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EU

Back in September, it was confirmed that Microsoft was purchasing a part of Nokia for the sum of EURO5.44 billion ($7.49 billion). The deal will see Microsoft absorb the Devices and Services division for future development, leaving the likes of NSN (Nokia Solutions and Networks) and HERE. Redmond is now seeking approval from EU antitrust regulators for the deal to go through. 

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The European Commission announced plans today to open an investigation to determine whether or not Microsoft has failed to comply with its browser choice commitment, which was applied in 2009. The commitment saw the software giant presenting customers of its Windows operating system with a screen listing available alternatives to Internet Explorer (see above). This was put in place due to Microsoft being found guilty of abusing its dominant position with IE in the browser market.

Joaquín Almunia, Vice President of the Commission in charge of competition policy, had the following to comment.

"We take compliance with our decisions very seriously. And I trusted the company's reports were accurate. But it seems that was not the case, so we have immediately taken action. If following our investigation, the infringement is confirmed, Microsoft should expect sanctions"

Competing browsers have previously spoken publicly about the potential antitrust violations Microsoft is dancing around by preventing third party browsers access to the same APIs IE uses in Windows 8. With the down-spiral of IE and the massive increase in users for both Firefox and Chrome, is it worth penalising Microsoft heavily for a ballot box screen, which arguably adds little value to the user experience? 

According to the announcement, the EC believes that Microsoft may have failed to implement the browser choice screen from February 2011 onwards with the release of Windows 7 SP1. It'll be interesting to see the outcome of this investigation, especially from a financial standpoint, with a possible fine of up to 10% of Microsoft's total annual turnover, should it be found guilty of breaching the commitment.

How do you feel about the bundling of software in Windows 8? Do you believe Microsoft still has a duty to provide such choice to customers regarding web browsers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Source: European Commission, via: The Verge

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Rage against the train

The European Union has launched its own app for air and rail passengers stranded in the EU due to cancelations or delays to check their legal rights about refunds and rebates.

The app, simply titled Your Rights, is nothing extraordinary but what is neat is just how wide its coverage reaches. The app’s contents is available in 22 languages, uses local storage for data so no internet is needed and it’s available on Windows Phone, iOS, Android and Blackberry. It’s one of the first times we’ve seen such a massive simultaneous release and it’s nice to see Windows Phone right up there.

From the app description:

“The Your Passenger Rights application provides users with clear and concise information on their travel rights within the European Union. Presented in a question/answer format, it allows users to easily identify the problem which they are experiencing and be provided with a clear explanation of their rights and the options available to them.”

Currently, the app only covers air and rail but it will extend to bus/coach and marine travel in 2013.

Sure, the EU as a concept and execution catches a lot of flak at times but it’s actually nice to see some pro-consumer legislation turn to technology for everyday use.

Pick up Your Rights here in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Via: Phys.org

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