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Print 54 comment(s) - last by purefat.. on Jul 10 at 8:03 PM

Software giant balks at penalties

The European Union appears set to keep its hard-line stance against Microsoft’s allegedly anticompetitive tactics, and it is insisting on imposing a €899 million ($1.36 billion USD) fine on the company to keep its future actions in line.

Microsoft’s lawyers disagree, however, and entered a variety of arguments last May that the fine is too high, and was entered based upon “manifest errors” in the EU’s process. With copies of the arguments released publicly earlier this week (PDF), its demands to annul the fine are now available for perusal worldwide:

  • The EU “erred” in its decision to subject Microsoft to regular, periodic fines while the company released copies of its interoperability specifications, due to the fact that Microsoft’s pricing for the documentations was not in line with the EU’s definition of “reasonable,” – the EU never explicitly stated what it considered a “reasonable” price to be.
  • Further, licensing rates for information on its proprietary protocols – despite not passing the EU’s benchmark of reasonability – were more than 30 percent lower what industry experts PriceWaterhouseCoopers determined to be a fair price for “comparable technology.” (Ars Technica questioned this finding early last year, noting that in many cases ‘comparable technology’ was open source, and therefore free.)
  • Microsoft should not have been subjected to a “heightened patentability test,” where the innovation of its trade secrets was placed under scrutiny in order for the EU to decide whether or not Microsoft should have charged royalties for the use of its trade secrets.
  • The EU based some its assessment reports on documents obtained that courts later determined to be “unlawful.”
  • Microsoft was denied its “right” to be heard due to the EU’s failing to give Microsoft the opportunity to speak up after the period for which it was fined, preventing the company from “commenting on all relevant aspects of the case.”
  • And, simply, the fines imposed are “excessive and disproportionate,” particularly due to the fact that the EU chose to challenge its licensing practices.

Additionally, Microsoft previously appealed the fine to Europe’s Court of First Instance last May – however little has developed in the appeal since its filing.

The company’s trouble began in 2004 when the EU demanded Microsoft provide competitors the ability to connect to software running under its Windows platform (applications like Exchange and Active Directory). Third-party attempts to connect to Microsoft technologies have, typically, been written by reverse engineering the company’s communications protocols.





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Fight and win
By FITCamaro on 7/9/2008 7:34:04 AM , Rating: 4
My attitude is that even if the fines aren't repealed, Microsoft simply not pay them. What can the EU do? Make using and selling Windows illegal? Make Microsoft close its European offices? Darn, more jobs to come back to the states.

F*ck you EU and your attempt to use Microsoft as a piggy bank to pay for your government programs. "Hey we need a few more hundred million. Where can we get it?.....Fine Microsoft again!"




RE: Fight and win
By FaceMaster on 7/9/08, Rating: -1
RE: Fight and win
By Aloonatic on 7/9/2008 7:53:11 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah, pull out of the EU entirely.

Most Windows and Office products on EU systems are pirated anyway.

Luckily China and India etc all use legitimate copies, so MS will be fine.

MS shareholders will be delighted at the news that they have lost 500M customers in the developed world over night.

$1.4BN does seem rather steep however.

I can't wait for my payout as an EU "citizen".

Happy Days.

*rubs hands together awaiting cheque through the door and anticipates the Intel Fine.

Who's next?


RE: Fight and win
By ikkeman2 on 7/9/2008 8:38:41 AM , Rating: 3
$1.4billion / 500million poeple = < $3.00 per person...

< €2.00

* scratches behind his ear and goes to take a leak


RE: Fight and win
By Aloonatic on 7/9/2008 8:46:32 AM , Rating: 2
Oh no

It's only £1.44 per EU Citizen

And I've already paid a down payment on my speed boat :-s

Curses


RE: Fight and win
By MrBlastman on 7/9/2008 9:28:32 AM , Rating: 2
You know, on many levels, pull out of the EU is exactly what they should do. But, I would only attempt this if Bill and Steve were to remain at the helm.

It is clear they are unwanted there so they should just jump ship. Ignore the fact that most US businesses use Office and Microsoft products - just run away.

The EU would then be forced to either:

a. adopt something else - and get the rest of the world to do it
b. suck it up and let Microsoft back in

Either way, weather you are a Microsoft lover or hater, it would be an interesting drama to watch indeed. More interesting than say - you stepped on my line in the pavement, I'm suing you!


