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Regulators feel Microsoft hasn't shown sufficient submission to edict

In the member states of the European Union, Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Windows 7 offers a little something special -- a ballot screen -- which on install presents the user with a choice of what browser they want to use.   But EU regulators are not satisfied by the interface Microsoft cooked up and are considering new mandates -- and, potentially, fines. 

I. A Rocky Relationship

The ballot screen is part of a settlement between Microsoft and antitrust regulators in Europe.  

Microsoft was fined nearly $2B USD in a series of fines, the largest of which was a record $1.4B USD fine.  Most of the fines were for Microsoft refusing to expose certain parts of its API to third-party competitors, in order to give its own first-party apps, like the Office suite an advantage.  The EU said this would have been okay, were it not for the fact that Microsoft controls a dominant 90 percent stake in the PC operating system market.  As a result of that unique position, the EU perceived the tactic as an illegal violation of antitrust laws.

Similarly the EU took issue with Microsoft's "browser bundling".  Since most computers sold carried Windows, the EU reasoned that Microsoft including its own browser built-in and set-up as the default browser to automatically launch links was responsible for its large market share.

Microsoft could face more EU fines. [Image Source: The Hibernia Times]

Microsoft bowed to the EU demands and gave users the option to install other rival browsers like Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Chrome and the Mozilla Foundation's Firefox.

II. Whoops, Update Turns Off Ballot Screen Feature

The recent spat comes due to what Microsoft calls a "technical error" in the Windows 7 Service Pack 1 build, which caused it to fail to display the ballot screen and return to its old ways of making Internet Explorer the default browser.

Browser Ballot Box
Microsoft's Windows 7 Service Pack 1 "accidentally" turned off the browser ballot box.
[Image Source: Telegraph UK]

Joaquín Almunia, a member of the European Commission -- Europe's antitrust watchdog -- sternly warned Microsoft, commenting, "We take compliance with our decisions very seriously.  I trusted the company's reports were accurate. But it seems that was not the case, so we have immediately taken action. If following our investigation, the infringement is confirmed, Microsoft should expect sanctions."

Microsoft admits it violated the EU mandate, but insists it was unintentional.  It wants its "probation" (officially referred to as the "compliance period") extended by 15 months, rather than any additional fines or sanctions.

IE 10
The EU is also concerned about Microsoft's Windows 8 efforts.

This may not be the last of its troubles, though.  The EU is reportedly looking to probe Windows 8 and reports by various browser makers that Microsoft is locking them out of parts of its Metro UI API, in order to differentiate Internet Explorer as the "best" Windows 8 browser.

Sources: Europa [EU Press Release], Microsoft

Comments     Threshold

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By hankw on 7/17/2012 2:12:01 PM , Rating: 5
That fact that MS has to jump through hoops like this is ludicrous. Do they do this witch OS X as well since by default it comes with Safari?

RE: Crazy
By Connoisseur on 7/17/12, Rating: 0
RE: Crazy
By geddarkstorm on 7/17/2012 2:23:43 PM , Rating: 5
Market share is not what makes a monopoly, that's lack of consumer choice. Market share just tells you what people -like- for the value.

RE: Crazy
By Ticholo on 7/17/2012 3:11:05 PM , Rating: 4
The monopoly position isn't in web browsers. It's in operating systems. And Microsoft can and does take advantage of their dominant OS position to push their other stuff.
And this isn't a statement that their other stuff is bad or inferior and couldn't stand on it's own.

RE: Crazy
By geddarkstorm on 7/17/2012 4:57:30 PM , Rating: 3
Is Microsoft the only reasonable OS choice for consumers in the EU? If not, then no, it is not a monopoly. If only Microsoft and Apple machines are available, then you can argue it's a duopoly.

This, of course, is ignoring the ability to download the many other OSes out there through the internet; but that is more technical than the average user is likely to be.

RE: Crazy
By Motoman on 7/17/2012 5:35:35 PM , Rating: 1
Is Microsoft the only reasonable OS choice for consumers in the EU?

Yes. And everywhere else.

RE: Crazy
By wordsworm on 7/17/2012 8:54:59 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know why they rated you down. Five years ago, I don't think there were any other real options other than Windows. However, today I'd argue that there are enough Apples out there to remove the monopoly status. Pretty much every store with a PC selection will offer Windows and Mac PCs.

RE: Crazy
By BZDTemp on 7/17/2012 10:24:09 PM , Rating: 1
For a private customer - maybe.

However in the business world Microsoft managed to get control and maintain for so long that going with another platform can be very difficult.

In many places they are dependent upon all sorts of systems that require Windows in some form so it is no simple matter to change. Plus it is not only technical there is also many people that have had a hard time to learn to use computers, spreadsheets, word processing and so on - for those people going to a different system it can be a real challenge (and that costs money for businesses). The later is also why Microsoft is having a hard time getting people to upgrade to new Windows and Office versions (and this is why Microsoft is trying to sell software as a service to the business customers).

If the EU and some big industry players had not done something to keep Microsoft down then IE, Windows Media Player, MS Office and so on would be the only choice today. Microsoft was so powerful at one time they could have killed Apple but instead kept doing Office for Mac and even bought shares in the company - simply because without Apple Microsoft would have had no defense at all in cases like the EU one.

RE: Crazy
By StanO360 on 7/18/2012 12:03:55 AM , Rating: 1
That is just not true. Businesses have IT people that can and do easily change things. And Office still is dominant . . . because people like it. It's a backhanded jealousy of an American product. Apple is only about 5% of Euro usage, which is effectively irrelevant, especially business. So whatever they've done hasn't worked. Also note that they've flocked to Win7 and there is no new Office until this fall.

RE: Crazy
By croc on 7/18/12, Rating: 0
RE: Crazy
By BZDTemp on 7/18/2012 11:04:18 AM , Rating: 1
So you're saying big corporate solutions build for one platform can "easily" be moved to another one. That is simply not so and if anything it shows how little you know. Do you actually have any experience in the corporate world?

And about the world flocking to Win7 you do realize that only about now the use of Win7 is surpassing the use of XP. Exactly how is that the same as having "flocked to Win7"?

And as for Apples market share - try to imagine nobody had been making sure Microsoft wasn't even controlled a little bit. Would that had meant more or less market share for Apple.

RE: Crazy
By Reclaimer77 on 7/18/2012 11:15:42 AM , Rating: 2
And about the world flocking to Win7 you do realize that only about now the use of Win7 is surpassing the use of XP. Exactly how is that the same as having "flocked to Win7"?

Yeah because 7 has been around for 10+ years, great argument lol.

Win7 adoption has been tremendous. It's a proven fact, deal with it.

RE: Crazy
By Fritzr on 7/18/2012 3:16:14 PM , Rating: 1
Yes the Microsoft -effective- monopoly is a proven fact deal with it.

90% plus install base. 90% plus of all software has a Windows version (probably higher percentage actually)
90%+ of desktop computers offer Internet Explorer preinstalled (with the exception of those that were sold with IE disabled by law in the EU) plus the marketshare of non-Windows computers running compatible IE versions to maintain compatibility with the world's "Most Popular Browser" (tm)

Remember that Microsoft demonstrated in US court that IE could not be removed without crippling Windows. That led to a requirement that Microsoft redesign Windows so that IE could be safely disabled.

As for the IE install in Win7...
A technical oversight? IE is required by law to be disabled except for the basic function of downloading the user selected browser on all SKUs sold in the EU. However nobody at Microsoft noticed that for all the years Win7 was being installed in the EU that the browser was installed by default.

This is going to be an expensive oversight. Hopefully the years of keeping the IE userbase elevated will offset the fines. Revising the distribution media will be relatively cheap.

