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Microsoft EU

EC Sends Statement of Objections To Microsoft For Violating Anti-Trust Agreement 173

dkleinsc writes "Three years ago, Microsoft came to an agreement with EU regulators that required them to provide users with a choice of web browsers. Last July, they found Microsoft in breach of that agreement. Today, they announced that this will result in charges, potentially resulting in fines as large as $7 billion." Microsoft gets one last chance to defend itself.
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EC Sends Statement of Objections To Microsoft For Violating Anti-Trust Agreement

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  • Fine (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @09:36AM (#41751219)

    I doubt the fine would be anything close to $7 billion. I bet the amount won't even be enough for Microsoft to worry about.

    Something like a ban on Microsoft bidding for EU government contracts would do more damage.

  • The only way... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @09:37AM (#41751233) Journal

    The only way to make corporations behave is to make the fine firstly remove all profits from the nefarious acts and then add enough on top that the risk/reward ratio is larger than 1 so that they don't do bad things on the chance that they're not caught often enough to matter.

    In other words, the fine must really hurt otherwise it's just the cost of doing business (c.f. the paltry 1bn that intel had to spend for years of blatantly illegal market fixing).

  • by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @09:48AM (#41751351)

    I admit it's hard to feel sorry for microsoft. Anytime you see a company that's been as consistently evil as someone like MS has been finally get taken down by an even bigger, meaner bully you can't help but feel a little gleeful.

  • by tuppe666 ( 904118 ) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @09:57AM (#41751439)

    everybody knows that the ruling was politically motivated bullshit. Squeeze the american company for a few billion pesos.

    You are aware that the economy of the European Union generates a GDP of over €12.629 trillion (US$17.578 trillion in 2011) ...and they were guilty as sin.

  • by khallow ( 566160 ) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @10:07AM (#41751567)

    It shouldn't be revenue. Rather, it should be a portion of their profit.

    There are a number of profitable businesses that never make a profit. Someone already mentioned movies. Every so often you see people burned by movie contracts that pay a percentage of the profits rather than a percentage of the revenue.

  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @10:13AM (#41751637) Homepage

    No, that's not a valid defense. All that does is argue that Apple is committing the same crimes as Microsoft.

    Another way of thinking about it: If I steal $1000, and you steal $2000, does that make me not guilty?

  • Re:The only way... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moronoxyd ( 1000371 ) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @11:13AM (#41752567)

    Not the "American company" argument again...

    Microsoft had a binding contract with the EU comission, and they broke it.
    If they hadn't, the browser ballot would bee a thing of the past in a few months and nobody would care about it anymore.

    But Microsoft fucked up, and now they have to face the music for breaking a contract.

    And the EU doesn't treat American companies any different from European companies. Ask Gaz du France and E.on whether they liked their fines of half a billion Euro each for collusion: http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=1_39401 [europa.eu]

  • Re:Foul EU (Score:4, Insightful)

    by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @11:13AM (#41752571) Journal

    7 billion? Somebody has to actually try to establish why its a 7billion fine. What for?

    Violating the terms of the settlement. And a big enough fine to make it not having been worth the effort to voilate the terms.

    If the law can't prevent infractions, then it's toothless.

    A Browser choice? Really? In 2012, 2011, 2010

    Ah well, it's well past so we should let them off the hook. No! Of course not!

    Today these idiots come from MS, tommorow it will be you, or your company, or your family

    You mean these "idiots" coming at coportations who repeatedly break the law and making them stop? Of course you and your family should be above the law!

    or your bank.

    Which one? Both of mine are now owned by the government. Most of the rest are being investigated for large scale price fixing.

    So, yeah, these "idiots" are coming at my bank. Good on them. Nail the bastards to the wall for illegal acts costing tens to hundreds of billions of dollars.

    Through illegal companies have illegally enriched themselves (i.e. taken my money through illegal means) to the tune of hundreds of billions---vastly larger than all the thefts and burlgaries combined.

    Yet you seem to think that people coming after them are "idiots" and somehow your or your family should be above the law.

    You wouldn't call the police idiots for pursuing a burglar who robbed you. But because you clearly feel that one day you maybe able to get these ill-gotten gains for yourself you seem to think it's OK.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @11:16AM (#41752619)

    So, why doesn't the same rule apply to OS X, iOS, Android, etc.? They also come with preinstalled browser.

  • Source of the rule (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @11:45AM (#41752941)

    So, why doesn't the same rule apply to OS X, iOS, Android, etc.? They also come with preinstalled browser.

    The rule is not a rule about operating systems that come with a pre-installed browser, it is a rule set in an agreement that Microsoft entered into with the EU as part of the settlement of charges related to Microsoft illegally leveraging an existing monopoly in the personal computer operating system market.

    The makers of the operating systems you make have not entered into similar agreements, or even been charged with the same offense.

    Its like asking why parole terms that apply to a particular convict don't apply to other citizens who haven't been convicted of (or even charged with) the crime that the convict was convicted of, much less subjected to similar parole terms.

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. -- Thomas Alva Edison