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Judge Examines Microsoft Settlement Progress

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the splitting-hairs dept.

Microsoft 374

Infonaut writes "The judge who presided over the settlement between Microsoft and the federal government may be starting to realize what a lot of people already know about Microsoft. The settlement was predicated on the belief that competitors would be able to license technology from Microsoft in order to get some relief from Microsoft's desktop OS monopoly. As Kollar-Kelly admitted, 'I think all of us had hoped for more agreements.' Now the judge is asking federal prosecutors to examine specifically why more licensing agreements have not been reached. I'm truly shocked that the settlement isn't turning out as planned, after the Justice Department so shrewdly rolled over when they had Microsoft over a barrel."

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374 comments

Effffp (-1, Offtopic)

H.G. Pennypacker (649549) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306698)

Frosty piss.

Re:Effffp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306701)

Has any of you ever realized Bill Gates is from Hyrule ? Seriously guys, think about it, it all makes perfect sense.

Monopolizing the first post! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306699)

I won't make any agreements to license this baby!

Re:Monopolizing the first post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306723)

Bzzzt!

Re:Monopolizing the first post! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306800)

You should monopolize FAILING IT.

Re:Monopolizing the first post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306883)

You should monopolize FAILING IT.

No chance. Slashdot is a VERY competitive market in that respect.

Re:Monopolizing the first post! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306843)

First Cliff-Is-A-Dirty-Nigger [tux.org] Post!

pardon list? (4, Funny)

sl0ppy (454532) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306704)

who will be on bush's pardon list (provided he gets booted from office)?

i'm betting kenny-boy, and microsoft.

Thank You! (2, Insightful)

tuxtomas (559452) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306774)

My knee jerk reaction as well.

The anti-trust case went to hell as soon as Big Business Bush got into office. Now that it seems we may actually have an election, things seem to be coming back to life.

Ah hell, it's not who casts the ballots, it's who counts them, right? 51 billion in cash reserves, Micro$loth will probably end up being the one.



Why do I get excited by viruses and tanking stocks? Long term freedom and prosperity.

Re:pardon list? (1)

donutello (88309) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306779)

I hope you're kidding because the thought of someone being so stupid that they don't understand that pardons only apply to criminals and that antitrust violations are not considered a criminal act is unfathomable to me.

Re:pardon list? (1)

sl0ppy (454532) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306793)

not to mention that corporations can't be pardoned, only individuals :)

it is too bad that the CEO of the company that's been found guilty of anti-trust violations isn't somehow on the hook. they would obviously have to know what they're doing, and even if they claim ignorance, it's still at least negligence.

Re:pardon list? (1)

donutello (88309) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306799)

it is too bad that the CEO of the company that's been found guilty of anti-trust violations isn't somehow on the hook. they would obviously have to know what they're doing, and even if they claim ignorance, it's still at least negligence.

That's because antitrust violations are NOT considered criminal violations. Criminal violations include theft, fraud, assault, contempt of court, etc. If a company committed one of those violations, the CEO would be held personally responsible for it.

The lawmakers expressly decided that antitrust violations are not in the same ballpark for various reasons.

*gasp* no way! (1)

EvilStein (414640) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306705)

Microsoft? Not allowing agreements that would let 3rd party stuff onto the desktop?

Well, paint me shocked!

At least the judge is finally starting to see what the rest of us saw years ago.

Re:*gasp* no way! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306737)

The judge said it was unclear whether Microsoft's competitors were unhappy with terms of the offers or simply not interested

I'm going with the opinion that competitors just don't give a shit any more. They've played this game with Microsoft so long that it' sbetter just to move on and find the next best thing. Obviously Microsoft will be trying to find it for a while. Hopefully someone else will now have a chance.

Re:*gasp* no way! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306743)

That or they are just waiting for someone else to come up with something new so they can get their grubby little thieving hands on it...oh I mean release their new thing they just invented.

Abolish copyright, and this isn't problem. (0, Troll)

Thinkit3 (671998) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306716)

Without copyright, Microsoft would not be the monopoly that it is. They depend on copyright for nearly everything they do.

Re:Abolish copyright, and this isn't problem. (1)

jared_hanson (514797) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306993)

Seems funny. I kinda thought it was a good marketing department and a better legal department. Shit, most of the open source world spends their time coming up with alternatives that are almost exact clones of what Microsoft does. Seems like they could make a good copyright case if they really wanted to. Even if they didn't have a case, they have the money to suffocate any open source project that they set their eyes upon.

In case you have not realized, you get modded troll because you have no real opinion. Back up your retorhic with a pursuasive argument and you may finally be taken seriously. The next time I get mod points, I'm using them all to mod you down. Unless you change your ways and make a real statement. I respect your opinion, and admire it in some cases, but you make an ass out of yourself and the rest of the people who share your beliefs by being a complete fool

What was the judge thinking? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306718)

Can Bush actually pardon MS for its crimes if Bush gets booted?

/. 503 Errors? (-1, Flamebait)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306721)

Is anyone getting 503 errors when trying to connect to /.?

