Microsoft Fined $731 Million by EU

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
March 6 2013 8:53 AM

Microsoft Fined $731 Million by Hilariously Behind-the-Times EU Regulators

Dean Hachamovitch, Microsoft corporate vice president of Internet Explorer
Dean Hachamovitch, Microsoft corporate vice president of Internet Explorer

Photo by Microsoft via Getty Images

Remember 1999? Unemployment was around 5 percent, the Dow was about where it is today, nobody wanted to live in Brooklyn, and everyone was very concerned about "browser competition," with Microsoft facing all kinds of scrutiny for its various efforts to leverage its overwhelming operating system market share into getting everyone to use Internet Explorer. Well, the European Union's anti-trust authorities don't seem to know that times have changed and just slapped Microsoft with a 561 million euro fine for violating some kind of browser choice consent agreement that the company agreed to in 2009.

I don't want to cry for Microsoft, exactly. Companies shouldn't violate legal agreements, and they can afford the fine. But are we seriously still worried about this?

It seems like when it comes to Web browsers, the regulators ought to declare victory and go home. Google has firmly established a strong commercial presence in the browser space, and Mozilla's non-commercial Firefox project broke down the walls of monopoly a long time ago. Which isn't to say the initial scrutiny of Microsoft was misguided—arguably today's browser ecology is the result of that scrutiny. But the war's over.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Culturebox

The Simpsons World App Is Finally Here

I feel like a kid in some kind of store.

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The Difference Between Being a Hero and an Altruist

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
Outward
Oct. 22 2014 10:37 AM Judge Upholds Puerto Rico’s Gay Marriage Ban in a Comically Inane Opinion
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 10:00 AM On the Internet, Men Are Called Names. Women Are Stalked and Sexually Harassed.
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 22 2014 6:00 AM Why It’s OK to Ask People What They Do David Plotz talks to two junior staffers about the lessons of Working.
  Arts
Culturebox
Oct. 22 2014 9:54 AM The Simpsons World App Is Finally Here I feel like a kid in some kind of store.
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 22 2014 10:29 AM Apple TV Could Still Work Here’s how Apple can fix its living-room product.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 22 2014 10:30 AM Monster Sunspot Will Make Thursday’s Eclipse That Much Cooler
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.