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Massachusetts Holds Out On MS Case

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the finding-what-the-market-will-bear dept.

Microsoft 407

Cubase de Pilsen writes: "Massachusetts' attorney general said his state would not sign on to a proposed settlement in the antitrust case against Microsoft because it does not protect competing software makers." Several other state AGs as well are angling for more restrictions on Microsoft, but some are prepared to sign on to the current version of the settlement.

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Well, it's tradition (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524048)

...so I'll just get the first post out of the way.

Beaujolais!

Amen to that.... (2, Insightful)

jea6 (117959) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524050)

.... i'ts refreshing to see that the states won't punk out like the Bush Administration did.

Re:Amen to that.... (5, Interesting)

Winged Cat (101773) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524095)

It was expected that most would not. Still, depending on just how far the feds punk out...is there any viable way for the DOJ to interfere with the states' case? Say, harrass the attorney generals or bury their staffs under paperwork?

It's also of note that the judge has to sign off on the deal being "in the public interest". If she comes to the conclusion that Microsoft has a demonstrated history of violating and/or ignoring conduct remedies, therefore a pure conduct remedy will probably be treated likewise, therefore such a remedy is equivalent to no remedy, and the lack of a remedy is not in the public interest...

Re:Amen to that.... (2)

danheskett (178529) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524130)

therefore such a remedy is equivalent to no remedy, and the lack of a remedy is not in the public interest...

Except that the high court(s) have virtually laughed at the suggestion that MS needs to be broken up - which leaves but two options - (a) fines and (b) behaviour rememdy.

Thats it. Breakup is out. Its not going to happen. The appealate court said in pretty much plain english that it would never happen. That only leaves two options. A fine is useless. What else do you expect to be done short of a breakup?

Re:Amen to that.... (3, Informative)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524168)

actually, the appeal courts ruled that Judge Jackson's comments to the media indicated a bias against MS, hence they threw out his version of a breakup remedy. The appeal court didnt explicitly rule out that a breakup was the proper rememdy, just that Jackson appeared biased in his judgement and that nullified his proposed remedy. It was the Justice Dept that formally ruled out breakup a few weeks ago.

Re:Amen to that.... (1)

Brian Kendig (1959) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524302)

A fine is useless.

Not if the fine is large enough. How much do you think Microsoft's illegal activities have hurt its competitors? Can you put a dollar value on that? I'll bet its competitors can, and I'll bet it won't be trivial.

Keep in mind that the settlement between Microsoft and the DOJ does not involve any punitive actions. Microsoft is free to profit from its illegal gains. I think a heavy fine isn't only useful, but necessary -- especially if the fine is paid to the companies who were hurt, and they use it to compete against Microsoft.

Re:Amen to that.... (1)

The Smith (305645) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524111)

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
-- 10th Amendment

This is one of the few good things about the US legal system -- even if the federal govenment is paid off, the individual states are under no obligation to follow.

hmmmm (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524054)

I submitted this EXACT story earlier today and it was rejected! :(

Mass state logo: (1)

PieceMaker (16268) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524055)

The Don Quixote State!

at least Quixote had cojones (1)

Frothy Walrus (534163) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524163)

god bless the Massachusetts dems. i am in a minority of /.ers, in that i can respect my elected leaders. they really have it quite together; my past letters of concern to the Reps and Senators have each come back with the reply i wanted to hear.

aside from liquor stores not being open on Sunday, i like this state. :)

Re:at least Quixote had cojones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524256)

We're happy for you.

Please stay in Taxachussets, though, and don't tread on us.

way to go (1)

Tassach (137772) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524060)

Nice to finally see a politician who actually has a pair.

Re:way to go (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524082)

Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner. And fathered several children to his slaves. I'd think twice before quoting him for his pro-freedom stance.

Re:way to go (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524096)

he also wanted to abolish slavery in the original constitution and ended up feeing his slaves after death.

Re:way to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524146)

and I suppose that makes it okay.

"I've owned slaves all my life, but I feel bad about it, so everything is A-OK!" -Thomas Jefferson

Re:way to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524271)

I am collaring My new slave on the 17th of November.

She is eager for it to be so. It's nice to be entering a relationship with a woman wanting to be my sex slave. And believe me, I will honor her wish and treat her well.

Of course, this is BDSM lifestyle slavery. Much nicer, in my opinion.

Re:way to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524179)

And fathered several children to his slaves.

No proof of that. Just conjecture and maybe wishful thinking.

Either that, or... (2)

YuppieScum (1096) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524116)

Either has a pair, or looking to see who is good for the largest "campaign contribution"... seems like the Oracle/Sun alliance is winning for now.

Re:way to go (5, Insightful)

danheskett (178529) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524165)

Nice to finally see a politician who actually has a pair.

This has nothing to do with that unforunately.

Massachuesetts wants what all the other states want - a big payout for a minimal amount of work. More than anything, most states are hoping and banking on the notion that MS will just cut them a check - ala Tobacco lawsuit. Its the latest plan to finance the government and it to boost revenues - sue someone with deep pockets, hold out for a big settlement, and cash in when its offered.

This claims to be for the consumers - when in fact we all know its not for them at all. Merits of the case aside, I have no hope for Massachusetts. Just like in the Tobacco lawsuits they will take the settlement, spend it on unrelated items and move on to the next target.

