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Microsoft Cancels EU Antitrust Hearing

  • Microsoft
  • European
Last response: in News comments
May 22, 2009 5:40:00 PM

“Unfortunately, the Commission has informed us that June 3-5 are the only dates that a suitable room is available in Brussels for a hearing

Translation- We got a kick ass deal on Trip Advisor and we can't get a refund.
May 22, 2009 6:05:42 PM

There is always a solution. Pull windows out of the European Market and give unto them Apple and Linux.
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May 22, 2009 6:15:46 PM

falchardThere is always a solution. Pull windows out of the European Market and give unto them Apple and Linux.

Microsoft wants the world and see how far can they go.
May 22, 2009 6:23:39 PM

falchardThere is always a solution. Pull windows out of the European Market and give unto them Apple and Linux.

Wow ... That is great idea!
For sure it will hurt many EU countries in short run, but in the long run Microsoft will be out of business.
I don't think MS are stupid to play like spoiled child.
May 22, 2009 6:53:55 PM

“Unfortunately, the Commission has informed us that June 3-5 are the only dates that a suitable room is available in Brussels for a hearing."

If that's true. Now I to be fair I have never been to Brussels, but are you basically saying that in that entire city they cannot find another suitable room for a hearing? Wow! I do not know what's worse MS or the obviously pathetic see-through excuse the EU gave.
May 22, 2009 6:58:06 PM

Or the EU could stop crying about everything and grow the hell up.

It's not like Apple computers don't ship with Safari, most Linux distros with at least Firefox if not Konqueror or others, and Microsoft doesn't force anyone to use Internet Explorer. Last I checked (April 2009 data, available Internet Explorer has a combined 42.1% usage while Firefox has 47.1%. Can someone check my math, or is 42.1% actually larger than 47.1%?

EU, shut the hell up. You're just showing ignorance.
May 22, 2009 7:08:31 PM

Apple and linx barely make up 10% of the market whos fault is that i blame apple they been in business longer but they always sold their os as a packaged deal with their machines obv THAT DOESN'T WORK WELL.
May 22, 2009 7:48:25 PM

trkoreckyCan someone check my math, or is 42.1% actually larger than 47.1%?EU, shut the hell up. You're just showing ignorance.

That is a stat i did not know... NICE!

I agree trkorecky the EU needs to find someone else to pick on.
May 22, 2009 7:57:27 PM

Ok, let's see what happen if IE doesn't ship with microsoft's os anymore..
1- install windows..
2- do updates...
3- install previously bought software...
4- download a browser.. huh.. how? no browser access.. DAMN IT
May 22, 2009 8:07:32 PM

grieveThat is a stat i did not know... NICE!I agree trkorecky the EU needs to find someone else to pick on.

Don't worry, they are unto intel now.
May 22, 2009 8:20:49 PM

I think it would be looked at different if Microsoft tweaked their operating systems to not work properly with a 3rd party browser or if there was proof that they gave OEM's kickback for not providing alternative browsers in a default configuration.
Complete waste of time and resources. For all the things that could possibly be easy targets of anti-competitive behavior, this has to be among the weakest. The EU does a great job of demonizing themselves pursuing this tripe.
May 22, 2009 8:48:08 PM

Why do they need to be in Brussels? There are tonns of courtrooms out there.. It's just pick and choose... I'm sure a room can be found at the cost of pushing a minor criminal back? I mean not that with current socialistic values that would be a problem...
May 22, 2009 9:16:36 PM

I'm surprised the EU didn't take up MS on the offer to find a suitable location, I guess for the EU to take MS's money they have to be demanding it themselves instead of MS offering it. I'm surprised they didn't tell MS to go rent out some really fancy resort for a week so they could all get massages in between not paying attention to MS has to say.

As for the whole browser subject for starters browsers are free and have been for a very long time. It might have been wrong what MS did to netscape many years ago but they were punished for it long before the EU came into existence. It's a load of crap that the EU thinks it MS's responsibility to make sure other peoples software works with their operating system.
May 22, 2009 11:08:08 PM

They include a browser with their OS...
Problem is?

