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Microsoft and EU Talks End

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the should-have-used-bootlicking-skill dept.

Microsoft 1028

Paul Longford writes "Microsoft talks with the EC have collapsed. The competition commisioner Mario Monti just made this statement in which he said: 'I'd just like to inform you that a settlement on the Microsoft case has not been possible. I therefore intend to propose to my colleagues in the Commission next Wednesday to adopt a decision, which has already received the unanimous backing of Member States.' This is bad news for Microsoft - it looking at a considerable fine and possibly being forced to open up Windows. It looks like it will be a harsh decision too. Monti says: 'In the end, I had to decide what was best for competition and consumers in Europe. I believe they will be better served with a decision that creates a strong precedent.'"

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1028 comments

It's about time. (5, Insightful)

Jaywalk (94910) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597979)

I'm glad to see that at least Europe still has some functioning antitrust laws, unlike the US where antitrust laws were effectively gutted [metrolink.net] by the judiciary.

Re:It's about time. (5, Interesting)

Rigor Morty (149783) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597999)

Oddly, I think that forcing Microsoft into the open source, (open whatever) world might actually be a better business decision for the company.

Time will tell.

Rigor Morty

Re:It's about time. (5, Funny)

Peden (753161) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598153)

And sadly, that will make slashdot redundant.

Re:It's about time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598101)

When I went to read the article on the website, It had no less than 3 Microsoft banners.

But to respond to the piece, this is great news for the software markets. Sad that the U.S. is too corrupt/busy sitting on their hands/getting the reach-around to give a fuck. Go EU!

The judiciary guts a lot of stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598213)

It just so happens that this time we disagreed and cared about what they gutted.

Re:It's about time. (4, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598243)

I'm glad to see that at least Europe still has some functioning antitrust laws, unlike the US where antitrust laws were effectively gutted by the judiciary.

IIRC the judiciary pursues what the head of law enforcement wants it to. The head of law enforcement is the cheif executive. The president.

If the president doesn't want to enforce a law or wants to enforce it only with a wink and a nod, that's their discretion.

Now, it's nice to see that, once again Europe is showing some balls. I really expect there's some phone calling between Washington DC and Europe trying to weasel some leniency in this matter. You and I won't be privy to these calls, but in the wake of the Spanish Election, this is another instance of that disorganized herd of sheep standing up for their own beliefs. Another blow, really, for the current administration (which went all limp-wristed on Microsoft.)

By this time we should be getting used to the rest of the world questioning the US goverment stands and going their own way. As the economies of Europe and China approach their full potential, so grow their clout. Too bad we've been wasting some checks over the years, now they're going to be in shorter supply.

A chilling phrase if you're MS (4, Informative)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597983)


It is essential to have a precedent which will establish clear principles for the future conduct of a company with such a strong dominant position in the market.


Steve Balmer rushed over in a last-ditch attempt to try and come to a deal, but the commissioner apparently demanded even-tougher remedies if a negative precedent was not to be set...

The fine is expected to be between 67 million UK pounds, and 670 million UK pounds . Ouch. That's a fair old amount of latitude in the range, but even MS would presumably rather not pay a billion-dollar fine. I know their cash reserves are up in the 40 billion dollar range, but even so it has to hurt. I'd expect the commission to fine them again if they don't do as they're told, as well....

Simon

Re:A chilling phrase if you're MS (4, Funny)

Mateito (746185) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598053)

even MS would presumably rather not pay a billion-dollar fine. I know their cash reserves are up in the 40 billion dollar range

Quick! Short Microsoft!

This sound investment advice bought to you by slashdot.

Re:A chilling phrase if you're MS (5, Insightful)

MrIrwin (761231) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598096)

The biggest penalty is not the fine but the "requirements", such as shipping non MS media players and opening up some proprietry standards to competitors.

Why the commision will fold and MS will get off (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598203)

Not really chilling at all. Microsoft has the best hand no matter what any company, law firm, or government agency says. It can simply say it will stop supporting and releasing patches for its products and that it will close it's doors and go out of business before it releases it source. This would leave a huge number of users and admins scrambling to find another platform. This would effectively grind the IT sector to a halt.

