Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

EU Prepared to Fine Microsoft $2.5 Million Per Day

Zonk posted about 8 years ago | from the i'd-get-on-that-guys dept.

659

Lord_Slepnir writes "The European Union is unsatisfied with Microsoft's compliance with their anti-trust compliance from 2004, and is preparing to fine them 2 million Euros ($2.5m US) per day until they comply. Under that ruling, Microsoft must open up parts of their operating system to competitors, and change how they bundle Media Player." From the article: "On Monday, Microsoft said it had begun to provide the information Brussels had demanded, but the Commission has signaled the company acted too late. In December, Brussels informed the software giant that it had failed to comply with the original ruling it issued in March 2004."

cancel ×

659 comments

Nothing for you to see here. Please move along. (4, Insightful)

justkarl (775856) | about 8 years ago | (#15613071)

That's for sure. This has been going on for quite some time. I think it was at least a year ago that the EU would fine microsoft every day.

Re:Nothing for you to see here. Please move along. (4, Informative)

justkarl (775856) | about 8 years ago | (#15613089)

I think it was at least a year ago that the EU would fine microsoft every day.

Scratch that. If I RTFA, I would know that that was exactly what they said in 2004.

Re:Nothing for you to see here. Please move along. (1, Interesting)

archen (447353) | about 8 years ago | (#15613137)

Despite how much I dislike MS I'm starting to wonder if it's even their fault. I mean they keep stumbling and stumbling. "We need Vista out the door now", they still can't do it. I'm not saying that MS isn't purposly dragging their feet here, but I wonder if behind the scenes it's just such a mess of code and red tape that they're honestly having a hard time complying. It's still just an excuse though and the fines could stand regardless.

Spare the rod... (4, Insightful)

Infonaut (96956) | about 8 years ago | (#15613175)

... spoil the megacorp.

Seriously, it seems that the entire history of antitrust action against MS in the US and Europe has been a colossal waste of time and effort. All it has done is show that governments don't really have the teeth to cut into Microsoft's anti-competitive behavior. I originally thought the DOJ action was going to curb MS, but it didn't.

When push came to shove, the US government wasn't truly prepared to make one of the crown jewels of American business suffer in order to make it change its ways. The EU is likely unwilling to push too hard for fear of invoking the wrath of the US government, which is just further proof that if a business becomes big enough, it can only very rarely be constrained by government.

Market forces are doing a far better job of constraining Microsoft. Perhaps if Microsoft's competitors hadn't relied on antitrust lawsuits to save them, they might have fought MS more aggressively and effectively in the past. Apple learned its lesson. Sun (belatedly) learned its lesson. The lesson is that the government isn't going to help you fight Microsoft, so you have to figure out a way to do it yourself.

Re:Spare the rod... (1)

Gorshkov (932507) | about 8 years ago | (#15613286)

The EU is likely unwilling to push too hard for fear of invoking the wrath of the US government, which is just further proof that if a business becomes big enough, it can only very rarely be constrained by government.

The EU is afraid of pissing off the USA? Where the hell have YOU been the last century or so?

Re:Spare the rod... (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | about 8 years ago | (#15613312)

It's worth remembering that the U.S. changed president during that episode and that the presidents came from different political parties.

Re:Spare the rod... (4, Insightful)

Cleon (471197) | about 8 years ago | (#15613354)

I don't think it's lack of teeth, it's lack of will.

In the US case, the justice department got a conviction against Microsoft. Then the Bush administration was sworn in, and the incoming DOJ whittled the punishment down into a "don't do it again, *wink* *wink*, *nudge* *nudge*."

In the European case, the EU is still finding its legs as an entity/pseudo-government. Any action they take against MS is going to be debated, re-debated, whined about, etc. They have the teeth, it's a question of whether they have the will to take a bite.

Re:Nothing for you to see here. Please move along. (2, Insightful)

jekewa (751500) | about 8 years ago | (#15613216)

If only there were another option; some kind of operating environment one could install on one's computer to do one's work. And maybe some other bits and pieces of software that could go with that environment that would still let one perform one's computer-centric duties.

If only there were some way we could get from beneath the crushing foot of this megacorporation and have the freedom to choose. To choose the programs that met our needs, our budgets, and our requirements.

