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California Takes Issue With Microsoft Settlement Idea

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the you-can't-just-print-money dept.

Microsoft 443

Deepfoo writes: "Note from CNet on the California challenge to Microsoft's attempt to settle the 100 civil cases on file against it by donating equipment. The dissenters will argue that those harmed in the lawsuit aren't getting compensated directly in this way, and that the ploy of donating equipment to schools is a transparent effort to further extend its monopoly. The dissenting California lawyers estimate the actual damages due to Californians alone could be on the order of 3 to 9 billion (wide range, but that's what they've said). Is Microsoft a do-gooder, or up to no good?"

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One more first post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616669)

This first post is also claimed for the Queen of Spain, as is all of California!

HEY, IT'S ALREADY TROLL TUESDAY!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616823)

In all parts of the world east of the Atlantic Ocean it's Tuesday now.

Is Microsoft a do-gooder, or up to no good? (0, Flamebait)

pyrrho (167252) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616670)

... sounds like a rhetorical question...

Re:Is Microsoft a do-gooder, or up to no good? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616678)

fucker! I was gonna say that!

Re:Is Microsoft a do-gooder, or up to no good? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616725)

Microsoft didn't propose this - the prosecution did. Microsoft decided it sounded like a decent outcome to get the case closed out. It's that simple. How this turned into a Microsoft idea, I have no idea, but obviously people cannot read.

Re:Is Microsoft a do-gooder, or up to no good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616835)

Listen up kids!

This is an example of "astroturfing" or "paying lip service".

It's done by individuals or organizations that are either because they have a stake in the topic being astroturfed, or they are directly paid to publicly support the topic, regardless of whether it is right or wrong.

Run along now!

Go Microsoft! (0, Troll)

bytes256 (519140) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616825)

I hope Microsoft wins this battle. The stupid antitrust laws should be repealed anyway. They're over 100 years old!

I'm sure this will get modded way down b/c /. is anti-microsoft, but it's not their fault they're a monopoly. If IBM had bought DOS from MS instead of just licensing it, or if Apple were more competent or if *NIX hadn't become so fragmented, or if consumers had a clue about anything computer related.

In short stop picking on Microsoft. They are the embodiment of capitalism and they got where they are mostly out of pure good luck. Hell, Bill has admitted hundreds of times that he was simply in the right place at the right time.

Re:Go Microsoft! (3, Funny)

pyrrho (167252) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616884)

>I hope Microsoft wins this battle. The stupid antitrust laws should be repealed anyway. They're over 100 years old!

Hey, so is the whole country... time to close up the tent everyone.

.

I think... (1, Troll)

used2win32 (531824) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616672)

I think they are trying to extend the monopoly and get Apple and others out of the schools...

My two cents.

Re:I think... (2, Informative)

jqcoffey (457742) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616778)

Okay first off, I am your average Microsoft hater, for all of the usual reasons, but to the point that against my generally open-minded principles I tend to shudder everytime I hear the letters, "MSCE."

Anyway, with that in mind, is Microsoft doing anything that Apple and/or Sun haven't already done? Is this on such a large stage and with such hubris that no one can look at it against what other software and hardware vendors have done?

Example is as follows: Sun donates a whole pile of hardware to UC San Diego. UCSD agrees to switch to Java as their CS Departments core language over C/C++.

Re:I think... (5, Interesting)

TomServo (79922) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616816)

It's not really all that different, except for what is, in my mind, a pretty major factor.

Apple and Sun weren't doing this as part of a supposed "punishment". Apple and Sun did this for a competitive advantage, but they were in a position where they should try to do that. Giving Microsoft an opportunity for a competitive advantage somehow just doesn't seem like punishment to me.

Re:I think... (2)

ZeroConcept (196261) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616883)

Yes, donationg equipment to schools can be beneficial to a company as you depict in the Sun example.

Usually settlements costs act as a deterrant to further violations, and in this specific case (since it can potentially benefit Microsoft) I fail to see how the settlement will prevent further violations.

An old ploy... (3, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616821)

I think they are trying to extend the monopoly and get Apple and others out of the schools...

Providing low-cost or free computing equipment to schools and universities - so a generation of graduates comes up pre-trained on your stuff - is an old hack.

IBM did it. DEC did it. Amdahl did it. Cray did it. Apple did it.

But to use such an anti-competitive activity as a SETTLEMENT of an anti-trust conviction... Now THAT takes GUTS!

If they get away with it, it will qualify as the legal hack of the century.

California Takes Issue with FSF's Gay Orgy Idea (-1)

Sexual Asspussy (453406) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616674)

turd boast for anal niggers

TROLL (-1, Troll)

winse (39597) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616683)

What a big fat green troll

Words of wisdom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616692)

Don't ever tell anybody anything.
If you do, you start missing everybody.

-Holden Caulfield
The Catcher In The Rye

Beating the proverbial horse... (0, Troll)

abh (22332) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616694)

> "Is Microsoft a do-gooder, or up to no good?"

Does anyone expect an objective response on Slashdot?

