General ramblings

Microsoft Fined $1.4 Billion in the Anti Trust EU Case

Finally, EU hits Microsoft with a hefty 899 million euros fine, because the latter, has been defying the court’s ruling since 2004. This case has generated a lot of media attention in the past few months and why not? Whenever there is anything to do with Microsoft, people in the media (including me) get excited.

So, why was Microsoft fined? Because-

The commission hit Microsoft with the new penalty, the sum of daily fines running from June 21, 2006 to October 21, 2007, because it said Microsoft had failed to charge rivals reasonable prices for access to key information about its work-group or back-office servers in contravention of the 2004 ruling.

Oh, and this too:

In particular, it accused Microsoft of using its stranglehold on PC operating systems to elbow rivals out of the more competitive markets for media players that play music and videos, and operating systems running back-office servers.

The European Union has also launched new cases against Microsoft targeting a broad range of software, including MIcrosoft’s Office suite.

And where did I read this piece of wonderful breakfast news? At Google News of course.

Microsoft’s second quarter Net Income was around $6.48 billion and for a company this large, $1.40 Billion will prove to be a lot of money, if you consider the intangibles and the future revenues that might (and will) fly out of the window.

Related Reading: Microsoft’s Core Competency

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21 thoughts on “Microsoft Fined $1.4 Billion in the Anti Trust EU Case

  1. Nothing seems to be going right for MS right now, especially after the initial refusal by the Y! board. I don’t why they always found themselves in the mud. They are after all not really that evil.

  2. Microsoft should ban EU!!!! πŸ˜› (Serves them right!)

    No really, i don’t understand what does the EU commission want?!?!? Why does bundling WMP11 with XP makes it illegal? Anyone who don’t want to use it are free to download alternatives (iTunes, VLC, Realplayer, Winamp, etc.) & is there even a “market” for something that’s free! (huh?)
    😐

  3. I think Google should be very scared. Next thing you know they will be asked to share their search algorithm just so some competitors can play on a ‘level playing field’!

  4. @Anand

    I think they are quite evil. Just because they have a monopoly on the OS industry doesn’t give them any right to bundle Internet Explorer, MSN, etc. So many people won’t even bother downloading alternative softwares, because of these pre-packaged softwares and this is exactly what this lawsuit was about.

    @Carrot

    Read my previous response to Anand. πŸ™‚ It’s not about people being “free” to download other products. How many people really download other stuff, if they already have pre packaged goodies? When I was a new computer user, I didn’t even know about Yahoo! IM. I used MSN Messenger for a long time. So, MSFT’s bundling in of other products eats away the market share of its competitors for sure. Selling the OS (for which they get a good price too) should be independent of other activities.

    @Balu, Xylene and Amit

    Well, it is a big deal. You are paying for the OS, for which you shouldn’t be paying first of all. Go and try Linux. It’s better than Windows and is FREE. And Microsoft “had failed to charge rivals reasonable prices for access to key information about its work-group or back-office servers in contravention of the 2004 ruling.” Free market, anyone? Try Firefox instead of IE and Try Thunderbird instead of Outlook and see the difference. If you guys want everything for free, then don’t pay for the OS too.

    @Shefaly

    Did you hear that Google had made an offer to Yahoo = they were willing to help Yahoo with their search engine if Yahoo refuses the MSFT offer and teams up with Google. Google might be in trouble in the future too and I wish for it to. Their stocks are already tanking. I’m pretty sure that they are not doing much about click fraud, even though they claim the exact opposite.

    @Apple News

    Thanks πŸ™‚ I’m pleased too.

    @Arvind

    Of course πŸ˜› No question about it!

  5. @Ruhi
    I doubt that people will like an operating system that does not bundles a media player or browser. Even linux and apple bundles free software with them. So why this action against MS only. EU treats MS as an ATM. As carrot said MS should ban EU. πŸ™‚
    Linux is definitely better than windows but lets accept that for an average home user, its not friendly enough.
    Is Apple’s OS X free? I know it isn’t.

  6. @ Anand:

    Apple makes the hardware too, which Microsoft does not. That’s a big difference. πŸ™‚

    //Is Apple’s OS X free? I know it isn’t.

    I’m not saying that Microsoft OS should be free. I was only giving a free (and a better OS) alternative.

    //
    I doubt that people will like an operating system that does not bundles a media player or browser

    Then the consumers should get to decide what softwares they want to be bundled. Other competitors should also be given a fair share then.

  7. //Apple makes the hardware too
    Here is one reason to go for Apple and not Microsoft, with windows you are at least free to change the applications while with the Apple box you can’t even change the OS 😦

    //Then the consumers should get to decide what softwares they want to be bundled
    That was already tried with linux resulting in the plethora of distros, which I wonder, if any non-technical user will even try to make meaning of.

  8. @ Anand:

    Nobody goes for Apple with the intention of changing the OS. Apple is like a cult. You won’t be paying $2000 unless you really want it. Let’s not compare Apple and Microsoft. They are two very different companies.

    That was already tried with linux resulting in the plethora of distros, which I wonder, if any non-technical user will even try to make meaning of.

    That’s still no reason why Microsoft should be given this first hand preference.

  9. @ Ruhi:

    “Did you hear that Google had made an offer to Yahoo”

    I did not need to ‘hear’ it, I knew it. Remember what I mentioned about the case study? πŸ™‚

    As for the rest, I have to say it is not quite accurate. Google is inclined to solving problems of human agency with applying technology. And it is harder than it looks.

    As an engineer, I can tell you the simpler the interface for non-tech people, the more complex it is in the back-end. Good examples of this would be Bang and Olufsen speakers, or the clean, uncomplicated TVR dashboard.

    In my experience, most bells and whistles tech products on offer are trying to hide sub-optimal design :-/

  10. @ Shefaly:

    As for the rest, I have to say it is not quite accurate. Google is inclined to solving problems of human agency with applying technology. And it is harder than it looks.

    All that is fine, but it doesn’t justify their “Do No Evil” policy. The company has gone against this policy a number of times recently.

  11. //That’s still no reason why Microsoft should be given this first hand preference.
    they never get first hand preference, at least this is the case with EU.
    And are the anti trust bodies in US sleeping?
    I believe EU is doing all this not because its MS but because its an American company trying to dominate the European markets. Tomorrow if Google tries to monopolize in Europe, EU will go after them as well.
    I don’t know if that is discouraging or not.

  12. Well yes, it’s kind of funny that US hasn’t done anything about it. But I don’t think that EU is doing this because Microsoft is an american corp, even though this is what the media would like you to believe. If that were the case, then they would have to file suits against many other companies (most of them are American firms).

    And yes, why shouldn’t EU go after Google too? They should. But I want to believe that it has nothing to do with the fact that it’s an American company. That’s a very big allegation.

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