Print 47 comment(s) - last by Master Kenobi.. on Sep 28 at 12:27 PM

Microsoft previously admitted to not offering users a choice in browsers for Windows 7

Microsoft is been in hot water more than once over its practices of bundling browsers with its Windows operating system. Several years ago, EU regulators forced Microsoft to go to a ballot screen that allowed people more clarity in their choice for browsers. More recently, Microsoft has found itself under fire for changes to the browser ballot screen in Windows 7 and could face additional fines.
EU regulators announced today that they are preparing to charge Microsoft for failing to comply with the 2009 ruling.
"The next step is to open a formal proceeding into the company's breach of an agreement. We are working on this," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told reporters.
"It should not be a long investigation because the company itself explicitly recognized its breach of the agreement."
Regulators began investigating Microsoft in July; marking the first time Microsoft had failed to meet commitments under the EU antitrust ruling against it. Microsoft faces massive fines of up to 10% of its global turnover reports Reuters. Surprisingly, Microsoft admitted that it did not offer users a choice of browsers in Windows 7.
Microsoft may not be the only major technology firm in hot water with EU regulators. Almunia has also warned Google that it faces problems if it doesn't do more to address allegations that it may have undermined its competitors in the search market.
"If remedies offered by Google can eliminate our concerns, we will succeed in reaching an agreement. Otherwise, the legal road is a long one," Almunia said.

Source: Reuters

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By Pneumothorax on 9/27/2012 9:09:43 AM , Rating: 5
So how come my iPad/iPhone/Macbook don't have '3rd party browser' selection screen when first booted up? If you're going to force microsoft to comply with this bull$^it, you might as well force the most valuable company in the world to do the same! Now I know where my CA legislature learns it's worst habits from, the stupid ass EU.

RE: Funny....
By albus on 9/27/12, Rating: 0
RE: Funny....
By 3minence on 9/27/2012 9:24:38 AM , Rating: 4
It will be entertaining to watch when the EU does start to treat Apple the same.

RE: Funny....
By Motoman on 9/27/2012 10:34:09 AM , Rating: 1
Granted that the Mac has something like 5% of the user base worldwide, and considerably less than 1% in the business world, I don't think you're ever going to have to worry about it.

RE: Funny....
By Samus on 9/27/2012 1:38:12 PM , Rating: 5
That is true, but this type of "fine" shouldn't only apply to desktop/laptop PC's.

Tablets (which have been outselling PC's lately) like the iPad and mobile products like the iPhone (the best selling smartphone in the United States) should be required to comply with rulings like this. They have millions and millions of users that are all forced to use Safari and now Apple Maps.

This is all clearly anti-competitive. It has been for years. Apple simply gets away with it because they throw out figures about developer revenue and App Store sales that make people go oooh aaaah.

RE: Funny....
By michael67 on 9/27/2012 3:43:17 PM , Rating: 2
It has noting to do with going after Microsoft again, they just want MS honor a agreement they made with the EU, and mS broke it again, and not only for a short time, but for over a year.

MS clearly broke the agreement, is it strange that the EU after warning them for over a half a year now says enough is enough, you had your chance.

Or would the US government react different?

Discussions about Apple market share or relevancy of the agreement dose not mater, MS just broke a agreement, and have bin given plenty of time to fix it.

Apparently they did not learn from the mega fines from before, or would the US government sit idly by if a EU company ignored a agreement?

Like BP cleaning up less then agreed on.

RE: Funny....
By semiconshawn on 9/27/2012 3:59:07 PM , Rating: 1
Except if BP had everything totally cleaned up......they could stop cleaning. This browser mess was cleaned up long ago.

RE: Funny....
By Manch on 9/27/2012 10:08:22 AM , Rating: 4
But they own the tablet space, and until recently had the majority of the smartphone space. Only one choice there, so how is that not the same?

RE: Funny....
By albus on 9/27/12, Rating: -1
RE: Funny....
By Manch on 9/28/2012 2:41:26 AM , Rating: 1
What does that matter? Its a different market. Despite Androids attempts to make any headway into the tablet space, there line up is a fractured mess, MS was even worse(non-existent really), which is why the surface is now coming out. Yeah google has their reference design that they're selling at cost, but just like every other tablet out there, when compared to the ipad, it's just not as good, so people are still flocking to the ipad.

The IPAD dominates that market and Apples restriction in that market to limit its competitors is just as anticompetitive as MS was when the browser fiasco took off.

