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Microsoft is not happy

Operating system giant Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) became the first high profile victim of aggressive European Union antitrust enforcement (but it would not be the last).  Slapped with almost $2B USD in fines, the company was lashed for browser bundling and other tactics viewed by the European Commission regulators as anticompetitive.

Microsoft appealed the fine, but the results were less than what it was hoping for.  The appeals body -- the General Court of the European Union announced [PDF] this week its decision to cut the €899M fine to a mere €860M ($1.1B USD), a reduction of €39 (~$48M USD).

A Microsoft spokesperson told Reuters it was "disappointed with the court's ruling."

With the appeals exhausted, it now appears Microsoft will have to pay up to preserve the billions in yearly business it gets from the EU.  The ruling is the latest setback for Microsoft in Europe.  

The company has suffered from plenty of bad PR in Europe in the wake of UK court proceedings which detailed a sexual harassment by managers.  The incident led to several resignations and several civil suits, placing Microsoft squarely in the crosshairs of the EU state's active tabloid industry.

Sources: General Court of the EU [PDF], Reuters

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RE: I think I fugred it out...
By Manch on 6/28/2012 5:49:06 AM , Rating: 5
Its a money grab pure and simple.

Having IE or media player packed in with Windows is no big deal. Just download another browser/media player if you want something different.

No one craps in Apples cheerios for not offering alternatives to or for including Safari or there movie studio on there MAC's.

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By maugrimtr on 6/28/12, Rating: 0
RE: I think I fugred it out...
By FITCamaro on 6/28/2012 9:21:25 AM , Rating: 2
EU needs cash to keep bailing out its member countries. Pure and simple.

Claiming to protect fairness by being unfair is not only illogical, its downright wrong.

Microsoft does not force anyone to use the other products that it includes with Windows. It provides them as a starting point, the same as Mac.

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By Kiffberet on 6/28/12, Rating: -1
RE: I think I fugred it out...
By Reclaimer77 on 6/28/2012 9:52:16 AM , Rating: 5
Okay what the fuck is wrong with you people. Honestly? You're talking jail time for putting a free browser into an OS!? Do you realize how insane that sounds?

I'm so glad I'm not running a business. Knowing people like you and Beenthere are out there would probably put me in an early grave.

By it_aint_subtle on 6/29/2012 8:25:55 AM , Rating: 1
sounds ridiculous doesnt it. Its almost as ridiculous as a $1.1 billion fine.

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By Mint on 7/1/2012 9:55:03 AM , Rating: 2
I think the ruling is weak, but a one-time payment of $2B is peanuts for Microsoft, just like the $1B+ that Intel offered AMD to settle the antitrust case was nothing, and both benefited over 10x as much through their disputed actions, whether legal or illegal.

Even more so, the EU isn't going to bail out jack with penalty funds if $2B is all the can get from one of the biggest companies in the world.

FYI, the US redistributes about 10x as much between member states as the EU does. That's the biggest reason that the US can live with a single currency but Europe is struggling.

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By Reclaimer77 on 6/28/2012 9:41:44 AM , Rating: 1
Nobody is stopping the EU from making their own competing OS. MS doesn't have a monopoly. They have leading market share. There's a HUGE difference.

And this reeks of arbitrary and subjective enforcement to me. Please quote me the exact "law" MS was explicitly breaking by including IE in Windows? And why has it take almost 30 years for this "law" to be enforced?

Calling a bundled OS "abuse" of a monopoly is rhetoric that only a hater could embrace, or a delusional European. Your markets are crumbling all around you. Your "balancing act" has failed.

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By TheJian on 6/29/2012 4:54:07 AM , Rating: 1
Uhh, sorry...They are a monopoly as stated by the US govt. vs MS. They lost, were guilty, and paid 23 states (if memory serves - probably doesn't..LOL, might have been 25 or something) all 25mil or less to get off. They are the first GUILTY MONOPOLY to get away with it and still be NOT BROKEN up into 3 companies. At the time they were supposed to be broken up into apps, entertainment and OS divisions. But if you pay broke states enough money (isn't that a fine of sorts? 23 x rougly 20mil is like 500 mil or so correct?) you can stay a monopoly.

Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson pronounced them GUILTY! David Boies (SP?)/Joel Klein represented the Dept. of Justice and KICKED Microsoft's A$$. They then sadly watched as 20 states CAVED and accepted a pittance because they were all sinking in debt and would take bread crumbs to get by...LOL. Unfunded pension plans will do that to you...ROFL. Just look at STOCKTON, CA.

What were they in court for? Precisely the same thing the EU isn't liking. They bundled the browser with the OS and forced Netscape to bleed to death (ours is free, yours is $30 - Your dead - among other EVIL they did).

I hate wiki but easy to report these facts even for them :) :

"Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates was called "evasive and nonresponsive" by a source present at a session in which Gates was questioned on his deposition.[4] He argued over the definitions of words such as "compete", "concerned", "ask", and "we".[5] BusinessWeek reported, "Early rounds of his deposition show him offering obfuscatory answers and saying 'I don't recall' so many times that even the presiding judge had to chuckle. Worse, many of the technology chief's denials and pleas of ignorance have been directly refuted by prosecutors with snippets of E-mail Gates both sent and received."[6] Intel Vice-President Steven McGeady, called as a witness, quoted Paul Maritz, a senior Microsoft vice president as having stated an intention to "extinguish" and "smother" rival Netscape Communications Corporation and to "cut off Netscape's air supply" by giving away a clone of Netscape's flagship product for free. The Microsoft executive denied the allegations"

Correction, I guess some wanted them broke up into 4 companies (but I just wanted 3). The court I guess said TWO companies:
"On 2000-06-07, the court orders a breakup of Microsoft as its remedy. According to that judgment, Microsoft would have to be broken into two separate units, one to produce the operating system, and one to produce other software components.[14][15]"

You can google that everywhere on about 100 sites. The judge was CLEAR.

Note that when you make 16bil, and someone fines you 1.5 or 2.0 you laugh and continue to break the law. The USA should have fined the 10bil, and after habitually breaking the laws again and again, the EU should hit them for 15-20bil. You don't stop people from breaking the law if they still make money after it. Where is the incentive? I can tell you if I make 16bil each year and merely pay a fine of 2bil I will break the law every freaking year and bury you and every other company I could to keep it. It's GOOD BUSINESS. Witness apple. Thankfully someone stood up (Judge posner/koh) and said enough is enough. You get a buck if you come back...ROFL. Appeal if you want, I'll be there to smack you down again (posner...they would appeal to HIM and his friends above the court he went into to smack them down)...Justice finally is served...albeit half-a$$ed and far too late to save the damage done to HTC etc. Those border bastards hurt when you're not the one with 100bil in the bank to weather the storm. Sorry reclaimer....The facts just don't support your opinion.

When you pay off enough people it takes [apparently], well, FOREVER to enforce the law. I guess Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson is a "HATER" spewing RHETORIC eh? Jump down off that podium sir. The USA says you're spewing fud and full of shite. :) But yeah, the EU has no idea how to run a govt any better than California et al. On that...WE AGREE.

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By maugrimtr on 7/2/2012 9:55:23 AM , Rating: 1
Microsoft is a monopoly. Basic economics should be enough to get you to the correct definition and a good explanation of why monopolies are regulated everywhere. Being unfair to be fair - this is what regulation is all about. It's unfair to the monopolistic entity in order to promote fairness to consumers. Monopolies are inherently inefficient, lead to higher prices, erect barriers to new entry against competitors, etc.

A "free browser" which is reviled by the web programmer community is a great example. It's free but it also contains features no other browser can implement (not least of which is broken HTML standards). Companies who build apps against Internet Explorer find themselves needing IE to run them because other browsers can't (they're not non-standard enough and don't support ActiveX for example). Classic case of an entry barrier.