For all you zealots who says we can use Linux instead, that is great in theory but imagine the economic impact of replacing 80% of the computer desktops and a smaller but significant number of the servers.

Re:A chilling phrase if you're MS (-1, Troll)

kwoff (516741) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598209)

Rather than pay a $1,000,000,000 fine, why can't they just not sell software in Europe? When Europeans find that they can't live without MS products, MS demands commie Europe pay $1,000,000,000 for the right to suck on MS's tittie.

Did anyone expect this to end nicely? (-1)

motardo (74082) | more than 10 years ago | (#8597994)

Because I sure didn't. MS, enjoy paying the money :)

Re:Did anyone expect this to end nicely? (1, Insightful)

SeinJunkie (751833) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598035)

MS, enjoy paying the money

Yeah, I'm sure money is sooo scarce for Microsoft.
"A fine?!? This could ruin us!"
I wish it could make a bigger impact on their finances.

OK so they get fined and told how to distribute... (4, Insightful)

Amiga Lover (708890) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598001)

OK so they get fined and told how to distribute windows.

Who thinks this will REALLY change anything? That MS will go a little bit more restricted in how media stuff is installed from a start, but they'll keep on doing the same old crap in every other part of their dealings with the EU

Re:OK so they get fined and told how to distribute (5, Insightful)

goatan (673464) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598077)

Who thinks this will REALLY change anything? That MS will go a little bit more restricted in how media stuff is installed from a start, but they'll keep on doing the same old crap in every other part of their dealings with the EU

that's why they want the strong precident so they go after MS again and again until they play fair (or they go bankrupt wwhich lets face it is more likley than them playing fair)

Re:OK so they get fined and told how to distribute (1)

rixstep (611236) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598185)

I suspect you're right. And I don't think anyone would be complaining if they were satisfied with MS products. What it really boils down to is being confined to third-rate software as Steve Jobs put it. A fine is a fine, and even $1 billion will not make a dent in the MS universe. So there has to be a way to force them to uphold product standards too.

Watching what Phatbot is currently doing, it's pretty obvious to me that they'll never make it.

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead.. (4, Funny)

madfgurtbn (321041) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598003)

Sounds like the EU is going to show some spine and actually ENFORCE their antitrust laws. What a concept.

Re:Ding Dong the Witch is Dead.. (-1, Flamebait)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598083)

EU showing spine, now theres an oxymoron. Given the anti-american semtiment in europe, how long before this becomes a diplomatic matter? i can just see it, EU tries to criple large successful amerrican company.

Re:Ding Dong the Witch is Dead.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598116)

  1. The U.K and Spain sent troops to fight right there alongside the U.S
  2. Spain has just suffered the largest single terrorist attack in the history of any European state, with almost 200 dead in one morning.
  3. Kindly blow your nationalistic zeal out of your fat ass, moron.

Re:Ding Dong the Witch is Dead.. (-1, Flamebait)

stevesliva (648202) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598143)

The EU's antitrust folks (Monti) have already screwed "American" companies, notably the acquisition of Honeywell by GE. The US antitrust folks approved, but the EU did not. They're quite happy to meddle, as no large company these days is solely American.

Re:Ding Dong the Witch is Dead.. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598186)

We go over and over and over this every single fucking time the Microsoft anti-trust action is mentioned, simply because morons like yourself can't be fucking bothered to do your homework and actually find out the sort of action the EU has taken and the companies it has taken it against.

Heres a free clue for you: The largest single fine impossed by the EU trade commision was against a European company. Free bonus clue: The majority of companies that the EU trade commision takes action against are European companies, or majority owned by Europeans.

So please, in future, get your fucking facts right, you dumbass blowhard no-nothing. Thank you.

Re:Ding Dong the Witch is Dead.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598211)

curl http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=100887&cid=859 8186 | sed -e "/s/no-/know-/g" > correct_comment.html

Speaking of sentiments... (5, Informative)

ControlFreal (661231) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598241)

... There seems to be a good amount of "they-are-all-out-to-get-us" sentiment in the parent's remark. Let's put some things in perspective here:

You see, courts in Europe have this strange idea that they are there to enforce the law and protect consumers. To make matters more absurd, they choose to stick to their principles even if large companies are involved. Strange, huh? ;)

And now the facts: the EU will, and has done so numerous times in the past, also punish European companies if they break antitrust laws. A complete list of antitrust cases from 1964 is here [eu.int] . And to give a nice example: in the cases so far in 2004 [eu.int] , all of the listed companies are European.

