Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from

Forum Moderators: bill

Message Too Old, No Replies

EU fines Microsoft $1.4 billion For Defying Sanctions

MS first ever company to fail to comply with EU anti-trust ruling

1:32 pm on Feb 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Mar 24, 2002
votes: 0

The European Commission (which enforces EU laws) has fined Microsoft 899m euros (US$1.4 billion) for failing to comply with a ruling from 2004:


The original ruling was to do with MS linking and bundling its Media Player and Internet Explorer browser with the Windows operating system. The EU feels this gives IE and MP an unfair advantage over rival browsers and players.

[edited by: gibbergibber at 1:40 pm (utc) on Feb. 27, 2008]

[edited by: engine at 4:04 pm (utc) on Feb. 27, 2008]
[edit reason] fixed symbol [/edit]

5:02 pm on Feb 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:June 25, 2002
votes: 0

None of which changes the fact that allowing Microsoft to abuse it's dominant position as a desktop operating system supplier to unfairly compete in other markets makes those markets uncompetitive.

Purely hypothetically of course, Microsoft could release a product which is inferior in terms of features, price etc., but due to the fact that it is the only one that can properly integrate with Microsoft Windows, customers are forced to use it because integrating with Windows is essential.

Since competitors are unable to compete, and Microsoft has no incentive to innovate, you get stagnation like IE6 (how many years without an update?).

This sort of abuse is illegal in both the EU and the US, the only difference is that after finding Microsoft guilty of uncompetitive behaviour, the US decided not to do anything about it for reasons best known to Microsoft's lobbyists. The EU isn't giving Microsoft a waiver and is holding them to the same standards as any other monopoly player.

7:01 pm on Feb 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:July 13, 2006
votes: 0

That is certainly how they see it in Brussels. Someone close to the case put it to me like this: “When the Bush administration came in, the Department of Justice chickened out, and let Microsoft off the hook.” By contrast, he explained, Brussels had actually forced Microsoft to change its behaviour, pointing to last October’s statement making it clear that the company would now comply with the Commission’s 2004 rulings.


3:22 pm on Feb 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member swa66 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

joined:Aug 7, 2003
votes: 0

I think some forget that Microsoft owns assets inside the EU (the local companies that distribute and "support" their products, as well as annoy you trying to sell it, and do the lobby work in order to not be ruled out by law due to their closed nature.)

As for Netscape not having trouble from the move by Microsoft to force users to stop not installing IE (something you could easily do with the original NT, capability removed in some SP (I think it was SP4);
take a second look: AOL folded their cards and stopped production Netscape completely. From having nearly all the market to nothing due to somebody using their monopoly in another area to gain it elsewhere.

Perhaps the US administration should have a second look on how they dealt with past monopolists crippling the market: Ma bell isn't around anymore ... Take MSFT and chop it in a business for OS, one for browser, one for office automation, one for media players, ... It'll set the right price on each of the components instead of forcing a bloated set onto you when you buy the hardware (yet another actionable item against them right there).

Seems the fanboys are active in this thread.
Sorry, but live with it, this is another mark against Microsoft due to their illegal use of a pseudo monopoly.

Convicted, now time to make them stop once and for all and and pay up.
The good news is also that it'll earmark more money so they cannot extend their monopoly into the rest of the Internet by buying Yahoo!

3:45 pm on Feb 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member swa66 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

joined:Aug 7, 2003
votes: 0

1. The importance to market market in parallel two types of operating systems, a low end OS (DOS, Windows 16-bit) and a high end OS (Xenix, OS/2, Windows NT).

OS/2 isn't a microsoft product. As for the rest, I'll be polite and not answer.

2. Stay away from hardware.

Surely you never saw a Microsoft mouse, a Microsoft keyboard ...
Moreover they use their monopoly to force hardware vendors to bundle their product with all PCs they make removign any ooportunity from a better competitor to ever appear.

3. Build the first productive GUI apps for the Mac.

Microsoft indeed started as a company making BASIC interpreters and a flightsimulator for different machines such as the TRS-80 and the original apple computer.

Seems you're forgettign the real innovation of a GUI, the concept of a mouse etc comes from Xerox.

4. Move away from character-based apps at the right time.

The time is always right if you have a monopoly. As you control the timing. (And the pricing)

NOW, because of SUCH LACK of vision, Europeans are using THEIR LEGAL SYSTEM to try to catch up with Microsoft. Shame on you!

Oh sure, defend them for doing illegal things (even back home) when those rules aren't even made for them, they just happen to be the only ones so stupid as to consistently break them.

If you want the political case: look at reverse examples e.g. those that made sure the Concorde wasn't allowed into the US beyond New York. Each time you fly long distance just remember you're sitting in that cramped position at least double the time needed due to protectionism in favor of Boeing.

This case against Microsoft isn't a political one, it's just that their lobbyists don't succeed in doing what they did in the US: let them continue to break the rules. The EU as a basis is an environment that promotes competition, and has been given by member states more and more power to enforce that competition. The EU institutions in fact oversee and fine member states not playing by the rules. I'm glad to see the MSFT lobbyists can't evade the wrath of something used to gnaw on the bones of state leaders.

I'm glad I don't live in Europe.

If we could export all MSFT fanboys to the US, you'd have my vote.
5:55 pm on Feb 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

joined:June 2, 2003
votes: 0

"When the Bush administration came in, the Department of Justice chickened out, and let Microsoft off the hook."

The Bush administration didn't chickened out!

Rather, the Bush administration didn't accept to be influenced by the same group of businesses that did influenced the Clinton administration.

Because this group of businesses didn't find the right political climate in the US with the Bush administration, it moved its anti-MS operations to Europe.

It seems some European politicians were badly educated by the anti-Microsoft aparatus. Other politicians were probably bought by the aparatus.

It'll be interesting to see what Microsoft does with the sanctions.

By the way, OS/2 was a Microsoft product through version 1.3. IBM was responsible for later versions. See a presentation of Microsoft's O/2 1.21 at [archive.org...]

This 35 message thread spans 2 pages: 35

Join The Conversation

Moderators and Top Contributors

Hot Threads This Week

Featured Threads

Free SEO Tools

Hire Expert Members