Microsoft Dodges a Bullet

microsoft windows7 fineIf you are old enough you may recall when everyone loved to hate Microsoft. They appeared to have the kind of arrogant monopoly powers which are normally attributed to third world dictators (BTW RIP Hugo Chavez…turns out not only the good die young after all) or more recently Google. Whilst the US regulators never really did humble the Redmond Giant it’s own litany of missed opportunity and dropped balls (Search, mobile, social etc etc) have rendered it if not humble then at least a little shame faced on occasion…only Sony has lost dominance in more market sectors in the last 20 years. Back when they were still an evil empire the EU imposed an anti monopoly deal on them which required that they offer users of Windows alternate browsers to the God awful Internet Explorer when they install Windows or take delivery of a new machine. Unfortunately when they launched Windows 7 (SP1) they “forgot” to include the option to choose and continued to forget to include the option for 15 months. The fact that the EU was relying on Microsoft policing its self (as opposed to occasionally installing a Windows product and checking that the option was there) is testament to how lazy and dumb public servants can on occasion be.

Eventually even Windows spotted this “glitch”and having apologized profusely we all sat back and waited for the EU to impose the nearly $8BN fine they could in theory impose. As it turned out they actually fined MS less than 10% of that ($732MM) today. I actually heard the collective sigh of release from my office thousands of miles away. I’m sure if MS checks behind the sofa cushion they will find enough to pay the ticket.  The kicker to this comic opera story is that once again the EU will rely on Microsoft to police it’s self going forwards…..to quote my good friend Hedwig of Angry Inch “I laugh, because I will cry if I don’t.”

A Mixed Bag of Goodies

XXX???

It’s been a weird week in search with many things happening or showing signs of happening which could have significant long term impact. Let’s get the most important one out the way first. A while ago iCANN released the .XXX TLD for adult content. We now have www.search.XXX as a search engine completely devoted to porn. Yes folks we have achieved porn Nirvana. The more cynical might claim that nothing has really changed because search has always been devoted to porn. Not so though. Over recent years the search guys have be pushing adult content down or off the results page entirely. That’s perfectly reasonable for folks not looking for that kind of content…but has made life a little more difficult for those in search of nooky….happy porn surfers you now have your very own nude beach….enjoy!

A View of the Ocean

Going from the ridiculous to the sublime Google turned 14 released Ocean View for Google Maps which ads some nice under water panoramas of places you probably will never visit. It feels a bit like the actions of someone who (as my mother would put it) has more money than sense.

Fine For Microsoft?

On the hard news side it looks like the EU is gearing up to actually fine Microsoft for forgetting to include the browser choices they were required to deliver in Windows 7 (…Ooops..) and that fine could be 10% of their revenue. The EU is still apparently in deep talks with Google about their monopoly in search in Europe…which also has plenty of room to turn nasty…the EU hates monopoly..especially evil monopolies which emanate from the US.

“Klout” A Deal

In Yahoo/Bing land they have just cut a deal with Klout to include Klout scores in Bing results sets (Not sure I really care) but it will be interesting to see what difference it makes. Unbelievably there are rumors surrounding Yahoo that they might take Google back to power their search. Yahoo dumped Google back in 2004..it was ugly…Yahoo kept the kids. If they take them back Google will own roughly 80% of US search and closer to 90% globally….pick the monopoly bones out of that EU!