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Microsoft Government The Courts News

Microsoft and EU Talks End 1028

Paul Longford writes "Microsoft talks with the EC have collapsed. The competition commisioner Mario Monti just made this statement in which he said: 'I'd just like to inform you that a settlement on the Microsoft case has not been possible. I therefore intend to propose to my colleagues in the Commission next Wednesday to adopt a decision, which has already received the unanimous backing of Member States.' This is bad news for Microsoft - it looking at a considerable fine and possibly being forced to open up Windows. It looks like it will be a harsh decision too. Monti says: 'In the end, I had to decide what was best for competition and consumers in Europe. I believe they will be better served with a decision that creates a strong precedent.'"
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Microsoft and EU Talks End

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  • by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) * on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:19AM (#8597983) Journal

    It is essential to have a precedent which will establish clear principles for the future conduct of a company with such a strong dominant position in the market.

    Steve Balmer rushed over in a last-ditch attempt to try and come to a deal, but the commissioner apparently demanded even-tougher remedies if a negative precedent was not to be set...

    The fine is expected to be between 67 million UK pounds, and 670 million UK pounds . Ouch. That's a fair old amount of latitude in the range, but even MS would presumably rather not pay a billion-dollar fine. I know their cash reserves are up in the 40 billion dollar range, but even so it has to hurt. I'd expect the commission to fine them again if they don't do as they're told, as well....

  • by MrIrwin ( 761231 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:23AM (#8598034) Journal
    This is not an outspoken opinion either. Member states have been unanimous on this and Monty has tried all ways to come to a comprise. The EU know what they are up against and have bullet proofed thier position against drawn out appeals.

    This could be more fun than the SCO fiasco....Bill, open the file marked JudgementDay.pif :-)

  • by Creepy Crawler ( 680178 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:26AM (#8598063)
    The way I see it is if this "fine" is more than the hassle of doing business with Europe, I'd pull out.

    I'd also rip support of all European languages unless you paid mucho..
    I'd also invalidate ALL licenes in Europe..
    I'd also go cry to Bush to have them treat ol' MS like a picked on kid....

    Course, if they do pull out of Europe, it means Linux would be on the rise, and fast.
  • Re:Good job EU! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Creepy Crawler ( 680178 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:30AM (#8598109)
    Do you not understand what China is doing right now???

    1: They're making their own X86 compatible chip called Dragonballz (or whatever silly name it is). They're around 500MHz or so..

    2: They're eradicating Windows in the govt and replacing it with Red Flag Linux. Chinese-ified Red Hat.

    3: Getting their country more self-sufficient in everything...
  • Re:I want to know... (Score:2, Informative)

    by TimmyJoeB ( 5950 ) <[timmyjoe2] [at] []> on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:31AM (#8598126)
    Really, I thoght that Germany was gung ho about Linux. I mean Munich is switching to Linux. SuSE is rapidly growing and profitable company selling Linux to Germans. I see where Mandrake is now profitable as a French company selling Linux, and the French are known to buy crummy domestic products over superior imported products( like Pugeots and Renaults ).

    Plus, alot of European banks love IBM. and even used OS/2 extensively. I think that Windows upgrades would be out and new purchases of Linux would be in.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:37AM (#8598186)
    We go over and over and over this every single fucking time the Microsoft anti-trust action is mentioned, simply because morons like yourself can't be fucking bothered to do your homework and actually find out the sort of action the EU has taken and the companies it has taken it against.

    Heres a free clue for you: The largest single fine impossed by the EU trade commision was against a European company. Free bonus clue: The majority of companies that the EU trade commision takes action against are European companies, or majority owned by Europeans.

    So please, in future, get your fucking facts right, you dumbass blowhard no-nothing. Thank you.
  • by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:38AM (#8598202)
    1. A appeal request does not have to be granted.
    2. A appeal does not guarantee that the restrictions being placed on them will not be imposed while the appeal is running.
  • by goodbye_kitty ( 692309 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:41AM (#8598228)
    u can turn off the windows media player 'phone home' thing in the settings, i think its the check box that says "start in media guide" or something. Also i think it would be virtually impossible to extract IE from windows XP since the file navigation and windows themselves are all basically the same thing. The best they could do is remove the default MSN messenger client that comes in XP.

    Dont get me wrong i hate wmp as well, i always use mplayer2.exe, its much faster and but it annoys me greatly that unless you know how to mess with the registry wmp always sets itself to be the default media player whenever u open a media file.
  • by ControlFreal ( 661231 ) * <<ten.reobgreb> <ta> <kein>> on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:42AM (#8598241) Journal

    ... There seems to be a good amount of "they-are-all-out-to-get-us" sentiment in the parent's remark. Let's put some things in perspective here:

    You see, courts in Europe have this strange idea that they are there to enforce the law and protect consumers. To make matters more absurd, they choose to stick to their principles even if large companies are involved. Strange, huh? ;)

    And now the facts: the EU will, and has done so numerous times in the past, also punish European companies if they break antitrust laws. A complete list of antitrust cases from 1964 is here []. And to give a nice example: in the cases so far in 2004 [], all of the listed companies are European.

    That goes to show you.

