commission and provided information which helped the Commission to investigate the matter efficiently."

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Can't believe their arrogance (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43091829)

I can't believe that a company in 2013 would have the audacity to think it can still get away with bundling its own browser with its OS! You'd never see this sort of behavior out of more responsible corporations like Apple.

Re:Can't believe their arrogance (0)

sputnikid (191152) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091877)

.... or Google

Re:Can't believe their arrogance (5, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091985)

No, Google bundles the OS with the browser...

Re:Can't believe their arrogance (1)

lookatmyhorse (2566527) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092057)

and it even got unnoticed for 14 months. in the end it is better to have a default web browser in order to download the user's favorite one.

Re:Can't believe their arrogance (0)

emj (15659) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092089)

But on Mac people tend to download other browsers, it might have changed but most people I know run Firefox or Chrome on their Macs. And I must say half a billion in fines seems rather steep.

Re:Can't believe their arrogance (1, Flamebait)

mrjatsun (543322) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092167)

I am certainly not a MS fan, but it seems to me that the EU has found a way to "grab money from the rich" with the ridiculous fines they have been handling out lately.

Re:Can't believe their arrogance (3, Insightful)

craigminah (1885846) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092373)

I'd love to see Microsoft and others just stop selling their products to countries who seem to want to milk them for as much money as they can. The uprising form the citizens may motivate some common sense. Doubtful though...

Re:Can't believe their arrogance (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092379)

Doesn't Apple now have a larger financial base than MS... Seems they are grabbing money from the less rich, at this point.

Re:Can't believe their arrogance (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092437)

No, they have hopefully found a way to get big companies to listen to their rulings. Small fines won't affect companies like microsoft. 1billion fine might get the next company to think twice before trying to abuse a monopoly.

Re:Can't believe their arrogance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092453)

After seeing that smaller fines didn't deter anybody from breaking rules I can understand that the fines get bigger to drive the point home.

They were under a court order and failed to comply. And it would have been pretty easy to avoid this. This is no milking the rich. The 'rich' were already warned and had enough time to comply.

Re:Can't believe their arrogance (1, Insightful)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092369)

I don't know a *lot* of Mac users, but most of the ones I know seem to stick to Safari, A couple use FireFox.

I'm not so bothered by the Desktop market. I'm more wondering - how can the App store model of Apple have a leg to stand on in the same court system that would allow this?

Note: I didn't add Google or MS mobile devices, because in the cases I've used them, there's always been at least 2 app stores on the phone/tablet, though that may have changed with Windows 8...

Re:Can't believe their arrogance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092577)

I'm more wondering - how can the App store model of Apple have a leg to stand on in the same court system that would allow this?

No problem because Apple does not dominate a market segment. They may have a monopoly on 'ipads', but face healthy competition from android tablets. Microsoft have their 89% or so of desktops, Apple isn't there at all.

Re:Can't believe their arrogance (5, Informative)

jawtheshark (198669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092093)

You'd never see this sort of behavior out of more responsible corporations like Apple.

Look up Apples two year warranty obligations under EU law. They really, really, really don't like it and make the customer believe it's only one year.

It's worse (2)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092125)

The browsers are not just bundled but Apple doesn't even allow other browser engines like Firefox's Gecko to run on the iDevices. The maximum you can do as a browser maker is to put a different skin on top of the Safari renderer. Chromebooks don't even allow browsers.
That means there won't even be a Netscape equivalent to complain about bundling because alternate browsers are just plain banned. Software freedom and choice is more dead in the post-PC world than it was in the PC world.

Re:It's worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092235)

Absolutely not true. Chrome for iOS almost certainly is not using the system provided WebKit since Google probably wants to provide their own JS implementation. There is also Opera Mini and several other browsers. Just because nobody has bothered to make Firefox for iOS doesn't prove a conspiracy on Apple's part. The annoying part of course is that Apple doesn't allow dynamic code execution on iOS. For the longest time, Safari was also restricted from using a JIT. Now of course they are the only ones that can enable it. -_- Even using the system provided WebKit in a project disables the JIT. Still not a conspiracy, but really obnoxious.

