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Microsoft

EU Crosshair Still Points at Microsoft 312

T-Kir writes "The BBC has an interesting article saying that now Microsoft has had the settlement granted in the US, it still faces EU sanctions concerning software bundling (or should that be bungling?) into its OS and deliberate attempts at inoperability with non-MS server operating systems."
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EU Crosshair Still Points at Microsoft

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  • by 2000 Britneys ( 549923 ) on Tuesday November 05, 2002 @09:47AM (#4599236)
    Some common sense. I mean cmon if quacks like a duck, looks like a duck it must be a duck.

    As for myself I would love to see some of the major computer makers (Dell, Gateway, Compaq, IBM) start pushing Linux and other OSes with their hardware.
  • Three problems (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MosesJones ( 55544 ) on Tuesday November 05, 2002 @09:47AM (#4599240) Homepage

    1) US courts regularly deny the authority of courts abroad

    2) US courts regularly assume their rules apply abroad.

    3) When the EU has ruled against US product before (growth hormone is not allowed in beef sold in the EU) the US claims it is a restraint of trade and raises it to the EU.

    So what will probably happen is MS will rightly be found guilty, they will ignore the remedy, and when it is enforced they will bleat to the president who will "defend US interests", he will ignore the rights of foreign courts and claim this is purely anti-competative and anti-US rather than being a different resolution applied to EXACTLY the same finding of guilt found in the US.

    Personally I hope the EU stands up and gives them a bloody nose, and makes its move over to Open Source even quicker.
    • Re:Three problems (Score:5, Interesting)

      by albanac ( 214852 ) on Tuesday November 05, 2002 @09:56AM (#4599301) Homepage Journal

      All of your points are accurate. WRT the first two, however, there is no way the US could (under legal arenas) challenge an EU court ruling, and I don't think they'd be stupid enough to try. The one piece of information you didn't catch is that some four months ago, when the EU declared it's intention to pursue MS independently of the US DOJ, the State Deparmemnt immediately issued sabre-rattlings to the effect that if the EU attempted to do anything different or more realistic than the DOJ had done, the US would embark on an immediate and GDP-wide trade-war against the entire EU, covering everything from steel to immigration visas, until the EU backed off. The EUs response was to ignore them.

      ~cHris
      • Re:Three problems (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ninthwave ( 150430 ) <slashdot@ninthwave.us> on Tuesday November 05, 2002 @10:12AM (#4599422) Homepage
        That might have to do with the fact that steel tarifs were pushed through with no regard to Europe or Asia. And the EU has decided that if the US will use tarifs against the global rules it pushes than they have to be flexible when it comes to their own local interests also. The US economy is currently bolster by 2/3s income coming from internal consumer spending and debt. Consumer confidence is starting to slip. Foreign markets are important and not pissing off large markets will need to be taken into account. With China developing its own os and chipsets, India moving to open source. The foreign market is shrinking for Microsoft. So it might want to play ball with documentation of its api's. Or it can squeeze more money out of its current customers with subscriber based liscenses (wait I believe that is happening). I don't like governments interferring with trade but this includes governments enforcing global trade laws that limit countries from starting their own products. All and all it is silly but at the end a government needs to take care of its industries and peoples and if it needs to limit an external company than it has a right to do such. Be it the EU telling off microsoft or GWBush and steel tarifs.
      • State Deparmemnt immediately issued sabre-rattlings to the effect that...

        The only thing that suprized me there is that I hadn't heard about it. Do you happen to have a good link on it?

        The EUs response was to ignore them.

        Cool, thanx. (And I'm an American, chuckle)

        -
    • by sydlexic ( 563791 ) on Tuesday November 05, 2002 @10:05AM (#4599373)
      if what you say is true (and we of the sheep have no reason to doubt), then the EU ranks right up there with the rest of those wrongdoing terrorist organizations and we should exercise our god given right to pre-emptively smite then into oblivion! fetche le hellfire!
    • Re:Three problems (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sql*kitten ( 1359 ) on Tuesday November 05, 2002 @10:09AM (#4599402)
      1) US courts regularly deny the authority of courts abroad

      2) US courts regularly assume their rules apply abroad.


