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EU May Fine Microsoft

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the just-a-couple-of-billion dept.

Microsoft 349

Yokaze writes: "The Wall Street Journal reports about a leaked European Comission document, that suggests that the EU may fine MS for anti-competitive behaviour. The fine can be up to 10% of the annual revenue, or $2.5 billion and may include the demand to remove certain programs from Windows. The report harshly criticized MS way of taking influence in the case, even speaking of trying to mislead the observers. Regarding the report of the WSJ, European Competition Commissioner Mario Monti said, that the case is still at a preliminary stage, since MS still has the right to defend itself at a hearing. Or in his own words: 'To speak of a fine when Microsoft has not yet disputed the Commission's preliminary findings both in fact and law -- as it it's right -- is premature.' Since the original is for subscribers only, take a look at Yahoo or the more detailed report from BBC News. Lastly with some different details a report from Heise in German."

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Toasty! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2410276)

First toast [drtoast.com] !

-DFW

Ragheads, Morally Bankrupt, On the Wall ... (-1)

benevolent_spork (446160) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410337)



99 Towel Heads Up On The Wall ...
99 Sheep fucking twits,
You shoot one down,
You kick it around,
98 Rag Heads left on the Wall.

98 Cumlicking Chickenshits on the Wall,
98 Camel sucking penis stuffers,
You shoot one down,
You kick it around,
97 slimy turds left on the wall.

97 Raghead Swine on the wall,
97 Shit Encrusted pukes,
You shoot one down,
You kick it around,
96 flea harbors left on the wall.

96 Moronic idol polishers on the wall,
96 pink skirted sphincter tasters,
You shoot one down,
You kick it around,
95 pillow biters left on the wall.

95 pustuled penis suckers on the wall,
95 festering maggots,
You shoot one down,
You kick it around,
94 brainwashed puddle scum left on the wall.

Re:Ragheads, Morally Bankrupt, On the Wall ... (-1)

TrollMan 5000 (454685) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410353)

Greetings, ST! Welcome to Troll Wednesday, since Troll Tuesday was so successful, we trolls decided to give it another day.

BTW, tomorrow is Troll Thursday! Get ready!

Re:Ragheads, Morally Bankrupt, On the Wall ... (-1)

benevolent_spork (446160) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410376)

You PT5K! Sup homeslice!

How the fuck are you spastic hell?

I tried out my new edger attachment today on my 3-stroke gas powered ryobi (now john deere) lawn tool. That thing simply kicks ass. Does a real good job and, get this, it is more efficient and even quieter than the older 2-stroke technology of my Dad's day. I just love it!

Re:Ragheads, Morally Bankrupt, On the Wall ... (-1)

j0nkatz (315168) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410398)

w3rd up to all muh homies in 'da hood!

Re:Ragheads, Morally Bankrupt, On the Wall ... (-1)

benevolent_spork (446160) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410441)

You JK! How the fuck are you spastic hell?

Did you hear that crymore_flunkie has a new girlfriend? I guess her name is "Jackie" and she was fig_pesticle's girlfriend first, so I dont know if they share or what.

Re:Ragheads, Morally Bankrupt, On the Wall ... (-1)

j0nkatz (315168) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410478)

WHAT??????
I think CmdrTaco's mother is named Jackie!
Things that make ya go hmmmmmmmmm.....

Re:Ragheads, Morally Bankrupt, On the Wall ... (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410501)

You are one of the most ignorant motherfuckers on the planet we call earth.

Burn in hell, you shit encrusted ass-rapist.

Re:Ragheads, Morally Bankrupt, On the Wall ... (-1)

egg troll (515396) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410416)

For Troll Wednesday will we be serving punch and pie?

Re:Ragheads, Morally Bankrupt, On the Wall ... (-1)

TrollMan 5000 (454685) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410443)

Spiked punch and hair pie.

Plenty of it.

Re:Ragheads, Morally Bankrupt, On the Wall ... (-1)

egg troll (515396) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410485)

And can we play pin the tail on the donkey? Only we can call it pin the giver on the goatsex guy?

Hey, who /.ed /. ??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2410283)

Well, this is what I just got:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2001 13:53:59 GMT Server: Apache/1.3.20 (Unix) mod_perl/1.25 X-Powered-By: Slash 2.001000 Set-Cookie: user=nobody; path=/; expires=Thu, 10-Oct-2002 13:53:59 GMT Connection: close Transfer-Encoding: chunked Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1
OK
The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.
Please contact the server administrator, pater@slashdot.org and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

Apache/1.3.20 Server at slashdot.org Port 80

Re:Hey, who /.ed /. ??? (-1)

Sunken Kursk (518450) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410287)

Yeah, I got one of those earlier too, but everything crashed shortly afterwards. Slashcode blatantly sucks.

Re:Hey, who /.ed /. ??? (-1, Flamebait)

NineNine (235196) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410315)

I agree. Slashdot goes down more often than Cmd Taco's mother.

Re:Hey, who /.ed /. ??? (-1)

j0nkatz (315168) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410414)

It was me.

1 4m 4n 3v1l 1337 h4X0r.

1 w1ll 0wnz j00!

Re:Hey, who /.ed /. ??? (0, Offtopic)

tulare (244053) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410289)

"Connection refused by http://slashdot.org"

I thought it was just me.

