July 12, 2006 5:45 AM PDT

EU knocks Microsoft with $357 million fine

European regulators hit Microsoft with a $357.3 million fine Wednesday, citing the software giant's continued noncompliance with its landmark 2004 antitrust ruling.

The European Commission issued the 280.5 million euro fine for the period between Dec. 16 and June 20. That figure amounts to a daily fine of 1.5 million euros, which the Commission is prepared to increase to up to 3 million euros per day if the software giant does not come into full compliance beginning July 31.

"I don't buy Microsoft's line that they didn't know what was being asked of them because the March 2004 order is absolutely crystal clear," Neelie Kroes, who heads the Commission's antitrust bureau as its competition commissioner, said Wednesday at a press conference in Brussels. "And in order to increase the incentive for Microsoft to comply, the Commission has decided the ceiling for potential fines will be raised."

While the fine is steep, Microsoft would have no trouble paying it. For the first three months of 2006, the company pocketed profits of nearly $3 billion on sales of $11 billion, meaning the proposed fine amounts to about 10 days' worth of profits.

The fine was based on the landmark 2004 ruling, which, among other requirements, ordered Microsoft to share complete and accurate interoperability information with rival companies that develop workgroup server operating systems, as well as license those protocols at a reasonable cost.

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The EU has hit Redmond with a multimillion-dollar fine--again. What effect will that have in the antitrust saga?

None. It didn't work the first time, and the company's got money to burn.
A little. It'll keep some programmers busy making tweaks to code that won't make much difference.
Plenty. Microsoft will finally have to deliver the goods, and soon.



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Frustrated with Microsoft's progress, or the lack thereof, the Commission last year issued a Dec. 15 deadline and threatened to fine the software maker up to 2 million euros a day until it achieved full compliance.

"I regret that, more than two years after the decision, and despite an order from the president of the Court of First Instance that the Microsoft appeal to the court does not suspend Microsoft's obligation to comply, Microsoft has still not put an end to its illegal conduct," Kroes said in a statement issued before the press conference.

Microsoft plans to appeal the new fine to the Court of First Instance.

"We have great respect for the Commission and this process, but we do not believe any fine, let alone a fine of this magnitude, is appropriate given the lack of clarity in the Commission's original decision and our good-faith efforts over the past two years," Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel, said during Microsoft's separate press conference early Wednesday in Redmond, Wash.

Although Microsoft disagrees with the Commission's characterization of its efforts over the past two years, Smith added he is encouraged by recent events.

In April, the Commission's monitoring trustee, Neil Barrett, met with Microsoft. They developed a template for the software maker to enter batches of protocols and created a schedule of deadlines. The templates call for each protocol to start the same way, with a glossary, section on reference works, description of the protocol and how it relates to other protocols, Smith said.

Seven milestone dates were established, with six batches of protocols to be delivered by June 30 and the seventh on the interim date of July 18, with a hard deadline of July 24.

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Video: EU fines Microsoft again
Neelie Kroes, Europe's competition commissioner, announces the ruling against Microsoft.

Under this system, Microsoft received feedback from the trustee's team on each batch of protocols submitted, as to whether it was sufficient or needed more changes, said Tom Brookes, a Microsoft spokesman.

Barrett initially found the batches of protocols below par. But since June 20--which is end date for the new fine--Barrett that found Microsoft has been doing an "extremely good job, and 50 percent of the documents are there," Kroes said. The six batches of protocols already due have all been turned in.

Barrett's team has approved the final stage of one protocol, Smith noted, and an additional 16 revised drafts have been accepted by his team.

"We are encouraged by the Commission's comment that our recent work is 'extremely good,'" Smith said. "In our view, the issue has never been about compliance but clarity. Having gotten clarity from the Commission in April, we have met every deadline since then. And our top priority is to meet the final deadline in two weeks."

Big payouts
Microsoft has paid a pretty penny in the last few years settling notable legal cases, largely on antitrust issues.

$1.95 billion Sun Microsystems
$850 million IBM
$750 million AOL Time Warner
$536 million Novell
$460 million RealNetworks
$440 million InterTrust Technologies
$150 million Gateway
$32 million South Korea
$23 million Be

Source: CNET News.com research

Within the next two weeks, Barrett and his team will also begin testing the remaining documents for their accuracy and completeness, a process that is expected to last at least a month.

"Microsoft has told me they are now devoting substantial resources to compliance," Kroes said. "It is a great pity they didn't do this two years ago...If they had begun in earnest (then), the burden on Microsoft's staff would have been much lighter."