RE: Fight and win
By Aloonatic on 7/9/08, Rating: 0
RE: Fight and win
By bnutz on 7/9/2008 11:06:51 AM , Rating: 3
Then they would just go after Apple, which I am surprised they have not done yet since they do they same thing with their software.


RE: Fight and win
By SiN on 7/10/2008 2:10:38 PM , Rating: 2
I cannot wait for Apple to be disected and scrutinized... its far overdue!

Shame on the EU, they have overstepped the mark... but then again, so have microsoft, just not lately.


RE: Fight and win
By Screwballl on 7/9/08, Rating: 0
RE: Fight and win
By Strunf on 7/10/2008 6:31:16 AM , Rating: 2
The EU would pick a... and btw the rest of the world as you call it is eager to change to something else than windows, who knows if the EU wouldn't start the global trend...


RE: Fight and win
By lynxss on 7/9/2008 11:02:22 AM , Rating: 1
Just think, if they'd just paid the original fine instead of trying to fight it, they would have saved $500 million or so from the currency exchange before the dollar tanked.


RE: Fight and win
By Amiga500 on 7/9/2008 8:04:17 AM , Rating: 2
Are you pissed off or stupid?

Microsoft exits Europe => Another software company/organisation steps in and provides a widely used and well supported alternative to windows.

What would happen if ubuntu reached a 'critical mass' user base, and 3rd party developers started going for linux software in a big way? With drivers following from ATI and Nvidia.

The rest of the world would soon follow. Something like that *could* kill windows within 3 years.

That is Microsoft's worst nightmare, not a fine from the EU.


RE: Fight and win
By RandallMoore on 7/9/2008 8:19:20 AM , Rating: 2
Im not sure you realize just how much of the material world runs off of MS software... Before anyone says it, YES i do understand that there are ALOT of servers out there that run UNIX and linux. But seriously, linux is garbage when it comes to serious business productivity. Its sometimes nice for IT pros i.e. programer, web design, network admins, etc etc. As a whole though, the world revolves around MS and they know it.


RE: Fight and win
By Amiga500 on 7/9/2008 8:32:35 AM , Rating: 3
As a whole though, the world revolves around MS and they know it.

Yeap - thats kinda my point.

If people **had** to find alternatives, then MS's position with regards compatibility, reputation, penetration & support is all under severe scrutiny.

There are alternatives to windows and MS software - its just that businesses & home users like to know things will run on their machine. If MS loses that stranglehold, they lose a lot of the reason people buy windows in the first place.


RE: Fight and win
By crimson117 on 7/9/2008 11:56:28 AM , Rating: 2
Define "serious business productivity" ...


RE: Fight and win
By mindless1 on 7/10/2008 11:06:57 AM , Rating: 2
I hateo to break it to you, but EU doesn't matter, nor does America. If China and India cultivate an adoption of 'nix then things will change quite a bit in the next 10 years. Yes, it'll take years, just as MS didn't get this popular overnight they won't fold from a few billions in fines or losses of fractional markets.

Linux is great for serious business productivity. Maybe you meant home use instead? Typical business systems are locked down, fixed application base, almost ideal for linux except for a need for more high quality administrators that know how to support it and still do the hand-holding at the same time since most linux admins seem to pretty much hate average joe users.

Think about what the typical office machine does. Email? Check. Browser? Check. Office? Check. Of course there are going to be certain mission critical applications that only support certain OS, and those certain OS are most likely to be in the Windows NT family if recently released but what made windows what it is? A lot of momentum by the industry, not by MS. Widescale adoption, just like you could see in India and China.

Linux has already evolved beyond what Win9x was with exception of a few usability features. An OS with minimal commercial development for the PC sector has eclipsed what MS had accomplished during Win9x era with millions of dollars pouring into it regularly. There's no denying a future where it becomes cheaper to do the everyday things that people need to do with PCs and MS doesn't understand that as shown by an ever increasing hardware base on Vista just to do those things. What did the world need? A fixed interface, not changes like with Vista, so there was no retraining to do the same things. What else? More security, to decrease user burden not increase it like Vista does with the nagging or deactivation of certain OS components. What else? Lower footprint and computational demands than XP, not higher - because low power light weight cheaper greener systems are in our future.

MS really doesn't get it. Everything and the kitchen sink is definitely a geek's delight but most of the world are not computer geeks.


