EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

03.08.13

Reminder: Microsoft Fine a Punishment for Its Crimes

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Microsoft at 10:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

J P Morgan
J. P. Morgan assaulting photographers

Summary: Rebuttal to Microsoft spin which can be found embedded in many articles about the EU fine; reason for the fine is breaking the law and failing to obey penalties, not an attempt to increase competition in the Web browsers market

The fines which Microsoft is required to pay will hardly do much damage to Microsoft, which can always just take some more loans. Yes, the company has had some debt and not too long ago it publicly reported losses. Here is the news from yet another source:

The European Commission has fined Microsoft €561 million (£484 million/$732 million) for dropping the Browser Choice Screen in a Windows 7 update. This is the first time ever that the Commission has had to fine a company for non-compliance with an anti-trust commitment.

Well, a former Microsoft employee who keeps covering this saga with some Microsoft talking points embedded inside, does it yet again. Others who are soft on Microsoft say:

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you know that open source browsers–especially Firefox and Google Chrome–have been leading browser innovation for a long time. That’s why it may seem unbelievable to some that Microsoft has just been hit with a whopping $731 million fine by European officials for allegedly not playing fair in the browser races. Microsoft agreed to terms with Europe on making browser choices available in Windows years ago….

As a little bit of background:

In December 2009, the Commission made Microsoft commit to address competition concerns in the browser market by ensuring that for the next five years it would offer users a choice screen of browsers so that they could make an “informed and unbiased” selection for their web browser. In March 2010, the Browser Choice Screen went live in Windows and users who had Internet Explorer set as their default, and users performing new installs, were presented with it. Between March and November 2010, 84 million browsers were downloaded.

As the OSI President explains:

EU punished Microsoft for its history, not its crime

The real reason the EU fined Microsoft (a relatively small sum) at all: Because the company is a scofflaw

A pro-Linux site added its views:

The EU Competition Commission, which levied a fine on Microsoft, had indicated long before the announcement what was in store, so “EU fines Microsoft” was expected. What we did not know was how much the fine was going to be.

[...]

Knowing Microsoft, you know that there was no glitch or technical error. It was just business as usual. In late 2012, Microsoft was notified by the EU Commission about the possibility of a fine, which based on agreement, could be as high as 10% of a year’s revenue. Based on Microsoft’s revenue in 2012, that could have been about $7.4bn USD. Instead, the commission settled for $731m USD, or 561m euros.

[...]

By the way, over here in our America, it’s still business as usual.

The main reason for writing this article is to highlight what effect, if any, Microsoft’s “technical error” has had on its Web browser’s market share in Europe and elsewhere. Did the “glitch” enable Internet Explorer to remain the dominant Web browser? And was it necessary to make Microsoft pay?

No, but this is irrelevant. As we explained repeatedly in prior years, this is punishment for crimes, not an attempt at corrective market intervention. Microsoft has PR talking points, and it is important to resist portraying the criminal as a victim. The victims here are many people/families who lost their jobs so that criminals high up in Microsoft can amass more billions of dollars (personal wealth) and plenty of power over the Internet, the broadest communications hub.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

A Single Comment

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    March 8, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Gravatar

    PJ at Groklaw brings up several points not mentioned elsewhere:

    http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20130307115948999&mode=nested

    And the EFF had a good bit to say.

    https://blogs.fsfe.org/gerloff/2013/03/06/ec-hits-microsoft-with-eur-561-million-fine-over-web-browsers/

    The monetary fines seem to leave M$ unfazed and appear to be treated as the cost of doing business. It may be that more forceful measures are necessary, namely excluding M$ from public procurement for a limited amount of time. That time interval mustn’t be too short, it has to be long enough that buyers have to look for other vendors rather than just wait it out.

