Penalizing Success

Financial Times: "Microsoft was publicly warned on Monday that it has one more week to comply with the antitrust sanctions imposed by the European Commission last year, or face fines of up to $5m a day."

Background, courtesy of Computer World: "The EC decided in March 2004 that Microsoft had abused its market dominance in the PC operating systems market and slapped it with a $624 million fine. It also ordered the company to sell a version of its Windows operating system in Europe without Windows Media Player and give rivals access to information that would allow them to make their workgroup server products work better with PCs running Windows."

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The collapse of both of

The collapse of both of those dinosaur pseudo-monopolies(the EC and Microsoft) will be interesting to watch. Some of the parallels between them are funny if you think about it.

Patinator, Boy. I was

Patinator,

Boy. I was content to stick it to EC and send a message of who exactly needs whom. I never even thought of explicitly pulverizing them. Good call. And I like the method you chose and the plan you laid out; it's elegant and even classy.

I am glad we are on the same side.

Eric, This might work if

Eric,

This might work if Microsoft were a private company, but since it has shareholders, it either couldn't happen or it would and be followed by a litany of lawsuits. It sure would be satisfying though.

In theory, if I were in Bill Gates' shoes and I wanted to pull this Randian move, I would offer the EC a lot of discounted shares as an olive branch and to show my committment to working with them in the future. By doing this I would lighten my huge exposure as well as that of my employees. The discount would be above the employee's discount but below market price in order to induce the EC to buy and to give a favorable profit to the workforce for their hard work. I would then buy put options with discounted strikes for all employees for any remainder of shares that had not been purchased by the EC. I would then get a hard core group of programmers to create a new OS called Skylight under a new company called MacroSwift. Once finished, I would unveil "Skylight for Europe" and follow your plan for Windows. Microsoft stock would plunge on the first set of news and then plunge again when employees started exercising their puts. The EC shareholders may or may not sell their shares, but they would have lost most of their investment and they would be pissed. I would start buying back shares here. In order to save face, they would rally to MacroSwift's Skylight which, unlike its beta versions, would be rife with problems much worse than Windows. Checkmate. Sure, let's renegotiate.

Eric, that would indeed be

Eric, that would indeed be truly satisfying.

I wonder, how will people play media files on their computer without a built-in media player? The reason why Microsoft includes WMP is so the OS will work out of the box.

Eric, You beat me to it.

Eric,
You beat me to it. That's exactly what I was going to suggest!

As a working professional

As a working professional forced to use thier junk, i hate thier OS, but as a capitalist I would love to see that. Pleeeeeease:grin:

Would it not be beautiful if

Would it not be beautiful if Microsoft responded to the European Commission’s sanction by simply withdrawing from their market? They could stop selling products, providing technical support, and disseminating product upgrades and (my personal favorite) security patches. This could be particularly satisfying if done right before the outbreak of the next major Windows-specific worm. Also, all product activation connections from EC territory could be administratively blocked. After leaving the bulk of business and personal systems virtually un-upgradeable, un-patchable and insecure, a simple press release could be given; something to the tune of “You are now free of our oppressive business practices. Enjoy.”