Re:/. 503 Errors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306731)

I'm on my laptop, which is running XP, so I'm not sure what the actual code was. I just got the beautiful, yet generic, "Page Cannot Be Displayed" page.

I had it for about 20 minutes or so... hacked again, maybe?

Re:/. 503 Errors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306748)

ditto, here, although it was down for more like 2 hours for me.

Re:/. 503 Errors? (0, Offtopic)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306756)

Firebird 0.7 was just showing a blank page if I tried to open /. from history.

If I typed in slashdot.org in the location bar, the screen would flash for a second, but nothing would happen. The site I had been on was still loaded.

I had to use a perl script to get the error code.

Re:/. 503 Errors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306826)

Thank you, I thought I was going insane: mozilla, then firebird and finally galeon all refused to show me /. (went away, came back some time later and for some reason it finally loaded).

Re:/. 503 Errors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306842)

Is it just me, or is galeon the most under-rated browser EVER...

Re:/. 503 Errors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306915)

GO AND FUCK YOURSELF.

Re:/. 503 Errors? (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306810)

How is this flamebait?

Is anyone getting 503 errors when trying to connect to /.?
--
Poll: 75% of Palestinians support Haifa restaurant attack:

Re:/. 503 Errors? (0)

after (669640) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306939)

Yeh. I got like 3 today.

This is strange, maybe the admins are doing background sekrit work that they dont want us to know about and somehow lead to the conclution that having random 503 errors throught the day will bring profit.

I need a Coffee XP

Re:/. 503 Errors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306972)

yep, lots and lots of 503 errors here, will post AC due to the fact the mods seem to have a fuck of alot of SAND in their vagina today

the 9 heavy-hitters, including ..... (1)

slavitos (666569) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306722)

isn't funny they're listing SCO as a "heavy-hitter"?

Must be working SCO took out a license (5, Informative)

bstadil (7110) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306724)

Four of the "Major" companies that MS mentioned as proof the settlement is working is our favorite SCO.

Other world players is Tandberg of Norway and Laplink.

Go here for an assessment by a thoroughly pissed of Lawyer [lamlaw.com] that has covered this debacle from the get go.

Re:Must be working SCO took out a license (4, Insightful)

beacher (82033) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306753)

Microsoft scratched SCO's back - SCO is just scratching back. It's pretty odd that SCO would license Microsoft's protocols and them and then incorporate Samba3 [linuxtoday.com] into SCOServer. That whole "we respect IP" crap isn't flying
I don't think it's fair that they're counting this puppet when trying to go after the puppet master.
-B

Re:Must be working SCO took out a license (2, Interesting)

spectecjr (31235) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306795)

Go here for an assessment by a thoroughly pissed of Lawyer that has covered this debacle from the get go.

Note, that that's a thoroughly pissed off kook (he's a lawyer as a hobby), who has been banned from every bulletin board he tried to post on after pissing off the moderators, and eventually had to set up his own website to peddle his bullshit because no-one would put up with it any more.

Lewis A. Mettler, Esq. (in Bullshit) please take a bow. What was the last one he was banned from? ZDNet? MSNBC? OSOpinion? CNET?

Re:Must be working SCO took out a license (1)

bstadil (7110) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306833)

Didn't know this,

Thanks

An opinion from back in the Zd-Net days... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306913)

Back in the days of the antitrust trial, Lewis was actually rather instrumental in explaining the legal mumbo-jumbo underlying antitrust to the ZD-Net community. I personally checked many of his assertions and never found an inaccuracy.

At one point though, Lewis just posted the same piece over and over and over again, with little variation. Users complained he was hogging bandwidth and as a result of those complaints he was booted on the pretext of having a URL in his signature. A few people cheered. A few people mourned. Most ignored his absence. When he was actually posting argument; he was well worth reading. When he was in diatribe mode; less so.

Personally, I wouldn't categorize him as a kook, and certainly I've not found a record of his JD (though I admit not having looked very well) so he may well be a legal hobbyist. Still, at face value his less-belligerant rants make for a good editorial opinion - simply don't appeal to him as an authority. Far better to read the case law and decide for yourself. Your clickage may not be commensurate with Lewis'.

JL'B

not very likely (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306726)

I'm not expecting much other than lip service so long as the current administration is in place. Let's face it, Asscroft and company haven't exactly been busting a nut when it comes to M$.

.."offering to license its software technology" (1, Insightful)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306727)

"He argued that Microsoft was complying with the antitrust settlement by offering to license its software technology even if few companies sign such deals."

As much as I dislike having to do this, I have to agree. Microsoft is right here. After all, it's not their fault if the selected President* told his people to give a brisk slap on the wrist to Microsoft after the previously administration had won the case in court and had them bound, bent over and greased up. It's not Microsoft's fault if the lawyers left who actually wanted to try and salvage some sort of basic human dignity from this whole sordid affair didn't watch those movies where someone makes a deal with Satan and leaves out that one little clause that eventually leaves them in a pile of feces. You give an Evil Civil Judgement Decided Monopolist an inch, they HAVE to take a mile and your wallet and laugh while they're doing it.