What Else is New


  1. Links 21/9/2014: xorg-server 1.16.1, Linux Kernel 3.16.3

    Links for the day



  2. Links 20/9/2014: GNOME 3.13.92, Android L

    Links for the day



  3. Scanning Patent Troll Implodes; Is the Podcasting Patent Troll Next?

    MPHJ loses and Personal Audio LLC perhaps wins for the last time since software patents are quickly losing legitimacy in the United States



  4. If CAFC is Not Above the Law, Then it Should be Shut Down Now

    A long series of abuses in CAFC may as well suggest that this court has become broken beyond repair



  5. The Latest From Microsoft Patent Trolls and Patent Partners

    Microsoft-linked and Linux-hostile trolls continue their relentless attacks (albeit with little or no success) while patents as a weapon lose their teeth owing to a Supreme Court ruling



  6. Microsoft Proves That Its Massive Layoffs Are Not About Nokia

    Microsoft is laying off a lot of employees who have nothing at all to do with Nokia



  7. Links 19/9/2014: Another Red Hat Acquisition, Netflix Dumps Microsoft Silverlight and Brings DRM to WWW

    Links for the day



  8. Links 18/9/2014: Windows Copying GNU/Linux, Germany Moves to Security

    Links for the day



  9. Web Site 'Patent Progress' Now Officially 'Powered by CCIA' (FRAND Proponent, Microsoft Front)

    After talking a job at CCIA, "Patent Progress" and its chief author should be treated as dubious on real patent progress



  10. Articles About the Death of Software Patents in the United States

    Recent coverage of software patents and their demise in their country of origin, where even proponents of software patents are giving up



  11. The Death of Software Patents is Already Killing Some Major Patent Trolls

    VirnetX seems to be the latest victim of the demise of software patents in the United States



  12. More Microsoft Layoffs

    More Microsoft layoffs go ahead as the company is unable to compete



  13. ODF on the Rise

    Milestones for OpenDocument Format (ODF) and the launch of FixMyDocuments



  14. Links 17/9/2014: CoreOS, ChromeOS, and systemd

    Links for the day



  15. Italy is Cracking Down on Microsoft's Monopoly Abuse While Gradually Moving to GNU/Linux

    Italy is not only moving to Free/Open Source software but also to GNU/Linux while at the same time barring Microsoft from forcibly tying Windows to new PCs



  16. OpenSUSE's 'Assurances' Are Classic MBA School Hogwash

    OpenSUSE is not part of any commitment, except for SUSE's; the impact of the Novell/SUSE acquisition casts uncertainty on the project's future



  17. Links 16/9/2014: Firefox OS Smartphones in Bangladesh, “Treasure Map” of the Internet

    Links for the day



  18. The United Kingdom Should Dump Microsoft For the Sake of National Security

    The UK has issues of Microsoft dependency and Windows viruses; its migration to Free software and GNU/Linux is not fast enough to guard its autonomy in the age of digital imperialism



  19. CBS Hires Even More Microsoft Staff to Cover Microsoft Matters

    CBS continues to be infested with Microsoft staff past and present (this time Dave Johnson) and the bias in output is quite revealing



  20. Microsoft Has Just Killed Minecraft for GNU/Linux and the Possibility of Free/Open Source Releases

    Persson sells out to Microsoft and lets the abusive monopolist destroy the popular cross-platform game that a community has been built around



  21. Another Reason to Boycott Intel UEFI

    More anti-competitive aspects are revealed inside UEFI, which helps merginalise GNU/Linux



  22. Quick Mention: Novell and SUSE Passed to Microsoft's 'Partner of the Year', Microsoft Focus

    Novell is changing hands again, and falling into the hands of even more Microsoft-friendly actors



  23. Links 16/9/2014: Linux 3.17 RC5, KDE Frameworks 5.2.0

    Links for the day



  24. Željko Topić, Benoît Battistelli, and the European Patent Office (EPO): Part II

    Part II of our look into the EPO appointment of Željko Topić and other matters showing the dubious integrity of the EPO



  25. Links 14/9/2014: Android-based Watches Earn Optimism

    Links for the day



  26. Links 14/9/2014: Eucalyptus Devoured

    Links for the day



  27. Links 11/9/2014: Linux Toilet Project, Linux-Based Wheelchair Project

    Links for the day



  28. Links 10/9/2014: Brian Stevens in Google, Ubuntu 14.10 Expectations

    Links for the day



  29. Links 9/9/2014: Hating/Loving Linux, Android Aplenty

    Links for the day



  30. Links 8/9/2014: Linux 3.17 RC 4, Switzerland Welcoming Snowden

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts