back to article Microsoft 'didn't notice' it had removed Browser Choice for 17 months

Brussels' competition commissioner has opened a fresh investigation into Microsoft's practice of using its Windows operating system to push people into using its Internet Explorer browser, following allegations of non-compliance with an EC settlement deal the software giant agreed to in late 2009. Microsoft, under the legally- …

COMMENTS

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  1. Suburban Inmate
    Trollface

    I didn't notice either.

    mozilla.org seemed to work just fine.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: I didn't notice either.

      "Microsoft immediately confessed to what it described as a "technical error" that had removed the choice screen from its OS. "

      Yes it's thanks to the bullshit artists and morons in Microsoft and the crapware that is filled with "technical errors" that they didn't notice that I don't ever use any Microsoft product any more - and haven't for a LONG LONG LONG time.

      In fact the better I got at using computers and repairing operating systems and rectifying stupid bugs and outright bullshit - the more I became so utterly desperate to escape from having to use any Microsoft software....

      While I think the people in Microsoft are lying - it seems patently obvious that they are, given their track record of stupidity and deceit, and bullshit software, I'd accept the fact that it's just one more fuck up, in a series of extremely long ranging and never ending series of fuck ups...

      In fact I can hardly wait till Stupid Office 2013 falls flat on it's face..... A box of horse shit in different wrapping paper.

      1. MIc
        Thumb Down

        Re: I didn't notice either.

        So much objectivity in this post. I bet it's 100% factual. It's a scandal.

      2. durbans
        FAIL

        Re: I didn't notice either.

        *blatantly

        Fixed that for you. Get over yourself and go compain to your mirror. I haven't had any issues with my own Windows OS install (XP, 7 or 8 Preview) for over 5 years now. I do work in IT support though and plenty of people manage to cock up their OS by thinking that they know everything and doing things which they don't completely understand. It's called user error.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      Re: I didn't notice either.

      IM GETTING PRETTY DAMMED TIRED OF PEOPLE TRASHING STEVE BALLMER AS FAR AS IM CONCERNED THERE IS NOT ANOTHER CEO IN HIS LEAGUE

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: BDG

        Strange though it may be, there is a certain truth in what you say...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        WTF?

        Unfortunately

        There are many CEOs in his league.

        The corporate world is sick. How do these companies even survive?

    3. MIc

      Re: I didn't notice either.

      I don't see how the EU can keep bitching about the browser issue when IE is not anywhere close to #1

      1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
        Boffin

        @Mic. Re: I didn't notice either.

        Once Microsoft copped a plea, they entered a binding settlement agreement. Unless they agreed to language that stipulated they no longer had to comply if their market share fell to X, they will have to keep that screen up until the end of time, the company goes tits up, or they petition the EU to modify the terms of the settlement agreement. (Whichever comes first... Assuming that the EU doesn't dissolve first...)

        Having said that, it looks like one of three things happened...

        A) our rogue programmer left Google and is now working for Microsoft

        B) Microsoft was losing enough market share of the browsers and decided to do ths and if caught, they'd cop the Google Defense...

        C) it was an honest mistake because they shipped the work off to India and the QA team didn't catch the mistake that flipped the switch to turn off the code to show this window for EU customers only.

        Your choice....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "until the end of time"

          No sir, sorry you are wrong.

          As it was stated, if you had cared to RTFA:

          "[Microsoft] was supposed to display a choice screen ... until 2014."

          "Redmond has also offered to extend its compliance period by 15 months..."

    4. Wunderbar1

      Re: I didn't notice either.

      Agree, I think the first thing people do with a new Windows computer is go to Mozilla to download a piece of software. The second thing they do is reset their homepage to Google.com. Maybe I am wrong, but I don't think IE and Bing, or whatever they use today, being the default throws many people off.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I didn't notice either.

        Why on earth would I set my home page to Google? about:blank or the equivalent is my home page and has been for many years. Google slurp enough data as it is without my telling them every time I open a new browser window.

  2. Def Silver badge
    FAIL

    So let me get this right...

    It took 17 months and 28 MILLION sales for someone to notice something was missing. Clearly the great unwashed couldn't give a shit. So this then begs the question: Exactly how much money has the European Competition Commission wasted prosecuting and enforcing this obvious waste of tax payer's money?

    1. localzuk

      Re: So let me get this right...

      Considering the size of the fines so far? None whatsoever...

      Original fines were £1.5bn. This could lead to fines up to £4.5bn ish...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So let me get this right...

        Excellent! so they've found a way to get the americans to directly prop up the Spanish economy!

    2. g e

      Re: So let me get this right...

      Plus they may have been waiting to see how long it was until MS reinstated it, or until enough time had elapsed to smack their legs a bit.

      Not that many people notice cos they're using other browsers, the ones using IE probably have no clue there should be a choice.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So let me get this right...

