Home > Microsoft > Microsoft Hit by Huge EU Fine Microsoft Hit by Huge EU Fine Submitted by wakeupneo 2006-07-12 Microsoft 91 Comments The European Commission fined Microsoft 280.5 million euros ($357.3 million) on Wednesday to punish its failure to comply with a landmark 2004 antitrust ruling. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 91 Comments 2006-07-12 4:24 pm liamdawe That is a large amount, me starts to wonder what the EU will do with this money?! 2006-07-12 4:32 pm Joe User Donate this money to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation http://www.gatesfoundation.org/ 2006-07-12 4:35 pm kwanbis probably buy some Vista licenses 2006-07-12 5:20 pm rapont It probably resembles the amount of money that the EU governments have spent with Microsoft over the years…. good on them. I think though that they should give the money to something like the EFF, or some body that will help architect open source software development of systems that governments use. At least that way they can reduce their dependency on single corporate entities and whatever work they manage to do all governments (including first and third world) can benefit from. 2006-07-12 4:35 pm Felix Schwarz The money will be used in the general EU budget (subsidizing big farmers). fs 2006-07-12 5:15 pm AdamW “the EU has an agreed budget of €862 billion for the period 2007-2013” – that’s €123 billion per year. As for Microsoft, for the financial year 2005 – that’s July 2004 to June 2005 (2006 full year results aren’t out yet) – they made $40 billion in revenue and $12 billion in profit. €280 million is pretty much a drop in the ocean to both parties, if looked at in context. (edit – typo) Edited 2006-07-12 17:16 2006-07-12 5:24 pm Woogbear Me thinks; Wine, music, and endless orgies. A real Roman Holiday for the fat cats of the EU at the expense of an American company. 2006-07-12 5:47 pm ronaldst You forgot fancy airplanes, fancy cars, fancy offices and many other expenses. Nuthin’ better than wiping away sweat with other people’s cold hard cash. Especially benjamins. 2006-07-12 4:34 pm cycloneous Apparently the EU has a sack while the U.S. DoJ had none, simply politics on the U.S. side. However, it is a start! I am for innovation and what not but Microsoft has surely has its hand in a serious hot pot. With Bill Gates leaving, I am not sure if Microsoft will be any relevant within the 5 years or so. So the questions begs to be asked, is this really all necessary? Let’s face it, Longhorn/Vista is late, Office 2007 is late, heck, their cash cows are late! It spells problems, and they’re losing on other fronts of the software paradigm. They have enough money in the bank to take this hit. No wonder they never rarely paid out dividends, they need a way to pay for all those fines they’ll be with over the next two years until Bill leaves and the company will go south. Edited 2006-07-12 16:35 2006-07-12 4:38 pm Felix Schwarz With Bill Gates leaving, I am not sure if Microsoft will be any relevant within the 5 years or so. I guess Windows + Office will be dominant (market share on desktop computers > 50%) at least for the next 10 years. So the questions begs to be asked, is this really all necessary? Let’s face it, Longhorn/Vista is late, Office 2007 is late, heck, their cash cows are late! Doesn’t matter: Most people have to buy new licenses every time they buy a new computer (can’t buy one without). fs 2006-07-12 4:41 pm Joe User Doesn’t matter: Most people have to buy new licenses every time they buy a new computer (can’t buy one without). Not here. I bought a laptop, and I asked to remove the offending operating system that shipped with it. Final price was lower. 2006-07-12 5:03 pm twickline I did the same thing, I went to a vendor that offered a no Windows Tax solution and ask for a clean hard drive. If more people did this more vender’s would offer no OS or Linux as a option. 2006-07-12 6:08 pm DrillSgt “I did the same thing, I went to a vendor that offered a no Windows Tax solution and ask for a clean hard drive. If more people did this more vender’s would offer no OS or Linux as a option.” I know here in the US that it can be done. It is possible to buy a Dell without MS Windows on it and you get FreeDOS install disks instead, since a PC can not be sold without an OS. The spo called Windows Tax you all scream about is irrelevant, as these machines are the same price as the ones with Windows installed. There is no money saved. 2006-07-12 9:36 pm AdamW So what you’re saying is that Microsoft doesn’t charge Dell anything for the Windows license? I find the alternative explanation – that Microsoft has prevailed upon Dell to sell the FreeDOS-equipped PCs at an artificially inflated price in order to reduce their attractiveness – rather more likely. 2006-07-12 10:14 pm DrillSgt “So what you’re saying is that Microsoft doesn’t charge Dell anything for the Windows license? I find the alternative explanation – that Microsoft has prevailed upon Dell to sell the FreeDOS-equipped PCs at an artificially inflated price in order to reduce their attractiveness – rather more likely.” No, that is not what I said or was saying. Microsoft does charge dell for a license. All I was saying is that there is no difference in price for a PC with or without. Please don’t read into what I write, but rather exactly what it says. Webster’s English Dictionary is a wonderful thing, unless you are a lawyer in which case I suppose you can make up your own meanings as you go. 2006-07-13 12:03 am AdamW So either you agree with my explanation of why there is no difference in price, or you have another. Which is it? If you have another explanation I’d love to hear it. 2006-07-13 12:17 am DrillSgt “So either you agree with my explanation of why there is no difference in price, or you have another. Which is it? If you have another explanation I’d love to hear it.” I agree that dell may be overcharging. I don’t have access to the book keeping, so I really have no idea. I don’t go around guessing why any company does what they do. 2006-07-13 5:37 am leech Since when can you not sell a PC without an OS? That’s just Dell’s Policy and pure stupidity. I bought my Laptop with no OS. I agree with the other reply, it’s probably so that the Dell PCs without Windows doesn’t look like a good deal, and it makes it look like Windows doesn’t cost anything, that it’s simply “Part of the Dell computer.” 2006-07-13 5:47 am DrillSgt “Since when can you not sell a PC without an OS?” I really have no idea. All I know is that you can not buy a PC without an OS in the US from HP, Dell, Toshiba, etc. If you find a place by all means let me know. I honestly don’t know why it is like that, but I do know that I can’t unless I build it myself. It is not just Dell. The others I mentioned don’t even have an option to buy without windows in the US, and when called to order they will tell you they can’t sell it without an OS. 2006-07-12 6:33 pm tertiary_adjunct Could you let us know what vendor(s) allow you to buy a computer without an OS? I’d like to be able to do the same thing someday. 