Re:It's worse (2, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092329)

Bingo. You can only buy apps THEY approve through THEIR store and effectively they won't allow third-party apps on their device at all without they get a cut.

It's WAY more anticompetitive than anything Microsoft has done recently. These days, Microsoft seems like the good guys. So what if competitor browsers don't come preconfigured? It takes a couple of minutes to download and install Firefox of Chrome or Safari or whatever other browser you want and set it up as the default browser on your system. Then you need never think about Internet Explorer again. Boo hoo.

When is Europe -- or the FTC -- going after Apple for creating a private, you-can't-work-around-it-without-modifying-your-system-software store for their devices?

Re:It's worse (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092595)

They still do NOT have a monopoly on the smart phone market. In fact, they are loosing market share. And the candidate for restriction is google but google is pretty good about making android openish...

Re:It's worse (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092331)

Chromebooks don't even allow browsers.

ChromeOS doesn't allow ANY SOFTWARE to begin with.

Re:Can't believe their arrogance (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092127)

Once Apple or Google or anyone you care to mention have been convicted of abusing a monopoly position, you may have a point.

If you believe that Apple or Google or any other company are a monopoly and are abusing their position, and you feel that you have been harmed by this, feel free to file a complaint with the European Competition Commission.

Re:Can't believe their arrogance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092345)

And WHY were they convicted? For bundling their browser with their OS.

And unlike Google's Chromebooks and Apple's iOS devices, MS didn't even restrict you from installing an alternate browser.

Re:Can't believe their arrogance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092381)

For bundling their browser with their OS. ...whilst having a 90% share of the desktop/laptop market.

Competition law. You don't understand it.

Re:Can't believe their arrogance (2)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092295)

I can't believe that a company in 2013 would have the audacity to think it can still get away with bundling its own browser with its OS! You'd never see this sort of behavior out of more responsible corporations like Apple.

Getting away with it makes you arrogant. You're forgetting over a decade ago in the US there was talk of breaking up Microsoft and they got a stiff fine. In the end the court largely threw in the towel. They had a stranglehold on PCs and personal computers in general. Microsoft crumbled from within not due to any court action and Apple finally started gaining a share of the personal computer market.

Re:Can't believe their arrogance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092419)

The arrogant part is saying that you will provide such a screen to avoid a large fine, and then not doing it anyway.

Re:Can't believe their arrogance (1)

Fri13 (963421) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092421)

Apple developes and sell its own software system preinstalled in own computer system so they can do what ever they want.
Microsoft developes own software system and sell it to OEM what builds own computer system so Microsoft has applied different rules as OEM is dependant of Microsoft.
Microsoft is allowed to do what ever it wants with Surface as same rules apply to it as for Apple.

Why do the big companies always get away with it? (1, Troll)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091833)

If this had been a small company the EU would have had no problem fining them 10% of revenue which is allowed for an act like this. Just because Microsoft has the lawyers to 'cooperate with the Commission' shouldn't allow them off with such a small fine.

Re:Why do the big companies always get away with i (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43091901)

If this had been a small company the EU would have had no problem fining them 10% of revenue which is allowed for an act like this. Just because Microsoft has the lawyers to 'cooperate with the Commission' shouldn't allow them off with such a small fine.

Probably because no one noticed it was missing for 17 months. Eyes closed to the issue?

Re:Why do the big companies always get away with i (1)

lesincompetent (2836253) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091925)

I don't think that's a small fine at all! I mean i think it's a pretty big dent into M$'s browser-related earnings.

Re:Why do the big companies always get away with i (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43091979)

This is the first time they've fined a company, but I assume you know that are are just trolling based on your user name.

