EU ends Microsoft antitrust probe; Accepts browser choice

EU ends Microsoft antitrust probe; Accepts browser choice

Summary: The European Commission has settled with Microsoft over its remaining antitrust issues. In a nutshell, the EU accepted Microsoft's plan to offer browser choice on PCs without bundling Windows and Internet Explorer together.

SHARE:

Updated: The European Commission said Wednesday that it has settled with Microsoft over its remaining antitrust issues. In a nutshell, the EU accepted Microsoft's plan to offer browser choice on PCs without bundling Windows and Internet Explorer together.

Microsoft's commitment to offer European PC users their choice of browsers and computer vendors to turn Internet Explorer off completely. Microsoft is also disclosing its interoperability plans.

EU's competition commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement:

Millions of European consumers will benefit from this decision by having a free choice about which web browser they use. Such choice will not only serve to improve people's experience of the internet now but also act as an incentive for web browser companies to innovate and offer people better browsers in the future.

In a statement, Microsoft said it was pleased with the deal. Under the deal, Microsoft will allow for a choice screen for five years in Europe. This screen will enable consumers to pick the browsers---Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera---they want to install.

In October, the EU agreed to market test Microsoft's browser proposal, which was made in July.

The move effectively ends the long-running Microsoft-EU antitrust spat. The EU, however, noted it will review Microsoft's settlement in two years. Meanwhile, the software giant will report back every six months to the EU.

As for the interoperability information, Microsoft will publish improved disclosure for third party developers.

Also: Report: Final Microsoft browser ballot may include Opera-suggested modifications

Topics: Microsoft, Browser, Enterprise Software, Government, Government UK, Security

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

292 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
    • Erm

      Browser choice is available to the rest of the world, only the European Commission idiots haven't realized it. You can use any browser in Windows, and don't need IE in Windows 7 for anything at all if you don't want to use it. This is just the EU's silly idea of how to spend taxpayer's money.
      yozzman
      • agreed

        i just made the same point in another post
        mrjoctave
        • Most folks use IE because it's there in Windows - no thinking involved.

          They don't think to use another browser or aren't going to go through the trouble of setting one up or simply are too scared to try something different. What this all adds up to is that other browsers aren't given a chance because Microsoft pushes its own browser on folks as part of the Windows OS. This is just one example of how Microsoft has earned itself the monopoly title and the treatment it so richly deserves.
          softwareFlunky
          • Thats absolutely ridiculous.

            "people are to scared to try something different" or the "trouble setting up" a browser??? and thats MS is fault????

            If MS should bundle all browsers with its OS then this should be applied to all OS's and not just MS.

            And by the way, MS became a monopoly on the back of its OS success and not IE, has it used IE to maintain its monopoly? maybe.... but to make the points you have just sounds ludicrous (and i'm not trying to be offensive)
            mrjoctave
            • OS monopoly...

              and the sharp practices were what the case was originally about. This browser sideshow has somehow taken over and dilluted the importance of the issues at hand.

              The issues raised above (scared and trouble setting up software) are true. I see it every day. Heck, I have to deal with users who don't understand the difference between Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer! Who come and ask me to sort out there computer every time Windows displays a dialog (usually asking if changes should be saved or the print dialog)!

              I still think the browser sideshow was a waste of time and money. That it has taken the focus away from the other issues is also poor, and the press aren't blameless in this.
              wright_is
            • The browser sideshow doesn't dilute the issues, it sets the framework -

              for dealing with them. First, brand Microsoft a monopoly in the public eye, for removing choice by incorporating media player and IE browser into/with Windows, then nail Microsoft's head to the wall for withholding documentation and no one, the media included, will give it more than a moments thought. I'm not saying that the EU planned it this way, but if they did, it was pretty clever. If the EU first went after Microsoft for issues, like documentation, that consumers would have a hard time identifying with, the EU wouldn't have public sentiment on its side when it pulls out a hammer and nails, almost as soon as it starts.
              softwareFlunky
            • Its the same principals.

              The level of user knowledge has nothing to do with MS, they can't be responsible for teaching every user how to use a computer, and if they did, then the educational establishments would probably complain about anti-competitive practices in that field :0).

