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Microsoft Chided Over Exclusive Music Idea

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the musical-monopoly dept.

Microsoft 331

grumpyman writes "The federal judge overseeing Microsoft Corp.'s business practices scolded the company Wednesday over a proposal to force manufacturers to tether iPod-like devices to Microsoft's own music player software. Microsoft blamed the proposal on a newly hired, "lower-level business person" who did not understand the company's obligations under the antitrust settlement."

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Suuuure (4, Funny)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886598)

Microsoft blamed the proposal on a newly hired, "lower-level business person" who did not understand the company's obligations under the antitrust settlement.

Possible responses from the judge:

  • The Surgeon General has determined it is hazardous to your health to blow smoke up my ass.
  • Pull my other leg, it has bells on it.
  • And after I accept that, you've got a bridge you want to sell me?
  • Ha ha ha ha! Stop it, you're killin' me!
  • Ahhh, the blame it on the new guy defense. Not gonna fly. Next excuse?
  • (to lead counsel) Okay. If you say so. Are we still on for golf in Bermuda next week?

- Greg

Re:Suuuure (1)

rumcho (921428) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886657)

That's pretty funny!

Re:Suuuure (3)

FosterKanig (645454) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886659)

Obviously their "music business" is very important to them since they have a lower level business person running it without any oversight.

Re:Suuuure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886731)

And Ballmer really didn't throw a chair.

Re:Suuuure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886747)

Microsoft blamed the proposal on a newly hired, "lower-level business person" who did not understand the company's obligations under the antitrust settlement.

They should have used the Chewbacca Defense [wikipedia.org] instead.

Re:Suuuure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886884)

You forgot that the new employee was also a Wookie....and just couldn't help it.

Re:Suuuure (5, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886919)

low level business person who did not understand the company's obligations under the antitrust settlement.

Ballmer?

Of course (5, Funny)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886601)

There's nothing Microsoft could have done. Those low level interns practically run the company.

Re:Of course (5, Insightful)

MLopat (848735) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886675)

Yeah well that's closer to the truth than you think. 10% of the company is comprised of co-ops. They typically put in longer hours, do more work, and are the real boys and girls in the trenches.

Re:Of course (5, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886783)

Well perhaps they would get more senior people doing it if there were considerable fines and minor jail terms for continued attempts to thwart the princicples of the settlement as minimal as they are. This failure to apply genuine fiscal pressures upon microsoft, especially considering the cost to government of the continued overseeing of the monopolistic machinations of bog balls and wee willie, is very strange to say the least ;-).

Nothing for you to see here. Please move along. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886603)

Nothing for you to see here. Please move along.

I can hear it now... (4, Funny)

xgadflyx (828530) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886612)

Somewhere deep in the heart of Redmond.... "Damn those new MBA graduate students! Don't know there head from their @#$hole. Looks like we need to re-evaluate our initial MS obscure wording 101 course"

"lower-level business person" (4, Funny)

Baricom (763970) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886622)

Can't get any lower than scapegoat, right?

Re:"lower-level business person" (1)

rootcode (807318) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886814)

How about a low-level Microsoft employee?

Maybe his name was "Tibor" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886924)

(with apologies to The Simpsons")

Homer: Now Bill if you get in trouble, just blame the guy who can't speak English. Ah Tibor, how many times have you saved my butt?

"business person"? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886626)

Read: business woman.

Question (-1, Redundant)

chrisgeleven (514645) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886634)

Has Microsoft ever taken responsibilty for their own mistakes?

Anyone?

Yes, and It's called Windows XP SP2. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886746)

nt

When did they ever take responsibility for that? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886788)

n/t

Re:Question (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886782)

Do hotfixes count?

"Microsoft regrets (5, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886642)

the proposal ever was sent to music-player manufacturers..." Wow, they let the new coffee getter conference call with Sony by himself? Huh.

Re:"Microsoft regrets (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886682)

Obviously there long enough to understand how Micorsoft works though, just not that those inner workings should never be made so ...public. Hilarious that MS's retraction related to adherence to "the company's obligations under the antitrust settlement" and not to the fact it's a loathsome business practice. One more window into the Redmond giant.

Re:"Microsoft regrets (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886699)

Which makes you wonder what Microsoft will be doing once those clauses of their settlement expires in 2008. Perhaps what they're really regreting is the manager letting the cat out of the bag before they could legally do it.

Re:"Microsoft regrets (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886805)

It's not THAT far away... Vista might finally be out... I wonder if it has any interesting "capabilities" that might be revealed, Hot Coffee style... some killer app that just happens to require some as-yet untapped potential in the OS.

Re:"Microsoft regrets (4, Insightful)

steelfood (895457) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886901)

That's one of the things that's so frightening, and so ineffectual about the settlement. It's possible Vista's launch is planned to coincide with the ending of their settlement terms. It'll probably be something like one app in Office 12 (like Word or Powerpoint) with it, or even a dumbed down version of said product (like the way Outlook Express is). After all, when people buy Office, they buy it for Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook as a package. Including Word with Vista won't hurt sales of office, but it might help to kill the whole open formats thing.

Re:"Microsoft regrets (5, Insightful)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886928)

IANAL, but these are my thoughts.

Which makes you wonder what Microsoft will be doing once those clauses of their settlement expires in 2008. Perhaps what they're really regreting is the manager letting the cat out of the bag before they could legally do it.

Doesn't matter. Antitrust law doesn't expire in 2007, only close government supervision does. If anyone thinks that this expiration means the end of Microsoft's antitrust woes, they need to think again. The reason is something called collateral estoppel. Basically all those facts decided as a necessary part of that portion of the case not overturned on appeal is beyond relitigation. I.e. in any future antitrust suit, Microsoft cannot say "We were never a predatory monopoly." The best they can say is "We are not a monopoly any more" or maybe "what we are accused of doing is not predatory." I.e. the litigation changes from establishing facts to establishing *changes* of facts since they were established.

What this means is that the whole point of the antitrust case against microsoft was the judgement that Microsoft both was a monopoly and had broken antitrust law in maintaining it. The exact details of the judgement are largely irrelevant. Indeed had Microsoft been broken up, it would have been *easy* to argue that facts had changed "Yes, Microsoft was a monopoly, your honor, but we were broken up and so the facts from the prior case no longer apply." THe fact that they are largely allowed to continue doing business as usual is *not* a good thing or a light punishment for Microsoft. Indeed it is largely a declaration that it is open season on Microsoft from an antitrust litigation point of view (in that the bar has been lowered to a rediculously low level for such claims, including continuing violations).

Already there are over 100 antitrust suits against them winding their way though a multidistrict panel including Novell v. Microsoft, Go v. Microsoft and countless more. The antitrust settlement might be a minor cut to Microsoft, but it is a cut that occurs in waters populated by a large number of man-eating sharks. Sucks to be Microsoft. Which is one reason I no longer work there.

Re:"Microsoft regrets (4, Funny)

mattjb0010 (724744) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886821)

the proposal ever was sent to music-player

Come on, get with the times. They're not music players or mp3 players any more, they're iPod-like devices. [slashdot.org]

Oh no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886644)

The judge said Microsoft's music-player proposal -- even though it was abandoned 10 days later -- "maybe indicates a chink in the compliance process."

Fayo Sung, director of antitrust compliance at Microsoft, was not available for comment.

lower-level business person (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886646)

Must be Billy or Ballmer. You can't get any lower than a snake in the grass

Oh, okay. (1)

dirtsurfer (595452) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886648)

It turns out the proposal was made by Bill the Janitor.

Nothing to see, move along, false alarm.

Re:Oh, okay. (1)

Cave_Monster (918103) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886740)

Bill was attempting to rid himself of this position and get a promotion as an exec. If this proposal had gotten through undetected, he would have been made a hero at Microsoft.

Re:Oh, okay. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886750)

And he would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for those meddling kids!

Re:Oh, okay. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886880)

Raggy?

Why the Music Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886649)

Why not:

Anti-Virus
Anti-Spyware
Firewall

The typical statements are:
1) Anti-spware; there is just no clear leader in the market
2) Firewall; its not full fledge product
3) A/V not sure what the rational is here. There are market leaders and its going to be a full fledge product.

Re:Why the Music Idea (3, Interesting)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886989)

IANAL, etc.