      The EU courts don't always agree with the courts of the member countries [reuters.com], which is fortunate since it is far from unanimous amongst voters that the EU should take precedence over national sovereignty. And EU member countries freely ignore the EU courts [bbc.co.uk].

      So what will probably happen is MS will rightly be found guilty, they will ignore the remedy

      More likely is that MS will ignore the EU court, as most EU members do, and nothing will happen until national governments (most likely the Germans or Spanish, who seem to be the most unfriendly to MS) take an interest.
    • Re:Three problems (Score:5, Informative)

      by pubjames ( 468013 ) on Tuesday November 05, 2002 @10:19AM (#4599462)
      1) US courts regularly deny the authority of courts abroad

      2) US courts regularly assume their rules apply abroad.


      This stuff doesn't really matter but the EU is dealing with trade within the EU zone. So it doesn't really matter that much what the US thinks. And don't assume that the US can just do whatever it wants and get away with it. There's something called the WTO, which has ruled heavily against the US and in favour of the EU recently with regards to steel tarrifs. It's true that the US is a big bully, but the EU is growing and seems increasingly confident fighting back.

    • When the EU has ruled against US product before (growth hormone is not allowed in beef sold in the EU) the US claims it is a restraint of trade and raises it to the EU.

      This is IMHO not a restraint of trade. It just says US companies have to follow EU laws and rules, the same rules European companies have to apply to. I'm sure their are US rules (about safety of products e.g.) that force non-US companies to produce/ship different products than those sold on their home market.
      US companies can export their beef, as long as it's growth hormone free. Where's the restriction? You apply to the rule.... you get to export it to the EU.

      CKK's ruling in the US is just a joke. I hope the EU will do a better job.
  • Tough Cookie (Score:5, Informative)

    by mmport80 ( 588332 ) on Tuesday November 05, 2002 @09:48AM (#4599242) Homepage

    For those who don't know much about the EU's competition commisioner - he is a tough cookie and isn't afraid to take on large companies.

    Look at what he did to Nintendo recently and also the $45bn GE and Honeywell merger - which he basically stopped - even thought the US would have allowed it. The last case shows what the competition commision thinks about "consistency".

    • Not really that tough: seems that Nintendo had made roughly 450 million with their illegal trade practices. They where fined 145 million. Which means they still made a cool 300 million by illegal means. What a wristslap...
  • by SomeoneGotMyNick ( 200685 ) on Tuesday November 05, 2002 @09:49AM (#4599258) Journal
    It is believed that Microsoft's lawyers are going to use the US case as precident that the EU should agree to the same settlement.

    Would Microsoft even have a change of getting away with that? Can our legal precidence have a major impact on the EU legal system? I seriously doubt it unless money flies in certain directions
    • by larien ( 5608 ) on Tuesday November 05, 2002 @09:59AM (#4599327) Homepage Journal
      There isn't any legal requirement for them to pay any attention to the US decision, however:
      1. MS are pushing for it to be taken into consideration for "trans-atlantic harmonisation" or some-such, to ensure a common climate (i.e. one in which MS is free to continue its practices) and
      2. sometimes decisions in foreign courts can be used to influence the decision, especially if both legal systems are similar.
      In short, the decision might have some impact, but the courts could decide that it isn't relevant and ignore it.
  • tough one for MS (Score:3, Informative)

    by davids-world.com ( 551216 ) on Tuesday November 05, 2002 @09:51AM (#4599267) Homepage
    the EU has proven to be comparatively strict in issues of competition. they have challenged the system of public television in many states, most recently the European High Court ruled that national (competition-impeding) OpenSky contracts between airlines are not acceptable.

    besides, EU has no financial interests in an US-american company.

    this time, it's gonna be a tough one for M$.

    • by obdulio ( 410122 )
      besides, EU has no financial interests in an US-american company.

      That's a big point. If EU (or any country other than US) makes a switch to Linux, they will not only save lots of money, but keep it to help the local economy.

      Even if they have to pay more for supporting Linux, they will likely hire local companies.

  • by GnomeKing ( 564248 ) on Tuesday November 05, 2002 @09:52AM (#4599274)
    if the EU imposes restrictions that microsoft claim are unviable and would prevent them distributing windows?

    I personally think its unlikely that they would do - but this is one of those classic "what if"'s...

