Microsoft may face more EU fines

The European Commission claims Microsoft has not changed its behaviour since it was fined 497m euros (£331m) in 2004 and has warned the software giant that it could face further fines for failing to comply with its anti-trust rulings. In an escalation of its long-running battle with the US firm, Brussels said Microsoft had been seeking unreasonable prices from competitors for key data that will allow other companies to make sure their software works properly with Microsoft's operating systems. In response, Microsoft said the threat of further fines was unreasonable.

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes was quoted as saying that she was "not used to dealing with companies who drag their feet as Microsoft is doing. Microsoft is a company not used to losing." The firm said: "It is hard to see how the Commission can argue that even patented innovation must be made available for free."

Link: Forum Discussion (Thanks kinetix63)
News source: BBC News

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22 Comments

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Unfortunately the UE fines are a mere pittance compared to the giant MS coffers. The previous fines did nothing to change the anti-competitive behavior of MS, what makes you think that these fines will?

You do have to give the EU credit, though. They are sticking to their guns. Unlike the USDOJ that dropped the MS case like a hot potato when they got a little pressure from a couple prominent politicians (MS political contributions payed off).

Unfortuantely this is just another cash grab and we all know it.

The EU watched Microsoft carefully in its development and deployment of Vista and never complained about it. In fact, if I remember correctly, it was reported on Neowin shortly before Vista's release that the EU was satisfied with Microsoft's willingness to follow it's "rules".

It's really time for Microsoft to fight back against these stupid complaints. The EU isn't basing their complaints on reality or reason just a confused and greedy attempt to grab onto more money.

European customers are smart enough to make their own choices and as in America, there are choices out there. Maybe EU should spend their time on more important things and find other ways to generate money than base-less attacks on successful corporations.

But wait! That would make sense now wouldn't it?

The E.U. are daylight robbers.

They are like Al Capone.

If Microsoft did not exist then all the revenue they make would not be there.

EU is controlling Microsoft Windows monopoly. It's the same like iPod + iTunes. Both things are monopoly which should be somehow controlled.

I guess companies can never make great proudcts, thus running the risk of monopolizing the market if theyr'e successful.

billyea said,
I guess companies can never make great proudcts, thus running the risk of monopolizing the market if theyr'e successful.

Neither Windows nor the iPod is a "great" product. Both have either become necessary one way or another (productivity, popularity, etc)...

zivan56 said,

Neither Windows nor the iPod is a "great" product. Both have either become necessary one way or another (productivity, popularity, etc)...


How do you think they became so popular, because they are "great", either "great" at advertising,"great" at features, or "great" in appeal that no other product had, now they're necessary.
and it all started with being great and making themselves useful and part of our everyday lives

billyea said,
I guess companies can never make great proudcts, thus running the risk of monopolizing the market if theyr'e successful.
billyea said,
How do you think they became so popular, because they are "great", either "great" at advertising,"great" at features, or "great" in appeal that no other product had, now they're necessary.
and it all started with being great and making themselves useful and part of our everyday lives
Billyea, you are under the mistaken impression that the best products are the most popular. Historically, this has not been so. The Beta format of VCR has better quality than VHS, yet VHS ended up dominating the market - wiping Beta out. McDonalds' food isn't that great, right? Yet look how popular it is, so it must be great food!

Wrong.

thats where your wrong, I happen to love McDonald's food and so does 90% of the people I know. the other 10% being vegatarians, and even in that case they eat McDonalds salads

Niccos said,
thats where your wrong, I happen to love McDonald's food and so does 90% of the people I know. the other 10% being vegatarians, and even in that case they eat McDonalds salads :p
Ok. You caught me lying.

McDonalds food is both very delicious and quite nutritious.

"EU is controlling Microsoft Windows monopoly. It's the same like iPod + iTunes. Both things are monopoly which should be somehow controlled. "

What should be controlled are comments that make no sense.

Neither Windows nor iPod is a monopoly. That's why we have Macs and Zunes and lots of other alternatives. A monopoly is when you have no other choice in the market and that's never been true in the PC market or digital music player market.

Neither of them is a necessity, either. If you can't get through life without Windows or an iPod then you have a very serious complex about yourself. Try getting through with a Mac and a Sony discman instead. I bet you'll survive and not have a significant drop in quality of life.

Are they not playing by the rules? They made this 'N' version of Vista and XP and still the EU persists?! Microsoft is losing money on the 'N' version because noone wants it. Does the EU really anything about software or do they just read this forum for their basis? :P

In the 50 years of European antitrust policy, it's the first time we've been confronted with a company that has failed to comply with an antitrust decision," a Commission spokesman said.

Microsoft needs to learn to respect the rules, and fines are the only way to get their attention. I hope they threaten them with a couple billion dollar fine so that they finally play by the rules.

billyea said,

That is really, a matter of opinion.

How so? Did the EU force Microsoft to sell their software in Europe? If they don't like it, they should just leave the market...

zivan56 said,

How so? Did the EU force Microsoft to sell their software in Europe? If they don't like it, they should just leave the market...


You honestly think Microsoft will just 'leave the market' of Europe just because the EU keeps making up reasons to fine them? Europe is one of the largest markets in the world!

You can't always 'just leave' because you don't like it, sometimes you have to stay and stand up for what you think is right.

zivan56 said,
The EU didn't come to Microsoft; Microsoft came to the EU.
According to Wikipedia the EU was formed in 1992 meaning MS was around longer. So MS really didnt "come to the EU" to have a party with the European Union or anything, they did decide to sell products in Europe however.

In all honestly MS cant afford to pull out but believe you me Europe isnt in a position to lose Microsoft either. Sure theres other OS's about but losing MS would seriously stagnate the tech fields in Europe for some time. You cant just lose all access to the software used by over 90% of pc's and expect the transition to be smooth. Most home users probably are still at a point where they wouldnt be comfortable on Linux and both consumers and companies alike would have to somehow replace their entire software inventories with comparable versions on other OS's which may not even be possible for some.

Both organisations are being a bit childish here but in the end I'm mostly sided with MS as many of the EU's outcomes have just been ludicrus and achieved nothing but waste MS's time and money. Instead of helping consumers we get a watered down Windows XP N that noone wanted anyway. How about telling MS in 2004 that Vista should be coded in a way to make the media functions and all that more modular and thus removeable in Vista rather than concentrating on the hack job Windows XP N was. Some patience on the EU's part could have avoided the embarrassment that was the Windows XP N release with the changes instead playing a bigger part in Vistas tree.

It's also MS's platform and this is supposed to be a market ecconomy. They should be able to set the prices for software development on their OS. If they are overcharging companies are free to develop for other platforms just as consumers are free to use other platforms if they dont like MS's offerings or prices. Some of the decisions been made are a real joke in a market based ecconomy and rather than letting the market take its course they are getting way to involved. I still feel that many of the more monumental changes havent had the consumers interest in mind anyway.

You know, I sort of wis Microsoft WOULD leave the EU, but not because I like them and want to see them survive. IF they left, maybe all the people that would have never -ever- attempted to try linux or even code would pick up the slack, and start making linux an operating system that could compete with Windows. God knows I would switch in a hurry if Linux had transparent support for Windows apps. And I dont mean wine.