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MS To Offer Windows Sans WMP, If EU So Orders

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the bullying-begets-bullying dept.

Microsoft 422

PSwim writes "Microsoft has said it will remove Media Player from Window, if ordered by the EU this week. The 'Windows-Lite' version will only be available in Europe. Best quote from the article involves its refusal to release networking documentation: '"The Commission says Linux would disappear" if Microsoft did not grant access to its documentation, Smith claimed. "But Linux is alive and well and I don't know any person at Linux or any Linux programmers who share the Commission's view."'"

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422 comments

Linux Developer view is inmaterial (4, Insightful)

Ckwop (707653) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381375)

Who cares if the commission's view is shared by the OSS crew. Their ruling should be final and Microsoft should comply in good faith if they want to continue to trade in the EU.

They'll probably get chance to appeal the descision but I doubt the ruling will be overturned. Personally, I'm sick of them appealing on grounds they should have brought up earlier in the process. I think that if you appeal in a corporate case such as this and you lose the damages should be increased. You can justify this by lost interest due to the money sitting for in Microsoft's bank and not the EUs bank account for duration of the appeal process plus a surcharge for wasting everybody's time

Simon.

The version will contain a poison pill (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381415)

I predict Microsoft will make it's prediction that Windows will be crippled w/o the player come true by putting something into the software that annoys the end users.

Re:The version will contain a poison pill (4, Insightful)

mirko (198274) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381448)

Yes, and some will then install Quicktime and iTunes for Windows and finally go for a shiny G5 iMac.

Re:The version will contain a poison pill (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381496)

Removing WMP from the bundle.
Makes for a different remedy. Leaping. Rhetoric.
Box-Turtles. Without our player.
You folks will be the less for it..our ubiquity is obvious. Allusions. Don't insinuate. Beyond understanding.
The retiring Chief of Intel pointing to saturation, large presence..the big kid on the block..as being - stifling - detrimental to innovation. Intel.
Choice is healthy. Intel is a hoodwinker.
The proper advertisement. " We are Intel. We are the market. " Their homeopathic. Give it to them again. Over there. Microsoft. Wal-mart. McDonalds. Claria.
Now. Anti-trust. Unfair advantage.

Re:The version will contain a poison pill (4, Funny)

lastmachine (723265) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381522)

I predict Microsoft will make it's prediction that Windows will be crippled w/o the player come true by putting something into the software that annoys the end users.

Little late: they did that in 1995.

Le'me guess... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381525)

RealPlayer?

Re:The version will contain a poison pill (4, Funny)

minus9 (106327) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381528)

"I predict Microsoft will make it's prediction that Windows will be crippled w/o the player come true by putting something into the software that annoys the end users."

Annoying software from Microsoft? Inconceivable!!

With apologies to Fezzik.

Re:The version will contain a poison pill (2, Funny)

minus9 (106327) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381548)

Oops. Apologigies to Inigo I mean. Get back angry mob!

Re:The version will contain a poison pill (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381601)

Anger. I'm pretending.
Look. Oh. I'm really angry.
See. Give it a try.

Re:Linux Developer view is inmaterial (5, Insightful)

Free_Meson (706323) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381427)

I think that if you appeal in a corporate case such as this and you lose the damages should be increased.

Often, an appealing party has to pay costs if they lose. In the U.S. in federal court, a lawyer can be forced to pay his opponent's legal fees if he submits any frivolous articles to the court. Relax a bit on the whole condemnation of the legal system thing ;-). Lawyers do a very good job of policing themselves, but the nuances of the system are often lost on those without a legal education. The fact that the media rarely gets the facts or reasoning right on decisions and rarely covers procedural rulings only makes things worse.

Re:Linux Developer view is inmaterial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381512)

I actually have no idea what mechanisms there are for transferring costs to the loser in this situation, if any, but I don't think your reference to Rule 11 sanctions is really apropos here. I kind of like the poster's relatively straightforward suggestion of awarding interest.

Re:Linux Developer view is inmaterial (3, Insightful)

humanerror (56316) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381593)

The fact that the media rarely gets the facts or reasoning right on decisions and rarely covers procedural rulings only makes things worse.

That's because facts and reasoning rarely fit into sound-bite sized juicy nuggets. McMedia is much more concerned with selling eyeshare than courting mindshare. The mindless eyes are as much to blame as anyone.

Give me convenience or give me reality TV.

Frist Prost!!!!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381377)

Frist Prisot Biatches

Magic?? (-1, Flamebait)

UnAmericanPunk (310528) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381385)

Perhaps David Blaine was on this commission?

first wtf post (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381386)

"...I don't know any person at Linux..."

WTF?

Re:first wtf post (1, Flamebait)

Doyle (620849) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381397)

What does he think Linux is - a company?!

Re:first wtf post (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381477)

What does he think Linux is - a company?!

no its a mythical place where cats chase dogs, water flows up stream and software is free and open and yet consumers, companies and the economy all benifit from it.

hmm after reading what i just read i don't even know what side i am taking

stendec@gmail.com

Re:first wtf post (2, Insightful)

hobo2k (626482) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381420)

Maybe he meant VA Linux?

