Hide Techdirt is off for the long weekend! We'll be back with our regular posts tomorrow.

Why The Rest Of Tech Industry May Not Be Happy About The EU/Microsoft Decision

from the they're-coming-for-you-next dept

While some in the tech industry are cheering the EU’s decision to stick to its antitrust fines and penalties against Microsoft, it may not be such a good thing for the industry as a whole. We were already wondering how the decision benefited customers in any way, and Fortune Magazine is noting that this could spell trouble for other successful American tech companies, who have caught the eye of EU antitrust regulators. Intel, Apple and Google are all being looked at carefully — and with the success against Microsoft notched away, it could be tougher for these other firms to win. If there really is a monopoly problem, making competition nearly impossible, you can make an argument for the government to step in. However, most of these cases look more like European regulators just looking to see how they can punish American tech firms for being successful. Obviously, this doesn’t matter nearly as much for smaller firms and startups — but should those firms become successful and start to grow rapidly, they too could face the same challenges in Europe.

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: apple, google, intel, microsoft

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Why The Rest Of Tech Industry May Not Be Happy About The EU/Microsoft Decision”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Bigpicture says:

Is this Anti-American, Gee I Wonder Why.

Mommy, Mommy they are picking on me, they have ganged up on the school yard bully, I wonder why?

Maybe some self examination and self assessment(and self realization) might be in order here, for every behavior provokes a reaction. Change your intentions and corresponding behaviors and the reaction to you changes. So it seems that the last thing to be realized, is that it not others that need to change but you. Is it really that hard to see this simple truth???? Is America really that blind about how the world perceives them??? Civilization always moves west, when the previous center of civilization goes into decay, so just how long do you think before China is the industrial Super Power???

Mike says:

My goodness

Yet another insular America point of view. Suddenly the US monopoly is challenged by people trying to open up for free trade and there is an outcry. Had this been the US courts challenging MS, do you want to bet this would have created a different reaction? You betcha.

Genuinely, do these anti-EU antagonists not realise how horribly, seriously damaged the USA reputation is in the world? Even the UK now smiles wriley and shakes it’s head at the narrow minded outlook.

And none of that utter cr*p about saving the world single-handed .. yadda yadda. THat’s the view that got you into the mess you are in and dragged others with you kicking and screaming.

Grow up and start behaving like adults and not spoilt children who have had their toys removed.

Geesh – 90% of the US can’t even find Europe on the map πŸ™‚

ps. Spitfire would run amok over Mustangs πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Vir (profile) says:

Re: My goodness

I like how the anti-American response is the best that comes out of Europe.

All the Americans are saying is that the idea of giving competitors your IP is dumb and counter productive. But what comes out the Europeans is America is at war and we don’t like it. America is a bunch of bullies, etc.

Regardless of the war or politics this just becomes a bad idea on the part of the courts. Let’s say I’m BMW. I create a car that get 100 mph, has a great ride and costs 12K USD. BMW will quickly gain in the market. Depending on how I do things, I might beat GM/Toyota in a few years. Now I’m in the sights of the EU courts.

Should I have to give my competitors, a group of individuals who want to see me fail, the secret to high, cheap mileage? No. But the Socialists in the EU court say, “yes.” So now what happens? Europe doesn’t make any great innovations and becomes even more meaningless that it already is.

glitch says:

Mike, you might be right

free trade should not be restricted to microsux only

winblows is an OS, now, and more like a platform

linux is close, but not there yet
i’m afraid it never will be
you cant make money off of free

which part of Europe do you want me to point out ???

Europe in not a single country, as is the US
to me Europe is like North America

you will get no argument from me on saving the world
Junior should have respected his father [who knew better]
then it could have been discussed in the UN for how many years ?? it doesn’t matter, Iraq needs to fight it out, and the world decides what they are willing to deal with

and the US courts did beat down m$, but Junior walked away from it

glitch says:

Mike, you might be right

free trade should not be restricted to microsux only

winblows is an OS, now, and more like a platform

linux is close, but not there yet
i’m afraid it never will be
you cant make money off of free

which part of Europe do you want me to point out ???

