AtRandom #21: Microsoft and EU in UEFI ARM Lock

As Microsoft wrestles to fight off Apple and Google from its global computing market dinner bowl. The European Union commission’s competition tag team, are preparing to tame the Washington based software company.

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Microsoft has continued to lose market share from it’s once lofty market dominance, the US behemoth has taken a beating from Mozilla and Google in the browser wars, with their respective Firefox and Chrome web browser offerings. In addition other players Opera and Safari have gained ground.

This is a good thing, and has perhaps been catalised by the EU’s 2009 ruling that Microsofts bundling of Media player and Internet Explorer was anti competitive, and provided Microsoft with the ability to monopolise the market.

The revolutionary rise of the Tablet computer, driven by Apples iPad and swiftly followed by a plethora of OEM manufactured devices running Google’s Android Operating System (OS) , has left Microsoft feeling the pain!

The strong steady rise of Linux over the last decade, driven firsty by companies such as Red Hat in the server space and now by Canonical on the PC desktop with its latest everyday computing software platform “Ubuntu” it looks like Microsoft is facing an all in tag team battle to remove it from dominance.

Of course the Microsoft board are consummate marketeers and masters of strategy when it comes to leveraging markets. Microsoft, recognising the strong prospects for Tablet computers and mobile smart phones, wants to ensure it locks down a big piece of the action.

The announcement that Windows 8 will utilise UEFI a new kind of computer startup procedure. Which gives Microsoft a new edge in the market, by enabling it to use its market dominance to force manufacturers to lock out other software platforms at machine start up, by requiring specifialised security keys. Microsoft denied it as a play to leverage an anti-competitive position by announcing that it would not force vendors to lock UEFI on PC’s installed with Windows 8. However, such retoric is misleading, as Microsoft issued instructions to OEM licensee’s that the UEFI start up system MUST be locked on ARM based devices.

In a recent press articled posted on to cnet Microsoft have sought to further  lock the ARM based tablet computer market by denying full access to the base software platform to ALL but their own Internet Explorer browser.

This has met with immediate reaction from the European Union’s competition overseers who having already slapped the hands of the digital giant and are now giving Microsoft the beady eye over its announcements regarding its upcoming Windows RT browser for ARM based PC’s.

 The commission is aware of these allegations and will remain vigilant that Microsoft fully complies with its commitments under the commission’s 2009 decision on browsers. This decision applies to Microsoft’s Windows operating system for PCs.

The defining term in all of this is PC, as in Personal Computer. If a Tablet computer can be established as being legally different from a Personal Computer then the commission might find the power of its 2009 ruling, suddenly has no teeth.

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