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The EU proves itself once again to be a strong market-regulator, launching two new investigations into Microsoft anti-competitive practices

It could be safely said that the European Union (EU) and Microsoft are not exactly best buddies.  Microsoft fought the law, and the law won -- to the tune of a $690M USD fine imposed last year by the European Commission (EC), the financial regulatory branch of the EU.

Pleased with its success, the European Commission just released a memo detailing that it believes more fines may soon be in store against Microsoft.  The EC memo states its intent to launch two more formal investigations into whether Microsoft abused its market position and engaged in anti-competitive processes.

One claim leveled in the memo alleges Microsoft failed to disclose interoperability information “across a broad range of products.”  In particular it mentions the Office suite, server products and the .NET framework as possible software which Microsoft failed to disclose interoperability data; an anti-competitive and illegal practice.  The crux of the investigation is Microsoft Office 2007's new proprietary Open Office XML format

The Commission will examine whether the new formate makes Office “sufficiently interoperable with competitors' products.”  If it decides that it is not, it could be the latest in a long string of failures for the new oft-criticized format.  Recently, the governing body of the British school system expelled Vista and Office '07 from the classroom, partially because it felt OOXML was inferior to the open source Open Document Format.  Microsoft has constantly argued the opposite -- that its format is the superior one.

The Commission will also investigate Internet Explorer, partially based on a request from browser maker Opera.  Opera alleges that the bundling of IE with Windows violates EU guidelines.  Further, it says that Microsoft uses proprietary formats within the browser, in an effort to reduce compatibility with open internet standards, an anti-competitive practice.

The EC also received reports of the "tying of other separate software products by Microsoft, which include the products desktop search and Windows Live. The Commission's investigation will therefore focus on allegations that a range of products have been unlawfully tied to sales of Microsoft's dominant operating system."

While the EC is not charging Microsoft with a violation of Article 82 of the EC Treaty, yet, it vows to make the investigation "a matter of priority."

The EU engaged in an aggressive campaign of competition monitoring over the last several years and has issued numerous large fines.  The EC is also currently investigating or charging violations against Apple for its iTunes software and against leading chip-maker Intel

The EC is not only fielding claims against American companies.  British Airways and Siemens are also in its legal cross hairs.


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By Chris Peredun on 1/16/2008 11:17:46 AM , Rating: 3
Doesn't anyone else feel like Microsoft is going to call the European Commission's bluff one of these days and just pull out of the EU entirely?




By SandmanWN on 1/16/2008 11:20:25 AM , Rating: 2
I bet they are thinking about it.

Microsoft gets punished for being proprietary.

Then microsoft gets punished for moving away from being proprietary.

Doesn't seem like the EU is a winning proposition for microsoft in general. The stakes are getting rather high. Run away MS, run away!!!


By logaldinho on 1/16/2008 12:00:13 PM , Rating: 2
i wonder if MS moved out of the union, would it be better for american software retailers. customers from europe would still need to use microsoft's software, and would have to actually pay more to use it thanks to the EU pushing microsoft out of the region. meaning those retailers that do ship to other countries would in fact make more sales and profitability would be up for them. all in the while the EU actually ends up screwing over its citizens. again. even more.


By cciesquare on 1/16/2008 12:13:00 PM , Rating: 5
It can back fire. What if EU goes all linux or open source and it is successful? If that's the case EU makes a point that life can exist without MS. What impression would that give to others? They can do without MS.

The best thing MS can do is make it look like EU is just out to get big companies and make EU look bad. This can cause American or heck any company hesitant to enter the EU market.


By Christopher1 on 1/16/2008 1:42:13 PM , Rating: 3
Life cannot exist without Microsoft. There are too many things that are Microsoft or Windows only, games to name only one of them, that you cannot do on Linux.

I really think that Microsoft should call the European Union's bluff and back out of Europe for about 1 year. Once their society falls apart, then Microsoft can come back in and say "I told you so!" and reap massive rewards as they help put the European Union back together.

I am not a fan of Microsoft's bundling practices, but I have to say that with Vista they got it right. You can install any programs you want on Vista, and they run just as well as Microsoft's included programs.

Secondly, Microsoft has no responsibility to allow people to make things compatible with some of those things people are mentioning, and I should also point out that there is a add-on for Office that allows you to import and export ODF files to and from Office.


RE: How many straws is that on the camel's back now?
By TSS on 1/16/2008 2:15:21 PM , Rating: 2
bull. if 1 of the world markets (EU, US, china, india, anything with large buying power) switches to linux in its entirety, nearly every game publisher will ready games for linux. microsoft might be able to survive without the europian market, many game company's can't survive without global launches. likewise, the gaps in programs needed will be closed within a year.

we can survive with all the current windows installs we got until open source is ready.


By afkrotch on 1/17/2008 11:34:47 PM , Rating: 2
Have you even worked IT before? It would take well over a year just to swap a company completely over to *nix. Usually it's poorly done and ends up costing the IT department a messload of headaches and the company more money than simply just sticking with Windows.

Odds would be high that none of your OEMs would stop selling Windows. More businesses would probably simply import the OS and mark up the prices. Even if Microsoft pulls out, there products would still be available.

The market is too ingrained in Microsoft to simply remove it all within a short amount of time. It'd take years to migrate to a completely non-MS environment. God forbid if they utilize specialized software that only works with Windows.

Also did you actually put China and India on there? They are hardly part of the world's currently largest markets. They are an emerging market that shouldn't be overlooked though. I don't think the combined sales from China and India even make 4% of Microsoft's revenue. I know in 2006, China made up less than 1% of Microsoft sales.


By Benji XVI on 1/16/2008 2:35:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Life cannot exist without Microsoft


The clue to the level of credibility was in the opening statement here, folks.


By The Sword 88 on 1/16/2008 3:57:47 PM , Rating: 3
Do you guys really think the EU business world will want to use Fedora or Ubuntu and Open Office?

No way, if MS pulls out something will happen, but it will not be mass acceptance of Linux.


By Nik00117 on 1/16/2008 4:46:31 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, if I would be M$ i'd simply tell the EU this

"Any EU customer calling from witin the EU for techsupport will recieve double the rate to call. Also all EU sites will be taken down, yes including the translated ones. Thirdly M$ will not allow retailers to sell M$ within the EU but it must be imported through outside retailers, at retail value...

If you want to sue us again, thats fine also we are shutting down all offices of M$ in the EU, this will create a flux of experieneced IT techs without a job... I don't think some countires in the EU could somatch this too well.

O BTW if you want us to come back it'll cost that 690 million you fined us, along with all our legal fees and ad additonal 500 million for the hassle.

TYVM much and enjoy your day :) O BTW considering we M$ no longer conside routself a company a part of the EU you can kiss our ass.


By Spoelie on 1/17/2008 6:02:25 AM , Rating: 3
The M$ abbreviation is soooo geek-in-mom's-basement.


By Xenoterranos on 1/17/2008 10:23:34 AM , Rating: 2
I though it was a touching nuance. :P


By senbassador on 1/16/2008 5:01:02 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, but you're going under the assumption that the EU actually cares about EU businesses or what they think.

Do you really think its fair to punish them twice?


By Samus on 1/16/2008 5:36:19 PM , Rating: 3
Microsoft should simply pull out of the European market for a moment. They will eventually discover that a non-Microsoft world is going to rip their economy apart, because proprietary software is neccessary when you have 95% marketshare, for the same reason even Apple with unimpressive (figuratively speaking) marketshare still have proprietary libraries in OSX.

Wait for then to beg your return Microsoft. Just wait. It's not like last years earnings in the EU topped $690 million anyway ;)


By eye smite on 1/16/2008 4:01:19 PM , Rating: 5
One might also speculate that if MS pulls out of the EU, that would give rise to standardized forms of linux like the mac os, with full vendor support on hardware and software that would find it's way back here and finally give us a real option to microsoft thats affordable and would certainly be better than vista.


By qwertyz on 1/17/2008 7:05:20 PM , Rating: 2
EU just wants Microsoft's money, even if Microsoft will not develop any OS anymore they will still get sued by EU that will try to take their hard earned money because EU commission is a bunch of corrupted pigs that eat big companies money and they are just unstoppable how can u avoid this ?

Microsoft should just develop the software like they have developed until now because consumers like their products, instead if EU wants their money they should just sue back EU for absurd requests and practices and request them to pay back their hard earned money that EU have taken from them.

The rule should be if u take from us we take from u.


By TheDoc9 on 1/16/2008 12:14:04 PM , Rating: 2
I think the EU has wanted Microsoft out from the very beginning. They want European companies to write OS's, and they obviously can't force Microsoft out in a free market because the court of world opinion would condemn it. Instead simply fine the hell out of them, like a traffic cop. The EU hates what the U.S. has been on a power grab to become a super power, this is simply the next step. They've positioned there currency to become the world standard and eventually they'll need to line up a military because they'll burn there ties with the U.S. to continue using ours. At least it will be someone else for the world to hate.


By senbassador on 1/16/2008 4:58:18 PM , Rating: 2
If MS pulls out of the EU, whats to stop Google from creating their own OS from scratch and entering the EU market. (ok, I mean besides the fact that it would probably be free but embedded with ads which will annoy the EU just as well) Hey, it can happen. Google will end up owning just about everything.


By Ringold on 1/16/2008 12:20:05 PM , Rating: 5
There are these things called women..

http://images.google.com/images?q=sexy+women&rls=c...


By Master Kenobi (blog) on 1/16/2008 3:05:38 PM , Rating: 4
Greater good hmmmm, I'm just not seeing it. I see it as being more beneficial if the EU would simply pick a Linux Distro and funnel money into it, and get it to compete on the open market. Fining a successful company is rather distasteful.


By Master Kenobi (blog) on 1/16/2008 4:24:43 PM , Rating: 3
Frankly, if the ungodly number of Linux distros would band together and create one all encompasing distro, they could compete against Microsoft and Apple in the market. Right now every ticked off kid that has issues with a distro can tinker and spin his own. With night and day differences between meny of them. While we encompass "Linux" as an operating system, it market perspective it would be more correct to call them out by indiidual distro, because while they share the same basic kernel, no two distros are the same, with many sporting massive differences between others.

Companies want a stable platform. Microsoft provides 1 OS. It goes on to replace this OS every 3-5 years with a new version. The market can easily standardize against it and support it. Linux either moves too slowly, with new distros released every 6-12 months, or too slowly where the releases are spotty and range between 6 months and 6 years. Apple so far has been the only real respectable competitor here. They are fairly regular in release windows, and they have standardized the platforms to the most part. You don't see 50 different specific flavors of OSX, you see one. Linux..... yea, they have a ways to go, and quite honestly, need to consolidate themselves.


By SandmanWN on 1/16/2008 4:35:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Frankly, if the ungodly number of Linux distros would band together and create one all encompasing distro

I smell another EC lawsuit on the horizon already. :P


By rcc on 1/17/2008 5:07:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I smell another EC lawsuit on the horizon already.


Yes!!! Sue all the Linux distros for not creating a viable Windows competitor. Why not.


By schnazzer on 1/16/2008 5:32:05 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Yes, in the current system, that would be the surest way to compete with Microsoft in the short term. But it is fundamentally incompatible with the open source model, where we are all "free to fork".


This is precisely why the open source model you may be envisioning won't work in the real world.


By afkrotch on 1/17/2008 11:50:12 PM , Rating: 2
Your vision of open source is exactly why Linux doesn't grab a big market share. How does one code software to work on every version of Linux, if everyone is making it completely different from one another?

This is just my guess, but more than likely over 95% of available software released within the past 2 years for Windows will work on Windows 98, Me, NT, 2k, XP, and Vista. Can the same be said about available software releases for Linux, especially if consumers are "free to fork" their OS.

I can't remember where I read it, but closed source brews innovation. Open source just refines that innovation from closed source.


By HeelyJoe on 1/20/2008 9:28:52 PM , Rating: 2
As far as I know, as long as the source is made available the programs will work with pretty much any distribution of Linux.

If you are talking about specific package formats (i.e. .deb), then yes, there are more limited options, but a .deb package will run on any distribution based on Debian.


By djcameron on 1/16/2008 10:46:19 PM , Rating: 2
You mean like Airbus?


By rcc on 1/17/2008 5:03:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
as being more beneficial if the EU would simply pick a Linux Distro and funnel money into it,


You mean they're not? I thought they just wanted MS to finance it for them. : )


By clovell on 1/16/2008 11:24:20 AM , Rating: 2
They've got to be considering it. This is getting a bit ridiculous. Microsoft could take the hit financially, but the press would murder their brand image.

Competitors would would follow suit and try to capitalize on it. I can just imagine the Mac commercials now - Mac guy with Jimmy Carville - 'They want to take the computers out of your schools - deprive them of their education! They want to intellectual maim your babies!'

But, if this were some third-world country or group of nations, and not the EU, Microsoft would be long gone.


RE: How many straws is that on the camel's back now?
By ebakke on 1/16/2008 11:24:41 AM , Rating: 2
And then, with any luck, all of the member countries will follow.


By SandmanWN on 1/16/2008 1:55:34 PM , Rating: 2
The EU should tread carefully here. They currently enjoy a positive trade deficit with the US. If this spins out of control with all this head hunting against US companies then the EU has the most to lose overall.

The US has a negative deficit with the EU that will go to zero.
The EU has a positive deficit with the US that will go to zero.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist or a mathematician to figure out who comes out smelling like a rose.

