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EU Fines Microsoft $613 Million, Officially

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the golden-goose-time dept.

Microsoft 1186

Decaffeinated Jedi writes "As reported by CNN.com, the European Union has hit Microsoft with a record US$613 million fine after a five-year investigation, finding the company guilty of abusing the 'near-monopoly' of the Windows operating system. Microsoft has been given 90 days to make a European version of Windows available without a media player and 120 days to give programming codes to rivals in the server market to allow 'full interoperability' with desktops running Windows. Microsoft plans to appeal the decision." Other readers point to coverage at the BBC, ZDNet, Reuters (here carried by Yahoo!), and abc.au.net.

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EU? (-1, Flamebait)

FLOOBYDUST (737287) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654893)

I'm sorry, but I thought we won that war.....

jgafdhjkagd (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8654895)

jahsdkgvkyj askhdgkajhsdg khjgoadigmnbajhsdx

Is that money? (-1, Redundant)

LoboRojo (758260) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654896)

Is that real money for Billy G? Don't think so!

I hope.... (2, Insightful)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654899)

I hope that the EU actually sticks by its guns. That is one thing the US has not done. I hope the EU sticks to a punishment because M$ gets away with it they will only cross that line a little further if they end up getting off.

Re:I hope.... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8655005)

Democracy is alive and well in the continent of it's birth. How's it going in the US? Still totally stitched up by lobbyists and big business? Think you need to change that or you'll get more of the same!

You've got to be kidding me... (-1, Troll)

Ninja_Josh (764918) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654901)

And this whole time I thought it's only in America you can sue someone over something so silly as in getting burnt by your hot coffee...

Re:You've got to be kidding me... (1)

nother_nix_hacker (596961) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654930)

And this whole time I thought it's only in America you can sue someone over something so silly as in getting burnt by your hot coffee...
Spilling hot coffee doesn't put hundreds of companies out of business and stifle competition.

Re:You've got to be kidding me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8655000)

Tha is the bitch avout business, only the strong survive,

Re:You've got to be kidding me... (-1, Flamebait)

gantrep (627089) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655071)

Monopoly is part of capitalism. Fucking get over it.

Re:You've got to be kidding me... (1)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655076)

One of the most misunderstood legal cases around. The woman who sued McDonalds got third degree burns from the cup of coffee.

But... (-1, Redundant)

deejam (762714) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654902)

Will it actually hurt them? (hopefully)

Re:But... (1)

hjarni (676702) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654912)

It will not hurt them, Microsoft has about $53bn of cash lying around.

Re:But... (0)

herulach (534541) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655016)

According to Working Lunch, thats nearly 2.5 weeks profits, bet Bills shaking in his diamond encrusted T-Rex skin boots.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8655033)

The reason it won't hurt them long-term is the fine has nothing to do with getting IE and Windows Media Player out.

IE was designed to destroy Netscape. Windows Media Player was designed to destroy MPs, Real Player and Apple's Movie Player. The fine doesn't mention anything about taking away their monopoly position. It's a mere suggestion that they should do something about their Windows Media Player being bundled with the OS, but doesn't enforce anything. My 2 cents say the whole thing is weak. They ought to force Microsoft to sell their OS w/o IE and WMP in the EU states, period, and if you want those products, you have to download them, just like you have to download Netscape, Mozilla, Real Player, etc. Let's leverage the playing field. This is bullshit.

Smack... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8654904)

Ouch!

Yes! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8654905)

At least we get something done, instead of you corrupted Yanks. Sheesh.

Money? (1, Informative)

luxis (240935) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654907)

I hate to tell the news.. but $613 Million is pennies compared to Micro$oft pocket book, still its a good step in the right direction.

Re:Money? (1)

Ninja_Josh (764918) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654918)

Never the less, it's $613 million that they don't have anymore...

Re:Money? (5, Insightful)

Conor Turton (639827) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654993)

It's nothing to do with the money. Microsoft are crapping themselves because of the other conditions.

Within 120 days Microsoft is required "to disclose complete and accurate interface documentation which would allow non-Microsoft work group servers to achieve full interoperability with Windows PCs and servers. This will enable rival vendors to develop products that can compete on a level playing field in the work group server operating system market. The disclosed information will have to be updated each time Microsoft brings to the market new versions of its relevant products." This is at least in theory a pretty absolute requirement; Microsoft has to publish whatever it takes in order for rival vendors' servers "to achieve full interoperability with Windows PCs and servers, and it must provide updates where necessary.

