The EU: Too much control over the tech sector (and Microsoft) ?

The EU: Too much control over the tech sector (and Microsoft) ?

Summary: You can't understand the technology deals without being fluent in EU regulator-speak. And you also can't grasp Microsoft's next move without pondering what the European Union will do.


You can't understand the technology deals without being fluent in EU regulator-speak. And you also can't grasp Microsoft's next move without pondering what the European Union will do.

Luckily, the Wall Street Journal shed a little light on the EU's antitrust chief Neelie Kroes. Kroes is the one who scoffed at Microsoft's interoperability announcement last week much to the chagrin of the software giant's employees. She's the one that stands in the way of a Google-DoubleClick deal. And she's the one who you have to ask for permission to merge with any company.

It's no small issue. When kicking around a potential Microsoft-SAP deal one of the first questions is whether Kroes will support it. And she's going to be in the news even more. The EU is on the case of Intel, Microsoft (that's ongoing), Qualcomm and Rambus.

So what can we learn? Here are a few notable nuggets:

Kroes is the most feared antitrust regulator and wants a level playing field. Where Kroes differs from her U.S. counterparts is that she's proactive vs. reactive. Kroes doesn't mind pre-emptive action. The Journal reports:

  • If a company is "just blocking competition, then at the end of the day, there will be a type of monopoly," she says. "If you are waiting until it is there, then it is too late."
  • Kroes has a thing for Microsoft. The Journal reports: "If a company's prospects are curtailed because it can't operate in a world shaped by Microsoft, "then we have to act," she says. She considers Microsoft to be too slow to address her concerns.
  • Add it up and no deal gets done without going through Kroes. For anyone following the tech merger go round knowing Kroes is critical.

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

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  • Companies that abide by the law, or are at least not trying to stretch it

    to the absolute limit each time, do not have to worry. They will be left alone. But, we do not need to feel sorry for Microsoft. Their very questionable behavior has gotten them in trouble all over the world. US, EU, Japan, Korea, . . . . . .

    And, I am personally glad that the EU is also overseeing Google mergers as well. I want to make sure that, if the Google / Double Click merger does go through, that there are sufficient conditions to make sure that privacy and competition are respected.
    • What do you know about it?

      [i]If a company?s prospects are curtailed because it can?t operate in a world shaped by Microsoft[/i] sounds much like she has no need for facts, just her belief of how the world around her operates.

      And if next week she decides that [i]If a company?s prospects are curtailed because it can?t operate in the search world shaped by Google[/i] will it all be rosey, or will you shout for her ousting?

      No need to answer, you wi
      • We just need a level playing field, AND, MS is getting in trouble all over

        the world, including right here in the good old US of A. This is not just the EU picking on MS.
        • One last time, there is no such thing as a level playing field.

          There never has been, there never will be. The smart people understand it, the stupid ones whine about it.

          I don't care how greate an application you build, if you don't have the money and resources of a large company you will be lucky to give it away. (Open Office.) Yes, rich people and companies have far more market power than poor ones, get used to it.
          • Well, there is also no such thing as a city without crime either, but, we

            will continue to prosecute thieves of all types even if we can not eliminate them.

            So, yes, there is no such thing as a level playing field, but that does not mean that anybody is going to give up on enforcing antitrust law, even if MS hates abiding by the law.
          • just wait and watch a bit Man

            She will make sure that MS is bent in the right position to receive it .

            Playing field will be leveled even if its mean stream roll the god damn planet to achieve it

            finally a person with a spine that will not back down ( too few of those these day )
      • he already said where he stands with Google

        You love to defend MS by pre-empting what might happen if this or that happens with another company.

        As far as "how she believes the world around her operates" if the world is "SHAPED BY MICROSOFT" and competition CAN'T OPERATE in that world, then that is the definistion of MONOPOLY and ANTI-TRUST.

        Get that through your head, please!!
    • Bull ! She has said in public that her goal is to

      cut Microsoft's market share in half, regardless of them complying with the law or what users want. In her screwed up world she thinks its her job to control every company in existance.

      Someone needs to take her for a long walk on a short pier.
      • Her goal is to level the playing field. Obviously, if MS had to compete on

        the merits, they would not do very well.

        MS will continue to have problems in the EU until the learn to abide by the LAW. That simple.
        • Nope, even see admited she was wrong.

          She said in a very public way that the order to remove the media player was SRUPID and that users WANTED in included and was the reason no one bought it.

          She isn't interested in the law or MS obeying it, she has a hard on for MS and thats just the facts of it. Her "goal" is to reduce Microsoft's market share, REGARDLESS of what the laws say.
          • Sure, she may have admitted the way they did the media player was not

            effective. They should have forced MS to remove it from all copies and compete for downloads like everybody else. But, that has nothing to do with ongoing problems for Microsoft.

            She is focused 100% on the law in Europe, and using it to create a level playing field as much as possible.
      • What happened to your Monti-boy hysteria?

        Did it get kicked to the curb?
      • Do you ever stop whining about this stuff?

