EU

Will the latest EU fine change Microsoft's behavior?

The EU has fined Microsoft for the second time in four years in a long running antitrust case over IE and Media Player bundling as well as the inner workings of Windows. The software giant will add $1.3 billion to the EU coffers in a case that has cost it $2.5 billion in fines so far.

The EU has fined Microsoft for the second time in four years in a long running antitrust case over IE and Media Player bundling as well as the inner workings of Windows. The software giant will add $1.3 billion to the EU coffers in a case that has cost it $2.5 billion in fines so far. The company has stated its intention to appeal and will have two months before its response is due.

EU Fines Microsoft $1.3 Billion (Infoworld)

In January, Microsoft issued a press release proclaiming its latest offer in an effort to stave off the record fine, saying that it would license the source code for Windows, the ultimate insight into how the operating system works. Of course, the latest fine is the result of noncompliance with the order in 2004, which Microsoft claimed it would obey immediately. Due to appeals, Microsoft successfully avoided complying with the order until October 22, 2007, three and a half years after the order was handed down.

Microsoft Goes Beyond EU Decision by Offering Windows Source Code (Microsoft Press Release)

Microsoft to Immediately Comply with EU Remedies (eWeek)

EU fines Microsoft record $1.3 billion (CNN)

Microsoft is a big part of what a lot of us in IT have to focus on. My shop is just about pure Microsoft, simply for ease of management. Virtualization is going to change some of that over the next few years, but I suspect I will deal with its products on a daily basis for quite some time. I am cautiously optimistic that if source code licenses are reasonably priced, companies like VMWare could make drastic improvements in the way its products interact with Windows. The question is, will Microsoft simply delay the process in appeals as long as possible or make the price to license the code too much to bear?

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55 comments
briant11
briant11

I think not. I'm on Microsoft side, I mean why should any performing business disclose its secrets to other business. It's not fair for Microsoft, I think the EU is mistreating the software company and I think Microsoft shouldn't pay the fine, it's not their problem. Why are you letting Europeans tell Americans how to run their business, after all America is the No.1 Superpower in the world, why should they listen to what other countries say. If this was my business, I wouldn't do business with them. This is just my opinion, all in all I think Microsoft should stand up to the EU, don't let them bully you.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It's no different than any other company. If you choose to do business in a market, you have to follow the same laws as anyone else doing business in that market. MS is required to follow US law when doing business in American markets. MS is required to follow EU law when doing business in Europe. MS is required to follow Chineses law when doing business in China's market. If MS want's to do busins in Zimbobwa, they are required to follow the laws that apply there. Get over your emotional attachement to MS. Them being held accountable for not following the laws in the markets they chose to do business in does not invalidate your choice to use there products.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

where the stereo type of techs not understanding business came from.... Would you like to buy an opera house, nearly new...

LarryBoy2
LarryBoy2

I'm somewhat amazed at the vitriol and emotion in some of the responses above, primarily in those trying to skirt the issue of MS's proven, even here in US courts, monopolistic behavior, or even to defend it in the name of free enterprise. So far, I haven't seen anyone present a rational counterpoint in this discussion, although I'd certainly welcome it, whether or not I agree with it. As the adage goes, you'll catch more flies with honey than vinegar. At any rate, monopolies are antithetical to free enterprise. They squelch or at least suppress the competition that brings real innovation and choice. That's why there are laws to keep them in check, here in the US and around the world. Nuff said.

mike_patburgess
mike_patburgess

If you break the law no matter what country, you need to face the consequences. Well said...

DasTwitcH
DasTwitcH

See this is what bothers me. The western world (especially as led by the US) cries "Free Trade", "Democracy", "Free Enterprise" and "Freedom of the Market"...then bitches when the inevitable occurs: some company that's bigger, badder and stronger becomes the most powerful. Yes it'd be all nice and happy if the company that made the most money made the best products, but it doesn't work like that in ANY market. The giants are the ones making products that work OK most of the time, but that are priced very competitively. Innovation costs money. Look at IBMs history of innovation and then failure in the market. Microsoft has used the tactics of the "Free Market" to aggressively seek to dominate a market. This is not unusual. Hell Edison was doing it back in the day! 3M, GM, GE, pick a conglomerate. They're all doing the same thing. You can either have a socialist-style system and restrict all growth or a free-market-style one and leave it alone. Business has never set out to be nice. They've always set out to do the best by their shareholders and themselves. The concept of "fair" doesn't apply. And the funny thing is, governments (who are the ones sueing MS over this) are the most restrictive and anti-competitive bunch of beaurocrats around!