Microsoft currently licence this and it is this which they use to sell server OSes and apps using the ease of interoperability as a main reason. Server OSes and stuff such as MS Exchange earn them alot more than desktop OEM versions of XP. Ease of interoperability is what is getting companies to sign up to the ripoff Licencing 6 scheme. The requirement to open up the server interoperability means that Linux will go storming in big style.

Quite right too (5, Insightful)

zoney_ie (740061) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654909)

Media player being bundled costs the consumer money even if they don't want it. It also allows Microsoft to further leverage its market position once WMP is ubiqitous!
As for the 'orders' on API documentation? Woohoo.

Microsoft is the perfect example of how capitalism needs a tight rein for it to work to the benefit of people, not big corporations!

Re:Quite right too (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8654984)

Microsoft is the perfect example of how capitalism needs a tight rein for it to work to the benefit of people, not big corporations!

Typical socialist crap.

Microsoft is the perfect example of capitalism in action. Government needs to get out of the way of the free market and business. So what if Microsoft is a monopoly? Maybe that's what the market wants, despite what your obviously superior socialist mind tells you. If something better comes along, then the market will decide if it is acceptable or not.

Really, aside from the military, immigration, and criminal law enforcement, what do we need government for? Certainly not for taking my hard-earned money or limiting what my business can legally do and earn!

Re:Quite right too (2, Insightful)

DarkSarin (651985) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655051)

Except that M$ would not have gotten where they are without certain key lawsuits and contracts. I personally think that unfettered capitalism is not really the way to go.

Re:Quite right too (1, Insightful)

mirko (198274) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655052)

So what if Microsoft is a monopoly?
Maybe that's what the market wants,


if the market was supposed to consist of only ONE vendor, it would be called "MS", not "market".

poor poor SCO lawyers (5, Funny)

randalx (659791) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654910)

poor SCO lawyers might have to take a pay cut now. :(

Re:poor poor SCO lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8654994)

This isn't off topic. The unspoken assumption is that Microsoft has been indirectly funding SCO's Linux lawsuit efforts.

Where is the deterence? (5, Insightful)

toesate (652111) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654913)

Quote BBC [bbc.co.uk] : Microsoft has a cash pile of more than $50bn, so even a fine on this scale - a record for the EU in an antitrust case - is unlikely to hurt it commercially.

How can the punishment serve a deterent, if the fine does not hurt??

Re:Where is the deterence? (5, Insightful)

zoney_ie (740061) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654956)

90 days to sell a version of Windows minus WMP. AND they must ensure there's no disincentive to those buying it (e.g. negligably cheaper, or more expensive all told).

120 days to provide FULL documentation on Windows code interfaces? EXPLICITLY to help their competitors have a level playing field on the Windows platform?

The precedent set by this and implications for the future?

OW! I think it hurts a LOT. Plus being 'ordered' to do stuff really dents the pride and knocks the wind out of them.

The implication too is, "we could have gone for 10% of revenues", watch yourself.

The real fine (1)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654966)

The real fine isn't the money for microsoft but the unbundling that was imposed. It is not only an inconvienance but it won't make it as easy to push their format of files. This is becoming more difficult for them in other ways too.

Re:Where is the deterence? (1)

Weird O'Puns (749505) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654967)

Next paragraph:

Industry experts say that the non-financial penalties are likely to hurt Microsoft more by opening it to further challenges and altering the regulatory environment it operates in.

Re:Where is the deterence? (1)

Cred (754775) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654982)

In my opinion... That's how it works in the US. In EU instead the point isn't to hurt someone with fines, it's more like a warning that you've done something bad. So the amount what MS has to pay doesn't hurt them but they noticed that if they don't comply actions against them will become harder.

Re:Where is the deterence? (1)

Andrewkov (140579) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655080)

Plus it's great publicity! Hopefully Joe Sixpack will begin to realize that MS is in fact evil.

Re:Where is the deterence? (4, Insightful)

mccalli (323026) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654988)

How can the punishment serve a deterent, if the fine does not hurt??

Because the fine is not the punishment. That's just the wrist-slap, although admittedly it's a harder one than normal. Because of the high value the press are focusing on this, but it's not the real action.

No, the meat of this decision is the forcing of the unbundling and the opening up of specifications. That's the punishment, not the cash.