    Would microsoft pull windows from the EU? could they AFFORD to do that? (business wise, not money wise)

    Would they use US law to somehow challenege the (legallity of?) EU restrictions (not such a stupid question... considering some of the strange legal goings on in the US of late)

    Or would they just comply with the EU's restrictions?

    What would happen if the EU poses restrictions which microsoft ignores?
    Could we bomb redmond for failing to comply with the EU software inspections resolution?
    (its a joke! well, sort of)
    • Would microsoft pull windows from the EU? could they AFFORD to do that? (business wise, not money wise)

      Very, very risky; that would be brinkmanship of the most dangerous kind.

      If MS threatens to pull Windows from the EU, then either Brussels will cave (quite possible, and in all honesty probable) or tell MS where to go.

      A Europe with no new Windows licences being issued would be fatal for Microsoft. Suddenly there's a market of a third of a billion people wide open for Apple. Suddenly Suse's market share goes through the roof. How long would it take for a Europe under Microsoft interdict to produce the holy grail Linux for the masses?

    • by albanac ( 214852 ) on Tuesday November 05, 2002 @10:13AM (#4599428) Homepage Journal
      Would microsoft pull windows from the EU? could they AFFORD to do that? (business wise, not money wise)

      No. Short answer. They do more integration work and they sell more software in the EU than in the US, and have done for some time. They flat can't afford not to leverage what is now the largest unified-policy market in the developed world.

      Would they use US law to somehow challenege the (legallity of?) EU restrictions (not such a stupid question... considering some of the strange legal goings on in the US of late)

      They can't. The only way they can influence the EU legitimately is via politics and diplomacy; if they actually go to a court-room and try to get a US-law case to overthrow EU law, they'll be laughed out of court. The only way they can do this is the way that Bush handled the ICC, ie. military threat rather than any pretence of legality.

      What would happen if the EU poses restrictions which microsoft ignores?

      They can't. Import restrictions. Point-of-sale ban. Not something they can work around, really. Unlike the US.

      ~cHris
      • by Jester99 ( 23135 ) on Tuesday November 05, 2002 @02:15PM (#4600921) Homepage
        A military threat, eh?

        What's MS going to do? Send Ballmer over there to jump up and down on the head of the chief justice, shouting "Developers! Developers!"? :)


      • No. Short answer. They do more integration work and they sell more software in the EU than in the US

        Bullshit. Where did you pull this from?

        Microsoft's US revenue is huge compared to its EU revenue. You can see this in MS corporate reports. Furthermore, the US revenue has consistently grown over the past 2 to 3 years while the EU revenue is stagnant (only recently up due to the XBox).
    • If microsoft ignores the EUs wishes it can declair microsoft an illegally trading entity within the EU, which normally has the effect of a 10% fine on all turnover within the EU block.

      Pulling all microsoft products from the EU or just saying new ones could not be used there would have the effect of just handing over the market to a competitior very quickly. I expect it would also cause the MS share price to crash seeing.

      Pulling Microsoft products from the EU which would have a bad effect (short term) on businesses (better for the long in my book) the EU could counteract that by just declairing microsoft copyrights uninforcable within the EU. Allowing businesses to use it for free while competitors take up the slack.

      The EU normally works by using fines, here is a 1bn fine but ypou get 90% off if you do XYZ. MS cannot avoid fines if they are not payed they just take assists insted, it can also get you declared an illegal trading entity, which allows them to do all kinds of fun stuff. Worldcom almost became one of these, after the MCI-Worldcom merger the EU wanted Worldcom to divest of UUNET but it didn't so just said point blank no to sprint even though it had little effect on the EU.

      James

  • Microsoft is a US company. Only the US government has the power to break them up. That was the real threat.

    In contrast, all the EU can do is fine Microsoft. Big deal. They can fork out millions of dollars to buy out a competitor, so why should they worry about EU fines? They'll probably just buy a couple of officials to make sure whatever they are fined is in a reasonable ballpark. Then they can happily go ahead with their monopolistic practices. For them it's just like buying a permit to behave as they do. I'm even sure they have a budget for that! :-)

    • by aallan ( 68633 ) <alasdairNO@SPAMbabilim.co.uk> on Tuesday November 05, 2002 @09:59AM (#4599328) Homepage

      In contrast, all the EU can do is fine Microsoft. Big deal.

