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European Union drops antitrust charges against Microsoft

post #1 of 33
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Microsoft's Windows browser ballot proved to be enough for the European Union to drop its antitrust case against the Redmond, Wash., software giant.

European regulators announced Wednesday they had officially dropped their antitrust case against Microsoft, now that the Windows maker will give users a choice of which browser to install on their system. Competing options include Apple's Safari, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. In all, there will be 12 options.

According to The New York Times, a forthcoming update to the Windows operating system will give European users of Internet Explorer, Microsoft's own browser, an option to switch to another. The settlement allows Microsoft to avoid a costly legal battle, and is also more evidence of American technology companies conceding to European sanctions.

That stance has likely been taken due to huge fines paid by Microsoft. In the past decade, the company has paid €1.68 billion, or $2.44 billion, to the European Union.

The browser ballot will go into effect in March 2010, and the "Choice Screen update" will be available for five years. There are more than 100 million users of Windows XP, 7 and Vista in Europe.

The union turned up the heat on Microsoft earlier this year, giving the company notice that it would have to detach Internet Explorer from Windows. The European Commission -- and Microsoft's competitors -- felt that the company's Web browser had an unfair monopoly by coming installed on all copies of Windows.

In response to the antitrust claims, Microsoft this summer revealed plans to ship Windows 7, its latest operating system, without Internet Explorer in Europe. But a proposed browser ballot that listed options in alphabetical order was criticized for favoring Apple's Safari.

Earlier this month, Microsoft altered its settlement with the European Union and modified the ballot to randomly display the top five Web browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera and Safari. Users are given the option to select a browser that will then be downloaded from the Internet.
post #2 of 33
cool!

err... is OSX going to be next on the list to provide "the ballot"?!
sent from my... internet browser of choice.
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sent from my... internet browser of choice.
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post #3 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2992 View Post

cool!

err... is OSX going to be next on the list to provide "the ballot"?!


No, the situation with Apple is completely different.
post #4 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2992 View Post

err... is OSX going to be next on the list to provide "the ballot"?!

not before OSX reaches defacto monopoly market share in EU
post #5 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2992 View Post

cool!

err... is OSX going to be next on the list to provide "the ballot"?!

errrrrrrrrrrrrr duooooooohhhhhhh We've been able to choose all along.

Daniel Swanson

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Daniel Swanson

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post #6 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobrik View Post

not before OSX reaches defacto monopoly market share in EU

Which will happen on 15th of never.
post #7 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2992 View Post

cool!

err... is OSX going to be next on the list to provide "the ballot"?!

Nope, the iPhone OS will be next. It has the majority of the web browsing that's done by smartphones, and the Safari browser has a monopoly position on the iPhone OS.
post #8 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by OnePotato View Post

Nope, the iPhone OS will be next. It has the majority of the web browsing that's done by smartphones, and the Safari browser has a monopoly position on the iPhone OS.

Microsoft Bing is in the App Store as of this morning.
Downloaded it and it works great.

http://www.macrumors.com/iphone/2009...to-the-iphone/
post #9 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Microsoft's Windows browser ballot proved to be enough for the European Union to drop its antitrust case against the Redmond, Wash., software giant.

Time to begin the next antitrust case against Micro$haft: for WMP.
post #10 of 33
MS: Would you like cash or a cheque Mr Fat Greedy EU person?
MFGEUP: Cash will do nicely!!
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post #11 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rokcet Scientist View Post

Time to begin the next antitrust case against Micro$haft: for WMP.

In reality by this settlement, Microsoft appears to have opened themselves up to just such a follow-on action, or a series of them related to other bundled software. It's difficult to see where it ends.
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post #12 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rokcet Scientist View Post

Time to begin the next antitrust case against Micro$haft: for WMP.

They already sell versions of Windows without Windows Media Player, called "N editions". And you can de-install WMP, Windows Media Center and much more on all editions.

On the other hand they are already shipping Windows 7 without an e-mail client or photo app.

So the EU now has time to watch iTunes and Safari on the iPhone. Good luck!
post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rokcet Scientist View Post

Time to begin the next antitrust case against Micro$haft: for WMP.