Cheers,
Ian

Re:Where is the deterence? (3, Interesting)

aredubya74 (266988) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654992)

Think of the $614mil as a mosquito bite. Get enough of em together, and eventually, you're scratching like crazy to deal with the itchiness of the bites. And there's always a chance that one of those bites will cause malaria or West Nile (equivilent to the market freak-out that subsequent fines could cause).

Re:Where is the deterence? (1)

mikechant (729173) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655019)

And if they don't comply, fines can be up to $3bn per violation per year. That *would* start to hurt.

Unbelievable (5, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654917)


Microsoft claims that it should not be fined at all because it did not know its behaviour would breach EU law.


Right. Of course they didn't know. They just set up shop in a different country and assumed that US law would prevail. What's wrong with that ? (Hint: lots!)

Another quote:

"In the EU's judgment, Microsoft must refrain from using any commercial, technological or contractual terms that would have the effect of "rendering the unbundled version of Windows less attractive or performing. In particular, it must not give PC manufacturers a discount conditional on their buying Windows together with the Windows Media player."


Well, no wonder they're going to appeal, that removes 90% of their business practice!

Simon.

Re:Unbelievable (4, Insightful)

iapetus (24050) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654941)

Whether they knew or not (and if they didn't, they should fire their legal department) is irrelevant. Ignorance of the law is not seen as a valid excuse for breaking it.

I wonder who'll be picking up their copy of the relevant code in 120 days to help with Linux coding efforts to provide Windows interoperability? :)

Re:Unbelievable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8655023)

I wonder who'll be picking up their copy of the relevant code in 120 days to help with Linux coding efforts to provide Windows interoperability? :)

Maybe nobody. I haven't read the article (too lazy right now), but are there any restrictions on the licence MS can distribute the APIs under, or is MS required to hand over the APIs with no encumbrance outside of standard copyright law?

Actually, that last bit alone might prevent any use of the code in open-source projects, since MS could argue the APIs should not be distributed to anyone outside of the organizations that ordered the APIs in the first place.

Re:Unbelievable (4, Informative)

dabadab (126782) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655078)

"I wonder who'll be picking up their copy of the relevant code in 120 days to help with Linux coding efforts to provide Windows interoperability?"

No one, since it is explicitly stated that they are ordered to release API info, NOT source code.

Re:Unbelievable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8655053)

Surely an OS without a bundled media player IS less attractive to the average user.... ....i just think this is stupid; what's next? Unbundling MSN Messenger? MS Paint? Notepad?

'Cause i REALLY want to use Realplayer or Quicktime .... that was sarcasm by the way

Re:Unbelievable (1)

klacke (554125) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655082)

Microsoft claims that it should not be fined at all because it did not know its behaviour would breach EU law.
The excuse, "I didn't know I was breaking the law" never applies in court as far as I know. Imagine a burglar trying that as defence in court. Good luck.

job offer (-1, Troll)

dioscaido (541037) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654924)

Lets hope this doesn't affect my 90k/y job offer from MS!

Re:job offer (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8654949)

What a loser.

Re:job offer (1)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655062)

Sure, a loser that's offered a job by a big company during bad financial times.

In my eyes he's a winner because he is willing to work for a company like Microsoft to put bread on the table for his partner and maybe even kids.

Yup, if he's a loser, then so am I.
I'll take care of my family too

Stop Focusing On The Fine (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8654927)

Give the lame Bill Gates can pay the fine with pocket change cracks a rest.

The restrictions on FUTURE MS actions is why MS is pissing in their pants over this ruling.

The Question is: How are they going to pay? (5, Insightful)

Wacky_Wookie (683151) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654928)

$613m is a lot of money, but will Microsoft try to use cupons, or "donate" software to schools, thus locking in more Microsoft users from a young age?

If the EU is smart it will force Microsoft to donate to CASH to open source, or educational groups, thus allowing people to break the Monoply by their own choice.

Re:The Question is: How are they going to pay? (1)

aixou (756713) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654945)

but will Microsoft try to use cupons, or "donate" software to schools, thus locking in more Microsoft users from a young age? You say that like Windows is a drug. I know that might fall in line with the sentiment of a typical Slashdot-drone, but come on.

Re:The Question is: How are they going to pay? (5, Informative)

CountBrass (590228) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654976)

There is no question.

You get fined for speeding you don't get to choose to pay it using luncheon vouchers.

You pay cash and it goes to the EU's exchequer.