Microsoft contends that it is willing to abide by the order but did not receive clarification on the documentation requirements until April. After that, with the aid of the trustee's template, the software giant threw more than 300 employees onto the project to meet the final deadline for the seventh milestone, Smith said.

Once all the information has been checked for accuracy and completeness by the Commission, Microsoft will calculate the licensing fees. The Commission will review those terms for "reasonableness."

As a result, the Commission's new fine focuses only on the interoperability issue and not on another part of the 2004 order that called for "reasonable" licensing terms.

Neelie Kroes Neelie Kroes

The Commission is allowed to fine companies up to 5 percent of their average daily return based on their performance for the previous year, which for Microsoft would be 4.28 million euros. But the Commission has opted to stay below that threshold.

The 2004 order affects not only Microsoft's actions in relation to workgroup servers, Kroes noted, but also its other areas of business. She added that she informed Microsoft a couple of months ago that the general principles of the 2004 order apply to the upcoming Vista operating system, for example.

"The launch of Vista next year will hopefully take all this into account," Kroes said.

See more CNET content tagged:
commission, antitrust, euro, fine, Brad Smith

123 comments

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Add your comment
Too bad....
.... US courts are so timid - or maybe MS knows how to handle it's
money. Still, this is just a peanut fine, not likely to make MS turn
honest.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The other foot
If Apple won their case and proved that Microsoft was stealing from them it probably would be Apple being fined. As it is Microsoft was found innocent, made the better OS, and then was penalised for it.

The fact is that this case is wrong. Mac OS, Linux, UNIX, SunOS and Windows all talk together over a network. Microsoft and Sun have even come to their own settlement. Why should Microsoft hand over their source code to competitors?
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Link Flag
Fine CNET for pathetic journalism
The crap that CNET spews is worse than anything Microbeta does.
Posted by (156 comments )
Link Flag
Will the "280.5 million euros ($357.3 million)"...
... that the European Commission (under questionable circumstances) "fined (is trying desperately to take from) Microsoft" to help to keep AIRBUS ("still reeling from a management crisis according to Tuesday July 11th, 2006 New York Times") in competition with the "US" based BOEING be enough to keep AIRBUS in competition when other players like the (business-like) Japanese and perhaps the Chinese get into this particular aerospace market! Why try to "fool" the world about the non-documentation of "SOFTWARE PROTOCOLS" that were not even developed in the first instance by the US based Microsoft Corporation that the EU is trying to bully. GEEZ... just where is the technological "competence" of the EU to match the competitive talent of the Italian Soccer Players! What A SHAME this must be on the EU in the "eyes" of the rest of the world!
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What are you talking about?
What has this got to do with Airbus? Sorry, your talking rubbish.
Posted by Lex Man (33 comments )
Link Flag
Lose Lose Behaviour
It was this very behaviour that turned users against IBM back in the 80s and caused that monopoly to make a loss for the first time.

It might take a bit longer for MS as there are a lot of smaller users, but it is the big enterprises that hold the whip and like way back in the 80s, they won't want to be associated with a company that gets publicly punished for this type of behaviour.

Once a few big enterprises with moral leaders desert this company it doesn't take long for the rest to follow suit. It only took about 3 years for IBM to go under the bottom line, so MS has to modify its lose lose behaviour or face the inevitable consequences.
Posted by Stomfi (52 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Pull Out!
Why doesn't Microsoft just pull out of Europe all together. Microsoft doesn't need Euorpean sales.
Posted by bminard (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
EU needs to take a leap
The failed welfare state of the EU needs to take a flying leap.
Why aren't they crawling all over Airbus? If there is ANYTHING in the world that is non-competitive, it is Airbus. That stupid new plane of theirs is such a hunk of bad engineering that they can't even get it off the ground. If Boeing pulled off something so stupid, they'd be out of business... but not Airbus. France will just loan them more money to throw away.

the EU should stop attacking successful American Companies and focus on their own noncompetitive businesses.
Posted by ejryder3 (39 comments )
Reply Link Flag
And yet
Thousands of companies do write software that is fully interoperable with Windows PCs and servers. Are the EU fines motivated by anything other than greed?

"The fine was based on the landmark 2004 ruling, which, among other requirements, ordered Microsoft to share complete and accurate interoperability information with rival companies that develop workgroup server operating systems, as well as license those protocols at a reasonable cost."

The 2004 ruling also required Microsoft to unbundled Media Player from Windows. Has Media Player stopped Apple from dominating the digital media market - even on Windows machines? Microsoft now sells a version of Windows without Media Player. No one wants that version, since everyone (except the EU) knows how to install iTunes and QuickTime Player.