Re:first wtf post (1)

lintux (125434) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381497)

AFAIK, the name "VA Linux" doesn't exist anymore...

(VA Software, anyone?)

Re:first wtf post (1, Insightful)

0x0d0a (568518) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381455)

"...I don't know any person at Linux..."

Me either. Coincidence?

He must still be geared up to compete with companies instead of communities.

I'd like to see (5, Insightful)

EvilNutSack (700432) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381393)

Internet Explorer gone, but it's too well embedded. However, with all its vulnerabilities I wonder if Microsoft will try to change this. Oh wait... *reality strikes* How long before the next version of WMP is too well embedded to be removed?

Re:I'd like to see (2, Funny)

EvilNutSack (700432) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381438)

What the heck possessed me to write that? I blame it on delirium caused by the news that WMP cripple/RIAA ware is to be removed from Windows...

Re:I'd like to see more acronyms (1)

kgbspy (696931) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381491)

At the risk of being branded flamebait...

- Weapons of Mass Pornography
- William's Measly Protectorate
- Wily Militaristic Pretenses
- Weapons of Mass Procrastination
- Wrong, Mainly Preventable
- Wasted Money Plans
- Worthless Management Potential

and last, but by no means least:

- Really Ignorant Apelike Arseholes.

The other option being? (5, Insightful)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381395)

MS To Offer Windows Sans WMP, If EU So Orders

Given the other option is to stop selling Windows in the EU, this is not very surprising.

Re:The other option being? (2, Funny)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381549)

I'm confused; is 'Windows Sans WMP' a font of some sort?

I got Gill Sans free with my iBook. Is Windows Sans similar?

Re:The other option being? (1)

arose (644256) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381602)

Your iBook most propably is also sans Bill.

ha-ha-ha (4, Funny)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381400)

[...]Linux would disappear if Microsoft did not grant access to its documentation[...]

Muhahahahaha ! Ha-ha-ha ! Ha-...ha-...ha-ha-ha !

Sorry guys, I can't help myself, I just had a giggling spasm :D :P

Re:ha-ha-ha (1)

monkease (726622) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381450)

God!

I mean GOD!

I don't think you're taking this as seriously as it needs to be taken.

Could this really be the end of Linux!?!?!!!

Cuz' it totally could.


Why do I even bother? I'm going to lose even more karma because some trigger-happy mod with no sense of humor counts so much more than the greatest gift of all: A Child's Laughter.

Re:ha-ha-ha (4, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381608)

Sorry guys, I can't help myself, I just had a giggling spasm :D :P
They worded it a bit funny perhaps, but they do have a very good point. Linux might not disappear like that, but the proliferation of Linux (especially in the desktop arena) does depend a great deal on interoperability (Samba for instance) and compatibility of popular Linux-based applications with those in use by the 'rest of the world' (MS Office OpenOffice).

Interoperability does not truly depend on MS granting access to its documentation; in most cases it is the result of some succesful reverse-engineering. I bet MS would love to put an end to that. The statement "grant access to [the] documentation" is right but should be more specific: "not deny interoperability by means of secrecy or patents or other means"... The Commission touches on an important point, even if they worded it funnily.

Well... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381401)

I make big poo!!

What the heck. (0)

chris_sawtell (10326) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381403)

mplayer can put it back much better.

Of course... (0, Redundant)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381405)

>"Microsoft has said it will remove Media Player from Window, if ordered by the EU this week.

Of course. The other option would be to stop selling Windows in the EU. Who would have expected that?

On coupling os and software (5, Insightful)

tobi-wan-kenobi (797654) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381406)


Microsoft has protested in the past that unbundling elements of Windows would be difficult and could even damage its operating system.

hm... i do not mean to flame against microsoft (yet another time), but wtf? why and how should a media player damage the os, if decently programmed? to me, it sounds sensible to separate the operating-system from the applications built upon it, not coupling them to an absurde degree. well, from the point of view "it will be easier to distribute both products that way", it is understandable, of course, but shouldn't a clear design weigh more than marketing advantage? mark the should, which is - sorrowfully - the keyword here.

ah, and by the way... what will microsoft do? if i was them, i'd offer a network-based installation of wmp, which is (semi)automatically triggered after the installation of windows. thus, they do not ship wmp with the os, but effectively bundle it in 90% of all installations.

The rest of the world would continue to use the full version of Windows, and it encouraged content developers to continue to encode music and other digital products in its Windows media format.

simply cute. encouraging developers to use a proprietary codec (i hope i am correct) to create content, when you need to additionally install software for that codec. *hm* a different approach than the one i outlined above, but an effective one, too.
though i have to say, if i was content provider, i'd see absolutely no advantage in using wmp if the player is not bundled with the os, only the drawback of lock-in by microsoft.

just my 2cent

Re:On coupling os and software (2, Informative)

Moofie (22272) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381456)

Methinks I have located the problem.

"if decently programmed"

We're talking about Microsoft here.