2006-07-12 7:03 pm twickline I got my NoteBook from here: http://www.xtremenotebooks.com/index.php?section=configurator®ul… If you go to http://www.xtremenotebooks.com/ they have SLI NoteBooks and 19 inch NoteBooks as well. and you can get any NoteBook without a OS and save the money!!! 2006-07-12 6:42 pm Jedd Cool. Where’d you get that laptop? I’m gonna shop there. 2006-07-12 7:04 pm twickline http://www.xtremenotebooks.com/index.php?section=configurator®ul… 2006-07-12 6:50 pm kaiwai Not here. I bought a laptop, and I asked to remove the offending operating system that shipped with it. Final price was lower. You’re lucky; try telling that to Dell; I told them I don’t want a single thing loaded on my computer; and they insisted that I must have software included with it; I had not choice in the matter. Yes, I did end up selling the offending pieces of software, and making a reasonable amount back, but I needn’t go through the rigmarole simply to get a refund. Edited 2006-07-12 18:54 2006-07-12 7:10 pm twickline You had the choice to tell Dell to go to Hell and take your $$$ somewhere else thats what I did….. 2006-07-13 12:03 am butters If you are a Microsoft OEM partner like Dell, you enter into a volume license agreement with MS. This license agreement is based on a “points” and “levels” system that determines pricing. In order to make sure that all of the points earned by a volume licensing partner are legit, MS imposes a number of restrictions on the sale of volume licenses to end users. Amongst these restrictions is one which makes it a violation of the agreement to sell of license to an end user who declares beforehand that he/she does not intend to agree to the terms of the end-user license agreement (EULA). When I purchased my Dell laptop, I made sure to email their (Dell’s) customer service department beforehand to let them know that I don’t want Windows, and that I won’t accept the MS Windows EULA. At the time, there was no option to decline the Windows license sold with my desired laptop, and since it would be a violation of their agreement with MS to sell a license to me now that I told them I wouldn’t accept the EULA, I further suggested that they put me in touch with their legal department. Approximately 3 days later, I received a call from a Dell customer service supervisor saying that while they won’t be able to ship my laptop with a blank hard disk or without the usual set of system recovery CDs, manuals, and such, they would be willing to agree to a $100 discount on the price of the laptop if I agreed that this is a fair resolution. They told me that they pay less than that per license, but they aren’t permitted by law to disclose the particular amount (probably around $10-25). Basically, I settled out of court for $100. I received my laptop complete with Windows, a MS Windows XP product key label on the underside, and a full set of recovery CDs. Did they report my purchase as a “point” on their volume licensing agreement? I can only speculate. But, overall, I’m satisfied with this outcome. 2006-07-13 10:34 am pcfixaren many people here in sweden have tried that to without any luck the manufacturers/resellers refers to the OEM deals that they have with microsoft and there are only two companies thatis offering a laptop without windows pre installed and they are both more expensive then some other modells with winndows so most people buy the one with windows anyway its called lack of competition 2006-07-12 4:54 pm Mitarai I wouln’t mind to buy a new computer with Novell Enterprice Linux Desktop preinstalled instead of Windows. Edited 2006-07-12 16:55 2006-07-12 4:59 pm liamdawe Yeah i wouldn’t mind, i am actually thinking of buying it once i upgrade my pc more. 2006-07-12 5:26 pm ma_d Since you’ve edited this already I take it the misspelling is intentional? 2006-07-12 5:02 pm cycloneous Good points. However, lets face it, folks are happy with 2000/XP, and Microsoft has made the upgrade path to Vista/Longhorn complicated for users: Microsoft Windows Vista Starter Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium Microsoft Windows Vista Pro Microsoft Windows Vista Small Business Microsoft Windows Vista Enterprise Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate And lets also face reality, people don’t like to spend money if its necessary. I don’t see folks going beyond Home Basic or Pro. You mentioned: Doesn’t matter: Most people have to buy new licenses every time they buy a new computer (can’t buy one without). This is not true, you CAN buy a PC without MS Windows. Those they make you go through hoops, but it can be done legally. 2006-07-12 8:16 pm Woogbear There is no Microsoft Windows Vista Pro 2006-07-12 8:58 pm eMagius This is not true, you CAN buy a PC without MS Windows. Those they make you go through hoops, but it can be done legally. You don’t have to grow through many hoops at all. E.g., it’s just a standard option on Dell’s SB machines. But there are few consumers who would choose to buy a OS-less machine when they could have Windows instead. 2006-07-13 4:30 am Moulinneuf “Dell’s SB machines.” Dell SB stand for small business not everyone is a small business. Not all PC buyers whant a Dell either. 2006-07-12 5:25 pm Sphinx 10 years is like 20 times forever in the computer industry. Even a user base the size of office could be completely overturned in less than a year, users are a trendy bunch and this years staple is next years garbage. Even MS realizes nobody has a market locked which is why windows is so scared of linux. 2006-07-12 5:27 pm ma_d It’s not 1986 anymore and users aren’t very trendy when it comes to their PC software… Technically inclined users are trendy, and many of them have already moved off the Microsoft program stack. These days, most computer users aren’t technically inclined. And since most have a PC at home, half of computer users don’t have an admin to be technically inclined for them, at home at least. 2006-07-12 5:06 pm DevL “So the questions begs to be asked, is this really all necessary?” Yes. “Let’s face it, Longhorn/Vista is late, Office 2007 is late, heck, their cash cows are late! It spells problems, and they’re losing on other fronts of the software paradigm.” Doesn’t give MS the right to have mistreated companies and customers alike for the past decade+. Put differently, if I stole your car and thus ruined your cab business, would you think it’s fair that I wouldn’t have to pay for it simply because I recently fell ill? No matter the current situation, one must always feel the consequences of past misbehaviour and crimes. 