EU fines Microsoft $732 million for web browser ballot violation [Update]

As promised earlier this week, the European Union's antitrust regulators in the European Commission have indeed fined Microsoft to the tune of 561 million euros, or $732 million, due to Microsoft's violations of a 2009 anti-trust agreement with the EU.

In 2009, Microsoft signed an agreement with the EU that would give owners of Windows-based PCs in Europe a required ballot that would display many different web browsers to download, including Microsoft's own Internet Explorer. This was due to the EU's opinion that Microsoft's IE web browser was being given special treatment.

Microsoft did admit in July that a number of Windows 7-based PCs did not display the required web browser download ballot in Europe for a lengthy period of time. The company said a software glitch was to blame and has since sent out an update to the affected Windows 7 PCs to restore the menu. It has also said it will continue to show the ballot screen beyond the previously agreed to time period.

In today's press release, the European Commission noted this was the first time that it has fined a company for not complying with a previous antitrust agreement. Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia stated:

Legally binding commitments reached in antitrust decisions play a very important role in our enforcement policy because they allow for rapid solutions to competition problems. Of course, such decisions require strict compliance. A failure to comply is a very serious infringement that must be sanctioned accordingly.

Update: Microsoft has released a brief response to the EU fine:

We take full responsibility for the technical error that caused this problem and have apologized for it. We provided the Commission with a complete and candid assessment of the situation, and we have taken steps to strengthen our software development and other processes to help avoid this mistake – or anything similar – in the future.

Source: European Commission | Image via Microsoft

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The world is bigger than the United States of America. If american companies dont want to abide by our laws they are free not to do business here. We owe them nothing. Antitrust laws are in place for a good reason, it prevents megacorps from abusing monopolies.

This, and its been proven to protect us EU citizens allot more often then the US government protects the US citizens from monopolistic companies.
I'm glad there aren't just 1 or 2 major phone/network/cable companies in the whole of EU or even in the individual countries.

Exactly. I love the irony of the "EU is greedy" argument - what do you think MS is doing in the EU except trying to get its money? Evidently Microsoft decided it was a profitable venture despite the laws and potential fines. Stop treating Microsoft like a victim, it knows perfectly well what it's doing, and could have easily avoided this fine.

So there is no such thing in the universe as a company making a [supposed] mistake or oversight? Or is everyone automatically guilty guilty guilty as the EU seems to act, as in this case? [again supposedly] Obviously a tremendous difference of opinion with many in the EU vs. the US [rest of universe?]

ir0nw0lf said,
So there is no such thing in the universe as a company making a [supposed] mistake or oversight? Or is everyone automatically guilty guilty guilty as the EU seems to act, as in this case? [again supposedly]
Regardless of intent, Microsoft is accountable for its actions. If you get caught speeding on the highway do you expect to avoid a fine by saying it's "an oversight"? Microsoft failed to comply with the agreement it signed for more than 15 months, and explicitely stated everything worked fine when it didn't (i.e. lied). Of course it pretends to have acted in good faith to reduce the fine as much as possible, but why would you expect it get away with it?

Dr_Asik said,
Regardless of intent, Microsoft is accountable for its actions. If you get caught speeding on the highway do you expect to avoid a fine by saying it's "an oversight"?

I wouldn't expect to avoid the fine, but I would expect not to get the same fine as a drunk driver or a rapist. most people don't have any problem with the fact that Microsoft got fined - they broke their agreement, they should be punished for that. The thing that doesn't seem quite right is the amount of money they were fined. I think up above someone posted some math that said Microsoft was being fined almost the whole amount of each Windows license for including a free browser in their OS...that's just crazy, and I don't see how you could see that any other way, especially when you consider how Apple or Google aren't expected to abide by these rules in iOS and Android (which together have at least a near-monopoly in the mobile OS space).

"which together have at least a near-monopoly in the mobile OS space"

you are so funny, but repeating something obvious stupid does not make it true

Borix said,
"which together have at least a near-monopoly in the mobile OS space"

you are so funny, but repeating something obvious stupid does not make it true


I must admit, I've been repeating it too much :\ thanks for replying tho, why isn't it true? something else I'll repeat: if this is to punish Microsoft for past use of their monopoly and their past problems, as I think theyarecomingforyou has said a few times, then this makes perfect sense. But if this is about user choice, why not give users choice on mobile browsers as well? you seem to have a problem with me combining the two, but I don't see the problem with it. The way I see it, which apparently obviously is flawed, nearly 100% of users aren't given the choice of which mobile browser they want to use, instead they're forced to use the stock Android browser or Safari unless they download their own (which the EU doesn't seem to think most people are able to/will do). To protect user choice, the EU could just require those two companies to implement a browser ballot, and then 80% of users would get a choice. if you could explain the problem with my thinking to me without just insulting me that would be a bit more helpful I'm more than happy to agree with you, you've just not given me any reason to.