Re:On coupling os and software (2, Funny)

tobi-wan-kenobi (797654) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381475)

congrats, you found the mistake i place into each of my posts on purpose.

Re:On coupling os and software (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381486)

Can I have a cookie?

Re:On coupling os and software (1)

tobi-wan-kenobi (797654) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381503)

well.... you choose: cookie or gmail-invite :-)

Re:On coupling os and software (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381518)

I'll take the Gmail, Alex!

Re:On coupling os and software (1)

tobi-wan-kenobi (797654) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381529)

alex? uhm...no *g*

well, i'll send it to the mail you provide in your profile, hope it is accurate :-)

Re:On coupling os and software (2, Funny)

goneutt (694223) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381480)

I'd say windows is like a house of cards, but that is too straight forward. Windoz is more like an ancient rustbucket of a car that stops running if you remove that plastic figurine of the Virgin Mary on the dash.

Re:On coupling os and software (2, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381555)

why and how should a media player damage the os, if decently programmed?

It depends on what you call Media Player. Most people would consider it to be just the executable, and possibly DLLs and data files that are used only by the application.

On the other hand, the MS legal department considers it to also include any system libraries that it may use, including windowing and disk access libraries, audio drivers, and any line of code that gets called when it is being run. At least that seemed to be the thrust of their argument when complainign that IE was part oft he OS.

Get a computer structure and organization book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381595)

The job of the computer and OS combo is simply to operate on and then render data to the user. The data might be Nigerian currency speculation, or it might be midget clown porn, or just a simple list of recipies in appleworks. But when you've got certain kinds of data, HTML, common video formats, text files, that are so common they are literally everywhere, it makes a lot of sense to build the ability to render that to a user into the OS. Nearly all users must have, and will certainly expect that functionality, save them the obvious step.

Then there is the unreasonableness of the European argument. Microsoft can't give certain functionality away to customers who a majority, certainly here, would consider to be overcharged, and which functionality it can and can't give away is completely arbitrary? Why shouldn't they be sued for giving away Wordpad, and notepad, or even including a textbox such as the one I'm typing in as a standard feature of the OS? (Don't shit the bet, I'm using Redhat) Once more, why can't microsoft give their media player away for free, but MPlayer can? And if it's just a matter of the free labor of installing (which is truly insignificant in windows) how come Mandrake can include Mplayer in their distribution (where the labor saved is more significant)?

The fact of the matter is it's for the customer to decide what should and should not come with an OS. IE, Outlook Express, Wordpad, maybe Media Player: Yes. Windows MovieMaker, or whatever it was called: No. It's not for a board of protectionist bureaucrats who think that customers are cheated if they're not forced to go some player vendor and click on "download now" before they can watch Paris Hilton having sex through the filter of "Inside the Kill Box."

Crippleware (4, Interesting)

mirko (198274) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381411)

The term crippleware usually applies for software which has voluntarily been cut-off in order to force the buyers to upgrade for more functionalities.
This is, of course, only if Microsoft actually intends to offer an upgrade scheme (they could just force the Windows Lite purchasers to acquire a full XP license at full cost)...
Now, after this annoucement [slashdot.org] , it becomes obvious that Microsoft is entering a new era in which they will be forced to lighten their products under the hostile eyes of the trade police...
What willfollow ?
Well, they'll have to cut costs in order to remain competitive in this regard.
I guess, something just broke in Microsoft and it's time for the new Norton-likes to come back and propose better add-ons than the ones that were forcibly integrated into Windows...

Re:Crippleware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381504)

Uh oh, the PC Speech police are gonna get you. The term is "differently-abled ware".

What's wrong? (4, Insightful)

Silverlancer (786390) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381412)

I've never understood what's wrong with Microsoft having WMP in Windows. Any operating system should come with a decent media player, and WMP is one. I mean its not perfect, its not as stripped down as some better ones, but hey, its better than Realplayer, and why in the world would the average user want to have to download a seperate program to simply see a news broadcast? Most Linux distros come with mplayer--is that a monopoly?

Re:What's wrong? (5, Insightful)

tobi-wan-kenobi (797654) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381425)

i don't think this is the point.
the point is that microsoft claims that it would be difficult and possibly damaging to remove wmp from the os.
now talk about tight coupling between software and os. bad thing in my opinion, plus, it remove the freedom of choice from the user.

furthermore, it implies that un-installing wmp properly is hardly possible, so when you think you've gotten rid of it, it has probably just removed some superficial links or such.

Re:What's wrong? (3, Insightful)

0x0d0a (568518) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381447)

Most Linux distros come with mplayer--is that a monopoly?

I believe that Red Hat is the most common distro, and they don't ship mplayer.

And as for your answer -- no, it isn't a monopoly. First, no single Linux distributor has a monopoly on the Linux market. Second, there's no concept of lock-in -- I can make "Debian (or someone that does ship mplayer) with xine instead of mplayer" if I want, and start handing out CDs. Microsoft does not make it legally possible for me to ship a modified version of Windows that contains a different movie player.