      The great unwashed do give a shit...... they'd far rather not be shown the stupid confusing browser choice screen in the first place!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So let me get this right...

      > Clearly the great unwashed couldn't give a shit.

      The great unwashed don't know they have a choice.

      They are not technically knowledgeable, they are not aware that there are other tools out there for performing the same task. They either depend upon their son/daughter/nephew/niece/neighbour (who probably has a little bit of knowledge) to set things up for them or they go with what they are given.

      The browser choice screen is there so that the great unwashed are made aware that they do have a choice. What they do with that choice is up to them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So let me get this right...

        >The great unwashed don't know they have a choice.

        >They are not technically knowledgeable, they are not aware that there are other tools out there for performing the same task.

        >They either depend upon their son/daughter/nephew/niece/neighbour (who probably has a little bit of knowledge) to set things up for them or they go with what they are given.

        >The browser choice screen is there so that the great unwashed are made aware that they do have a choice.

        >What they do with that choice is up to them.

        Except... no.

        I agree with your statement that many depend on a friend or relative to sort things out. I don't agree with the rest though.

        Because they are unaware that they do have a choice then, in reality, they don't really need to be given a choice and are fine with what is provided since given them a choice only confuses issues more.

        Anyone who purposely clicks on any browser on the choice screen other than the default does so because they know what they want and if they already knew what they wanted then there's no need for the browser choice in the first place since they are more than capable of doing it themselves.

        To those that know no better, giving them such a choice is just confusing and unneccessary.

        Two examples.

        Case one. Me. Built myself a new rig just before Christmas, Win7 Pro SP1. Can't remember if I had the browser choice but I'm assuming I didn't since, come a few days back here it is!

        Now, I already had IE and FF installed so any install option was pointless so I clicked cancel. Heyho, it removes the IE icon from desktop, start menu and taskbar. No worries though, I simply re-pined them and was fine as before.

        Case two. My mum. Setup a new Win 7 laptop for her a couple of weeks back. No browser choice option at initial setup when I was there. Browser option comes up after an update when I'm not there.

        Now, I've instilled in her to say no to things that popup asking you to install this and that and leave it until I'm next there. So, she follows suit and clicks cancel the same as I did.

        Trouble is, now her icons are gone and she thinks she no longer has internet access since you can't find them in the usual place. Brilliant!

        How many others around the country did the same and ended up packing their laptops and pc off to PC World etc. because they had "lost" internet access...?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: AC @ 16:00

          I understand.

          Microsoft badly implements the browser choice and because of this you think the "great unwashed" should be denied a choice.

          Nice logic.

          1. Def Silver badge

            Re: AC @ 16:00

            "Microsoft badly implements the browser choice and because of this you think the "great unwashed" should be denied a choice."

            The choice was always there. The point I was making originally about the great unwashed not giving a shit is exactly what the other AC was saying: If people are aware they have a choice, they will make it. Otherwise they will almost always be happy with what they were given in the first place.

            While I agree that educating people about their choices is probably a good thing, and, yes, Microsoft appear to have gone about this in their usual half arsed half thought through way (but just wait for version six), I'm sure that 90% of people who saw the browser selection screen either didn't understand why or what they were being asked about, or couldn't care less.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. This post has been deleted by its author

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @ AC 1600 "other than the default"

          There is no such thing as the default, that is the whole point of the EC's ruling. The (pretty obvious) idea here is that they want to prevent Microsoft from unfairly promoting their own solution.

          The order of the various options in the browser choice screen is randomised.

      2. MIc

        Re: So let me get this right...

        Shouldn't there be a downside to not knowing something? How far do we go to "help" the prols?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is your ass microsoft, please take it when I hand it to you!

  4. jason 7
    Meh

    Still in the updates....

    I still keep deleting it from the updates list when I build or configure a new machine.

    1. Mark Eccleston

      Re: Still in the updates....

      Go into "Turn Windows Features On or Off" in the control panel and uncheck Internet Explorer. It will then not appear in the updates.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Err...

    Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by balls up.

    I can't imagine for a minute that they'd deliberately go against the rulings of the EU, despite what many of the conspiracy orientated people on the Internet may say...

    Also, how come the EU didn't notice for so long?

    1. Suburban Inmate

      Re: Err... Inadequate.

      I attribute based on balance of probability. In this case however, malice is beyond even reasonable doubt, IMHO (IANAL BTW)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Err... Inadequate.

        Strictly speaking, it's neither error nor malice. As always with Microsoft, it's the single-minded and grimly dedicated pursuit of the absolute maximum profit in the long run. (Admittedly, most suits understand "the long term" to mean "this quarter AND THE NEXT ONE").

    2. b0llchit

      Re: Err...

      Last time I looked (tried), ignorance was no defence.

      If they get away with this, it just shows that double measures apply in the justice system.