So, interoperability is a non-issue, and Media Player is a non-issue. Is the EU just bad at writing software, or just greedy?
Posted by news_reader (32 comments )
Reply Link Flag
MS should tell the EuroSocialists to take a leap...
Tell them they can't buy Windows any more and let them develop their own government run operating system. But no one will use it because it will SUCK.
Posted by fafafooey (171 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You mean
Hand the whole market over to Apple and lose a massive amount of revenue. More than there being fined.
Posted by Lex Man (33 comments )
Link Flag
Why not
You would think Microsoft would jump at the change to hand Apple the whole European market.

I wonder why they wouldn't?
Posted by Lex Man (33 comments )
Link Flag
Yes!!!
Bring it on Apple, bring it on Linux!

Or why not, simply use Windows for free? If Microsoft want's to stop selling software in Europe, let they do it. Let it all be free! :)
Posted by mcduarte (9 comments )
Link Flag
Citizen Gates : Communist Chinese 2007?
What about Citizen Gates hosting a big political party for his
premier guest the Communist Chinese Chairman at his mansion on
Lake Washington in Seattle in 2007?

Is THAT OK?

EU is balking at our stalling tactics, if we lose Europe, let's go to
Communist China with BILLIONS of new customers...
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Link Flag
Just up the price by $6 for the EU-tizens
A non-problem: If the EU needs the revenue, then MS should just add a 'blackmail' tax of $6 for the products sold there (without the Media Player, of course. :)
Posted by batpox (38 comments )
Reply Link Flag
sigh
Does anyone know where I can buy a copy of Mac OSX N, the one without iTunes, iPhoto, or iMovie?

I'm really sick of supporting Apple's monopoly and anti-competitive practices, using its operating system power to bundle in media services that the average computer user doesn't want or need.

Or... has the EU not gone after them?
Posted by eric404 (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sigh
If you don't want to use itunes, iPhoto or iMovie (can't think why
you wouldn't!) - simply drag them into the trash. - Problem
solved. Oh BTW the average computer user seems to be enjoying
iTunes - what is your problem?
Posted by Europodboy (298 comments )
Link Flag
Europeans are protecting capitalism
What do we don't get? Europeans are demanding Microsoft make these changes in order to PROMOTE CAPITALIST fueled competition.
Microsoft has always used its dominant share of the OS market to limit competition. One of the chief ways it does this is to make it extremely difficult to access it without paying huge fees to Microsoft.
In a real free market they'd pay the price by competitors doing just the opposite, but we do NOT have a true free market.
Instead Microsoft ensures few competitors can get into the market by signing exclusive agreements with almost everyone that prevents them from working with new companies to provide any service Microsoft provides.
If they do not sign, then they cannot sell Microsoft, which means they cannot compete, and that's Microsoft's goal.
Once again the many Americans rooting for Microsoft as if it's a home sports team, and are too busy to think through the reasons behind these actions are what give proof to the lie about the USA being a free market.
Our free market is different from the European free market only in that our business interests write the rules to their favor, and the Gov't. writes the rules in favor of the people in Europe.
Posted by johnnyincentx (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Real Capitalism
Real Capitalism is cuthroat, anything goes. The company with the best product, best marketing, best bully, wins.
Socialist/government intervention raises costs and stiffles competition. The EU action is a canard. Deregulation fosters competition. (Look at the power industry in the USA)
This isn't the stone ages. If Microsoft was a real bully that upset everyone, people would go elsewhere. But they don't. The competition isn't worthy.

So take a look around. ANY time the government is intervening in ANY thing with business, it isn't capitalism. It's socialism. If you believe otherwise, keep drinking your Kool-Aide.
Posted by ejryder3 (39 comments )
Link Flag
You are wrong
Our market is not a lie. It is free as can be. We just don't change the rules when someone does extermely well! We don't see, "The sky's the limit as long as you only hold 10% of the market share."

All you bleeding hearts trip me out, if you think you can do it better, then do it. Don't be made cause the competition is just to great for you to over come.
Posted by dahkness (26 comments )
Link Flag
Why not?
They upped the price everywhere on the whole world for years now... I saw prices for hardware drop over the last few years with numbers, you ask yourself how they could make that stuff so cheap. But prices of a whole system stay just the same...
And you can't even say you don't need that windowsjunk. Because it's couple-selling, and thats highly illegal except for microsoft of course.

Fact is they hold themselves to not a single law, in the USA they are now convicted years ago, and in a higher court they where found guilty again. And the punishment was ... roffle ... "you may not do that again, we will place 2 or 3 employees in your company numberous employees to check if you will follow the law" ... and never heard of it again...