Why not:

Anti-Virus
Anti-Spyware
Firewall

The typical statements are:
1) Anti-spware; there is just no clear leader in the market
2) Firewall; its not full fledge product
3) A/V not sure what the rational is here. There are market leaders and its going to be a full fledge product.


The fundamental problem is that Microsoft really has lost the ability to compete on merits of software. I think that many of their current policies may expose them to far more dangerous antitrust litigation in the future including all those you just mentioned. IANAL though.

I think that the changes in SP2 regarding better protection against ActiveX controls could have bit into the antispyware market, but that is quite defensible in terms of improving one's product. That seems to me to be clearly on the right side of the line. However, bundling antispyware solutions with Windows (via WIndows Update) seems to be questionable at best. Personal firewalls are another area where there is good question (though Microsoft's personal firewall isn't that great of a product).

In both of these cases, however, it could be argued (unsuccessfully, I think) that because most of this software is given away as a loss leader or integrated into antivirus software, that there is no such thing as a personal firewall or antispyware market. This might be sufficient to handle such complaints (remember that the appeals court found that the DoJ had not made a case that there was such a thing as a web browser market and hence overturned part of the judgement against Microsoft on these grounds). But I don't know. If there is a dispute about whether a market exists, I would expect that to be an issue of fact and a matter for a jury. If I were Microsoft, I would not want to allow for a jury trial in such a case.

None of these arguments work in the antivirus area. And it is quite possible that this is an area that Microsoft is going to get sucked into quite to their detriment.

Blame Management! (3, Insightful)

TauntingElf (926235) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886658)

How in the world can they blame the low level worker when it would have to be a management decision. Now are they saying their new management has been stuck under a rock for 5 years? How many people don't know about Microsoft and the monopoly case against them?

Re:Blame Management! (2, Insightful)

Mr. Sketch (111112) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886685)

How many people don't know about Microsoft and the monopoly case against them?

Exactly. Especially if this person is responsible for these kinds of deals, shouldn't an understanding of the anti-trust settlement restrictions be a requirement for this position?

The good old days at MS (5, Funny)

MLopat (848735) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886663)

I miss the good old days at Microsoft. When we used to just do whatever the hell we wanted, and would write a cheque for the consequences later. :)

Re:The good old days at MS (1)

SpinJaunt (847897) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886681)

Money, money, money
Must be funny
In the rich man's world
Money, money, money
Always sunny
In the rich man's world
Aha-ahaaa
All the things I could do
If I had a little money
It's a rich man's world

When are Mp3 player companies going to get it? (2, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886665)

My girlfriend got an iRiver for her birthday. She's been happily ripping her 2000+ CD collection (all original, bought and paid for) and putting the songs on it. I asked her the other day if she had to install any special drivers or if the Mp3 player was just a normal USB storage device. Apparently it is "kinda" standard. You can drag an Mp3 off the iRiver onto a machine that has not had special iRiver drivers installed and you'll be able to play it.. but you can't drag any old Mp3 file off the computer and onto the iRiver and expect it to play. You can transport Mp3s like that but you need the iRiver drivers to update the index file. Sigh. Why can't the iRiver extract the song name and artist from the ID3 tags in the Mp3? Why can't it just use the freakin' filesystem instead of using its own index? At least it's better than an iPod.

Re:When are Mp3 player companies going to get it? (3, Informative)

jrockway (229604) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886707)

The iPod is exactly the same. It does rename its music files, though, ... but they'll still play fine.

Re:When are Mp3 player companies going to get it? (3, Informative)

Dionysus (12737) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886722)

Because these devices are small with limited amount of memory? And when the memory is limited and the storage capacity is huge, then there is a question of where do you store all that id3 tags. File access would be dirt slow (when you push play, you don't want to wait 5 seconds for the system to find the file. Heck, if you browse your system, you don't want to wait for each update). Even something like amaroK index the files. Try loading all your the mp3s into xmms and see how long it takes.

