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EU Regulators Open New Microsoft Investigations 64

Posted by Zonk
from the same-thing-over-and-over dept.
The New York Times is reporting on two new investigations into Microsoft business practices opened by EU antitrust regulators. The new cases center on the company's positioning of Office and Internet Explorer, and were apparently partially prompted by Microsoft's earlier heel-dragging. "'It would have been preferable if these issues could have been resolved amicably with Microsoft,' said Jonathan Todd, a spokesman for the European competition commissioner, Neelie Kroes. 'But that has not proved to be the case. Therefore we have opened these formal investigations. That does not prove there is a violation. We will only be able to come to a conclusion after investigations.' The legal battle that ended last year involved the bundling of a media player with Windows and the availability of information required to make rival software operate smoothly with Microsoft products. In September, the Court of First Instance, Europe's highest after the European Court of Justice, endorsed the commission's 2004 decision to impose record fines on Microsoft."
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EU Regulators Open New Microsoft Investigations

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  • already discussed here: http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/01/14/1719237 [slashdot.org]
    • by XiX36 (715429)
      Slashdot, news for nerds...with Alzheimer's!
    • The EU Department of Redundancy Department is getting tired of reading the same stories 2 or even 3 times.

      News at 11:11.
      • by calebt3 (1098475)

        The EU Department of European Redundancy Department is getting tired of rereading the same stories 2 or even 3 times over and over again to the point of exhaustion.
        There. Fixed it for you.
        Why do I get the feeling I am about to get modded redundant?
    • Didn't you see? It's from the same-thing-over-and-over dept.
    • The link you posted was to a similar story in the "YRO" section.

      It was posted at a date/time design to best suit europeans. This story was posted at a date/time better suited to american geeks after work in the "Politics" section.

      It was so done to keep most people happy and docile while the hardcore slashdotters who sit there hitting "refresh" around the clock could grow incensed.

      Then people in Oceania and Asia could sit back and have a good belly laugh at all the typically paranoid american comments on

  • Dupy dupy dupe...
  • by explosivejared (1186049) <hagan@jared.gmail@com> on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:37PM (#22055418)
    Bundling software has been the source of the EU's complaints against MS. The only way to fight bundling is to inform the consumer that they have choices. Until the average consumer understands that there are other programs outside the suite that Microsoft offers, there will be no real competition. Power users are not in the majority. The people that know what vlc, foobar, opera, etc. are are not in the majority. Firefox has proven that is possible to break out and actually compete with MS products, but they had to establish name recognition with consumers. The standard windows package with WMP and IE will cotntinue to strangle the market until people become vaguely familiar with the fact that their are options. It wouldn't hurt for people understand open source support and how it contrasts with closed source support, but that's probably an unattainable dream. However, Firefox has proven that when the stars align, there is a market for non-MS products.

    Education is, as always, the great equalizer. It's the only thing that can make a market actually work.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by zappepcs (820751)
      funny thought just occurred to me: Religion used to come all bundled together in a single package in the form of the Roman Catholic Church. Now we have the King James version of the bible, and also the Church of England as a result of the un-bundling process. Sometimes you need force to ensure that the un-bundling happens! Perhaps it's not good to mention MS and religion in the same paragraph, but I think the analogy is good here. When there is only one official version of the declared legitimate bible, it
      • by westlake (615356)
        Religion used to come all bundled together in a single package in the form of the Roman Catholic Church. Now we have the King James version of the bible, and also the Church of England as a result of the un-bundling process. Sometimes you need force to ensure that the un-bundling happens!

        The Church of England was uncoupled from Rome. But burnt its own Dissenters.

        And in 2008 which would you say was the healthier institution, the more influential world-wide?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by monkeyboythom (796957)

      is to call it "snuggling."

    • Power users are not in the majority.

      That says it all, doesn't it?

      If you are not a Geek you expect functionality out of the box - and all the better if the bundled apps look native to the system.

      If you are not a Geek you have no interest in the bare bones of the OS.

    • "Education is, as always, the great equalizer. It's the only thing that can make a market actually work." pure F%&knig GOLD!!! well said with excelent insight and objectivism. things that are all too much of a rarity these days. i wish everyone would think the way you do.
    • by Osurak (1013927)
      I don't understand how bundling IE into Windows is an issue. Without it, how would normal users get to the Opera website to download what the EU apparently feels is a superior product?
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by calebt3 (1098475)
        The OEM can put EXEs of whatever browsers they want on the desktop. Or at the very least they can install the browser that they want to without asking MS.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by bmartin (1181965)
          If I had to guess, I'd say that MS probably offers incentives to companies to *not* have them install another browser or media player, or it might be in their OEM/vendor agreement (which would be a pretty clear exploit of monopoly, IMHO). Otherwise, we surely would have seen another browser installed by default by now.