RE: Fight and win
By SolidSteel144 on 7/9/2008 8:24:08 AM , Rating: 2
Linux is not that bad...
Sure it kinda feels like a lot of free stuff glued together with Elmer's glue. But it's an OK OS.


RE: Fight and win
By RandallMoore on 7/9/2008 8:33:55 AM , Rating: 1
And I'll agree with you. Linux isnt a bad OS at all. Sure its complicated, Open Source, pretty secure, and most of all FREE :)


RE: Fight and win
By MrBlastman on 7/9/2008 9:33:15 AM , Rating: 3
At the command-prompt, UNIX/Linux/BSD etc. can't be touched by Windows.

At the GUI level... this is where UNIX/Linux/BSD fall flat. Sure, there are some features that have been around in X11 for years that Vista just finally got around to implementing, but, there are many more that they lack either in usability or fluidity of control.

I own a Macbook and a PC - I'd go so far to say they both have their own stupid share of problems, but, when it boils down to daily use - I still prefer Windows XP. Granted, this is Mac OS, it is a wide-scale usage of a GUI on a BSD platform.

From an admin perspective for servers/automation/programming/logic - I would pick any UNIX/Linux/BSD etc. variant without even thinking twice. For productvity, they still have a long way to go (but are diligently working towards it).


RE: Fight and win
By ElBrujo on 7/10/2008 4:30:04 AM , Rating: 2
I haven't used PowerShell to its fullest, but it's a pretty impressive start. I'd imagine that the GUI version of PowerShell 2 offers even more...


RE: Fight and win
By enlil242 on 7/9/2008 8:24:12 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
What would happen if ubuntu reached a 'critical mass' user base


LOLLL, only if they gave it an AOL user interface.. Then, maybe... Remember, the "masses" are full of technological ID10Ts!


RE: Fight and win
By MPE on 7/9/2008 9:39:23 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
full of technological ID10Ts!

Did 'ID1OTs' required a college degree from the University of Dumbass?


RE: Fight and win
By Polynikes on 7/9/2008 9:38:08 AM , Rating: 2
The EU's fines have been unreasonable against MS. I agree with you, they shouldn't pay a dime.

Oversight like they have here in the US might be OK, but exorbitant fines? That's just greedy government.


RE: Fight and win
By Polynikes on 7/9/2008 10:21:08 AM , Rating: 2
I forgot to mention... If they're doing it for the customers' benefit, you know, since MS "screwed" the europeans, then there should be some form of tax cuts so they can get their money back.

But clearly that's not the case.


RE: Fight and win
By Aloonatic on 7/9/2008 11:11:27 AM , Rating: 3
That's always been the thing that I have never understood about these "fines".

For example, In the UK we have a lousy rail network, which you would think would be sorted as we all know that trains will save all the polar bears and seals from certain doom.

They were privatised, but they still go to the government for money when it doesn't work out for them. The shareholders still get their payouts however, even though they miss targets and deadlines so they get fined by the government, but then have to get loans and handouts from them as well???

Madness, where does this money go???

I'm no fan of the EU by the way.

This money will probably go to the friends and families of the EU/EC in dodgy handouts and "jobs" where their useless nephews turn up for an hour a week and get a yearly salary.

The EU is a terribly corrupt monster hell bent on creating a European super state (they already have a flag and an anthem, what more do they need?!?) and wants money to grow and expand.

I guess the other winners (apart from unemployable idiot relatives of MEPs and such) from this will be the former Eastern Block nations in the Europe who have joined the EU and need to be bought "up to spec" with lots of nice new roads and such like.

In saying all that, it's not just the EU who don't like large companies behaviour, including MS and Intel.

Most similar bodies to the EC/EU have had investigations into business prectices and such like.

The EU will always be the highest fine however as:

a) It is pretty damn large, nearly 500M people (that's continent though I think, not the EU but you get what I mean?)

b) Everything's more expensive over here.

Queue flaming about choosing to live in a socialists paradise etc etc etc....


RE: Fight and win
By Some1ne on 7/9/2008 3:37:20 PM , Rating: 2
While you may have a point, it's hard to agree with you given the piss-poor arguments that Microsoft is using in its appeal. For example:

quote:
The EU “erred” in its decision to subject Microsoft to regular, periodic fines while the company released copies of its interoperability specifications, due to the fact that Microsoft’s pricing for the documentations was not in line with the EU’s definition of “reasonable,” – the EU never explicitly stated what it considered a “reasonable” price to be.