              The EU and the competition just want MS to supply a bare frame operating system which would have no software installed at all. Yes this would even out the playing field, but how many buyers would buy a PC that they can do nothing with until they install some software, can't play music or video cause there's no media player, can't type a document because there's no document editor and can't surf the internet cause there's no browser.

              What will happen is you will still get straddled with software you haven't choosen because the PC manufacturers will be open to the highest bidder or even more propriety software.

              MS can't win what ever they do.... unless they do an Apple and create there own PC/Hardware/Software... and boy will those monopolist mongers have a field day.
              mrjoctave
            • Smarten up softwareFlunky

              they [i]did[/i] make a version without media player, it was called WindowsXP, "N".

              Nobody bought it.
              John Zern
            • @softwareflunky

              The original issue wasn't anything to do with IE or MediaPlayer.

              The original issues were Microsoft's marketing practices in the channel.

              Like Intel, they used illegal pressure on OEMs.

              Selling a server with Novell NetWare installed? The manufacturer still had to pay MS for a DOS licence! Same for machine sold with UNIX or Linux etc.

              The other key point was the lack of documentation for a lot of their server side APIs and protocols, which unfairly excluded competitors from writing products on Windows or to co-operate with Windows.

              RealPlayer and Opera both stuck their oar in and side-tracked most of the media attention to a more minor issue.

              For a start, they were a couple of decades late! MS-DOS came with non-OS applications, like an editor, debugger, BASICA, QBasic etc. and some games. Windows went further, when it came along, including things like Solitaire, Wordpad, Notepad, Paint etc. Years later, RealPlayer and Opera kicked up a fuss... Too little, too late.

              To me, it was the other practices which needed curbing. The whole browser thing is just a sideshow.

              The problem is, for the main press, it is the one they can jump on, because it is easier for Joe Public to understand in short soundbites, talking about server side API and protocol documentation and before you've finished the headline, most of the audience has fallen asleep or changed channels.

              The EU had done their work with the initial judgement and fine. The browser wars have detracted from that judgement, because it just sounds like the EU bending over for Opera. By the time Opera jumped on the bandwagon, IE's market share was already in free fall and Firefox had proven that you didn't need regulation to take market share...

              If Opera manage to get over 30% market share due to this, I'll eat my words. ;)
              wright_is
            • For a start, they were a couple of decades late!

              And that's why Microsoft thumbs their figurative nose at the EU, the DOJ, you, me, and all their "users", while paying off the press (oh yeah, and "lobbying" Congress). By the time the case is dragged through the courts and appealed repeatedly, and the market catches up with their skulduggery, the effect is nil, while Microsoft has pilfered enough loot to pay all fines and still have a few hundred million (if not billions) left over.

              You hit the nail right smack on the head, Mr. Wright.
              Ole Man
            • You are right Ole Man. Way too late. obnoxious enough to allow it...

              because any true and non corrupt court of law would have never heard this case to begin with, since it was so old. But in the EU, they overlook proper court ethics when it comes to MS and other U.S. companies.
              Besides that, and prove it wrong if you can, Google was Advertising a Google-ized version of IE7 for a long while ahead of Chrome being released. It was all over the web, which Google owns and controls and doles out bandwidth as THEY see fit. But the corrupt EU/EC still saw fit to allow Google to speak against Microsoft. That is pure corruption of the courts and the EU governing body.
              Why not take your anger to the courts in the EU and a wad of cash and they'll probably hear your case, if you bend over for them.
              You go on these senile sounding rants constantly, turning a blind eye to the corruption of the monopoly law creating and enforcing body of all of Europe.
              Wow.
              xuniL_z
            • they overlook proper court ethics when it comes to MS

              Ethics? ETHICS? We're talking about Microsoft and you want to drag ethics into it? You're about 25 years late and a few hundred billion bucks short.

              Sounds like your sour grapes about anyone opposing your chosen software rogue. And you babbling on about MY hatred? Ha! Get thee behind me, satan.
              Ole Man
            • Sour grapes and satan. You actually said that?

