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EU Fines Microsoft $1.3 Billion

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the cost-of-doing-bidness dept.

The Almighty Buck 699

jd writes "The EU has slammed Microsoft with a fine of €899 million ($1.337 billion at current exchange rates) for perpetuating violations of the 2004 antitrust ruling.The fine is the sum of daily fines running from June 21, 2006 to October 21, 2007. It is the first company ever to be fined for non-compliance. The amazing thing is that the EU now expects Microsoft to comply and 'close a dark chapter' in their history. The EU has opened new investigations into Microsoft's practices and gave a lukewarm response to the company's turning over yet another new leaf last week."

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699 comments

Well... (5, Funny)

cosmotron (900510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572306)

That's 1.337.

Re:Well... (1)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572358)

Sorry to disappoint you, but it's actually 1.332.

Follow currency values via Google [google.com].

Re:Well... (2, Insightful)

the4thdimension (1151939) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572410)

Actually, it is likely impossible to track. Later today its bound to be a totally different value because our dollar value fluctuates on a near daily basis based on economy.

Re:Well... (5, Informative)

Teun (17872) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572580)

The dollar doesnt fluctuate, it drops.
Today it hit the lowest ever value against the Euro.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22572398)

Tru1y 4 1337 13641 d3c1s10n

1.3 billion (0, Flamebait)

ZenDragon (1205104) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572346)

I'm curious as to where that money is going to be going. 1.3 billion? Clearly some people are taking advantage of the situation in an effort to line their own pockets.

Re:1.3 billion (2, Insightful)

1001011010110101 (305349) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572368)

Yeah, sure. They should slap them in the wrist like the US did instead.

Re:1.3 billion (4, Insightful)

WiglyWorm (1139035) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572532)

I'd prefer to have seen Microsoft go the way of Standard Oil or "Ma Bell". The problem was, I don't think anyone in the courts at the time really understood the issue.

Re:1.3 billion (5, Interesting)

Admiral Ag (829695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572626)

What's 1.3 billion to Microsoft? They threw a cool billion away because they couldn't be bothered doing proper quality control for the 360 and they threw away 4 billion on the original Xbox. Lord knows how much more they've thrown away. They probably burn $100 bills for fun.

The only punishments that would hurt Microsoft have been illegal since the Dark Ages.

Re:1.3 billion (5, Informative)

mallardtheduck (760315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572526)

As I understand it, fines issued by the EU go to EU member states.

I also don't understand why the size of the fine "clearly" indicates that people are lining their pockets. This is not the largest fine ever issued. (ExxonMobil was fined $5 Billion for Exxon Valdez, later halved, but so far not paid.)

Re:1.3 billion (1, Informative)

Gewalt (1200451) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572690)

You have no freakin clue what you're talking about, "where the money goes" is a matter of pubic record, with a nice clear paper trail. If you're curious about it, go look it up. Don't create baseless accusations.

Goatse! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22572356)

Goatse! [goatse.ch]

You know you want it.

And what if not? (4, Insightful)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572376)

I wonder what happens if MS ignores that order as well... They won't be able to ban Microsoft products, I guess.

Re:And what if not? (1)

1001011010110101 (305349) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572416)

I guess they won't be able to run their business in the EU.
Thats a pretty big market, I bet the shareholders won't be happy.

Re:And what if not? (1)

red star hardkore (1242136) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572502)

That won't happen. Microsoft is one of the biggest employers in Ireland and if they were banned from the EU then there would be thousands of unemployed Irish people. That would create a huge backlash of anti-EU feelings and seeing as Ireland is the only country who is going to have a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty (Ireland are the only nation to have referendums for EU treaties), the EU would want to be quite nice to Ireland (Irish people have a habit of voting No to EU treaties).

Re:And what if not? (2, Informative)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572632)

Ireland are the only nation to have referendums for EU treaties
O RLY? [cnn.com]

Re:And what if not? (1, Informative)

red star hardkore (1242136) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572692)

YES RLY... That's a constituion, I said Treaties. There's a difference.

Other EU countries may have referendums on treaties sometimes but their govs can make the decision themselves, but Ireland are required by our own constitution to have a referendum every time.

Re:And what if not? (1)

viraltus (1102365) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572438)

Not ban, but I guess they would freeze every bank account and take over any income they might have on Europe which is a lot more than the fine.