That goes to show you.

WHO CARES EUROPE SI TEH GHEY (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598009)

heh (-1, Redundant)

0x41 (682557) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598010)

/clears throat/ *ahem...* Hooray! Burn, baby, burn.

This is less about MS.. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598016)

You realize, of course, that this is more about punishing an American company than it is about punishing Microsoft.

Re:This is less about MS.. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598205)

Not a troll! Interesting point! Should at least be modded up to 1 so people can decide for themselves! MODS ARE IDIOTS! Why not reply instead of modding down!?!

10% fine and removal of WMP? (2, Funny)

hc00jw (655349) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598020)

Look like Microsoft will get the predicted 10% fine (of annual global sales) and removal of WMP from Windows. Bring on the competition...

Re:10% fine and removal of WMP? (4, Funny)

k4_pacific (736911) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598072)

There's WMP in Windows? Why hasn't Bush sent in the troops?

Re:10% fine and removal of WMP? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598124)

I don't know which Slash-monkey marked you as 'funny', considering you probably mean WMD.

Re:10% fine and removal of WMP? (1)

BlackHawk-666 (560896) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598082)

Now, if only we could rid our Windows systems of that pile of shit IE as well. I hate the way Media Player phones home every time I play a media file, and I hate my inability to remove the retarded IE from my system without resorting to potentially dangerous removal toolkits.

Re:10% fine and removal of WMP? (2, Informative)

goodbye_kitty (692309) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598228)

u can turn off the windows media player 'phone home' thing in the settings, i think its the check box that says "start in media guide" or something. Also i think it would be virtually impossible to extract IE from windows XP since the file navigation and windows themselves are all basically the same thing. The best they could do is remove the default MSN messenger client that comes in XP.

Dont get me wrong i hate wmp as well, i always use mplayer2.exe, its much faster and but it annoys me greatly that unless you know how to mess with the registry wmp always sets itself to be the default media player whenever u open a media file.

Re:10% fine and removal of WMP? (1)

RichM (754883) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598111)

Look like Microsoft will get the predicted 10% fine (of annual global sales) and removal of WMP from Windows. Bring on the competition...
IMO, the competition just isn't quite as good. I've never found a way to view video clips full screen in Quicktime, Real Player can't be trusted and all the decent OSS players are written for Linux. Media Player 9 is a very good player, although it damn well should be when you consider the millions of development dollars thrown at it.

Re:10% fine and removal of WMP? (1)

hc00jw (655349) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598216)

IMO, the competition just isn't quite as good. I've never found a way to view video clips full screen in Quicktime, Real Player can't be trusted and all the decent OSS players are written for Linux. Media Player 9 is a very good player, although it damn well should be when you consider the millions of development dollars thrown at it.

Full screen in quicktime is a feature of quicktime pro (10 Reasons to go pro shown here [apple.com] ), which costs $29.99 (eek). But what about VLC [videolan.org] ?

But at any rate, I just don't like the huge GUI for WMP... It's not like they have even done anything useful with it!

Re:10% fine and removal of WMP? (2, Interesting)

WaterTroll (761727) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598160)

I am reading from here [nwsource.com] :

The commission, as well as rival software makers, have argued that bundling programs such as Media Player into Windows is anticompetitive, because it puts rival music and video players such as Real Networks' RealOne Player and Apple's QuickTime at a disadvantage.

Does anyone know if this is can be compared to the whole Internet Explorer uninstall battle? I've never had any problems with WMP interfering. Realoneplayer and quicktime all provide free versions, what competition is there? Quicktime by default doesn't even play most video codecs. I don't understand exactly how this will change the way general people use WMP, realplayer, or quicktime. And does the EU enforcing their rules even effect the US at all?

Re:10% fine and removal of WMP? (1)

TimmyJoeB (5950) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598212)

WOW! 10% of total sales of Windows. That will double their costs! Profits for Windows will tank by 10% to only 80% of cost! MS must be really worried, because goinng form 90% profit to 80% profit on WIndows will be tough even for just 1 year.