              Sour grapes? You have posted vein popping rants and fits and whinings and cryings about Microsoft for decades and you claim "sour grapes" on someone else? You are a crazy old man. If you weren't just zeke and one of his Characters. Sure live in the U.S., but trash it every chance you get. You are the great satan.
              And your only rebuttal is "corruption for corruption" is fair. But only when it works for you. Other times you argue the EU/EC or open source or whatever your socialist friends are supporting that day, and claim the high ground and ethics as pure as the driven snow.
              I am not angel, but I don't change my story everytime it's convenient nor my nic nor my position on things.
              You do these things w/o a thought of morality because you have a sick perverted criminal mind, the likes of which anyone that's ever been at Microsoft has never even approached.
              You have more of Steve Jobs kind of immoral way of thinking.
              xuniL_z
            • Please post examples

              Of my ranting and name calling, even remotely approaching your sophistry and foaming at the mouth.

              I leave it to the readers to decide where the truth lies.

              Ha ha, truth don't lie with you, and you don't lie with truth, methinks.
              Ole Man
            • Maybe i was a bit hasty in my last post....

              because i'm actually beginning to enjoy this. Well here's an extract from one of your posts, as a matter of fact, here's the whole post:

              "Ethics? ETHICS? We're talking about Microsoft and you want to drag ethics into it? You're about 25 years late and a few hundred billion bucks short.

              Sounds like your sour grapes about anyone opposing your chosen software rogue. And you babbling on about MY hatred? Ha! Get thee behind me, satan."

              hiding behind abstraction and suggestion and then denying the said is a real novel approach to trying to get the desired reaction.

              Okay here's a breakdown for you... one of your first post:

              "And that's why Microsoft thumbs their figurative nose at the EU, the DOJ, you, me, and all their "users", while paying off the press (oh yeah, and "lobbying" Congress). By the time the case is dragged through the courts and appealed repeatedly, and the market catches up with their skulduggery, the effect is nil, whie Microsoft has pilfered enough loot to pay all fines and still have a few hundred million (if not billions) left over.

              You hit the nail right smack on the head, Mr. Wright."

              Here you are agreeing with some-one, note there are no facts or real examples of why the person you are responding to is right or why you agree, just insults and hatred towards a company you don't like, oh sorry, there was one piece of factual information included in that rant (can you spot it).

              You then go on to say:

              TITLE: Please post examples
              "Of my ranting and name calling, even remotely approaching your sophistry and foaming at the mouth.

              I leave it to the readers to decide where the truth lies.

              Ha ha, truth don't lie with you, and you don't lie with truth, methinks. "

              Now this one is a little clever, but shallow at the least, you ask for examples of your rantings and ravings, which is clear to see (even from the above few posts i've included in THIS post, the whole posts and not just abstracts which you like to use), but you then finish off with a comparison, and he quotes "even remotely approaching your sophistry and foaming at the mouth".

              Great deflection, but you where still ranting and raving insults.

              So your whole game is not to pass on knowledge or information relating to the context but to incite hostility to satisfy your own ego, whilst believing that the majority in here don't really read through all the post so they don't really catch the drift of what's being debated, hence dumb (not informed on the subject) enough to be open to your suggestions.

              The thing is, i'm not here to influence anyones mind over what company they should buy from, i'm here to listen, learn and discuss, idea's and opinions.

              You sound like you have a bit of intellect, but that should not be mistaken for intelligence.

              A sign of intelligence is the ability to assess things from other perspectives other then your own. But you would see that as a contradiction, or even stupid.
              mrjoctave
            • Your cunning clever ingenious intellect is masterfully brilliant, oh mrjoct

              Your quick wit and ingenuity have wisely judged and convicted me in one fell swoop, dropping me like a tall Oak tree. Your uncanny skillful ability to delve into the celestial ethereal thread of mystic secrets have found out my ?whole game?, and bared it to the world.

              The mystery here is what MY personality has to do with Microsoft?s recorded history of malfeasance, dirty tricks, and illegal behavior, and what drives your pompous conceited supercilious imagination to believe that my mention of such behaviour constitutes ranting while you hold yourself and your cronies innocent? Perhaps the overblown egotistic essence of your hubris can explain it? After all, you?re not the only one here ?to listen, learn and discuss, idea's and opinions?. What leads you to the presumptuous swaggering conclusion that your rants and insults should incur no response?

