The impact of the European Union's $1.3 billion anti-trust fine against Microsoft is still reverberating.
There's a new sheriff in town, the fine says. Her name is Kroes, Neelie Kroes. She's Dutch, and sits on the board of (among others) McDonald's Dutch affiliate.
That fine would buy a lot of Happy Meals. It might bankrupt Mayor McCheese.
Jim Zemlin of The Linux Foundation is also unimpressed, but aims his fire at Microsoft instead of the regulator.
For all the talk of change coming from Redmond, its terms for licensing protocols remain "incompatible with open source licensing practices," creating an appearance of openness with no hope of interoperability ever being achieved.
After losing its U.S. antitrust case, Microsoft found relief in a new U.S. Administration, but European bureaucracies are more insulated from political pressure than those here. And the one here is due to change in any case.
Given the size of the fine (which just covers its breaches of a 2004 agreement since that date) and the fact Kroes has other Microsoft cases on her docket, there are some hard questions being asked today.
- Was Microsoft's recent openness just a sign of weakness, which the EU seized upon?
- Can Microsoft continue to prosper if it has to license its protocols at the rates required by the EU?
Personally I think Microsoft needs to undertake some diplomacy that will put a final, definitive line under all this. But what would you do if the EU fined you?