As far as the EU goes, fining MS for 10% of its global? I didn't realize the EU had jurisdiction over the whole damn planet. If it was 10% of its EU revenue, then OK. It's a money grab pure and simple. They're threatening to go after google now. They 're raiding the Germans coffers to bail out everyone. Theres a whole lot more BS they're pulling in well pick a category!

RE: Funny....
By GotThumbs on 9/27/2012 11:17:56 AM , Rating: 4
That excuse is getting old.

Attempting to justify Apple's clearly restrictive and closed ecosystem by saying they are not as big as MS is just lying to yourself.

If you don't think Apple is big....have you looked at thier revenues recently in the past years. They are way beyond mom and pop.

Get your head out of the sand. You can lie to yourself, but don't try to push that lie onto others. It reflect poorly on your view of reality.

Best Wishes,

RE: Funny....
By BZDTemp on 9/27/2012 12:04:06 PM , Rating: 2
LOL You're the one with the head in the sand.

The proceeding covered here are not about behavior they are about behavior of a company having a controlling market share in one or more markets.

Sure Apple is big and they are certainly behaving like major pricks but they haven't got market control of anything except perhaps parts of the on-line music/media business (which the EU and others are looking into).

RE: Funny....
By semiconshawn on 9/27/2012 4:14:13 PM , Rating: 2
Cash has nothing to do with market control. Apple is losing market control by the minute. They are making more money by a factor of 10 than almost any other player in the game. Apples closed ecosystem itself has competition. You have to buy into the ecosystem, if you dont want to you can go with Android/Google, Microsoft, or Amazon or a combination of both with some. More people have now and are going in that direction according to most metrics. I have all 3 companies procucts in my house. I fail to see how one has an unfair advantage at this point and should be hampered by govt BS.

RE: Funny....
By Reclaimer77 on 9/27/2012 11:18:30 AM , Rating: 5
Pretty sure the iPad has at least 90% of the tablet market. So basically you can take this overused excuse and cram it up your ass.

RE: Funny....
By BZDTemp on 9/27/12, Rating: -1
RE: Funny....
By Helbore on 9/27/2012 12:37:11 PM , Rating: 3
If you're going to lump all tablets (and possibly smartphones, being that they're just small tablets) into the same bracket as "computers," then Microsoft doesn't have a monopoly any more, either.

RE: Funny....
By Reclaimer77 on 9/27/2012 12:37:49 PM , Rating: 2
Oh snap!

RE: Funny....
By albus on 9/27/2012 1:13:09 PM , Rating: 2
How long is it going to last? If the Safari marketshare grows way past 60%, then all guns on Microsoft will be off. They will turn to Apple. Only one player can have a monopoly.

RE: Funny....
By BZDTemp on 9/27/2012 3:34:52 PM , Rating: 1
So? The case covered here isn't about what happens now it is about what has happened.

Besides the whole "Then why not go after Apple" is not making Microsoft any less guilty of their wrong doing.

Finally a lot of people needs to grab a dictionary and look up monopoly. And when they have done that next they need to read up on anti-cartel laws and the like.

RE: Funny....
By Master Kenobi on 9/28/2012 12:27:20 PM , Rating: 2
Your first mistake was thinking Microsoft is somehow "wronging the world" with IE. Did they WTFPWN Netscape? Yes. Why? Because Netscape wanted to charge you for a browser and Microsoft threw one in for free that was "good enough". Fast forward and Firefox produced a free browser and gained market share, Chrome has done the same thing.

Really the issue now is why do people prefer free products that are "good enough" over better products that cost money? BECAUSE IT'S FREE!

This whole Browser and Media Player nonsense in the EU is just a perfect example of how screwed up these "regulators" are. If any of them had a shred of modern education in the STEM fields they wouldn't be able to take themselves seriously. Instead we're stuck with a bunch of old timers with "legal" degrees who have no business dictating anything in the technology field.

I hope I live to see a day when Lawyers are cast down from society and not taken seriously. When I think lawyer, I think Bozo the clown.

RE: Funny....
By semiconshawn on 9/27/2012 4:51:58 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah but so what? Thats just because most other tablets have sucked would you not agree? The competition is coming around it looks like now but early dominance is normal with any product. Alot of people drove Fords at first. The problem with Android tablets wasnt that there werent some good ones it was what do you do with it? They did not have the "marketplace", "store" or whatever implemented correctly. You could buy an ipad sign in and start the consumption easily and pretty. Amazon has caught on. Kindles are selling. Its a budget version of the same exact thing. A tablet linked to a solid marketplace.