Edited by Matthew_Thepc, Mar 7 2013, 11:32pm :

Maybe they should put that money into education, so people can be smarter to choose which browser for themselves.

Its just because windows dominates the market and think it was google and them moaning about how windows comes preinstalled with IE. Of course it is cus 1. its there browser for there OS, 2 they cant include the installs for other browsers cus 1-2 years down the line youll be installing outdated software unless it tells you to update from the original install disc. The people that dont know what firefox and chrome are will probably install IE as default anyway because thats what they know.

Cant see the problem with antitrust because its not like MS lockout the use of other browsers from the OS. Google and them tried to pull the same **** with windows RT but because the whole thing is sandboxed to stop it from getting viruses and stuff or apps running malicious code where ever they want IE is the only safe option for them really.

They aren't bundling other browser, they open IE with http://www.BrowserChoice.eu . This way the consumer gets the newest browser. The problem was some weren't prompted with this in Windows 8 and in Windows 7 SP1.
The EU and Microsoft had a contract and Microsoft broke it with "their glitch". Break a contract and there will be consequences.

psionicinversion said,
Its just because windows dominates the market and think it was google and them moaning about how windows comes preinstalled with IE. Of course it is cus 1. its there browser for there OS, 2 they cant include the installs for other browsers cus 1-2 years down the line youll be installing outdated software unless it tells you to update from the original install disc.

The issue isn't that IE came bundled with Windows - it's that Microsoft deliberately made it difficult to remove IE and put pressure on OEMs to prevent them installing competing browsers. That is anti-competitive and against the law in the EU.

As for outdated software, all modern browsers auto-update and Microsoft has a poor track record of updating IE.

theyarecomingforyou said,

The issue isn't that IE came bundled with Windows - it's that Microsoft deliberately made it difficult to remove IE and put pressure on OEMs to prevent them installing competing browsers. That is anti-competitive and against the law in the EU.

As for outdated software, all modern browsers auto-update and Microsoft has a poor track record of updating IE.


Made it difficult to uninstall.... IE is just a frontend to Trident, which is a component of Windows. Even on modern Windows, when you uninstall IE, you do not completely uninstall IE. Just the frontend. Or you think MSN Explorer was a stand alone browser? Same engine, just a different front end. Uninstalling IE completely is made hard on purpose, because it will break allot of Windows functionality. They wanted OEMs to use the Trident engine indeed. Man in the 90s almost every computer came with Netscape, later most computers already came with Firefox, I even saw them with Safari preinstalled and nowadays allot have either Firefox or Chrome.
Yes MS was locking in some OEMs and abusing its power. they went into contract for the browser ballot with this and no matter how you put it, mistake or deliberately.. They broke a contract.
If I do it by mistake, it wont matter either.

Also it started with Netscape, Opera and Sun. Later Mozilla, Opera and Google.

Ummm ... MS should create IE for Chrome OS and sue them for not having the Ballot screen too. They also may sue Apple for not having the Ballot in Mac OS X as well.

This has always been complete BS. Why should Microsoft play by different rules because of market share? What is the cut-off exactly? When does bundling your own software with your OS move from acceptable to unacceptable? At 50%, 60%, 70% market share?

It just makes no sense to me.

When every computer bought have been preinstalled with Windows on them. Apple computers doesn't have a high enough share for it to matter.

What about tablets and phones? Apple hold a near monopoly on these devices why is safari allowed to be the default without a ballot box?

IgorP said,
This has always been complete BS. Why should Microsoft play by different rules because of market share? What is the cut-off exactly? When does bundling your own software with your OS move from acceptable to unacceptable? At 50%, 60%, 70% market share?

The law often does not make sense. It has its own twisted logic.

For example, "three strikes" laws in the United States mean that sometimes trivial offenses get disproportionate punishment. You could get punished more severely for three drug offenses than for armed robbery. That simply makes no sense.