They already went after MS for Media Player. That's why in the EU and S Korea there's the Windows-N version which comes without WMP and that was about 5 years ago. Of course NO ONE buys that version.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

In reality by this settlement, Microsoft appears to have opened themselves up to just such a follow-on action, or a series of them related to other bundled software. It's difficult to see where it ends.


Also to prevent even more antitrust cases Windows 7 comes without an email, calendar, photo, or movie editing program. Now since 95%+ of all Windows purchases come from an OEM from say Dell they of course aren't going to sell their PC without those capabilities so it's up to the OEM to include that software which they always do. And so far they've all included Windows Live Essentials from MS.

Now if you buy a retail copy of Windows 7 it won't have an email program but you can download Windows Live Essentials via Windows Update (it's an optional install) or from MS website.
post #14 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by TiAdiMundo View Post

They already sell versions of Windows without Windows Media Player, called "N editions". And you can de-install WMP, Windows Media Center and much more on all editions.

This may not cut it with the EU. Obviously it did not with IE.
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post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by danielsmi View Post

Also to prevent even more antitrust cases Windows 7 comes without an email, calendar, photo, or movie editing program. Now since 95%+ of all Windows purchases come from an OEM from say Dell they of course aren't going to sell their PC without those capabilities so it's up to the OEM to include that software which they always do. And so far they've all included Windows Live Essentials from MS.

Now if you buy a retail copy of Windows 7 it won't have an email program but you can download Windows Live Essentials via Windows Update (it's an optional install) or from MS website.

So, what bundled software still ships with Win7?
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post #16 of 33
...thus ending another great teapot tempest from the EU.
post #17 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

So, what bundled software still ships with Win7?

Paint and WordPad (pretty usefull in Windows 7), Notepad, Windows Media Center and Player, IE, Windows Easy Transfer, Calculator (Win7 version is very powerfull), Snipping Tool, Audio Recording (it's too simple), Picture Viewer, some off- and online games, PowerShell, Sticky Notes, Windows Journal (notebook for Tablet PCs), XPS-Viewer, Windows Defender (anti-malware app), powerfull Speech Recognition and some smaller tools

The integrated media systems, the Gadget system, Windows Search and ZIP-support can be de-installed and replaced with third party technology.

IE can be "deactivated" so that it's out of a users view. But Windows will still use the Trident html rendering engine for compatibility and the help system.
post #18 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by TiAdiMundo View Post

Paint and WordPad (pretty usefull in Windows 7), Notepad, Windows Media Center and Player, IE, Windows Easy Transfer, Calculator (Win7 version is very powerfull), Snipping Tool, Audio Recording (it's too simple), Picture Viewer, some off- and online games, PowerShell, Sticky Notes, Windows Journal (notebook for Tablet PCs), XPS-Viewer, Windows Defender (anti-malware app), powerfull Speech Recognition and some smaller tools

The integrated media systems, the Gadget system, Windows Search and ZIP-support can be de-installed and replaced with third party technology.

IE can be "deactivated" so that it's out of a users view. But Windows will still use the Trident html rendering engine for compatibility and the help system.

Is this in the European version? If so, it seems that each of these is potentially subject to the same user choice requirement.
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post #19 of 33
I think of all the cases presented above, the browsers on smart phones are next on the hit list. Talk about WMP and such is irrelevant as they can all be uninstalled at will. The problem with IE was that it was bundled with Windows, it provides access to an entire market with nearly unlimited potential, and it couldn't be uninstalled. The other pieces of software mentioned don't hit those other points.

I do see this as possibly opening up the software that is at least available on smart phones though.
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post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Is this in the European version? If so, it seems that each of these is potentially subject to the same user choice requirement.

There is no European version, only the N-edition in some markets without Windows Media Player.
post #21 of 33
As Google's OS is basically a browser does this mean if it ever beats Windows it will be instantly banned?
post #22 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by timgriff84 View Post

As Google's OS is basically a browser does this mean if it ever beats Windows it will be instantly banned?

It's a Linux based OS, but with apps in the cloud. It is not a 'browser'
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post #23 of 33
So maybe the next target will be to allow different file systems (ZFS, UFS, EXT3, ...) instead of NTFS?

Maybe sharing should be done via SSHFS or webdav rather than SAMBA?
post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

This may not cut it with the EU. Obviously it did not with IE.