2006-07-12 6:47 pm kaiwai Apparently the EU has a sack while the U.S. DoJ had none, simply politics on the U.S. side. Not quite, is more to do with the differences on how the EU and US regulatory bodies see the responsibilities of a dominant player are; in the US the dominant player is simply told that it shouldn’t ‘abuse its market dominance’ which is an open ended statement, leaving alot of room for interpretation. The EU, however, views that the dominant player as a duty to ensure that they co-operate with competitors through the sharing (via non-discriminatory licencing) of technologies which allow better interoperability and promote competition; in a nutshell, the products compete on ‘who is the best’ rather than ‘who can lock the consumer out of the possibility of migrating’. The position of the EU is the equivilant of the US move of unbundling the local loop and allowing competitors to put in their own telecommunication equipment in exchanges, and leasing lines; same situation with EU and ensuring that the dominant player allows fair access to technologies which will promote competition and interoperability; competing on the superior product not who can built the better lock-in technology/who can make it the most difficult to move. Edited 2006-07-12 18:53 2006-07-12 11:18 pm MollyC “Apparently the EU has a sack while the U.S. DoJ had none, simply politics on the U.S. side.” I disagree. I don’t think these fines show that the EU has a “sack”, “guts” or anything of the sort. It takes no guts at all to levy a fine. And the EU law allowed for fines that were twice as large as what the EU did come down with. The fact is, this is a one time hit (may or may not be overturned on appeal), and after next week it will be done with. And your life won’t have been made any “better”, Microsoft will still be as strong as ever. Note: The reason I say that Microsoft will be in complance next week is this: In March, Microsoft met with the EU trustee who, at long last, clarified the requirements of the documentation, and laid down a series of 7 deadlines to meet regarding providing new documentation in accordance with the clarified request. Microsoft has met all 6 deadlines so far; the seventh and last deadline is July 18. See http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/277023_msfteu10.html. Oh, and Microsoft has a huge team working on this issue, and they’ve been staying up all hours on this (sometimes up to 3AM), so the claims that Microsoft is ignoring the requests, acting in bad faith, or whatnot are based on ignornace or are outright lies. 2006-07-13 4:28 am Moulinneuf Microsoft say they have complied and are following what they where ordered to do , up to now. The judge say otherwise and fine them some more amd say they are making progress compared to before , nut have not yet fully complied.. The independant verificator say they have not fully complied with what they where asked and ordered by the court to do. I dont think Microsoft get it that what they gave before is not what they where asked to give and it dont make them in compliance with the court and punishment they received. In 5 days we will know. Yhey are a global company who have people in all the time zone , if they whant to risk it by not putting everyone on this , its there choice and it will be there punishment to face. Microsoft dont get to cherry pick what they can comply with and when. Its the law , follow it or face the consequence. 2006-07-12 4:35 pm GreatBunzinni That fine was rightly deserved. They spent a huge amount of time putting up a show of smoke and mirrors hoping that they could conn the EU. Now they got served and although it may not leave a dent on the company’s finances, I doubt that even Bill Gates will not cringe at the thought of coughing up a 350 milion dolar fine. So tough luck. Better learn how to really open your products. 2006-07-12 7:26 pm Mystic TaCo I’m glad that you have been deeply involved with all the individuals working on this project so that you are crystal clear that everything is smoke and mirrors. A large number of engineers (~300) have been working long hours exclusively on this documentation, sacrificing their personal lives and families’ in order to meet the comission’s deadline. The EU Commission has been very unclear about what constituted acceptable documentation in their mind, necessitating several rewrties. A tremendous amount of work has been put into this project at a hevy cost to the individual engineers involved and it is dissappointing that the commission is not willing to recognize that fact. What they’ve asked to have done is a monumental task. The documentation couldn’t just be turned over because it doesn’t exist. Everything had to be written from scratch (to date 10,000 + pages). Regardless of the openness of the platform, this is a dilbert-esque case of group of legislators who lack inside knowledge and have little or no technical experience getting together to set a near-to-impossible schedule for a task to be accomplished by an group of engineers. 2006-07-12 7:44 pm dmantione DG Competition simply expects Microsoft has documentation about its own protocols, after all, Windows XP developers have to know how Windows Server treats its Active Directory. Actually I think the DG Competition was right in this expectation and that MS simply choose to write documentation in order to ship less information. DG Competition is not the antitrust organisation to laugh with. It was clear from the beginning that they desire industry standard documentation, at least to me. I also get the impression that DG Competition didn’t want to fine MS, they gave them multiple chances to avoid fines after 15 december deadline had passed. It was simply foolish for MS to play games with them (like refuting EU orders). It is the games that resulted in the fine, DG Competition took the conclusion that they were necessary to make MS provide documentation. Because of Microsoft’s childish and uncooperative behaviour, they now face the consequences. Edited 2006-07-12 19:55 2006-07-12 7:54 pm Mystic TaCo Actually, Microsoft has been actively working on the documetation now for quite a long time, since long before the December ruling. All through the time the lawers were litigating, the engineers kept writing docs. You are free to assume that MS had the documentation all along. I’m not sure what your basis for making that assumption is, or whether it is grounded in fact. I’m telling you that it didn’t exist. 2006-07-12 8:05 pm dmantione Even then MS knew well before the verdict on March 2004 that DG Competition did want it to open protocols. MS was warned in 2001 that it was violating anti-trust laws. While the majority of companies react promptly to such a warning, Microsoft has choosen to ignore it. Acting then would have avoided a lot of trouble. Edited 2006-07-12 20:06 2006-07-13 5:04 am Moulinneuf I have to give you this , the documentation that Microsoft whant to give to EC dont exist and some 300 engineers have to make it. The problem is that EC probably got an internal copy of what they whant , does that make the picture clear for you ? Thats what the EC is asking for , if you dont comply … 2006-07-12 8:05 pm GCrain It is unfortunate that you have to sacrifice your personal life for the wrong your company has done. Family is extremely important and should not have to be compromised. However, don’t give us a pity-party for the poor business practices of your employer. It is not the EU’s fault that MS chose to conduct business the way they did. Good business practices require documentation at the same time of development, even if it is for internal use only. It amazes me the lax and sloppy development habits at such an established company that I’m sure, were a result of a lack of discipline at executive level. Besides, as your profile states that you are a Microsoft manager, then you no doubt have made a nice sum from the stock. If your not happy, then why not find a job at the competition that doesn’t have these constant ‘anti-trust’ issues. 