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Windows 7 To Be "Thoroughly" Tested For Antitrust Compliance

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the you-will-comply-citizen dept.

Windows 364

CWmike writes "Technical advisers to the antitrust regulators who monitor Microsoft's compliance with the 2002 antitrust settlement will test Windows 7 'more thoroughly' than earlier versions of the operating system were tested, according to a new status report filed with the federal judge watching over the company. Microsoft is also facing renewed scrutiny from the EU, which two weeks ago filed preliminary charges against the company over bundling IE with Windows, and said more recently that Microsoft 'shields' IE from competition."

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Oh yea, we'll test it really hard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26652085)

Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink.

Re:Oh yea, we'll test it really hard. (4, Informative)

GigaHurtsMyRobot (1143329) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652225)

I'm thoroughly testing it, and thoroughly pleased. This is the first time in years I that I did not replace IE immediately. I've been using it for a couple weeks, now. One problem I eventually found is that Google Chrome won't install. IE has frozen several times (it's beta.) I hated Vista with a passion, but so far I am really happy with Windows 7.

Mod down, positive review of Windows (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26652449)

If we allow this sort of behavior to continue, it could hurt Linux adoption. MOD DOWN.

Re:Mod down, positive review of Windows (3, Insightful)

GigaHurtsMyRobot (1143329) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652657)

Lol, are you serious? I was serious... I'm liking Windows 7, and I'm not an Anonymous Coward.

Re:Mod down, positive review of Windows (3, Funny)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652855)

You're serious? Like windows? *head explodes*

Re:Oh yea, we'll test it really hard. (5, Insightful)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652551)

As much as I detest Windows in all forms, Windows 7 seems to be shaping up to be a half decent OS. Hate to have to admit it, but there it is.

Now all they need is a bash terminal, wget, vim, locate, grep, tail, touch, top, a package management system (emerge, apt, rpm - not really fussy), more text-based config files instead of a registry...

Re:Oh yea, we'll test it really hard. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26652967)

Now all they need is a bash terminal, wget, vim, locate, grep, tail, touch, top, a package management system (emerge, apt, rpm - not really fussy), more text-based config files instead of a registry...

But if you had all that stuff then it'd probably freeze every 10 minutes and no popular software development house would want to write for it and it wouldn't be stable with any hardware(using buggy half-baked drivers 'n' all), especially graphics and wireless chips. Then it'd be pushed into the hobbyist/scientific computing/server niche and be reduced to 1% desktop market share.

Oh, wait.

Virii (3, Funny)

s1lverl0rd (1382241) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652113)

First we got antivirus software, then they invented antispyware software. Yeah, Antitrust software is obviously exactly what we need.

Virii? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26652173)

Grammar nazi are truly sad.

Re:Virii (1)

I'm not really here (1304615) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652405)

Hahahahahaha... look it up, it is viruses. Virii is not a word [linuxmafia.com] .

Re:Virii (2, Funny)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652561)

I thought Windows was enough in itself to inspire a lack of trust?!?

I am skeptical (3, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652119)

Microsoft's compliance with the 2002 antitrust settlement will test Windows 7 'more thoroughly' than earlier versions of the operating system were tested, according to a new status report filed with the federal judge watching over the company.

Wasn't this done for XP? If I cannot remove IE or Windows Media Player, then these folks will not have done their job.

But the better move would be to force Microsoft to use open formats for all their applications. That way, we all can be sure that alternative apps have the opportunity to work as required. The only hindrance here would be for programmers to "deliver."

Re:I am skeptical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26652181)

I agree. Let Microsoft do whatever they want internally. So long as close defacto formats don't force everyone to use it.

Re:I am skeptical (1, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652185)

the better move would be to force Microsoft to use open formats for all their applications.

No, the better move would be to force Microsoft to open their formats.

Luckily enough, they've already done that. So go ahead and implement to your heart's content!

Re:I am skeptical (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652415)

You are wrong. Forcing them to "open their formats" is exactly the wrong approach. OOXML is the kind of thing you can expect to see in all of their published documentation and there is no liklihood that anyone would be able to faithfully implement anything they have published. But if there are known standards for, let's say, browsing the web, they should be prevented from writing apps that use the internet protocols in ways that are not standards compliant and they should be prevented from supporting only MSIE under such circumstances.

On the other hand, opening their formats is also important for immediate relief. I am thinking long term and future uses.

Re:I am skeptical (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26652525)

Microsoft itself still hasn't been able to produce a faithful OOXML implementation that adheres to their ill-gotten standard, and they wrote the format spec!

As it stands, Microsoft Office is on track to support ODF long before it will support the (MS)ISO OOXML spec, if it ever does.

The docx, etc. format currently used in Office 2007 is a proto-OOXML format that may not be completely compatible with the ISO "standard" OOXML.