neilb
neilb

It's not the "bigger" or the "stronger" that anyone is objecting to, but the "badder". If Microsoft wants to play in Europe - and they obviously do - then they play by European rules. Even if the EU are "the most restrictive and anti-competitive bunch of bureaucrats around!" (they are!), they are the guys who call the shots. Just because the US DOJ is a bunch of pvssies and bottled it in their attempts to stop Microsoft's dirty tricks doesn't mean that the EU should do the same. Neil :) Oh, by the way, the world is a lot more complicated that your "you can either have (...) or (...)". There are lots of options available and saying to Microsoft "our playing field, so play it our way or f*ck off" is just one of them.

dawgit
dawgit

All Emotional and none Intelligent, so sad. And people tend to forget that MS was sued in the US first, and still have the US courts watching them. I could see it if MS were to out of the generosity of their hearts help bail out the US out of debt. Now that would be something. -d

larrie_jr
larrie_jr

I'm wondering, the EU fine coupled with the recent judge's decision to allow class-action lawsuit here in the US, what exactly would it take to "break the back" of MS? And what would happen if (and this is only hypothetical, I doubt it could ever REALLY happen), but what if MS ever went bankrupt? Out of business. Gone fishing... forever?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Life would go on. There was computers before MS and there would be computers after MS. The market may find an ultimately better solution through natural market forces or another company would use the same tactics to gain monopoly possition (I fear it would be Apple given the current competitors). Realistically, MS could close it's doors today and coast for years on it's savings it ahs built up so a world without MS is not likely to happen in our lifetimes assuming it ever happend. More realistically, someone at MS would get there head on strait and MS would adjust it's strategy accordingly.

richard.wilson
richard.wilson

IS COMPLETE BS! People whining because they bought a computer that said it was "Vista compatible" back in '06 and they can't get it to run now... What your not hearing is that the computer IS compatible with Vista. It just has to be something like Vista Business or a "light" version of Vista, which is in the fine print, people just don't read that part. They are pissed because they are trying to run Vista Ultimate or Enterprise and it doesn't work. This is just another attempt at frivilous lawsuits toward Microsoft and will be blown out of the water just like the rest of them. If you ask me, MS should counter-suit that stupid IT-illiterate judge and those asinine laywers that are pushing this suit.

keeleyt83
keeleyt83

Talk about a BS lawsuit. Since when does an American company (or a company from any country) have to listen to a foreign court?

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

About 190 million more ish.... It's a bigger market, they want it. And it keeps growing... You ever played Risk.... The answer is when you let Corporate America, buy your government.

murillorobert
murillorobert

Would Roll Roys or BMW or Saab, etc give away their own secrets to Americans companies ....Big Fat No! We all compete with what we have and people decide what to buy and that is competitive market. The same goes for computer systems and software. American companioes have given away everything all the time instead of keepiung everything in US soil. So, if the EU or China or any other country wants to compete they better start developing theit own stuff and let the consumer decide what to buy. Fair is fair don't you thing?

dawgit
dawgit

Actually Automobile Manufactures have been required for decades to have their parts data available to third parties. It doesn't stop innovation, it spurs it. And it don't get anymore technical that that industry. -d

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

What has fair got to do with it ? Why are the EU doing this, because they can ! Hard luck, fair is for losers. Neither MS nor america got where they are playing fair. Get with the program we are pursing the american dream.... Fair, ffs.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The issue is not that BMW, Rolls Royce or Saab are being forced to give engineering secrets too an American company. In this case, the issue is that Saab only drives well on Saab branded roads, can only accept Saab branded sterio systems without a seriously uggly modd job and uses headlamps and other running lights fully visible only to other Saab drivers. If you drive anything other than a Saab, the roads are barely drivable. If you want to replace your Saab sterio system with Alting Lansing your out of luck. If your not driving a Saab on a dark night, good luck interacting with those who are driving the approved brand name.

dawgit
dawgit

Lately, you'd know who is really screwed. -d

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

"Since when does an American company (or a company from any country) have to listen to a foreign court?" Since it chose to do business in that country and under that countries laws. European governemnt did not force MS to sell it's products in there markets, they only required it be done so according to the same law that all other companies in the market follow. This is the same reason Google had to turn over information too the Chinese government. If you do business in any country, you do so under it's laws. The government said "had over the information as required by this particular law or take your business elsewhere" - I don't personally agree with Google handing over the information but I can understand the reasons. An American company within US borders is subject to US law. A Eurpean company within US borders is subject to US law. A European company within EU borders (too generalize) is subject to EU authority. An American company within EU borders is subject to EU aurthority. If the company does not agree with the laws in the country it wishes to do business, it is free to choose not to persue that business. Are you equally open to any nonUS company doing business on American soil while ignoring American law or is this a double standard your premoting?

richard.wilson
richard.wilson

Who the hell are they to say what Microsoft has to do with their own company?