Re:The Question is: How are they going to pay? (1)

zoney_ie (740061) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654998)

Money - direct into the EU central budget.

Cha-ching. Thank you MS.

Hey US folks, lobby your govt. It's open season on that $50 billion cash pile!

Just kidding - this is a quite serious issue, and affects how other companies behave in the future too.

why WMP ? (4, Interesting)

selderrr (523988) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654931)

Does anyone else consider it a bit weird that they're using Windows Media Player as bait ? That's a division where there's at least some competition from Quicktime and Realplayer. The browser war was a far more dirty one IMO, and microsoft is STILL making it practically impossible for competitors to integrate their browser properly over IE.

And what about the java fuckups ? The Samba debacle ? The OEM backmailing ?

I don't get it....

Re:why WMP ? (5, Insightful)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654977)

Al Capone murdered a couple people here and there (and ordered a couple other killings), participated in every sort of organized crime... they took him down for tax evasion.

When you know someone is evil you get 'em on whatever you can manage.

Re:why WMP ? (5, Insightful)

klaasb (523629) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655021)

WMP is where the next battle will be fought.

ITMS vs. MSMS (MicroSoft Music Store).

I don't want my music in .wma format.

Re:why WMP ? (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655026)

Maybe the idea is to go after those in separate lawsuits and fine MS even more. Personally, I don't think 600M is enough punishment for _everything_ MS has done wrong. And telling them to remove WMP is not going to help a lot; it will keep being bundled in other places, and it will keep being required for various popular media streams etc, which means consumers will end up installing it anyway.

Not Good Enough (1)

polyp2000 (444682) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654933)

Microsoft has been given 90 days to make a European version of Windows available without a media player and 120 days to give programming codes to rivals in the server market to allow 'full interoperability' with desktops running Windows.

What about other Os'es ?

Re:Not Good Enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8654962)

Microsoft don't make other OS's, so they can't really give the code for them away, can they?

Re:Not Good Enough (1)

iapetus (24050) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654969)

How could Microsoft help non-MS servers to reach 'full interoperability' with desktops running non-MS operating systems?

Re:Not Good Enough (1)

makapuf (412290) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655073)

Whatever ! MS should be punished ! They should make IBM360, Lego Mindstorms and Forth to interoperate ! That will teach them !

Re:Not Good Enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8655017)

Why would 'rivals in the server market', i.e. non-Microsoft vendors, need Microsoft prgramming codes to allow 'full interoperability' with desktops running other operating systems?

Re:Not Good Enough (2, Insightful)

Conor Turton (639827) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655038)

You're not too bright are you? THIS DOES MEAN OTHER OSES. The main reason Linux has issues with Windows is that it has to "guess" alot of the blanks Microsoft deliberately keep to themselves.

-5 overrated? (1)

loraksus (171574) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654935)

Windows. Microsoft plans to appeal the decision.

Really?
This is the most obvious comment by a submitter that I've seen in a while. /work at 5am rules

Before you start bashing EU as anti-American (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8654937)

Before you all start moaning that EU is anti-American, note that the complaint was made by Sun & Real (both american companies) which resulted in this ruling.

Bill Gates response - officially (1)

amichalo (132545) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654940)

"Great, now the EU's mom can get that opperation"

Re:Bill Gates response - officially (1)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654986)

Mother Russia ?? ;)

(I know I know, Russia is not in the EU, I'm dutch for chrissake)

Re:Bill Gates response - officially (1)

amichalo (132545) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655028)

It's an american joke -

when someone gives you some small amount of money, kids used to say "thanks, now mom can have that opperation"

They will never pay (5, Insightful)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654944)

Microsoft will appeal, and the EU courts estimate it will take 5 years until a decision is made.

It all and nice (1)

Fisher99 (580290) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654948)

fining corps for taking advantage of people, but it would help if the fine was damaging for the shareholders. Otherwise Billy boy will just say, "is that cash,chque or credit card?"

Cheech Says (-1, Offtopic)

Newt-dog (528340) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654950)

Bailiff, whack his peepee!

According to this... (0, Redundant)

PhuckH34D (743521) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654952)

According to this [webwereld.nl] articel (in dutch!) the fine they have to pay is 497,2 Million.
And they also have to make a version of windows without the media player.

Re:According to this... (1)

jkcity (577735) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654980)

yer theys hould have really used that figure on slashdot since I doubt the eu fined them in US$ that figure on slashdot will change, we all know how unstable the us currency is recently.