Be careful what you wish for EU. As the saying goes... "What goes around, comes around."


By ADDAvenger on 1/16/2008 11:25:14 AM , Rating: 2
I dunno, the EU is a pretty big market, but then again 2/3 of a billion sounds like a pretty big loss to me, especially if it becomes an annual tradition.


By afkrotch on 1/17/2008 11:58:09 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft made $51.12 billion dollars in 2007. What's 2/3 a billion mean to them?

If Microsoft pull their PC products out of the EU, they'd lose that money, but they can also cut jobs and probably recover the losses that way. No need to make a specialized EU version. Can manufacture less. Can get rid of more tech support. That or redirect those assets into emerging markets like China or India.

Me...I'd just keep the EU lagging behind for a while. Oh, have problems with our current OS's? No problem. Here's Windows ME (EU Edition). Completely open source.


By Ringold on 1/16/2008 12:29:24 PM , Rating: 2
Europe is extremely important for American business, you are quite correct. It's a place where we can look to, observe their business practices (if you can call a lot of what goes on there 'business', particularly when government spending is 53.8% of GDP as in France), and then determin how to do the exact opposite to achieve optimal growth.

Without Europe, where would economists look to for a constant reminder of why socialism and government-dominated economies are a bad idea?!

Thankfully, we can still do that if MS drops support for Europe.


By mdogs444 on 1/16/2008 12:36:31 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Without Europe, where would economists look to for a constant reminder of why socialism and government-dominated economies are a bad idea?!

Canada?


By Ringold on 1/16/2008 12:38:44 PM , Rating: 2
Doh! Forgot about Canada! Particularly Quebec..

Alright. We can forget Europe now. :P


By Christopher1 on 1/16/2008 1:48:10 PM , Rating: 3
Excuse me, but socialism is not a bad idea. The countries that have 'socialism' are usually more free-market oriented than the rest of the countries in the world, the United States included, except in areas where government control and mandation are necessary: health care, to name only one of them.

Socialism gets a bad wrap because of the problems with Russia back during the 1900's. It is a good system when it is not a totally socialistic society that tries to tell people what they can and cannot do with their own lives as long as they are not physically hurting someone else, and only steps in in the most egregious cases, like with the health care problem in the United States today that could be solved with government-mandated health care.

I have friends who live in France and Canada today, and they LOVE the government as only payer health care systems that these two countries have.
To debunk a usual hit on it, you do NOT have to wait months to see specialists or your primary care doctors..... not even a day for the latter in most cases, and less than a MONTH (faster than in the United States) in the former cases.


By masher2 (blog) on 1/16/2008 1:53:21 PM , Rating: 2
> "To debunk a usual hit on it, you do NOT have to wait months to see specialists..."

Unable to wait 16 months for surgery, Canadian man flies overseas for operation:

http://www.pr.com/press-release/54883

Canadian woman trapped in US: no hospital beds in home country:

http://www.news1130.com/news/local/article.jsp?con...

British man waits five months for heart surgery:

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/nhs/story/0,,963067...

U.K. states no one should have to wait longer than "18 months" for orthopaedic surgery:

http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcg...

Thanks, but I'll stick with the free market.


By Christopher1 on 1/16/2008 1:59:02 PM , Rating: 1
I hate to point this out, but those are very few and far between cases, and usually have other things going on there: such as the doctor's around there are packed and THAT is the reason why they are waiting so long for those procedures.

In every single one of those cases, once they were investigated (I had seen them before) the problem was not the government-payee system..... the problem was that they had VERY FEW DOCTORS in the areas where those things were happening.

Now, that is a problem even over here in the United States. My father had to wait 6 MONTHS for a appointment with a specialist doctor to get his shoulder looked at, and he works for JOHNS FREAKING HOPKINS HOSPITAL!

Our 'free-market' is just as broken, if not more, than those socialistic countries systems, and I have to say that the socialistic countries systems aren't broken, they just need to encourage more people to become doctors!


By Ringold on 1/16/2008 2:48:34 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
they just need to encourage more people to become doctors!


How do you do that? One way and one way only: higher wages.

What does the government have to do to afford to pay them higher wages? Raise taxes.

Keep it up and before long.. you've got cost inflation starting to look like what the United States has, except with no competitive pressure between doctors to keep prices low.


By ghost101 on 1/16/2008 3:07:23 PM , Rating: 2
Freedom of movement within the EU should help if people actually embrace it.

For example, i was reading an article today on how theres a distinct lack of doctors for callouts at off peak periods in some small towns. The pay during these times can be ipto £80 an hour which you would have thought people would ahve jumped at. However, theres still a shortage.

A doctor over in Poland who earns £400 a month saw this and now comes over to work for a day during the weekend and earns a significant amount of money. Very cheap no frills flights means he can come to the UK for not much more than a long cab ride in London.

Mobility within the EU should help costs down, but unfortunately migration is a very hot political issue, with the opposition party in the UK proposing a cap for all types of migration.


By masher2 (blog) on 1/17/2008 6:47:15 AM , Rating: 1
> "Very cheap no frills flights means he can come to the UK for not much more than a long cab ride in London"

Commuting to work across four countries by jet, to solve the problems introduced by government control of the market? Now there's a great solution to our energy shortage!

Somehow I think the free-market solution of allowing local pay rates to float to the necessary level is far more efficient.


By Xenoterranos on 1/17/2008 10:41:51 AM , Rating: 2
Not entirely true. You could always provide doctors with tax breaks. Hell, if it meant not paying taxes, I'd have become a doctor!


By rcc on 1/17/2008 5:14:30 PM , Rating: 2
But, with no curb in the governments spending, that would mean raising everyone else's taxes. It's the same solution with a different spin on the description.


By tmouse on 1/16/2008 2:53:51 PM , Rating: 2
Well also working for a major research organization I can tell you either your story is complete BS or your father was waiting for a PARTICULAR doctor (maybe for a freebee?) there is NO WAY anyone is waiting 6 months just to see a doctor for a shoulder problem at JH. If his condition was that rare he probably would be waiting several years in Canada. I also have dozens of friends who are Canadians and around Québec and BC things are fine in the poorer provinces things are no where near fine.


By masher2 (blog) on 1/16/2008 3:06:12 PM , Rating: 1
> "those are very few and far between cases"

Few and far between? 15 months is the standard for orthopaedic surgery wait times in the U.K. The complaint is because its taking even longer than that.

A recent survey stated that over 40% of all Britons have had to wait more than 5 months for surgery at some point or another.

> "My father had to wait 6 MONTHS for a appointment with a specialist doctor "

Sorry, I don't believe you. First of all, in the US system, no one has to wait for a particular doctor. Pick up the phone right now, and you can pick between thousands, most of which will see you in a few days time or less.

The US has the best, fastest, most responsive medical system in the world, bar none. Let's not meddle with success.


By ghost101 on 1/16/2008 3:39:20 PM , Rating: 2
It has also got a lot do with underfunding. The UK has only recently increased spending on healthcare and waiting times have plummeted. But yes, lack of accountability is a big problem within the NHS.

The french healthcare system combines the private sector with the public sector and does it very well. So its a better comparison. Universal healthcare with a large element of competition (freedom to choose) and lower overall spending on healthcare.

The US spends 15% of its GDP on healthcare and the French ~10%. So yes the market is bound to be better in the US, but is universal healthcare sucha bad thing? How do you weight health across a poulation? Is a healthy person better for the economy even if it means that some intervention must take place? (Dont use the French economy as an example since it has other major problems which stops anyone from making a reasonable judgement).


By masher2 (blog) on 1/16/2008 4:06:21 PM , Rating: 1
> "The french healthcare system combines the private sector with the public sector and does it very well"

That's just the point. Healthcare systems that are nearly pure socialist (U.K) are the worst. Systems that are only partly socialist (France) are better. Fully private systems such as the US are better still.

Socialist policies are a very strong negative correlator to the quality of a health care system.


By Benji XVI on 1/16/2008 4:21:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Healthcare systems that are nearly pure socialist (U.K) are the worst.


The failings of the healthcare system of the UK (where I live) are entirely commutative with the ways in which it has tried to imitate the US system.

The French system of healthcare is far more "socialist" than the UK's, by any standard, as are all the top performing healthcare systems in the world.

quote:
Fully private systems such as the US are better still.


I see what we're dealing with here.

Research article: Competition in a publicly funded healthcare system

http://www.bmj.com/cgi/reprint/335/7630/1126?eaf


By masher2 (blog) on 1/16/2008 7:03:58 PM , Rating: 1
> "The French system of healthcare is far more "socialist" than the UK's, by any standard"

Oops-- no it isn't. First of all, the French preserve autonomous private practitioners. That alone is a massive step towards insuring at least a limited degree of competition. Second of all, the French must pay for services, then submit for reimbursement. Thirdly, the French pay for healthcare right out of their check...and see at least part of the charge on each paystub. Fourthly, you can't get a residency permit in France without already having private health insurance.

There's quite a few more reasons why as well.


By jhinoz on 1/16/2008 8:15:35 PM , Rating: 2
Rather than put in an argument for either socialist or private health (I'm in Australia, am covered by public health but am also a member of a private health fund), it's the same as anything else, the more you pay the better the service. Public health over here is ok, but if you've got private cover health services suddenly get a whole lot better.

If you've got a socialist system that pumps loads of cash into healthcare, the overall system will be better for the community than a private system that only a select few can afford to throw money at. Alternately if the whole community can afford to throw a lot of cash at a private system, that will be overall better than an underfunded state system.


By JustTom on 1/17/2008 1:41:09 AM , Rating: 1
The US is a fully private system?


By WelshBloke on 1/16/2008 3:46:28 PM , Rating: 3
Out of interest, if I didn't have health insurance in the US and needed an elective orthopedic operation, could I have it done state funded? How long would that take?

(you can go private in the UK and skip the waiting lists if you want)


By SandmanWN on 1/16/2008 4:09:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
elective orthopedic operation, could I have it done state funded?

Elective operations funded by the government??? Sounds like a positively marvelous way of causing mass inefficiency in a socialist medical system.

Ooops! Too late!!!


By WelshBloke on 1/16/2008 4:32:28 PM , Rating: 2
So that would be 'no Mrs Smith you cant have a new hip'?

In which case all these arguments comparing the US waiting list and the UK waiting list are meaningless.


By SandmanWN on 1/16/2008 4:58:23 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder... How many medical issues, severe enough to require hip replacement, would be considered "elective" to begin with.


By Gravemind123 on 1/16/2008 9:11:43 PM , Rating: 3
You forget those people who don't have health insurance, they can't see any of those thousands of specialists because they lack the money. I have a friend who should have had surgery by now, but if he were to get it, it would bankrupt his mom. You also are forgetting that insurance will only cover certain things to a certain amount, and only if you see doctors at hospitals that the insurance company specifies you are covered for.

Although government health care has its downsides, leaving the health of people in the hands of a an organization whose sole motive is profit isn't a perfect system either.


By P4blo on 1/17/2008 8:26:45 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sure you would agreee it's not just a case of choosing one or the other. State or private. If you were a pennyless down-and-out you would very much appreciate the free operation even if you had to wait a while... It's much better to have both options. My company as with many includes medical insurance so I will always be private and get seen immediately.

Whereas in America the down-and-outs are pretty screwed for healthcare, right? Sounds very sucky and capitalist to me.


By Ammohunt on 1/16/2008 2:27:47 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah your right! Joe Stalin,Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Karl Marx, Adolph Hitler, Mao,(need i list more) are all just misunderstood.


By WelshBloke on 1/16/2008 3:48:45 PM , Rating: 2
Is that a random list of dictators or are you trying (and failing) to make a point?


By Muirgheasa on 1/16/2008 3:59:31 PM , Rating: 4
Of course Europe is full of dictators, so that comment is particularly relevant to the conversation. [/sarcasm]

Stalin, Castro, Marx and Mao were all communists, Hitler was a fascist and Chavez is a socialist but most of the information about him which the US receives is propaganda.

In Europe we have Social Welfare states rather than socialist states, and they are very different things. In Ireland (where I'm from and so feel most qualified to comment on) our health system is generally regarded as a sham, but if you are willing to pay for top notch private health insurance you can still get exceptional care and cut out almost all waiting for appointments. In the US my understanding (and correct me if I'm wrong) is that if you have health insurance you're OK, but anyone who hasn't better not got sick - 'cos the government doesn't care. Although there are undoubtedly problems in some parts of Europe with health care, the suggestion that everything in the US is rosy and everything in Europe is awful is ridiculous. In Ireland, even though waiting times are embarrassing, the standard of care once you do get in is really very good - and it's available to everyone.

*****

On the Microsoft thing (back on topic) I think that Microsoft would have already threatened to pull out if they reckoned it would be worth it. Don't forget that the EU market is bigger than the US population-wise (approx 475 million versus 350 million-ish), and that it is one of their most established markets; the repercussions for Microsoft would be pretty massive (without checking exact figures I'd estimate between 20% and 30% of Microsoft's sales are in Europe at the moment).

Also, if Microsoft were to pull out both Apple and Linux would have a field day; new standards would emerge, and although it'd be awkward for a couple of years it would be even more awkward for Microsoft. They would have an enormous market that their competitors had to themselves. It simply isn't going to happen.

