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Microsoft loses EU sanctions appeal

updated 08:55 am EST, Wed December 22, 2004

Microsoft loses EU appeal

Microsoft on Wednesday in which it sought to overturn sanctions imposed by EU regulators that will force it to change business practices and sell a stripped-down version of Windows. Reuters reports that that the "Court of First Instance upheld the penalties imposed by the executive European Commission in March when it found the U.S. software giant had abused the virtual monopoly of its computer operating system Windows and levied a record fine. His decision means the EU antitrust regulator's remedies take effect immediately. Microsoft said it would comply from next month with the order to sell to computer makers a version of Windows without its trademark Windows Media Player music and video software and share secret specifications with rival makers of servers."




by MacNN Staff

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  1. JSD303

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Finally...

    After Bush let Microsoft slide by allowing the seven-year lawsuit to drop, we finally have a few countries that apparently MS hasn't bought! Way to show the US how to handle a monopoly, EU!!! Great work!

  1. cyngus

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    EU Tries to be Relevant

    I do believe that this ruling is important and correct. Its also important to realize that it came down this way for more than the mere fact that Microsoft is abusing it monopoly. This is a way for the EU to throw its weight around and tell the world to pay attention. One of the big reasons the EU came together was so that Europe could get some power. France or Germany alone isn't big enough to matter to the US, but Europe together has enough clout to make people pay attention. Additionally Europe isn't too fond of the American form of capitalism and tends to be a little negative on large American firms in general. So, coming down hard on Microsoft serves more than just punishing a monopolist for using its power improperly.

  1. iceberg

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Justice????

    "So, coming down hard on Microsoft serves more than just punishing a monopolist for using its power improperly."Think about what you just wrote; you have admitted that justice was not served, and that it was more of power-play on part of the EU. How wonderful when governments work to increase their powers, with the nod of the idiotic citizens who go from being "abused" by benevolent and benign so-called business monopolies, to the all-mighty totalitarian-state.As a mac user, you should be ashamed for throwing around the monopoly title- it isnt as though you were so limited in your choices, and you, yes you have the power to destroy MS by refusing to buy their products and to support their competitors.

  1. Glasspusher

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    "american" capitalism?

    Please define "American" form of capitalism. Also please note that M$ was found guilty of being an _abusive_ monopolist, even here in the USA, and got off scott free. Guess that part is the "american" form of capitalism. Glad to see that the EU can hold M$'s feet to the fire. Oh, and I guess it's OK for 270 million people in North America to have one economic entity (the USA), so why hold it against Europe when they have the smarts to do the same thing to play hardball?

  1. Bru

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    This is a bad precedent

    Microsoft is being punished because users chose to use a Microsoft product. It's not Microsoft's problem if other companies cannot offer a well-integrated product as good as Windows Media Player.

    Think about it this way. A lawsuit against Apple may come soon. Apple has a virtual monopoly on the music software/music store/portable player market. No one else offers a well-integrated product as good as Apple iTunes. Apple may soon be forced to ship OS X without iTunes and give other companies the "road map" for the FairPlay DRM.

  1. chabig

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Users didn't choose

    You're mistaken. User's didn't choose a Microsoft product. It was probably included with the PC they purchased, and Windows Media player was bundled with it too. Once Microsoft is forced to sell Windows without the Media Player, users will really to choose their media players.

  1. iceberg

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: Chabig

    "User's didn't choose a Microsoft product. It was probably included with the PC they purchased, and Windows Media player was bundled with it too."

    Oh really? I have built my share of computers in the past couple of years aside from my mac purchases, and even bought a couple of bare-bones pc machines. Don't tell me its not simple to buy a computer without an MS OS on it. Or maybe you haven't been to that other "monopoly" AKA Wal-Mart which has been selling computers and laptops for some time now running Linspire/Lindows.

    Jesus, people get over MS already- it doesn't have to be part of your life style if you do not choose so!

  1. cyngus

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Wow

    Wow guys, I think you missed a good portion of what I wrote.

    Iceberg, far from admitting "that justice was not served", I said I thought it had been, please see the first sentence of my original post. Personally I avoid Microsoft products like the Ebola virus. Secongly, if you believe that this case was about whether or not people could simply chose a different product, you are mistaken. This case was about Microsoft using an existing monopoly (in operating systems) to create a new one (in media players). The point was that people or more precisely OEM's, could NOT choose to ship a product without WMP, this is called bundling, and its not legal. So yes, if I were a Windows use I could choose to install Real or Quicktime, but I could not choose not to have WMP. Also, you misunderstand anti-trust law a bit. A company does not have to have 100% market share to have monopoly POWER. Monopoly power is the ability to set price, amoung other things for a product.

    Glasspusher, "American" capitalism I define as the harsher system that we have in which there is very little government intervention. Much of Europe has all sort of subsidies for different people and corporations that make their capitalism a little less pure. America does not have pure capitalism either, but its closer than Europe. In fact, pure capitalism has no concept of a monopoly. A pure (and perfect) capitalist system could have a monopoly, but their profits would be no higher than if they were not a monopoly, since their excess profits would have to be low enough (zero) not to induce new players to enter the market. Of course, for pure capitalism to work you have to have perfectly efficient markets, which don't really exist. Some commodities come close, but still not perfect.

  1. cyngus

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    To Be Painful

    To be painfully clear iceberg, this ruling is that its not legal for Microsoft to force inclusion of Window Media Player into Windows. It is not about whether you can buy a computer with Linux or BSD or BeOS or Solaris or AIX or Mac OS or DOS.

  1. Bru

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Users do have a choice

    Firstly, they can simply not double-click the Windows Media icon.

    Secondly, they can easily download a different media player than what came pre-installed with the OS.

    It's kinda like buying a new car and saying that I have to always listen to FM100 on the radio because that's where it was tuned when purchased.

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