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The History of Microsoft's Anti-Competitive Behavior

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the earning-a-reputation dept.

Microsoft 361

jabjoe writes "Groklaw is highlighting a new document from the European Committee for Interoperable Systems (PDF) about the history of Microsoft's anti-competitive behavior. Quoting: 'ECIS has written it in support of the EU Commission's recent preliminary findings, on January 15, 2009, that Microsoft violated antitrust law by tying IE to Windows. It is, to the best of my knowledge, the first time that the issue of Microsoft's patent threats against Linux have been framed in a context of anti-competitive conduct.' The report itself contains interesting quotes, like this one from Microsoft's Thomas Reardon: '[W]e should just quietly grow j++ share and assume that people will take more advantage of our classes without ever realizing they are building win32-only java apps.' It also has the Gates 1998 Deposition."

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361 comments

Brings me back (5, Informative)

mc1138 (718275) | about 5 years ago | (#27675197)

I remember one of my first computer courses in school where we were taught computer history. I still remember the professor telling us about the early days of Microsoft and how it didn't take long for them to start ripping off ideas, only to then buy the company that was suing them.

Re:Brings me back (4, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | about 5 years ago | (#27675603)

I remember one of my first computer courses in school where we were taught computer history. I still remember the professor telling us about the early days of Microsoft and how it didn't take long for them to start ripping off ideas, only to then buy the company that was suing them.

And they're still in business. Something's wrong here.

Re:Brings me back (-1, Troll)

V!NCENT (1105021) | about 5 years ago | (#27675677)

Really? I don't believe in intellectual property... do you?

-Linux user

Re:Brings me back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27675835)

Really? I don't believe in intellectual property... do you?

-Linux user

It's called imaginary property for a reason.

Re:Brings me back (4, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | about 5 years ago | (#27676023)

Really? I don't believe in intellectual property... do you?

I do.

-Linux user

I also believe that like most property, it can be made freely available.

Re:Brings me back (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27675777)

I heard the matter-of-fact assertion that Bill wrote DOS again in a book on tape that I am listening to. (13 Things That Don't Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time by Michael Brooks).

I also remember the same matter-of-fact assertion on the A&E network many years back, probably on the program biography.

So it seems like Bill was not only able to effectively steal ideas but also to somehow get these false ideas that he was the creator of them as well. He's seen a the genius behind lots of things that he has no claim to other than popularizer. People claim he's a computer genius when he's really a marketing genius. I think computer science, with its great many breakthroughs that help improve human ability, deserves much more than this.

Re:Brings me back (1)

fisticuffs (1537381) | about 5 years ago | (#27676011)

It might not be his fault. For example, the quote "640K ought to be enough for anybody" is still widely misattributed to Bill Gates.

Check out his wikiquote [wikiquote.org] for more.

Re:Brings me back (3, Insightful)

ClosedSource (238333) | about 5 years ago | (#27676115)

Bad research has been around for a long time and writers can be guilty of it without any help from Bill Gates.

I guess people say that Gates is a "marketing genius" because they don't want to believe he's a real geek and they have to come up with some explanation for his success. If you've ever seen Bill Gates do a presentation you'd know how absurd this "marketing genius" belief is. Steve Jobs is the marketing genius in this business.

The fact is that MS existed before the PC and Gates really wrote code for their Basic interpreters. They were written in multiple assembly languages for each target processor. That's geek enough for you.

Re:Brings me back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27676203)

Steve Jobs is the marketing genius in this business.

It would be unfair to label Steve Jobs a "marketing genius" as well, for two reasons:

  • His products don't crash during demonstrations
  • His spoken lisp is an authentic appeal to his homosexual target audience

Re:Brings me back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27676331)

Same AC here...

I am not arguing that he's not a geek. The stuff he did do is cool, however that's not how he's remembered AT ALL by the general public. As you go down the ignorance scale he's thought of as the writer of DOS, the guy who created the "windows" concept, the person that he made the Internet possible (all untrue, each more ignorant than the one before it).

There is quite a bit of myth wrapped around him and Microsoft and I think it's unfortunate when you have real geniuses out there that have come up with great concepts and no know one knows who they are.

Re:Brings me back (5, Interesting)

deets101 (1290744) | about 5 years ago | (#27676065)

There was a documentary on PBS about the rise of computers called Triumph of the Nerds from 1996. It showed how MS stumbled ass backwards into a lot great situations. Also showed how some companies completely misunderstood computers and showed a painful lack of foresight. Xerox, anybody?

Re:Brings me back (1, Insightful)

furby076 (1461805) | about 5 years ago | (#27676157)

Not an uncommon behavior. Apple stole the gui idea from Tandy I believe. If we are going to demonize MS for stealing ideas then we better start supporting copyrights and patents - something that most /. (or at least the vocal ones) do not support. MS also got sued for this theft, though they won. I believe the judges ruling was you can't sue based on a look/feel.

BTW I still stand behind the principle that having IE with Windows is not anti-competative. If that were the case then Red Hat, Apple OS, and others would be anti-competative for having an browser pre-installed in their systems. When I installed Red Hat it had FireFox (but did not have IE). When I saw an apple demo laptop it had Safari & FireFox but not Opera or IE. Also, I think car companies are anti-competative because they come bundled with radios, heaters, air conditioners, locks and trunks - which are all convenience items in cars. On a side note I use FireFox, not IE. I use IE for websites that require it (OWA) and to d/l FireFox on a fresh install.

