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EU Antitrust Troubles Continue For Microsoft 593

Posted by Soulskill
from the still-on-the-hook dept.
Julie188 writes "Opera Software's year-old antitrust complaint against Microsoft took another step toward being vindicated, and the Oslo-based browser maker can't help crowing over the European Commission's decision. Opera had filed a complaint with the EC in December, 2007, contending that Microsoft's bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows violated antitrust rules. Yesterday, the EC sent a 'Statement of Objections (SO)' to Microsoft with a preliminary finding that bundling IE with Windows does indeed constitute an antitrust abuse. Microsoft has eight weeks to plead its case and change the EC's mind, an unlikely outcome if ever there was one. Opera's CEO said, 'On behalf of all Internet users, we commend the Commission for taking the next step towards restoring competition in a market that Microsoft has strangled for more than a decade.'"
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EU Antitrust Troubles Continue For Microsoft

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  • by Shadow of Eternity (795165) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @01:11AM (#26493801)

    That only telling people the full terms of use after they can no longer return the product is also a pretty underhanded means of doing business?

  • How? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cobraR478 (1416353) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @01:21AM (#26493879)
    How is the average computer illiterate going to download a browser if Microsoft is not allowed to bundle one? Buy a disc?
  • by linebackn (131821) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @01:30AM (#26493943)

    The European Commission were the ones that actually got them to make "Windows N" without media player. And in that case I think MS could have actually left a few core "system-ish" files and still have met their requirements.

    This time let's see a version of Windows that doesn't have MSHTML.DLL, SHDOCVW.DLL, or even WININET.DLL. Then perhaps developer finally will stop embedding IE or calling these files bypassing users choice of browser... Or perhaps not. Did Windows N actually ship to stores or get preloaded anywhere?

    Well, I guess I will just have to stick with Windows NT 3.51 and Windows 95 if I want that sort of thing. :P (BTW, Mozilla SeaMonkey 1.1.14 works great on these!)

  • by Coopjust (872796) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @01:40AM (#26494023)
    Microsoft is pretty much a de facto monopoly.

    If GM owned 95% of the auto market and somehow used their monopoly position to, say, put a proprietary, patented gas tank in their car that could only be filled at gas stations owned by GM, that would be a much more valid comparison.
  • by linebackn (131821) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @01:48AM (#26494059)

    How about a non-browser dependent package manager? Someone, please introduce Bill Gates to 2009!

    Of course I still prefer buying a nice shiny CD from the Mozilla Store. (Buy one! Better yet, buy a dozen!)

  • by KermodeBear (738243) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @02:18AM (#26494289) Homepage

    A package manager? Okay. Sure.

    Microsoft then makes a Microsoft Package Manager, and distributes it with Windows.

    Next thing you know, some company goes, "zomg! Microsoft is so evil, they're not including MY package manager! I'm going to sue! Waaaaah!"

    Then what? Seriously, when does it stop?

  • by Coopjust (872796) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @02:19AM (#26494301)
    But Mac OS and Linux distros aren't de facto monopolies in the operating system market. If Mac OS came on 95% of computers and Safari was on the machines out of the box, I think the EU would pursue the issue too. It's about using one monopoly/near monopoly position to further another one.

    If Microsoft held less than half of the market, I don't think MS would have been the target of the EU for this
  • by Tubal-Cain (1289912) * on Saturday January 17, 2009 @02:30AM (#26494379) Journal
    Fine. So Canonical, Red Hat, Novell, and the Debian Project are bundling browsers. No-one is saying OEMs shouldn't be able to do the same. The point is that the Linux Foundation isn't the one bundling. Also, the distributions don't tightly integrate Firefox into the rest of the system (in fact, Debian uses Epiphany by default). Removing it is a simple apt-get or yum.
  • by ljw1004 (764174) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @03:01AM (#26494561)

    An "add/remove programs" that actually adds programs?

    So your proposed solution to the anti-trust action is for Microsoft to become a central channel for distributing and installing third-party software, rather than leaving that to the third parties?