Re:According to this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8655030)

Daarvoor krijgt het bedrijf een boete van 497,2 miljoen euro boete.
That would be $613 million. So what's your point?

bureaucracy (1)

klacke (554125) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654955)

Being an EU citicizen that positevely despice the bureaucracy in Brusssels it feels good that at least something appears to work there. On the other hand, I have no high hopes that they'll actually go all the way with this. It will will probably turn to water and be nothing more than a "We in the EU work very hard with ensuring that no single company can monpolize .... bla bla ... "

Dollar/Euro ratio (1)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654960)

Too bad for MS that the dollar is financially weak at the moment.
I mean, it's "only" +/- 507293667 euro's at this moment.
Is it possible for MS to wait with the payment until the $ and the euro are about 1:1 again ??

What does this mean for the US? (0)

LordPhantom (763327) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654961)

A couple of thoughts/questions this brings up -

Has it been released _what_ portion (or all?) of code will Microsoft be forced to disclose?

What will this mean for software in the US (Will Linux finally be able to interface safely with NTFS, will Microsoft attempt region-basesd distributions...., etc, etc)?

The obligatory karma whoring ... (-1, Redundant)

hashinclude (192717) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654971)

Microsoft hit by record EU fine
Microsoft is to appeal against the EU's decision
Software giant Microsoft must pay a fine of 497m euros ($613m; 331m) for abusing its dominant market position, the EU has ordered.

EU Competition Commissioner Mario Monti also insisted Microsoft must reveal secrets of its Windows software, which sits on 90% of the world's PCs.

The European Commission approved Microsoft's punishment on Wednesday.

Microsoft has already said it will appeal, kicking off a legal battle that could last years.

Mr Monti said he was confident "that we have produced here a decision that will stand before any appeal".

Microsoft has a cash pile of more than $50bn, so even a fine on this scale - a record for the EU in an antitrust case - is unlikely to hurt it commercially.

Battle lines

Industry experts say that the non-financial penalties are likely to hurt Microsoft more by opening it to further challenges and altering the regulatory environment it operates in.

Mr Monti has ordered Microsoft to reveal details of its Windows software codes within 120 days, to make it easier for rivals to design compatible products.

Microsoft must offer a stripped-down version of its Windows operating system minus the firm's MediaPlayer audiovisual software within 90 days.

Microsoft will still be allowed to sell Windows with Media Player bundled in.

Announcing the penalties, Mr Monti said they restored the conditions for fair competition in the software market.

"Dominant companies have a special responsibility to ensure that the way they do business doesn't prevent competition...and does not harm consumers and innovation," he said.

More transparent Windows

By setting limits on Microsoft's practice of bundling software and services with its Windows operating system, Mr Monti has struck a blow against a key part of the software firm's commercial strategy.

He said the Commission would appoint a trustee to make sure Microsoft reveals "complete and accurate" software codes "and that the two versions of Windows are equivalent in terms of performance."

Mr Monti's demand for a more transparent Windows proved the sticking point in failed talks between Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer and Mr Monti last week.

The five year EU case was launched after complaints from rival makers of audiovisual software that Microsoft was protecting its own media player and squeezing out others.

Mr Monti said the EU decision did not break new legal ground in either Europe or the US, nor did it expropriate Microsoft's intellectual property.

"Our decision is about protecting consumer choice and stimulating innovation", he told a newsconference.

'Unfair'

Microsoft claims that it should not be fined at all because it did not know its behaviour would breach EU law.

Microsoft spokesman Tom Brookes said the firm believes the settlement it proposed last week "would have been better for European consumers".

The software giant said it would continue to co-operate with the EU but would seek a legal review of the Commission's decision.

The appeal is expected to begin in a Luxembourg court but the legal battle could go all the way to the European Court of Justice.

The fine tops the EU's previous record of 462m euros. That penalty was imposed on pharmaceutical group Roche after a scandal involving price fixing in the vitamin pills market.

Last-ditch talks to agree a settlement between Mr Monti and Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer broke down last week.

Following the talks, Mr Monti said: "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."

The EU's investigation has found Microsoft to be an "abusive monopolist" which has skewed the market for audiovisual software to the detriment of its rivals.

WMP is the big deal, not the file (1)

peterdaly (123554) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654972)

While the fine amount is what is grabbing the headlines, the Windows Media Player removal is where the meat is. The fine is a "cost of doing business" to Microsoft. The WMP/free OS is hitting MS where it hurts.