I think the whole point of the IE case was much different. Originally, uninstalling IE (while it was super difficult) would have detrimental effects on the OS as a whole. Instability at a minimum would result. WMP is just shitty and can be uninstalled without problems, other than the DRM issues and such AFAIK.
post #25 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by technohermit View Post

I think the whole point of the IE case was much different. Originally, uninstalling IE (while it was super difficult) would have detrimental effects on the OS as a whole. Instability at a minimum would result. WMP is just shitty and can be uninstalled without problems, other than the DRM issues and such AFAIK.

I believe the point was that IE was set as the default browser. The "lottery" solution doesn't uninstall IE, it just gives users an equal opportunity to select competitive browsers as their default. This principle could certainly be extended to WMP, for example. Using the EU's logic, I don't see any reason why it should not be.
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post #26 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

I believe the point was that IE was set as the default browser. The "lottery" solution doesn't uninstall IE, it just gives users an equal opportunity to select competitive browsers as their default. This principle could certainly be extended to WMP, for example. Using the EU's logic, I don't see any reason why it should not be.

Interesting questin, but to what end? When do you separate basic OS functionality from various bundled applications? I can see the power that a browser represents for a PC, but what about the media player? The basic graphics app? The calculator?

I don't see any of those causing any anti-competitive behavior simply because they just don't register as very important.
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post #27 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

I believe the point was that IE was set as the default browser. The "lottery" solution doesn't uninstall IE, it just gives users an equal opportunity to select competitive browsers as their default. This principle could certainly be extended to WMP, for example. Using the EU's logic, I don't see any reason why it should not be.

Apologies, you are correct. It was the US v. MS case that brought up the shell ties between iexplore.exe and explorer.exe. No one seemed to follow up and make that stick though, apparently MS says computer manufacturers bitched about it, and Win7 E never did make it. Hence the EU case.
post #28 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post

Interesting questin, but to what end? When do you separate basic OS functionality from various bundled applications? I can see the power that a browser represents for a PC, but what about the media player? The basic graphics app? The calculator?

I don't see any of those causing any anti-competitive behavior simply because they just don't register as very important.

To give competitors a level playing-field? I think that was the purpose of the lottery solution for the browser. Media players are arguably just as important, but I'm not sure that importance figured in to this solution. If Microsoft disadvantages other competitors, a similar case can be made for any type of software bundled with Windows. I think they may have opened a Pandora's box.
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post #29 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post

Interesting questin, but to what end? When do you separate basic OS functionality from various bundled applications? I can see the power that a browser represents for a PC, but what about the media player? The basic graphics app? The calculator?

I don't see any of those causing any anti-competitive behavior simply because they just don't register as very important.

When their calculator application has detrimental impact on innovation of competing technologies, commands a 90% market share, and has crushing impact on innovation in the calculator industry. I think that's when someone will step in there.

On a side note, Apple's calculator stinks.
post #30 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by OnePotato View Post

Nope, the iPhone OS will be next. It has the majority of the web browsing that's done by smartphones, and the Safari browser has a monopoly position on the iPhone OS.

They still dont have a monopoly even if their mobile OS does take the lions share of internet usage. If anyone would have guilty of a monopoly it would be Nokia, but there is nothing that shows theyve abused that monopoly. This EU ruling is a decade too late and too stupid now that the market has correct itself without their interference. I think IE has less than 50% share in Europe.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AngusYoung View Post

Microsoft Bing is in the App Store as of this morning.
Downloaded it and it works great.

The app looks great and works great too bad Bing sucks as a search engine.
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post #31 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by technohermit View Post

On a side note, Apple's calculator stinks.

Have you tried clicking on the zoom (+) green gumdrop? It wasn't till recently that I found out the calculator has two other modes.
post #32 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by OnePotato View Post

Have you tried clicking on the zoom (+) green gumdrop? It wasn't till recently that I found out the calculator has two other modes.

Those options have always been there from the Menu Bar under View. You can also paste into the app with Control+V and copy what is shown on the readout with Control+C.

Also, you can also use Spotlight for calculations, but i prefer just using Google since I can copy and paste the entire equation with result more easily.
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post #33 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by OnePotato View Post

Have you tried clicking on the zoom (+) green gumdrop? It wasn't till recently that I found out the calculator has two other modes.

I think he's probably referring to the actual calculation bugs it's reported to have.
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