Re:Hey, who /.ed /. ??? (-1, Troll)

Kruemelmo (21012) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410295)

/. was /.ed after goatse.cx linked to slashdot.org

Re:Hey, who /.ed /. ??? (0, Troll)

kubrick (27291) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410305)

Shouldn't they call that getting goatse'd?

Yuck...

Re:Hey, who /.ed /. ??? (-1)

Dead Fart Warrior (525970) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410292)

If they'd switch to J2EE instead of perl, they'd have caching abilities amongst other advantages when bogged down (basically, you wouldn't get stuck in static pages), and they need to switch to a commercial DB like oracle, cause mySQL can't handle the load.

Here's an example of when Open Source fails compaired to commerical products.

Re:Hey, who /.ed /. ??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2410361)

Ugh, the sites that crash most frequently for me seem to be the ones with JRun errors. While I admire anyone who can _engineer_ good software in Perl (it requires some skill!), and Java as a whole is a nice idea reasonably implemented, I really don't understand why more people don't write scripts in C. Yes, plain Jane C. It's fast, it's *shock* portable if done right, it's secure if simple rules are adhered to. And did I mention it was fast?

My first scripts on a medium-sized (then) website in 1996 were written in C alone. And they were beautifully quick and stable. The news script lasted 4 years without a re-architecture, and that was with creative use of text files, rather than MyCrashSQL.

(But back to the post, if MySQL can't handle something, it's probably time to move up the ladder to PostgreSQL, which is a true example of quality Free software).

-- Tom

Hey, who farted on /. ??? (-1)

TrollMan 5000 (454685) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410366)

Nice FP, DFW. But why the AC status?

Re:Hey, who /.ed /. ??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2410293)

Something weird going on here too... Connection refused sporadically...

God Bless Open Source!! (-1, Flamebait)

egg troll (515396) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410465)

If Slashdot had been running IIS instead of Apache, there'd be a front page story about how MS doesn't scale or something. But when you hold Open Source software to the same standard, its another story altogether.

dft (-1)

Dead Fart Warrior (525970) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410284)

Double first toast [drtoast.com]

I guess Slashdot Needed Some Traffic..... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2410288)

so they post an MS story. I think its an addiction.

Put the fine to use (4, Interesting)

0tim0 (181143) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410291)

Personally, I would be happy with a fine in the US -- if the fine could be used to support an open source consumer OS.

IOW, fine MS a billion or so dollars and use it to fund an (OSX-like) GUI for, say, linux (or FreeBSD, or whatever).

MS would gladly pay the money to get out of this mess. And it would be the only viable way (that I can think of) to actually have a real Windows alternative. Everybody wins.

I don't know if our courts are allowed to make creative punishments like that. But it probably could be a decent settlement.

--tim

Re:Put the fine to use (1)

zottel (412831) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410323)

i'm not so sure microsoft would be very happy with that kind of solution... i'm sure they got the money to pay, but having it used to fund an alternative that might eventually become a better and even more widely used alterantive to windows is most certainly NOT something they would like to see.

Re:Put the fine to use (2, Insightful)

Jburkholder (28127) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410474)

>i'm not so sure microsoft would be very happy with that kind of solution

I wasn't aware that there was any expectation that Microsoft had to be happy with anything that results from their "anti-competitive behaviour".

In fact, I'm almost positive that a punishment, such as a fine, is expressly intended to be something that makes Microsoft unhappy. ;-)

>...a better and even more widely used alterantive to windows is most certainly NOT something they would like to see.

Good point. That might level the playing field and disassemble their monopoly. Microsoft wouldn't like that. ;-)

But, as to using the fine to fund an opensource consumer OS:

I'm having a hard time imagining how that could ever happen. Is there any precedent for government imposed fines to be given to a third party for *any* purpose?

Re:Put the fine to use (1)

Jburkholder (28127) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410510)

Ugh, nevermind. I went back and reread the post at the top of this thread and realised the post I was replying to was responding to this:

>MS would gladly pay the money to get out of this mess

I will go stand in the corner now for the next five minutes.

this aint communism (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2410329)

this moderation just proves slashdot is just a techno geek site for commies.

hey, how about your give your life savings to the government so starving people in this country can eat??

Get real jerkoff, robin hood wannabe.

Re:this aint communism (2, Interesting)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410426)

hey, how about your give your life savings to the government so starving people in this country can eat??

That is not comparable, unless the life savings in question, was profit from a crime.

Are you in favor of criminals getting to keep ill-gotten gains? For example, if I rob a bank and get caught, do I still get to keep the money? The situation is no different with Microsoft and the sales revenue that they got from illegal trade-restraining per-processor contracts. If Microsoft were willing to compete in a free market, none of this would be happening to them. Free market advocates != commies. Law and justice advocates != commies.

What amazes me is the fine's 10% of revenue limit. That's like I rob a bank and get caught, and only have to give 10% back.

Re:Put the fine to use (4, Interesting)

SamBeckett (96685) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410344)

Why exactly is it our (the USA) government's job to fund an alternative OS? If there were money to be made for an alternative OS, people would make the OS for the money...

But Microsoft is a monopoly you say... -- Exactly the point of the case.. Don't allow Microsoft to use their normal strong-arm tacticts (at the fear of further punishment, break-ups) so any and all competitors won't be crushed.