Um, if the courts order you to submit copies of your interoperability specs, you'd damn well better not try to charge them for it. If you do, you're just asking for them to drop the hammer on you.

quote:
Further, licensing rates for information on its proprietary protocols – despite not passing the EU’s benchmark of reasonability – were more than 30 percent lower what industry experts PriceWaterhouseCoopers determined to be a fair price for “comparable technology.”


Their argument admits that they failed to meet the benchmark. That's not going to work, regardless of what PriceWaterhouseCoopers says. If MS feels that the benchmark is unreasonable, and has evidence to back it up, then they should challenge it in a seperate suit instead of trying to make the complaint as part of their appeal. Flat out admitting that you failed to meet the benchmark is not the way to win an appeal, no matter how unfair you think the benchmark was. Next.

quote:
Microsoft should not have been subjected to a “heightened patentability test,” where the innovation of its trade secrets was placed under scrutiny in order for the EU to decide whether or not Microsoft should have charged royalties for the use of its trade secrets.


Why shouldn't they have been? Because it didn't play out in their favor? If you patent something, it needs to be novel and innovative, and you need to be able to prove that it is such. I don't see the issue here, and in fact I support the idea of having a "heightened" review process, as it sounds like it's intended to help blunt the damage caused by people obtaining overly broad and/or obvious/frivolous patents. If Microsoft's argument is that they should not have been subjected to the test, because they ended up failing it, then that's not going to fly either.

quote:
The EU based some its assessment reports on documents obtained that courts later determined to be “unlawful.”


This one has some minor chance of working, though how much depends entirely on how many documents were deemed inadmissable, and how much of a role those documents played in the decision process. I don't have this information, though I'm guessing that if it were really substantial, Microsoft would be playing up this aspect a lot more than they are. Thus, this argument seems unlikely to succeed as well.

quote:
Microsoft was denied its “right” to be heard due to the EU’s failing to give Microsoft the opportunity to speak up after the period for which it was fined, preventing the company from “commenting on all relevant aspects of the case.”


You don't have any right to respond after the response period has expired. Microsoft should have completed its response in a more timely manner.

quote:
And, simply, the fines imposed are “excessive and disproportionate,” particularly due to the fact that the EU chose to challenge its licensing practices.


Of course Microsoft is going to say that, but unless they can somehow prove it, all this argument boils down to is Microsoft saying "we dont want to have to pay a fine". That won't work, as the judge is probably already well aware of the fact that the losing party in any given case would prefer not to lose.

Seriously, if that's the best their legal team can come up with, then they deserve to lose $1.4 billion. And then they should get some better lawyers.


RE: Fight and win
By DragonReach on 7/10/2008 12:51:16 AM , Rating: 2
There are some misconceptions here.

1. The charges for the interoperability documents was not for the court but for competitors of MS.

2. Subjecting one company to more stingent patentability tests than other companies is straight out wrong and an obvious measure to ensure a pre-determined outcome.


RE: Fight and win
By ElBrujo on 7/10/2008 4:44:10 AM , Rating: 2
The EU are just a bunch of socialists jealous that they can't tax Microsoft any more than they already collect for sales tax (which is highway robbery if you don't already know). Part of the reason people want to come to the US from Eurape is that US taxes are much lower. The rest of the mindless sheep who'd rather pay through the nose so that everything else is spoon-fed back to them are pissed at American capitalism and not getting their share of other people's efforts.

Hell, Microsoft should pay the fine and raise the cost of all EU SKUs. Then it would be painfully obvious who actually pays for fines and taxes. You could call it Capitalism 101.


RE: Fight and win
By purefat on 7/10/2008 8:03:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Part of the reason people want to come to the US from Eurape is that US taxes are much lower.


