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Microsoft Antitrust Oversight Ends

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the you're-free-to-assimilate dept.

Microsoft 289

dcblogs writes "The US Department of Justice remedies supervision in the Microsoft antitrust case ends Thursday, closing the landmark case, which began in 1998. But the questions posed by trial federal Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's attempted remedy remain: Did tech innovation suffer over the last 10 years because Microsoft wasn't broken up? 'Not really,' said Vinton Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist, 'It has to do with the fact that open source has become such a strong force in the software world.'"

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When did it actually start? (3, Insightful)

gearloos (816828) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101278)

It never actually started.

Re:When did it actually start? (0, Offtopic)

x*yy*x (2058140) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101320)

I find it funny that Google spokesman says that. I posted this in other article, but it fits this one perfectly

I would find it interesting if Google opened up their search engine code. They claim it is beneficial for companies to open source their products and keep customers by offering better services than others. It's an interesting claim from a company whose main product is closed.

After all, by not opening up their search engine and data they're the ones pushing out competitors on the area just by Google's enormous size. No one else can ever get close to that kind of usage data, hence Google will always dominate the field. At least Bing is still somewhat holding on now, but it's the last one in western world.

However, I'm glad Yandex is still holding on in Russia and Baidu in China. At least Google has some competition. And it wont replace those easily.

Re:When did it actually start? (3, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101366)

Do you even know who Vinton Cerf is?

Re:When did it actually start? (0)

x*yy*x (2058140) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101522)

Yes I know who he is. How does that matter in the discussion? You completely avoided my questions by only saying no one should disagree with him just because he has some merits on him.

Re:When did it actually start? (1)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102238)

No, the post you responded to didn't even come close to saying anything like that.

Your entire argument seemed to center around the idea that Google should enable its own competition. How does that matter in any discussion ever?

Re:When did it actually start? (5, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101524)

Yes, the guy who was a good engineer 40 years ago when he was in the right place at the right time to properly design a fundamental internet protocol that has stayed relevant ever since.

That's why he's a Google evangelist, not a Google engineer.

Besides, I spent all afternoon in his DC office about 5 years ago. He's also a top Google bullshitter. His position on Microsoft's monopoly effect is entirely based on whatever lobbying position Google has taken this week.

He certainly doesn't have indisputable assertion powers.

Re:When did it actually start? (3, Informative)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101672)

Well said. People quickly forget that when a high profile employee speaks, hes just giving verbatim the position he'd paid to take. He's not some freewheeling loudmouth who does what he wants. Its employer/employee relationaship all the way down.

Re:When did it actually start? (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101840)

Unless we're talking about Maximum Bob Lutz, of course.

Re:When did it actually start? (2)

billcopc (196330) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102260)

Evangelist, bullshitter, to anyone with a working prefrontal cortex, are synonyms. The fact that corporations would associate a job title with the likes of Jimmy Swaggart and Jerry Falwell, that right there should raise a million red flags.

If you need to pay someone to convince people, you are selling lies, plain and simple. If they were providing verifiable facts, they'd be instructors, educators, professors... not evangelists.

Re:When did it actually start? (1)

SilasMortimer (1612867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102630)

If you need to pay someone to convince people, you are selling lies, plain and simple.

I don't disagree with the fact of this, but I will say that it's a necessary thing in big business. Your competition will definitely engage in hyperbole. Answering with cold, hard facts can backfire. Ditto with politics, but they perhaps have a little more cushion, usually having at least a year before they have to fight for their job again.

In this post, I'm not defending anyone or condemning anyone. It's just something to consider.

Re:When did it actually start? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36101620)

he's that EVIL GUY who supports NET NUTRALITY which of course is ANTI CONSUMER and ANTI BUSINESS

er um.. at least thats what the comcast commercials say

Re:When did it actually start? (4, Insightful)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101612)

If Google opened up their search engine wouldn't it just allow developers to make clones?

If im not mistaken, the meat of a search engine is the algorithms that organize compiled results. If you copy Google's search algorithms, your search produces results identical to those of a Google search. How is that innovative? How does Google keeping their algorithms to themselves stifle innovation? Additionally, if Google open-sourced their search engine it would allow a SEO to see exactly how things tick and exploit Google's advertising arm. That'd make it even more useless than it already is.

Re:When did it actually start? (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101800)

If Google opened up their search engine wouldn't it just allow developers to make clones? If im not mistaken, the meat of a search engine is the algorithms that organize compiled results. If you copy Google's search algorithms, your search produces results identical to those of a Google search. How is that innovative? How does Google keeping their algorithms to themselves stifle innovation? Additionally, if Google open-sourced their search engine it would allow a SEO to see exactly how things tick and exploit Google's advertising arm. That'd make it even more useless than it already is.

No, that's the brains of a search engine. The "meat" of a search engine is the database that is created using the algorithms... Google open sourcing their code would allow others to build a Google, but with empty data sets... Ergo: It would be so far behind that it wouldn't just be non-innovative, it would be less relevant. With AGPL licensed Google search code release, competitors could add improvements to the code, but it would do them little good against Google (because Google would be able to take advantage of the innovation of others).