Re:Brings me back (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27676275)

Well, I even remember a time before Microsoft; it seemed like some kind of strange magic that DOS came with it's own big, fat book (why?) in a three ring binder. Later even a brochure wasn't necessary.

I'm sure this document won't mention getting Access from Sybase, nor IE from SpyGlass, or how they screwed Blue Mountain, but that ship has sailed.

Now, for 20 years they've bullied all the other competitors out of the market and created a barrier to investors in *anything* that could be taken by Microsoft. Everything just slowed down; I felt it.

And these days, let's examine what 20+ years of ignorant and selfish predatory practices, assisted by a carefully-maintained harsh environment:

- The Army has been hacked. Remember the moratorium on thumb drives?

- A week ago it was released that the power grid has been compromised. Next war: lights out.

- Military satellites are being hacked by Brazillian ne'er-do-wells.

- The F22 project (future fighter plane) has been compromised.

So yeah...let's just let Microsoft keep doing what it's doing- surely it won't be a problem, and we shouldn't suggest Linux in it's place, 'cause we're all about doing what's comfortable, not what's best.

(Yeah, I'm more than a little hot about this company.)

And now for the cloud (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27675277)

This might be old news but it is relevant as with the likes of BPOS and Azure it appears that Microsoft is attempting to shift their existing monopolies into the cloud by both providing different licensing models for themselves and competitors in a cloud and by linking it closer to services offered in their next generation operating systems.

Clearly Microsoft's agenda is to use their existing desktop monopoly to grab a monopoly in the cloud.

Posted Anonymously for a reason.

Re:And now for the cloud (4, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | about 5 years ago | (#27675331)

Clearly Microsoft's agenda is to use their existing desktop monopoly to grab a monopoly in the cloud.

Since that didn't work out so well for them re: the internet, I'm not all that worried.

Re:And now for the cloud (4, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 5 years ago | (#27675659)

Since that didn't work out so well for them re: the internet, I'm not all that worried.

Out of curiosity, why do you think it didn't work out so well for them re: the internet?

Maybe, just possibly, because people were worried, and therefore monitored what MS was doing, and made sure MS wasn't allowed to leverage their desktop monopoly advantage?

You may not worry, but if no one worries, then we could have a problem.

But that's OK, you can rest comfortable knowing someone else will fix all the problems you can't be bothered to worry about :) Meanwhile, you can focus your attentions on something you can be bothered to worry about. That's good division of labor. Just remember come tax time next year, it's partly your taxes* that make sure MS doesn't abuse its monopoly.

*Offer only valid for residents of the EU. Here in the US, our taxes go towards paying lipservice by prosecuting MS, then dropping the ball when it comes time for making a decision, enforcement and follow-up. Though, it seemed to work out OK re: internet browsers, as we've now got a pretty good competitive market, as long as we keep vigilant. Though a lot of that has been because MS had to play by EU rules.

Re:And now for the cloud (2, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | about 5 years ago | (#27675839)

Out of curiosity, why do you think it didn't work out so well for them re: the internet?

I read a good chunk of Bill's book The Road Ahead maybe a couple of years after the internet went mainstream (the book was published in '95). His comments, thoughts and strategies showed that the man did not have clue one about what he was getting into. Oh wait, Ballmer's in charge now? Naaah, I'm still not worried.

MS as we knew it is dead. Only thing still carrying it is inertia.

Just remember come tax time next year, it's partly your taxes* that make sure MS doesn't abuse its monopoly.

Not me bub, I'm a canuck. Besides, that sentence is laughable. US regulatory agencies have become such a joke it's not funny anymore.

Re:And now for the cloud (1)

Aram Fingal (576822) | about 5 years ago | (#27676163)

That reminds me of something I heard as part of a FileMaker Pro salesman's pitch about why to use FileMaker instead of MS Office. The Law of Office Inertia: Data in Microsoft Office tends to remain in Microsoft Office.

Re:And now for the cloud (2, Informative)

American Terrorist (1494195) | about 5 years ago | (#27676281)

Maybe, just possibly, because people were worried, and therefore monitored what MS was doing, and made sure MS wasn't allowed to leverage their desktop monopoly advantage?

Or maybe, just possibly, because Microsoft's internet apps all sucked, and therefore no one used it, and made sure to tell all their friends to use Google, Youtube, and Wikipedia.

I live in China, Youtube here was blocked recently. I saw a bunch of references to Susan Boyle lately so I wanted to see what all the hubbub was about. I tried to view her video on MSN's version of Youtube. Couldn't do it. All I got was MSN's coverage of her, not the original song. If they can fuck up such a basic service so badly then I'm not worried about them gaining market share in things I care about anytime soon.

I ended up having to download the torrent because that's apparently the only thing that works as expected these days.

Nope (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 5 years ago | (#27676311)

Maybe, just possibly, because people were worried, and therefore monitored what MS was doing, and made sure MS wasn't allowed to leverage their desktop monopoly advantage?

Not at all.

Not even slightly.

Microsoft has been leveraging the hell out of the desktop and (more importantly) corporate monopoly status to try and push people to use Microsoft technologies on the internet.

It's not because people were worried that they've not been able to establish a stranglehold - it's that there is real competition and the cost to use alternative solution is now so low, even from a time to build perspective.

We should all be worried as hell about what Microsoft is up to, but we should not make the mistake of not understanding what kinds of things will build Microsoft true monopolies. Happily Microsoft is seemingly short on vision these days and so there has not been as much danger.