Re:Why do the big companies always get away with i (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43091981)

Wow, you are quite the troll. The whole complaint is bullshit.

And you're just a MS hater and an asshole for complaining the fine it too small.

Retard.

Re:Why do the big companies always get away with i (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092153)

That's like calling someone handsome and buff and irresistible to the ladies, you suck at insults. Hating MS is the default state of being for any intelligent and well informed person.

Re:Why do the big companies always get away with i (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092003)

I'd take the opposite approach: If this were either Apple or a non-US company, the EU would not have even bothered.

The only reason the EU is going after MS is because it gives them a justification for funding, and "punishing the evil Americans" is a great bread and circus act.

American companies make a great villain across the pond, so tacking fines and having multiple "kangaroo court" sessions with Microsoft and Google is a popular thing to do. I'm sure if an European company did the same items, the story would be completely different with at most a finger waggle in their direction.

Re:Why do the big companies always get away with i (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092063)

I've no problems with them doing this to MS - though I wouldn't call that a small find (maybe a touch exorbitant) I still wish they'd go after Apple.

Re:Why do the big companies always get away with i (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092101)

Go after Apple for what? They do not have a monopoly in any market.

Re:Why do the big companies always get away with i (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092291)

There are other shit apple is doing, that have nothing to do with monopoly.

Re:Why do the big companies always get away with i (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092371)

Doing shit is not necessarily illegal.

Re:Why do the big companies always get away with i (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092383)

They don't have a monopoly OR an antitrust settlement to break.

Re:Why do the big companies always get away with i (1)

Looker_Device (2857489) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092401)

Neither does MS. There has never been one time in the history of Windows where there weren't at least two or three other perfectly viable OS alternatives. I've used MAC OS's, OS Warp, various flavors of Linux, etc. over the years and have never once felt that Windows was my only option. The only thing you REALLY need Windows for is gaming. And even that is changing.

Re:Why do the big companies always get away with i (2)

characterZer0 (138196) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092587)

The laws regarding monopolies and anti-competitive behavior are more complex than the simple dictionary definition of "monopoly". Microsoft was convicted of abusing a monopoly position, and now has to deal with the results of that conviction.

Re:Why do the big companies always get away with i (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092077)

Why do they get away with it?

In case that's not a rhetorical question, it's because we, in Europe and the US, continue to reelect the people they put on the ballot.

Re:Why do the big companies always get away with i (1)

RandomFactor (22447) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092327)

Both parties in the (root of most evil) 2-party system are effectively identical from the standpoint of corporations.

Voting against the 'incumbent' but for the other duopoly party doesn't give corporations any reason to think anything will change, so they don't adjust behavior.

does this even hurt them, though? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43091835)

Even at nearly three quarters of a billion dollars this still seems to be a slap on the wrist.

Obviously one of the questions of the 21st century will be whether or not there will be any way to keep just huge concentrations of power from steamrolling over every individual right. It's a huge amount of money AND nothing at the same time. It's sure as heck unlikely to influence anyone's behavior at Microsoft.

Re:does this even hurt them, though? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43091987)

It's sure as heck unlikely to influence anyone's behavior at Microsoft.

That fine is not just against Microsoft's browser software, it's against Microsoft's business model: "Through software, deliver evil."

Okay, that's my opinion, but I'm not the only one who thinks that way.

Re:does this even hurt them, though? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092105)

Nope, there are a bunch of other idealistic shills who are more concerned with free crap, or getting their asses expanded by violent penetration from rotten fruit, that believe the same as you!

Microsoft has done a lot of wrong, more through legal matters, than software, but they are not the worst company out there by any means. Have you ever had to deal with Apple or Oracle?

Re:does this even hurt them, though? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092357)

How are Microsoft's customers harmed by browser bundling?

Re:does this even hurt them, though? (3, Insightful)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092509)

IE6 lock-in is still causing harm now, over a decade after it was first inflicted on us.

