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$1.4 million seems small in comparison to the billions[1] that Microsoft was fined by the EU for bundling certain software with Windows.

Acacia did something that would be considered illegal and exploitative in almost every jurisdiction, whereas bundling a browser straddles a legal gray area. Apple does it OS X and iOS, Google does it on Android & Chromebooks, and nearly every Linux distro does it. On iOS, you can't even use a browser engine other than Safari's WebKit. And none of these companies have gotten into trouble.

It just seems unfair to me that when a company does something slightly unfairly competitive (like Microsoft) they get hit with huge fines, but when a company like Acacia does something that's outright evil and illegal, the fines are a joke.

I do think Microsoft should be paying even bigger fines for patent-trolling Android manufacturers with false patent claims. And a judicial decision or executive act ordering Apple to allow users to install their own software on iOS, and removing the ban on interpreters/browser engines/etc on the App Store would be appropriate.

[1] $794 million in 2003, $449 million in 2006, $1.44 billion in 2008, and $765 million (€561 mil)in 2013 -- a total of over $3.4 billion, all for bundling standard software with Windows that all other OSes also bundle. And this money paid in fines to the European Court goes back into the EU budget. (TBH, this smells strangely as a revenue-generating move by the Commission.) See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Corp_v_Commission




Yes, this number does seem small compared to some other completely unrelated number.


Saying that Microsoft was fined for "bundling a browser" is like saying that the Feds went after Al Capone because of tax evasion. I hope this was a joke post!

There were plenty of other cases pending against Microsoft, but they were all dropped when George W. Bush came into power. If Gore had won, Microsoft probably would have been broken up, like AT&T before it.


Since technology did what it does by enabling unexpected competitors to pass Microsoft, would there have been a purpose beyond the purely political? It's hard to say they have a monopoly on anything now, not even the badwill of the geeks.


Microsoft is still as profitable as ever and they have a ton of money and patents. There is still no real competition on the desktop. Linux is used by a tiny number of hardcore enthusiasts. Apple was financially propped up by Microsoft in the early 2000s to maintain the illusion of competition, but their market share is under 15%. The next generation of hardware is going to take away the option of even using Linux... Microsoft has locked down the bootloaders on ARM devices, although they continue to allow Linux to be installed on Intel devices (for now, at least.)

Microsoft may not dominate the areas of cloud computing or smartphones, but those are separate industries from the desktop. And Microsoft continues to pour money into those industries by investing in Azure and Windows RT. They may yet come to dominate those industries if Amazon or Google make a mistake.

Microsoft has also added mandatory spyware (essentially) to their new Windows 10. Some of it can be disabled, but other parts can't. They are also pushing their Windows Store thing. It's still possible to install desktop software without paying Microsoft, but for how much longer?

HN has a real blind spot when it comes to how harmful Microsoft was and continues to be.




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