    Seems like that would be even more anti-trust.

  • by tjstork (137384) <todd...bandrowsky@@@gmail...com> on Saturday January 17, 2009 @03:03AM (#26494565) Homepage Journal

    I would think the argument that Microsoft swindles its customers is foolish. There is stuff that Ubuntu does that I think Microsoft is remiss in not doing, certainly. Ubuntu's out of the box DVD burning and ISO viewing capabilities are certainly better than what Windows offers, but, to say that Linux is better is silly. To say that Microsoft rips its customers off, is just ignorant.

    Really, the only real weak link in the Microsoft stack is actually IE. But IE was better than everyone else for almost 7 years, and, the only reason its lagging is arguably because Google is writing 50M checks a year to Mozilla and is also probably spending as much on Chrome. Similarly, Apache enjoys its success against IIS because Apache is well funded by the consortium of ISPs that use it.

    Beyond that, there are some noticable gaps between Linux and Windows.

    Right now, my Vista desktop is in a lot of ways far more polished and more attractive than the Linux desktop is. The Windows 95 desktop of Start Bar and multiview folders is a design that has proven so successful that even Apple's dockbar is closer to it than the original Mac Finder (it's even at the bottom now!), and of course, that 9x bar is ripped off completely by KDE and Gnome, but with "other stuff". Sure KDE 4.x struggles along with its search in the start bar trick, but it works swimmingly well on my Vista right now.

    Internally, a brief scan of Vista shows an operating system where Linux lacks and in some rather strong ways. Right off the wheel, Windows desktop tends to get the balance of thread priorities between services and user interface right. There is no answer to WAML on Linux. There is no answer to DirectX 10.

    Everyone rips the Windows SDK but it has fonts native to the drawing API. Honestly, not having fonts with X might be hyped as a good architectural support but honestly its a copout because X lets you draw everything else. But if anything vindicates Microsoft's GDI model it is that Remote Desktop is proven and solid and excellent with Windows, and Linux doesn't even really use X's remoting capabilities for its remote desktop. So there, you have a Linux operating system that robbed its gui developers of something as basic as fonts in order to achieve a network transparency that you don't even use for your own remote desktops, eschewing a simpler bitmaps based api instead. How foolish is that!

    No Linux widget set has the flexibility of the the much maligned USER and COMMON CONTROL widget library that bundles with Windows. The File Open dialogs in Linux are weak compared to Windows XP and offer simply no comparison to that in Windows Vista. ListViews in GTK are ok but they don't have the report view that was added for XP and they certainly don't have all the other fancy stuff that came out with Vista, and finally, yes, even the dated Windows MENU objects are going to be joined by the swank new Office 2007 menu bars. That's right, Office 2007 menus are going to be NATIVE TO WINDOWS 7. Please, desktop Linux? Desktop Windows is simply better, and not just better, but amazingly better and in a lot of ways.

    The desktops for Linux are not as universally extensible as those for Windows and largely that's a function of Linux being unable to agree on a single object model whereas COM is now well entrenched, well understood, and at least for inprocess objects, works rather well. Where's IDispatch for Linux?

    If we go back up to the desktop, we can have a look at Windows control panel and just perhaps enumerate a few quick things still missing or incomplete in Ubuntu. Accessibility. Speech. Color Profiles.

    Then of course we look at system snapshots that Windows let you roll back system versions if you want to.

    I'm still waiting for a Linux development product with an integrated forms editor, the same way that has been out since VB and then Visual C++, since, well, 1993, besides Java. KDevelop can't do it. Linux development in some ways is stuck in a world that Microsoft left almost 20 years ago,

  • by Carcass666 (539381) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @03:06AM (#26494577)

    I personally look forward to when TV's are no longer sold with remotes. Only when we stop the unfair bundling of remotes with TV's will consumers be forced to no longer accept "good enough" remotes when far better remotes are available for purchase.

    Personally, I find the whole IE bundling witch hunt paternalistic. Let Opera, or whoever, advertise their products in the marketplace, and get people to buy them. Firefox did that full-page ad and that did far more to increase its market exposure and usage than all of the thousands upon thousands of dollars wasted on anti-trust litigation.