In another comment I saw something about they invented mediaplayer: no they copied it, like they copy, steal, ... everything. They have almost not a single idea of their own. But they have several strategies to push others out of the market who are better.

Netscape vs IE? Anyone who will go under all the trouble to try and uninstall IE with the risk to break windows just to pay for a better product, not Joe A. Enduser.
But Netscape can't tell it to you anymore...

Stacker vs Dblspace? Here you go it's for free, never mind we stole the code from the competition...
But Stacker can't tell it to you anymore...

Mediaplayer vs Xing/Winamp/Realplayer/... Same story, we give it for free and deeply hooked into the system so the competitions products won't be installed.
But Xing can't tell it to you anymore...

OS2 vs Win95 Let's make an OS together with IBM, but in last instances we announce to get out, change all Win32APIs so it's not compatible, and we boost it with a giant marketing campaign. I worked with both, OS2 didn't crash, and was speedy and since it's still used in some banking automats, it's damn safe to.
But OS2 can't tell it to you anymore...

ICQ vs MSN: Every computer with XP bothers the user until he manages to disable the messenger or until he writes up for a messenger account, never mind that there are a LOT of open ports on your PC then instead of just 1 and that you have no access to a lot of extra features that were handy if you turned on the advanced UI. BTW: multiple protocol messengers like miranda-im and trillian where broken more than once because of changing the protocol.
But ICQ can't tell it to you anymore...

I'm a softwarewriter myself, and it's more than mediaplayer alone...
1) They start parts of their own software together with the OS (why is MS Office a program of couple of 100s of MBs such a quick starter in comparison with everything else => because parts of it are allready running and eating your resources)

2) They withhold large parts of their API
Their programs hook that way streight into the OS, why we can't. This has 2 considerations:
a) We make the functionality of the API's we don't have ourselves, but it's outside the OS so it's a bit slower and some functionality is blocked (bv Raw sockets) so we have to workaround that
b) We "guess" some of these APIs and implement them, but that's against the law, and they can change it whenever they want (and it happens a lot => look to SMB/Samba, they change so much that they aren't compatible with theirselves sometimes) So this also isn't preferable.

3) They make subtile changes to standards (bv TCP/IP) so they know how it works with them now, another doesn't, because all documentation says something else. And their extentions are proprietary so people are locked in again.

So it's not "people who aren't programming for microsoft can't program", it's more "microsoft does everything so it's difficult for competition to make a major program for windows" You read well, a major program, in a niche market you don't have to fear.

So if you microsoft lovers want to believe that it's not moral, for freedom, a lot of people (also in the US by the way) their bread on the table, better software, ... IT IS MORAL and not greed, because they didn't do jack **** about it the last 2 years except a lot of wind and talk
Posted by Gino Deblauwe (25 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Very weak rant.
Reason #1) I've uninstalled all the products you mentioned w/o issue. (media player, msn messanger, ie)

Reason #2) Windows already had a windows based before win95 called win3.1

Reason #3) AOL Bought up ICQ (and winamp)

Reason #4) You sound like a fan boy.
Posted by dahkness (26 comments )
Link Flag
Hidden API
There are some but don't tell me Apple is anymore upfront.

I don't program for Microsoft and I don't have any trouble writing software.

And if you don't so many things about Windows, vote with your wallet and just don't buy it. There are plenty of alternatives, between Linux Distro's and Apple and Unix. Hmmm large choice, how is it that they have a monopoly again?
Posted by PzkwVIb (462 comments )
Link Flag
World's Largest Single Corporate Shakedown
The R.B. Coalition are masters at shaking down American companies for cold hard cash, just ask ol' Jesse. I suppose the EU learned from the best and seeks to shakedown Microsoft for some of their billions to fund their socialist bankrupt agendas throughout Europe. The U.S. should immediately retaliate for such doings. I say shoot for someone like Thomson and hit them where it hurts.
Posted by WJeansonne (480 comments )
Reply Link Flag
If Apple were Dominent
If Apple was the biggest OS out there, they would be hit up with these fines more than any other OS.

Expecially considering all their evil bundled software.
Posted by airwalkery2k (117 comments )
Reply Link Flag
EU is standing for democracy & protecting it's citizens
The reason that European commission is able to impose real sanctions on Microsoft and make it pay those sanctions is because they have real
democracy in Europe. It is because the European governments 1st work for the benefit of their citizens and then Big corporations/media, whereas in US the government 1st works for the benefit of Big (wall street backed) corporation and at the distant 2nd place for it's citizens.

