September 19, 2006 4:29 AM PDT

EU antitrust chief denies Microsoft vendetta

Microsoft partner says Neelie Kroes is "playing games," while she cites "coordinated campaign" to discredit her agency.

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Kroes is a Stalinist. MS Deserves Her.
Can't wait to see Ballmer toss a chair at her.

C'mon, Stevie, you're not going to let this uppety chick and her cheesey club of failed, third-world states, are you?

Roberto
Posted by Sumatra-Bosch (526 comments )
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EU's fair and equitable all the way
The EU isn't playing unfair with MS; rather Redmond has simply failed to understand that the EU outcome rather cuts of at the knees MS's way of selling and packaging. That is, Vista will be in the clear so long as it avoids bundling in products that sink or pre-sink other products in the marketplace, and as long as it does not bind enhanced feature sets etc. into Windows.

The tiered Vista feature set is clearly an attempt to address part of the Ems implicit demand, but MS seems to he having troubled with the bundling side of the equation anyway.

Vista one suspects would get the EU greenlight if it met in practice the two implied demands, the problem being that Vista meets these demands on paper, but as configured seems to be exploiting rather than fulfilling the EU concerns. How so you say?

Well, in that the base Vista is really not complete enough that it is really going to be useful, so that people will end up having to buy up the Vista scale to get even some basic functions back. For example, the Vista adviser told me recently that to do FAXING and some other non-steller stuff in Vista one will need Vista Ultimate. At bottom, in practice then, the bundling is still there if one wants everything offered by XP Pro in Vista--and that seems to mean Ultimate Vista from what I can see.

So MS has turned what seems like unbundling into a profit center with Vista, while driving customers subtly to a fully bundled Vista if they really want to do all XP Pro can do today.

The difference one suspects is that there is a potential subtextual issue of nominal compliance versus full compliance for the EU.
Posted by PolarUpgrade (103 comments )
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Yet the EU allows Apple to bundle without so much as a warning.
The EU doesn't want to let MS compete.

That, and MS contributes more through fines to the EU bottom line than most member countries. That is one revenue stream they don't want to lose.
Posted by Ordeith (288 comments )
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It's fine to stop the bundling of professional software
but when you start attacking the sort of thing that every operating system includes with its actual systems software you are going beyond what's fair and necessary.

Targetting microsoft for including a media player is a classic example of this.

Every other operating system built since the early nineties for microcomputer systems have included things like media players.

To say Microsoft can't include value features that others can because too many people use its software is a crock.

There was absolutely nothing included in XP that harmed the consumer in any way. Companies that wanted to rip people off by charging them for something that people have every right to expect to be included in a modern OS get no sympathy from me.

A modern OS should include the capability to play modern media. A modern OS should include the capability to browse websites and communicate via the internet. A modern OS should include basic security software required to protect the consumer. The modern world requires these things, and to force Microsoft to exclude them puts consumers out of pocket. Just because Microsoft sell a lot of software doesn't mean they don't have the right to make that software feature rich.

However what should be prevented, and there's no evidence that Microsoft intends to do this - in fact the evidence points to the exact opposite - is applications such as professional anti-malware applications. To do so would be an obvious attempt to use their market position to drive competitors out before charging huge amounts of money for their products.

Microsoft Onecare (or whatever its stupid name is) will be a pay for use system - it won't be free. It will be in direct competition to a similar service from Symantec, and as long as Microsoft don't use their inside knowledge of Windows to disadvantage Symantec's software, there's no problem here.

So if I was to create a software company that produces something like Deluxe Paint (remember that?) should I be able to sue MS for including MS Paint with Windows? No, because if I expect people to pay for my product, I should be producing something that offers a lot more than the ability to draw like a two year old.

Its the same thing with Real Media's attack on Media Player. Real One doesn't offer anything that I would expect to pay for - at least not in the free version. In fact I expect the ability to play music or videos to be included in any OS worth installing. I've expected that since the Amiga provided this in the late 80s.

To say we should regress beyond the capabilities of a dead operating system is hardly beneficial to consumers - and to allow companies like Real to make money from consumers by charging for software that should be part of a modern operating system's functionality isn't exactly in the consumer's interest either.
Posted by ajbright (447 comments )
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