Microsoft Fines Continue to Increase Daily
The European Union doesn’t think Microsoft is giving them a lot of respect and wants to make them pay. Recent fines amount to 899 million(€) Euros which came out to be about $1.3 billion USD the day it was announced. Since that time, the US dollar as fallen so the fine has increased about 400 million just due the conversion rate changes.
Of course, as the dollar falls Microsoft products become more affordable to Europeans. For example, last week my 29.95 USD WinPatrol PLUS sold for over 21 EUR. Today, it’s under 20 EUR. So while it’s more expensive for US residents to purchase products made abroad, the rest of the world can now afford our products.
The European Union determined that Microsoft had failed to disclose technical information that would allow competitors to develop products that would work with Windows. Microsoft did provide most of the technical information requested but charged a licensing fee that was considered extreme.
Microsoft has a long history of skirting the letter of the law and delaying court decisions until their opponents just give up. The EU appears determined whittle away at the Microsoft monopoly one way or another. In 2006 the French parliament decided to dump Windows in favor of Linux and open source applications.
I’ve always said I wished Microsoft Corp spent more on development than on lawyers. Perhaps we would see a better Vista instead of class action suits from people who purchased “Windows Vista Capable” machines that don’t run Vista. Under pressure to get Vista in the hands of more people Microsoft announced a price cut this week. Vista Ultimate drops $80 to $219 while Home Premium drops $30 to $129.
Ideally, newly discounted retail packages of Vista will include the SP1 update. If not, the first thing new Vista users will be doing is downloading multiple system updates and finally SP1. I would recommend new Vista users refrain from any web surfing until all the updates are completed.
Side note: Ironically, last year when French President Nicolas Sarkozy vacationed in Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire, he stayed at the estate of former Microsoft executive Michael Appe. You may remember President Sarkozy had a confrontation with photographers over their intrusion into his family vacation.