Open Ballot: Do Microsoft understand irony?

Open Source

Microsoft (along with Nokia, Oracle and a host of other outdated tech companies) have lodged a complaint with the European Commission saying that Google is unfairly abusing its dominant market position:

This from the company that was recently fined for ignoring one of the commission's rulings on almost exactly the same matter: Not only that, but a company that locks down its own mobile operating system so much, you can't change the default web browser (and other first-tier web browsers won't run). Our question to you, dear readers, is do you think Microsoft understands the irony of the situation?

Of course, we have a follow up question. Android isn't perfect, but it is the most open it is the most open popular mobile OS by a significant margin. Several manufacturers create their own versions of it from the source code, and users are free to install software from any source they wish. Compared with the competition, it's a beacon of customer choice. On the other hand, most users and manufacturers go with the defaults which channel users into Google's online services, and therefore into Google's advertising machine. Given that it has around 70% market share in Europe, Microsoft if contending that this is abusive.

So, is Google abusing its dominant market position? If so, what should it do differently?
Can a free operating system made by an advertising company be expected to not channel users to the advertising companies services?
Should Microsoft shut up until its own mobile OS is as open as Android?
Does none of this matter because Ubuntu Phone / Tizen / Sailfish / KDE Plasma Active (delete as appropriate) is about to blow them all out of the water?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments and we'll read them out on the podcast. (note: updated in response to comments on web browser)

You should follow us on or Twitter

Your comments

I'm not sure that any

I'm not sure that any corporate entity understands irony but they are often hypocritical. The EU should have levied the full fine on Microsoft because that is the only thing they understand, $7.4bn would really make them notice.

It is a shame that Nokia dropped of developing their own mobile OS in favour of using Windows Mobile because the more the merrier is the best for all consumers.

Due to the desktop monopoly

Due to the desktop monopoly that MS got in the 90's when there was no competition and the tactics they've used since to ever prevent fair competition - tax payers are forced to fund Microsoft via tax.

So some of our tax is probably being used for Microsoft's legal jollies against opensource

i.e we are all forced to fund MS's legal team.

arrogance made them blind !!!

i honestly believe these guys are so seroius about bussines that they dont even understand the meaning of the term IRONY. they were for almos 2 decades in dominant market position without giving anyone else the chance to have a little breathe. never forget what they did to companise like netware etc. now the open source movment have given the people the right to choose what they like and what they prefer (not like microsoft a good example of theyre arrogance failure is windows 8, no1 likes it no1 wants it) as for google, they in my opinion have earned their position without harming no1. you want to use another for example search engine you are free to do so. and as for the comparance between the two cases, the micro$oft one and the "google dominance" its not the same thing, micro$soft was fined because they used to transform the market into a dictatorship of wich they were the dictator. now google, maybe is a little to powerful but you at least have a choise , you dont like android (i cant think a reason why someone should hate android) good go for it, use ubuntu , firefox OS or even a M$ mobile OS. thats all.

they're perfectly justified to complain

I'm not the greatest fan of Microsoft, but in a childish game of quid pro quo their complaint is fair. They made Windows, the OS with the biggest user share by far, and put a lot of effort into making it the most popular. Then the EC tells them to publicize other browsers? And for the record, I can install other browsers on my Windows Phone, just not make it default. All this while Google is allowed to get away with mass-invasion of privacy and has the most popular search engine by a far bigger margin than Windows as most popular OS. "I'll Google that" is a saying, "I'll go Windows that" is not. Google is far more in the wrong than MS, constantly playing the freedom and innocence card, while really being more guilty than Microsoft.

(leaving aside the fact that

(leaving aside the fact that Microsoft is a company and not a person so it cannot really understand anything)
On the one hand, there is such thing as cognitive dissonance and humans have polished up their ability to overcome it. Ignoring plank in one's eye while looking at someone else's speck happens all the time and there's even been lots of research about it.
On the other hand, even if they do see the irony, so what. They are a freaking corporation. They see an opportunity to bash another corporation, they seize it.

If only ...