2006-07-12 9:40 pm AdamW If it’s such a difficult task why does the _rest_ of the computing industry seem to have no problem at all producing specifications for all the other commonly used file and printer sharing protocols? I don’t see anyone complaining that, for instance, NFS is undocumented and impossible to implement outside its ‘native’ environment (not that it has one). If the problem is Microsoft’s long-term malicious and unnecessary obfuscation of SMB / CIFS behaviour, which had no benefit whatsoever to the actual function of the system and was intended solely to make it more difficult for others to interoperate, then pardon me if I have no sympathy whatsoever. 2006-07-12 10:17 pm Mystic TaCo It is a matter of development techniques. Since NFS needed to be understood by all the different Unix vendors/companies in order to be useful, the documentation was necessary as a core part of the technology. In this case, all the teams who were building on the platform could just fire off a mail or pick up the phone and talk to the dev who wrote the code. The specs were there to consult if the dev or pm wasn’t around, but those can often contain company proprietary information not suitable for external exposure. There was no business justification for developing the type of external-to-company documentation the way there was for NFS at the time the technology was developed. The interesting question to consider is how difficult it would be to document NFS now from scratch. To be extremely clear: I am not arguing whether or not the closed’ness of Windows Server protocols was right. My point is simply that the schedule set for delivery along with expectation of design for this documentation was/is extremely aggressive, and that lawmakers don’t always have the most realistic expectation of the time it will take to accomplish an engineering task. 2006-07-13 2:54 am Jesuspower “Regardless of the openness of the platform, this is a dilbert-esque case of group of legislators who lack inside knowledge and have little or no technical experience getting together to set a near-to-impossible schedule for a task to be accomplished by an group of engineers.” ———– I concur. That or, the EU just wanted to get MS, so they had a kangaroo court (just like we almost had for the US MS case). A lot of people seem to be bitter at MS for being successful. A lot of people are also bitter at MS for cheating to do it where applicable. We should remember that MS cheated because it was allowed to do so. Our government allowed it, and we allowed it (we could have stopped them if we wanted). Its like having a little kid, that steals from the grocery store each week, and we know he is doing it. We pat him on the head everytime he comes home, and say, “Look how cute he is, stealing that little candy bar!” Then, after weeks of doing it, we ask him to steal, beat the living daylights out of him for stealing, and take the candybar and eat it. What does that do to the kid(besides the pain)? He becomes confused. It was Okay before, and now its not? Doing this to MS the way it is being done is going to bring distrust of the gov’t, and make business owners think that anything that the gov’t does to help them is a trap. Others may be afraid to be too successful in the marketplace, because they could be punished for that. (China does it) The governments need to send a clear message. They need to stop helping companies become monopolies. They really need to stop helping companies become monopolies, and then punishing them for it. They also need to stop shoving businesses head in the mud “because they can” What MS did may have been wrong (I am still upset about the BeOS thing), but what the EU gov’t is doing is not making it better. 2006-07-13 5:00 am Moulinneuf “A large number of engineers (~300) have been working long hours exclusively on this documentation ” Dont seem to me that its the entire Microsoft corporation. “sacrificing their personal lives and families’ in order to meet the comission’s deadline. ” Blame that on Microsoft management putting it off. “the EU Commission has been very unclear about what constituted acceptable documentation in their mind, necessitating several rewrties. ” No Microsoft tough they could decide what they wanted to give or pass as complying with the court. Even stalled because they believed they where above the law. “A tremendous amount of work … to recognize that fact.” The EC only need to see Microsoft comply with its rulling. If your boss have you doing a lot of useless and unrelated work its your problem. “What they’ve asked to have done is a monumental task.” No , its simple if your interested in complying. You give them what they whant from when your ordered to do so , not when you feel like getting around to doing it. “The documentation couldn’t just be turned over because it doesn’t exist.” I will let you in on the *secret* they got a copy of what there are asking for. With the amount of crap youve been giving out to not give what you are asked , its the only logical conclusion. “Everything had to be written from scratch (to date 10,000 + pages). ” Yes , because Microsoft dont have a really complete knowledge of what it does and how it works on documentation. The other problem you guys have is the EC as insider and outsider with intimate knowledge of Microsoft. “Regardless of the openness of the platform” Its closed , thats not in debate or open to debate. “this is a dilbert-esque case of group of legislators who lack inside knowledge and have little or no technical experience getting together to set a near-to-impossible schedule for a task” Yes insult the verificator and court , thats going to help your case 😉 “to be accomplished by an group of engineers.” its EC vs Microsoft , if your boss think a team of engineer is enough and they dont meet the deadline its not going to be the same as not meeting a release. BTW if you got a problem you can always Open Source the code they are asking for , I am sure many community will be happy to help you make the docuementation 😉 its old XP and old server code anyway , but your going to be happy to hear that they are waiting for Vista to be released 😉 http://finance.google.com/finance?q=microsoft 2005 Employees: 61,000 I actually feel sorry for the 300 , realy I do , I hope they got special compensations. 