Another thing is that I wonder if there would be any complaints if it was a US court pursuing these actions? Far fewer, I'd hazard. Patriotism is all very well, but I feel there's an awful lot of judgment being clouded here (although there always is when the EU is mentioned, isn't there?)

And to whoever questioned who would lose most if there was no trade between the EU and the US: both would be crippled economically for many years to come. The difference between the two is that while US leaders have been happy to do this (George W's trillion dollar debt anyone?) the EU commissioners would do whatever possible to avoid such an outcome.


By masher2 (blog) on 1/16/2008 4:11:00 PM , Rating: 3
> "In Ireland where I'm from... suggestion that everything in the US is rosy and everything in Europe is awful is ridiculous"

Of course. Ireland has one of the most free economies in the world, better than the US in most respects in fact. Correspondingly, Ireland has the highest per-capita wealth (measured by spending power) in all the EU, and one of the highest in the world in fact.


By Muirgheasa on 1/17/2008 12:02:00 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, but Ireland is widely regarded as having one of the worst health services in the EU. England would be similarly poor, but most of mainland Europe (France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Denmark etc) would be many magnitudes better. I can't even remember what set this debate off now so there's not much point in my going too much further (something about socialism I think, but it's not hugely important).

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/artic...

Probably isn't entirely representative (and I know Michael Moore comes out with a fair bit of crap) but this somewhat lack of functioning is always the image I had of American healthcare (although this story takes it to the extreme).


By Muirgheasa on 1/17/2008 1:27:43 PM , Rating: 3
That may be the case, but then you're saying that it's more important that the people who can afford it get good service than everyone get reasonable service. I did a small bit of reading and from what I hear you can't be refused emergency care in the US, but if it's not an emergency (for example you need a hip replacement) then if you can't pay you're done for. Whatever you might say about European health care (and I'm the first to criticise it usually) at least no one has to sell their house to pay medical expenses.

Under your criteria the US may have the best health system, but I would argue that ease of access for all is a major thing that needs to be gotten right, and it isn't something the US does well. That's probably why the WHO top 50 list goes like this:

1 France
2 Italy
3 San Marino
4 Andorra
5 Malta
6 Singapore
7 Spain
8 Oman
9 Austria
10 Japan
11 Norway
12 Portugal
13 Monaco
14 Greece
15 Iceland
16 Luxembourg
17 Netherlands
18 United Kingdom
19 Ireland
20 Switzerland
21 Belgium
22 Colombia
23 Sweden
24 Cyprus
25 Germany
26 Saudi Arabia
27 United Arab Emirates
28 Israel
29 Morocco
30 Canada
31 Finland
32 Australia
33 Chile
34 Denmark
35 Dominica
36 Costa Rica
37 United States of America
38 Slovenia
39 Cuba
40 Brunei
41 New Zealand
42 Bahrain
43 Croatia
44 Qatar
45 Kuwait
46 Barbados
47 Thailand
48 Czech Republic
49 Malaysia
50 Poland

I'd venture that ease of access is what hit the US on that list (although I don;t know the criteria and I'm sure there are those who would claim it isn't representative of real life). Oh, and to whoever had a dig about European health systems originally, that's 17 in the top 20 there.


By theapparition on 1/17/2008 8:43:08 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
In the US my understanding (and correct me if I'm wrong) is that if you have health insurance you're OK, but anyone who hasn't better not got sick - 'cos the government doesn't care.

One thing that the US has that is oft overlooked by foreigners is the state level of government. We have a federal government, and then a state government that fills in the gaps, and finally, a local municipal government.

Health care expenditures by the federal government may seem rather small when compared to some other services, but there is also a state government that collects taxes and provides more services. States don't defend our country, so obviously, defense spending comes solely out of the federal budget and people look at those numbers and just assume that we are neglecting other areas. Not true, as you can see.

Doctors and hospitals are under oath and law to provide medical services if necessary. You can't be denied.

So, to answer your question in the end........NO ONE in this country can be denied medical services. I know plenty that have gone to a hospital with an emergency (like burst appendix). They have no insurance, no way to afford the operation, and have walked out without paying a dime. The state picked up the tab (well, not really, every citizen of the state did by paying taxes).


By Ringold on 1/16/2008 2:45:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Socialism gets a bad wrap because of the problems with Russia back during the 1900's.


Wrong. Economists tend to ignore Russian "socialism"; it didn't resemble what Marx desired, and it didn't at all resemble what socialism has come to mean for everyone else. It gets a bad rap because:

A. When you compare countries with similar initial starting conditions around the same time where one then diverges with socialist reforms and another with free market reforms, the free-market reformer almost always ends up better off.

It's not too bad to look at Latin America here, where the Chicago Boys got many of them to initiate reforms around the same time. Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Peru bought in to Friedmans free-market reforms aggressively, and were all rewarded -- especially Chile. Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Jamaica, Costa Rica all made either tepid reforms or moved back to the left, and most saw growth stall and many ended up worse off. One could also look at how Nigeria and Indonesia fared up until the 70s, and then observe how they departed -- radically. A lot plays in to that one, but starting conditions were very similar. In fact, from 1900-1950s, Africa grew quicker than Asia...

B. When one looks at countries that implement socialist economic controls, it often presages lower growth, and occasionally outright economic collapse. Venezeula and Zimbabwe are decent examples, with the latter being further along than the former. On the flip side, one can see sharp changes very quickly when statist countries turn free market.

The best example in all of human history is probably the capitalist reformation of China from the 1970s onward. The results.. ought to be obvious. Protests have occured in China against price controls on petrol because it offended their sense of free market capitalism. That's a big move forward from Mao. India also reformed in the late 80s; it went from the "Hindu rate of growth" of 1.5% annually from 1950-80, to 4.4% from 1990-2000, and higher since. If you look at a timeline of their real GDP per capita, it tightly follows a trend up until the 80s, then explodes upwards. Coincidence? No.

C. Current comparisons between more free-market economies and current government-dominated economies further reaffirms the historical analysis; France's 5-year annual rate of growth being 1.9%, Germany (after many years of painfuly low wage growth) with .5%, Spain at 3.1%, and Italy and Belgium with .4% and 1.7% respectively, compared to US at 2.8%, Ireland (a firm believer in Reaganomics) at 5.0%, Hong Kong at 5.2%, and New Zealand at 3.4%. Those are huge differences when they compound year after year.

quote:
It is a good system when it is not a totally socialistic society that tries to tell people what they can and cannot do with their own lives as long as they are not physically hurting someone else, and only steps in in the most egregious cases, like with the health care problem in the United States today that could be solved with government-mandated health care.


That alone wouldn't be called "socialism", perhaps "pragmatism." You note Canada and France, however, and they don't stop with health care. Because you're free, essentially, to smoke pot in Canada and drink at 18 there is the perception of freedom there that isn't had here, but economic freedom doesn't begin to compare in some aspects to the United States, particularly France.

http://www.heritage.org/research/features/index/co...

Botswana has a more free economy than France! Lithuania as well -- a former Soviet satellite!


By eye smite on 1/16/2008 4:08:05 PM , Rating: 2
You mean socialism like the law California just adopted to control peoples thermostats in their homes? I'll pass, thanks for playing.


By See Spot Run on 1/16/2008 8:21:34 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, I'm sorry.

I've been living in Canada my whole life. Ventured outside of my borders into the US for a grand total of a week.

OUR HEALTH CARE SUCKS!

Case in point. I had a good friend who developed early stages of brain cancer behind his eye. Our surgeons said they had a 50% chance of getting it. He sent his MRI's down to an American doctor, and they guy said he could get it with a 98% certainty. So he went down to American, the guy got it, and he's been cancer free for close to 10 years now.

And private clinics are starting to pop up, mostly because people are willing to pay for health care, so they don't have to wait months for a basic check-up. I do wish you'd send some of your optimism for our health care into reality, we could use a few more beds for the people that we turn away.


By Ringold on 1/17/2008 1:02:51 AM , Rating: 2
Private clinics? Are you talking about here or Canada?

I was under the impression private dealings between individuals and doctors not done within the government system was banned in Canada.

Here though, yeah. Nurse practitioners are all the rage; less college, less expensive, equivalent care for common issues.


By See Spot Run on 1/17/2008 11:18:28 PM , Rating: 2
Private clinics are an iffy grey area. Alberta has them, and many people have started screaming from the rooftops that we're losing our health care system. It's created quite a stir, needless to say. Most of the other provinces don't even want to muddle up the waters with that one.


By rivercat on 1/19/2008 1:01:28 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry pal, socialism IS a bad idea.


By Frallan on 1/17/2008 3:47:13 AM , Rating: 2
It is interesting how all of you are calling the european systems Socialist. This points to a lack in information from us or a lack of understanding from you.

The European countries are mixed economies - a model that has showed its worth for a along time now. I have lived in the U.S and in Sweden, german and U.K and there is a heck of a difference in culture. And believe me the U.S does not come out of it smelling like a rose. Neither does anyone else but that is the issue many of us europeans have with the views from many americans. You are so sure that you are right and you have found "the way" that you do not even bother to understand anything else.

in more then one conversation I have had with Americans where we have discussed business commeon models or praxis or even differences between states i have recieved the answer:
-No it cant be like that!
from an US american because in that case our way works better. that lack of humility is also shown in all discussions here where it becomes a Euro/US bashing feast with no middleground.
What Im trying to say here is that we can learn from each other and help each other (and god knows it is your turn to need the help now). But only as long as we keep a dialoge where ppl acctually wants to learn.
/F


By phusg on 1/17/2008 7:59:02 AM , Rating: 2
Yes world economists are clamouring to adopt American economic ideas:

- deregulate the entire financial service industry
- create real cheap credit by lowering interest rates to 1%
- spend a major (and undisclosed) % of your GDP (and poor people's lives) on fighting a war to keep the oil flowing

Granted France has very high level of government spending, even for Europe, but who's economy is heading for a major recession?


By ilkhan on 1/16/2008 4:02:50 PM , Rating: 2
I love how people always point out the US national debt. How much of that is internal? And compare it to countries like Japan, which has a national debt like 3 times their GDP. Our 2/3 of GDP debt is NOT the huge deal people like to call it. Is it a problem? Yes. Is it being overblown to a large degree? Yes.

Also, fuck the EU. Their near socialism gives the CONTINENT a gdp roughly equal to the US GDP, with 33% more people to work.

Comforming to EU standards will just bring the US down to that level. And personally, I dont want that.


By Aloonatic on 1/16/2008 12:17:35 PM , Rating: 4
No.

And if MS did, you would all (assuming you're from the states) suffer.

There is an understandable American bias to this site but sometimes it can go a bit too far (you can almost hear the chants of USA USA USA sometimes) to the extent that some would defend anything and anyone as long as they were American, no matter how they behave(d).

Consumers around the world benefit from the EC's decisions and they don't just investigate non EU firms as the tiny little paragraph at the end of the article points out.

Dam the EC for trying to provide a free market and competition, dam them to hell!


By WelshBloke on 1/16/2008 3:50:58 PM , Rating: 1
You really don't get this global economy thing do you?


By theapparition on 1/16/2008 1:39:03 PM , Rating: 3
When the EC starts investigating Airbus for anticompetitive practices resulting from MASSIVE government subsidies, maybe then people will take them serious.

quote:
Dam the EC for trying to provide a free market and competition, dam them to hell!

I still find it hard to believe the market is not free. No one is holding a MS gun to your head. Buy Linux or a Mac. Can someone please tell me what windows includes that isn't already offered in the other systems? No, the consumer in Europe has spoken, and they have chosen Microsoft. The EU hates the fact that daily European life is based on an American product, and that's all this is based on.

Every "add on" program in Windows is free, and does not lock you out from installing programs of your choice. In fact, you can choose not to install them if you want. I'd be more interested in Apple, as they "lock" you in, if you want to run Leopard, you have to buy Apple's hardware.

What's next, the calculator companies raising complaints to the EC because MS includes a free calculator app. "Uh-oh, we're not going to sell as many calculators now, that's illegal tying"....SCREAM...MOAN...WHINE...COMPLAIN.

Between your 30hr work weeks, 6weeks of vacation, and 18month waits for surgery, you'd figure there'd be a little bit of time left for innovation.


By Christopher1 on 1/16/2008 1:54:12 PM , Rating: 2
You hit on the big point that I have with this quote:

quote:
Every "add on" program in Windows is free, and does not lock you out from installing programs of your choice. In fact, you can choose not to install them if you want.


That is why I think the European Union is being a bunch of whiny babies. Now, does Microsoft package some things in Vista that they shouldn't and does NOT allow you to not install them: i.e. Internet Explorer 7, Windows Mail, Windows Defender, Windows Media Player 11, Windows Media Center.
Yes, they do, but the fact is that if you don't want those programs, you do not have to use them and can even TURN THEM OFF!

Now, I love those programs, including the much-maligned IE7 since I found IE7Pro, an add-on program that takes care of almost all of my gripes about IE7, and use them.
But other people do have a choice whether they want to use them or not, and it's time to realize that. If you don't want to use Windows Mail (I don't), do what I did: set up Thunderbird or whatever e-mail program you want as your default program.
Same with the other programs: if you don't like them, set another program you like as the default.


RE: How many straws is that on the camel's back now?
By Strunf on 1/16/2008 2:03:41 PM , Rating: 2
Airbus receives no less funding that Boeing... both the US and the EU are quite similar on this and on farm subsides hence why both keep being "bashed" by some other countries.