Since this is just a "technical oversight" the modified version already exists and they just need to substitute the correct image for the one they have been shipping in the past. Of course it could be a bit more expensive if this was deliberate and the legal version was never created.

RE: Crazy
By Reclaimer77 on 7/18/2012 3:33:44 PM , Rating: 3
That's not a monopoly. Microsoft will have a monopoly when there are literally no other OS's being made.

Sorry for being literal, but words have meanings. You people are just throwing around the monopoly buzzword for effect and to be polarizing. But that doesn't make it true.

As for the IE install in Win7... A technical oversight? IE is required by law to be disabled except for the basic function of downloading the user selected browser on all SKUs sold in the EU. However nobody at Microsoft noticed that for all the years Win7 was being installed in the EU that the browser was installed by default.

LOL wait, what? The EU requires that Windows come with no working browser?

Sounds crazy to me, and being from the EU one is not surprised.

RE: Crazy
By Fritzr on 7/19/2012 5:06:39 AM , Rating: 2
Actually the legal definition of monopoly does not require lack of competition. It only needs the ability to remove that competition with minimal effort.

Using this form of 'monopoly' Microsoft has an OS monopoly on the desktop and is able to leverage that position to prevent or at least minimize competition for Microsoft software such as the browser. The US ruled that Microsoft used this monopoly power to put Netscape out of business. The EU has ruled that Microsoft tried to repeat this with XP+IE and they are now upset that Microsoft "forgot" to honor the agreement that allowed them entry to the EU market with Win7.

The actual problem the EU has with Microsoft this time around is not their effective monopoly, but their nose-thumbing at the EU in regards to the agreement Microsoft signed.

The EU does not require that Windows not have a browser. The EU does require that the enduser decide which browser THEIR, individual, copy of Windows will have. Install Windows. The install process asks "Which browser would you like to install today?" and continues with the installation.

This does pose a problem with unattended installs, but those can be handled by answering the "Which browser" question the first time a user logs in. 3 or 4 minutes to fetch and install and the user is on the web.

This choosing of the browser by the user is only a problem for Microsoft's plan to write the standards everyone else must comply with.

RE: Crazy
By plowak on 7/19/2012 2:24:57 PM , Rating: 2
"Also note that they've flocked to Win7"
Nobody has flocked to Win7, you buy a computer it comes with Win7 there is virtually no other choice for the average buyer.

RE: Crazy
By ZorkZork on 7/17/2012 6:17:01 PM , Rating: 3
Microsoft does not have a monopoly in Europe with Windows. It does however have a dominating market share (90%+) and that is enough in this case ...

RE: Crazy
By knutjb on 7/18/2012 1:49:23 AM , Rating: 3
Or is it a cash flow problem in Europe and it is easy to fine big companies. $2B goes a long way. If the EU ran a business it would have filed for bankruptcy a long time ago.

RE: Crazy
By ZorkZork on 7/18/2012 5:40:49 PM , Rating: 2
$2B is peanuts in the US and peanuts in the EU. In any case the EU is not in trouble financially - some members are (Greece, Italy, etc.). Similar to California being close to bankrupt but not really affecting the federal government. Except of course, that the EU is not a federation but rather a much looser voluntary cooperation between independent states.

Please understand: The EU has no way of directly transferring money to ailing member states. Not as gifts. Not as loans. The closest thing to a transfer, would be to support projects in member states – stuff like infrastructure, science, etc. Thus not a way of dealing with immediate financial problems.

In any case, the EU has a long history of regulating companies and groups of companies that dominates the market. Just like the US.

RE: Crazy
By BZDTemp on 7/19/2012 8:32:45 AM , Rating: 2
This again.

First of all Europe is not the same as the EU. Europe is EU like north America is the USA only with regards to Europe it is not Canada but lots of countries like fx. Russia.

Secondly there is something like 500 million people living in the 27 EU member countries - exactly how long a way do you make out the $4 per capita to go?

RE: Crazy
By GotThumbs on 7/18/2012 12:28:21 PM , Rating: 3
You have to be a complete idiot these days not to know how to download and install one of the many web-browsers available.

This whole issue by the EU is unnecessary and antiquated.

When does the EU plan on suing Apple on its anti-competitive ecosystem surrounding its products. Whats the alternative to I-tunes? You can't even use an Ipad without registering it first.

RE: Crazy
By Fritzr on 7/18/2012 3:39:18 PM , Rating: 1
There are alternatives to iTunes. You only need to learn they exist then do a search and download them. No different than the Window's browser situation.

Apps for iOS are found in other places than the Apple Appstore. Apple would prefer you never learn they are available, but that is just marketing.

Apple does not have a lock on the makrket. By virtue of 3 decades of sales, Microsoft does. It is a lockin that can be broken by a superior OS which is why Apple is doing so well in a portion of the market where MS has traditionally been weak, but it is still a competitive advantage in favor of MS.

RE: Crazy
By FITCamaro on 7/17/2012 2:24:54 PM , Rating: 3
The very existence and rise of Apple's marketshare shows Windows is not a monopoly. It's just a good product that meets the needs of most people. And is available on hardware at a far cheaper price than Apple will sell its machines.

Maybe I should sue Apple in the EU for not letting me build my own PC and use their OS.

RE: Crazy
By Argon18 on 7/17/12, Rating: -1
RE: Crazy
By PrezWeezy on 7/17/2012 3:23:03 PM , Rating: 3
What about the Linux variants of Dell's and HP's you can buy?
As an example. There aren't many of them, but they do exist.

RE: Crazy
By kb9fcc on 7/17/2012 4:43:20 PM , Rating: 1
Try finding a Linux or no OS on a Home/Consumer PC (i.e., non-business). You won't find any listed on Dell the site. It's only when you switch to the Small/Medium Business view can any Linux or no-OS PC's be found, and they're often "crippled" with low-end parts with little or no option to upgrade to the same high-end performance components that are offered for those PC's that are bundled with some form of Microsoft Windows.

For example want a laptop with Linux installed and a 15" screen with a Core i5 CPU with 8 GB of ram? Well, forget it. You'll have to settle for something with an ATOM, 10" screen, and 1 GB ram, or a Celeron P4600 (2 GHz dual core), 14" screen and 2 GB ram, period. The link provided above pretty much proofs the point.

That is not a choice.

RE: Crazy
By Nekrik on 7/17/2012 6:01:52 PM , Rating: 4
Dell and a few others did try offering a few configurations with Linux, they didn't sell so the products were cancelled. The Linux users are just a very vocal minority, and they are a minority that does not buy enough Dell/HP/etc... boxes to justify it as a business offering.

RE: Crazy
By B3an on 7/18/2012 5:48:02 AM , Rating: 3
Companies have tried selling Linux PC's before, and every time they have failed.

It has nothing to do with MS or Windows, people just don't want Linux. Obviously no company is going to sell Linux computers to consumers if no one buys them. Linux users just cant get it in to there head that their OS isn't as great as they think it is and even with it being free lots of people still don't want it.

RE: Crazy
By Solandri on 7/18/2012 4:01:32 PM , Rating: 3
Linux users just cant get it in to there head that their OS isn't as great as they think it is

The Linux OS is great. It's the interface which sucks. When you gussy up a Unix box with a slick, easy to use interface, the average person on the street eats it up like candy. OS X is BSD/Unix. Android is Linux. A lot of the consumer computing devices you see (e.g. the entertainment consoles on airplanes) run Linux.

Too many UI developers in the open source community are fixated on making a UI they want, rather than a UI which regular users want. Unfortunately, those developers are in control of the UI for Linux on the desktop. And most developers don't want to write software that other people want but that they don't particularly care for, unless they're paid for it.

