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Microsoft Would Settle For The Children

jamie posted more than 12 years ago | from the briar-patch dept.

Microsoft 780

The news from MSNBC is that Microsoft wants to, er, settle for the children. Take that whichever way you want. They propose to settle civil anti-trust cases (not the DoJ suit) with a $1.1 billion (retail value) spanking (they have $36 billion in the bank), consisting of free computer goodies to our nation's poorest schools (the first hit's free, kids). I'm sure Microsoft will upgrade those old computers to keep them current, in perpetuity, for free, out of the kindness of their hearts, but in an apparent oversight that was left out of the news report. Of that $1.1 billion, $0.9 billion will be software presumably valued at whatever Microsoft wants to charge (see "monopoly"). For hardware and (laughable) training/support costs, Microsoft will be docked three weeks' worth of interest on their cashpile; they will seek matching funds for the remainder, I am not making this up. Some lawyers opposed this but "concluded that Microsoft's monopoly already is so pervasive that students would have to learn to use these products anyway in the workplace." Update: 11/20 21:22 GMT by M : Heh. Red Hat offers an alternative to Microsoft's settlement proposal - you provide hardware, we'll provide software.

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So why is this so bad? (-1, Troll)

snoozer20001 (513148) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591375)

Microsoft is a business. They want to make money. I think this is a smart business decision...

Re:So why is this so bad? (2, Insightful)

nojomofo (123944) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591439)

This is so bad because of what you said. It's a business decision that Microsoft might make, it's not in any way something that should be a settlement for lawsuits. "As a penalty, we'll engage in a massive marketing campaign...".

Re:So why is this so bad? (1)

bartle (447377) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591563)

Microsoft is a business. They want to make money. I think this is a smart business decision...

I'm a consumer. I want to save money. I agree that it's a smart business decision but that doesn't endear me to it.

Re:So why is this so bad? (2)

JesseL (107722) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591571)

Over the course of the last couple years I've reached the conclusion that Microsoft doesn't really care about money except for it's use as a catalyst for acheiving World Domination(tm). It seems as if they're always sacrificing large amounts of cash simply for the purpose of dominating yet another market - even when that market isn't very lucrative. I don't look forward to the day that MS stages their coup and forces their enemies into work camps.
I'm really only half joking.

My Favorite Recipe (-1, Troll)

CmderTaco (533794) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591376)

Order grits! [goatse.cx]

^^^ HOT GRITS ^^^
Grits

3 cups water

1 1/2 cups grits -- white (not instant)

1 tablespoon salt

Heat the water to boiling in a large saucepan over medium heat. Pour in the
grits very gradually, stirring the whole time to prevent lumps. Add the
salt, reduce the heat to low (one or two bubbles should rise to the top at a
time), and cook, stirring constantly, until tender, about 10 minutes. Grits
should be as thick as oatmeal, not runny or stiff. If the grits get too
thick toward the end of the cooking time, stir in a little hot water. Pour
hot, down your pants!

Serving Ideas : Pour with a pat of butter or some brown gravy. It gives it twang!

Re:My Favorite Recipe (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591388)

Grits are for backwards redneck homosexuals.

Re:My Favorite Recipe (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2591473)

you, fuckhead, are clearly a fuckhead

Nice title. (4, Insightful)

AtariDatacenter (31657) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591377)

"You are a monopoly. As punishment, you must provide free software to the public schools, so that you can spread even further. Bad Microsoft! Now get back to replacing those foreign operating systems."

You're very right, Jamie. The double-meaning in the title *is* hilarious.

Let me get this straight.... (4, Redundant)

Nos. (179609) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591378)

Their punishment is to help ensure that the monopoly they have continues to the next generation?

Re:Let me get this straight.... (3, Interesting)

KingAdrock (115014) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591421)

At what point does this top being Microsofts fault and start being the fault of the millions of users? If people didn't buy the software or use the software, a monopoly would not exist!

Re:Let me get this straight.... (2, Funny)

atomico (162710) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591538)

Typical biography of X, born in a computer illiterate family:


- X goes to primary school, sees computer (Windows, thanks to Microsoft's generosity)


- X goes to high school, learns a bit more (Windows, thanks to court settlement)


- X goes to college, only sees one operating system around (Windows, thanks to some astute bulk licensing policy and a not very bright college administrator)


Now, a question:


Assuming that X has not become a geek (quite probable, given the cruel environment he has been subject to :^), what O.S. will X regard as the Only One in the Galaxy?