Re:And now for the cloud (2, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | about 5 years ago | (#27675707)

Since that didn't work out so well for them re: the internet, I'm not all that worried.

I know you're talking about sites, but it worked horrifically well with browsers. Do you know of a large commercial site that can afford to ignore IE6?

Re:And now for the cloud (2, Interesting)

Captain Splendid (673276) | about 5 years ago | (#27675927)

worked

Past tense, exactly. That "winning" strategy led to stagnation and to the current trend of IE no longer being supremely dominant. It's also worth pointing out that IE6's inertia reveals that the MS upgrade express train is not running quite like MS hoped. If I was them, I'd rather lose the browser wars than a good chunk of my customer base.

Re:And now for the cloud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27675939)

Google tells users to drop IE6
http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/40785/140/ [tgdaily.com]

Re:And now for the cloud (2, Interesting)

noundi (1044080) | about 5 years ago | (#27676421)

How could this global problem be prevented? Simply by not bundling IE with Windows. It's a known fact that the reason why so many PCs still run IE6 is simply because it came bundled with XP. To drop IE from Windows would not only stop the "monopoly" but also provide a safer environment for more or less everybody. People still need a browser, and it's not difficult to get one, not even without a browser. However it could be made easier, but the point is: no matter how easy or difficult it is, nobody will lift a finger unless they're required to do so. Many of us already consider dumping IE6 as a requirement on our own machines, so don't think this rule doesn't apply to you or me. Unless it's a) fun or b) necessary, you as a human simply won't do it. For me and many slashdoters (I presume) it began as fun (well not download browsers in particular, but you get the idea), but for others, well who can honestly say that they aren't sick of the phrase "Please can you do it for me? I don't know how.", when you know it's not more difficult to do than tying your shoelaces.

Re:And now for the cloud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27676365)

Slashdot

Re:And now for the cloud (5, Funny)

Burkin (1534829) | about 5 years ago | (#27675367)

Posted Anonymously for a reason.

Fear of a chair to the head?

Re:And now for the cloud (1)

Jurily (900488) | about 5 years ago | (#27675689)

Fear of a chair to the head?

http: //www.documentingreality.com/forum/f10/death-chair-3339/ (Warning: extremely NSFW)

Re:And now for the cloud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27675769)

got a space after http: so it breaks...

http://www.documentingreality.com/forum/f10/death-chair-3339/ [documentingreality.com]

Re:And now for the cloud (1)

Jurily (900488) | about 5 years ago | (#27675783)

It was intentional because of the content.

Re:And now for the cloud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27675955)

sooo...you were guarding against what? someone accidentally clicking the non-existent link?

i'd have understood if you'd have wrapped the bad url in link tags, but there was no risk of someone accidentally seeing the content from the link in your original post unless they copied, pasted and manually edited the url. plus the warning seems to be sufficient to ward any others away.

basically, i'm saying you could've just had the bare (correctly-formed) url and warning and that would've been fine and less annoying.

Re:And now for the cloud (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | about 5 years ago | (#27675723)

Suddenly it al became clear to me... "Who said sit down?!" wasn't solely related to some kind of speech by some kind of CEO who works for some kind of company.

Re:And now for the cloud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27675735)

I suppose it'd be worse than a boot to the head...

Re:And now for the cloud (4, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | about 5 years ago | (#27676095)

Posted Anonymously for a reason.

I understand. I saw Antitrust [wikipedia.org] too.

True story: when I was in college I used to show Antitrust to incoming freshmen as a kind of initiation. There was one kid, not particularly bright, who loved Microsoft. He thought they were the geniuses who made the tech world turn. He was an Information Systems major, btw. After watching that movie, he had these huge eyes and the first thing he said was, "I didn't realize!!" Awesome movie. Scarred at least one innocent mind for life.

Re:And now for the cloud (1)

mounthood (993037) | about 5 years ago | (#27676245)

Clearly Microsoft's agenda is to use their existing desktop monopoly to grab a monopoly in the cloud.

Exchange and SQL Server aren't monopoly products, but they'll be the main pull for SMB's to enter the cloud. Cheap hosting that lets an SMB drop just one IT staff member will justify the change.

WOW... this is breaking Shocking News... (0, Troll)

nulled (1169845) | about 5 years ago | (#27675397)

Microsoft, anti competive? Wow... like we all did not know this?! In all seriousness, this is GOOD to keep the pressure and public awareness on what is going on. Even if we all have to hear about it 100's of times quarterly. The public and governments MUST be made aware that MS sucks.

Re:WOW... this is breaking Shocking News... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27675477)

Microsoft, anti competive? Wow... like we all did not know this?! In all seriousness, this is GOOD to keep the pressure and public awareness on what is going on. Even if we all have to hear about it 100's of times quarterly. The public and governments MUST be made aware that MS sucks.

I think they ARE aware of that. I think they're acting like the battered/abused woman who stays with the abusive man for years and years because she's fucked up in the head. After a while she starts defending the guy, not unlike the pro-MS posters here on Slashdot that you swear must be shills except they're probably not actually getting paid. Seriously, those people just can't understand that Microsoft is not your buddy, when you stick up for Microsoft like a loyal little sycophant it's not like they are capable of appreciating it, they are a mindless faceless corporation without any sort of feeling.