Harsh?!? Opening? (4, Insightful)

leandrod (17766) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598021)

How harsh? A fine and opening MS Windows to Real, Quicktime and the like?

This is next to nothing. Nothing short of breaking up MS and demanding published, open APIs, protocols and file formats will do.

Re:Harsh?!? Opening? (4, Insightful)

TiggsPanther (611974) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598142)

I have to say that much as I am anti-Microsoft and think they've got a monopoly that needs dealing with, I am rather worried about what this will mean.

Well, slightly worried, anyway.

If Windows is deemed anticompetitive in the media-stakes, well all that can really be done is to force MS to allow WIndows to come with alternatives installed. That's not really gonna affect them. It sure ain't gonna affect me, as should I ever buy another Windows PC then the first thing I'll do (like with my current one) is to repartition and reinstall to my tastes. So if Real & Quicktime are included, they won't be for long.
And there's no easy way they can force MS to include them on an installation disc, at least not wtihout clearing the licensing with Apple and Real.

And in all honesty, I can't see MS being forced to break up and open up any time soon. It just isn't going to happen.

Tiggs

Re:Harsh?!? Opening? (0, Troll)

Tomji (142759) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598198)

I'd rather not be forced to have my Windows "open" to what I consider viral Real and Quicktime Software

I've tried to keep this post serious, but... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598027)

DING! DONG! The witch is dead, the wicked old witch, the witch is dead!

Microsoft must have a plan (2, Interesting)

robslimo (587196) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598028)

I'm not what sort of settlement terms they were discussing, but for Microsoft to allow it to end with no real conclusion sounds like a bad move for them... however, they must have some kind of backup plan. I have no idea what it might be, because this isn't like the situation here in the US where they can keep things tied up in court forever.

Maybe fines and new versions of OS's is OK with them. Hm.

Re:Microsoft must have a plan (3, Funny)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598076)

Sure they have a plan! First they'll send troops across the border wearing fake uniforms, then .. oh wait, wrong plan.

Re:Microsoft must have a plan (1)

SeinJunkie (751833) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598094)

however, they must have some kind of backup plan.

Backup plan:
  1. Download Media Player Classic source code.
  2. Search for copyright infringements.
  3. Fund SCO.
  4. Repeat as necessary.

Re:Microsoft must have a plan (4, Interesting)

SmackCrackandPot (641205) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598137)

however, they must have some kind of backup plan.

Go running to Washington, and ask for a trade embargo to be imposed on European software?

Good job EU! (2, Interesting)

wicker_pk (628579) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598031)

The EU did what the US courts did not have the balls to do. Hmmm, maybe China, India, Russia, Brasil and Indonesia may follow suit, hmmm.

Re:Good job EU! (4, Informative)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598109)

Do you not understand what China is doing right now???

1: They're making their own X86 compatible chip called Dragonballz (or whatever silly name it is). They're around 500MHz or so..

2: They're eradicating Windows in the govt and replacing it with Red Flag Linux. Chinese-ified Red Hat.

3: Getting their country more self-sufficient in everything...

Careful.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598032)


MS contributes a lot of money to both US political parties.. Europe may need "liberating" soon..

Where's the Microsoft website URL then? (2, Troll)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598033)

I'm sure they have some website about how this is "preventing us from competing" and "stifling our innovation".

Even if they do get fined they will keep appealing, they've got the money to keep trying. They've got the money to "sweeten" a few EU MEPs. I'm fairly surprised the EU has done this given how they suck up to big business.

And he is well backed (5, Informative)

MrIrwin (761231) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598034)

This is not an outspoken opinion either. Member states have been unanimous on this and Monty has tried all ways to come to a comprise. The EU know what they are up against and have bullet proofed thier position against drawn out appeals.

This could be more fun than the SCO fiasco....Bill, open the file marked JudgementDay.pif :-)

Re:And he is well backed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598123)

Surely that's JudgmentDay.pif.exe

???

And now... (4, Insightful)

devnullkac (223246) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598040)

And now begins the lengthy foot-dragging and political manipulations to elect someone(s) who will direct the competition commission to decide MS has suffered enough and we should all go back to our Windows desktops.