Europe in not a single country, as is the US
to me Europe is like North America

you will get no argument from me on saving the world
Junior should have respected his father [who knew better]
then it could have been discussed in the UN for how many years ?? it doesn’t matter, Iraq needs to fight it out, and the world decides what they are willing to deal with

and the US courts did beat down m$, but Junior walked away from it

RandomThoughts (user link) says:

Mike (black Mike, not blue Mike)your Spitfire would win that battle, too bad your military still has to rely on them πŸ™‚

Maybe you should be concerned a bit more with your part of the world, as you are seeing the war a whole lot closer than us Americans do. Sure, we are fighting in Iraq, but your immigration problems and your economy problems are a whole lot worse, so maybe you should figure those out before you go popping off about how bad America is.

Mike says:

Re: Re:

hehe Random – shame the dreadful US lending policy is causing world-wide issues. Who had to just lower interest rates ’cause the economy would fall through the floor. Oh – and who has the majority of the amazing county debt held by China. Hmm .. not any of Europe I feel πŸ™‚

The issue is the dual standards _imposed_ on the world by the US in their arrogant pursuit of forcing the american dream on the world. It was a point of view a decade ago but no longer. This has caused much of the resentment that now shows to excess – it is a pendulum effect sadly; one that has swung too far for sure – but swung it has.

Aside from France (ok – a really bad exception I will admit .. ugg), the simple fact is that the free trade espoused by the US has historically been one aimed at giving the US the trade advantage. Look at the plethora of world trade disputes raised and upheld. The EU is genuine about trying for a liberal trade policy with the UK an extreme advocate even when it ruins her own economy as a result (even bananas were not safe). The nature of Europe being a union of sovereign states has meant co-operation was essential if trade was to flourish. I feel the US has buried it’s head in the sand in this regard for so long that the world has just shrugged it’s shoulders and moved on leaving it behind. Too late it now realises that trade deficts and poor manufacturing quality is a recipe for ruin over even a medium term. I mean, have you actually driven a USA Escort vs the European one? We actually laugh at the truly dreadful build quality and performance of most US produced vehices when over on holiday.

Oh yes – would love to still have Spitfires running – wonderful. Shame we now have to rely on the Euro fighter build in 3 countries Great plane but politics ruined a really good program; built by committee.

The whole war issue has left such a bitter taste in the mouths of people who, at first, supported the effort (like me).

For a really tiny county (try to realise just how small we are!), we have lost a huge number of our soldiers in proportion yet I hear countless reports on the news of US citizens denigrating the effort we make. And that followed decades of the US supporting the IRA who murdered and maimed women and children in the name of .. err .. bugger all. Only when you REALLY needed our support internationally did it suddently become politically adept to tell the IRA to back off. 100’s of lives could have been saved if the USA had seen the IRA as the murderers they were rather than heros of some sort and giving millions in support. Why was the IRA different to Iraq insurgents? Merely political perspective. More than 1,800 people died in their hands yet they were still free to fund raise and act like freedom fighters.

It is all matter of taking a world view rather than just the short-term political needs of a highly amusing yet dangerous world leader (use of the word in the loosest sense). The USA has never been good at this – and has reaped the consequences. It is sad for everyone but no getting away from it. If you could honestly see the USA from the EU perspective, you might be very chagrined.

Us Brits learned the same bitter lesson with our Empire, sadly history is something few been it necessary to learn from.

Anonymous Coward says:

When you sow the wind you reap the whirlwind.

The US had and still has the opportunity to do something about the unnatural monopoly that our laws created called Microsoft.

Failure for the US to break them up means that somebody else will.

Think of it this way Stalin, Moe, and a few others in all their power could not create a world wide totalitarian government what makes anyone think that one US company by means of US law is going to do that. One company that controls ALL information flow by means of controlling ALL computer operating system. If you want to use a computer you must verify that you are who you say you are with one company – WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage). One company that owns ALL data in the world (read your EULA). One company that can turn on and off your computer on their whim (Vista checks in with MS hourly to verify you are a legitimate user).

Folks this is not going to happen.

World wars have taken place over less real provocation than Microsoft generates today.

4-80-sicks says:

Here’s the New York Times article I was reading on this earlier… http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/18/technology/18soft.html?ref=technology

I don’t understand this whole case, I never have. I remember the browser wars, Navigator vs Internet Explorer; but I don’t understand how including a media player constitutes an anti-competition stance, except in the way that any software included with an operating system fights competition.