If you are asking yourself "where is the prooof?" ask yourself this: how much of the money they won from Tobacco lawsuits really went to what they claimed it was for (ie public health, stop smoking campaigns, cover costs of medical treatment, etc)? 90%? 80%? 70%? 50%? 25%? Not even close. The entire New England region spent less than 5% of the settlements on those initiatives? The rest went to lawyers, to fund more/different programs, and finance more debt.

Its a scam.

Re:way to go (1)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524232)

I hope the nineteen states can hold out to a billion dollar payoff each.

That way, MS will see its cash reserves depleted, and will perhaps stop plastering so many XP ads all over magazines and billboards.

Also, that might derail the XBox marketing campain.

Also, that would put MS in a bind over EU fines.

That would really hurt if you ask me.

Oh, and their stock would do a spectacular dive, methinks. (all reservations avout forward-looking statements apply)

Re:way to go (2)

dlkf (261011) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524340)

That way, MS will see its cash reserves depleted

I read somewhere recently that MS has upwards of $30 billion in cash reserves. Losing %60 of that would hurt, but would do nothing to change their behavior. Besides, they would never pay it out in a lump sum anyway. They would work something to pay it out over 5-10 years minimum. In the end, you would need something on the order of the tobacco settlement to really hurt MS financially and I doubt that will ever happen.

We can hope more states hold out (1)

fractalus (322043) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524068)

If more states hold out, stronger restrictions may end up being imposed anyway, and perhaps it will become clear to the DoJ that settling wasn't the right thing to do. (Stop laughing. Some of us would like to hang on to at least a shred of hope.)

Re:We can hope more states hold out (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524090)

I posted this EXACT SAME STORY earlier and it was rejected. Slashdot sucks ASS!!!!!! what ain't I nerdy enough!!!!! holy shit you suck ass slashdot!

go figure. (2, Funny)

mikeee (137160) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524076)

As a MA resident, I'm pleased by the principled action of my State's officials. That's just about a first.

For about 10 years, the president of the state senate was the kid brother of the major local mafia boss. I kid you not...

Re:go figure. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524099)

So what's your point? Are you another one of these racist bigots who have something against Italian-Americans holding office? I bet seeing Guiliani as mayor in New York makes you sick huh?

Re:go figure. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524137)

fuck that wop.
he's a criminal like the rest of those italians

Re:go figure. (0)

Debillitatus (532722) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524133)

For about 10 years, the president of the state senate was the kid brother of the major local mafia boss. I kid you not...

And I think he's still in public office, being president of the UMass system (the kid brother, that is)... the older one is still on the run from the FBI.

Re:go figure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524169)

Hell, more than that Massachusetts has given us a President who won an election through the organized crime and corrupt union cronies that his Dad knew.

Re:go figure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524180)

And was the only state to vote against Nixon in 1972. Reds, the lots of them.

Re:go figure. (1)

PieceMaker (16268) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524220)

And was the only state to vote against Nixon in 1972.

Oh, you mean that President who got us out of Vietnam? He was a jerk, wasn't he. Not like that other President who buried us deeply IN Vietnam -- LBJ.

Re:go figure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524193)

like thats any different than texas that won an election through organized oil cartels, corporate welfare and populated has a VP thats a defense crony?

Re:go figure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524217)

Unions? That's nothing compared to the papist machinations.

Re:go figure. (1)

The Man (684) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524183)

For about 10 years, the president of the state senate was the kid brother of the major local mafia boss. I kid you not...

Nothing wrong with that. Just look at Nevada... Oscar Goodman is mayor of Las Vegas. Usually the mafia does a much better job of governing than a bunch of bleeding-heart do-gooders with family money and axes to grind.

Re:go figure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524307)

And one of your US Senators, a Mister Kennedy, if I'm not mistaken, is the son of a former bootlegger. Which is pretty much the equivalent of a mafia boss.

Re:go figure. (1)

pherris (314792) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524319)

mikeee [slashdot.org] said:
For about 10 years, the president of the state senate was the kid brother of the major local mafia boss. I kid you not...
James J. "Whitey" Bulger:
- Massachusetts' Most Wanted [state.ma.us]
- FBI Most Wanted [fbi.gov]

William M. Bulger, President, University of Massachusetts
- President Bulger's Biography [massachusetts.edu]

pherris

Hmm.. (2, Funny)

ShaniaTwain (197446) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524081)

It'll be interesting to see what the next version of MS XP World Encyclopedia 3000 has to say about Massachusetts..

Re:Hmm.. (2)

pagsz (450343) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524139)

Probably be defined as: "Communist state that refuses to accept Microsoft's prowess in free market."

Last Days (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524084)

Whether or not the states hold out on the case, let's be honest with ourselves -- nothing except a massive increase in consumer intelligence and responsibility will save us from complete domination from Redmond.

Let's look at ways to provide consumers with better options. For example, Mandrake 8.0 Powerpack edition comes with a number of games. 3 of these, including the enticing TuxRacer, crash my machine on startup.

