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EU Responds to MSFT's Antitrust Case Solution

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 38 comments

The European Union has responded to earlier news that Microsoft will ship Windows 7 without the brower to European customers.

However it seems European regulators are unhappy with Microsoft's efforts, and in a statement issued soon after the Redmond company’s plans hit the wire, the EU has said the company has gone in the wrong direction completely and limited the user’s choice of browser even further.

"As for retail sales, which amount to less than 5 percent of total sales, the Commission had suggested to Microsoft that consumers be provided with a choice of Web browsers," the Commission said, according to CNet. "Instead Microsoft has apparently decided to supply retail consumers with a version of Windows without a Web browser at all. Rather than more choice, Microsoft seems to have chosen to provide less," the statement concluded.

Microsoft’s plan to offer PC makers the choice isn’t much of a change from old practices of shipping the browser with its operating system. Opera believe that the company’s endeavor to remedy the situation by not offering it at all is, “too little, too late” and detailed that it preferred the European Unions solution of providing users with a ‘ballot screen’ and allowing them to choose before they connected to the Internet.

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  • 18 Hide
    apmyhr , June 12, 2009 11:00 AM
    This situation is getting pretty silly. The EU actually wants Microsoft to bundle competing browsers? Are they going to force Microsoft to support and provide customer service for these browsers as well since they are now part of the OS? Who gets to decide what browsers Microsoft should be forced to bundle? Maybe I'll make my own browser and sue Microsoft for a billion dollars because they are being anti-competitive by not including my software with their OS.
  • 12 Hide
    Platypus , June 12, 2009 12:04 PM
    Dear Microsoft, could you please package my company's browser in your production so I don't have to do any marketing?

    Thanks EU! Saved me a bundle. Now it's time to switch to Geico for a double-whammy. Oo... today's going to be a good day!
Other Comments
  • 18 Hide
    apmyhr , June 12, 2009 11:00 AM
    This situation is getting pretty silly. The EU actually wants Microsoft to bundle competing browsers? Are they going to force Microsoft to support and provide customer service for these browsers as well since they are now part of the OS? Who gets to decide what browsers Microsoft should be forced to bundle? Maybe I'll make my own browser and sue Microsoft for a billion dollars because they are being anti-competitive by not including my software with their OS.
  • 9 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , June 12, 2009 11:47 AM
    I find this a rather brilliant move. Now it isn't microsoft's responsibility to decide which browser a user can choose from in a list the eu wants em to provide - they simply don't provide any at all.
    IMO that's the best option for the company. Otherwise they'd just get another fine for listing a lot of browsers and forgetting to list one or the other.

    I sometimes find myself ashamed of living in the EU when I see what the eggheads in charge dream up. Guess they want china to be the world leader instead of eu or usa.
  • 12 Hide
    Platypus , June 12, 2009 12:04 PM
    Dear Microsoft, could you please package my company's browser in your production so I don't have to do any marketing?

    Thanks EU! Saved me a bundle. Now it's time to switch to Geico for a double-whammy. Oo... today's going to be a good day!
  • 0 Hide
    tayb , June 12, 2009 1:31 PM
    Can Barack Obama please do something to actually protect a good American company from this BS from the European Union. I know that all the crap corrupt companies with awful business practices that are going bankrupt need all of your attention but this market leading company is getting taken out back by Big Brother in Europe you have GOT to do something about this. You can't allow the EU to do this to an American Company.
  • 2 Hide
    maisere , June 12, 2009 1:33 PM
    If theres no browser, how do you get a browser? The internet would be out of bounds.
  • 3 Hide
    TwoDigital , June 12, 2009 2:00 PM
    It's more of the "Microsoft is not allowed to win" gambit... I love Firefox, but REALLY how hard is it to download and run a different browser?

    I guess the EU isn't going to rest until Microsoft bundles IE8 and then adds a preferences screen at startup (like they have for choosing your search engine) to let you pick a different default browser. That solution is a bit silly, but it would also have the extra benefit of not having to bundle other vendors' browsers into the OS image.
  • 3 Hide
    zendax , June 12, 2009 2:12 PM
    When browsers cost money the decision to bundle IE with Windows was a big deal. Now? Not so much. It's pretty ridiculous that the EU is huffing and puffing because Microsoft allows you to ACCESS THE INTERNET right out of the box.
  • 8 Hide
    kams01 , June 12, 2009 3:02 PM
    Why is it that Apple NEVER gets into trouble like this? Why have not anyone criticized Apple for bundling Safari out of the box? With all the BS Microsoft has had to deal with, no wonder the out of the box experience with Windows is not that great. Every Apply fan I talk to swear by the "out of the box experience" of Apple. No wonder as they can do what they want without anyone stopping them but when MS does that, they get sued. Very fair!
  • 3 Hide
    ta152h , June 12, 2009 3:33 PM
    Kams01, Apple isn't considered a monopoly, so there's a big difference there.

    Let's hope the U.S. government steps on Europe and stops this nonsense of bullying American companies. We gave Europe enough aid after WW II, they don't need to keep stealing from our companies. This is just crazy, how can they say Microsoft is unduly favoring their own browser when no browsers are installed? Since when did a failed continent get the right to tell our businesses how they must ship their products? At this point, it's not a competitive advantage, so they can't argue it's for competition.

    Besides, what is this competition for? Browsers are free!!!!!! Competing browsers are gaining market share! They are easy to get, and Microsoft does not exclude OEMs from adding them to their machines anyway, if they feel it's better for their customers.

