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BUSINESS: Brussels Blow to Microsoft Upheld

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posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 06:35 AM
After deciding that Microsoft had abused the monopoly it holds with it's Windows operating system, the European Commission (EC) decided to impose sanctions which Microsoft appealed against, hoping for a delay of the sanctions.

The EC has denied the appeal but Microsoft still feel confident in coming to a satisfactory compromise.

Brussels blow to Microsoft upheld
Microsoft had wanted the sanctions to be suspended until its court case on the substance of the EU ruling is completed years from now.

The failure of its initial appeal could have huge commercial implications for the company, since the Commission ordered it to divulge some software secrets and produce a version of Windows without its digital Media Player.

Yet the European Court of First Instance ruled that delaying the execution of the EU ruling would not cause Microsoft irreparable damage.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Finally, someone willing to stand there ground and not be bought by this corporate parasite.

Not that I believe for one minute that the compromise will end up being in anyway beneficial to the consumer.

I tend to doubt that this will be the last court case Microsoft are involved in, and with a time span of 5 years before the case is completed, Microsoft will have plenty of time to come up with another way of keeping it's source closed.

Related News Links:
EU sets date for Microsoft appeal
Urgent meeting in Microsoft case

[edit on 22-12-2004 by Koka]

[edit on 12-22-2004 by Zion Mainframe]

posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 09:16 AM
What concerns me is this;

If Microsoft does not include Media player as part of the package, will it still be a free download. I have multiple types of media players on my computer, will this encourage Microsoft and other media player producers to begin charging for the product?

posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 11:42 AM
I have a few questions.

1) Who is forcing you to use Windows Media Player regardless of whether it comes with the machine or not. If another company wants people to use their media player, perhaps they should try the old fashioned method of making a better product.

2) How can any government order a Corporation to divulge its secrets? What's the problem? I think if we're going to function like that then we should force the government to "share" their secrets, and make certain projects "open source" too. I'd love to have a stealth car.

posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 12:21 PM
There have always those who have tried to punish Microsoft for being successful and setting the standard (which they do). Yes, they play hardball, but that is why they win. It's sad that so many these days would rather blame someone else for their own failure to produce something better.

posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 12:24 PM
I don't think this is any kind of actual real "blow" to Microsoft.

The EU are simply trying to get to a situation where other media players get a look in rather than Microsoft's being the 'number 1 player' by default because it comes pre-packaged with the O/S software which has an almost monopoly position in the market.

This is not a matter of being "forced" to use Microsoft's products as much as the convenience of it already being there has an undeniable effect of crowding out the competition....including other US companies.

No doubt it will be available in Europe as a free download - just like most of the others already are.

As for the so-called "secrets" they are to be "forced" to "divulge"
(jayzuss, can this nonsense get any more loaded with emotive language)?

This is simply about opening up some of the Microsoft Windows code so that competitors can properly and fully integrate and use the O/S they are operating within for the convenience and benefit of the customer.
(Code the Chinese and Indian pirates had cracked within hours of XP becoming available to the market anyway, IIRC)

Turning this into another dreary 'US dynamic free market company verses EU monolithic regulation and control' really misses the point - something not lost Microsoft itself - you can persue all the process and appeals but at the end of the day if the ruling goes against them then Microsoft aren't going to be able to sell in their products to our 'single market' of 475millions - people with a 'western' income and standard of living.

Like it or not most of the big US companies cannot afford to cut themselves out of a huge single market like that.

But get used to it; it's our huge single market and our sovereignty and we will exercise our rules over it.
We are also happy to have genuine agreed equitable rules - but neither 'side' manages that perfectly without a degree or two of favouring the 'home side', hmmm?

[edit on 22-12-2004 by sminkeypinkey]

posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 02:52 PM

here have always those who have tried to punish Microsoft for being successful and setting the standard

Well MS does not set Standards. The alter Standards to take out competitors.

