Microsoft fined

! This post hasn't been updated in over a year. A lot can change in a year including my opinion and the amount of naughty words I use. There's a good chance that there's something in what's written below that someone will find objectionable. That's fine, if I tried to please everybody all of the time then I'd be a Lib Dem (remember them?) and I'm certainly not one of those. The point is, I'm not the kind of person to try and alter history in case I said something in the past that someone can use against me in the future but just remember that the person I was then isn't the person I am now nor the person I'll be in a year's time.

Microsoft has lost an appeal against a fine of $690m which the European Commission had imposed following an anti-trust suit.

The European Court of First Instance dismissed the appeal and upheld the decision that Microsoft was abusing its market dominance by shipping Windows with Media Player built in.

The European Commission has been bleating on about how good this is for consumer choice and how consumers will be much better off as a result of the decision.

What a crock of shit.

Firstly, who will pay for the $690m fine?  Microsoft?  Of course not, they’ll just bump up their prices some more and the consumer will pay.  Already, the price of software in Europe is higher than the US and in England it’s even higher.

Secondly, what’s wrong with shipping Media Player with Windows?  It’s a free download from the Microsoft website – what difference will it make to the price?  A couple of quid as a token gesture to stop the European Commission from suing them again?  A previous anti-trust suit made them take Java out of Windows – now, whenever I install Windows I have to go and download Java from the internet before I can browse a website that uses Java.

vista.PNGIt doesn’t make Windows better, it makes it more irritating for me, the consumer.  I want my Windows disc to be so chock full of programs and gadgets and tools that I don’t have to spend half an hour downloading stuff that I need from the internet before Windows is useful.  I want to be able to use Java-enabled websites out of the box.  I want a media player out of the box.  Windows Media Player is great – it does pretty much everything I want it to.  It doesn’t play DVD’s but I’ve got something else to do that.  It has a “thing” for Microsoft’s proprietry formats when you rip CD’s but my MP3 Player is quite happy with WMA files.

This ruling was nothing to do with giving choice to the consumer.  It was about extracting loads of cash for the EU propaganda fund from the big bad American corporation.  I don’t very often defend Microsoft – I don’t like the way they do business – but in this case, they were in the right and you have no idea how much it pains me to say that.


  1. Charlie Marks (365 comments) says:

    I agree that this whole thing is about making the EU look consumer-friendly, but will anyone fall for it? The fine doesn’t look huge and punitive, so no one will be cheering the EC. Fining companies doesn’t have a big effect. There’s sometimes a shaming effect, but mostly fines hit consumers, as you rightly point out.

    And how odd. I can play dvd’s with Windows Media Player… Don’t ask me how, but it works fine.

  2. Aaron (72 comments) says:

    I’d be really interested to see who sells Windows ‘N’ (the non-WMP version), and the prices in comparison to the normal version. Nevermind the actual sales figures.

    The whole case is ridiculous from start to finish. It serves no purpose whatsoever. Was it not Real Media who made the complaint which sparked it all in the first place? If they didn’t make such shit software then they wouldn’t have had a problem. Blaming others for their own mistakes is pathetic, and I really would like to see them go under.

    One of my favourite quotes: “there is a special place in hell, down the hall from hitler, for real player”.

    What next, Windows without Paint, calculator, solitaire? I daresay the only reason IE hasn’t had the same treatment as WMP is because people need to be able to use the Web to get a new browser in the first place. Notepad? Wordpad, Outlook Express/Windows Mail? And what about Windows Movie Maker? The whole thing is fucking stupid.

    (And ditto Charlie on DVDs.)

  3. revinkevin (176 comments) says:

    The fine should of been higher, in fact mickysoft should of been banned.

  4. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    You need a codec to play DVD’s, I just downloaded a different player.

    Aaron, the yanks tried to get IE out of Windows but Micro$oft just dragged the case out until such time as they had integrated it too deeply to be removed.

  5. Aaron (72 comments) says:

    Well, to be fair to MS, the idea of getting rid of IE is ridiculous. Without a browser in the first place, people can’t get on the Web to be able to get a different browser. So OEMs would end up shipping their machines with their own choice of browser, which even now would almost certainly be IE anyway!

    Simple fact is, whilst I object to the crazy prices, I respect Microsoft. What they do, they (largely) do very, very well. And one really has to laugh at the accusations from Mac fan-boys about MS’s anti-competitiveness. Yes. Microsoft, a company that produces good, working software for its main competitor’s platform. A company which sells its own platform. And more to the point, a company which doesn’t lock its platform down to its own wallet-raping-priced hardware…

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