Re:Let me get this straight.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2591548)

Tell that to your water company when they try to raise rates... "If you didn't buy the water or use the water, a monopoly wouldn't exist!"

Re:Let me get this straight.... (1)

KingAdrock (115014) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591572)

Where is I can't see an alternative to water, I'm sure I could find many articles on this very website giving me an alternative to Windows!

Re:Let me get this straight.... (0, Flamebait)

The Man (684) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591552)

Why is this funny? It's true. Microsoft makes a product. Nobody forces you to buy it. Where's the beef?

Re:Let me get this straight.... (4, Insightful)

Nos. (179609) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591564)

Its an interesting suggestion. Our favourite average person out there "Joe/Jane Sixpack" doesn't do a lot of research before buying a computer. If he/she does any, its to compare prices and features. I've never seen anyone actually investigate other OS options. Not that I deal with the average computer shopper, but I doubt that many do, beyond, "I saw an add for Windows XP, does this computer have that?".

So our average computer shopper doesn't research that end of it. Should they... of course. But, if they don't understand that they should be researching HW/SW/OS, then they won't. I imagine some investigate SW to some degree (Antivirus, maybe an office suite), but I highly doubt any would even think of the OS.

So who is going to educate (en masse) the public. We certainly can't expect MS to do it. Who would expect any business to educate its customers into researching alternatives? Us, the Free SW crowd? Sure, we would, but how? That's the real question. How do we show the general public that there are other options out there. That they don't have to just accept whatever the big retailer installs on their machine.

Re:Let me get this straight.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2591474)

what lame moderator knocked that as OT? I c it Insightful/Interesting

Microsoft IS GOD (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2591379)

Long live Bill. I love that guy.
Linux is lower than the bacteria stuck to the gum stuck to Torvalds shoes.

Re:Microsoft IS GOD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2591558)

Sorry for being off topic and commenting on this. Why do people come here just to type messages like this? Anybody know why?

Sounds like Carnegie (1, Insightful)

cballowe (318307) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591381)

Sounds like Andrew Carnegie's big thing with libraries -- donate lots of money to build libraries without any money to fill them with books.

Looks like microsoft wins again (2, Interesting)

linux_warp (187395) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591386)

While I really don't have a problem with microsofts products, their anti-competitive business stance is very disturbing. .9 billion given back to them. How sad.

The Children... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2591387)

Won't someone please think of the children???

Wil Wheaton, actor, dead at 28 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2591390)

I just heard on the radio that Richard William Wheaton III (Wil Wheaton's full name) was found dead today at his home in LA. We will all remember his wonderful performances as Wesley Crusher on Star Trek:TNG and Gordie Lachance on Stand By Me. Wil has contributed much to society, and I'm sure he will be greatly missed by the readers of Slashdot.

Re:Wil Wheaton, actor, dead at 28 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2591408)

Due to the sensitive nature of the nature of his death, many newspapers are declining to report that the actual cause of death was autoerotic asphyxiation. Really, though, who among us can honestly say we didn't see it coming?

Re:Wil Wheaton, actor, dead at 28 (-1)

Wil Wheaton (532837) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591489)

Indeed, I am dead, but I came back for a moment to skull fuck my own corpse and beat my limp dead tiny shit encrusted penis.

wtf?? (0, Offtopic)

Transcendent (204992) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591394)

So lets spread around Microsoft products even more... that'll decrease the percentage of the market that they hold.... geez...

Sigh.. (1, Troll)

KingAdrock (115014) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591395)

OK, I understand the Microsoft is unpopular here on slashdot. I also understand that they settlement could have probably been alot worse. But lets look at the advantages of this.

The kids are going to win in the end. They are going to get better computers in the classroom that should ulitimately allow them to get better jobs and improve their quality of living. If their was going to be a settlement, I like the idea of this much more than dumping a lump sum of money to state governments and ending up with god knows what. At least all the money is directed toward a good cause.

Re:Sigh.. (2)

sam@caveman.org (13833) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591424)

At least all the money is directed toward a good cause.

that's interesting, because jamie said that Of that $1.1 billion, $0.9 billion will be software presumably valued at whatever Microsoft wants to charge . so i would say that nearly all the money is directed back to Microsoft.

but i guess whether or not that is a good cause is up for debate.

-sam

Re:Sigh.. (1)

KingAdrock (115014) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591465)

I think a fairer comment in the story would have been presumably valued at Microsoft's current prices. I would even go onto assume that the schools are going to get the software at the cost that they normally do. (Read: With the educational discount). Really it is like they will be getting 900 million dollars worth of free software!