Re:I am skeptical (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26652809)

It's legitimate if the specs was useable (i.e. force them to release a spec other people can implement). OOXML is NOT an open spec despite what any so called organization says. The EU just needs to define their own solid definition of open specs and then there is no room for argument by Microsoft. With that, it be relatively simple for the courts to tell if it's compliant or not should they get complainst against any organization.

Re:I am skeptical (5, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652567)

Open Formats: Designed so anyone can use them, and is encouraged. Usually fairly easy to implement and can save a lot of time in development costs.

Opened Formats: Designed to be hard for other people to copy. Trying to implement them can be rather difficult as it was tightly integrated with their applications that use it. So the cost of implementing the Opened Format is almost as much as it would be to purchase the software or the library to use it from the original vender.

Re:I am skeptical (1, Insightful)

GigaHurtsMyRobot (1143329) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652239)

Why do you need to remove it? How about just not clicking the icon? This has always worked for me, and is similar to my argument for abortion (just don't have one, instead of outlawing it.)

Re:I am skeptical (0)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652941)

>>>abortion (just don't have one, instead of outlawing it.)

That's like saying, "No need to outlaw slavery; just don't buy a slave." In other words, your proposed solution is a non-solutionf or those who consider slavery or abortion to be a violation of human rights.

Re:I am skeptical (2)

GigaHurtsMyRobot (1143329) | more than 5 years ago | (#26653075)

Well I don't believe an unborn fetus has the same rights as everyone else, so the analogy doesn't work for me. I believe outlawing abortion is the more relevant violation of human rights, the right to make choices about your own body.

Re:I am skeptical (0, Redundant)

Andypcguy (1052300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652267)

I don't see why anyone would be upset with Microsoft including useful programs with there operating systems. I use IE and WMP. I Agree that they should be uninstallable though. As long as Microsoft doesn't force anyone to use the software I'mm cool with the extras. Hey Microsoft, wana throw in a free office suite, usenet app, programming language, CD/DVD burning app, and PDF creator? I'm tired of paying for all these things. I'd ask for some anti-malware/anti-viri software but I know how good you guys are at security so I wont bother.

Re:I am skeptical (2, Informative)

cozmoz365 (1371905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652427)

I agree interially with your argument, beside's how can I install Firefox without a default browser? Also I personnally like WMP but wish it came packaged with codecs like VLC is. Also I'm not sure if anyone noticed but Mac's come packed with a media player and web browser, I'm not sure what the big deal is here? Not to mention most Linux distro's come packed with loads of software out the box!

Re:I am skeptical (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26652843)

I wondered how many comments it would take as I read through to get to something like this. You must be about the 1000th person to make these comments in the last few weeks.

how can I install Firefox without a default browser?
If you can't work this out, you shouldn't be using a computer
a/ OEM installs one or more browsers of *their* choice, which must not be influenced by MS incentives. As OEMs already install and support various non-MS software this would present no problem at all. I'm sure some OEMs would already be installing Firefox if MS din't threaten their discounts etc.
and/or
b/ (Particularly for non-OEM installs) MS is required to include a simple 'browser chooser' gui application which uses ftp or equivalent behind the scenes to get and install your chosen browser. MS is allowed to warn that browsers other than IE are not supported by them but by company x, y etc.
And don't quibble about the details, it's clearly doable.
For example: 'but they'd have to include links to every crappy little browser with spyware etc.'. Well then, charge each company that wants their browser on the 'chooser' (say) $5000 to have it independantly spyware vetted and listed. That would probably cut the list down to less than 5-10.
Other objections can be dismissed equally easily.

The usual 'I don't understand or want to understand the very basics of competition law' comment.
So, for the nth time:
MS has a *legally defined* OS monopoly (no it doesn't matter if *you* think they haven't got a monopoly; the EU, US etc. courts *do*). Apple and the various Linux distros do not have legally defined OS monopolies.
Under competition law it is illegal to use a monopoly in one area (OS) to create, attempt to create, sustain or attempt to sustain a monopoly in another area (browser). And no, it doesn't matter that MS's market share in the browser market is down to about 70%. It's their OS share that matters. And yes (as per below) a legally defined monopoly does not mean '100% of the market'.

You may not like or agree with this; maybe you think there should be no competition laws (even if that leads to no free market - this was *why* these laws were introduced in the first place). But it *is* the law and it looks as if the EU will actually attempt to get MS to comply with it.

Note that a legally defined monopoly can kick in at as low as about 25% of the market (e.g. 4 major companies carve a market 4 ways and shut out other competitors - that might be an illegal cartel as well). So, if Apple or (say) Ubuntu gets to as little as 25% of the OS market, they might be hit by these laws as well. Until then, they are free to bundle what they like because it is not legally deemed to have an adverse effect on competition.