Dude there's more of Chinese, or Japanese or Korean than American products... actually I can't think of a single US company that is really making products wished by Europeans besides Apple.

Your last sentence is completely crap, the average working hours in Europe is closer to 40h than to 30h, the paid vacations are more like 5, and the 18 months for a surgery I sure don't know where you dig that...


By Master Kenobi (blog) on 1/16/2008 2:19:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Your last sentence is completely crap, the average working hours in Europe is closer to 40h than to 30h, the paid vacations are more like 5, and the 18 months for a surgery I sure don't know where you dig that...

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/11/28/051128...

It's no secret that Americans work longer hours, more days, and more weeks than anyone else. Last thing to acuse Americans of is being lazy, reserve that for the French.


By Strunf on 1/16/2008 3:08:02 PM , Rating: 3
France =! Europe, the average in Europe is 38.7h, closer to 40h than to 30h don't you agree?...

And I never said Americans were lazy or whatever... actually I don't think I even mentioned the Americans.

pfft I bet the average Chinese worker works more than the average American worker, and there are many others ahead of the Americans on this area, but hey I don't know if this is a reason to be proud or saddened that others have more time for themselves than you.


By robinthakur on 1/17/2008 7:57:20 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry but I must take umbrage with this, having lived in both America and France, I know where I'd rather live. Working the longest hours is not something to be proud of in the slightest, as your divorce statistics/number of high school shootings underline, and the UK is sadly following in this former regard. It increases stress and lowers your quality of life and your life expectancy despite the copious amounts of anti depressants you seem to pop like sweets. Been to France recently have you to compare? Are you saying that you'd rather work longer hours/weekends etc than have the time off to spend with your significant others?

If you all worked less then maybe you wouldn't be shooting at each other and the rest of the world so much and you might relax a bit. Your inability to find shades of grey between black and white and to compromise, are entirely indicative of America's belligerant immaturity. This is to be expected but not to be condoned and certainly not a fact to be celebrated.

The French way of balancing working life with social life is far more healthy and their culture, heritage and history is emminently preferable to what I read here each day i.e. Star Wars quotes, Family Guy/Simpsons references, the obligatory sprinkling of Good ol' American homophobia/isolationism (natch) and a depressing predeliction for ignorance and intolerance.

Microsoft is actually one of your better exports, compared to a global obesity epidemic and constant hourly updates on Britney Spears...


By theapparition on 1/17/2008 9:00:12 AM , Rating: 2
I would expect the French to have plenty of time to spend with their family, since the unemployment rate is one of the highest in the EU, and signifigantly higher than the US.

quote:
Microsoft is actually one of your better exports, compared to a global obesity epidemic and constant hourly updates on Britney Spears...

Windows is a great product, and one the world has embrased. As for global obesity epidmeic, well, all I can say is life expectancy is increasing. There's no denying that. When more and more diseases are brought under control, there has to be something to fill the "complaint" gap.

As for Brittany, well, I don't understand that one either.


By masher2 (blog) on 1/17/2008 9:19:16 AM , Rating: 1
> "Working the longest hours is not something to be proud of..."

Only for those who possess a work ethic. "Time off with your girlfriend" isn't what built the Apollo project or the Panama Canal, and the guy who discovers the Cure for Cancer won't be the one leaving early every day and taking 8 weeks a year vacation.

> "as your divorce statistics/high school shootings underline"

Lol, you're suggesting that kids shoot themselves over the stress of long hours...before they ever go to work?

Interestingly enough, France has a suicide rate about twice that of the US level (20.1/100K vs. 12/100K). And Sweden, a nation with more time off with the US, possesses the highest divorce rate in the world, much higher than the US level.

Clearly, copious quantities of "time off" don't make people happier.

Oh, and the US divorce rate is well below that of Sweden, a nation with far more time off


By Ringold on 1/16/2008 2:51:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Airbus receives no less funding that Boeing


Zero-interest loans and their other benefits are different than revenue-generating contracts that provide solid material to the US military.


By masher2 (blog) on 1/16/2008 3:12:00 PM , Rating: 2
> "Airbus receives no less funding that Boeing"

Completely false. Airbus receives some $15B+ in straight subsidies, illegal by WTO standards.

To defend itself, Airbus responds with the laughable claim that many of Boeing's military contracts somehow count as a subsidy, merely because the dollars derive from government sources.

> "the 18 months for a surgery I sure don't know where you dig that... "

From European papers.


RE: How many straws is that on the camel's back now?
By Strunf on 1/16/08, Rating: 0
By masher2 (blog) on 1/16/2008 8:48:12 PM , Rating: 2
> "The US military contracts are handed to American companies, so yes that is just as equal as state funding..."

I'm surprised I even have to explain this to you, but a government contract is not the same thing as a state subsidy. For every contract Boeing recieved, it had to compete. And, more importantly, it had to supply the products and services it agreed to, at a fixed price.

A subsidy is a gift. The $15B+ Airbus received in subsidies were free cash; they had to supply no products or services in exchange for them.

< "From European papers....Too vague.."

Read the links above. Excessively long surgery wait times are not isolated case.


By theapparition on 1/16/2008 11:45:40 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you for the support on the Airbus subsidies.
I got sidetracked and forgot to look up the numbers.


RE: How many straws is that on the camel's back now?
By Strunf on 1/17/2008 8:25:32 AM , Rating: 1
"For every contract Boeing recieved, it had to compete."
Compete with other American companies... this is also against the WTO ideals.

And I'm even surprised I have to explain this to you but contracts are a way to make money, hence make profits... I doubt Boeing is on the charity business.

"Excessively long surgery wait times are not isolated case."
Europe accounts for 500 million people, 27 countries, I'm sorry to tell you this but unless you come up with some real stuff a case by case scenario will never make your 18 months waiting line a "norm".


By theapparition on 1/17/2008 9:10:36 AM , Rating: 3
Boeing directly competes with BAE on many contracts, so your allegations are completely false.

WTO organization provides direct exemptions for military programs and matters of national security. They only want to ensure fair "commercial" trade. I'm surprised you don't understand the difference.

You do know that BAE and Aerospeciale also recieve government contracts, so I don't see your point. Point is, without the government subsidies, the Airbus partnership would be out of business.


RE: How many straws is that on the camel's back now?
By Strunf on 1/17/2008 11:51:38 AM , Rating: 1
That is cause the BAE (a British company BTW) has a special status in the US thing that most other companies don't, actually the BAE US subsidiaries have to be managed by Americans.

"I'm surprised you don't understand the difference."
There's no difference when a company is both making it on the military and on the civil, wait maybe now we should disguise all the Airbus and what not other fundings as "military programs and matters of national security"... but then I bet you would flame us for that.

Aerospace does receive government contracts, who said it didn't? As far as I recall I started by saying that both Boeing and Airbus receive funding from the governments, be it by loans at 0 interest, contracts or tax reductions, but to come around and threat Boeing like some kind of "virgin" yeah maybe for you but not for the rest of the world.

Funny though my remark about the WTO and the Steel tax deal went unremarked the same with the agricultural subsides, just as I figured the WTO is only good when it suits you... just like the NATO and all the other organizations that are completely crap when they don't go our "way".


RE: How many straws is that on the camel's back now?
By rcc on 1/17/2008 6:46:28 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps this will clarify things for you.

A subsidy is like welfare, free money.

A military contract is like having a job, you work for it and produce something.

Just a stab in the dark.


RE: How many straws is that on the camel's back now?
By Strunf on 1/18/2008 4:40:39 AM , Rating: 1
"and produce something."
While making benefits too...

We can end all of this by just disguising our subsides into military contracts... you gave Airbus a easy job and pay them billions for it, yupee now it wont violate the WTO.

But hey if the US can say the hell with the WTO (on the Steel deal) so can we on the Airbus deal.


By theapparition on 1/18/2008 9:14:04 AM , Rating: 2
I can certainly attest that US military contracts are not "free money". They are fixed rate contracts, and sometimes the supplier loses money if they unintentionally underbid. If you can't understant the difference, then you are truely lost.

I think you perfectly understand the difference, but are just trying to be combative and find a reason to defend Airbus. Airbus is not a company, per se, but a partnership between BAE and Aerospeciale. Those two companies recieve many government contracts, including ones from the US. I have no issue with that. My issue is the commercial partnership of Airbus that wouldn't be possible to exist without subsidies from the EU.

And to my knowledge, Bush sided with the WTO on the steel issue, much to the chagrin of the US steel industry. So the US stepped up, when is it the EU's turn?


RE: How many straws is that on the camel's back now?
By Strunf on 1/18/2008 2:46:40 PM , Rating: 2
When the US is the major country on military spending, I really fail to see on how what you said would be the norm, companies that have contracts with the army are making money, it's for no reason that the BAE you quoted had 2 billions of profits in 2006, Lockheed Martin 3 billions, Northrop Grumman 2 billions, Boeing Aerospace 4 billions... yeah yeah they barely make it.

"So the US stepped up, when is it the EU's turn?"
When it sees fit, if Bush took 2 years, I'm pretty sure we can disguise all the Airbus subsides into military contracts in no time, then there would be no case.


By rcc on 1/18/2008 5:02:39 PM , Rating: 2
Hop to it. Of course the deliverables might be a problem.


By rcc on 1/17/2008 6:17:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
actually I can't think of a single US company that is really making products wished by Europeans besides Apple.


Clearly we would have to add Microsoft to that short list. Otherwise sales wouldn't be sufficient for MS to even entertain paying hundreds of millions in government subsid...., er fines there.


By Master Kenobi (blog) on 1/16/2008 1:50:32 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
There is an understandable American bias to this site but sometimes it can go a bit too far (you can almost hear the chants of USA USA USA sometimes) to the extent that some would defend anything and anyone as long as they were American, no matter how they behave(d).

Your exaggerating. I can't remember an American company/organization that hasnt been taken to task here for doing something stupid.

quote:
Consumers around the world benefit from the EC's decisions and they don't just investigate non EU firms as the tiny little paragraph at the end of the article points out.

Benefit? That's subjective. Certain markets benefit more by having fewer choices. This happens naturally over time as the market can only handle so many different competitors before they start to consolidate to what the market will accept. Your also correct that they investigate many firms. The common denominator is that they are all very large and very successful firms, all the ones I've seen are also market leaders in their particular markets.

quote:
Dam the EC for trying to provide a free market and competition, dam them to hell!

More like damn them for punishing companies for being highly successful. Windows is the defacto OS standard, and Office is the defacto Productivity Suite. iPod/iTunes is the defacto MP3 player. Intel is the defacto Microprocessor vendor, need I continue?

The fact of the matter is that without Intel basically running the Microprocessor market, without Cisco running the internet communications market, without Microsoft providing a solid software platform that was hardware agnostic, we would end up like the console market. Hell we already are. Software has to be written specifically for Windows, Linux (Sometimes even variations between the distros), Unix, and Mac. It is not beneficial to force a software company to write for 4 different platforms. They write for 1 or 2 and go with it. The under the hood differences between the 4 major systems are extreme, and interoperability as it is right now is quite impressive.

Many of the open standards themselves are bollocks. OODF is garbage, OOXML is superior in every sense of the word. I will give you that IE doesn't support web standards properly, but this is nothing new and Microsoft is working on it, IE8 should be able to support most if not all of the web standards. Forcing companies to basically open their systems and share it to direct competitors is pure folly on the part of the EU. The EU sees the OS as nothing more than a platform, with no applications whatsoever. The OS is a fully functional and fully featured System, not just a Baseline to run from.

If the EC was even remotely fair, they would be pressing similar suits against various Linux Vendors, Apple, and Microsoft, telling them they must strip out all apps from the OS and sell them seperately. Yes, I would like so very much to go back in time 15 years to a time when DOS reigned and it was nothing more than a platform, everything had to be loaded seperately. No thanks, I want my OS's to come fully featured and fully functional, I don't want to be forced to pickup a bunch of extras or dig through 50 different post-prep configuration items that ask me which browser I want, which notepad, which email, which desktop search, which clock, which calculator, which calendar, which media player, etc..... That is exactly the path the EC is going down here, and frankly I see it as a step backwards. Things were like that at one point in time, where the user was prompted with many choices upon first login, but this has largely been curtailed and everything is set to defaults and have the ability to be changed or disabled. Why is this? Why? Because people complained they didn't want to set all that up, they wanted it to "just work".

/gets off box


By Ringold on 1/16/2008 3:08:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Certain markets benefit more by having fewer choices. This happens naturally over time as the market can only handle so many different competitors before they start to consolidate to what the market will accept.


I agree with everything said, but especially this. Older people on this site possibly remember AT&T before being broken up. Have we noticed what has occured since then? How many of the children companies are left independent? 2? 3?

Perhaps it was a good move busting it up, perhaps it wasn't, I don't know. Point is that history suggests not many markets really have room for as many competitors as there are distro's listed at www.distrowatch.com . I don't know much about software, hardware and how they play nicely together, but I can imagine that the size of Microsoft, and Apple, allows them to achieve lower costs and better consumer outcomes than if half a dozen smaller companies had to take on the same task with 1/6th the resources, or less. Same logic applies to water utility companies. Downward sloping ATC curves ftw.

That said, if Apple could up the quality of Leopard sufficiently to have broad hardware support, and sell it freely on the market like Vista, I bet nobody would be able to call MS a monopoly any more. Still the largest player, but more like an Intel to the always-smaller AMD.


