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Move draws criticism from some analysts

Remember those allegations by browser makers Google Inc. (GOOG) and the Mozilla Foundation, alleging that Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) wasn't giving them full access to necessary interfaces in Windows 8?

Well, the European Union sure remembers.  Not too long after it admonished Microsoft for breaking its browser ballot box promises and threatened more fines, it announced a new probe into whether Microsoft was impeding competition.

The browser makers have suggested that Microsoft may be effectively banning third-party browsers from Windows 8 RT.  Microsoft has denied this claim.

Surprisingly, typically pro-Apple, Inc. (AAPL) blogger John Gruber blasted the probe in a post on his blog Daring Fireball.  The unlikely ally points out that Apple has a near identical model of differentiation and has received little EU scrutiny, writing:

So Apple can do it with iOS but Microsoft can’t with Windows RT, despite the fact that the iPad and iPhone are selling tens of millions of units per quarter and there is yet to ship a single Windows RT device?

With that said, even unlikely allies may be unable to save Microsoft as the EU salivates at the prospect of collect more billion-dollar fines from the beleagured operating system giant.

Sources: Daring Fireball, Reuters



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RE: This is ridiculous
By bug77 on 7/19/2012 5:51:22 PM , Rating: -1
M$ has a long history of using undocumented APIs just for their own products. Not only are those APIs undocumented, but 3rd parties are also barred from decompiling and learning for themselves. I don't see how that's not anticompetitive.


RE: This is ridiculous
By Manch on 7/19/2012 6:09:43 PM , Rating: 5
So is MS to have no protection of its code? This is getting ridiculous. This is Windows RT for christ sake! Not Windows 8. Are they going to go after Win Phone 8 too?

Why doesnt the EU go after google for its search engine "monopoly"?

EU money grab. Gotta find someway to pay for all that socialist crap


RE: This is ridiculous
By superPC on 7/19/2012 6:25:28 PM , Rating: 3
they did go after google for the search engine monopoly ( http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,2... ).


RE: This is ridiculous
By Manch on 7/20/2012 4:42:43 AM , Rating: 2
Oh, did not know that, thanks. Are they going to make them put a Bing and Yahoo bar underneath theres? ;)


RE: This is ridiculous
By vXv on 7/20/2012 4:53:52 AM , Rating: 2
No the complaint is that the search engine prefers google's own services (gmail, google+, google maps, etc) over the ones from the competition in search results.

Which means Google abuses it search "monopoly" to reach other markets (the same as MS did with bundling IE and WMP in Windows).


RE: This is ridiculous
By Manch on 7/20/2012 5:13:54 AM , Rating: 2
I was joking bro. Still, now that youve told me this are they going to force google to show its competitors sevices in its results?

I did a search for translate and of course googletranslate popped up but so did microsofttranslate and several others.

IE only has just under 25%, chrome has 27%, firfox 19 according to wiki. So now that they have destroyed MS grip on web browsers, why is this still an issue? EU is coming after them about the ballot box which was accidentally disabled, and fixed quickly.


RE: This is ridiculous
By vXv on 7/20/2012 5:56:06 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I was joking bro. Still, now that youve told me this are they going to force google to show its competitors sevices in its results?

I did a search for translate and of course googletranslate popped up but so did microsofttranslate and several others.


I just told you what the complaint and the investigation is about. I cannot predict which action (if any) the EU commission will take ... we will have to wait and see ;)

quote:
IE only has just under 25%, chrome has 27%, firfox 19 according to wiki. So now that they have destroyed MS grip on web browsers, why is this still an issue? EU is coming after them about the ballot box which was accidentally disabled, and fixed quickly.


It is not about IE's marketshare but Windows's. i.e as long as Windows has a dominant position in the market there is potential for abusing it. So they are investigating whether this is the case with Windows 8 / RT.

As for the ballot screen they had a contract and broke it hence the commission's reaction. Just because they are looking into it does not mean it will result into fines (per law those can be as height as 10% of the yearly revenue).


