Tag Archives: Microsoft

EU fines Microsoft (again) for continued anti-competition

By Leon J Williams

Web browsersThe European Union (EU) has ordered Microsoft to pay £484m for failing to allow consumers a choice in web browsers.

Back in 2004 Microsoft was fined £381m for the same reason after which Microsoft did start to offer consumers a choice but this web browser option screen was dropped following a Windows 7 update in February 2011.

Microsoft said that this was due to a technical error but the European Commission dismissed this and is no doubt using this opportunity to make an example of Microsoft so that no other company thinks that it can get away with not implementing fair anti-monopoly regulations.
This move can only be seen as a good thing, shoring up EU funds and and allowing other, smaller businesses an opportunity to thrive.

Myth
Supporters of Capitalism say that it creates competition and they criticise Socialism for stifling competition but alas closer to the truth is that Capitalism destroys competition by creating monopolies, companies buy other companies and put their products first.
It is regulation that stops this, it is government intervention.

Web Browsers
Towards the end of last year we wrote about web browsers here.

We recommend either Opera or Firefox

EU-US Free-trade agreement; everyone’s a winner!

By Leon J Williams

EU-US free-tradeFree-trade, that sounds good and everyone seems so happy at the news but what does it mean?

Free-trade really means no tax, so US and EU companies will be able to easily import and export without paying any ‘tariffs’ (taxes).

The real benefactors of this agreement will be large corporations, the markets will be happy!

For example, your local butcher (if you still have one) has nothing to gain from this, if they do import their meat it will likely come from within the EU and as such already part of a free-trade agreement and everything to lose. Large companies will have more money available to expand their businesses and continue to push out the little guy.

Less taxes means less money available for projects that help small to medium size enterprises (SME’s) both existing and start-ups.

Governments and big businesses will be happy but the rest of us not so much.

Unified regulations

This also sounds good in theory but will this be a compromise between US standards and EU standards, good for the US, bad for the EU. Why should we lower our standards to meet the US halfway?

What will happen over food safety over issues such as trans-fats?

What will happen over monopolising businesses such as Microsoft and Intel?

What will happen over the US’s lack of banking regulations?

This could spell disaster for Europe and a huge step forward for the US.

Competition vs Cooperation

By Leon J Williams

A few words on competition and cooperation.

There are many key facets in the capitalism vs socialism debate including the role of government,

I would say that this can be characterised in 4 groups:

Competition with government regulation
Businesses and people compete against each other with the government creating favourable circumstances for competition to thrive.
There are many examples to show that regulation is needed to prevent monopolies such as the EU’s huge fines for anti-competition against companies like Intel and Microsoft.

Competition with no government regulation
Businesses compete against each other, with no government interference leading companies to grow so large they can buy their rivals, monopolies are formed. Works well in the short term, awful in the long term.
To a certain extent you could say like the US though even they have regulation of their people and businesses.

Socialism
Businesses and people compete and cooperate, taxes are higher to provide support to people who have lost out due to competition (welfare). Heavy support for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and heavy taxes and regulation on large businesses to prevent monopolies. All essential services are under government control. A lot of government regulation.

Anarchism/Communism
People work together, sharing jobs and social responsibilities. ‘Businesses’ are run by those interested in running them as a non-hierarchical cooperative. No government, so no regulation.

Finally
This is not in anyway a definition of what these terms are and purely a focus on the competition/cooperation aspect.

Competition is fine when it’s football (or any sport) teams compete, one team wins the cup and the rest try again next time but with life it’s not so similar, the winners get rich and the losers become homeless, entrenched in poverty and ultimately, die.

No apples in the Gateses’ house

By Leon J Williams

It will come as no surprise that Bill Gates’ children are not allowed to own Apple products, probably through fear of their children realising how crap their fathers products are though they put it down to not wanting to encourage the competition.

Windows operating systems still dominate the desktop market share with about 90%, Apple is in second with nearly 7% and Linux in third with 1.25%.

Apple wins the tablet and mobile ratings with 41% and Unix winning the Server ratings with 60%.

Disadvantages
Windows: Unreliable/unsecured
Apple: Bloody expensive
Linux: Still struggles with MS games

Advantages
Windows: Everyone’s using it, compatibility
Apple: Looks good, popular with media & design people
Linux: Free, reliable & consistent

ACA The Underground in 2007 was made using Linux SuSe (free edition) to produce the printed version, these days with the wordpress online version we’re using Linux Ubuntu.

Linux is free, the software is free, the tech support is free, specialists and hobbyists work together to make the systems stay free.

A kind of by the people, for the people approach.