Re:WOW... this is breaking Shocking News... (3, Informative)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about 5 years ago | (#27676247)

I think they ARE aware of that. After a while she starts defending the guy, not unlike the pro-MS posters here on Slashdot that you swear must be shills except they're probably not actually getting paid. Seriously, those people just can't understand that Microsoft is not your buddy, when you stick up for Microsoft like a loyal little sycophant it's not like they are capable of appreciating it, they are a mindless faceless corporation without any sort of feeling.

I think you're confusing MS fanboys with people who like to point out inconvenient facts. Some uninformed people start ranting about some DRM in Vista or other untrue crap and how can you label the people refuting them arguing facts as MS fanboys? There's a lot of stuff to bash MS on, there's no need to make up BS and then call the people who point it out as 'pro-MS posters' or sycophants. Slashdot is losing credibility because of anti-MS zealots. And the mainstream media is catching on too. Just read this article [arstechnica.com] .

Re:WOW... this is breaking Shocking News... (5, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 5 years ago | (#27676377)

lol. Slashdot has always been like this. The mainstream media noticed us and ignored us years ago.

I've noticed a lot of posters relatively recently that are popping up and basically saying "linux is not ready yet, until you plug it in and it 'just works' it won't be ready", either implying Windows does "just work" or explicitly stating it. I know no computer does that, there's niggles in everything, but I seem to hear that mantra more often than I ever did.

Maybe you havn't been paying attention to them, but they're there.

There are a lot of pro-MS postings, I've done them myself, but they tend to be more objective against trolls saying Linux is perfect at everything and Windows couldn't possibly be any good. Windows is a perfectly usable OS, I just consider Linux to be architecturally better and has the potential to be significantly better.

Anyone else notice (4, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | about 5 years ago | (#27675407)

The irony that when Gates was in control, Microsoft was more aggressive on the business side, and since Ballmer took over, they've been working a lot harder on the technology side? Ballmer deserves credit for trying to actually do a good job on the technology side, without resorting to just nasty competitive moves.

Re:Anyone else notice (5, Insightful)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | about 5 years ago | (#27675447)

Bill's strong point was always the fact that he was a shrewd businessman. His tactics obviously weren't always friendly but you can't deny that he created an incredibly powerful company in a relatively short period of time. I am, however, looking forward to seeing more time spent on technology and less time spent sidelining competitors.

Re:Anyone else notice (-1, Troll)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 5 years ago | (#27675795)

Are you for real?!?

Bill Gates took a common good, walled it off and called it his property. He wasn't a shrewd businessman. He was a thief who destroyed massive amounts of value, created chaos, misunderstanding and distrust among technical workers and set both ethics and technology back decades. There are few if any individuals in the history of mankind who have caused more damage to our species than Bill Gates did. He ought to be shot in the face and forced to apologize to the person who shot him.

Wait... maybe that was Dick...

Re:Anyone else notice (1, Insightful)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about 5 years ago | (#27676141)

Are you for real?!?

Bill Gates took a common good, walled it off and called it his property. He wasn't a shrewd businessman. He was a thief who destroyed massive amounts of value, created chaos, misunderstanding and distrust among technical workers and set both ethics and technology back decades. There are few if any individuals in the history of mankind who have caused more damage to our species than Bill Gates did. He ought to be shot in the face and forced to apologize to the person who shot him.

Wait... maybe that was Dick...

What would've been the alternative if Gates didn't do what he did? Either it would be chaos in the marketplace with different incompatible and expensive computers or Apple would have a monopoly and would be selling $3000 computers to this day, both of which are way worse than today. Microsoft licensing DOS to Compaq's IBM clones was the biggest reason that computers are as cheap and affordable as they are today. Even Linux became popular because of inexpensive x86 machines. Imagine having to buy a Apple machine with a compulsory Apple tax to run Linux on.

Re:Anyone else notice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27676401)

Compaq already had to reverse engineer BIOS and write their own clean-room version. If they had to clone DOS as well, they undoubtedly could. I think it would have been better for the industry to be forced to consider interoperability (not relying on underspecified behavior) that much sooner.

Re:Anyone else notice (1)

jank1887 (815982) | about 5 years ago | (#27676213)

and his business did really well. I think by definition, yes, that makes him a very shrewd businessman. Not an ethical one, but definitely a shrewd one.

Re:Anyone else notice (1, Troll)

Locutus (9039) | about 5 years ago | (#27676057)

do you think they will ever come up with anything outside of MS Windows which makes them a profit? Please don't say Xbox because they'll need to sell that at a $1 annual profit for a number of years before that pays off the losses over the past many years. MSN has lost billions since the 1990s and their handheld OS platform itself has lost over $10 billion since it hit the market in the 90s.

They have done a great job at protecting and growing the monopoly but come on, they've been a one-hit wonder for over 20 years now. They can't even pull off a media player people like.

As far as what Bill and Steve added to this, IMO Steve was probably ruthless with the OEMs and the sales channels with killer exclusionary contracts. Bill, he made sure that the developers built software which locked ISV's into Windows and had something for Windows which was hot on the market and even if that meant taking it and dealing with the courts a few years later. It was a 2 headed hydra but not any more. Steve is still playing hardball with the OEMs but all he has for a weapon these days is cash kickbacks. Netbooks are a prime example of that seeing how quickly they were willing to increase the device price, increase the device hardware all to fit Windows on it and an old version of Windows at that. Steve still has the marketing dollars holding OEMs to restrict advertising of Linux based products but he's not been able to stop them from selling Linux products, only slow down the sales growth. That'll only last so long and they, Microsoft, have only PC based Windows to rely on for profits. They are great profits but at this point in time, those have little room to go up and lots of room to go down. IMO

So keep these kinds of historic reports coming, people need their eyes opened to what history really was and what the future holds.