Re:I am skeptical (0, Troll)

Pvt_Ryan (1102363) | more than 5 years ago | (#26653113)

If you can't work this out, you shouldn't be using a computer

Ahh I forgot Computers are only for People like us, you know Sys Admins & Engineers. Not anyone else. Certainly my parents couldn't work that out and they aren't techno-phobes.

a/ OEM installs one or more browsers of *their* choice, which must not be influenced by MS incentives. As OEMs already install and support various non-MS software this would present no problem at all. I'm sure some OEMs would already be installing Firefox if MS din't threaten their discounts etc.

Sorry but you are talking shit.No they wouldn't. They get NO incentive to install IE, it's part of the OS. Why would an OEM waste time (which is effectively money) installing a product on an OS that already ships with a similar product installed?

For example: 'but they'd have to include links to every crappy little browser with spyware etc.'. Well then, charge each company that wants their browser on the 'chooser' (say) $5000 to have it independantly spyware vetted and listed. That would probably cut the list down to less than 5-10.

Ahh so basically only companies ablee to afford that amount could have their's listed.. Hmm sounds like stiffling choice to me. Not so good for those free non-profit browsers. I suppose the list could have... IE and Netscape?

Re:I am skeptical (1)

indi0144 (1264518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652857)

hummm... the difference is MS have a dominant share of the market so they abuse that position to the point that a lot of users think the internets ARE inside the blue icon. And yes you can install Firefox without a web browser, thats a thing You'd do with external storage or Am I doing it wrong? When you're just first booting a new Win install you should not start to look after drivers, help and random software with a vanilla system, unpatched and a wooping IE5 legs wide open.

Re:I am skeptical (2, Insightful)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652559)

Second.

I don't like/use IE or care for WMP (most media gets winamp'ed, only videos go for WMP, although I'll usually just put them on my BSD box and watch them in Noatun or Mplayer.

As for IE? It has it's uses... As the sibling posted - If lets you go and download Firefox (or other browser of choice) on a fresh system.

Having these on a system doesn't prevent you from using other software, they simply don't encourage you to do so. Preventing people from using other software should validly fall under anti-competitive, and can validly include paying people not to sell competitors products, or not dealing with people who do, not following published standards that the other use, and not publishing your standards (or not letting people use them for a reasonable price). However, not encouraging people to use another's product is not anti-competitive, that's just rational practice.

Today is Jan. 29, 2008... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26652293)

That means it's time to kick off the 2012 U.S. Presidential campaign race! Yes, that's right! The only way we can top the level of hype that was achieved in the last election is to begin the next election season immediately! Please commence verbal fellating of the Democrat candidate and character assassination of the Republican candidate immediately. Hurry up, because the 2016 election cycle begins next week!

Re:I am skeptical (4, Insightful)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652789)

this is exactly backwards, it would be better to make microsoft's closed & proprietary file formats & protocols illegal, and force microsoft to use open file formats & protocols that are not written by microsoft...

Re:I am skeptical (3, Insightful)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 5 years ago | (#26653129)

But the better move would be to force Microsoft to use open formats for all their applications

"But the better move would be to force Everyone to use Microsoft products for all their work"
"But the better move would be to force Everyone to eat Wheaties products for all their lives"
"But the better move would be to force Everyone to do what Uncle Sam wants for all their lives"

See the problem with forcing people/companies to do things? Regulation is important, but there needs to be a time where you gotta say "hold on this is overstepping". Put it this way - if you created a product (think time and money) for sale so you cuold make profit - how would you feel if someone came up to you and said "No sorry, you need to invest more time and money and configure your product the way *I* want it, not how you want it. BTW, you need to divulge any trade secrets you have. While you spent time/money developing these secrets and would like to make a profit, *WE* feel it would be better to give it out for free. Oh and btw, here is your food stamp starter pack since your business venture was artificially destroyed"

Is MSIE still in there? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652121)

Yup! It's non-compliant. Actually, what are the compliance conditions precisely? I recall that part of the problem was the bundling of MSIE but I can't say if the exclusion of MSIE was ever a requirement.

The EU is just bashing an American company (-1, Flamebait)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652151)

Shielding IE from competition? Bullshit. Their "shielding" is apparently like a wooden shield against a .50 caliber rifle based on the marketshare growth of Firefox and Safari. Even Chrome is taking a percentage or two now. I think the real reason they're upset is that Opera is the only native European browser and it's failed to gain much traction outside of the embedded and portable markets.

Re:The EU is just bashing an American company (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652193)

Actually, by making sure other browsers are not [fully] supported by their web service applications, they are locking out competing, STANDARDS BASED, browsers and client machines including those running Firefox and Mac OS X. It is not merely an issue of web designers not making things compatible, but whole applications and applications interfaces are closed to anything other than MSIE.

Re:The EU is just bashing an American company (1, Interesting)

daveime (1253762) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652333)

Can you please explain why Firefox supports innerHTML, considering it is a Microsoft invention, and NOT STANDARDS BASED (as this seems so important you had to capitalize it) ?