  • by linebackn (131821) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @03:11AM (#26494599)

    "Do you really want developers all installing versions of the browser core all over the OS with their applications?"

    It would make more sense to me if they simply didn't require a web browser application.

    If an application really did require a web browser, however, then it can ask for a browser application to be installed in a central location where the app and other apps can make use of any libraries. Doesn't seem silly to me.

    In the old days there were plenty of application that would tell me "This program requires Internet Explorer to be installed". After MS started bundling it, developers seemed to get lazier and just assumed it was installed and/or that I would want to install it.

  • Re:How? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by linebackn (131821) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @03:35AM (#26494705)

    But even more importantly: The OEM's *CHOICE* of browser will be bundled with virtually all preinstalled systems by the OEM.

    Right now they don't have a real choice. IE has to be installed, so they can have just IE, or IE+Firefox or IE+Opera, or IE+Firefox+Opera or so on. Given there is a tendency to avoid having multiple application that do about the same thing installed, everyone currently usually just winds up with IE.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 17, 2009 @04:35AM (#26494965)

    Which is actually not a bad idea. No more having proprietary remotes that are impossible to replace: without tying, remotes would conform to published standards (ideally open and patent free) which would allow choice in the type of remote that you used.

    For example, accessible remotes could talk, or have extra large button, and be _guaranteed_ to work with your TV/Video/DVD/Blu-Ray/whatever - instead of the hit-and-miss pot luck you take when purchasing so-called 'universal' remotes these days.

    You have unwittingly given a very good example of the problems with tying.

  • by calmofthestorm (1344385) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @04:56AM (#26495057)

    Reminds me of when MS was making rumblings that Linux was illegally undercutting them by giving it away for free...

  • by john.picard (1440397) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @05:12AM (#26495127)
    It is very dangerous when rulings like this come about. Who is to define when bundling of one product with another constitutes antitrust violation? When Apple "bundles" Safari with Mac OS X, is that antitrust? When you install Ubuntu and Firefox is "bundled" with it, is that antitrust? When you install a text editor and syntax highlighting files for a bunch of languages are "bundled" with it, is that antitrust? What about Solitaire? Can that be bundled? Why the emphasis on the browser? Because Opera feels it inconvenient that Windows already comes with a browser?

    Let me tell you something. I found out about Opera when it was in version 3. Back then, you could use it for 30 days (if you didn't use it during a day, it didn't count against your 30 days), and if you liked it, you had to pay. Shareware. Their marketing message at the time was something along the lines that, we're so sure you'll like the speed of our browser, here are the links to download Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator. Try and compare. And they were absolutely right. Their browser was faster in every respect, leaner, smaller, tighter. When you clicked a file to download it, it immediately began to download, while you were selecting the destination. Contrast that with IE and Netscape of the time, which waited until you took half an hour to navigate to where you wanted the file before they even started. Page rendering was faster. The interface was uncluttered, simple, quick, easy to use. It was a wonderful product. I continued upgrading through versions 4, 5, 6, and 7. At some point in there, it stopped being shareware and became free software. And at some point, I stopped using it and moved on to Firefox. The reason was simple. The browser grew and began to include all kinds of bells and whistles. The interface became cluttered. Too much junk in my opinion. I am sure that some people like that, but for me, the very reason to use Opera was that it was the opposite of these other bloated browsers. It became IMHO what I was trying to get away from. Don't get me wrong. In the 5 or 6 or 7 years that I used Opera, it was a lifesaver. It was a joy to use, much, much, much better than the alternative (which at some point between the demise of Netscape and the first release of Firefox, was only IE or very crippled browsers). I just think they should have concentrated on having the tiniest yet fully featured browser, lightning fast, low memory usage, etc. So they could keep linking to the IE download page, because they could be so sure and correct that their browser kicks the pants off the competition. Unfortunately they chose the legal route, which is always a bad thing.