This is why I have no sympathy for those people who are going around in the comments section, responding to every rational argument with "It's the law!" The law is not something handed down from God, that we have to respect unquestionably let we be struck by a bolt of lightning from on high. It is perfectly fine to analyze the law rationally, and to complain when the laws make no sense.

And this also goes for settlements.

For example, part of the Microsoft antitrust settlement in the US prohibited Microsoft from restricting software preinstalls. (It was supposed to protect Java, but was written so broadly that it covered practically every piece of software.) This helped contribute to the crapware epidemic.

Alera said,
Apple hold a near monopoly on tablets and phones? I don't think so

well, when you combine Apple and Google's market share in smartphones it's something like 80% (IIRC). Why doesn't the EU fine them, or require they have a browser ballot screen?

This is just dumb. Of course it gets special attention. Why should they suggest you use the competition? Its their OS, so they should push their browser. It doesnt matter how you feel IE conpares to the rest. Is it really so hard to use it long enough to download whatever you'd prefer? Meanwhile in the linux camp, we have a number of them preinstalled and available in the repos yet most Windows users complain about fragmentation due to overwhelming number of choices. And no, this isnt flamebait.

This is about monopoly "abuse". Yes Linux distributions have preinstalled software but it does not make it a valid point to use because 1 you with high likelyhood installed it yourself and 2 Windows is preinstalled on almost every computer sold. There is no viable solution for the average consumer who don't have the money or don't want the "designer" price of Apple. Linux hasn't got the support it needs to be a viable solution to the average consumer.
If there was only one shop in the world that sold let's say milk, and they only displayed their product in their shop and you had a competing brand, which meant people would have to specifically ask for your brand wouldn't you be ****ed? This is why they can't bundle their media player or have their browser as the only option out of the box in the EU.
Say Apple had monopoly they would, with certainty, have to do the same, but they aren't.

What I don't get is, if this is such a big issue, MS "using their monopoly" to push IE, why don't we see the same happening in similar situations?

Should the office trial that comes pre-installed on many PCs serve you a pop-up telling you about other alternatives?

What about Windows Media Player or the Maps and Search apps in Windows 8 (or any other such app really)? How is it that it is only the browser that is somehow an issue?

You completely missed my point. It's not a monopoly just because they don't advertise other browsers. That'd be like saying Coke should advertise that you should drink Pepsi because their label is blue and not red. It's not about linux being a viable solution. It's about the fact that they offer alternatives and the new users just complain about how much choice they have. Yet on Windows, they complain they don't have enough.

This is the point everyone is missing (aswell):
Internet access is not like cola/pepsi. How would you like to have Sky as the only supplier of cable tv? Or the Pravda as the only supplier of newspapers?
Hope you understand my examples.

I thought the whole point of the Ballot screen was to promote other browsers, so they can gain more revenue.
If this were really about those companies, Mozilla, Google and Opera should be getting some of that fine right...Or not

Capitalism without anti-trust = Monopoly (no not the game)

If you like monopolies you should go and live in North Korea.

Now suck on that hypocrites!

hagjohn said,
EU must really need money.

As must the US, which issued the following $3.5bn in fines:

HSBC: $1.9bn
Toyota: $48.8m
Standard Chartered: $667m
Wegelin: $57.8m
ING: $619m
Barclays: $298m

theyarecomingforyou said,

As must the US, which issued the following $3.5bn in fines:

HSBC: $1.9bn
Toyota: $48.8m
Standard Chartered: $667m
Wegelin: $57.8m
ING: $619m
Barclays: $298m


so you are equating financial scams/money laundering with browser integration? man - EU must be really desperate.

BajiRav said,

so you are equating financial scams/money laundering with browser integration? man - EU must be really desperate.

No. I'm equating BREAKING THE LAW with BREAKING THE LAW. Whether you agree with the law or not is irrelevant.

theyarecomingforyou said,

No. I'm equating BREAKING THE LAW with BREAKING THE LAW. Whether you agree with the law or not is irrelevant.


Microsoft did not break any laws, fine is for breach of agreement/settlement.

theyarecomingforyou said,

No. I'm equating BREAKING THE LAW with BREAKING THE LAW. Whether you agree with the law or not is irrelevant.


Isn't that like giving the same punishment to a murderer as someone who stole from a dollar store? they're both breaking the law, but do they have to have the same punishment?