Re:And now... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598184)

Except for the fact that businesses dont have much direct influence in european politics. Most european countries have far harsher laws against donations to political campaigns (bribes) than the us.

Besides, I dont think being a ruthless american company is a very good way of getting along with the political majority in europe right now.

Disincentive (1)

alex_tibbles (754541) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598043)

MS need to be given a disincentive to abuse their monopoly power again (IE, WMP, what's next?). A fine that exceeds the profit from such an abuse would be one way. Breaking MS up would be the only real way to prevent it happenning, though. (MS-Windows, MS-Apps separate).

Re:Disincentive (2, Insightful)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598087)

Whats next is complete control of the internet. How if you don't think thats what .NET is aimed at is blind.

Reignite Competition (5, Interesting)

thenextpresident (559469) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598044)

Hopefully this will allow for a more competitive marketplace, where standards are adopted across the board. Open source could really do well because of this. Only a small portion of the world lives in the US, and with the EU nations taking a firm hand in putting down Microsoft.

For those not sure if this will help the US adoption of alternate products, it will. Businesses aren't just local, they import products, export products, and deal in Europe all the time. When Europeans move to other products, the US will make the move, or force Microsoft to adopt the standards the EU companies do.

This doesn't spell the end for Microsoft, but rather, it helps to open up a standards based computing environment. One where if your product is closed and completely proprietary, and threatens vendor lock-in, it won't be well appreciated, nor will it really be possible.

Re:Reignite Competition (1)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598222)

I'm curious. The marketplace appears to be pretty competitive right now: RH seems to be doing okay, Suse too. There are endless variations on the BSD theme, and you can always buy a Mac.

Now, obviously MS has done plenty of shady things, though I'm not sure, considering the time it takes to get any court case finished, that this will make any real difference.

Already, people are starting to clamor for more standardized computing. I see it all the time (maybe just because I'm involved in Open GIS stuff, but still).

People are starting to understand the dangers of vendor lockin, and there is certainly nothing that I can see that says MS is guaranteed to hold their position of power forever...

So I'm curious: How does MS really fit into Anti-trust laws (of the Sherman vein)? Why not just let the market take its course? They'll be beaten in the long run.

I want to know... (4, Insightful)

lga (172042) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598045)

...how they will enforce this. What reason has Microsoft got to give in and pay up? It's not like the EU can ban sales of Windows, too many computer purchasers would be terrified of the alternatives. Even if Windows was banned in Europe, the people wouldn't buy computers with Linux on, they would buy Macs.

Sad but true.

It is very interesting (1)

MagicBox (576175) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598112)

Here are the coices I have if I go to buy a computer today: 1) Buy it piece by piece, and put it together myself, to my liking. Install any flavor of Open Source OSes or Windows I desire 2) Buy it from one of the thousands of computer stores without an OS and install the OS of my choice: Any flavor of Open Source OSes or Windows 3) Buy it preinstalled with Windows and in a smaller number preinstalled with Linux 4) (if worst came to worst) -- I can buy a Mac As for the applications -- Well I will not even go there. Each platform has plenty

Re:I want to know... (2, Informative)

TimmyJoeB (5950) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598126)

Really, I thoght that Germany was gung ho about Linux. I mean Munich is switching to Linux. SuSE is rapidly growing and profitable company selling Linux to Germans. I see where Mandrake is now profitable as a French company selling Linux, and the French are known to buy crummy domestic products over superior imported products( like Pugeots and Renaults ).

Plus, alot of European banks love IBM. and even used OS/2 extensively. I think that Windows upgrades would be out and new purchases of Linux would be in.

STOP WITH THE LINUX IS HARD CRAP! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598149)

Modern Linux distributions are NOT hard. Mandrake, SuSE, Fedora, Xandros, Lindash, etc. All easy. Please mod the parent down. He has obviously not tried a distro with KDE 3.2 on it.

So, I advise ALL people who think linux is hard to try the latest versions. People can't afford macs anyway. They cost around the equivilent of $10,000 usd for a g5 in the UK (no i'm not kidding), when I can get generic x86 pcs for around the equivilent of $300. Mod this lying idiot down.