    For all you people that hate Microsoft, and believe me, I am one of them, just remember that this is taking money from ordinary people too. All those mutual funds, and retirement funds that people in the United States have do have Microsoft stock. Intel is also a very common component of them too. If Europe keeps fining our companies, especially if this turns out as yet another excuse to, it's really robbery. We gave them enough money; we can't afford to rebuild Europe again. If they want to fine Intel, which at least you could make a case for, give the money back to AMD. But, nope, they keep it. When the fine Microsoft, do they give it to companies that suffered from their practices? Nope, they line their coffers.

    If they keep this up, let's fine BMW for being unable to deal with American snow, and sue them for accidents. Or Volkswagen for being a NAZI company, originally. Or Daimler for screwing up Chrysler. Not Lotus though, their cars are too cool, and they might stop selling here. But, if Europe can fine companies for crazy stuff, it's time to take aim at European cars. Mind you, I love European cars (it's all I buy) and everything I'm saying above is ridiculous, but no more so than if they fine Microsoft for not putting any browsers in their OS. It's maddening!
  • 1 Hide
    maaksel , June 12, 2009 3:42 PM
    Because Apple is for fanbois!

    Lets compare some similar situations.

    In your Ford Vehicle, you now must be able to provide customers with at least 3 different types of engines, all from different manufacturers. I love microsofts response "ok fine, here is a car without an engine at all, you put in what engine you want".

    I think this is absolute bullcrap that they are doing this. Microsoft should be able to give away mediaplayer/ie all they want on THEIR operating system. No one is forcing users to use Windows are they? They just 'have' to use it because there are no other options. Well boohoo.

    Another example?

    I went into the grocery store, and I demanded and ham sandwhich from the deli. However, I demanded that I be provided with 8 different types of ham, all from different places. See how stupid this gets? Those users that WANT firefox/opera/safari will go download it.

    OMG, microsoft is giving something away for free and its not fair!!!
  • 3 Hide
    greliu , June 12, 2009 4:09 PM
    @ta152h of course this is taking money from people... were talking about the EU here. I use to like the EU .... untill I started taking political science that is.
  • 4 Hide
    shqtth , June 12, 2009 4:25 PM
    The EU is gay...


    They need to wake up and notice, it is the responsability of the Retail store or PC maker to sell/distibute other webbrowser products to give the customer good choices.


    The EU is always out for money. They are just making this hard becuase they want more free money,..... and what solutions they are looking for are very unrealistic.


  • 0 Hide
    inglburt , June 12, 2009 4:28 PM
    apmyhrThis situation is getting pretty silly. The EU actually wants Microsoft to bundle competing browsers? Are they going to force Microsoft to support and provide customer service for these browsers as well since they are now part of the OS? Who gets to decide what browsers Microsoft should be forced to bundle? Maybe I'll make my own browser and sue Microsoft for a billion dollars because they are being anti-competitive by not including my software with their OS.


    I totally agree. I'm not that big of fan of Microsoft as a business, but I use windows cause that's what there is, (please don't give the linux, mac stuff) But I don't use their browser. What's up with the EU lately, they seem to be going on a rampage and ,to me, really overstepping their place.
  • 2 Hide
    apmyhr , June 12, 2009 4:31 PM
    kams01Why is it that Apple NEVER gets into trouble like this? Why have not anyone criticized Apple for bundling Safari out of the box? With all the BS Microsoft has had to deal with, no wonder the out of the box experience with Windows is not that great. Every Apply fan I talk to swear by the "out of the box experience" of Apple. No wonder as they can do what they want without anyone stopping them but when MS does that, they get sued. Very fair!

    Very good point. If Microsoft forces users to choose to instal a new browser right away, most people will be anoyed and think "gee, the Mac gives me a browser without having to choose one. It just works!" For mainstream users, the less choice they have to make in computer setup, the happier they are. This is part of the appeal of Macs.
  • 2 Hide
    shqtth , June 12, 2009 4:31 PM
    .....they don't know what they really want, but one thing is for certain they always want $$$ money.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 12, 2009 4:40 PM
    I want to see how MS has done this.
    In previous versions the IE is so intrenched in the OS that there is no easy way to get rid of them.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , June 12, 2009 4:43 PM
    Please people. Don't be eggheads here. Even makers of free browsers make money.

    Mozilla for instance, defaults it's Firefox searches through Google and Google pays them for the traffic. That is how Mozilla makes money. Google on the other hand, makes money off advertising.

    Microsoft is trying to get in a share in that advertising market. IE will direct all searches, by default, through Microsoft's search engine (MSN Search, Live Search, and now Bing), thereby increasing traffic of it's search engine, and having more traffic for advertising.

    Since browser is the first link in this chain, browser makers are fighting tooth and nail for market share, even though they are free. However, the above are usually negated by Google being made the default search engine by users even if they are using IE.
  • 1 Hide
    eddieroolz , June 12, 2009 6:36 PM
    I'm starting to think that Apple is backing the EU financially for their expenses in court, and then collect it from Microsoft. I don't think there's documentation where the fined money goes, so it obviously lines the top executives of EU.

    Honestly, I am going to start boycotting anything made in the EU soon. If those douchebags can't learn it the first time, then there's no other way.
  • 2 Hide
    eccentric909 , June 12, 2009 7:19 PM
    maisereIf theres no browser, how do you get a browser? The internet would be out of bounds.


    Take it up with the EU then, ask them to supply you a browser. MS doesn't have to legally supply you anything but the OS itself to run your computer on, if you purchase Windows. IE is not mandatory for the system to run, therefore it is on you to supply your own browser.
  • 4 Hide
    falconqc , June 12, 2009 7:32 PM
    You got what you wanted EU, quit your whining. I'm very happy MSFT did this, way to stick it to you asses. As I recall, the Antitrust case was based on the fact that Windows comes with IE bundled. The case WASN'T built on the premise that Windows doesn't come bundled with more than one browser.

    Now keep it down EU, America is trying to play golf on the moon.
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