Coffeehouse Post

Single Post Permalink

View Thread: Microsoft Fined $731 Million over 'browser choice' mistake.
  • User profile image

    , figuerres wrote


    what I understand the issue is / was goes like this:

    Microsoft was found to be a big evil monopoly in the US courts.

    Microsoft was not found to be 'a big evil' monopoly because there is no law in the US or Europe that prevents a company from being a monopoly. What Microsoft was found guilty was putting up barriers which prevented other companies from entering the market. For example, MS charged  the OEMs the cost of a Windows license on every PC sold, whether Windows was actually installed on the PC or not. This meant that the OEMs were much less likely to install another operating system, which creates a barrier to the market for Linux and OS/2 and whatever else.

    , BitFlipper wrote


    Of course we know the answer to that question, your deflection is a fail. The answer is MS never prevented anyone from installing any browser of their own choice. Only people that don't know anything about computers would think otherwise.

    This wasn't about the browsers. The EU was trying to redress the balance caused by Microsoft's attempts to prevent others from entering the market. Since IE's market share was already heading south, it was a pretty benign punishment that shouldn't have had much of an effect. Why MS would play fast and loose with it is beyond me.

    , cheong wrote


    Yup. They should allow at least one more non-webkit browser (such as Firefox) to land iOS world or EU could go after them too.

    Good point. Won't happen. Here's why:

    MS can restrict what folk put on the Surface.

    MS cannot restrict what folk put on PCs.

    Why? Because MS makes the surface, but does not make the PCs sold by Dell, HP etc. This means that when Microsoft sells a Windows license, they are selling it into the PC market – a market they attempted to control illegally. The Surface, however, is a PC in it's own right that is part of that same market. If MS chooses to restrict what you can do with it then they are simply limiting their own product within a wider market; it has no effect on other products in that market and the consumer is free to choose another machine with no restrictions if they choose. 

    The same applies to iOS: Apple makes the whole device, rather than selling an OS into the marketplace, so they are free to restrict it in any way they want because the consumer can always choose a different phone, and in most cases, they do.

    Which brings us to the other reason it won't happen: Apple doesn't have a monopoly position so cannot prevent others from entering the market. Samsung sells more phones than Apple, even though Apple makes the lion's share of the profit (which means Apple's phones must be really expensive, or the majority of Samsung phones sold are at the low end of the market where Apple doesn't compete).

    Having said that, this is how justice works in the EU:

    Microsoft: 'We didn't do it!'

    EU: 'Yes you did. Take this $250million fine with our love and best wishes.'

    Microsoft: 'That's not fair! You can't just decide like that! We appeal!'

    EU: (*sigh*) Oh, if you must. Take this $500million fine, sealed with a loving kiss. Would you like to appeal again? Please do. God knows we need the money."

    And Microsoft, swearing under its breath, writes out the bigger cheque. And not a penny of that will find its way to the consumers who have, apparently, suffered so much under Microsoft's jackboot.


    But it does prove one thing: if the EU does choose to go after Apple, then Apple will most definitely lose. Not much you can do when you're judge is also the jury. I'm surprised MS didn't realise this.