Mean while in america (1, Insightful)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091845)

Mean while in america we fine 1.92 billion HSBC for laundering money for terrorists and drug lords. Apparently laundering money for terrorists and drug lords is only 2.5 (roughly) times as bad as not complying with an EU court settlement.

Re:Mean while in america (4, Interesting)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091883)

Has a fine like this *ever* been paid in the U.S. though in actuality?

It either gets fed to the appeals system which reduces it or ties the payment up for so long it's meaningless or it gets ignored and forgotten.

I can't remember one example of a company just paying the fine and moving on, actually. Does someone else here remember anything like this?

Re:Mean while in america (5, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091923)

Who ever said fines were supposed to be proportional to perceived severity of crime? Especially across different judicial systems.

Fines need to take account of ability to pay. And they also need to be designed to be of a size that will stop reoffending. GIven that Microsoft have reoffended, that's a good indication that the original fine wasn't big enough.

Re:Mean while in america (4, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092059)

Mean while in america we fine 1.92 billion HSBC for laundering money for terrorists and drug lords. Apparently laundering money for terrorists and drug lords is only 2.5 (roughly) times as bad as not complying with an EU court settlement.

Neither is as bad as sharing a song over bittorrent.

Re:Mean while in america (1)

jopsen (885607) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092297)

Mean while in america we fine 1.92 billion HSBC for laundering money for terrorists and drug lords

I'm not particularly familiar with the case, but quite skeptical about US financial sanctions... The US isn't world police... and HSBC is an international bank with obligations to help their customers as best they can. That includes guiding money around US financial sanctions.

For crying out load, the US still has sanctions against Cuba. I'm not saying Cuba is the finest country on the surface of the planet. But they're hardly a threat to anybody.

I'm not a conspiracy theorist, and I'm sure HSBC did something truly bad to deserve such a fine... Just saying that I haven't heard their side of the story told anywhere...

On topic: there's a difference between testing the boundaries of the law (which I assume is what HSBC did) and not complying with a court order given to you specifically (what Microsoft did). (Not saying that excessive boundary testing (ie. breaking the law) shouldn't be punished hard)

Re:Mean while in america (1, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092321)

In America while laundering money for terrorists is considered a bad thing and a serious matter, that is being counterbalanced by the fact that it was a bank and bank's are not allowed to be seriously harmed - doing so would be more evil than funding those terrorists.

What would happen to you if you were caught handling $200 trillion of drug money? All you assets seized by the government and you spending the rest of your life in prison seems a likely outcome. When a bank does it? A fine (oh noes, their profits took a 17% hit) and no one goes to jail.

Beginning to feel sorry for Microsoft. (5, Interesting)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091869)

Even as a Microsoft hater of old, I'm beginning to feel sorry for MS. For sure, 15 years ago they were engaged in monopoly abuse to advantage IE. But these days, IE itself is on the way out. WebKit based browsers are the clear majority these days. And neither Apple nor Google have to offer users of their systems a choice of browser.

It must really rub salt in the wound to have a statutory obligation to offer alternatives to their minority browser.

Re:Beginning to feel sorry for Microsoft. (1)

Threni (635302) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091931)

In reality, nobody uses most of the browsers Microsoft made available as an option (well, except for a 14 month period). The only possible ones anyone with a clue might use on a Windows box would be Firefox and Chrome. Given that practically everyone uses Google's search engine (does anyone actually use Bing?), they're always one click away from installing Chrome anyway. Firefox is still popular amongst developers (but practically no-one else).

Their browser wasn't a 'minority browser' back when this obligation was established; it's taken Microsoft a long time to go from `crappy browser everyone has to use` to `average browser which is still a requirement for older, crappier websites`.

Re:Beginning to feel sorry for Microsoft. (2)

captainpanic (1173915) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092137)

Firefox is still popular amongst developers (but practically no-one else).