Re:I want to know... (1)

MrIrwin (761231) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598173)

Oh right, so if I sell products in another country I can do what I like?!

I do not know how the law works on these issues but if a US company is excempt from EU law whilst selling products in the EU then an EU company is excempt from US law when selling products in the EU.

Or perhaps it should be one rule for the US and another for "offshore" operations?

Re:I want to know... (1)

slavefishy (728826) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598230)

That's what Microsoft is probably assuming. Personally, I feel they should call their bluff and declare a ban. There'd be absolute chaos, but I'm sure Microsoft would cave in eventually. Losing the entire european monopoly? Microsoft? They're hardly gonna take that lying down are they?

Appeals? (4, Interesting)

Crazy Man on Fire (153457) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598051)

Great. They are going to fine and impose these restrictions on Microsoft. How long before it actually happens? Will Microsoft just be able to tie this up with endless appeals and draw it out for another five years?

Re:Appeals? (1)

TimmyJoeB (5950) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598171)

The Appeals process should be interesting. I would like to known if the EU can make their judgement effective immediately, or do they have to wade through the appeals process first. I hope the can inflect penalities ASAP past wrongs. I do not like the fact that guilty companies can appeal and still break the law that are comvected of breaking. A criminal has to go to jail first and then conduct appeals. Companies should do the same, not have more rights than a person.

Alan Ralsky. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598057)



Alan Ralsky needs an ass tumor. A big one. A huuuuge one. One that hangs out the back of his pants so far that children follow him down the street and poke at it with sticks. Scott Richter, on the other hand, needs to be abducted by Hell's Angels and used as a pass-around fuck toy during initiation weekend.

I know it's off-topic, and mod me to hell if you wish, but I got absolutely *barraged* by spam last night, and as I'm sitting here cleaning out my inbox and reporting all this shit to Spamcop, I'm having quite an entertaining time imagining cancerous and anal-raperous punishments for the spamlords of the universe. I'm also imagining inventing a zombified broadband spambox detector that I would use while roaming the country. Every time I detected a compromised computer I'd walk up to their house, cut their cable feed, and plug the cable directly into their electrical mains. Then, when they came screaming from their house because little Johnny's computer just disintegrated into smoking shrapnel, I'd explain to them why their internet privileges had been terminted with extreme prejudice.

Then I would pee on their cat and walk away whistling a jaunty tune.

Harrumph.

hmmmm.... works out math (2, Informative)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598063)

The way I see it is if this "fine" is more than the hassle of doing business with Europe, I'd pull out.

I'd also rip support of all European languages unless you paid mucho..
I'd also invalidate ALL licenes in Europe..
I'd also go cry to Bush to have them treat ol' MS like a picked on kid....

Course, if they do pull out of Europe, it means Linux would be on the rise, and fast.

Re:hmmmm.... works out math (3, Insightful)

nojomofo (123944) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598156)

The very last thing that Microsoft wants to do is to force a very large number of people and business to use alternative software.

Re:hmmmm.... works out math (2, Insightful)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598189)

I'd also invalidate ALL licenes in Europe..
Did someone say class-action lawsuit?

Re:hmmmm.... works out math (2, Insightful)

Wonda (457426) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598201)

I'd also rip support of all European languages unless you paid mucho..

You are aware of english being a European language? :)

Re:hmmmm.... works out math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598229)

AFAIR, English is a European language... does that mean US customers would have to read and write in hex or binary unless they pay "mucho"? :)

Re:hmmmm.... works out math (4, Funny)

iworm (132527) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598234)

Stop support of European languages? Where do you think English comes from, eh?? Doh!!

forced to 'open up' windows (2, Interesting)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598067)

or stop selling..
tell me, what6's the solution if a monopoly takes on a government, by closing up shop? closes all offices in EU member countries, and no longer licenses it's products for use in those countries..

Hmm, people will import it, and microsoft won't have to support it... hmmm...

Re:forced to 'open up' windows (1)

MrIrwin (761231) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598190)

And they can copy it illegally.

Don't laugh too soon (2, Insightful)

LittleLebowskiUrbanA (619114) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598070)

I doubt this will take place w/out a long drawn out fight. Microsoft will drag this out as long as possible.