Who is forcing you to use Windows Media Player regardless of whether it comes with the machine or not

Thats a nice Utopy. Ever talked to someone about switching browsers? They will tell you: Why should i use firefox. I use IE because it came with the computer. Bundling of Operating Systems and other software is fine but not with repressive OEM contracts that benefit Microsoft only

It's sad that so many these days would rather blame someone else for their own failure to produce something better.

Especially the US Government should do that since it has repeadeatly found Microsoft guilty of abusing its market share. And yes that was in the USA.

posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 03:01 PM
Actually the terminology of being forced to "divulge secrets" was taken from the BBC article itself, not any member's efforts at being "emotive" for whatever purpose you think that would serve.

The bottom line is this is a stupid idea. The majority of consumers in the Personal Computer industry are not tech savvy. They are people using their computer from home, with their kids, or their grandparents, using it for fun and games, and some word processing. The user does not wish to do anything. He does not wish to sit and be bogged down setting the thing up, he wants to plug it in and go online.

So now, because MS made the best product and developed this "monopoly" you're now telling users who can barely find the "My Computer" icon that if they want to ::GASP:: play a cd with their computer, they will have to go find software to do that. Or if they wish to browse the internet they'll first have to pick out and install a browser.

The appreciation of the majority of the planet (which are the opinions that matter, not sour grapes companies like Netscape or Nullsoft ::cough AOL subsidiaries cough:: ) is that they are happy that they don't set anything up, because frankly, unlike you or I, maybe they don't have time, or don't know how.

Ford Motors sells millions of vehicles a year. Those vehicles have been coming with Windshield Wipers for decades. Is that an unfair practice against the dozens of companies that make wipers? Wouldn't it help them if they could get in on that too? Perhaps cars should arrive without wipers to allow for competition? Who the hell wants to buy the product incomplete and deal with that?

If this Reduced Edition of XP is sold side by side with normal versions in even one store, I'll wager anything that no consumer (save for relatives of the smaller companies) will purchase it. Why do extra work for equal money?

You need to remember, the consumer is the one who matters. He spends the money. Without him, this is all irrelevant isn't it.

[edit on 12-22-2004 by Djarums]

posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 03:09 PM
I'm realizing that some of you must be too young to remember that there are/were other operating systems.

Microsoft did not knock on people's doors and say "Use my system or I'll crack your head open."

There were others, but they fell by the wayside for the most part.

Where's OS2?

MAC? Great for audio pro's, great for designers, but will never catch on to the extent of windows.

Windows owned the market because of the market trend. The market dictated that no longer would computers only sit in computer labs with white coat coke bottle glasses types. It dictated that the "personal computer" was now in effect.

Microsoft made an operating system that was visually easy, point and click, compatible with what the new users wanted, and just pitifully simple to use.

They gave the consumer what he wanted, and the consumer gave them billions of dollars.

Say what you will about them and their software, but 99% of people complaining about MS, are doing that complaining from a computer with MS software on it.

It's too late to do anything about that now anyways. People like what they are used to. Remember the proposals to drop QWERTY? Dead in the water. The average consumer does not wish to relearn anything.

posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 05:36 PM
Djarums has it right. Windows made computing available to people who otherwise would have never dared plop themselves down in front of a keyboard. Not everyone is a member of the technological priesthood. To the average computer users, questions about compitition and business ethics pale when compared to the simple act of getting your work done in a platform that is consistant, widely used, and familiar to just about everyone who uses a PC. For many, computers are not their business. Computers are just tools that they use to run their business.

I suppose it's Microsoft's or IBM's fault that Apple decided very early on to go with a closed architecture as opposed to the IBM "clone" and the open architecture that let other vendors produce components for the same platform. Look up the word propriatory and I bet there will be a picture of a Mac as an example.

I suppose it's Microsoft's fault that Netscape's browser sucked. Instead of whining about losing the browser wars and spending all that time and effort taking MS to court, maybe they should have produced an operating system. Maybe Novell should have produced a real OS instead of letting MS push them off the map with Servers you can actually use for more than file storage and printer hosting. I suppose it's Microsoft's fault that no one else can make a decent GUI, or put a second mouse button on their un-evolving system (Yeah, Apple, I'm talking about you!)