Then either 23.18% of people browsing the interwebs are developers, or you are wrong.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_web_browsers [wikipedia.org]

Re:Beginning to feel sorry for Microsoft. (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092337)

Does anybody actually choose a search engine? Type the search in the address field seems the normal technique - and on a stock IE that will use bing, on chrome google, and with firefox I would suspect google too.

Re:Beginning to feel sorry for Microsoft. (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091941)

It was a ridiculous suit in the first place. Every OS bundles core applications - including now web browsers. People never had an issue switching off of IE even with it installed by default and the decline in usage of IE had nothing to do with the anti-trust settlements.

All of this was a huge waste of time. There are far better targets out there to attack (like oil, banking, etc.) but they have better lobbyists.

Re:Beginning to feel sorry for Microsoft. (2)

1u3hr (530656) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092075)

People never had an issue switching off of IE

After Windows 95, it is basically impossible to "switch off". No matter what default browser you chose, IE was likely to pop up. And doing so it opened big security holes.

Re:Beginning to feel sorry for Microsoft. (2)

flimflammer (956759) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092341)

That uncertainty wasn't exactly Microsoft's fault. Developers were just retarded about how they would launch their own links. Many of them hardcoded launching IE because they were certain it was on the machine, rather than using any mechanism to launch a preferred browser.

Even today we still see this behavior and it's not always small developers who do it, which is shameful.

Re:Beginning to feel sorry for Microsoft. (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092411)

Most of the security holes we've seen in the last several years, though, have been based on plugins and really don't depend on a particular browser.

I also have never seen IE pop up on my machine.

Re:Beginning to feel sorry for Microsoft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092551)

Also, switching it off would be impossible for our workplace and I'd guess a lot of others. At that time a lot of software embeded the text control and other stuff from ie to control everything without having to build a complete text editor/layout engine. That way you get all sorts of things for free, simple layouts, system fonts, buttons, links etc.

Re:Beginning to feel sorry for Microsoft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092447)

Every OS bundles core applications - including now web browsers.

How many of those OSs had a 90% market share? That's right, just one. Guess which.

Re:Beginning to feel sorry for Microsoft. (4, Insightful)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091983)

Even as a Microsoft hater of old, I'm beginning to feel sorry for MS. For sure, 15 years ago they were engaged in monopoly abuse to advantage IE. But these days, IE itself is on the way out. WebKit based browsers are the clear majority these days. And neither Apple nor Google have to offer users of their systems a choice of browser.

It must really rub salt in the wound to have a statutory obligation to offer alternatives to their minority browser.

Well, perhaps, but isn't that the point of a punishment? To punish? Punishments can never happen at the same time as the offence, so they have to happen after! MS have got off pretty lightly really, considering the damage they managed to do in the past.

Google OS (0)

sputnikid (191152) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091873)

What about OSes that don't even allow other browsers to be installed on them? Are they exempt from this type of ruling?

What if I want to run Firefox, IE and Opera on my Google OS powered Chromebook. Should Google be forced to allow this or be fined?

Re:Google OS (2)

Threni (635302) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091947)

How can they allow software which doesn't exist to run on they're operating system? You'd probably have been better off attempting a car analogy.

Re:Google OS (5, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091969)

This was done under EU anti-monopoly legislation. Microsoft was at the time judged to have a monopoly share of the PC OS market. And as such they couldn't use that monopoly to leverage advantage into the web browser market.

Since neither Google nor Apple have monopoly shares in any OS platform, they should not and cannot be required to do this.

One could argue that since Microsoft Windows is now on the slide, and WebKit based browsers are now the market leader, that the anti-monopoly action against Microsoft is no longer necessary. However that is for a court to decide. Not for Microsoft to simply disregard their obligation.

Re:Google OS (5, Insightful)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092181)

One could argue that since Microsoft Windows is now on the slide, and WebKit based browsers are now the market leader, that the anti-monopoly action against Microsoft is no longer necessary. However that is for a court to decide. Not for Microsoft to simply disregard their obligation.