          I've never seen a Windows-based computer come with more a non-MS browser or non-MS media player... unless you count preinstalled AOL.
          • by calebt3 (1098475)

            OEM/vendor agreement
            That's exactly what I understand it to be. Also, I believe this caused some problems with Dell a long time ago when they tried to ship Firefox on their PCs so that they could tout their machines as more secure. MS shut that down fast.
      • As a corollary, what does Opera expect? That IE is no longer distributed with Windows and instead Opera is? How does that improve the situation at all? Distributing Opera with the OS would just be trading one for the other; the same issues would still exist.

        If we assume that IE's market share is largest because it's distributed with the OS, then the conclusion is that Opera is just looking to enlarge its own piece of the pie. It's not anyone's (no, not even Microsoft's) fault that random users don't care
        • It's not anyone's fault that random users don't care about which browser they use.

          That's the typical case: users will use what's most convenient. Microsoft can dictate that IE is most convenient. So there's your problem.

          Let any company make deals with OEMs to be the default browser, or in the absence of any deal, let the OEMs choose without pressure from MS what's best for their business.

      • Start -> Run...
        cmd
        ftp ftp.opera.com
        anonymous
        email
        cd pub/opera/win/925/int
        get Opera_9.25_International_Setup.exe

    • by secPM_MS (1081961)
      Basically, the European union seems to be trying to defend the manufacturer of various products / features over the consumer. When forced to, Microsoft shipped a version of Windows with no media player. Nobody bought it (This was no surprise to anybody). It is trivial to install other media players or browsers on Windows. Indeed, you can also set your prefered search engine in IE to Google, Yahoo, etc. Opera makes a nice browser. It is efficient and capable, but Opera has failed at marketing. Even in the hi
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nschubach (922175)
        Actually, I think the issue is that MS doesn't release the specs to underlying OS APIs so that competitive browsers and office applications can function at the level of IE/Office. I think it's more of a fight to allow the user to totally replace IE with Opera/FF/Konquerer, file browser and all.
        • Actually, I think the issue is that MS doesn't release the specs to underlying OS APIs so that competitive browsers and office applications can function at the level of IE/Office. I think it's more of a fight to allow the user to totally replace IE with Opera/FF/Konquerer, file browser and all.

          Probably a lot of truth in that, but then you also have to stop third-party software from hard coding in things like IE, or WMP. For example - I wanted to use AutoTools on Windows. The MingW/MingSys versions run jus

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by el americano (799629)
        The argument that Microsoft's inclusion of functionality with Windows discourages third parties from making such functionality implies a far different view of OS and applications that is present in the market.

        The problem is that users and, more importantly, OEMs should be able to remove the included versions without negative consequences. Given that windows update requires IE, I'd say Opera and Firefox don't have a level playing field. There is also the issue of releasing full specifications and giving the
        • by weicco (645927)

          Given that windows update requires IE

          What the heck! My computer updates itself every night at 3 am. I haven't seen any IE popups during that time. Is there something wrong with my Vista installation?

    • by Tom (822) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @05:53PM (#22057932) Homepage Journal
      Education matters little.

      Even if the average user knows there are alternatives, it is additional work, he is insecure, and MS works hard to make it as inconvenient as possible.

      More importantly, corporate IT departments are very reluctant to install any additional software if there is already software of the same kind. They'll support one browser, one office suite, one media player. Guess which ones. Not because those are better, but because those are pre-installed and they have to support them anyways.
    • by maxume (22995)
      So Microsoft should not be able to include software in Windows because it harms other people's ability to give software away? That doesn't make a great deal of sense to me.

      I mean, I remember when you had to have software from your isp or whatever or you wouldn't be able to connect to the internet; that wasn't better than now.
    • by Fri13 (963421)
      "Firefox has proven that is possible to break out and actually compete with MS products, but they had to establish name recognition with consumers."

      I dont think that Firefox would own that market share what it currently has if IE6 would not be infected so easily with spyware and Windows would not be so infected by worms. Without all those big security holes, i dont think no one would care what browser their system has.

      Firefox came popular by good timing (with luck). IE5 > IE6 were so bad by security that
  • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:45PM (#22055594)
    Man, the EU must really be out to get MS. They're opening what, like a new investigation every day?
  • Tis a shame (Score:2, Insightful)

    by clckwrk (1220420)
    I wonder if it's Microsoft being a clear example of a company that got ahead and then rested on it's lead or is it cases like this that are bringing it down? Now that they're losing their lead it's hard for them to change because it's so ingrained in their corporate culture that they're ahead. Granted they do put out some new and interesting technology, they are getting smoked in a number of areas.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ....looked confused at me the other day :

    Porn-dealer : You want WHAT?

    Me : Neelie Kroes.

    Porn-dealer : A pin-up of Neelie Kroes?

    Me : Yes.
  • The decision which allows Microsoft include Internet Explorer with Windows in the United States is clearly wrong and should be overturned.

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