By Master Kenobi (blog) on 1/16/2008 4:18:48 PM , Rating: 2
In compliment to your statement about AT&T. When it was originally broken up there were a dozen or so "baby bells". They have since consolidated back into at&t, Verizon, and Sprint. (T-Mobile doesn't count, it owns no physical infrastructure to my knowledge. Just rents from the other guys). With at&t of course owning the lions share. Why did this happen? Because they realized that consolidating the infrastructure meant better end to end service and transmission of not just voice, but data and now wireless. Frankly I sometimes wonder if AT&T had been left alone and simply nudged in the right direction if our infrastructure wouldn't be better than it is today.... Never know for sure.


By soydios on 1/17/2008 12:59:23 AM , Rating: 2
can we please get a 6 rating?


RE: How many straws is that on the camel's back now?
By phusg on 1/17/2008 8:25:13 AM , Rating: 1
It never ceases to surprise me that Americans - who are usually all for market forces and competition - are so defensive of a company that so obviously has a total monopoly (home OS), and moreover uses that monopoly to leverage other products (media player, web browser) and so lock competitors out.

Why should a media player and a web browser be bundled (ostensibly for free) with an OS and Office not be? The consumer should be able to choose to buy the market-leading Microsoft OS without BEING FORCED to pay for their media player and browser at the same time.

Intel which you mention in comparision is not a monopoly as Microsoft is, it has competition from AMD. Sadly this competition is dwindling, which I and many posters on this site regret, as this will undoubtedly lead to slower progress. Also Intel is not allowed to FORCE customers to buy a CPU and chipset together, there is choice in that market. Competition is a good thing.

I don't think it's such a great stretch of the imagination to see that if MS had been forced to sell it's OS, media player and browser separately, there would have been more competition on these fronts and we would be further along in all of them than we are today.

The EC is investigating Microsoft's alleged anticompetitive behaviour to ensure that proper competition resumes. This is pro-business and pro-consumer!!!


By masher2 (blog) on 1/17/2008 9:26:22 AM , Rating: 1
> "Why should a media player and a web browser be bundled (ostensibly for free) with an OS ..."

Who defines what personal computer OS is? 25 years ago it was just a set of routines to handle files. Then task scheduling and a graphical interface became standard. Then networking became standard. Then more and more.

That's called progress. Why stand in the way of it? There are clear advantages to having these things included...which is why people keep buying Windows hand over fist.

Don't agree? Don't buy the product then. There are plenty of alternatives....and it isn't Microsoft's fault they're not as practical to use as Windows.


RE: How many straws is that on the camel's back now?
By phusg on 1/17/2008 10:13:26 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
There are clear advantages to having these things included...which is why people keep buying Windows hand over fist.

Oh come on Michael, I know you know that applications such as a media player and a web browser are not (er, SHOULD not be) an integral part of the OS. This is a security risk if nothing else.

Sure it's useful they are bundled with the OS, I never said they shouldn't be, just that the consumer should be allowed the choice as to whether to pay for a bundled OS+apps product or buy it stripped and purchase/download apps from other vendors. MS has never given consumers this choice and that this is finally being investigated (for the IE browser) is long overdue. I just hope the EC doesn't make the same mistake it did with the media player and let MS get away with offering a media player less OS for the SAME PRICE as the one with it. A sly move by MS, and a loop hole I hope the EC doesn't allow this time around.

quote:
There are plenty of alternatives....and it isn't Microsoft's fault they're not as practical to use as Windows.

As I previously argued I think a big part of the reason these practical alternatives are not there is because MS has stiffled the competition anti-competitively by bundling applications with its OS, without giving any choice to the consumer who is FORCED to pay for the lot.


By masher2 (blog) on 1/17/2008 10:22:29 AM , Rating: 1
> "applications such as a media player and a web browser are not (er, SHOULD not be) an integral part of the OS"

Integrating a graphical UI with the OS is a security risk. Integrating networking with the OS is a security risk. So? It's up to the OS designer to decide if the benefits of integration warrants the risk.

And in any case, I said nothing about integrating them...I simply said "including" them, which you yourself admit is useful. Should MS not include Notepad with Windows, simply because many people sell (or used to sell, rather) small text editor tools?

> "MS has never given consumers this choice "

MS gives consumers all the choice they need. Buy their product, or buy someone elses. It's really very simple. There are other OSes, there are other web browsers. Firefox is up to a 30% market share in Europe, despite competing against a bundled alternative. So what's the problem?


By Master Kenobi (blog) on 1/17/2008 11:05:23 AM , Rating: 2
There isn't a problem. Good software like Firefox, iTunes, Quicktime, Winamp, and more have successfully got into the market by having good solid products. What's happening here is companies with mediocre products are pissed off they can't break into the market dominated by Microsoft. This is an attempt by those companies to use the EC to cripple Microsoft allowing them more of a chance, without having to produce excellent software.

Case in point, I don't see Firefox petitioning the EC to throw out IE. I see Opera doing it instead. (Opera while a nice program, lacks market adoption on the PC platform.)


RE: How many straws is that on the camel's back now?
By arazok on 1/17/2008 12:02:09 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry, I take exception to you calling Quicktime good software.

Every time I see this thing running on someones taskbar, I cringe.

quote:
There isn't a problem. Good software like Firefox, iTunes, Quicktime, Winamp, and more have successfully got into the market by having good solid products.


By Master Kenobi (blog) on 1/18/2008 8:34:54 AM , Rating: 2
I think it sucks too, but its still widely in use, Apple pushed it as a required package in iTunes. So obviously they figured out how to force market adoption.


RE: How many straws is that on the camel's back now?
By phusg on 1/17/2008 12:43:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
MS gives consumers all the choice they need. Buy their product, or buy someone elses.

No, I'm afraid it's not that simple. In the case of browser choice it's buy their bundled productS (OS+browser) AND then buy someone elses. There is no choice to pay for just Windows and Opera for example, without paying for IE as well.
quote:
Firefox is up to a 30% market share in Europe, despite competing against a bundled alternative. So what's the problem?

I'll repeat myself one last time, seeing as you are still asking: the problem in this case is that 30% of us still have to pay for IE, even though we choose to use Firefox.


By masher2 (blog) on 1/17/2008 1:07:09 PM , Rating: 1
If you put a guitar for sale on Ebay, how would you respond to someone that said, "I just want to buy the strings"?

IE is a component of Windows. If you don't want to buy Windows, don't do it. Trying to tell someone how they should package their own product is not only silly, its a blatant violation of freedom.


By afkrotch on 1/18/2008 12:50:55 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I just hope the EC doesn't make the same mistake it did with the media player and let MS get away with offering a media player less OS for the SAME PRICE as the one with it. A sly move by MS, and a loop hole I hope the EC doesn't allow this time around.


Huh? The media player is a completely free piece of software. So whether it comes with it or not, shouldn't affect the price.


By zpdixon on 1/17/2008 1:19:06 AM , Rating: 3
Pull out of the EU ? Haha. For a moment I thought you were serious. The EU is the 1st economy in the world with a GDP of 14.6e12 USD (compared to 13.2e12 USD for the USA). MS would never survive a withdrawal from the EU market.


By phusg on 1/17/2008 8:57:56 AM , Rating: 3
Yes it's funny that a lot of the posters here really seem to believe that MS pulling out of the EU would be punishing the EU, when they would actually be punishing themselves! With our current MS licenses we would have many years to migrate to alternative software (XP will do us fine thank you very much) and could well come out of it better off. A successful migration would be a model for the rest of the world and MS may well not be able to survive the consequent domino effect.


Apple vs. Microsoft
By soydios on 1/16/2008 11:25:16 AM , Rating: 4
If the EU is going to target Microsoft for bundling software with their OS, in all fairness they really should target Apple as well.

Microsoft has been sued for bundling Windows Media. Apple has not for iTunes.
Microsoft is about to be sued for bundling Internet Explorer. Apple has not for Safari.
Microsoft is about to be sued for application inter-operability. Apple has not for all of its proprietary ways of doing things that are utterly unaccessible to PCs.

Or Microsoft could sue Apple, citing their own losses in the EU as legal precedent. I would be very curious to see what the EC would say in that case.




RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By kattanna on 1/16/2008 12:24:00 PM , Rating: 2
yes, but the paycheck the EU would get for suing apple isnt nearly as big and juicy as suing Microsoft.


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By UppityMatt on 1/16/2008 12:49:46 PM , Rating: 2
Shouldnt matter if you have a dominant market or not. They both do the exact same bundling. I think the entire thing is just BS and if i was Microsoft i would just pull all of my products from the EU. I guarantee the people would complain.


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By ghost101 on 1/16/2008 1:38:47 PM , Rating: 4
But it does matter. Apple have to compete with Microsoft. Microsoft can simply afford to laugh at Apple.


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By SandmanWN on 1/16/2008 8:55:02 PM , Rating: 3
No, it doesn't.

Company A has bundled software.
Company B has bundled software.

If Company A's software is against regulations then Company B's software should violate those same regulations.

The name of Company A and B are irrelevant. To suggest otherwise indicates a personal bias which serves no purpose in a Judicial system.

What a shame.


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By BZDTemp on 1/17/2008 1:29:57 PM , Rating: 2
You so do not get it.

It is in no way a question of personal bias but about controlling monopolies and that is something from which we all benefit. Uncontrolled monopolies means little or no competition and that hurts innovation, pricing, quality and so on. This is basic business knowledge - just think of the game Monopoly.

Microsoft has been using their dominant market position to expand into other markets for years and will keep doing so as much as they can get away with. The EU is doing something about it and some states in the US is as well just like it has been done before. What do you think the Netscape vs Microsoft case was about?


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By SandmanWN on 1/17/2008 2:17:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It is in no way a question of personal bias but about controlling monopolies

Interesting, lets test that theory shall we...

Company A gets prosecuted for doing something supposedly illegal/questionable. They are removed from the market.

Company B, C, D, and E goes unpunished for the same actions. They remain in the market and are now the market leaders.

Sorry, but thats not a judicial system. Its a witch hunt.


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By masher2 (blog) on 1/17/2008 2:27:01 PM , Rating: 1
A wonderful example of proof by extension. It is indeed a witch hunt against the rich and succesful, by a society that automatically correlates those two adjectives with evil and exploitative.


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By BZDTemp on 1/17/2008 6:48:05 PM , Rating: 2
To use your example.

If company A is found to use it's control over one market to try and control other markets it is found guilty. Told to stop it and fined.

If company A was left to it own devices it would put companies B through Z out of business.

It is just like Microsoft did put Netscape out of business or are you saying that Microsoft choose to pay AOL Netscape some 750 million $ out kindness?

http://www.news.com/Judge-rules-Microsoft-violated...

Or perhaps you are saying the U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson was wrong when he ruled that Microsoft violated antiturst laws? (Note we are talking US antitrust laws!)

http://www.news.com/Judge-rules-Microsoft-violated...

Punishing a company for using strong arm tactics does not put it out of business and leaves others to take over. It merely levels the playing field a tiny bit.


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By SandmanWN on 1/18/2008 9:05:16 AM , Rating: 2
Hmm...
Company A exists in your current example as well as B thru Z so your example is broken. Company B at present is making a pretty healthy charge up the ladder.

Actually its AOL thats putting Netscape out of business. Mozilla and Microsoft took its market share. Through a clear fault of their own they signed a bad deal with AOL and are going down with a sinking ship. If the court ruling would have happened today they would have lost as Mozilla Firefox would have been a tremendous cloud hanging over Netscape that it was the one at fault for losing market share.

There is nothing wrong with Company Z vs Company A. They used pre-existing laws to file a lawsuit. In the case of the article... A government body (EUC), with no clear definition of what they call "interoperability" or any existing format to use as a guideline, are using Company A as a whipping boy to finance the court system while they figure out exactly WTF it is they really want "interoperability" to be.

It's a witch hunt and it's downright shameful.


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By tdawg on 1/16/2008 12:31:50 PM , Rating: 2
Not to defend Apple's business practices, but I think the key phrase is, "Dominant Market Position". Apple OS's don't have a dominant market position, like Microsoft does, so it'd be hard for the EU to sue Apple as a monopoly that is forcing people to use iTunes and Safari.


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By masher2 (blog) on 1/16/2008 1:13:13 PM , Rating: 1
> "so it'd be hard for the EU to sue Apple as a monopoly that is forcing people to use iTunes "

Oops...France is doing just that in fact.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4833010.stm


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By Strunf on 1/16/2008 2:47:01 PM , Rating: 2
You miss the point he's speaking of Apple OS X which is not dominating the market and hence can't be used to force people to use Itunes, heck iTunes is even available on windows.

Itunes is a dominating the online music scene just like windows is dominating the OS scene hence why logically both IMO use their position to force users to buy this or that other thing, the Ipod for Apple and Office for MS.

If I was the president of the EU both of them would have been under "examination" long time ago.


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 1/16/2008 2:59:27 PM , Rating: 2
Can sue them because iPod owners are forced to use that software. The market would be the PMP market, not the Computer market. In the PMP Market, Apple claims 70% or more last I checked. This puts them in the same danger zone Microsoft is in.


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By XPguy on 1/17/08, Rating: -1
RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By masher2 (blog) on 1/16/2008 3:13:58 PM , Rating: 1
> "You miss the point he's speaking of Apple OS X "

Did you not read his post? He mentioned iTunes, not OS X.

