Cry for Microsoft? Yes!

I’m getting a little sick of the European Union extorting money from Microsoft.

I’m the last person to be a Microsoft apologist – I’m a Mac person through and through, as anyone who follows my blog knows.

But what the EU is doing smacks of a witchhunt. Worse, I’m getting the feeling that there’s more than a small amount of anti-Americanism in this whole legal shakedown. Not to mention a big slice of European protectionism.

(Note: I say that as both a proud Canadian and the son of European immigrants.)

I totally affirm the concept that a very successful company should not abuse its success to crowd out competitors through sheer bulk and ability to completely undercut a smaller enterprise’s business model. And I think that’s partially been what has happened in the US.

But in the EU case, the Europeans actually want Microsoft to not just avoid competing unfairly with other companies. The also want Microsoft to give those companies a friendly helping hand – a boost.

I think that’s unfair. How does that provide for free and open competition? Microsoft has to spend money – big money – stripping down to its skivvies and parading around in public so that its competitors can put them under a microscope and find all their weak spots? Microsoft has to do a big chunk of its competitor’s product development?

I also think that the Europeans keep setting the bar just a little higher, and in effect, are demonstrating that their minds are made up: they want to punish – they want to humble – Microsoft.

Perhaps they’d even prefer to legislate Microsoft out of existence.

It’s not fair. Not ethical. Not European.

Shame on them.

16 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Good point. I wonder what businesses will be next. The EU’s member states’ economies are in the dumper due to welfare state strangling them. The EU feels powerless when faced with terror (after many years of importing hateful Islamists). What to do? Lash out at an American company and get some money in the process. It may not be European, but it is Eurocratic, and is the action of countries in decline and seeking a quick, easy solution.

  • You have serious issues man!

    What the EU is doing to Microshit is NOTHING to what they SHOULD be doing to that plague of a company. They should SHUT IT DOWN once and for good.

    Cry for Microsoft? You need a serious wake up call dude!

  • I agree with Jarod. NOTHING they could do to MSFT would make up for the pain and suffering that company has caused to both users and the computer industry as a whole.

  • Quote: The EU’s member states’ economies are in the dumper due to welfare state strangling them.

    What? – all the EU member states? Like we are one coagulate mass? And how’s GM doing nowadays with all the private health care it has to support? I’m more than happy to pay taxes to cover welfare – a concept completely and utterly lost on those in the US – but it doesn’t seem to do the UK any harm, and I know if I’m seriously ill, my kids won’t be paying for it out of their education fund – not that they need one. Quite civilised really.

    Economies are hugely complex things and trying to pin everything on one simple statement that it’s down to welfare spending is a triumph of feeblemindedness. Not that those in the US are prone to over-simplify things you understand. Oh no.

    Now, having to support the vast beaurocracy of the EU is another question entirely… but I’ll do it if it curbs the excesses of Microsoft.

  • Not that I agree that much with it, but in many European countries there is a feeling that one of the tasks of a democratic government is to make the strong care of the weak, even if that requires measures that 99% Americans would see as power abuse. Europeans who are principally against that because they think that it corrupts free market mechanisms are called liberals in Europe. America is extremely liberal in Europeans’ eyes.
    I’m not saying this to defend this per se, only to make clear that you don’t have to be anti-american or power-hungry to behave the way the Europian Commision does.

  • I take the opposite feeling. Microsoft openly uses anticompetitive practices to prevent others from achieving compatibility with their products. The EU is the only legislative body that’s showing the nerve to stop this illegal behavior. The US government was worried about the negative impact such sanctions would have on the US economy and therefore basically backed-off; the EU doesn’t have these concerns. I hope somebody puts a stop to Microsoft’s monopolistic behavior.

  • “I’m more than happy to pay taxes to cover welfare – a concept completely and utterly lost on those in the US”

    In America we seem to think we should pay no taxes and everything MUST come out of the private sector.Given the current clowns in office, Kenneth Lay (Enron) and GM management don’t look half bad, sadly. Right now, all three branches of our govt are controlled by idiots.

  • Had Shrub and his buddies not emasculated the Justice Department, we would have seen a similar crackdown here after MS lost in court. I’m glad to see the EU hasn’t been bought off.

  • Consider how much larger corporate and Govt. labor productivity numbers could be if the DOJ HAD stuck it to MSFT. Now, it looks like we will have to rely on market forces, and with their big wad of lucre, that will take a while.

  • Well, I think there is some validity in these statements. I am very much against many corporations for their business practices and undermining the rights of the end user. So, frankly, I’m glad that someone, in this case the EU, has finally said enough is enough. And if there is anti-Americanism in it (and I think it would be anti-US not America) then so be it. We haven’t exactly been making friendly lately.

  • I hope they ban Microgarbage from Europe entirely AFTER fining them not 2million but 2 BILLION euros a day. Bill Goat and Steve Ballhead should be hung upside down by their balls.

  • The OS used to be a program whose sole purpose in life was to allow other programs to run and access the hardware.
    Microsoft and Apple too, for that mater, has evolved the OS into a swiss army knife program that does almost everything. It browses the internet, plays tunes and movies, downloads from your camera, prints to your printer, provides instant messaging, email, burns CD’s DVD’s you name it.
    Any competing program that comes up against these built ins, (OK, iLife is not built into OS X but it is free with the computer) usually loses.
    Microsoft is the convicted monopolist here.
    Microsoft freezes out it’s competition whenever it adds another feature to the OS. Microsoft put’s it’s competition at a disadvantage every time it puts something in the OS that only Microsoft software engineers know about and can use.
    When Microsoft does these things they are abusing their monopoly. They should be helping the people who develope software for their OS not be trying to put them out of business.
    That’s what the fines are all about.

  • Why criticize the EU for taking action against an illegal monopoly when the US courts found MS guilty but were bought off by campaign contributions. Yep, the private sector can take care of it–no need for a government here–except for protecting the rich and using the military to keep the oil flowing.

  • I disagree.

    Microsoft has a near effective monopoly on the OS, as the US
    courts have recognized. They have abused this monopoly to prevent other developers from having equal access.

    The EU gave Microsoft time to come up with the documentation
    necessary to create equalilty. Microsoft chose to ignore this.

    The fines are punative, and they are the only thing that Microsoft
    will notice. In fact, they probably are not even big enough to make
    Microsoft comply.

  • Translation of the article:

    “I’ve dropped my shorts and I’ve got my hands around my ankles. Come and get me, Bill!”

    Sheesh. I love it when pundits cry because criminals are getting their just due. The EU’s only mistake here is being far too lenient.

  • If the Microsoft monopoly were not American, the U.S. government would have dismantled it years ago.

    Kudos to the EU for standing up against American hegemony.