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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 Aloonatic on 6/28/2012 6:02:27 AM , Rating: -1
The thing is, every appeal, every resubmission, every comment, every stalling/delayng tactic... is reproted here, sometimes 2 or 3 times, so you think that MS and Intel and Dell and whoever " keep " on getting fined by the EU.

The thing is, they take so long to pay these fines and appeal so often, and delay things so much, sometimes so that they can carry on their abusive behaviour as long as possible, but also to make non critical thinking people like yourself (And the rest of the usual flag waving crowd here) think that MS etc are being bullied and are just "victims" of some nasty foreign power abusing an American company...

They did wrong, they know it, the courts know it, a lot of people know it, and these silly comments about the EU just trying to balance their books by fining American companies is just so silly as to not even be worth debating, but there will still be (monster) truck loads of fools that will fall for the poor ikle American company line.

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By fteoath64 on 6/28/2012 6:16:50 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah agreed. The law is the law. Not as if MS has no high-priced ace lawyers arguing this case due to the potential amount in billions of fines they might incur as they started this proceedings.

This is the price to pay for operating in the wrong way on ANY land. MS could have mitigate their way around it but no, they had to be stubborn about this. EU bureaucrats have no patience for arrogant companies be it their own or from other countries.

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By StevoLincolnite on 6/28/2012 8:00:57 AM , Rating: 4
OH COMMON! They were fined for bundling a free application with an OS.
Now... Apple does it with both MacOS and iOS, Google does it with Android, Linux does, Palm did it, RIM does it, FreeBSD... So they should all be fined, otherwise the EU looks incredibly two faced about it all. (I.E. It's just a money grab, NOTHING more.)

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By BZDTemp on 6/28/2012 1:51:52 PM , Rating: 1
Go look up "monopoly" and "controlling market share".

When you have like 90%+ of the market you can use that control to grab control of other markets thus tougher rules apply. Non of the examples you mention are anything like that.

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By Topweasel on 6/28/2012 5:32:49 PM , Rating: 2
So you are saying that a large corporation isn't allowed to do the same thing as these other corporations because their bigger?

Anti-Competitive laws and Anti-Monopoly laws are created to protect consumers. What supporters of this fine are missing is that this actually made the windows experience better and helped out customers. What it doesn't do is protect customers from being to stupid to know their are other free options out there that they can install.

I don't know how any organization can force a company to offer a inferior software then their competitors just to keep companies alive.

Does anyone remember when the EU went after Amazon for offering free shipping to protect the small book stores?

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By TheJian on 7/1/2012 6:56:01 PM , Rating: 2
Umm, they were also undercutting those brick and mortar stores or did you miss that part? It wasn't just the shipping. They are so big now they even use the shipping (and free tax) to get you to stay there. Amazon Prime anyone. Free shipping over $25? No small company can pull this off. So eventually all brick and mortar stores will be out of business accept your local food stores.

Even newegg is getting killed by amazon. I haven't bought anything there in the last few years save a USB audio (star tech month last month...LOL) because amazon always beats them with free shipping. A mobo for my dad bought last week saved $6.98 (asus Socket 775 DDR3 board...who knew?). That $7 savings almost paid for the $13 cmedia 108 based usb audio from newegg...LOL They are now like a fry's ad to me instead of the main place I buy. Shipping isn't free very often unless their price is already higher. Amazon even allows you to ad 4 friends to your PRIME membership so they get free 2 day air too! Fair competition?

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By shyhh on 7/2/2012 1:58:38 AM , Rating: 2
That is unfortunately the sad fact of the market economy. You cannot prevent a company from being more efficient. It is not unfair. Amazon is able to do it because they are running on a lower cost and that is why they can offer a better deal. It benefit the consumers which is ultimately what free market competition is all about.

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By shyhh on 7/2/2012 3:47:32 AM , Rating: 2
I thought about the argument that the bigger, better company killing the smaller company and what i realized is that they don't. It is us consumer who killed these brick and mortar stores. The bigger corporation merely offer the option, we consumer pulled the trigger. Cos the fact of the matter is, in the end, we all have the choice to purchase from anybody we wanted and at whatever price we like to pay. But in a culture where everyone compare prices before that make a purchase, company like Amazon succeed because they are meeting a demand. And that ultimately, we allow that to happen...

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By Solandri on 6/28/2012 5:37:15 PM , Rating: 4
The fine wasn't for bundling a free browser with their OS. The fine was for abusing their monopoly position to stifle competition in the browser market by bundling a free browser with their OS.

After IE successfully vanquished Netscape and hit 90% market share, there was a 13 or 14 month period when no new features were added to IE. The only updates Microsoft released were security updates. That is, once they'd eliminated the competition and they controlled the market, Microsoft ceased putting money into improving the product.

It was this hiatus which allowed Firefox to get its foot in the door. One could argue that that was the just punishment Microsoft deserved for ceasing development. But I would argue that the hiatus never should have happened in the first place. If Microsoft had been prevented from eliminating the competition, competition would have insured continual investment into browser development, and browser technology would be 13-14 months ahead of where it is today.

Basically, the browsers you and I are using today are a little over a year behind in technology because of what Microsoft did. That's why they're being fined.

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By TheJian on 7/1/2012 7:04:12 PM , Rating: 2
Spoken like someone who actually read some crap before coming here to post! :)

I couldn't have said it better myself...(not for lack of effort though...ROFLMAO). Very nice Solandri.