If I was Microsoft, I'd get out the Icy Hot or Tiger Balm to deal with those sore, sore wrists.

Re:.."offering to license its software technology" (4, Interesting)

mcc (14761) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306790)

Microsoft is right here. After all, it's not their fault if the selected President* told his people to give a brisk slap on the wrist to Microsoft after the previously administration had won the case in court and had them bound, bent over and greased up.

And who selected the president? [cnn.com]

Re:.."offering to license its software technology" (1)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306812)

Would it have made any difference if Gore had been "selected"? Remember, even though the Clinton administration had Microsoft "over the barrel", it was during that same administration that Microsoft became a monopoly.

From your link: "According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Microsoft has contributed $1.1 million dollars in soft money to both major political parties this cycle -- $529,000 to the Democrats, and $607,000 to Republicans."

The Republicans got more, but not much more, than the Democrats.

Re:.."offering to license its software technology" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306905)

The Republicans got more, but not much more, than the Democrats.

They need to contribute to both parties:

They give money to the Republicans when they want to avoid the effects of any laws which might inconveniently impede the execution of their business plans.

They give money to the Democrats when they want draconian new laws to punish those individuals who would violate their IP.

Re:.."offering to license its software technology" (1)

phantomlord (38815) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306891)

After all, it's not their fault if the selected President*

You lost all credibility as soon as you said that. Anything after this point that you say doesn't really matter since you can't deal with the reality of who's in office just because you don't like him. If you want to argue a point, stick to the facts and don't go off on tangents that make people dislike what you're going to say. Is getting bonus points for snide comments with your friends more important than getting your ideas heard?

The Bush administration may have changed the DOJ's perspective on the case, but ultimately, it's up to the judge, not the DOJ, to determine what the actual penalty would be, regardless of the DOJ's opinion

From the article (4, Insightful)

donutello (88309) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306729)

The judge said it was unclear whether Microsoft's competitors were unhappy with terms of the offers or simply not interested, "and there's not much we can do about that."

Doesn't sound like the judge is "starting to realize" anything. Next time try reading the article before posting a summary.

Re:From the article (1)

56ker (566853) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306824)

"Next time try reading the article" - you do realise this is /. right?

Blank pages in Firebird 0.7 (3, Informative)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306903)

If you are getting blank pages in Firebird 0.7 it may be due to /. returning http 503 errors. It appears that Firebird and, maybe, other related browsers do not show 503 errors, they just silently fail.

Re:From the article (2, Insightful)

ndavidg (680217) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306963)

"...were unhappy with terms of the offers or simply not interested..."

It does seem like a realization that a faulty assumption was made: that Microsoft is a great company because of its innovative technology, and that other companies would have a better chance of competing if they licensed this technology.

The truth is, the quality of much of Microsoft's software is poor, especially considering the price you pay, and Microsoft's most innovative products -- such as Microsoft Project Web Access or the editing/review features in Microsoft Word -- were licensed from other companies by Microsoft. What they could not license, they stole. And if they stole it, but were in danger of getting sued, they just bought the company they stole the technology from. (Apple, for example). Go figure.

The only way to compete with Microsoft is to offer a better product, which is not hard to do, and would cost less to develop independently of the giant. But even with the better product, you still have Microsoft's huge Marketing machine to contend with. This Marketing machine is what allows shotty software and shotty products to make it to a production environment at a high cost.

Re:From the article (1)

chgros (690878) | more than 10 years ago | (#7307002)

And if they stole it, but were in danger of getting sued, they just bought the company they stole the technology from. (Apple, for example)
Microsoft bought Apple? That's new!

Re:From the article (0)

ndavidg (680217) | more than 10 years ago | (#7307006)

They own 25%, last I heard.

Re:From the article (0)

ndavidg (680217) | more than 10 years ago | (#7307014)

http://www.channel4000.com/news/stories/news-97080 6-102917.html

MS is terrible for competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306730)

Is WINE an excellent bridge for running Windows apps on Linux/x86? If this is true I can switch to Linux without having to keep a Windows partition.

Yes, switch immediately. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306777)

WINE is actually much faster than Windows, probably because it is not an emulator.

Re:MS is terrible for competition (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306794)

WINE is not an emulator but a layer that provides Windoze functionality on X/Linux with all the win32 API or most. It is very good and a ton of people working on it. God bless them all. www.winehq.org

Uhh... (1)

Zenikase (622230) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306745)

May I ask what kind of technologies is Microsoft offering to other companies? All I can think of is .NET
The judge said it was unclear whether Microsoft's competitors were unhappy with terms of the offers or simply not interested, "and there's not much we can do about that."
It was probably a combination of both. Realistically, unless the company is designing software directly aimed at home and office desktop users, they probably won't find all the licensing hassles with Microsoft to be worth the trouble. Also, that bit about SCO licensing technologies from MS made for a hearty chuckle.

