Print 29 comment(s) - last by karlostomy.. on Dec 21 at 1:34 PM

Modified ballot box proposal accepted by EC

The European Union has now dropped the antitrust charges against Microsoft. The EU has agreed to accept the amended offer from Microsoft that will hit Windows users with a ballot box allowing them to choose their browser.

The antitrust charges have been a long running legal row between Microsoft and the EU. The web browser industry's smaller players have complained for years that the dominance of the Windows operating system allows Microsoft to abuse its monopoly power and effectively prevent other browsers from being used.

Microsoft offered the ballot box for browsers in October after the European Commission asked for the ballot box to be used. There were complaints about the first iteration of the ballot box with competitors claiming it didn’t offer enough information on the alternative browsers.

Earlier this month reports came in that the EC was set to approve the modified proposal from Microsoft that offered more detail on browsers and randomized choices. Today the proposal has been approved. Starting in March, the ballot box will be sent out as an update to Windows computers and will show users a pop-up window that offers the  a browser choice. The ballot box will offer up to 12 other browsers for users to choose from. The deal also allows Microsoft to escape other massive fines as long as it meets the conditions of the deal.

EU competition commissioner Nellie Kroes said, "The (European) Commission has resolved a serious competition concern for a key market for the development of the Internet." She called the deal an "early Christmas present" for Europeans.

Kroes describes the problem with Microsoft's IE browser as, "It is as if you went to the supermarket and they only offered you one brand of shampoo on the shelf, and all the other choices are hidden out the back, and not everyone knows about them. What we are saying today is that all the brands should be on the shelf."

The ballot box pop-up screen will be downloaded to Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 machines that are using Internet Explorer as the default browser.

About 100 million computers are expected to display the ballot box by mid-March with 30 million new machines displaying the ballot box over the next five years. If rival browser makers can’t grow their market share after this deal goes into effect, they have no one to blame but themselves. Microsoft will meet with EC members again in six months to assess how the compliance is going with the new deal.

Yahoo News reports that Microsoft is happy with the deal and general counsel Brad Smith said, "[Microsoft is pleased with] final resolution of several long-standing competition law issues in Europe" [and looks forward to building] "on the dialogue and trust that has been established between Microsoft and the Commission."

Microsoft isn’t completely out of the woods yet in Europe though. Kroes says that complaints from rival software makers that Microsoft is not sharing key information with them that is needed to make their software work with Microsoft products is still being investigated.

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RE: Good...
By redbone75 on 12/17/2009 10:28:02 AM , Rating: 2
Fact is, Capitalism works. It works best when it is left alone. As soon as regulation and interference appear, free markets cease to work. There are thousands of examples from the recent financial crisis. Ask me.

Ok, I'll ask you: did you not pay any attention at all to the US financial crisis? It was deregulation that caused this little tiff we are in. Pull your head out of the elephant's @$$ and think for yourself for once. I'm not for heavy regulation and sure as hell am not for socialism, but to say that unbridled capitalism works shows that you are just as naive and uneducated as the people you seem to shun.

RE: Good...
By karlostomy on 12/21/2009 1:34:39 PM , Rating: 2

What a nerve to tell me to get my head out of my ass.
Redbone, you are quite ignorant.
I will educate you.
Read on.

I study finance and economics at University.
We studied the causes of the financial crisis and the complex factors which contributed to it.
This is a VERY hot topic, as you might guess.

Here's the crux:
The financial crisis was in fact exacerbated by the standard interventionist government policy of promising to bail out depositors money in banks.

As soon as financial institutions knew their risk was covered by promised government bailout, a pandora's box of moral hazard opened up. Banks now could take risks that they would not have been taken, that increased profits, at the expense of their own internal risk control.
After all, why not take more risk?
More risk equalled greater profits, and the government had promised to guarantee deposits?

In a free economy , the likelihood of banks taking these types of risks would have been significantly lessened.

Read on.

In a free economy, if a bank fails, it fails, period.
There is NO guarantee.
The free market is brutal.
In a free market, banks soon learn this, or else they fail.

The fact that there was government guarantees and regulation in place, removed the burden of responsibility of risk control AWAY from the banks.
Banks could now chase riskier projects, than would have been possible in a free market, purely because they did not OWN the risk.

In other words, the responsibility of failure was transferred from the bank to the government, while the opportunity for profit increased for the bank.
Does that sound like a recipe for disaster, or what?

Thus, ironically, the financial crisis was instigated and worsened by the interaction of government regulation and the resulting cash grab, in the form of moral hazard.
Thanks to socialist intervention, the free market mechanism, was derailed and sabotaged.

I find it incredibly sad that you have not grasped this, redbone, and are blaming the free market for the financial crisis, when it was in fact the Moral Hazard instigated by government intervention that was actually to blame.

It seems maybe it is YOU who needs to
Pull your head out of the elephant's @$$ and think for yourself for once.

Better yet, just stfu, next time.

"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs

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