My conclusion is along the same lines as yours, Google's search source code is only worth anything if they also provide the dataset they've built up over the years, and even then competitors would have little incentive to improve the codebase if it means sharing the tech with Google.

Re:When did it actually start? (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101810)

It'd aid innovation because people could then iteratively improve on Google's algorithms, ending with a better search system.

It'd also, as you say, lead to massive exploitation and the reduction of Google's search engine to a pile of flaming spam. Which is why I have no problem's with Google keeping their algo under wraps.

Re:When did it actually start? (3, Interesting)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101824)

Actually, if google opened up its search engine, then result spamming would reach epic proportions. Spammers would know exactly how google ranks sites, and could then game the system to make erection pills show up for every result no matter what you entered.

Re:When did it actually start? (2)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102188)

Isn't that equivalent to security by obscurity? I mean, after all the Linux kernel is open to anyone so Linux should be riddled with viruses, right?

Re:When did it actually start? (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102352)

No, because it's a different principle. The Linux Kernel is designed to be secure. Insecurities are there as a result of bugs or mistakes. the algorithms are intended to run the computer in safe secure way. Many eyes looking at the code catches the bugs and mistakes (hopefully) before the bad guys find them and exploit them.

Google's algorithms are intended to rank pages a certain way. It's not a bug or mistake that they rank them in the manner they do, it's a heuristic attempt to apply rules that will give you the most useful results. Unfortunately, knowing exactly what those rules are will allow spammers to craft pages that better conform to them. It's not a bug that correlation (a) is considered more important than correlation (b), it's a deliberate decision designed to give the user more relevant results. If however I *know* that (a) is greater than (b) I can take advantage of that fact to create something artificially relevant.

Re:When did it actually start? (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102644)

No. It's like saying that people should play poker with their cards exposed. After all, if Poker was a secure game, knowing the cards shouldn't matter.

Poker becomes a useless exercise if someone KNOWS what the cards are. The same is true in search engine algorithms. If everyone knows the algorithm, then results can be gamed.

Re:When did it actually start? (2)

webmistressrachel (903577) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102190)

"make erection pills show up for every result no matter what you entered"... ... they're already doing a pretty good job at this, I think I would probably start building my own database if it got any worse... Google - Don't Open THAT Sauce, Please!

Re:When did it actually start? (2)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101670)

They claim it is beneficial for companies to open source their products and keep customers by offering better services than others. It's an interesting claim from a company whose main product is closed.

That only applies to fields where you actually can offer better service. The value of a search engine is entirely based on the quality of the results. A company like Red Hat can open its code and yet still make a decent profit by offering support contracts and other custom services, while the open source nature, at least potentially, improves that core product.

If they release their code and all the data that helps their results be better, how, exactly, can Google differentiate themselves from the field? "We have a prettier website!" Yeah, no.

Open sourcing core products works for some fields, but not all of them. Pretending they're all equivalent doesn't make it so.

Re:When did it actually start? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36102228)

Wow. Make up an impossibly high standard that the actual open source movement isn't asking for (and that you conveniently don't apply to anyone else), then insinuate google are hypocrites and/or evil for not meeting the impossible standard. Open source isn't about demanding the stuff that only runs on someone else's servers, or demanding the contents of their databases. It's about wanting the source of stuff that's going to run on *my* machine, and wanting the interoperability protocols it uses to talk to yours.

Bonus points for failing at statistics (a representative sample of usage data suffices) and recent history (google came out of nowhere with a good algorithm, proving that market share in search isn't a perpetual thing, and that it can just as well be done again by someone else). It's feeling kind of shilly in here today.

Re:When did it actually start? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36102206)

Nobody likes a poor thief.

Good (5, Insightful)

atomicbutterfly (1979388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101284)

This means Microsoft can finally start bundling useful things like Microsoft Security Essentials in Windows 8 without being hounded by the feds.

Re:Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36101354)

fag

Re:Good (2)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101504)

My sarcasm detector is indecisive on this one.

Re:Good (4, Informative)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101550)

This means Microsoft can finally start doing the illegal things they've been doing behind closed doors out in the open, like strong arming suppliers without being hounded by the feds.

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Good (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102358)

This means Microsoft can finally start doing the illegal things they've been doing behind closed doors out in the open, like strong arming suppliers without being hounded by the feds.

Microsoft's "suppliers" - bu which I assume you mean its OEM and retail partners - have been crying all the way to the bank since Day 1.

Re:Good (3, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102204)

This means Microsoft can finally start bundling useful things like Microsoft Security Essentials in Windows 8 without being hounded by the feds.

Yeah, because marrying Internet Explorer to Windows was a real winner in the security arena.

There are many reasons why stopping MS from bundling their solutions to all things the last decade was actually good for consumers.

Re:Good (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102498)

Yeah, because marrying Internet Explorer to Windows was a real winner in the security arena.

That is not a valid comparison. Internet Explorer (with its addition of Active-X controls) was an obvious security nightmare by design. On the other hand, Microsoft Security Essentials has been well received as a good, lightweight AV solution. Unlike IE, its inclusion in Windows would definitely increased security of the OS.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36102626)

Government getting involved is the opposite of a free economy. There have been many failed nations that relied on legislation to control the market place and not a single one has survived, much less prospered. I hate to say it, but McCarthy was right, he just went about it the wrong way. Or do you still think your argument means something Comrade?