I am absolutely certain that the EU is just one massive scam. Too many reasons why. The money they get from anti-trust lawsuits is not even funny. I will never go back from Apple machines, but I still hate that the EU put MS in this position purely for being a success. They put their own browser in their own product. They didn't lock out other browsers. They just put theirs in. There's no rational reason that should be wrong. They shouldn't have to advertise other people's products and yet that's what the EU is forcing them to do. Worse yet, they are now forced into offering up crap browsers too like Firefox (sorry guys, it's rubbish). It's the equivalent of a car manufacturer having to offer a choice of steering wheels from other manufacturers. It's stupid and it would never happen. The EU are scamming the companies for cash. Simple as that. That kind of money may not seem like a huge deal to MS or the EU, but imagine all the companies the EU fines on a regular basis aside from MS ? Terrible. And blatant too.

The fine is for failing to comply with the agreement signed in 2009. Said agreement did not include any fine, only the requirement to include a ballot screen. The rationale is:

The evidence gathered during the investigation leads the Commission to believe that the tying of Internet Explorer with Windows, which makes Internet Explorer available on 90% of the world's PCs, distorts competition on the merits between competing web browsers insofar as it provides Internet Explorer with an artificial distribution advantage which other web browsers are unable to match. The Commission is concerned that through the tying, Microsoft shields Internet Explorer from head to head competition with other browsers which is detrimental to the pace of product innovation and to the quality of products which consumers ultimately obtain. In addition, the Commission is concerned that the ubiquity of Internet Explorer creates artificial incentives for content providers and software developers to design websites or software primarily for Internet Explorer which ultimately risks undermining competition and innovation in the provision of services to consumers.

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-r...#PR_metaPressRelease_bottom

Dr_Asik said,
The fine is for failing to comply with the agreement signed in 2009. Said agreement did not include any fine, only the requirement to include a ballot screen. The rationale is:

These days, I find more websites that fail to work with IE than fail to work with Chrome. And these are American websites -- there is no Browser Choice screen in the United States. The rise of Chrome in the United States took place without the BCS.

As for "an artificial distribution advantage which other web browsers are unable to match" -- I see plenty of PCs with Chrome preinstalled. Every time you visit Google.com using Internet Explorer, it says "Install Google Chrome" in the upper-right corner. That's also an artificial distribution advantage.

The EU's rationale made lots of sense in 2002, when IE6 reigned supreme and lots of corporate websites were coded to IE-only. But it does not make sense today, in 2013. Besides, corporate sales are not subject to the BCS anyway. And consumer web development is heavily WebKit-centric these days.

TomJones said,
The EU's rationale made lots of sense in 2002, when IE6 reigned supreme and lots of corporate websites were coded to IE-only. But it does not make sense today, in 2013. Besides, corporate sales are not subject to the BCS anyway. And consumer web development is heavily WebKit-centric these days.
The ruling dates to 2009, when IE had around 60% market share, and the only significant competitor on Windows was Firefox.

BajiRav said,
This is rather steep for something that clearly isn't working...

What isn't working? The BCS has resulted in 84 million browser downloads, so it has been an overwhelming success.

theyarecomingforyou said,

What isn't working? The BCS has resulted in 84 million browser downloads, so it has been an overwhelming success.


Uh...doesn't matter. There hasn't been a major change in market share because of it. Where are you getting that number from?

BajiRav said,

Uh...doesn't matter. There hasn't been a major change in market share because of it. Where are you getting that number from?

The EC press release linked to in the article.

theyarecomingforyou said,

The EC press release linked to in the article.


doesn't sound like overwhelming success when the number is from 2010.

BajiRav said,

doesn't sound like overwhelming success when the number is from 2010.

If each download corresponded to an individual it would account for 16% of the EU population. Obviously some people will install Windows numerous times and some people will own multiple computers but when you factor in that computer ownership is nowhere 100% (children and the elderly, etc) and that most people don't upgrade their computer that often, it's pretty impressive.

Whichever way you look at it, 84 million is a significant number.

theyarecomingforyou said,

If each download corresponded to an individual it would account for 16% of the EU population. Obviously some people will install Windows numerous times and some people will own multiple computers but when you factor in that computer ownership is nowhere 100% (children and the elderly, etc) and that most people don't upgrade their computer that often, it's pretty impressive.

Whichever way you look at it, 84 million is a significant number.


Just wondering, but did they dig a bit further and find out how many of those users wouldn't have installed an alternative browser?

The simple reason Microsoft is getting fined outright is because they signed an agreement with the EU promising to have the ballot screen, and then never included it. It's simple as that! They broke a contract agreeing to those terms and the EU has every right to fine them for breaking that agreement.