Even if you don't like Microsoft you have to see this as a good thing for schools.

Re:Sigh.. (2)

sam@caveman.org (13833) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591516)

you have to see this as a good thing for schools.

i agree, schools getting free computers and software is a good thing. but what i do not understand is how this is supposed to punish Microsoft or deter them from doing it all again. it is like distracting a small child (the US government) with something shiny (money for schools) while you take the rest of their toys away. okay, so it's nothing like that. but anyway...

-sam

Re:Sigh.. (1)

KingAdrock (115014) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591547)

Well I think as soon as the supreme court stopped the recount in florida, the fate was sealed for this entire case. The Bush administration wanted nothing to do with it. The states pushed on, but without the overwelming support of the federal government it was an uphill battle. I guess everyone will just have to take what they get and live to fight another day.

The funny thing is I'm a Microsoft supporter and a Democrat. I hate myself!

Re:Sigh.. (1)

CleanTroath (521589) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591501)

Microsoft wins big time with this. They may lose some money by providing computers and software, but they will win it all back in future upgrades. Plus, the way they do business stays intact, meaning that they will eventually get the money back and much more.

Anyways, this is good news to the Microsoft employees. At least they don't lose their jobs.

You have completely missed the point (5, Insightful)

Sara Chan (138144) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591537)

Of that 1.1 billion, 0.9 is for Microsoft software. Since the schools would be unlikely to purchase much of the software anyway (they are poor), Microsoft actually loses nothing. Moreover, the schools could alternatively get open-source software--for free. Then the children would be able to read the source, and thereby learn (they are in school remember) more about computers.


In other words, this (i) helps Microsoft strengthen their Monopoly, (ii) costs Microsoft little more than $200 million, and (iii) probably harms children.

Re:Sigh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2591549)

What a short sited and ignorant view.

The kids are going to win in the end. They are going to get better computers in the classroom that should ulitimately allow them to get better jobs and improve their quality of living.

Throwing new PC's and software in low income schools does not ensure high quality students. But that's a different topic all together, so I will stop before I get moded down to the depths troll status.

Uh, try again. (2)

oGMo (379) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591570)

The kids are going to win in the end.

Sorry. This presupposes that the children will benefit from being inundated with MS software. In the long run, they won't. Neither does the rest of the world: that's what this case is about. Your statements sound reasonable, until you realize that they presuppose what they're trying to show. That doesn't work.

Wow am I first? nope Microsoft is just THAT evil (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2591400)

This is Scary, I'm glad I use a mac and live in Canada.

Don't worry that will change soon... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2591457)

Soon you will live in Microsoftia and use only Microsoft products. You will praise the name of Gates as your lord and savior.

Microsoft controls the Plantiffs lawyers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2591557)

I dont't think I will ever do that as I am in Film and Video production. There has been almost Zero products put out by The Microsoft (micro?, its MEGASOFT ;)empire that even work with video, let alone are the best choice, the closest thing I use to a Microsoft product is when i happen to be veiwing a webpage hosted on a Microsoft server.

But this part is by far the SCARY bit, microsoft controls the Plantiffs lawyers! Don't belive me?

"Another unusual feature of the proposal: The fees for Hausfeld, Stanley Chesley and a half-dozen other well-known class-action lawyers won't be tied to the size of the settlement, or taken from the settlement, as often happens in class-action cases. Instead, the judge will determine attorneys' fees and costs, to be paid separately by Microsoft, the lawyers close to the case said. "

Sorry for bad spelling, I'm Dislexic

boom digity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2591401)

that bites. ie is hellspawn!

Let me get this straight (2, Redundant)

palme999 (82528) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591402)

DOJ sues them for giving their products away and crushing competition all the while increasing their monopolistic presence.....so as a remedy MS is forced to give away their products to school kids thus crushing competition and increasing their monopolistic presence. Sounds fair.

not DOJ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2591504)

If you had read the article, you'd have found out this was the result of a bunch of civil antitrust suits and has nothing to do with the DOJ. Other than perhaps putting more pressure on the states to settle.

--Russell (duskglow2000 at yahoo - yes, it's me. I don't feel like logging in.)

Ugh (1)

klocwerk (48514) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591403)

How painful.
The Lawyer's comment, however ugly, just underscores what people in this country really think about M$ if they even think about it at all.
Ugh.