Until we can have a simple Linux install (which Mandrake has almost perfected) that doesn't come with any broken components (which they've flubbed), the regular consumer won't switch

Re:Last Days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524200)

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Let's see Win2K comes with an IIS seerver that is broken, outlook that is broken, and a plethora of other items that SP1 and SP2 fix.

NOTHING comes out of the box without problems, unfortunately Linux programmers have an affinity of writing things to be incompatable by always requiring the bleeding edge libs to ensure that users cannot use the program only the "leet"

Consumers never had a choice (3, Insightful)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524207)


Pack in Linux instead of windows with every PC sold and users will be using Linux.

Re:Consumers never had a choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524321)

Nope.

Pack in Linux instead of windows, and the customer return line will have to be expanded out into the parking lot.

For the short period before the Retail outlets stop selling anything Linux at all.

umm... maybe not (1)

on by by on by on by (534407) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524230)

Until we can have a simple Linux install (which Mandrake has almost perfected) that doesn't come with any broken components (which they've flubbed), the regular consumer won't switch

you probably don't want to hear this, but when Linux has a simple, fully-operational install, the regular consumer still won't use it.

if all you care about is www, mp3, AIM, and maybe word processing and gaming, Windows will still be the clear choice. Linux might be stable as a rock, but the Open Source software developers are going to have to raise the bar a lot higher to convince 15-year-old Sally Rottencrotch from Cumshot, IL to deinstall the OS that came with the computer, and switch to a "better" OS.

I wonder... (5, Funny)

YuppieScum (1096) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524085)

I wonder how quickly MS could enforce a "this product not for sale in MA" rule on their distributors & retailers...

...and I wonder how quickly said legislators would U-turn after having irate retailers and/or citizens pester them...

Re:I wonder... (2)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524107)

wont happen. MS pushes their products in school environments (like my own school, except for the CS dept). There are too many schools up there for them to do that. MIT, Harvard, Boston College, Boston University, and many others

Re:I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524312)

It would seem to me that MS could still GIVE away product if they thought that Mass schools were that important and they still wouldn't have to have a business presence inside the state. It would be interesting to see the Mass AG prosecute that as anti-competitive. Sounds like the Linux distribution model...

More realistically, these schools really aren't that important in the overall scheme of things.

Re:I wonder... (3, Insightful)

YuppieScum (1096) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524185)

Not "not for use" but "not for sale"...

By denying sale in the state, they effectively circumvent the local legislators - and by encouraging out-of-state vendors to sell to people in MA they "prove" the market demands their products... very much a win-win if they can pull it off...

Not that I'm saying this would be a good thing, of course...

UMASS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524087)

This is what you get when you once belonged to the UMASS-DEBATE team.

good (3, Informative)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524089)

good for Mass to do that. I read that Sun [zdnet.com] was considering their own civil suit against MS if the current proposed settlement became reality. Not that that would do anything useful, IMO. Of course, MS still has to face Europe, and we all know how rough and tough they are gonna be.

NY state previously said it would persue this (1)

Alrocket (191107) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524259)

"Of course, MS still has to face Europe, and we all know how rough and tough they are gonna be."

Just wondering if you meant that as irony or at face value: personally I think that Europe won't be the easy push over that the US (or more particularly GW's administration) has been.

Also, before September 11th happened, I remember reading an article where NY state and some other heavy hitters said that they would step up to the plate and persue the case if the DoJ did what they've just done. I hope that despite the terrible attrocity, that NY will still lead the way in this cause.

Anyone got any links to articles from around Sept 4th or so when that was mentioned?

btw there's some good info on differing international laws on antitrust over at: http://www.hg.org/antitrust.html

Al.

Re:NY state previously said it would persue this (2)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524299)

i think you are correct. I do recall NY taking their own stance after some of MS's recent tactics that work against some companies in NY like Kodak or IBM.

as for my Europe comment: I'm talking about how the EU wont take this case as lightly as Bush's administration suddenly is.

Re:good (5, Insightful)

Phanatic1a (413374) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524260)

Don't knock Europe in this regard. They might not be very good at defending Chezchoslovakia against invasion, but they have the capability to be far, far harsher to MS than the US has ever been.

First off all, it's a trade commission issue over there, not a years-long court case. They can even use Jackson's original FOF as evidence, and expand the scope of the ruling to consider MS's more recent behavior that the US court case was unable to consider. Then, they can just make a decision, and implement it. And, they've already figured out what .NET is supposed to do, and they don't like it one bit. Heck, WSJ had some EU drafts a week or so ago, and the EU was talking about fining MS 2 billion dollars/year unless they unbundle Media Player, and stopped using their OSes to promote MSN.

EU Trade Law Fun Fact: Under some circumstances, bundling is just flat-out illegal. If you have Product A and B, you are allowed to bundle them, but if you do, you also have to make them available as separate products, and you can't charge drastically more for the separates. The French are making noises about going after MS for bundling DOS 7 with Win95, and under French trade law, that bundling actually constitutes fraud and actual executives actually do actual jail time for that kind of thing in France.

Another consideration for Europe is that MS is overwhelmingly American in structure. About 90% of their structure exists purely in the US, and their profits therefore go mainly to feeding the US economy, and not Europe. It'll be a lot easier for the EU to dick MS than it would be for them to screw with GM or Ford.