Re:When are Mp3 player companies going to get it? (2, Interesting)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886826)

Even so, you can't stash something in the menu of the MP3 player that tells it to update its own index? Sure, it may take a moment, or even several minutes if you dump oodles of songs all at once, but it would be really convenient. I keep two copies of some stuff on my iPod so that I can listen to it either on the iPod, or copy it onto a computer I plug the iPod into. It's a waste of space, and it is annoying.

Re:When are Mp3 player companies going to get it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886966)

Actually my old Odyssey 100 player has a 'Reconcile' menu option that make it go through a re-indexing operation, and it does as you suggest take a couple of minutes for a full 20gig drive. so some players have it.

Re:When are Mp3 player companies going to get it? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886878)

Uhh, no. You scan the directory for any file which is not in the index and you display the filename to the user. If the user selects that filename you read the ID3 tags and update the index.

MP3 players (1)

Tony (765) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886832)

The deal is this: if you had 2000+ albums on your hard drive, it'd take you forever to index them so you had a cool interface with which to access your music.

Now.

Take your desktop computer, with all its resources, and scrunch it down into a device that'll fit into your pocket.

The deal is, it's easier to "cache" the ID3 tags into a "database" (sorry if I'm using technical terms here) and have a small "embedded device" use the database for song information. And, since you need a computer to move those songs over to the embedded device, it's much easier to move the db workload off to the big computer than the small computer.

It really does make sense. It's just a pain the ass for the citizen using the device.

Re:MP3 players (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886862)

Then add to the user interface of the mp3 player the option to play files that have not been indexed. It's no more expensive to show a directory listing than it is to show a song/artist listing. And for God's sake, use a flat text file to store the index so anyone can write a program to update it (or you can just use a text editor and do it manually).

Re:MP3 players (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886961)

And for God's sake, use a flat text file to store the index so anyone can write a program to update it

,p>Why is that a proirity? You lose the advantage of faster searching for no real gain. Granted, 10k files isn't really huge, but with indexes, you can lower your memory usage signifigantly.

Re:MP3 players (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886993)

fyi,

1. a number of mp3 players do let you browse files to find one to play
2. some mp3 players support text-based playlist formats
3. finding an mp3 player that works well and is flexible is pretty tough.

Re:When are Mp3 player companies going to get it? (1)

chill (34294) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886972)

Quit whining and try ASKING someone. You know, like iRiver's tech support? You can flash the unit with a ROM update that'll make it a USB Mass Storage (UMS) device. Go search their downloads for "UMS" and drag to your heart's content.

  -Charles

of course... (5, Funny)

sapgau (413511) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886670)

It was one of those lower level, chair throwing, teeth grinding employees!!

Re:of course... (1)

putko (753330) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886900)

Ha ha. Yeah, I figured it had to be Ballmer myself. "Lower level business person" my ass.

Perhaps Ballmer's been demoted to portable music Wunderkind.

Are you fucking kidding me? (2, Insightful)

sootman (158191) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886695)

I swear, you can't make this shit up. Show of hands: who here believes a single thing MS says anymore?

Re:Are you fucking kidding me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886758)

Glancing at the bottom of microsoft.com, I see the text "© 2005 Microsoft Corporation". I think I can believe that, more or less.

I don't care what they say... (1, Funny)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886769)

I may hate MSFT (slashdot crowd cheers) them or love them (slashdot crowd boos), but either way, I give them money every year.

This is not a moral judgement anymore... on a technical basis, do they have something I want? yes.

BTW, I reboot my Windows boxes every month or so, whether they need it or not. Just Because.

Re:Are you fucking kidding me? (1, Funny)

johansalk (818687) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886818)

It seems to work for Bush.

Whisky Tango Foxtrot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886709)

Who the Hell do they think they are? Apple or something?!?!?!?!

Re:Whisky Tango Foxtrot (0, Redundant)

netkid91 (915818) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886736)

Microsoft = Proprietary Apple = Proprietary Indirectly, Microsoft = Apple, they share the same common goal even, MONEY $$$$.

Re:Whisky Tango Foxtrot (1)

Cave_Monster (918103) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886770)

Shock horror! A company trying to make money. Well I never heard such a far-out thing. Regardless of the tactics used, I'm sure it really isn't going to hurt their market share. I think it's more a case of, lets try it and if we get caught 'bummer' otherwise profit!