    Back to Microsoft. If due to some court case, Microsoft is not allowed to bundle anything together, then soon nobody will be allowed to bundle anything together. This will be horrible! Besides, if you buy computer with Windows OS and there is no browser bundled with it, how in the hell are you supposed to download a different browser? 99.9% of computer users will NOT know how to download a browser without first having one with which to download one. In fact, even if you were going to compile wget from sources, you'd still need a browser to get the sources and the compiler. This is an example of courts, companies, lawyers, who have no clue about computers (and think the monitor is the computer) just trying to play the lawsuit lottery against Microsoft. Face it. They no longer have a monopoly. Apple is nearly at 10% of the market. Linux has some share. The *BSDs have some share. People DO have a choice now. If they don't buy an Apple (which is dead simple to use and doesn't cost more than a comparable "PC" machine), and if they don't want to learn Linux (or won't or can't) then it is their choice to use Windows. And there is no monopoly in the browser area either. With IE, Konquerer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, shit the list goes on and on. What monopoly? This is not antitrust. This is bullshit. Sorry. I LOVE Opera. Opera 3 especially. It has come a long way since then, many improvements, but the fact is that when all was darkness around and Opera shone some light on the Internet by making it actually bearable to use rather than the horror that was IE or Netscape, but I am no fan of this lawsuit.
  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @05:22AM (#26495177) Homepage
    Yes a list of software licences not easily found on their site will really help when someone is deciding what to buy at the shop or when installing an OS and leaving them with no internet service at the time.

    Sure they could research this beforehand but what I've learned from the Ubuntu laptop topic is that the average person is a moron and fans of MS think this is acceptable. Which means they'll never find that URL so it effectively doesn't exist. Which makes MS happy because they, like most software companies, don't want people to realise software licences are shit.
  • by Jurily (900488) <[jurily] [at] [gmail.com]> on Saturday January 17, 2009 @05:50AM (#26495299)

    Shouldn't be hard to add Opera to the disc image either.

    Yeah, until all the other browsers in existence start complaining. I want Konqueror on that image as well!

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @05:57AM (#26495329)

    For what it's worth, I think it's a pretty sad reflection on the Slashdot community that a post citing numerous specific cases where Windows might be considered superior to Linux has got hit with enough troll mods to make it disappear for most people, yet there are no replies actually countering the points made in that post. I guess abusing the mod system is easier than making a real argument.

  • by Plunky (929104) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @06:26AM (#26495453)

    Perhaps not, but I bet they use TCP/IP stacks and such that are built into the OS, and I bet the user interface is displayed using GUI libraries that are supplied as standard. Desktop operating systems didn't always come with TCP/IP stacks and GUI libraries, and people used to sell products that supported such features as add-ons.

    And, if you think that your super TCP/IP stack is better than the native kernel version, you are free to make your own distro that includes it. If you have a GUI that is way better than X, you are free to make an OS that includes the basic Linux kernel and whatever software you can find that uses your GUI. You can even pay a licence and put commercial software on your distribution and sell it for whatever you want. Cool eh?.

    I wonder how all the Linux geeks here would feel if several popular distros converged to leave one dominant player that most people used because it came with everything they could possibly want, and then a minor player sued and the main distro was forced to unbundle everything from the Linux kernel and GNU tools.

    Such a think would not happen, because a minor player can make their own distribution and float it on the marketplace. If a major player is found to be supressing competition unfairly then of course they need to be taken down. If they are just better than you then sucks to be you.

  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @06:57AM (#26495575) Homepage

    Q: How do you know a liberal has lost an argument? A: They start calling you names

    Which would make Rush Limbaugh a liberal. It would in fact make the Bush administration liberal throwing the name terrorist around way too freely.

    That would make you a liberal as well as a lot of so called conservatives since anyone that doesn't fully agree with their opinions is a socialist, liberal or pinko.

    Q: How do you make a liberal sad? A: Remind them of their carbon footprint

    Q: How do you make a liberal angry? A: Tell them a Capitalist is making money off their carbon footprint

    The biggest problem with this as a whole is it's just baseless name calling from a racist simpleton.