brian.catt
brian.catt

As others said MS is about money, money and money. As long as its legal they will do it, and even as here if its adjudged immoral and illegal in law they will keep doing it if the cost is less than the profit. This is a business that has bought in nearly every application it needs to get into new applications areas, bundled it with private close coupled APIs it does not share (if it shares its a sub set), and used the bundling to put the often better competition which relies on the one revenue stream out of business. They have done this from Seattle Microsystems with DOS through a lot of stuff up to at least ISS and Front Page. Why change a winning model? If your driving obsession is to kill the enemy and anything that is against you is the enemy that is what you have to do, and its demonstrably the American way in many things. MS is at least 8 years behind IBM/Lotus in architecture terms and Apple's PC OS in terms of maintainability, usability and effectiveness IMO, yet customers still buy it because IT was too complicated and they only want "one IT". Vanilla and overweight will do as long as its cheap enough. MS only understand how to be in this business as a dominant monopolist, they don't share unless its unavoidable. Again its MS and US culture so embedded in the corporate genes. I doubt, like similar "liberalised" ex monopoly telcos across the world, that it can actually change its monopolist spots other than over generations, the majority of its longer term employees don't understand fair competition as they've never been exposed to a market where it exists, never mind the extreme of Steve Ballmer, the Tony Soprano of the software industry - who will probably see such a description as a complement. IMO. The EC should keep upping the fines until MS complies and becomes a good corporate citizen in Europe or withdraws from the market, we don't actually need Microsoft, there are excellent open standards based cheaper alternatives (free if you use Star Office and Linux) with lower costs of maintenace and greater ease of use for techies and grunt users - with compatible file formats and complementary and better multi tasking server back office support for the enterprise.

billp2et
billp2et

As for the other European complaints that MS gives it?s Media Player and Browser away with the operating system? Since when has giving something away been predatory? I for one appreciate that I don?t have to go out and purchase these things to use a computer effectively. Do they have strategic reasons for doing this? Almost certainly ? and why not!? The Open Office consortium gives their office-suite away specifically to impact on MS?s almost universal penetration into that market. Nobody seems to see that as ?predatory.? Why not! Because they aren?t making a profit? What the hey? I thought we expected companies to make a profit. The real reason is that MS has very deep pockets, they are ?evil? Americans and the Europeans want some of what MS has. You know how government works? if you can?t get it any other way, confiscate it!

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

You are either ignoring or unaware of monopoly law. Giving something away for free (ie. bundling) becomes predetory when it specifically blocks a potentially better third party option from competing fairly. Consider IE since you bring it up. Let's play What If and say that MS was not found guilty (remember, they are not just a monopoly but convicted predatory monopoly). They continue to include IE with the OS and subtly continue to change the html standards it recognizes. Every Windows machine (95% of the market or so) has the browser so websites follow along with the subtle standards breaking changes to html. Other browsers can not include those same changes because as you previosly pointed out, giving way such information would lead to competition and that's a bad thing in your opinion. So here we are with 95% of the end users and all websites that want to be viewable by them using msHTML extended beyond recognition for other browsers. HTTP (known as the world wide web and mistaken too include all Internet enabled technologies) becomes an MS only protocol and the Internet is effectively MS only. How's that benefit the consumer and not harm a healthy free market? In the media player market, there are far better offerings than Windows Media Player but who outside of the tech savvy is going to go looking for them when it's bundled and bound to the OS? It generates and unfair advantage over a potentially better option through unnatural force on the market. Heck, if you want to stick to Windows only.. do you really think MS doesn't have some very cool development OS paradyms in the labs? Imagine if MS was forced to compete through quality and innovation and had some motivation to bring those far more advanced OS into view. As it is, MS is only motivated to release new versions at the slowest possible speed that they can get away with. The trick now is too milk the revenue stream (greatest profit for least investmetn) nice and slow but fast enough too keep ahead of competitition with the aid of predatory business strageties. From MS viewpoint the sound bite may as well be "we have some really cool things in development right now that are going to revolutionise how people work with comptuers; your not going to see any of them though untill we've milked as much money from your wallet as we can with current products." A fair market would actually benefit MS as much as it would benefit competitiors and the consumer. The irony in all this is that the brand can generate such Stockholm Syndrom that your here blindly and faithfully defending a faceless corporation who couldn't care less for you beyond your wallet. As a consumer, you are as much a victim/casualty as anyone else unless I have it wrong and your recieving nice fat checques from the redmond accounts.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