Man, if only.

I don't get it (4, Insightful)

utopianfiat (774016) | about 8 years ago | (#15613073)

If they comply right away, do they not get fined?

Re:I don't get it (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | about 8 years ago | (#15613090)

It's Microsoft - what did you expect? They won't pay until they have no legal choice.

Re:I don't get it (1)

joshier (957448) | about 8 years ago | (#15613109)

Are you kidding?.. You really think they've never been fined because there's no other solution, so they comply? This is microsoft man, they have got fined loads before, just to get away with it - But this case, it's not really a "I don't care that I got fined X amount, cos' I'll recieve X amount in the long run - working out for a better profit!" This never would work out as a better profit in my opinion.

Re:I don't get it (2, Interesting)

WilliamSChips (793741) | about 8 years ago | (#15613093)

I think, if they don't comply, they become contraband in the EU or something.

Re:I don't get it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15613098)

No, if they don't pay the fine, they send "Clippy" to jail.
be afraid, be very afraid.

Re:I don't get it (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15613113)

If they comply right away, do they not get fined?
You just have your tenses mixed up, thats all. If they had complied right away then they would not be being fined. It's far far too late now for them to change the fact that they did not comply right away.

Frist gnmmmm (1, Offtopic)

Helen Keller (842669) | about 8 years ago | (#15613074)

Mmmmeh

Re:Frist gnmmmm (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15613274)

Helen, if you fall down if the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a noise?

hehehe (-1, Troll)

joshier (957448) | about 8 years ago | (#15613079)

Haha, awesome!

Serious Question: (0, Flamebait)

susano_otter (123650) | about 8 years ago | (#15613080)

What are the chances of this being simply an excuse to generate a $2.5 million per day revenue stream for the EU government?

Re:Serious Question: (5, Insightful)

RonnyJ (651856) | about 8 years ago | (#15613132)

If it was, I would imagine they'd have started imposing these fines many months ago - the original ruling was made in March 2004.

Re:Serious Question: (3, Funny)

tehgimpness (984446) | about 8 years ago | (#15613145)

European Commission [wikipedia.org] , not Government.

However; I'm right with you on that one. Though it'll most likely be spent on subsidies for Swiss and Luxembourg fishing fleets.

Re:Serious Question: (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 8 years ago | (#15613282)

>>... Though it'll most likely be spent on subsidies for Swiss and Luxembourg fishing fleets.
---
Not sure if I get the joke.

http://www.cambridge1.net/Luxemburgmaritime.html [cambridge1.net]

Re:Serious Question: (-1, Troll)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | about 8 years ago | (#15613158)

Microsoft is headquartered in the US. I don't think the EU has the authority to simply demand money from them.

Sure, they can kick 'em out of the country, but MS should call their bluff. Would they go as far as saying every citizen must install the (now-illegal) windows software? It would simply be undoable.

Re:Serious Question: (1)

Pofy (471469) | about 8 years ago | (#15613214)

Microsoft would most likely have daughter companies set up and located in each and every country in EU including with emplyed personal and so on. Were the headquarter is located is in that aspect quite irellevant. Sure, Microsoft can theoretically completely extinct itself from EU and not have any legal precense at all, the chance for that would be zero I would say.

Re:Serious Question: (1)

RonnyJ (651856) | about 8 years ago | (#15613243)

The European Union is not a country - it contains 25 member states, and has every authority to deal with businesses operating inside the EU. Do you really think that Microsoft is (or should be) exempt from EU laws?

I'd love Microsoft to "call their bluff" - if you really think it'd do more damage to the EU than Microsoft, you're kidding yourself.

PLEASE let MS call their bluff... (5, Insightful)

absurdist (758409) | about 8 years ago | (#15613271)

"Microsoft is headquartered in the US. I don't think the EU has the authority to simply demand money from them."

Microsoft is a multi-national conglomerate doing business in many nations around the world. As such, they are requires to obey the laws and accept the sanctions imposed by every country or, in the case of the EU, group of countries they do business in.

"Sure, they can kick 'em out of the country, but MS should call their bluff."

Sure they should. Then the EU should simply impound all of MS's European assets, and strip them of all patent and copyright protection, thus allowing Europeans to install their new open source, free operating system quite legally under the laws of the EU.