      1. Annihilator

        Re: Err...

        "Last time I looked (tried), ignorance was no defence."

        No, but lack of intent can be a mitigating factor.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: lack of intent can be a mitigating factor.

          Difficult to see that applying in this case. Burden of proof of complying with the judgement must lie with offending party, ie. Microsoft.

      2. Ian Bush

        Re: Err...

        "Last time I looked (tried), ignorance was no defence."

        Well you're probably not a director of a multinational media company then. Or a minister in her majesty's government.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Err...

      "Also, how come the EU didn't notice for so long?"

      Yeah first thing that occurred to me is why Brussels didn't discover it was missing immediately when it happened. Can only suspect they knew much earlier and deliberately let it run to get another bite at the cherry. Or perhaps too busy using up their lavish expense accounts and generous salaries and perks. Either way, this is the real scandal so long as theres no evidence of a deliberate action by Microsoft, highly unlikely IMO.

      And what about Opera who helped instigate the idiots to demand the annoying crapware in the first instance.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Err...

        ""Also, how come the EU didn't notice for so long?"

        Yeah first thing that occurred to me is why Brussels didn't discover it was missing immediately when it happened. Can only suspect they knew much earlier and deliberately let it run to get another bite at the cherry"

        That could be true but it is also possible that...

        1. The EC were busy (they've had a few other issues to worry about, like the possible break up of the Euro) and

        2. The wheels of EC bureaucracy turn very, very slowly (speaking from experience).

    4. Testy McTester
      Windows

      Re: Err...

      Never admit as a balls-up what you can get away with calling a "technical error".

    5. TheBodger

      Re: Err...

      Brussels probably didn't notice because they're all still running Windows XP (which still showed the screen correctly, I understand) and IE6 :P

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Err...

      You mean, the browser choice screen doesn't cause a log message somewhere on a server in Microsoft? And nobody was monitoring those logs to see what proportion of people chose which browser?

  6. LDS Silver badge
    Devil

    When BCS will be available for Apple iPhone/iPad?

    I can't find it there too!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When BCS will be available for Apple iPhone/iPad?

      It's called the 'App Store', you might want to look into it...

      1. Irongut

        Re: When BCS will be available for Apple iPhone/iPad?

        No, it's called all your browsers are really Safari.

        Apart from possibly the new Chrome for iOS no browsers are allowed unless they're just skins for Safari.

        1. jonathanb Silver badge

          Re: When BCS will be available for Apple iPhone/iPad?

          Chrome is a skin for Safari. The only alternative browsers are Opera Mini and Skyfire which render pages on an external server.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: When BCS will be available for Apple iPhone/iPad?

          Re: "Apart from possibly the new Chrome for iOS no browsers are allowed unless they're just skins for Safari."

          Nope, Chrome uses the same underlying libs, too, and a slower javascript engine, as it's not allowed to use the fancy one safari uses, or a faster third party one. It isn't allowed to be the system default browser, either. That said, it's still nicer to use AND YOU CAN SWITCH IT BETWEEN IDENTIFYING AS A MOBILE AND DESKTOP BROWSER, hint hint, Safari.

          Oh, and Firefox Aurora for Android with Adblock extension is starting to appeal to me more and more too, apropos of nowt.. :)

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: When BCS will be available for Apple iPhone/iPad?

        Oh well, for Windows there's that thing called "the Internet" - last time I checked it was far bigger than the App store....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      Re: When BCS will be available for Apple iPhone/iPad?

      as oposed to BCS on Andriod or Linux, whats your point?

      1. Irongut

        Re: When BCS will be available for Apple iPhone/iPad?

        Perhaps that on Android there is a choice whereas on iOS there is not?

    3. Steve Todd
      Stop

      You seem to be living under the belief

      that Apple had entered into a legally binding agreement to allow users to pick their browser of choice in iOS in settlement of an anti-trust investigation. Until that happens (and Apple hold only a small fraction of the worlds browser use) you won't see it either.

      1. LDS Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: You seem to be living under the belief

        It looks that Safari has over 63% of mobile browsers, thereby it's time to force Apple to offer a BCS as well...

        1. Steve Todd
          Stop

          Re: You seem to be living under the belief

          Firstly 63% is the percentage of web accesses, not users. Android users keep telling us how they are selling more mobile devices than Apple.

          Secondly its not a monopoly position anyway.

          Thirdly (and what got MS into trouble) its not illegal to hold a monopoly, what IS illegal is to use that monopoly to unfairly gain advantage in another market. Forcing users to take IE (to the point of nailing it into the OS and banning OEMs from installing third party browsers) in order to gain market share was what caused the trouble.

  7. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Well that's the Greek bailout sorted out!

    Now which companies are we going to fine to bail out the Spanish? Intel, Google and Apple should be enough. Set lawyers to kill...