IE works great, and if you want to use something else, you just get something else, that simple.
May 23, 2009 12:11:10 AM

This case should have been rejected to begin with. What do they expect Microsoft to do? Sell Windows without a browser and thus a means to get anything from the internet (other browsers). The whole case is simply rediculous
May 23, 2009 2:02:49 AM

This case doesn't make much sense. So they include can't their OWN software in their OS? So when Palm ships with a Palm OS, it's forming a trust? The Iphone has Safari, is this an apple trust? Linux has Firefox, is this a trust?

If you don't like IE, you can download another browser. The problem for other competing browsers is consumer ignorance, not an MS trust.
May 23, 2009 3:24:51 PM

Okay, so what is the problem with bundling Internet Explorer with Windows now? How the hell are users supposed to get onto the internet if no browser comes bundled with their operating system/computer? Last I checked, all browsers are free anyway, so what's the problem? I'm not a Microsoft fanboy; I don't even use Windows on any of my computers; but this argument is ridiculous. If you target Microsoft like this, then you must also target Apple for bundling Safari with Mac OSX, and all the distributors of Linux for even offering a free operating system.
May 23, 2009 5:20:19 PM

This is BS.

EU keeps sueing companies for bad reasons, well lets see, without IE, how could the average user get Firefox or Opera?


Basically EU is trying to get the most money they can out of companies.

IE costs nothing, so how is it a monopoly?
May 23, 2009 7:36:14 PM

Ok. From the comments so far I can tell that there are tree main arguments:
1. MS is not responsible because other OS-es have done the same.
2. IE is free so there is no consumer losses caused by MS actions
3. There is no way to get other browsers installed if IE is not bundled.

Let me address each one by one.
1. Because of very active marketing most people are confusing the meaning of the world “bundle”. If you have two products A and B that have different function and can work independently from each other are bundled when the company takes a steps to restrict independent use by:
a) Market restriction – You can not buy product A without buying product B. In case of Windows you can not get IE without Windows and you can not get Windows without IE. Linux distributions are coming with pre-installed browser, but you can remove it and use other browser so there is no bundling here.
b) Technical restriction – You modify the product A to check if the product B is available and prevent to use product A. Windows will break if I remove the IE. Ubuntu will not break if I uninstall Firefox.
So MS is engaged in bundling practices and Linux distributors are not. I can not comment in case of OS X because I don’t have experience with it. The bundling practices are gray area when it comes to free market. That is why I believe in general that government should stay away, but we should educate every one that bundles are bad for consumer and a way to maximize profit for the company. There are only very small percent of cases where bundling is good for individual consumer. I can come only with one example: You go to the grocery store and buy milk plus apples and negotiate a deal with store manager to give you 5% discount. In other words the consumer is making the bundle not the vendor. The rule is who make a bundle is the one to rip the profit of it.

2. Is IE really free? As many can say there is no free lunch. The question is how we pay for it. I will start with Firefox. Firefox is making money by sharing adv revenue with search web sites. Every time you do search from Firefox Mozilla is receiving small payment. The case with IE is more complicated because in addition for the adv revenue there is second much more lucrative income for MS. IE is part of Windows platform. As long MS keeps you locked in into Windows they can charge what ever price for Windows. This is especially critical for MS when they have enjoyed monopoly for very long time and now they have new competition in the form of on-line services. The only way for MS to control those on-line services is by controlling the browser. That is why MS is making the browser incompatible with many standards and provide complimentary products to those standards that are proprietary and available only on Windows platform. None of other browsers are engaged in similar behavior. At the end every consumer that has bought computer has been ripped off by paying monopolistic price because MS is forcing OEM-es to sell computers with Windows pre-installed. This is especially true for small OEM-es that have no power to negotiate exceptions to their contracts with MS.

3. You can not get the other browser without IE? That is the weakest argument at all. The network file exchange was invented long time before the browsers was invented. In fact the downloading files over http is probably the most inefficient way to do this. Even MS is not using http to deliver the patches. Yes you go to web site to see what patches are available, but once you select which patches you need the windows is launching other process to download the patches and it is not using standard http to do this. If there is will there is away.

I believe the other vendors’ complains are legitimate and EU has real case because:
1. MS is bundling the IE which is very different from pre-installing it.
2. MS is making the browser incompatible forcing all websites to spend extra money to make their web sites compatible with IE and some time it is impossible unless you pay for MS products. In many cases because financial reasons some websites can not make two versions of their web sites and makes those sites unusable with other browsers. This is the main problem here I believe.