RE: Crazy
By Argon18 on 7/18/12, Rating: 0
RE: Crazy
By GotThumbs on 7/18/2012 12:34:24 PM , Rating: 3
Whats the point of buying a "high-end PC" without an OS? Apple will NOT let you install their OS on non-apple hardware. Its in their license.

btw...Dell does sell computers without OS.

You can however... BUILD a REAL high-end PC and load any Linux or windows version you care to.

RE: Crazy
By BB33 on 7/17/2012 3:27:27 PM , Rating: 5
And on the other side apple prevents any tier 1 oem from putting osx on any machine that is not there own so if you want osx you are forced to buy apple this is also a monopoly.

RE: Crazy
By B3an on 7/18/2012 6:14:58 AM , Rating: 4
I'd also like to point out that on iOS, 3rd party browser makers pretty much cant even make their own browsers, let alone have a browser choice screen.

Firefox and Chrome on iOS are basically just skins of Safari. They have to use Apples own purposely crippled JavaScript engine, they cant use their own JavaScript engines like Googles V8 or Firefox's SpiderMonkey. While Apples own Safari gets to use an improved non-crippled JavaScript engine with JIT compilers, that 3rd party browsers are NOT allowed to use. So Safari ends up being faster.

Some browsers have tried to get around this issue by doing clever things, like having the page rendered on a server and then sent to iOS as an image. But no single browser gets to use its own JavaScript engine on iOS itself.

So on iOS if you're a 3rd part browser maker you get:
A crippled browser with slower speed. Cant use your own engines. And dont get any browser choice screen.

iOS has a massive market share in the mobile world, and the majority share in the tablet world. And even with the OS being massively locked down and purposely crippling the competition you never see the EU, US anyone else impose restrictions or make Apple use a browser choice screen. I think its disgusting.

RE: Crazy
By hexxthalion on 7/18/2012 10:00:09 AM , Rating: 2
like you can add different browser on ps3 ;)

RE: Crazy
By kleinma on 7/17/2012 3:29:08 PM , Rating: 5
No, this is total bullshit. Plenty of companies have tried selling PCs with Linux on them. People would buy them, set them up, and return them because they wouldn't run any of the programs they expected them to. You can't install OSX on non apple hardware, so which OS exactly are they supposed to offer instead of Windows? You can most certainly buy computers with no OS on them. Don't expect Best Buy or Walmart to sell those though, because people who shop retail for computers usually have no clue how to install an OS on there. Go to a site like newegg, and they sell machines with no OS. The choice to sell computers with no operating system has absolutely nothing at all to do with Microsoft. Even if they did have these imaginary exlusive license agreements for Windows, selling a PC with no OS doesn't violate that.

If you want to talk monopoly, lets talk about Apple and the iPad. Zero choices, near monopoly market share in the tablet space, yet the thing is locked down tigher than a bank vault.

RE: Crazy
By Fritzr on 7/19/2012 5:20:57 AM , Rating: 2
You can install OSX on a non-Apple computer. This is the very definition of a Frankintosh. Apple bans commercial sale of Frankintosh, but generally ignores the Frankintosh hacker community. There is some speculation that this is because both Steves came from that community.

On the Windows side. There are subisidies paid by third party software companies in order to have trialware placed on the computer at the factory. The net cost of Win license minus subsidy paid for Win software is below zero. In short an OEM computer with an OEM Windows installation costs less than exactly the same machine with no OS. This is one of the reasons it is so hard to find a No OS prebuilt computer. It is in fact cheaper for the user to buy a Windows computer, repartition the drives and install Linux than it would be to buy an OEM Linux computer.

As far as the ordinary consumer. The OS is largely irrelevant. They buy what the store sells. When comparing different OSes in the store they look at the software available. Once they determine that their must have programs are OSX they buy Apple. If they determine that their must have programs are Windows, they buy Microsoft. When they have no idea what they are looking at they ask their friends and neighbors what they like or buy whatever the last ad on TV mentioned.

RE: Crazy
By Ringold on 7/17/2012 3:31:07 PM , Rating: 2
Dell, HP, and Acer I've personally noticed before have offered Ubuntu and some other flavors of linux in the past.

Just did a little research, and turns out Dell seems to of dropped Ubuntu, explicitly due to lack of consumer interest. Looks like the others have done so too, but a quick Google shows you most of them have TRIED to sell linux pre-installed.

Complaining that tier-1's don't offer it is like complaining Burger King doesn't sell cow manure. Why would they sell something the market doesn't want?

You also forget Apple. To suggest people aren't aware of or are unable to pursue that option would be a mighty big stretch.

And if consumers know what they want, 5 seconds of googling reveals AVADirect and several others that are happy to pre-load a variety of linux distros.

So, Microsoft has the market share, but on almost every other test of monopoly status, like barriers to entry and lack of choice. There's choice, it's just no one wants it.

Evil, wicked Micro$oft, I know. People hate them, but FFS, we pretend to be a civilized group of people, and the rule of law should prevail, not mob mentalities where we punish firms for being unpopular with the cool crowd or for being successful.

RE: Crazy
By adiposity on 7/17/12, Rating: 0
RE: Crazy
By Ringold on 7/17/12, Rating: -1
RE: Crazy
By Flunk on 7/17/2012 3:57:44 PM , Rating: 2
What about Apple? Apple is a tier-1 OEM now. Even one competitor disproves the monopoly argument.

RE: Crazy
By adiposity on 7/17/2012 6:19:48 PM , Rating: 1
Apple is not an alternative. You cannot install Mac OS on PCs (legally). Hackintoshes aside, the only real OS to install on a PC is Windows. That's a monopoly.

RE: Crazy
By Reclaimer77 on 7/17/2012 6:23:45 PM , Rating: 1
Monopoly? More like Apple being anti-competitive. PC's and Apples run the same hardware, so it's actually Apple who's the problem in your example. Not Windows.

I know LOTS of people who would love to run OSX, or at least try it, on their PC's. It's Apple that's stopping that from being a reality.

And we all know why that is. If people were to realize OSX runs just as good on their $1k PC's as it does Apple's outrageously priced desktops...

RE: Crazy
By adiposity on 7/17/12, Rating: 0
RE: Crazy
By Reclaimer77 on 7/17/2012 7:42:26 PM , Rating: 2
Stop saying "Monopoly" because it makes you look ignorant. Monopolies are defined by markets in which there is a single seller for a good or service. This is NOT the case with the operating system market, so Microsoft doesn't have a monopoly.

Another classical sign of a monopoly is pricing. Monopolies use their market dominance to charge a price that exceeds the competitive price. Well this certainly isn't the case. Hell Windows 8 is going to be $30.

It doesn't matter how much market share they have as long as other options in the OS market exist. And they do.

RE: Crazy
By adiposity on 7/18/2012 4:37:38 PM , Rating: 2
Stop saying "Monopoly" because it makes you look ignorant. Monopolies are defined by markets in which there is a single seller for a good or service.

First of all, there are very few true monopolies. As you know, however, you do not have to have 100% marketshare before you are treated like a monopoly for antitrust purposes. Microsoft has a de facto monopoly for various reasons I've discussed.

Second, the existence of MacOS is largely irrelevant due to the inability to use it on the same hardware as Windows (legally). Technically speaking, Blackberry OS exists, and "competes" with Windows. Yet, since I cannot get it except with a Blackberry device, it does not truly compete. MacOS is linked with Apple devices and is not part of the PC OS market.

Yes, technically they are both PC OSes. And technically, Linux exists. But realistically, Windows is the only player in the "buy an OS for my PC so I can run software" market.

Another classical sign of a monopoly is pricing. Monopolies use their market dominance to charge a price that exceeds the competitive price. Well this certainly isn't the case. Hell Windows 8 is going to be $30.

After telling me the definition of monopoly, you proceed to list attributes that are not part of the definition as proof that MS does not have a monopoly? The price of a product does not determine anything.

What you are talking about is whether Microsoft abuses their monopoly. Incidentally, this is what the EU is concerned about as well. There are other ways of abusing a monopoly besides charging a high price. For example, you can "encourage" the use of other products you sell through various methods, one of which might be bundling a browser with an OS.

RE: Crazy
By Camikazi on 7/17/2012 6:58:19 PM , Rating: 2
You cannot install OSX on PCs cause Apple forbids it not cause it is technically impossible. It's not MS's fault that Apple wants to be "unique" and forbids their OS being installed on anything but Macs. Just as an FYI Linux is very much a real OS, it's just that the average consumer doesn't want to use it.

RE: Crazy
By adiposity on 7/17/12, Rating: 0
RE: Crazy
By Ringold on 7/17/2012 10:13:54 PM , Rating: 2
Apple is not an alternative. You cannot install Mac OS on PCs

Absolutely it's an alternative, how it is not? What defines PC? Personal computer. Apple uses the EXACT same hardware as "PC" manufacturers, from UEFI motherboards to SSDs to Ivy Bridge processors and ATI and NVidia graphics. Not a lick of difference, asides from superfluous details like physical appearance of the case.

If you want an ultrabook-like device, you can very easily chose a Windows-based one, or an almost identically specced Macbook Air with OSX. How is that not a choice, or are you from a different planet?

And obviously if the Wintel alliance pushed the Ultrabook thing, obviously they disagree with you and feel that not only is Apple a valid choice, but an extremely competitive one.

RE: Crazy
By jonmcc33 on 7/17/2012 4:36:23 PM , Rating: 2
It's not a monopoly. Windows PCs sell the most primarily due to businesses using Windows in domains. If Apple 1) priced their computers to compete with Windows systems for corporate environments as well as 2) made Mac OS X more competitive on domains then Apple would fare evenly.

Not to mention dirt cheap laptops for $400. A lot of people like and can spend $1000 for a basic laptop that Apple offers but many cannot and look for the $500 or less market just because it's what they can afford. Of course Apple has reached that price range well with the iPad too.

RE: Crazy
By adiposity on 7/17/12, Rating: 0
RE: Crazy
By Camikazi on 7/17/2012 7:00:51 PM , Rating: 2
OSX can be installed on PC hardware, Apple is the one who stops you from doing it. They are the ones who mod their software to not run unless it is on recognized hardware.

RE: Crazy
By BZDTemp on 7/17/2012 10:32:02 PM , Rating: 1
Or maybe you should write the EU a thank you note letting them know that Microsoft had indeed been controlled just a little.

I find it strange how so many is this place don't get that this EU case isn't about how the world looks now but about how the world was some years ago. If Microsoft had not been stopped then there would be no choice and the fact is in many situations there still isn't a choice.

Also you may wanna read a little about the laws covering this area. It's not just about monopolies it's also about market shares so big that market control comes into play - especially if one company uses that market control to push out competitors in related markets. Look up Netscape, RealPlayer, OS/2, WordPerfect, Stacker, Vaporware.... and you will learn something about the way Microsoft does business.

RE: Crazy
By Ringold on 7/18/2012 10:03:14 PM , Rating: 2
RealPlayer.. I don't know about you, but I lifted my glass of scotch in the air the day RealPlayer died.

RE: Crazy
By danjw1 on 7/17/2012 3:05:42 PM , Rating: 1
Microsoft has 90% market share. That leaves Apple with less then 10%. While Apple has acted in a very monopolistic way recently, Microsoft has been doing it for decades. Also, Microsoft purposely integrated the browser into Windows to exclude others from the market. So, you are correct Apple is not required to have a browser ballot screen, but there is a reason this was enforced on Microsoft.

RE: Crazy
By kleinma on 7/17/2012 3:33:24 PM , Rating: 3
Yes I would so love it if my operating system came with no programs, no utilities, and no functionality. Please give me that OS out of the box...

ChromeOS comes with a default browser
iOS comes with a default browser
OSX comes with a default browser
Android comes with a default browser
Linux desktop distros come with a default browser
Windows comes with a default browser

I fail to see the issue.... It isn't like people don't know about firefox and chrome. Google shoves chrome in your face every possible chance it gets, and firefox is only better than chrome for those who like specific plugins it supports.

RE: Crazy
By gamerk2 on 7/17/12, Rating: 0
RE: Crazy
By geddarkstorm on 7/17/2012 5:05:20 PM , Rating: 2
I haven't touched Internet Explorer since I was in high school.

Saying people don't bother to go find another browser other than the default, is something completely different from them not being able to use another browser at all. The former is not anti-competitive, just consumer choice/laziness. Only if Microsoft barred the ability to install and fully use new browsers would it be anti-competitive.

Now, back in the day, Microsoft did bar the ability to uninstall Internet Explorer, and that was anti-competitive, if marginally.

RE: Crazy
By Reclaimer77 on 7/17/2012 5:47:57 PM , Rating: 4
There's no such thing as a "browser market" because all browsers are free. There is no "market" there.

You MS haters are making yourselves look absurd and ridiculous. I just hope you know that. They are NOT a monopoly, and nobody actually cares if they throw in a free browser besides you haters with a bone to pick.

The Ford F-150 has accounted for about 75%+ of all truck sales over the past decade. By your logic, Ford has a monopoly on the truck market, simply by marketshare. Putting aside the fact that there's plenty of other options out there for trucks. People just don't choose them in as large a number.

The fact that the browser is packaged into an OS by itself is not anti-competitive, its only combined with the fact 90% of the user install base uses MS's OS is the built in browser anti-competitive.

I guess in your mind that's a solid argument. Bundling a browser is not anti-competitive. It just somehow becomes anti-competitive when enough consumers choose your product.... brilliant thinking there moonbeam.

What a surprise that the same leftist anti-corporation class warfaring posters are against Microsoft here.

RE: Crazy
By ZorkZork on 7/17/2012 6:33:07 PM , Rating: 2
Of course you can talk about a market share for a “free” product. It does not matter that it is free. The browser is the entry point into a world of web applications and that market is huge. Microsoft has for many years delivered a crappy browser that lacked compatibility with established standards. They have done so to ensure that native Windows applications are better than browser based apps.

Whether a market share of 75% is a dominating market share I do not know. But there is nothing wrong with having a dominating market share. It does however come with some strings attached. One is that you cannot use domination in one market to leverage a product in another market. Thus your F150 example is not really comparable.

And while I cannot speak for others, I am not a Microsoft (or Apple or Intel) hater. I love free markets and I do believe that de facto monopolies and duopolies should be avoided – whether these are private or public. For the benefit of consumers.

RE: Crazy
By toffty on 7/17/2012 6:35:37 PM , Rating: 2

Reclaimer, I actually agreed with you for once... at least until the end.

Just because someone doesn't agree with you doesn't mean they're "leftist anti-corporation".

I am a leftist anti-corporation jeffersonian but I do believe this whole ballot window to be a witch hunt against Microsoft brought on by a money hungry EU.

RE: Crazy
By Reclaimer77 on 7/17/2012 6:36:57 PM , Rating: 2
Just because someone doesn't agree with you doesn't mean they're "leftist anti-corporation".

