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Microsoft: EU Deal Will Require 'Significant Change'

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 67 comments

Today the European Union announced that it has reached a satisfactory point with Microsoft in its resolution of any possible monopolistic behavior surrounding Internet Explorer's bundling into Windows.

Microsoft's Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Brad Smith, offered comments on the decision from the European Commission.

"We are pleased with today’s decision by the European Commission, which approves a final resolution of several longstanding competition law issues in Europe," said Smith. "Today’s resolution follows years of intensive examination by the European Commission of competition in computer software. The measures approved today reflect multiple rounds of input from industry participants relating to competition in Web browser software and interoperability between various Microsoft products and competing products."

While the policy of a Choice Screen for Windows users going forward doesn't sound like too big of an effort, the European Commission reserves the right to make adjustments to the browser choice screen. Furthermore, if Microsoft breaks any of its commitments, the European Commission could impose a fine of up to 10 percent of Microsoft's total annual turnover without having to prove any violation of EU antitrust rules.

"As we’ve said before, we are embarking on a path that will require significant change within Microsoft. Nevertheless, we believe that these are important steps that resolve these competition law concerns," Smith adds. "This is an important day and a major step forward, and we look forward to building a new foundation for the future in Europe."

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  • 22 Hide
    coonday , December 16, 2009 10:52 PM
    "the European Commission reserves the right to make adjustments to the browser choice screen. Furthermore, if Microsoft breaks any of its commitments, the European Commission could impose a fine of up to 10 percent of Microsoft's total annual turnover without having to prove any violation of EU antitrust rules."

    This statement right here strengthens my belief that the EU is one of the most confining, dictatorial, and evil governing bodies I've ever seen.
  • 15 Hide
    bystander , December 16, 2009 10:56 PM
    Out of curiousity, does Apple's OS have to jump through these hoops too?
  • 13 Hide
    logitic , December 16, 2009 10:54 PM
    coonday"the European Commission reserves the right to make adjustments to the browser choice screen. Furthermore, if Microsoft breaks any of its commitments, the European Commission could impose a fine of up to 10 percent of Microsoft's total annual turnover without having to prove any violation of EU antitrust rules."This statement right here strengthens my belief that the EU is one of the most confining, dictatorial, and evil governing bodies I've ever seen.


    This is one of the rare days I am glad to be an American. err wait I have the FTC....

    DAMNIT!
Other Comments
  • 22 Hide
    coonday , December 16, 2009 10:52 PM
    "the European Commission reserves the right to make adjustments to the browser choice screen. Furthermore, if Microsoft breaks any of its commitments, the European Commission could impose a fine of up to 10 percent of Microsoft's total annual turnover without having to prove any violation of EU antitrust rules."

    This statement right here strengthens my belief that the EU is one of the most confining, dictatorial, and evil governing bodies I've ever seen.
  • 13 Hide
    logitic , December 16, 2009 10:54 PM
    coonday"the European Commission reserves the right to make adjustments to the browser choice screen. Furthermore, if Microsoft breaks any of its commitments, the European Commission could impose a fine of up to 10 percent of Microsoft's total annual turnover without having to prove any violation of EU antitrust rules."This statement right here strengthens my belief that the EU is one of the most confining, dictatorial, and evil governing bodies I've ever seen.


    This is one of the rare days I am glad to be an American. err wait I have the FTC....

    DAMNIT!
  • 15 Hide
    bystander , December 16, 2009 10:56 PM
    Out of curiousity, does Apple's OS have to jump through these hoops too?
  • 12 Hide
    logitic , December 16, 2009 11:08 PM
    bystanderOut of curiousity, does Apple's OS have to jump through these hoops too?


    I don't think so.

    EU is setting up a scary precedent with their actions here.
  • 2 Hide
    tpi2007 , December 16, 2009 11:43 PM
    The article doesn't say when will this come into effect... if it's after Christmas, many millions will already have bought Windows 7 (many already have anyway) without the browser choice screen, like I have. MS will probably delay it as much as they legally can I guess.

    I find this whole thing curious, because it reflects the lack of any speed in justice being made. Back in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004... Internet Explorer 6 had an enormous market share and what did the EU do ? Nothing.

    We were almost stuck with an insecure and at a certain point many years old browser, which Microsoft didn't care to update technologically, and besides, it didn't comply with a lot of standards.

    In recent years, first with Firefox 2 and now 3 and 3.5, and the word spreading, IE, even with Microsoft having woken up and implementing new features, has lost and is losing market share every day to Firefox.

    And now that the path towards the loss of the monopoly of IE looks like it's already on auto-pilot, the EU comes along pretending to be doing something necessary. What a lack of timing!

    And whatever happend to the Media Player problems ? I remember Windows XP was also released in an N version, but only 1500 copies have been sold to OEMS and none to the consumers directly (who in their right mind would buy the thing ?); the price being the same and it being sold alongside, and with Windows Vista the same; there are also N version of 7 available, but the Eu alows MS to sell them alonside the normal versions, for the same price. Let's see, does this make any sense at all ? If I can spare an extra download, I will. This is just classic proforma burocracy.

    And the Media PLayer thaty comes with Windows 7 is actually quite good, with a nice interface and buil-in codecs. But wat, it's too late, the EU can't fine them anymore, because they allow the N versions.
  • 12 Hide
    rocky1234 , December 16, 2009 11:43 PM
    Well I do hope that Apple has to go through the same thing at some point I mean come on it is only fair if one has to do it then everyone should have to. Please do not give me oh but Apple only has a small portion of the PC market & Microsoft has a lot more speech this has nothing to do with the size of their market share but rather a fair & balanced out come for every one that is involved. In the next year I hope to see the playing field the same for everyone involved whether they have 98% or just 2% of the market.