The "new" OS will have greater impact than the fine ever will. It is ashame the headlines will probably fixate on the dollar (euro) figure.

-Pete

Special European version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8654974)

What stopping Microsoft complying with the order to release a striped down European version sans Media Player and then just charging 10% more for it as a specialty product? (Reflecting the hard work and research required to remove such integral features from Windows)
"Look we've done what you asked but the consumers just don't want it"

Re:Special European version (1)

Conor Turton (639827) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655063)

Because they're not allowed to charge any mor or offer any disincentive.

Did you actually read the order?

they'll pay it soon (-1)

relrelrel (737051) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654978)

with the US Dollar being so low and all, they will actually save millions by paying sooner rather than later.

Where will the money go? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8654981)

It may not hurt MS to shell out that much cash but assuming the fine stands, that's a big wad of cash being handed over. Who's it going to go to? The EU trade commission? MS competitors damaged by their behaviour? Does anyone know? The CNN article doesn't appear to say....

$613 million, paid in... (1)

Mr. Darl McBride (704524) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654983)

Could they maybe pay this $613 million in old copies of NT 2.0 at full retail and surplus copies of Bob dumped on church lawns? Bill's buddies saw to this in the new administration, and it seems to have worked out exceptionally well for them. Making it tax deductible was a wonderful touch.

Rumor has it MS are forcasting quite a tidy profit if anyone new can ever pool enough cash to afford the source license they made available as part of the settlement. That worked out well for MS too. Really, this whole being-found-guilty thing was a wonderful experience for MS, and they were looking forward to it happening again.

$613 Million? (1, Funny)

ksph2 (539985) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654987)

$613 Million? Shouldn't that be 496,796,042 euro?

What happens to the fine money? (2, Interesting)

danormsby (529805) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654990)

Where does the fine go? Spending it on Real player/Quicktime development might be poetic justice?

More filthy rich lawyers (3, Informative)

mrdaveb (239909) | more than 10 years ago | (#8654997)

Sadly the appeals and whinging are likely to drag on for many years.
Hopefully the EU will be able to make the ruling stick in the end. The fine may not be all that much to MS, but being forced to unbundle Media Player, etc could have quite an effect on their future strategies.

Time lines (4, Insightful)

amichalo (132545) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655001)

Aren't the time lines for these things rediculous? From the time an investigation starts, trail is held, conviction is appealed and re-tried, it takes about a decade to exact "justice" on an international corporation.

In the meantime, the victims such as smaller competing firms and consumers have long since picked up the pieces and moved on. The companies at the amepx of it all aren't even relevant anylonger (Netscape?).

Until the law can put some spring in their step, a $600 Million fine 10 years after putting awa your competition is paultry.

Break up Microsoft - THAT is the solution!

Gates and WMD's (0, Troll)

peoria kid (692946) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655003)

I hear they have Weapons of Mass Distribution at Microsoft and they must be stopped

Servers and windows (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655006)

120 days to give programming codes to rivals in the server market to allow 'full interoperability' with desktops running Windows

What does this mean they'll have to tell people about? I'm not au fait in any way with desktop/server interaction so Samba is the only thing that springs to mind, which I thought was interoperable just fine.

*cough*yeahright. (3, Interesting)

Brian Kendig (1959) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655008)

$613 million? Oooh, not. That's pocket change to Microsoft, who has a war chest of billions of dollars -- but of course this won't stop it from passing the cost along to its customers, and blaming the EU for increasing the price of Microsoft products.

In the end, this court decision isn't going to amount to anything. Competition has already been hurt. Customers aren't going to want to pay the same price for a version of Windows without WiMP. Competitors won't be given access to Microsoft's API's; MS will appeal and drag this out for a very long time. And in the end it will ignore the court orders, just like it did in the US, knowing that its punishment will be yet another lengthy court process which it can drag out and then ignore again, all the while telling its customers that government is trying to raise prices and stifle innovation. Maybe it'll even try to settle by again offering to install Microsoft software in schools for free (until the license has to be renewed in a few years, that is).

Wait, "full interoperability"? (4, Interesting)

mcc (14761) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655015)

This sounds like the most important part to me. What does this mean? The CNN article is incredibly vague. Is MS allowed to place restrictions on the licensing of this "program code"-- i.e. forcing anyone who looks at code to sign an NDA saying, say, they won't use the information in a GPLed product? What do they define by "in the server market"? Is this just saying MS has to make its WMA code available, or is this Windows in general?