Re:good (2)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524275)

i wasnt being sarcastic - sorry if I came off like that. Europe wont take their anti-trust case as lightly as the US suddenly is.

Re:good (2)

Derwen (219179) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524301)

Of course, MS still has to face Europe, and we all know how rough and tough they are gonna be.

I assume that this is sarcasm in light of the track record [internet-magazine.com] of one EU country's leader [vnunet.com] .
However some European countries are flying the flag [ofset.org] for Free Software [schule.de] and open standards :-)

- Derwen

Mass does something right?! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524102)

WOW!! You mean that my state finally does something right??!! How did that happen?

How long? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524105)

Quick Poll:

How long before this guy ends up dead? (Sleeps with da fishes)

I give it a couple of months.

Re:How long? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524190)

Why, does the Kennedy family hold a lot of MS stock or something ?

Political Reality strikes. (1)

Anton Anatopopov (529711) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524113)

This whole thing is about politics.

Areas with a strong software development base will have powerful lobbyists promoting the anti-Microsoft agenda.

No doubt in seattle there was pressure not to get involved in the lawsuit.

Re:Political Reality strikes. (2)

YuppieScum (1096) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524210)

This whole thing is about politics. And politics is all about money... I'd love to see a real breakdown of "campaign contribution" sources on both sides of the arguement.

ah Illinois (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524114)

land of lincoln? No, land of the clueless, my home state:


In Illinois, Attorney General Jim Ryan said he is inclined to sign the agreement

"I am pleased that the Microsoft case appears headed for resolution and that Illinois consumers will have gained a freer and more competitive marketplace as a result," Ryan said.

Re:ah Illinois (1, Interesting)

Scott Lockwood (218839) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524203)

And to think - I was going to vote for that asshole.

Don't forget to write to your state A.G. (1)

BurritoWarrior (90481) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524126)

http://www.firstgov.gov/state_gov/state.html is a listing of all state government home pages. Write them now and urge them not to go along with the USDOJ settlement.

Call your attorney general (5, Informative)

mpsmps (178373) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524141)

I did (Jim Ryan of Illinois 217-782-1090). I talked for about 5 minutes with a women there whose job was tallying constituent input. She said that *every single call* she had received was against the deal. Because these are elected officials, a concerted (unanimous?) message from their constituency could have a big effect.

Re:Call your attorney general (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524206)

did she say how many calls the AG was receiving about the settlement?

Citizens of NC, please respond. (5, Insightful)

mjh (57755) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524142)

It appears that the Atty General of NC is still on the fence about this one. Here's a copy of the email that I sent to our AG last Friday. Let's see if we can get him to act.

To: agjus@mail.jus.state.nc.us

Subject: Please pursue stiffer penalties for Microsoft

Dear Mr. Roy Cooper:

I am a citizen of North Carolina, residing in Charlotte (see my address below). I am writing to you today to urge you to object to the settlement offered between the US Department of Justice and Microsoft, and to continue to pursue more effective remedy in the case.

Considering Microsoft's history of ignoring consent decrees, I hope that you will agree that another consent decree should be held highly skeptical as an effective remedy. The fact that Microsoft violated a 1995 consent was part of what prompted the current antitrust proceedings. How effective can the same remedy be, when its prior violations helped to protect and extend Microsoft's illegal monopoly?

Microsoft has recently released Windows XP, a computer operating system with the explicit goal of extending their monopoly reach into web services. This is a clear violation of antitrust law, and a clear demonstration that Microsoft intends to completely ignore remedial actions to reinstall competition into the computer software market.

As a citizen of North Carolina, I urge you to reject the current settlement and pursue an effective remedy to restore competition in the computer operating systems market, and prevent Microsoft from extending their illegal monopoly into other computer software markets.

Sincerely,

XXXX XXXXXX
XXXX XXXXXXXX XX
Charlotte, NC XXXXX

Let's take advantage of this oppurtunity to express our opinions on what our state representatives should do.

It depends on the state leaders (1, Troll)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524150)

Right now with George W. towing the Microsoft line (Republican = reward big business) the republican states will do whatever the republican party says for them to do, and right now that is sign this hand slap for microsoft. The non republican states are hopefully not going to buckle under the peer-pressure from the white house and senate. and the non democrat or republican states? I hope they do something loud and ballzy.. (How about outlawing Microsoft products? that would get someone's attention! although it wont be enforcable or anything but an "example")

What states refuse to sign it and hold strong are the ones to keep an eye on... they at least have some common sense and cant be bought for too cheap of a price.

Re:It depends on the state leaders (4, Interesting)

danheskett (178529) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524235)

(How about outlawing Microsoft products? that would get someone's attention! although it wont be enforcable or anything but an "example")

Hahahaha.. Are you high?

States that made that move would quickly find that public opinion would be against them.

Lets review, Gallup has polled people, and found that:

Overall 60% had a favorable opinion of MS, while only 17% had an unfavorable opinion.

Overall 34% support a complete drop of the case, while 22% support a settlement, and only 22% support going forward with a new judge and trial

In additon, 68% feel that MS's dominance in the computer world has been positive for the economy, 63% feel its been good for consumers, and 62% feel its been for the the industry.

Don't you get it? MS is the popular kid on the block! People like MS. People have choosen to and continue to love MS!