A Monopoly possition does not mean there are no other possible choices at all in the market. It means you hold over 90% (unsure of exact percentage) of the market and can force it to move your way because of that weight. Pretend that MS is not the monopoly discussed here and try to comprehend that in any market, one company holding a monopoly position causes negative effects too the market through it's induced unnatural forces and ultimately harms the consumer and innovation in general because of it's possition. That means that the free market capitalism premotes to drive innovation and further development doesn't work as intended when a monopoly possition is left too run rampant. The US gov doesn't seem too concerned about the tanking economy but that doesn't mean that the EU has to follow along and let it's economy bare the same damages. As for Open Office.. it's a new development and MS still holds over 90% of the office suite market; how does the default XML work for you when it doesn't even work between versions of Office. Firefox - you don't think MS would have crushed the Internet and insured that it was Windows accesible only if Netscape hadn't released the Mozilla code in resonse rather than go bankrupt? while we're on the topic of browsers; what choice do most people have when they get IE with there OS regardless of if that's what they want to use? Until IE7 it was simply the fact of life that everyone had a broken IE6 peice of swiss cheese on there computers and IE7 only changed that because it effected MS profit margins finally. But choice in browsers? Please, show me where I can uninstall IE then install my preference of competitor's browsers; oh, right.. we're back to bundling software to keep fair competition out of the browser market as much as possible. Please, go look up what percentage of a market constitutes a monopoly possition and don't skip over the data on the historical effects of monopolies on the markets they've destroyed.

billp2et
billp2et

Fat check - I wish! Look, you can't have a monopoly if people have the choice to purchase other products or to produce alternatives. Both exist. I could use Open Office - free! I don't. I could use Fire Fox - free! I do some. I could have choices! I DO!

richard.wilson
richard.wilson

So what you're saying is that if a company becomes too large or too dominant, they should just open their door to the competition and let them have what they want of the company? Are you insane? If it was your company that you had built from the ground up and some government program was telling you to pay or disclose or stop doing business the way you do, you would be livid! So you're saying it is wrong that MS bought up all those small software companies and made them their own?? Last time I checked, who the hell gave you or anyone else the right to say what someone can or cannot do with their own company? The software and application companies didn't have to sell MS their product...they chose to! Once again, are you telling me if you developed an application with a fledgling company and MS came and offered you $1M for it, you wouldn't sell? I think you would... Please explain this drivel: "MS is at least 8 years behind IBM/Lotus in architecture terms and Apple's PC OS in terms of maintainability, usability and effectiveness IMO, yet customers still buy it because IT was too complicated and they only want "one IT". Vanilla and overweight will do as long as its cheap enough." Please explain how they are 8 YEARS behind LOTUS and APPLE!!! You totally discredit yourself with these ludicrous statements. You also commented: "MS only understand how to be in this business as a dominant monopolist, they don't share unless its unavoidable." WHY THE HELL SHOULD THEY??? IT'S THEIR COMPANY!! EVER HEARD OF FREEDOM?? I guess over there in the U.K. when a company gets too big they just say, "Ello Guv, we're your competition. Come on in 'ere and we'll show you how everything is done so you can run us out of business." Of course not...that's just as stupid as it sounds. Bottom line is this...everytime there is a market (or world) leader, there are people like you who are pissy and jelous about it. (I'm not even going to comment about what you said about America...you're not worth it)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

As I understand it, monopoly law works like this: A company can compete and if succesful, will grow within the free capitalist market. This is healthy and good when driven by consumer choice (the primary natural market force). If a company grows so big that it can move the market at it's whim using unnatural forces then growth is no longer good. New products and innovation can not naturally occure and compete as a result of the unnatural forces imposed by the dominant company. In the end, the market stalls and stagnates (how's that US dollar doing these days?) as natural forces are run under by synthetic forces pushing the market to one entities benefit rather than the consumer's benefit. To protect the free market from unnatural forces, monopoly laws where written. A company holding a monopoly possition is not an issue in and of itself. The issue arrises when that monopoly possition is used to block competitition (innovation, development, product evolution) rather than allowing the natural forces to decide the outcome. If Apple held a monopoly possition (some could claim that they are close in the media player market) then Apple's questionable business practices would be the focus of concern but the market does not jump when Apple sneazes (just the Cult of Mac folks; ie. the sneaze that is Air). If IBM still held a monopoly possition then they would still be limited by monopoly law too. Competition is not the issue nor is a companies success. It's when that companies success is used to block other potentiall better products through tactics that do not allow the consumer and natural forces to decide the outcome. The original poster is probably as far over his side of the fense as you are yours so I'm not going to say one is 100% right and the other 100% wrong but I am going to suddgest that it's not as shallow as who has the most clamshells and is jealous of that.

imonroe
imonroe

If Europe wants to be socialist and everything has to be fair, then don't use American companies. Freedom leads to competition. Fairness leads to oppression.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

oh god that's funny.. thank you, I was starting to take the discussion a little too seriously when I read that line. The irony is so thick; you, who hasn't the choice of what platform you use your personaly data files on (guessing that your already locked into the MS treadmill) are the advocate for freedom. Would that be the freedom that requires me to use Outlook/Office suites on Windows platform workstations to interact with Exchange server deamons running only on Windows Server platforms after paying a inflated licensee for each seporate part? Maybe it's the freedom too use seporate platforms on seporate machines connected by a network cable and know that they are both going to use industry standard and accepted protocols to talk to each other. Maybe you meant the freedom outlined by the Vista EULA which comes into effect when the packaging is opened rather than after that when you have an actual chance too read and agree with the terms. The freedom to build on top of a solution too extend it's functionality without breaking previous functionality or to customize it too your specific needs? And "fairness leads to oppression" - What? Have you any idea what your saying? Do you mean the kind of "fairness" demonstraited by oppressive governments around the world? The fairness that says a central and unquestioned authority makes the decisions and all other's follow them or face persecution? Sorry, which Freedom and Fairness where you speaking of?