2006-07-13 11:25 am MollyC “A large number of engineers (~300) have been working long hours exclusively on this documentation ” “Dont seem to me that its the entire Microsoft corporation.” ————————- Yah, like it’s going to do any good to throw engineers for Xbox, MacBu, Excel, MCE, TabletPC, Bungie, etc into a project to document the network protocol between Windows clients and Windows servers. *rolls eyes* That’s your initial point of your post, and it’s so absurd, that I didn’t bother reading the rest. 2006-07-13 6:11 pm Moulinneuf We know where you got your answering and cherry picking skill and talent and saying others are wrong 😉 Let me be cristal clear , If you believe the best engineer in the world cant do documentation on something else because they work on other projects at microsoft , well let me just say that the word out of touch with reality come to mind. 2006-07-12 10:02 pm flanque “So tough luck. Better learn how to really open your products.” To this day I find it hard to understand why Microsoft should have to “open” their products. If I invested litterally billions of dollars in R&D I wouldn’t want to just give it away because my competitors are incapable of creating an attractive alternative. 2006-07-12 4:50 pm SEJeff The facts are that Microsoft engages in predatory business practices. ====== Microsoft’s P.O.V. ======= We are having trouble cometing with you? We will launch a swarm of FUD and marketing ads that don’t lie, yet don’t entirely tell the truth. You think you can compete with us? No, we will bundle software with our OS that does exactly what yours does and we will do it for free. Lets “extend” open standards so that they only work with our software and claim to say we abide by them… ================================== I’m actually glad Microsoft is being hit with these fines. Not because it hurts them, it’s a mere penny in the bucket, but because they will hopefully wake up. The EU is acting in the interest of the consumer by forcing Microsoft to open up protocol and file format specifications. This fosters innovation and interoperability where there was none or very little before. Way to go EU! 2006-07-12 5:27 pm OMRebel Your argument would have better if you had left out the swipe at the US. But, that seems to be the popular thing to do these days, sadly. In case you didn’t know, nations have different laws and regulations. It has nothing to do with “guts”, but with laws and regulations. Might be worthwhile to actually study up on things that you try to talk about, IMHO. 2006-07-12 5:31 pm suryad Oh come on the swipe at the US is so relevant. We have Bush as a president dont we? 2006-07-12 5:42 pm twickline No! We have Bush in the office of president, just because you hold the office doesn’t mean your suited for the job or task at hand. what we need is a president with balls like Theodore Roosevelt! 2006-07-12 8:07 pm OMRebel And because we don’t have a liberal in the office, you think that because the EU does something, that the US should take a shot for not following suite? Are you REALLY sure that you want to go that path? Or, just selecting and chosing what you want to bash the US about? Bush has nothing to do with the EU fines. Yet, your post gets modded up for being off subject? You’d rather have a war criminal as President (Kerry said he killed children over in Vietnam and plotted shortly after his return to assinate members of Congress)? Yeah….really logical there bud. 2006-07-12 9:42 pm AdamW “You’d rather have a war criminal as President (Kerry said he killed children over in Vietnam and plotted shortly after his return to assinate members of Congress)?” I hate to perpetuate this off-topic crap, but when you make ridiculous allegations like that, you should be prepared to cite your sources. Please do. 2006-07-12 7:10 pm SEJeff I am a us citezen and former member of the US armed services. As a person raised and living in the US, I can do that. Our government gave Microsoft a break because they are so intertwined together. I’m just glad the EU did what we did not. 2006-07-12 5:19 pm Sphinx Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Hope no one was in chair range when Balmy got the news. 2006-07-12 5:27 pm rx182 …completely retire from EU! I’m not defending Microsoft but if they start giving money to everyone they will go bankrupt. Let’s see, if Microsoft gives out almost 400 millions to EU, how do you think others will react? By retiring, I doubt they would have to pay the fines. And then EU people (mostly businesses) would start bitching at the govs to get MS products back. Others would just use open source stuff. Anyway, the Bill and Melinda foundation is the way to go. It’s by far the best approach to give the money back to the people that REALLY need it. I hope they won’t give out all these millions to some politicians… Edited 2006-07-12 17:28 2006-07-12 5:58 pm Mellin Nah we’d just switch to Macs Mac OS X or Run Linux on PCs 2006-07-12 7:00 pm Vargol Perhaps you should read this… http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/ms_tuncom/major/mtc-00030610d.htm Notice the URL! The section called B. “Strategic” Philanthropy makes interesting reading, and there are plenty more examples. Does any one actually know of the Gates Foundation contribution which has not had an ulterior motive. 2006-07-12 5:52 pm Governa Microsoft isn’t evil but it is too powerful, and consumers are being harmed by it. They’re limiting the available software, and charging us more and more for it. So I support the way EU is dealing with them. It is the right thing to do. 2006-07-12 5:54 pm ma_d They’re limiting the available software, and charging us more and more for it. Sounds evil to me. 2006-07-13 6:43 am PlatformAgnostic Charging more and more? When did the price of Office change? If anything it’s gone in the opposite direction of inflation. If you want XP Home, that’s a $99 upgrade and it does a whole lot more than Win9X. MSFT hasn’t changed prices on things in ages. And they won their markets partly by undercutting their competitors on cost. Sure, office costs a lot at ~$300 for the full packages. But they were competing against office packages that weighed in at $600. 2006-07-12 5:55 pm ronaldst I’ll bite. How are consumers being harmed by Microsoft’s powerfulness? 2006-07-12 6:11 pm Governa You need to ask? They will integrate every new tech on Windows and win by force. Integrate and set as default Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, Windows Media Player, force you to use Windows Media Video, Windows Media Audio, ActiveX, Messenger and other proprietary bug ridden security holes. This killed Netscape, WordPerfect, Lotus 1-2-3, etc. You usually buy more and get less. Windows is the most expensive consumer OS in the market, MS Office is the most expensive suite in the market, etc. This is harming the consumers, they are suffocating the rivals even by selling stuff cheaper than the building cost per unit. And as you know, most computer users don’t even know how to set Firefox as a default browser. Microsoft also makes it impossible to remove most bundled apps and refuses to comply to standards, even html standards. Look at what they tried to do with Sun’s Java. What do you think this fine was for? Sorry my english. 