Point in fact, France is suing Apple for just that-- forcing people to use iTunes.


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By DKWinsor on 1/16/2008 6:54:49 PM , Rating: 2
France isn't suing, they are making new laws just for Apple (well they *made* a new law).

I hate Apple.
But being a programmer, I support Apple in their having a proprietary DRM.
iTunes should be allowed to sell music in one format and one format only if iTunes so chooses. By extension, since Apple doesn't want this format to be interoperable, then iTunes should be allowed to sell music to the iPod only, if iTunes so chooses. I respect Apple's right to not make their DRM interoperable, though I disagree with their logic.

Where the real problem is is in the iPod not being interoperable. The iPod disables third party attachments that run WMA! That right there should be fixed immediately, by suing under existing laws if necessary. And of course, France should be able to force the iPod to support any format, and should be able to force iTunes to convert from their DRM to mp3, which is currently disabled too.

But asking (or forcing) a company to provide a method to convert from a proprietary format to an open format is much different than forcing a company to provide the secrets of their proprietary format to any who ask!

So to sum it up, if France forces Apple to share the DRM iTunes sells, that's bad. France can get the same effect by forcing the iPod to support any format. That right there would force iTunes to sell in any format or die.

There are 2 possible worlds, one where every player but the iPod plays 2 formats, and where one format is sold only at one place, or another world where all players play 1 format and a second format may or may not exist on one player/store. France might have the right idea but they are going about it wrong.


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By rcc on 1/17/2008 7:14:56 PM , Rating: 2
Guess they should be sueing MS for not reading Mac format files and running Linux executables as well, eh?


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By Strunf on 1/16/2008 7:10:17 PM , Rating: 2
I can read in his post "Apple OS's don't have a dominant market position"...

Also over a year ago in Norway a judgment even go as far as to say that the iTunes DRM could be violating the law. France is just joining the group that seeks this DRM crap to stop.


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By masher2 (blog) on 1/16/2008 8:58:05 PM , Rating: 1
> "I can read in his post "Apple OS's don't have a dominant market position"..."

You've missed the forest for the trees however. The point of my post was that action was being taken against Apple, making any statement that "action couldn't be taken" moot.

An oppressive, anti-business government can define markets in such a way to make ANY company be a market leader of something. Take for instance Microsoft. It wasn't even close to leading in server software. It wasn't even leading in small business server software. So what did the EU do? It broke the "volume server" market into 8 separate chunks, found Microsoft trailing in 6, but leading in two others. And suddenly, Viola! They've changed the rules to make Microsoft a monopoly.


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By Strunf on 1/17/2008 11:26:13 AM , Rating: 2
I didn't miss anything you said "Ooops" in reply to his post not to however started the tree...

The server market is huge, and yes it can be broken into smaller markets, and some servers have to interact with windows and it's on this that the EU was looking into.


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By masher2 (blog) on 1/17/2008 11:37:45 AM , Rating: 1
> "The server market is huge, and yes it can be broken into smaller markets."

That's just the point. You can break ANY market into smaller chunks. Keep doing it, and you can make any company into a pseudo-monopoly. That's what the EU did to Microsoft. With its market share of server software (even small-server software) so small, the EU kept dividing till they had a case.

It's no different than calling AMD a monopoly, simply because its leading in the "4 way value server" segment, even as Intel is trouncing it in a dozen other categories.


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By Strunf on 1/17/2008 12:14:03 PM , Rating: 2
The issue was not about MS be the monopoly on a special server segment but cause there has to be an interface between the servers and the Windows PC OS, since MS OS owns like 80% of the PC marked then every single server has to know how to talk with it.

"Microsoft abused its market power by deliberately restricting interoperability between Windows PCs and non-Microsoft work group servers"
This is exactly what SUN complained of and the source of the whole investigation.


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By masher2 (blog) on 1/17/2008 1:10:49 PM , Rating: 1
> "The issue was not about MS be the monopoly on a special server segment "

Totally incorrect. The rules a company with "dominant position" must follow are quite different. The EU *had* to define Microsoft as a monopolist for them to have any case at all.

Seriously, Google is your friend here. Even five minutes of research should convince you this is correct.


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By Strunf on 1/17/2008 2:30:26 PM , Rating: 2
Google is my friend? what about being your friend too...

Dominant position on the Desktop PC OS...

"The Commisson's investigation

The case originated with a December 1998 complaint from Sun Microsystems alleging that Microsoft was refusing to supply it with interoperability information necessary to interoperate with Microsoft’s dominant PC operating system. In February 2000, following information obtained from the market, the Commission broadened the scope of its investigation to examine Microsoft’s conduct with regard to its Windows Media Player product (see IP/00/141).

On 1 August 2000, on the basis of an initial investigation, the Commission sent Microsoft a Statement of Objections alleging that Microsoft was denying to disclose interface information which rival work group server operating system vendors needed to interoperate with Microsoft’s dominant Windows PC operating system."
...
"This Decision found that Microsoft had abused its dominant position in the PC operating system market by:

* refusing to supply competitors in the work group server operating system market interface information necessary for their products to interoperate with Windows, and hence to compete viably in the market. The Decision ordered Microsoft to disclose, within 120 days, complete and accurate interface information which would allow rival vendors to interoperate with Windows, and to make that information available on reasonable terms;"

From the official source...
I don't get it why you want to make it look like the EC made a special market for MS when the issue is the interface between PC windows (where MS is dominant) and the servers, in a day and age where your PC is more and more controlled remotely having undisclosed information about how you can interface with windows (using codes that are already part of the OS) does grant you an advantage over the others that have to build their own way to do it, sure you could argue that this is just being lazy but when you buy an OS you own it and should pretty much know all the ins and outs of it.


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By masher2 (blog) on 1/17/2008 3:00:00 PM , Rating: 2
> "I don't get it why you want to make it look like the EC made a special market for MS "

The proof is in the text you yourself quoted:

quote:
This Decision found that Microsoft had abused its dominant position....by refusing to supply competitors in the work group server operating system market...
Now, what exactly IS the "work group server operating system market". Its nt "OS's for servers" -- MS doesn't have a dominant position there...its much less than 25% of the market, much less a majority share.

So how did the EU do? First, they threw out all midsize and mainframe servers, places where Unix and other OSes dominate. That still didn't get them what they wanted. So they divided up just the market for SMALL servers by function-- file server, web servers, database servers, firewall/network appliance, email servers, scientific/engineering, security servers, etc. Eight total pieces.

Not surprisingly, they found Microsoft leading in two of the 8 segments. Bingo! Now they've got a case. Microsoft, despite selling some 4% of total server OSes, is suddenly a market leader in a category created just for this case. And then prosecuted for actions that, had it not been a "market leader", would have clearly been legal.

It was a sham, plain and simple.


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By Strunf on 1/17/2008 6:53:24 PM , Rating: 2
Dude you just throw "..." to cut what I'm trying to make you understand since a long time, you can't win this one plain and simple... the EC CLEARLY states DOMINANT POSITION ON PC OS, PC is personal computer not a server, hence they never say MS is leader on anything else than PC OS, actually every time they say dominant they clearly specify PC OS.

ya it's a shame I get all the trouble to cite official sources and yet you cut them where it suits just to act as if you were right, the fact is nowhere on what I posted it states MS is dominant on any market other than PC OS.

You just like many other gobbed the MS crap...

And you still didn't answer the fundamental question, if you buy an OS why aren't you allowed to know all the access doors of it (if you so wish), you payed for all the doors why only MS should be allowed to use them and not someone else you see fit...


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By masher2 (blog) on 1/17/2008 7:55:27 PM , Rating: 2
> "the EC CLEARLY states DOMINANT POSITION ON PC OS, PC is personal computer "

Can you honestly not comprehend your own links? The EU investigation of Microsoft began with PC OSes. It was extended to additional claims. The interoperability claim deals with work group server OSes. From the EC's own press release:
quote:
The European Commission has ensured that Microsoft will now take the necessary steps to comply with its obligations under the Commission’s 2004 Decision regarding work group server operating systems ...
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?refe...

The contention was that Microsoft had leveraged its dominant position in the PC OS into a dominant position in this fictitious "workgroup server" market:
quote:
By the end of the Commission's investigation, Microsoft had achieved a dominant position in the workgroup server operating systems market with over 60% of that market
Again, that "dominant position" was created by the EC, to justify their case.

"How" had Microsoft leveraged their position? By refusing to give Sun and others access to their proprietary technology. Of course, what use is developing proprietary technology if you have to share it with all your competitors? And, of course, they did nothing that all their competitors don't do on a daily basis...write code, and try to use it as a competitive advantage. They simply did a better job of it than the rest.

And the EU strongly penalized that success.


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By Strunf on 1/18/2008 6:29:11 AM , Rating: 2
The investigation never started with PC OS, it started with interfaces and it ended with interfaces, it's all about interfaces and nothing else, when MS is currently the leader by a great margin on PC OS sure the interfaces to it are of major importance.

"The contention was that Microsoft had leveraged its dominant position in the PC OS into a dominant position in this fictitious "workgroup server" market"
No the contention was that MS was levering its dominance on PC OS into the workgroup servers by hiding the ways to interface with its PC OS, and by the end of the investigation MS was succeeding in its way, which is kind natural when you have access to doors present on every PC and while the competition doesn't.

You can not patent something (here) that is not "innovative", actually you'll have an hard time patenting software in Europe...

You are incorrect MS doesn't just write code, it writes code that interface directly with code already present in windows, others have to build the code for the server side and for the client side, kind of unfair don't you agree? when you buy an OS you should be aware of all the access doors it has even the hidden ones and how to open them.

BTW windows was the top server OS in 2005 by revenue

http://www.news.com/2100-1016_3-6041804.html


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By masher2 (blog) on 1/18/2008 9:57:36 AM , Rating: 2
I've given you all the links to the EC source material. It's all there in black and white, including the process by which the EC excluded most of the server market to create a fictitious dominant position for Microsoft.

> "BTW windows was the top server OS in 2005 by revenue"

Top does not mean dominant. In this case, it doesn't even mean half, as in 2005 Windows had some 36% of the total server OS market.

Even worse, this case wasn't prosecuted in 2005. The judgement was handed down in 2004, for events from 1998-2003...a period in which Microsoft wasn't even the market leader, much less having a majority share or dominant position.

> "You can not patent something (here) that is not "innovative"..."

Not sure why you're diving off into patents. The issue here is trade secrets, a wholly different matter.


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By Strunf on 1/18/2008 3:08:57 PM , Rating: 2
Ya it's all there in black and white, actually the word interoperate is among the most used ones, if you fail to notice it maybe but just maybe...

"Top does not mean dominant."
The case was MS server OS has been growing, and it's not a minor actor as you pretend.

Trade secretes? What trade secrets... MS was arguing that its interfaces were protected property which is pretty much like patents, as in you can't copy them.

BTW the hidden doors is a perfect analogy and yet no remarks from your part?... does it make too much sense under that perspective?


RE: Apple vs. Microsoft
By soydios on 1/17/2008 1:05:57 AM , Rating: 2
in my post, I mentioned Apple bundling iTunes (a software media player) with their operating system. I made no mention of Apple's proprietary iPod+iTunes connection, because it's irrelevant to this argument. Users have choice with what apps to use with Windows, but do not officially with iPods.


Obvious
By guy007 on 1/16/2008 7:07:54 PM , Rating: 2
First of all MS has profited and continues to profit in the EU. Any sensible business is about profit and so long as they make more money then they lose they will stay in that market (ie it is a profitable market). Furthermore, if MS pulls out of the EU they leave a huge market open for a competitor to take, be that linux or google or another company. So MS would prob stay in the EU market, even at a negative profit aka loss (which is not currently the case) in order to ensure that a competitor does not capture such a huge market and gain steam. Lets cut the stupid redneck America vs EU bs here shall we.




RE: Obvious
By guy007 on 1/16/2008 7:13:36 PM , Rating: 2
lets stop all this redneck talk about America vs EU*

is what i meant to say


RE: Obvious
By SandmanWN on 1/16/2008 9:03:31 PM , Rating: 2
What exactly are you attempting to do by using a racial slur against a group of people? Do you really want to go there?


RE: Obvious
By guy007 on 1/16/2008 9:39:18 PM , Rating: 2
To start thats a great way of focusing on one word in my whole statement in order to bypass the arguement.
Second check YOUR facts before making a statement. Redneck is not a racial slur. A racial slur implies that it is solely a negative word whereas rednecks themselves take pride in being redenecks.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redneck

If you want an example of a racial slur take the term spic. Mexicans dont see themselves as spics and wouldnt take pride in being thought of as such.

Nevertheless if I offended anyone by the use of the word redneck I apologize. Now Sandman please focus on the argument and address it.


RE: Obvious
By SandmanWN on 1/16/2008 9:47:16 PM , Rating: 2
Spic is racial slur to some and others dont care.
Redneck is a slur to some and not to others.

Attempting to justify such a low down comment is deplorable at best.


RE: Obvious
By guy007 on 1/16/2008 9:55:05 PM , Rating: 2
still avoiding the arguement?


RE: Obvious
By SandmanWN on 1/16/2008 10:01:37 PM , Rating: 2
What argument? That MS makes money in the EU. Its not really an argument.


