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EU/Microsoft Antitrust Case Delves Into Tech

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the need-some-acid-reduction-there dept.

181

oscartheduck writes "ZDNet is reporting on the Microsoft/EU case, and things aren't going too well for the software giant. The Commission is delving deeply into the technical issues surrounding the case. In addition to 'a record $617 million' that may well be leveled against the American monopolist, Microsoft is also standing accused of knowingly going forward with marketing practices 'that had already been judged illegal by U.S. courts when it was used on Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser.'" More from the article: " The founder of the Samba team of developers, which took years to create print and file server software that works with Windows, said his team is held back and playing catch-up. 'The tiny device I have here in the palm of my hand is the sort of product that could emerge if the information required by the Commission were available,' Andrew Tridgell said, holding a paperback-size storage server that he said could be turned into a work group server. Once it gives over the information, 'Microsoft no longer has a stranglehold over the world's networks,' he said. "

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Yay Tridge... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15213541)

Now Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer and Larry McVoy will all hate you.

You must be doing something right.

With Microsoft stock up 1.5% so far today... (4, Insightful)

Osrin (599427) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213545)

... I'm not sure that the markets are as worried about this as Slashdot readers are.

Re:With Microsoft stock up 1.5% so far today... (4, Informative)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213647)

First, the entire Nasdaq is up by almost that much. This just falls in line with the rest of the market.

Second, Microsoft has its thumb in over a hundred pies. Take a look at all of these news stories [yahoo.com] , especially the one on profit estimates. This case won't be resolved any time soon and there are plenty of other things going on.

Re:With Microsoft stock up 1.5% so far today... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15213678)

I'm pretty sure the legal troubles that MS is having in the EU has already been priced in a long time ago, so how the stocks are doing on a day to day basis is probably absolutely unrelated to this issue.

Re:With Microsoft stock up 1.5% so far today... (1)

MECC (8478) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214948)

"... I'm not sure that the markets are as worried about this as Slashdot readers are."

I don't know if worried is the term that best characterizes the general /. mood about msft's EU antitrust problems ...

It seems like... (3, Interesting)

scenestar (828656) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213569)

That MSFT is gonna get kicked in the nuts for just more than bundling a mediaplayer and a browser.

It's time to finish their sleezeball business practises once and for all.

Windows has become such a huge part of European infratructure that we can no longer rely on a shady corporation.

Re:It seems like... (0, Flamebait)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213711)

Windows has become such a huge part of European infratructure that we can no longer rely on a shady corporation.

You know, I was thinking of starting to manufacture avionics stuff. But Airbus seems to have a "stranglehold" on the fly-by-wire control systems used in the vast majority of EU-made passenger aircraft. They should have to not only give me their source code, but assign people to help me make products to take business away from the European operations that actually came up with the stuff. It's either that, or I'm going to have to invest billions of dollars... oh, wait.

Re:It seems like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15213983)

Wo.. watch it. You've offended the euromods around noon ET. That's primetime down in Euroland. They'll track you down and subject you to cruel and unusual punishment -- last I heard, it was 21 readings of the EU constitution (unabridged).

Re:It seems like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15214460)

Excellent point

Re:It seems like... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15214771)

A better description would be that 95% of the world's airports only let "Airbus-compatible" planes take off and land there and Airbus is constantly trying to make it hard for other plane manufacturers to make their planes compatible..

Re:It seems like... (0, Flamebait)

Greatmoose (896405) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214918)

Damn, wish I had mod points. Excellent job of pointing out the "euro-hypocrisy" of all of this. Kudos.

Re:It seems like... (0, Troll)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214615)

Oh come on. Companies with $40B in cash reserves do not get 'kicked in the nuts' by some upstart commission. "Monopoly" is a word that's thrown around a lot, and often incorrectly [worldmagblog.com] .

It's time to finish their sleezeball business practises once and for all.

Do you know any examples, or are you just regurgitating Slashdot FUD?

Windows has become such a huge part of European infratructure that we can no longer rely on a shady corporation.

And if that's true, then Microsoft has nothing to worry about in the European market.

Personally, I think the EU just likes padding their budget with fines levied against a rich foreign company.

Re:It seems like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15215268)

Why, of course nobody could honestly fault such an upstanding and good-doing corporation as MSFT. And of course he cannot show any examples - why, not even the FA has any real examples of shoddy business, all those Commission witnesses are just shameful trolls interested in lining up their pockets with spoils the fines would steal from the honerst, truthful and hard-working people at MSFT, like the Esteemed Chairman Gates and his Right Hand Balm...er.

But fear not, MSFT will prevail in the end, as we all know that Good always vanquishes Evil, and they will continue leading the way towards our Glorious American Dream. Together with other upstanding and good-doing American Dream-builders like the fine RIAA and MPAA folks.

Long Live Chairman Hu^HGates!