Re:Whisky Tango Foxtrot (1)

netkid91 (915818) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886795)

Pretty much.

Re:Whisky Tango Foxtrot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886944)

The only difference between MS and apple is that MS handed apple their asses to them on a plate with MS-DOS (of all things). Other than that they have exactly the same business practices. The only thing apple has going for them is the iPod/Tunes - which makes apple primarily a music appliance company/RIAA shill (who also make mediocre niche computers), NOT a computer company.

Re:Whisky Tango Foxtrot (1, Troll)

badmammajamma (171260) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886776)

Good thing you went anonymous with that post, otherwise you would have been modded down for dissing Apple (in spite of the fact it's true).

I don't care if I get modded down, so feel free.

Who do you think they're talking about? (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886721)

"lower-level business person" who did not understand the company's obligations under the antitrust settlement.

Steve Ballmer?

Re:Who do you think they're talking about? (1)

The Ancients (626689) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886828)

Steve Ballmer?

All Steve understands is how to jump around the stage leaping and whooping like a primate. However, apparently that's enough to run Microsoft.

But is it really so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886872)

> All Steve understands is how to jump around the stage leaping and whooping
> like a primate. However, apparently that's enough to run Microsoft.

However, apparently that's enough to run the USA.

Re:Who do you think they're talking about? (1)

Tuross (18533) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886883)

No.

Steve Ballmer is not a stupid man. He fully understands that his ability to dance around a stage like a primate, and to toss company furniture around, and to make death threats against other individuals; and generally behave anti-socially and immaturely and in a manner that would get regular folks like you and I slapped in gaol rests solely on the fact he has made an arse-load of money via his company's illegally-obtained monopoly - and gotten away with it all to the point where the arguably strongest government in the world won't touch him or his criminal organisation.

You'd be dancing around too with that kind of injustice^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hgood fortune.

Turnabout is FairPlay? (0, Troll)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886754)

Isn't this precisely what Apple is doing with iPod + iTunes? If Apple can open an online music store and restrict competing hardware and software products then why can Microsoft not compete in exactly the same way? What about the tethering of music purchased on iTunes to the computer which purchased the music and the FairPlay system? It seems to me that Microsoft cannot be faulted for taking a few pages from Apple's playbook in this case.

Re:Turnabout is FairPlay? (4, Insightful)

Janacek (925490) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886811)

Completely different situation. Apple makes the iPod and has every right to limit it to run whatever software it chooses. If MS made the player nobody would have a right to say that it must run other companies' software. The problem here is MS was trying to force other manufacturers to limit their players to running only Windows Media Player software.

Re:Turnabout is FairPlay? (1)

RollingThunder (88952) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886820)

Microsoft can't do it because they're a convicted monopolist.

Apple is not, so they can do it.

This is pretty simple. You break the law, you get curtailed rights.

Re:Turnabout is FairPlay? (0)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886860)

Close. Very close. But wrong.

Microsoft is a legally recognized monopoly. Even if we somehow agree with MS and absolve them of all moral and ethical wrongs they may have committeed, they are now a monopoly and are constrained in how they can act in a way that Apple is not.

There is competition for iTunes. There is competition for the iPod. It's entirely possible to use iTunes to buy music that doesn't go to an iPod at all, and it's entirely possible to use an iPod with someoen else's service.

The day that you can't get legal music online save through Apple, or that you can't easily find a portable high-capacity music player that isn't an iPod, is the day that Apple will be held to the same standard of fair play that Microsoft is held to.

Re:Turnabout is FairPlay? (1)

MochaMan (30021) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886867)

Microsoft can't do it because they're a convicted monopolist.

Not to split hairs, but Microsoft has never been "convicted" of being a monopoly. Being a monopoly is not, in itself, illegal. Microsoft has been found guilty of abusing its monopoly position in one market to extend it to others. This is illegal as there are many laws preventing monopolies from engaging in such behaviour.

As you point out, Apple is not in the same position and as such, they're not restricted by these laws, neither are they bound to conditions imposed by previous lawsuits.

To the grandparent poster -- it would be nice if everyone were treated equally, but there are many cases where this is not so. Convicted murderers get confined to jails, monopolies that abuse their monopoly position have fines, and restrictions imposed on what kind of business they can engage in.