A lack of MS products in a state would create a vacuum of sorts. The people who know Unix/Linux would become ungodly in demand. Thousands who live from the fruits of MS would be out of a job. Retail stores who sell MS products (they make more 4,000) would lose revenue. States like Maine who share a close border with New Hampshire would lose sales and services to counterparts in the border states.

Get real! People love MS! YOU are the minority.

For reference, here is the link to the Gallup poll referenced [gallup.com] .

Re:It depends on the state leaders (2)

pagsz (450343) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524294)

Well, the way it is right now, the Democrat states (and the ones more likely to reject the deal) are the Northeast (New England, New York) and California. These are also ares that are more heavily populated (and, to my knowledge) more tech-oriented. However, there does seem to be a chink in the armor: New York is planning to sign the agreement with some added restrictions on Microsoft, a source close to the deliberations said Monday. New York officials have been in touch with Microsoft and Justice Department lawyers, the source said.

Also, the article mentioned that if the coalition breaks, tbe remaining states can either go on themselves or force the hand of the other states.

You're right, it all comes down to the leaders. If other states join Massachusetts and hold out, they may be able to get a better deal done.

On October 30, two interesting things happened: My Karma surpassed my IQ; and I got the +1 Bonus,

Actually, i think the settlement is good (1)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524152)



Well at least the part saying multiple OS's can be installed on one machine, and Microsoft can do nothing.

You are right though, we have to make sure theres absolutely nothing Microsoft can do to get back at these companies.

Once this happens then will we see Linux, Lindows and other OS's installed by default on computers or installed with Windows.

AsG not AGs (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524153)

The correct term is actually attorneys general, not attorney generals.

History repeats itself - and Massachusetts gets it (5, Informative)

dillon_rinker (17944) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524162)

In 1994, the feds signed a consent decree with Microsoft. This agreement did not alter MS's behavior, but it did give Microsoft unprecedented levels of information about the PC industry that NO ONE ELSE had access to. This gave them a strategic advantage that is still unmatched. This was the sole outcome of the 1994 consent devree.

Pre-1994, MS licensed their software based on how many units an OEM sold. Sell 100,000 PCs, pay for 100,000 licenses, even if 1,000 of those PCs has DR DOS on them. The consent decree outlawed this practice. Microsoft then (and now) licensed their software based on model lines. Sell 100,000 Model 50s, pay for 100,000 licenses. OEMs could sell PCs with other OSs without paying the licensing fee, as long as the PCs were in a model line that did not EVER have MS software installed. Naturally, such model lines were rare.

Pre-1994, Microsoft knew exactly how many PCs were sold by each OEM. Post-1994, they knew how many PCs were sold within each model line at each OEM. They could analyze pricing, advertising, hardware and software loads offered in each model line and determine what the public bought and how much they paid.

No one else can match this level of intelligence. No one else knows what people use their PCs for to the degree of detail that Microsoft knows. This resulted directly from the 1994 consent decree. I'm waiting to see what advantage MS will gain from this one. I'm glad at least one state AG gets it; without stringent behavioral guidelines, MS will alter their behavior in exactly the wrong direction.

Slashdot is Racist!!!!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524170)

Slashdot rejected this story when I posted it MUCH earlier today!!!!! I worded almost exactly as the above poster did but alas I was rejected. BECAUSE I AM A BLACK MAN. I have contacted a lawyer and lucky for me slashdot keeps trak of rejected submissions. He says I have a chance to ROB YOUBLIND IN COURT.! ha ha ha ha fuckers. I will then use the money to start www.blackdot.com where black tech people can POST stories without being rejected for the color of skin!!!!!!!! he also feels that this could put VAsoftware or whatever their called this week out of business for good!!! ROTFLMAO!! I hope you all lose your jobs retards because you are racist. CmdrTaco: I hope you become poor after this you little racist fuck. Good thing I keep a retainer. PS this is NOT a joke!!!!!!

Re:Slashdot is Racist!!!!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524222)

Power to the people!!!!

Teach whitey a lesson homey!

Time to go beat some white people, cuz my great granddad was a slave and all white people owe me!!!

Ayn Rand... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524172)

...must be rolling in her grave...

I think the settlement should be accepted, (1)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524177)



Here is why. If we keep pushing for a stronger settlement, we may end up with a weaker one.

I want to know what ideas you all can come up with for a stronger one.

Then see if Microsoft actually would accept it.

Re:I think the settlement should be accepted, (1)

Maditude (473526) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524314)

I want to know what ideas you all can come up with for a stronger one.

I think the best suggestion that I've come across is this one:

Force microsoft to open up their API, both for networking protocols *and* office documents.

The best read ... (4, Funny)

Jace of Fuse! (72042) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524186)

On the whole Micrsoft Monopoly crap, I think the most insightful thing I've read is this article [bbspot.com] .

The last paragraph says it all particularly well.

It's a bad deal to begin with (3, Insightful)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524189)

I'm not usually one who sides against Microsoft or roots for the government in this case, but the solution was completely useless and didn't do anything to remedy the actual problem that exists in the Windows space.