Hard to say that, but google really looks evil? (5, Insightful)

spaceplanesfan (2120596) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101344)

"Did tech innovation suffer over the last 10 years because Microsoft wasn't broken up? 'Not really,' said Vinton Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist, 'It has to do with the fact that open source has become such a strong force in the software world.'""

Sure, open source is strong, but you claim that Microsoft didn't make tech innovation suffer?
And what about all these small OSes that died?
What about all these small firms that made competing programs and were crushed by Microsoft?
Really, I am not a Google hater by any means, but I don't like that.
(And I don't like that they didn't release Honeycomb source regardless of excuses they provide.)

Re:Hard to say that, but google really looks evil? (1, Redundant)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101360)

Google stated yesterday that it will not release the source code for Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) until after the release of the next version of Android (Ice Cream Sandwich).

Emphasis mine.

BFD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36101540)

Emphasis mine.

Re:Hard to say that, but google really looks evil? (1)

spaceplanesfan (2120596) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101610)

That sadly doesn't matter.
You know it likely that we will see source of windows and probably even with a permissible licence like BSD or GPL some 100 years in the future.
The fact that they didn't release it at same time when devices running it were shipped isn't good.
I am not saying that Google is officially evil due to that fact, but its just not good move.
I have a tablet with android 2.1 BTW, and would love to update, and I did plenty of RE to do that.

Re:Hard to say that, but google really looks evil? (1, Insightful)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101398)

"Did tech innovation suffer over the last 10 years because Microsoft wasn't broken up? 'Not really,' said Vinton Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist, 'It has to do with the fact that open source has become such a strong force in the software world.'""

Sure, open source is strong, but you claim that Microsoft didn't make tech innovation suffer?
And what about all these small OSes that died?
What about all these small firms that made competing programs and were crushed by Microsoft?
Really, I am not a Google hater by any means, but I don't like that.
(And I don't like that they didn't release Honeycomb source regardless of excuses they provide.)

Would Open Source be as strong as it is today if there hadn't been a common enemy for people with that sort of ideology to rally against? I don't know what the answer is, but it's an interesting question.

Re:Hard to say that, but google really looks evil? (2)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102062)

This has been my position for a few years now. Linux's success can be partially put on the shoulders of Microsoft. To mangle a Voltaire quote ""If Linux did not exist, it would be necessary to invent it". Linux was and is the best foil against Microsoft. Today, it is running in thousands of places where Windows and Microsoft Products aren't nor could be. Microsoft is a Windows company (I've said it before), they have one product that makes them money, and that is Microsoft Windows / Office ecosystem. Everything they do, is built around Windows.

The web, (and Google, Apple) are going to slowly eat away at the desktop marketshare of Windows in such a way that most people will miss it. It is already happening. We have Laptops and Android/iPhones that do much of what we need done day to day. And with iPad and Android tablets, they are going to further eat into desktop market.

This is why I think that Skype is going to die a slow painful death, perhaps everywhere but on Windows. It will become a Windows only product, and die on the dying market. Don't get me wrong, windows will be around for a long long time. But its influence is diminishing, but will never go away.

And all of that is made possible by Microsoft Domination in the 90s that gave rise to a little known hobby OS created by a kid in Finland. Because it was free.

Re:Hard to say that, but google really looks evil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36102192)

Microsoft is a Windows company (I've said it before), they have one product that makes them money, and that is Microsoft Windows / Office ecosystem.

And xBox (which, I suppose, could fall under Windows) is profitable now, no? (I don't think they've recouped their sunk costs from buy^H^Hreaking into the market yet though.)

Re:Hard to say that, but google really looks evil? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102284)

You left one out:

What about all those architectures other than x86 that died or are irrelevant on the desktop because of the monoculture?

Re:Hard to say that, but google really looks evil? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102338)

And what about all these small OSes that died?

What about them?

MSDOS and Windows were sold at a mass market price - orginally, 1/5 that of CPM/86.

The Microsoft OS worked well on consumer-grade commodity hardware that was mid-line at the time of release and entry level a year or so later.

The Microsoft OS promised backwards compatibility and long-term support.

This is a damn good strategy when you are selling the PC as a big ticket home applicance or workhorse office machine.

All these forces combined with a non-exclusive OS license encouraged the production of an astonishing range of product for every price point and market niche.

Walmart.com currently lists 301 Win 7 laptops and 174 Win 7 desktops priced from $218 to $1850.

Hardware prices drop rapidly and specs become more and more impressive as you ramp up to mass production on a global scale - to serve what would become 1.5 billion or so Windows users.

Today, $1850 at Walmart buys a liquid-cooled i7-Extreme 64 bit Win 7 gaming system with 12 GB RAM and NIVIDIA GTX470 graphics.

The brand name "multi-core" laptop at Walmart.com is more likely to sell for less than $800.

In 1995 a Win 95 Packard Bell with a P-75, 8 MB RAM, a 545 MB HDD and 1 MB of integrated graphics, sold for about $1200.

Re:Hard to say that, but google really looks evil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36102406)

Sure, open source is strong, but you claim that Microsoft didn't make tech innovation suffer?