*Plus*, just because a remedy is no longer necessary does not mean it shouldn't still happen. That's the nature of punishments.

"Oh, Mr Murderer, you're not currently killing anyone? Well then be on your way, you little scamp!"

Re:Google OS (4, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092289)

not necessary now doesn't mean that it didn't happen, of which they were found guilty. The fact that even after they were found guilty they continued to let it happen and denied it, is why they are now seeking this to be a deterrent.

If you think MS is not doing anything anti-monopoly, I'd like to remind you of the UEFI BIOS issue.

Re:Google OS (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092029)

What about OSes that don't even allow other browsers to be installed on them? Are they exempt from this type of ruling?

Yes yes, goddammit yes. The ruling was to attempt to correct *abuse of monopoly*. Bundling browsers (or anything) isn't in itself illegal, but using one monopoly (OS) to leverage another (browser) *is*.

Just because this isn't a problem anymore doesn't mean they shouldn't be punished for it. Punishments must still happen for past actions.

Re:Google OS (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092171)

It, by itself is not the bad thing.

The bad thing is when you use your dominance in one area (desktop OSes and Office suites) to dominate other markets to the point of harm to both the competition and to end users.

This can be seen as a requirement to use MSIE in order to use Outlook Web Access. Though this wasn't, to my knowledge, used in the case against Microsoft, it is a strong example of how Microsoft pushed its dominance into other areas to the harm and exclusion of others. This is antitrust.

Imagine if someone like me had an effective monopoly on automobile tires and I used that to expand into the road construction business resulting in roads that were "more compatible" with my tires than those of competitors.

great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43091885)

I hope MS continues its Non-compliance and thus financing the EU. Next it is going to be Google, Apple and Facebook for not following anti trust and privacy laws in the EU. Because of the EU the world is a better place! since it sends a clear message to companies that operate as a Oligopoly.

a bug? (3, Funny)

yagu (721525) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091909)

There is virtually ZERO chance/probability that this was a Microsoft bug.

Re:a bug? (1)

Cyphax (262239) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092051)

If it is, imagine being the developer responsible for it. That's gonna be awkward, when your boss tells you that your screwup cost over half a billion.

I can't imagine this being a bug, either. It would mean they didn't test it at all, which I don't think Microsoft would do. But if it was intentional, somebody in Microsoft decided to do this and THEY are responsible.

Re:a bug? (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092507)

There is virtually ZERO chance/probability that this was a Microsoft bug.

Really? Given that the browser box was added to Windows 7 RTM, and then wasn't there in SP1, you don't think that the issue would have been that somebody checked it into the RTM branch, but then didn't know they were responsible for merging it into the SP1 branch? Different teams will have different merging policies, and given how one off the browser box is/was, I suspect it may not have been done by a main Windows developer.

By comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43091919)

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh cut the amount Samsung is obligated to pay Apple by about $450.5 million, or nearly 43%, to $598.9 million.

And Microsoft is fined $732 million for not complying with a court order / ruling?

Re:By comparison (2)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092055)

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh cut the amount Samsung is obligated to pay Apple by about $450.5 million, or nearly 43%, to $598.9 million.

And Microsoft is fined $732 million for not complying with a court order / ruling?

You're comparing a civil suit in one country to a criminal fine in another. Why bother comparing, they're completely different things.

Oh man, this had to happen sooner or later (5, Funny)

TechieRefugee (2105386) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091921)

It sure is a *fine* story!

Re:Oh man, this had to happen sooner or later (1)

FBeans (2201802) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091995)

It sure is a *fine* story!

I will always vote up puns. ALWAYS.