2006-07-12 7:18 pm ronaldst @Governa Apple integrates every new tech on MacOS X. So does Windows. Why? Because things evolve. ActiveX was great. MS finally fixed the #1 problem issue that Netscape had introduced. No restarting browser to use some plugin. That alone sold me to IE. Messenger was an easy switch. It brought back simplicity and usability. AIM and ICQ are horrible IM apps fit for the Hall of Shame. MS didn’t kill Netscape, WordPerfect, Lotus 1-2-3. Netscape 3.x and Communicator were pretty lousy. Novell killed Wordperfect. And Lotus was asleep at the wheel just like it is today. Windows isn’t the most expensive consumer OS in the market. I payed 99$ in 2002. Never payed again. MS Office is the only office suite left. All MS’ competitors bailed out. Remember Lotus Smartsuite? All this isn’t harming the consumers. The consumers are winning every release with better usability and new features. As for the so called “rivals”, they gave up and/or (till don’t/didn’t have a clue. Plain and simple. Go read about OS/2 and Netware. And as you know, most computer users don’t even know how to set Firefox as a default browser. Don’t worry, what they’re missing isn’t very important. Microsoft also makes it impossible to remove most bundled apps and refuses to comply to standards, even html standards. They’ll comply when they need to. I can remove certain apps. Other apps are needed. That doesn’t stop me from using Opera. Sun’s Java. Microsoft’s version was better. J++ was a great MS dev product. What do you think this fine was for? It was a gangup from their competitors just like what happened in America. The DOJ’s anti-trust proccedings was just another OJ trial. It’s just as dumb in Europe. ‘Nuff said. 2006-07-12 8:22 pm billnvd Consumers are being harmed because: 1 When a company becomes powerful enough to intentionally corrupt the accepted standards of a global resource and the only way to then fully access that global resource is to use that companys product, the consumer is harmed. Examples: HTML, JAVA, Active X, etc . . I do not use MS products and am damn tired of the mess of incompatibility that IE and Microsoft has created on the Web. 2. When a company becomes powerful enough to dominate global communication / documentation protocols and refuses to document those protocols then the consumer is forced to purchase that companies products to communicate with the masses, the consumer is harmed. Example: Office. I do not use MS products and was declined for an interview because I was unable to submit my resume in .doc format. 3. When a company becomes powerful enough to “influence” third party vendors to make it really difficult to NOT buy first companys products when there is no intention of ever using those products, the consumer is harmed. Example. Windows preloads. I do not use MS products and I am tired of the fact that I have probably purchased 25 licenses for software that I don’t use, will never use and cannot be reasonably reimbursed for those unwilling purchases. Do I need to go on? Bill 2006-07-13 4:49 am ronaldst @billnvd 1. “intentionally corrupt” I take you refer to Java. Microsoft dev teams saw holes to be filed. They went ahead and fixed them. Most C++ compiler vendors do the same. What you think is “intentionally corrupt” another might say “fixed.” Tired of the mess of incompatibility that IE and Microsoft has created on the Web? Didn’t Netscape do the same? 2. Why would they have to open up their document format? Wouldn’t that just be giving their business up? Doesn’t PDF exists in your world? Couldn’t you just submit your résumé in RTF format with a .doc extension? 3. Then don’t buy PCs that have windows preloaded. In all my years of buying a PC, buying a OSless PC has never been a problem. Most top 5 PC maker offer OSless PCs (except Apple.) If you’re a big business, then PC consultants can cater PCs to your company’s needs. Do I need to go on? I am still waiting for real reasons. 2006-07-12 5:57 pm JacobMunoz Bill and Melinda’s charity foundation has absolutely nothing to do with Microsoft. Why some people are relating the B&MF with the EU’s fines against MS is completely baffling to me. They are irrelevant to eachother! Just because they give money away doesn’t mean they are allowed to procure that money with monopolistic tactics. The only real difference between the EU and US courts is the MS lobbyist influence. Clearly, because MS is an American company with many nationally-vested interests they have significant lobbying power in the US courts and legislative branch. The EU is more resistant to US-based ‘mega-corporations’ simply because they are NOT the US. I believe MS owes the US government significantly more than the EU, and I hope another fine is imposed – the gov’t could certainly use the $$$… (not that we’d spend it all that wisely, but oh well) 2006-07-12 7:04 pm Vargol I think the idea is the EU donates the fine to the charity. The trouble with that is B&MF donations have a tendency to go where Microsoft need them! 2006-07-13 6:46 am PlatformAgnostic Exactly! To sub-saharan africa and drug research for cures to third world diseases. Right where MSFT needs them. 2006-07-13 3:08 pm Vargol You should dig a little deeper, The Gate foundation gives to charities in countries were Linux is gaining ground to buy good will. Also check the DOJ link somehwere else in this article. Strangley enough this donations do not get the big press releases that HIV ones get. 2006-07-12 6:24 pm Moulinneuf The Above comment was brought to you by the failed US education system … “…completely retire from France! ” Look idiot , you need to educate yourself : This is France : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/France This is EU : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union This is who is part of European Union : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_European_Union_states_by_popul… 1 Germany 82,422,299 2 France 63,587,700 3 United Kingdom 59,834,300 4 Italy 58,462,375 5 Spain 45.061.274 6 Poland 38,623,000 – Romania(1) 22,329,977 7 The Netherlands 16,407,491 8 Greece 11,244,118 9 Portugal 10,605,870 10 Belgium 10,445,852 11 Czech Republic 10,241,138 12 Hungary 10,076,000 13 Sweden 9,047,752 14 Austria 8,206,524 – Bulgaria(1) 7,761,000 15 Slovakia 5,431,363 16 Denmark 5,415,978 17 Finland 5,261,008 18 Ireland 4,130,000 19 Lithuania 3,596,617 20 Latvia 2,290,237 21 Slovenia 2,011,070 22 Estonia 1,332,893 23 Cyprus 818,200 24 Luxembourg 468,571 25 Malta 402,668 Microsoft retire from any country and dont pay the Fine and those country will remove there right to sell in all of Europe and will cease asset and put developper and managers in prison. What can I say the majority of Etats-Unians are told over time and from there youth to hate the French and European for no other reason then stupid clueless racism based on nothing valid at all. BTW just so you know Australia , is not France and neither is CANADA or Africa : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVBO-JoyNL4&search=us%20geograph… You guys suck at Geography and have selective and defective memory. Sorry to the educated majority in the US , but you seems to get both extreme of the spectrum the really smart and the extremist borderline terrorist idiot racist. 2006-07-12 7:17 pm Bit_Rapist but you seems to get both extreme of the spectrum the really smart and At least most of us can spell! 