Are you claiming that they did?

And what about all these small OSes that died?

They weren't innovative enough to be adopted by the masses, unlike say Linux.

What about all these small firms that made competing programs and were crushed by Microsoft?

So being beaten by a larger competitor harms innovation?

And now it's Apple's turn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36101346)

Now that we are 'done' with MS, it's high time Apple is brought to justice. Not for monopoly, but for their extreme anti-competitive approach to anything post Mac era.

"FTFY," said Vinton Cerf, ... (4, Funny)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101348)

said Vinton Cerf, one of the fundamental architects of the technology that has shaped human experience in the past thirty years and also Google's chief Internet evangelist.

I guess Computer World doesn't do much background checking on the people they interview for robot-like micro-snippets?

Re:"FTFY," said Vinton Cerf, ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36101908)

Ok, so he designed a protocol once-upon-a-time. What has he done since then?

Re:"FTFY," said Vinton Cerf, ... (1)

krizoitz (1856864) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102122)

Yeah so? Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have both done the same, does that make them saints we shoudl always listen to on anything tech related? I have a feeling you might disagree with them on a few things.

Re:"FTFY," said Vinton Cerf, ... (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102276)

S'just a question of proper attribution, is all.

i dont buy any of this (4, Insightful)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101384)

if it hadn't been for this anti-trust case, Microsoft would have crushed Apple like a bug, just like it did all it's other competitors before it. Anyone remember Wordperfect? Do you remember the guys who invented the spreadsheet? Anyone remember the company who invented visual programming? Anyone remember the company that put out the first commercial web browser? Anyone remember GEOS? BeOS??

Instead, Microsoft had to actively support Apple, including the massive investment in porting Office to Mac, release after release, even through Apple's transition to a BSD-like subsystem. Why? Because Microsoft didn't want to get sued again. That's the only reason it has allowed Linux to live; SCO was just a test fire to see if Linux would blink. Now comes the Patent Wars, which will crush Linux into the dirt.

No hedge fund shareholder of Microsoft is going to put up with this open source hippie bullshit. They are, instead, going to scream out and pound the podium: "Law and fucking order!". And that is who controls Microsoft and other public IT companies - shareholders, banks, hedge funds, funds of funds, etc. None of them understand open source, they barely understand copyright law. What they do understand is the law of the jungle. Kill or be killed. And all of this Linux shit is getting in the way of their profit margins.

Re:i dont buy any of this (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36101474)

Do you remember the guys who invented the spreadsheet?

Yes. And they'd be the first people to say that Lotus was the company that killed them. And when MS pretty much crushed Lotus (till IBM took them over), it was karma coming back to them.

BeOS failed because there were no apps and it ws over-hyped as this "modern" OS. It was cool, for sure..

Wordperfect?!? Pft. It sucked. MS jumped on the GUI bandwagon first while WP was still pushing their very expensive backward product. Wordperfect killed Wordperfect

Re:i dont buy any of this (4, Interesting)

Rhodri Mawr (862554) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101658)

Lotus made more from 1-2-3 when they sued Borland over elements of QuatroPro than they ever made from software license sales.

There's plenty more of that coming in the next few years...

The shroud of the dark side has fallen. Begun, the IP War has!

Re:i dont buy any of this (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101726)

Directly the antitrust trial didn't do anything to MS. Indirectly MS had to tread lightly to avoid punishments for the next decade. Their competitors no longer fear them as they once did. Also the trial brought to light some of MS' dirty tricks. I think MS still wants to pull the same dirty tricks as before but few in the industry take them as seriously as they recognize them. There was a time when a competing product could be killed just because MS announced they were thinking about making the same product. Take for example last February when Ballmer showed off all these Windows 7 tablets at CES 2010. It was going to be the year of tablets according to Ballmer. He was right but it would be Apple and not MS that would take the market. In years past, some in the industry might have waited for Windows tablets to start launching at the end of the year but today many didn't wait and bought iPads.

Re:i dont buy any of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36102044)

Directly the antitrust trial didn't do anything to MS.

It sure did. You wouldn't even imagine the amount of red tape within the company that is a direct result of this - legal watch everyone like hawks, and God have mercy on your soul if you checked in a line of code that uses an undocumented API in a different component.

Re:i dont buy any of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36101752)

Crushing competitors isn't equivalent to innovation suffering, despite popular conflation of the such terms. If said 'crushing' is done by society choosing one provider substantially over another, then it is very rare that innovation to societal preferences is not being served. On the other hand, if it is not done by society and instead a select few(and done through force, at that) as exemplified by your mention about linux and patent legal action, then it is almost always the case. In most instances in US history, any response anti-trust action is mob rallying politicking or witch hunts set in motion by less able competitors. (http://mises.org/books/fleming.pdf and more importantly http://mises.org/Books/antitrust.pdf)

So the problem is teasing out these different actions and not glossing over how significantly different they are in determining which providers we have serve our desires. Understanding both in abstract theory and implementation how these two distinct actions serve us is very important.

Re:i dont buy any of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36102124)

I'm so sure the Ludwig von Mises Institute will provide nothing but the most rational scientific analysis completely detached from ideological slant. It's not like they're a self-professed libertarian outfit that's out to promote laissez faire capitalism over all other considerations or anything.