Re:Beating the proverbial horse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616768)

No, and why should they? Is there some reason you think Slashdot should be an "objective" news source? Do you take issue with the "bias" of The National Review, Mother Jones, The New Republic?

Re:Beating the proverbial horse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616855)

Of course I do. Those are biased knee-jerk 'news' sources too.

Re:Beating the proverbial horse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616811)

Well excuse me, why not? Out of the hundreds of geeks who will post here, you can't even expect ONE cogent reply?


In fact, I think it isYOUR POST that is beating the proverbial DEAD horse.

Re:Beating the proverbial horse... (2)

Anonymous DWord (466154) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616818)

There is only one objective response to that question.

Re:Beating the proverbial horse... (1)

ShinGouki (12500) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616881)

> Does anyone expect an objective response on Slashdot?

only if you're dumb enough to believe such a thing actually exists in nature.

i'll clarify: all responses are subjective, dummy.

Re:Beating the proverbial horse... (1)

pyrrho (167252) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616892)


only in comparison to the response you could expect from Microsoft Marketing.

What would be nice... (5, Informative)

Cpyder (57655) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616696)

is that California would ask Microsoft to take the approach RedHat suggested [redhat.com] . (In short: MS buys the hardware and RedHat gives away the soft)

Re:What would be nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616765)

Or, rather the choice I would make.

Microsoft gives away the hardware and are forced to buy the software from Me.

yep. And I will provide only the best in software. Or something.

Give me the money. yes. Me.

Does Red Hat really think anybody is going to take them serious?

Re:What would be nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616782)

redhat wasn't asking for any money.

their proposal was that FREE software be used.

jackass.

Re:What would be nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616866)

Red Hat was eager to sell a whole lot of support.

Do you always sign your comments with your name at the bottom?

speaking of... (1)

TheRain (67313) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616780)

wasn't that just posted on slashdot and then it dissapeared and this article appeared? a news post talking about redhat's proposal? *POOF!* ?? why would they do that?

Re:speaking of... (1)

TheRain (67313) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616796)

my mistake... i followed the links and forgot how I got to that info. happens to me ALL THE TIME eheh.

Re:What would be nice... (1)

TomServo (79922) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616834)

Am I the only one seeing Microsoft giving out free copies of WinME or something, then pretty much forcing all the schools running their donated copies to pay the fee to upgrade to XP?

Carnegie Libraries (2, Interesting)

horster (516139) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616698)

I heard somewhere that Carnegie used to do the same thing with all of the money he donated for libraries and the like - the catch there was that the money came back to him because they were forced to buy all the steel & books and whatnot from his companies.

Re:Carnegie Libraries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616731)

Andrew Carniegie did not do this to settle a lawsuit.

Re:Carnegie Libraries (4, Interesting)

EisPick (29965) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616752)

I heard somewhere that Carnegie used to do the same thing ...

There is at least one big difference here. Carnegie didn't build libraries to settle an anti-trust lawsuit. No judge compelled him to be a philanthropist. And it was Carnegie personally giving money for the libraries, not the steel trust.

No matter what you may think of Carnegie and they way he acquired his wealth, you must acknowledge that he gave away almost all his money before he died, and that he did it because he thought it was the right thing to do.

And I'm not saying Gates hasn't begun philanthropy on the same scale. It's a bit too early to judge that.

Let's just make sure we don't confuse Gates' (and Ballmer's and Allen's, etc.) own personal philanthropy with Microsoft Inc.'s brazen attempt to disguise a marketing ploy as a philanthropic endeavor.

Re:Carnegie Libraries (2, Troll)

_Mustang (96904) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616827)

Let's just make sure we don't confuse Gates' (and Ballmer's and Allen's, etc.) own personal philanthropy with Microsoft Inc.'s brazen attempt to disguise a marketing ploy as a philanthropic endeavor

Some would do just that. - but I agree with you. Where do you draw the line? After all, the three you mentioned are the very same people who make the decision that MS should slip the k-y to everyone it can; an attitude that perpetuates down the hierarchy and into the rank-file. And as such, it's far more likely that Bill's "generosity" comes from a misguided attempt to make up for a lack of business ethics, and general moral compass. As top dogs these guys could be settings positive standards but choose otherwise. No shareholder would complain if profits were *only* 5 billion where the company was seen as a positive force in the industry vs the current EVIL EMPIRE attitude but making 6 billion..

Re:Carnegie Libraries (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616875)

No shareholder would complain if profits were *only* 5 billion where the company was seen as a positive force in the industry vs the current EVIL EMPIRE attitude but making 6 billion

Are you kidding? Microsoft's largest shareholders are the people running the company (Gates, Ballmer), or people who used to run the company (Allen). The other large shareholders are probably large financial houses and other major capitalists who would like nothing more than for Microsoft to grow rapidly BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY. If it means buying politicians, screwing consumers, or breaking the law, they'll support it 100%. They might even organize a shareholder lawsuit if they don't see enough of this.

Re:Carnegie Libraries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616793)

Well, then that would mean that he in effect would be giving them free steel and books.

Is that such a bad thing?