To see this point, consider the fact the people in USA still don't even have Universal Health care!
No European government would last 6 months in power if it was omitting to provide its citizen
with such a basic service. You have to go to real pathetically poor countries, such as Angola, Gahana, Bangeladesh, etc. to find other examples of countries that do not provide universal health care to their citizens. To put things into perspective of how un-democratic this is: more Americans die every few days from lack of health care than died in Sep/11/2001!
Now I can give you another 1000 examples of how un-democratic the US is compared to European
countries, but the example of lack of Universal Health care is all the room I have here.

The question is then, how is it possible that the US is so un-democratic? How do the powers to be in US get away with this lack of democracy?
How come there are not demonstrations in US streets to replace their un-democratic government
with a democratic one, as there are all the time in European countries? The answer is that the US media is controlled by a handful of people, who have "brain washed" the people into gullibility and not knowing what is the truth anymore.
And the US media is not just WallStreet Journal, CNN, CBS, etc.but it is also Hollywood,
Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, etc., it is this oligopoly that wants to control all "eye balls" worldwide.


So EU indeed needs to take the actions that it has taken against Microsoft and in fact take further actions to protect it's economy/culture from being controlled by US media oligopoly.
Less EU wants to end up being as un-democratic and as fundamentally poor as US and it's citizens are.
Again EU, indeed other governments beside EU, must realize it is not just the Microsoft monopoly that
threatens their national security, but it is even more so Google & Yahoo and indeed the whole of
the US media oligopoly that wants to control the "eye ball", the "mind" of their people.
But the good news is that the threat posed by Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, etc., oligopoly can
easily be met by EU innovation. For examples just look at Linux, MySQL, Airbus, TGV, BMW, etc.
Posted by free_people (66 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Congrats free_people...
You rearranged your usual anti-America rant. I can't believe you gave up on the European payment system. So sad. I also noticed you added BMW and Airbus. So any way, thanks for freshening up your usual socialist speech.

Go here to see his old rant: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.cbsi.com/5208-1014-0.html?forumID=1&#38;threadID=18640&#38;messageID=159743&#38;start=-136" target="_newWindow">http://news.cbsi.com/5208-1014-0.html?forumID=1&#38;threadID=18640&#38;messageID=159743&#38;start=-136</a>
Posted by hahne59 (33 comments )
Link Flag
We'll be there for eU
The EU is the bigger Joke, Don't hate on a real democracy.

Don't worry, we'll be there when the **** hits the fan again, like in WWII to bail you out and rebuild your economy so you can trash it again with something like the EU.

Everyone tries to imitate the US, but no one succeeds.
Posted by dahkness (26 comments )
Link Flag
What nonsense!
I usually read the talkback comments with interest as I always learn something. So far on this story, I am reading a lot of nonsense about Airbus, Apple, Italian players, etc.

1. None of the software bundled with OS X are actually tied to the operating system in the way IE or WMP are tied to Windows.

2. Why is Microsoft software so dominent on the Windows platform, when we have highly intelligent program designers in other companies? Because the Operating System is NOT as open to outside software houses. I am still surprised that the US ruling all these years ago allowed Microsoft to remain a single entity, when everything pointed to breaking the company down to at least two.

3. Every large country - The US included - took step against Microsoft anti-competitive behaviour. Some country do not have the legal (or financial?) power to go through such a lengthy case, like the US or the EU, so citizens have taken the matter into their own hands (the majority of businesses in Argentina - more than 75% according to some sources - for instance, are running Linux and Linux applications), or local organizations have gone to great lengths to move away from Microsoft-ruled world (in Korea, Denmark, India, USA, Belgium, etc.)

3. At no time was it a question of opening 'it all' (although interestingly enough, Microsoft starting doing that by themselves to a few selected countries, only after seeing a potential defection to Open Source). The requirements were very clear and hinge on the unbinding from the Operating System.

4. The Java example is a typical case of unbundling. Because Microsoft refused to run Java 'as is' on Windows, without adding their 'bit'(although it runs the same on every other platform), their license was cancelled, and the Microsoft Java virtual machine 'untied' from Windows. Does Java work on Windows today?

5. The question is not so much about free entreprise and sour states. It is about responsibility. Many times large companies have been allowed to bully competitors and clients. From THE telephone company to THE computer manufacturer, they are eventually stopped.

6. A few hundred millions is nothing for Microsoft. They pay that much without blinking to avoid litigation with other companies. I am not even sure that it will stop their tactics at this time. It is a pity though. Their latest server OS is the best they've produced, their office applications are finally maturing into something user-friendly. If Microsoft would just compete fairly on their products' own merits, they would be truly great.
Posted by jmdunys (49 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Such nonsense!
I usually read the talkback comments with interest as I always learn something. So far on this story, I am reading a lot of nonsense about Airbus, Apple, Italian players, etc.