      Well, no. We can stop them selling Windows insie the EU, or stopping them selling Windows until they unbundle the media player and other things the EU has decided its anti-competiative to have bundled with the OS.

      Thats worse for them than a fine, it does in fact go right to the heart of the problem and attacks their market share.

      Al.
      • by Alethes ( 533985 ) on Tuesday November 05, 2002 @10:46AM (#4599605)
        Suppose the EU prevents Microsoft from bundling the media player and/or IE and any other software in this issue for any version of Windows sold in that region.

        1) Could Microsoft end up proving that it is possible to ship their OS without all that software bundled contrary to their testimony in the US so that they'll be able to ship to the EU? That could put them right back in court in the US, right?

        2) Could Microsoft end up shipping region-specific versions of Windows that check for some type of region code on the computer similar to DVDs are done?
      • Thats worse for them than a fine, it does in fact go right to the heart of the problem and attacks their market share.

        No it doesn't. Consider: if tariffs are placed on Microsoft products, yet users do not migrate away (even if they want to, there's a finite time that takes to happen) the net result is simply to transfer money from EU business to EU taxcollectors. It would represent a tangible competitive disadvantage to EU businesses against businesses who are able to buy without tariffs.

        The Slashbots all assume that people would abandon MS products in a second, but that simply isn't true. Even if Open Source software is better (and it often isn't, compare any free spreadsheet to Excel) there's still training, support, existing documents, and applications. Anyone who tells you they can replace MS-SQL with MySQL either doesn't know what they are talking about, or really shouldn't have spent their money on MS-SQL in the first place. Sure sendmail can do mail, but it can't do what Exchange does for groupware.... etc.

        It will be very difficult for the EU to "punish" MS without damaging the EU's economy to boot. If they're smart, they'll do nothing openly now and quietly accelerate migration to alternatives (where they exist) in the background.
        • EU buisness *don't* need to upgrade windows that much. Without the pressure of MS they would not. Especially in the view of the costly replacing new MS licence schemes. And what if the EU simply says "no more sales until you comply" ?

          Then it simply hurts MS buisness and none of the EU buisness. Other Software company till sales their MS compatibles products, and normal buisness get even more time and a good reason to stop the upgrade to the new licence schemes.

          It is true that people would no abandon their products. But they would stop to upgrade and this would mean Nothing wrong or bad for any firms , except MS.

        • It will be very difficult for the EU to "punish" MS without damaging the EU's economy to boot. If they're smart, they'll do nothing openly now and quietly accelerate migration to alternatives (where they exist) in the background.


          Which would be best accomplished by fining Microsoft heavily and putting those funds into alternatives to migrate to.

          -- Azaroth

    • Except microsoft does have various microsoft division located in Europe, and want to do business in Europe.
      If the EU went and said to microsoft that they needed to totally seperate ms-office and ms-windows and make sure that developer/ideas/APIs/etc did not cross between the two, ms would need to do that or not offer thier products for sale in the EU.
    • You're assuming the EU isn't serious about stopping the problem. They have all sorts of options, but even if they just stick to fines, they can escalate the fine until MS complies.

      How much would it take? One billion? 100 Billion? Doesn't matter really.

    • Microsoft is a US company. Only the US government has the power to break them up. That was the real threat.
      In contrast, all the EU can do is fine Microsoft. Big deal. They can fork out millions of dollars to buy out a competitor, so why should they worry about EU fines?


      About the only thing the EU cannot do is break up Microsoft.
      In addition to fines they can deny Microsoft the ability to conduct business in the EU, strike down any parts of Microsoft's EULAs, void any Micosoft copyright or patent, deny the entry of any American (or other none EU national) entry to any EU member state.
  • by InrdZQdxdqn ( 622267 ) on Tuesday November 05, 2002 @09:53AM (#4599285) Homepage
    "Our case is quite different from a factual point of view," (Quoted from the article)

    Yes, it is.

    For Europe the question is more like:

    Do we want an american company to control nearly all desktops in Europe (in the world) ?

    The answer in the US might be "yes, that's fine". But I hope we'll do better in Europe.

    Remember Echelon?