Re:And what if not? (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572440)

Yes they will, in europe anyway. And it's never a good idea to just defy one of the most powerful world governments and try to hide behind international politics-- what happens when your employees learn that they have to cancel that trip to europe?

Re:And what if not? (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572588)

"That happens when your employees learn that they have to cancel that trip to europe" I do not think that is likely to happen. Microsoft might be evil, but ordinary employees are definitely not.

Re:And what if not? (2, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572734)

If microsoft defies the EU and refuses to pay the fine, their executives in the EU would certainly be arrested...

Re:And what if not? (1)

schon (31600) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572444)

They won't be able to ban Microsoft products, I guess.
Why would they need to?

They could just be like any other government entity and confiscate MS's property.

Hmm, now I wonder just what MS has that's worth $1.3B? Windows/Office copyright perhaps?

Re:And what if not? (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572474)

They won't be able to ban Microsoft products, I guess.
Why not?
Or Europe could cancel some of the offending copy rights and thus enable the long sought interoperability.
(Software patents are supposed to be of zero value in Europe)
As this would give European companies a big advantage in competition a wonder what the USofA would do...

Re:And what if not? (1)

andy_t_roo (912592) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572482)

Revoke microsoft copyright of affected products (win xp, older office) might be one way to go, given how poorly vista and office 2007 are being received this would cut more revenue than the fine would, and would set an interesting precedent ...

Re:And what if not? (5, Interesting)

Richthofen80 (412488) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572552)

Probably a terrible precendent, actually. Imagine some off-brand European retailer selling 'Windows XP' that they've compiled and pressed to disk. People would think they're getting A Microsoft Product but actually its someone else who made it. Then Microsoft's reputation would be tarnished if the copy is bad.

If I built soapbox racers in my garage at home and branded them BMW, then someone lost a head in a collision in my not-quite-safe car, don't you think that BMW would be less than thrilled?

Re:And what if not? (5, Funny)

z80kid (711852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572646)

People would think they're getting A Microsoft Product but actually its someone else who made it. Then Microsoft's reputation would be tarnished if the copy is bad.

You were shooting for +5 funny, right?

Re:And what if not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22572678)

But, Microsoft's reputation is already bad. Frankly, your soap-box analogy is more like, "what if I sold bicycles as trebants or yugos? people wouldn't be any worse off."

Re:And what if not? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572712)

Well if BMW had forfeited the right to their brand as settlement of unpaid fines (or had it confiscated in lieu thereof) you might have a point.

Re:And what if not? (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572756)

If they copyright weren't valid anymore, why would the off-brand European retailer go through the trouble of making his own version? He could just sell copies of the real thing and save the effort.

Re:And what if not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22572796)

Then Microsoft's reputation would be tarnished if the copy is bad.


Ha ha ha ha.


1:1 copy will probably not suck more than the original...

Re:And what if not? (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572798)

Probably a terrible precendent, actually. Imagine some off-brand European retailer selling 'Windows XP' that they've compiled and pressed to disk. People would think they're getting A Microsoft Product but actually its someone else who made it. Then Microsoft's reputation would be tarnished if the copy is bad.

If I built soapbox racers in my garage at home and branded them BMW, then someone lost a head in a collision in my not-quite-safe car, don't you think that BMW would be less than thrilled?

OTOH, pirate copies of Windows and Office are known to work much better than The Original Thing(TM).

The only thing Microsoft should be afraid of is that the off-brand retailer should improve Microsoft's reputation, then demand pay for services rendered.

Re:And what if not? (1)

PYRILAMPES (609544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572508)

Compliance? They will likely just buy the EU, sell off its parts, then retain the legal entity they owe the money too, and write it off their tax bill. That way they don't have to change strategy. The interesting part is that once they buy the EU they will make sure it is no longer compatible with other countries that don't use their media player. Tourists will have to break a plastic tape with a Eula to enter the country.

Re:And what if not? (5, Informative)

asuffield (111848) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572550)

The EU will simply take the money by force. Microsoft has assets moving through the EU, in the form of their revenue from sales of their products. The EU will walk in to the retail outlets and take that revenue until they have their money - the money from every copy of Windows and every xbox sold will go directly to the EU, and Microsoft will never receive it. This is the standard method that courts use for extracting fines from recalcitrant corporations - you don't ban their products, you just take their products.