When you grow up you'll realize that there are other countries, legal systems, and ways of looking at things than the US's. BTW, as I pointed out before, the EU is a GROUP of countries... your statement about "kick them out of the country" berely underscores your ignorance.

But thanks for playing.

Stripping protection? (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | about 8 years ago | (#15613326)

...if you know what I mean. Even if an entity does no business in your country, you're (if I've got it right) compelled to enforce Berne-style "intellectual property" enforcement in your borders. Unless you want to be booted from WTO.

Re:PLEASE let MS call their bluff... (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | about 8 years ago | (#15613362)

Sure they should. Then the EU should simply impound all of MS's European assets, and strip them of all patent and copyright protection, thus allowing Europeans to install their new open source, free operating system quite legally under the laws of the EU.

Ah, touche!

Re:Serious Question: (1)

indifferent children (842621) | about 8 years ago | (#15613311)

Would they go as far as saying every citizen must install the (now-illegal) windows software?

I think you meant to say "un-install". But the EU would have a better recourse. They can declare Microsoft delinquent on the fines, and seize the copyright to Windows in the EU. Then the European Commission can either sell Windows at a profit, or declare it public domain. What the government giveth (copyright protection), the government can taketh away.

Re:Serious Question: (4, Insightful)

Richard W.M. Jones (591125) | about 8 years ago | (#15613172)

What are the chances of this being simply an excuse to generate a $2.5 million per day revenue stream for the EU government?

Errrm, none? There is no "EU government" - perhaps you meant intergovernmental European Union, or the European Council, Commission or Parliament?

The EU has a budget of over 1% of the European GDP (works out at around US$ 160 billion). Why would they want $2.5m/day?

Rich.

Re:Serious Question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15613318)

The rare voice of reason here who doesn't consider anything outside the continental 48 a third world country. "2.5 millions a day!?! We'ze mill-yon-airs!"

Re:Serious Question: (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15613185)

What are the chances of this being simply an excuse to generate a $2.5 million per day revenue stream for the EU government?


Zero. The revenue is doubtless a nice bonus but what matters most to governments is power. Microsoft has decided to defy the collective requrements of the sovereign governments that make up the EU, while operating in their markets. They're not going to let Microsoft get away with that if they can possibly help it. That's all the motive they need.

Re:Serious Question: (4, Informative)

Tim C (15259) | about 8 years ago | (#15613200)

There is no "EU government". Further, the EU annual budget dwarves a paltry $2.5m/day; while more money is always good, there's no need to create spurious conspiracy theories.

The EU is merely taking the sort of corrective measures the US DoJ should have taken a long, long time ago. I fail to see how a company that's been convicted of a crime can go unpunished for so long.

Unpunished? Are you crazy? (4, Funny)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | about 8 years ago | (#15613358)

Microsoft has had to issue numerous press releases saying they can't figure out what the EU wants them to do, and that the EU is just punishing them for making such a great operating system. They've had to pay for numerous "independent" studies to prove that showing several million lines of unreadable source code is the same as documenting an API. Haven't they suffered enough?!?!

Re:Serious Question: (5, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | about 8 years ago | (#15613372)

there's no need to create spurious conspiracy theories

Would this be Slashdot if we didn't?

Re:Serious Question: (5, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | about 8 years ago | (#15613205)

If that were the case, they'd be making it as difficult as possible for Microsoft to comply with their demands instead of telling them exactly what they are doing wrong and giving them years to correct their mistake.

I know it's trendy to accuse the EU of being greedy and anti-American, and I don't deny that the money will be happily spent, but that doesn't mean Microsoft isn't breaking the law and it doesn't mean the EU aren't right to fine them.

Microsoft could easily avoid these fines by complying with the court ruling. They have chosen to make every effort to avoid doing so, and these fines are the result.

Re:Serious Question: (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15613313)

The problem is that the EU insists on the disclosure of APIs that do not exist. Any API that is used by a different module has been disclosed and documented. The last round of exchanges between the EU and MSFT was a consequence of the complaint by the impartial authority that while the APIs had been disclosed, the documentation did not teach customers on how to write File and SQL servers.