Re:What's wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381597)

I believe that Red Hat is the most common distro

I belive you're mentally deficient.

Re:What's wrong? (2, Informative)

oxygene2k2 (615758) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381449)

because WMP doesn't play quicktime or realvideo stuff, at least not the newest generation stuff..
so with a user base of several hundred million, microsoft has a better base to sell streaming servers than its competition - and why? not because WMP is superior, but because microsoft used its desktop monopoly to push into another sector, which is illegal (unlike having a monopoly without abusing it)

as for mplayer, only few distros actually distribute it due to legal trouble, and it's not used in a monopoly environment - also, there are ogle, xine, vlc which are all pretty competitive.

so a) there's no monopoly whatsoever being used to push mplayer, b) there are more things than just mplayer, c) even if mplayer were pushed, it wouldn't slant the server side towards a certain streaming server software (by the same vendor)

Re:What's wrong? (1)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381547)

And Microsoft Paint can only open BMP files, and not Photoshop files. Does this mean the EU should order Paint to be removed from Windows as it's anti-competitive? I dislike MS as much as the next guy, but this case is ridiculous.

Re:What's wrong? (2, Insightful)

rzei (622725) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381461)

I think that the one thing which is wrong here is that Microsoft is also pushing it's own Windows Media format (*.wm[va]) with own codecs.

What makes this a problem is that coupling the only player capable of [legally] playing these files gives Microsoft an unfair advantage over everything else.

No user wants to install for example a media player. A Windows user sees a .rm or .mov on a page, he/she might not click it because then new software might have to be installed, the user might look for a .wmv before installing some plugin.

Installing might be a non-wanted process because of the time taken, which gets irritating when it's taking more than zero seconds. Another thing that makes installing unwanted is the huge misuse of install-new-plug-in feature by dangerous spyware/adware/whatever-ware.

Re:What's wrong? (2, Informative)

FireBook (593941) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381505)

i thought winamp could legally play wma, as long as it respected the DRM infection?

Re:What's wrong? (5, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381470)

Most Linux distros come with mplayer--is that a monopoly?
No. But if
  1. Linux had >90% market share,
  2. there were only one vendor of Linux,
  3. there were a reason why other vendors could not release Linux as well,
  4. that version of Linux came with mplayer as mandatory and only preinstalled player,
  5. that version of mplayer supported a proprietary media format owned by that only Linux distributor,
  6. while media formats from competitors were not supported out-of-the-box,
then it would be an abuse of monopoly.

Re:What's wrong? (4, Insightful)

spuzzzzzzz (807185) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381479)

I've never understood what's wrong with Microsoft having WMP in Windows

Every reply so far has missed the point somewhat, so I'll give it a go. Microsoft has a monopoly on desktop operationg systems (or close enough to one that it makes no difference). There is a body of law that applies only to monopolies in order to prevent them from abusing the power that comes from having a monopoly. One of the things they are not allowed to do is to use their monopoly status to create dominance in a different market.

By bundling WMP with windows, Microsoft is using their monopoly on OSes to dominate the media player market. They have already done this in the web browser market. The relative merits of the players are irrelevant, only that Microsoft is abusing its monopoly powers.

Re:What's wrong? (1)

cujo_1111 (627504) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381509)

By bundling WMP with windows, Microsoft is using their monopoly on OSes to dominate the media player market. They have already done this in the web browser market. The relative merits of the players are irrelevant, only that Microsoft is abusing its monopoly powers.

If the competitors in the markets they are moving into produced a better product, then they would have nothing to complain about.

The RealPlayer installer, for instance, should be picked up by Norton's and quarantined before you can even install it.

Re:What's wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381535)

Competition is exactly the point. The government ensures that the company with a monopoly advantage does not use that advantage on neighbouring markets, and then customers and computer manufacturers can judge the media players on their merits. The compnay that offers the best media player will win, and that company may well be Microsoft, but this way they at least have to make a better product to get there.

Re:What's wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381556)

> If the competitors in the markets they are moving into produced a better product, then they would have
> nothing to complain about.

Except that this isn't how a monopoly works. Most people are willing to just make do with whatever they've got. Plus, you're also assuming that they know something better is out there.

You need to understand that most people are AFRAID of their computers. I've seen grown people pick up a mouse and move it through the air, then complain that the mouse isn't working.

Your grip of the real world seems similarly vague and unrealistic.

Re:What's wrong? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381523)

Duck.. that stupid +5 post is comming back !

Re:What's wrong? (5, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381590)

I've never understood what's wrong with Microsoft having [Product] in Windows. Any operating system should come with a decent [Functionality], and [Product] is one.

Understand these basic facts:
1. It is legal to acquire a monopoly.
2. It is legal to bundle non-monopoly products.
3. It is not legal to use your monopoly in one market to gain a monopoly in another market.

To completely distance ourselves from the tech issues, I'll give you a bread and butter example (literally).

1. It is not illegal to gain a monopoly on producing bread (maybe you're just that much better)
2. As long as there is competition on both bread and butter, it is legal to bundle your bread with your butter.
3. If you have a monopoly on bread, you can't bundle your butter with your bread to drive the other butter companies out of business.