[please type the word in this image: satiric]

Re:It seems like... (-1, Troll)

kylef (196302) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215166)

It's time to finish their sleezeball business practises once and for all. Windows has become such a huge part of European infratructure that we can no longer rely on a shady corporation.

This sentiment is *exactly* why most people on Wall Street and in the business world see this case for what it is: the Europeans trying to assert control over an American company they despise.

This case has nothing to do with legality. It's about taking down a hated foreign company by coming up with a string of witnesses who have axes to grind.

Andrew Tridgell? Give me a break! This guy has based his entire career by reverse-engineering other companies' products and passing them off as his own. He is a leech. And yet *he* is the one who the EU is listening to? That's a telling commentary on what Europe has become today.

Re:It seems like... (0, Troll)

soulhuntre (52742) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215188)

Windows has become such a huge part of European infratructure that we can no longer rely on a shady corporation.

The message is clear - whenever a US componey creates something that is so sucessful Europe needs it they will attempt to take it from you by legal force.

Stranglehold on the world's networks (3, Insightful)

jfclavette (961511) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213583)

Once it gives over the information, 'Microsoft no longer has a stranglehold over the world's networks,' he said. "

Uh, we got to make up our minds here folks. Either Linux is prevalent in the server market or Microsoft has the stranglehold there too. You can't have it both ways...

Re:Stranglehold on the world's networks (4, Insightful)

x2A (858210) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213650)

There are different types of networks. Samba team are complaining about file/print/etc sharing between windowsother OS's, which is a quite specific part of networking needs around the world. When you're not talking an MS language (eg, tcp/ip + http + html etc) Linux/OSS (eg, apache, perl/php, mysql) is very prevalent.

Re:Stranglehold on the world's networks (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213855)

"specific part of networking needs", yes, but important. I don't think the claim is that they're holding the world's network (singular, meaning the internet) in a strangle-hold. The problem is they have a strangle-hold on loads of networks around the world. Think about every business that has a few Windows components, and so pretty much everything on the network needs to be Windows in order to preserve interoperability. Projects like Samba give us a lot more options.

A stranglehold does not require prevalence... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15215110)

A stranglehold does not require prevalence. To analogize: I need not control your entire body to have you in a stranglehold; I need only have a tenacious grip on your throat that you cannot easily break.

Open standards != Market Stranglehold (2, Insightful)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213677)

Just a minor correction but if everyone is communicating the same way, it does not make one platform have a stranglehold over the other. It merely means that they all are allowed to freely communicate.

For example, English could be considered an open standard and businesses from all over the world use the english language to communicate with each other regardless of who invented the language.

If English were proprietary and all businesses required it, every company that wanted to conduct business would have to pay a fee to whoever invented english.

Big diff.

Using your above statement within the metaphor, an open english language would not mean that China and Korea would instantly have an advantage in the market place over America (or England), it would just mean they would have equal footing to compete.

Re:Stranglehold on the world's networks (2, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213683)

So um, clients aren't part of the network? Are you reading /. from a Linux server?

Microsoft's stranglehold is on the client. Since everyone uses a client to get onto the network Linux can simultaneously be prevalent in the server market. Microsoft also has huge market share for large corporate file servers.

Re:Stranglehold on the world's networks (1)

utlemming (654269) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213750)

What? You don't surf the net on your network's critical Database server? Wow, I guess I am pretty unique then.....maybe that is the real why I keep getting hacked.

They have a stranglehold because of the Clients (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214949)

Where open standards prevail, Linux has a sizable market share in server systems. Webservers, routers, etc, all work on open standards and there, Linux is for many the system of choice.

MS holds a grasp on the fileserver market for the simple reason that their clients, i.e. the systems that are dominant on the user end of a network, don't understand any network protocol but their own. And this is decidedly NOT an open standard.

That's where they have a stranglehold. And certainly not because their server system is superior to Linux. They simply have it because the client forces people to use a Server that is capable of delivering support for those "dumb terminals".

Fines don't matter (4, Insightful)

x2A (858210) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213597)

MS just work it into the price of the OS, so the consumer ends up paying for it anyway. So it basically turns into a consumer tax on copies of Windows.

Re:Fines don't matter (1)

Slash Veteran (561542) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213671)

MS just work it into the price of the OS, so the consumer ends up paying for it anyway. So it basically turns into a consumer tax on copies of Windows.

Who pays for Windows?

Re:Fines don't matter (1)

x2A (858210) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213741)

"Who pays for Windows?"

I don't have the time to do that kind of research, but there MUST be people out there who do...

Businesses that wanna stay legit I s'pose. If their expenses are up, the cost of their products/services to their customers are up. So you end up paying (lights go dim, voice goes echoy) in ways you don't even know!!! :-p

Re:Fines don't matter (1)

AstroDrabb (534369) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214287)

Uhh, about 95% of the PC using *modern* world? Almost everyone that buys a computer will pay the MS-Tax. Most home users are not building their own or buying a barebones so they pay for the MS license with the PC purchase, even if they will not use MS Windows.