Heh, I can just imagine some of the end users I support trying to make sense of Linux.

The point is, without Microsoft, or someone else who could have accomplished the same thing, we would be 10 or 15 years behind where we are now as far as computing availability to the average person off the street goes. From SQL to Exchange, Microsoft consistantly produces a better and more usable product than their competition. Those who don't use Microsoft, for whatever reason, usually end up wishing they did. I see this all the time. There are those who prefer to see Microsoft punished for succeeding, but the people and big business have spoken with their computer purchases and it is overwhelmingly a Microsoft world.

posted on Dec, 23 2004 @ 07:21 AM

Originally posted by Ambient Sound
There are those who prefer to see Microsoft punished for succeeding, but the people and big business have spoken with their computer purchases and it is overwhelmingly a Microsoft world.

- Well if you say so, but that has nothing to do with this ruling.
This ruling has nothing to do with 'punishing Microsoft's success'.

It may well be "a Microsoft world" right now and that may indeed have come about because of their competitive edge in the past.

The point about this ruling though is that Microsoft should not be allowed to use uncompetitive practices in one area of their activities/products so that they maintain their dominant position into the future with another area/product in a manner that is clearly potentially against the interests of the consumer.

Just because the Windows O/S is the dominant O/S now is no reason for Microsoft to sqeeze out competitors media players now and into the future.

Microsoft may maintain it's leading position by fair and open competition, that's fine, no-one has a problem with that.
But not by using some of it's products to rig the market in it's own favour for it's other products.

It seems to me some people are really working hard to avoid seeing this point.

(and who the hell can operate a computer - I believe making their own CDs was mentioned etc - yet find a free download too much to cope with?)

posted on Dec, 23 2004 @ 09:47 AM
I'm actually waiting until someone realises that Microsoft is converting their "operating system" to include core BUSINESS components that developers are being "enticed" to use for their new generation software programs.

They are starting to build these business functions into their operating system (ie customer databases etc etc) that have previously been developed by business orientated application developers. They are actually trying to provide a "lock in" for developers so they use their "core business functions" that exist in their OS and, as such, lock in the developers and business into using their OS's (if you can really call it that now).

I don't have a problem MS producing an OS with "utilities", ie BASIC media player, however when they start building core business functions into their OS and start destroying innovative markets just so they can sell one more OS...well that's just WRONG!

The reason for this is that they develop their OS's and business software in secret and then release the two at the same time - giving them an unfair competetive advantage against other business application companies.

When MS stops ripping off other people's ideas, I'll start respecting them however I don't think that day will ever come.

posted on Dec, 23 2004 @ 10:28 AM
The only thing that I can see holding any importance here is that the consumer wants an all inclusive package. The consumer probably doesn't know the difference between such utilities anyways. If it plays his CDs, his MP3s, and movies, it's a good Media Player.

And that's where the problem lies. Why do companies become such mega entities? Why is AOL the largest ISP? Because like em or not, it's easy. Same with MS. It's all about market share of which MS has the vast majority.

If you're in the media player market, you crave that business that MS has don't you? You want to get in there. You want to draw customers away from them. So what should you do? Not rely on courts, for one thing. You get out there, and you use initiative. You show the consumer "you know that media player on your computer, well mine is better and let me show you why."

My PC has photo viewing and editing software that came with it, yet I spend money on Photoshop... why? Because it's the better product. It can do more. If you offer better products, people will come to you. That is what a capitalist market does isn't it? Make something people want, and there's your customer base.

Do you know what the result of that would be? MS would make a better player to counteract yours. And then you'd make a better one too etc. We call that competition, and that's what should be protected.

Would government rules accomplish the same thing? Maybe. I'd prefer to see it happen naturally though. Through innovation and marketing. Not with more government intervention.