Re:Uhh... (1)

spectecjr (31235) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306805)

May I ask what kind of technologies is Microsoft offering to other companies? All I can think of is .NET

Doesn't really matter; all of the Silicon Valley guys have a massive "Not Invented Here" complex anyway.

bah! (-1, Offtopic)

RoC MasterMind (576689) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306746)

Forget Microsoft, SLASHDOT got SLASHDOTTED

Ignorance (5, Interesting)

Knunov (158076) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306747)

"Never attribute to maliciousness that which can be explained by stupidity." - Twain

The main problem is out judicial system is not setup to deal adequately with technology lawsuits. We have lawyers with barely a clue trying to explain to judges with practically no clue what the technology does nor what the ramifications are.

The idea of 3 more years of school might turn you off, but for the out-of-work CompSci degree holders, law school might be a great choice. The world needs lawyers who intimately understand technology to be able to try these cases, and those lawyers need to go on to become the judges who preside over such cases. Without such people in the legal system, we will keep seeing ridiculous judgements.

Knunov

Re:Ignorance (1)

abertoll (460221) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306917)

No kidding! Even if judges were computer gurus, the whole legal system is WAY too slow for the fast pace of technology. Things can be too far gone for real justice by the time it even goes to court!

Re:Ignorance (1)

thogard (43403) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306926)

It was no different than most of the issues involving standard oil which were very complex compared to anything most judges at the time had ever delt with and that was the 1st big one. At least when it was broken up, its parts were forced to compete with each other. Even most /.ers don't even support breaking up MS the same way Standard oil was chopped up. Remember IBM and NCR before them have been involved with this sort of thing.

Judge's Name Misspelled (2, Informative)

powera (644300) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306759)

It is Kollar-Kotelly, not Kollar-Kelly.

Re:Judge's Name Misspelled (1)

wrmrxxx (696969) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306806)

Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, otherwise known as (thanks to The Register):

Judge Konsonant-Kollection

Justice delayed is Justice denied. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306762)

It can be just that alot of people have realized that it's not worth it. Microsoft will either make it difficult for your software to operate properly; especially if it directly competes with something from them or they'll simply try to screw you in some other area. IE, higher mark up fee for X software. It's simply not worth the headache and trouble for any business especially a startup business. Sure, Microsoft is a convicted monopoly with zero punishment, so they continue to act like a monopoly. If there is no punishment, even if a crime is committed; a monopoly will continue to do so.. heh you'd think a Federal Judge would understand that. For all those that are going to respond with a monopoly isn't illegal. Be sure you understand that a natural monopoly isn't illegal, a monopoly gained from unfair practices is, however illegal. I just don't understand how one company can be convicted of illegal monopolistic practices in an industry that garners them billions upon billions and are let go with; heh, please don't do it again, and oh yeah you can be on the board of persons who makes sure you operate justly and fairly.

This country, America is a bunch of bullshit.

Something to consider: (0, Troll)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306819)

If Microsoft is effectively reined in, would this be a net benefit to the computer industry?

Who would fill the void? Their leading competitors have higher priorities than consumer satisfaction and industry cooperation, I'll bet.

Does mixing up standards again seem like a good idea? Plug and play ain't the prettiest but it's a damn sight better than trying to get things to work in the 80s used to be.

Justice doesn't always equal punishment. In business, sometimes it really is about letting the ends justify the means. I'd prefer Microsoft take a more relaxed stance towards Open Source and the like, sure, but I think the people in this process are showing great wisdom in not immediately jumping down Microsoft's throat. Stifling innovation is the quickest way to kill this industry.

Re:Something to consider: (2, Insightful)

Mybrid (410232) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306866)

Who would fill the void?

You got to be kidding, right?

The only reasons I can imagine you posted this is that:
  1. You've never used quality software that's not bloatware with 50 million intimidating features you've never used and will never use or,
  2. It's a troll.
Cheers!
-Mybrid

Re:Something to consider: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306876)

If Microsoft is effectively reined in, would this be a net benefit to the computer industry?

Competition is the mother of innovation. A computer industry where technical and usable solutions are promoted based on their relevancy and quality rather than them being forced on the consumer.

Who would fill the void? Their leading competitors have higher priorities than consumer satisfaction and industry cooperation, I'll bet.

Like Apple? Oh, right.. they aren't concerned with consumer satisfaction and industry cooperation such as standards and quality from form to factor to actual usage of the products they make. They also don't play fair with the opensource community. Not to mention the myriad of others that can participate in a market place not dominated by a monopoly. Including Linux with it's desktops and other currently fringe operating systems.

Does mixing up standards again seem like a good idea? Plug and play ain't the prettiest but it's a damn sight better than trying to get things to work in the 80s used to be.

No one mixes up standards except for Microsoft. If you'd like to point out one standard they haven't decided to mess with. Again, an example would be Apple who is really the only major computer manufacturer with an operating system in large usage. However, that's not because Microsoft is a monopoly obviously. I wonder why you can order a computer today without an Operating System. You must pay that Microsoft tax, and then the part that is amazing is that you can't turn around and return the software after not accepting the license.