Think for a moment - how could Microsoft possibly prove that the documentation they have provided is both accurate and complete? That's why they published the source code. Which the EU also rejected.

The ruling was purposefully set up to be impossible to comply with; this is a pure revenue-generating plot.

Re:Serious Question: (1)

aussersterne (212916) | about 8 years ago | (#15613246)

Right, because it's not about government oppression when it comes to illegal immigration, punishing journalists for criticizing the government, or seizing assets in the "war on drugs," it's just about obeying the law--but when the targets are corporations as opposed to people it's not just about obeying the law but rather about government oppression. I get it.

Re:Serious Question: (1)

MrSquirrel (976630) | about 8 years ago | (#15613329)

They should give me some of the money (even though I'm in the United States) for having to deal with Windows Media Player. Microsoft, why oh why won't you let me uninstall it? Worst media player ever! (RealOne Player doesn't count because it's not a media player, it's what happened when someone's cat jumped on their keyboard, pressed a bunch of random keys, and hit "compile")

Re:Serious Question: (1)

bombadier_beetle (871107) | about 8 years ago | (#15613383)

Why do you have to uninstall it? There are plenty of much better and free alternatives, and they work just fine alongside WMP. If only the EU could understand this.

Bundle? I lol'd (4, Interesting)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | about 8 years ago | (#15613082)

change how they bundle Media Player.

I don't think you can bundle anything more than making it completely uninstallable.

//open to pointers on how to excise MP10 from my new machine completely.

Oh noes! (4, Funny)

JoeLinux (20366) | about 8 years ago | (#15613088)

Poor, poor Microsoft.

How will they come up with enough change out of Bill Gates' couch to pay that daily?

They might have to pull directly from the company coffee fund!

Re:Oh noes! (2, Insightful)

LnxAddct (679316) | about 8 years ago | (#15613155)

Heh, that is over 900 million a year (and I believe this fee is retroactive). I'd like to see *any* corporation justify to its stock holders that they are blowing nearly a billion a year (unless of course Microsoft realized significantly more buisness oppurtunities as a result).Either way, I'm sure the EU wouldn't mind a billion extra on the books.
Regards,
Steve

Piece of cake: (1)

JoeLinux (20366) | about 8 years ago | (#15613267)

four words:

"Cost of doing business"

In the day and age of the internet, there is no way to localize the distribution of any API or source code. It would hit the 'net, and be everywhere. M$ would effectively be competing against their own products.

I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but I can't see them doing it. I see them planning their future finances around a $2.5x10^6 USD loss per day.

Now THAT is a lot better... (2, Interesting)

Noryungi (70322) | about 8 years ago | (#15613091)

... Than the limited (though enormous) fines the EU was talking about the last time. Last I recall, the total fine was around 50 million dollars.

US$ 2.5M per day should be enough to get Microsoft full and undivided attention and, hopefully, make it play nice with other software suppliers. Or at least put on a better show of compliance.

Yes, I am rabidly anti-Microsoft... How could you tell? :-)

Re:Now THAT is a lot better... (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | about 8 years ago | (#15613124)

I'm not seeing the amount as sufficient to capture MS's "undivided" attention. I see a simple cost-benefit analysis:

Pay whatev-percent (1? 1.5?) of our annual revenue and do business as usual
or
Let go of the mechanism (lock in) by which we make $________/yr.

Re:Now THAT is a lot better... (3, Insightful)

mikesd81 (518581) | about 8 years ago | (#15613125)

Microsoft will never play nice. What's totally amazing is other countries are imposing theses rulings, but in America they get away with it. If all these other countries think it's wrong, maybe it is.

Re:Now THAT is a lot better... (2, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 8 years ago | (#15613241)

Now THAT is a lot better... Than the limited (though enormous) fines the EU was talking about the last time. Last I recall, the total fine was around 50 million dollars.

You're a little confused. The fine has remained 2.5 million a day, but it started racking up quite a while ago, so the payment due is now well over 50 million and going up by 2.5 million a day. The EU has just delayed collection of the fine for a while.

Respect (5, Insightful)

Tom (822) | about 8 years ago | (#15613092)

It's all a questions of respect. The US government barked, but when it came to biting, they didn't. As a result, MS does not and will probably not ever again have respect for them.