Although I can see *some* logic behind this, it doesn't take a genius to see through the jealousy here.
We all know that in our sixth-sense kind of way that the most likely reason for this kind of behaviour in the legal playground is because Android is currently (?) the biggest player in the mobile phone market right now. Everyone wants to shoot down the big guys. (Remember when Apple was at the top and teh Android newbz were still just a small fry community?)

Choice is key

With all the new mobile phone OSes coming to the market I dont think anyone will care about who has dominance. If you dont like what your using choose something else. Personally I use Android. Am I an Android Fan Boy? No. I use Android because it plays nice with Linux and I dont need any 3rd party software to update it or put music on it. If I had a Mac for sure I would have an Iphone. If I used windows I would most likely have a windows phone. People should use what works for them. And if there is so much choice out there it will be hard to throw your weight around to get your way. People that dont like one mobile OS will switch to something different.
Coming from the side of the Corporations, I think they have a right to complain. Even if it is ironic, as is the case with Microsoft.

I wouldn't say google's

I wouldn't say google's abusing it's current market position just yet- you can install competing applications that do the exact same things as the ones Google provides for you and they can't stop you. In fact, they don't want to stop you - they do nothing to hide these competing applications on the app market, and I've even seen a few of the more notable ones (such as Dolphin Browser) get exposure on the front page of the Android App Market.

However, I do understand the concern many people have with Android - Google is in the prime position to abuse their majority in the market, even if they haven't done so yet, so I can only hope one of the many new smartphone Operating Systems gets on production handsets, and fast, to provide a serious competitor and real alternative for Android in the low-end and mid-range of the smartphone market.

As for Microsoft crying about a possible monopoly that isn't their own - is that really newsworthy in this day and age?


In answer to the posed questions:
Do Microsoft understand irony? No
Are Google abusing their position? Yes, probably

I have come to this conclusion because whilst reading the above question, I could see 2 Google services related adverts and remembered that I was using Chrome... see my screenshot >

I don't think Microsoft care about the irony

I am sure they see the irony but they have used dirty tactics in the past to attack competing companies.

At the end of the day Microsoft haven't had a competing mobile os for a long time, they will use any means to slow down competitors.

It's difficult to say what Google will become, I think corporations become less ethical the larger and more dominant they become, time will tell I suppose. At the end of the day I try to keep my personal details off the web as much as possible, which is why I will not use cloud services in the future unless there is absolutely no other option.

And talking of cloud services, there is a case that big corporations are forcing cloud services onto the public even if there is no real need for it other than the corporations wanting a tighter control over licensing. They will tell you it is more convient to sync to the cloud, blah blah blah, but why should we be told what is best for us, I know what is best for myself so keep your grubby mits off my data Mr Microsoft et al.

Sorry, rant over :)

Microsoft understanding what?

Microsoft do not understand technology.


At least Google got their dominant market position from making good products and services and not just having the market in a lucky stranglehold, (Yeah I'm looking at you Internet Explorer, you were shit, how did you ever get 99% userbase in the 90's) perhaps that's why Microsoft have such a bee in their bonnet now

Two Words

Pot, Kettle


Haha, this is just hilarious! Actually, that's all I'm going to say this time. [goes away and starts laughing maniacally]


Microsoft don't care about irony it just seems like they are throwing their toys out of the pram.
I think I see the error of their ways. When they launched Bing they should have used Ned Ryerson from Groundhog Day, people would have been 'Binging' everywhere!


More of the same from these guys. "If you can't innovate..."

Microsoft is in a very difficult position. They are probably just trying to do as much damage as they can on the way down.

Of course they do!

Irony is Microsoft's middle name! It is pronounced Mironycrosoft! (OK, you got me - I only posted that as I just want to hear Effy say that word...)

I will say this: Microsoft gets bashed constantly, and for a myriad of reasons. When you get as big as Microsoft or Google, this is bound to happen, as the right hand often does not know what the left hand is doing. Hence, irony ensues...

I personally avoid Google services, because I actually READ the EULA, and do not trust them with my data. While I keep my important (financial, and family photos) data on personal media, I keep a lot of collected data on SkyDrive, and generally trust MS not to lose stuff like my collected .pet (Puppy Linux) and .deb packages, Ubuntu wallpapers, and the backup from my rooted Nook. Nothing has EVER gone "poof" in 5 years. Conversely, I have lost a google doc that I was collaborating on with many co workers more than once. Google kind of sucks that way.