That is why I think any one who wants the government to force Microsoft to open Windows' source code is on crack. Well, that and another reason-- if we all agree that Windows sucks *ss, then why do we want the source code so bad?

Re:Put the fine to use (2, Interesting)

liquidsin (398151) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410363)

As much as I think this is a fantastic idea, I doubt that the U.S. gov't would force a company to fund their competitors. Too bad though...

Re:Put the fine to use (1)

gmag3 (121600) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410378)

No one gladly pays a billion dollar fine.

How did this get modded up?! (-1, Flamebait)

egg troll (515396) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410437)

WTF?! How did this fruity post get modded up to plus five?! Most scribblings on the wall of a skid row bathroom are more well thought out than this thing. Lets take money from MS and give it to someone to make a GUI for a shitty OS. Ummm...yeah, ok.

Maybe when MS is fined the EU could spare a quarter to buy this shit-heel a clue?

Re:Put the fine to use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2410481)

mmm... how about using a possible fine to house you and others who come up with similar ideas in
mental institutions

Hey... (1)

ekrout (139379) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410296)

that's "Fine" with me ;-)

And yet you curse the DMCA? (2, Flamebait)

dave-fu (86011) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410300)

We're quickly moving back to the old notion of city-states with their own conflicting sets of laws. It's looking harder and harder to do business on a global scale as you open yourself up to provincial, myopic laws of other lands (just ask Dmitry), which I guess is an interesting dichotomy from the WTO's vision of "one world, one corporation".
I'd be happy if Microsoft had the huevos to not even bother to dispute the charges and just pulled all of its software out of the EU, flipping them the bird and leaving them to scramble for dry ground. It'd be a trial by fire for free software supporters, and I'd be very interested to see how it turns out.

Re:And yet you curse the DMCA? (1)

lcypher (446291) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410347)

Score 3 "Interesting"?

I'd be happy if Microsoft had the huevos to not even bother to dispute the charges and just pulled all of it's software out of the U.S., flipping them the bird and leaving them to scramble for dry ground.

Re:And yet you curse the DMCA? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2410386)

You, like so many other slashdotters, seem to forget that just because you don't agree with an opinion, it needn't necessarily be "-1 flamebait."

Re:And yet you curse the DMCA? (4, Insightful)

imadork (226897) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410348)

I'd be happy if Microsoft had the huevos to not even bother to dispute the charges and just pulled all of its software out of the EU, flipping them the bird and leaving them to scramble for dry ground. It'd be a trial by fire for free software supporters, and I'd be very interested to see how it turns out.

We can only hope! Can you imagine all that money that used to go to MS licenses going instead to fund new software development because Microsoft is too arrogant to play nice, so it takes its ball and goes home? Something good would come out of that, I'm sure.

The first thing that would be done is every single MS proprietaty protocol will be reverse-engineered (and legally, too, at least for Europe!). Even if those of us in the U.S. wouldn't be able to use it legally, I'm sure it would be useful to us.

Which ones would those be? (1)

dave-fu (86011) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410418)

The .Net framework? SOAP? XML? Kerberos? SMB? Don't be afraid to name names.

Re:And yet you curse the DMCA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2410350)

I don't think there would be much of a problem.
M$ can't stop the use of already sold software licenses so developers would have at least 2 years to port everything to another OS - should be more than enough

Re:And yet you curse the DMCA? (4, Insightful)

PastaAnta (513349) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410359)

We're quickly moving back to the old notion of city-states with their own conflicting sets of laws.

Au contraire! The EU has its foundation in removing barriers of trade (primarily in Europe of course..). And the borders are getting less visible for every year.

You may also say, that removing barriers of trade is all about securing a healthy competition on a larger scale in a smaller world. This is exactly the same reason for which you have laws against monopolies - to secure a healthy competition.

Re:And yet you curse the DMCA? (1)

antek9 (305362) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410364)

It would turn out to be the one kick in the development of *X that the world needed. Pulling out of Europe for Microsoft would be the same as involuntarily creating the Borg (I know, reversed roles..) and they'd have to suffer the consequences.

Re:And yet you curse the DMCA? (2, Insightful)

stephend (1735) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410372)

In this case, the EU would be trying MS on basically the same laws that got them into trouble in the states. I don't think that's really a "myopic law from another country" and comparing it to Dmitry's case makes absolutely no sense.

And who would it benefit for MS to pull out of Europe? The population of Europe is probably greater than that of the US. They'd lose a huge amount of money, much more than the 10% that the EU could fine them.

For all their faults, Microsoft know how to make money.

Hmm. Interesting. (1)

dave-fu (86011) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410431)

I see this as the new cash cow for states and nations the world over.
Business A is found guilty of something. Business A does business in both Nation X and State Y. This act of which they've been found guilty (in Home Nation P) is, under their respective laws, punishable by a hefty fine. No need for a trial, as they're already guilty, just send them the bill.
I like it a lot.

Re:Hmm. Interesting. (2, Insightful)

MfA (107204) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410480)

They seem to have a right to a hearing.

BTW whats the alternative? If you think they shouldnt be allowed to fine foreign companies then I assume you must be suggesting that all anti trust laws be abolished (since fines are the only way you have any sway over foreign companies, and if you can escape all anti trust laws simply by setting up shop in the country with the laws which suit you then there is very little use for them anywhere in a world with a globalized economy).