LoB

Re:Anyone else notice (4, Informative)

jabjoe (1042100) | about 5 years ago | (#27676093)

Listen-to/watch him on the 1998 Deposition. No amount of charity PR is going to make me think he is a good honest man. He is not someone to admire or even respect. It's not ok to do anything you can get away with to make money. Becoming rich doesn't make everything ok. If I was religious man I would point to old text on camels, the eye of needles and damnation, but I'm not, but what I'll say is society couldn't function if it was filled with people like this.

Re:Anyone else notice (0)

Mr_Bumpy4096 (1538753) | about 5 years ago | (#27675511)

I still trust either of them about as far as I could throw a chair... ...you know, those big leather ones they have in board rooms? Yeah.

Re:Anyone else notice (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 5 years ago | (#27675627)

Every time I hear that "I trust them about as far as I could throw them" phrase, I am always reminded of an episode of the original Bionic Woman series. Jamie Sommers says that about someone, then hastily adds "no, not even that far" when she realizes just how far she could throw someone.

Re:Anyone else notice (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27675617)

Why is that irony?

It's widely known that Gates couldn't program his way out of a wet paper bag. (Why else would he have to buy qdos to sell to IBM?)

Re:Anyone else notice (4, Insightful)

guruevi (827432) | about 5 years ago | (#27676119)

Actually, I think the exact opposite happened. Back when Gates was in control you had at least halfway working products (and the reason of Windows ME imho was mainly because they tried to squeeze out one more 9x version for monetary gain and nobody was really interested in the project because NT was coming to the desktop anyway).

Gates was more focused on marketing than technology though and that's what got them in the current position in the first place. Ballmer is more focused on income (keeping the monopoly and selling more licenses to increase lock-in) than anything else as you can see with the recent licensing models for netbooks, SharePoint and 3rd world countries. I think Vista was more because of Ballmer than because of Gates. At the time Vista started, Gates was already working his way out and dedicating time to his philanthropy. Windows 7 imho is just Vista SP3 or "what Vista should've been but we had to release something fast in order to counter Mac OS X".

The company itself has never been about technology at the core. It always either steals or buys the best from elsewhere (DOS, OS/2, VMS, ...) and makes it 'just good enough' to sell a boxed products and then makes marketing or licensing sell it.

Re:Anyone else notice (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 5 years ago | (#27676259)

Thing is, Ballmer (and I doubt it is him directly, probably more fortuitous circumstance for MS that they had a research project out of J++ that came good) is doing more anti-competitive moves with the new technology. Its just now, they can push .NET massively knowing that all .net programmers are tied securely into Windows for ever.

It isn't a nasty anti-competitive move, but it is designed to keep Windows marketshare at other platform's expense. (jury's out whether it will become nasty if Mono comes good, and gets lots of market share, and Microsoft loses developers to it)(but it seems that won't happen while there are plenty of bits that are not supported in Mono).

still better than the jews (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27675421)

The worst stuff that Microsoft has doene pales in comparison to what those greedy, hook-nosed kikes do every day to their mudslum neighbors.

That why I say that then only jews you can trust are laying on the floor of a gas chamber.

Re:still better than the jews (-1, Offtopic)

joeytmann (664434) | about 5 years ago | (#27675475)

whoah! I think someone needs a nap.

Microsoft Anti-Competitive Dalek malfunctions! (1, Funny)

MrKaos (858439) | about 5 years ago | (#27675473)

If you read the words after 'Microsoft's' down it sounds like a malfunctioning Dalek:

Campaign Anticompetitive Retaliation Organized Elimination Deceptive Elimination Attempts Elimination Campaign Failure Campaign Ongoing -Exxxttteeeerrrmmmmmiiiinnnaaattteeee!!!!

Stacker / DBLSpace / Lawsuit (5, Insightful)

apodyopsis (1048476) | about 5 years ago | (#27675535)

Ok, I'm showing some age here.

Remember in 1989 the Stacker disk compression fiaso?

I think that was one of the original examples of this kind of behavior, in this case Stac electronics were able to get some money from MS - but it was a sour victory as MS has effectively removed them from the market place in the process.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stac_Electronics [wikipedia.org]

nearly 30 years of watching MS I have no faith that the firm will *ever* play fair, and as a business trying to please their shareholders it is very naive to expect them to do so. they have a monopoly and will abuse it to their benefit as long as they can get away with it.

Re:Stacker / DBLSpace / Lawsuit (3, Funny)

awshidahak (1282256) | about 5 years ago | (#27675739)

Remember in 1989 the Stacker disk compression fiaso?

I wasn't around slashdot back then you insensitive clod!

Re:Stacker / DBLSpace / Lawsuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27675983)

Slashdot didn't even exist back then :)

Re:Stacker / DBLSpace / Lawsuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27675759)

Except that, from the point of view of competition, Microsoft did nothing wrong. They didn't have any kind of OS monopoly at the time. MSDOS was widely used, but so were many other systems. Even the idea of transparent compression was obvious. I wrote such a system for RISC-OS (remember that?) back in 1989. Complaints that MS looked at the code before ripping it off are irrelevant; any competent engineer could have implemented this.

MS actually got sued for patent infringement. But in my view software patents should be abolished so I don't have a problem with what MS did. Stacker implemented an obvious idea. Then someone else implemented the same idea and they lost. Boo hoo.