The majority of corporations in the modern world also pay. It would cost a company more to get sued for infringement than to just pay the MS-tax.

Finally, anyone with half a brain could come to the conclusion that MS is making Billions a year, someone must be paying them.

Re:Fines don't matter (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213874)

Fines don't matter...MS just work[sic] it into the price of the OS, so the consumer ends up paying for it anyway. So it basically turns into a consumer tax on copies of Windows.

Fines are only one piece of the puzzle. First, where does the fine money go to? Is it used to promote alternatives? Second, the ruling opens MS up to yet another round of lawsuits from all the companies they illegally screwed over. MS will have to get out its checkbook and settle with all of them in civil litigation, thus providing them a competitive redress of the illegal imbalance. This means when Windows prices go up, alternatives' prices can go down. Third, the EU fine can go up as MS willfully fails to comply, eventually getting to the point where the cost they pass on to consumers becomes less bearable than the artificial costs MS has introduced to lock customers into their platform. If Windows costs $1000 a seat a lot of companies are going to be looking at Linux alternatives, even if it means paying coders to write all the missing functionality they need (not that the price is likely to reach that level).

Re:Fines don't matter (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214257)

The price of Windows is already artificially high as it is. Compare to hardware prices and Windows should cost about 5-10$ today at most. By baking in more and more functionality Microsoft has been able to not lowering prices. If this business model is shot to pieces they will be forced to lower their prices and thats what this case is about. Fines are just the first step. Ignore them and more destructive punishments go into action.

Re:Fines don't matter (1)

prshaw (712950) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214722)

>>The price of Windows is already artificially high as it is. Compare to hardware prices and Windows should cost about 5-10$ today at most.

And how or why would you compare a software product to a piece of hardware? And what hardware? My car is hardware, so that proves Windows should cost how much? Car prices have done what in the past 20 years? Hardware is cheaper?

Windows is software generally created by service professionals. Software is labor based. A better example would be comparing computer programming costs to accounting costs, or the price of lawyers.

Comparing the cost change of software to hardware makes no sense at all. Just be cause the cost of a pencil doesn't go up over the years doesn't mean that the people writing with them don't get paid more.

Re:Fines don't matter (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214906)

The market has expanded thousends of times since the beginning. Microsofts coffins is full to the brim with money. One would expect that software engineering had advanced atleast a tiny bit in the last 20 years, no? Its common that things gets cheaper over time if they are in an open market with competition. Expecially in new markets where much space is avaliable for manufacturing improvements and labour saving working methods.

Software is labour based just as anything else yes. But why then hasnt the price of XP gone down since it has already been recouped and is now just a matter of shipping a CD? They dont rewrite the thing over and over. The only thing they do is fix the things that wore broken at shipment day.

Re:Fines don't matter (2, Insightful)

Frequency Domain (601421) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214947)

MS just work it into the price of the OS, so the consumer ends up paying for it anyway. So it basically turns into a consumer tax on copies of Windows.
That's a common misconception, but economics says otherwise. Price and quantity are determined by the intersection of the supply and demand curves. At a higher price point, there's generally less demand to the point that MS loses money relative to what they make if they eat some of the price increase. Microeconomics says that the new equilibrium will distribute the "tax" between the producer and the consumers, with the proportion payed by each determined by elasticities of supply and demand. The nice thing about making MS open their standards (such as Samba) is that it gives consumers greater choice, which changes elasticity favorably for us consumers. Check any text on micro-econ if you don't believe me.

International Law Question (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15213607)

Microsoft is also standing accused of knowingly going forward with marketing practices 'that had already been judged illegal by U.S. courts when it was used on Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser.

And how exactly does US law apply to EU courts? Do EU courts ever use US laws? That would seem utterly stupid to me.

Re:International Law Question (2, Insightful)

AxXium (964226) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213917)

I don't know why this was modded as a troll.

This is a very valid point

I have seen several instances is U.S. politics where people in some circles stated "We should use law-foo because it is used in Europe so it must be fair". Only to hear the argument "Since when do we use E.U. laws in the U.S. and when does it matter what other countries do?"

So it seems very hypocritical on one side or the other

Re:International Law Question (3, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214247)

AxXium,

There is a big distinction between applying foreign law to questions where involved matters cross jurisdictional boundaries and using foreign precedent to guide the interpretation of domestic law in domestic applications, and between either of those and using the success of a particular foreign law to seek to have similar law enacted in your own country.

Your post, it seems to me, conflates all of these into the same issue, and then goes on to say that since some people argue on side, and some people argue the other, that this is hypocrisy rather than disagreement.

Re:International Law Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15213988)

I don't think it is taking the actual case law into matter. Rather it shows how much contempt M$ holds towards any one person, organization or governing body. Right now M$ is becoming their worst character witness and it's gonna get them in the end.

Re:International Law Question (1)

tereshchenko (715289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214052)

Why parent modded as troll? He/she's absolutely correct - US laws cannot be used as arguments in EU courts.