The only reason I am really anxious to come to the US is the extremely weak dollar. It's really a free shopping spree.

quote:
The EU are just a bunch of socialists jealous that they can't tax Microsoft any more than they already collect for sales tax


I am unhappy to inform you that the vast majority of the governments the EU states, the people with the real power, belong to the right-radical right wing. Cyprus is the only EU state with communist goverment, while social democrats ( which are extremely far from communism) govern Spain and take part in the governing coalition with the Christian Democrats in Germany. As far as I know nearly all belong to the right wing.
In addition to this, in some EU states all communist symbols are banned.
As you can conclude the EU/EC are not consisted of jealous socialists. In fact Europe is a political midget, nearly always obedient to the US. So if MS would like to get rid of all these fines, it should focus to Washington rather than Brussels

P.S. I am not against free market, but at least in my country untill now free market = unlawful, full of cartels, expensive market


Friends of the free market?
By MrJim on 7/9/2008 9:35:35 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
The company’s trouble began in 2004 when the EU demanded Microsoft provide competitors the ability to connect to software running under its Windows platform (applications like Exchange and Active Directory). Third-party attempts to connect to Microsoft technologies have, typically, been written by reverse engineering the company’s communications protocols.


Read this over and over, as a friend of the free market and regulations against monopoly i think MANY forget this. Apple should face the same since they also force you only to use apple made software.




RE: Friends of the free market?
By rcc on 7/9/2008 11:00:57 AM , Rating: 2
Right, not to mention GE, they require that your use their firmware to run your microwave oven.

For shame!!!!!


RE: Friends of the free market?
By Aloonatic on 7/9/2008 11:26:16 AM , Rating: 2
From what I've seen on TV, I'm willing to let GE's East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming division get away with this.

30 Rock is a "fly on the wall" documentary, isn't it?


Ugh
By angryandroid on 7/9/2008 10:00:35 AM , Rating: 3
As an "EU" citizen, I must confess I can't stand this utter trash. If they are going to fine someone for not abiding by the rules they could at least follow the rules themselves.

Unfortunately, that just isn't the case in Europe. Hypocracy and unaccountability are their trademarks.




RE: Ugh
By Strunf on 7/10/2008 6:40:09 AM , Rating: 2
A lot of words... and very little substance.

Hypocrisy and unaccountability are our trademarks? Then we should sue many other countries for trademark violation, if we got 1 billion from MS how much would we get from the US ?...

As for myself I'm quite proud I live in a country where MS and others can't buy their way with peanuts.


Time to move on
By crystal clear on 7/9/2008 9:06:37 AM , Rating: 3
"A long dispute means that both parties are wrong."

Yes thats the problem because

"It is not who is right, but what is right, that is of importance."


So in this context one has to ask a simple question-

Are those fines really “excessive and disproportionate” ?

Do these fines achieve any positive results worth the mention ?

Do these fines resolve the core issues of the dispute ?

This case/dispute can go on with no end in sight.

Its high time the E.U. member countries step in & put an end to this,once for all.




Goofballs...
By seamonkey79 on 7/9/2008 8:44:29 AM , Rating: 2
This has nothing to do with any rules Microsoft may have broken. The core question here is what a failure these have other companies been when they cannot give their product away and compete with Microsoft...

Plus, those people are a bunch of socialists that look for where the most money is and decide that they must have done something wrong in order to get it, because otherwise they wouldn't have it.

Nevermind economy of scale. Nevermind volume. If they have money, they're evil and should give it to us, the government, because we're benevolent and will share with everyone.

So... I've noticed that the more money governments take and spend on things that private sector used to do, the worse their economies do. So, they need to tax people more, because they have less money (and that's what this is, a tax, hidden in the term fine) to do things they're inept at doing anyway.

I don't think I'll ever understand why people think that giving the reigns of business is a good business decision.

Whatever, most of you won't understand, you're too busy thinking about your 'free' health care and 'free' food and 'free' this and 'free' that, all the while pretending the video cameras aren't watching you and pretending that the police don't have the right (nevermind the school districts) to kick your door in and arrest you for falling off your sofa. Enjoy your 'free' stuff while not being free.




Only one solution
By nvalhalla on 7/9/2008 9:17:21 AM , Rating: 2
Obviously Microsoft can't "pull out" of the EU, something would fill the void, and most of it would be pirated Windows. No, it seems that operating in the EU is simply going to be more expensive than in the US. I see a price hike in the future...




Monopolies are always bad
By acedebase on 7/9/08, Rating: -1
RE: Monopolies are always bad
By RandallMoore on 7/9/2008 9:06:22 AM , Rating: 4
yes,... Monopoly does = unfair pricing and "sometimes" poor product quality, but everyone needs to stop and think a minute. What would the IT industry be like if there was 1,000 different main stream OS's?? If anyone reading this is an IT Pro, then you perfectly well understand that microsoft can be really really shafty sometimes but at the end of the day, you realize that if not MS, then it would be someone else doing the samn d a m n thing. Im actually glad that 499 out of 500 systems that i service are MS products because there is enough info available out there to fix any kind of problem. Anyone complaining needs to write thier own OS and bring it to market. Dont get me wrong, im not a MS PR representative. But they arent the devil either lol.