Microsoft learns from Joe Chemo (2, Insightful)

seek31337 (520238) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591409)

Joe Chemo [adbusters.org] would be proud. This is exactly what antitrust laws are supposed to prevent.

turning things around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2591413)

What should be intreprted as something nice is again skewed by the linux conspiracy zealots

yeah, right! (2)

turbine216 (458014) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591414)

Microsoft has a way of making "viable court-imposed punishments" out of shrewd business moves.

If they really wanted to show us how sorry they are, they would put Macs in the schools.

Re:yeah, right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2591577)

If they really wanted to show us how sorry they are they would....put Macs in the schools (on which they make handsome Office and Explorer related profits) ???

This is supposed to hurt them how exactly?

if only (2)

gergi (220700) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591416)

perhaps i'm an idealist but i find it totally disheartening that my beloved US of A is punishing its citizens by supporting microsoft's practices.

An acceptable punishment (2, Insightful)

nick_burns (452798) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591419)

How about Microsoft has to spend the money to buy the computers, but must put free (as in speech, not beer) software on the computers. Microsoft then helps out the schools without having to spend all that money on expensive software. That is what it's all about, right? Helping out the schools?

Re:An acceptable punishment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2591560)

What kind of "settlement" mandates giving them even more customers? This is not justice.

tax write-off (1)

Smoking (24594) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591432)

this is going to be the biggest tax write-off in history.
Congrats Bill.
Obviously you need a new set of geese [silicon.com] for your house...

School marketshare! (1)

redwoodtree (136298) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591434)

So the settlement is that Microsoft gets more of a school market share? What a deal :-(

Re:School marketshare! (1)

bald_spot (537892) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591561)

Interesting that they chose a market where Apple is still pervasive....

Wow. (2)

Happy Monkey (183927) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591436)

At my most cynical, I don't think I could have come up with a more worthless settlement...

slashdotted! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2591440)

Article has been slashdotted already!

EGG TROLL NEEDS YOUR HELP!! (-1)

egg troll (515396) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591441)

Anyone have a Volume License key for Windows XP? That'll show those MS bastards!!

ok slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2591442)

This is actually really cool of them. Tell me , could they do ANYTHING that you wouldn't put a slant on? Is there anything MS could do that would actually get you to like them, no matter how noble? I think not.

The rest of the punishment goes like this... (2, Redundant)

turbine216 (458014) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591443)

...And furthermore, we here at Microsoft will allow this group of thirty-one geishas to massage us as we skip a week's worth of board meetings! Harsh, you say? We haven't even told you about the part with the spankings and the oral sex!!!

a soft predicate (1)

K0R$ h4x0r ru1z (533828) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591447)

Is the Pale Horse so stallid?

Did the DOJ skip 20th century monopolies 101?

A thought noone seems to bring up is that Microsoft is American. Behemoth though it may be, it's spreading America across the globe just like McDonalds. Just like the peace corps determining that slanted roofs are much better for African tribes. Look to America! and let the world shine.

The community can gasp! all they like. But this, it seems, will remain.

He's at it again! (1)

cecil36 (104730) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591450)

Bill Gates wants to play weasel again. If the DOJ had two brain cells that could wave at each other, they would tell M$ that they must pay the $1.1B into a grant fund for schools to upgrade their computers and other technology. Control of the fund would be by a board of trustees appointed by the federal government, or the fund can be distributed among the 50 states and state government can appoint the boards to handle grant requests.

Note to Red Hat, Sun, et al: (2)

Rick the Red (307103) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591452)

Over 14,000 schools are about to get a bunch of brand new computers. Any chance you could provide them with some software?

What the hell? (2)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591456)

Can we concentrate on either loving or hating Microsoft? All this wavering back and forth is making me dizzy!

- A.P.

Taxes (3, Interesting)

stinkydog (191778) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591459)

I bet they write off the whole 1.1b as a bussines expense and save on taxes this year.

A real penalty would be 1.1 Billion in hardware. If you let them include the software, credit it for it's actual value (7 cents per CD).

SD

So, in other words... (1)

wrinkledshirt (228541) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591460)

...their punishment is to advertize themselves.

That's...but...I mean...THEY CAN'T JUST...aww crap (2)

drew_kime (303965) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591462)

Everyone who believes this giveaway actually "costs" them anything please raise your hand. So the penalty for overcharging millions of consumers is to allow them to "upgrade" all the schools (start them young!) with software that has an explicit forced march built into the license.