It has nothing to do with bread and butter belonging together or not, it has nothing to do with the quality of either product. It is a means to ensure that competition happens on equal terms.

Without anti-trust protection, anything dependent on bread would fall like dominos in a row. Next up, bread knives bundled with bread. Butter knives bundled with butter. Next up, filet knives bundled with bread and butter knives. Markets would crumble and turn to monopolies ruled by gigantic megacorporations spreading like a cancer throughout the economy.

To return to your Linux analogy, it is not only once, but twice fatally flawed. One, neither Linux nor Mplayer have a monopoly. Second, you misinterpret corrolation with causation. Mplayer and Linux appear often together because they are both popular products. There is no causation, one isn't being used to promote the other.

If Linux demanded that with each distribution of it you would be forced to include Mplayer, then there would be causation. They don't, but if they did (which they can't because of the GPL), and they were a monopoly, which they aren't, then it would be illegal. But Windows is a monopoly, Windows is used to monopolize the media player market, and thus it is illegal. IMNSHO.

Kjella

Re:What's wrong? (4, Insightful)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381603)

Microsoft have a monopoly in the desktop OS market.

Having a monopoly is neither wrong, bad, or illegal.

However, it IS illegal bad and wrong to for acompany to leverage a monopoly in one product area into a monopoly in another by abusing their monopoly position. I'll use a silly example to show why this can't be allowed:

Imagine you have a monopoly on potatoes. If you used your cash reserves (or simply jacked up the price of potatoes) to give away a free carrot with every potato, and continued until all the carrot companies in the world went bust, bought them all up and then put the price of carrots up 1000% ... see the problem? Nice for you, but terrible for the consumers and for the carrot growers.

Replace the potatoes with Desktop OS software, and the carrots with media player software, and you'll see what microsoft is doing that is wrong. It's taking a loss on WMP, and by bundling it for free (so that even by being free too, other players can't compete because they have the hassle of installation as well) it's abusing it's position to try and bankrupt all the other player companies, so it has a stranglehold on that market too. You can also replace carrots with Browsers for round 2 of the EU litigation

If the EU so orders... (5, Funny)

rock_climbing_guy (630276) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381413)

Last time I was in England, a cop stopped me and wrote me a speeding ticket. I'm contesting the speeding ticket.

I'm having a press conference tomorrow where I will announce that I will pay the speeding ticket if the court so orders. I just want to make sure they understand that going into the appeal hearing.

Re:If the EU so orders... (0, Offtopic)

mirko (198274) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381462)

There are to kind of persons : the physical persons (you and me) and the moral persons (Microsoft, Apple and any other company).
You cannot put a company in jail as there'll always remain a part of the executive staff which triggered the original decision which costed them a law suit, especially if the mentioned executive lives abroad...

Re:If the EU so orders... (1)

arose (644256) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381606)

s/moral/amoral/

Two things are funny here... (3, Funny)

shaka (13165) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381416)

First, it's the EC and their stance that "Linux would disappear" - this makes me a bit happy, 'cause it means they'vre probably tried to understand what the fsck the case is about. On the other hand, it gives us a hint as to how much we can expect our politicians to actually understand about these matters. I really don't think, though, that it's too much to ask from an assistant to a member of the Commission to just explain that Linux is on more hardware than just Samba servers.

The other funny thing, which is absolutely hilarious, is that Microsoft's general counsel Brad Smith doesn't "know any person at Linux or any Linux programmers who share the Commission's view."

What, I know several people at Linux, they say it's a great place to work and they have a beautiful campus and stuff...

Re:Two things are funny here... (4, Funny)

0x0d0a (568518) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381426)

What, I know several people at Linux, they say it's a great place to work and they have a beautiful campus and stuff...

The place has a lousy cafeteria, though. Herring this and herring that.

Why is the media player so bad? (4, Insightful)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381417)

If anything's bad, isn't it their proprietary codecs they try to push in the media industry?

I'd rather see them have the WMA/WMV codecs excluded and if a user plays such things, s/he gets directed to a Microsoft web site where they can be downloaded.

Not allowing a stupid media player just seems silly to me.

Re:Why is the media player so bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381481)

Their logic, such as it is, is that it is the bundling of media player with windows which is making windows-media a de-facto standard.

And, frankly, this ruling has come too late, since both major 'next generation dvd' standards have jumped into bed with it.

The commisions point was, basically "It is a no-no to force your way into other industries via a lockin on the desktop", with a side-order of "No killing off real"

So. Is everyone looking forwards to paying the microsoft tax on every (next-gen) dvd they buy?

Smart spin! Install option instead of open formats (3, Insightful)

NKJensen (51126) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381421)

One must admire MS for the spin of this question.

MS got everyone to babble about install-options (WMP yes/no?) instead of the real thing at stake:

Open formats e.g ISO standards or privately owned formats?

Hello, everyone, it isn't about WMP yes/no. It's about standard formats with competition or not. Did you get it now?

