Last week we reported on the new concessions Microsoft was proposing to the EU in the hopes of quelling its ongoing antitrust battles in Europe. The solution was a simple ballot screen pushed out as a “high priority” Windows Update, but what we didn’t know at the time is that it will also be sent out to computers running Windows XP and Vista as well.
The exact lineup of browsers hasn’t been finalized yet, but it is said to include 10 of “the most widely-used web browsers that run on Windows with a usage share of equal to or more than 0.5% in the European Economic Area”. Oddly enough, it’s still not even clear if Opera meets these requirements and given that they are the ones responsible for the antitrust woes facing Microsoft, would be bitter justice.
Opera officials overjoyed with the concessions, but never resting on their laurels, are said to now be pushing for an “icon-less ballot screen”. I suppose they are concerned that many users associate the “blue E” icon with “internet” and it still gives an unfair advantage to Microsoft. They are also said to be asking that this browser ballot be pushed out worldwide, but I somehow doubt Microsoft will take this approach. The browser ballot screen will include two links, one to the manufacturers website where they can learn more and an extra link directly to a download server.
Given the amazing amount of concessions being made by Microsoft, is Opera being unreasonable by asking for more?
"The European Commission can confirm that Microsoft has proposed a consumer ballot screen as a solution to the pending antitrust case,” EU revealed in a statement.
Microsoft had been hoping EU would allow it to ship Windows without a browser. EU had agreed to this solution when bundling of Windows Media Player was at issue, but the results proved that it was just a ruse. Had EU lent its seal of approval to Microsoft’s favorite solution, the company would have found it very easy to influence OEMs.
$11.8 million, to be exact! Microsoft’s shenanigans have gotten them into a legal squeeze with Bundeskartellamt, an independent federal authority assigned to the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology in Germany.
According to a report filed by Bundeskartellamt, “The product in question was heavily advertised in the autumn of 2008 in stationary retail outlets. Amongst others, a nationwide active retailer advertised the product with financial support from Microsoft. Even before the launch of the advertising campaign in mid-October 2008, employees of Microsoft and the retailer in question had agreed on at least two occasions on the resale price of the software package 'Office Home & Student 2007’.”
Sadly, price fixing has become common amongst larger companies as a way for them to show off their financial prowess (most notably amongst memory companies, who have been known to set industry-wide price points).
According to Microsoft spokesman Jack Evans, “We will use this case as an opportunity to review our internal commercial processes and ensure that we are in full compliance with German law.”
Samsung Electronics has been ordered to pay 50 million yuan ($7.3 million) to Holley Communications over an alleged patent infringement claim, ending an 18-month lawsuit. Filed in April of last year, Holly Communications sued Samsung claiming the handset maker had violated a patent technology allowing mobile phones to operate on both CDMA and GSM networks.
"Samsung has sold more than 700,000 cellphones that contain Holley's patented technologies. The patents are still on sale. The compensation is only part of the sales," Xinhua news agency quoted Ge Chen, Holley's executive director as saying.
According to Xinhua, Holley Communications will seek even more compensation than what has already been awarded. Meanwhile, a spokesman for Samsung said no official decision has yet been handed out, but should that happen, the company may appeal.
Vicarious liability is a legal principle that lays out rules for liability of one person for the acts of the other. But the most uncompromising version of this legal doctrine has surfaced in France, where a court ordered eBay to pay luxury goods group LVMH damages worth $63 million.
Keep reading to learn why the French Court slapped the whopping fine against eBay. Also join our discussion - "after the jump" - on whether eBay should have been punished for the sins of its users.