In relation to the news that EU commission has re-fused to accommodate MS needs, well Steve Ballmer is to blame here. He was the one to go to the media and start making assaulting comments to the EU commission after they fined MS for refusing to comply with their orders. He might not like EU commission, but they are the Power in EU and if he wants to rip benefits from EU market he better respect that power. I think this is just pay back and political demonstration about who has the power. Sorry, but Microsoft should be more politically smart next time. The politics is dirty game.

I think EU should be very careful about their decision here. If they only fine MS they will send wrong message that you can violate EU laws and then pay fine, which is only passed to consumers. They have to make sure that MS comply with EU laws. The last time MS only remove the icon and laughed.
May 25, 2009 8:59:55 PM

you seem to know about this case. why is that?:) 
did you forget that Firefox has majority market share.
EU seems to bully these companies for financial gain. as far as i'm concerned, the EU is nothing more than a parasite, (tape worm, leech, etc)..
nice to know the EU has ways to offset costs, but it's too bad it's at the expense of others.
May 26, 2009 12:38:44 AM

josh jones@SAL-e you seem to know about this case. why is that?

Well, because I always strive to be the “Top Dog” in my field of expertise. For several years now I have realized that I have to expend not only in technical field, but in other areas like Politics, Economics and Legal, especially in Intellectual Monopolies (a.k.a. IP).
josh jonesdid you forget that Firefox has majority market share.

I know that Firefox has the biggest share of the browser market right now, but I will address it in the minute why is that.
josh jonesEU seems to bully these companies for financial gain. as far as i'm concerned, the EU is nothing more than a parasite, (tape worm, leech, etc)..nice to know the EU has ways to offset costs, but it's too bad it's at the expense of others.

You are entitled for your opinion about EU and in some cases I have my gripes with EU my self. I have the same gripes with the US Congress. I think US Congress and EU Commission some time forget that they exist to represent the people not the industry lobbyist. But this is subject for other time on other site I believe.

Thank you for pointing out to me that not everyone knows the roots of the current case. I think I will try to share my understanding, but I have to make several disclaimers first:
1. I am holding dual citizenship from countries on the both sides of the ocean. So I have understanding of both points of view: American and EU. So I believe that could be fairly natural.
2. My current understanding is based on fuzzy memory and has a lot of blank spots. Very serious research is needed to confirm or reject my point of view, so please take it with big grain of salt.
This case is the tip of the iceberg of the browser war that started long time ago. In order to understand why we are here today we need to go back in time. The time before the Internet became part of every day life. At that time Windows was undisputed king of the desktop. Any new software company in order to succeed had to develop for Windows and for Windows platform only. At that time Microsoft strategy was to watch for new companies and if some new technology becomes attractive they had very easy solution. Once the new company has been notice by MS there were only two paths for it:
1. Accept the takeover offer from MS, which always was significantly lower then there real value. Or
2. If the company refuses, MS was putting their power and quickly develop complementary product or technology and bundle it with Windows and effectively putting the rebel company out of business.

MS was able to do this because they had monopoly on the desktop and had unchallenged control over the market. Unfortunately for MS the market can not be controlled for very long. MS’s strategy created situation in which venture capitalist did not wanted to invest in business that is dependent on Windows platform any more. Also all failed companies left number of patents that now is primary fuel used by Patent Trolls that are going after MS and other rich corporations.

As result all venture capital moved to the new frontier called Internet. Over night all kind of businesses started popping up on the Internet. It was like gold rush and very soon it became one big bubble that finally burst in the end of 2000. After that we were left with a lot of unused server and communication capacity, cheep venture capital that was staying away from Windows platform. The result is the new trend Software as Service (SaS) where the browser is a key component and Microsoft was having an upper hand after IE successfully displaced Netscape. That was around 2003. MS was in total control.

At the same time small company in Oslo had the guts to go after the sweetest peace of the pie. This company is Opera Software and their browser Opera. Of course this did not went unnoticed by Microsoft and they started protecting their platform by introducing automatic check for browser version and vendor when you build web application with MS tools. Those checks were primarily targeted against Opera, but not Netscape and new Mozilla because by that time MS was having antitrust problems within EU and US about the Netscape war and Samba. So Opera was forced to implement a feature that allow the Opera browser to present it self as IE. Microsoft was not happy at all. They try to bully Opera, but Opera did not backup.