Re:i dont buy any of this (2)

maztuhblastah (745586) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101772)

the massive investment in porting Office to Mac, release after release, even through Apple's transition to a BSD-like subsystem.

Yeah, about that...Office for Mac was never a port.

It's existed as a separate, independent codebase ever since the 80's. The MBU shares file format specs with the Office team proper, but there's virtually no code overlap.

Re:i dont buy any of this (1)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102024)

Yeah, about that...Office for Mac was never a port.

Just considering that Excel came out on the Mac 2 years before the Windows version (the first Windows version being 2.05 to align with the Mac version) I would have to agree with you.

Re:i dont buy any of this (1)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102078)

The early versions was indeed never a port, but with Office 4.x they decides to merge the teams and share a lot of code, which caused a lot of backlash. This caused MS to create the MacBU which developed Office 98 for Mac and later.

Re:i dont buy any of this (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102552)

Right, Word 6 for Mac was a train wreck. It was said at the time that Microsoft wrote a WinAPI compatibility layer for MacOS.

And they were trying to sell to Mac users on Word 5.1, which was, frankly, a really great Mac application. There, I've said it, but that was back when Microsoft wasn't a company you wanted to hate.

Re:i dont buy any of this (5, Informative)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101778)

Please. You really have no idea how the industry works, and why some companies thrive and some die. I'll give you a hint, there's one reason, and one reason only that tech companies die. And it has little to do with Microsoft (though certainly, they have their hand in it).

That reason, is that they fail to provide a product that consumers want. Microsoft is really good at making consumers want it's products, thus it gives people what they want, and people buy it. Let's look at your examples.

Wordperfect? They sat on their laurels after Windows was released, were late with a Windows product, and that product sucked and their existing userbase did not like it. They failed, time and again, to produce a product that their customers wanted in the GUI world. They ruled DOS, but they miscalculated how quickly DOS would die, and how people would quickly jump ship to a better product. In other words, Wordperfect created suicide. Later owners of the technology didn't do a lot to differentiate it from the by then dominant Word. Then, the companies that owned the technology did not put enough money behind it, and they would sell it off again and again before it could gain traction.

The guy that invented the spreadsheet is Dan Bricklin, and Visicalc was killed by Lotus. Microsoft didn't even have a decent spreadsheet until years after Visicalc was dead.

visual programming? I don't think that term means what you think it means. I'd be interested to know what company you're talking about.

The first commercial web browser? That was Spry. They sold a product called "Internet in a box", derived from NCSA Mosaic. This product existed and died before Microsoft even entered the market. So i have to wonder exactly how it was that Microsoft killed them. Spyglass was the next, and though they licensed the name Mosaic and technology from NCSA, they never used any of the code and wrote everything from scratch. It's true that Microsoft was the cause of their destruction, but it was because Microsoft out-developed them. They had 1000 Developers on the IE team, and spyglass had 20. None of this had anything to do with anti-competitive behavior, other than that Microsoft could use it's massive war chest to out-develop everyone else, and frankly there is no law against that.

You should really read http://www.ericsink.com/Browser_Wars.html [ericsink.com] as that covers it pretty well.

GEOS? Are you freaking kidding me? That was an 8086 based task switching system, no memory management, etc.. it did a lot, sure.. but they didn't have the resources to make that into any kind of major product.

Finally, we get to BeOS. BeOS was killed by Apple, not Microsoft. Ok, Microsoft may have leveled the killing blow, but apple crippled them to the point that a toddler could have killed them. Why? Because BeOS was positioning itself to be the next MacOS. They thought it was a done deal, until apple went behind their back and bought NeXT instead (just noticed, both of those have 3 capital letters and one lowercase, an e in both cases). Be had put all it's eggs in the Apple basket, and apple crushed them. In a last ditch effort, they decided to port to x86, but they were already a dead man walking and only had a handful of developers doing all the work. They couldn't support a commercial OS with that.

Re:i dont buy any of this (1)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102304)

None of this had anything to do with anti-competitive behavior, other than that Microsoft could use it's massive war chest to out-develop everyone else, and frankly there is no law against that.

To a point. When you use your massive war chest to create a product that you give away for free just to cut revenue of a competitor (to put them out of business) then antitrust violation of the law is up to judges to interpret. If you own 90%+ of a market and you refuse to sell (at wholesale prices) to any distributor that offers competing options then once again it's left to judges to interpret. The barrier to entry for software is naturally minimal. Microsoft consistently used their OS dominance to make that barrier artificially higher (whether they would've succeeded without these tactics is another debate altogether). Courts in multiple countries have agreed with that viewpoint although I admit I don't think they always did it for the right reasons. Sort of like sending Al Capone to jail for tax evasion, it wasn't the pinnacle of reasons he belonged behind bars but he deserved the punishment none the less.

Without the anti-trust judgement it is pure speculation how things would have turned out since. What we do know is that things moved on to cell phones and Internet 'portals' like Google while Windows remained dominant on PCs. Without the DOJ watching them it's difficult to say if/how MS would've leveraged Windows in these fields.

Re:i dont buy any of this (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102622)

It should be noted that Netscape already gave the product away for free. If you read my link to Eric Sink's page, he says that this tactic on Netscapes part is part of what put them out of business.