Re:International Law Question (1)

An Onerous Coward (222037) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214291)

As I(ANAL) understand it, foreign law isn't binding on U.S. courts, but a judge can use it as part of his reasoning when deciding a case, if relevant statutes and case law haven't been found.

The difference, I suppose, is that if a prosecuter presents a judge with a 9th Circuit ruling showing how the case should be handled, the judge is bound by it. If the prosecutor comes in with a French Court ruling, the judge can say, "Yeah, that makes sense," and rule accordingly. While the ruling itself would be binding on lower courts, they wouldn't be required to inject the French laws into the legal code.

Re:International Law Question (2, Insightful)

ScriptedReplay (908196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215338)

Yet I believe you could use it to argue intent. Leaving aside the matter of jurisdiction, MSFT continued a type of business practice that was deemed illegal in a court of law. This is hardly the behavior of an innocent company. So one can argue that if the EU finds MSFT's behavior illegal in their jurisdiction as well, their punitive measures should be stronger than the ones US imposed, which did not appear to have the intended effect (that is, stopping MSFT from abusing their position, whether you want to call it monopoly or not)

Re:International Law Question (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214164)

An EU prosecutor can use the finding of facts just as it can use any other material for proving its case. This has nothing to do with laws, its just evidence. Good evidence in most peoples minds since it stems from a US courtroom and not some random rumour.

Re:International Law Question (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214182)

The parent here should not have been modded "troll". Its a legitimate question.
And how exactly does US law apply to EU courts? Do EU courts ever use US laws? That would seem utterly stupid to me.
I don't know much about EU law specifically, but I do know that national courts are sometimes called upon to apply for foreign law for cases where the issues cross jurisdictional boundaries, see for instance this summary [asil.org] of a UK House of Lords ruling resting, in part, on a determination of Iraqi law made by a lower UK court. US courts do this as well.

Re:International Law Question (1)

RahoulB (178873) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214187)

i don't know about the quote from the article but the EU has already rules that MS's business practices were illegal. MS then promised not to do it again (the EU saying "we are particularly worried about media players"). MS did it again. The EU takes them to court. Simple .

EU law roughly based on US law (1)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214644)

In fact European Competition Law is derived to a considerable degree from US law. (Well, when the EU was founded, what other example of a democratic federalised state did they have to work with?) It is entirely reasonable that a court should be informed that a litigant has been convicted of a similar offence in another jurisdiction. Furthermore, Microsoft has been trying to go behind the back of the EU courts by trying to get information disclosed in the US. The US courts have (very properly) refused under the comity principle.

It's actually good to see that Europe and the US can be sensible in this way about trade law.

Re:EU law roughly based on US law (1)

mrjb (547783) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214745)

In turn, US law is roughly based on UK law.

Re:EU law roughly based on US law (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214839)

(Well, when the EU was founded, what other example of a democratic federalised state did they have to work with?)
The Federal Republic of Germany and Switzerland come immediately to mind as examples of federal, democratic states that might have been familiar (particularly the former, a founding member of the EU) to the founders of the EU.

Re:International Law Question (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15214769)

It's a matter of principle. If they are forced to abide by a principle by US courts, and they are aware of the fact that the same principle is at play in other jurisdictions and for other products, and go ahead and /run afoul of that principle/ though they have every reason to have been aware that they're running afoul of that principle ... It shows a bad faith effort, not merely negligence or lack of due diligence.

Practices that are designed to produce or strengthen a monopoly are monopolistic in the US and are monopolistic in the EU.

A rose is a rose is a rose.

I was wondering the same (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214968)

Illegal in the US is (fortunately) not (yet) automatically illegal over here. I'm far from defending MS, but using a verdict in the US as the foundation of one here could quickly backfire.

It shows willfulness. (1)

PolR (645007) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215290)

The bundling of Media Player was worldwide, including in the US where similar bundling was already found illegal. Therefore there is evidence that Microsoft was willingly in violation of some law in some country. Willfulness makes Microsoft looks like acting in bad faith and may discredit some of Microsoft's arguments.

IANAL

Or put another way... (4, Interesting)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213617)

On Wednesday, Microsoft argued that the Commission's decision had shackled its ability to compete, an argument that Europe's top antitrust authority dismissed as "absurd" and "frivolous."

"We...submit that the (Commission) decision is an attempt to reconfigure (how the) market works by handicapping the leading player in perpetuity," Forrester told the court.

Perhaps "levelling the playing field" is a better way of looking at it. Look, I'm all for innovation and the right to make money off your ideas, but when it comes to computers and software, you have to bite the bullet and admit that people need choice. Admittedly, you want that choice to be your software or your server, and you can ensure that by dominating the market. Just as we've seen though, that makes you the target of everyone's wrath, whether from competitors, governments, or hackers.