    1. joeW
      Pint

      Hey now - us Irish are ahead of them Spanish José-Come-Lately types in the queue for bailout cash! Plus Apple and Intel both run large operations here so we should get first dibs on any cash made by extortin...er....fining them.

      Beer icon, because hopefully we'll be able to afford one again soon.

      1. Natalie Gritpants

        Intel et al in Eire

        Tell you what why don't you put your corporation tax rates up to the EU average and close some of those tax loopholes? No need for fines.

        1. Sleepy 3

          Re: Intel et al in Eire

          Because it's the only thing stopping them all buggering off to India?

        2. 142
          Facepalm

          Re: Intel et al in Eire

          Though the headline 12.5% figure appears low, Ireland's effective corporate tax rate is actually around the EU average, unlike countries like France that have a headline tax rate in the high 30s, when in reality their effective rate is 8.2%.

        3. joeW
          Coat

          Re: Intel et al in Eire

          > Tell you what why don't you put your corporation tax rates up to the EU average and close some of those tax loopholes?

          Well I suppose the main reason is that I'm not the Minister for Finance.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          FAIL

          Re: Intel et al in Eire

          > Tell you what why don't you put your corporation tax rates up to the EU average and close some of those tax loopholes?

          Or... tell their government to stop spending so much f*cking money.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Intel et al in Eire

            "Or... tell their government to stop spending so much f*cking money."

            Spend so much f*cking money on bailing out the private sector - which is what caused the problems in the ROI (and the UK, USA & Spain - but not Greece).

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Intel et al in Eire

              > but not Greece.

              Greece's situation with tax has not changed for generations.

              It is the scapegoat blamed for their current financial problems.

              The truth is, their government, like many other governments around the world (including the UK under Labour) vastly overspent on pointless and fanciful public projects that they neither needed nor wanted. In many cases, those projects weren't even completed.

              Knob.

              1. Magnus_Pym

                Re: Intel et al in Eire

                Yes. Because of Labour's huge increase in public spending my wife lost her job when they cut hundred's of thousands of civil service post. By the way when where these 'good times' that 'Dave' refers to when the last government should have been saving for the 'bad times'? Anybody remember them?

                Knob

        5. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
          FAIL

          Re: Intel et al in Eire

          @Natalie Gritpants

          Yeah, that's a great idea, I think Ireland should increase its corporation tax rate to the lowest corporation tax rate of say... France.

          Then Ireland would have to increase its corporate tax rate by....... -1%

          Glad to see you haven't lets facts get in the way of your opinion.

          1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
            Facepalm

            Re: Intel et al in Eire

            Oooohhh I got it wrong....

            The French Agency for International Investment – the French “IDA” has cited the recent study by the World Bank and Price Waterhouse Coopers which has calculated the French effective corporate tax rate to be 8.2%, which is very considerably lower than its nominal rate of 33.3%.

            http://www.fixmytax.com/index.php/fix-my-tax-blog-2/27-french-proclaim-their-low-corporate-tax-rate.html

            So for Ireland to have the same effective rate of France Ireland would have to increase its corporate tax rate by....... -4.3%

      2. tony2heads
        Pint

        Beer!

        It should be Guinness (or if the fines are big enough whiskey)

        -Mine's a Paddy

  8. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Interesting

    I just had this download by update on a laptop I was setting up yesterday. But thinking about it, there was no browser ballot screen when I set my Mum's new PC a month ago. I believe the operative term here is "Ooops!".

    I can't imagine MS were stupid enough to do this deliberately. But it still shows a certain contempt for the decision. To think they just had a couple of million shaved off their fine, on appeal. Now the EU can claw all that back again, and maybe some more...

    Perhaps the punishment should be to make them bake it into the OS this time, rather than delivering it as an update?

    1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

      Re: Interesting

      I can't imagine MS were stupid enough to do this deliberately.

      I can imagine it.

  9. Shagbag

    Admission of Guilt

    So they've admitted non-compliance and now they're pleading leniancy.

    They obviously didn't take the EU Commission seriously enough as this should never have happened.

    Everyone else here has to take them seriously, so I don't see why MicroSoft should be treated differently.

    1. Don Jefe
      Happy

      Re: Admission of Guilt

      I didn't realize anyone took the EU Commission seriously...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Admission of Guilt

      Unfortunately corporate fines don't impact those who took the illegal decisions (or were incompetent), and they don't alter behaviours. So year in, year out, somebody is being fined eye watering sums for cartel practices - but that doesn't stop people doing it.