Re:And yet you curse the DMCA? (1, Redundant)

Diabolical (2110) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410439)

Microsoft does not constitute to our countries as large as it does to the US. Scrambling out the EU is going to hurt MS more than the proposed fine.

And provincial? Myopic? Last time i checked we were not a province of the US nor was Russia (Dmitry's homeland)... Please.. leave your backhoe opinions at home when you try to communicate with others.. get educated..

Once they threaten that, they're dead (in europe) (3, Interesting)

Baki (72515) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410506)

I could imagine Microsoft threatening pulling out it's software, thinking it might scare Europe and have them come back at their knees.

Well, they might, just for short term tactics.
However such a move would create a shock in Europe, making everyone to realise how very dangerous the current situation is, being so dependant upon the software of a single (foreign) company.

Surely, this shock would initiate a big effort to get rid of this dangerous dependance and spell the end of MSFT software in Europe.

I can only hope they pull out their software or at least threaten to do it. It might finally open the eyes of many.

Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2410303)

Would anyone like to translate this article into proper English? Its hard to read all the run-on sentences and decipher the meaning of the misplaced commas.

Re:Article (3, Informative)

motherhead (344331) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410404)

babalfish translation of the German article

Microsoft threatens high punishment of the European Union trust guards

The European union could impose a high punishment in in August the officially initiated trust legal procedure against Microsoft and force the company to remove features from Windows. This comes out from a confidential document of the European Union commission, which is present the barrier Street journal. The US business paper reported that the commission in unusually sharp tone determines, Microsoft tried, the Ermittler in errs to lead and the procedure obstruct. From this reason a possible punishment will more highly fail, as if Microsoft would have cooperated. The European Union commission could impose a punishment, which amounts to 10 per cent of Microsofts year's turnover, that is 2.5 billion US Dollar.

The Ermittler of the European Union commission is the opinion that Microsoft abused its supremacy in illegal way at Windows and Office software, in order to become generally accepted in the fast growing market for Business and Internet software. Additionally Microsoft tried to displace audio and video often commodity of other manufacturers with the Windows Media Player quotes barrier the Street journal of the European Union paper. Additionally the commission determines, which the Redmonder its operating system Windows 2000 and other applications with intention would have arranged in such a way that these do not co-operate with software of the competitors. In the document the Ermittler suggests requiring modifications at the products in order to prevent such offences in the future.

Additionally the commission accessed Microsofts " abusive and discriminating license policy " on, as well as the refusal of thecompany to put interfaces for competitors openly. The criticism is not directed openly against the new Windows XP, this can however change.

The collecting main of 34 letters, in which Microsofts customers support the company in the procedure allegedly, analyses the commission as attempt, the procedure to obstruct. Many of these letters were written by Microsoft, in other cases knew the companies concerned not that their expression than evidence should serve, place the European Union Kommisssion firmly ( kav / c't)

Re:Article (0, Redundant)

antek9 (305362) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410411)

The Heise article is quite good, I'll translate the last paragraph for you:

The commission values Microsoft's presentation of 34 letters of support said to be from their customers as a try to hinder the case. They say many of those letters were written by Microsoft itself and in other cases the companies in question didn't know their letters would be used as evidence.

I figure MS' tactics department could use some fresh heads...

Re:Article (3, Informative)

Voidhobo (219337) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410447)

I'll try my very best...

"The EU could fine Microsoft a large sum in the anti-trust case which officially started in August. They might force the company to remove features from Windows. A classified document of the Commission which the Wall Street Journal got it's hands on implies that. The US-American economy newspaper reports that the Commission was unusually harsh in noting that MS tried to mislead the investigators and obstrucing down the trial. Because of that, the possible fine will be higher than it would have been had MS cooperated. The Commission could issue a fine as large as 10% of Microsoft's annual income; that would be 2.5 billion USD.

The investigators of the EU-Commission are of the opinion that MS illegally used it's dominant position in regard to Windows- and Office-software, to gain the upper hand in the rapidly expanding market for business and Internet software.Furthermore, Microsoft tried to crowd out audio and video software of competing companies with its Windows Media Player, the Wall Street Journal quotes the EU document. The Commission notes that the Redmonders purposely designed their operating system Windows 2000 and other applications so they would not support the software of their competitors. In the document the investigators suggest changes in the products to hinder such offenses in the future.

"Furthermore, the Commission attacked Microsoft's 'abusive and discrimminating licensing politics' as well as the company's refusal to lay open interfaces to competitors. This criticism was not aimed at the new Windows XP, but that could change soon.

"The presentation of 34 letters, in which Microsoft's customers supposedly offer their support for the company in the trial is regarded as an attempt to hinder the trial. Many of these letters had been written by Microsoft itself, in other cases the concerned customers didn't know that their letters were intended as evidence [in Microsoft's trial], the Commission noted."

copyright Verlag Heinz Heise

Looking out or the people (4, Insightful)

saridder (103936) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410306)

I like the fact that at least some gov't agencies are looking out for what's best for the people, and not big business. Please take note America.