So yes, Microsoft has a "right" to its intellectual property within reason, but when it come to interoperability, they need to rethink their stance. Ultimately they could conceivably eliminate most of their competition, but then that would spell the end of innovation on the grand scale, and force them to become even larger and more bloated than they are now. It's bad enough that one hand doesn't seem to know what the other is doing in Redmond, without consigning the rest of us to oblivion. MS needs to take its lumps, fix the interoperability/bundling issue, and move on.

Won't happen anytime soon.

Re:Or put another way... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214713)

If Microsoft would play fairly, then these demands to peak into source code to make sure it's playing nice wouldn't be an issue. As Microsoft has repeatedly demonstrated nothing but contempts for the courts, the time has come to take out the ten thousand pound sledgehammer to knock the 800 pound gorilla down a few pegs. The only way to make sure that MS isn't playing games to cripple competitors is to have access to the source code.

This situation is entirely Microsoft's own doing. They kept on abusing and abusing, even after multiple rulings had found them as an abusive monopoly. Rather than playing by the rules as they had been set out before, it decided to play chicken with governments, and while they got off lucky in the US, eventually this sort of conduct was going to catch up with them. I think, frankly, that they're screwed in Europe, and that the force of law will make them change, though I have no doubt that they have a hundred other ways to screw the consumer and the industry, and until the company is broken up, we'll just keep having the same battles over and over again.

Re:Or put another way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15214917)

So yes, Microsoft has a "right" to its intellectual property within reason, but when it come to interoperability, they need to rethink their stance.

It might be wise for Microsoft to rethink their stance, and if they wish to survive in the marketplace the need to rethink their stance, but they still retain their intellectual property rights. If they want to have a proprietary system, that is their business. Just because it is popular doesn't mean they suddenly have to let every other system interoperate.

If Microsoft wants to continue to play nasty with other systems, that's their business. The market will punish them if people want to interoperate. There is no need for heavy-handed government intervention.

Look at Vista. Right now, it looks like it will be DOA. Microsoft has flailed around since the release of XP hyping Vista and now all the neat technologies that everyone looked forward to are gone.

Microsoft is simply following in IBM's footsteps. They've grown so large that they can't manuever. Pretty soon they'll be singing the interoperability tune like IBM is today.

I just wish MS was forced to open it's 'standards' (1)

evdp (761639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213620)

It would be nice if there was some sort standard compliance body that had to test/verify/pass such things (like the windows OS, NAS Appliances, Linux, etc) for interoperability and function before it was release (anyone else have a bit of fear over the forthcoming vista release?).

If the whole process was done right this sort of thing would have to kill innovation, as everyone would be able to 'extend' the standard (as long as it didn't break the original functions).

Can't we begin to 'enforce' standards... a sort of ISO-31337 certification of some sort?

Re:I just wish MS was forced to open it's 'standar (2, Informative)

statusbar (314703) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215022)

Can't we begin to 'enforce' standards... a sort of ISO-31337 certification of some sort?

Problem is that so many of these 'standards' suck. Even our ubiquitous HTTP/1.1 standard has no automated test suite for clients or servers to tell developers 'Yes your client and/or server meets the HTTP/1.1 standard including WebDAV.'. Same thing with Samba, NFS, afs, etc... So we are all left with strange protocol handlers with exceptions for specific clients or obscure workarounds, and using the customers as beta test subjects.

--jeffk++

Andrew Tridgell's Tiny Device (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15213631)

You know, they could have said what the device was at the beginning of the quote, because when some geek type talks about the tiny device in the palm of their hand that may "emerge" if certain conditions are met, well, I just get the wrong impression....

smoothness (1)

inigopete (780297) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213653)

FTA:

To achieve this so-called "interoperability," the Commission requires Microsoft to provide protocols--the rules of how to communicate between the so-called "client" computers and servers, and between the servers themselves.

But providing that information sweeps away Microsoft's intellectual-property rights, the company said.

"The Commission calls for functional equivalence," Microsoft lawyer Ian Forrester said, referring to the level of smoothness software needs to work well with Windows. "In order to achieve that, you have to go far beyond interoperability."

Possibly over-simplified and similar to the "Microsoft owns English" analogy, but if you invent a language, it's in your interest for people to speak it, so saying you're not going to teach people how to speak that language is like shooting yourself in the foot.

But I do like the quote from MS's lawyer about "the level of smoothness software needs to work well with Windows". :)

Re:smoothness (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213803)

Not if all your friends speak that language and you're in a position to persecute anyone who isn't fluent.

Microsoft isn't shooting itself in the foot when it breaks with standards and insists on it's own hidden protocols and such-- not until customers start refusing to buy MS products.

Forced forward compatibilty? (3, Insightful)

nixkuroi (569546) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213763)

Ok, so if I get this right, if I create an interface to provide interoperability between my programs, and my programs become popular enough that people want to connect to them for reasons I didn't intend (and don't want to have to support), why is it a good business decision to release an API for that interface? It seems like that might shooting myself in the foot if I'm giving it to others who intend (as the linux community does) to supplant me with my own technology. To me, that's like bring a tank to war and then giving the enemy the keys to it. Flame on!