Apparently, someone in the EU has some soft skills and knows that at this stage it isn't about being right or wrong or fair or blablabla. If the EU doesn't bite after making so much noise about it, they'll have a hard time ever getting MS to comply with anything.

Oh MEINE GOTT! At that rate.. (3, Funny)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | about 8 years ago | (#15613094)

at that rate, they can only hold out for 33 years!!

Re:Oh MEINE GOTT! At that rate.. (5, Interesting)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | about 8 years ago | (#15613116)

oops, bad math, they can hold out for 666 years based on their market value, forever if you assume they get 4% interest.

Re:Oh MEINE GOTT! At that rate.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15613130)

Longer than that - Microsoft still brings in more than that each day...

Re:Oh MEINE GOTT! At that rate.. (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | about 8 years ago | (#15613374)

It's $2.5mil per day now, that can change to an unlimited amount should we decide it is continued willful non-compliance.

So MS, bring it on, Turkey needs some inward investment!

Microsoft's Response (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15613099)

Somehow I'm guessing that "The check's in the mail" wouldn't be enough for the EU here?

No Confusion (1)

selvarajank (930044) | about 8 years ago | (#15613103)

Now Bill will have no confusion in how to spend what Warren Buffett gave him. He now should be seriously thinking of changing his name from Bill to NOBILL

It's only money... (2)

Itninja (937614) | about 8 years ago | (#15613111)

If I did my math right, isn't that like 9-something-billion per year in fines? And doesn't MS generate something like 40 billion per year in revenue? I say they won't even notice....

Re:It's only money... (4, Interesting)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | about 8 years ago | (#15613141)

If I did my math right, isn't that like 9-something-billion per year in fines? And doesn't MS generate something like 40 billion per year in revenue? I say they won't even notice....
No, it's $912,500,000 a year in fines. I would say Microsoft doesn't *like* to throw away a billion dollars a year on fines, but it certainly wouldn't put them out of business.

Re:It's only money... (1)

linvir (970218) | about 8 years ago | (#15613149)

How do you think they got so rich? It wasn't by haemorrhaging millions of dollars per day and not noticing.

How they got so rich (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | about 8 years ago | (#15613259)

By leveraging their monopoly in one market to secure monopolies -- or at least a presence forecful enough to take huge margins -- in in other markets.

And yes, they are willing to take a bath on a product if it will further this overarching goal. It made no economic sense to embed IE into the operating system.

Re:It's only money... (1, Funny)

PFI_Optix (936301) | about 8 years ago | (#15613187)

If you wouldn't miss 20+% of your annual income, please forward your Q4 paychecks to my bank account. Thanks.

2% (n/t) (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | about 8 years ago | (#15613215)

as per the other guy's math

Re:It's only money... (1)

PRC Banker (970188) | about 8 years ago | (#15613219)

If I did my math right, isn't that like 9-something-billion per year in fines?

More like USD900mn. And your revenue figure roughly OK, but Net Income was $12bn [google.com] .

I'd say their investors would notice a revenue drop of roughly 7.5%.

Of course, their net income generated from the EU is much less than the $12bn mentioned above, therefore the impact from a discrete product market is even more severe.

Re:It's only money... (1)

i_am_not_a_script_03 (982677) | about 8 years ago | (#15613338)

errr..
Revenue means nothing.
His estimated net worth for 2006 is around $50 billion. I'm sure he'll notice.

what are they going to do with the money? (4, Interesting)

LodCrappo (705968) | about 8 years ago | (#15613117)

So they fine MS... assuming MS actually pays (seems kind of unlikely), what are they going to do with the cash? I RTFA and it didn't mention it. I'd love to see it go to aiding the folks that MS's anticompetitive tactics have hampered, but how would that work? Or would they give it to charity, use it to lower taxes a tiny bit, something positive for people?

Re:what are they going to do with the money? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 8 years ago | (#15613272)

They'll spend it on somthing unrelated that helps the families/friends of those in power. It's how all of these organizations work. Heck, it's how the world works. The point is to hurt MS for their noncompliance. The extra cash in the coffers means they can start a new program or three, then when the penalty money runs out, they'll ask for more money from the EU countries to continue these programs, and your countries will, in turn, raise your taxes.

Don't you feel better now?