I think this will have a major impact on Microsoft's business practices here and overseas, as I really can't envision Microsoft making a EU compliant Windows sans IE, Windows Media, Chat, etc., for them and a bundled Windows for the rest of the world.

And it's a testament to the impact of globalizaton, and interesting to see how foreign government's can influence American businesses in such a major way.

Shame on the bush administraion for letting up on Microsoft. And for the record, I am a huge Microsoft fan, and believe they do make some superior products. Note I said "some". I also love some of thier business practices, and believe business students will be studing these for years to come in universities all over the USA.

Re:Looking out or the people (4, Insightful)

macsforever2001 (32278) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410475)

I also love some of thier business practices, and believe business students will be studing these for years to come in universities all over the USA.

Which ones are you referring to?

Europe is just out to get the States (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2410311)

Not since the French banned the word "e-mail" has Europe seemed so anti-American.
Over the last six weeks, the European Union has given a big thumbs-down to a series of telecom and technology mergers driven by U.S.-based companies, from AOL-Time Warner to WorldCom and Sprint. Pointing to the global reach of these proposed deals, Mario Monti, the European competition commissioner, seems to have thrown down the gauntlet to a number of American companies with market-grabbing megamergers on their minds.

By far, the most effective strike was the ruling by the EU Competition Commission against WorldCom's proposed takeover of Sprint. Monti reasoned that yoking together the companies' significant Internet backbone holdings in Europe would give the merged entity so much power that it could effectively make decisions independent of both its competitors and its customers.

Late last week, WorldCom and Sprint formally withdrew all merger plans, officially burying any sort of union.

The EU's move to reject the deal has raised suspicions in the United States about what the Europeans are up to. Timing is a factor in the paranoia. The WorldCom-Sprint move comes on the heels of Brussels' June 19 announcement that it plans to launch a four-month investigation into the AOL-Time Warner deal. American misgivings increased when, barely a week after nixing the WorldCom-Sprint marriage, Monti prevented Microsoft from taking a controlling stake in British cable company Telewest Communications.

So, WorldCom-Sprint fell apart because of Monti and his gang, right? Not so fast.

The Union's ruling was hardly the dealbreaker. It occurred after the U.S. Justice Department had already said it would block the merger and after WorldCom and Sprint had formally withdrawn their application from the EU.

That said, suspicions of anti-Americanism persist nevertheless. After all, the EU hasn't demonstrated the same level of concern with similar deals involving European companies. It approved the merger of Mannesmann and Vodafone, reported to be the world's largest hostile takeover, once Mannesmann ditched its British mobile-phone operator, Orange. Of the dozen EU media and technology cases the Competition Commission has considered since June, four have focused on U.S. companies, and all four have led to extended investigations that blocked mergers, ultimately limiting U.S. control.

If there is a conspiracy afoot, plenty of observers in the United States are ready to root it out. The Washington Post even goes so far as to suggest Monti is trying to stymie U.S. companies to give European telecommunications and Internet companies a chance to catch up. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, hard-core "Ameriphobes" were happy to see Europe apparently standing up to U.S. globalization.

But between the posturing and the transatlantic bluster, the real story behind the U.S. companies' woes has less to do with favoritism than it does the regulatory obstacle course that huge U.S. and European deals will face in the future.

Rather than gunning for American companies, the EU's Competition Commission is more likely reacting to the size of the deals being brokered. The scale of many of the latest proposed mergers is unprecedented. The companies best positioned to pull off these megadeals right now just happen to be American. But that won't be true for long.

"I don't think there are any grounds to say the commission is out to get U.S. companies," says Olivier Kaiser, chair of the competition subcommittee for the American Chamber of Commerce's EU office. "The economy in general is American these days. It just happens to be those American companies that merge. The commission is just applying the rules, but applying them to bigger mergers."

Even Microsoft, which has come under European scrutiny twice in recent months, bears no grudge. It is currently facing an EU investigation for anticompetitive behavior in the packaging and sale of its Windows 98 software. And after consultation with the EU on the company's plans to invest in Telewest, Microsoft agreed to restructure the terms of the deal so it would not have a controlling interest.

Re:Europe is just out to get the States (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2410516)

Hrm... this seems quite out of date, the proposed WorldCom + Sprint merger was a long time ago, the biggest turndown since then was the Honeywell merger, that was a biggie.

The reason the Vodafone merger went through is because after Mannesmann agreed not to buy Orange, France Telecom (state monopoly) swept in a took control of it. Essentially it was a bribe since the French (with the help of the German's) rule the EU.

Aim Gun, Shoot Foot... (5, Interesting)

FatRatBastard (7583) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410312)

Microsoft yet again (apparently) makes life more difficult for themselves. I'm no huge fan of the company, but even I think that they would have had a *much* better time in both the US trial and EU investigation if they didn't play so dirty (the whole video debacle at the US trial, the apparent obstruction of justice with the EU trial)

Monopoly cases are HARD to prove (and should be, as bad as a true monopoly can be I think the bar should be set very high when determining if a company is an abusive monopoly). While under investigation Intel played ball, didn't get into a "winning at all cost" mentality, consented to a few behavioral changes, and came out of it intact.

I wonder if the threat of a big $$$ (er.. $EU) settlement will finally piss a few of the large MS stockholders into applying a little pressure on MS management to change tactics.