1. None of the software bundled with OS X are actually tied to the operating system in the way IE or WMP are tied to Windows.

2. Why is Microsoft software so dominent on the Windows platform, when we have highly intelligent program designers in other companies? Because the Operating System is NOT as open to outside software houses. I am still surprised that the US ruling all these years ago allowed Microsoft to remain a single entity, when everything pointed to breaking the company down to at least two.

3. Every large country - The US included - took step against Microsoft anti-competitive behaviour. Some country do not have the legal (or financial?) power to go through such a lengthy case, like the US or the EU, so citizens have taken the matter into their own hands (the majority of businesses in Argentina - more than 75% according to some sources - for instance, are running Linux and Linux applications), or local organizations have gone to great lengths to move away from Microsoft-ruled world (in Korea, Denmark, India, USA, Belgium, etc.)

3. At no time was it a question of opening 'it all' (although interestingly enough, Microsoft starting doing that by themselves to a few selected countries, only after seeing a potential defection to Open Source). The requirements were very clear and hinge on the unbinding from the Operating System.

4. The Java example is a typical case of unbundling. Because Microsoft refused to run Java 'as is' on Windows, without adding their 'bit'(although it runs the same on every other platform), their license was cancelled, and the Microsoft Java virtual machine 'untied' from Windows. Does Java work on Windows today?

5. The question is not so much about free entreprise and sour states. It is about responsibility. Many times large companies have been allowed to bully competitors and clients. From THE telephone company to THE computer manufacturer, they are eventually stopped.

6. A few hundred millions is nothing for Microsoft. They pay that much without blinking to avoid litigation with other companies. I am not even sure that it will stop their tactics at this time. It is a pity though. Their latest server OS is the best they've produced, their office applications are finally maturing into something user-friendly. If Microsoft would just compete fairly on their products' own merits, they would be truly great.
Posted by jmdunys (49 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Well said
That was a very balanced and well writen peice.

Microsoft did break monopoly laws in multiple countries. Many courts found them in violation of anti-competition laws. Nearly every court that found them in violation agreed to lower sanctions and wave punitive measures if Microsft agreed to some simple resolutions. These resolutions were mainly that they cease anti-competitive behavior and provide a level of openness to make up for their previous violations.

The debate over if they broke laws or not is long over, they were found in violation. Even in the US they were found in violation but offered non punative resolutions as long as they promised to be on good behavior.

The thing is now years later we find they havent made good on their resolutions. Its like a convicted theif that was offered community service in place of a prison sentence. Now we find they skipped most of their community service.

I have no dobuts Micorsoft has done some good in the industry and they do have billiant people. They just need to stop acting like a spoiled teenager, pay their sentences, learn their lessions, get out of the legal game and get into producing good software without breaking laws.
Posted by bwvla (166 comments )
Link Flag
go back to # 3
how can Microsoft be a monopoly when "75% of businesses in Argentina are on or moving to open soure" according to you. No one has to use windows. There are plenty of viable alternavies. Heck, any linux distro is more than robust enough and comes free, and is bundled with hundred of applications. If inspite of all that you insiste on using windows, then you find some kind of value in its usage. Also, ms has nowhere a monopoly in the server market for one thing, they've been increasing there marketshare though year after year. That should tell you something about what the market wants. These are usually businesses that want to cut costs and make as much money as possible. Yet they choose to buy a great expense some software while free alternatives exist and they do not have gun pointed at their faces...
Posted by Pascoli (74 comments )
Link Flag
Does not meet monopoly definition.
Legally to be a monopoly you have to have 80 something percent of a market. With 5 or 6 percent Apple is not a monopoly and is not subject to anticompetitve laws.

Not that I agree with Apple being such a closed box. I think open is good, but cuthroat pepole like Bill, Steve, and like can only make a fair as opposed to killer profit with open technologies.
Posted by bwvla (166 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Does MS need the EU?
MS should consider this: Is the EU market worth the trouble and expense? If not they should pull their operations out of the EU and tell the EU officials to __________ (fill in the blank)! MS products will still be sold to EU customers under the table and beyond the reach of the EU's communist regulations.
Posted by LarryTanner (14 comments )
Reply Link Flag
YOU'RE JOKING RIGHT!!!!!!!!!
Maybe you should do a little more research before making such embarrassing comments. Do yourself a little favor and find out how many large corporations exist and operate in Europe, and the impact it would make if they decided to make a switch to open source solutions for servers. I bet IBM and Sun would love that. Microsoft is trembling, and not having the solid backing of one of the most powerful government organizations in the world is only hampering the growth of its monopoly.
Communist regulations? The Cold War is over buddy, and the war with communism was with the Soviet Union. I do not recall if Russia has joined the EU, but the important thing is Democracy exists in all of EUROPEAN UNION members.
Posted by talus7 (15 comments )
Link Flag
Need more companies to follow the EU's Lead
If more corporations would follow the EU lead... Microsoft's monopolistic pressure would soften quite a bit.