And this was a plaintiff's attorney who came up with this? Oh yeah, the lawyer was only looking at dollar signs. And who wants to bet the attorney's fees will be based on a percentage of the $1.1 billion MS is claiming this will "cost" them?

Re:That's...but...I mean...THEY CAN'T JUST...aww c (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2591500)

Gawd you people are full of shit. If MS if "overcharging" then EVERY SINGLE OTHER COMPANY ON THE PLANET is over charging! Apple, IBM, Oracle, Sun, EVERYONE. You can't get everything in life for free you assholes!

Thanks for clearing that up (1, Flamebait)

drew_kime (303965) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591544)

If MS if "overcharging" then EVERY SINGLE OTHER COMPANY ON THE PLANET is over charging! Apple, IBM, Oracle, Sun, EVERYONE.

Gee, thanks for pointing that out. I wasn't aware that Apple, IBM, Oracle, Sun and everyone else had monopolies that allowed them to charge whatever they wanted to for their products. I didn't realize that they had all been found by a court to have illegally abused their monopolies. I'm glad there are people like you to straighten me out.

Holy crap (3, Insightful)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591463)

<obvious>Why not hook the kids up to CocaCola and BigMac's, IV'd.</obvious>

This is kind of backwards if you want your next generation to be tech-saavy. Windows ABSTRACTS computers, removing the need (for most people) to actually know how a computer (and software) operates. In this respect, the world will be FORCED to at least have a small understanding of the technology .. don't let your kids get left behind by forcing them to think "My Documents" is where their files are, no matter which computer/OS/etc they are on.

At any rate, it's insane. Would we let Coke donate lots of Coke to kids as a settlement (knowing that they'll /surely/ be stuck in places when they grow up when only Coke is available).

What strikes me the most is the acceptance that Windows will be the dominant platform for the next 80 years. Fortunately, this will not be true. Very few companies even stay in business that long.

Re:Holy crap (1)

splattertrousers (35245) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591566)

Windows ABSTRACTS computers, removing the need (for most people) to actually know how a computer (and software) operates.

Which is of course the point of an operating system. You don't think the CPU on your computer knows English, do you? You don't think your hard disk stores files, do you?

Kids need computers in school to improve the effectiveness of their learning of things like language, math, science and history. They don't need to learn about computers. (Though it makes a great elective class.)

Drugs and software (4, Offtopic)

fishebulb (257214) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591466)

That reminds me of an old forward, the difference between drug dealers and programmers:

Drug Dealers:
-Refer to their clients as "users"
-"The first one's free!"
-Have important South-East Asian connections (to help move the stuff)
-Strange jargon: "Stick," "Rock,", "Dime bag,"
-Realize that there's tons of cash in the 14- to 25-year-old market.
-Job is assisted by the industry's producing
newer, more potent mixes.
-Often seen in the company of pushers,pimps and hustlers.
-Their product causes unhealthy addictions.
-Do your job well, and you can sleep with sexy movie stars who depend on you.

Programmers:
-Refer to their clients as "users"
-"Download a free trial version!"
-Have important South-East Asian connections (to help debug code)
-Strange jargon:"SCSI," "RTFM", "Java," "ISDN".
-Realize that there's tons of cash in the 14- to 25-year-old market.
-Job is assisted by the industry's producing newer, faster, more potent machines.
-Often seen in the company of salesman,
marketing people and venture capitalists.
-DOOM. Marathon. SimCity. Command&Conquor. 'Nuff said
-Damn! Damn! DAMN!!!

Re:Drugs and software (2)

Have Blue (616) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591574)

Completely off-topic, but thanks for putting Marathon on the same pedestal as Doom :P

Get them while they're young. (1)

melvin22 (523080) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591469)

Wow. It never ceases to amaze me. So M$ will provide the schools with Wintel machines? Great! Now our kids will be conditioned to use M$ since their early school years. How is anyone going to be able to convince a kid that's only seen M$ during his entire life that there's more that that out there. How are we going to convince them to use other systems. I can hear the questions already: "Why would I want to learn Linux? I've been using M$ since I was 5. I don't want to learn to use another system..."

The bottom line is: the punishment for M$ monopoly is to allow them to further extend their monopoly without the risk of being punished again. But wait, if they get punished again, they'll be allowed to put more wintel machines in schools, further extending their monopoly...

Is it just me, or does this seem like an infinetely redundant cycle?

