Quit pickin' on Microsoft, EU

Let me tell you something about Windows Media Player. I am not only a user, but I've encoded for it.

Let me tell you something about Windows Media Player. I am not only a user, but I've encoded for it.

Having been there, I don't think it is the business of any court to order Microsoft to sell a version of Windows without Windows Media Player.

Not only do I like the integration with Windows, but its not that this integration has thwarted rivals like Adobe's Flash technology, Apple QuickTime, and RealNetworks' RealPlayer.

Yet try telling that to a bunch of judges- most of which, I'd bet, wouldn't know what a Flash or QuickTime file was if it bit them in the assignation.

But some of these judges somehow feel the law is on their side.

As I note in my RSS (Regulations, Statutes and Standards) blog, the European Union's 13-judge Court of First Instance has upheld a 2004 European Commission antitrust decision against Microsoft.

The Commission had found three years ago that Microsoft needed to sell a version of its Windows platform without Windows Media Player, as well as to share information with competitors that would ensure widespread office server interoperability with Windows.

Counting supplementary "non-compliance" fees, Microsoft's cumulative fine is now 970 million Euros. That's be around $1.345 billion U.S.

Microsoft is no mellow competitor, but why should they be forced to unhook Windows Media Player from Windows? It's not that the bundle-in gives them a huge advantage. Flash and QT are so ubiquitous, that virtually any Web user attempting to access Flash or QT will quickly run into a prompt, and link, to download Flash Player or QT to view the content.

OK. The judges have spoken. I've spoken. Now's your turn.

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