Re:Aim Gun, Shoot Foot... (3, Informative)

Surak (18578) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410336)

I wonder if the threat of a big $$$ (er.. $EU) settlement will finally piss a few of the large MS stockholders into applying a little pressure on MS management to change tactics.

Ermmm, most of the large stockholders are Microsoft executives, so I rather doubt it. :) Then there's always Warren Buffet, but he's not likely to make much of a stink given that he's pretty much in lock-step with BillG himself.

Simply Shocked (3, Funny)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410422)

<sarcasm>I am simply shocked that that anyone at MS would do anything like this. Given the outstanding and excellent quality of Microsoft's products, you would expect the same high standards of quality product to apply to the legal and marketing departments.</sarcasm>

Wait, it looks like they do.

UK Web site (0)

Hunts (116340) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410316)

I've often wondered how the out come of the EU case would affect the UK governments attitude towards its gateway site for government services.
Was MS dubious practices responsible for our being stuck with this system and could we now look to more open ways to connect with our elected officials?

Microsoft sucks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2410318)

I think linux is good. People should use linux. It would be good if people stopped using Microsoft. I like linux.

Same thing, only different (4, Insightful)

Red Aardvark House (523181) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410320)

From the article:

It says that bundling new features into Windows and Windows server software "has a chilling effect on innovation and competition," according to the report.

That kind of wording is almost identical to that used by the companies which have complained to both Brussels and the US Justice Department about Microsoft's behaviour.


The DoJ and the EU say the same thing, but only the EU will have the resolve to see this through. Opposed to the DoJ's potential wristslpa, the EU starts with a monetary fine and then gets to the heart of the problem! Instead of trying to break up the company, just break up the software, get rid of the bundling which causes the interoperability with other software, allowing other software vendors to break into the MS Windows software market.

"Fine" by me! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2410326)

ha ha ha I am so funny. My fine would be to hijcak Bill Gates' jumbo jet and ram it into Microsoft's office building in retaliation for bombing our glorious nation. Heil bin Laden!

Microsoft sucks (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2410328)

I think linux is good. People should use linux. It would be good if people stopped using Microsoft. I like linux.

If I were Microsoft (1, Flamebait)

banuaba (308937) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410331)

I think I would just tell the EU "If you fellas don't like the way we do business, we can go back to Seattle."

It just gives me this wonderful mental image of some european guy, sitting at a table with a little tiny cup of coffee, chainsmoking Gauliouses and screaming at a laptop: "Kerneel paneek!? Whut ze sheet is thees? Ahye gheef you segfawlt wheen you geet thees boot out of your hart drife"

Of course, I have an overactive imagination and a twisted view of what Europeans look and act like. But it'd still be funny

Mod parent up as funny! (1, Troll)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410380)

I have nothing else to say, though I am required to write something here, so consider this it.

Re:If I were Microsoft (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410409)

"I think I would just tell the EU 'If you fellas don't like the way we do business, we can go back to Seattle.'"

To which the appropriate European response would be, "Okay, don't let the door hit you in the ass (or arse, since most Europeans speak British English) on the way out. See, there's this fellow named Linus ..."

M$ needs the EU a hell of a lot more than the EU needs M$. M$, as far as I can tell, is running into the limits of growth in the US; this isn't a political/judicial problem as much as it is a simple economic one. Gates, Ballmer et al know this, and they also know that Europe, software-wise, is about where the US was five years ago -- which happens to be the period M$ was experiencing the greatest growth period in its history. They simply cannot walk away from the EU.

Personally, I hope the EU sends them back to Redmond with their tails between their legs. A mass European movement to open-source would have a more powerful effect on the worldwide software market than anything the current US Justic Dept. is likely to do, that's for damn sure ...

Re:If I were Microsoft (1)

PastaAnta (513349) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410415)

"If you fellas don't like the way we do business, we can go back to Seattle."

Heh, you make it sound like it is a threat....

Re:If I were Microsoft (2, Funny)

antek9 (305362) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410476)

It just gives me this wonderful mental image of some european guy, sitting at a table with a little tiny cup of coffee, chainsmoking Gauliouses and screaming at a laptop: "Kerneel paneek!? Whut ze sheet is thees? Ahye gheef you segfawlt wheen you geet thees boot out of your hart drife"

I fail to see the difference to the same guy sitting before the same laptop now screaming "Why hus it purrformed an ileegal operashun again? Damn, the backup file iz not reedable any more!! Wot, it does reboot widout asking now? Hellooo?!". Which goes to show, stupid users are no excuse for dirty tactics nor badly written software.

Of course, I have an overactive imagination and a twisted view of what Europeans look and act like.

Maybe.

Good news, of a sort. (5, Insightful)

RareHeintz (244414) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410334)

How nice to know that somebody's law enforcement apparatus hasn't been bought.

Yet.

OK,
- B

Re:Good news, of a sort. (1)

jmcnamera (519408) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410455)

How do you know the EC commissioners weren't bought?

It was Sun Microsystems that brought this suit into being.

Regardless of feelings towards MS, it seems the EU has an unfair legal system where the judges are the jury and the prosecution.

Microsoft sucks (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2410342)

I think linux is good. People should use linux. It would be good if people stopped using Microsoft. I like linux.