Microsoft the victor? (5, Insightful)

Lxy (80823) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591470)

Either hell has frozen over or I missed something. Microsoft has not triumphed over the government, as MSNBC claims. AFAIK, the 18 states involved are still in discussion about the goverment settlement. Just like MS, portrarying themselves as the victim. "We won the case against the government, now we just have to work out these little suits. The big, cuddly teddy bear you as Microsoft will not give in... we will fight to stay strong". Yeah, bite me. Microsoft is not good for the consumer, yet they're parading themselves around like the consumer is on THEIR side.

Class action cases rarely benefit consumers (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591475)

This outcome is typical. Most class action cases end up with the company giving members of the class coupons for discounts on their products or some other non-cash settlement. The real purpose for these suits is to make money for the lawyers, there is rarely any real benefit for consumers.

It worked for Apple (4, Insightful)

0xA (71424) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591476)

Seriously this isn't the first time a tech company has done this. Apple carved out part of their market by first donating Apple computers to schools and then offering schools and teachers pretty substantial discounts there after. If all the kids are familiar with Apple hardware they will become loyal consumers in the future. Don't laugh, I still get fond memories of hacking away on the Macs (Plus and SEs) at school when I consider getting an iBook.

I imagine MS is looking to do the same thing here. It will be a good thing for MS, a good thing for the schools, what the hell right? Wrong. I am really disapointed that they would try and do this a means to reach settlement, makes the whole thing rather hollow. If they had done this just because they felt like it I'd probably support them in it, now they just look slimy.

Errr, more slimy.

Except that it didn't work for Apple... (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591530)

In case you haven't noticed, Apple's market share continues to slide constantly, even though many of us did use Apples in school. So, I wouldn't excactly say that it "worked" for Apple.

Re:It worked for Apple (2, Insightful)

melvin22 (523080) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591540)

What's driving everyone up the wall is the fact that M$ would "donate" all that stuff to the school as a part of the punishment for having a monopoly. If they did it in any other circumstances, fine, I'm not going to argue that fact righ now. What is absurd here, is that they are using the punishment for having a monopoly to extend their monopoly. See the irony?

What a Sad Quote (1)

ryanflynn (409718) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591477)

Of course they'll give their software away -- they can breed more mindless Office users in 3rd grade. Just what we need -- kids growing up thinking Outlook Express is the only email software ever written.

Are we really so powerless against Microsoft? I say f*** em -- my copy Win2K is the last edition of Windoze I'l ever use.

That sounds fair to me... (0, Interesting)

bytes256 (519140) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591480)

What's so bad about that? At least the money will be put to good use. Adequate amounts of computing equipment are hard to come by for many schools. Would you rather see this money go to some huge corporation like AOL, Apple, Corel, or Borland that needs money like a hole in the head? Or even worse the government? And let's be real...those computers are gonna use Microsoft software anyway...they might as well have Microsoft give it to them for free.

Perpetuating the Monopoly (5, Insightful)

skroz (7870) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591485)

Are they kidding? This doesn't solve anything; it makes it worse! By providing software _for free_ to such a large number of people, the software now becomes the defacto standard for yet another group of people. These students will grow up in Microsoft(TM) America and like so many people before them be hooked into software that they'll be reluctant to leave in the future.

And using poorer schools... that's good. These schools would have previously been a good "target market" for OSS... can't beat the price. Now MS gets three victories for the price of none... they get the plaintiffs off of their backs, they get the PR boost that always comes with helping poor children, and they get a win against OSS. And what does it cost them? A "virtual" $1.1 billion. They're giving software to people that probably wouldn't have bought it in the first place, and they're giving away a product based on its RETAIL value; it costs MS very little to give this software away. The realized cost to MS will probably be less than $100 million. Much less.

Another Seattlement, if you ask me. I think I'm going to give up and be a rice farmer now... until Microsoft (TM) Wheat pushes me out of the staple foods market.

New Love Letter virus (2)

Zen Mastuh (456254) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591487)

Hi! I am sending you this CD-ROM as part of an antitrust settlement...

But seriously--if Microsoft is to be punished, shouldn't Microsoft be forced to give all the poor children a PC with Linux on it? If Bill Gates was forced to do 100,000 RHL 6.x installs w/o kickstart, I bet he would never ever ever ever again stifle competition or build a vertical monopoly.

The proposed settlement is equivalent to giving a burglar keys to every house in the neighborhood, or giving a gun and rubber gloves to a murderer. The principle of punishment is to deter the perpetrator should the desire to commit crime arise again.

