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(Yahoo)   EU fines Micro$oft $600 million for exploiting its monopoly. Micro$oft whinges about the fine being too big despite having more money than the entire EU   ( divider line
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6340 clicks; posted to Main » on 05 Jul 2004 at 10:30 AM (13 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2004-07-05 10:09:37 AM  
A couple things.
I think that MS is whining not whinging.
I also think they are saying the fine is too great in relation to their transgression not in relation to the amount of money they have.
2004-07-05 10:26:08 AM  
isnt "whinging" used in other countries?
2004-07-05 10:27:13 AM  
whinging is the exact same as whining, at least in these here stomping grounds.
2004-07-05 10:32:52 AM  
Nice logic, poster.

I suppose that means you'd agree with the RIAA increasing their fines on you for copyright infringement, because of course, you personally have more money than 99% of the citizens of most third-world nations.

If you don't like Windows and/or Microsoft- don't buy it. Get Linux. Get a Mac.

There's no friggin monopoly. Linux and Mac make up some 20% of desktops... maybe more...
2004-07-05 10:34:40 AM  

2004-07-05 10:36:03 AM  
Before anyone else does:

[image from too old to be available]
2004-07-05 10:36:05 AM  
poster is an idiot.

just because you have the money doesn't mean you shouldn't care about losing it...ESPECIALLY when you are a global corporation that needs to satisfy its investors. losing $600M is a bad way to do it.
2004-07-05 10:36:15 AM  
I'm waiting until Bill Gates is fined 600 million Gatesmarks.
2004-07-05 10:37:12 AM  
Well, combining the headline with the "$" - I think we have a winner:

Worst Headline Ev4r!
2004-07-05 10:37:34 AM  
Yeah, they should have fined them the entire cash value of the company. That would've been fair then.
2004-07-05 10:38:01 AM  
I hear that they want to pay the fine with discount coupons for software like Word and Excel.

I say we should nuke 'em!

/no love for Microsnot
2004-07-05 10:39:18 AM  
Say what you want about Microsoft. I happen to like windows xp (pro) and I like office 2003.

In a corp. environment Server 2003 and Active directory ain't bad either.

\just my opninion.
2004-07-05 10:39:23 AM  
Linux and Mac make up some 20% of desktops... maybe more...

Spoken like someone who has absolutely no clue what he's talking about. I defy you to provide us information -- from any corner of the Internet you desire -- that supports your statement.

God bless the EU for imposing penalties on MS that are actually significant rather than letting them off with not even a slap on the wrist like our big-business-loving administration here in the US.
2004-07-05 10:40:09 AM  
can someone explain this one to me? what's the point of having a WMP-less Windows setup?

2004-07-05 10:41:02 AM  
Perhaps the author of the original Yahoo article was the submitter... Check it:

Microsoft has complained that the size of the fine is unwarranted, but with an estimated $50 billion in cash reserves, it could afford to pay it.

Now that's classy journalism right there. I salute you, Scarlet Pruitt!
2004-07-05 10:41:23 AM  
Thanks Pxtl. I run Linux full-time on my own computer and hate global corporate capitalism and blah blah blah - so I appear to be on the same side as at least some of these people. Nevertheless, spelling it "Micro$oft" does not make some clever statement about a hitherto elusive connection between Microsoft and finances. It simply makes you look like a twit, a twelve-year-old, or the character in the previously noted PA.

P.S. Still haven't cured me, fark-ups!
2004-07-05 10:43:36 AM  

I agreed with you right up until you said there's no monopoly. While most of the crimes people attribute to MS are bullshiat, the monopolist one isn't. Look at the history of BeOS, for example - they made all the arrangements to get free copies of BeOS dual-booted onto windows machines at a prominent computer vendor, and then MS said "no, or you lose your OEM deal and pay retail prices for Windows". So, the vendor folded and BeOS is now out of business, despite being generally agreed to be the best OS of the '90s. MS didn't do anything intrinsically illegal, they just used their contracts.