Re:Smart spin! Install option instead of open form (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381554)

As far as the law is concerned, the competition between open and closed formats is irrelevant. The only thing that matters to the competition authority is that the competition between media player vendors is not biased in favour of the desktop OS monopoly. The obvious justification of the law is that stronger competition results in better products for the consumers (and the OEMs that package the computer software for consumers). Where are all the resident advocates of the power of the invisible hand now?

Silly Commission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381423)

I'm not in Europe, but I am a Windows user. Quite simply, the windows product is all about simplifying the user experience. The system is designed so that most users can complete common, but new tasks with minimal knowledge.

In this case, users may want to view media from the internet. Without WMP, they must find a player for it. But without knowledge about what everything is, its a hassle. But boom, WMP is in the system set for default, and now all the work is done for them.

The solution is just that, a solution to interfacing users to common tasks. It does that well. But I don't see it as being unfair or bad to continually add features to the OS to continue this goal. Maybe it leads to the adoption and common use of some less then open standards.

But there is still choice. In most microsoft dominated formats, there is some form of compititon from the MS standard.

I have, and will continue, to root for Microsoft in these somewhat useless cases.

Silly Comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381465)

Ehm, the problem is that no OEM vendor can ship Windows without the WMP. Now tell me one reason, why a company selling computers with Windows pre-installed should not be able to sell it with their own media-player, or at least an other player if they think it's better or do have an economic interest in it?

Silly Vendors (5, Interesting)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381560)

Uh, why should you be able to sell a computer with whatever crap you want on it? Windows is not yours to change.

And let's face it. When vendors have tried to 'customize' Windows or add their own tools to it, it has always sucked. Ever tried using a brand new Packard Bell or Dell? You always end up with a ton of crap installed that takes up about twenty icons in the tray. In the worst scenario, you end up with some horrendously lame media player or no-name virus scanner written by a drunk Chinese five year old embedded into your computer. Vendor customizations suck!

Silly Market Economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381596)

Ehm, if the vendor fscks up the computer people don't buy it. It's that simple and it's called capitalism. So your argument doesn't hold any water.

And preciesly why shouldn't a vendor be allowed to ship windows with a different media player again? He isn't changing the foundation of the OS, he just wants to ship a different media player, that's all.

It doesn't matter (1, Troll)

zarthrag (650912) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381431)

The service pack will install WMP 9 anyway...none of this matters a single bit in the end. The only way to "stop" MS is to really go after them, jihad-style.

A little child (2, Informative)

stox (131684) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381437)

"If you won't play with my toys the way I want you to..."

Seems to sum up the Microsoft business strategy rather well.

That's right Mr. Anderson... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381441)

Agent Smith of M$ Matrix won't allow networking documentation be released or l337 h4x0r5 will destroy The Matrix.

Paradoxal (0, Redundant)

muggsopp (764418) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381442)

this is facinating me somewhat, 'cause it somehow brings up this question I seem to be unable to answer myself...

If Linux, or the OSS if you may, can't survive unless MicroSoft grants access to their documentations and specs, who in the name of sweet lord Jesus managed to pull through the Samba Project support for MS clients?


BTW:
I heard this joke on Billy once (please mind the language):
Bill Gates once bought a dutch prostitute, and screwed her as hard as he could. When they were done, she sighed and shook her head while saying: Now I know why it's called Microsoft...

Pointless (4, Interesting)

Tailhook (98486) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381445)

Remove WMP from Windows...

Wow.

I don't suppose anyone will be surprised to find the link to the WMP download presented in bold, flashing red letters among the list of "High Priority" updates (formerly merely "optional software updates") each and every time a European user runs "Windows Update."

Legislative micromanagement of Microsoft's stack of software is futile. Gate's and crew are quietly snickering as they squeak past another round of legal nonsense with another pointless concession.

Re:Pointless (1)

W2k (540424) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381583)

Wasting my chance to moderate you as troll so I can reply ... I am a european user of Windows XP and Windows Media Player is currently listed under "optional software updates", where it's always been It won't be installed unless specifically selected. It won't even be detected as not yet installed using Windows Update's "express install" option, which covers high priority updates (ie security updates) only. Get the facts straight before posting, please.

Limitations! (4, Funny)

hereschenes (813329) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381460)

"Microsoft has said it will remove Media Player from Window, if ordered by the EU this week."

Wow. I always thought Windows had its limitations, but apparently you can only open one window at a time with this cut-down version! Hmmm, which one to open...

Re:Limitations! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381474)

The one of WindowsUpdate, you your other windows can't become vulnerable!

Re:Limitations! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381516)

wow, that reply was cocked up.

Re:Limitations! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381513)

Could you ever open more than one?

Isn't that why it says STOP? Because you tried to open another.

STOP CONDITION. Multitasking attempted, Windows confused.

sym links? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381473)

wait a minute. i remember a couple of years ago MS applied a patent for, well, what we have known as symlinks. why can't they point the default media player to a generic place and use the symlink... err... shortcut(whatever they call it) to the actual non-msMediaplayer or to wmp? makes sense to me. oh, wait. it makes sense. sorry! nevermind!