Eventually no apps? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598079)

So does this mean that Windows will eventually become a pure OS, with no usable applications? I mean, there are commercial "competitors" in every arena.

No Web Browser (Netscape)
No Media Player (Real)
No Word/Wordpad (Wordperfect)
No Imaging (ACDSee)
No Defrag (Notron Works)
No Zip support (WinZip)
No Solitaire (...)

Seems pretty useless to Joe Average, who just wants to turn on his new PC and play his MP3s and check his email.

Re:Eventually no apps? (3, Insightful)

Decaff (42676) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598134)

Its not useless at all. Things would be back to where they were before Microsoft started cramming everything in the OS. PC sellers could give the customer a choice about what browser, mail client, media player etc. was preinstalled.

Re:Eventually no apps? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598180)

If I go to the Ford dealership to buy a new car, should the dealership be forced to offer me competing models of CD players over their own pre-stocked model? Common sense would tell me that I can always rip it out and put another one in its place, but the dealership is not required to facilitate that choice for me.

Ford is not a monopoly,... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598199)

...which negates your car analogy.

Re:Eventually no apps? (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598237)

---Its not useless at all. Things would be back to where they were before Microsoft started cramming everything in the OS. PC sellers could give the customer a choice about what browser, mail client, media player etc. was preinstalled.

-No Web Browser (Netscape)
-No Media Player (Real)
-No Word/Wordpad (Wordperfect)
-No Imaging (ACDSee)
-No Defrag (Notron Works)
-No Zip support (WinZip)
-No Solitaire (...)

What's more fair?? Not including jack shit (BAD) or having a archive CD that holds many third party programs like:

Mozilla/Firebird - Browser
Real/Quicktime/WiMP/VirtualDub - Media
Open Office/Abiword - Suite/document manager
Gimp/InfranView - Grapics
7-Zip/Winzip/WinRAR - Compression support
BSD Text games (bleh) - nevermind keep it outta here ;-)

The way everyone would make out on this is if MS sponsors it. The payware app distrib rights could be bought for cheap since distribution would be immense. MS could sell the Disc for 75$ and claim it does everything you need.

Plenty of apps would come. (1)

Nick Driver (238034) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598238)

Independent software packages would be once again able to compete in the marketplace again, like in the olden days. It would be good for the software industry as a whole is MS is forced to sell a plain OS and be prohibited from giving the apps away for free since they are a convicted monopolist and giving away free apps would make them predatory in the marketplace.

Re:Eventually no apps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598196)

They could do it the Linux way. Just ship with a basic kernel with nothing more than a start menu, and a few basic tools as "Microsoft Windows core", give that away for free.

Then, sell Windows distributions, which the consumer has to buy seperatly. They can even licence other companies to make their own.

Imagine stuff like, Mandrake Windows, Redhat Windows, Gentoo Windows, Debian Windows. Similar to linux, but with Windows apps.

Someone in this world is not afraid of Gates (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598086)

Good to see this happen. Microsoft can learn that it cannot rape & dump everyone. I hope that they will get the severest crime.

I also hope that Steve Balmer was humiliated in Brussels.

Ohh yeah (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598090)

Like this is really going to do anything. People always whine about shit being inlcuded in windows. Face it, not everyone wants a choice in what they use. Dont like Media player? Use somthing else, Dont like windows use something else and shut up. Bunch of whiney linux zealots. I use Linux (and FreeBSD, no it *isnt* dead) and *gasp* even Windows. Get a life and go do something else besides living on online forums bitching about how evil Microsoft is, code software, make that killer alternative. Until then shut up.

Re:Ohh yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598218)

I agree, everyone bitches about how evil MS is but thats as far as it goes. I bet half of the Linux zealots are pure Windows users afraid to reveal their true identitys.

Could they use this to their advantage? (1)

slavefishy (728826) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598105)

"Lookie! We're nice and open now! Easy to develop for! This means more apps and games for you!"

It's not going to really be any different, but I'm sure their marketing deptartment will somehow find a way to use this to their advantage.

finally (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598127)

I hope they really stick to them and hope they do it again if they don't behave.