Why even ask the question? (0, Redundant)

Enigma2175 (179646) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616701)

"Is Microsoft a do-gooder, or up to no good?"

Why even ask the /. crowd this question? Is there any doubt in anyone's mind on how it will be answered?

What a joke (1)

MickyJ (188652) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616702)

Imagine if a monopolistic software company decided to help out by putting all its software into educational establishments, so that kids grew up only knowing their software, thereby extending its monopoly.

Who would propose should a thing?

Re:What a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616808)

Apple tried to do that in the 80's. They gave away tons of hardware to schools.

Many school computer labs are only now recovering from that blight.

RedHat's take (5, Interesting)

mughi (32874) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616703)

I think it's quite interesting that under RedHat's proposal [redhat.com] (where Microsoft puts all that money to hardware, and RedHat gives all the software for free) that was mentioned here the other day [slashdot.org] things change the settlement from giving 200,000 computers to giving over a million.

That alone should make one pause at the "stink test". At the very least it should point out the valuation of Microsoft's software in their proposal.

Re:RedHat's take (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616767)

Can you say karma whore [slashdot.org] ?

Re:RedHat's take (4, Insightful)

Scutter (18425) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616787)

As much as I like and respect the power of computers, it occurs to me that there are a number of higher priorities for schools, especially poor ones. How about books that aren't 25 years out of date? How about hot lunches for kids who can't afford to eat? How about pencils and other supplies? How about furnaces and boilers that actually work? How about kicking in a subsidy to help pay teachers what they're worth instead of keeping them at the poverty level?

Microsoft and RedHat will continue to play their little P.R. power games, using our schools as pawns. But each time I hear a story like this, I lose a little more respect for each of them.

Re:RedHat's take (2, Interesting)

Hercynium (237328) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616898)

That's a very interesting point.

Software is treated like a commodity, like cars or gold or anything of which there is a definable finite limit to the supply. (I'm trying to be simplistic and I'm not an economist so tell my if my logic is wrong) However, the actual cost of software itself, a specific version of a specific piece of software, would be defined as the total cost of development, research, and also marketing (to be fair to business.) For software, another factor in the cost is also the distribution method, usually CD's manuals and packaging.

The physical shipped product is mass produced. Therefore, every unit already costs the amount paid for manuals, boxes and CD's. But unlike cars or pigs or pencils, once software is put into distribution, production (for that SPECIFIC version) is essentially over (excluding debugging and maintenance). Because the shippable distribution is usually so large, The production cost is split over potientially millions of units. Per shipped unit, the production cost is likely to be fairly small.

The question is, what is the ACTUAL COST of making the software product? The question this leads to is, How is the VALUE of the software determined?

Since a true commodity has a physical limit as to the amount of the product in existience, software companies created EUA licenses and such, creating an artificial limit. Thus, the number of licenses available helps control the market value of the software product.

I think you know where I'm going with this...

From what I gather, Microsoft is donating hardware AND software VALUED at a billion dollars to the schools... but the actual COST of the software is MUCH lower than it's value. Microsoft should be donating hardware valued at cost and, if we ignore the "mind-share lock-in theory" for a minute, software the same way (or how about FOR FREE???)

Frankly, I think RedHat had the right idea, though I think the donation should go a step further... Microsoft donates a full Billion dollars worth of hardware... and gives the schools their choice of operating systems at NO VALUE whatsoever.

A New Plan (2)

DragonMagic (170846) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616704)

MS may just be wanting what Apple was doing during the 80s and early 90s: Trying to get people familiarized and hooked young on their platform. However, if California really wants MS to pay, why not have MS pay for the hardware for public schools and libraries to upgrade or implement computers for the classes, and then have another company, say Red Hat, etc., provide the software and training, at MS's expense. That way, they're not getting anything out of the settlement, and they can't possibly profit from it. Seems fair to me.

Re:A New Plan (1)

pheph (234655) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616716)

Red Hat has already offered a similiar solution [yahoo.com] ... Not a bad deal for schools, as they are offering this free of charge without having been accused of playing monopoly.

Re:A New Plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616772)

Red Hat already gives their software away for free.

They want to hook the schools on their support contract, and the patch-the-exploit-of-the-day download which they will charge for.

Re:A New Plan (1)

kilgore_47 (262118) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616841)

MS may just be wanting what Apple was doing during the 80s and early 90s: Trying to get people familiarized and hooked young on their platform.

A lot of good it did Apple...

Judging by Windows's current market share, I'm guessing that a lot of those unthankfull little brats in the 80's who's school's got free macs must've gone out and bought PC's upon growing up. Tragic, really.

Donations to schools only? (1)

questionlp (58365) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616705)

To be honest, I think Microsoft is just trying to slide their tentacles around another area they try to crush their competition (i.e: Apple, Unix, Novell). I also think that Microsoft should also pay back their other customers since the businesses and home users also got shafted by the Microsoft monopoly.

The settlement agreement is way too little, too late. Microsoft should not be allowed to include their software on the computers that they donate.