A good solution would be to restrict Microsoft in those actions that they were using to crush competitors: exclusive and restrictive contracts with hardware manufacturers. Restricting MS from entering into these contracts would be a simple and effective method of freeing up the market place for other operating systems and bundled software. It would effectively eliminate their monopoly leverage point without taking away their de facto monopoly.

Microsoft wouldn't need to release their business plans 5 years into the future, and they would be encouraged to keep their software current in order to remain competitive with other products that could possibly be bundled by OEMs.

Dancin Santa

_de jure_ monopoly (2)

MenTaLguY (5483) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524334)

Actually it's a de jure monopoly now.

Well he should fuck off (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524191)

And take what he can get.. I hate pricks like that.

Slashdot is still racist (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524198)

Slashdot rejected this story when I posted it MUCH earlier today!!!!! I worded almost exactly as the above poster did but alas I was rejected. BECAUSE I AM A BLACK MAN. I have contacted a lawyer and lucky for me slashdot keeps trak of rejected submissions. He says I have a chance to ROB YOUBLIND IN COURT.! ha ha ha ha fuckers. I will then use the money to start www.blackdot.com where black tech people can POST stories without being rejected for the color of skin!!!!!!!! he also feels that this could put VAsoftware or whatever their called this week out of business for good!!! ROTFLMAO!! I hope you all lose your jobs retards because you are racist. CmdrTaco: I hope you become poor after this you little racist fuck. Good thing I keep a retainer. PS this is NOT a joke!!!!!!

Re:Slashdot is still racist (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524284)

And people like you are what's wrong with this world.

You friggin idiot. You claim /. is racist, but you want to create a racist site of your own.

WHY DONT YOU QUIT ACTING LIKE A TODDLER. YOU'RE SO FULL OF SHIT (maybe that's why you're black)

There's a word for people like you.

Politics baby! (0)

Macaw2000 (103146) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524199)

Let's have a looksee at the two big holdouts:

California -- Constituents include Sun and Oracle
New York -- Constituents include America Online

Got to give the EU credit too. (1)

GISboy (533907) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524202)

The EU said that Microsoft may have used illegal practices to extend its dominance in personal computers into server markets.


Nooo... Ya think?

Ok, I'll admit to flagellating between impressed and suspicious of Microsoft's server products XP. They are both usable and succeptable in just about all definitions of the terms.

As I look around the room, I've got an NT box between my legs (no comments, pls) and 2 redhat server to my left and in back of me and a 2000 server and soon to be SQL box...dominant,no, but encroaching.

I dunno, all server platforms have their place, but the leveraging vs merit and proven ability still disturbs me when considering a majority of Microsoft's products.

And this from someone who as been described as "the most moral person I know, but the least ethical" by his own mother.
Most back handed compliment I've ever had in my life that I take to mean, I know a snake when I see one and will try to protect others from said snake. (meaning my ethics ~= Microsoft's at times, ouch, that hurts to say).

I think in some respects the DOJ was tripped at the finish line...but I think the EU may just be the one to break the tape and show the U.S. how it should be done.

Here's hoping, anyway.

Boycott (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524214)

That's right J., vote with your wallet. Don't buy ANY more payper liesense crud from those convicted felons.

Does anyone think that 'our' lamo gov't. is NOT also a hostage of the FraUDuleNT kingdumb?

Wow! Slashdot is getting some awesome reviews!!! (-1)

LinuxIsForAssholes (527253) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524219)

Go here [urinalpoop.org] to see possibly the most accurate way I have of describing Slashdot!

slashdot racist (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524225)

Slashdot is racist! heres how: Slashdot rejected this story when I posted it MUCH earlier today!!!!! I worded almost exactly as the above poster did but alas I was rejected. BECAUSE I AM A BLACK MAN. I have contacted a lawyer and lucky for me slashdot keeps trak of rejected submissions. He says I have a chance to ROB YOUBLIND IN COURT.! ha ha ha ha fuckers. I will then use the money to start www.blackdot.com where black tech people can POST stories without being rejected for the color of skin he also feels that this could put VAsoftware or whatever their called this week out of business for good!!! ROTFLMAO!! I hope you all lose your jobs retards because you are racist. CmdrTaco: I hope you become poor after this you little racist fuck. Good thing I keep a retainer. PS this is NOT a joke!!!!!!

way to personal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524237)

Hell, some of you are taking this way to personal. This is just Texas Style Business. Shoot, I have no doubt that GWB was paid in the 10's of Millions for this. Perhaps even 100's. While I am not sure how much Ashcroft was paid off, I am sure that it was also large. Just don't take it personal. M$ does have the $ for a reason. And GWB did get to office, by hook or by crook. :)

Re:way to personal (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524288)

You're an idiot. A complete, total, blubbering maroon. Are you inbred or did you just consume a lot of toxic material as a child?

Could Slashdot be racist? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2524239)

Could slashdot be a front for the KKK, I think so!! Slashdot rejected this story when I posted it MUCH earlier today!!!!! I worded almost exactly as the above poster did but alas I was rejected. BECAUSE I AM A BLACK MAN. I have contacted a lawyer and lucky for me slashdot keeps trak of rejected submissions. He says I have a chance to ROB YOUBLIND IN COURT.! ha ha ha ha fuckers. I will then use the money to start www.blackdot.com where black tech people can POST stories without being rejected for the color of skin!!!!!!!! he also feels that this could put VAsoftware or whatever their called this week out of business for good!!! ROTFLMAO!! I hope you all lose your jobs retards because you are racist. CmdrTaco: I hope you become poor after this you little racist fuck. Good thing I keep a retainer. PS this is NOT a joke!!!!!!