  • by suman28 ( 558822 ) <suman28 AT hotmail DOT com> on Tuesday November 05, 2002 @09:54AM (#4599287)
    We have seen the EU take on Honeywell before and the deal was struck down. Hopefully, M$ will be found guilty and be forced to reduce their market share at least in Europe. This with the addition of some govts promoting Linux as a cheaper alternative will eventually cut M$ down to size. Then ofcourse, there is the M$ driving their "customers" away with promoting valid licenses. With Longhorn, I can see less and less people buying/installing Windows to avoid the hassle. M$ won't go down over night, but every dog has its day, though I would hate to call M$ a dog, because atleast my dog is my very best friend.
  • Maybe by 2010... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Tuesday November 05, 2002 @10:06AM (#4599376) Homepage
    The EU beaurocracy is not exactly known for being speed, and I'm sure MS will manage to get loopholes in any ruling big enough to ram a small country through, at least on the first try.

    If anything, MS will try to break compatibility somehow using their "Trusted Computing" newspeak, before the Linux marked share gets too big to handle. While Linux might not be the big home desktop hit, it is making inroads in the corporate and educational community.

    Problem is, that these lawsuits are kinda like submarine patent suits.

    1. They take way too long before they are filed (by desire by the submariners, by beaurocracy by EU/US)
    2. By the time they actually do everybody is using it (gif patent or IE)
    3. Any ruling won't do anything about that, and when they try to resolve it the technology has evolved beyond that point to new problems (.gif patent by .png, but lots of other submarines. IE now removable, but WMP/Messenger/whatever is not)

    Don't expect laws to help Linux. If anything, pray that the pirates won't find any ways to pirate secure Windows/Office/whatever. Then we'll see how many who will truly cough up $$$ for those products.

    Kjella

    • by pubjames ( 468013 )
      The EU beaurocracy is not exactly known for being speed

      2001 Simultaneously introduce new currency across 11 countries

      2004 Expand union to include another 10 countries

      Yep, they sure look like slow movers to me.
    • but WMP/Messenger/whatever is not

      Uh, yeah, it is. I uninstalled Messenger from my machine. RunDll32 advpack.dll,LaunchINFSection %windir%\INF\msmsgs.inf,BLC.Remove

      That's it. Gone. And I don't want any complaining from the Linux fanboys -- you should be used to the command line.
  • They can't stop MS.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 05, 2002 @10:12AM (#4599423)
    ..besides, business is not where to try to hit them.

    You see, the world's offices run on Office. Deny them that, and they get cranky. They start making campaign contributions, and suddenly, laws everywhere become the plaything of Microsoft.

    Even if it'd cost more to buy some politicians than to switch to Open Office or something else, businesses won't stand for it. Why? Because - business despises the idea of governments telling them what they can and can't do. Businesses like *telling* governments what they can and can't do.

    What would be great is if the EU frees European OEMs from the threats of Microsoft. Now, that would cause slight pain.

    You see, consumers dislike the idea of paying for things they believe they do not need. How many of you here know people who still run Win 98? I can't count the people I know who are still running it. Each one of those is money that's not being sent to One Microsoft Way.

    Will people, given the choice, stop buying upgrades with each computer? Yes, they will. Installing an operating system is *NOT* rocket science, and almost everyone has a kid down the street who will do it for $10.

    $10, versus the Microsoft Tax. Sounds like a sweet deal, eh?
  • by Alain Williams ( 2972 ) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Tuesday November 05, 2002 @10:14AM (#4599436) Homepage

    1. M$ is not an corporation from an EU country, there is no direct economic advantage to the EU of supporting M$'s illegal activities.

    2. The powerful EU officials are not directly elected by the populace; so they are not quite so easy to buy.

      A change of administration in one EU country is not so far reaching as the change in a single country (ie the US).

    3. The EU has deomstrated an interest in Open Source:
      EU Studies Linux Migration [slashdot.org]

      Individual countries have also expressed strong interest in Open Source.
    • The big reason why the US law decided to be so nice with MS is because Microsoft is on of Americas leading company outside of the US.

      If it were a European company hurting the US and the world the US legal jabbers would be the first one to cry for justice.

    • M$ is not an corporation from an EU country, there is no direct economic advantage to the EU of supporting M$'s illegal activities.

      Probably quite an economic advantage to be rid of Microsoft. Since their net economic contribution is to suck money across the Atlantic.