If your product beats other products based strictly on your massive market muscle, regardless of the quality of the product, then you're a monopolist. If you use that power to directly put competators out of business, or leverage that power to force your way into other industries, then you abuse that monopoly. The invisible hand doesn't work when there's only one real choice.

And I think you'd find that Mac and Linux desktops are actually below 5% put together.
2004-07-05 10:43:36 AM  
WMP is far superior to real player or quicktime. Is there an option to not install quicktime when installing OS X ?
2004-07-05 10:43:41 AM  
2004-07-05 10:43:43 AM  
Well the problem is that you need to fine a company enough so that it hurts, or else it will not affect them. The flip side to this is you can be seen as not treating companies equally. The question is then what is fair: equal treatment in unequal treatment? I must agree with the second in this case but I'm not sure about others.

This would be similiar to speeding tickets being relative to the price of the car speeding which is cool, if not a little silly. To properly compare this to other cases one would have to look where the crime was in money and the punishment is in money, or else you're really just being an ass.
2004-07-05 10:44:17 AM  
Yeah... cure cancer first you farkers.
2004-07-05 10:45:12 AM  
"whinge: To complain or protest, especially in an annoying or persistent manner."

To Americans--"Stop being so colonial"--The British
2004-07-05 10:45:37 AM  
OH MY GOD! Microsoft is trying to make money?! Damn them!

Thank god the socialists have the balls to fine a US company who is doing well and making money! Europeans can't keep up so instead of cutting 1 of 89 vacation days they decide to fine a good company instead.
2004-07-05 10:45:54 AM  
*Nelson Munch style*

HA - HA !

/not sure if im laughing at the submitter or Billy Boy....
2004-07-05 10:45:54 AM  
Ok, let me be the first to say...


Well done, EU.
2004-07-05 10:46:28 AM  
Reposted for truth : If you are the original poster, please tell me!


I'll echo some of the other Farkers' sentiments and say damn, it really pains me to defend Microsoft, but here goes...

Okay. Back in the day there was DOS. Command-line based, all text, you had to learn how to use it. So geeks went off and learned how to use it, and regular folks biatched: "This is hard to use! This is hard to understand! I have to learn things! I don't want to learn things! Make it easy!"

So they did.

I'm sure, Proton, if you're used to the kind of arguments you've been expressing on this thread, you know that for things to be made simpler, you need to take out a lot of the details and the complex things. So when Windows 3.1 really started to gain market share, it did so because it was easy to use. Now, you can't make a computer less complex, but you can attempt to hide a lot of the complicated stuff. But computers still couldn't read people's minds. They did (and still do) exactly what they're told.

Eventually people became complacent with Windows 3.1 and they realized that they still had to actually do work in order to make it do certain things. You had to install some special software to make it connect to the Internet, for example. People started saying "This is hard!" "Why can't this be easier?" In fact, people started to say, "Why isn't there a web browser built into the system?"

And so Windows 95 came out.

Around this time there was an alternate operating system for PCs called Linux that was starting to grow. Again, it started like DOS - a command-line environment, very powerful and stable, but you had to learn how to use it. And regular folks shied away from it while geeks embraced it.

Windows 95 let you easily connect to the Internet, but something else happened: The regular folks, who were again pacified by so-called "ease of use" in connecting to the Internet, they started to biatch about something else: "Computers are so expensive! Why do they have to be so expensive! They should be cheap! Nobody's thinking of grandma!"

And so, an influx of cheap no-name hardware flooded the market, with manuals badly translated from Korean and put together with the cheapest parts available.

Bad hardware works when it wants to. It craps out when it wants to. And when hardware craps out, the Operating System usually doesn't have time to gracefully put up an informative message. Enter the "Blue Screen of Death." Regular folk, most of whom wouldn't even read my little story here unless you held a gun to their head, started to complain about Microsoft: "Their software is crap! It always crashes!" Eh, not as much as you think. Your entire computer cost you $400 and half of the parts inside came from your weird cousin Ed who lives in a trailer and doesn't bathe.