Re:Could Slashdot be racist? (0, Offtopic)

Archanagor (303653) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524330)

Go play with yourself.

IDIOT!

Settlement is GOOD (1)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524247)

http://wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,48119,00.htm l

WASHINGTON -- Alternatives to the Windows operating system will get a boost under the proposed settlement agreement between Microsoft and the Justice Department.
The 60-KB deal , which must be approved by a federal judge, says Microsoft may not "retaliate" against a computer maker for cozying up to software firms that compete with the world's most-famous antitrust defendant.

In particular, computer makers such as Dell (DELL), Compaq (CPQ) and IBM (IBM ) will be allowed to ship boxes that include "both a Windows operating system product and a non-Microsoft operating system, or will boot with more than one operating system."

If there is sufficient market demand -- and such demand may never emerge for desktop machines -- computer makers will be free to ship computers with, for instance, Windows and Linux installed.

Any aggrieved computer manufacturer can take its complaint to a three-person oversight committee, which can hear anonymous complaints.

Software developers also will have more freedom to experiment with non-Windows operating systems. The agreement says that Microsoft (MSFT ) may not take action against a developer for creating, promoting or supporting "any software that competes with Microsoft platform software or any software that runs on any software that competes with Microsoft platform software."

Even Jamie Love, who works for the Ralph Nader-founded Consumer Project on Technology and uses Linux, found something nice to say: "There is lots to like about the proposed agreement." Love added, however, that he reserves final judgment until he can examine the agreement for possible loopholes.

More Microsoft: Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) wants Microsoft to know that Washington isn't done with it yet.

In a statement on Friday, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman pledged multiple hearings to explore whether the proposed settlement met with his approval.

Leahy said: "We will want to examine whether competitors have adequate opportunities to provide those products, and computer manufacturers have the freedom to configure their machines as they think best and whether the remedies are sufficiently adaptable to the constantly changing competitive environment of the Internet and computer industries."

An aide to Leahy said that Microsoft lobbyists briefed the committee staff Friday about the details of the settlement.

A spokesman for the House Judiciary committee, which shares oversight responsibility for the Justice Department, would not comment on its plans.

Taxman: Not many Washingtonians are paying attention right about now, but a federal ban on some Internet taxes quietly expired a week ago.

The Senate never voted for a two-year extension -- as clouds of anthrax spores wafted through the Hart office building, legislators may have had other things on their minds -- even though the House of Representatives did.

The biggest obstacle in the Senate was Bryon Dorgan (D-North Dakota), who placed a "hold" on the bill. That prompted one group opposed to Internet taxes, the Center for Individual Freedom, to run a newspaper ad blaming Dorgan for the delay.

This week, the Senate inched closer to approving an extension of the moratorium.

Proponents of collecting additional taxes, such as Dorgan, had hoped for a broader bill that would move in that direction. But since the moratorium expired, the Senate appears more likely to vote on a straightforward two-year extension.

What a difference: Two years ago, Free Republic founder Jim Robinson was busy writing a screed linking then-candidate George W. Bush with drug-running and the CIA.

Now he's become the president's top cheerleader -- and is busy deleting posts to the conservative community's message boards that apparently are too critical of Dubya and the war effort.

"Lots of grumbling lately about deleted posts. Well, my friends, the simple truth is the game has changed. We are now at war," Robinson wrote this week.

To Robinson, "This is not the time to raise doubts about our leaders. This is not the time to raise conspiracy theories. This is not the time to second-guess our intelligence agencies. This is war."

Microsoft ... like "Big Tobacco"? (2, Insightful)

Orne (144925) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524249)

When you look at politics, always trace the money trail.

Why are some of the states not "signing on"? Perhaps they, like many of SlashDot's audience, are unhappy that Microsoft won't be paying out as much cash as hoped...

States like Massachusetts depend a lot on tax money. Like it or not, it's a by-product of their liberal government style, big promises means big governement costs, and like businesses, government always passes its costs on to its "consumers", i.e. taxpayers. But, raising taxes is not "in vogue", so they are constantly scrambling to find other cash sources to pump their constituents full of pay-ou... err, entitlements.

Here we have Microsoft, the ultimate Tech cash cow, and they did a BAD thing, so naturally our government stepped to punish them. We cheer that the government recognized that they were acting against market forces, but government is cheering for new-found cash...

Compare this to the government's recent lawsuit on Big Tobacco. They lost, the people won, right? The corporations were forced to pay millions for bad advertisements, and that money was supposed to go to the states for education, right? Where did that money go? Studies show at most 10% of the states have actually created anti-smoking programs with the money, everyone else threw it into the "general fund" so they could pad their pet projects.

Don't be surprised that some states are "holding out", just understand that they aren't doing it for the reasons you think.