    It ignores the fact I'm a conservative but a real one which believes in actual conservatism and not pandering to the South and their huge population of low-IQ, high religion gullible dimwits, like yourself.

    Capitalism isn't about breaking laws and shitting all over everyone. Maybe when you understand capitalism then you can start your own business, make a decent living and stop resorting to being a grumpy little racist tit.

  • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @07:02AM (#26495597)

    The question I have for Obama is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single fat colored mammy sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check?

    Far from helping the economy, Microsoft has harmed it. It has reduced competition in the computer industry, which means fewer jobs and higher prices. It has a long history of pushing for H1B visa increases intended to reduce the average wage of skilled tech workers. Why when there are so many people out of work are they STILL pushing H1B visas?

    Also, Microsoft is an abnormally profitable company. That comes from somewhere. For every dollar that Microsoft makes in profit, that could have been $0.25 ~~ $0.30 to a normally profitable company. Which means, because of Microsoft's monopoly, we have one business employing fewer people instead of 3 or 4 business of roughly the same size employing 3 or 4 times that number of people.

    Microsoft should be broken up by the government as an anti-competitive monopoly.

  • by an.echte.trilingue (1063180) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @07:16AM (#26495667) Homepage

    (provided that is there decision...there's still time for Microsoft to bribe them like they did at ISO for OOXML).

    The ECJ is not some dinky little standards body. The ECJ is a immensely powerful court composed of some of the most powerful people in Europe. Its decisions legally bind entire industries and countries. It is more like the SCOTUS than ISO

    I am not saying that the members of the ECJ are incorruptible, just that Microsoft, as rich as they are, have nowhere near the means to corrupt them.

    Of course, this is not in the court system yet. Right now it is being handled by the European Commission's Directorate General of Competition, which is kind of like the US Attorney's office in the US. This institution exists purely to find and punish anti-competitive behavior. Its members live under a microscope and its deliberations are a matter of public record. They regularly go after massive European corporations openly supported by member State governments.

    Some foreign IT company is not going to have the means to corrupt this body, either.

  • by mikechant (729173) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @07:28AM (#26495711)

    The fact that this article got marked as flamebait is demonstrative of how disconnected from reality a lot of people on this site are. What happens when Firefox gets to 50% or more of the browser market? Are Opera going to sue them as well for predative price fixing with Microsoft and Apple?

    You're making a fool of yourself - if Firefox got 50% of the browser market it would be on its merits - not because it was preinstalled on the 'Firefox/Mozilla Operating System'. The whole point - which you are presumably deliberately missing - is that MS uses its operating system dominance to create browser dominance, which is potentially illegal under competition law.
    Once again:
    Having a monopoly is *not* illegal;using it to create a monopoly in another area is.

  • by cp.tar (871488) <cp.tar.bz2@gmail.com> on Saturday January 17, 2009 @08:10AM (#26495905) Journal

    No, today the browser is just part of the OS.

    No, it is not.

    It is a part of the Windows OS. To be more accurate, the underlying technology is an important part of its UI. AFAIK, no Linux distro integrates any kind of browser in that manner, though with some of Mozilla's newer technologies, I don't find it all to improbable.

    It is true, though, that now it is much too late for any kind of useful decision to be made. Which is what Microsoft has counted on all along.

  • by LingNoi (1066278) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @08:18AM (#26495953)

    It has a long history of pushing for H1B visa increases intended to reduce the average wage of skilled tech workers

    If you think that by reducing H1B visas that employee wages will increase then you're gravely mistaken.

    What is going to happen is that more and more jobs will be outsource to other countries. No problem for me seeming as I work in one of those other countries so will be happy to take the work.

    If you need an expert in a certain field and all you have is joe blow half decent php programmer then you need to import people.

    The more smart people that the US can convince to come over the better it will be so I don't understand why you'd have a problem with this unless you're complaining because all those smart people are making competition for you.