In Other News.. (5, Funny)

jonfromspace (179394) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616707)

Firestone [firestone.com] announces it will be donating surplus "Wilderness XT" [cbsnews.com] tires to Afghanistan's Northern Alliance, as well as any Goodyear employee involved in R&D or Marketing.

Re:In Other News.. (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616774)

And Union Carbide will give a free bag of ammonium nitrate fertilizer to every child with 11 fingers in the village of Roliepolieolie, India.

--Blair
"Technical support will be charged at the usual rate."

I'm doing it for honey! (5, Insightful)

sabinm (447146) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616710)

It's just like going shopping for your wife and getting her a digital camera beacuse *she really needs it* and you end up using it all the time. The gift, or the donation is really for you. Only you benefit for it.

I find it hard to believe that donating a bunch of windows software and hardware to communities on a limited basis is going to resurrect the BeOS, put Sun back on the line as the company of the internet or put money into developing better products for less money for billions of people. This think of the children ploy is as transparent as those "feed the children in 3rd world country" foundations. Most of the money goes to to the Not for profit administrator and a scant few cents actually makes it past the us border.

what a joke

the us border? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616742)

That which makes it past the us border crosses into them territory. You can't trust them. After all, if you're not with us, then you're against us.

Free Advertisement (1)

nick_burns (452798) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616711)

This agreement only becomes free Microsoft advertisement because no other alternative will be considered by these schools.

I don't know who all remembers the mid-90's that well, but Microsoft gave away its Internet Explorer to millions of Windows users. And what happened to then fledgeling Netscape?

Re:Free Advertisement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616872)

Netscape tanked.

What's wrong with that? Should Linux distro publishers have been required to charge a specified amount for their Distro because otherwise poor BeOS will go out of business?

Yes, I know. Scream 'monopoly' some more, you suckers.

Userfriendly (5, Funny)

Pstrobus (149491) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616717)

has already covered this topic fairly well here [userfriendly.org]

"sir, we're a monopoly, we get to set the price"

Not to mention that education is the last Mac stronghold. I just wonder what'll happen in five years when the 'free stuff' runs out. Will MS continue to provide low cost solutions? Didn't think so.

Drug dealers always like to give out free samples

Skins & Punks (-1, Offtopic)

The Lyrics Guy (539223) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616722)

Hello, folks. My first post with this new account was interrupted by a dumbfuck who insisted I answer a stupid car question. Oh god I need to get out of here. Anyway... The Templars - Skins & Punks Doesn't matter if you know how to play Doesn't matter whatcha have to say Just get together with your friends Fast loud music's not a fashion trend CHORUS So come on Skinheads with your booted feet - Skins and Punks Come on Punks come join in - Skins and Punks Up and down like a pogo stick - Skins and Punks Doesn't matter if you know how to dance Come on kids, come take a chance Everyone to the dance floor Shout Oi! Oi! Oi! if you want some more CHORUS Doesn't matter who you are Stick with us we're gonna go far Get together with your friends Fast loud music's not a fashion trend CHORUS

Re:Skins & Punks (-1, Offtopic)

The Lyrics Guy (539223) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616730)

Oh fuck me with a god damn chainsaw. Fucking HTML posting. I hate you. Let's try that again. I want to shoot someone.

The Templars - Skinsn & Punks

Doesn't matter if you know how to play
Doesn't matter whatcha have to say
Just get together with your friends
Fast loud music's not a fashion trend

CHORUS
So come on Skinheads with your booted feet - Skins and Punks
Come on Punks come join in - Skins and Punks
Up and down like a pogo stick - Skins and Punks

Doesn't matter if you know how to dance
Come on kids, come take a chance
Everyone to the dance floor
Shout Oi! Oi! Oi! if you want some more

CHORUS

Doesn't matter who you are
Stick with us we're gonna go far
Get together with your friends
Fast loud music's not a fashion trend

CHORUS

Re:Skins & Punks (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616842)

Remember, preview before you troll :)

Copying digital data is not a punishment (1)

Mac Nazgul (196332) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616724)

Fining Microsoft in something that is really only costing them the price of CDs and packaging is not a fine. Do they not realize that any figure measured in the cost of software is nothing to the manufacturer?!

This whole thing is ridiculous and I wish that we could actually do what is right to develop a healthy computer market.

Microsoft should be dealt with like the monster it is.

Good or bad? Not the issue. (3, Insightful)

Zspdude (531908) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616727)

I hate to be objective when it comes to Microsoft, but I'm afraid that they do not have good or evil motives. They simply want to turn a profit and they will attempt to alter circumstances in whatever ways allow them to produce the maximum profit. On the short term their actions may sometimes seem contradictory to this purpose, however it is their long term goal.

In this case I see their attempted settlement as something that is good for PR(what is less loveable than donating computers to be used by kids in schools?), that is less expensive than some other alternatives, and which will cause the least damage to their reputation and ability to turn a profit in the future. If they thought that forking over $9 billion was the only way they could continue to make a profit they would do that. However, they will exhaust all alternatives before resorting to that and hope to find one which is preferable(like donating to schools). It's a simple, logical fact.