And they'll keep doing it for as long as it takes.

I hope they do not pay (-1, Troll)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572384)

and then Europe closed Microsoft business completely in Europe.

Re:I hope they do not pay (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22572562)

Then those of us in euroland who actually *want* to use MS products will simply kick those pan-european proto-Trotskyite apparachiks out of Brussels and out of our lives. For Good!!1

Re:I hope they do not pay (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572582)

and then Europe closed Microsoft business completely in Europe.

and I hope you never visit here, if that's your attitude to whether European law should be followed when in Europe.

Re:I hope they do not pay (1)

MadMidnightBomber (894759) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572778)

Bring it on, baby.

By the way, is SEC/FDA/FAA/whoever allowed to fine European companies operating in the US that don't comply with US law? Why yes, they are.

Apparently linux is the new kid on the block (5, Funny)

wellingtonsteve (892855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572390)

From a BBC News article on this: (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6998490.stm) "Meanwhile, in the world of servers the fight is still on, with a new kid on the block - the open-source Linux operating system - making as strong gains in the market as Microsoft." (bold mine) I mean really.. new kid on the block? who is writing these?

Re:Apparently linux is the new kid on the block (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22572542)

I mean really.. new kid on the block? who is writing these?

Maybe you don't remember 1992 that well, but I do.

Yes, Linux emerged much at the same time as NKOTB [wikipedia.org] were topping the charts.

Re:Apparently linux is the new kid on the block (5, Funny)

MonoSynth (323007) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572604)

Microsoft is 33, Linux is barely 17.

hmm, will it be Illegal for MS to screw Linux?

Re:Apparently linux is the new kid on the block (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22572750)

hmm, will it be Illegal for MS to screw Linux?
It's OK, as long as they get parental consent...

Linux on the desktop (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572396)

The way Microsoft and the EU slug it out we might see Linux on the desktop before Microsoft gives in.

Yet I really hope Microsoft will see the light before there is some real damage done, so many are totally dependent on (the products of) this company.

Re:Linux on the desktop (1)

Yfrwlf (998822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572790)

Hence why some actual competition is needed, to get rid of the lock-in. The more pressure the better in that regard. However, two questions that I haven't yet seen being asked (though I'm sure they have):

Where is this fine money going, is it being put to proper use, and is it going to help deal with further issues like this?

Where is the focus on more important things, like securing a level playing field by requiring that consumers have the option of rejecting an installed OS or having an option of installed OS upon the purchase of a new computer?

The ultimate goal isn't to stop Microsoft, it's to stop all companies who unfairly destroy competition for consumers by locking out that competition using various means, none-of-which being that they have a superior product.

Even as an MS fan, good... (4, Insightful)

Numen (244707) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572404)

I'm a .NET dev, and rather fond of the platform... don't groan too loudly... but even I think this is a good move. I'm glad to see the EU actually prepared to hold large corporations accountable to the law. A pet hate of mine is a legal system that will sanction heavily a private citizen for minor crimes but effectively tut disaprovingly when a large company dumps waste in a river.

Now, I'd like to see the EU start to use the same stick on large companies that also feel that they are above the law.

Re:Even as an MS fan, good... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22572528)

A pet hate of mine is a legal system that will sanction heavily a private citizen for minor crimes but effectively tut disaprovingly when a large company dumps waste in a river.


You hate your own pet?

Re:Even as an MS fan, good... (5, Informative)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572602)

Now, I'd like to see the EU start to use the same stick on large companies that also feel that they are above the law

They do again and again. It's mostly, but not always price fixing. Other examples include Volkswagen that threatened their Italian dealers to pull the dealership when they sold to customers not living in Italy.

Fines are usually very hefty and companies usually comply. Micropsoft risks to fall really flat on their face if they try their usual stints here.

.NET dev (1, Interesting)

wiredog (43288) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572648)

I'm fond of .net too. Mainly because it is a decent wrapper for all the Win32 API stuff (quick: How many string types are there in Windows?), plus a decent wrapper for the crawling horror that is COM. I once had to write software that interfaced with the COM MAPI. Now that's all wrapped up in .net.

why amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22572418)

Why would anyone say that it is amazing that Microsoft should be expected to comply with EU directives? The notion that Microsoft, or any company, is somehow above and beyond the status of nation/state is patently ludicrous.

at current exchange rate (1)

frodo from middle ea (602941) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572420)

it would be 1.352 billion. Why discount Microsoft 20 million ?