I use the same example about people that do nothing but bash pres. Bush with every single breath they have. How about YOU try and run a chaotic country. huh?


RE: Monopolies are always bad
By bobcpg on 7/9/2008 9:40:07 AM , Rating: 2
I agree, but could you image how much more money we (IT people) would make if there was 500 different OS's :)


RE: Monopolies are always bad
By mindless1 on 7/10/2008 11:16:27 AM , Rating: 2
You are failing to see what their goal was, interoperability. With that, an open standard, while we would not have 1000 popular OS, we could have a few more tailored to the different needs that certainly exist.

Nobody that complains needs to write their own OS. If you feel your car has a problem do you need to build your own to justify feeling that way? Of course not, it's well known some are better than others and we welcome the competition because there are standards they all have to meet which at least ensures they are fairly suited to the core intended use.

Having a double standard when it comes to OS versus any other product is not reasonable. Complaining is good, it serves to indicate dissatisfaction in areas that can be improved upon. Even if complaining is not seemingly done in a constructive manner it would then be pointless to fixate on that as if we would have some nirvana as a result. Key is staying focused on actual details that can continue to improve the PC OS we use, accepting it is not perfect just as we had in the past so that no matter what we end up using 10 years from now, it is better and better over time.

MS certainly has the opportunity to do that and a decided advantage. This fine is trival to them, they'll just raise the price of windows next time if the fines add up enough but as always they will have to be mindful of the fact that no matter how much some like windows, others don't place value on the same things and in the end an OS that stays high in cost relative to the total price of a low end system is getting harder and harder to sell.


RE: Monopolies are always bad
By RandallMoore on 7/10/2008 6:37:06 PM , Rating: 2
I understand that the linux world of open source has its applications, but by your comments i can assume that you must have not worked as a tech for clients ranging from home users to medium sized businesses (i can be wrong). The reason MS prevails as a "standard" is because it is the most well known. As i said before, 499 out of 500 home users have MS products. And as you must be aware, whatever the masses of home users have, the businesses will also follow with the same due to less training and more productivity. Imagine this for a minute. Lets say 94% of the average joe, working class citizen uses linux at home, and 94% of businesses use MS or even MAC based systems. That would be complete and total disaster for any administrators and technicians. Its hard enough as it is with 99% percent of the people using the same thing at work and at home. Sure linux has significant market share, and can be useful for very specific situations, but i never see it becoming mainstream.


RE: Monopolies are always bad
By kenferg1 on 7/9/2008 10:00:28 AM , Rating: 2
Hmmmm... EU makes rules. Microsoft follows rules, pricing said technology below fair market value. Microsoft not allowed to comment on ruling made with admittedly illegally obtained evidence. Microsoft fined billions by a Confederate Congress with no real access to money from its member states. For more information on the success of confederated goverments I suggest you look at the Articles of Confederation as well as that well documented success the Confederate States of America.

Once again, Europeans are selling their freedom to petty dictators. You want to be "safe." You want to "feel" good. You want rights without responsibility. That's fine. It's your right under the doctrine of self-determination. It is also the right of a company to refuse to do business there.

I salute the Irish for voting againt membership in the EU. There is no greater threat to individual liberty than the EU, unless you include the imbecility of British Parliament Big Brother mentality.


RE: Monopolies are always bad
By kilkennycat on 7/9/2008 5:53:01 PM , Rating: 3
The Irish did NOT vote against membership of the EU. They are firmly in the EU and wish to remain in it!! They voted against the latest variant of the EU embodied in the new Lisbon Treaty. Ireland's constitution spells out the requirement for a national referendum for major changes in the EU constitution and the EU's current rules demand that ALL countries within the EU individually agree on EU constitutional changes ....

Ireland's major politicians were gung-ho about the Lisbon treaty. Since this is a massively obscure document (like many EU documents) and since the Irish populace distrust their politicians, the Lisbon vote went down. Thus this revision to the EU constitution is currently halted, so the MEPs in Brussels have to stop wining and dining themselves and get down to revising the Lisbon treaty in a manner that is comprehensible/acceptable to the average Irishman in the street and not subject to interpretation by Irish politicians.