Does OJ Simpson work for Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2591488)

I'm getting that same vibe here.... Is it only me?

Uhh...no (3, Interesting)

YU Nicks NE Way (129084) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591493)

Jamie's ignores the inconvenient fact it is not clear that any harm to consumers could be proved at all. The unanimous Appellate Court decision in US v. Miscrosoft was pretty clear that any plaitiff representing consumers would need to prove net harm according to a stiff set of tests. I'd bet on Microsoft's odds to win that test in a court of law. (In fact, I continue to do so, since I'm not only an employee of the company, but continue to hold on to the bulk of the shares I've ever bought or been granted. My money is where my mouth is.)

However, even ignoring that, the key computation lay in asking how much each consumer would collect even if the most generous award were handed down. It turns out that the total payout would be less than $10/consumer before legal costs, and negative afterwards. The court isn't willing to go forward with a class-action lawsuit that will harm the plaitiffs even if they win.

This is a solution that makes everybody with a legitimate stake in the outcome win. Consumers benefit by getting something, the lawyers benefit by getting their costs covered, and Microsoft benefits by not having to go through another trial. The only losers are the third parties that make money off the continued controversy. I don't have a lot of sympathy for Larry Ellison or Scott McNealy, though -- do you?

What a great idea! (3, Funny)

epukinsk (120536) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591494)

This is brilliant! It's too bad that the cigarette companies doled out all that cash to various parties in their settlements. What a waste. They could've just sent a years worth of cigarettes to the nations poorest schools.

Where was this Michael Hausfeld fellow when we needed him?

-Erik

FAKE STORIES SUCK (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2591497)

I hereby dont believe anything posted to this site. Jon Katz little made up fairy tale is enough to make me think this whole site is prone to fiction and bias

Microsoft is laughing. (1)

xdangavinx (534619) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591503)

I can't help but wonder if Microsoft(tm) came up with this as their way of giving the finger to the justice system -- you know, they could make a random software package give a suggested retail value of 1 billion dollars and donate it to a school.

Punishment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2591505)

Microsoft is found to be a monopoly, and this punishes Microsoft how???? Microsoft would probably gladly pay several billion dollars to ensure all children have Microsoft software legally available.

Stupidity is not against the law

The software that MS has to supply, (1)

iplayfast (166447) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591510)

Who has the say of what software that is? If it's not MS, then it could work out very well. (1 billion dollars worth of a free OS is a whole lot of CD's!)

I assume that MS isn't supplying the hardware, why should they supply the software?

Poorest schools and Open Source (5, Insightful)

Kerg (71582) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591512)

The poorest schools are the most likely candidates to look for alternatives for Microsoft monopoly. The new licensing schemes MS has come up with their latest suite of software have caused several schools, communities and in general, non-business users to look for alternatives for Windows and MS Office. Many of them have looked at Linux and OpenOffice (or other OSS office suites) as a replacement.

Maybe I'm being cynical, but Microsoft providing the software for these institutions for free would be a very good move on their part to slow down the adoption of alternative operating systems and office suites. It's here, in schools that cannot afford the MS pricing anymore, that the erosion of MS monopoly will begin, and Microsoft has proposed a very effective counter measure to it. They slow down Linux and OSS adoption, and get DOJ off their backs. Both with one strike.

Then again, maybe they're just doing it for the goodness of their hearts...

this is great (-1, Troll)

Faulty Dreamer (259659) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591513)

bring MS down! they are evil! they are the anti-christ!

I've got four words for ya! (1)

gatesh8r (182908) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591515)

We... bought... this... government yeaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!

(Yeah, I'm sickened by this. Just in time for the holidays too; we can all let M$ get a pat on the ass for good deeds as the settlement for being naughty -- just like sentancing a mass-murderer to 40 hrs of community service.)

confusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2591517)

This has nothing to do with the US Vs. MS case! These are not DOJ sponsored punishments, this is how they are "settling" with some of the states that had their own cases against MS. The states are striking a deal with MS, outside of court, so this is a settlement, MS was not convicted of anything in any of the [state] vs. MS cases! So get yer facts straight, the states obviously WANT this, that's why they're settling. And as a teacher, it is really incredible what they are getting if you ask me.

Make it Apple hardware software (1)

thedude (13214) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591521)

If you'd like it to be "just" and make a (really small) dent in the MSFT monopoly, make them donate 1.9 billion in Apple hardware and software to schools. Appleworks for everyone!