Re:Forced forward compatibilty? (0)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213947)

If I create an interface to provide interoperability between my programs, and my programs become popular enough that people want to connect to them for reasons I didn't intend (and don't want to have to support), why is it a good business decision to release an API for that interface? It seems like that might shooting myself in the foot if I'm giving it to others who intend (as the linux community does) to supplant me with my own technology.

Re:Forced forward compatibilty? (3, Insightful)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213971)

O.K. Nixon, way to be completely ignorant of the whole M.S. anti-trust case.

I'm sick to death of ignorant fools who can't be bothered to do a little research to understand a topic. Then they come up with the most asinine analogies to prove their ignorant point. Why don't you do us all a favor and shut the fuck up and do some research before you spout off some half baked idea.

I'll give you a little help - the word is monopoly.

Re:Forced forward compatibilty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15214028)

Again, it's a matter of the rules changing as soon as you have a monopoly. You used the analogy of a tank, and it actually pretty good, except as far a commerecial competition goes, we want war. War is _good_ here.

So, if one player dominates the battlefield it perfectly reasonble for the government to step in and give the other side they keys to some of your tanks, thus making the war longer and bloodier.

Re:Forced forward compatibilty? (2)

RahoulB (178873) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214119)

it's not the monopoly that microsoft is in court for. they are in breach of a ruling that the court made against them - the ruling is because of the abuse of monopoly power but this hearing is about them breaking an agreement they accepted

Re:Forced forward compatibilty? (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214229)

it's not the monopoly that microsoft is in court for. they are in breach of a ruling that the court made against them - the ruling is because of the abuse of monopoly power but this hearing is about them breaking an agreement they accepted

...sort of. Except this particular agreement basically said, "we'll stop breaking the law." You see, not documenting the API's between their server and desktop is a crime. It is tying, and monopolies are forbidden by law to do that. They are being fined for not stopping their illegal actions, as they agreed they would.

Re:Forced forward compatibilty? (0)

Chicken04GTO (957041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214158)

Applying the word monopoly is only a good idea when there actually is one. MS has plenty of OS competition, just because the market chooses to use them far more than anyone else hardly qualifies as a monopoly.

To me, this particular issue (SMB) seems more like a whinefest. "lots of people use your proprietary file sharing protocol, and we want to use it too so people will use our stuff instead of yours".

If I was MS, id tell people to f-off too. You like the fact we dont share our network protocols? Build your own.

Re:Forced forward compatibilty? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214658)

Have you even bothered to look up the definition of a monopoly? No one denies that there are competitor OSs, and in the server world, MS certainly has a big run for its money, but in the desktop world, the nearest competitor holds at best 10% of the market. In short, MS has no real competition on the desktop, and, as bad as this situation is, Microsoft's abusing that monopoly is the key problem.

Re:Forced forward compatibilty? (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214068)

Its not a problem if the possesion of the API's do not form a significant barrier. For new companies to enter the market they are quite frankly toast if they dont speak "Microsoftish". Regardless if they are in every way superior, cheaper, more secure they cant enter the market without very good support for Microsofts protocols. The reason others need the recepies for the communications is not to compete with Microsoft on Microsofts protocols, its for being able to enter the market and compete with other better technologies.

Also dont forget Microsoft has abused its monopoly countless times and thats the real issue here. They did a concious choice to just say fsck off to the antitrust laws and got caught.

Re:Forced forward compatibilty? (3, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214091)

Ok, so if I get this right, if I create an interface to provide interoperability between my programs, and my programs become popular enough that people want to connect to them for reasons I didn't intend (and don't want to have to support), why is it a good business decision to release an API for that interface?

First, MS did not "invent" the interface they copied an existing open standard then intentionally broke it. Second, it is not a "good business decision" but it is required by the law if one of the two products you are talking about is in a market you have monopolized.

It seems like that might shooting myself in the foot if I'm giving it to others who intend (as the linux community does) to supplant me with my own technology. To me, that's like bring a tank to war and then giving the enemy the keys to it.

No it's like bringing a tank to the mall and then arguing when the cops arrest you for breaking the law by crushing other people's cars and driving a vehicle banned on public roads. "But officer, my tank lets me park more easily and closer to the doors! I'm special and rich, I don't have to obey the laws! I did the same thing in Kentucky and after I bribed the governor they let me go!"

Please, if you make up anymore analogies, don't forget to include that you are a monopoly and do a little research on what monopolies can and can't do and why. Bundling and tying are illegal actions for monopolies because they remove all the benefits provided by a capitalist free market. You may be ignorant, but you can bet MS isn't and they decided breaking the law was a good business decision. No sympathy for the devil.

