Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 7th Oct 2009 17:36 UTC
Internet & Networking After long negotiations and back and forths between the EU, Microsoft, and other browser makers, Microsoft's browser ballot proposal has been amended and offered up for debate yet again by the EU; this time around, it will actually be tested out by consumers. A number of changes have been made since the first proposal, so let's take a look.
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RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by JLF65 on Wed 7th Oct 2009 18:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
JLF65
Member since:
2005-07-06

Thats the punishment for having a Monoploy ;)


No, it's the punishment for ABUSING your monopoly position. Most countries (USA included) have no problems with companies acquiring a monopoly, just in using that monopoly illegally.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Kroc
by google_ninja on Wed 7th Oct 2009 19:12 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Kroc"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

A punishment is a fine. This is an attempt to correct an unhealthy market through regulation.

Funny thing is, the browser market is incredibly healthy at the moment. There is a high amount of competition and innovation going on. This would make sense if the EU did it about 11 years ago, would be understandable if they did it 5 years ago. Now it is either sad or scary, depending on where you live.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by Kroc
by sbergman27 on Wed 7th Oct 2009 19:30 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Kroc"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Funny thing is, the browser market is incredibly healthy at the moment. There is a high amount of competition and innovation going on

People say this. And the current landscape *is* starting to become encouraging. But we are not out of the woods yet. And overconfidence is, perhaps, our greatest enemy now. IE is still strongly dominant and still holds a major unfair advantage over other browsers. There is still a very real barrier to entry. Other browsers have to be substantially better than current IE to maintain their market share. IE still gets it by default and then *loses* market share if, and only if, it is substantially inferior, and if and only if the user is savvy enough to recognize it and find something else.

We are *beginning* to see some real competition. True. But the only reason that anyone might mistake it for a healthy market is that we are so very used to so much worse.

I try not to be too alarmist. But I sincerely believe that it is appropriate to sound the alarm in this case.

Reply Parent Score: 7

Neelie Kros, head of EC, has said
by MollyC on Wed 7th Oct 2009 20:18 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Kroc"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

at least implicitly, that having a dominant marketshare (which she defined as over 50%) itself was "illegal". (She was talking about Microsoft server share at the time, I believe.) That that was the abuse in an of itself. She went on to say, "Our goal is to drive Microsoft's share down to below 50%" (as opposed to our goal is to end abuse, etc). So that, no matter what Microsoft did to address her concerns, it was inadequate if it didn't drive down Microsoft's marketshare to an acceptable level.

And there've been rulings in the EU where, if a company obtains over 50% share of a particular "market" (as defined by the EC), then that company is required to assist its competitors.

Lastly, there is a major difference between US antitrust law and EU antitrust law, in that the former's goal is to protect consumers, while the latter's is to protect competitors. So in the US, a company can do what it wants unless it can be shown that consumers are hurt. In the EU, it's whether competitors are hurt that is paramount, and "punishment"/"remedies" are imposed even if consumers haven't been hurt, indeed, even if those punishments/remedies hurt consumers.

This ballot is imposing an inconvenience on consumers (throwing a ballot in their face) in order to help competitors, even though the consumers haven't been hurt because they already have plenty of browsers to choose from, and do.

Edited 2009-10-07 20:23 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2