RE: Funny....
By geddarkstorm on 9/27/2012 1:29:04 PM , Rating: 2
So it's ok to mistreat and competitively handicap one company and not others based solely on success and size? I've got some good news: You too could be an EU regulator.

RE: Funny....
By albus on 9/27/2012 1:32:27 PM , Rating: 2
Heard of Intel vs AMD? Intel desperately needs AMD to prevent the axe of the regulators. Thats how the big boys are treated. Do you remember AT&T split?

RE: Funny....
By nocturne_81 on 9/27/2012 3:07:20 PM , Rating: 2
Market share should have nothing to do with anti-competetive practices... AFAIK, it had nothing to do with the original ruling anyways.

RE: Funny....
By Zuul on 9/27/2012 9:20:48 AM , Rating: 3
Let's not give the EU any more ideas... they are already raiding the german piggy bank with the many Greek bailouts.

Considering they're talking about 10% of global numbers and not just EU numbers, this could easily be turned into a cash chow.

RE: Funny....
By dark matter on 9/27/2012 9:28:15 AM , Rating: 2
Microsoft shouldn't have integrated the browser to the OS.

RE: Funny....
By Zuul on 9/27/2012 9:40:26 AM , Rating: 2

RE: Funny....
By Manch on 9/27/2012 10:09:53 AM , Rating: 3
Everything is webcentric nowadays. So you would rather have technology stall to make it "fair"

RE: Funny....
By Shadowself on 9/27/2012 10:31:55 AM , Rating: 4
This does not have, and never had, anything to do with technology stalling!

Having browsers sold as applications bundled with the OS should never be the issue. Virtually every OS -- whether for a workstation, desktop, laptop, ultrabook, tablet or smartphone -- ships with a browser.

The issue started when Microsoft many years ago integrated the browser into the OS -- it shipped as an integral component of the Windows OS. All other browsers were applications running on top of the Windows OS. To top it off Microsoft lied in court, on the record, that it would completely cripple the OS if IE were either extracted or disabled. (It was shown by the prosecution that IE could be disabled in a few minutes with no known negative effects on the Windows OS itself.)

The problem there was that before this came up Navigator was by far the market leader and IE was not even is second place. Microsoft's OS had 95+% market share (some estimated as high as 98+%). By integrating IE into the OS it gave Microsoft an automatic 90+% market share in browsers, if let stand. The part deemed illegal was leveraging a monopoly position (the OS) to force a monopoly position in a different market (the browser).

However, virtually all of this is behind us. Unfortunately for the EU, their regulators are still living in the past. IE is no where near as integrated into the Windows OS as it once was. Many browsers are flourishing. IE is even slowly losing market share.

Should Microsoft live up to its regulatory agreements? Absolutely.

Is there any justification for the EU to foist a significant fine on Microsoft because of this breach? Absolutely NOT.

The EU should just agree with Microsoft to some non trivial fine so that Microsoft pays closer attention to their regulatory agreements then LET THIS THING GO.

Enough already!

RE: Funny....
By kingmotley on 9/27/2012 10:57:25 AM , Rating: 2
It was shown by the prosecution that IE could be disabled in a few minutes with no known negative effects on the Windows OS itself.

No it wasn't, not really. The prosecution wanted Microsoft to remove all HTTP functionality from Windows, which includes the trident rendering engine. The prosecution's "demonstration" did very little other than removing the shortcut from the desktop. Most of the underlying components that they were arguing needed to be removed were still there. Another demonstration was made with the components removed that they requested and showed that many parts of 3rd party programs and functions of the OS itself stopped working.

RE: Funny....
By Shadowself on 9/27/2012 5:07:59 PM , Rating: 2
Your reference to removing a shortcut from the desktop is one of at least three different ways to defeat the IE implementation that was shown during the trial -- and the simplest, least effective of all three.

It was also shown that with a bit of hacking you could turn off all typical browser functionality from the OS. It was not supremely difficult. It did not destroy the OS.

If you turned off all browser functionality within the OS did it negatively effect any application that needed the OS to provide that functionality? Of course, yes. That functionality was no longer there! That was the point of removing it. Did it cripple the OS itself? No.

Microsoft could have kept IE as a standard app with other apps calling through inter application calls for the user chosen browser app to provide the necessary functionality. Microsoft chose to integrate IE and its related functionalities into the OS.

It could be turned off. Microsoft said that if it was turned off it would cripple the whole OS on a global basis. Not true. While I never took the time to perform the hack myself, I know people who did and still have a quite functional version of the OS.

