Thursday, March 25

World

Ignorance::Excuse::No

Microsoft claims that it should not be fined at all because it did not know its behaviour would breach EU law.
I weep.

Hang on, no I don't.

Microsoft has been slapped with a 497-million Euro fine (that's US$613m, £331m, AU$810m) by the EU. Now I loathe the EU at least as much as I loathe Microsoft, but Microsoft has a history of blatant abuse of their effective monopoly position and they've had this coming for years.

It won't stop them, of course. No financial remedy that doesn't bankrupt the company will do that. What will stop them is open source software, a triumph of Marxism over Capitalism. Only in a good way.

Because things are different when your incremental cost (Is that the right term? The cost for producing another copy of something?) is effectively zero. Our first taste of post-scarcity economics. It isn't really post-scarcity economics, and in a finite universe you can't have pure post-scarcity economics, but it's close.

(Article on BBC. Yeah, I know, one bunch of weasels reporting on a legal action by a second bunch of weasels against a third bunch of weasels. But what am I to do? It's weasels all the way down.)

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:53 AM | Comments (6) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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1 The only good weasel is a dead weasel...

Posted by: Susie at Thursday, March 25 2004 01:45 PM (9PzdO)

2 the EU used article 82 of the EC treaty to hang Microsoft. Any abuse by one or more undertakings of a dominant position within the common market or in a substantial part of it shall be prohibited as incompatible with the common market insofar as it may affect trade between Member States. Such abuse may, in particular, consist in: (a) directly or indirectly imposing unfair purchase or selling prices or other unfair trading conditions; (b) limiting production, markets or technical development to the prejudice of consumers; (c) applying dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions with other trading parties, thereby placing them at a competitive disadvantage; (d) making the conclusion of contracts subject to acceptance by the other parties of supplementary obligations which, by their nature or according to commercial usage, have no connection with the subject of such contracts. my assumption is that section c. is the one they used to hang Microsoft. however, it is very vague don't you think? so i think that a case could be made that Microsoft didn't know they were breaking any rules. i can't find any warnings issued by the EU either. i doubt very seriously that this judgment will stand up in court.

Posted by: Captain Scarlet at Thursday, March 25 2004 04:51 PM (l+gJ0)

3 It is a bit vague, yes. Now Intel is certainly known for that c sort of thing. But Microsoft has been known to do a, b, c and d when it suits them. i doubt very seriously that this judgment will stand up in court. What court? Can Microsoft appeal this anywhere?

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Thursday, March 25 2004 09:49 PM (+S1Ft)

4 "It won't stop them, of course. No financial remedy that doesn't bankrupt the company will do that." And what's wrong with bankrupting those criminals? I had some hope (vain, I guess) that the EU would shut them down, or at least ban them from Europe. $613-million is a drop in the bucket.

Posted by: JRW at Friday, March 26 2004 12:07 AM (0BPZ/)

5 I didn't say that there was anything wrong with bankrupting them. :) Just that anything less in the way of financial remedy wouldn't work. I don't quite advocate bankrupting them... I do think Bill Gates should have been hit with jail time for contempt of court for his behaviour during the U.S. antitrust case. That would have been interesting.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Friday, March 26 2004 12:57 AM (kOqZ6)

6 The one thing that hasn't been tried yet to 'fix' Micro$oft is to revoke thier corporate charter

Posted by: skipjack at Friday, March 26 2004 09:45 AM (9h1sW)

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