      The powerful EU officials are not directly elected by the populace; so they are not quite so easy to buy.

      There are far more political parties in EU member states than in the US.

      A change of administration in one EU country is not so far reaching as the change in a single country (ie the US).

      There arn't trans-Europe political parties. Even if these were to come into existance there would probably be more than two of them. It's a lot easier to buy off political parties when you only need to do it with two.
      When it comes to political parties and voting systems the US and the EU are very different.
  • by ites ( 600337 ) on Tuesday November 05, 2002 @10:21AM (#4599471) Journal
    Will be a punative fine set high enough to hurt Microsoft.
    The US response will be very significant. If the US government complains and retaliates, its intentions WRT Microsoft will be clear.
    If OTOH the US government keeps quiet, as it did with the Honeywell case, MS is in for a beating in Europe.
    It cannot afford to stop trading in Europe. It cannot escape a fine, since it has a financial presence in Europe.
    The EU may choose to combine this with other moves, such as a well-timed announcement that Windows will be phased out in favor of Linux, Sun, and IBM products in the EU itself.
    Microsoft only really has one card to play, and that is bribery and corruption.
    • The US response will be very significant. If the US government complains and retaliates, its intentions WRT Microsoft will be clear.

      If OTOH the US government keeps quiet, as it did with the Honeywell case, MS is in for a beating in Europe.

      It cannot afford to stop trading in Europe. It cannot escape a fine, since it has a financial presence in Europe.

      OK, so the EU imposes a fine. A nice big one, say 10,000,000,000 euro.

      Microsoft (1) pays the fine out of its current cash reserve of ~40,000,000,000 USD (2) the following January 1st, notifies all their customers in the United States, Asia, and South America that in order to pay the "unjust fine levied by European bureaucrats", they will have to raise the price of Office 15%.

      Result: amount of fine earned back in two years, huge resentment created by Microsoft against EU.

      Net benefit to EU?

      sPh

      • notifies all their customers in the United States, Asia, and South America that in order to pay the "unjust fine levied by European bureaucrats", they will have to raise the price of Office 15%.

        Result:
        a) South America switches completely to Open Source as they have already threathened so often. No more sales in South America .
        b) Asia could do the same, or heck, with China developping their own OS at least China -a big market after all- could switch to something else entirely. The rest of Asia might just say? "Copyright"? We dunno what that means... and pirate happily. Result: much less sales in Asia.
        c) North America: whines and bitches, and with the current economical slup they are in many companies that freeze the IT budget entirely and will continue to work with currently existing installations. Heck, many still are using Office 97 on NT4 which is perfectly viable. Net result: much less sales in North America.

        Now who do you think Microsoft will hurt when they would pull a stunt like that?

        • Result:

          a) South America switches completely to Open Source as they have already threathened so often. No more sales in South America .

          Believe me, I wish I could agree with you. But as October_30th describes below [slashdot.org], it doesn't seem to be happening that way. A fair number of people are somewhat upset about Microsoft's licensing policies and costs. Hundreds of millions are physically, legally, and/or psychologically locked into Microsoft products, particuarly Office. Think about law offices in North America - they are still locked into WordPerfect, 10 years after that product lost the fight. Now multiply that by several 100,000,000s.

          And realistically, does the typical purchaser care if he pays $213 or $232 for that bundled copy of Office on his shiny new Dude PC? Does he even know?

          I am afraid that while there may be some smoke around the idea of replacing Microsoft on the desktop, it isn't happening yet.

          sPh

  • by sphealey ( 2855 ) on Tuesday November 05, 2002 @10:23AM (#4599486)
    If one looks at the entire history of Airbus, or the more recent histories of the Eurofigher and the A400M projects, it isn't much of a stretch to conclude that those who direct the EU do not want their agglomeration to be dependent on the United States in any way for critical technology. And that that they are willing to pay (or have their taxpayers pay) a substantial price to avoid that dependence.

    The A400M is particularly instructive: the required capabilities are available today, off-the-shelf, at lower cost, in the form of the C-17 and C-130J. But the EU continues to push the A400 project despite it being 10 years late and at least 8 years from availability. And I suspect they will get their plane, in the end.

