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    1. #1
      FBI agent Ynot's Avatar
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      MS Loses EU Anti-Trust Appeal

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6998272.stm

      Microsoft has lost its appeal against a record 497m euro (343m; $690m) fine imposed by the European Commission in a long-running competition dispute.

      The European Court of First Instance upheld the ruling that Microsoft had abused its dominant market position.

      A probe concluded in 2004 that Microsoft was guilty of freezing out rivals in server software and products such as media players.

      Microsoft has two months to appeal at the European Court of Justice.

      "The Court of First Instance essentially upholds the Commission's decision finding that Microsoft abused its dominant position," the court's statement said.

      Microsoft's top lawyer said it was important now for the company to comply with EU competition law, but that it had not yet decided on its next legal steps.

      Trustee rejected

      It threw out just one small part of the European Commission's ruling, which had established an independent monitoring trustee to supervise Microsoft's behaviour.

      "The Court criticises, in particular, the obligation imposed on Microsoft to allow the monitoring trustee, independently of the Commission, access to its information, documents, premises and employees and also to the source code of its relevant products," it said.

      Microsoft has now been ordered to pay 80% of the Commission's legal costs, while the Commission has to carry a specific part of Microsoft's costs.

      The Commission welcomed the verdict. It will give its competition commissioner Neelie Kroes a much needed boost, after her office lost several high-profile anti-trust cases.

      Sharing information

      The 2004 ruling ordered Microsoft to ensure its products could operate with other computer systems by sharing information with rival software companies.

      It was also ordered to make a version of its Windows operating system available without Microsoft's Media Player software.

      Monday's ruling upheld that order, saying it was "beyond dispute" that Microsoft obliged customers to buy its Media Player software along with the operating system.

      Last year, Microsoft was told to pay daily fines adding up to 280.5 million euros over a six-month period, after it failed to adhere to the 2004 decision.

      Michael Reynolds, of law firm Allen & Overy, said the important thing was "that these principles of the judgement will not just apply to the Microsoft case".

      "They will apply to any dominant company that engages in the same behaviour. It's not just about Microsoft," said Mr Reynolds.

      "It provides legal certainty now as to what you can and you can't do in relation to information you have to make available to companies who compete in your environment to enable them to be a viable competitor," he added.

      "The court has upheld a landmark commission decision to give consumers more choice in software markets," Ms Kroes said in a statement.

      "Microsoft must now comply fully with its legal obligations to desist from engaging in anti-competitive conduct."
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    2. #2
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      I find it odd that the two things mentioned were servers and media. Doesn't Linux still have a pretty strong hold on the server market, not majority anymore, but still like 40%? And I know that Apple dominates the media market. There are lots of things Microsoft monopolized, weird that the article mentioned those two.

    3. #3
      FBI agent Ynot's Avatar
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      yeah, it's slightly misleading

      The "server" part relates to Samba, and the fact that Samba running on a *nix server is impeded in providing it's services to Windows machines due to MS not providing a documented API
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    4. #4
      FBI agent Ynot's Avatar
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      http://investing.reuters.co.uk/news/...SOFT-EU-DC.XML

      Microsoft finally bows to EU antitrust measures
      BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile , Research) ended three years of resistance on Monday and finally agreed to comply with a landmark 2004 antitrust decision by the European Commission.

      The defeated software giant announced it would not appeal against a decisive European Union court ruling two months ago that backed the Commission.

      "The repercussions of these changes will start now and will continue for years to come," Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes told a news conference, adding that Microsoft's agreement will have "profound effects" on the software industry.

      "It is a victory for the consumer," she said.

      Microsoft, which was fined nearly half a million euros in 2004 and a further 280.5 million euros ($400.6 million) in 2006 for non-compliance, faced the prospect of steep new fines if it did not accommodate the Commission.

      "As from today Microsoft has established compliance, no doubt about that," Kroes said. "There is no reason to impose further penalties on Microsoft as of this day."

      But she left open the possibility it could yet face fines for its lack of compliance between 2006 and now.

      Among other reversals, Microsoft will make available to so-called "open source" software developers information they need to make their programs work smoothly with Microsoft's Windows operating system for personal computers.

      Microsoft has also sliced high royalties for that interoperability information, the Commission said.

      Microsoft suffered a major defeat in September when the Court of First Instance in Luxembourg, the EU's number two court, upheld the 2004 ruling that the world's largest software maker abused its dominant market position to crush rivals.

      It backed the Commission on all major points.

      Among other things, the court upheld the Commission's finding that Microsoft failed to give rivals enough information so their work group server software would work as smoothly with Microsoft's desktop computers as Microsoft's own software.

      Work group server software is used in small office groups for signing on, file management and printing.

      The Commission said Microsoft had made substantial changes to its royalty program in three ways.

      First, open source software developers will be able to access and use the interoperability information. Microsoft will not assert patents against non-commercial open source software development projects.

      Second, the royalties payable for this information will be reduced to a nominal one-off payment of 10,000 euros.

      Third, the royalties for a worldwide license including patents will be reduced from 5.95 percent to 0.4 percent, far less than the 7 percent originally demanded by Microsoft.

      Any disagreements will be settled in London's High Court.

      Beyond that, Kroes said the company must comply with the decision, including for new software.

      Microsoft's new stance was signaled earlier this month, when the company withdrew from an appeal against a South Korean antitrust ruling. It had appealed to the Seoul High Court.

      Kroes personally negotiated with Microsoft President Steve Ballmer in a number of conversations including over a meal at a restaurant near her home town of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, she said.

      "I paid for the dinner," she said.
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    5. #5
      FBI agent Ynot's Avatar
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      The EU is launching another anti-trust probe

      http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post...ust-probe.html

      The first area of investigation will concern the interoperability of some of Microsoft's products, including Office 2007, the .NET Framework, and some of Microsoft's server products. The investigation stems from a complaint filed by the European Committee for Interoperable Systems, which alleges that the new Office Open XML does not play nice with competing products.
      Also a renewed look into anti-competitive browser bundling, following Opera's complaint lodged with the EU commission in December '07
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    6. #6
      Eprac Diem arby's Avatar
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      Damn. This is a huge amount of falling done by microsoft. Loosing ground in home computers, loosing ground in servers and loosing on the legal side.

    7. #7
      FBI agent Ynot's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by arby View Post
      loosing ground in servers
      failing to gain ground, maybe

      If anyone offered me a windows server
      I'd probably headbutt them
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