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Microsoft: Our Eurotroubles Are Over (Includes Reader Feedback)

Those huge fines that the EU levied on Microsoft last week? A thing of the past, now that Redmond has opened its vault of APIs and protocols, Steve Ballmer says.

Yeah, well, we'll see. A couple of readers agree with RCPU's take that the EU is out for more than just "justice"; it also wants a big American scalp. Andrew says:

"I think the whole issue of the EU fining Microsoft is ludicrous. This has nothing to do with a monopoly, IE or Windows Media Player. This is much, much deeper than that. This is just a witch hunt of an American company. That is it, plain and simple. I used to travel all over Europe and am happy to say I no longer need to do that. One thing is without a doubt: It is hard to find a European who actually has anything good to say about America.

"If I were Microsoft, I would simply stop selling software to any country or individual that lived inside the EU. It might hurt financially for about a year or two, but after that, where would the EU be? The answer is back in the Stone Age. Microsoft has it within its power to economically put the EU countries into a real hole. How much grief would it get then from the EU regulators? None! For that matter, it would be even better as we (Americans) could offer SaaS to all the European businesses and host the software in the U.S. if they wanted current technology with our laws and not theirs.

"Not to misunderstand me, Microsoft does a lot of things that are just unintelligent and wrong, but this has nothing to do with that. We deploy and support Microsoft solutions if and when it is the best solution for our customers."

Well, Andrew, your editor lived in Europe for a few years and had a mostly fantastic experience. But we're right there with you on the EU wanting to dent a powerful American company. We can smell that, too, from all the way across the ocean.

Ross says that we're all going to be paying the fines in the end, anyway:

"I don't think people understand what it means when Microsoft gets fined $1.3 billion. Some people are applauding the EU for 'teaching Microsoft a lesson,' but what they don't understand is that it hurts the consumer. Microsoft isn't going to say, 'Ah, shucks, our profits are going to be $1.3 billion less now.' Just the same as when gas prices rise, trucking companies don't say, 'Oh, well, looks like we aren't going to make as much because of our expenses in fuel.' They're going to pass that $1.3 billion right to the customer.

"I'm not saying that I know the answer, but I don't think that huge fines are going to solve it. Obviously, the last fine wasn't that effective if we're back in court again with another huge fine."

Excellent points, Ross, and we're right there with you. Once again, the customer actually loses as a result of excessive government intervention.

Want to chime in on Microsoft's Eurotroubles? Ring away at lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on March 04, 2008 at 11:54 AM