Oh yes, I forgot, be standards compliant, unless it affects your market share. Bravo, Firefox. You stick to your guns, and the lemmings will keep trotting out their tired mantras.

Re:The EU is just bashing an American company (3, Informative)

RedK (112790) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652459)

Because a lot of rich-text editors on Webmails and other web pages made heavy use of innerHTML to present pre-formatted output instead of just BBcode type output. I am guilty of writing such an editor for a website I made once, I cringed at every line of code when it wouldn't display properly in Mozilla.

Re:The EU is just bashing an American company (5, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652493)

Because supporting a property in JavaScript that returns the HTML string with in an element isn't going to break anything else. Just because something doesn't come from a standard doesn't mean it's not a good idea to adopt it. It's only when you adopt something that breaks a standard or is in conflict with a standard that it becomes a problem. Supporting extensions on top a standard that break nothing else isn't a problem.

Most of the problems around MSIE in terms of standards compliance have been fixed in IE 8. The other half of the problem, though, is ActiveX, which other browsers cannot implement on platform other than Windows. If ActiveX where implemented aa true open standard, without moving targets, without reliance on the underlying platform, then it would be possible to produce browsers on competing platforms that supported ActiveX.

Since Microsoft has deliberately chosen to keep certain details of ActiveX a complete an utter secret and tie it into Windows, there's no way for anyone to implement on a non-Windows platform.

This deliberate tie-in is an effort by Microsoft to create vendor lock-in. Microsoft can either compete fairly or they can fight dirty. They've consistently chosen to fight dirty and until they stop, they're always going to face criticism for it.

No Microsoft paycheck for you.

Re:The EU is just bashing an American company (4, Insightful)

Civil_Disobedient (261825) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652673)

Can you please explain why Firefox supports innerHTML, considering it is a Microsoft invention

Because (successful) software developers are pragmatic more than they are pedantic. One only has to look at the relative successes of Linus Torvalds versus Richard Stallman as a prime example.

Microsoft also invented Ajax (well, they were the first to implement the XMLHttpRequest [wikipedia.org] ). Just because the devil gives you a pony doesn't mean he still isn't evil. And it doesn't make the pony evil by proxy.

I think I should probably stick to car analogies.

Re:The EU is just bashing an American company (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652369)

Sorry, but what "web service applications" are you refering to?

Re:The EU is just bashing an American company (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652437)

Their Outlook Web Access application is decidedly more feature-filled for IE than it is for Firefox, for example.

Re:The EU is just bashing an American company (3, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652399)

Actually, by making sure other browsers are not [fully] supported by their web service applications, they are locking out competing, STANDARDS BASED, browsers and client machines including those running Firefox and Mac OS X.

Actually I can say that I've begun seeing websites where, if you visit them with IE, they say, "Sorry, but the page cannot be viewed in Internet Explorer. Please use Firefox, Google Chrome, or Safari." It seems that, by not adhering to standards, Microsoft may be starting to locking themselves out of competition.

Karma. Wouldn't it be funny if Microsoft had to scramble to get their browser standards-compliant because websites weren't bothering to support them anymore?

Re:The EU is just bashing an American company (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652499)

That is not a bad idea ... and one, perhaps, I might attempt to sail at my own work place.

Wow (-1, Troll)

Mystra_x64 (1108487) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652207)

Its seems bashing Opera on /. make you feel both better and attractive at the same time.

Re:The EU is just bashing an American company (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652213)

Please. If you can't see how IE is shielded from competition like the night is shielded from the day, then perhaps you ought to look closer.

Re:The EU is just bashing an American company (1)

Cowmonaut (989226) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652703)

Poetic but not very accurate.

by BadAnalogyGuy (945258)

Ah, I see.

Re:The EU is just bashing an American company (0, Troll)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652233)

Why would they want to ruin MS when they likely bring a lot of income into Ireland, an EU country if this is all about protectionism?

It could just be that some people realise that MS' mentality isn't beneficial to computing.

On the subject of protectionism you should look towards the US who has done more to Nintendo clearly show a case of protectionism. Especially considering the anti-Japanese mentality at the time. MS has been much worse than Nintendo yet the government lets them go and why? It's an American company. Had MS been Japanese or European you can guarantee they would have lost their case in the US.

Nonsense (4, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652329)

The EU Competition Commission is doing its job. In case you didn't realise, the US has a similar organisation which has investigated Microsoft, concluded there was a case to answer, but seems to have been pulled off by the previous maladministration. The last similar case was Honeywell Bull. EU competition law and US law are closely aligned because the EU took the US model as a basis. And I'm sure you realise that the two superstates are polite to one another, because the last thing they ant is a trade war. I am sure that the US Competition authorities are delighted to have the EU do the job, away from all those lobbyists in DC.

Just a simple example: the embedded FTP client in IE that integrates with Windows Explorer. It's a good idea, a sound implementation, but why should it be denied to other browser makers? It's not like I didn't pay for Windows Explorer.