Justice doesn't always equal punishment. In business, sometimes it really is about letting the ends justify the means. I'd prefer Microsoft take a more relaxed stance towards Open Source and the like, sure, but I think the people in this process are showing great wisdom in not immediately jumping down Microsoft's throat. Stifling innovation is the quickest way to kill this industry.

Name something, any technology you can think of that was innovated by Microsoft. Just one. Innovation doesn't come from Monopolies and the corporation that knows this best is Microsoft, they don't even want to innovate. Regardless of what they say you will not see any major innovation come out of Redmond, Washington. You will see however Microsoft co-opt whatever major innovation someone else has taught of or made, They may even buy them out and if they can't buy them out they'll put them out of business and then try and implement the technology themselves; as they've always done.

Re:Something to consider: (5, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306941)

Who would fill the void? Their leading competitors have higher priorities than consumer satisfaction and industry cooperation, I'll bet.
Are you kidding? Their leading competition is giving away their code for free. That's a pretty strong priority on customer satisfaction wouldn't you think?

Here's a thought. Suppose Microsoft is destroyed and disbanded. That would open up a huge chunk of the IT market, and we'd see gazillions of startups, small and medium companies, with pricing structures along the whole range from free to heavily overpriced. A real IT renaissance.

Use WINE and forget MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306769)

Why is everyone fussing about MS when you can run WINE on Linux http://www.winehq.org?

Re:Use WINE and forget MS (1)

rock_climbing_guy (630276) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306829)

Well, first of all, there are the arguments that in principle, we shouldn't have to, and then again, setting up WINE can be quite a pain in the neck and many applications don't operate correctly with it.

OH (1)

glubbs (526448) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306796)

whatever! Microsoft is just a businness that the government lets go on (is behind, 100%) in order to get more money pumped into the military. I'm not talking this whole "oooh, middle east" conspiracy theory, either ... I'm jumping that and going straight to "technology we ain't never heard of before" theory. How many people out there think that the government has figured out the gravity problem? Once in a while there comes a company that overtakes the rest, and completely buries everything remotely in its path. There are no words to describe the amount of money that MS has in cash, so I am forced to make up my own ........... Scrumtrulescent.

Re:OH (2, Funny)

stephens_domain (679473) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306841)

The word "billion" comes to mind.

This is part of a larger problem... (3, Insightful)

rock_climbing_guy (630276) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306808)

I know that many of you are of the opinion that nothing is being done about this because the current administration is somehow "anti-consumer."

Please allow me to remind you that the DMCA passed through the Senate unapposed - No one in the Senate voted against it. There were 99 votes for it and 0 against. We have patents on simple software algorithms that last 20 years with no end in sight. Remember, even if you understand that software patents are bad, if you're in the business, you've got to play the game the way it's set up, or your competitors will not hesitate to screw you over. Remember the Amazon.com one-click patent?

The problem is that politicians clearly don't understand technology, plain and simple.

I think that a good starting point would be to impose strict term limits on our Representatives and Senators. Our country can do without the people who make it their career to be politicians and contribute nothing else. Furthermore, those career politicians live in a world of their own; they have no idea what it's like to have your ideas taken away from you because of some stupid patent law. Look at Gray Davis; he's pissed off because he's been recalled from office by angry voters. Gray Davis passed stupid laws from which he was detached from the consequences. He had a big political machine that crushed the opposition in the last election cycle. He didn't care that he raised car taxes through the roof. He didn't care that foolish policies crippled California's power system. It's great to see that someone finally made him face the music.

My point is, politicians don't understand anything but politics these days because that's all they do.

Re:This is part of a larger problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306855)

The current administration isn't purposefully anti-consumer. It's just pro-monopoly. Consumers are just collateral damage.

Re:This is part of a larger problem... (1)

idfubar (668691) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306928)

Your notion of term limits is double-edged: term limits ended the career of Willy Brown, the most dominant (and arguably productive) politician in the history of the state. You are right, though, that term limits could force us to an appoximation of the original representative system our forefathers had in mind (e.g. representatives from all walks of life.)

Re:This is part of a larger problem... (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306984)

You're right in some ways. Unfortunately, it's not just career politicians. Look at Bush. He's not your typical career politician, more like your spoiled rich kid [rotten.com] , but he's just as much a problem as the career politicians.

Microsoft is Like a child (-1, Flamebait)

St4rScream (718956) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306813)

Microsoft is like a child that is always testing your paitence.

They dance the line and for the most part can get away with it.(for now)
The anti trust case was a joke. What can you really do to M$, the company has more then enough money to fight cases in court foever and pay any fine you throw at them.

Its not a fight that can be won via the court systems. So stop blaming the federal goverment.

And please stop blaming the bush administration.
Both the Democrats and Rebuplicans take money from M$ just like they both take money from GM and GE.