Gmail is easily the worst webmail client EVER. "Spartan" evidently translates to "where the hell is the forward button?" I just cannot bash the web client enough. Whomever designed it was blind, communist, and hell-bent on the psychological destruction of the entirety of the human race.

I know I am in the minority of Linux users, but I just do not hate Microsoft. Like all big companies, they have made some wonderful and terrible stuff. Google on the other hand, fails to impress me entirely.

I want my Ubuntu Phone.

Irony is hear to stay!

Oracle has been desperate to recover it's huge purchase of Sun (read Java) by chasing Google with bogus claims; Microsoft and Nokia are desperate to become relevant again in the mobile space, and the shine is starting dull for Apple - all the "sheep" are beginning to see that you can't be hip and cool if everyone around you has the same device.

So, what does a (mostly American) corporation do to try and plug the dyke - use the courts! Irony has nothing to do with it; it is just the way corporations these days operate. Most have forgotten how to innovate and most try and slow the competition through the courts.

It never really works, because consumers will ultimately make the choice about where to spend there money and cheap, reasonable quality typically beats expensive bling in the long term.

Having said that: I constantly hear how Google is such a good corporate citizen given how much information they gather. Personally, I think this is CRAP! It is easy to be good, until the management changes, or worse, the company ever so slowly moves the boundaries of what is acceptable to its user base, such that the voices of dissent are drowned out by the collective - meh! Google, to me, are excellent at doing this - and Android is a perfect showcase for this. I do agree that they are abusing their position (BTW: I am an Android user), with their 'free when we make it free' operating system and heavily tied services.

I find it abhorrent that I can't remove the Google-crap-ware that is preinstalled on my phone (unless I root it; the same applies to the manufacturer/network crap-ware too). This very much is a repeat of the Microsoft applications forced upon me, so I think it is reasonable that a complaint is raised - regardless of the irony, past or present.

If Google was completely open source, rather than the sudo model they operate under, then I would be much less concerned.

Alas, we are mostly stuck with the choice of the Trojan horse or the outright frontal assault that the Apple/Nokia/Microsoft/Oracle's of the world slap us with.

I would like to see a true open source alternative arrive on the scene and win serious mind share - but I really don't think it is likely.

Irony is hear to stay! (At least for the foreseeable future)

Now there's a surprise (NOT)...

... to see Oracle in the list. MS, Oracle et al see Google as a threat because of its promotion of a fairly (but not necessarily _totally_) open platform. Each wants to achieve market domination but one of the differences between the others and Google is that they want to achieve that domination by restrictive practices. They despise the level of freedom Android users have. Now THAT's ironic, seeing as they're all based in "The Land of the Free"

Give me the gmail interface any day over that abomination that is Office (though I tend to use Thunderbird on the desktop)!

Just as long as the EU understand Irony....

Just as long as the EU understand irony, take up the complaint and check up on the whole industry/market. Yes, whilst they look at the Android market they can also look into the mobile market of Microsoft, Apple and RIM, et al.

A smell of sweet fresh air into the mobile market can do nothing but good. We may then be able to move our data round from Blackberry to iPhone or Windows and back again without getting cramped fingers.

I Think They Understand Something Else Better

Yes, I'm sure the irony of their actions isn't lost on MS, but I think they understand something else a lot better: they are starting to become in danger of being so far behind the times that they may, despite their current market share, become obsolete, and I think this terrifies them. I'm sure none of the large companies overly care about being hypocritical, so long as they aren't outed as being so by hard-and-fast facts or leaked correspondences. I read a great article on the similar hypocrisy of Apple suing Samsung when it could be said that Apple are just building on the prior work of the companies that tried to make smartphone and tablet devices in the past and failed to get them adopted.
I think this is a really interesting wake-up call for the whole industry that MS are archaic and the time is ripe to rip into their previously unassailable market-share. Just look at the whole software updating mechanism (as an example I have just cursed) - I don't know about 8, but certainly in Windows 7 you still have to get each bit of 3rd party software to update itself, individually, but in Linux, if you add repositories to your software sources you can update nearly all of your installed software in one, fell swoop.
Yes, I certainly think we need to watch Google, but the joy of Android is still: if you want, you can fork it and remove all the Google stuff you don't like. Try doing that with Windows mobile!