      The EU competition authorities have levied fines amounting to one to two billion euro a year, and have been doing this for a decade or more. And halfway through 2012 we're already at €0.4bn of fines, not including anything MS have to pony up. And there's no shortage of ongoing work for these boys:

      http://ec.europa.eu/competition/cartels/cases/cases.html

      Who then pays the fine? Is it the investors - often your or my pension fund? Or, given that all of an established company's revenue comes from customers, is it the customers paying the fine? Either way, the guilty management feel that the prospective penalties on them multiplied by the chance of discovery and successful conviction are less than the benefits of crooked business. And the number of personal punishments for competition offences is small enough to qualify as non-existent.

      So if MS are fined again, who's actually losing out, other than you or me in some capacity or other?

    3. Shagbag

      Re: Admission of Guilt

      Neelie Kroes in March 2004 said: "Microsoft was the first company in fifty years of EU competition policy that the Commission has had to fine for failure to comply with an antitrust decision."

      ...and they've now gone and done it again. I don't think there'll be any leniency from the EC.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who cares about this. How about they pay their fines? Greece needs the money :)

  11. Patrick O'Reilly

    2014

    So 2014 covers displaying the browser choice screen on Windows 8 too? What about Windows RT?

    And I've been looking but I can't seem to find the browser choice screen on Windows Phone 7 either?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What about Windows RT? Windows Phone 7?

      Just as soon as there's a chance that MSFT is doing too well with phones and tablets ...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    So that's why my browser disappeared!

    Turned PC on and this stupid window appeared telling me it had 'without my permission' deleted my browser shortcut and I had to pick which browser I wanted to use.

    Surely this is illegal alteration of my PC without my permission?

    At least I now know where to target the Destiny Ascension's main gun........

    (They broke Omega's only rule......)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So that's why my browser disappeared!

      "this is illegal alteration of my PC without my permission"

      Sorry mate, have you read the MS EULA? They say they can remove functionality without recompense, probably aimed at DRM stuff (e.g. revoking a compromised video card's permission for HD video) but I'm sure it covers this (and any other breaking of functions) as well.

      I mean, just who do you think you are? It is not like you own the software now, do you?

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: So that's why my browser disappeared!

      It isn't illegal when the law requires them to do it.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    In other words ...

    "we believed when we filed our most recent compliance report" ... even painting MS in the best possible light ... they didn't check. Trust in MS is going down the pan.

    1. jnffarrell1

      Re: In other words ...

      If we could get our hands on the pre stacked boilerplate compliance report for 2013 we would find that all it lacks is Balmer's signature. Why waste money on MS legal issues when you could have your lawyers creating issues for your competitors.

  14. Roger Greenwood
    Happy

    "checks to see if Internet Explorer is the default browser"

    so that's why i've never had a choice!

  15. present_arms

    Honest guv, it was a simple mistake :P yeah riiiiiiiight

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So that's what SP1 was for

    Oh and the regular jumble of bug-fixes.

  17. ElNumbre
    Thumb Up

    The Scooby Doo Defence...

    I was hoping they'd come out with the Scooby Doo defence..

    We would have got away with it, if it wasn't for those pesky bEurocrats

    .

  18. This Side Up
    WTF?

    Why do we need a BCS?

    Just go into IE, download and instal your browser of choice, uninstall IE. Job done.

  19. Anonymous Coward 15
    Facepalm

    Which joyless wankers

    have been reporting the violation?

    1. Manolo
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Which joyless wankers

      Opera

    2. Bonce

      Re: Which joyless wankers

      Lawyers

    3. hplasm Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Which joyless wankers

      If IE brings you joy, you are a sad fucker indeed.

  20. Hoodlum

    And at what point...

    will Apple be required to do this too with OSX?

    1. M Gale

      Re: And at what point...

      About the same time they gain near-enough 100% of the desktop computer OS share?

      Let's face it, you can get along quite nicely without ever touching an Apple-branded machine. Try that with Windows and see how far you get.

      No, neckbeards who like to pretend that LaTeX is the same as Office or in any way appropriate for normal people, you don't count. And yes, I do use various Linuxes.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: And at what point...

      As soon as Apple makes Safari a requirement for particular tasks then you can imagine the lawyers penning their letters.

      More surprising is the lack of action taken against the App Store and the whole walled-garden approach.

      1. Philip Lewis
        FAIL

        Re: And at what point...

        Why?

        You are free to buy any handset you wish, there are literally hundreds from which to choose, with various OSs and capabilities. There is no monopoly in the handset market (APPL or anyone else), and AFAIK APPL is not under any anti-trust investigations.

        So, it is completely and utterly unsurprising that no action has been taken against APPL for their non-monopoly behaviour. This would first require APPL to break the law, or become a monopoly and then breach the anti-trust provisions prevailing upon monpolies, neither of which have happened, or are liekly to happen any time soon.

        So, perhaps you should start at kindergarten and work up from there again, eh?

  21. TeeCee Gold badge
    Facepalm

    So nobody noticed.....

    .....apart from the Eurocrats?