Re:Turnabout is FairPlay? (1)

sholden (12227) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886837)

Because Apple didn't get found guilty of illegally using anticompetitive means to keep an existing monopoly and obtain monopoly power in a second market.

Re:Turnabout is FairPlay? (1)

prockcore (543967) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886861)

Because Apple didn't get found guilty of illegally using anticompetitive means to keep an existing monopoly and obtain monopoly power in a second market.

That's only becaues Apple neglected to actually obtain a monopoly before acting like one.

Re:Turnabout is FairPlay? (2, Insightful)

steelfood (895457) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886838)

I think this has been discussed quite a bit in the past already. Apple can at most be accused of having a monopoly in the mp3-player world, and that's not quite true (there are a lot of competing players in the market, it's just that nobody buys them). They also haven't attempted to kill their competition through monopolistic practices. Their competition survives just fine by using alternative software, and it isn't iTunes or FairPlay that's the cause of the competition's failure to gain any marketshare.

On the other hand, Microsoft has used and still wants to use their monopoly in the OS market to force out competition (OS2) and even in other markets (Netscape).

Re:Turnabout is FairPlay? (1)

womby (30405) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886841)

Because Microsoft is a convicted monopolist and Apple is not.
Apple in some territories the iPod holds a monopoly like position and Apple might abuse that position, but until they are dragged into court on anti-trust violations and have business practice restrictions placed upon them, like Microsoft, they are free to do as they please. Microsoft reached an agreement that restricted what they could and could not do in the market place with their products, this means other companies are free to create vertically integrated product lines that Microsoft cannot emulate.

Re:Turnabout is FairPlay? (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886941)

Apple in some territories the iPod holds a monopoly like position and Apple might abuse that position

Explain how Apple can exclude competitords from the market, then.

Re:Turnabout is FairPlay? (1)

D.A. Zollinger (549301) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886843)

Isn't this precisely what Apple is doing with iPod + iTunes?

I guess you forgot about the HP branded iPod. Truth of the matter is, anyone can build an iPod and offer music encoded with Apple's DRM, as long as they play by Apple's rules. Unfortunately most companies find Apple's design specs too restrictive, and lisencing too expensive. But they make great equipment that is highly desirable, and offer an end-to-end solution with the iTunes store, iTunes, and the iPod. If you want part of their 75% market share, you are going to have to play by their rules, which means small margins, and high royalties.

If I may speculate about what might have been...if Winamp had focused on selling songs, and got Rio to make mp3 players that linked up to their software, we would be living in a totally different world right now.

Re:Turnabout is FairPlay? (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886976)

If I may speculate about what might have been...if Winamp had focused on selling songs, and got Rio to make mp3 players that linked up to their software, we would be living in a totally different world right now.

And what songs was Winamp going to sell? The big content owners were busy fighting new distribution methods at that point. Furthermore, they certainly weren't interested in selling MP3s - still aren't.

Sure - the big guys aren't the whole show. But independants have been early adopters of MP3s; a format that plays in Winamp and the Rio. And what's the big news? iTune because Apple has managed to either bring the big media to the table, or at least provide a table where they'll sit at the right time... or perhapse both.

Re:Turnabout is FairPlay? (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886854)

why can Microsoft not compete in exactly the same way?

I'm sure this has got to be redundant by now, but what the hell, at least I'll pile on...

Did you happen to notice WHO it was that Microsoft was explaining their error to? You know, the judge who ruled over the trial in which MS was convicted for illegal abuse of monopoly power?

When Apple gets convicted of illegal abuse of monopoly power, then you might have a point.

Note that simply having a monopoly (as Apple does with the portable music player market where they hold more than 90% marketshare) does not equate to abuse of that monopoly power.

Re:Turnabout is FairPlay? (3, Insightful)

caese (925123) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886855)

No, because Apple isn't twisting the arm of hardware manufacturers to use their software. You buy an Ipod from Apple and it comes with Apple Software. It the same as if you bought a Sony MD, you're be expected to use Sony software (sonicstage was perhaps the worst piece of junk ever i might add). This is clearly not the same as Microsoft (a software company, OK they do make keyboards) saying to Creative or whomever is creating the devices that they have to use WMP.