Re:at current exchange rate (2, Interesting)

Loibisch (964797) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572480)

They will likely be paying the fee in Euros. So how and when they 'convert' their money from USD to EUR is pretty much their concern. Maybe the money even comes from the European branch entirely? The way the Dollar is acting currently it looks like they'd rather do it sooner than later.

Also as was pointed out above: the value of the Dollar in regards to the Euro changes (at least) on a daily basis. So there's no single 'proper' dollar value for the fee, they just have to pay the 899m Euros.

Re:at current exchange rate (4, Interesting)

Teun (17872) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572732)

There is evidence the money would have to come out of the European operations.
Last week one of their managers said in an interview that the cost of the EU-required documentation had wiped out most income of the past year.
And now the EU does not accept this documentation :)
Or more accurate, does not accept the price attached to it.

Re:at current exchange rate (0, Redundant)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572486)

Why discount Microsoft 20 million ?

To qualify for the discount, Microsoft said that it was a student.

Re:at current exchange rate (1)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572492)

If you have a good enough grasp of what an exchange rate is to include the word "current" in the subject line, why are you asking this question?

It's likely the fine shown in Euro (as shown in the summary) will have to be paid in Euro.

but, we are microsoft (1)

methuselah (31331) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572434)

its about time somebody did something about the convicted criminals at microsoft even if it is never going to be enforced...

Interoperability of Office? (1)

WiglyWorm (1139035) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572454)

I mean, it's good for consumers that they're forcing Microsoft to make its programs compatible with competitors. I certainly won't complain about the fact that they have to make Windows easier for people to develop for either... However...

How does it make sense for Office to have to be compatible? Microsoft Office is a Microsoft Program. If they want it to be proprietary, it's their right. It happens to be the best office suite out there, IMO. Office 2007 puts Ooo to shame on all fronts. Next thing you know, the EU is going to rule that the Wii, due to its dominant market position, has to run XBox 360 and PS3 games.

the EU says what are your RIGHTS in the EU (3, Insightful)

viraltus (1102365) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572530)

Well the thing is that is the EU that determines what your rights are in the EU, so if they believe you have to make you software compatible to make business in the EU, either you obey or you make business somewhere else.

Re:Interoperability of Office? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572618)

Office puts things to shame? How so? You'd think two programs that are designed to do the same thing would, you know, do about exactly the same? Or are you saying you can't adjust to that open office has its menu buttons in different places/has a few different features, or that the default font is different?

Ohhhh, tough one there.

Re:Interoperability of Office? (5, Insightful)

asuffield (111848) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572620)

If they want it to be proprietary, it's their right.


You seem unclear on the concept of "rights". A "right" is something that a government has decided you may do. This government has decided that they do not have this "right". You can't wave a magic BS stick in the air and make it so that they do. They don't have the right because the EU government bloody well says they don't, and that's all there is to it.

Re:Interoperability of Office? (1)

WiglyWorm (1139035) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572782)

I forgot. Speak for microsoft and you're going to do nothing but get flamed.

Simply put, there is a huge disparity in ease of use between Microsoft Office 2007 vs Ooo. Microsoft Office wins. The UI, the navigation, everything is more coherant, and better layed out. It's the same with GIMP vs. Photoshop. They're just about the same, but most people still prefer Photoshop because the UI is much better thought out.

Further, businesses do have rights, and if I started talking about how telecoms had the "right" to tap our phones because the government bloody well said they did, I'd be getting similarly flamed. So get past your hatred of "M$" and look at it objectively.

Unfair? (2, Interesting)

danhuby (759002) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572462)

I'm no Microsoft fan, but I have to admit that I don't see what's wrong with shipping a media player with your OS. Surely that's just adding useful functionality?

Apple ships with iTunes, and most Linux distros include a media player.

Is the point here to do with creating a monopoly on online music purchasing? Because despite shipping WMP with Windows, iTunes has still taken the market.

Dan

Re:Unfair? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22572534)

It has nothing to do with the stated particulars of the case. Its just a shakedown for cash.

There are also some elements of anti-Americanism (as evidenced by some of the comments by the principal investigators and court officers).