Glitch: you cant make money off of free

I don’t see what money has to do with it. Sure, that has been Microsoft’s strategy, but that doesn’t mean the software wouldn’t be used. Witness Firefox and [recently] Opera, any of a dozen free media players, etc. and so forth.

Mike (comment 8): What a lot of misplaced vitriol. This is not about “leave poor Microsoft alone,” this is about danger to the market resulting from punishing companies for rapid growth.

happymellon says:

Re: 4-80-sicks

This isn’t about rapid growth either. MS has controlled the market for quite a while. The punishment for the bundling IS NOT about the act of bundling. The problem they have is that when you bundle with no additional charge it creates an imbalance in regards to web browsers/media player that makes it almost impossible to have a new entrant.

You can bundle but you have to make sure that consumers understand that they do have a choice and that your product is technically superior not just the only choice. You have that obligation when you hold 40% or more of a market in Europe. We have been held back due to IE being so dire and Microsoft approach that it is the only web browser out there so consumers are held ignorant.

hapymellon says:


Ok, out of the historical pseudo-political rant this seems to have moved on to.

The EU has prosecuted plenty of monopolies for the good of Europe. Most of them being European state built monopolies like France Telecom. Just because a darling company has fallen foul of both the US and the EU, and only the EU seems to be actually following through with the punishment.

Case in point, look at the plenty of monopolies and cartels in the US that you complain about all the time. Telcos, media companies, realtor’s. There is plenty to fix in the US before you go bad mouthing the EU for trying to fix what is perceived as a problem when we can even stick to our own guns.

FUSE5K says:

To be honest I can see why the eurocrats have made this ruling. Do you honestly think that europe wants all of its IT to be monopolised by American companies?

What i would have said to microsoft is, dont include media player with any computer that ships to Europe. Just make it the first automatic update after you turn on the computer.

Woulda saved them a shitload…

Paul says:

One thing is mainly hidden in the CNN article and this blog:

MS already complied and unbundled the media player in the EU (although it was still part of this courts decision) but the biggest problem, that eventually led to the court decision is: interfaces!!

MS refused several times (and played for time) to document the interfaces of the most prevalent OS. Essentially, they wanted that everybody has to buy a licence (NDA and everything) thereby locking out Open Source and smaller companies from taking advantage of all the nice hidden undocumented features used by MS products in Windows.
Talk about a nice edge, for a monopoly.

The main issue for the EU was leveling the field: MS sells an OS and everybody (MS included) can develop software running on it and compete without one party having an unfair advantage.
MS talked a lot, played for time, released a more or less worthless pile of documentation, talked more and played for more time. The EU antitrust didn’t buy it (since MS hadn’t complied with the real issues at hand) and imposed said fines.

So the main issues are not IP rights or bundling but interface documentation for everyone (otherwise everyone coding a software for Windows is essential illegally using MS IP rights for interfaces).
Which, in my opinion, is a reasonable demand for an OS!

And btw, Apple already got problems in Norway for his iTunes DRM…
Locking out the competition seems to be not so easy in the EU as in the US. Good for us – and yeah, I am from that side of the ocean πŸ™‚


Mad Mike says:

Dear E.U.

From: Bill Gates
To: E.U.
Subject: You win.
Dear E.U.
You win. I’ll pay. To avoid antagonizing you in the future I’ll also ban sales of new OS to you, block your IP’s from updates (your members generate a large number of the zeros days anyway), and stop issuing continued coverage for existing software.
Have a nice meltdown,
Uncle Bill

glitch says:

why all this other crap all the time

what does Muslim have to do with any of this ??
what does the US, as well, have to do with this ??

we are talking about technology
not politics nor religion

i guess i started things off talking about warplanes and stuff, but my point was missed

i dont think the US will invade members of the EU if they quit using winblows..m$ is a corporation based in the US but it IS NOT the US

almost every program i have on my computer is a US based companys’ program

i do buy Ashampoo products because i like them and they are reasonable priced

i have purchased Linux in the past [well. mandrake any way]
but you know what ?? ashampoo only does winblows. so i stay

i have 2 friends who own isp’s here in the US, but you know what ?? both run their businesses on free bsd..the only m$ products they use are for tech support for their customers

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop Β»

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...