Contrary to what you might think, I would like W7 to do a good job. I would also like to have it work properly in diverse networks, and be able to deploy applications and shares across those networks without regard to OS. I would prefer installing IE8 not to break some of my old .NET applications when it doesn't interfere with similarly ancient Java apps. If it takes Neelie Kroes to make Microsoft do this, I say bring on Neelie Kroes. She's now up there on my "great women in IT" pedestal along with Rear-Admiral Grace Hopper.

One possible solution.. (2, Interesting)

Dotren (1449427) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652189)

Microsoft should follow the Linux lead here... the core OS should just be the bare necessities and there should be a user friendly GUI to connect to and download features and software that is supported on the Windows platform. This could be done for both free software (IE, Firefox, etc.) and software they currently charge for or that may be going to a subscription based system (Office).

They could kill two birds with one stone here, they'd just be packaging the OS so it is slimmed down and performs better AND they wouldn't be facing this legal crap every release.

Granted, I still don't see what the big deal is. Yes, IE can't be removed and it is annoying and so the law indicates it is a monopoly. I guess I've always viewed a monopoly as a system where you can't access, obtain, use, etc any competing product. This, of course, isn't the case with Windows as I'm typing this up in Chrome at the moment. I do understand though, this isn't the way the law sees it and I'm sure there are good reasons for this that I'd understand if I fully dived into the required reading.

Re:One possible solution.. (3, Interesting)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652321)

the core OS should just be the bare necessities

No! I want a officesuite to come with every system, like Linux does.

Re:One possible solution.. (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26653087)

No! I don't want of officesuite, because I don't need one.

Why waste precious RAM loading a bunch of hooks & other junk for spreadsheets, powerpoints, and other programs I never use? Jeez. I remember when a multitasking OS could fit inside just 256K (Amiga OS). Although those days are passed, I don't see why it's necessary to have 2,000,000 K of RAM either. Eliminate all the optional shit (officesuites), and only load those components off the HDD as needed.

If they did that, they could probably pare down the OS to fit inside 96 meg or less (like my Win98 laptop).

Possible solution for whom? (2, Insightful)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652355)

For the time being it remains more profitable for Windows to purposefully limit their platform (by ensuring it isn't as flexible as you describe, limiting it's compatibility with other platforms, etc) and have to deal with the EU then to just make a damn good product for the end user.

Re:Possible solution for whom? (1)

Nossie (753694) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652851)

damn good product? ha ha you are hilarious,

I tip my hat to you sir:)

If they'd broken up the OS and office suite into separate entities I believe everyone would have gained in the long run (inc MS)

I'd suggest splitting up the console side too... but you wouldn't want the xbox to go bankrupt now would you?

Pricing and OEM tactics are much more important. (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652191)

I think pricing and OEM tactics are much more important to look at. How is it for example possible for Microsoft do demand premium for XP on workstations while at the same time they sell it for spare change in the netbook market? Last time i checked it wasnt legal to use a monopoly in one area to expand into another.

The "marketing" support OEMs get is also something very fishy. Step in line and do as Microsoft tells you or buy your OEM license for much more than your competitors. This in a very low margin business where every dollar counts.

Re:Pricing and OEM tactics are much more important (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652249)

How is it for example possible for Microsoft do demand premium for XP on workstations while at the same time they sell it for spare change in the netbook market

I think YAATL (yet another anti-trust lawsuit) is coming on :)

Re:Pricing and OEM tactics are much more important (1)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652695)

You'll be hard pressed to successfully make the argument that OS's on workstations and OS's on netbooks are sufficiently different markets.

But if they don't include IE... (5, Insightful)

TheJerbear79 (1316155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652227)

what am I going to use to download firefox? Do they really expect end users to learn to use FTP? I'm not sure the DOJ has thought this through.

Re:But if they don't include IE... (0, Redundant)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652297)

Why don't people mod this up more? It's a very important point. If OEM's want to put Firefox onto a box and make it the default browser, there's nothing stopping them from doing so but it would be silly of Microsoft to ship an OS without any browser at all. Are they saying MS should ship with Firefox instead?

Re:But if they don't include IE... (4, Insightful)

RedK (112790) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652381)

Maybe you guys are too young, but back in the days, Windows 95 or Windows 3.11 didn't have a Web browser. And we still managed to get on the Internet. ISPs shipped CDs with browsers, or we would copy them over on disquettes (1.44 MB!). Nowadays, with USB flash drive and mass availability of computers, it should be even easier to get a Web browser on your browserless Windows. OEMs can also pre-install it for new computer buyers.

Re:But if they don't include IE... (2, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652463)

Windows 95 came with a primitive web browser it was good enough to download Netscape.
For Windows 3.1 if you talented enough to get Winsock working then figuring out FTP was no big deal. Besides most of the stuff on the internet was via, Telnet, FTP and Gopher the Web only had academic papers and some cheesy corporate websites that were nothing more then a bunch of fliers done in HTML.