Re:what are they going to do with the money? (1)

Daneboy (315359) | about 8 years ago | (#15613298)

There's no reason why this money would be earmarked for any particular purpose. Just like any other fine imposed by the government. It becomes the government's money, just like the $250 speeding ticket I paid earlier this year.

Realistically, most of it will probably end up in the lawyers' pockets anyway -- I don't imagine that court costs in Europe are any less outlandish than here in the US. :-)

Let's get it on! (0, Flamebait)

grev (974855) | about 8 years ago | (#15613128)

Greed-driven Microsoft vs the avaricious European Union, FIGHT!

Re:Let's get it on! (1)

nexxuz (895394) | about 8 years ago | (#15613201)

According to GoogleFight the results don't look too good for all of us

Clarification (4, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 8 years ago | (#15613134)

Under that ruling, Microsoft must open up parts of their operating system to competitors, and change how they bundle Media Player.

Just for clarification before anyone gets on their soapbox about how Microsoft shouldn't have to open their code to competitors, that is not the parts that the EU wants. They want MS to dislose API type information so that competitors can better interface with Windows. i.e. Samba.

Dear EU, (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 years ago | (#15613135)

Thank you for fining us. Enclosed you find our offer about Windows Vista special EU edition, the ONLY edition the EU parlament and its associated organs may use. A license costs 2*10^6 USD a day.

Or, could we talk that fine thing over, maybe?

(it's fun to have a monopoly, ain't it?)

Re:Dear EU, (1)

1u3hr (530656) | about 8 years ago | (#15613258)

(it's fun to have a monopoly, ain't it?)

Sovereign governments trump business monopolies. The various national governments could just legislate compulsory licences and pay whatever they wanted. But more likely they'd just transition to Linux; that would frighten MS much more.

Re:Dear EU, (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 years ago | (#15613367)

They won't.

Some offices tried here. The result was less than overwhelming. Because the people working there did their best to sabotage the idea.

I mean, try to teach a bureaucrat new tricks...

Dear Microsoft, (4, Funny)

Daneboy (315359) | about 8 years ago | (#15613378)

Thank for your recent letter. Regretfully, we must decline your offer of your special edition software and its license.

Apparently you are not aware of our country's recent legislation addressing software license rules. In order for a software company to legally sell ANY software in our country, it will now be required to provide, free of charge, a number of fully licensed copies of said software to the government, that number to be determined by the government and revised at the government's discretion.

(Having a monopoly sure sounds like fun. But writing your own laws is even more fun, we think!)

MSFT Trade Secrets (2, Insightful)

neonprimetime (528653) | about 8 years ago | (#15613142)

claiming that the Commission is forcing it to divulge valuable trade secrets.

  • Bloat the software as much as you like, consumers will just buy more hardware.
  • Rush the release date, we can always fix bugs later.
  • Don't be helpful to anybody outside the company unless they threaten to sue you.

What a huge surprise (-1, Flamebait)

LaughingCoder (914424) | about 8 years ago | (#15613144)

A European court enacts steep, recurring fines on an American corporation. Who could ever have seen this coming? I am shocked, shocked I say!

FUD (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 8 years ago | (#15613189)

Spread your FUD elsewhere. They are fining them what the law allows for the same crime the US just ruled them failing to comply with their punishment for. Are you claiming the US is biased against MS too?

Re:FUD (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 years ago | (#15613304)

Are you claiming the US is biased against MS too?

Why would they claim that? I didn't infer that at all, and they certainly didn't imply it. The US would actually have to take some kind of meaningful action against MS before anyone would think that.

Misleading Commentary (5, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 8 years ago | (#15613165)

"Microsoft must open up parts of their operating system to competitors, and change how they bundle Media Player."

This is ambiguous and misleading commentary. MS has been ordered to document the APIs of the interaction between their monopoly desktop OS and their non-monopoly server OS to allow competition. This is not "opening up" any part of their OS. They have not been asked to provide any source code and in fact they offered source code as an alternative to the documentation (under terms that would have gutted the benefits of the punishment) and it was rejected as unsatisfactory. To reiterate, MS was not ordered to open up any code, only to provide documentation on the interaction of their OS's.