  • by DanBrusca ( 197887 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:55AM (#8598392) Homepage
    You may not be kidding about the price of a G5, but you're certainly mistaken.

    A dual 2GHz G5 costs around $4,400 in the UK and while this is certainly much higher than the $3,000 paid in the US it's nowhere near what you claim.

    As for the price of generic x86s, all that you can hope to get for $300 is a barebones PC without useful 'extras' like a hard drive, RAM etc. You'll pick up something useable for $500, but you'll still need a monitor on top of that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18, 2004 @11:04AM (#8598521)
    Yeah, because we all know fighting is the only possible way to resolve a conflict.

    Look, dumbass, Europe has already had two major wars and several member states have suffered decades of terrorism (U.K had the IRA & other paramilitary groups, Spain has ETA, Germany has its assorted oddballs and neo-Nazis) We're tired of it all, alright? We're sick to the back fucking teeth of having some boogy-man hiding around the corner waiting to attack us and eat our children. We don't care. Bollocks to the rest of the world, you can sort your own fucking problems out. We've been there, done it, and it doesn't make the slightest difference in the end; there'll always be someone else who wants to attack you.

    So fuck you and fuck this bullshit "War on terror". The U.S didn't give two shits about international terrorism until someone came and slapped it about a bit, and now all of a sudden its "leading" a War against terrorism as though its the only country in the whole world who has ever had to deal with it. Newsflash: Europe has been dealing with terrorism far longer than you could ever imagine. We've had our Wars on Terror and we know far more about terrorism than you apparently believe.

    Been there, done that, got the tee shirt, bollocks to the lot of you.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18, 2004 @11:21AM (#8598737)
    microsoft would do fine without the european market.

    and the European market, already a hotbed of Linux acceptance would move even more towards Open Source. Uh, what's the downside?
  • Re:Good job EU! (Score:4, Informative)

    by nickos ( 91443 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @11:22AM (#8598747)
    "They're making their own X86 compatible chip called Dragonballz"

    Actually the "Dragon Chip" (Godson-I/II chips) are MIPS based [].
  • Re:Careful.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by 10Ghz ( 453478 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @11:36AM (#8598899)
    Well they always loose when the US gets involved anyhow. WW1 and WWII would have been TOTAL losses for all of europe if not for the US military and materials.

    yeah, because Russians had NOTHING to do with defeating the Nazis! They just fought the longest, caused the most losses, fought the biggest battles, tied up bulk of the Wehrmacht (even after Normandy, something like 70-80% of German troops were in the Eastern Front) etc. etc. No sirre, it was all American show! Rest of us were just along for the ride!
  • by SlashDread ( 38969 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @11:40AM (#8598935)
    You are sadly getting caught up in a typical USsian anti-EU mentality.

    - Its De Beers, not DuBeers. Get your names straight. It does not bode well for the rest of your arguments.
    - De Beers is founded and largely still operates from South Africa, not the EU.
    - The MS EU show is about misuse, NOT -having- a monopoly, please show how DE Beers misuses their monopoly, and how this is "magnitudes worse" for WE, the people, then MS'ses -proven- misuse.


  • by Lochin Rabbar ( 577821 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @11:40AM (#8598938)

    Nearly half of all MS revenues come from Europe, and they only have a monopoly supply of their software as long as EU governments say so. An MS embargo of Europe is a non starter.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18, 2004 @11:55AM (#8599104)
    Because florida disenfranchised over 10,000 (mostly black) voters. They _illegally_ turned them away at the polls, saying they were not allowed to vote, when they, in fact, were.

    This election was clearly stolen.

    I am not too concerned, as Kerry will win the election in november. I am so convinced of this, that I am willing to bet money on it.

    Be patient world. We are going to get rid of Bush. Im sorry for what has happened. Please forgive us and work with us to fix the mistakes he has made.

    ("Bush" being the current administration. Bush himself isnt really at fault for most of this stuff.)
  • Re:Good job EU! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18, 2004 @12:04PM (#8599236)
    1. It is "Soaring Dragon" and it is not X86 compatible. It is MIPS compatible.
  • by d_strand ( 674412 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @12:06PM (#8599258)
    Get real.

    Yes MS would probably do fine without the european market, they'd lose a sizeable chunk of revenue but theyd still make a lot of money.

    The problem is that since MS would basically be outlawed in europe, people would just use pirated windows copies until they had time and opportunity to make a swith to Linux or osX or whatever. And the police wouldnt mind since MS products wouldnt be protected by copyright laws.

    So europe wouldnt lose anything while MS would lose lots. And worse (for MS) backing out of the EU market would leave it wide open for MS competitors to grow in and make lots of money and (gasp!) eventually maybe be big enough to take on MS everywhere.

  • Re:It's about time. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Atzanteol ( 99067 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @12:22PM (#8599428) Homepage
    IIRC the judiciary pursues what the head of law enforcement wants it to. The head of law enforcement is the cheif executive. The president.

    You're joking, right? Please tell me you know that Justices of the supreme court hold life-time appointments to keep them from being beholden to public opinion, and legislative pressure? Sure, the president appoints justices, but once they're in, they're in. And as Massachusetts found out, they don't answer to anybody! (gay marriage was decided by the courts, not by (and against the will of) the legislature).