Re:Stacker / DBLSpace / Lawsuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27675895)

I still have the DOS 6.0 'I came I saw I doubled' t-shirt from Microsoft stealing the disk space doubling technology from Stac.

I almost died for that t-shirt because Microsoft didn't understand what happens when crowds of people stop at the top of an escalator but the escalator keeps running.

That t-shirt IS starting to look pretty ragged.

Re:Stacker / DBLSpace / Lawsuit (2, Insightful)

ClosedSource (238333) | about 5 years ago | (#27675985)

"in this case Stac electronics were able to get some money from MS - but it was a sour victory as MS has effectively removed them from the market place in the process."

Stac got around 80 million dollars from MS for their trouble. I wish I had a "sour victory" like that.

Bad Premise or What makes a market? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27676035)

Who says there should even be a market for compressing disks?
There isn't a market for this today and its not because everyone is using Microsoft compression.

Who says there should be a market for web browsers?
Why should this be another produce the consumer has to buy?
Why SHOULDN'T it be part of the operating system?

How many people ever actually PAID for Netscape vs. the number who used the free betas that were ALWAYS AVAILABLE with no expiration date?!? How can you even say there ever was a browser market? In a market there are buyers and sellers... but there were no real "buyers" for browsers... at least not many.

Re:Bad Premise or What makes a market? (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | about 5 years ago | (#27676201)

Good points. If all those who complain about how MS treated Netscape had actually purchased a copy of Netscape's browser they'd still be in business today.

Re:Stacker / DBLSpace / Lawsuit (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 5 years ago | (#27676231)

I think that was one of the original examples of this kind of behavior, in this case Stac electronics were able to get some money from MS - but it was a sour victory as MS has effectively removed them from the market place in the process.

To be fair, MS didn't really remove Stac as much as technology changed. What made Stac successful was the fact that hardrives were small compared to the information that could be placed on them. 20MB was an average consumer HD back then. A CD ROM had 600MB capacity while a 3.5" floppy was 1.44MB. So disk compression was necessary if you wanted to store a large amount of information. When HDs started using GMR technology, the capacity increased to GBs and disk compression became less necessary

Re:Stacker / DBLSpace / Lawsuit (3, Insightful)

nevali (942731) | about 5 years ago | (#27676413)

Not before DoubleSpace (and later DriveSpace, the non-infringing version) were used by millions of people, though.

The fact that DoubleSpace was bundled with DOS 6 meant that nobody needed to bother buying Stacker for the couple of years before whole-drive compression became mostly unnecessary. While that certainly was what killed Stac, what we don't know is what they might have come up with if they'd stayed in businessâ"after all, Stac was an innovator, while Microsoft just ripped of the technology.

Re:Stacker / DBLSpace / Lawsuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27676371)

1989? 20 years for news to hit slashdot? sounds about right.

todays two minute hate (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27675577)

thanks for stopping by slashdot where we'll regurgitate any reason for someone to bash microsoft over and over again.

a document from 1998? you've got to be fucking kidding me. it's getting old guys.

Companies as competing Organisms (5, Insightful)

UseCase (939095) | about 5 years ago | (#27675581)

Given the opportunity it is very hard for any person or company to pass up a chance to change the rules of a game in a way that disadvantages its competition in that game. This is especially true when survival is at stake. We do not and should never condone this type of behavior but we must realize it is natural and (without regard to morality) should be expected. This type behavior is bad for our industry as we have all seen so we must always be aware that some company out there will always try this as a means to advantage and stop it to allow strength to be generated via fierce competition.

Re:Companies as competing Organisms (5, Insightful)

shelterpaw (959576) | about 5 years ago | (#27676111)

Given the opportunity it is very hard for any person or company to pass up a chance to change the rules of a game in a way that disadvantages its competition in that game. This is especially true when survival is at stake. We do not and should never condone this type of behavior but we must realize it is natural and (without regard to morality) should be expected. This type behavior is bad for our industry as we have all seen so we must always be aware that some company out there will always try this as a means to advantage and stop it to allow strength to be generated via fierce competition.

It's bad for every industry. It's natural to be competitive and that's why morals and values are a good thing. Business is bad when the bottom line and being number 1 becomes more important than the product. At that point you've lost focus and have embraced greed. I'm a small business owner, but I learned from a great mentor that all deals should be win/win and you should never screw someone over to get ahead or you'll get a bad name. When I sell, I don't bad mouth competitors products and I tell the people who work for me not to either. Say a few positive things about the competition and then educate the merits of your product, if it's good it'll sell.

Being conservative I have to say that the Bush administration really let us down with the MS antitrust case. Not to mention other things, but I prefer to stay on topic.

Re:Companies as competing Organisms (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27676215)

"This is especially true when survival is at stake."

Jeez, so Bill Gates' *survival* was at stake. I never realized. Now I know Netscape was out to kill him I don't feel so bad about what he did or the lies he told the court.

Re:Companies as competing Organisms (2, Interesting)

raddan (519638) | about 5 years ago | (#27676367)

I recently picked up On the Edge: the Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore [amazon.com] . This book nicely illustrates your point. Fascinating read-- the guy running the company was a complete bastard. He had developed a 'survival' ethos, from his experience as a child in German concentration camps, and he carried this into the way he did business in his adult life.