    <Slow handclap>

    The EU. Pissing your money on the wall in a pointless bureaucracy-fest since 1993[1]. They'll probably end up fining MS again, we'll pay for it indirectly in higher prices somewhere and they'll spend the cash on hiring a load of quants to analyse cattle hoof health surveys, a new institute to foster better relations with Ghanaian squirrel-farmers, more plushly appointed carriages to cosset their backsides on the Brussels-Strasbourg run, or similar......

    [1] It was called something else before that. Pick your favourite from "Common Market", "European Community", "European Economic Community", Fourth Reich.......etc ad nauseum.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: So nobody noticed.....

      Oi, wanker.

      It was already known as the European Commission in 1993. The Commission's budget is tiny in comparison to GDP, national budgets or the multitude of subventions that member states push through to support their pet industries. But maybe you'd prefer price-fixing and higher mobile phone charges?

      That's not to say that the Commission hasn't wasted money on pet projects but it does have a far better track record than most national governments.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So nobody noticed.....@Charlie Clark

        "The Commission's budget is tiny in comparison to GDP" Then you can f***ing well pay my household's share of the UK's ten billion quid net contribution.

  22. squilookle
    Windows

    Good. That screen is a pita. Of the few computers I support for friends/family, those who saw the screen were confused by it, those who would be interested had already jumped and so did not see it.

    I rarely defend ms, but they should be shipping a browser with their OS and its reasonable it should be their own browser. I don't recall Windows ever attempting to make it difficult for me to install an alternative.

  23. Big_Ted
    Devil

    A fitting outcome would be.....

    Don't fine MS any more, they will only tie it up in appeals etc for years.

    Instead force them to allowother browsers on Wnidows 8 with full API etc access and a BCS screen as part of the install process.

    Then state that compliance is mandentrary for them to be able to release the software and can only be turned off if they win an appeal.

    That way I could have firefox or chrome or whatever I want without it being hamstringed.....

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      What exactly is hamstringing you ?

      I have Firefox, Seamonkey, Opera AND Chrome installed next to IE and I see nothing preventing me from using any of them.

  24. Adrian Midgley 1
    Linux

    This does not reduce my trust in MS

    But then, what would.

    There is a consistency to that firm, is there not?

  25. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How much money??

    So you could say that all the advertising they've done recently for IE9 was a waste of money because average Joe wouldnt have realised he had a choice anyway!?

  27. TRT Silver badge

    I was wondering...

    what had happened to that! I thought it was just being suppressed as I routinely install Firefox when setting up a new machine now.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mac's seem to dodge this - antitrust?

    Total horses****

    Since when do I have a choice about un-installing Safari from a mac??????

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mac's seem to dodge this - antitrust?

      "Since when do I have a choice about un-installing Safari from a mac??????"

      Oh, let me see.... From the moment you unbox it and switch it on?

      Rats, I fed the troll.

    2. Suricou Raven

      Re: Mac's seem to dodge this - antitrust?

      Antitrust only applies when a company holds and abuses a dominant market share in specific ways, such as using it to unfairly gain advantage in another market. In this case, Microsoft dominated (still does) the desktop operating system market, and unfairly used that dominance to give themselves a massive advantage in the browser market (Still a market, even if they are all free!) by bundling IE with Windows and thus ensuring it would be installed on almost all PCs. Apple do not hold sufficient market share in the desktop sector to have power to abuse. They can't even make it to 50% on smartphones, where they are the big success story.

    3. toadwarrior
      Facepalm

      Re: Mac's seem to dodge this - antitrust?

      Apple do not have an OS or browser monopoly to abuse nor is safari required to complete any task and actually it is uninstallable.

      In lion you can drag it into the bin because I assume that's for safety reasons to ensure you have a browser but it's removable like any other app from the commandline.

      Unlike microsoft apple listens to my browser choice so I never see safari anyway but on windows it will force IE on you through certain tasks no matter what you choose, like clicking a link in MSN messanger.

      Until apple has a monopoly and is abusing it why should they waste their money on trying to make the 2nd least populat browser even less popular?

  29. CraigW

    Fair recompense

    If MS were file sharers, they would probably be fined about $20,000 per PC.

    <sarcasm>

    I wonder if that will be the case?

    </sarcasm>

  30. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Users didn't notice it had removed Browser Choice for 17 months

    ....because they were eiher perfectly happy with IE or had the knowledge to install other browsers. Can we have an opt out of the EU sticking its oar in when not needed screen, please?

    1. M Gale

      Re: Users didn't notice it had removed Browser Choice for 17 months

      Sure.

      About the same time that Microsoft stop trying shit on like filter:progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.Fade(sProperties).

      Which would be, uhm, never.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hypocrits

    I would love to use a different browser on one of my computers, the Wii, but sadly I can only get...

    Opera!!!