Re:But if they don't include IE... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26652659)

It is simple.

Have no browser installed and include a DVD with Internet software that includes a selection of browsers. The other option is to have a feature in add/remove programmes that downloads the files to install any one of half a dozen browsers.

Re:But if they don't include IE... (5, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652911)

That was 14 years ago - today I expect a browser to be immediately available on any system I install. This would be a huge step backward, even if all I use it for is to bootstrap the rest of my system after a reinstall.

Re:But if they don't include IE... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26653077)

I don't wanna be in charge of the MS support call-center when your nan is asking why she can't explore the internet any more.

And what the hell is this application regarding foxes and fire. That just sounds cruel.

Really. It would be so much better to force IE to come inline with the security and standards regard of other browsers. Not just force users to change their habits.

Re:But if they don't include IE... (4, Informative)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652509)

Why don't people mod this up more?

Perhaps because we actually RT 2nd page of the FA [computerworld.com] , which suggests obliging MS to ship Windows with other browsers installed and presented to the user in addition to IE?

Wait... I'm on Slashdot, aren't I? Sorry, silly response.

Re:But if they don't include IE... (1)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652897)

which is stupid. Nobody should dictate what Microsoft is or is not allowed (of their own creation) to include. The problem, however, is closed formats, APIs, and deals with OEMs. Those are the things that this stupid focus on bundling fails to address. Proper enforcement would focus on making sure you can interchange components at will. Let microsoft include whatever of their own creation they care to, so long as it can be removed and replaced.

Re:But if they don't include IE... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26652371)

It's actually quite diffucult with mozillas current ftp service. If there would be a simple path to download latest firefox binaries it could be usefull in cases where IE has stopped working.

Re:But if they don't include IE... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26652481)

Simple. Have a cut-down package manager-type program for installing browsers. It includes options for FF, IE, Opera, Safari, Chrome and any other serious browsers, and launches the first time 'web browser' is clicked.

Re:But if they don't include IE... (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652483)

Well first, I think the big idea is that Microsoft allows OEMs and customers to uninstall IE and install Firefox.

Second, I don't think it would be all that difficult for Microsoft to develop a wizard-based application that allows end users to choose which browser to install from a set list, and even fetch the chosen browser from the Internet if need be. I bet Google and Mozilla would even be willing to cooperate with Microsoft by providing them a static link that always leads the the most recent version of their browsers.

Re:But if they don't include IE... (2, Insightful)

TheJerbear79 (1316155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652647)

OK, I'll bite... who pays for the development of this wizard? The very short answer is Microsoft does, the somewhat longer answer is we do. Why make them develop additional software the cost of which is passed to the consumer, that's a bit counter productive in an anti-trust case isn't it?

Re:But if they don't include IE... (2, Funny)

Goffee71 (628501) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652563)

It goes back to the good old days of ISP CDs falling out of magazines by the dozen, that'll be fun and help magazine advertising sales

Windows 7 CMD Edition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26652609)

In other news: Microsoft, tired of dealing with the increased scrutiny, will be shipping Windows 7 CMD Edition to the EU instead.

Windows 7 CMD Edition will come on a 9GB DVD and boot in under 30 minutes. After which, the user will be greeted with a brand new "monochrome" interface capable of running exciting programs like "COPY", "ECHO" and "MORE"... much more!

No more worrying about which browser is your default while you're playing with "DIR" or saving the environment with "TREE".
Windows Media Player objections no longer apply as you can now play your favorite MP3s directly your built-in PC speaker with "MORE".

UAC will be a thing of the past as users are completely secure from Internet-based viruses and worms because CMD Edition isolates users from the internet.

Re:But if they don't include IE... (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652679)

1. Ask someone to email the install EXE.
2. Configure the bundled Outlook Express with your POP3 settings.
3. Install Firefox.

Easy!!!

(sorry, no need for my coat, I'll brave the cold)

Re:But if they don't include IE... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26652943)

Windows explorer, which is internet explorer in disguise, obviously.

How to really make it anti-trust proof... (1)

Goffee71 (628501) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652259)

Have one version with all the usual guff cut out (no "security", no browser, no apps, utilities or themes.) Make this the "Basic version" and let the user choose what browser to use, what security to install, what apps to run. Effectively this "lite" version is the gateway to the net and our chosen apps, where most PC time is spent.


Think of it as going to Subways - choose the boring brown roll of an OS, then add all your own yummy meats, juicy salads, hot peppers and sauces.


Sell it cheap and you kill Linux and stop the Mac horde in its tracks, problem solved - longer version - http://goffee-freelance.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

... and if you don't comply, we'll gratuitously... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26652261)

We're warning you, Microsoft!

And we warned before! And if you don't comply this time, well, we'll gratuitously warn you again. And again.