While the war between MS and Opera was going on the Google was growing like a wiled fire. Very soon they had so much cash that they did not know what to do with it. They decided to expand by providing complementary services for MS products like Office. From the beginning they knew that can not rely on MS’s IE and they did not want to depend on other proprietary browser like Opera. They had great success using Linux and other Free Open Source Software (FOSS) so they made the deal with Mozilla and that is why Firefox is the Top browser today. Personally I think that was the biggest mistake that MS has done. They were laughing at FOSS and Linux in general. Bill and Steve were making jokes about it.

The war between Opera and MS was like the cold war during the 2003-2007, but finally become hot when in 2007 redesigned their site to recognize Opera browser even if it was pretending to be IE and refuse to serve pages to Opera users. Opera response was to issue a patch that was replacing any MS content on the Internet like logos, advertisements or text with funny text or anti Microsoft logos. This became central news and Microsoft had to backup quickly. But Opera new that MS is death serious to put them out of business so in December 2007 they file complain with EU Commission. Google was having trouble making their services working with IE and some time the Google sites were broken after IE updates. So Google was the second company to join the Opera and shortly after that Mozilla.

One of the orders of EU Commission after the Netscape case was that MS to allow removal of the IE. MS used a loophole in the final language and only removed the shortcut not the browser. EU Commission fined MS for that, but they are not very happy with companies that are ignoring their orders. That is why MS is in the hot seat right now.
May 26, 2009 4:26:11 AM

there is one thing i hate with browsers and thats how software or sites only work properly with certain browsers. my biggest example is windows live messenger where you click on the link to your email inbox, it goes strait to it with IE, but it requires you to log in with chrome, if this is just because chrome doesn't work then fine, but if its MS adding some obscure work around to IE so that it works "best" with messenger and encourages you to use IE, then they are doing something wrong.
May 26, 2009 8:51:03 AM

i started using Firefox a few months ago because IE just hangs everytime i use it. the only reason i dislike Firefox though is that the page zoom feature requires 2 hands or otherwise is too much hassle to operate. hopefully that will be changed later.
May 27, 2009 11:30:27 AM

falchardThere is always a solution. Pull windows out of the European Market and give unto them Apple and Linux.

That's probably the first legit reason I've come across for leaving europe! I don't know what's worse - an os without anybody claiming responsibility, or one based on it but with a rotten apple on it!
I'm not biased towards any particular hardware vendor, but I sure am not willing to sacrifice usability (windows) just because netscape failed.
May 28, 2009 6:41:49 PM

to matt87_50 : the reason that it works with IE is because MSN live messenger uses IE for it's web content. Many programs like steam does the same. It's easier to just use one codebase/API like IE's knowing it's DEFINITELY available on windows than to:
a.) design and code your own mini-browser. This takes a lot of time and resources and may not be the best option
b.) integrate your mini-browser with the user's browser of choice. This is quite possibly the best option, but this would would lead to a different "build" for each different browser used, thus complicating matters more than simplifying them and also taking up more time and resources as well.
c.) releasing a program with a built-in browser. (let's assume IE, or chrome or whichever, but only 1 specific browser.) This results in a totally different problem, where the program takes up more resources, the program would have to be updated whenever the browser is updated, etc. Not to mention that this method would possibly bring problems with the whole "bundling" issue sal-e was talking about(btw, wonderful posts there, sal-e)

Basically any solution presentable would mean more complications and costs for the software in some way or other. As mentioned earlier, it's easier to focus on the other things like the IMing mechanism in live messenger or the game distribution and matchmaking system of sorts in steam and just use IE's APIs and DLLs. Whenever IE is updated, the program doesn't need to be since it just calls IE. And so they maintain the program, and their respective sites(hotmail or live mail for live messenger.)

I know that the whole integration into explorer thing is a bad thing, but ironically it has made things far simpler than they would have been for many programs and their respective makers.

Also: this is why live messenger and steam are slow at times, I find IE slow on this pc, so it makes sense that live messenger's news window and steam's built-in browser would be slow, I guess.