Re:Oh man, this had to happen sooner or later (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092091)

As opposed to pun-ishing them?

next up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43091945)

bundling an "app store" into Windows 8 then designing the OS to refuse certain local API features to products that haven't been sold through Microsoft's own store, no other vendor can or has been given the chance to setup their own store or is able to offer products that can utilise those APIs without restriction, the customer (lol) cannot shop anywhere else, effectively making the OS a 2 tier system, fully featured applications or those that haven't paid MS a fee
.
a prime case of a monopoly abuse, nice try

Re:next up (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092275)

bundling an "app store" into Windows 8 then designing the OS to refuse certain local API features to products that haven't been sold through Microsoft's own store, no other vendor can or has been given the chance to setup their own store or is able to offer products that can utilise those APIs without restriction, the customer (lol) cannot shop anywhere else, effectively making the OS a 2 tier system, fully featured applications or those that haven't paid MS a fee . a prime case of a monopoly abuse, nice try

I'm looking around and I can't see Win8 having a significant percent of the market (maybe I can't see because it's night time, but anyway...) what monopoly are you talking about?

Why stop there ? (1)

TheBlackMan (1458563) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091963)

I mean now Microsoft should be fined for trying to literally break the bank with its new UEFI/Secureboot monopolistic idiocy.
But let's go higher this time - i hereby propose 10.000.000.000 $ (ten US billions of US dollars).

And while doing that, why not stop this Secureboot crap from happening while we still can ?

Why a company with known history like that is allowed to continue its sick practices is beyond me.

Re:Why stop there ? (2)

Annirak (181684) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092147)

For Security!

No, I'm serious. Vague handwaving about "security" seems to make all kinds of human rights abuses "okay." So UEFI secure boot is clearly good for everyone. I mean, it has "secure" right in the name! That must make it good! We should all thank Microsoft for making our BIOS's "secure"! After all, once the BIOS is "secure," we can use it to make the whole system secure! Right? Right....?

Microsoft can get away with UEFI Secureboot right now because it's for security. But it happens to coincide with a move in the industry away from PC's as PCs. People are buying tablets as entertainment devices (you still can't do real work on them) instead of PCs. I don't think that the anti-trust courts are really going to pay much attention to this one.

Re:Why stop there ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092215)

Why would anyone use Microsoft?
Just buy a Playstation(n), and get a real computer.
Or buy an Apple if that's what u r into.
*UEFI/Secureboot should be illegal.*

Re:Why stop there ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092467)

Because this is the result of a lengthy court process and subsequent settlement. The fine is awarded for violation of the settlement. Neither the EU, nor the governments involved, can just aribtrarily write out fines for things!

The EU should stop enforcing the law... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092025)

...and protecting its citizens' rights! Communists! God wants corporations to be free to do whatever the f**k they like!

For shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092053)

I'm okay with that. People should stop paying for crippled, restricted code...IE is horrible software that's non-rfc-compliant anyway. MS should be fined for even trying to sell it's products to the general public, and taking advantage of consumers. MS Charges extra for encryption, they've been caught stealing software. Shame on them for trying to swindle my parents and grandparents.

Meanwhile... (0)

aliquis (678370) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092129)

Macs, iPhones and iPads ships with Safari.

Most Linux dists with Firefox and I suppose Android may have a standard browser to.

OH THE HUMANITY! THE HORRORS! I HAVE TO CHANGE BROWSER MYSELF?!

Stupid.

Today the browser is even more important than the rest of the OS =P, at least (eventually) as far as the user (me at least =P) is concerned.

Re:Meanwhile... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092237)

Stupid

Yes, you are, and so is every other person who's already posted the same thing as you.

Microsoft were referred to the EU Competition Commission due to a complain by Opera. They were found to hold a monopoly on desktop Operating Systems. They were found to be using this monopoly to illegally extend their monopoly into another market, namely web browsers. The original action (being forced to provide Browser Choice) was intended to address their illegal action. Microsoft subsequently ignored this, for 14 months, all the time claiming that they were in compliance. This fine is a result of their actions in ignoring a previous agreement with the EU.