So Windows 98 came out. Then Windows ME. Then Windows 2000. And Windows XP. And throughout, the same people who complained that Windows 3.1 didn't come with a built-in web browser would petition the US Government to sue Microsoft in half because Windows 95/98/ME/2000/XP did include a built-in web browser. And each version of Windows bent further to the complaints of the burgeois in the face of criticism that would make George W. Bush think the country loves him. Now that people had a web browser, they wanted to do more than browse web pages. This one little program had to do that, and play audio files, and video files, and Flash movies, and games, and do basically anything and everything the lowest common denominator of user can imagine. All of a sudden, the web browser is itself a mini Operating System, running all sorts of apps from Javascript chat applets to Yahoo! Canasta to that stupid little thing where the frog is in the blender and you decide whether he's just chopped or completely puree'd.

In order to do that, your web browser needs to allow programs to be installed into it, and quite simply, that's where all the trouble is coming from. Not porn sites, not spammers, not virus writers. No. It's the goddamned soccer moms who think buying a $3,000 Dell is a good way to play Mahjonng.

And so, Microsoft becomes the scapegoat, even though their software actually does work pretty well, when you think about all the half-broken, lowest-bidder, cheap-ass Korean rip-off hardware it runs on. Or tries to run on. Seriously, that's like blaming Buick for not making a car that runs on both 93 octane gasoline and your dog's urine. Yet as refreshingly simple as that sounds to understand, I've watched person after person after person make the same stupid mistake.

Fast forward to today, and I'm typing this to you with Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP, which has never crashed on me in the 3 years I've been running it save for the occasional hardware problem or stupid thing that I admit I did, and I can't help but think it was people like you who whined and biatched in the first place that computers were too hard to use, and now you're whining and biatching that they're so ingrained in our society, so accessible, so universal - and so easy to use!! - that something must be done about it!!

Well, in that case, I agree with you. Something should be done. But it should be something done to people like you.

What's the moral of the story? If you don't learn how to do something, you don't know how to do it. And if you really are a teacher, then know you have caused at least one man to consider getting a vasectomy before I bring children into this world.
2004-07-05 10:46:57 AM  
What's the relation between the "monopoly" and the "forced" inclusion of Media Player? Is Europe a bunch of lamers that can't handle the complexities of installing one of probably thousands of other 3rd party programs that, in the end, provide the same functionality (sometimes for a price)? Damn Microsoft is screwing me by giving me Media Player when I should be free to pay for the excellent RealPlayer and install it without there being the slightest possibility that file associations might get hosed now and again!
2004-07-05 10:47:17 AM  
WMP is far superior to real player or quicktime.

Sadly, at times it is. I think we are all still waiting for THE video player. QuickTime is featureless, WMP is bloated, buggy, and ugly, RealPlayer is a demon from hell, Winamp does a so-so job. I like Windows Media Player Classic, but it's far from a polished product.
2004-07-05 10:47:25 AM  
Courtesy Merriam-Webster:

Main Entry: whinge
Pronunciation: 'hwinj, 'winj
Function: intransitive verb
Inflected Form(s): whinged; whinging or whingeing
Etymology: from (assumed) Middle English, from Old English hwinsian; akin to Old High German winsOn to moan
British : to complain fretfully : WHINE

Also, I thought I was on, not slashdot. The whole M$ thing is so tired, so friggin' tired. Try, try, try to come up with a better revolutionary slogan, huh? I'm assuming from that crazy use of the dollar sign that the poster is a Linux dude/dudette... and that's cool, Linux is a good, solid product. But, you know, when you "whinge" about Microsoft, try to do it without the dorky, "Bill Gates as Borg" (props to Pxtl) or "M$" crap-o-la. Sell Linux on it's own merits, yeah? If it is a superior product, great - the market will decide, Microsoft's questionable business practices notwithstanding.
2004-07-05 10:49:13 AM  
And in case anyone was curious, even a cursory examination into corporate crime and punishment in 20th century America, for instance, will show that companies are generally either slapped on the wrist or (far far less likely) destroyed (or divided) in response to their crimes. As chaco noted, they need to "satisfy investors" - and - opinion time - the penalty for such corporate crime needs to be significant enough to make said investors sit up and take notice. There has to be sufficient monetary incentive to stop whatever illegal behavior is conducted - otherwise the penalty is far easier for the company to simply take into account as another cost of operation.