Re:Good or bad? Not the issue. (2)

krogoth (134320) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616803)

Trying to succeed is one things. Succeeding at any cost is another. I don't believe Microsoft is going for the first - they want to get as much money as possible in any way they can.

Just a Big Bonus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616728)

I personally think Microsoft is just a cheap-ass company and looked for the easiest and cheapest way out. Someone suggested the school donation idea and the monopoly extension was just a big bonus.

Everyone Wants To Do Good The Way They Want To (2)

namespan (225296) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616732)

Reminds me a lot of Andrew Carnegie. There were an awful lot of mistreated workers in his companies. He ruthlessly used individuals and destroyed competetors. He was a beleiver in social darwinism.

On the other hand, in his later years, he was a noted philanthropist. Or at least, he gave money to various causes he liked.

At its deepest level, this is a question about whether or not you're good if you're selective about which kinds of good you live up to. Carnegie could have gotten a good image by actually just treating his employees well. Microsoft could get a good image by just agreeing to only compete on the merits of their products (well....). But that wasn't their preference.

I wouldn't mitigate the fact that giving computers away or founding charitable organizations is a good thing. I just think that true goodness sometimes has to respond to demands outside its own interest.

And it's especially disenchanting, though, if the only good you choose to do is that which does you good, and you'd like to look noble for it.

Carnegie is a good example. (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616791)

Bill Gates is giving away some of his fortune; look at, for example, his considerable donations to Cambridge University. (Though quite why he wanted to support them instead of a worthier cause [ox.ac.uk] , I can't imagine.)

But he shall probably do things the "American Way", and that does mean cutthroat business followed by philanthropy in later years. Better that way than that none of his profits are ever given back. Maybe there is another way still better - but could Microsoft actually change?

Amazing (4, Funny)

moz711 (217919) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616733)

I'm still amazed at the pair of brass balls needed to even suggest a settlement like this.
Can you think of any other company that would see flooding the market with their product as a good solution to a monopoly lawsuit? If AT&T had suggested adding free phone lines to schools in reponse to the goverment saying they already had too much control, they would have been laughed out of the court room.

Re:Amazing (1)

AzrealAO (520019) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616790)

The settlement was suggested by the PLAINTIFF's LAWYERS, who discussed it with educators to determine what their needs were, and then went to Microsoft to hammer out the details. This was NOT suggested by Microsoft as so many slashdot readers seem to think. How about reading the Wired articles, or any of the articles relating to this settlement?

Re:Amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616829)

Microsoft didn't suggest this as the settlement.

The other side did.

Settlement? Punishment? (1)

cornice (9801) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616745)

Hmmm, let's take a common marketing technique and call it punishment. How can anyone think this a remedy?

You gotta love Microsoft (3, Redundant)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616746)

So, what M$ proposes as a remedy for their monopoly is to install more M$ software on new machines, and worse, on machines destined to kids, which will naturally swear by M$ products later. Then of course M$'ll make the lucky schools pay to get support for their donated OSes !

That sounds exactly like a convicted arsonist who proposes to make up for his deeds by distributing matches in the schoolyard, then sets up an extinguisher manufacture. As much as I hate M$, I have to say I admire them and their attorneys for having the guts to even think about proposing a deal like that, that's classic Microsoft. If the DOJ goes for that, it sure won't be their finest hour ...

Re:You gotta love Microsoft (2)

chinton (151403) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616824)

So, what M$ proposes as a remedy for their monopoly is to install more M$ software on new machines, and worse, on machines destined to kids, which will naturally swear by M$ products later.

Yeah -- that's a big help. We had loads of Apple ][ computers lying about our school, and most every other school in the '80s (don't know what its like now) and look at what good it did them.

No its worse (2)

Quizme2000 (323961) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616836)

The settlement offer was donating 1.1 billion in software and hardware to the "poorest" public schools. 900 million in software alone, which after 5 years the schools would have to renew the licence! On the otherhand, Redhat has offered to distribute and support all software needed if microsoft only provides the hardware instead. With the 5th largest economy in the world Cailforina has the ability hold out against MS until a cash settlement is provided.

Re:You gotta love Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616843)

Then of course M$'ll make the lucky schools pay to get support for their donated OSes !

I think you are confusing Microsoft with Red Hat.

Re:You gotta love Microsoft (2, Insightful)

staeci (85394) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616894)

The thing I find interesting is that they don't swear by them. They hate them and get frustrated and angry at them. But not at the M$ product at the computer because they have been taught to be 'computer skilled' not 'computer literate', and don't know that there is a difference between the software and the computer.

"worse, on machines destined to kids, which will naturally swear by M$ products later."

A vile strategy (5, Interesting)

nsample (261457) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616749)

I'm a Windows user at home, a Solaris user at the University, and about the farthest thing from a linux zealot that there is. I can't say that I have much passion about my OSes. It's just not something I can get riled up about.

However, this decision sets a new standard for abuse and irony. My wife's a worker's compensation attorney, so I get stories of liars and shenanigans in courts every day. It's never anything close to this, however.