Yes, it's illegal to use your war chest to drive a competitor out of buisness by giving away a free or below market cost product, *AND THEN RAISE THE PRICE AFTER THE COMPETITOR IS DEAD*. Microsoft only produced a product that they gave away at no additional cost, something Netscape was already doing before Microsoft even entered the market.

The browser tying argument is dead, and has been dead for ages. The court of appeal stripped overturned Jacksons findings on that.

Re:i dont buy any of this (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102632)

GEOS? Are you freaking kidding me? That was an 8086 based task switching system, no memory management,

You and your fancy 16-bit 8086. I waited 15 minutes for the damn thing to load on my 64K 6510-based system! Frankly, in an age where Firefox needs 200MB of RAM to turn on, I'm astounded it worked at all, even though it was pretty painful to operate.

Re:i dont buy any of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36102054)

Also, this freedom shit is starting to get very annoying.

Re:i dont buy any of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36102268)

Before Apple's relatively recent surge beginning with the iPod, Microsoft (and particularly Bill Gates) always seemed to appreciate having them around, like having a genius classmate who would help you ace your courses while having a knack of not getting his own work turned in on time. Remember, Microsoft needs to keep coming up with new angles to get people to upgrade their five-year old PC's, and Steve Jobs has been consistently brilliant at that.

The joke was that Apple was Microsoft's advanced R&D department. Maybe they still are.

Re:i dont buy any of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36102580)

> the guys who invented the spreadsheet?

'Spreadsheets' have been used for decades, possibly longer. Perhaps you mean 'Computer Spreadsheets'. These have been around since the 1960s with such applications as 'Prosper', card pack input, printed spreadsheet output.

Or perhaps you meant 'Visual Spreadsheets' which was first done by VisiCalc. That was superseded by SuperCalc 2 and others, and eventually by Lotus-123, Quattro and then Excel.

I think we've found a happy place. (3, Interesting)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101458)

Apple is big. Arguably the biggest player right now, but it's arguable and that's a good thing.

Microsoft is the has been that isn't forgotten and still wields power.

The previous two are big enough to keep Google from really taking over, and is the only player that has truly embraced what the public wants (though minus the draconian parts Apple does a good job of that too).

Linux is huge, what the public really wants even though the masses aren't smart enough to realize it's what they want. They're happy as long as we spoon feed it to them with Android phones and in embedded devices they use and love while calling Linux that freaking weird hard to use thing their nephew likes.

The technology world is at a happy place. I don't know if smacking Microsoft down with the court system enabled this or not, really I can't guess how things would have worked out without the regulation they got. One of the few things mafia tactics worked on after the break up was making sure mobile music players, especially those in cars, didn't support OGG/Vorbis, but the only reason they succeeded was because Apple was the biggest player and was on the same page without actually having to conspire with Microsoft to do it. I'm certain other software companies were still bullied, but they did keep it on the down low, the PC vendor bullying was put into the spotlight, not fixed, but at least suppressed and lessened.

I think we're finally in a happy place were OS and hardware vendors are concerned.

Now we need to move on to communications companies, deregulation is good, but we need to deregulate enough to allow new competitors to breach the market and we have to stop the big players form bullying local co-ops and count/local level players from building networks where the big guys won't.

Re:I think we've found a happy place. (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101696)

Apple is big. Arguably the biggest player right now, but it's arguable and that's a good thing.

Microsoft is the has been that isn't forgotten and still wields power.

Now, there is a set of statements that would have caused a reader's head to explode if they had been written in 1998.

Re:I think we've found a happy place. (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101760)

Funny how that door revolved.....

Re:I think we've found a happy place. (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101854)

Apple is big. Arguably the biggest player right now, but it's arguable and that's a good thing.

Microsoft is the has been that isn't forgotten and still wields power.

Now, there is a set of statements that would have caused a reader's head to explode if they had been written in 1998.

I'm not so sure... It seems he really has been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like.

Re:I think we've found a happy place. (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101916)

What you say, confused I am.

--Yoda

Re:I think we've found a happy place. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36102030)

The force is weak with this one!
-Lord Vader

Re:I think we've found a happy place. (1)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102282)

Not as simple as you seem to be implying. Thing is while Apple has gotten large, it is by no means a major player in Microsofts fields. Apple has gained it fortune in portable devices, while Microsoft gained its fortune from its OS on computers (and is still the biggest player there by far), and Microsoft also is the biggest player in the home console market. These are 2 different companies that aren't really competing in the same market. Sure they've tried to overlap into the others field but they would come out at either a loss or never made a major dent.

Re:I think we've found a happy place. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36102532)

> Now we need to move on to communications companies, deregulation is good, but we need to deregulate enough to allow new competitors to breach the market and we have to stop the big players form bullying local co-ops and count/local level players from building networks where the big guys won't.

The start and end of your phrase are contraditory.

Deregulation is like giving a guy a knife, opening a door to room with cute lion cubs and saying: "Good luck, you're on your own!"

Somehow I think the idea of waiting for the cubs to grow will never come up in the guy's head...