Cajones (2, Flamebait)

GearheadX (414240) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410352)

It's good to see that *someone* out there has the nerve to stand up to The Black Goat of the Woods With a Thousand Young of the software industry. Amazing how much of a difference politicians not owing their positions to these guys makes, isn't it?

what happen? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2410354)

all your ""QUAEDA"" are belong to us!!!

Microsoft sucks (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2410356)

I think linux is good. People should use linux. It would be good if people stopped using Microsoft. I like linux.

Microsoft sucks (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2410362)

I think linux is good. People should use linux. It would be good if people stopped using Microsoft. I like linux.

removing of programs (4, Insightful)

osiris (30004) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410375)

I certainly agree about the removal of programs from windows because if you look at it like this, when windows is installed, it installs media player, internet explorer, outlook express, and possibly a few other programs without much of a choice for which program you want to you. this is especially true for pre-installed versions of windows or newbie installs where they pretty much install everything.

the average user can not be bother to go and look for better/other software and is then tied in to using the default microsoft products. in a way this is supposed to be userfriendly, but you can see it as pushing out the competition. do you really think the avererage user would try and find a different email client, even after all the security alerts, when outlook express is just sitting there ready to use?

i think not.


of course, i would imagine that most slashdot'ers would have the sense to use what ever program they want for the task, but not the average joe. they'll use whatever is there, or most convinient to use.

this is pretty much the main reason why so many people use outlook/outlook express, because it's there!

doesnt give other apps much of a chance does it.

just my thoughts...

Re:removing of programs (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2410464)

Go fuck yourself and die.

Re:removing of programs (2, Interesting)

$eRvmanIO (302817) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410482)

"I certainly agree about the removal of programs from windows because if you look at it like this, when windows is installed, it installs media player, internet explorer, outlook express, and possibly a few other programs without much of a choice for which program you want to you. this is especially true for pre-installed versions of windows or newbie installs where they pretty much install everything."

Would you say the same for a Linux Distro then? Personally, I enjoy Linux coming with a ton of free apps. Saves me from downloading them. If Microsoft wants to give it to you "free", why not use it? It makes it easier for the non-techie to use. Though I wouldn't advocate having Grandma using Outlook Express to open e-mails with subjects "I Love You;)"

Besides, I just got the final OEM version of XP Pro on my desktop. Hell, I like it. I think its better than Windows 2000 (or atleast it runs on my system better than Win2k did).

Re:removing of programs (2, Informative)

osiris (30004) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410515)

I see your point. however, even though linux distros come with a whole pile of programs, it doesnt tie you into any particular one. you have a choice.

with windows, you still have a choice to some degree, but it certainly is a lot more inconvenient than firing up, say, outlook express.

as for you running XP, each to their own i guess ;)

Odd stuff (3, Interesting)

Otis_INF (130595) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410389)

I don't know this for sure, since IANAL, but how can a commission first make its own laws and then by these own laws sue a company to pay a fine to that same commission? Isn't that odd? Shouldn't an independent judge, that is: independent of the EC and EU, rule on this, instead of the EC and/or EU?

Also, how on earth can windows media player be the KEY feature so Sun (the major complaining company in this case) sells less servers... Does the EU have any person on board with a clue or not?

(mind you: next time these clueless morons are sueing a linux related company over what they think shouldn't be happening while they don't understand one single bit (pun intended))

Re:Odd stuff (2)

Diabolical (2110) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410483)

This commission did not make the laws. they just investigate if the laws are truelly followed.

This is by the way not a criminal thing but an economical thing. Thus a judge has very little to say in this. A judge can only weigh evidence pro and contra. And from what i have learned over the years from everything concerning MS it will be more contra than pro MS.

And how are judges in the US independent from the government? Please do not look at what they should be but at what they are...

Why pick on MS? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2410396)

Face it for the average joe-blow that likes pointy-clicky things why would they switch over to an OS like linux that is hard to install, setup and generally use.

Think I'm a liar, then why is Linux going the way of Windows with fancy GUI's and shiny install programs?

At this point in time Windows [Win98 anyways] is far more useable as an OS than Redhat 7.1. And lets not overlook that on my MS [evil?] OS I am using tons of OSS such as GNU C Compiler, Mozilla, etc..

Using Windows and OSS should not be mutually exclusive like some OSS zealots think it is....

My 2 cents.

ambiguous figures (1)

breyguhn (411350) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410405)

The fine can be up to 10% of the annual revenue, or $2.5 billion

Ambiguous phrase: does that mean 10% of their revenue is $2.5 billion (ie annual revenue $25 billion), or that their revenue is $2.5 billion, so they can be fined $250 million?

Re:ambiguous figures (1)

birder (61402) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410477)

Or...Does it mean either 10% of revenue or $2.5 billion, possibly because of some upper limit.

Where's the news here? (1)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410407)

OK, the "drop features" part is news, but as for the fine: It seems like they're basically saying, "If and when we find MS did VeryBadThings(tm), we may decide to fine them".

Isn't this a little like a prosecutor saying, "If and when this man is found guilty, he may spend time in prison"? Of course they're going to fine them: what else can they do?

Im all for this... (3, Interesting)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410417)

Its not that I am Anti M$, but that they cant compete on the open market with their product... so they bundle it up with the OS...

would a person, if they had a choice pick windows media player over WinAmp if they had to do research and make a choice?

would they pick (or Buy) Outlook (Express) or would they choose (Free) Agent?