The EUs solution was, I agree, dramatically outdated and pointless. The market had already started fixing this once Firefox hit the scene and internet access became common (let's time adjust back before we all had broadband to see why the decision was reached) - and later Safari/Chrome as they share grew and people started to figure out that IE was actually the worst browser in existence.

As for quoting specific laws. You're kidding, right? Your sense of smell and feelings are nothing more than a poor attempt to suggest the EU has no competition law (it definitely does - go do a google search before you "suggest" next time).

While the EU markets are crumbling, I hope you don't mind if Europeans go on enforcing their laws and resisting those stupid international ones the US keeps trying to push on them like ACTA. If you bothered checking, you'd have realised that the balancing act has worked out fine for all except Greece. EU problems tend to be the banks that were bailed out, at taxpayer expense which was a massive error. Their debt, from speculative derivative betting and collapsed property markets, is too much for small nations like Ireland to shoulder. Stupid people do stupid things until they are booted out at the next election.

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By Digimonkey on 6/28/12, Rating: 0
RE: I think I fugred it out...
By BZDTemp on 6/28/2012 1:46:39 PM , Rating: 2
Lots of companies have been fined for anti-competitive behavior. It does not matter where there from it matters how they do business.

The EU is a union of Democratic countries not some scam system and no laws are being made up like you suggest. And as for the fine the money is like a drop in an ocean compared to the EU budget and it's hardly a major thing for Microsoft either.

Microsoft holds a tight grip of the OS market (to name just one market) and the grip was even tighter back then. They used to grab the Office application market and had they been allowed they would have made IE and Windows Media Player the de-facto standards as well (they came damn close).

Try asking yourself this. Why would Microsoft "give away" a browser or a Media Player "for free" if they didn't stand to gain something. Or maybe you could look up Netscape vs. Microsoft and get informed.

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By Digimonkey on 6/28/2012 2:27:49 PM , Rating: 2
Try asking yourself this. Why would Microsoft "give away" a browser or a Media Player "for free" if they didn't stand to gain something. Or maybe you could look up Netscape vs. Microsoft and get informed.

Listen, I'm not gonna argue about why Microsoft wants to continue development of IE and Media Player and bundle that into windows because there is no way of finding out short of talking to Microsoft Execs.

That said people expect a web browser and media player with their OS. It's what a modern OS offers. Mac OS offers that, most Desktop Linux Distros offer that. It's common practice so whats the point in the fine? What exactly is the lesson to be learned here?

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By TheJian on 6/29/2012 5:49:32 AM , Rating: 1
See my other reply to you...MS execs quoted by Intel CEO's UNDER OATH saying they would "cut off their air supply" by giving away a dupe of netscape. Try taking BZD's adivce and GET INFORMED.

No point in arguing. YOU'LL LOSE. Microsoft already cleared it up for you. If they didn't read the FREAKING verdict straight from the JUDGE! Emails were even more damning (from and to Bill G himself, Alchin too...LOL). The lesson is they never should have been allowed to do it, the others just were forced to follow or they'd also die. Thank god google can bleed with chrome as long as MS and IE... :) But for netscape...No dice. Are you really this naive? Say it ain't so.

If it wasn't for businesses, firefox would be dead too. Microsoft continues to dev IE/Media player to keep the barriers high. Meaning you must be able to give your work away for a LONG time to defeat them - that's called a HIGH BARRIER to entry! In case you can't be bothered to look up the definition of a monopoly that HIGH BARRIER is one of the requirements of conviction. Did I mention they were convicted and ORDERED to break up into TWO companies? Ordered to do so by the USA! Like it or not, the EU is just getting their chunk of the same pie the 20 states did FIRST.