For example-- he would contract with small suppliers, but then stretch out repaying them, so that when they were on the verge of bankruptcy, he could buy their entire company cheaply. This allowed Commodore to have some impressive vertical integration, like the acquisition of MOS Technology, the maker of the 6502 processor. He offered employees bonus packages for achieving certain goals, and when they did, he reneged on his promises. In other cases, he would knowingly set unreasonable deadlines so that when systems were not delivered on time, he could penalize his engineers.

The worst part is that after his employees left for poor treatment, he sued them! He clearly did this for vengeful purposes, and to discourage other engineers from leaving, because when the C64 group left, to work on a completely different product, Commodore brought a lawsuit against them for intellectual property theft without even knowing what it was they were working on!

As far as I can tell, Commodore mostly operated within the law, but they had no qualms about operating in whatever legal grey areas there were at the time. If it was unethical, it did not matter at all. Commodore destroyed the lives of many people who gave large chunks of their lives to the company, because the company made many promises they did not keep (which they shrewdly did not write on paper).

I agree that this is to be expected. Business should be expected to push everything to the limit, including the law. But we must also expect, then, that we have to scrupulously enforce the law when they do break it. I personally think that the best use of the government would be to encourage an environment where the 'greedy solution' is the one that best aligns with our standards for good behavior.

Re:Companies as competing Organisms (1)

purpledinoz (573045) | about 5 years ago | (#27676391)

I would say that all companies behave (or would like to behave) this way. I'm sure Ford would love to make cars which only handle proprietary Ford tires and take only proprietary Ford gas. I'm sure if they had a monopoly on cars, they would do it. Of course if they tried now, they would just guarantee themselves a quick death.

Lacking harsh punishments (2, Insightful)

Peaker (72084) | about 5 years ago | (#27676393)

So what you're saying is that society needs much harsher punishments for such behavior as a counter-incentive?

ridiculous (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27675651)

microsoft should be able to design whatever type of OS they choose. bundle whatever they want. if the market rejects it, they won't make money, and they'll change their ways.

i hate government stepping in and telling a company what to do, instead of letting the market decide (you know, free market principles and all that)

Re:ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27675733)

The thing is, with most people using Microsoft Windows, there is no "free market principles" anymore.

How would you feel like if nearly 90% of the roads required you to drive a Lada?

Re:ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27675767)

But, Microsoft doesn't play in the "free" market.

Did you even read the article????

Re:ridiculous (0, Offtopic)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | about 5 years ago | (#27675873)

Slashdot has articles? Is that one of the new features along with the whole AJAXy discussion system?

Don't see the point (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27675743)

While I realize that this will get modded to oblivion as flamebait, please realize that it's not intended to be; it's just intended to be another view (dissenting as it may be in the /. community).

I'm sorry, but while I agree that anti-competitive behavior is generally wrong, by the same token perhaps I'm just too much of a moneygrubbing bugger to care. I think that MS's behavior is only seen as anti-competitive because they happen to own such a massive share of the market, not to mention have the financial backing to be able to buy out companies that are suing them.

Otherwise, it's just the way business works, at least as far as I can tell; you do what you can to get a leg up on your competitors, even if that means buying your competitors.

Much ado about nothing, in my opinion. If the competition actually had a hope of competing, then maybe we'd have a real problem. Instead they're relegated to litigation in something that not-so-vaguely reminds me of the MAFIAA - if you can't beat 'em, sue 'em (I know the analogy is somewhat flawed, but try to see it from the high-level that it's meant to be by the comment after the hyphen).

Btw, I'm a Linux user who uses Windows only for things he has to, and IMO linux has a ways to go before it's "desktop-ready" for the average user. For us tinkerers and people who know enough about computers to not get frustrated when it doesn't work immediately, great. But until it "just works", EVERY time, with NO mucking about, on EVERY piece of hardware that Windows works on with the same performance, it's not ready.

Mac, on the other hand, has a chance, if you don't mind vendor-lock in. But then, not much difference between that and MS.

Re:Don't see the point (4, Insightful)

Jellybob (597204) | about 5 years ago | (#27675889)

But until it "just works", EVERY time, with NO mucking about

What, like Windows does?

Re:Don't see the point (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27675957)

Btw, I'm a Linux user who uses Windows only for things he has to, and IMO linux has a ways to go before it's "desktop-ready" for the average user.

Didn't you get the memo? Linux is already desktop-ready. It's the market that isn't Linux-ready yet.

Re:Don't see the point (2, Insightful)

gutter (27465) | about 5 years ago | (#27676439)

I think that MS's behavior is only seen as anti-competitive because they happen to own such a massive share of the market, not to mention have the financial backing to be able to buy out companies that are suing them.

Do you realized how silly this sounds? The whole point of monopoly law is that things that are legal most of the time are no longer legal when you have monopoly power. That is because when you reach a certain point, you can do things which make it impossible for any competitor to emerge, at which point you can charge whatever you like.

So yes, they are doing things which would be legal if they weren't a monopoly. The fact remains that they are a monopoly (according to a trial) and can no longer do those things.

Aside from that, I hate the current attitude that exists in the US that it only matters what is legal, not what is ethical. If the large banks had acted according to what is ethical, not what is legal, we wouldn't be in the financial crisis we're in. At what point did we as a country decide it was OK to screw over anybody you wanted, as long as you could justify it legally?

Nice to see (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27675863)

I just read through the entire document and I have to say that, well, it's probably the most professional, fleshed-out, well-worded summary of Microsoft's major illegal actions over the past two decades.