The settlement is supposed to punish Microsoft for abusive practices, but actually rewards them greatly:


1. No real cash payment - they "charge themselves" for software, rather than paying penalties. win.

2. Cash from the US government - that same self-charge comes as a business expense and a loss against an MS business division, thus it is treated as a TAX WRITE-OFF. The write-off value is far greater than the charge, thus they MAKE money on balance.

3. The schools - Schools are one place alternatives still ahve penetration. (They used to be the bastion of Apple...)

4. The children - Lo', the children! In the silliest irony of all, the sacrifice one monopoly for bringing MS products to the schools. These guys make Big Tobacco look good.

5. Perception - The public will see this as an overture to help those same children, thus improving the MS image.

In the end, Microsoft wins at every turn. How could this settlement possibly have come about? There is literally no aspect of punishment at all. Microsoft even makes money on the deal.

This is a sad day for our courts.

Re:A vile strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616860)

This is a sad day for our courts.

No, it's not.
The courts and the government are prospering by this. Why else would the prescribe a "remedy" that benefits Microsoft?

While you live under corporate driven laws, Microsoft travels with your soul in its pocket.

Re:A vile strategy (2, Informative)

AzrealAO (520019) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616877)

Neither the Courts, nor the Government are prescribing this remedy. This has nothing to do with the DoJ anti-trust trial. This is a settlement proposed by the PLAINTIFF's Lawyers in a collection of civil class-action lawsuits.

Make them bleed (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616756)

Any action that Microsoft doesn't accept kicking annd screaming will never be effective. If it doesn't cause Mirosoft to implode, it didn't work. They're already too big, the goal shouldn't just be about preventing them from growing any bigger

Re:Make them bleed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616826)

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=24175&cid=2616 790

Redhat's proposal (1, Interesting)

rasactive (528598) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616758)

Before I start this post, let me just say that I hate Microsoft as much as the next Slashdotter. I have an extreme distaste for their 'friendly GUI' and monopolistic business practices. But I think the Red Hat proposal is hypocritical and brings into action the exact same thing it is trying to stop.
Let's say Red Hat wins and we have a bunch of computers installed with Red Hat. We are attempting to breed children on linux. But why is this better than breeding children on Windows? Because a bunch of people that like linux and that own companies related to it said so. By doing this, we would only be starting a new monopoly, rather than defeating the one in place and promoting choice amongst people that use computers.
As for a better proposal: I think Microsoft should be forced to pay for several different kinds of computers in schools. Give these schools not only Red Hat Linux, but MacOS, and Windows even, but let the children choose, because in the end, that is what we are trying to protect. Make Microsoft pay for EVERYTHING and the suit will have screwed them a fair amount too.
I very much dislike Microsoft. But I don't want to fight fire with fire, and I think anybody that does so will get burned.
Just my two cents.

Re:Redhat's proposal (1)

radrich449 (531091) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616891)

I think you missed the point of the Redhat proposal. The reason they made that offer was to demonstrate that Micorsofts proposal was not a punishment at all: in fact, it was something that any operating system maker would want to do. I am not in favor of any sort of brainwashing in schools, but I would rather have linux computers then MIcrosoft computers any day. Hopefully, as you mentioned, there will be a variety of operating systems, and the kids can learn them all. (expect for apple - they suck).

Not much of a punishment if you ask me (5, Insightful)

foqn1bo (519064) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616759)


Typically(as I understand it) in a lawsuit the whole idea is restitution of damages. I love the idea of Microsoft giving technology to underprivilaged schools, and if they want to do it then full steam ahead. But... their donation of resources shouldn't have any bearing on the actual civil litigation going on.
Companies donate money and services to charity all the time. In marketing that's called PR. Make the rest of the world think that you're allright. I'm from Southern California and I remember that when the Indian Gaming tribes went under fire during Proposition 5, they were donating money to charities left and right. Still do as a matter of fact.

Does anyone *really* think that the poor school districts are the ones who were hurt by Microsoft's Monopolistic(tm) practices? No, of course not. They wouldn't have been buying computers either way, it's the hardware that's too expensive for them--not Microsoft's inflated prices and crappy software. So after years of bullshit the average consumer has put up with by dealing with Microsoft's business tactics, as a settlement we get a company donating to an unrelated charity. Well, sign me up Frank.

There isn't any need to debate whether this sort of thing is going to extend Microsoft's monopoly or not. They do that kind of stuff all the time. It's the fact that people are willing to accept it as a term of a lawsuit settlement that pisses me off. Give'm hell boys.

What do you think would be fair? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616766)

What would be fair in this case? 9 billion to California? You've got to be kidding... or maybe California is trying to find a way to pay the electric bill?

I wonder how much the lawyers would get out of this deal vs. how much would actualy end up in the hands of ? Who would you give the money to? Sun, BeOS, Oracle? the public?

link (2)

interiot (50685) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616777)

Use this link [cnet.com] instead. ("ttp://" => "http://")

I just had a wonderful Idea! (1)

A_Non_Moose (413034) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616789)

How about everyone hold their tounge for a month, let them do their "remedy" thing.

After it is completed, get them for further anti-trust violations, monopoly extensions and find out how much the "donated" software they will probably claim for tax exemption puropses and *nail* them for tax evasion/fraud!

Hell, the got Capone that way... it could work, perhaps.

Everyone Gets a Cut but the Victims (1)

alteran (70039) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616801)

This is a sweetheart deal all around.


First of all, Microsoft gets to give away something that virtually costs them nothing. I assume they get to write it off at it's full retail value as well. Hell, they might even be making money on this.


Second, I'll bet the lawyers, who are supposed to be representing the folks who got overcharged, didn't include their contigency fees as the "compensation too small to be worth paying." They'll be raking in dozens of millions.


And the folks who these clowns are representing? They get nothing. The whole point of a class action suit is that the lawyers are supposed to reprent the class as they would a client-- what client would say, "keep 50 million for yourself, but give any money that I deserve away." These guys should be disbarred for even considering that offer.


As weird as it is to say, California is the only party here speaking sense.

Re:Everyone Gets a Cut but the Victims (1)

AzrealAO (520019) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616822)

Read the fuckin' articles
(From MSNBC, Wired, etc...) The school-software proposal came from one of the lead plaintiffs' lawyers in the case, Michael Hausfeld, who concluded that each member of the plaintiff class -- at least 65 million computer buyers -- would receive as little as $10 in a settlement or court victory. That would be less than the cost of identifying class members and sending payment, meaning most of the money from Microsoft would be swallowed by administrative costs -- and attorney fees.

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.
I know, probably too much to hope for but jesus, every single poster seems to think that this settlement was proposed by Microsoft in DIRECT OPPOSITION to the actual facts at hand.

Exactly What Apple Did (1)

Ieshan (409693) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616809)

Does anyone remember going to school in the late 80s, 90s?

Everyone was using an Apple computer to do everything. Everyone learned the Apple Operating System. My parents bought an apple computer so we could do our homework at home. It was our first "PC". This is because apple *donated* the hardware and the software.

But actually, this is what microsoft is trying to do. They're going to donate computers and software and teach children, the new-generation consumer base, to learn their operating system. It's a difficult thing, to unlearn an environment. An operating system is an environment. Microsoft is directly manipulating a ruling.

Good to see someone won't stand for it (2, Insightful)

electricmonk (169355) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616812)

I was frankly shocked that so many states would go for this ludicrous M$ settlement proposal. Not only would they be able to set the price for the software that they were "giving away" to match the required monetary value of the settlement, but these schools that are the poorest of the poor would have to upgrade their site licenses in something like 5 years.

Let's make this clear: they are going to make money off of poor schools while coming off as altruistic at the same time. Can you imagine the M$ software audit nazis shutting down a school because it couldn't afford to upgrade the site license to their "free" software? I'm glad to see that the State of California, home of many good things, has the balls to stand up to this crap.

Which reminds me of another thing: how the hell is "giving away" software to poor schools going to help all of the victims of the M$ monopoly? How long have these lawyers been away from the outside world, that they would lose sight of their objectives? I guess since its all money to them, they don't really give two shits one way or the other...

Re:Good to see someone won't stand for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616839)

I was frankly shocked that so many states would go for this ludicrous M$ settlement proposal

See every comment in this thread saying it was not proposed by the defense, but by the plaintiffs.
e.g. http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=24175&cid=2616 790

Re:Good to see someone won't stand for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2616852)

#props to you homie. Used the 'M$' moniker, so you get +1 karma. Quite impressive.

This isn't for the people anymore.. (2)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616814)

Somehow, i don't think slashdot "thinks" anymore.

What good is california going to do with making this decision? Do you think poor schools in california will get computers with software pre-loaded on it?

Do you think a kid will be more well off With Linux over Windows? Does that teach them anything else other then the philosphy of free software?

I personally want my kids to understand Word and Excell and possibly how to use Photoshop and applications like that for when they go to work. I would want linux to be an afterthought, as it has never occured to me to run it as a core os.

Somehow i don't see Redhat or california providing the means that Microsoft can. Monopoly or not, microsoft has the money and power to provide an education for our kids. Monopoly aside, California has no right deciding this fate.

Put the computer and the software at the kids choice, if RedHat has the means to do this then don't take a free ride off microfts problems, go out there and support our schools.

Truth in Education (1)

tjcoyle (539228) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616849)

I'm unsure the motives of either party are the most important factors in this discussion.

If I were paying a hefty tuition for my child, I'd expect that their education was based upon solid principles.

How solid are these principles if nearly school in existence sells its curriculum to the highest bidder?

Of course, corporate grants are nothing new, but they do serve to highlight one of the greatest questions of our education system today - is it REALLY there to educate everyone to the highest degree possible?

Sigh..........

This is funny... (1)

cvd6262 (180823) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616851)

M$ wants to give schools free stuff, but....

I can't find one donor to give me $500 to build a server for my Ph.D. studies!

PS - If you know anybody willing, let me know. :)

Microsoft is up to no good. (2)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616880)

I believe Microsoft is up to no good.

Suppose they decide to donate 1 billion dollars worth of equipment. Think of the advantages of donating computer equipment to schools:

Microsoft would choose the schools and then supply the cheapest computers available on the market. The cost of these computers would be deducted from the 1 billion dollars. Microsoft would then install their own software on these computers. This would definitely include one of their operating systems and a bunch of office productivity, educational, art applications and games. Microsoft would then deduct their suggested retail price of the software from the 1 billion dollars.

If each computer costs Microsoft $500.00, and then they deduct $2000.00 for software (the more software they install on these computers, the more they can deduct), Microsoft actually spends only one fifth of the 1 billion dollars. The rest is money they never spend. They would be giving away copies of their own software. This does not cost them anything, since software is not a tangible product, and they don't actually have to manufacture those copies (other than putting them on a CD, the cost of which is negligible at their high quantities). Microsoft ends up spending 200,000,000 instead of 1,000,000,000--a huge savings!

But wait, there's more! These computers would simply serve as an advertisement for Microsoft. Furthermore, they'll probably put a different spin on the donation, making it appear as an act of good will, instead of a punishment for an abusive monopoly. Most folks would think Microsoft is very noble, as they don't follow the lawsuits. And I haven't even gotten started yet. Here's the best part! Microsoft would write off the entire 1 billion dollars as an expense, and end up not paying taxes on that money, even though four fifths of it never left Microsoft's bank account! (Microsoft has some genius accountants. They will somehow manage to do this, and the government won't be able to do a damn thing about it.) There are probably another ten or so huge benefits to Microsoft. They would essentially turn this "punishment" into a marketing ploy, and further expand their monopoly.

My suggestion for a real punishment follows: The government should decide which schools most need free computer equipment. Then, the government will decide on an amount of money to be spent on that school. Microsoft will be required to give the school a cash grant, which the school can use to purchase anything in the realm of computer equipment. The total amount of money spent by Microsoft on grants should be not less than 2 billion dollars.

Here's where my suggestion gets interesting: The schools have 100 percent choice as to which products to buy with the grant money. This could include scanners, printers, monitors, speakers, any computer hardware, etc. They could buy a PDP-11 or an SGI Onyx, or anything in between. Furthermore, they could get any software they want, whether it is IRIX, Windows 2000, Linux, or anything else out there. But here's the catch: If the school decides to use software products from Microsoft, Microsoft may NOT charge for them. They will be required to give the school a special, 100 percent free, totally unlimited, site-wide license for that product. (The license is special in that any faculty member or student of that school would be permitted to install that piece of software at any number of computers in their home at no cost. This prevents the grant from being used as an advertisement, which would benefit Microsoft instead of punishing them.) To close another loophole, if the school wants a software product made by another company, and Microsoft would somehow profit from this (through licensing fees, by owning shares of the company, or any other method), Microsoft is not allowed to make that profit. In other words, the ruling would prevent Microsoft from IN ANY WAY profiting from their products being given to the school. And finally, this requirement lasts forever. If Microsoft is still in business 200 years from now, and that school wants to use some software of theirs, Microsoft must still follow this rule.

In other words, the school may purchase (or obtain freely, if applicable) whatever computer related products they want, including Microsoft products, if they wish, but Microsoft may in no way profit from this punishment. If these were the terms of the punishment, I would agree to it 100 percent. Otherwise, I think Microsoft is playing games again.

Oh well.

Truth is stranger than comedy? (2)

Snowfox (34467) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616885)

This [satirewire.com] is getting less and less funny every day. :/

In other news... (2, Funny)

mercury7 (212316) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616886)

In other news, Philip Morris [philipmorrisusa.com] has announced plans to settle lawsuits filed against it for smoking related deaths and illnesses. The cigarette maker tentatively has agreed to a five-year project to provide cigarettes and other tobacco-related products to more than 14,000 of the poorest schools in the U.S., resolving most of its pending private class-action lawsuits, lawyers and academics briefed on the case said. Many details of the complex agreement still were being worked out Monday night, but the estimated cost to Philip Morris will be about $1.1 billion, with additional support coming from other contributions, these people said. Philip Morris has $36 billion in cash on hand.

According to lawyers and others briefed on the deal, Philip Morris would provide tobacco products valued at about $900 million over five years to schools where most students qualify for free federal lunch programs. Philip Morris also would be responsible for making available 200,000 reconditioned ashtrays and tobacco pipes during that period, $90 million in teacher training and $38 million in technical support. It would provide as much as $250 million to set up an independent foundation to meet project goals, and would seek an additional $200 million in matching funds.

If the settlement goes through, Philip Morris's brand name and products will gain even greater presence in the nation's schools. Some of the lawyers in the class-action cases were uncomfortable with this but concluded that Philip Morris's monopoly already is so pervasive that students would have to learn to use their products anyway.

DOWN WITH MS (-1, Troll)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616890)

Down with ms, down with ms, down with ms!

Hahahaha. Why is everyone against MS anyways? Basically they're better business people then the linux zealots.

Sore losers!

What's this new protocol? (0, Offtopic)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 12 years ago | (#2616895)

ttp://, is that the "tele-transport protocol, or what?

Please, PLEASE editors CHECK the submissions!

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