Can anyone point to a specific situations where, M$ really done to hurt any american any more then any other large company.

And lets not forget how much software they export.(which helps the US economy)
Besides As much as I dislike M$, Microsoft does not have an illegal monolopy

Re:Microsoft is Like a child (4, Insightful)

Whammy666 (589169) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306886)

Besides As much as I dislike M$, Microsoft does not have an illegal monolopy

Ummm, you haven't been paying attention, have you? M$ was in fact found guilty of being an illegal monopoly in a court of law.

Additionly, it was no secret that Bush and company had no real interest in pursuing M$. They said as much during the 2000 election campaign which is why M$ did their best to drag the court case out until after the inaugeration. It payed off for them. M$ got a slap on the wrist and basically walked away unscathed.

As far as hurting consumers, M$ hurt consumers by limited their choices by preventing competition. The result is that consumers are stuck with shoddy and overpriced software with few options to shop elsewhere.

Re:Microsoft is Like a child (2, Informative)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306920)

M$ was in fact found guilty of being an illegal monopoly in a court of law.

Actually, they were found guilty of abusing their monopoly status, a very different thing.

Then vs Than (1)

dbCooper0 (398528) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306996)

Jeezuz. Why are our schools allowing people to obliterate the language they teach?

I'm so sick of seeing (4 times in the last day) people writing a post with "then" where "than" should have been used.

I know that's not the only term misused, but I'm getting damned sick of it.

Don't have a link to send these idiots to to teach them grammar, but you know I wish I did.

BTW this is not the worst, but there are more typos there as well.

And yeah, the poster is a troll...

Gutenberg reference. (4, Insightful)

ratfynk (456467) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306814)

This all comes down to one thing. What is Microsofts business plan? They way I interpret their intentions is simple.

To control digital communication world wide.

To remove all competitors and hardware platform competition.

To invest in technologies that can become a monoply, and only make heavy investments in tech that they can completely control.

Legally steal software tech with coding virgins if they cannot Legally own it.

Protect their code base so that it cannot be cloned by altering the coding languages and making them proprietary.

They are completely within their rights in doing these things. It is the consumer and communication industry that needs to fight this monolyth not the courts. They harm the industry with their software patents and security policies, and the sooner the consumer realises this the better.

Wrong. Fucking wrong. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306837)

News flash, homo: Bill Gates does not wake up every day and make an action list of How To Fuck The World And Show He Is Evil. You have watched too many James Bond movies if you seriously believe this. That may be the saddest part of this story

But we digress. What Gates does is try to figure out how to make money. He runs a business, not Evil, Inc. Here's another news flash: Every other business in the WORLD also has making money as their business plan. That's right, that porn anime shop you frequent after ogling the Catholic school 4th graders during recess isn't open because they want to spread the word, no the owner wants to MAKE MONEY!!!

So grow up, move out of your Mom's basement actually get a job for once in your sorry life of 38 years. Even fry chefs get more respect from at at this point. Maybe once you actually have to earn your own keep, you will understand.

Re:Wrong. Fucking wrong. (1)

St4rScream (718956) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306857)

He is not wrong these are the Goals of Microsoft. And they reason these are goals of Microsoft are as you have stated. THEY WANT TO MAKE MONEY.

The problem is most companies need to occasionally play nice with other companies in order to achieve there goal to make money.
Microsoft does not, or at least believes they do not need to play nice ever.

Re:Wrong. Fucking wrong. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306930)

hey you fucking worthless piece of oversimplifying dung eating maggot tard, you are turning something complex into a black and white issue and pretending that you are the only one seeing the light.

fuck off. number 1.

number 2. i'm a gun toting, god fearing, minimal government desiring, traditional, god bless the U.S. of Aing fool.

no.3 you are trying to say that anything businesses do is fine, as long as they wake up every day, simply trying to figure out a way to make money.

horseshit.

just like billions of people every day wake up, with many "simply trying to figure out how to be happy", many will follow paths, or take actions that will completely ass fuck someone else, in their own pursuit of happiness. this is nature, it's called competition. we're all after the same pie.

in the simultaneous pursuit of the same resources or pie...there are consequences. and that is what we are seeing with Microsoft. they have become so huge, there is no more competition.

now we have consequences.

if you don't think there are consequences, i'd like to invite you over to my house. once you are here...pretend that you are a threat to my business..pretend you are a threat to my wife...pretend you are a threat to my ability to make a dollar...and you quickly find some consequences staring you in the face.

now you know how companies work. when it comes to survival, companies CAN AND WILL DO ANYTHING. break the law? how many times?...what time is it.

you are a fucking blind smelly twat to think that because Bill is in pursuit of the all mighty dollar that he's just like "any other company" out there trying to make a buck.

fuck off!

why should i believe you????!!!!

the first rule of making a buck is to lie through your fucking teeth, if that's what it takes to make that buck.

I'm no threat to your wife. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306999)

In fact, I'm her savior. If I go over there, I'll be doing her a "big and Black" favor (IF you know what I mean - wink wink) by providing her with something only a real man can give her, for the first time in her life. What's that address?