Re:Forced forward compatibilty? (1)

pimterry (970628) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214521)

No, you're not. BUT if you're in a monopoly position, meaning everybody else in the market needs to be able to work with you (particularly important in the all-connected computer industry) then you need to give them enough details to be able to work with you.
and my programs become popular enough that people want to connect to them for reasons I didn't intend (and don't want to have to support)
Firstly, samba at least is not 'a reason they didn't intend'. They're trying to find out how to connect to a windows pc in EXACTLY the same way a windows pc would, so there are no extra support issues, providing microsoft gives over the api.

Imagine if a phone company became THE phone company, everybody bought phones from them, and then they started inventing their own ways of working. Yeah fine. Say they start their own exchanges and change the way phone calls are transmitted totally. Almost everybody uses them and it's just made their service better! But then, they don't tell the other phone companies how their calls are transmitted. So if you're not on this company then you can only call phone that are also not on this company.

This is where it moves from ok to BAD. You've got 90% of the market. But now, nobody can buy another type of phone service other than yours, because if they do, they can't talk to 90% of the population. So your market share grows and grows because PEOPLE CAN'T CHOOSE ANYTHING ELSE. Remind you of anybody? This is what abusing your monopoly means.

Not exactly giving them the key to your tank, more like taking your hand of the big red button.

PimTerry

Re:Forced forward compatibilty? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214637)

The difference, as always, is that Microsoft is in a monopoly situation. The rules change for how you can conduct your affairs when your dominance in the desktop world is 90%+ market share. That's the price of success.

But it isn't just MS's own protocols, it's what it does to other protocols and standards, such as the way it mutilated Kerberos or the way in which it undermined Java. It may very well be that not doing these things would have meant MS was shooting itself in the foot, but the interests of the consumers have to reign here, and what may make sense from a corporate point of view is, in fact, delerious from the point of view of the customers, who need interoperability.

Re:Forced forward compatibilty? (1)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214661)

Ok, so if I get this right, if I create an interface to provide interoperability between my programs, and my programs become popular enough that people want to connect to them for reasons I didn't intend (and don't want to have to support), why is it a good business decision to release an API for that interface?

Because someone else might come along and offer it instead, and your customers might switch to them.

You alone won't matter. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215032)

Don't get me wrong, that's not supposed to be an attack on YOU when I say, you don't matter.

UNLESS you start to have a monopoly.

If your tool is so dominant in the market that it's virtually impossible for another company to actually compete with you, this is of course beneficial for you (hey, you could charge whatever you want, you could do whatever you want, and people would STILL have to buy your crap), but the general user base and the industry itself will suffer from it.

Private monopolies are by the standard capitalist definition something VERY, VERY bad. Competition is the driving engine of invention, of development and of progress. Without it, why try harder? Why invent? Why develop? Why put ANY effort into it?

Monopolies are the epitome of stagnancy. Where do you think we'd be today in CPU technology if AMD didn't exist? Intel would dominate the home computer market. Do you think we'd have CPUs like the dual core? Why should they invest so much time and effort into making our machines faster without a competetor that would take away their sales if they didn't?

I don't even want to imagine where we could be today with OSs if there was any meaningful desktop replacement for Windows. I might be curling up in a li'l ball and whimper in pain.

this FP for GN#AA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15213846)

IS THE GROUp THAT To decline for clearly. There

Actually the funny thing is (5, Interesting)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213986)

That the article mentioned SMB as the example where Microsoft is screaming, this is our IP, it is not. SMB was originally defined by IBM and an open protocol, Microsoft embraced and extended it until it closed the doors and now it is a Microsoft we own it and do not give the specs protocol. Guess who is on the payroll of the original inventor currently. Yes some of the SMB core devs. This behavior reminds me of someone who goes into a house throws the owner out, replaces the locks, the owner hires a guy who opens the locks, the thief goes to court and cries, this is my house, this guy has no right to go in there.

Re:Actually the funny thing is (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214007)

Sorry with SMB core devs I meant SAMBA core devs.

Re:Actually the funny thing is (1)

ReverendRyan (582497) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214574)

Actually if I remember correctly, squatting is perfectly leagal under Brittish Common Law. In fact, it goes so far as to protect the squatter from exactally what you describe. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squatting#Squatting_i n_the_United_Kingdom [wikipedia.org]

So, chalk that up to another failed analogy on /.

I get the distinct impression... (4, Interesting)

Alioth (221270) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214020)

I get the distinct impression that Microsoft being tardy to release the documentation for their protocols isn't purely due to malice - or even not malice at all. I get the impression that things like this simply aren't documented INSIDE of Microsoft, and the original developers of the code have left, and MS staff are now busily trying to document a gigantic mass of source code.

I have direct experience of Microsoft having none or inadequate internal documentation (see my latest JE for the full discussion - http://slashdot.org/~Alioth/journal/133996 [slashdot.org] ). A quick precis is that we were working with the GINA in the NT 4.0 days, and we had an expensive support contract with Microsoft (IIRC, numbers bandied about were US $40K) because of what we were doing with the GINA. We actually ended up speaking to Microsoft developers - who couldn't answer our questions. We ended up reverse engineering the MS GINA to find out how to set everything up correctly. It was interesting to note that the publically available GINA documentation improved substantially a couple of years later when Windows 2000 came out. Perhaps the developers felt ashamed that their customers had to resort to reverse engineering because this expensive support contract fell flat.