  • Re:How? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday January 17, 2009 @09:05AM (#26496165) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft used its monopoly position to FORCE OEMs to not bundle other browsers (or lose their big discount.) THIS is wrong. Including a browser in the OS and using its functionality is NATURAL. Otherwise why would KDE and GNOME both include a browser? Trying to make Microsoft remove a part of the operating system (which after all is a way for a user to operate a computer, and includes the UI) is complete bullshit. I don't buy the argument that it's acceptable because they are a monopoly. Either fine the shit out of them, invoke the corporate death penalty, or leave them alone. I don't mind interfering with their ability to lie, cheat, and steal, but interfering with their ability to legitimately do business (e.g. put together a modern operating system with the features users now expect) is simply not acceptable. This whole thing is seriously just a whiny, passive-aggressive attempt to punish Microsoft for past misdeeds. Why not, you know, just punish them for past misdeeds?

  • by lazynomer (1375283) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @09:07AM (#26496175)

    A major part of Opera's complaint [opera.com] was explicitly the "Embrace, Extend and Extinguish" strategy in conjunction with bundling. It seems this argument is now often forgotten in news and discussions.

    The problem is more complex than "Oh, don't be anal, what's so terrible about bundling, you gotta have bundling." Can't you remember our discussions? How a monopolist breaking standards hurts us all?

  • by MtViewGuy (197597) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @09:37AM (#26496335)

    If the EU wants to be consistent, they would have to require Apple to remove iTunes, Safari and iLife from every Mac delivered in Europe. That means you either have to download it or buy the software as a separate cost item.

    In the end, I think what EU really wants is to strip down Windows 7 so it has the same functionality as the first release of Windows 95--you have to install the web browser, media player and possibly the fast disk search functionality separately.

  • Re:But... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gbarules2999 (1440265) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @09:53AM (#26496441)
    When you first start up Windows 7, it has a little task list for you, like "Get Anti-Virus" and whatnot, in the bottom right corner. They could very easily make a little app that downloads a browser for you, and remind you to "download a browser - click here."
  • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @09:57AM (#26496465)

    You've actually nailed everything that's wrong with antitrust law!
    Your suggestion is basically this: MS is really successful. Like, really really successful. If we were to just give a little bit of that success to other companies, many other companies would be successful as well. To achieve this distribution of success, we should break up Microsoft. Basically, you're advocating punishing success!

    That is, of course, the Bill Gates argument. "I'm successful, so let me be successful." Al Capone was successful as well. Standard Oil was successful too.

    Microsoft is successful because of its illegal and unethical actions. Its "success" is at the expense of the consumer and the industry. That sort of "success" denies a functioning market place of greater success.

  • by pstorry (47673) * on Saturday January 17, 2009 @11:26AM (#26497041) Homepage

    What browsers on the market charge for their product? Only Opera that I am aware of.

    They haven't charged end customers for a desktop browser since 2005. Version 8.5 dropped the requirement on the desktop.

    Opera do still charge for their Mobile browser - the binary platform-optimised version for mobile phones. But they don't charge for Opera Mini, which is the J2ME version of their mobile phone browser.

    Basically, Opera have been moving away from charging the customer unless there's clearly a market for it. Optimising a browser for a phone is difficult and expensive, and many phone companies have done an awful job of it - hence charging for the mobile version. But that's changing, so the mobile version might either die or go free at some point in the future.

    Opera are a business, so they have to make money somehow. I'm afraid that this isn't 2001, and business plans in the "... Profit!" model don't actually work.

    Most of Opera's revenue doesn't come from end-users. It comes from licensing and customising their browser product for OEMs. For instance, Nintendo paid them to produce the web browser that they use for their Internet Channel on the Wii...

    It sounds like Opera is blaming Microsoft for their lack of marketing and letting people know they have a choice.

    Opera is complaining that Microsoft are illegally abusing their monopoly by bundling one product with another. It's the same complain Netscape made in the US, the same complaint that was upheld in the US, and the same complaint that the US failed to meaningfully punish.

    In the end I don't really care because I use Linux and none of this (a?)effects me.

    I'm posting this from Opera (9.6) on Linux (Ubuntu 8.04), so haven't the foggiest what your point was there...