RE: Obvious
By guy007 on 1/16/2008 10:13:50 PM , Rating: 2
alright, whatever you say buddy. thx for pointing out the whole redneck thing...what a waste of time. i figured that if you were going over the whole statement with that fine toothed comb of yours youd have picked up something more then the word redneck.


RE: Obvious
By masher2 (blog) on 1/16/2008 11:24:43 PM , Rating: 2
> "Redneck is not a racial slur."

Even when intended as a slur, the term isn't a racial slur, but a classist one. Please feel free to continue using it. I see no benefit to adding yet one more word to the already-overlarge politically correct blacklist.


RE: Obvious
By SandmanWN on 1/17/2008 9:29:17 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Even when intended as a slur

What an idiot.

Its not political correctness. Its called dignity, respect, and general politeness.

Given the already high tensions on this topic the last thing needed is some tool coming in with petty name calling. It adds nothing to the discussion. It also isn't very astute for a representative of DT to formally recommend someone use belittling comments and slurs against a particular group of people.

Get lost.


RE: Obvious
By masher2 (blog) on 1/17/2008 9:36:46 AM , Rating: 2
> "What an idiot..."

followed within seconds by:

> "the last thing needed is some tool coming in with petty name calling."

Does anything else but me find this rather ironic?

BTW, I'm not "a representative of DT". The views and opinions in this post are my own, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Dailytech or its employees.


RE: Obvious
By SandmanWN on 1/17/2008 9:44:25 AM , Rating: 2
Nope just you.

Funny it seems you are more than willing to be a representative when it suits your needs.

GM wants you to test drive a vehicle...
-Oh why yes I represent DT.

Make stupid content allowing racial slurs...
-Nope just personal comments.

Real nice.


RE: Obvious
By masher2 (blog) on 1/17/2008 9:55:24 AM , Rating: 2
> "GM wants you to test drive a vehicle..."

Oops, reread that article, that was someone else.

And to repeat what has already been explained to you, "redneck" isn't a racial slur. A large percentage of the time, it's not even a slur at all.


RE: Obvious
By SandmanWN on 1/17/2008 10:18:36 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Oops, reread that article, that was someone else.

Ah I see, ok for one not for another. Glad its all a personal choice. By all means, flip flop at your digression then.

quote:
"redneck" isn't a racial slur.

Yes it is. Who are you to define what a racial slur is?
quote:
Redneck Whites Previously referred only to the rural prejudice whites, mostly farmers, who have reddish necks (or a "farmer's tan"). However, its usage has become a lot looser and now includes any racist white.


The person above just called every American a white racist.

The term is on every list of recognized racial slurs I've seen.

quote:
A large percentage of the time, it's not even a slur at all.

Care to explain when it is and isn't a slur? When exactly does the percentage favor one or the other?

Do you really wish to continue this? You are digging a mighty big hole for yourself.


RE: Obvious
By masher2 (blog) on 1/17/2008 10:36:42 AM , Rating: 2
> "However, its usage has become a lot looser and now includes any racist white. "

You've misunderstood plain English. The pejorative form of the term is applied to a white who is racist. In other words, it's being applied to their behavior and/or thought processes, not the color of their skin. It's not a blanket condemnation of an entire race.

Furthermore, you're completely ignoring the fact the term has a wholly nonderogatory usage, and is, in fact, often used as a matter of pride.


RE: Obvious
By SandmanWN on 1/17/2008 11:09:16 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
often used as a matter of pride.

Often, sometimes, percentages... Intentionally trying to be vague enough to cover yourself I see.
quote:
it's being applied to their behavior and/or thought processes, not the color of their skin.

Interesting you left out the part about the skin color which is the original meaning of the term. Trying to remove the racial implications to focus on the slur as if that somehow makes everything ok.
quote:
you're completely ignoring the fact the term has a wholly nonderogatory usage, and is, in fact, often used as a matter of pride

Care to go back and read the Ops post and tell us all what sort of pride and non derogatory intent he was trying to express to everyone?

Can you even see the entrance any more? Keep digging. Maybe theres a way out a little further down.


RE: Obvious
By porkpie on 1/17/2008 11:18:30 AM , Rating: 2
Sandman, redneck isn't a racial term. About a dozen people have tried to explain that to you. How many more will it take before you decide to listen?


RE: Obvious
By chance1138 on 1/17/2008 4:27:43 PM , Rating: 2
Redneck was actually first used to describe miners from Appalachian America who wore red handkerchiefs around their necks to protest mining companies' unfair practices against workers. It has nothing to do with skin color at all. That makes it difficult to be a racial slur, when it isn't referring to race.


RE: Obvious
By tdawg on 1/17/2008 11:16:19 AM , Rating: 2
You've seen or heard Jeff Foxworthy's comedy, haven't you? Probably 15 minutes of each of his shows are dedicated to, "You might be a redneck..." of which he includes himself.

I'll agree with you that the original post could have avoided the use of the term, "redneck" when asking people to put down their arms in the argument of America vs the European Union, since it doesn't add anything to the statement, really. However, to most people, "redneck" is not a racial slur in common usage in the english language.


RE: Obvious
By SandmanWN on 1/17/2008 11:33:53 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
stupid redneck American

Well then, since you obviously have no problem with it. I guess that slurs for you.


RE: Obvious
By guy007 on 1/17/2008 2:15:41 PM , Rating: 2
Jeff foxworthy, several games like redneck rampage, the whole league and racing tournaments called redneck racing. It is a word that is commonly and seems to offend only you.


RE: Obvious
By erikstarcher on 1/17/2008 3:32:40 PM , Rating: 2
"Stupid Redneck American" is bad if you are saying all Redneck American's are stupid but "Redneck American", which by the way I am, is not bad.


RE: Obvious
By guy007 on 1/17/2008 2:11:17 PM , Rating: 2
the only tool in this talk seems to be you. the one who needs several ppl to explain a simple concept (ie racial AND slur) to him is you. the person who bypassed the whole topic of the discussion to focus on one word is you.

in one sentence you use the word tool to refer to me and then idiot to refer to masher, then you turn around and talk about

"dignity, respect, and general politeness"

so the tool and the idiot here is you.


RE: Obvious
By just4U on 2/1/2008 8:58:00 AM , Rating: 2
What I find interesting is the mention of American's supposedly defending MS against Euro's. Fact of the matter is we are on a tech forum with alot of very knowledable posters who have a very good grasp of how it all works (or should work) and can keep it in proper context.

Setting aside the redneck stuff (Im white call me what you will, <shrug> don't care) This has been one of the most informative topics I've seen in some time. I'd rate up 40% of the posts if I could :D


UN ~ EU
By mdogs444 on 1/16/08, Rating: 0
RE: UN ~ EU
By javiergf on 1/16/08, Rating: -1
RE: UN ~ EU
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 1/16/08, Rating: 0
RE: UN ~ EU
By LaughinAtYa on 1/16/2008 1:41:06 PM , Rating: 2
'Iraq's Missing Billions' (UK TV Documentary)
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3904382605...
http://www.guardian.co.uk/guardianfilms/story/0,,1...

'House Panel Questions Monitoring of Cash Shipped to Iraq'
New York Times (February 7, 2007)
"The committee calculated that the $12 billion
in cash, most of it in the stacks of $100 bills,
weighed 363 tons and had to been flown in on wooden
pallets aboard giant C-130 military cargo planes.
“Who in their right mind would send 360 tons of
cash into a war zone?” Mr. Waxman said. “That’s
exactly what our government did.”[...]“We have no way
of knowing if the cash that was shipped into the Green
Zone ended up in enemy hands,” he said. “We owe it to
the American people to do everything we can to find out
where the $12 billion went.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/07/washington/07bre...

'Cronyism and Kickbacks'
Ed Harriman on the economics of reconstruction in Iraq
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n02/harr04_.html


RE: UN ~ EU
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 1/16/2008 2:05:37 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
'Iraq's Missing Billions' (UK TV Documentary)

Neither of these are what I would consider credible. The guardian didn't even really have much other than the "poor suffering masses that are so deprived".

quote:
'House Panel Questions Monitoring of Cash Shipped to Iraq'

One occurance. A far cry from your original incinuation that it was a constant problem. By the way, Waxman is an idiot. How else do you expect to pay the Iraqi Army, Government, Police, etc.... This isn't America where we can do a digital delivery to the banks. We had to print the damn money and how else do you expect to get it there? Other than poor security on the part of the Army to properly ship it and account for it, there isn't much here. Nice try though.

quote:
'Cronyism and Kickbacks'

Sounds like a typical day in most major world governments these days.


RE: UN ~ EU
By LaughinAtYa on 1/16/2008 3:01:45 PM , Rating: 1
'Iraq's Missing Billions' (UK TV Documentary)
quote:
Neither of these are what I would consider credible. The guardian didn't even really have much other than the
"poor suffering masses that are so deprived".

You gave the game away with "Neither". The Guardian link
merely provides the source of the documentary - which you obviously
haven't/won't watch. Your definition of credibility is itself, therefore,
not credible. The facts within the documentary are all on record
and easily researched.

quote:
Other than poor security on the part of the Army to properly ship it and account for it, there isn't much here.


'Much'? By early 2006, only around $23 billion. Again, you do
have to actually watch the documentary and examine the facts
before passing judgement - credibly, that is...


RE: UN ~ EU
By mdogs444 on 1/16/2008 3:11:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Your definition of credibility is itself, therefore, not credible. The facts within the documentary are all on recordand easily researched.

Michael Moore creates documentaries as well - but his interpretation of spinning the topics doesn't mean its true and fact. Being shown on the BBC (aka Biased Broadcasting Corporation) leaves much to be desired in terms of credibility - especially with its extreme liberal anti-american bias, which is even admitted by the conservative brit's.
quote:
and examine the facts before passing judgement

Again - facts about anything American are usually not portrayed in their true sense on the BBC. I thought you would have known that.


RE: UN ~ EU
By robinthakur on 1/17/2008 8:38:57 AM , Rating: 2
We're a democracy in the UK, and the BBC's output represents all the population not just what the government tells it to broadcast like in Russia and recently the US. We are also a much more tolerant and liberal society in general than the US, though I would think that 'liberal' and 'anti-american' do not naturally follow and reveal your agenda somewhat. I thought America was rather a strong proponent of Liberty and Freedom last time I checked? I'm a conservative Brit so you heard it from the horse's mouth. I would far rather have the BBC than Fox News. The videos i've seen of that look like an absurd satire on a news channel, with the only worry being that its 100% serious. I'm guessing you have never watched the BBC's output for yourself and just prefer to get your opinions second hand. News must be impartial and unemotive at all times lest it becomes sensationalist and untrustworthy. I di see some of this on the BBC sadly, but not nearly as much as on other sources I have seen.

Judging by your use of language I'd say that you are rather biased towards American interests and are unable to rebutt the previous posters specific points. Just because you don't agree with him does not make him wrong.

I watched that documentary as well and I can assure you that it did not have the sensationalist tone of a Michael Moore publicity vehicle and all the points raised in it were extremely valid whilst being very disturbing. At worst there was utter incompetance (as well as outright theft) going on given the staggering amounts of money we're talking about (way more than troops salaries' as you point out) and at worst corruption and much more sinister elements at work. Watch it for yourself and then comment...There's nothing wrong with admitting you are incorrect, we won't respect you any less.


RE: UN ~ EU
By masher2 (blog) on 1/17/2008 9:32:42 AM , Rating: 2
> "News must be impartial and unemotive at all times lest it becomes sensationalist and untrustworthy..."

quote:
The BBC has failed to promote proper debate on major political issues because of the inherent liberal culture of its staff , a report commissioned by the corporation has concluded...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/ne...

That's what the BBC says about itself. What others say about it are far worse. BBC has plenty of bias...but when you're exposed few sources but it, you tend, like anything else, not to notice it.

BTW, I read BBC online nearly every day.


RE: UN ~ EU
By LaughinAtYa on 1/16/2008 3:07:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
We have been supply Saudi Arabia with weaponry for decades, this is nothing new. It's also going to provide money to the defense manufacturers which right now are quite good for the economy.


Yup, Nothing new. Saudi Arabia, is the most extreme
fundamentalist country in the Middle East. It's oil reserves
were seen even back in the 1940s as a “stupendous source of
strategic power” by the US State Department. What's not to
like?


RE: UN ~ EU
By javiergf on 1/16/2008 5:00:00 PM , Rating: 2
I was going to provide the links but another reader already provided them.

Here you have one

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,2008189,00...

I didn't mean to say that the actual planes dissapear, only the taxpayer money they were carrying.

My whole point is that no goverment in the world is corruption free but saying that the EU is corrupted is like saying that the US is corrupted. Yes, there may be some corruption but so there is within the US. The EU is not a bunch of third world countries ruled by dictators.

Regarding the UN, who did create the UN? Where is the UN building HQ located?

I just can't understand how you can get so upset if another goverment does something against Microsoft. It seems everybody in the dailytech hates Microsoft as a company but if a foreigner dares to touch an American company.... Don't American companies fines and impose tarifs on foreign companies sometimes? Who started the whole attack regarding Windows 95 and the Internet Explorer? It was the US goverment.

Now, look to who were the 9/11 terrorist and draw your own conclusions. It is funny to see that you don't see any problems on giving the most advanced weapons to Saudi Arabia, when the US goverment invaded Iraq based on the idea that Saddam was an "evil dictator" (there were no WMDs)
. However Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and China are "good dictatorships" not like the ones on Iran (Iran is more of a democracy than most middle east countries), South Korea or Iraq.
Don't see some contradiction there?