Others need to follow similar suit.

Walt
Posted by wbenton (522 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Now,do you see why Americans are hated?
All American companies have to do if they wanted to evade these kinds of cases is to bribe US politicians to escape further culpability. Let's see them try that in Europe.

And to those advocating for MicroS**t to tell Europeans to go to hell, even I encourage this. No better way to jumpstart the Micros**t exodus than to stop its operations in Europe.

To all American jingoists, you may be able to do this kind of thing back home, but in the civilised world you're going to get slapped down.
Posted by ring66leader (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
LMAO
Oh fancy this, another snobby "we are so better than you" European! You guys have just as many problems as we have, just we put ours on the front page, you guys hide them in the closet until they reach some Hitler like level.

I don't think hate is the right word... seems more like ENVY!

Are you seriously telling me that it is impossible to bribe a European? I could be you anything if Microsoft dumped $100 million in the bank accounts of those in the EU that are pushing for the Microsoft reforms, that the whole ordeal would quickly vanish. No matter how "civilized" you may think Europeans are over Americans, simple fact is you guys are still HUMAN.
Posted by SeizeCTRL (1333 comments )
Link Flag
Practice What You Preach Sir
Not everyone hates Americans. It is not civilized to hate everyone of them just because you met a couple you didn't like. There are civilized ways to express your opinions. There are civilized ways to debate the issues. It is not civilized to use such words as "hate" when speaking generally about another nation. America is a nation of many peoples. Afford them the same respect you would any other if you wish to make any claims to civility.
Posted by Collants (18 comments )
Link Flag
I agree, but NEED to seperate
I am an American and I feel just like you do about the Corporate Ownership of our government,media and arts.
American's are getting crapped on like never before.

ring66leader,
With what you wrote, it is essential that you seperate the people of the United states from the Corporations and the Government ofthe United States.
This is the same way I seperate the British from Tony Blair who has his head firmly up George Bush's butt.
Look, we know that Gates is a sociopath and is in the destroying all competition and controlling everything. Even stujpider are the people that trust anything that the "Bill Gates Foundation" has done and will do. That one is scary. How Gates has treated his employees and screwed them, then offshored his talent so that Microsoft pays absolutely ZERO in U.S. taxes. I can go on and on.
Yes, the U.S. congress is are prostitutes who are screwing the U.S. people and the world. Look my Democratic Senator votes yes on anything to do with the war, from stopping a congressional investigation of Halliburton, who got bidless contracts and the Vice President is still receiving checks from, to the unlimted spending on the war, torture, use of mecernaries, etc.
BUT, I know that, in Colorado, there are major government contractors. like Lockheed Martin, Fort Carson army base, The Air Force Academy, Fort Pendelton Air Force Base as well as Norad, dug into the mountains. I know enough military here and people from Norad to know the scam and tragedy of Iraq and 9/11.

BUT, it is the government which sends the troops, it is the government that has given out bidless contracts, it is the Microsoft Corporation that has gone through endless lawsuits from the states and the feds, but they buy themselves out with a few million. I know that they have made theri competition become like subsidiaries (Sun, Microsystems, Even Apple). But it is NOT the people of the U.S. We are getting screwed and with the Coroporate control of the oligopoly of the press/media, every minute of every news broadcast and newspaper article from the conventional media is a lie. I actually read the British papers on the web.
This is the first time in American history, that the Corporate control of the Administrative branch and the Legislative Branch is to a point that, they can ignore the usual influence that contacts with Congress and the President had in the past.

I will end on, the unbelievable statement made by the Bushian, new head of Contress (the old one is facing trials), when he backed up Bush and will assign contracts and give to charities ONLY that support Bush and the Replicans !!
HEck, Bush did lose both of his elections, it was fixed with these machines made by a major Bush fundraiser, where there is NO way to backup or audit the votes, or even just dump the transactions to paper. Does this kind ofthing get reported to the American People, NO.