billp2et
billp2et

"Fairness leads to opression" ...and stagnation. See how far any technology developes when you take profit out of the picture!

billp2et
billp2et

The Europeans (and many of you) are angry at a successful business because they are successful. You do realize, don't you, that Apple is far more proprietary? They make the machine, the operating system and much of the software. How do you think they would fare in the European climate if everyone used Apple? I think the whole thing is about jealousy. You can replace both the operating system and office suite with nearly free applications and no one will hold a gun to your head and force to go back to MS. I don't think a company should be forced to give competitors any of their secrets, especially if they are not the only game in town. I mean, if you don't like MS, don't use MS. People complain that they charge a royalty for information given competitors that allows them to interface into MS?s system. That seems only fair to me. What we have here, is the spectacle of European governments charging huge commissions (taxes) to their customers, and these same people want more. They just want a piece of the pie. Don't forget that OS2 was at one time a better alternative than Windows but could never make any headway because developers wouldn't support it. I know, I used it and switched when the software I used in my business would no longer run on OS2. We (the people) chose Microsoft. Only we can take their position away by using other software tools, some of which are free.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

US steel tariffs early in this decade. Introduced by that nasty jealous biggoted commie, George Walker Bush Junior..... At least try and pay attention, sheesh.

Timbo Zimbabwe
Timbo Zimbabwe

"I think the whole thing is about jealousy." Jealous of what? My life is the same with or without Microsoft. Make them play fair and balanced and there is no problem.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It seems like you've not been paying attention. MS is not having legal issues beause they are successful, they are having legal issues because they use there size to gain unfair advantage over competition which in the long run hurts the market, cosumers and all manufacturers not just MS competitors. (by the way, a big reason OS evolution is developing so slowly is because of the stagnating effects of MS weight on the market but that is a seporate discussion) It's nothing to do with jealousy but if you fee that personal emotions have anything to do with law and business at the enterprise level then one has to ask; what is it that threatens you peronally about this to cause such an emotional reaction? (personally, I've replaced my OS, office suite and all and have not been forced back to MS because of my own, now greater, functional requirnments; having to open MS only user owned data files with the MS only tool is not a natural force) What we have is one company dictating the terms that people will use there own hardware. Why is it that a Windows OS on one machine requires a Windows OS on a seporate machine when they are completely seporate objects talking over a cable? Do you have to have the same brand of phone that the person you are talking with has on the other end or, somehow, do industry standards seem to work without killing competitive evolution of products? On the topic of MS standards specifically, the issue was that they released specs to interoperation with there platforms but not full specs and by the time they had provided full specs, well.. extend "functionality" again to break the previous protocol standard. One really does not have to like either side of the issue but saying it's all about jealousy and personal emotions is delusional; let's stick to rational analysis of the facts not personal projections. OS2 was a heck of an OS and far beyond what MS had; even today it has advanced OS features that MS offerings still lack. The reasons for it's downfall are again a seporate discussion all together involving patents, the fact that no "partner" of MS has ever gotten through the deal unscaythed, and the nifty trick of MS making sure the co-produced OS2 would run all MS older software (good business strategy to keep third party software from coming about and it worked very well). "We the people" choosing microsoft would be a ferfectly valid market force if all "we the people" where tech savy enough to understand an OS beyond the pretty buttons and pictures. MS competing throug product innovation and quality rather than marketing and slimey business strategy wouldn't hurt either. Don't go speaking for all "We the people"; your only one of them. Just think what you might be sitting infront of if Warp had continued to evolve and overtake MS or at minimum, drive MS to trully innovate. I think we'll see the "what if" scenario play out as Apple and other solution offering truly push MS to compete outside of the ad department. MS has the resources to do some increadable things but they are only now becoming threatened enough to start. As for Apple, they are definately more proprietary and if they had 95% of the market and used that possition to unfairly keep competitive products out of the market then the monopoly laws would apply to them also. I'm not a fan of either companies business practices but at least too be honest but I'm also not going to pretend that they are both in the same situation.

johnpall
johnpall

Microsoft are Total Liars they will just keep delaying things cause they've got the $$ to keep paying fines

smile -)
smile -)