Re:Turnabout is FairPlay? (2, Interesting)

sabaco (92171) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886866)

Not at all. The point of the article is, Microsoft, because of past abuses, currently (until 2007) has more restrictions against them than most companies. Something like this:

The disputed plan, part of a marketing campaign known as "easy start," would have affected portable music devices that compete with Apple Computer Inc.'s popular iPod. It would have precluded makers of those devices from distributing to consumers music software other than Microsoft's own Windows Media Player, in exchange for Microsoft-supplied CDs.

is a violation of their punishment - much like if a person on parole can't hang out w/ convicted felons, but a regular person can

Re:Turnabout is FairPlay? (2, Insightful)

gzearfoss (829360) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886879)

Not from how I interpret it. The main difference between the two is that Apple owns iTunes, iPod, and the music store, while Microsoft only owns its Media Player and the operating system. If Apple wants to restrict their iPod to only their product, it's their choice. If Bob makes an MP3 player that will only load music from BobSongs Music Player, it's his choice; he controls both, and that decision is made by him. In either case, if people don't want to use the designated music loader, then they shouldn't buy the music player. Alice has no right to go to Bob and force him to change his product to use only her music player.

In other words, if Microsoft makes a music player of their own, then they can restrict it to only using WMP. But they shouldn't be able to force other MP3 player manufacturers to only use WMP, even though Microsoft controls the operating system.

did not understand? (4, Funny)

the-build-chicken (644253) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886771)

lower-level business person" who did not understand the company's obligations under the antitrust settlement...and apparently been living the past 5 years without a tv.....or a newspaper.....or interpersonal contact.......in a box....wearing earmuffs......buried in a 12 foot crater on the other side of mars.

Re:did not understand? (5, Funny)

jedZ (571869) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886804)

with a sign on it saying "Beware of Leopard".

Re:did not understand? (1)

Crunchie Frog (791929) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886927)

Ever thought of going into advertising?

Re:did not understand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886968)

Whatever... I'm not surprised. We can't even find Iraq on a map [cnn.com] .

Simpler explanation (4, Insightful)

aepervius (535155) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886787)

They are "testing the water" to see how far they can go expanding their grasp without anyone reacting. Next time they will go a little less far and nobody will react etc...

Really nail them... (1)

The Ancients (626689) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886806)

...over a proposal to force manufacturers to tether iPod-like devices to Microsoft's own music player software.

Meh - teach 'em a lesson. Force manufacturers to tether iPods to Microsoft's own music player software :p

Ok, ok - I know it's not fair, not going to happen, and just plain not nice, but imagine the look on Bill's face when that little beauty came zinging his way...

They forgot... (0, Redundant)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886833)

The "lower-level" employee was also accused of throwing chairs across the room while threatening to "fucking bury these antitrust guys", according to a Microsoft statement. His identity has not been released, but Microsoft has promised that "appropriate action" will be taken.

"We've decided that Mr. Bal-erm-this low-level goon is only allowed to have beanbag chairs in his office from now on. And if he throws any more furniture he's paying for his own wall." said Jack Priceup, a low-level marketing goon for Microsoft. Asked if low-level people within the organization were allowed to make large-scale decisions with competitors, he said "No way, they don't even let us take a piss without askin..." After checking his pager, which started furiously going off at that time, he then stated that time for comments was up.

Why not? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886844)

1) Apple does it.
2) The sooner they lock up mainstream music in restrictive DRM the better. Lock it down, encrypt the hell out of it, throw away the key.

Great. Who cares? They have the rights to the music, let them do what they want. Whatever. Don't like it? Find something else to do. It's not like there's a lack of things to do. I'm sick of the whining. You were born a slave. Get used to it. Don't like it? Kill yourself. You'll just reincarnate as another slave but hey... Stop paying attention to this nonsense and work for free to improve linux so that my experience is better. hehehe. Too much caffiene, but my interfaces are not taking on badcrcs... I'm going to go bang to rocks together and grunt in a rhythmic pattern. I expect it to be big. very big :)

Re:Why not? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886902)

Quick trigger Apple fanboys with mod points must be working over-time here. -1 that quickly. Sarcasm is forbidden. I'm so glad I hesitated back when I was drooling over the G5s, OSX, and the iPod. Apple makes some nice products, but so many of their knee jerk customers running around makes me glad I didn't join the fold cause then I'd have to interact with them all the time.