Re:sym links? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381538)

Yes. ms did claim to invent symlinks [slashdot.org] in a /. story from Thu Mar 02, '00 09:44 AM.

I would think that the problem with using a symlink to direct the user to the default or preferenced app would be agruments associated with the player and support for different formats. IE - their supported player is windows media player and they are trying to listen to an OGG file. Unfortunately, at this point the user would be SOL. Now, if they are an experienced user they can find ways around this problem. If the user has just found the first default application then they might never know how to play any vorbis files.

If APPLE wants to survive in the media player... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381483)

If APPLE wants to survive in the media player market, then the morons should make available for FREE a decent program which can encode video in the Quicktime format! Quicktime Pro can supposedly do this, but I haven't been able to get it to work, and encoding in Vega Video is a chore and a half and sometimes does not work for whatever reason. And Quicktime Pro, even if it can save quicktimes, can't LOAD a lot of the AVI's I have so I can REENCODE THEM!

And RealMedia is just complete crap. Can't save the videos 90% of the time because of copyright protection. Can't encode videos. Videos won't seek properly. Can't play video in slow mo, or step through frame by frame. Utter crap.

I actually would PREFER quicktime to Windows Media playe rand encode my videos in that format if it was easy to do so. Only quicktime allows me to step through one frame at a time forward or back, and seek quickly to different parts of the file. Some media player files don't let you seek at all, and those that do only let you seek to keyframes and there's very few of those a lot of the time.

Much as I hate to admit it, Microsoft's dominance with Windows Media Player is because it's easy to encode videos for it, not because it's part of the OS, and most certainly not because it's the best product. Hell the damn thing even makes me wait while my CD spins up when I try to go to the play menu even if I'm only going there to slow down an avi I'm watching that I got from the web.

Millions and Millions (5, Insightful)

randalx (659791) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381492)

The company had "spent millions" so that it could meet the court's judgment, he added, suggesting that development work has already been done to offer a version of Windows in Europe without the WMP software.

Removing a media player from an OS costs MILLIONS! I feel like making a joke but this is just too ridiculous. The sad thing is probably many non-techies believe these blatant lies. And I don't care what expenses they dream up (testing, lawyers, still more lawyers, cost of diminished monopoly power), this is pure BS.

Re:Millions and Millions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381562)

They probably spent millions integrating WMP so they could claim that it's hard to remove.

Re:Millions and Millions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381604)

Come on, be a bit more rational. I don't know how media player is integrated, but I can safely assume that people need to be assigned in order to remove media player, and these people cost money. Moreover, the man hours they spend (again, I don't know how much of course) cannot be spent on other products, which means those other products (might) delay, thus causing the spending of (virtual) millions. This would be true for any company containing a stable of software products; if you're forced to work on one product and you have a finite amount of resources to perform work, then other products under your care will suffer, and the result will be loss of money.

release documentation for network servers..... (1)

hobo2k (626482) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381493)

Anybody know which server software they are talking about?

Interesting article. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381499)

Let's start with the apparent fact that Microsoft still cannot grasp the idea that Linux is not made by a single company or corporation. Oh, I can absolutely guarantee he doesn't know anyone at "Linux", because there isn't anybody there!


Secondly, if Microsoft can fuss, whine, cry, etc, over how taking some component out is "too hard" and would cripple Windows (mind you, switching the machine on seems to do that just fine) then how are they capable of removing the media player just like that? That, in itself, should send up huge bright red warning flags that Microsoft is, and quite probably always has been, lying to the courts about how "difficult" the process of removing something is.


Third, by putting some psychological pressure on Windows developers to use the Microsoft in-house format anyway, it seems clear Microsoft is attempting to cripple any efforts to switch to other formats. Pointing to things like Apple's iTunes doesn't help the argument, as that is a very carefully-crafted niche market that nobody can step into or out of. It's not in competition with anything, and as such, cannot be listed as a competing format. DUH!


Last, but by no means least, server docs would be nice. Claiming that nobody would be interested in them and nobody has asked for them is at best disingeneous (Microsoft doesn't tend to release anything it doesn't absolutely need to, and even then it's a struggle) and at worst an outright lie (I'm willing to bet at least one WINE developer has asked to see networking and media low-level documentation, and I'm willing to bet they got refused, too).


Sorry, it's hard to feel much pity for Microsoft over this. Their entire case is built up out of mistruths, scams, shams and ignorance. (Some of the ignorance is even their own.) Until they learn to "play nice", they really should accept that it is only by the generosity of the EU and other Governments that they are allowed to play at all.


Marketing is not a right, it is a privilige. That is why, for example, in the US you have business licenses. Despite abusing that privilege, Microsoft is being told that they can carry on. With some relatively minor restrictions. IMHO, that is exceedingly generous. And given their past record, quite likely too generous.


Sooner or later, someone is going to get tough. Unless a volcano in Washington State erupts first and buries Microsoft HQ in ash*. I'd feel sorry for the innocents inside (assuming any were innocent) but it would save the world, which could be quite nice.