Heaven forbid, let's not think up incentives that would actually make it more attractive for you to comply than not...

I user IE exactly once on a new computer (2, Insightful)

kitgerrits (1034262) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652281)

http://www.getfirefox.com/ [getfirefox.com]

Re:I user IE exactly once on a new computer (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26652473)

But if you use any help files at all when using windows, you are using IE. It is used to render them. Also, automatic updates uses IE.

Re:I user IE exactly once on a new computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26652603)

I don't even use it that many times.

Just copy it over from the thumbdrive.

Is it still an issue? (2, Interesting)

Deathlizard (115856) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652283)

like I said in the last thread, Is IE that big of an issue when it's losing market share to competitors? IE8 isn't going to save it because it still has abymissial JScript performance and as more sites everyday are using AJAX, IE gets slower and appears to lock up more.

Over the last 2 years, it lost market share, and According to these guys [hitslink.com] IE dropped from 79.9 down to 68.1. Now Google chrome is in the mix and already eclipsed Opera's share of .7% within 4 months and stands at 1% market share, and it only going up from there.

This isn't 2000, When all you had was a reliable and fast IE, a buggy Mozilla, a decripid and virtually useless Netscape, and a "HTML compliant" Opera that can't render any site correctly. Now, there's a slow and locking up IE, a reliable and fast rendering Firefox, a solid preforming Safari, a super fast and easy to install Chrome and a better, but still renders funny sometimes Opera.

Re:Is it still an issue? (1)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652765)

The problem with bundling IE isn't an issue with computer-savvy folk like us, but rather with Joe Sixpack who isn't going to go out of his way to get a new browser when he's already got one bundled with his computer.

is this a little one sided? (1, Interesting)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652289)

ive never had a mac so i wouldnt know for sure, but i would assume that OSX or leopard or whatever its called bundles something, itunes and safari maybe? if i am right then surely for fairness such rulings should apply to them aswell and to linux as the market share for both are slowly climbing

Re:is this a little one sided? (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652307)

Linux distributions include competitor products, provided they are FOSS. They won't have a anti-trust issue, no matter how big Linux distributions become - since they arn't preventing others from competing with their operating system.

Re:is this a little one sided? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26652835)

The difference between Apple and Microsoft is a monopoly. It is the monopoly which makes bundling illegal, the bundling itself is not illegal.

You won't like me when I'm angry (3, Funny)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652291)

Microsoft, you have made the eeeooo very angry! And if you don't comply, we will write many angry letters to you, informing you of how angry we are!

Re:You won't like me when I'm angry (1)

cloakable (885764) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652625)

Or, you know, grab a few million dollars a day again?

Read (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26652309)

"We will make sure the NSA has full backdoor access to the operating system before we will allow it to release."

Re:Read (1)

indi0144 (1264518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26653031)

Is it possible to detect a backdoor in a close source OS? how?

Has the world woken up? (2, Insightful)

jabjoe (1042100) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652319)

I feel part of the reason Microsoft have got away with a lot of their bad practices is because no one with any power to do anything about it cared.

Now these people of power are waking up. It's not just the wining of nerds and does matter. Computers are like anything else competition is required or things become expensive and broken.

Closed source is broken anyway, but to have a company to make closed software on a closed platform, how can that ever be a level playing field?

Re:Has the world woken up? (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652733)

Closed source is not broken for custom or specialist software (it never has been) but for mass market software it is and always has been non ideal

Closed source is great if it is part of a "solution" package where you buy the hardware, installation, support, and maintenance, oh.. and a licence for the software, all from one company as a package

In mass market software you are so far removed from the developers and do not normally get support included so the support systems end up being the same as open source but with none of the benefits ...

Re:Has the world woken up? (1)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652821)

The EU has woken up to late. When MS was bundling IE in and abused it's monopoly to destroy Netscape, that was the time for something to be done. Today the idea of a browser-less OS isn't acceptable to people who want their computer to "just work." Firefox and other free browsers aren't going to sink because MS is bundling IE free of charge. It's a different market now which needs other things - such as open standards and standards compliance.

There is a very easy solution... (1)

Vertana (1094987) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652357)

The only solution would be to enable the complete removal of Internet Explorer's GUI. The only reason I don't say to completely remove it is because it is crucial to Windows Update, among other aspects of that OS. However, to force the OS to tell the user, "You must install one of the above to get on the Internet," is ludicrous. The same people claiming that Microsoft's packaging are the ones who have no problem with Firefox being installed by default in Linux distributions. The only difference is that we have the ability to remove Firefox in favor of Opera, Epiphany, or what have you. Therefore the only way to achieve "equality" is for MS to include a way to give the user the option to remove Internet Explorer in favor of a different browser.