RE: This is ridiculous
By maugrimtr on 7/20/2012 8:38:15 AM , Rating: 3
Thanks for the last sentence in the article. For a moment, I almost though it would be an objective article. The EU has antitrust laws, which means those breaking the laws are fined. Microsoft keeps finding ways to break those laws and then spending lots of money trying to escape justice.

It has nothing to do with the EU budget, socialism (which many appear from the comments not to even understand since the US is a socialist nation unless I imagine all the social services provided), or corruption (see EU Courts please).

If MS break the law, as a monopoly enacting monopolistic barriers to competition, they will be investigated and fined appropriately.


RE: This is ridiculous
By lightfoot on 7/20/2012 11:03:48 AM , Rating: 2
Fines of 10% of global sales.

When they are applying fines to sales that occur outside their jurisdiction, they are NOT appropriate. Why should EU courts get to collect fines on sales that occur in the US?? Should the US be able to fine Airbus for sales made to France?? It is insane, and it is NOT appropriate.


RE: This is ridiculous
By othercents on 7/20/2012 11:54:29 AM , Rating: 2
Simple Solution... Scrap Windows 8 RT, or at least don't distribute it in the UK. Move to Windows Tablet 8 to differentiate the products. Now you will have Windows 8, Windows Tablet 8, and Windows Phone 8.

Other


RE: This is ridiculous
By jonmcc33 on 7/20/2012 8:34:47 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
So now that they have destroyed MS grip on web browsers...


Microsoft never made any money off of it's web browser.


RE: This is ridiculous
By bug77 on 7/19/2012 9:06:55 PM , Rating: 3
They're not required to disclose their code. Only their APIs. Can you sense the difference?
Using undocumented APIs is akin to letting drivers take the standard route, while you take the shortcut. And you only know about the shortcut because you built the roads in the first place.


RE: This is ridiculous
By Manch on 7/20/2012 4:54:30 AM , Rating: 2
gotcha, but still, this is RT we're talking about, not Windows Vista/7/8. RT has 0 market share and theyre coming after them? Does apple and google share all api's for their mobile offerings? This just seems like a money grab to me.


RE: This is ridiculous
By bug77 on 7/20/2012 7:29:44 AM , Rating: 1
It could be a money grab, but it's not without reason.
In a way, it's better the investigation started when it did, as it avoids MS having to pay anything retroactively. Or, they may choose to level the playing field and walk out unscathed.


RE: This is ridiculous
By rcc on 7/23/2012 1:04:54 PM , Rating: 2
If I built the road, and paid for it, it's mine. Time to put up barricades and keep the commuters the he#@ off it.


RE: This is ridiculous
By BZDTemp on 7/20/2012 7:20:45 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
EU money grab. Gotta find someway to pay for all that socialist crap


Total ignorance. The EU is 500 million people exactly what sort of impact do you figure the fines given to Microsoft has?

You should be glad the EU is trying to make sure Microsoft can't use their control of the OS market to take over the browser market (it's not like Microsoft ain't doing their best - try using Sharepoint for instance and you'll see how that pushes IE). It's up to Microsoft if they run into fines or chose not to abuse their market position (again).

Oh, and with regards to that socialist crap. I live in a place where education is free, health care is free, nobody lives on the street, a working week is 37 hours and 5 weeks paid vacation is a minimum. And yes, we may have the tax world record but someone with a McJob pulls in something like $3000 a month so it is okay. Also we export way more than we import, unemployment is low and your politicians aren't in the pocket of any companies. Life is good.


RE: This is ridiculous
By Manch on 7/20/2012 12:17:31 PM , Rating: 1
Whats the cost of living in your socialist utopia?

Where I temporarily live, the people take holidays in other countries where they can afford to go on a vacation, and a lot of them leave to go get medical services elsewhere bc they would rather pay than wait and hope it doesn't get worse while they wait forever to see a specialist. My landlord left to get treated for cancer because he said he would die if he waited on the medical facilities here to see him.