*Volcanos are generally compliant with UNIX98 standards, starting up into ash. However, they are known to have a buggy IPC implementation. On failing to negotiate a handshake with the surrounding geography, volcanos are apt to core-dump.

The Gentle Hand of MicroSoft Reassures Us All. (2, Insightful)

lastmachine (723265) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381500)

"We are ready to restart negotiations with the Commission. We have always said people have issues that need to be addressed through face-to-face negotiations to tease out the technological nuances. We remain committed to that," Smith said.

Only if by "face-to-face negotiations to tease out technological nuances" he means "coercion".

He warned that if the court upheld the Commission's decision it would "slow innovation" in Europe, raise prices for consumers and privilege some special interests.

Is there a term for FUD so transparently unlikely that it causes no F, U, or D? Anti-FUD. The inverse function of FUD. RAW: Reassurance And Wellbeing.

mod 3own (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10381502)

Were compo08ded [goat.cx]

Slowing innovation? (5, Insightful)

Principal Skinner (56702) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381508)

He warned that if the court upheld the Commission's decision it would "slow innovation" in Europe, raise prices for consumers and privilege some special interests.

Well, we all know better than that of course; why, just yesterday a Harvard professor jumped on the bandwagon warning that the current patent system inhibits, rather than encourages, innovation. How is Microsoft any different? When everyone knows M$ will come out on top in any battle it chooses to fight, the incentive to try to create something Redmond might want to compete against drops to zero. But if the EU succeeds in putting Microsoft in its place, that will tell a lot of software companies (and VCs!) that their products might finally have a chance of competing on their own merits.

Oh, and "privilege some special interests"? It's funny how one company can be so bad if it gets some help from the government (the criterion for "special interest"), but another company is beyond reproach if it has an advantage that everyone is already dependent on its products.

The point to observe is ... (1)

mmThe1 (213136) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381527)

that they are attempting to protect/support Open Source (no matter how disillusioned they may be about Linux 'disappearing' if MS included WMP...).

No problem with WMP (2, Interesting)

barry_williams (101559) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381533)

I don't see any problem with allowing MS to bundle Windows Media Player. I'm sure aspects of it are used all over the place, e.g. Thumbnail previews of videos, descriptions and summaries in the properties tags. If they want to provide all this functionality they are either going to have to allow:

A) 3rd party providers to provide this information for the OS
B) To have a cut down version of media player which cannot play movies by itself but serves this info.

I'd rather have neither and I'm sure Microsoft don't want 3rd party applications providing information for their summary boxes as they might be buggy etc and cause exceptions...

Airbus don't want people to use other peoples Engines in their aircraft because Airbus don't think it is safe to do so. Is that a monopoly???

Re:No problem with WMP (1)

lastmachine (723265) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381591)

[whispers] (boycott airbus. pass it on. ) [/whispers]

Rename (3, Funny)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381537)

Microsoft has said it will remove Media Player from Window, if ordered by the EU this week and will bundle in a media player it calls "Yet Another Media Player" which is said to look completely different from WMP. It will have a different skin.

EU Remedy is Foolish (5, Insightful)

branchingfactor (650391) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381576)

The proposed EU remedy is foolish because it does not address the heart of the problem, namely, that Microsoft is using their Windows monopoly to enter related markets (in this case media distribution via WMP software and the WMV format). Dropping WMP from Windows in Europe won't hinder Microsoft from entering those markets worldwide. And most people in Europe will download WMP anyway since it will be free and most video content will require its use due to the prevalance of the WMV format. The only effective remedy is to require Microsoft to open source the WMV format (and possibly the WMV player as well) so that the user's choice of operating system is completely independent of their choice of media player/format.

The commision is right (5, Interesting)

SlashDread (38969) | more than 9 years ago | (#10381600)

"But Linux is alive and well and I don't know any person at Linux or any Linux programmers who share the Commission's view."'"

Well, I do. Granted, Im no "person at Linux" (WTF? does FSF member count? ;-) or a programmer, but I AM responsible for switching our companies main old crappy (SCO) machines to Redhat. I use Linux since uhm, the Minix days.

-Without- access to documented API's, compatibility battles are always going to be a "catch-up" game.

Meaning MS can leveradge its closed fileformats and closed API's to keep a lock on its customers.

Even the much applauded SAMBA (Love it, love it) is mostly reversed engeneered, and often has to deal with changed Windows OS behaviour between releases and SP's.

To get out of this deadlock, people can either massively switch away from MS (unlikely, but possible) or have MS open up its secrets, and level the playing ground. Only THEN can Linux and MS compete on the one level that mnatters: "innovation".

No matter how good Gnome and KDE have gotten, if the .net and JAVA software is lacking (Mono is not nearly complete, and is exactly fighting this catch-up game, JAVA is a nifty SUN Trap) and MS file formats could potentially be 100% closed in a single update (Yes MS DOES hold your DATA ransom) Managers will always take the save route. Or at the very best, change will happen very very slowly.

"/Dread"
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