RE: Funny....
By Manch on 9/28/2012 2:55:33 AM , Rating: 2
If you turned off all browser functionality within the OS did it negatively effect any application that needed the OS to provide that functionality? Of course, yes. That functionality was no longer there! That was the point of removing it. Did it cripple the OS itself? No.

That's like arguing that even though I don't have tires on my car it's still a working car because everything else works. Everything else does work but I still need the damn tires for the car to work as intended.

RE: Funny....
By Hardin on 9/27/2012 10:26:19 AM , Rating: 2
So how do you go on the internet to download another browser if the operating system doesn't have a browser?

RE: Funny....
By Shadowself on 9/27/2012 10:36:38 AM , Rating: 2
There is a huge difference between bundling a browser *with* the OS and bundling a browser *into* the OS.

Microsoft tried the latter and got smacked as I described elsewhere in this thread.

The problem is that the EU has not recognized that both the browser implementations (including IE's implementation) and competitive landscape have changed.

RE: Funny....
By andrewaggb on 9/27/2012 11:43:19 AM , Rating: 2
The thing is... I didn't use IE because it was bundled, I used it because it was way better than netscape.

And nowadays, do I use IE because it's bundled? No, I use Chrome and FF... because I like them better.

MS didn't block competing products, so...., to me it's a non-issue.

Anyways, I think WebOS, ChromeOS, etc show that MS isn't alone in thinking a browser should be part of the OS. And with Windows 8, it's doing it again (Metro apps)

RE: Funny....
By Reclaimer77 on 9/27/2012 11:59:06 AM , Rating: 1
It's just excuses for MS bashing idiots to make a controversy out of nothing. Whether or not the browser is part of the OS or not is irrelevant, IF consumer choice isn't harmed. And it wasn't. End of "controversy" imo.

RE: Funny....
By BZDTemp on 9/27/2012 12:17:15 PM , Rating: 2
Consumer choice was harmed. Microsoft used their OS control to push IE (and other stuff) to gain control of more markets. Damage has been done and was it not for the EU and other countries calling MS out for it the damage would be much worse.

RE: Funny....
By andrewaggb on 9/27/2012 12:58:28 PM , Rating: 2
I think it's a bit of gray area. Download windows server core (doesn't have ie) and then try to download something to it.

pretty quickly you'll be writing a powershell script in notepad... and that sucks (but at least they bundled notepad, or we'd be really screwed). It's unreasonable to not include a browser in a desktop os. It does put them in a position of power and most people will just use their browser etc. But it's a bad experience to not include a browser.

Same thing with the new windows market... poor experience to not include one, but by having one will damage the competition. this is actually worse though because afaik, other companies can't make their own metro market apps. Seems genuinely anti-competitive.

RE: Funny....
By Reclaimer77 on 9/27/2012 1:03:05 PM , Rating: 2
Oh come on. Seriously just shut up. A browser wasn't "pushed", it was given to customers for free. You know, that's a good thing in most people's book.

Seriously what were they supposed to do exactly? Please tell me. Release an OS with no browser? Or release an OS loaded with multiple competing browsers to satisfy your child-like notions of "fairness"?

Your idiotic anti-MS rantings on this are just pathetic. Go back into your cave, troll.

RE: Funny....
By Schrag4 on 9/27/2012 2:19:06 PM , Rating: 3
I really can't believe you're sticking with this narrative. Consumer choice can only truly be harmed if MS had prevented consumers from discovering and installing other browsers. It's not up to MS to educate consumers on competing browsers, it's up to the consumers themselves. If you really care about grandma using the best browser, go to her house and install it yourself. Grandma isn't harmed by her lack of education about browsers - she couldn't care less.

Oh, wait, did you post this from IE? Are you having trouble installing another browser? I'm sure someone here can walk you through it - hang in there, buddy.

RE: Funny....
By Shadowself on 9/27/2012 10:39:14 AM , Rating: 2
The issue never was about bundling a browser *with* the OS.

This is a legacy action from when Microsoft integrated the browser *into* the OS.

Times and technology have changed. The EU needs to let this go. Maybe force Microsoft to live up to its current agreements, but when those expire, JUST LET IT GO!

RE: Funny....
By Motoman on 9/27/2012 10:44:47 AM , Rating: 2
...the browser was never really "in" the OS anyway, despite what MS said.

Remember that Netscape provided simple instructions themselves on how to remove IE from Windows. You could easily pull it out and not affect anything else.

RE: Funny....
By tayb on 9/27/2012 12:01:06 PM , Rating: 1
Well, it's a bullshit ruling, that's why.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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