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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 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The EUs solution was, I agree, dramatically outdated and pointless.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.


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