EU to fine Microsoft ‘hundreds of millions of euros,’ strip Windows Media Player from Windows

“Microsoft has broken European Union antitrust law and must face sanctions, according to a draft decision expected to win endorsement on Monday from an advisory committee of the 15 EU states,” Reuters reports. “The European Commission draft requires Microsoft to share proprietary information with rival server makers and to provide computer manufacturers with a second version of Windows stripped of built-in audiovisual software, sources familiar with the case say.”

“EU regulators have found that the world’s biggest software company has refused to halt its violations. Since continuing settlement talks have produced no deal, the ruling sets out detailed plans to impose changes,” Reuters reports. “The advisory panel of national antitrust experts is also expected to endorse a fine of hundreds of millions of euros, but not until a second and final meeting on March 22.”

Reuters reports., “The advisory committee is expected to endorse a proposal requiring Microsoft to ship two versions of Windows to computer makers, which account for most sales of the operating system, for installation in computers sold in Europe, the sources say. One version would have Microsoft Windows Media Player tied in as it is now. The other would have it stripped out. The aim is to free computer makers to sell Windows bundled with rival audiovisual software such as RealNetworks

23 Comments

  1. It’s about F’in time someone did something against these bastards. The US ruling was a farce as we all know. At least the EU is showing some balls in their ruling.

  2. I guess this is good but if computer manufacturers have two versions, one with and one without, why would they install the one without? Also couldn’t M$ bring pressure behind the scenes to ensure that manufacturers do elect to install the “with” version? I think it would have been better to have them all ship “without” and let the users download a player of their choice from the internet. Still I guess it is a step in the right direction.

  3. Ahh, it’s good to see that the Euro commission has the balls to stick it to Microsoft. Even though they were found guilty in US courts, our justice system lacked the backbone to really penalize them for years of abuse, which resulted in their dominance, as well as the demise of many good companies that they forced out of business.

  4. too bad the bush administration is in micosoft’s pocket.

    maybe one day the asshats we have in the federal trade commission will open their eyes up here in the U.S. as well…

  5. What about the Quicktime player which is also standard included in Mac OS X ( & any Classic OS ) . Could this backfire on Apple & make them require a Mac OS X without Quicktime for Europe ?

  6. re: “Apple User”‘s comment above, “What about the Quicktime player which is also standard included in Mac OS X ( & any Classic OS ) . Could this backfire on Apple & make them require a Mac OS X without Quicktime for Europe ?”

    Apple does NOT limit anyone from producing quality software, media players or otherwise, for Mac OS. Microsoft has been found guilty of embedding code to restrict the performance of competing applications. This is why Window’s coding needs to be more open; “Let’s really see what’s behind that curtain.” Obviously, their excuse to remain hidden to insure a more secure OS is not very valid with 80,000+ viruses/trojans in existence.

    Granted, Microsoft could still cripple other aps in the MediaPlayer-less version, but they would suffer from people doing comparisons and coming to the conclusion that Windows is a poor media performer.

    With all of the Dells sitting in the newsrooms, I do not think this is going to get much airtime in the US news media.

  7. “Other than leveling a hefty fine their way, I don’t see this ruling dramatically altering Microsoft’s business practices.” – rageous

    I think being forced to divorce WMP from Windows does force Microsoft to alter their business practice in one way. They were caught in a lie when they said WMP couldn’t be separated from Windows. The next time they have the urge to combine an app to the OS, EU (or DoJ for that matter) won’t believe what MS say and can simply point to this as a precedence that the app can be separated from Windows. I hope DoJ see EU vs. MS as a good lesson for learning how to deal with corporate bullies.

    “What about the Quicktime player which is also standard included in Mac OS X ( & any Classic OS ) . Could this backfire on Apple & make them require a Mac OS X without Quicktime for Europe ?” – Apple User

    Your scenario is missing one ingredient: Abusive monopoly
    Apple is not an abusive monopoly and they don’t have to play by the same rule as MS.

  8. donnie writes: “too bad the bush administration is in micosoft’s pocket”

    Three things not to talk about in public: Sex, religion, and politics. Who was President when the case was going on? Which party received the most amount of money? Pay friends and foe’s the same, that way when one win’s both sides are covered.

  9. A fine of hundreds of millions could get their attention. Money is really the only thing M$ cares about, so it’s really the only way to control them. A loss of tenths of billions will be felt.

  10. egads: “Three things not to talk about in public: Sex, religion, and politics.”

    You mean when they’re combined, or just separately. Personally, I like it when nerds talk sex.

  11. Hundreds of millions of Euros added to the EU budget! Watch out for a new overpriced office building going up in Strasbourg or Brussels.

    Better Billy G and Monkey-boy Ballmer pay for it than you or me, eh?

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