Re:Misleading Commentary (1)

zlogic (892404) | about 8 years ago | (#15613306)

Well, I think that a well-documented API is better than some MS code (which could be either good, acceptable or horrible). If you have the complete documentation, it's often easier to write your own compatible API than hack Microsoft's API, removing all the unwanted features and library dependencies.
Although it would be better if Microsoft provided both the sourcecode (for people who don't want to reinvent the bycicle or as a reference for those who are writing from scratch) and the API (which would be great for already established projects like Openoffice and others, so that they would become more compatible).

$2.5 million = still a slap on the wrist (3, Insightful)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | about 8 years ago | (#15613174)

I'm not sure what Gates's net worth is at the moment, but let's say he's got 40 billion in the bank, which is probably about right.

At 2.5 million dollars a day, he'd be bankrupt in 54 years, assuming absolutely no income or other expenditures.

I'm sure the company's pockets are much deeper than Gates's personal fortune.

Re:$2.5 million = still a slap on the wrist (1)

madcow_bg (969477) | about 8 years ago | (#15613310)

Imagine you are a shareholder... and your company gives you not 10 mils, but 5 mils in dividents... WHO IS THE FSCKING BASTARD THAT DID IT? MY COMPANY CEO DOESN'T DO IT RIGHT!!! GUT HIM!!!

Well... don't you think that once the aforementioned fine is found to be non-effective (I doubt it) the EU court will double-tripple-quadrupple it? You know, when a criminal insists on doing the same crime the penalties get worse...

I Think the EU is Wrong Here (-1, Troll)

Petersko (564140) | about 8 years ago | (#15613176)

I read a lot about this whole debacle - more than I normally read about anything legal - just because for some reason this process is interesting.

I guess I'm looking for trouble by saying this on Slashdot, but I think the EU's reasoning on this issue is faulty, and I think it's an old-fashioned money grab.

Economically, and for the purposes of retaining market share, it makes sense for Microsoft to stay and deal with this. Good thing I'm not in charge of Microsoft. Out of spite I'd have pulled up stakes of everything in the EU, save for a distribution warehouse.

Re:I Think the EU is Wrong Here (5, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 8 years ago | (#15613213)

I guess I'm looking for trouble by saying this on Slashdot, but I think the EU's reasoning on this issue is faulty, and I think it's an old-fashioned money grab.

They're breaking the law. The US convicted them of it. The EU did too. So did several other nations. They have failed to comply with their punishment. If the EU does not act, they are stating to the world that they won't or can't enforce their own laws. For a fledgling organization like the EU, this would be devastating. If you convict someone of robbery and they escape from the prison instead of serving their time and then stroll into town and tell everyone they aren't going to accept the punishment since they don't want to, the law bloody well better act if they want to be taken seriously, ever.

Good thing I'm not in charge of Microsoft. Out of spite I'd have pulled up stakes of everything in the EU, save for a distribution warehouse.

Yeah, because you'd be fired and replaced within hours.

Re:I Think the EU is Wrong Here (3, Insightful)

NineNine (235196) | about 8 years ago | (#15613285)

They're breaking the law.

I love it how The Slashdot GroupThink questions the validitiy and constitutionality of laws such as the DMCA, copyright laws, IP laws, etc., but when it comes down to anti-trust laws, there is NO debate, whatsoever, and people such as yourself continually just parrot "They broke the law! They broke the law!". Nice.

Re:I Think the EU is Wrong Here (1)

madcow_bg (969477) | about 8 years ago | (#15613352)

But my friend, this IS a discussion!!! Ask everybody here and he will say to you that antitrust laws are good. (Everyone knows it. Take a diploma in economics or at least study some... you'll see why it is this way.) Antitrust laws are good and protect the comunity. There you have it.

Re:I Think the EU is Wrong Here (2, Insightful)

gravij (685575) | about 8 years ago | (#15613381)

Well if you can come up with a good reason why the current anti-trust laws are broken/stupid etc then you might be able to change people's minds. It seems that most people here (except perhaps Microsoft fanboys) are happy with the way the law tries to stop Microsoft from causing too much havoc in the world.

On the other hand DMCA, patent laws, etc. seem to be broken in favour of big business. The same big businesses that control the government. I'm sure you can figure out what is wrong here.

