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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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.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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