With $50 billion in cash reserves, $600 million is still a slap on the wrist.
2004-07-05 10:50:58 AM  
I was wondering if someone was going to bring this up. A company that starts in a country does not belong to that country, or vice versa. If you wish to claim that Microsoft is an American company than you are claiming that they are not dependent on importing or exporting anything beyond American borders. Otherwise they are simply a multinational company based in America. To say that the EU has no right to fine them, and yet has every right to sanction them is just plain silly.
The result of Microsoft not paying the fine (should it be enforced) would likely be Microsoft never legally exporting another piece of software into Europe, something Microsoft really, really does not want. Companies in the EU would simply be forced to a quicker timetable of OS switchovers which would result in a lot of money loss, but less than keeping Microsoft in the position it is now.

Anyway the point is: Americans can sue Honda, so Europeans can sue Microsoft. Get over it you stupid douche.

2004-07-05 10:51:16 AM  
Hero Shmero!!! Those socialist f@cks in the EU cannot support their own lazy, fat asses and therefore need to suck money out of an American firm. "F" them.

Go Microsoft - fight this to the death.
2004-07-05 10:51:38 AM  
not that i'm the greatest microsoft fan, but this fine is totally lame. theres worse things about microsoft than bundled media player, in fact, i happily use wmp over realplayer, quicktime and winamp 3 (when possible).
2004-07-05 10:52:18 AM  

You beat me to it, you faster-typing-person.

Props to you, and my apologies... I did not mean to steal your lexicographic thunder, so to speak...
2004-07-05 10:53:57 AM  
2004-07-05 10:32:52 AM downstairs

Linux and Mac make up some 20% of desktops... maybe more...

2004-07-05 10:54:34 AM  
Silent letters are teh ghey.
2004-07-05 10:57:51 AM  
Who is John Galt?

A ficticious character, the antithesis to a strawman, kind of like the relationship between how the submitter imagines himself and the headline.
2004-07-05 10:57:51 AM  
Millions of homeless and starving people give up vain struggle to give a toss......
2004-07-05 10:58:00 AM  
yeah, "hero",my ass. What idiot would think quasi-legal extortion,or any other shakedown like this is a heroic action? The rest of the world wants to wipe out what little bit of American business success that remains.
2004-07-05 10:58:32 AM  
Only 600 million? Sheesh. The EU should have at least said "We figure you cost the marketplace $X billion in lost sales because of your monopolistic bundling, and we want every dime of it as a fine, plus 20% to make sure you won't do it again"

I mean, sheesh. If they can put a half dozen smaller competing companies who sold media players out of business, hurt Real, AOL and Apple to the tune of billions of bucks in lost sales, and it only costs em 600 million to do, they'll just do it again with something else.
2004-07-05 11:00:49 AM  
I think the United States should sue Renault for introducing the "Le Car" on behalf of all the idiots who actually purchased a "Le car".
2004-07-05 11:01:29 AM  
Cry me a river!

It's about time MS was fined an amount of money which would make them think twice about pulling their monopolistic crap.

$600 million not fair?

I tell you what's not fair. When I get a $150 fine for going 15 MPH over the speed limit, or a $85 fine because my food took more than an hour for a restaraunt I had to walk three blocks to, to prepare. Do I get a break even though I have less than $200 to my name right at this moment? No.

Microsfot on the other hand has over $40 billion in the bank. Boo hoo! Poor us! You're taking 1/66th of our net worth!

When I get fined $1 for speeding if I have $66 in the bank, then I'll feel sorry for MS.

2004-07-05 11:02:01 AM  
yeah, "hero",my ass. What idiot would think quasi-legal extortion,or any other shakedown like this is a heroic action? The rest of the world wants to wipe out what little bit of American business success that remains.

