CyberTech Rambler

September 27, 2012

Fine them, but make sure it is proportional to the mistake

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 2:23 pm

The news is that Microsoft is set to be fined by EC on non-compliance of its IE settlement.

Yes, they breached the agreement. Yes the excuse that it was a technical glitch is not acceptable. It is not acceptable because  Microsoft is not adhering  to agreement set by one of the biggest (quasi-) government body and thus has the duty to triple-check that they are in compliance.

However, on the issue of IE, Microsoft is a different creature from the time the agreement was struck. In particular, it is not so intransigent anymore. One should take that into account. Moreover, the harm caused by this non-compliant, while still large, is not as big deal as it was back in the 2000s.

Thus, by all means, fine them to cover the damage they had done, plus a bit extra as a penalty to make it not worthwhile for them to repeat what they had done. Make an example out of Microsoft? I do not think it is necessary. The risk that punitive fine making the EC looks like a overbearing enforcer is not worth the money collected. Nowadays we talk about rehabilitation, not retribution. Thus, we should acknowledge that Microsoft behaviour had changed since the agreement and take that into account when setting the level of the fine.

There is no need to worry that the world at large will not be reminded that fulfilling one’s obligation to the EC is very important. The size of a proportionate fine will already make sure it makes it to the headlines and not buried in the business pages.

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