Oh I totally agree. But in this case I mean it quite literally, gamerk2, etc etc are all typical anti-corp anti-profits anti-capitalist posters here.

RE: Crazy
By ZorkZork on 7/17/2012 6:57:55 PM , Rating: 3
This whole thing about EU being money hungry really shows that you have no clue about the EU. Whatever money comes out of this is a drop in the bucket within the EU member states. The total GDP of the EU is bigger than the US GDP.

Also EU is not in trouble - however some member states are (though the most important ones are not). This is similar to the US not going broke just because California is. In addition, the EU is not able to funnel the money from penalties to the countries in trouble - budgets for that have been agreed upon long ago (and for that we are talking small change).

And incidentally the EU is not a terribly expensive organisation to run: it cost about 1% of total EU GDP and employs about 33000 people - compare that to the US federal government (which I realize is a totally different beast).

RE: Crazy
By Ringold on 7/17/2012 10:25:43 PM , Rating: 2
Also EU is not in trouble


The EU is on the precipice of total collapse, with the strong Northern states (Germany and the Nordic ones) going one way, and the southern states breaking off the Euro and devalueing their new currencies, and you can't logically argue otherwise UNTIL a banking union, at the very least, is agreed to. Nothing has fundamentally changed in recent weeks that has improved the situation in Greece, Italy or Spain. If Italy, in particular, stumbles, it'd take France down with it probably within a couple days, and then the whole house of cards comes apart. Long term, there has to either be a break-up of the EU... or political union, and Euro-bonds. This half-assed situation isn't sustainable.

It's hard to imagine the EU allowing it to happen, but it's hard to imagine they'd of let it get this far as it is. Would you have ever guessed Greek politicians would've delayed reform until the country was near destruction? So don't talk like the EU is not in trouble; it's in the fight of its young life, and the outcome is not yet certain.

RE: Crazy
By Calin on 7/18/2012 4:02:37 AM , Rating: 2
The big trouble is not here yet - but I'm not sure if something can be done to solve the big problems that aren't very much visible now, but will appear in the future.
On the other hand, the financial trouble of the EU is in the millions of millions or euros, and a fine of two thousands millions is less than a drop in the bucket.

RE: Crazy
By ZorkZork on 7/18/2012 4:30:05 AM , Rating: 2
The EU is not on the verge of collapse - not even close. Every member country - including the always skeptical brits and nordics - has too much tied up. The benefits of a single market and a whole heap of other things are simply too important.

The Euro currency is currently in trouble. Greece has shown little willingness to save themselves and thus no one will save them. Efforts up til now have focused on reducing the impact of a greek default. In essence what we have seen over the past few years has been a slow controlled greek default.

That Greeks and to a lesser extend Italians, etc. has been unwilling to keep their house in order comes as no surprise. It has always been like that. That the Greeks deceived their EU partners the way they did was indeed a great surprise.

In the end Greece will default and leave the Euro (but not the EU). Greece will be used to show the rest of southern Europe what happens if they do not take decisive action. Had Greece been saved (which could have been done) other countries would have had little reason to take drastic and painful actions - they would just wait for their rescue package. Now Italy, Spain, Portugal will fix their problems (only to create new ones down the line).

Euro-bonds and/or political union. That will never happen ... especially after what we have seen over the last few years.

RE: Crazy
By Reclaimer77 on 7/18/2012 7:06:42 AM , Rating: 2
RE: Crazy
By Ringold on 7/18/2012 10:21:55 PM , Rating: 1
They have too much tied up? Opinion polls show that the voters in several countries, if pro-European people like you would allow the poor proles a chance to vote, would decide to leave this outstanding EU you speak so highly of, consequences be damned.

The EU IS in trouble, no matter how much you wish it otherwise, because of three problems.

First, voters have started to see more and more that the EU doesn't particularly accomplish much. It's effort at joint foreign policy is a joke. China walks around Europe, setting the terms almost unilaterally in dealings with most of its members. Some sell out to Russia, others cringe but do nothing. They see it's been capable of expanding regulation, but single market reform has stalled out.

Second, and related to the first, is the democratic deficit. Want to vote on Lisbon? In most countries, the answer was "tough shit," most countries parliaments took care of it. Ireland voted against it, then was brow-beat in to the ground and made to vote again until they "got it right." Treaties don't go to referendums because the EU has barely ever had a popular mandate, it's been the dreamchild of Eurocrats, a government of and for the Eurocrat, not the people.

Third, the Euro crisis. There's no legal mechanism for a country to drop the Euro, with all the woes that entails, and maintain any sort of normal EU membership. The crisis also requires, for long-term resolution, political union. Expect several peripheral countries to say "Thanks, but no thanks." Economists already quietly suggest that, in the long run, Britain may be better served by risking its single-market access and focusing instead on Asia, South America and Africa, all still booming. Plus, nothing stopping the Brits from signing an FTA, even if limited in scope, with the EU after parting ways.

The other thing required for resolution, Euro-bonds.. Just said yourself, it'll never happen. Angela Merkel said Germany would never do it while she was alive, about as close as a politician gets to saying "from my cold, dead hands." The only way around that quandary is countries going their different ways.. Maybe a "two-speed Europe," but that sounds good and simple, but in practice...

Plus, Euro-bonds, political union, both requires more treaties, and the occasional referendum. One of these days, people like you won't be able to brow-beat voters in to voting 'yes'.

RE: Crazy
By ZorkZork on 7/19/2012 3:09:55 PM , Rating: 2
Politicians in individual member states use the EU as the bogyman to avoid taking responsibility for unpopular things (sounds familiar? Washington?). Look at Italy, Spain, Portugal right now – whatever party in charge will tell voters that the changes they face are a result of the EU imposing strict rules. Thus the EU will never be popular. That aside, the only “country” that has ever left the EU is Greenland. If there was great discomfort with EU I am sure voters would force a change.

That EU is not accomplishing much is your interpretation. Others – especially those who oppose it - will say that there are a lot of accomplishments (some they do not like). That aside, it is true that Russia and China has been able to play out individual EU countries against each other. Whether this will change is anyone’s guess, but breaking up the EU will definitely not be a positive step in this direction. Keep in mind that the EU is still young and that Europeans spend the previous 1000+ years killing each other. Thus the current level of unity is startling to me.

With regards to referendums … have you ever participated in one? Referendums do not make sense when voters are asked to decide on complex treaties. All research show that voters tend make their decisions on anything but a holistic view of the question they are being asked. I wonder if the US declaration of independence or constitution would have passed a referendum? I am pretty sure that there would have been some the felt to too much power was handed over to the individual, to Washington, that certain minorities should have better protection, whatever. It is all too easy to find something for people to disagree with.

Actually stuff like foreign policy, economics, etc. are exactly why we have a representative democracy. We elect people whose values we share. We hope that they will spend the time to understand the issues and vote accordingly. And if they fail us, we will find some better ones at the next election. That seems to work pretty well. In fact the only place where I have seen referendums work in general is Switzerland … wonder why …

The Euro stuff … who knows where it is going to end. There are economists too (a lot of them) that believe rules can be worked out that deals with the problems. If some countries leaves the Euro it should not been seen as a failure of the Euro in my opinion. It should be seen as a failure of those countries to execute responsible economic policy. In the end the core Euro countries will stick with the Euro. That will leave economic foundation almost as strong as today.

Regardless of the fate of the Euro the EU will survive. Europeans have way too much at stake. As an example, if the UK were to leave, then it wouldn’t be long before French manufacturers of brake dishes would ask for higher tariffs on UK brake dishes for the French car industry to ensure that work stayed inside the EU. Same thing for a whole heap of other industries. The UK economy is tightly woven into the EU. In fact more than half of its trade is with the EU.

And if the EU were to break up entirely, we would have mayhem. Each country with individual standards for cars, pharmaceuticals, tariffs, etc. As an example of how bad things can get, take a look at telephone plugs (which were designed long before the EU), you will see that each country can come up with weird designs/requirements to help their home market. Pretty much every country has their own. Same thing will happen to a lot of other places. If the EU were even close to breaking up, the large European corporations would be out warning against it.

That said the EU is far from perfect. Lots of changes would be great. There is a continuous struggle between southern Europe for state control, greater subsidies, more protection, etc. and northern Europe’s fight for economic liberalism. This will not change. Lots of battles to be fought.

RE: Crazy
By Belard on 7/17/12, Rating: -1
RE: Crazy
By Paedric on 7/17/2012 5:29:39 PM , Rating: 2
It's not 15 months to fix the problem.
It's 15 months added to their "probation" period that they want for their error.

But you're right concerning the error thing. Even if that's true, they've still breached the agreement.
When a cop arrest you because you were going too quickly, claiming you did a mistake isn't going to prevent the speeding ticket.

Also, to all people claiming MS doesn't have a monopoly : it isn't about the current situation. The judgement is from 2004, and the initial filling was in the late 90's.
Back then, MS had a monopoly.

RE: Crazy
By RamarC on 7/17/2012 9:14:06 PM , Rating: 2
if i were ballmer & co, i would just pull win 7 out of the EU. that would provoke windows customers (not whiny browser mfgs) to complain to the EU gov board (who's just doing this crap because they can profit from it).

American patriotism again
By ZorkZork on 7/17/2012 3:24:17 PM , Rating: 1
And cue the patriotic American response: Socialism! Consumer choice! Why should Europe decide – this is an American company! etc. etc. etc. We have been there before, but let’s recap:

1. The EU decides what can be sold in the EU and under what rules

2. No company is obligated to market their products in the EU (there is nothing stopping Microsoft from taking their products away from the largest market in the world)

3. The EU has rules in place to ensure that competition is upheld. These rules are not in place to help competitors (though they may do so) – they are in place to help consumers.

4. Under EU law, a company may not use its dominating position in one area to leverage its products in another area. The keyword here is dominating – thus whatever Apple does with Safari/OSX does not matter. Same thing for Linux.

5. Whether the product leveraging and/or the product being leveraged are free does not matter (and incidentally, nothing is really free)

The US has similar rules, though it seems that these are not always upheld – who knows why? Politics? Corruption?

Of all of the points above there is only one point that can be of discussion. That is whether the browser is a product separate from the OS or whether it is part of the OS. The EU (and the US) sees the browser as a separate product. There are good reasons for this. The reasons are that the browser is a runtime environment in itself and Microsoft has over time been preventing development of browser standards by holding back development of IE. This to ensure that “browser apps” would be inferior to Windows apps.

Laws to further competition to help consumers are part of a free market. Only Ayn Rand style markets are completely free of regulation.

RE: American patriotism again
By leviathan05 on 7/17/2012 4:11:18 PM , Rating: 5
While you are correct, fining a company billions of dollars for including free software into it's products is kind of ridiculous.

Also, Microsoft can just increase the price of Windows 8 in Europe to cover the fine, so explain how that helps the consumer?

RE: American patriotism again
By ZorkZork on 7/17/2012 4:48:56 PM , Rating: 1
While IE is free, it has been used in the past to delay adoption of browsers that were capable of running advanced browser apps. There is a reason why IE sucks and it is not because Microsoft didn’t have talented people working on it. It sucks because Microsoft would rather have everybody building ActiveX/WPF/SilverLight apps. Microsoft has been using IE to keep other browsers out of the windows world to ensure that browser apps would not become competitive. That is anti-competitive and illegal (in the EU). And the fact that IE is free doesn’t matter. This is about competition for a billion dollar/euro market.

With regards to Windows 8 and pricing. Windows 8 is no sure bet for Microsoft. In the past consumers needed a desktop/laptop computer to run the web browser. Not so anymore. Tablets and SmartPhones are pretty good at delivering the internet to people who need casual games, facebook, www, mail, and a few other things. Making Windows 8 computers more expensive might not be what suits Microsoft in the long run. If Microsoft were to let a competitor in (e.g. EU goverments decided to skip Microsoft for government purchases due to unfair pricing) then this could change their dominance worldwide. Also, keep in mind that when a player is dominating the market even pricing decisions may be an issue.

The article also mentions the new Metro stuff. While Microsoft can do whatever they want on their smartphones (because they have less than 2% market share), let’s see what happens to Metro on the PC … I suspect the EU may act pretty quickly if PC Windows is used to leverage Smartphone Windows.

RE: American patriotism again
By e36Jeff on 7/17/2012 5:27:41 PM , Rating: 3
Here is the crutch though, under American laws what Microsoft has done with their browser is not illegal, at best you might be able to claim is a grey area, but that's a fairly tenuous claim. Under US law they do not have a monopoly, so long as the consumer has a choice in operating systems. The EU apparently has a different construct on the legal definition of a monopoly. To be honest I don't think it a very good definition, but that's neither here not there. Is not a master of corrupt politicians, is a difference in legal definitions.

Having said that, if I was Microsoft, I'd just stop selling my OS in the EU, and see how long it takes for the people to forces the EU's hand.

RE: American patriotism again
By ZorkZork on 7/17/2012 6:14:54 PM , Rating: 2
Actually Microsoft has been found guilty in a US court of breaking US antitrust laws for bundling IE with Windows (see Now why the DOJ accepted a much smaller sentence than what was imposed by the court is beyond me and many commentators at the time. Not that it matters in this case - Microsoft has been found guilty in Europe, sentenced in Europe and have failed to live up to the imposed requirements in Europe.

With regards to Microsoft pulling out of Europe ... ha ha ha. The EU is the biggest market in the world. Even worse, assuming Microsoft pulled out, a lot of 2nd tier companies would suddenly see their sales and profits go up in Europe. These companies would then have a lot more R&D muscles and be able to make software on par with Microsoft. In the end pulling out of Europe would only show to the world that it is possible for a region/large country to live without Microsoft. How long would it be before China, India, Japan, Brazil,etc. came to the same conclusion?

RE: American patriotism again
By Strunf on 7/18/2012 8:15:19 AM , Rating: 2
if I was Microsoft, I'd just stop selling my OS in the EU, and see how long it takes for the people to forces the EU's hand.

That would be just dumb, MS will keep selling Windows for 2 reasons, first they make money even with the fines, and secondly Europe is a huge market, if they stop selling windows in Europe people will just buy Macs or Linux, every single piece of software that is traditionally windows only would be ported much faster (either that or no Europe for them) and a few years down the road Europeans would be using Linux and OS X just like they use Windows, and the message would be clear you can live without windows, I'm pretty sure MS would still be selling in Europe even if they don't make money just for the sake of keeping Linux and OS X market share in check.

RE: American patriotism again
By TSS on 7/18/2012 3:03:57 PM , Rating: 2
Considering piracy rates in the EU are some of the lowest in the world, i guess the last thing microsoft wants to do is to pull out of europe. Where else are they going to get sales? China?

That said though, i do think the EU is pushing this way, way too far. I mean i can still understand the reasons for having a ballot box on the most dominant OS in the world. MS did already push 1 company out of business this way, it *is* anti-competative (i'd question the timing, but legal cases tend to drag out). But when they put one in, to then complain it's not "good enough" is just BS.