9 Samurai (5, Interesting)

morelife (213920) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306816)

At least the DOJ continues to check on Microsoft compliance on a regular basis.

Let's not forget that 9 states are objecting to the flimsy DOJ ruling and may overturn it locally. Additionally, the market may readjust in the coming 24 months or so, and rearrange Microsoft's dominance without the DOJ's assistance.

Today, the combined state of RedHat/Enterprise, SuSE/IBM, and OpenOffice, have started a huge push which will steamroll, garnering support (and dollars) from both small business and corporate end users. Steve Ballmer has become publicly shrill and irrational. Samba v3 tested faster than Win2k/AD.

Progress on this is like the minute hand- you can't really see it moving, but it's moving.

Not to be a smartass (4, Insightful)

Shoeboy (16224) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306817)

But has anyone considered that maybe other companies don't consider Microsoft's technology to be worth licensing? I don't even think it's worth pirating, myself.

--Shoeboy

I think I'm changing my mind... (5, Insightful)

eidechse (472174) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306844)

For nearly all of my time as a professional dev guy I've cut Redmond some some slack for a few reasons:
  • It's convenient for ISV's to concern themselves with a single platform. Way before my (professional) time, it'd have been tough for a smaller outfit to target all the popular platforms: atari, commodore, amiga, PC, Apple/Mac, various DOS flavors, etc. They pretty much picked one, maybe more, and gambled that they'd still exist and/or remain popular.
  • Books, third party dev tools, publications, and training (formal and informal) have long been plentiful.
  • Many software companies (ok...not as many now) target MS platforms.
  • And a few more...
But as of late I'm having a change of heart. For the following reasons (and others):
  • nefarious upgrade practices
  • restrictive licensing practices
  • the lessening of system level tools/techniques available to third party developers
  • still more incursions into third party developer space (search engines, email, possibly anti-virus)
I've about had it with Redmond. I don't even really want to create software for their platforms anymore. Still, I'm not in the RMS camp; I like the idea of making money on software, possibly by restricting the availability of the source code.

I do recognize the benefit of open/free platforms and frameworks. My question is this: is there a place for proprietary (read 'closed') applications on said open/free platforms and frameworks?

Re:I think I'm changing my mind... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306909)

I do recognize the benefit of open/free platforms and frameworks. My question is this: is there a place for proprietary (read 'closed') applications on said open/free platforms and frameworks?

Yeah. It's called Mac OS X. [apple.com]

Re:I think I'm changing my mind... (1)

eidechse (472174) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306925)

I've actually been considering that. There are three things that bug me though: I got burned when I bought an 840 AV (remember that line?), Steve Jobs (Bill w/ a better dress sense), and the high cost.

Re:I think I'm changing my mind... (1)

romanval (556418) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306951)

Um... Steve Jobs had nothing to do with Apple when the Quadra 840AV was released.

At that time, Jobs was busy with NeXT & Pixar.

Re:I think I'm changing my mind... (1)

eidechse (472174) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306955)

Yeah, I know...the reasons are independent of each other.

Re:I think I'm changing my mind... (1)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306938)

is there a place for proprietary (read 'closed') applications on said open/free platforms and frameworks?

Despite what the true believers tell you, Free Software is still "free beer". The problem you will face with open source systems is not that the users will reject proprietary software on principle, but rather that they will reject it on cost.

So you need to put out a high quality product that people will want to pay for.

Re:I think I'm changing my mind... (1)

eidechse (472174) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306978)

That's what I'm hoping will become the norm. I.E. a general willingness to pay for quality, possibly "closed", software on open platforms. I agree that platforms themselves should be free from control. But I don't think that the same criteria should necessarily apply to all applications targeting open platforms.

Re:I think I'm changing my mind... (2, Insightful)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306970)

But without a FAIR field to play on, Your mini-software can't survive. MS [and the other mega corps] is rapidly absorbing or extinguishing everything they can into THEIR homogney. So you may have a really cool app, but if it's on windows your days are already numbered [and the MS big check option is rapidly winding down!] ...that's more certian than even having OSS copy you!

In short, you need OSS to have a level field for you to play on...one that nobody can take away. The only way to KEEP it level is to keep any one group from "owning" too many pieces, i.e. GPL.

Re:I think I'm changing my mind... (1)

buss_error (142273) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306990)

But as of late I'm having a change of heart. For the following reasons (and others):

The thing that causes me to get a major case of the hips is when they release a new version of a language.

Poof! 30% (or more!) of the code has to be re-written for the "new" version. As far as I can see, they only shuffled around some APIs, and maybe added a "feature" or two.

Microsoft exploits the loophole again (4, Interesting)

rhysweatherley (193588) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306850)

Microsoft agreed to make their specifications available for people making interoperable software. But the government forgot to say "available at no cost to the licensees", and Microsoft is exploiting that loophole. Big surprise.

