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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 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.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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