I cringed today as i saw the about face Judge Koh did as she's right back to being apples lapdog (didn't she just say she wouldn't be apples B*tch?). Where's POSNER when you need him with that $1 verdict? Step on KOH then apple.. ;) Does anyone do their job these days? Patent office, Judges, senate, etc...All useless bought lapdogs (Posner being the only exception it seems). SCOTUS just passed a TAX that congress hasn't even voted on (not as a tax, they said it was NOT a tax, but judges just passed it as one - aren't they supposed to know the law?). I digress...

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By TheJian on 7/1/2012 6:46:37 PM , Rating: 2
Read my posts. Microsoft killed netscape by releasing their browser as FREE after they charged $19.99 at frys etc (it was in plus pack too if memory serves for $19-29 can't remember). I sold it to customers retail for $19.99 (in a freaking Internet Explorer box separate from the Operating System! For sale at Compusa and Computer City also). Then they went whole hog and gave it away until Netscape bled to death. Get it yet? Look up the case instead of spouting this crap. They gave it away free because they could afford to until Netscape died.

Notice the only thing in your PC that hasn't dropped in price is that $300 OS ($135 OEM, but that's been the same for 20 years too...same as when I sold it back to 1997! for NT pro). This is because there is no competition.

As BZD said, why do you think they spend time developing this and media player for FREE? Are you really this dumb or just work for MS or Apple? They dev it so others have a high barrier to entry and can keep everything on windows. It perpetuates their monopoly.

Again BZD was correct in stating that if most people get something in their OS they just live with it and will only download something else if they HAVE TO. Even then, they usually don't even know how! I can't tell you how many PC's I saw come back for a virus squashing, or OS re-install, or hardware upgrade 2-3yrs later (or just a vacuum cleaning as I offered to MY pc customers for $10 yearly) and only find the exact software I sold them on it. They had NOTHING else but a new version of quickbooks...LOL. That's it aside from maybe a new AV app (but most just kept paying renewals...even afraid to change app vendors...JEEZ!). I can categorically state that BZD is telling the truth after serving PC's to people for 8 years.

I just tried to buy a laptop from Dell with NO OS. I claimed I'd install Linux 3 seconds after I got it in the door and out of the box, and also that I had a Microsoft Action pak subscription (10 lics of everything for $299 offered to all business in cahoots with MS) with a good 4 lics of everything left and had NO NEED for Win7. They said they couldn't strip it because of Microsoft agreements, even if I never intended to even boot windows 7. That's $100 of the cost of the laptop for NOTHING! I really will not use that license. But I can't get out of it. Palm died (can't give away software for free forever unless you're extremely successful at something else...LIKE SEARCH). Rimm - need I say anything about rimm? Toilet. Nuff said. Linux is made by people, most not interested in the money. Redhat makes money on SERVICE because you can't charge a dime for REAL FREE OPEN SOURCE software. You do understand what OPEN SOURCE is right? Windows isn't open source, IE isn't open source - neither was netscape - but charging $29-39.99 for something MS can give away for free until your dead just bankrupts your company.

Name another company worth less than a billion that can create and keep a browser going for free indefinitely. You know it costs to produce IE right? MS/Apple have a lock on their segments (windows/appstore etc). Only a HUGE company can start a browser war (google). Business and customization are the only thing that keep firefox/opera relevant.

See my other posts. Microsoft is a convicted monopoly in the USA as of 2000. They paid 20 states off to get around it AFTER being GUILTY! IT cost them about 400mil. So I guess USA took the money grab first, what you're seeing now is just inflation on the same case we already found them guilty of. It takes YEARS to convict anyone with billions. Guilty, appeal, guilty, appeal etc until the other people are so broke or already dead so you only pay a pittance of what you should. Netscape was dead before the verdict on a case that started in 1994! Well, the real case started circa 1998 (Netscape went from 90% market share to 1%...OUCH. SIX years later is was too late to save them. Heck they were almost dead before it even made it to court! PULL YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE SAND! IIS was used in the same manner. Do you really think a company can give away server software for free forever? Netscape couldn't. I can't remember the name of their app, but IIS killed it for the same reason IE killed Netscape Navigator.

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By Reclaimer77 on 6/28/2012 8:19:55 AM , Rating: 2
They did wrong, they know it

AHAHAHA oh come on. Piss off. How could that be considered "wrong"?

I think if you were fined billions for giving your customers something FREE, you would delay, appeal, and protest too.

Dumbass troll.

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By Digimonkey on 6/28/2012 8:30:11 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah there in is the problem. The EU decided something was wrong, didn't really give Microsoft an option to fix it before slapping them with a fine. I'd call it legal extortion but whatever.

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By Digimonkey on 6/28/2012 8:30:43 AM , Rating: 2

RE: I think I fugred it out...
By TheJian on 7/1/2012 7:09:17 PM , Rating: 2
ROFL, read Solandri's post. When the competition is dead all we get is updates NOT new features. Until firefox got a foot in the door they didn't develop IE at all. Netscape was dead so you got nothing for over a year! Want that again? It's coming. Hopefully google can keep bleeding on their browser since search monopoly supports it...ROFL.

Only fair fight here is a search monopoly vs. OS monopoly...Anyone else bleeds and dies quickly stifling any competition. I can't believe you're defending this crap behavior. While I may not agree with some of your opinions they usually don't seem to come from a head buried in the sand.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

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