EU Fine
By idboracle on 7/9/08, Rating: -1
RE: EU Fine
By Aloonatic on 7/9/2008 8:31:08 AM , Rating: 3
Care to explain why, or are you just going to call people names?


Funny
By karielash on 7/9/08, Rating: -1
RE: Funny
By FITCamaro on 7/9/2008 8:41:08 AM , Rating: 5
Did you even read the article. This fine was not from Microsoft breaking the rules. It was from them saying Microsoft did not sufficiently comply with what they wanted them to do as a result of the initial ruling.

quote:
due to the fact that Microsoft’s pricing for the documentations was not in line with the EU’s definition of “reasonable,” – the EU never explicitly stated what it considered a “reasonable” price to be.


So you think its ok for Microsoft to be fined because they didn't meet a goal that was never told to them? That'd be like your boss firing you for not getting your work done by the deadline when he never told you when the deadline was.

quote:
Further, licensing rates for information on its proprietary protocols – despite not passing the EU’s benchmark of reasonability – were more than 30 percent lower what industry experts PriceWaterhouseCoopers determined to be a fair price for “comparable technology.”


So experts in the computer industry say that Microsoft's protocols are worth a certain amount, Microsoft prices its licensing fees more than 30% below that, and those prices are deemed unfair by the EU who don't have a damn clue what any of this stuff is worth.

quote:
The EU based some its assessment reports on documents obtained that courts later determined to be “unlawful.”


Hey who cares what they get or how they get it just so long as they make a decision right?

quote:
Microsoft was denied its “right” to be heard due to the EU’s failing to give Microsoft the opportunity to speak up after the period for which it was fined, preventing the company from “commenting on all relevant aspects of the case.”


Ah so we'll just throw out any kind of ability for a company to speak up against absurd fines as well. Perfectly ok.

The fact of the matter is, Microsoft makes a product. It spends billions of dollars doing so. It has the right to charge whatever it wants for protocol information and anything else. If those prices are too high, then people and businesses will go to other products. It's called the free market. Something the EU wouldn't know if it smacked them in the face with a sledgehammer.


RE: Funny
By Maharajamd on 7/9/2008 9:09:57 AM , Rating: 2
^ I generally don't agree with you, but you're about spot on with this.


RE: Funny
By karielash on 7/9/08, Rating: -1
RE: Funny
By baseball43v3r on 7/9/2008 1:59:29 PM , Rating: 4
protectionism? no free market? are you insane? then explain why we pretty much import EVERYTHING nowadays. our economy is in the crapper right now because of the free economy because we have the minimum wage and countries like India and China really...dont. but your right, we dont have a free market. We only lose jobs to foriegn countries every day because our country has the free economy. As to the home of protectionism, i can think of quite a few countries, some most notably in the actual EU that are far far far worse then the US in terms of that.

The experts come from PriceWaterhouseCoopers so that is at worst reasonable, just because the link comes from Microsoft doesnt mean the information they tout isnt verifiably true. They were told to put their house in order but not exactly what that meant, so how could they do so under sucha vague premise? of course the EU would say they are spouting rubbish do you honestly think MS can win this after the EU wants that much money from them? its not like the EU is a holy santic body who does no wrong, they are just a money grubbing organization going after the fat little piggy for the bacon.


RE: Funny
By michael67 on 7/9/2008 6:07:31 PM , Rating: 2
I am amazed how rude the comment are here to worth the EU citizen, what a hatred just because we have a other philosophy how to control the market.
Yeah we have a little more social society but believe me, we have still a capitalistic based economy its just different based, and the rules collide sometimes .

Even do “I” think our system is better for its citizen doesn’t mean it is but same gose for the US system, shouting that the US system is the best doesn’t make it so. (doesn’t rule it out idler) and properly the truth is some ware in the middle!
I would just say have a little respect for others and try to see there point even if you don’t agree.
quote:
Did you even read the article. This fine was not from Microsoft breaking the rules. It was from them saying Microsoft did not sufficiently comply with what they wanted them to do as a result of the initial ruling.

You get stopped for speeding, doing 50 in a 30 zone and you get a fine.
Afterwards you get pulled over a other couple of times for doing 40 in the same zone afterwards you have to come for a judge and he takes away your license (read the 1.4B fine) and you start arguing yeah but 40 is a real safe speed there this is bogus (read MS dint wane comply) do you find it strange that in the end a judge gives suds a penalty because you wont wane hear to reason ?