    So, does the EU plan the same process with Microsoft? Remember that those who direct the EU behind the scenes don't have the same concerns about "cost" as managers of private companies, because they impose "directives" that governments and private companies must obey. Are the recent announcements by SuSE a testing of the waters for the imposition of a Linux desktop on EU organizations?

    sPh

    • If one looks at the entire history of Airbus, or the more recent histories of the Eurofigher and the A400M projects, it isn't much of a stretch to conclude that those who direct the EU do not want their agglomeration to be dependent on the United States in any way for critical technology.

      Doubt the US would want to make itself dependent upon the EU either.

      And that that they are willing to pay (or have their taxpayers pay) a substantial price to avoid that dependence.

      Hardly unique to the EU. IIRC the US Congress just decided that it would be a good idea to lease some brand new aircraft from Boeing to the USAF. Even though the USAF dosn't actually need them and it's a "buyers market" for second hand wide bodied jets right now.

      The A400M is particularly instructive: the required capabilities are available today, off-the-shelf, at lower cost, in the form of the C-17 and C-130J.

      Or for that matter from the Ukraine. It's more a case of not being dependent on those outside of the EU than anything else.
  • Stick it to them (Score:2, Insightful)

    by attobyte ( 20206 )
    If the EU stick it to MS I might have to move.
  • Could that mean comply or take your products away from this market?

    European countries have always been very tough on monopolies so a split is not out of the question.
  • Requirements (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tsa ( 15680 ) on Tuesday November 05, 2002 @11:39AM (#4600034) Homepage
    Like with cars, they could enforce that every computer program sold must comply with certain requirements. For instance, it would be really cool if every computer program sold in the EU must come with a manual that describes every file format it uses in detail so the data generated with that program can in principle be read and used by other programs with no big problems.
    • Re:Requirements (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mormop ( 415983 )
      After 3 years selling Linux, Open Office being able to open MS Office docs 100% would without a doubt cause many of my customers to dump MS and go Linux.

      Reasons:

      The one customer I have who has gone 100% Linux, server desktop and all rates it for:

      1: Stability - No crashes in months
      2: Lack of Viruses - No Viruses in over a year
      3: Cost - They couldn't have afforded the network they have with MS licence fees
      4: Flexibility - We can write them scripts to do pretty much anything they want.
      5: Positive attitude of community to cries for help

      Downsides:

      1: Had to redo Publisher docs in OO.org Draw
      2: Old MS Office docs come out mangled on OO.org if anything beyond text,tables and pics are used.

      Messgae to the EU competition commision:

      FORCE THE FILE FORMATS INTO THE PUBLIC DOMAIN AND THE MONOPOLY WILL BE BROKEN!!!!!!

      This includes IE5/6 extensions.
      • Downsides:
        1: Had to redo Publisher docs in OO.org Draw


        Publisher is a pain in the neck, about the only program which will open publisher documents with any degree of reliability is the same version of publisher they were created with.
        As well as having a strange mode where it will refuse to save.

        2: Old MS Office docs come out mangled on OO.org if anything beyond text,tables and pics are used.

        You can't be sure that they wouldn't come out mangled with a different version of Word, sometimes even one with a different default printer setting can cause the most strange manglings.
  • Its amazing how the media really has misinterpreted the Microsoft settlement. If you look at the court of appeals ruling in full, you will note that the appeals court did not strike down the breakup of microsoft because that was the wrong thing to do. It refused, rightfully so because the remedy hearings were not held. Judge Kollar-Kotely made a ruling that was contradictory to the court of appeals. The settling states made sure that the 9 non settling states were not bound by the microsoft settlement. What happened unfortunately is that the Bush administration and/or Judge Kollar-Kotely played politics with the Microsoft case. It felt that because of the acts of Sept 11th, that the economy would be hurt too much by a breakup of Microsoft. If you just look at the reason we had the settlement phase inself, it mentioned the acts of sept 11th in Kollar-Kotely's own legal documents as the reason why the case needed to be resolved quickly. The legal system is not a political system and therefore, this ruling will indeed be overturned on appeal. And yes, it will be appealed by the 9 non settling states, and those states will be lead by California Attorney General Bill Lockyear. As of around November 8th or shortly thereafter, the media will then spin the case back to the way it should be going which is to a microsoft breakup.

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