Re:There is a very easy solution... (2, Informative)

RedK (112790) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652425)

Windows update doesn't use Internet Explorer anymore, it's been this way since Windows Vista. There's now a fat client that runs on your PC that takes care of updates. So one less reason to even have the Internet Explorer GUI/shortcuts by default.

One thing to Note (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26652403)

Last I checked IE is considered free software - you don't have to pay for updates, it is [or at least was] available for free outside of a Windows install (IE for Mac comes to mind, though canceled now).

So why such a big stink about 'market share' for free software?

Am I missing something that says that if started giving away something free that was like something else someone else gave away, the someone else would have to support my lack of backing? Welcome to our world.

-/wordy-

People don't upgrade from what they're given (4, Insightful)

Brian Kendig (1959) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652477)

Right now, according to MarketShare [hitslink.com] , IE6 and Firefox 2/3 are roughly tied for market share (about 20% to each). TheCounter [thecounter.com] says that IE6 has 34% of the market while Firefox has 17%, and even W3Schools [w3schools.com] says that IE6 still has about 20% of users.

The moral of this story is: lots of people don't upgrade. They don't even run Windows Update. They use the browser they got when they installed XP, and they probably don't even know anything else is out there.

This is why, whenever Microsoft ties an application to the operating system, the market suffers. It becomes really hard to compete in that space. Right now, nobody's making money selling a web browser that competes with the one that comes with Windows. This is the way it's been for more than a decade now. The antitrust action against Microsoft was nothing more than a slap on the wrist; it did nothing to restore competition.

If Microsoft is so interested in bundling high-quality apps with the operating system for the good of its users, then why haven't they bundled Microsoft Word?

Re:People don't upgrade from what they're given (1)

Civil_Disobedient (261825) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652725)

Additionally, a lot of people are running hand-me-down systems that are only powerful enough to run under Windows 98SE (which won't run Firefox).

Why not just... (1)

Kindaian (577374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652549)

Instead of having IE and WMP installed, they have just the link to the installer?

The user at their discretion should be able to decide if they want that bloat or not in their OS.

(either at runtime, or during the instalation)

Heh (0, Troll)

pyster (670298) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652685)

Not really sure why anyone should be allowed to tell MS what they can and cannot bundle with their software. Sounds like a fascist load of shit to me.

Whats the problem? (2, Interesting)

EricX2 (670266) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652707)

Back when IE's competition cost money I could see why they would be in trouble for bundling a free program would cause people to think they were using their power as a monopoly. How many web browsers does OS X bundle? In KDE, isn't the web browser also the file manager?
In 10 years when MS is gone due to their so called non competition (and lawsuits) we'll have the same issues with whoever is the BIG company at the time due to these laws not being enforced across the board. Either you can bundle whatever you want or you shouldn't be able to bundle anything.

So... lets imagine a PC with every single web browser installed by default... which one do they put in their start menu? Do they put a program that says pick a web browser? What order to you put them in? Alphabetical? Well, who is at the top, they have a better chance of becoming the standard due to people being lazy and picking the first one. And you better hope it doesn't have anything selected by default or definitely that will be the monopoly version in no time at all. How about anytime a new browser comes out it should be a automatically installed as a critical windows update and so nobody is the majority, when you click Internet in your start menu it randomly picks a different one each time.

So what's next? I think freecell has a monopoly.

*sigh* (5, Insightful)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652763)

It's not necessarily what is bundled or not. It's their #!@$@ business practices and closed APIs. I really don't give a crap if an alternate browser is on the system or not. What they should care about is that it is easy to put it on, remove the one you don't like, etc. You should be able to mix and match as you see fit.

This focus on 'bundling' has always annoyed me. Why should we force microsoft to bundle anything that they themselves didn't create? that's stupid. We definitely should look into their dealings with OEMs though! That whole forcing OS/2 out of the market with their exclusive contracts were not cool. Educate yourself on the real criminal behavior: http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f3800/msjudgex.htm [usdoj.gov]

To test for antitrust, they need simply test how easy it is to mix and match different components. If the OS is getting in the way of that, fine the hell out of them.

How about Samba3 aka NT4 Domain support? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26652783)

Apparently this is broken intentionally or unintentionally in the Beta of Windows 7. This is a big issue as Samba 4 is not ready for production.

I hope the Samba guys focus on this rather than Openchange for the moment.

Two cents from a Firefox user (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26652927)

For the longest time I have hated IE due to its non-standards compliance and sluggish security update cycle; however, enough is enough. I don't see what is wrong with an operating system offering a web browser as it has become basic functionality required for many daily tasks. Is there something preventing people under jurisdiction of the EU to go and download Firefox? No. Does Windows throw a hissy fit when more then one browser is installed? No. (maybe competition over file formats though...)

This is just like someone building a new car and having the government take out the transmission because there are alternative after market versions. Why should the stock transmission be sheilded from competition!

coward anonymous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26653049)

Technical advisers to the antitrust regulators: if you need a magnifying glass just ask :))

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