I'd rather be Uncle Steve's drone than Bill Gates' , at least I'd have some style :)

Even better give it to the FSF and Apache groups and let *them* dole it out to Free Software projects. I bet Open Office would hit 1.0 PDQ if someone would throw $! Million at it for full time developers.

Argh... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2591524)



Wow, way to put your foot down on the monopolizing bastards, DOJ!!!

What the fuck, this is rediculous.

Ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2591525)

"concluded that Microsoft's monopoly already is so pervasive that students would have to learn to use these products anyway in the workplace."

Just the kind of mentality we need so we can keep complaining about Microsoft, yet still do nothing about it..

F.

M$ the company that we love to hate (2)

garoush (111257) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591526)

Will, for a long time it has been common practice here at /. to bash M$ -- and doing so for good reasons after all I strongly believe that that this community is responsible, directly or indirectly to have M$ face justice. But now it seems to me that the love to hate M$ is getting everywhere and out of control.

The article reported by MSNBC is focusing on small part of the whole settlement and just like any bad report taken out of context, if the report is focused on one element, it tend to paint a picture that this *is* all what the subject is all about where it isn't.

The Microsoft Mentality (4, Insightful)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591550)

The thing that most bothers me about this settlement proposal is not that Microsoft is engaging in yet another huge marketing effort. It's that Microsoft still doesn't *get it*.

The only way any kind of settlement with Microsoft will accomplish anything is if the people who make up Microsoft's leadership actually alter their behavior.

This latest proposal shows that Microsoft is fundamentally incapable of changing its core DNA to suit a new paradigm. While all public businesses are driven by valuation, Microsoft doesn't realize that when a corporation reaches a certain size and power in the marketplace, it carries additional responsibilities.

Microsoft prides itself on providing boundless upward value to stockholders, but it seems to have a huge mental block when it comes to assessing its role in the larger culture.

Get A Life (2, Interesting)

nochops (522181) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591555)

In this day and age, I think most of us have more important things to worry about than wheather the disadvantaged poor kids will be using Microsoft or non-Microsoft products.

Really, who gives a shit! I mean, why not just say:

"Wow, that's really a nice thing to do for kids who would otherwise probably not get a chance to use a computer."

and go on about your business? I have really come full circle in this whole anti-Microsoft thing. I liked and used MS products, then abandoned them in favor of their *nix counterparts. Lately, though, I've come to realize what a load of crap most of the *nix software is.

The fact is, the Internet, and computer software in general are not some magical thing that doesn't have to follow the rules like the rest of the world. Companies like Microsoft are in this business to make money, and frankly Bill Gates does an extremely good job at making money. His company makes a product that people want, and he has every right to promote it and try to get people to buy it. Just like any other product.

People, you need to realize that just because a company actually wants you to *pay* for something, that doesnt' automatically make it illegal. I mean, why should they be a company if they can't make any money?

Getting back on topic, I think it's great that Microsoft is doing this, as it will give a chance to kids who wouldn't otherwise have one.

Yes, let's get the kids hating MS early (1)

Tenebrious1 (530949) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591568)

Load up those machines with Windows. Let them try running Disney's Lion King CD in XP under the 640x480x256 "compatible" mode. Let them find that users on one system can't have their own video resolutions. Let them try to disable the paperclip. Let them try to get their non-ms multimedia keyboard working.

It won't be long before we see them here complaining about it.

big tobacco (1)

pohl (872) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591575)

This doesn't sound much different than big tobacco giving cigarettes to children and calling it "charity". MS loves the opportunity to get people hooked on their proprietary file formats, and doing so costs them nothing. This does nothing but increase the size of their captive customer base.

So how many... (1)

slambo (10757) | more than 12 years ago | (#2591576)

Great! Now, that means that the school where my son is in first grade will get how many new computers?

Let's see... 375 students... 35 regular classrooms... one computer lab... one library and media center... one music classroom... one art classroom... one special needs classroom... one administrative office with staff... one nurse's office...

And this is just one public school in the district (there are about 40 other schools in the city).

So, how many computers will my son be able to use out of that $1.1b? Can I put a free (beer or speech, take your pick) OS on the now obsoleted hardware and see which has the longer uptime with daily use?

Just looking at the massive numbers involved, I very seriously doubt any of that money will be sent to the school district in which we live, especially since we're not in one of the bigger metropolitan areas of the country. 200,000 residents is a lot, but a far cry short of Chicago's population.
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