Re:Unfair? (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572546)

Europe made a serious error in their ruling about the media player.
Microsoft complied by making available a XP version without it but because the EU had omitted the demand to lower the price accordingly and by consequence there was no demand for this N-version.

Re:Unfair? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22572554)

This one was more for charging disgustingly high royalities for providing the interfaces required for the back-office "server stuff", keeping small companies out of the core technologies

Re:Unfair? (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572556)

Apple ships with iTunes, and most Linux distros include a media player.

They'll never do this type of fine here in the USA for the reasons you stated. Besides, given the state of Linux, connecting with a portable media player is not that easy for many newbie users.

Re:Unfair? (3, Insightful)

Tango42 (662363) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572574)

There's no problem with shipping a media player with your OS. There is a problem with shipping just your media player with your OS. It's using a monopoly in one market to gain a monopoly in another, which is not allowed.

Re:Unfair? (4, Informative)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572610)

Repeat after me,
"You are not allowed to use a monopoly in one area to try and leverage an advantage in another area."

That is why different rules apply to Apple and various X/GNU/Linux distributors as apply to Microsoft.

Microsoft has an effective monopoly in the desktop OS market, and by bundling Windows Media Player (and MSIE for that matter...), they are creating a situation where people might use it to create WMP files (especially as that is the default).

You might say that it isn't a big deal if people rip CDs to WMP, but then they want to play them on a portable media player, they have to make sure that it plays them. The company that makes the media player is giving a kick-back (patent licencing?) to Microsoft, and thus Microsoft is leveraging its monopoly in the desktop OS to give it an advantage in another market.

That is just one example of why they shouldn't be allowed to do it, but there are plenty of others.

Re:Unfair? (1)

lwriemen (763666) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572668)

Microsoft having an abusive monopoly is unfair. There's nothing wrong with shipping useful functionality with your OS as long as it isn't leveraged to stifle competition. Microsoft has been judged to not be a fair player in the market.

1.3 billion ~= nothing (3, Insightful)

Nikademus (631739) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572468)

It's amazing some people find this sum high.
It just like EU told MS that they can continue infringe on laws as long as they give them about 10% of their benefits.
If EU wants MS to comply fast, they just have to make a ban on MS products in Europe, so that selling MS products would be considered illegal and fined enough.

MS would just stop shipping, no big deal (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572624)

This is only about the O/S. I'm told MS make most of their profits from other products like Office. If the EU told them not to ship any more O/S copies, I would expect that we'd just get pirated copies coming in. Under that circumstance, MS would have nothing to gain by preventing the piracy and would just turn a blind eye. They'd still be allowed to sell commercial products.

Re:MS would just stop shipping, no big deal (1)

Nikademus (631739) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572698)

Do you really think that companies could afford running pirated, unsupported and unpatched software? Furthermore if pirated MS software is also fined by the EU.

Re:1.3 billion ~= nothing (1)

Tango42 (662363) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572640)

Banning MS products in Europe would be devastating to the world economy (and even worse for the European economy). The switching costs would be enormous, and then you have problems with communicating between MS-users outside Europe and non-MS-users in Europe. (The whole point of this ruling is that MS products aren't properly compatible with non-MS products.)

$1.3 billion is a lot of money, sure, MS can afford it, but do they really think it's worth it? If they continue not to comply, the fines will increase.

Re:1.3 billion ~= nothing (1)

Nikademus (631739) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572726)

Problems communicating between MS and non MS users? Isn't that the whole point of the suit?
If MS did follow standards, there would be no problems.

Guess the magically acceptable rate! (3, Interesting)

Froqen (36822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572506)

MS: 3.87%? [cnn.com]
EU: Lower
MS: 2.98%?
EU: Lower
MS: 0.5%?
EU: Lower
MS: 0.4%?
EU: BZZT! Too late, we are going to fine you a Billion $s.

Did you see that? (4, Interesting)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572536)

Porcine-mounted aviatrices with huge breasts just flew past my window!!

I'm absolutely stunned that someone, some government, finally got up the nuts to face off with the Monopoly. Took 10 years to get done, but FINALLY!! Think we'll see some big changes at Microsoft soon? Watch carefully. The fireworks are about to start.

Re:Did you see that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22572708)

Watch carefully. The fireworks are about to start.

