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Neelie Kroes: Lots of Ego, Little Brains

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May 29, 2009 – Comments (2)

From the "solving problems that don't exist" department.Neelie Kroes, tilting at windmills, decides that the EU needs to force other browsers into windows. (I wonder if they'll force Macs to ship with other browsers... Seems to me everyone on Mac uses Safari. Surely that's unfair to Google and Mozilla)

This despite the fact that anyone can download an alternate browser within 1 minute of starting up a machine -- absolutely for free. And also despite the fact that IE doesn't give MSFT any competitive advantages at all. It's not useful in getting MSFT search traffic, as shown by MSFT's 8% share.So what, exactly, is Kroes worried about?

Her own fragile, Dutch ego, I suspect. She's simply ticked that Microsoft hasn't broken apart despite her best attempts to punish Microsoft for shipping addon software with windows, even when that addon software is laughably behind, laughably inadequate, and completely irrelevant from a business standpoint.

Her last, pointless round of punishment came, remember, when Microsoft bundled windows media player with its OS. The ever-vigilant, completely detached competition czar claimed that this bundling gave Microsoft an unfair advantage in the digital entertainment space. This despite the fact that nearly no one uses windows media player in any revenue-generating fashion. iTunes is the money machine in music, and even Microsoft dumped WMP for its Zune players.

In other words, Kroes continues to protect EU consumers from threats that don't exist. The proof was that no one bought the Windows version without media player. Kroes extracted a multibillion-dollar fine to protect people from something they wanted, even though they barely use it.

That's the height of self-delusional, bureaucratic idiocy. She's a joke, like Don Quixote, but without any of the charm. There have to be more important issues for her to be considering if she's concerned about the health of the European economy. But cracking those problems (like ridiculous national protectionism, stifling, jingoistic labor laws, or those ugly blue vests with all the pockets that all European men are issued at age 50, when they begin strolling with their hands behind their backs) would require doing something tough, and without an easy, American scapegoat.

Sj

2 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On May 30, 2009 at 12:05 AM, SkepticalOx (99.45) wrote:

This is ridiculous. How exactly does offering a limited range of competiting browsers enhance competition? What she is doing is putting a "true competition" label on what is actually a farce, an oligopoly of browsers.

This is competing through the courts and not through meritocracy. Even worse, forcing Microsoft to offer these limited choices to consumers and calling it "competition" will probably hurt innovation more than anything. A moral hazard. Hey, lets not compete by making a better browser. Lets just hire a good lawyer!

Politicians who don't know squat about technology with big egos writing up antiquated rules.

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#2) On May 31, 2009 at 8:56 AM, TMFBent (99.82) wrote:

Remember, this is the same woman who, in lip-service to ensuring healthy competition in the car industry, rubber-stamped a French auto bailout initiative after receiving a toothless written pledge that the French government wouldn't undertake anything that would favor French biz unfairly...

It's a joke.

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