    But people like you blame/credit the president with everything, regardless of whether they actually have any real power over it.
  • Re:It's about time. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Short Circuit ( 52384 ) <> on Thursday March 18, 2004 @12:39PM (#8599652) Homepage Journal
    They're allowed to choose what Microsoft has to offer, it's just a separate download. The OEM can still bundle WMP, if they want.
  • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @12:53PM (#8599842) Journal
    Windows 3.0 did not have media player as far as I remember. They made big fuss in 3.1 when some basic sound tools were introduced as "multimedia"
    R Yup. Video players are simply an extension of basic sound utils.

    M$ is a monopoly (repeat monopoly). That is why certain retriction apply (and more should) that do not exist if the market is competitive.

    There is no crime in being a monopoly. Several companies are lucky enough to have a disproportionate amount of market share. This is nopt a crime, and no restrictions should apply. Microsofts crime was being anti-competitive. They were using their dominant position to bully providers into only supplying Microsoft applications. The only reason being a monopoly is at all relevant is that if they were not a monopoly, these tactics would not have worked. People would have simply switched to their competitors.
  • by insomaniac ( 469016 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @01:21PM (#8600234)
    I (as a dutchman) call bullshit on that, Clinton was a popular US president here in .nl. Sure we made american jokes, but those where on the same level as belgian jokes, which means they wheren't serious at all. Bush has been the worst PR your country has had in quite some time. He makes your country look like a t-rex with the brain that goes with it...
  • by mapmaker ( 140036 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @01:22PM (#8600241)
    Anyone following investment advice on Slashdot would have to be insane. Case in point: SCO.

    Huh? SCO's stock (SCOX) has fallen more than 50% in the last 3 months. Everyone here on Slashdot knew long ago that SCO's claims were bogus and were likely a pump-n-dump scheme by SCO execs. The investing public took much longer to figure that out. Anyone who followed the advice given here has made a very tidy profit on SCOX.

    Additionally, the parent post's comment (which has been modded as funny) about shorting MSFT was also sound. MSFT is down almost 2% today.

    The best place to find insightful information about tech companies is places where tech-knowledgable people talk. Like Slashdot.

  • Don't celebrate yet. (Score:2, Informative)

    by AlphaWolf_HK ( 692722 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @01:39PM (#8600458)
    I'm glad to see that at least Europe still has some functioning antitrust laws, unlike the US where antitrust laws were effectively gutted by the judiciary.

    Keep in mind that the US court system had decided that microsoft should be split up, but then lost that ruling upon microsofts' appeal. Microsoft can still appeal anything that the EU courts decide at this point.

  • Re:It's about time. (Score:5, Informative)

    by sepluv ( 641107 ) <[blakesley] [at] []> on Thursday March 18, 2004 @01:54PM (#8600697)
    They are not stopping them from competing. Just from expanding their monpoly using illegal means, blackmailing, bribing &c... Read the artciles and info on the EU website.
  • Bullshit. (Score:3, Informative)

    by jotaeleemeese ( 303437 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @01:55PM (#8600709) Homepage Journal
    There is a long history in the EU of striking down acquisitions and meregers of EU companies based on lack of competition fears.

  • by spectecjr ( 31235 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @03:05PM (#8601636) Homepage
    Intervideo's WinDVD and Cyberlink's PowerDVD, for example, have to compete with an equal footing on the Windows desktop as DVD player applications?

    Why should Microsoft's applications have an advantage purely because they make the OS and can integrate their apps into into Windows so tightly you cannot remove them?

    Funny you mention those two- because Windows Media Player doesn't play DVDs unless you install an application which adds that support to Windows Media Player - which both of the aforementioned applications *willingly do*.
  • by ctid ( 449118 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @04:33PM (#8602703) Homepage
    It's not illegal to be a monopoly. You're just not allowed to create new monopolies using your existing one. There are differences between Wal-Mart and Microsoft, because of the different nature of the businesses they're in. Microsoft can easily use their OS monopoly to create new monopolies, say in word-processing software or music playback software - they do this by using secret file-formats or APIs. It's hard to see how WalMart could be said to be driving other companies out of business in this way; the fact that WalMart sells a particular product doesn't mean that some other retailer can't sell it or a similar product. Where they might get into trouble would be if they used their overwhelming size to prevent a wholesaler from selling a particular product to one of their competitors. They would also not be allowed (in principle at least) to open a store selling things at a loss in order to drive other retailers in a particular area out of business. However, I guess that these sorts of offences would be difficult to prove.

  • Re:It's about time. (Score:3, Informative)

    by k_head ( 754277 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @08:31PM (#8605009)
    The man does not even read the papers for gods sake. He is truly the blind idiot who sits up on a throne while the visiers whisper in his ear. "Saddam Hussein is responsible for 9/11 lets invade iraq", "make it so cheney!".

    I don't think anybody thinks he is responsible for this shit. They just think he is stupid and easily duped by the people around him that's all.

Money can't buy love, but it improves your bargaining position. -- Christopher Marlowe