Whenever ive installed windows 7 and 8, although in 8 its a download you get from windows update, maybe like that in 7 as well cant remember, its always popped up for me. I use chrome as my main browser and IE for banking cus it wont allow chrome to to be used for my bank.

It probably was just a software glitch for some period that affected a minority of users so its bs that there getting a fine

Why fine them in the first place? Greed. It isn't about what's right or wrong. The EU should get fines for all the s**t they've pulled on the people and countries residing under it...

Spirit Dave said,
Why fine them in the first place? Greed. It isn't about what's right or wrong.

Microsoft entered into a legally binding agreement with the EC to display the BCS in order to escape a fine. Microsoft was in breach of compliance from February 2011, yet certified to the EC that it was in full compliance in December 2011. Put simply, Microsoft broke the law. It may have been deliberate, it may have been gross negligence - either way it was worthy of a fine.

well.. lets do simple math.. if the minimum that one europigpublic servant gets paid is around 3k eur and average around 7k and there is over 50 000 public servants working for EU then where do you think all this money is going also keep in mind that there are people like Angela Merkel that make around 25k eur per month

so yeah they are terrigreedy, I just wish they would start f*king with apple like this

Why do you wish they'd do it to anyone? MS should not be receiving this kind of absurb punishment, and neither should Apple. They're both successful companies and that's seen as bad in the eyes of the EU. It's stupid, and I swear to God, all it does is give companies more reason to exist as far outside of the EU as possible. How much tax income do you think Europe has received from these companies? A lot. The EU should be pleased to have these companies. Remember, the EU isn't something set up by the people.... it's something that a bunch of humans in suits decided to do. Like they own the land or something. Which, considering before humans arrived, no one 'owned' anything ... it's just a massive scam. A way of making seriously large sums of money for the wrong people under the banner of 'justice'.

no, I think this whole situation is just plain dumb. but why I mentioned apple is because it seems like apple is holly cow that they don't want to touch even though apple does the same **** as ms did before.. yes, yes it's about the marektshare too but still if one gets fined over something like this then other should too and apple is trying to monopolize everything just like ms used to do before

Deemon said,
no, I think this whole situation is just plain dumb. but why I mentioned apple is because it seems like apple is holly cow that they don't want to touch even though apple does the same **** as ms did before.. yes, yes it's about the marektshare too but still if one gets fined over something like this then other should too and apple is trying to monopolize everything just like ms used to do before

Well, if you did your research, you'll find that Apple has had this sort of issue arise. That said, I don't think any of them should. If you want to put out an application that competes with what Microsoft or Apple already include or make ... or if you make one and then they do one ... tuff. Make yours the best and advertise it better. Jeez, I work for a company that makes a product and we have competitors who owned the industry before we came in. Did we complain? No, we made a better product and we're coming up as the best... and the financials prove it. Sorry to app makers who can't hack it in the real world, but that's life. The EU has no reason to get involved in issues that do not concern them.

EU warned MS about it, but MS ignored this warning not once but several times. Then EU decided to fine MS. And, years later, MS returned to do exactly the same...

Who's guilty?, the EU?. sheesh.

Brony said,
EU warned MS about it, but MS ignored this warning not once but several times. Then EU decided to fine MS. And, years later, MS returned to do exactly the same...

Who's guilty?, the EU?. sheesh.

where did you get this information from? "warned them not once but several times"? please point me to it. because from what I've seen they didn't warn they only fine

Brony said,
EU warned MS about it, but MS ignored this warning not once but several times. Then EU decided to fine MS. And, years later, MS returned to do exactly the same...

Who's guilty?, the EU?. sheesh.

Nice story. Not factually accurate, but a nice story nonetheless... lol

If I go into the Windows Features dialog on Windows 8 then I can see the option to remove Internet Explorer 10.

Not that I would, of course. It's by far the best browser on Windows 8!

Neobond said,
"N" (Especially for Europe) Editions of Windows 8 already exist, which means IE 10 isn't installed by default.

The N editions are missing media player not IE

torrentthief said,
Lets hope that the E.U force microsoft to allow us to uninstall IE10 from win8 as you can't unlike with win7.

They should do a special release of the NT kernel(minwin or whatever) as Windows 8 EU Edition.