    Also from what I just read it sounds like the EU can pretty much decide at anytime that MS has not held up their end of the deal & make them pay heavy fines if they chose to

    "Furthermore, if Microsoft breaks any of its commitments, the European Commission could impose a fine of up to 10 percent of Microsoft
    's total annual turnover without having to prove any violation of EU antitrust rules."

    That part kinda seems a bit one side leaning in favor of the EU of coarse.

    these are just my thoughts on this
  • 3 Hide
    bystander , December 16, 2009 11:44 PM
    I realize that open source is nice and all, but don't the people who create the software we use deserve to earn money for their work?

    Instead of paying for a browser now, we have advertisement up the wazoo. I can live with it, it also drives an advertisement economy.

    The only reason I can see them picking on MS in this particular fashion is they are trying to kill off MS enough to bring in more competition.

    If not for their near monopoply, MS providing a browser is standard practice for an OS. They should have the write to bundle it in with their OS like all others do. It's not like they prevent you from using others (they did some of that many years ago, however). Apple controls everything put on their OS's, why can't MS just provide one option with a normal install?
  • -7 Hide
    znegval , December 16, 2009 11:44 PM
    bystanderOut of curiousity, does Apple's OS have to jump through these hoops too?


    Not really. Microsoft is treated differently because it's a monopoly. Monopolies, as everybody knows, can cause harm to an industry and therefore are watched closely by regulators. That's how it works (or is supposed to work). Apple would probably be in a similar position if they had 90% of the OS market and used that advantage to compete unfairly in other areas. If that was the case you can be sure that "apple software only on apple hardware" nonsense would end.
  • 4 Hide
    amabhy , December 16, 2009 11:57 PM
    Still think Microsoft shoulda just not put any internet browser in the EU edition. See how long they last without an easy way to get a browser or download updates.
  • 6 Hide
    bystander , December 17, 2009 12:01 AM
    amabhyStill think Microsoft shoulda just not put any internet browser in the EU edition. See how long they last without an easy way to get a browser or download updates.


    That's kind of funny.

    If you think about it, MS is being forced to sell another product without being paid for it. How is that fair?
  • -5 Hide
    Anonymous , December 17, 2009 12:14 AM
    Significant changes?

    Golly, and here I thought the biggest software company in the world had enough developers to make as many "changes" to Windows as you could ever want to make...
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , December 17, 2009 12:24 AM
    EU - China... What's the difference? Mind-control freaks.
  • -4 Hide
    mariushm , December 17, 2009 12:24 AM
    If no browser in the OS, there's a very simple solution: give people Firefox CD's or IE CD's for free when they buy the computer or when they visit an IT store, or buy a pc magazine with bundled CD. AOL did this for years.

    Alternative:

    Start > Run > ftp ftp.firefox.com
    GET firefox.exe
    QUIT

    firefox.exe is now on your desktop.

    (note: there's no ftp server on firefox.com. I'm saying it can be implemented if needed and with a geo-targeted dns and a series of servers it's really no trouble serving lots of users)
  • -7 Hide
    mariushm , December 17, 2009 12:27 AM
    logiticI don't think so.EU is setting up a scary precedent with their actions here.


    Yeah. The problem is Apple is not a monopoly, Microsoft is. Rules change when one is a monopoly.

    Wikipedia is a wonderful thing, look for "monopoly" there and get a clue.
  • 13 Hide
    alextheblue , December 17, 2009 12:53 AM
    amabhyStill think Microsoft shoulda just not put any internet browser in the EU edition. See how long they last without an easy way to get a browser or download updates.

    Here's the really messed up part: they actually tried that, and the EU wouldn't let them. They forced them to do the browser ballot anyway.
    znegvalMicrosoft is treated differently because it's a monopoly. Monopolies, as everybody knows, can cause harm to an industry and therefore are watched closely by regulators. That's how it works (or is supposed to work). Apple would probably be in a similar position if they had 90% of the OS market and used that advantage to compete unfairly in other areas. If that was the case you can be sure that "apple software only on apple hardware" nonsense would end.
    First off, MS is not a true monopoly. This modern re-interpretation of what a monopoly is cracks me up. Not a big fan of history, are you? You can go and buy a non-MS computer and use zero MS hardware or software. My god, MS really has the world by the balls! Not.

    Second, your Apple example made me laugh. So, if you have a smaller market share, you're allowed to get away with all sorts of bad behavior? But if you have a big market share, there's an enforced-by-law double standard? Hilarious.
  • 4 Hide
    Camikazi , December 17, 2009 12:59 AM
    mariushmIf no browser in the OS, there's a very simple solution: give people Firefox CD's or IE CD's for free when they buy the computer or when they visit an IT store, or buy a pc magazine with bundled CD. AOL did this for years.
    Alternative:

    Start > Run >; ftp ftp.firefox.com
    GET firefox.exe
    QUIT

    firefox.exe is now on your desktop.

    (note: there's no ftp server on firefox.com. I'm saying it can be implemented if needed and with a geo-targeted dns and a series of servers it's really no trouble serving lots of users)


    Exactly how many average computers users will be happy to find they can't just connect to the internet right after starting up their comp? and how many will actually know HOW to use ftp to download a browser, especially a command line ftp program? You are seriously overestimating the computer literacy of the average user. Plus what about all the service calls MS is gonna get when Firefox, Opera or Chrome crashes?

    People are dumb, they see it installed they will assume it is made my MS or by Dell (or Acer, Gateway, etc).
  • 0 Hide
    Glorian , December 17, 2009 1:44 AM
    So wait MS can't have their software they wrote on the OS they made cause its a monopolistic practice, but Apple is within their right to install their software on hardware they call theirs which it actually isn't, or not install it on "your" hardware?
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