2006-07-12 7:50 pm Moulinneuf “At least most of us can spell! ” Really ? http://news.google.com/news?sourceid=mozclient&ie=UTF-8&oe=utf-8&ta… You need to go outside your group of friend it seems , you guys dont make up the majority. I dont spell properly in any language and no offense meant by it. 2006-07-12 8:06 pm redbarchetta Microsoft should just say fine, you want to be a**holes and steal our technology then we are pulling all Microsoft products out of Europe. I am not a big Microsoft fan but dang this is rediculous and without Microsoft the stupid EU would be up a creek without a paddle. Let’s just sit back and watch them try to convert all their systems to Linux and watch the stuff hit the fan. The average users over there would go nuts. Apple applied the same pressure to the French when France tried to screw them out of their digital rights protection technology last month and it worked for the most part. 2006-07-13 12:10 am unoengborg Sure, Microsoft could pull out of EU, but by doing so, they would show other governments in the world that they can’t be trusted. It is true that the absense of MS products would be a bit annoying to say the least, but rest assure, most governments would find or create some loophole in their legislation to make it possible to legally continue use Microsoft software while converting to something else. Allready there is a trend in governments of the world to considers using ODF as document format to make sure that they are in control of their own information structure. A move like this would strengthen that trend. Once that happens, government contractors and possibly their subcontractors will need to use ODF capable software. That Software would probably be StarOffice or OpenOffice, meaning substantial loss to Microsoft. Another problem would be hardware venders. No hardware vender will be prepared give up the European market. This would mean that all of a sudden we would see supported drivers for Linux from most hardware makers, and probably systems with preinstalled Linux for the Euoropean market. The problem to Microsoft, is that if such drivers gets developed for Europe, they would be available in the rest of the world as well. This would mean that the hardware aspect of Microsoft lock in strategy would be broken. You would also see a growing market for desktop software for MacOS-X and Linux. A move like this would turn Linux, from a relatively harmless competitor, into something really dangerous and Apple would benefit as well. Another effect would probably be less willingness to buy all US products in Europe. This would weaken the world, and in particular the US economy. In that new economic environment Microsoft would find that they would have a harder time selling their products worldwide. So, pulling out of Europe would most likely harm Microsoft much more than it would harm Europe. 2006-07-12 9:44 pm stabilep First off I don’t think its that tough to buy a PC without an OS preinstalled. Like someone said Dell SB you can do it. http://www.ibuypower.com lets you do it. And this so called MS tax everyone fusses about is like $30-$50 or so because they sell the licenses so cheap to huge companies like Dell and HP just so you have a Windows OS. When you spend $800 for a PC and pay another like $70 in taxes for the state its a pithy amount to whine and fuss about. On top of that 80% of home PC users probably don’t care at all whether Windows is preinstalled or not. In fact if it was not they would crap themselves to find out when they turn on their PC that there is a blank screen. And knowing those people they would end up with a No-OS machine simply because it would be a lower price and think that their Dell disc will work with their new HP machine. Usability for 80% of users trumps the desires of like 1%. There is no point even for HP or Dell to try and cut a deal like that with MS all it would probaby due is raise prices for PC’s in the end and I doubt Some guy going “Yeah but see now I can get my PC MS free and install Linux and all it cost you was an extra $30-$50 a PC more!(Due to the fact MS would raise their licensing price just because it is losing some business so they need to make up with it with an unbalanced increase in price) ” will really matter to most people. Furthermore this whoe lawsuit was a load of crap….Why aren’t they suing Apple for bundling all their software with the Mac? Its the same exact thing. Apple is using the Monopoly on the Macintosh Market Place (And that is exactly what it is if you want a Mac you pretty much have to buy from Apple) to block competitors. How many people do not buy alternative video editing software for OSX because an Apple comes with iMovie or whatever its called? So Windows comes with Movie Maker, an Internet Browser, Media Player all preinstalled (which by the way MS did release a nerfed Windows without meida player just for the EU anyways just because no one wants it is not MS’s fault its the EU’s fault for thinking people actually would want to use that PoS Real Player) so what? I know most people who are not computer savvy want that stuff already installed. They don’t want to have to buy or find online Firefox (which is proving to be no more secure then IE) or VLC Player. Hell most of them are lucky they know how to check their emails let alone install stuff. Once again the people who don’t want that stuff is an extreme minority. The failure of the Medi-layer free Windows XP to sell at all in Europe should have proven that. As for the interoperability stuff which is the meat of this fine: Ite ridiculous to force a company to make their product have to work with another. After all you don’t make Mercedes-Benz make car bumpers that have to fit Volks Wagons do you or publish a manual to explain to their competitors how exactly a nifty new feature works with cars so that those other manufacturers can take it and make it work in their cars. Heck while we are at it why don’t they make Airbus explain to boeing how to get their FMC’s to work in a Boeing plane so that boeing can semalessly install Airbus stuff into their planes. Its retarded to demand from anyone to make themselves vulnerabel in order to level the playing grounds. If you were being chased by an assassin and you bunker youself up in a hill in such a way that you dominate most of the battle area would it be fair to say to you “Hey thats not fair the assassin isn’t able to touch you at all that way you must remove the bunker walls and remain standing at all times in order to make it more fair to him” and before you say thats different because its you life on your line int he cases of companies their life is on the line based off of having a unique thing that they control totally. Take it away and the company has nothing to make money with. It doesn’t matter that MS has $141 billion dollars or whatever their main business is Windows OS and Office products making them open it up to compeititors is asking to them to take a gun and shoot themselves. Love or hate them thats personal preference but apply the rules evenly and not based on how muh moeny they have. 2006-07-12 10:09 pm AdamW There is no “Mac marketplace”. There is a personal computer market. The Mac is just one kind of personal computer. 