In my opinion if Microsoft have invested enough time and money into making their operating systems the most used then they should have every right to make their products a default without having to offer other options. As said before, those who are competent can go and install chrome or firefox etc if they want, and for those who are technologically less able, it wont make a blind bit of difference offering them a different web browser.

If I was into conspiracies, I'd might think this is payback for (alledged) tax dodging. The US could learn something from this

I thinks so too, after all E.U. have nicer attitude toward Corp. like Sony.

For example:
German agreeing to Sony demands to confiscates the PS3 dongle,
and fined anyone who insist keeping the dongle.

In the past Sony did tried to ask for tax reduction in E.U,
it failed but Sony doesn't dodges the tax.

thealexweb said,
And the US gov has never done to companies based in the EU?

The US pulls this nonsense on domestic companies as well... And then wonder why they move their businesses overseas... LOL

ctrl_alt_delete said,
which ones?

Well, here are just a few:

HSBC: $1.9bn
Toyota: $48.8m
Standard Chartered: $667m
Wegelin: $57.8m
ING: $619m
Barclays: $298m

That's $3.5bn in fines right there. If companies break the law then they should be expected to face the consequences.

theyarecomingforyou said,

Well, here are just a few:

HSBC: $1.9bn
Toyota: $48.8m
Standard Chartered: $667m
Wegelin: $57.8m
ING: $619m
Barclays: $298m

That's $3.5bn in fines right there. If companies break the law then they should be expected to face the consequences.


Toyota is based in EU? I thought they are Japanese.

Let me help put this in context for ya.

theyarecomingforyou said,

Well, here are just a few:

HSBC: $1.9bn - For money laundering.
Toyota: $48.8m - For design defects which have killed a number of people and families.
Standard Chartered: $667m - Violating global sanctions against Iran.
Wegelin: $57.8m - Illegal tax evasion.
ING: $619m - Violating global sanctions against Iran and Cuba.
Barclays: $298m - Libor interest rate manipulation.

The US fines listed above are for serious offenses which destroys lives. Meanwhile MSFT has been fined approx. 3 BILLION DOLLARS for having a free web browser included in their OS. I think that's what people have an issue with.

I do not believe people would have any issue with fines of 3 billion or more against MSFT if they had done offenses on the level of the companies you listed above. Those offenses directly destroy people's lives, MSFT's offenses at worst hurts companies. Fining MSFT for including a free function in their OS, of which people are free to download and install other company's equivalent to that MSFT free function, is tantamount to fining MSFT for including free NOTEPAD or WINPAD cause companies like Google Docs or their ilk might be hurt by that competition.

It is the height of idiocy and is the reason why people are incredulous over these fines and continue to question the logic of its origin. Which then rightfully so opens the EU to claims of using such weak grounds to exact fines for their profit and not for their stated moral claims of protecting the customer.

Brian M said,
I swear the EU just fine Microsoft whenever they're a little short on cash?

That's what I've been thinking as well. It's absurd, and the fines are never reasonable. I mean 732 Million? That's because they need to pay bills... LOL

Brian M said,
I swear the EU just fine Microsoft whenever they're a little short on cash?

The EU fines companies that violate EU law. Here is a list of some of the other companies it has fined for anti-competitive business practices: Toshiba, Panasonic, Samsung, LG, Philips, Intel, DHL, UPS, ArcelorMittal, Eni, Shell, Total, Dow Chemical, Aventis, Daiichi Pharmaceutical, Gretsch-Unitas, Hynix, Infineon, NEC, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Irish Sugar, Air Canada, Air France, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Michelin, Telefonica, Portugal Telecom, Degussa and Nippon Soda.

By all means keep pretending that Microsoft is being singled out here but know that such an opinion is based on ignorance, not fact.

derp derp derp, no one knows how to install their own brwoser right now,

What an antiquated ignorant ruling, no one cares anymore and everyone know how to install another browser if they want to. This whole thing is stupid and completely outdated.

swanlee said,
derp derp derp, no one knows how to install their own brwoser right now,

What an antiquated ignorant ruling, no one cares anymore and everyone know how to install another browser if they want to. This whole thing is stupid and completely outdated.

Microsoft violated EU competition law and entered into the agreement to escape a fine. The BCS accounted for over 84 million browser downloads, so there was no doubt that it was successful. At the end of the day, Microsoft entered into a legally binding agreement and violated it.

brent3000 said,
Looking at the EU from another country... They looked like such a bitch of an organisation to deal with

The concept of the EU is great but its really nothing more than a corrupt bunch of communists that drag down leading empires like Germany to try and float countries that are, to be frank, absolutely screwed.