I wish the u.s. would follow suit.
Hey George are you watching this - thanks for letting Bill off with a hand slap.

From the HOLD MY HAND DEPT. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598135)

The ONLY way Linux will succeed is if world governments take away the rights of MS to produce product. Then consumers will be FORCED by these fascist governments to use OSS! Excellent plan you commie nerds!

This sounds *really* bad for Microsoft. (1)

vidstudent (674763) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598141)

In the end, I had do decide what was best for competition and consumers in Europe. I believe they will be better served with a decision that creates a strong precedent. It is essential to have a precedent which will establish clear principles for the future conduct of a company with such a strong dominant position in the market. In short: You will be made an example. OUCH.

Might be modded down, but... (-1)

xtrucial (674445) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598144)

...NIGGERS!

don't get too excited - see link.... (5, Insightful)

holy_smoke (694875) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598146)

http://money.cnn.com/2004/03/18/news/international /microsoft_eu.reut/index.htm

"The company is certain to appeal against a Commission decision in the European courts. Litigation could take several years."

At which time any verdict will be pretty much irrelevant.

Wonder how this affects Longhorn planning. Anyone with insight on this?

No it is still bad for them (5, Informative)

codepunk (167897) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598202)

1. A appeal request does not have to be granted.
2. A appeal does not guarantee that the restrictions being placed on them will not be imposed while the appeal is running.

Spank their butt. (0, Redundant)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598183)

Good for the EU. Microsoft deserves what the get.

Wrong Way! (1)

buzzoff (744687) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598200)

Tearing down Microsoft won't strengthen the open source movement. Those of you who are rejoicing are in the wrong mindset. You people are slowly becoming the bane of that which you love.

Nobody wins this way. True change and excellence come from within.

What if M$ pulls the plug on Europe? (2, Interesting)

msired (666203) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598220)

What would happen if M$ revoked their Eurpean licenses and stopped supporting all European software? What if they took it a step further and required the uninstallation of all M$ software? Effectively, M$ would be saying, "Do it our way or our way. You have no other option." The open source migrations to date have not been tremendously successful. So would the Eurpean govermnents and industry be forced to use M$ products because there really isn't an alternative? They have such a tremendous investment in Windoze and PC hardware that they may be stuck...

This is justice? (1, Troll)

FullCircle (643323) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598226)

Up to 1bn in fines? Exactly how much money did they make by being corrupt?

This makes breaking the law sound like a good return on investment. I'm sure that any other company would gladly pay 1bn to have control of 95% of all computers.

It is better than the US DOJ letting Microsoft pick their punishment, but come on.

What If? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598231)

What if Microsoft made it illegal to buy or use Windows in that country? They would be screwed.

A little help please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8598232)

I'm a sysadmin at my state's department of motor vehicles. I accidentally typed "sudo rm -f /" on one of our db systems. My boss is gonna kill me. How can I fix the situation?

Is it just me? (2, Insightful)

kabocox (199019) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598236)

Is it just me or does this seem alot less of the "EU using anti-trust laws", and more of "EU removing USA trust from domiance in EU market." Why do have the feeling if MS was based in UK that suit wouldn't have been filed. (Of course if MS was based outside the US, the US would actually fine them in money and not software.) I feel the real reason Linux has been getting used in goverments has more to do with hiring of local contractors to keep it running than saving any money.

Remember it is about power, politics, and money. Not right or wrong.

It's good, but... (1)

b06r011 (763282) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598240)

..will it change anything? after all, if MS are forced to sell 2 versions of the OS, then is there anything to stop them selling XP Pro full (with WMP etc) for 150 and the 'XP cripple' for 155?

MS surely cannot afford to pull out entirely of the EU. i admit that they have alot of cash, but ALL the member states - now that's alot of people, and alot of money....

Microsoft can thank Bush (2, Insightful)

lildogie (54998) | more than 10 years ago | (#8598245)

If the Bush administration had been tougher on Microsoft, maybe they would have solved these problems before Europe stomped on them.

When Microsoft is forced to behave everywhere _except_ the United States, then they will end up having to behave in the USA as well.

Getting an easy sentence from the US Anti-Trust conviction may not have been as favorable as it looked originally.
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