Not since January 10, 2012

Not since January 10, 2012 when support for Encarta (Premium and Student) ended.

Irony + Stupidity = Microsoft

Microsoft is attacking Google, since they have are no longer the driving force in the technology market. Microsoft is saying that Google is anti-competitive.Yet, Microsoft's Windows RT doesn't let users change Web browsers! The foolish blindness of Microsoft makes us think of the quick fall that it is having with its horrible Windows 8 Operating System.

Microsoft/Oracle/Nokia are not the standard from which Operating Systems should be judged. For example Nokia is bias because they receive the Windows Mobile system. And Oracle simply dislikes the use of JAVA on Android devices. Simply its a whole load of bias.

As for me I have my Nexus 10 running Android 4.2.

Irony they understand not

This coming from a company that uses UEFI with windows 8to lock down computers is frankly rather precious.

Don't know, Don't care

As the one person in the world without a mobile telephone, I really don't care. I have better things to do than constantly be in touch with people. My landline at home doesn't ring either; I disconnected the bell. Brilliant! The phone is there purely for my convenience.


I think darry1966 hit the nail right on the head.

Do they understand monopoly?

The irony here is that a company repeatedly fined for monopoly abuses still doesn't seem to understand what a monopoly actually is.

They seem to think that the monopolist is the "guy who's doing the best", and that any attempts to stop or even slow "the monopolist" can be put down to the jealousy and/or the financial greed of whichever legal system is caning them that day.

That's what happened to Microsoft itself, after all. Now Google's doing better than them in smartphones - hell, who isn't? - then surely they can use that self-same system to stop Google?

And while yes, if Microsoft itself were the only competition the for sure Google *would* have a monopoly, unfortunately for them, there's the small matter of the iPhone...


No and they don't care. It's all about money, control, and acquisition.

unacceptible action!

Microsoft trying to stop any open source action whole over the world , trying to publish UEFI and blocking Kernel improvement and many anoy action against open source community... this is Unequal war.

I'm still not sure that the question is in fact at all meaningfu

America is well known for generally not understanding irony which in and of itself is not neccesarily a reason to hold them in contempt.

On the other hand.
The Iraq war based on a lie and all the military actions held from about a hundred years ago on the false basis that the other combabtants are in fact a threat is actually something of a definition of IRONY.

The recent discussion of a constant message from one Richard Stallman in regard to freedom represents irony in it's purest form. I don't think they "get it".
Yes it exists, but somehow it seems to be invisible to them.
Which is ironic in itself. Who was that bird who sang about "isn't it ironic" - I reckon they heard it as some sort of
definition statement, acted competlely in contrast to it in order to justify that they aren't in any way ironic.

Wierd? Not really. just the expectation of a country that
believes inherently in the free market but also with the same level of belief insists that "you are the master of all you survey"

Isn't it Ironic?

There is no such thing as a problem
without a gift for you in its hands

yet another glowing endorsement for spurious tort reforms

Growing up in the 90's computers were intimidating and so complicated our entire cohort gave up on active development for passive wastes of time like gaming. Instead of being threatened by change, "open" projects like android aren't merely a scheme to shift Asian plastic but a collaborative opportunity to engage the passionately curious in solving new problems without the burden of a profit motive interfering with breakthroughs. These companies are clinging tooth and nail to relevancy as the landscape for users to tailor products suiting their individual needs becomes flatter and cheaper.

up to I looked at the bank

up to I looked at the bank draft ov $4254, I did not believe friends brother had been truly making money in their spare time on their laptop.. there great aunt started doing this 4 less than 17 months and recently cleard the mortgage on there house and bourt a gorgeous Subaru Impreza. read more at, All29.comTAKE A LOOK

Over red rover

I think it's all over for MS. Open Source is king.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Username:   Password: