EU poised to rule against Microsoft

After being successfully prosecuted by the DOJ, but escaping any serious punishment by a new incoming administration, it looks like the EU may actually follow through with some bite to its bark. With the $2M Euro per day fine (about $2.5M USD) potentially being back dated to December 2005, the amount could be substantial. One item I've seen incorrectly reported in multiple venues is that the EU is forcing Microsoft to open the code for Windows. This is categorically not the case. They are asking for open and usable documentation on API's and interfaces that are not license encumbered along with the unbundleing of media player. In fact, Microsoft offered the code under an NDA and that was turned down as an unacceptable resolution. After the DOJ case, it appeared that once a company reached a certain size, even the US Government couldn't do much to monitor and govern its actions. It's good to see the EU at least taking a stand. One comical sentiment I continue to see in comments are things like “Microsoft should just pull out of the EU”. That is so astoundingly short sighted and ethnocentric that I find it hard to even rebuke. It should be obvious that pulling out of a market that is so huge would immediately spawn the adoption of alternative operating systems and applications that it's asinine to even consider as an option. The day they pulled out would be the day every hardware manufacturer announced preload support for Linux and the day nearly every software maker would announce their port. There's no way Microsoft is prepared to let that happen.
Another article has the following:
Commenting on the report, the Americans for Technology Leadership, a consumer group of 40,000 members, said that “All American companies doing business in Europe should be concerned. This development makes clear that successful American companies will face a higher regulatory standard in Europe and that their entire global business strategy may be hostage to the whims of a few European regulators.”
The “hostage to the whims of a few European regulators” is a bit dramatic, but if you are an American company who chooses to compete in the EU, why would you not expect to have to comply with the regulatory standard in the EU. You think the EU is bad, wait until you see what it takes to get into China.
–jeremy
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