Microsoft fined $1.4 billion

  anchor 15:58 27 Feb 2008

"The European Commission has fined US computer giant Microsoft for defying sanctions imposed on it for anti-competitive behaviour".

click here

Cynic that I am, I think that in the end we, the MS customers, will have to pay this in higher prices.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 16:43 27 Feb 2008

Microsft has turned over $9Bn in 3 months..this is nothing to them.


  lisa02 16:45 27 Feb 2008

They just see MS as a big cash cow to be milked...

Some of their sanctions are stupid - I don't know anyone who had windows XP n or whatever it was called.

anchor we always pay in the end.

  Jake_027 17:11 27 Feb 2008

For bundling their own products with their os? Apple don't get fined for only having safari and quicktime on their computers, and despite the fact that these products have a smaller market share, the same principles apply. Besides, imagine how annoyed people would be if they bought a pc and the first thing they had to do was go and install a media player and internet browser. Or root through loads of cds with each browser on in the box. Even if people were offered the option, they'd probably choose internet explorer anyway because thats all they know, and those that didn't would probably already know where to get firefox or opera from. I think the EC is way out of touch with reality here

  georgemac © 17:15 27 Feb 2008

A question for those who know these things - do all companies release the source code for their software so it can be used for others?

If I was the boss of MS I would now be looking at the EU market to see if it is still profitable for the company to operate in, given the 2 previous fines, this fine and the further 2 actions being pursued by the EU.

If Microsoft stopped selling it's products in the EU would this harm European companies?

  Stuartli 18:44 27 Feb 2008

The Americans could easily retaliate by imposing swinging sanctions on European goods and services it imports - a case of the biter bit could perhaps arise one day.

  Forum Editor 19:03 27 Feb 2008

"do all companies release the source code for their software so it can be used for others?"

Certainly not - software code is intellectual property, and is usually the major asset in a software company.

Microsoft and its operating systems could be looked at as a totally different case, however - all third party software has to run in a computer's operating system, and use hardware drivers. It's essential that software developers can be sure their products will work for most consumers, so they have a chance at the biggest possible market, and that's what these EU bickerings are about. Companies that make rival media players to Windows media Player say that their products are being unfairly discriminated against by Microsoft, because the company refuses to allow its competitors access to key code, code that would enable them, the competitors, to develop their products so they could offer them to Windows users with complete confidence that they would run without hitches.

That's a simplistic explanation of what's going on, but in essence it's true.

The simple fact is, Windows Media Player is pretty good, so good in fact, that in survey after survey consumers have said they would probably use it, even if it didn't come already bundled with the operating system.

Microsoft has announced it's going to open up key sections of its code so that software developers have a better chance, but don't expect the world to change overnight - no company is going to sit back and smile as poachers wander through its park in broad daylight without having some contingency plans in place.

  georgemac © 19:16 27 Feb 2008

FE, thanks, that clears it up a bit for me.

I would certainly always use media player - I am sure there are other worthy players, but 99% of Joe Public are happy with what comes with the Microsoft OS

I use firefox as I prefer this to IE. I fix most friends computers and they would use anything - as long as it worked, but I gues the majority of them would not try anything other than IE unless pushed or advised by someone else.

I have always been going to try Linux, but have never got round to it, and this is from someone who has computing as a hobby! I can easily understand why those with no interest in computers other than internet/photos etc just use what comes with the OS.

  laurie53 20:20 27 Feb 2008

To many, if not most, people computers are like cars.

They don't care how it goes as long as it goes.

It is only us anoraks who wonder about OSs and source codes!

  ventanas 21:02 27 Feb 2008

It's disgraceful. I wouldn't blame Microsoft if they pulled out of the EU altogether and stuck two fingers up to these idiots. Then what would millions of computer users do?

  Pesala 21:14 27 Feb 2008

I came across another MS surprise the other day. I installed an AVI file on someone's computer, but Windows Media player only played the sound — no video. Probably some missing codecs, as it works OK on my PC with the same version — WMP 9.

Anyway, I installed VLC media player and set the file associations to play all videos. Then, I inserted the CD again and clicked on "Play" when the dialogue box came up. The video opened in Windows Media Player again.

It worked OK if I launched the AVI from Windows Explorer, but not if I just inserted the CD.

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