While nothing it says is necessarily new, the fact that several of the accusations people have been making for years have finally been put into one very highly professional document that is actually being used in a case that might finally do something about Microsoft's monopoly is impressive and has given me a lot of hope.

The problem with this is (2, Insightful)

ClosedSource (238333) | about 5 years ago | (#27675887)

MS doesn't have a monopoly or even the top market share in some categories the EU is interested in such as servers. MS's presence in those markets is actually increasing competition. As was the case in the US, the EU is probably more interested in protecting specific MS competitors than in helping the consumer.

Re:The problem with this is (1)

EvilRyry (1025309) | about 5 years ago | (#27676175)

In the article they specifically mention "work group server" where they have a 77% share. The big problem being that they leveraged their desktop OS monopoly in an anti competitive manner to gain that share.

Re:The problem with this is (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | about 5 years ago | (#27676295)

Wow, I thought the DOJ was artificially carving the market to box MS as a monopoly but apparently the EU is even better at it. I guess nobody should by a Linux server if they want to use it for a work group.

Bundles-schmundles (0, Flamebait)

Noiser (18478) | about 5 years ago | (#27675905)

OK, Microsoft bundles a browser with the OS.

Bundles-schmundles.

Get over it. All GNU/Linux distributions bundle a browser, an office suite, a photo editing program and a bunch of compilers with an OS, nobody says that it's anti-competitive and it doesn't help GNU/Linux to gain market share.

Microsoft bundles with their OS a crappy browser that breaks web interoperability and locks people on Windows, 'cuz they think they need those crappy nonstandard sites - yes, those still exist in 2009; now that's a problem.

I don't want to hear about the bundling anymore.

Re:Bundles-schmundles (2, Informative)

vivaelamor (1418031) | about 5 years ago | (#27676109)

I don't think you needed to 'get over' the point because you missed it.

There is no problem with microsoft bundling a browser, the problem was the inability for anyone else to bundle a browser that could compete with Microsofts turf. As long as the browser was tied to the operating system it was both advantaged by the fact that you could not remove it and even if you did remove it you would not be able to tie another browser to the OS. This arguably led to Netscape's demise as they wanted to bundle their browser via OEMs.

Linux by virtue of being open source would struggle to do anything remotely similar. Apart from there being no good reason to develop a crappy API for open source software, you could still write your own API and completely replace the crappy one.

It's similar to the accusations Microsoft have faced about putting undocumented hooks in their programs to disadvantage competitors.. except that in this case it was obvious as you can't hide the fact that you won't let anyone uninstall your browser.

Re:Bundles-schmundles (1)

Single GNU Theory (8597) | about 5 years ago | (#27676435)

I seem to recall that it wasn't bundling the browser so much as dictating what the computer distributors could do. Microsoft did a Darth Vader vs. Lando Calrissian ("But we had a deal!" "I have altered the deal. Pray I do not alter it further.") with the license distribution arrangements they had with vendors like Dell. The vendors were allowed to install a bunch of crapware in their standard Windows distributions that come on the hard drives of new PCs, but they were forbidden to pre-install Netscape, thus cutting off Netscape's air supply. MS threatened to unilaterally change the terms of the license distribution if the vendor installed Netscape. This was an abuse of Microsoft's monopoly power, as the PC vendors had no choice but to do what MS said, since there was no way for the vendors to compete with other PC makers if they couldn't pre-install Windows.

This is possibly covered in the article, but I haven't got around to reading it yet.

Microsoft Monopoly Board Game! (4, Funny)

MrKaos (858439) | about 5 years ago | (#27675943)

Come to think of it this is a great idea for a board game, we could call it M$ Monopoly. Goes like this:

Everyone get's to be their own Microsoft. Instead of "GO!" you would have "START!", instead of "Jail" you would have "Court" and you would actually get to use goto's. Instead of Money you would have 'Bills' and instead of a dice you would throw little chairs.

The person with the most money get's paid by every other player. When you land on someone else's property, you get to sue them if you have more money or visa-versa. To win the game you are involved in the most lawsuits and have all the money.

I know exactly [neowin.net] what photos would be on the front.

Most that which is listed is not anti-competitive (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27676007)

Seems to me many of those are in fact competitive... not anti-competitive. The anti-competitive things are related to using government to get their way (patents and such.) Everything else was voluntary and related to their own products. Making Windows only work on MS-DOS, per-processor licenses, charging extra to IBM for behavior they disliked, boycotting Intel, keeping Windows API trade secrets from Novell, WISE, the whole Netscape thing, etc. are all competitive maneuvers. They performed actions which attempted to outdo competitors. In some cases it worked. Just because you don't like their closed behavior and desire to limit competitors interoperability doesn't make it anti-competitive. It's the market at work.

I don't like Microsoft and try to use their products as little as possible but to say that they had a monopoly or was anti-competitive is just false. There were always alternatives. They may have lied at times (WISE, Java) and they should have been retaliated against by the customer... but it wasn't a big enough deal. If they committed fraud they should be gone after. If they are being given special privileges by the government they should be gone after (as well as the laws.) If they are providing bad services or being bullies you should stop giving them money and talk out against them and advocate that others do the same.

The whole thing is silly.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27676171)

Microsoft including their own browser with their own OS is illegal in some way? Silly.

If you don't like their product, don't buy it. Yes it is that simple!

"But their OS is bundled on almost every laptop and computer!"

Bummer. Either find a different vendor, or suck it up and buy something that has Windows on it.

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