Its very simple different country’s have different rules and different economical models if you doing business in a other country you have follow there rules.
Just because they are different docent make them bad ore good but you have to follow them.

In Holland stands one of the worlds best aluminum factory but it cant do business in the US because of a 30% import tax
Ore Airbus maybe lost its 30B contract whit the USAF for new tankers because Boeing got incredible pull in DC

Do you hear EU citizens saying “all Americans are damn protective neocons only think about your self” have a look in the mirror and use a bit more respectful languish
quote:
So you think its ok for Microsoft to be fined because they didn't meet a goal that was never told to them? That'd be like your boss firing you for not getting your work done by the deadline when he never told you when the deadline was.

The ware tolled multiple times what they had to do.
I have seen a intervieuw whit Neelie Kroes the EU Competition Commissioner, in that interview she was saying that in her hole life she never came a crosses a company, that tried to stall, wiggle, BS its way out of complying whit the rules.
And dint see any other way then taking the gloves of in the end and just put a 2M Euro daily fine in place to get them to comply
quote:
So experts in the computer industry say that Microsoft's protocols are worth a certain amount, Microsoft prices its licensing fees more than 30% below that, and those prices are deemed unfair by the EU who don't have a damn clue what any of this stuff is worth.

Again EU law different from US law, if you have +75% market share the rules change for you and have to follow stricter rules to let smaller companies also have change to be competitive.
I also have seen in forums ware programmers for smaller companies ware very happy whit the EU ruling , and dose ware not only EU but also US companies (1)

quote:
The EU based some its assessment reports on documents obtained that courts later determined to be “unlawful.”
Hey who cares what they get or how they get it just so long as they make a decision right?

Yeah right, like a US court would rule out document given by employee that had singed a secrecy document of wrong full doing.
That employee can properly not even be fired even under US rule.
quote:
Ah so we'll just throw out any kind of ability for a company to speak up against absurd fines as well. Perfectly ok.

The fact of the matter is, Microsoft makes a product. It spends billions of dollars doing so. It has the right to charge whatever it wants for protocol information and anything else. If those prices are too high, then people and businesses will go to other products. It's called the free market. Something the EU wouldn't know if it smacked them in the face with a sledgehammer.

Read comment (1) again pleas
They have a monopoly they can strong arm ask what ever they want and small business have no other way to go then to: 1) pay what ever MS ask. 2) do reverse engineering.

Look at graphics market ware Nvidia actual helps in the development of a CUDA driver for Ati.
If Nvidia had a market share of 90% they would have sad to Ati want a CUDA driver pay us a dollar per vga card, now they are asking only pennies because there is competition


RE: Funny
By Donkeyshins on 7/9/2008 7:43:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You get stopped for speeding, doing 50 in a 30 zone and you get a fine. Afterwards you get pulled over a other couple of times for doing 40 in the same zone afterwards you have to come for a judge and he takes away your license (read the 1.4B fine) and you start arguing yeah but 40 is a real safe speed there this is bogus (read MS dint wane comply) do you find it strange that in the end a judge gives suds a penalty because you wont wane hear to reason ?

Actually, this is incorrect. The proper analogy would be:

You get stopped for speeding, doing 50MPH in an unmarked zone and you get a fine. After slowing down to 40MPH and asking the officer if this is slow enough, you get a warning, but no indication of the proper speed. You slow down to 30MPH and get another warning, but still no indication of the proper speed. You slow down to 20MPH, cars passing you on either side, and are hit with a 1.4B fine...while still not being told what the speed limit is.
quote:

I have seen a intervieuw whit Neelie Kroes the EU Competition Commissioner, in that interview she was saying that in her hole life she never came a crosses a company, that tried to stall, wiggle, BS its way out of complying whit the rules.


Yes, and Neelie Kroes is so impartial. Let's see, she's on the board for Lucent Technologies, which is a subsidiary of Alcatel-Lucent. Who is A-L suing again for infringement on MP3/MPEG licensing again (appealing a ruling which was thrown out of court)? Microsoft, who licensed the technology from Fraunhofer (which co-developed the technology with Bell Labs - Lucent's 'parent').

Why hasn't Neelie recused herself from the EU v. Microsoft case again? Makes one think...


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