        You whined about Mario Monty and now you are whining about Neelie Kroes. (I am being kind!) Could you be any more of a loser?
    • Kinda like what Google does to your privacy.

      The do no evil stooges. They don't even have a privacy statement on their cookies on how data is collected. Nothing stretched there. Just flat out ignored. Ask Privacy International instead of mainlining on their Koolaid.

      You are no where near as glad Google is collecting people's info as me not giving it to them. You are a useful idiot to them and every time you post they laugh while you think you are a team player, if they read it.
      • So you hold the same feelings for Microsoft then?

        According to [url=]The Privacy International bit on Google (A Race to the Bottom)[/url], they were only slightly worse than Microsoft (which usually held that place).

        From Privacy International (same report):

        [b]Why not Microsoft?[/b]

        The finding that Microsoft is a better privacy performer than Google is also likely to be contentious. Microsoft was awarded "orange" status, two bands better than Google's position. However it is important, for the sake of clarity, to note that Windows Live Space received the more negative "red" rating, while Google's Orkut avoided a black rating and was awarded red status.

        The true difference between Google Inc and Microsoft Corp can be defined not so much by the data practices and privacy policies that exist between the two organizations, but by the corporate ethos and leadership exhibited by each. Five years ago Microsoft could reasonably be described as a fundamental danger to privacy. In more recent times the organization appears to have adopted a less antagonistic attitude to privacy, and has at least structurally adjusted to the challenge of creating a privacy-friendly environment.

        It is true that even during this more recent period there have been notable privacy disasters, particularly with WGA. It is equally true that Microsoft has failed to achieve the level of transparency that it proclaims to embrace (for example in withholding the length of time that data is retained). These instances have been compounded by a failure of oversight and management. However Microsoft has at least put in place the beginnings of a framework for responsible privacy practice and has created a corporate vision, cloudy though it may be. The organization appears now to be particularly sensitive in the most part to privacy issues and some parts of Microsoft have even pursued the concept of privacy as a market differentiator. We have no evidence that Google has achieved this level of awareness or development.

        However we are aware that ? in the words of the executives ? "ad space is now the only game in town," and with Microsoft needing to play catch-up with Google there is a real threat that the organization could abandon privacy reforms in favor of ad revenue - or at least divert funds away from real protection and toward PR. The 2008 rankings will identify whether this fear will be realized.
        • I never was a fan of WGA.

          I thought it was a waste of bandwidth and a encrypted key sold with the OS would be far superior. Something to plug in the PCI slot that you can move to a new machine when it dies.

          As for privacy, Google is not to be trusted period! They have no policy and when P.I. wrote on them for it, they attacked them like a bunch of Scientologists. Instead of listening to them, they tried to smear them. I mean MS has attacked others, but they had ulterior motives and governments are fair game. Not some non-profit that has no iron in the fire other than sticking up for consumers.

          I just grow tired of certain open sources praising how Google can do no wrong and MS can do no right. Truth be told, every company has a few nasty attributes and Google's privacy is a sticking point for them. But we all have choices to pick which company to put up with.
  • Yawn. You really are an

    idiot. I just had to finally say it, as I do not say that much (I do try to be respectfull of others's points of views and beliefs), no matter how right or totally wrong they may be,

    Yet I get the sense that you are beyond all that, you post bloated nonsense as you care little for software, the industry, the people in general, yet I feel that you have been personally slighted by Microsoft, either fired from there, or not getting hired in the first place (as you were not good enough?), a blow to you ego.

    You can say all that you want, but I really do understand now that you are taking this Microsoft thing way too personally.
    Let it go, they will not take you back.
    • talking of taking it personally

      Any cristicism of MS is met by "defend it at all costs" by you.

      Regardless of how non-sensical you are, as long as it's in defense of the Great Redmond God, nothing is too much to be said to defend it.

      You have no place calling anyone an idiot, unless of course you want to look in the mirror, but that's up to you.
    • Ho-hum

      You are probably one of those people enraptured by mediocrity, the kind that MSFT
      excels at producing.

      No doubt you have never done a copy and past of a large set of folders to find that
      what was supposed to be a simple exercise has turned into a nightmare with
      MSFT's stupid queries about a file that is a system file and do you want to copy it.
      Then it does this dozens of times. Then there dozens of other obtuse operations to
      do for a simple copy.

      Multiply this by the thousands over the years and consider the rank stupidity of
      doing a copy with a time estimate that ranges from nearly zero to several hours
      withing less than 30 seconds and you can begin to understand the maximum
      frustration of using the products from an abusive, useless monopolist with scant
      regard for its customers.

      Whatever ill can befall this useless abusive tyrant is far too little in recompense for
      the hundreds of millions of wasted user hours wrestling with the shoddy,
      relentlessly third rate trashware that emanates from the Bloatfarm.

      If one wanted to product worse trash, it would be difficult even to imagine than
      what the trashmasters from Redmond have produced. Can you say Zune, Xbox,
      Vista, Office 2007, WM, Spot, etc. The list of shoddy junk extends over decades.

      Thank God for an EU anti-trust agency with spine. May it break the Redmond
      monster and quickly.
      Jeremy W
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