How many EU countries are being financially crushed and require bailouts or whatever they call them over here?

enjoy your comfort lemming, Ill enjoy my freedom :D


RE: This is ridiculous
By jvillaro on 7/20/2012 2:14:58 PM , Rating: 2
At least your sense of freedom


RE: This is ridiculous
By jvillaro on 7/20/2012 2:16:30 PM , Rating: 2
Oh and by the way, he also enjoys his freedom (and has more time to do so)


RE: This is ridiculous
By BZDTemp on 7/21/2012 2:45:18 PM , Rating: 2
Who says this place is socialist?

And if you think people here can't afford vacations then you're ill informed. Also it is not like people go elsewhere to get medical treatment, nor is it so that if someone looses their job they are in fear of loosing medical coverage for their family.

Sure there are EU countries in trouble but they are getting help. It is not like we don't face the same issues as everyone else outside of China or have it perhaps escaped you how California is close to bankrupt or that Detroit aren't doing too well.

Enjoy your freedom but if you think of us as Lemmings you're mistaken (you're actually twice mistaken because Lemmings aren't like that old Disney movie made them out to be).


RE: This is ridiculous
By Manch on 7/22/2012 9:50:17 AM , Rating: 2
Well, you inferred it with your "regards to that socialist crap" reply.

I didnt say they couldnt afford to go on vacation, I said they go to other countries so they can afford it. Big difference.

An yes people do leave to get treatment Its quite common here,since its cheaper, but especially since its no waiting.

You think 3000 a month for a McJob is OK?

Cali and Detroit are in the same boat because of all of the entitlement/socialist/union crap they pile on the citizens. Thats why the jobs have left those places. You were expecting me to defend them? They are going to bury themselves and pull the areas around them down too. It will be no different with the countries the EU is bailing out. Eventually it will pull everything down around it.

Way to split hairs and not answer any questions though.

BTW you're mistaken. I wasnt calling you a rodent. Im not cruel to animals.

Lemming: a member of any large group following an unthinking course towards mass destruction

Some words have more than one definition.


RE: This is ridiculous
By TheJian on 7/21/2012 6:46:54 PM , Rating: 1
To each his own. I'd rather have the chance to live in a mansion one day. You have NONE. I'd rather have the chance to be a millionaire. Again, spreading the wealth means you have NO billionaires. Speaking of which 3000+ Millionaires have left America since Obama took office. They'll be starting a business OUTSIDE of America with their wealth thanks to Obama care and the coming financial cliff. I wouldn't look for them to come to your town BDZ ;)

I'm shocked people elected a radical muslim terrorist into the white house. He will stop at nothing to destroy our country all in the name of social economic justice/fairness. Food stamps for Mexico anyone?...LOL. Meanwhile, his brother lives in a TENT!...LOL. No help for BRO eh? Obama has grown the govt 77,000 jobs, while the private sector BLEEDS. Thank Obama care for all the new IRS agents they're hiring to keep chasing all of us...LOL.
http://www.infowars.com/thousands-of-new-irs-agent...
You can google the crap out of that too, as the above came up in the many links on this.
Obama made 2.7million in offshore accounts/income...Hmmm. He's blown billions on companies like Solyndra, Fisker (nothing like closing american plants and moving it all to friends in Finland...LOL), etc, ran up 6 trillion after leaving Chicago broke (40+billion in debt when he left, and a deficit of 635mil this year...LOL).

On the other hand, Romney MADE a good 315 million without the govt and gave his entire father's inheritance to charity...LOL. Obama only knows how to give YOUR money away. He doesn't donate more than a few measly bucks himself, but you can sign up to give him your wedding money:
"It's a great way to support the President on your big day," it continues. "Plus, it's a gift that we can all appreciate -- and goes a lot further than a gravy bowl."

When signing up, supporters are asked to set a monetary goal. The site also provides some suggested language to use when hitting up friends and relatives for campaign cash.

You can google the crap out of pissed off brides or just start watching fox :)
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/06/22/obama-c...

I digress...


RE: This is ridiculous
By brucek2 on 7/19/2012 6:51:53 PM , Rating: 2
Far from being a market leader, Microsoft is currently barely an also-ran in the mobile device market. The time to spend a lot of public funds and regulatory attention is when someone has attained a monopoly / clear dominance, not when they are in distant last place and barely relevant.