I think it highly unlikely that MS will change dramatically - but why should they ? It seems easy to forget that within living memory Novell were the dominant networking & corporate OS and I don't remember Novell bending over backwards to give any source code, or anything at all, to Microsoft. Microsoft have been given nothing, they have worked to get where they are today and I don't see why anyone should whine because MS is dominant. We, the consumer, choose Microsoft - in the USA Microsoft would not face this prosecution and even the EU legal prosecutor believes this punitave fine is unnecessary and excessive. Let market forces free up the market. If we really want change and not to just whine, we need to vote with our choices, with our feet and our purchases. I have yet to see a truly honest politian or one that has actually improved the business, wealth creating, environment. This judgement is unnecessary meddling and this fine is ludicrous ... who gets the money ?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

"Let market forces free up the market." For that too happen, you'd have to have a healty free market which allowed natural forces to take effect. That is not the case which is what causes MS to be answerable to monopoly laws in the first place. Here's a better writeup on market side of it using the 32bit too 64bit evolutionary step in hardware as a basis for a potential *natural* market change. In short, the broken free market you speak of is not able to correct itself through natural forces of comsumer choice due to exteniating factors such as the use of monopoly possition to destroy competition rather than, say, producing a technically competitive product on an even field. http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/world-domination/world-domination-201.html I think that was the paper. It's written from the OSS perspetive but the information is worth a read even if you don't care for the development method. Also, I would be curious to know who gets the funds from fines collected but that shouldn't be hard to track down based on where fines have gone for legal actions in the past.

murillorobert
murillorobert

In all honesty, I believe that once a company develops anything? it becomes a company secret just as the Feds do with their stuff (I was a Defense Sr. Engineer for more than 20 years). So what I believe is that if other companies want to compete with Microsoft or ANY? other company they should develop their own stuff and the best man win. Let's keep in mind that when Microsoft started with only DOS, back in the early 80s, no one helped the company in anything, not even IBM who invented the PC and placed the design in the public domain. I believe that if the EU want to compete against Microsoft they should develop their own software and not to copy or use anything from Microsoft. As far as other programs integrating with Microsoft; well, they should pay the price as there is no free lunch in this world. I know what people will say to my way of thinking: The consumer pays the price in the long run! my answer to that is that people has made what Microsoft is as they have chosen the product instead of say Apple computer systems, and if people are happy and keep on buying Microsoft then to me that is the bottom line. By the way, I am a UNIX guy and so can care a less about what the EU think or want in regard Microsoft!

dawgit
dawgit

I don't realy see much hope in MicroSoft changing anything until the have a major leader-ship change, from the top down. When MS quits trying to be a Marketing co., and becomes a responsible Software Co. Will that happen? -d

Andy Moon
Andy Moon

Microsoft has taken flak over their aggressive business tactics in the past and has faced many different sanctions. Still, the software giant has continued to steamroll the competition at every turn, seemingly willing to pay any fine as simply the cost of doing business. So, will the latest EU fine change the way that Microsoft does business?

CG IT
CG IT

I'd make a public statement that Microsoft will stop supporting & selling Windows to the EU nations. Let the EU and other European countries rely on other O/S that are available. Linux, Unix, Solaris, OS X. That way, they cant complain.

mike_patburgess
mike_patburgess

It might just take that to take the giant apart. I have used Open source products and I see no difference from MS.. except that these products are more stable.. Let's take that one step further. The EU should stop the import of MS products on any equipment. That will send a clear message. MS needs to be slapped down hard.

murillorobert
murillorobert

I agree 100% with CG IT ! Like I said before in another reply to this issue: If the EU wants to compete then they better start developing their own stuff and stop using our stuff. Company secrets most be respected as that is the leading edge a nation has over another and if our industry gives away the labor of their research and development and the money invested to do it; then something wrong with companies and governaments which want to steal industry secrets.

Timbo Zimbabwe
Timbo Zimbabwe

"I'd make a public statement that Microsoft will stop supporting & selling Windows to the EU nations." BS. If you were MS, you'd be making more money than God and would be happy to pay a measley couple of billion to keep making billions more. Too many companies will pay fines because profit made through illicit or illegal means offsets the loss. Basic economics....

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

- EU nations would put development resources into furthering the already popular nonMS solutions. - All other nonMS solution users would benefit through shared source (though not so much if the EU went closed source; that is unlikely though) - MS would have to answer too shareholders regarding why they backed out of a huge market. MS is required to show that they are persuing all and every business opertunity on behalf of there shareholders (I think that's another bit fo corp law actually) so backing out of a huge market would cause questions. It would be win-win (too use the corporate term). :)

simon
simon

Some people (like me) in the EU buy MS Windows because they have no choice, and that is surely a definition of a monopoly. I run Linux, because I like it, but where could I buy a computer with Linux on it? Or nothing at all on it, just the hardware? Or where do I go for a refund for the Windows software which came with the computer, but which is no use to me at all? If MS software is good (which personally I believe it is, I use it at work,and I am not anti-MS per se) then let it compete in a FREE market, and it will survive on its merits.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