Write the Attorney General in your state now. (5, Informative)

fanatic (86657) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524262)

Here is a list of states suing microsoft (courtesy of Microsoft's "freedom to Innovate Network"):

California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Utah, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Wisconsin

Here's what I sent to the Attorney General in my state:

"
I believe that any settlement that would have a chance of restoring competition to the computer industry would require at least the following:

1) All terms must be enforced by a non-Microsoft party with full access to all Microsoft resources, including source code. Microsoft cannot be trusted to voluntarily comply with any agreement.

2) All communication protocols used by all microsoft products must be fully documented. Such documents must be made available to any and all parties for any reason. Microsoft is not allowed to change their protocols until 90 days after documentation of such changes are made available to any parties requesting them.

3) The previous term must also apply to all Microsoft APIs (Application Programming Interfaces).

4) Microsoft may not keep agreements secret. In particular, the terms of the current OEM agreements, currently protected as "trade secrets" must be disclosed.

5) Microsoft may not use agreements with Computer OEMs to restrict in any way the addition of other software to the computers, along with Microsoft products. In particular, OEMs are not to be prohibited from selling "dual-boot" systems,
where the system can be booted into Windows or into some other operating system, such as Linux or a form of BSD or BeOS.

6) Microsoft may not use their licensing terms to stop users or developers from using Open Source software or Free Software.

7) Microsoft may not meddle in the the legislative processes of Fderal, State or local governemnts or bodies that make recommendations to them, with their work on UCITA being a prime model of behaviour that is prohibited to them as a
monopoly.
"

fuck you bill gates! M$ is.. (-1, Troll)

faeryman (191366) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524303)

..gay!

AHYEAH gimme +5 insightful

MegaSLoth. Micro$oft. Microshit yuck-yuck :D

+5 Funny!

i ate my girlfriend out this morning before she went to work :D then ate some macaroni and cheese. i also ate a chicken quesdailla the other day from taco bell!

+5 interesting!

trolled from a 28.8 modem! yeah bitches! OWNED!! ARGGHRRHHR THE PAIN

Massachusetts also rejects hygiene (-1)

tt2k1 (532907) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524305)

Massachusetts also rejects hygiene

CAMBRIDGE - Massachusetts may have rejected the latest Microsoft-DOJ settlement, but not for the reasons that you suspect. "The underlying technology issues are, of course, important," explains Cheap Software advocate Dick Stallman. "But we Nor'easters have much more disdain for Microsoft's clean-cut image than anything relating to antitrust."

Stallman says that Microsoft representatives' short hair, clean business suits, and lack of putrefying body odour offend delicate Massachusetts sensibilities. Stallman elaborates: "As a dirty hippy, you expect me to loathe all organisms which to not exude the fetid stench of marijuana-soaked roadkill. But even the most respected Bostononian reeks of jungle feces. It is in fact my carefully cultivated odour that make me the most respected name in hacking, not my mediocre BASIC programming skills."

Governor Jane Swift agrees. "The sweet smell of rotting flesh and fecal fulmination is a core value of the people of Massachusetts and our neighboring states. Microsoft's lawyers mocked our traditions throughout the trial, by insisting on washing their hair and cleaning their ears. I've been told that these Northwesterners even clip their toenails!" Governor Swift shuddered, and waves of her monthly feminie pollution wafted toward this reporter like a Vietcong army. "We can't be associated with people who clip their toenails."

It appears that Massachusetts is not alone in its aversion to Microsoft's spring-fresh ways. The state motto of New Hampsire is "Stinky or Die," and its residents showcase the same hard-line avoidance of hygiene as their Massachusetts brethren. "Them Mackersoft boys must be some sort of Communists," proclaiming Earl McFadden, a local lobsterman. "Ayuh, I done heard that them suited freaks take a shower every day of God's week. That just ain't natural."

Mr. McFadden then pulled open the front of his trousers and spat onto his crotch.

Microsoft may have trouble selling these states on this latest agreement, but they'll definitely try. Spokesmen for the Redmond, Washington-based software behemoth report that a special edition of its flagship operating system, WindowsXP, is being prepared to woo Massachusetts into further talks. "WindowsMA," reads the released press statement, "combines the power of WindowsXP with ActiveStench technology." OfficeMA, a companion product, features a new "Larry the Lobster" Office Assistant, and disables the Massachusetts-unfriendly "Spell Check" feature.

The_Messenger, Troll Staff Writer

Karma Whore (1)

TACD (514008) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524323)

The proposed final judgement can be found here [usdoj.gov] .

Also, the BBC [bbc.co.uk] is running this story.

Aside from all that, it is good to see that someone has realised what an atrocity the previous judgement would have been. Finding a balance will be tricky, agreed; but what they were running with before just wasn't it.

Can someone answer a question... (1)

rela (531062) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524325)

Are the cases by the states being played out in federal court as part of the DOJ suit? What I'm driving at is that if they continue on, will their results have juristiction only over their state or over the whole nation?

This is actually SAD!! (1)

ioman1 (474363) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524329)

This is great news. At least there is a ray of hope. The sad thing is that even if Microsoft loses, consumers lose as well because there is no good alternative OS out there for the :average" computer user. Me? Personally i would be just fine with this, I have my Linux baby!

Mass. is a Commonwealth! (2, Informative)

flez (463418) | more than 12 years ago | (#2524337)

...not a state. Get it right.

(no, it doesn't really matter)
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