  • by Insanity Defense (1232008) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @12:39PM (#26497631)

    IE is no more 'integrated' than, say, khtml+Konquerer, or WebKit+Safari are.

    Konquerer is integrated into KDE which is a desktop environment. KDE is not integrated into the Linux kernal. Under the License for KDE/Konquerer the source is available and anyone with the appropriate skills and resources can create their own version of KDE with their own browser, even Microsoft. Also you can use Linux with other desktop envrionments, Gnome for example.

    IE (according to Microsoft) is integrated into the core OS and is inseparable. No one other than Microsoft can produce a version of Windows with another browser substituted for IE. Microsoft even has a history of forbidding OEMs from installing another browser. Can you use the Windows OS with a different Desktop Environment?

    Now why did Microsoft integrate IE into Windows? To block competition while avoiding true compliance with the order not to bundle IE with Windows. By integrating they made it impossible to unbundle it and substitute your own free choice.

    So the circumstances are different.

  • Re:omg so red (Score:3, Insightful)

    by baboo_jackal (1021741) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @01:58PM (#26498361)
    The absurdity of this is overwhelming. Nobody ever thinks about why Opera is doing this - it isn't because they love "the people" and want to ensure they get a good browser. It's because they really want some more of that money (yes, yes, Opera is free - I understand their revenue model). What a great way to abuse a bloated bureaucracy - if you can't defeat your competitors in the open market, then get government to handicap them for you.

    But seriously, how the does EU "law" even work? I'm not even going to insult Hammurabi by calling them "laws." I'm going to henceforth refer to EU ruling as "Lord Fauntleroy's Whims".

    So lemme get this straight: They ruled in 2002 that MS had to decouple IE from Windows, and allow users not to have it as the default browser, yadda yadda yadda, all so other browser makers could "compete." And I'm really sure that your average user, when confronted with an OS with *no* browser is really going to go comparison-shopping. No, I'm pretty sure it goes like this: "WTF!? Der Komputer hat keine browser!?! Ich moechte god damned IE!" *downloads IE.*

    Anyway, so now, the commission has *further* decided that Microsoft can't even include IE at all, because Opera bitched about it? Seriously, when does it end? When Opera's happy? What's next?

    "EU rules that Microsoft Windows 7 runs too fast, looks too pretty. Due to a complaint from Sun who said that Microsoft is abusing their ability to produce good software that runs well, the EU has ruled that Microsoft must write an "Uglification and Slowification" patch within 15 minutes or else be fined 1 Hojillion Euro per second until they do." Ugh.
  • by Elektroschock (659467) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @02:21PM (#26498565)

    Look in this case it is more like they have their criminal and have a reason, a formal reason to imprison him. It is like Al Capone and the tax authorities.

    Microsoft went ballistic against EU institutions and opted for a burned soil scenario. If you negotiate that hard and fool administration it will fight back and they will stab you in the back without mercy. This is exactly what is happening now.

    The Opera complaint was cheap but fun. So they make some fuzz. Note that the Commission is in the lame duck period so they actually do what they always wanted to do and slap ruthless lobbyists in the face. In the end playing evil could pay off, this time for the Commission.

    Suum cuique.

    Look what Commissioner Reding is doing now with the Telcos, fixed price for roaming. The Telco lobbyists slaughtered her Telcom directive package and the content mafia also took advantage of it. Now the leaving Commissioner places some bomb traps for them.

    Because administration needs to educate companies that just don't behave. Microsoft, Exxon and Tobacco lobbying is about to crater. They crossed the line.

  • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @02:23PM (#26498587)

    It's the IT version of the moronic "those illegal immigrants are stealing our jobs!" idiocy. Possibly racism, too. I love the H1B visa program; our QA team consists of a Chinese woman, a Indian woman, a Armenian man, and an British man, all top-of-their field. The H1B program is the kind of "mixing pot" laws that made America great, and will continue to do so.

You can tell how far we have to go, when FORTRAN is the language of supercomputers. -- Steven Feiner

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