09.29.12

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Microsoft Expected to be Fined for Disobeying European Orders

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Microsoft at 11:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We’re giving away a pretty good browser as part of the operating system. How long can [Netscape] survive selling it?”

Steve Ballmer

Flag of Europe

Summary: Microsoft is angering regulators at the European Commission and action is expected

The controversy over EU decisions is often a manufactured one. Microsoft PR creates it.

Browser choice in Europe did not go far enough in punishing the offender, Microsoft. But even the little which was demanded has not been fulfilled because Microsoft characteristically ignored orders: “Microsoft is reportedly set to be whacked with a Statement of Objections from European Commission competition officials over the software giant’s foolish browser-choice gaffe in which users of the Windows OS were steered into using the firm’s IE software.

“According to Bloomberg, which cited two anonymous sources familiar with the matter, the alleged antitrust breaches could lead to Microsoft being hit with yet more fines. This is even though the company attempted to forestall the damage by apologising for the cockup, which saw EU mandated browser-choice dialogues fail to appear on many Windows PCs sold in Europe in recent times.”

Another charge is reportedly on its way: “Microsoft Corp will be charged for failing to comply with a 2009 ruling ordering it to offer a choice of web browsers, the European Union’s antitrust chief said on Thursday, which could mean a hefty fine for the company.”

“Browser choice in Europe did not go far enough in punishing the offender, Microsoft.”Microsoft PR staff, boosters, and even former Microsoft employees downplayed EU fines before. This one person who quotes Microsoft talking points is doing it again. Without disclosure of past employment at Microsoft Zack Whittaker uses a news platform to bias the debate. Contrariwise, Pogson says that “M$ promised to offer users choice of browser but they broke their word, 28 million times. No fine is too large, EU Commission. Hammer them!”

Here is the original report and a complaint about Whittaker, accusing the publisher: “ZiffGatesNet sides with #Microsoft on story about #EU fine – repeats “error” excuse http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-faces-eu-fine-over-browser-choice-error-7000004723/?s_cid=e550″

Rex Djere says that operating systems and not just browsers are the issue: “We have to directly fund hardware manufacturers that make the open platforms that we want. GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, Android etc. already provide the software openness; as soon as we introduce this same concept to hardware on a large scale, it won’t matter what Microsoft and other similar corporations do. Their closed systems will remain stationary on store shelves collecting dust.”

The FSF made a similar argument.

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
  12. Microsoft Does Not Obey the Law

Will justice ever be restored?

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2 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    September 29, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Gravatar

    The “remedy” still does nothing about the actual problem which is that of bundling MSIE into every copy of Windows. All this yammering about ballots is just a smoke screen to distract from the real problem that remains unaddressed.

    phel Reply:

    The problem goes much deeper than that. The intention behind EU’s regulations is to stimulate competition in general, but the current rules don’t work. What EU needs to do is to revoke certain market priveleges for dominant products. One important privelege in this respect is the ability to hide the true cost of a certain product inside a wider package. In ICT a product that commands a market share of more than 40% should be required to be marketed, sold and billed separately. I.e a product such as windows with a 95% market-share can no longer be bundled with hardware, and competitors get to know exactly what they are up against wrt price per unit. A bonus for unbundling is that MS would have to simplify and speed up the installation process for users to do it themselves or for reselles to perform as a service in the shop.

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