I don't think it's EU hate towards Microsoft or anything like that. This is merely a symptom of what's been going on in the EU lately with the elite pushing for a political union while the people do not want it, and the elite distancing themselves further and further from the people this way. They're high on power, and this is how they flex their muscles. As an europian i can only say i hope that project dies soon and we can return to some form of normality.

RE: American patriotism again
By dasgetier on 7/17/2012 7:16:06 PM , Rating: 2
You forgot: "They should pull out of the market!" (But that has already been solved ;) )

RE: American patriotism again
By Ringold on 7/17/2012 10:40:28 PM , Rating: 2
The US has similar rules, though it seems that these are not always upheld – who knows why? Politics? Corruption?

Oh, get off your high horse, kid. Countries like Italy and most of the eastern portion of the EU have corruption index scores (can pick any source you want, they all pretty much agree) that make America look like a boyscout. Of course, Finland and Germany score highly, but they're just a portion of the EU.

Still, nothing in your post that refutes how easy it is for consumers to install the browser of their choice.

And tired of seeing this "largest market in the world" nonsense. Yes, technically. It's also the worlds most lethargic and heavily regulated, which is why your own continents firms frantically try to grow and expand operations outside of the continent. If I were an up and coming exporter of some product that wasn't digital, I'd probably skip Europe and all its regulatory bull and uncertain economic future and try to make it big in China, India or Brazil -- the markets of today and the future, the rapidly growing economies, not the old men trying to live on the back of America's WW2 and Cold War success and their history from the middle ages up through WW1. Not worth the trouble.

RE: American patriotism again
By ZorkZork on 7/18/2012 6:21:18 PM , Rating: 2
Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, United Kingdom, Belgium, Ireland score higher on TI’s latest list. Aside from France not being on the list above (it is just below the US), the list contains all the dominating EU countries when it comes to economic policy.

Not that it matters though, because the EU is a separate organization which has seen little corruption over the years. The kind of corruption that have surfaced has been mostly in the form of countries cheating with agricultural aid, not the kind of close links between legislators and private stakeholders that you see in the US. There are two reasons for this: The northern EU countries would never have joined if there had not been strong control over corruption – you simply cannot sell the idea of the EU in northern Europe if it is coupled with corruption. Secondly, power is much more diversified within the EU to make corruption efficient (this of course is a double-edged sword which also means that the EU tends to be slow and toothless when it comes to applying power).

Of course the EU is not perfect. Greece and southern Italy will most likely remain basket cases. The EU has a godzillion official languages which makes work more complicated. The EU parliament has seats in two different cities. The French style administration. The list goes on.

With regards to users installing browsers themselves, then the issue really is that by ensuring that IE is on 90% of all desktop computers then Microsoft makes IE the standard browser. It becomes the lowest common denominator to which all web sites must be designed for. In addition, most users do not feel comfortable with installing software themself. Therefore they just leave the browser the way it is.

And while you may be tired of seeing this “largest market in the world” it is fact. And it is regulated just like the US market although differently. In particular the EU prefers rules and regulation over the unpredictable US system of litigation. In the EU you can ensure that your product lives up to the rules applicable and be reasonably sure that you will not get in trouble. In the US companies may get fined extreme amounts by unpredictable courts. Some say it is not worth the risk.

Your history rant I am not even going to comment on. You really should get out in the world much more often. Go ahead and apply for a passport – it is not as scary as it might seem and you might see things differently if you learn about the world from other channels.

nothing new
By Argon18 on 7/17/2012 2:16:21 PM , Rating: 1
"The EU is reportedly looking to probe Windows 8 and reports by various browser makers that Microsoft is locking them out of parts of its Metro UI API, in order to differentiate Internet Explorer as the "best" Windows 8 browser."

This is nothing new, Microsoft has been using hidden unpublished API's to give their own products (IE, Office, etc.) an unfair advantage over competitors products for many many years.

RE: nothing new
By mtcoder on 7/17/2012 2:51:57 PM , Rating: 2
Right and apple prevents people from using api's they build after a company builds them. Meaning half of what iOS does now was created by 3rd parties that apple has "implemented" as a native part of the iOS and by their terms and conditions limit access to them.

Also sorry but MS shouldn't be picked on. I mean they should be pushing Apple to let IE run on all iOS devices since it has large market share, but wait apple only lets safari period no other browsers are even allowed to run on it.
If you want to run things your way, build your own OS, figure a market strategy to implement it and get it going. Oh I know but it's impossible cause MS is so over dominating. Just like RIM dominated phones with almost 90% market share. Want to dominate build a better mouse trap, also it's not like MS is being the dark evil empire. Meaning they aren't using secret deals, hidden contracts, etc they just make a key product that drives all enterprise class software. So till someone wants to and not a single person wants to build an enterprise class OSes, tools, software, and more stop complaining. They dominate only cause on one is trying to even compete at any level. If you have no competition you shouldn't be forced to artifically create it at your cost, time and money.

RE: nothing new
By Argon18 on 7/17/2012 3:10:32 PM , Rating: 2
Huh? Why are you talking about iOS? Or RIM? This discussion is about desktop computers. Not mobile devices. They are two entirely different markets. Yes Safari is the only browser on iOS. Guess what - IE is the only allowed browser on WP8. Who cares? Those are mobile devices. This is a desktop article, please try and follow along.

RE: nothing new
By ZorkZork on 7/17/2012 4:56:36 PM , Rating: 2
Neither IOS, RIM, Android or WP8 have or have had a market share in Europe even close to 90%.

iTunes and apples "shady" contracts with record labels ... that is something else and something that should be investigated.

RE: nothing new
By Ringold on 7/17/2012 3:13:21 PM , Rating: 2
This is nothing new, Microsoft has been using hidden unpublished API's to give their own products (IE, Office, etc.) an unfair advantage over competitors products for many many years.

Which is why all the other browsers have awful performance and feature sets... oh, wait.

As for Office, it's in a totally different league compared to OpenOffice/Libre and it has nothing to do with API's.

RE: nothing new
By Real_Time on 7/17/2012 5:28:15 PM , Rating: 2
Unfair advantage?

You mean like Google does with Android? Like Apple does with Safari?

At this point, there is no monopoly. Perhaps there was, at one time. But that time is long gone.

Microsoft is an easy company to hate. But they still give good value for most of their products.

RE: nothing new
By GatoRat on 7/18/2012 1:19:07 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft has been using hidden unpublished API's to give their own products (IE, Office, etc.) an unfair advantage over competitors products for many many years.

Simply not true.

By Tunnah on 7/17/2012 2:19:26 PM , Rating: 2
I don't get the problem with MS's (or Apple's for that matter) practice of bundling their browser with the OS.

They don't make money from it, it doesn't support any products linking to monetary gains, so why is it such an issue ?

I couldn't pull a number but I reckon at least 75% of people who get a computer are aware that you can download a seperate browser if you so wish.

But the users that don't probably don't care what browser they're using as long as it lets them see the websites they go to.

RE: Confused..
By invidious on 7/17/2012 2:42:32 PM , Rating: 2
My parents still have a hard time differentiating between a search engine and a web browser. I have seen them on several occations enter google into a yahoo search because they don't understand that they can just put it in the address bar. Why is their homepage yahoo if they prefer google as a search engine? Because thats how the computer came when they got it.

Never overestimate human capacity for ignorance and complacency.

RE: Confused..
By Ringold on 7/17/2012 3:08:54 PM , Rating: 2
Never overestimate human capacity for ignorance and complacency.

We don't make the world illiterate-friendly and whatnot, so why beat up a company for a minority of its users not understanding the absolute basics?

I know its the EU and they want to look after every aspect of a persons life, craddle to grave, but even this seems a stretch.