Re:I think we've found a happy place. (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102582)

So deregulating by throwing open the doors and allowing competition and not caving to pressure put on by big companies to stomp new comers are mutually exclusive?

Yeah, no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36102638)

Linux is huge, what the public really wants even though the masses aren't smart enough to realize it's what they want.

It's amazing how the general public embraces this sort of arrogant twatwash from the likes of Steve Jobs, but not from frothing Linux lunatics.

Oh, wait. That's because Steve Jobs, despite his arrogance, still manages to give the public what it needs. And no, that isn't a crap desktop experience.

Skype Monopoly (4, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101488)

Microsoft's dominance over the desktop, especially office desktops, still gives it too much monopoly power for Microsoft to compete fairly when combined with Skype's net phone dominance.

Re:Skype Monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36101552)

mod parent up

Re:Skype Monopoly (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102050)

Speaking of which, the Skype buyout still has to be approved by the feds...

Re:Skype Monopoly (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102514)

Speaking of which, the Skype buyout still has to be approved by the feds...

Is anybody going to explain to them that within five years Microsoft will only support Skype on Windows-branded OS's (other than the 3-year-old Mac version they barely keep on life support?)

Re:Skype Monopoly (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102548)

I'm sure the EFF will submit a notice to that effect. There's no shortage of advocacy organizations promoting such views right now.

Re:Skype Monopoly (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102138)

Skype is just a product away from being worthless.

Android/Google are already poised to take over the market offered by Skype, with their Google Talk/Voice/Email/Cell Phone system they already have cobbled together. Microsoft has Skype and Windows (Phone 7), and maybe XBox Kinect (or whatever it is called).

At this point, if I were at Google, I'd lay it out exactly this way. "We need a unified voice/video/email/chat/sms/sip product. Now!" They have the pieces, they just need to tie it all together nice and pretty. If they did that, Skype would cease to exist in short order. Because Microsoft is not nimble enough.

Re:Skype Monopoly (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102452)

For that matter, Apple has a nice toy in Facetime. It needs some work and a few non-iDevice clients, but it could be a contender without breaking the bank (especially not Apple's bank). I could see them releasing Mac and Windows clients, though Linux and Android might be a bridge too far for them... So that could seriously cripple the whole deal. Apple's "control every aspect" fixation would be at war with the fact that social networks (and let's face it, that's basically what we're talking about here) become more valuable the more clients you have.

Re:Skype Monopoly (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102328)

As a network admin, trying to get every OS to work together in one heterogeneous environment is a huge PITA with regards to both security and functionality. I say that because all devices end up meeting ends at the lowest common denominator to maintain cross-compatibility. A few example include, but not limited to...

1. MS Windows domain with file server.
2. Linux webserver and file server.
3. Plethora of droids needing Exchange e-mail access.
4. Blackberry's needing to tie back to Exchange for e-mail access.
5. Macbooks needing access to MS file server and Exchange. Problems occur depending on Mac OS and MS Office version.

Immediate issues are resolved by falling back to SMB by weakening security on MS file servers. But truth be told, a homogenous network would be far and away more secure and easier to manage. I would settle for a pure Linux, Microsoft, or Apple network. But getting all three platforms to work together can be an administrative nightmare. Regardless, heterogeneous are starting to become more popular by force. It's the future. Unfortunately, standardizations of the "Standards" are not enforced within the industry nor do they work well in place in the real world.

Ambiguous (1)

khr (708262) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101546)

Did tech innovation suffer over the last 10 years because Microsoft wasn't broken up? 'Not really,' said Vinton Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist, 'It has to do with the fact that open source has become such a strong force in the software world.'"

I find that actually ambiguous... Is Vinton Cerf saying that tech innovation suffered because of open source instead of because Microsoft wasn't broken up? I'm sure that's not what he meant....

Re:Ambiguous (3, Interesting)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101692)

ComputerWorld may not be stating that Vinton Cerf (leader of the project to design TCP, Internet god of one of the world's largest open source companies, and staunch defender of net neutrality) said that open source makes tech innovation suffer, but they sure are insinuating it.

Kind of like how Old Spice insinuates that their products will make you smell like a millionaire jet fighter pilot, but don't actually say so. They do, however, state that they're insinuating it—which, all things considered, is more honest than ComputerWorld.

What exactly is the world coming to, anyway?

Re:Ambiguous (0)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102144)

I'm on a horse

Controversial issue (4, Interesting)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101650)

I find it interesting that because of the ruling MS could no longer dictate that OEMs not put any crapware and couldnt force its own free AV onto them. So end users now get these machines with a fairly decent version of windows, but bogged down in crapware and with multiple AV products screaming for subscriptions which most people ignore.

I'd rather the court just break them up into OS, office, and enterprise software solutions than this kind of odd hand-holding that in the end didn't do much good.

Open Source was going to take over the horrible overly expensive commercial unix market regardless. Apple would still be around and even kept alive by MS to avoid regulators, etc.

Outside of the Netscape issue, I dont think this was justified. I'd rather the court better handle this as its own issue. I'd also would rather have legislation in place that controls whether a large corporation can produce free/bundled software against a small competitor on a case by case basis. We already have undercutting and dumping laws for other industries.