Now if you expand from just the portable market that 8 RT is aimed at, to computing devices generally, IE is then up to something like 50% browser share (but dropping.) But that 50% is nowhere near close enough to dominate internet standards and so also doesn't seem worthy of government action.


RE: This is ridiculous
By BZDTemp on 7/20/2012 7:27:48 AM , Rating: 1
Microsoft has a history of abusing their position so it seems prudent that they are being watched. Note that no action against Microsoft has been taken in this matter and non will be taken unless called for.

This is no different than say doing an inspection at an oil company's rigs to ensure they aren't polluting the water. It is much better to make sure no mess is made rather than having to clean up afterwards.


RE: This is ridiculous
By knutjb on 7/19/2012 9:52:16 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
M$ has a long history of using undocumented APIs just for their own products. Not only are those APIs undocumented, but 3rd parties are also barred from decompiling and learning for themselves. I don't see how that's not anticompetitive.
To decompile and "figure it out" is reverse engineering and illegal without the owners consent, like it or not. Read the EULA sometime.

The line the EU has drawn leans heavily towards a revenue source. Then MS is forced to let the cat out of the bag and now your MS device has new huge security holes. Then everyone complains how insecure it is. At what point does MS no longer have the right to protect its creations?

When is Apple going to get hit? They do have very deep pockets...

You want to do whatever, go Linux.


RE: This is ridiculous
By sprockkets on 7/19/2012 11:50:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
To decompile and "figure it out" is reverse engineering and illegal without the owners consent, like it or not. Read the EULA sometime.


No it is not. At the end of every EULA is a disclaimer which reminds people that regardless of what the EULA states, it cannot supersede the law of your state or country.


RE: This is ridiculous
By Laitainion on 7/20/2012 4:13:05 AM , Rating: 2
And in what countries do you possess the legel right to decompile and reverse engineer another company's products?

If there is no law or judicial ruling stating otherwise then the EULA isn't superceding the law but is acting in a supplementary manner and thus totally binding.


RE: This is ridiculous
By vXv on 7/20/2012 6:08:01 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
And in what countries do you possess the legel right to decompile and reverse engineer another company's products?


In all member states of the European union, as long as the decompiling / reverse engineering is done for interoperability reasons.

As for other countries read: http://lwn.net/Articles/134642/


RE: This is ridiculous
By someguy123 on 7/20/2012 2:00:31 AM , Rating: 2
The claims don't seem to be substantiated here. It's basically devs complaining that microsoft is hiding something. They already floated around a rumor about other browsers being banned altogether from RT, and now they're complaining about windows 8 in general.

The EU is just jumping on this complaint because they're looking for any reason to fine microsoft, since it means big payouts.


RE: This is ridiculous
By BZDTemp on 7/20/2012 12:12:37 PM , Rating: 2
The EU isn't a bunch of mobsters so stop being stupid.

The whole notion that handing out fines to Microsoft in any way can finance the EU is stupid. Maybe you should spend a few moments and read about the EU to learn what it is. If you do you'll will for instance learn that the EU is 500+ million people thus any Microsoft payout do not matter other than to make Microsoft play fair.


RE: This is ridiculous
By someguy123 on 7/20/2012 3:34:35 PM , Rating: 2
What does any of that rant have to do with an easy billion dollar fine? Regardless of the population of the EU, a billion dollars going into the EU is a lot of money, especially with the eurozone in shambles right now. I see no other reason to so heavily embrace to the point of "massive probing" a set of complaints when windows 8 isn't even out the door.


RE: This is ridiculous
By themaster08 on 7/20/2012 2:04:34 AM , Rating: 3
Similar to how Google refuses to provide Microsoft with the APIs to develop a YouTube application for Windows Phone?


RE: This is ridiculous
By sprockkets on 7/21/2012 8:51:52 PM , Rating: 2
The only part missing is the HQ request feature for mobile streams. Everything else is documented clearly on their api instruction page.

Still not 100%, so i agree with you, but they are not really blocking them out either.


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