There is no disputing that MS has collected software from any (likely now defunct) company that had something MS wanted to include. In business terms, there is no question that MS has been run with brilliant strategy. They've put together all the pieces for a one size fits all solution from a single vendor. I just don't see the evidence that suddgests the EU wants to shatter MS simply to de-evolve computing back into the five word processors with five broken format days. I may not be privy to the same information you have and maybe you are getting a video feed directly into the closed council meetings but I don't see where following through on legal obligations to pursue MS outstanding fines equates to a desire too destroy all that is win32-holy. Now if the word processor from italy, the presentation software from germany, the spreadsheet application from sweden and the database from japan all work well together then who cares where the home office is when everything is right next door by Internet anyhow. It's not like it's 1920 and buying product from one side of the states and having it shipped to the other side of the states is is an effort. Money never seemed aimed at the business market. I used it for a few years to manage my own finances and ended up leaving it when it became too overcomplicated and internet integrated. It's not like MS has always had winning offerings that stomped the competition (ie. Bob). MS doesn't kill everything market it touches but you can bet that if Money was an market initiative for it's respective year, MS would have put a whole lot more weight behind stomping on Intuit. Thankfully, they haven't managed to run Visio into the ground since it's purchase. The same holds for Internet client software; they came to that party late too. They decided that this Internet fad would pass and chose to ignore it until the standards and protocols where already established. Not everything MS touches turns to gold but the list of carcasses left behind isn't a short one. I remember that miserable spot of paper glued to everyone's keyboard so they could use WP. I ignored it and used the menu system previous to that dos based GUI version. I've no lost love over wordperfect by any means. In Word, I'm completely the other way and more so in Excel where I spend most of my eight hour days; any key command I can learn to keep off that miserable mouse makes me more efficient with less wrist strain. Office does a good job of what it's designed too do but does it justify the difference between MS cost of production and total sum of license fee retail value? On the subject of Office, I must point out that while pretty, it's not like it's the most rock solid software either. I break Excel's memory management at least once a day. The files I'm working with get so large that with a dual core, I still have to disable autocalculate. I can always tell when I've blown the memory management because Excel goes into an infinit loop of calculating the formula when I do (ah key commands again) tell it to update the math. Here's the kicker; I close out of excel by crashing it out from the task manager, I reopen that same spreadsheet or collection of linked workbooks and the very same calculation update takes no time at all. I can't tell you the amount of time I've lost because I expect a simply update to take a moment and twenty minute later I find myself reminded why one should save after every change to the files. This may actually be due to Excel using IE as it's GUI library since IE also seems to stall out with memory issues thanks to the overuse of flash by website developers and other memory heavy graphics that add nothing too site content. In like fashion to Excel, I'll have a few sites open with the flash adds reloading as they do. I'll follow a link and the browser will hang trying to connect or download the requested content. Close all the IE windows and the same pages load almost instantly. Now that's the quality craftsmanship that hides behind the lipstick on the pig. But with Office comes Ye' Old binary blob formats again. I've got years of spreadsheets keeping me shackled to Excel at home because standard file formats are not in MS shareholder's best interest. Why must I use a black and decker hammer number 5 just because I have to bind some wood with black and decker nails? That doesn't really relate back to the EU's case, I just thought I'd mention it encase someone else experiences the same thing. I'm a life long MS software user and I have the beatings and bruises to prove it. There are days I miss 3.11 because I could always not load it and save those resources for what I was doing rather than displaying pretty GUI elements in the background; then I get home to my own systems and everything is right withthe world. It's like settling back into a bucket seated sports car after driving from a bench seat all day.

CG IT
CG IT

but that's not what the EU really wants. What the EU really wants is to go back to the days of unstandardized formats so that the software companies in the EU can all create programs that will sell globally. They may bitch and moan about Microsoft but any of those software companies can create a program that will run on Windows O/S and do what Word, Excel, PowerPoint do. No one will buy em because of the "why" quotient. Why buy a WordProcessing program of some company in Sweden, a Powerpoint program from some company in Germany, a publishing program from Italy when you can get the whole thing from MS. For that matter, I remember the days when everyone thought Intuit was headed the way of the Dodo when MS came out with Money. Intuit still has the larger market share for personal accounting and business accounting as well. Didn't happen. For that matter, Peachtree is still around but Money didn't bury them nor Intuit. Your last paragraph sums up what makes MS desirable over competing products. MS always enhances the tools and user interface. WordPerfect, you needed a template to place over the damn keyboard whenever you wanted to use it and then had CTL Shift and ALT controls as well. Way to complicated.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