              Pride goeth before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling. A healthy dose of humility could serve thee well.
              Ole Man
            • My point exactly

              How eloquent you are, and your intellect far outweighs my own, it's just ashame you don't have the intelligence to match. If i wanted to recite Shakespeare, Socratese (or anyone else for that matter)word for word then maybe i would appear as intellectually equipped as your self, but to memorize a writing rather then understanding the writings is not of a greater affluence to me.

              You see this is the difference between you and i, where you make judgements i make assessments, that's because i am intelligent enough to know things can change including people. So to feel i have judged you can only be a measure/reflection of ones own insecurities/personality.

              And yes i have ranted, but even my rants are declared (JUSTIFACTION???) and in accordance with the context.

              You deal with specifics, i deal with the whole that's the bottom line.

              You dislike MS because of the actions it has taken (specific businesses), i dislike capitalism (businesses in general) for the very same thing(s), but i don't make it my intention to force my dislikes on everyone and at any given opportunity, there are better ways to get my points across.

              Now i am going way off of the subject in continuing to participate in this personal debate, so i kindly ask that if you wish to discuss something pertaining to the original story, or even respond adequately to my original post that would keep us on track with the subject, then please do. Otherwise, lets leave it at that.

              PS: In spiritual i think you will find i am also very well informed, but i try to keep that separated from non spiritual subjects, although some of my reasoning can be related. And if there's one thing i know, a lot of people use spiritual wordings because they sound so powerful, however, it does not make YOUR conjectures true.
              mrjoctave
            • Just to finally clear up your obvious confusion

              (and for the benefit of any readers who are still following your line of BS)

              You published a statement, under the heading ?Using extremities is a bit harsh?
              that ?I'm not saying MS has not done some immoral things, but business in general is immoral?
              To which I responded with authoritative proof of MY statement (http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=1688) under the heading ?Conspiracy is illegal and, in addition, is regarded as immoral?
              concluding with the remark ?I find no justification for your remark that:"business in general is immoral". And since you admit that: "MS has done some immoral things", what other excuse do you have for them??

              To which you responded: ?JUSTIFICATION???, blah blah blah blah blay-la-lalaa- la la ?
              ?Ignorance is bliss? blah blah yada yada yada You asked me to justify saying business in general is immoral? (NO, I didn?t ask YOU to justify ANYTHING, I asked you ?what other excuse do you have for them??)

              You continued: ?My inteligence IS far superior to yours, blah blah blah yada yada blah blah blah?
              and ?You are a silly man? blah blah Merry Christmas?

              Now, in response to your latest diatribe: ?My point exactly?, I surrender! You sound like a second year fifth grader (flunked the first year) trying to expound on the technical aspects of an uncomplicated formula to boil water, to a college professor. I concede. You hold the key to the universe. All you need do is figure out where to plug it in.
              Ole Man
            • Interesting.....

              As i said, your purpose is to influence peoples decisions/minds, and i quote:

              "(and for the benefit of any readers who are still following your line of BS)"

              case in point; this is a stage for you, where its a place to discuss idea's and opinions on the subject at hand from my perspective, but i will continue in the same vain as you.

              Now lets take your last post and make some sense of it by actually identifying the cause of confusion.

              YOUR POST
              "You published a statement, under the heading ?Using extremities is a bit harsh?"

              LINK TO NAMED POST AND THE POST IT WAS RESPONDING TO

              The post i was responding to:
              http://talkback.zdnet.com/5208-10532-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=72859&messageID=1411010&tag=content;col1

              MY POST - Using extremities is a bit harsh:
              http://talkback.zdnet.com/5208-10532-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=72859&messageID=1411422&tag=content;col1

              And the follow up to that discussion: Good Points:
              http://talkback.zdnet.com/5208-10532-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=72859&messageID=1412053&tag=content;col1

              Now notice how myself and Viva have conducted in a civil manner, exchanging disagreements and agreements in an informative manner.

              YOUR POST (CONTINUED)
              "that ?I'm not saying MS has not done some immoral things, but business in general is immoral?
              To which I responded with authoritative proof of MY statement (http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=1688) under the heading ?Conspiracy is illegal and, in addition, is regarded as immoral?"

              This is where YOU must of gotten confused because even when using an abstract from my post where i clearly state MS is immoral and i also state that so is business in general, you go and post a link to why businesses in general are immoral, actually proving my point, BUSINESS IS IMMORAL IN GENERAL.