Re:I Think the EU is Wrong Here (1)

Tim C (15259) | about 8 years ago | (#15613270)

Out of spite I'd have pulled up stakes of everything in the EU, save for a distribution warehouse.

To what end? That's still a business presence in the EU, you'd still be doing business on EU soil, and so would still be liable.

In fact, at this point, I suspect it's too late anyway. The case has been heard, the court has decided, and MS lost. You can't generally (legally) escape punishment by doing a runner.

Re:I Think the EU is Wrong Here (1)

Petersko (564140) | about 8 years ago | (#15613337)

I said it makes economic sense to stay put. I said I would move Microsoft out of spite. By picking up stakes and limiting their presence, Microsoft would deprive the EU of a number of things, including a number of well-paying jobs.

It wouldn't be a smart move. Hence, "Out of spite".

Microsoft can pay that for 38 years with its cash (2, Insightful)

jdb8167 (204116) | about 8 years ago | (#15613179)

Microsoft has about $35 Billion in the bank. At $2,510,800 per day, that works out to about 38 years with its current cash. I'm thinking that the EU might want to up the fine if they want Microsoft to take them seriously.

Re:Microsoft can pay that for 38 years with its ca (2, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 8 years ago | (#15613212)

Microsoft has about $35 Billion in the bank.

MS is not as financially well off as many might think. Sure $35 billion is a lot of money, but MS's expenses are about $9 billion a year. All it would take is 4 unprofitable years and that cash is gone. Not likely but not impossible.

Re:Microsoft can pay that for 38 years with its ca (1)

jdb8167 (204116) | about 8 years ago | (#15613242)

Not likely but not impossible.

I think you have that a little wrong. It would take 4 years of no income at all. Even if Microsoft is unprofitable, that doesn't imply zero revenue.

Re:Microsoft can pay that for 38 years with its ca (2, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | about 8 years ago | (#15613356)

It's not about how long it will take them to run out of money, it's whether it's more profitable to pay the fine or continue to break the law.

I assure you, Microsoft shareholders won't be saying "it's okay, we can last for years like this" to the Board of Directors, they'll be saying "why are we paying a billion dollars per year fine?"

Wow. I don't know who to hate more. (-1, Flamebait)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 8 years ago | (#15613192)

The out of control evil capitalism of Microsoft or the out of control evil statism of the EU.

I think I need a bit of a lie down.

EU hates Microsoft? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15613194)

It seems to me that the EU is just jealous that they don't have a software standard that most of the world uses so they're trying to hurt Microsoft any way they can. Why don't they just take their ball and go home? Microsoft should give the EU the finger and let them see how their infrastructure nearly collapses without Microsoft products.

Don't tell me you trust government data on a Mac or think they can run Linux. These are users after all...

Spaceballs! (1)

Kamineko (851857) | about 8 years ago | (#15613196)

What are you preparing. You're always preparing. Just go!

Who cares? (1)

8127972 (73495) | about 8 years ago | (#15613204)

Gates can give every Slashdot user $1000 and not feel it. $2.5 Mil isn't going to get his attention. He'll put it down as the cost of doing business in Europe.

Smithers! (3, Funny)

Fiachra06 (945611) | about 8 years ago | (#15613244)

Get my wallet!

pay... or else? (2, Interesting)

spevack (210449) | about 8 years ago | (#15613293)

Ok, so they fine MSFT 2.5 million per day. When do they have to pay up? What entity is responsible for making sure that payments are made? What happens if MSFT doesn't pay?

I'll believe it when I see it.

Not to start a flame war... (1)

sarlos (903082) | about 8 years ago | (#15613299)

...but isn't it possible that the real problem is piss-poor programmers among the competition? One main argument given in the article is sub-par performance of third party applications on Microsoft server software. I'm not in the 'defend M$ at all costs' camp, but come on, let's not jump to conclusions here.

Raise the price of Windows in Europe (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15613340)

Figure out what price per copy of XP that amounts to, put a big sticker on the box that says "You are being fucked by the EU, not MS," Profit (er break even).

Or just threaten to stop selling Windows in Europe. I doubt Bill has the nads for that though, there's always the what if (what if linux is actually usable in the business world).

Not trying to start a flame, just saying.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...