07.18.12

Microsoft Does Not Obey the Law

Posted in Antitrust, Law, Microsoft at 11:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Obey

Summary: Microsoft snubs authorities, breaking the law after it was penalised for breaking the law

A lot of publications have already covered the news about Microsoft not obeying orders, essentially by not making it possible to install alternative browsers as easily as mandated after Microsoft broke the law. To quote one report:

Brussels’ competition commissioner has opened a fresh investigation into Microsoft’s practice of using its Windows operating system to push people into using its Internet Explorer browser, following allegations of non-compliance with an EC settlement deal the software giant agreed to in late 2009.

Microsoft, under the legally-binding agreement, was supposed to display a choice screen to its European Windows customers allowing them to pick between IE, Firefox, Chrome and other browsers on the market until 2014.

“On Tuesday, the commission accused Microsoft of omitting a screen that gives users easier access to rivals’ Web browsers,” claimed IDG. This shows the sheer arrogance of Microsoft. It leads to another probe, which is unlikely to achieve much as Microsoft cannot understand any language other than force.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) risks European Union penalties for failing to comply with a settlement to give users a choice of web browsers, more than two years after it tried to end a decade-long clash with antitrust regulators.
EU Competition Commission Joaquin Almunia said Microsoft may have misled regulators by failing to display a browser choice screen to users of the Windows operating system since February 2011. The world’s largest software company blamed a technical error for not showing the screen to some users and offered to extend its commitment until March 2016.

Jan Wildeboer says that:

[T]he EU case v Microsoft should also ring the alarm bells in Cupertino AFAICS. The main claim seems to be that there is no browser choice on Windows 8 on the ARM platform (where one can only have IE, just as iOS onyl allows it’s own engine)

That’s not the point though. It was not Apple that used illegal tactics to get a browser monopoly.

Here is another report about this antitrust failure:

The European Commission and Microsoft have been tangled in a long and drawn out legal battle that has now spanned almost 20 years. The EC reacted to accusations that the software giant was using its position as market leader to stifle competition by leveraging a $1.1 billion fine on the company. In a related case it also ruled that Microsoft should include a “browser ballot” with its operating systems. Now, a new dispute appears to be brewing, once again hinging on browser choice in Microsoft’s OSes. The Redmond-based company failed to include the required ballot screen with its Windows 7 Service Pack 1 update, and has also drawn criticism for preventing browser choice with its upcoming ARM-based operating system, Windows RT.

Our contributor iophk says that “‘browser choice’ was an ineffectual remedy anyway. It’s rather telling about the corporate culture there that Microsoft got caught trying to dodge out of even such a weak punishment. After all, it does zero to address the original problem of illegally tying/bundling MSIE with all Windows systems sold.”

We covered the subject in posts such as:

  1. Cablegate: European Commission Worried About Microsoft’s Browser Ballot Screen Being Inappropriate
  2. Microsoft’s Browser Ballot is Broken Again and Internet Explorer 8 is Critically Flawed
  3. Microsoft’s Ballot Screen is a Farce, Decoy
  4. A Ballot Screen is Not Justice, Internet Explorer Still Compromises Users’ PCs
  5. Microsoft Not Only Broke the Law in Europe, So Browser Ballot Should Become International
  6. Browser Ballot Critique
  7. Microsoft’s Fake “Choice” Campaign is Back
  8. Microsoft Claimed to be Cheating in Web Browsers Ballot
  9. Microsoft Loses Impact in the Web Despite Unfair Ballot Placements
  10. Given Choice, Customers Reject Microsoft
  11. Microsoft is Still Cheating in Browser Ballot — Claim

We have covered most points before, so there is no point doing that again.

The corporate press gave this issue a lot of coverage, but iophk notes that “[f]ines have no effect. Other remedies are necessary.” iophk recommends a “2-year ban on sales of Microsoft products in the EU,” insisting that it “would be a start.”

Remember that the only language Microsoft understands is force. We saw Microsoft refusing to obey orders many times before.

“Microsoft and its employees now think it is indeed the Master of the Universe.”

Stewart Alsop, Fortune

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