              Here's the link you posted:
              http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=1688

              try reading the links you post and just in case you haven't it talks about businesses in general being immoral not just MS. Its title even suggest that business cannot be completely moral (Title: How moral can a business be).... again reinforcing my statement that businesses in general are immoral.

              YOUR POST (CONTINUED)
              "concluding with the remark ?I find no justification for your remark that:"business in general is immoral". And since you admit that: "MS has done some immoral things", what other excuse do you have for them??"

              So you post a post in the suggestion that i am wrong in stating that businesses in general are immoral with a link to a document that actually confirms (and justifies) my statement?????, you have even gone as far as saying the said link is authoritative proof.

              YOUR POST (CONTINUED)
              "To which I responded with authoritative proof of MY statement (http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=1688) under the heading ?Conspiracy is illegal and, in addition, is regarded as immoral?"

              So whose confused???

              hence, i responded with a rant, hence, the CAPITALIZATION and question marks (???) in the title of my response suggesting just that (a rant), and yes it was a rant because i couldn't believe how stupid you where being.

              here's the link to the said post - JUSTIFICATION???:
              http://talkback.zdnet.com/5208-10532-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=72859&messageID=1411716&tag=content;col1

              YOUR POST (CONTINUED)
              "To which you responded: ?JUSTIFICATION???, blah blah blah blah blay-la-lalaa- la la ?"

              Already posted a link to the post being referred to(just above) but here's a link to your response to that post:
              http://talkback.zdnet.com/5208-10532-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=72859&messageID=1412679&tag=content;col1

              You even go as far as suggesting i have a defect in character as a result of ignorance in that one.

              YOUR POST (CONTINUED)
              "?Ignorance is bliss? blah blah yada yada yada"

              Ignorance is bliss was the response to the above post and the link is here:
              http://talkback.zdnet.com/5208-10532-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=72859&messageID=1413245&tag=content;col1

              YOUR POST(CONTINUED)
              "You asked me to justify saying business in general is immoral? (NO, I didn?t ask YOU to justify ANYTHING, I asked you ?what other excuse do you have for them??)"

              That is correct, but you did say you see no justifications in my statement of "business is immoral in general", hence any response i give in relation to that IS/BECOMES a justification, or don't you understand that?

              YOUR POST (CONTINUED)
              "You continued: ?My inteligence IS far superior to yours, blah blah blah yada yada blah blah blah?
              and ?You are a silly man? blah blah Merry Christmas?"

              So whats changed about my assessment? here's the links to those posts anyway:

              My inteligence IS far superior to yours:
              http://talkback.zdnet.com/5208-10532-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=72859&messageID=1413556&tag=content;col1

              and

              You are a silly man:
              http://talkback.zdnet.com/5208-10532-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=72859&messageID=1413787&tag=content;col1

              YOUR POST (CONTINUED)
              "Now, in response to your latest diatribe: ?My point exactly?,"

              which is here - My point exactly:
              http://talkback.zdnet.com/5208-10532-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=72859&messageID=1414200&tag=content;col1

              which was in response to this post from you:
              http://talkback.zdnet.com/5208-10532-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=72859&messageID=1414045&tag=content;col1

              and i am currently dissecting the post you responded with (to "My point exactly")

              YOUR POST (CONTINUED)
              " I surrender! You sound like a second year fifth grader (flunked the first year) trying to expound on the technical aspects of an uncomplicated formula to boil water, to a college professor. I concede. You hold the key to the universe. All you need do is figure out where to plug it in."
              END OF YOUR POST

              I'm not even about to comment on the above, but please, don't try and dress yourself as a victim here.

              So lets clear this up once more, i make a comment saying business in general is immoral, you find no justification in this comment yet post a link confirming my statement.... and i'm confused???

              Like i said, your intellect is good but your showing, once again, your lack of intelligence and i did warn you not to confuse the two.

              There's only one way to deny what i said as not being true (business in general is immoral) and that is by saying that it is not immoral to exchange something for capital gain (sell something for more then its real value).

              The question is, do you have enough humility to now answer that question truthfully, or will pride continue to be what destroys you.
              mrjoctave
            • but business in general is immoral?

              Insane!

              Such babbling is why business has gone to the dogs.

              Could I make it any plainer? (that's not a question, its the answer)
              Ole Man