I visited the "licensing" site a few weeks back, and the whole thing is "fill in this form and we'll get back to you about your payment". Sorry, that's not what they were supposed to do.

Let's hope the judge realises that for competition to occur, the main player cannot levy a fee against its competitors.

I think there is a huge misunderstanding... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306862)

Just a quick thing to say here:

A lot of people bash the gov't for not getting as far-reaching a settlement from Microsoft as they should have.

Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson did a lousy job of being a judge. He let his disgust with Microsoft's behavior inside and outside the courtroom show easily, and granted interviews with the press that seriously undermined the impartiality he was supposed to have.

Consequently, the court of appeals for that federal district THREW OUT a lot if not most of the things that the Department of Justice won.

The DOJ basically was given a bad deck of cards and they did what they could.

Blame Jackson and the court of appeals, not the DOJ.

Why is everyone here against freedom? (0, Interesting)

geekee (591277) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306895)

Would you like it if the govt. started dictating terms for Linux and rewriting the GPL? What if the govt. said you can't bundle Mozilla with your distribution? Think about these things before you beat up on MS. They're doomed anyway. Win the fair way. A win against MS using govt. thugs rather than free market is a hollow win that will come back to haunt you some day.

Re:Why is everyone here against freedom? (0)

ndavidg (680217) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306997)

The difference is that Linux is not a monopoly. It is a kernel. The government has to come down on the Tweed bosses and Al Capone bosses of the IT world so that the consumer is protected from tyranny. Microsoft has broken the law and exercised illegal business practices to force their shotty products down the throats of America. In order for America to be free, companies like these must be controlled or destroyed.

So what do we do about it? (5, Interesting)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306899)

Did the DoJ "roll over"? Did Bush order a lenient judgement? Is Microsoft really government-proof? The truth is, the answers don't matter one whit. No amount of finger pointing is going to help anyone.

Let me repeat that. No amount of finger pointing is going to help anyone. Shocking but true. Bitching doesn't solve problems. So what do we do now that it's clear that the government isn't going to come to our "rescue" and slay the Evil Microsoft?

First, we need to throw away all our myths about being powerless. Microsoft is a natural market monopoly. They don't have any laws preventing competition with them (like the USPO does). Nor do they own the infrastructure (like the telco monopolies). As big as they are, they are still at the whim of the marketplace.

So use the market against them. Sell off any Microsoft stock you own. Don't buy any Microsoft products. Don't buy systems that have a Microsoft "tax". That's step one. It might not be easy, but it can be done. Stop buying your systems at BestBuy or CompUSA, and start buying them at the small mom-and-pop shops who will build you a custom system. Or build them yourself. Or buy a Mac. Then when you do, write to Dell, HP, Gateway, etc., and tell them why you didn't choose them.

Next step is to support the non-Windows operating systems, even the proprietary ones. You don't have to run them all, but you can certainly stop denigrating them. Stop bitching at the price of Macs and Sparcs. Even if they're too expensive for you personally, you don't want to discourage the people for whom they aren't too expensive.

Funny thing is, despite the Microsoft monopoly, there are others out there. Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris, OSX, etc. Since this is Slashdot, odds are you probably use one of these already. Let your friends know you don't use Windows. Help your friends use another OS. Contribute to the Open Source project of your choice, even if it's writing docs or testing alpha and beta releases.

We gave Microsoft their monopoly. That's right, "we" did it. Despite their shady business tactics, it was ultimately we the consumer who chose to purchase Windows. Now it's time for us to take that monopoly away from them.

Question about the monopoly (3, Insightful)

abertoll (460221) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306910)

Microsoft's monopoly came largely in part due to agreements with computer manufacturers to ship their operating system pre-installed (even today most computers come with windows).

So the question is, if Microsoft DIDN'T have this agreement would they be able to charge aprox $200 for the "home" edition of their software? Can you imagine buying a computer first, then going out and choosing the excellence of Windows for just a low $200?

Basically, is Windows true market value $200?

Monopoly Capitalism... (1)

idfubar (668691) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306924)

The reality is Microsoft won. They put everyone else out of business, there is no competition, and there will be no penalities for their means and ways - no matter what Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly thinks! Best way to get ahead at this point is to learn the dynamics of monopoly capitalism...

Don't forget to... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306932)

...put that campaign contribution in the mail Monday, Steve.

You people are broken (nerdy) records.. (0, Flamebait)

ProtonMotiveForce (267027) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306995)

Like, a broken Devo record or something.

Seriously, nobody in the real world gives a shit about this, and the idea of a "monopoly" based on intellectual property is laughable.

It ain't oil, it ain't air, it ain't water, and it ain't food. Nobody's dying in the streets over MS's dominance in the OS market.

What's funny is they, by definition, do not have a monopoly. I mean, there are innumerable choices - this is not an arguable item.

And yet here you nerds go, all chiming in with your "they got a slap on the wrist"'s and "the law doesn't understand technology"'s.

Next you'll start in with "won't someone please think of the CHILDREN!!!!". Egads, how ridiculous.
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