I just saw a ICBM whizz by outside my window. Are those the fireworks you menti[CARRIER LOST]

Does anyone else think.... (1, Funny)

Ritontor (244585) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572544)

that maybe they timed the fine to coincide with the value of $1.337 billion?

Re:Does anyone else think.... (1)

hilather (1079603) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572578)

Haha, wish I had mod points, I didn't even see that until you mentioned it. leet pwnage by the EU.

I'm not sure what's been release, but... (1)

WiglyWorm (1139035) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572560)

Do you guys think it will be anything that will help with development of WINE?

You're right (-1, Flamebait)

GottliebPins (1113707) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572564)

I know you all hate Microsoft but what they need to do is admit they were wrong and stop selling Microsoft products in Europe, for a year or so, and not license it for export and sue any corporations that try to install illegal copies of it. As much as everyone here worships Linux I think most of Europe would be screaming within weeks if they could only by laptops and desktops with Linux on them. It's really nice to blaim the cook when you don't like the food but when there's no more food to eat you learn to be a little less picky. :)

Re:You're wrong (2, Interesting)

lwriemen (763666) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572642)

There's more than Linux out there to put on desktops. eComStation, Mac OSX, Solaris, etc.

Games and greeting card software are the only place users would be hurting for support, and those are probably represented OK on the Mac.

I just hope you work for Microsoft (4, Funny)

viraltus (1102365) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572694)

please please pleeeeeaase... take windows away from those bad europeans! give them a lesson! pleeeeeease.

It would be interesting... (4, Interesting)

Panaqqa (927615) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572638)

...to see what the reaction would be if Microsoft indicated that it was simply not going to pay the fines. They could go further and say that attempts to force payment would result in an amount equal to the fines going to pay for moving part of their European workforce to a non-European location. Oh - and those Server 2008 licenses needed to run the European government computing facilities? Not for sale, and by the way, all other support and licensing contracts will not be renewed after they expire.

I would be very interested to see what would happen if a tech giant decided to play hardball with a government. After all, the Microsoft decision makers that count would be beyond the reach of the European authorities in terms of arrest and imprisonment.

Re:It would be interesting... (2, Informative)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572650)

Thats what MS used to do. Its not really in a situation to do that anymore though.

1.337 billion! (4, Funny)

Subm (79417) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572656)

1.337 billion just can't be a coincidence.

It's clear evidence the EU lawyers are leet and MS is suxxxorz who got pwned. I can see the court transcript:

EU Lawyers: We get signal
MS Lawyers: What!
EU Lawyers: Main screen turn on
MS Lawyers: It's you!!
EU Lawyers: How are you gentlemen!!
EU Lawyers: All your base are belong to us!!
MS Lawyers: ...
EU Lawyers: 1.337 billion Profit!

Now that's great justice!

Where will this money go? (1)

QJimbo (779370) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572664)

It'd be cool to see it given to fund OSS projects or something like that.

The Solution (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572676)

Microsoft simply announce they are ceasing all operations in the EU as of March 1, 2008. All customers will be given a copy of Linux.

What exactly do the EU want from Microsoft (2, Insightful)

jonwil (467024) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572684)

Are there file formats, network protocols, APIs or other items Microsoft have not yet published that the EU wants them to publish? Is the license attached to the ones they have published still not acceptable to the EU? Are there still issues with Microsoft bundling stuff with Windows that the EU doesn't want them to bundle?

Now what the EU need to do next... (1)

kazade84 (1078337) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572736)

...is to ban the bundling of Windows with new PCs. If the customer wants Windows they should pay for it separately as an entity in itself and preferably with a choice between other operating systems.

Nothing Ever Happens (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572744)

Del Amitri [wikipedia.org]'s words from nearly 20 years back still ring true:

Nothing ever happens
Nothing happens at all
The needle returns to the start of the song
And we all sing along like before
Microsoft will pay some token portion of the fine and continue to get away with exactly the same misbehaviour for which they were fined in the first place. Nobody even realises they're being eaten alive, until they haven't enough bits left to do anything about it anyway.

Re:Nothing Ever Happens (0, Flamebait)

MagicBox (576175) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572792)

Who is EU anyway? There's as much truth to the "U" for "united" in that name as there is to nazis liking the jews. Someone has to stop "EU" from this madness. An invasion would be nice!
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