June 27, 2004 11:25 AM PDT

EU suspends Microsoft sanctions

The European Commission has temporarily suspended an order requiring Microsoft to begin to offer a version of Windows without a media player this week.

Microsoft said it been notified on Sunday of the Commission's decision, which effectively gives a Luxembourg court time to sort out the case without feeling pressure to reach an immediate decision.

The announcement quickly followed Microsoft's request to Court of First Instance asking for an emergency stay of the media player requirement. A temporary suspension of the media player requirement while the case continues was "expected either by the Commission or the court," Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler said Sunday.

Microsoft has filed a 100-page appeal before asking the court to annul the European Commission's $604 million fine (497 million Euros) and media player requirement. Desler said the request for an emergency stay filed late Friday, which buttresses the appeal, is confidential.

"The remedies will not only hurt Microsoft, they will hurt many other software development companies and Web site developers who have built products for the Windows platform," Microsoft said in a statement. "Most importantly, they will also harm consumers by limiting choice and degrading the usability of personal computers."

The Court of First Instance, Europe's second-highest judicial body, is expected to hold a hearing on Microsoft's request within the next two months.

If the order had not been suspended, some of the European Commission's deadlines would have begun to take effect. The Commission's March 24 decision gave Microsoft 90 days to offer an operating system without the media player included and 120 days to begin sharing proprietary information with its competitors regarding its server software.

The U.S. Justice Department has criticized the European crackdown on Microsoft, saying that its own investigation has led to "substantial changes to Microsoft?s business practices" and yanking the Windows Media Player was unjustified and could be harmful. In addition, prominent Democratic and Republican politicians have slammed the prosecution on the other side of the Atlantic as violating a 1991 antitrust cooperation agreement.


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How sad
Our goverment should have broken Micro$oft up. Now they are complaining someone else is doing something when they didnt do a thing.
I wonder how much cash Micr$oft had to bribe someone for the US statement.
Posted by Kilz (85 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft cares about Choice??!
..."Most importantly, they will also harm consumers by limiting
choice and degrading the usability of personal computers."...

Microsoft is already trying to harm consumers in regards to
choice. Because of Microsoft's anticompetitive tactics, our
choices have been pretty much limited to a Windows "only"
world with a perverted mindset that we all should be using
Windows for whatever reason. It's time for US & EU
Governments to take a stand and protect consumer freedom
from such attacks waged by a company who only cares about
taking over the world of desktop computers while keeping its
piggy bank fully intact!
Posted by JuggerNaut (860 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why Microsoft is UNSTOPPABLE...
It seems that, supporting the 'rich' and 'powerful' is simply far more important than 'upholding the law', or doing what is best for consumers, an entire industry, or even, for your own citizens.

I am not really surprised that 'Money, and Power, Talks', ...on both sides of the Atlantic.

I'm just disappointed by the fact that 'Microsoft' may well, "...get away with it", again.

I am surprised, however, by just how much 'influence' the 'U.S. DOJ' apparently has in Europe (when they [the DOJ] absolutely refused to 'punish', or in any meaningful-way 'hinder', Microsoft's unethical and criminal behavior, ...even AFTER the company was found by, EVERY COURT involved in the U.S. 'Anti-Trust Case' to have BOTH 'Violated The Law', and 'SERIOUSLY HARMED CONSUMERS').

Many looked to Europe as the last REAL CHANCE FOR JUSTICE.

But, now, it seems that Microsoft's strategy of 'DOING WHATEVER THEY WANT' (using ENDLESS LEGAL DELAYING TACTICS), until their individual 'malicious-actions' no-longer seem to matter, and using 'Information-manipulation' (lying), 'bribery', and 'influence-peddling', ...to achieve their 'end-goals', ...MAY WELL, SIMPLY, BE UNSTOPPABLE.

But, the WORST part of this particular story has to be the statement...

"Most importantly, they [the sanctions] will also harm consumers by limiting choice and degrading the usability of personal computers."

HHHMMM... So, preventing an ILLEGAL-MONOPOLY from using their ill-gotten power to literally RAM their 'own' products down people's throats against their will, (and by the way, seriously DIS-ADVANTAGE ALL COMPETITION), ...would,

"...harm consumers by limiting choice...", ...yeah, ...right, ...uh hummm.

You know, this is simply another symptom of very serious ongoing problem in the world today.

Furthermore, here is yet another set of examples of how 'Anti-trust' mechanisms, and the U.S.-DOJ, HAVE FAILED COMPLETELY to perform their duties.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/07/02/ms_settles_mn/" target="_newWindow">http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/07/02/ms_settles_mn/</a>

And finally, this does not even address Microsoft's "Trusted Computing" agenda (which is moving forward quickly even as you read this) to completely redesign the 'PC' exclusively to meet Microsoft's (and various "Copyright-holder's") fondest-desires for 'CONTROL of CONSUMERS'.
Posted by Raife (63 comments )
Link Flag
Talking out of both sides of the mouth
&gt;The U.S. Justice Department has criticized the
&gt;European crackdown on Microsoft, saying...
&gt;yanking the Windows Media Player was
&gt;unjustified and could be harmful.

Isn't this exactly what the DoJ wanted to do with IE?

In each case, perfectly usable (and free) third party software can be made the default. Who gives a flip if the operating system comes with these programs?
Posted by Jim Harmon (329 comments )
Reply Link Flag
WHO..? and WHY..?
"Who gives a flip if the operating system comes with these programs?"

Most people that create, buy or use, ANY computer-technology should care,

...Because, these aren't REAL choices, ...once Microsoft 'integrates' a 'middleware'-application into the OS, ALL competition is automatically placed at a serious disadvantage, ...up to, and including, the destruction of a competing-product's ability to exist, AT ALL, in the 'marketplace' (this has been PROVEN, in court, to have occurred repeatedly. It has also been proven in court that these results were often Microsoft's PRIMARY reasons for such 'code co-mingling').

Microsoft has a proven history of using such 'technological-hooks' to prevent the effective use of 'third-party' competitive-alternatives.

Furthermore, Microsoft's stated future-plans (such as, directly tying 'OS-APIs' to Internet-access, and creating an exclusively-Microsoft media-DRM delivery-platform) will make it all but impossible to choose ANY alternative (And, by the way, such 'anti-competitive' actions are specifically WHY 'Anti-trust restrictions and Laws' were created in the first place, ...to protect consumers, and businesses from such 'choice-control').
Posted by Raife (63 comments )
Link Flag

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