I'm almost too afraid to say that Microsoft makes decent products sometimes and I might even consider buying their O/S to do some things. But to try and balance the slashbot shock and horror, I really do like linux and have used it for years. Censorship abounds. Anywhere you go, damn you for not conforming, damn you to -1 troll hell.. gotta wait my slow down cowboy time period. Oh well, beats working heehehe. Someone needs to post a slashdot conformist etiquette FAQ or something to inform the free thinkers of how to avoid offending all these various sensitivities.

Re:Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886954)

It was a stupid post. I don't agree that it was worthy of moderation, but it was still a stupid post.

If anything, it should have been moderated, "-1 irrelevant", but since that's not an option, perhaps "-1 overrated".

brilliant future (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886859)

Microsoft blamed the proposal on a newly hired, "lower-level business person" who did not understand the company's obligations under the antitrust settlement.

Let's say that for a new hire, the guy knows a lot about Microsoft tactics already... he only failed one test: never get caught!

Culpability (3, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886907)

FTA: "Microsoft abandoned the idea after a competitor protested."

How many questionable actions have slipped through because the competitors have been strong-armed (due to business relations with MS) or bought off?

This happens to be an area where MS has valid competition who have a large interest in making sure MS doesn't leverage their OS dominance... what happens in areas where the competition doesn't have the legal resources to monitor MS & to file complaints?

Not to bash MS, but really now... Gates & co are making a good case for the idea that they need to be monitored past 2007, and that perhaps the previous settlement wasn't enough.

The fact of the matter is that whether it was Gates or Ballmer or some new lackey, they were acting in official capacity as an employee of MS. It is the responsibility of those in charge to make sure no one in the organization could take illegal action. And should the court take action (which the judge said she won't), the execs at MS should be held liable by their shareholders.

Re:Culpability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886920)

the execs at MS should be held liable by their shareholders.


I'm sure Gates and Ballmer will question the executives intensively.

MRD (3, Insightful)

starling (26204) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886915)

Microsoft blamed the proposal on a newly hired, "lower-level business person" who did not understand the company's obligations under the antitrust settlement.


Well, they would say that, woudn't they?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandy_Rice-Davies [wikipedia.org]

MICROSOFT NEEDS A SPANKING! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886918)

That's it, Microsoft! You have worn out my patience. Time to go over my knee to have your bare bottom spanked! No more excuses for you, Microsoft!

Now how is *that* for chiding Microsoft over its exclusive song plan?

In defense of MS (5, Informative)

weavermatic (868696) | more than 8 years ago | (#13886949)

I am a service tech with Siemens on the Redmond Microsoft campus. We do all of their desktop support so I see A LOT of the normal day to day happenings that go on around this place. Ever since I've been here, all I've seen are people doing everything they can to make the most feature-filled, least buggy, most compatible software they can. I know for certain that the team working on Microsoft Operations Manager has in the last week broken several barriers that they were working on.

My point is that Microsoft is not the immense evil company that they are made out to be. The people that work here are not trying to rip you off. They are not sabotaging their software. They take pride in thier work. We have copies of different linux builds lying around and some people even use Macs here. Seeing the way things work here, when Balmer says he has not thrown a chair, I believe him. Every last employee and most vendors here have IMMENSE amounts of freedom in their jobs. Microsoft hires people that present an air of trustworthyness. They want to be able to hire people, assign them a task, and be confident that the person they hired will be able to complete the task in the most efficient and responsible way possible.

In reference to this article that obviously did not happen. Somebody was entrusted with a certain amount of authority and they misused it. Please realize that Microsoft as a company is not some huge evil organization out to rape your wallets. They are regular people who want to, like anyone else, do the best job they can.

Might as well give it a try ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13886962)

BushCo got away with this sort of excuse in the torture scandal. They sacrificed a few underlings and are still pushing for torture from the top:

White House pressures Congress to reject torture amendment [cnn.com] .

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