Let me pose one question to you. Should WalMart be forced to stop buying it's goods in massive bulk? By buying their goods in huge amounts they acheive a much lower price than a mom and pop retailer, and can therefore sell it for a better price. The mom and pop store has absolutely zero hope of ever getting a price like that and we are therefore playing on a slanted field to begin with. By your logic isn't that an unfair advantage that stifles competition?

posted on Dec, 23 2004 @ 11:39 AM
Yes, that's all very well and good, but to put my economics student hat on for a second, the computing industry is hardly an industry with complete market knowledge inherent in the consumers. Most people won't know the difference between photoshop and paint, because they have been shielded from photoshop for their entire computerised life. If however, when a customer goes into a shop instead of buying the one box with everything in, they buy multiple boxes with individual things in, then they can talk to the people they are buying it from, who -will- be computer proficient, and as such will get what they desire tailored for their needs, end up paying less, as they wont be buying windows with all the frills as well as the extras, but just what they need and want. It will increase education in terms of the market, and consequently will increase competition between products, especially as microsoft will not be able to code their OS so that only microsoft products can be used properly on them.

In short, this will increase competition, and consequently increase progress. it will lower the prices for consumers, and increase market knowledge, and will loosen the monopolistic grip that microsoft has on the industry. It benefits consumers, the industry and society, and stops microsoft from manipulating and extorting consumers through ignorance and incompatability.

posted on Dec, 23 2004 @ 11:44 AM
M$ is a Monopoly. They are a bad thing. Gov't Regulators aren't punishing M$ for being succesful, they are being punished for being a ruthless monopoly which I thought was illigal anyways. Bill Gates has done alot of good in the world but he is just a bit too powerhungry for me thank you very much.

posted on Dec, 23 2004 @ 12:11 PM
Sardion, very valid point, however it begs the question of If not Gates, who then?

Standardization was necessary due to the user base and (lack of a) knowlege level. If Microsoft hadn't been the ones to amass this monopoly, chances are someone else would have. The basic user craves uniformity. He wants to learn how to use his computer, and he wants to learn it once. Being able to use your home computer but have to take a class to use your library computer would be stupid, so the uniformity was going to happen.

In this day and age, I feel that even if a quality alternative (with respect to stability and ease of use) was created, people would still stick with what they know. It's a paradox. Why does AIM have 100 million subscribers? Well, because they have 100 million subscribers.

These bits of legislation aren't going to break MS up anyways, and everyone knows it. Look at the lack of success they had in the phone industry. Busting up Ma Bell did what? Nothing, the prices still remained high and REAL competition was scant. Only now with voip technology do we see the phone companies bracing for some real wars. 40 a minute to call Riyadh? Uh, not for long. Which will again show that innovation prevails and prevails far stronger than regulation.

[edit on 12-23-2004 by Djarums]

posted on Dec, 23 2004 @ 01:08 PM

Originally posted by Djarums
These bits of legislation aren't going to break MS up anyways, and everyone knows it.

- Er, this is the new EU ruling on open competition and access to the market.
This has absolutely nothing to do with the court cases in the USA which threatened the 'break up' of Microsoft.

Which will again show that innovation prevails and prevails far stronger than regulation.

- I think that if regulation was as toothless as you imply Microsoft would not be spending enormous amounts of $ challenging it.

The US will do things the way the US likes, fair enough, you have that 'sovereignty'.
However, we in Europe also have 'sovereignty' and if companies like Microsoft wish to sell into our markets then they will abide by our rules on uncompetitive practices or find themselves locked out of a market currently 475millions strong - with the potential to grow to 550millions very soon.

Watch Microsoft exhaust most or all the legal possibilities (which they have almost done now) and comply with the final position.

posted on Dec, 23 2004 @ 01:11 PM
Heh, the euro bunnies are engaged in defacto rulling of America.

As cases like this become more common, or cases where American companies are forced to change policies etc by the next world power, the new masters of America will become obvious.

France, France, Uber Alles!!!!

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