Would they buy windows compression over winzip?

Would they choose IE over Netscape?

How about Defrag over Norton Utilities? (even thought they use the same engine)

let the market decide... if they dont then let those greater than them (in power anyway) punish them...

Re:Im all for this... (2)

neema (170845) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410461)

"would a person, if they had a choice pick windows media player over WinAmp if they had to do research and make a choice?"

WinAmp is the most popular mp3 client for Windows. Obviously their attempt at a monopoly failed there.

"Would they buy windows compression over winzip?"

Again, WinZip is more popular.

"Would they choose IE over Netscape?"

I use to use Netscape a bit ago. Use to hate IE. However, Netscape's software around the 4.6 series turned into shit and I turned to IE. I was quite pleased with it and am running IE6 with no problems. Netscape had the market a while back, they just couldn't hold it.

The fact of the matter is that the fact that Microsoft bundles it's own software with it's OS challenges programmers to make a program that destroys programs that Microsoft includes. A truly good program will get downloads to replace the Microsoft one, even from Average users. WinAmp is a perfect example. And while Microsoft's buisness practices are unethical, rather then bitch about it, we should see more software that is superior to Microsoft products.

Re:Im all for this... (1)

tsetem (59788) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410519)

WinAmp is the most popular mp3 client for Windows. Obviously their attempt at a monopoly failed there.

All it takes is for the MS Media Player to take over the MP3's, and provide a pleasant experience for all of the new Windows XP users. The first versions kind of stunk (like IE), but it seems like MS is getting it together and improving it so that it's competitive.

Most people using IE use it because it's standard, and they don't update IE because they don't know how, or dial-up takes too long.

Once people don't have to look for an MP3 player, MS will have a lock-in with those users. After that, it's time to squeeze out MP3's, and push for the proprietary formats.

As for the compression SW, it's probobally small beans to MS. But if they see money is to be made, WinZip will probobally be in a big world of hurt.

Re:Im all for this... (0)

Flakeloaf (321975) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410497)

If it wasn't for the obscene price jump I might just suggest using Spinrite instead of Norton.

Yet one more piece of evidence to be added to the campaign to have Steve Gibson committed.

Why a fine? Solve the problem please! (4, Insightful)

Stonehead (87327) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410425)

Microsoft can easily buy a small country. A fine doesn't help Microsofts victims, doesn't help end users, doesn't fix any lawsuit. Microsoft will laugh its ass off. Those Europeans! (I'm Dutch myself..)
Why not tackle the problem itself? Microsoft is bundling its software to force competition out of the market. Why not force Microsoft to leave IE, Media Player, video editing software, hell even Minesweeper out of the default Windows package? (How much cheaper would it become?:)
There's the application barrier. Force it down! It should be possible to run Win32-applications in a legal way under any operating system. Yes, games too - DirectX should be opened or ported too.
Last but not least, Microsoft should cooperate with developers who struggle with Microsoft Word (or in general, OLE2) import/export filters and other proprietary Microsoft formats (NTFS, WMA, name it..)
If you think that I am radical, you probably don't have an idea of Microsofts power, budgets and market share. Microsoft is of course not evil itself. Their software looks and works actually pretty good, except for their obvious brain damage in security. Their management, their strategy and their habits of misusing their monopoly need a hard kick.

They need oversight (1)

Sturm (914) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410430)

Just like in the US, it won't do a bit of good to just fine Microsoft no matter how much it is. $2.5billion is probably (in MS's opinion) a small price to pay to retain their monopoly. The key to keeping MS from abusing their monopoly is constant oversight by not just bureaucrats, but also people who are familiar with technological and financial aspects of the business. Otherwise, MS will just "pay the toll" and conitinue on their merry way.

favorite quote (0)

LanceSchumacher (469458) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410449)

"We remain committed to working with
he Commission to resolving this."
--MicroSoft spolesman

Read as: We will be giving money to EU officials until they give up.

I'm killing gnomes! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2410451)

I'm killing gnomes! Viciously poking their gnome asses to death! Die, gnomes, die! Oh, and fuck you, CmdrTaco!

"ADVANCED" options (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2410452)

Should be renamed to be "More..."

This should eliminate part of their propaganda.

Hmmm... i wonder what this really costs them... (2)

motherhead (344331) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410457)

Does anyone know how much money Microsoft is pumping into lobbying the European Union or EU government officials? Actually, if they could just argue to mitigate the "removal of programs" part of the decision against them, I wonder if 2.4 billion is less then they spend on "the cost of doing business" in Washington. yes 2.5 billion is a lot of money... but they are the teflon company... and teflon isn't cheap on the hill. (also, i would love to hear that it was 2.5 English billions (trillions to us).

Is there any place I can sell dead gnomes? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2410496)

I've got a bunch of dead gnome corpses, and need to know where I can sell them. Any ideas?

Cute and Cuddly Always Works (1)

BurritoWarrior (90481) | more than 12 years ago | (#2410508)

Perhaps if Mr. Gates poses in public with Mr. Bigglesworth, he wont have to pay two and half BEEELYON dollars.

Heck, its a better defense than the fiasco the MS lawyers put up.
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