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By Digimonkey on 6/29/2012 12:03:49 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think you understand my stance. Microsoft has been guilty of shady practices, I understand that. However I think this is a EU shady practice. They let Microsoft include IE for the longest time, then decided they had an issue with it and charged them with a retroactive fine.

By JKflipflop98 on 7/3/2012 9:26:57 PM , Rating: 1
Wow, I've never read a bigger load of shit in my life.
Good show.

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By tynopik on 7/11/2012 10:43:54 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft's intent DOESN'T MATTER

The actions were either legal or they weren't, whatever MS was trying to accomplish IS IRRELEVANT.

What were the actions? Bundling a browser 'free' with the operating system.

You know, THE SAME THING EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD DOES. Hell, you can't even buy a phone without a browser bundled. People expect computing devices to come with a browser, and if it didn't, they would return it as defective.

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By Reclaimer77 on 6/28/12, Rating: -1
RE: I think I fugred it out...
By TheJian on 6/29/2012 6:21:31 AM , Rating: 2
If you call me a liberal those be fighting words Rec :) While I hate that the EU is capitalizing on this, the reason they're after them is just. We already convicted them ourselves (rightfully so - they did come damn close to making IE/Media player defacto - and still trying - Bing/Silverlight too - using IE to do most of it...LOL).

I'd shout loudly from the rooftops that we should burn all liberals if I thought it would do any good. :) OK, we should at least thrown them all together on some island so they can try to fund their own crap. My taxes should just go to pot holes etc :) The govt needs to get it's foot out of my arse and keeps it's hands off my money. Obama needs to go to jail with Holder (he lied to congress under oath...). Last time I checked lying under oath (worse as the head of DOJ!) was a FELONY. Obstruction of Justice at this level is the same. Obama has tied himself to a felon that got an agent killed (and who knows how many mexicans have died).

No liberal crap here :) But MS needs to go down with Apple and Intel. Understand I don't really want them out of business, just broken up so they're unable to leverage their ecosystems (OS, appstore, billions to ban products, buying up all the supply of memory just to keep others from getting a product out etc..whatever they use to club companies with). I'm not anti-corp (lower taxes you stupid dems - it creates JOBS! and keeps them from leaving for 0 tax elsewhere). We have no nvidia chipsets thanks to Intel. Intel made Asus sell me an AMD board in a WHITE box...No Asus label at all anywhere on the board for fear of Intel. I bought dozens of white no label boards and sold them as asus for months...LOL. Everyone knew what they were, it was clear from the design etc. But to get an AMD board then from ASUS you had to accept a NO LABEL motherboard in a white box. Thankfully AMD was kicking Intel's A$$ at the time so selling them was easy and even requested by customers. "You got that white box Asus in yet?"...ROFLMAO. I watched BEOS die because of Microsoft. That OS rocked! Back then it could play videos on all sides of a spinning cube at once. That was cool. Winblows couldn't touch that back then. Gobe Productive was a pretty good Office competitor until MS crushed it and Beos. That was one TIGHTLY written OS! No bloat just performance. I still have a copy of both I think. It was freaky fast and powerful on even crappy hardware. We got windows instead which had trouble with ONE video at the time. I was a reseller, but sadly it didn't last long. They couldn't bleed money :) They were awesome people too. I think they only had a dozen people coding it to completion. Amazing.
Read those comments! Microsoft killed probably one of the best OS' ever written!

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By TheJian on 6/29/2012 5:28:22 AM , Rating: 2
You might want to have a conversation with Marc Andreessen if he thinks the fines were fair since his company got trashed by the bundling. They're not making it up as they go, they should have done this a LONG time ago. WE DID. :) And it was 20 MEMBER STATES that did it in the USA. So yeah, I'm thinking I can answer that for you. They'd act the same, since the USA already convicted them of being a monopoly:
"Judge Jackson issued his findings of fact[13] on November 5, 1999, which stated that Microsoft's dominance of the x86 based personal computer operating systems market constituted a monopoly, and that Microsoft had taken actions to crush threats to that monopoly, including Apple, Java, Netscape, Lotus Notes, Real Networks, Linux, and others. Judgment was split in two parts. On April 3, 2000, he issued his conclusions of law, according to which Microsoft had committed monopolization, attempted monopolization, and tying in violation of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act. Microsoft immediately appealed the decision.[14]"

