swa66 - 10:02 pm on Mar 7, 2013 (gmt 0)
For those that forgot: The issue was that Microsoft was abusing their (at the time at least) de facto monopoly on desktop operating systems to create an illegal advantage in other areas such as browsers (and media players - same problem, different deal they made).
They were at the time fined with record breaking fines as well as that they agreed to provide a specific solution. A solution that was to be verified by a person who was sadly on MSFT's payroll.
The solution MSFT went for when it came to the media players was different (and ridiculous IMHO) than what they came up with for browsers.
FOr media players there's the virtually never offered, let alone sold- N version of the OS that lacks the media player but is "sold" at the same price. Well it's not to be found in real life as nobody stocks it due to the pricing.
So the answer to all other OSes/browsers not being handled the same: true, they are not, they also didn't
A. have a monopoly in desktop OSes (there can only be one monopoly in any area at any given time ...)
B. they could not abuse the monopoly they didn't have
C. they never made a deal to prevent even bigger fines and other consequences
I'm sure there's the usual anti-EU politics in here too. But those living in EU member states better understand their local politicians game: they take all the credit for themselves when the EU tells them to implement something that the public at large in their area rather likes. They however pass on all the blame to the EU when they're doing a slightly less popular item for the locals - even if the EU never told them to do it in that particular unpopular way. Some go very far in this game and unfortunately the press more often than not forgets to look past the local politicians' game and tell it all to you from a macroscopic viewpoint. That the press is not doing their part is easiest to spot when you look at the media in other member states where the media/politicians claim the EU is forcing them to do something unpopular. Only to realize since you live in the same EU, your government is implementing the same directives (which are public btw, you can read them in a lot of languages), yet the method of implementation chosen in your jurisdiction is so different that nobody seems to take offence nor even dislike it at all ...
Back to MSFT:
The real mistake I think was made somewhere between NT 4.0 SP3 and SP4.
Till SP3 MSIE was a simple program like any other. You could install it if you wanted it.
Starting with the install NT 4.0 disks that had already applied SP4, MSIE all of a sudden wasn't an optional program anymore: it was installed even if you did not ask for it. Is you upgraded service packs you could avoid installing MSIE, but if you reinstalled with any media higher than SP3 - you were stuck with MSIE on your system forever as NT was also modified to prevent MSIE from being deleted easily.
This was MSFT's "the browser is part of the OS strategy against Netscape at the time. Rather successful as it made them win the browser wars (for quite a while).
Now in doding so it was established that this violated the EU rules on competition for companies that had a de facto monopoly like MSFT had at the time. It's safe to assume MSFT employs enough lawyers to have known of this legal "issue". What I still presume they got wrong at the time was the perseverance of the EU when it comes to dealing with opening up markets for competition.