Print 69 comment(s) - last by ichabod8119.. on Mar 7 at 6:24 AM

EU looks to punish Microsoft for browser non-compliance, and make a bit of extra revenue in the process

To date the European Union's antitrust regulatory body, the European Commission (EC), has pummeled operating system maker Microsoft Corp. (MSFTwith €1.6B ($2.1B USD) in fines for allegedly using abusive anticompetitive tactics in the European market.  But the EU is far from done.

According to Reuters, highly placed sources in the EC say that Microsoft will face more fines before the end of the month.  The commission's pending decision follows a so-called "statement of objections" filed last October.  One source at the EC comments, "The Commission is planning to fine Microsoft before the Easter break."

The planned action could slip a week or two, though, due to procedural issues.

Microsoft was mandated by the EU to provide a browser selection screen with Windows 7.  It did, but the browser selection screen mysteriously stopped working with Windows 7's first service pack.  Microsoft claims this was due to a "coding error".

Browser Ballot Box
Microsoft's Windows 7 Service Pack 1 "accidentally" turned off the browser ballot box.
[Image Source: Telegraph UK]

That little "whoops" and Microsoft's baffling decision to test the EU's resolve, declining to rush a fix may cost Microsoft dearly.  Experts say Microsoft could potentially face a billion dollar fine or more.

Microsoft's board is unhappy with CEO Steve Ballmer for failing to address the issue.  In an annual proxy statement filed last October it cited that as one reason for cutting the rambunctious chief's bonus (this was not the first time Mr. Ballmer had his bonus cut for mistakes).

The EC's decision to mandate a browser choice screen dates back to 2009 when Microsoft had more of a dominant position in the EU browser market.  Today Microsoft is in third place with only about 24 percent of the market, behind Google Inc.'s (GOOG) 35 percent and Mozilla's 29 percent.  The browser selection screen appeared to be a key driving factor in Microsoft's slipping market share.

Some argue that Microsoft's trailing position makes the decision to continue browser selection screen enforcement unfair.  Others argue that Microsoft's dominant market share with Windows would be too dangerous were it not for continued enforcement.

Source: Reuters

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Just wondering
By NellyFromMA on 3/1/2013 3:23:57 PM , Rating: 1
Where are the European OS's? Oh that's right, no one wants them.

See, American companies know how to compete (more or less). Apple has an OS. Google has an OS. Where's the EurOS (sry had to do it).

RE: Just wondering
By ClownPuncher on 3/1/2013 3:44:05 PM , Rating: 2
You just listed two Linux based OS's and asked where the European entry was.

RE: Just wondering
By inighthawki on 3/1/2013 6:08:07 PM , Rating: 2
OSX is not based on Linux (or even the same branch of UNIX, for that matter). Google's OSs are also not "Linux" they simply use the Linux kernel, there is a difference between an OS and an OS kernel. My PC would be pretty useless if all I had was the Windows kernel, for example.

RE: Just wondering
By ClownPuncher on 3/1/2013 6:20:43 PM , Rating: 3
Yea, I'm too lazy to put together a good post today.

RE: Just wondering
By Penti on 3/1/2013 6:27:55 PM , Rating: 2
On top of that Suse has reformed as their own entity / division and moved back their headquarters to Germany. EU countries has made plenty of contribution, the Nokia/MS deal closed down Symbian and Maemo though so in mobile OS's it's all North America some of that tech is used in BB10 though and is pretty much tech that was driven by Norwegian and Finnish engineers/companies. There is also embedded products from Europe such as OSE, one of the most successful OS's ever. PikeOS is also used in some aerospace applications. Of course we have companies like ARM which is based in the UK.

RE: Just wondering
By NellyFromMA on 3/5/2013 1:11:23 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not saying Euro countried haven't CONTRIBUTED in x number of ways.

What I am saying is I am unaware of any MODERN and POPULAR (meaning people actually want to use it in some measurable consumer-related way) European OS that is equivalent or even comparable to Android, OS X (or iOS), or Windows.

I don't hate Euro's, I just think its highly hypocritical to charge a success tax that harms international entities solely for domestic gain. Eff that!

There is no abuse here, except for on the part of the unwieldy EU body trying to steal US dollars from US companies.

That's my gripe.

RE: Just wondering
By ichabod8119 on 3/7/2013 6:24:38 AM , Rating: 2
Microsoft should pull all products from the EU and refuse to service any existing products then tell the commission to shove the fines. Watch the EU crash and burn.

RE: Just wondering
By half_duplex on 3/3/2013 1:38:38 PM , Rating: 2

Edumacate yourself homie.

RE: Just wondering
By Reclaimer77 on 3/1/2013 6:43:51 PM , Rating: 1
Where are the European OS's? Oh that's right, no one wants them.

Exactly. What would happen if Microsoft just called the EU's bluff? Seriously, what would the EU do if MS told them to shove it? Ban Windows? Good luck! lol

RE: Just wondering
By JKflipflop98 on 3/1/2013 7:47:10 PM , Rating: 2
That's exactly what I would do if I were Ballmer. I'd tell the EU to lick my wrinkly old taint.

RE: Just wondering
By Reclaimer77 on 3/1/13, Rating: 0
RE: Just wondering
By half_duplex on 3/3/2013 1:36:41 PM , Rating: 2
One problem, London-Heathrow would shut down entirely... restricting travel to places like Siberia.

RE: Just wondering
By NellyFromMA on 3/5/2013 1:01:56 PM , Rating: 2
lmao for asking a straight legitimate question and getting down rated by envious euro nerds. And I don't want to hear about how WAY BACK the origin of a component of a MODERN OS today means Euro has claims on it.


Please, tell me. That is if you can stand sacrificing your downrate to actually articulate a point. Doubtful.

RE: Just wondering
By NellyFromMA on 3/5/2013 1:08:21 PM , Rating: 2
lmao for asking a straight legitimate question and getting down rated by envious euro nerds (not Euro bashing, just ID'ing these nerds as Euros). And I don't want to hear about how WAY BACK the origin of a component or distant memory of a MODERN OS today had some slight European origin. That doesn't mean Euro has claims on an entire OS.


Please, tell me.

OS X, made in America. Android, made in America. Both have Unix and Linux ties in both substantial and negligble ways, NEITHER OF WHICH MEANS they are Euro OSes. Do I REALLY have to explain further...?

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

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