RE: Confused..
By vailr on 7/17/2012 3:01:13 PM , Rating: 2
Re: "They don't make money from it".
Don't they make money via the designated default search provider?
Usually it's: Google.
Same idea with Firefox.

RE: Confused..
By PrezWeezy on 7/17/2012 3:27:32 PM , Rating: 2
No, they don't. Microsoft doesn't care what search provider you use, except that by using Google, it makes money for Google off of the ads and then Google has more money in their pockets to put into things like Android and Chrome. MS does make some money from ad revenue on Bing, but Bing is still run at a loss. They only care about trying to keep Google from cutting into their market share.

RE: Confused..
By Belard on 7/17/2012 4:12:49 PM , Rating: 2
With Windows controlling more than 90% of the PC market, it means that MS sets the standards for the internet, not internet itself. Hence, since most versions of IE are broken and not 100% internet compatible, WE website designers have had to break the websites to look correct on IE. Get it?

So, until IE8 came out, their browser has been way out of standard. For years, I no longer make sites look right for IE, its too much work. If it looks good in: Chrome and Opera (the two most standard compliment browsers) - then I leave it at that.

Free market
By Church of Dirac on 7/17/2012 2:28:53 PM , Rating: 2
This nonsense is what happens when you let socialists control the free market. There is absolutly no reason that MS should not be allow to sell THEIR product the way they want to, with whatever features they desire. Microsoft does not send agents with shotguns to your house and demand that you use Windows, Internet Explorer, Office, whatever. The competition is free to develop whatever they want. Windows does not prevent you from installing Mozilla or Chrome. What's next, PCs sold in the EU will make you choose Windows, Mac, or Linux the first time you turn it on? Vending machines having to sell Coke, Pepsi, RC Cola, and 5 other off brands to ensure "fair" competition? Chevy having to sell cars with your choice of GM, Ford, or VW engines?

RE: Free market
By Reclaimer77 on 7/17/12, Rating: 0
RE: Free market
By kwrzesien on 7/17/2012 2:56:25 PM , Rating: 2
I hope you are typing this from Internet Explorer...

RE: Free market
By Dr of crap on 7/17/2012 2:56:37 PM , Rating: 2
When the kid is born - having both sex organs, and you determine WHICH sex you want!


RE: Free market
By raddude9 on 7/17/2012 4:28:08 PM , Rating: 3
That sounds a bit "ranty", but I'll reply anyway.

What "free market"??? there isn't one, or at least, the only example I can think of a truly free market is Somalia.... and that's not working out too well is it.

So Markets, and the companies that operate in them, are not free to do as they please. They have to obey the rules that the governments impose on them. This seems fair to me, because without the logistical, educational and financial infrastructure created (and at great expense I might add) by the government then there would be market for companies to operate in. And it's 'we the people' that foot the bill to create this market. So, is it too much to ask they companies obey the rules that we put in place. These rules were not put there to help companies, they were put there so that we poor saps that paid for all of this don't get royally shafted by the very companies that we helped into existence in the first place.

I know I'm getting all idealistic, but that's just my rant for the day. If a government (i.e. the people's representatives) want to impose a rule that says all companies must use only green pens on a Wednesday, then so be it, why should a non-entity (in my opinion) like a company get to oppose the will of the people.

It all depends who you want in charge, companies, or the government. Sure, you might, in passing think you would be better off with Steve Ballmer as president, but would you really...

RE: Free market
By brucek2 on 7/18/2012 4:22:20 PM , Rating: 2
Its simple. The people have more free will when each is empowered to make decisions for themselves.

As long as I have the right to stop buying Microsoft products anytime I choose, I'm fine having Steve Ballmer makes decisions for Microsoft. Steve Ballmer can not tax me, arrest me, or execute me.

But governments can and do do all these things. And in the worst of them, they also erect walls so there literally is no way out.

Tyranny from a corporation is ultimately a lot more pleasant than tyranny from a government. Yes, learning a new operating system or starting a company to create a competing one can be a daunting task. But either sounds a lot simpler, and a lot safer, than having to start a revolution.

This is an important part of why so many people champion a free market. Other good reasons include countless studies showing increased prosperity for all, and less opportunity for corruption.

By Totally on 7/17/2012 3:09:28 PM , Rating: 2
How when all this started everyone, world + dog, was rant "Yeah, EU, sock it too 'em. Get M$, get those bastards." Funny how people can change their tune in a couple years.

Blast from the past
By wiz220 on 7/17/2012 4:41:46 PM , Rating: 2
Jesus-H-Tap-Dancing-Christ, does anyone on earth really not know how to download and install the browser of their choice these days?! And if they don't know how to I guarantee that they simply aren't going to give two f&*ks about what browser they have.

Why is the EU still fighting a battle that was relevant for about 2 seconds in the 90's when getting ahold of another browser could prove troublesome? And even that was assuming you lived in a shack with Ted Kaczynski that didn't get regular mail service, which delivered 10 AOL/Netscape CD's per day.

By Gondor on 7/17/2012 5:08:11 PM , Rating: 2
As much as I feel for anti-monopoly and anti-M$ crowd I really cannot understand the actions behind this; I installed quite some Windows OSes (mostly XP and 7) in the last couple of years for different people and in each case I had the computer owner instruct me on which browser to install for them (along with other software). Yes, the system comes with IE by default (which is still used for Windows Update) but when people chose Firefox or Chrome, they got exactly what they asked for from me - 5 minutes of work, no problem.

I can't see what the commission's problem with M$ is here; it's not as though M$ is somehow making alternative browsers difficult or even impossible to install or something, and it is perfectly understandable that M$ bundles their in-house product with their OS (heck, if they didn't include a browser I would have had some serious problems downloading Firefox ;-) so this is really unnecessary. And yes, I'm from the EU.

I am happy MS includes Explorer
By Real_Time on 7/17/2012 5:19:20 PM , Rating: 2
I use it to download Chrome.

Just a bad joke
By INeedCache on 7/18/2012 10:13:12 AM , Rating: 2
Without verbosity, that about sums up the EU - a bad joke.

It's extortion
By GatoRat on 7/18/2012 1:21:51 PM , Rating: 2
The EU is engaging in nothing more than extortion and it's not just with Microsoft. The US is just as bad, with the federal government and various states jumping on the latest legal bandwagon to raise revenue.

Isn't this horse dead yet?
By brucek2 on 7/18/2012 4:05:35 PM , Rating: 2
Internet Explorer is down to less than 50% of total web browsing share (maybe just slightly above according to some sources) and is clearly in no position to dominate the overall direction of the Internet.

Consumers can get great, free, high quality web browsers from multiple high visibility providers: Microsoft, Apple, Google, as well as others.

Google and Apple both have extremely powerful marketing machines and excellent access to users. Google can and does display a prompt to download Chrome whenever its accessed via IE. Apple and Google are the current leaders in the portable device market and have excellent distribution for their WebKit-based browsers there.

So given that no one party is in a position to control internet standards (and if we were to pick someone who might come close one day, its no longer Microsoft); and no consumer is paying anything for web browsing software; who is it who needs this protection?

EU, good job on your past success on protecting the internet and consumers. Now maybe its time to move on to this year's challenge?

It's about time...
By Warwulf on 7/19/2012 2:20:04 PM , Rating: 2
... that Microsoft stops packaging ANY browser with the European version of Windows. Let's see how those sniveling European regulators like them apples. I think that would be fair... no ballot to worry about.

I can FTP from the command prompt. Can you?

Choice matters!
By Evangineer on 7/20/2012 2:22:19 PM , Rating: 2
Choosing an image of a child being slapped for this article shows a complete lack of awareness. Do better.

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA

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