Europe Fines Microsoft for Abuses, But Continues Funnelling Public Money to Microsoft; the Greek Set Fire to Microsoft
Summary: Signs of unrest, affirmation that Microsoft is breaking the rules, more infuriating stories from the UK, and arson at Microsoft Greece
Microsoft has lost its appeal before the EU’s General Court, Europe’s second-highest, although gaining a slight reduction in the penalties it has to pay, now fixed at EUR 860 million. So it remains true for all time that Microsoft was found to have abused its dominant position, in a case about its refusal to allow access to interoperability information. It could still appeal to the EU Court of Justice, the highest court. This is the case that FSFE and the Samba Team won. Microsoft had asked that the ruling be annulled and that the court “order the Commission and the interveners supporting it to pay the costs.
This is it, it’s over. The last remaining pending issue spawning from the 2004 Decision (the so called “Monti decision”), by which the European Union slapped Microsoft with an unprecedented antitrust remedy, has ended, barring an unpredictable appeal. A decision imposing 899 million euro fine, for non compliance with the obligation to provide complete and accurate interoperability information under Reasonable And Non Discriminatory conditions, was by and large upheld by the General Court in case T-167/08, where I represented the FSFE and the Samba Team, intervening in support of the Commission.
I have now read the decision in its all 26 printed pages. Among many details concerning procedural fine points that would bore to death most of the readers, I have found some points that are worth pointing out, since they confirmed my/our positions that we put forward since 2005. That’s when the whole “implementation” phase started, after the President of the Court of First Instance (that was the General Court called back then) refused to suspend the 2004 Decision pending judgement on the merits.
Microsoft cannot claim to be a scapegoat and every well calculated politician should pressure to stop doing business with Microsoft. In reality, however, politics and crimes sometimes attract each other; favours and bribes are part of the game. The press too is corrupt. Watch how a former Microsoft employee acts as a journalist on the subject (conflict of interest). He spuriously quotes Microsoft, even at the end (several paragraphs). CNET and ZDNet prove to have no journalistic integrity because this load of tabloid garbage, masquerading as professionalism, clearly has serious issues with it. One just needs to know the writer’s professional background. So the antitrust ruling in EU covered by former Microsoft UK staff (without disclosure), even in the press. How bad is that?
Over here in the UK, the government keeps dealing with this criminal company, passing public money (without tender) to private hands in another country, despite the appalling record of this company (multiple times of convictions over competition abuses and more). As Pogson puts it, they dare describe this as a bargain, too:
The snake charmers from M$ have done it again. M$’s salesmen have convinced the UK Cabinet that money can be saved by spending more. Of course they are comparing projected prices (vapour-prices) versus 1% more than the previous agreement. What is totally missing is that UK gets no value at all from the money spent. They are paying M$ for permission to use equipment the UK owns. That’s insane.
It’s that infamous discount lie. Locking oneself up to some company is worse than wasteful, it is dangerous. Here is the original report. They are aiding criminals rather than ostracise the criminals. Over in Greece, Microsoft’s headquarters came under fire, literally:
A coordinated arson assault by armed gunmen against Microsoft’s HQ in Athens earlier this morning is another headache for big multi-nationals in Athens. Reportedly, multi-national corporations have already been considered leaving the debt-ridden country because of unpaid bills, falling revenues and the prospect that Greece might be forced to leave the euro.
There were gunmen too:
Three attackers drove a van through the front of Microsoft’s offices just north of Athens on Wednesday, marched out security guards at gunpoint, and tried to burn the building to the ground.
It’s unclear who is behind the attack, but it’s a worrying sign for foreign multinational corporations, coming as Greece struggles under the weight of a collapsing economy.
Let’s not forget Microsoft's abusive behaviour in Greece, even Gates'. This does not justify violence, but when justice gets neglected (Microsoft not prosecuted for its crimes) the population tends to take the law into its own hands. █