RE: UN ~ EU
By SandmanWN on 1/16/2008 8:48:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Regarding the UN, who did create the UN? Where is the UN building HQ located?

The UN, formerly known as the League of Nations , was the brain child of German philosopher Immanuel Kant. The US was not a member during its original founding. It was formed after WWI and lasted until the beginning of Germany's invasion. It remained in the background throughout the war.

Churchill and Roosevelt formed the Atlantic Charter after WWII. A year later 26 Nations signed the Declaration by United Nations, which observed the principal of the Atlantic Charter. Its undergone a multitude of changes since then.

I don't know what the location of a building has to do with anything. What are you trying to prove by bringing up something absolutely irrelevant?

Are you calling the Saudi Arabia Military a terrorist institution? As many have pointed out here there are terrorists in nearly every country on the face of the planet, including EU countries and the US. In that case all countries are terrorist collaborators aren't they, even the US. Perhaps we should embargo ourselves... lol

Finally, you did say the C-130's were missing! This is a clear indicator that you have a poor understanding of what you were talking about to begin with. Going from C-130's missing to an interim government known as the C.P.A. (which is a mixture of military personnel, Iraqi's, and US appointed officials) that squandered money and practiced poor accounting techniques is a rather large change in perspective.

No one has argued that money hasn't disappeared. But much unlike the citizens of the EU, the American public is taking its government to task for its poor management. Can you say the same about the EC?


RE: UN ~ EU
By ebakke on 1/16/2008 11:23:35 AM , Rating: 2
Did the OP say anything about the US? No.


RE: UN ~ EU
By SandmanWN on 1/16/2008 11:42:23 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
did you hear about these C-130 stacked with millions of dollars that dissapear on the way to Iraq?

Missing C-130??? WTF are you talking about!!! Why make up such a bold faced lie? By all accounts the money was removed from the reserve in an automated process by machines as few people are allowed into the vault. Loaded on a truck. Sent to a military airfield. Shipped to Iraq. Turned over to the CPA.

It was at that point that the money slowly disappeared through bad accounting during the rebuilding process. Why tell such a bogus lie about disappearing C-130's?


RE: UN ~ EU
By javiergf on 1/16/2008 5:15:24 PM , Rating: 2
I was going to provide the links but another reader already provided them.

Here you have one

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,2008189,00...

Hold on, before calling anyone a liar. I didn't mean to say that the actual planes dissapear, only the taxpayer money they were carrying. I didn't say that, it was said in the UK news, on the CNN, the matter went to Congress even. So you think tons of cash dissapear and the only ones to blames are the Iraquis right?

My whole point is that no goverment in the world is corruption free but saying that the EU is corrupted is like saying that the US is corrupted. Yes, there may be some corruption but so there is within the US. The EU is not a bunch of third world countries ruled by dictators.

Regarding the UN, who did create the UN? Where is the UN building HQ located?

I just can't understand how you can get so upset if another goverment does something against Microsoft. It seems everybody in the dailytech hates Microsoft as a company but if a foreigner dares to touch an American company.... Don't American companies fines and impose tarifs on foreign companies sometimes? Who started the whole attack regarding Windows 95 and the Internet Explorer? It was the US goverment.

Now, look to who were the 9/11 terrorist and draw your own conclusions. It is funny to see that you don't see any problems on giving the most advanced weapons to Saudi Arabia, when the US goverment invaded Iraq based on the idea that Saddam was an "evil dictator" (there were no WMDs)
. However Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and China are "good dictatorships" not like the ones on Iran (Iran is more of a democracy than most middle east countries), South Korea or Iraq.
Don't see some contradiction there?


RE: UN ~ EU
By mdogs444 on 1/16/2008 12:00:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
did you hear about these C-130 stacked with millions of dollars that dissapear on the way to Iraq

LOL - No one heard of that, because bad accounting practices have nothing to do with C-130's that just POOF out of thin air.
quote:
Or the recent arms deal with Saudi Arabia, most of 9/11 terrorists were from that country...

The terrorists from Saudi Arabia are against the Saudi government. The US provides weaponry to the Saudi government to fight the terrorists and protect the oilfields & refineries. Its a win-win for the US - protect natural resources from terrorism, fight back against terrorism, have a middle east ally, and increase the US economy through weapons manufacturers.

I know you are just loon who wants to blame the US for everything since you hate the US government, but go ahead and find some credible arguments. What you cited here was false propaganda at best.


RE: UN ~ EU
By Ringold on 1/16/2008 12:37:28 PM , Rating: 2
On a related note, what about those terrorists rounded up in Britain before they were able to fly, and destroy, multiple trans-atlantic flights?

Are we to abandon support of the UK like that nut proposed just because they were from the UK? They're actively helping in Afghanistan, helped as long as they could politically afford to in Iraq, and at least some of them are aware they're as big a target as we are.

Of course, no reasoning with conspiracy theorists.


RE: UN ~ EU
By mdogs444 on 1/16/2008 12:51:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
On a related note, what about those terrorists rounded up in Britain before they were able to fly, and destroy, multiple trans-atlantic flights?

And what about those estimated 1500 Britains who fled the country to join Al-Queda? What should we do about them - not fund or be on good terms with Britain anymore?


RE: UN ~ EU
By OrSin on 1/16/2008 11:18:02 AM , Rating: 2
They make laws to after a product is out, just to get fines from American companies. I"m not any MS fan, but damn if you dont like it dont use its. If you dont like the Office format, dont use office. Star office is free and works with all MS-office products. So I dont see where MS is stopping people from making products to compete. They want fines more then anything else. Look the XP version with no Media player for the EU. It's selling at 2% of the rate of the realy one. How do you sue a company for giving away free product. And the argument that one can now sell a similar product is crazy. If the similar product is better and people need it they will by it. If not then Ms - office would never get bought and everyone would by star office. Oh I forgot they are sueing about that too now.


new formate
By wordsworm on 1/16/2008 12:30:57 PM , Rating: 3
Can someone tell me what a formate is please?

Jokes aside: Europe has been a leading force throughout the world for centuries. They've always been very powerful. The fact that since WWII they've taken a long time to recover is a fairly natural thing. It was a huge war that made a huge impact over many nations. This was followed by the US/USSR dividing many of the greatest scientists between the two. The EU overtaking the US economically isn't surprising. To see it pull further ahead wouldn't surprise me in the least either. I see more Peugots around the world than I do Fords or Chryslers or any other American brand.

That said, MS losing the EU would be losing their biggest market.

The whole concept of an EU isn't terribly dissimilar than that of the US. It is a union of many states.

The US might be the world's only super bully at this point, but I'm sure this is only for a little while. History repeats itself. No one stays at the top forever. The next world's super bully is bound to be Australia.




RE: new formate
By Ringold on 1/16/2008 12:44:13 PM , Rating: 2
That's a particularly lousy excuse, WW2.

Japan was completely annihilated, and you don't see them leaning on the WW2 crutch. East Germany can play the communist card, but Frances excuse for being almost $2k lower in GDP-PPP?


RE: new formate
By masher2 (blog) on 1/16/2008 1:24:43 PM , Rating: 3
> "I see more Peugots around the world than I do Fords or Chryslers or any other American brand."

What nonsense is this? Ford and GM are the #2 and #3 carmakers in the world, with sales on 6 of the 7 continents.

Peugeot (if combined with Citroen) is number 6, and losing that position fast to Nissan.

Ford also owns several "European" brands such as Volvo, Jaguar and Landrover. GM also has many other non-US brands such as Saab, Opel, (Holden (Australia), Daewoo (Korea), and Vauxhall (U.K.).

I strongly suspect your "around the world" is your own little corner of Europe, as PSA has very weak sales outside that continent.


RE: new formate
By wordsworm on 1/16/2008 8:51:59 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
I strongly suspect your "around the world" is your own little corner of Europe, as PSA has very weak sales outside that continent.


Let's see: I've seen more Peugots in S. Korea, Indonesia, and Taiwan. I see them in small numbers, but I still see them. Ford and GM are largely supported by the Canadian governments at all levels. Without the government support, I wonder where they'd be. I don't see a lot of Daewoo around S. Korea, despite them being made here. I see Keeya (spelling?) and Hyundai (overwhelmingly).

Someone mentioned that Japan recovered quickly from WWII compared to Europe. Japan went largely untouched by any military with the serious exceptions of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Europe was a vastly different story. Serious bombing raids into the cities were conducted, so don't even try to compare the two different scenarios as they're vastly different.

By the way, I've never been to Europe.


RE: new formate
By masher2 (blog) on 1/16/2008 11:11:50 PM , Rating: 2
> "Ford and GM are largely supported by the Canadian governments at all levels. Without the government support, I wonder where they'd be"

You should have stopped while you were behind. In 2006, PSA (Peugeot/Citroen) sold a grand total of 3.36 million vehicles, of which only 1.06M were outside of Europe.

GM, on the other hand, sold 9.1M. Discounting the 3.87M sold in North America, GM outsold PSA in ROW by 5 to 1 . Hell, GM almost outsells PSA even in its home continent of Europe. (2.001M to 2.296M)

What about Ford? Are they just a "US" company? Let's see, outside of US/Canada, they have manufacturing facilities in the following countries:

Japan
Thailand
Mexico
Australia
U.K.
China
Germany
India
Taiwan
Malaysia
South Africa
Philippines
Russia
Brazil
Belgium
Spain
Sweden
Vietnam
Argentina
Venezuela

Those are just the nations in which they MAKE cars. They sell them in far more...and, like GM, the bulk of their sales are from overseas markets, not the US.

In short, you couldn't be more wrong.



RE: new formate
By masher2 (blog) on 1/16/2008 11:17:45 PM , Rating: 2
> "> "Japan went largely untouched by any military with the serious exceptions of Hiroshima and Nagasaki"

Lol, what? Forget about the firebombings of Tokyo? Having over half your capital destroyed is "largely untouched"?

How about the city of Toyoma? 99% destroyed. Osaka? 35% destroyed. Yokohama? 58% destroyed. Kobe? 55% destroyed. Hitachi? 72% destroyed. Chiba? 41% destroyed. Fukuyama? 80% destroyed. Kure? 42% destroyed. Sasebo? 40% destroyed. Kuwana? 75% destroyed. Tsuruga? 65% destroyed. Oita? 30% destroyed. The list goes on and on and on.

Are people really so ignorant of history these days? The nuclear bombings were *nothing* compared to the devastation wrought from conventional bombing of Japan.


RE: new formate
By Ringold on 1/16/2008 3:38:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The EU overtaking the US economically isn't surprising.


I wanted lunch, or I'd of addressed that nonsense as well.

At least, on the one hand, you seem to freely admit the EU is on the path of becoming a super-state, trumping the sovereignty of individual nations. A smaller number of your comrades try to still deny it.

On the other hand, its still theory and not fact. If you wish to compare local trading blocs, then we can compare the EU and NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement -- think the European Common Market, minus a blatant attempt at federal government).

Lets take a look at GDP-PPP ranking, as provided by the CIA World Factbook, simply because it appears to have corrected data for China (it was corrected downwards recently after years of overestimation).
EU: $13,080,000 millions
US: $13,060,000 millions
US + CAN + MEX: $15,390,000

That's pretty significant. Throw in other central American states, like Colombia, with which we do large amounts of trade and have trade agreements with..

US + S.A + Bahamas/Gulf of Mexico: $16,901,695

I could even make a strong case for adding Japan to the US bloc, as Japan does almost as much trade with the US as Mexico does and the US is Japan's second largest trading partner.

US + S.A. + Japan: $21,119,695

I did go to public school, but I can see all of those are large margins, in the trillions.

Not to mention the US's superior long term growth prospects. Of course, nobody ever talks about the US on more fair terms by at least including NAFTA; treating the US fair on comparisons? Ha.

But congratulations to the EU, a huge conglomeration of nations with significantly more population, for finally catching part of the way up. If the US passes the EU up again, well, guess ya'll will just have to expand and bring Turkey in to the fold, eh?


RE: new formate
By Qi on 1/17/2008 3:20:16 AM , Rating: 2
Comparing the European Union to the North American Free Trade Agreement is wrong for so many reasons. The NAFTA is just a trade agreement, the EU is a lot more than that. The EU has so many nation-like characteristics you can almost - but not yet - treat it like a nation. We have a common currency, a constitution, Flag of Europe, European anthem, EU citizenship, European Court of Justice, European Parliament, and the list goes on...

quote:
Not to mention the US's superior long term growth prospects.
Long term growth prospect for the European Union as a whole is much better than that of the United States. In fact, the US economic outlook is dire. Even your own Comptroller General, David M. Walker, warns that drastic measures are needed to avoid bankruptcy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIgrxpp97OQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXr_Ga_n0pY

Some additional reading if you are interested:

http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d06456t.pdf
http://research.stlouisfed.org/publications/review...

quote:
But congratulations to the EU, a huge conglomeration of nations with significantly more population, for finally catching part of the way up.
Much like the situation we had some 200+ years ago, when some individual entities united to form the United States. What's happening in Europe right now is really quite comparable in some aspects to the beginning of the United States of America.


who the hell EU is...
By CvP on 1/16/08, Rating: 0