You don't know what communist means, do you? The problem with EU is that the leading empires aren't actually helping the other struggling countries which have a shared currency, the Euro. They're just loaning them money, with an high interest.

The EU is a bunch of corrupt technocratic CAPITALISTS, which by greed don't actually work together.

brent3000 said,
Looking at the EU from another country... They looked like such a bitch of an organisation to deal with

And corrupt.

ingramator said,
The concept of the EU is great but its really nothing more than a corrupt bunch of communists that drag down leading empires like Germany to try and float countries that are, to be frank, absolutely screwed.

Fining companies for anti-competitive business practices cannot in any way be considered communism. You really should read up on communism, because apparently you don't have a clue what it is.

Seketh said,
You don't know what communist means, do you? The problem with EU is that the leading empires aren't actually helping the other struggling countries which have a shared currency, the Euro. They're just loaning them money, with an high interest.

The EU is a bunch of corrupt technocratic CAPITALISTS, which by greed don't actually work together.


The EU cleared a whole part of those loans to Greece. A big chunk of it is never going to get back and is 'lost forever'. What do you mean capitalistic? Yes its under a loan and its not at the best rates either. But what do you expect. Greece screwed it up, they've been lying to the EU about their issues. Not acting on it, let them burn for it. Its not going to be a free bailout. But if the EU lets Greece die, what then? That wont improve things in the EU either.
Its a very difficult situation and trying to keep the EU strong (even if they are selfish, they all still rather see the EU being almighty then China or the US) and all people do is b*tch and complain.

Personally I don't buy 'the glitch' argument. Even if it's true it shows negligence at some level of Microsoft, and yes, when you make mistakes in business you pay for them.

But I still think the fine is disproportional, especially since Microsoft did fix this once notified.

I find the Web Browser Ballot to be silly in the first place. Users use whatever browser they find to be the best (or pushed onto them in any way).

ahoncbt said,

glitch?? I don't buy it. MS is known for being dishonest

Microsoft should've released a version there that doesn't have a built in browser and charge the same price for it. let all and let fend for themselves finding a browser to install.

ctrl_alt_delete said,

Microsoft should've released a version there that doesn't have a built in browser and charge the same price for it. let all and let fend for themselves finding a browser to install.

Agreed. Good luck installing a browser without one!

And ahoncbt is just a troll... I'm not going to feed his nonsense further.

Pwrmad said,
I find the Web Browser Ballot to be silly in the first place. Users use whatever browser they find to be the best (or pushed onto them in any way).

The browser ballot was a punitive measure designed to address Microsoft's anti-competitive business practices, which included putting pressure on OEMs to prevent them shipping computers with a competing browser. The agreement was legally binding and meant that Microsoft escaped a fine, which was something Microsoft was keen to avoid. The BCS resulted in 84 million browser downloads, so there is no doubting that it was very effective.

theyarecomingforyou said,

The browser ballot was a punitive measure designed to address Microsoft's anti-competitive business practices, which included putting pressure on OEMs to prevent them shipping computers with a competing browser. The agreement was legally binding and meant that Microsoft escaped a fine, which was something Microsoft was keen to avoid. The BCS resulted in 84 million browser downloads, so there is no doubting that it was very effective.

Is there any proof that those downloads were a result of the ballot?

Breach said,
Disproportionate.

Like all EU fines on out of country companies... The EU just uses these companies as profit centers. I'd love for them to all pull out and see what happened to the economy... These governments need to respect the fact that these companies are the ones driving any growth and GDP that they may be seeing...

Breach said,
Disproportionate.

Not even slightly. Microsoft certified that it was fully compliant with the legally binding EC ruling in December 2011, despite having been in breach of it since February 2011. It was either deliberate or gross negligence but either way Microsoft broke the law and it was determined that a fine was appropriate.

M_Lyons10 said,
These governments need to respect the fact that these companies are the ones driving any growth and GDP that they may be seeing...

So you're suggesting that economic growth is more important than companies abiding by the law? Because if so I fundamentally disagree with you. There are plenty of law-abiding companies that are contributing to economic growth and those companies are being unfairly prevented from competing fairly by the illegal actions of companies like Microsoft.

In the mean time where is Apple's browser selection menu??? Don't say "well Microsoft has a bigger market share", it's nothing but legal discrimination.

Breach said,
Disproportionate.