I'm running out of fingers trying to count the various stupidities in this post...
2004-07-05 11:03:58 AM  
I tell you what's not fair. When I get a $150 fine for going 15 MPH over the speed limit, or a $85 fine because my food took more than an hour for a restaraunt I had to walk three blocks to, to prepare.

What the hell are you smoking?
2004-07-05 11:04:12 AM  
...and Flanders paid the fine, he could easily afford.

(an irrelevant Simpsons quote, but hey it came to mind)
2004-07-05 11:05:25 AM  
"I like Windows Media Player Classic, but it's far from a polished product."

Out of curiosity, what features is it missing that you would like to see in a media player? Cause the lastest media player actually does way MORE than I want it to do.
2004-07-05 11:05:40 AM  
$600 million won't even make a dent in M$ bank accounts. They have $50 billion in cash reserves.

It's sad that the EU has to do what the US justice department should have done before it caved in to M$ after Bush took office.
2004-07-05 11:06:53 AM  
Yeaaahh! Damn the Man, damn him!

...except Microsoft is the best thing going, sorry. I'm a programmer and a network admin and yeah, UNIX and Linux has some things on MS and if you're using your box for straight coding you'd probably be better off with one of those but for the average user who surfs the web, plays games and does office shiat, it'd be a real pain in the ass to make any other OS have the same functionality as Windows, flaws and all.

And MS is not a monopoly. The idea that it's a monopoly can be explained very simply. People are stupid. They don't know that they can unload and reload any OS they want. So you buy a box and Windows is automatically installed, how does that make MS a monopoly? What's the alternative, the customer stares at a DOS prompt or has the screw with the BIOS? The fact is that Windows works and they're practically a decade ahead of any other OS R&D-wise. Calling them a monopoly is punishing them for being the only thing going and that's pretty un-American.

As for the fine and their ability to pay it, if I spit on the sidewalk and a cop fines me $2.00 for littering I'd be pissed. It has nothing to do with the money.
2004-07-05 11:07:50 AM  
The issue isn't whether WMP is better than the competition, its whether its winning because it is better, or because it is bundled. And you can't argue that MS is monopolistic in the design of WMP - there was a perfectly viable lossy-audio standard existant in MP3 - but what format do all the encoding tools built into MS work with? Some newfangled POS called WMA. So they push the competators out of the market that are based on a universal standard. Sure, its just a nudge, everyone just had to adapt - but enough nudges will break something.

And I can't stand WMP - its too bloated. For video I use ZoomPlayer, and for audio I still run WinAmp 2. Media players play media - thats it. I can't stand all these newer bloated tools.

Anyhow, the point is that, because they can simply bundle a tool into their OS, the moment that MS moves into any market, all the competition disappears. And yes, usually they're good at it while they're competing, but once the competition stops, they stop improving.

Case in point: how long has the pop-up problem been going on? I'd say about 4 years. Pop-up blockers are already built into every other web browser, and have been for several years. Ditto with activeX security to prevent worms and suchlike. OE and IE are currently the biggest security flaws of the internet, and using them has become a massive pain as the internet moves to exploit their weaknesses. Meanwhile, every competator has been free from the same trouble for years and years. But, because the competators have a 1% market share, MS doens't have to worry, and doesn't have to improve their products. Now that the problem is finally reaching critical mass and people are starting to demand improvements, MS has finally decided to add a pop-up blocker, download manager, and built-in separate search bar into IE (oddly enough, this is the added featureset of Mozilla Firefox).

This is the problem. You can map all of MS's improvements to the appearance of competition. As soon as competition disappears, they go back to sleep. XP graphical schemes? Right after Mac OSX. Revolutionizing the Office system into network groupware? Just while OpenOffice is starting to gain momentum. But how long was it stagnant? Security/stability didn't become a concern until the market started to buzz about Linux.

MS does not invent. It waits until something appears on the market that improves upon its core features, and then spreads to cover it, eliminating the competition, leveraging its existing OS control against the next enemy.

Whack-a-mole is not innovation.
2004-07-05 11:08:13 AM  

Media Player Classic, not MS Windows Media Player. The MS one is loaded with crap, yes.

This is Media Player Classic
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