My work was school related at that time but, yeah, I do remember the 286 days. Sending a document meant figuring out what word processor the other person used then how close to that format you could export from our wordprocessor. That's not a software issue though. I don't see that as caused by having competing word processors. I see that as a direct result of using the users data as a barganing chip. Each WP had it's own format for file storage and that kept the end user locked into that one tool. The single kernel bit was regarding "Linux" which is only a small part of over a hundred differetn but similar OS. If your refering to "Linux" then that's a single kernel used across many OS distributions and only one single kernel among many that exist outside the MS echosystem. It is the businesses problem to review all possible options and choose the best fit for them based on the RFQ/RFP data. After that, it becomes the service providers problem to make the option they sold work as it was advertised. I personally have no desire to go back to when every competing program used it's own data file format. Leave the user's data in the relm of standardised formats and compete based on the quality of the tools used to edit that data.

CG IT
CG IT

It has to do with costs. It just costs less to buy a standardized product and to get support for that product from one source. Back in the days of the 286 before Windows 95, there was a multitude of software vendors. Again I will use the example of the word processing program. I worked in aerospace for a # of years just as the desktop was becoming mainstread [yep 20 years ago] On my 286, I had 4 word processing programs. IBM Displaywriter, Wordstar, WorkPerfect, and then MS Word. None were really compatible with each other. You couldn't send a document in Wordstart to someone who only used WordPerfect. You couldn't send a spreadsheet in boeingcalc to someone who used Lotus 123. don't even mention databases. The government also had their own as well so there were all these programs and when you made a proposal you had to call up everyone involved who wanted the data on floppies and ask em what format they wanted. It was insane. Support was insane as well. Departments within the company all used whatever they wanted to use. Software's support was the nightmare. Microsoft with standardizing Office programs into a suite, standardizing their O/S and most importantly, would work on any of the x86 platforms was just plain cost effective in the total cost of having a computer network. To go to open source meaning to go back to the days when there was four or five word processing programs from four or five vendors to choose from. four or five spreadsheets programs, four or five publishing programs, and the nightmare of supporting all those programs from all those vendors.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

- Linux based OS offerings improve daily but Linux based OS are but one of many nonMS options and where not the specific example (in my post anyhow). - If you must focus on a single OS kernel then you may want to look at all the hardware that makes use of it includeing desktops, laptops, servers, mobile devices (is your cell phone running winCE or something wrapped around a Linux kernel?). I hear Walmart is selling out of machines shipping with Linux based OS on them and darned if they don't sell to the home user and not generally tech savvy market. Odd that. - Business baught into MS long ago when they where saviour from IBM or later while MS was using vendor lockin contracts and other anticompetitive deals. Ironically, MS very quickly turned around and became the very thing that they originally where touted as being the savior from. You might want to look too the history of MS and don't forget to include the halloween documents and other internal information such as the recent "boy we shagged the pooch with Vista" letters. - Business buying a unified solution isn't anything new or special. The could before MS and the can after MS; we call them service and support companies, value added resellers and integrated solution providers. Since the work of making the solution funtion properly is the responsability of the service provider, I don't understand the significance of the point your making. - Consumers will often buy what they use at work but we're starting to see consumers buy what they don't use at work because it's better return for the cost. We are also seeing people who don't use any particular information technology at work buying systems for home. - I recommend you look into OSS further. Standardization like the one shoe fit's all model is not the answer. Standardization like accepting and using industry standards is a far more beneificial thing to standardize. If it was simply the next great innovation then fantastic but the current software market makes it more about releasing a just different enough to require upgradeing version ever six months to a year so that the revenue stream can be started over and the older version support can be forgotten. A better method is too charge for the support and generate an ongoing and stable revenue stream rather than valleys with peaks at each release date. This better motivates the developer to compete and innovate. It also provides ongoing financial backing for them while evlolving the software. It also provides motivaton to continue supporting the software rather than cut off support when the initial sales profit peak drops off with the anouncement of, yet another, new version everyone is going to have to upgrade too.

CG IT
CG IT

If linux was a viable standard then it would have taken off. Consumers [not businesses] use at home what they use at work because it's what they know how to use. Businesses on the other hand found it cost effective to buy all their basic business applications from one or 2 sources. Used to be that business had many vendors to purchase software from. That was costly not only in licensing but also support. When business could buy a standarized operating system and a standardized set of applications one source, heck who wouldn't? It's cost effective. Consumers then bought what they work with the most. Open source isn't going to do much until they become standardized. Programmers don't like standarization because then they can't become zillionaires by making the next great Word Processing program like it was 20 years ago.

Mishap
Mishap

I have to agree that MS backing out of the EU would be the best possible outcome. It's also why MS WON'T! If MS backed out, then a version of desktop Linux WOULD become the standard there, and would become a viable competitor to MS, thus breaking their monopoly! Hence, while it would be a good thing for EU and, eventually, consumers world wide, it will never happen, no matter how much money MS has to pony up to the EU.