You can stamp your feet and whine all you like, but that's the law and those are the facts.

Apple are not expected to comply with the same rules before they have not been referred to the EU Competition Commission and thus legally there is no monopoly status, and therefore can not be using that monopoly to extend their market in other areas.

If you believe that Apple are a monopoly and that they are harming consumers through their actions relating to that monopoly, please feel free to complain to the EU Competition Commission.

Re:Meanwhile... (1)

an unsound mind (1419599) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092485)

The ruling comes from an another era, back when Microsoft was guilty of abusing it's position.

They no longer have that position to abuse, but they still weren't compliant with a court order.

Where does the fine go? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092151)

Will it go towards something applaudable like technology for education, or technology for the unprivileged, or will it go to pay off the lawyers, and change the office furniture (including the windows shades ;)?

Re:Where does the fine go? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092323)

Will it go towards something applaudable like technology for education, or technology for the unprivileged, or will it go to pay off the lawyers, and change the office furniture (including the windows shades ;)?

Keep PIGS afloat for a couple of days longer.

that will keep Greece afloat for a month (1)

who_stole_my_kidneys (1956012) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092155)

not sure who they will fine next month.

the logic of this (-1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092173)

Wow, that's an awfully high fine for MS to pay considering it DOESN'T MAKE A PENNY ON ITS BROWSER! Seriously! So it by default might convince a small percentage of people to use Bing. So what? I use Google in IE. Deal with it. I can see them paying a fine for including a movie editor in Windows because they make money on Windows. With the alleged browser wars, it's just an idiotic waste of time. It's such a non-money-maker for them, it's just idiotic. I can't believe all 3-ish sides are spending billions in marketing and fines and development to release a free product. What next, are Linux distros going to buy a Superbowl ad to try and compete with each other?

Why focus on this of all things? (0)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092195)

It does seem strange that of all the anti-competitive things that Microsoft did, bundling the browser turned out to be the sticking point. Everyone else does that, and Apple's current practice (no even allowing competing browser engines at all on iOS) seems considerably worse. Microsoft really did commit a great deal of anti-competitive behavior, mostly in the 1995-2005 period, though some of it continues today – but most of this had little to do with IE. To the extent it did, it was only possible because of their desktop OS and office suite monopolies. I think we would have been better served if Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's original remedy had been carried out and Microsoft had been split into two parts, an OS division and an apps division. If that had been done, we'd almost certainly already have Office on iOS and Android. An even better solution, suggested by some commenters at the time, would have been to split Microsoft into several "Baby Bills", independent companies which would each have full rights to the existing MS copyrights and source code. Who knows, if that had been done, one of them might have even attempted to go open source at some point to gain more market share, or been bought out by Google...

Re:Why focus on this of all things? (1)

91degrees (207121) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092537)

It sort of made sense back in 1998 or so. Can't help thinking it made less sense when the judgement was finally made. By that time, a browser really was an expected part of an OS. Now it's practically impossible to buy a computer without a browser. Even games consoles and ebook readers have them.

Meanwhile, nobody is in the third party browser business (if they ever were). A more relevant demand for today would be to force MS to allow a selection of start pages.

what about the windows RT lock down and the win 8 (4, Interesting)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092213)

what about the windows RT lock down and the win 8 app store how will that go under EU rules?

Re:what about the windows RT lock down and the win (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092475)

what about the windows RT lock down and the win 8 app store how will that go under EU rules?

There has to be an EU citizen that buys these first...

Re:what about the windows RT lock down and the win (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092563)

Not applicable. Windows RT is nowhere near a monopoly.

They should have doubled the original fine. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092325)

That seems to be the only thing that would get the attention MS should be providing.

The gravity of the situation? (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092535)

the gravity and duration of the infringement

Given that the choice to use multiple free pieces of software is such a grave situation I'd expect the fine to be 0.

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