Indeed.

There were 28 million PCs that failed to show the BCS. Assume that 30% of the people select IE, and 70% select another browser. So that's 19.6 million PCs that would not otherwise be running IE. The fine is $732 million.

732 / 19.6 = $37 per PC. Microsoft makes about $40 in profit on each PC. In other words, the EU is finining Microsoft almost its entire profit on each copy of Windows that failed to show the BCS.

This applies even though, when Microsoft was notified of the error, it fixed the problem the next day -- and rolled it out not just to new installs of SP1, but to all 28 million PCs that previously failed to show the BCS. Thus, those 19.6 million PCs are running another web browser tody -- not IE.

Microsoft failed to show the BCS for a period of 15 months. But those million computers were not all sold at once -- they were sold throughout the 15-month period. On average, then, each PC experienced just 7.5 months without the BCS. If each PC stays in service for 5 years, then only 12.5% of its life was spent without a BCS-sanctioned browser.

So even if you accept the EU's reasoning, that Microsoft deserves to be fined almost the entire profit margin from the sale of Windows, a proportionate fine that takes into account the actual time period of the BCS violation would be 12.5% of the EU's actual fine, or just $90.7 million.

ahoncbt said,

still its awesome. slap them and i dont believe their sw glitch

Bugs do happen and it's not an excuse for a country to extort money from them.

M_Lyons10 said,

Bugs do happen and it's not an excuse for a country to extort money from them.

So if i break the law for a second time, but it was a mistake, then nothing should happen to me?

Even MS have said they take responsibility for this. But lets face it, Americans are just angry as they see this as the EU taking money from the US. Yet when the US takes money from a company based in another country you suddenly don't get all this bitching. Typical greedy yanks.

M_Lyons10 said,

Bugs do happen and it's not an excuse for a country to extort money from them.


oh yeah buys like i forgot to include ballot and made IE default. MS is pure lie. happy that they are loosing money

Cue comments about how Greece needs a bailout or something like that despite this money going in to a different fund from that used to help countries like Greece,.

thealexweb said,
Cue comments about how Greece needs a bailout or something like that despite this money going in to a different fund from that used to help countries like Greece,.

And if you knew about the bailouts you would know they have been pulling funds from all different pools. In times of need there are no set "funds" they all come under the name of accessible money. So yes some of this money may be used to bail out EU members or perhaps it will be used to pay for some members retirement, either way this is ridiculous and nothing more than a cheap way of getting cold cash from a multi-billion dollar company conveniently not from any EU country.

ingramator said,

And if you knew about the bailouts you would know they have been pulling funds from all different pools. In times of need there are no set "funds" they all come under the name of accessible money. So yes some of this money may be used to bail out EU members or perhaps it will be used to pay for some members retirement, either way this is ridiculous and nothing more than a cheap way of getting cold cash from a multi-billion dollar company conveniently not from any EU country.

Exactly. All it is is legal extortion.

ingramator said,

And if you knew about the bailouts you would know they have been pulling funds from all different pools. In times of need there are no set "funds" they all come under the name of accessible money. So yes some of this money may be used to bail out EU members or perhaps it will be used to pay for some members retirement, either way this is ridiculous and nothing more than a cheap way of getting cold cash from a multi-billion dollar company conveniently not from any EU country.

American courts are doing exactly the same thing to Samsung to protect Apple. TS I say. Don't like the rules, do business somewhere else

ingramator said,

And if you knew about the bailouts you would know they have been pulling funds from all different pools. In times of need there are no set "funds" they all come under the name of accessible money. So yes some of this money may be used to bail out EU members or perhaps it will be used to pay for some members retirement, either way this is ridiculous and nothing more than a cheap way of getting cold cash from a multi-billion dollar company conveniently not from any EU country.


They aren't using the EU budget to bail out countries, its the other countries bailing them out. Or you think the 100-150billion EU budget is enough to cover the losses. Greece has been bailed out well over 140billion euros, yes surely the EU spent its entire budget on Greece?
Almost no money to bail out countries and to preserve a barrier (the 800billion euro all the countries stand in for) comes from the EU budget.

People are funny though. Its the individual countries, IMF and EU banks that do the bailing.
Oh and allot of this money is coming back, unfortunally not all of it.

thealexweb said,
Cue comments about how Greece needs a bailout or something like that despite this money going in to a different fund from that used to help countries like Greece,.

when ever you say bad about microsoft comments get removed.