If the latter, that's absolutely fantastic. That means we could start seeing 100% compatible versions of Wine, freed from the difficulty and endless trial=and-error of duplicating an API where so much is undocumented and "bug compatibility" is so crucial.

If the former, that this means MS has to divulge the necessary information for third parties to be fully compatible with WMP serving, that's not quite so interesting.

Incidentally, I want to nominate this as the most bullshit argument MS apologists have ever put forth, ever.

Analysts say by forcing Microsoft to offer a version of Windows XP without Media Player, consumers could pay higher costs.

"If it were to be obliged to offer versions both with and without Media Player, then that would mean we would probably have double the number of consumer PC configuration in our shops. Of course this is product that is built before it is sold," says Brian Gammage from computer consultancy Gartner.


Wow. So Microsoft using Windows revenues to subsidize a hugely complex and unnecessary movie player and set of movie codecs doesn't increase costs to consumers, but Microsoft having to print up two differing sets of cheap cardboard to sell in stores does. Amazing.

Just a thought..... (1)

dubdays (410710) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655020)

Does anyone know how much it took to prosecute MS for 5 YEARS???. The EU ought to make them pay for the cost of that, too!

what about HP abandoning Windows (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8655022)

While the rest of the world reports the $613M fine against Microsoft as a standalone, the LinuxWorld report [linuxworld.com] juxtaposes it with HP's confirmation - being reported by Reuters [reuters.co.uk] - that HP is wavering in its support for Windows on the desktop. Its notebooks and laptops will now support SUSE Linux. An HP'er concedes: "Does Microsoft like the fact that we do Linux stuff? Absolutely not." Is this the end of the beginning now in the Windows vs Linux desktop battle?"

Re:what about HP abandoning Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8655045)

There are two separate issues here. Linux Business Week [linuxworld.com] already reported last week that HP was going to crank up its desktop support, so MSFT won't have been ambushed by today's extension by them of that policy. It already knew HP was going to start reselling Turbolinux on its Compaq business desktop PCs in China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. This was already known [linuxworld.com] last week.

The fine is irrelevant (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8655027)

The point is that the EU is trying to make MS less anticompetitive. That would set an excellent precedent, and is what Ballmer & Co. object to so strongly.

This is something that should have been done here in the US long ago, but unfortunately our government is for sale to the highest bidder.

if I were microsoft... (2, Funny)

dark404 (714846) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655035)

I'd make the stripped down version, and only sell it direct via snail mail order. </EVIL>

Microsoft's Monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8655040)

Maybe if people quit buying Microsoft's software, they wouldn't have a monopoly.

Maybe if another company could produce a desktop friendly OS for a reasonable price, Microsoft wouldn't have the deathgrip on the end user OS market.

Fun to live in an era where a company is punished for making something too good.

RE: M$ (1)

romulet (756728) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655046)

We are borg.... yadda yadda yadda. It doesnt mean a damn thing. MS is a cancer and there is no stoping it. I think this will just strenghen windows market share more.

1.311 EUR per EU population!! (RAW DEAL) (1, Troll)

toesate (652111) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655049)

The fine is 497m EUR.

The EU Population [eu.int] in 2003 is 378,988,100 (estimate).

So it is about 1.311 EUR per EU inhabitant.

Not even a single trip bus fare.

whom will they pay? (0, Redundant)

dharash (652371) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655054)

Who will be receiving the $$? How was this specific amount decided?

Switch!! (0, Offtopic)

Choc Ice (763620) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655055)

Switch to Linux today!!! You'll still get lots of extra free stuff you don't want or need, so switch NOW!!!

...and so on.

Assuming MS Pays... (4, Interesting)

CGP314 (672613) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655074)

Where does the money go after Microsoft pays? To charity? To the gov't?


-Colin [colingregorypalmer.net]

Why not make the auto makers do the same thing (-1, Redundant)

torchta (631416) | more than 10 years ago | (#8655077)

I own a Chrysler and would like to have onstar in it but the is on a Gm thing, Why not make them put it in my Chrysler or take it out of all Gm cars, Yes I believe Ms does something under handed but makeing them remove it it bs. With high speed internet if someone wants one of the other Media players they can download it. If you disagree see example above. Force companys to include things that they don't make is wrong.
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