    As for what Apple get away with... M$ bashing is sooo last decade (if not last century)

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who the frig cares? Browsers never made any money....

    Browser shmowser, fuck the EU and their mandated bullshit. Everyone who knows better ALWAYS has a choice. They can change their browser at anytime to anything they want to and they ALWAYS HAVE BEEN ABLE TO!. Anyone who does not know better should have their fingers cut off so they can't use a computer anymore.

    There are far too many software programs that try to change my browser as it stands now and they are so sneaky it's ridiculous. What about them? Thought so, pockets are not deep enough to sue for.

    It's 2012 and browsers are still free and there isn't enough to differentiate them anyway so what ACTUAL HARM was caused? Browsers do not generate cash, advertisements on web pages do.

    So how about "A sum certain in damages" that one should be able to sue for? There you go...no such thing ever did exist as it was ALL BOLLOCKS. Get over it and move on Opera The only damage you suffered was from opening your mouth.

    i CALL UNFAIR TREATMENT BY EU ON MICROSOFT. MS should just say F.U. to E.U. and Opera can go suck goatballs.

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Who the frig cares? Browsers never made any money....

      Have you seen how much money Mozilla gets for having Google as the default search engine? Browsers do make a lot of money.

      1. Dan Paul

        Re: Who the frig cares? Browsers never made any money....

        If you bothered to read the comment, I said it's NOT the browser that makes money it's the advertising.

        Under the same "principles" as the EU suit against MS, Mozilla should be sued for for limiting the "LUSERS" choice of Search Engine. Retards everywhere should get a "Search Engine Choice Screen" because they are too stupid to use the web they way it was intended.

        Frigging Nanny State crap needs to be blown off the face of the earth.

        Take some responsibility people, are you all really that fewking incompetent that the EU has "protect" you from the big mean Microsoft browser? OOOH I'm soooo sad for you Mozilla surrender monkeys.

        Free software cannot cause any damages to other manufacturers of free software, BECAUSE THEY ARE BOTH FREE!

        If you want more people to use your stuff... MAKE BETTER STUFF!!!!

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. M Gale

          Re: Who the frig cares? Browsers never made any money....

          "OSS projects have been able to gain a foothold in many server applications because of the wide utility of highly commoditized, simple protocols. By extending these protocols and developing new protocols, we can deny OSS projects entry into the market."

          "By folding extended functionality (e.g. Storage+ in file systems, DAV/POD for networking) into today's commodity services, we raise the bar & change the rules of the game."

          "Part of the reason that Apache was able to get a foothold and take off was because the HTTP protocol is so simple. As more and more features become layered on top of the humble web server (e.g. multi-server transaction support, POD, etc.) it will be interesting to see how the Apache team will be able to keep up."

          All made possible by bundling their own browser in with an OS that has a near-100% market share. If allowed to succeed, Microsoft would quite simply control the Web and be able to tax it and exclude all others as they see fit. A bit like they can do already on the desktop.

          Like I mentioned earlier, you'd think some people had never read the Halloween Documents. Take a good look, and tell me whether Microsoft don't desperately deserve everything they've been hit with and quite probably a good deal more. It's no good shouting "MAKE BETTER STUFF" if you can't "MAKE BETTER STUFF" without being owned by Microsoft, or indeed, any other patent troll.

          They'd de-commoditize the English language if they could.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    Behind the facts anyway...

    I'd be more interested if MS still dominated the browser market, but they're not.

    So what's this really all about? Freedom on the market or filling one's wallet?

    I know; let's have a European poll on the matter with its citizens. Oh, darn; I forgot: the EU never asks the citizens how they feel about things, even if it means they'll have to retire a few years later.

    1. The BigYin

      Re: Behind the facts anyway...

      They dominate the desktop and regulation is the only way to keep their anti-competition practices in check.

  34. nsld
    FAIL

    Totally pointless

    Hiding it away as an essential update and making you re choose browsers is nothing more than a pain in the arse.

    I think whichever EU quangocrat came up with this in the first place needs to be shot, buried, dug up and shot again!

    The internet is a big place where people can find and download whatever browser they want without being forced to by a waste of space in Europe.

    1. M Gale

      Re: Totally pointless

      A few years ago, Microsoft were very close to making it so that you needed to have Windows and IE in order to view the Web. See my previous post about HTML extensions that depend on DirectX, which is only ever going to be available on Microsoft-approved platforms. You know, like Windows and the Xbox. In this case, the browser that people want would be the only browser that would have worked on the vast majority of websites, which would have been IE. Running in Windows.

      Sheesh, it's like people don't read the Halloween documents. You think Microsoft have changed in the slightest since then, except for the worse?

  35. jai

    Skullduggery - no one does it quite like Microsoft...

  36. Suricou Raven

    The EC finally sorted the brower wars, after microsoft had won.