NUFF SAID? To answer reclaimer - It was the SHERMAN ACT sections 1 & 2! Are we done defending MS yet guys? Digimonkey had a point, but I'd say they were absolutely fricken SMART. 16bil last year, and a 2bil fine. Who freaking cares. That's on top of all the damage and ill gotten gains from whacking netscape etc (one of my favorite companies at the time - I LOVED that browser). SCREW MS, Apple etc. They kill great companies and destroy great innovators. Fortunately Marc has a great mind and ended up successful despite MS. But that doesn't usually happen, as most are just destroyed by crap like this.

MS should be punished more and broken up per Judge Penfield's verdict in the good 'ole USA! If we just ENFORCED the law we'd find there is NO need for new ones that strip us all of our rights (patriot act etc...BS! Odramacare BS!). My care just went down the toilet, as no company will pay for insurance when the fine is cheaper (if they don't just ignore it). Good business (and the dreaded bottom line) says they'll axe my insurance in seconds. Only the senators get to choose from 8-10 docs...Where's the guy that goes postal when you need him? ;) Why aren't they using this system too? Oh, it sucks, and they're better than us lowly peons. My bad, I forgot. You can hate a company for doing it, but it's just good smart business. You can thank Obama :) TWO TRILLION - for this unfunded crapcare. Oh, and it's NOT a tax...HONEST...ROFL. But the court just ruled it a TAX! Umm...White lie dems? Didn't Odrama say my taxes wouldn't go up a SINGLE DIME if this crap passed and I made under 250,000?
Obama and Clinton pledge...LOL.
Axelrod...rofl. Uhh..umm...uhh..the uh...lines in Enforce the law, no need for new ones. This is unconstitutional. I'll be fined for having no insurance $780 or so. You're complaining about RETROACTIVE FINES? How about complaining about being fined so some illegal can get free medical. I won't pay for medical when the fine is less...LOL. I won't pay the fine because I don't have to :) But you still have to cover me. Thanks for the handout. See the problem? My insurance costs $4000 a year but the fine is ~$800...LOL. I'll take the $3200 profit right after my insurance gets cancelled by my employer (they're not dumb either).

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By Manch on 6/28/2012 7:31:19 PM , Rating: 2
The Ireland utilities argument doesn't hold any water. Those monopolies made where you could only buy there product. MS does not do this with windows. They provide basic components with the OS. You are free to load whatever you want on it. Hell, by bundling IE with it, they gave you a window to the internet sso you can download whatever the hell you want, to include another browser! The Ireland gas monopoly didnt let you buy gas from somebody else to run through there pipes.

And seriously. unfair to promote fairness? If youre American, your definitely a liberal.

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By BZDTemp on 6/28/2012 1:37:44 PM , Rating: 1
Not this again. Which part of the word monopoly do you not understand?

Try looking at the market share for OS back when this case was undertaken (or even now if that is to hard). See the difference between Windows and Mac OS?

The majority of people don't download applications to their computers unless they are force to it. They simply don't know how and if Microsoft had been allowed to have it their way IE would be THE browser and Windows Media Player would be THE media player. Which means Microsoft would be controlling what file formats would be used and how video streaming would work. They would get a cut from everything delivered online.

The EU did what the US would have done were it not for lobbyists making the folks in Washington stop going after Microsoft.

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By tynopik on 7/11/2012 10:47:11 PM , Rating: 2
So just because they have a 'monopoly' (which is rather dubious at this point and time), they should be forced to cripple their product?

Is that your solution?

Because every other operating system in the world comes with a free browser too.

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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