I honestly think that even without this ruling Firefox, Linux, and Apple would have done just as well. The lack of a breakup really just turned this into a useless compromise. Shame the government had the balls to take them to court, but not to actually win anything.

Re:Controversial issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36102146)

Yeah, because Linux is so much more successful on the desktop than it was 10 years ago. After all that's what this lawsuit really boiled down to: end users and the desktop.

Overheard recently at the DOJ (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101774)

Release the Kraken!

Facist Media (0)

hackus (159037) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101802)

When you can produce an article, that is so bizarre, that nobody really understands reality that portends to offer a objective opinion in this way, it signals the end of a society.

Maybe in this case the fascist empire we call USA.

First of all, Google is in many ways worse than Microsoft. Yet the question is asked if Google thinks monopolies are bad things.

Pinch me if this isn't 1984 or 2010? WT? is it and what is the difference?

-Hack

Re:Facist Media (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36102558)

It's 2011 dude

If only they had broken it up! (2)

davevr (29843) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101844)

Then only one company (at most) would have had Balmer as a CEO....

- a Microsoft shareholder


PS: and none of the mini-microsofts would have paid 8 BILLION for F'ing Skype!

In other news ... (4, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101852)

... Google staff evangelist speaks out against strict DOJ antitrust enforcement emphasis.

So I assume Firefox won't work with next patch? (1, Interesting)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 3 years ago | (#36101968)

I still remember the day when Microsoft updated one of their Windows versions(I think Win98?) and Netscape would not run because they removed a .dll.
Also Embrace, Extend, Extinguish was put on cool down for 10 years. That stuff got really old. Why try to make something useful when Microsoft would just catch wind of it and redo it?

I have no problem with OS bundling though. I bet people have some nice bundles of software ready with Linux. Once multiplatform aps become the rule instead of exception, people won't have a real reason to stick with M$ unless M$ really invests in new technologies. I'd like them to take what they got with Kinect and apply it for all known objects in the world, maybe be the people who solve robotic vision, and let us have robots that can interact in the world safely.

test testtestest (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36101988)

test

www.happyshopping100.com (-1)

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Re:www.happyshopping100.com (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36102312)

WHAT THE FUCK??

You got to be kidding me! (1)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102220)

'It has to do with the fact that open source has become such a strong force in the software world.'"

I wouldn't call less than 2% of the PC market "a strong force". The guy's been smoking too much of his own press releases if he doesn't realize that even with the antitrust oversight (such as it was) Microsoft plainly won the war.

Not so fast Google guy (5, Insightful)

krizoitz (1856864) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102224)

Yup, Open Source is the reason things changed.
Like how Linux became such a strong force in the desktop OS market. Um, wait, let me try that again.
Like how Google's open source search engine revolutionized the way we find things on the web. Nope, that one didn't happen either.
Like how Apple's open source iPhone reinvented mobile phones. Hmm, I'm starting to see a pattern here.
Like how Adope's open source Flash platform brought video and interactive content to the internet. Damn, I know I'll get one.
Like how open source Mp3 technology revolutionized digital music. Fine, I give up.

Look there have obviously been open source projects over the last decade that have had an impact. Linux on the server side (especially coupled with Apache, MySQL, and PHP) for example. But commerical server offerings are still a major part of that landscape. And Android has had strong success in mobile, but before the iPhone changed the landscape it was just a Blackberry look alike. Windows (and too a lesser extent OS X) are still what most people use for their daily computing needs, and frankly it wasn't the open source that led the way on new tablets. Open source has contributed, and its a good thing to have around. WebKit and Mozilla/Firefox on the browser side are the biggest factors in re-igniting the web and HTML 5 looks to do away with the decrepit old Flash hopefully sooner rather than later. But Open Source was NOT the driving force behind inovation the past decade, sorry but it just wasn't.

we'll never know (3, Interesting)

Locutus (9039) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102232)

we'll never know because the companies not created because of fear of entering the market because of Microsoft's power over the PC market can't be asked. And yes there is fear within the PC desktop, laptop, server market surrounding Microsoft. It was only a few years ago when the head of the Taiwanese Manufacturing Association stated publicly that the association members fear Microsoft on the netbook and PC hardware but not on the phone device side. There are probably thousands of companies who would not enter the PC software market just because their product might compete with a Microsoft based product and they might 'get Netscaped'.

so we'll never know. What I think we do know is that Nokia would not be turned into a Windows shop and Skype would not become a Windows company.

LoB

Thank the Bush Administration (0)

Nimey (114278) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102508)

At the tail end of the Clinton's term, it looked like Judge Jackson was going to split MS up into two or three companies, and we wouldn't have to worry about them for a decade or two until they re-combined like Ma Bell did.

Then Chimpy gets into office and promptly pulls all the experienced lawyers off the case, and suddenly MS gets a slap on the wrist for their trouble. Because anti-trust law is part of the liberal job-killing agenda, you see.

Wrong Question (1)

vga_init (589198) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102608)

The question isn't whether or not tech innovation suffered, but whether or not the software market has suffered. Indeed, I would say the software market has suffered immensely, and the only reason why we can say "tech innovation" continued is because, as Vinny points out, the success of open source. Open source worked because it functioned outside the market, so it was impervious to Microsoft's monopoly.

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