    Now maybe they can do something about Microsoft's attempts to block linux with secure boot, refusal to support any video codecs they don't own patents for, their likewise policy on filesystems to promote their patent-covered and restrictively-licensed ExFAT, the ASF format license that only permits saving in ASF format, and all of the hundred other things they do to make life harder for their competitors. Shouldn't take more than twenty years or so to get through the legal system.

    1. Nigel 11
      Thumb Up

      Re: The EC finally sorted the brower wars, after microsoft had won.

      Protect Linux and multi-boot. Yes PLEASE.

      I noticed that the browser choice screen had gone. Big deal. I assumed it was my employer doing something sensible, that they'd somehow removed it because it just confused users who did not have admin rights to install anything. Firefox was in the standard builds in any case.

      The EU should offer to let MS off the hook in exchange for pre-emptively knocking on the head any future attempt at locking Linux out of PC hardware. Microsoft should be required to agree not to do what they aren't presently doing and claim not to be planning, with a pre-agreed fine of say ten billion Euros the moment they breach their undertaking. And if Microsoft starts wriggling, well, we'll all know what that means!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The EC finally sorted the brower wars, after microsoft had won.

      Yeah, maybe after they deal with that pesky MS-DOS vs. CP/M thing.

  37. jnffarrell1

    Bosses with abusive management styles don't get needed feedback.

    Balmer got what he deserved, a year and a half as a $7B mushroom (kept in the dark and fed scat). Can MS shareholders claw back 2 years of bonuses from Balmer, like Chase bank just did from a rogue trader?

    If Microsoft had a NCAA football team, it would get the death penalty for lack of institutional control.

    1. toadwarrior

      Re: Bosses with abusive management styles don't get needed feedback.

      If they were an NCAA football team nothing would happen. Penn state fucked up on all levels over child rape for years and as far as I can see the NCAA will not do anything. MS hasn't done anything that bad.

  38. blofse

    Should apple not get the same treatment...

    ...as they have monopolised every techy review site for the last two years!

    :-)

  39. eulampios
    Megaphone

    fine the bustard!

    Determine how much damage the monopolistic mongrel has done and fine it!

    I don't buy the argument of EU enticing the naive Microsoft into an antitrust ambush. Fire some fat useless lawyers, managers and developers. Hire more vigilant and less obese ones. Microsoft should know better to obey the Law and quit thinking that they make this law.

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: fine the bustard!

      Is that a joke or a spelling mistake?

      (Great bustard - world's heaviest flying land bird - a bit like a flying turkey)

      1. eulampios

        Re: fine the bustard!

        It was, this particular bustard specie is the bastard.

  40. Richard Cartledge
    WTF?

    This is where our £1,000,000 a minute EU Membership fee goes?

    Fighting deeply offensive banana shapes and dangerously bundled web browsers?

  41. David 45

    Important busness, eh?

    Well.....this IS a jolly important piece of business for the Brussels sprouts to get their teeth into. Shirley there must be better things for them to occupy their time? (And don't call me Shirley)

  42. majorursa
    FAIL

    Warned

    Would be interesting to know how many lower echelon technicians already warned about this issue but were ignored and told to stay quiet. One email with that implication could cost a few billion to M$.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Storm! in! a! teacup!

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm all for fining the cr*p out of them..

    It's forever "oops" with modern tech companies, and it's time that stops.

    If they don't get fined the screaming cr*p out of them the EU basically tells MS (and others) that it is perfectly OK to break their obligations because it result at worse in a slap on the wrist with a wet noodle. It already seems as if US companies wander across the pond with the wilful intent to completely ignore any pesky laws that get in the way of making money such as Data Protection, and when they're caught it's always "an engineer made a mistake" or another tech statement that cannot be checked, or "oops".

    Fine them, and hard. Best signal ever to the others to roast MS proper.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time to do something that can make a difference

    The regulatory action we've seen so far has done little to restore competition. What should have been done back in the 90s was to put a ban on bundling of hardware and software. The Wintel cartel should have been abolished by requiring that hard and soft products should be marketed, sold and billed separately with no shady OEM-contracts. That would bring the real cost of the basic software out in the open and improve market access for competitors.

  46. toadwarrior

    So it was missing for 17 months and ms offered to extend it for 15 months? Seems like they win out and get to shave off 2 months. I'm sure it was all a big mistake.

  47. Confuciousmobil
    Pint

    I'm confused...

    I misread the article. I didn't realise it was all about European Economics. It took these comments to put me right...

  48. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  49. Ascylto
    Big Brother

    and...

    Microsoft doesn't make mistakes...

    It has 'errors of judgement'

    and...

    I suppose it's top people don't have wages or salaries

    they'll get 'remuneration'.

    Asleep now.

  50. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "we deeply regret that this error occurred"

    Could the Commission please make sure that they actually DO regret ?

    Pretty please ?

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