Please seperate the Government, U.S. International Oligopolies/Monopolies and the Government from tjhe people of the nation. I ma proud to say that I am an American, but I am ashamed and gift as much as I can, against the forces in the Government and Corporations that have destroyed the UJ.S. economy, exploit its people here and all over the world, understand that Iraq is just a land grap for oil and is a occupation, not a "war", etc.

jon
Posted by jontemple (11 comments )
Link Flag
No fines if MS relocates to EU..
There would have been no fine if MS was based in EU. EU is systematically trying to undermine successful US companies. France is trying to build bring down Google with its home grown (and gov financed) alternative, it is trying its best to push off Apple from the top of the music business; its subsidizing Airbus to compete with Boeing, the French went ballistic when Pepsi talked about buying Danon, the list is quite long. What EU is asking MS to is pretty much give up its business, MS has plenty of completion in the server business and EU saying otherwise is plain BS.
Posted by FutureGuy (742 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Untrue
The EU publishes all of its anti-competition cases here: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://ec.europa.eu/comm/competition/index_en.html" target="_newWindow">http://ec.europa.eu/comm/competition/index_en.html</a>

A breif overview of that shows they are equally harsh on their own.

Armchair quarterbacks like to think that all games are about us vs. them. The truth is even in football there is more going on than us vs them. People should explore the facts instead of making sweeping assumptions or brainlessly following some op-ed writer or radio shock jock's sweeping assumptions.

As for your examples you repeatedly cite the French. The French are just one country of dozens in the EU. Half the EU members states done see eye to eye with the French so you claim is exagerated.

While I dont agree with the French system I do wonder why you shout at them for throwing their corporations favoritism. Its not like the US government hasnt bailed out or shown favortism to numerous US corporations often at the expense of American citizens. US corporations are not subsidized outright (unless it comes to a bailout like the airlines or crystler), but tax loopholes and other corporate welfare exist which is pretty much the same thing.
Posted by bwvla (166 comments )
Link Flag
such a easy way to raise tax money!!!
It seems that EU is allowed to fine Microsoft for 5% of their revenue world-wide. Interestingly, will this 5% cap apply to South Korea, South Africa, etc, or Iran? Since there are about 140 Nations worldwide, the total would probably be about 500% of their revenue. Who cares what Microsoft or Apple does, but this is such a easy way to increase tax revenue, and only a foolish nation will not do it.
Posted by fc11 (48 comments )
Reply Link Flag
And the EU gains a new source of funding
How much money is the EU gaining by these actions? Seems like they are self-perpetuating.

This decision is technophobic and over the top. I honestly don't know if MS complied with the letter of the law but it sounds like the worked in good faith with an unaccountable bureaucracy. And, like all good bureaucracy, it's all about documentation, rather than serving customers.

European citizens have every freedom to buy something other than MS products. Recall that the EC's last solution was <a href="http://news.cbsi.com/Still+no+demand+for+media-player-free+Windows/2100-1016_3-5960750.html">Windows XP N</a>, and precisely no one bought it. Do we really believe they are competent to make tech choices for consumers?

European consumers should make their own tech product choices, not unelected folks like Ms. Kroes. Why would any new technology company want to operate in Europe after witnessing this?
Posted by ORinSF (57 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What do you expect from parasites???
The socialist Europeans, like parasites, want to live off of the success of the USA (just as they relied on us in WWII to save their bloody carcasses). Were they willing to compete, their technical groups would just write a software program that would compete with Microsoft and perhpas leave MS in the dust. Rather, as spineless socialists don't understand competition, they seek to oppress the competition when they themselves either aren't willing to compete or don't have the intellegence to compete. Either way, the EU is composed of a buch of cheeze-eating surrender monkeys.
Posted by trapper1964 (14 comments )
Link Flag
Break the law, then pay the price.
If MS keep breaking the law then the EU is wise to fine MS.
Breaking the law in any country always involves punishment of some kind.
Usually the punishment is designed to make the defendant stop.
Simple stuff really. Nothing unusual about this.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Link Flag
A small step in the right direction
Bill Gates and Steve Balmer should be serving jail time for all the harm they have caused to society. But at least this is a start.
Posted by extinctone (214 comments )
Reply Link Flag
By This Brazen and Pompous Posturing...
... of fining the US based Microsoft Corporation $357.3 million... how does this address the questions of the poverty, sickness, national security, the engineering economies... of states around the world!
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You must buy citrus fruit so you can drive a car.
buying lemons and limes to drive a car is the only way you could be so out of this world (you chose a good pseudonym, you are fictional but from another planet just the same)

A monopoly is always detrimental to the common people, no matter how well intentioned at first, it needs to be watched and regulated to prevent gouging

a ten day fine, come on now, that comes to about twenty days per year... let me ask you, would you give you paycheck for the next three weeks so you could break any law you wanted for the next year?

That is what will happen when they eventually lose but until then they are bullying their way through the system.
Posted by qazwiz (208 comments )
Link Flag
 

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