2006-07-12 10:18 pm OD6L-1nL6 “Furthermore this whoe lawsuit was a load of crap….Why aren’t they suing Apple for bundling all their software with the Mac? I …. ” Are you suggesting the EU should not fine MS because there is another company that doesn’t obey the law? I thougt to provide the documentation was the fine. MS broke the law and was punished. The punishment was to provide the documentation. Because they did not provide the documentation, they have to pay. Is this correct? Please, someone correct me if I’m wrong. 2006-07-13 11:34 am tristan To stabilep: You’re missing the point. There is no Airbus here. Imagine that Boeing was the one and only manufacturer of large passenger jets in the world. Now let’s say you have a company that produces the little screens that go in the back of the seats on planes. Your screens are cheaper, lighter, and last longer than the “official” Boeing ones. The airlines love them, and you sell them by the bucketload. But then Boeing notices that your screens are better, and you’re cutting into their sales. So what they do, rather than improving their technology, is to change the connections on new 747s, so that your screens no longer work. You’ve got to spend months working out how to connect your screens to the onboard playout system again, and all the while you’re not selling anything. But you work it out, and your company survives, and you start selling screens again. So Boeing changes the specs again. This time all your cash reserves are gone, and you can’t sustain the months of necessary R&D while no sales are coming in, and you go bust. Suddenly Boeing are the only manufacter of little screens left in the world. Do you see what’s happened here? Boeing have used their monopoly position as the maker of planes in order to become the monopoly provider of the little screens in the back of the seats, despite their screens being inferior in every way to the others on the market. Ask yourself, is this a good thing? How does it benefit the airlines, and as a result, the people buying the tickets? Needless to say, the above wouldn’t have happened if Boeing had been forced to produce documentation about how the little screens are connected to the playout system. And that’s exactly what’s happening with the EU case. The EU are forcing Microsoft to produce the docs so that other companies can produce software that interoperates with Windows properly. Forcing Microsoft to compete on even terms, rather than them winning by default because theirs is the only product that works properly with Windows. I applaud the EU’s decision. 2006-07-12 11:08 pm Lamego Mystic TaCo, why should the EU be concerned about the MS current internal documentation quality at all ? They need to be concerned about the way MS controls the market, not about their QA . The lack of business justification for developing external-to-company documentation is a MS problem and it goes along with it’s void concern about systems interoperability. The fine comes because you were not and are not able to provide interoperability documentation. “We can’t play fair because we have never planned to play fair” is not an excuse, specially when you had enough time to realize the problems resulting from your current business practice. 2006-07-13 3:05 am joesnow i think well over half of the people reading these things about MS being fined, and their software’s status, etc, all read into it way too much, speculate way too much, and exagerate way too much. Personally, it’s way too much drama for me, so much that I’ve gone from caring, to not caring at all. Right now I’d prefer software become so useless that competition is forced to into the majority marketshare just so I can stop hearing about MS is evil, MS is great, etc. i used windows as my main OS for 16 years, I’ve used linux as my main OS for 2 years, I’ll never go back to windows as my main OS, but I do believe that windows has a market niche, they’re just not focusing on it, they’re trying to be everything meanwhile relying on their vastness to perpetuate it, shrugging off the naysayers. I’m not against MS, but I’m not for it taking care of all types of users’ needs. They need to stick to the home/multimedia market where they’re actually good at doing things. I think techs should use linux at home, and regular users should use windows at home, then cover it with MacOS sauce and stop the bitching. At work it completely depends on the application, whereas I see linux as the most cost-effective solution for most things, but other things Windows still hits the mark. I think linux is not inferior, and windows is not superior, and vice verca. I believe that too many people put bias emotions in their analysis instead of going out of their way to make things work just as effectively for both sides of the issue. A linux guru can make a linux PC do literally anything. and a Windows guru can make a windows PC do literally anything. So there’s no shortcoming, it’s just, what do you prefer. If you prefer a plethora of flexibility on the internals of the software as a whole, then you require linux, otherwise go wash your windows. Besides, just by reading all these comments, we already know the future, right? ;-p Edited 2006-07-13 03:12 2006-07-13 5:56 am deanlinkous http://www.dell.com/content/products/compare.aspx/desktops_n?c=us&c… 2006-07-13 6:00 am deanlinkous http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF05a/12454-64287-89301-321… 2006-07-13 7:08 am PlatformAgnostic Much of this case is brought on by a group called ECIS (european committee for interoperable standards). Who are they? According to fsfe (free software foundation of europe): Current ECIS members are: Corel, IBM, Linspire, Nokia, Opera, Oracle, RealNetworks, Red Hat, Sun Microsystems. Sounds like a bunch of competitors to me. Also, none of these cases are in the context of anyone actually trying to develop a server product to compete with Windows Server. In any environment where this would matter, people always have the option of producing a client network redirector to perform the same role as the SMB client in Windows. If you’re in an enterprise scenario, you can surely include whatever you want in the system image that gets deployed to every machine. No one in this space just installs windows from the CD and leaves it at that. For those asking why SMB is not so documented within microsoft: it’s the nature of the protocol. It’s all based on RPC, in which you authenticate to the server and then just start calling functions on it. When you’re writing a program, in this case a distributed one, do you document which function calls you make and how for external consumption? You might if you’re producing an interface where you expect people to write plugins or drop-in replacements for your technology, but not necessarily if you don’t anticipate that. For comparison, how well is the Netware protocol documented? AppleShare? These are the equivalents that MSFT should be compared to, not NFS. (Incidentally, there is a windows client for NFS in SFU 3.5, which is a free package for windows).