Re:I get the distinct impression... (2, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214178)

I get the distinct impression that Microsoft being tardy to release the documentation for their protocols isn't purely due to malice - or even not malice at all. I get the impression that things like this simply aren't documented INSIDE of Microsoft, and the original developers of the code have left, and MS staff are now busily trying to document a gigantic mass of source code.

That could be, but it is not any excuse for continuing to break the law. MS made billions breaking the law and when ordered to stop, pleading incompetence isn't going to work. "But officer I don't remember where I put the key to the cupboard I hid the stolen money in" has never worked as a defense for not handing over reparations for a crime. They have billions of dollars. If they don't have adequate documentation in the specified timeframe it is because they haven't put the effort in to create it. They could afford to pay the 100 best coders and documenters in the world 10 million bucks a piece for this 2 month contract work, but they haven't. Well, it is up to them to do the cost/benefit analysis of spending the money to get the work done versus paying the fines. But I don't for a second buy the idea that they can't do it if they want to.

Re:I get the distinct impression... (1)

BrewedInTexas (971325) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214727)

This is not an isolated incident either. I ran into the same problem last year when we were creating a mobile client for the Live Communications Server. They could not give us any kind of specs on the protocol or the MPPC compression. Thank god for Ethereal.

Had to Ask (1)

carrier lost (222597) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215375)


  "we were working with the GINA in the NT 4.0 days"


Was that the Veteran's Administration GINA?


You know, the VA GINA?

:)


MjM

Screw the EU (0, Troll)

stangy (871995) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214223)

I'm not usually on Microsoft's side but screw the EU on this one. This is a simple case of extortion. I mean there is no downside to fine a US company. They are fining MSFT just because they can and its somewhat fashionable to do so.

Re:Screw the EU (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214390)

Have you followed the DOJ trial and the EU trial in any way? This case is crystal clear.

Re:Screw the EU (3, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214425)

I'm not usually on Microsoft's side but screw the EU on this one. This is a simple case of extortion. I mean there is no downside to fine a US company. They are fining MSFT just because they can and its somewhat fashionable to do so.

So let me get this straight, you think the EU is fining MS for intentionally breaking the law, after MS was judged guilty of doing the same thing by the US courts, because it is "fashionable?" MS broke and continues to break the law. The EU has a history of going after all sorts of companies both European and foreign for breaking antitrust law. To whine when they apply it to MS, means you probably have bought into some of MS's ridiculous propaganda.

Your nationalism is just moronic. You might as well go hang out with all the rednecks that think Americans should be above the law when visiting other countries.

Re:Screw the EU (1)

stangy (871995) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214720)

I don't buy any of Microsoft's bullshit but I still don't think this isn't going to help consumers anywhere.

A Good example: The EU made Microsoft build a new version of XP without Media Player. I read something like .005% of consumers bought that version. Interesting, people in the EU really give a shit about this.

Re:Screw the EU (2, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214856)

don't buy any of Microsoft's bullshit but I still don't think this isn't going to help consumers anywhere. A Good example: The EU made Microsoft build a new version of XP without Media Player. I read something like .005% of consumers bought that version. Interesting, people in the EU really give a shit about this.

You have just committed the logical fallacy, "argument by association." Arguing that previous EU punishment was ineffective, thus the one we are discussing must also be ineffective is not a logical argument. I agree the previous punishment was pretty pointless. It looked to me like they make a ruling, set up a way to correct the imbalance, and then that ruling was modified by someone with no clue what the whole thing was about.

This particular requirement, however, is quite different. If MS is forced to comply and publish and adhere to open specifications for interactions between their server and their desktop, it will have a real and positive affect upon the industry. Right now MS servers are slow, less stable than Linux, more expensive than Linux, unable to properly support multiple server tasks, poorly secured, and lacking in many important tools. People still buy them for one main reason, they are the only thing that properly speaks AD and Exchange to interact with Windows desktops.

With open standards for AD and Exchange (among other protocols) many, many server rooms would move away from MS products until MS provided actual value for the cost. MS would have to fix their half-assed shit or actually lose market share in the server space, kind of like a free market, huh? I know the concept of OS's competing on features instead of lock-in seems strange and foreign to many people who buy them but a few of us feel it would actually be beneficial to the market.

With this judgement two things will happen in some combination. Consumers will switch to alternatives or MS will be forced to make a better product. Either way, consumers win.

Re:Screw the EU (1)

stangy (871995) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215124)

I don't think my logic is off here. Thats just my point. The fact is you have these politicans making technical decisions that they know nothing about. Media Player was wrong and so is this. I'm for open standards just as much as the next guy. But arguing that a private company must comply with that belief is wrong. MS business practices have been shady to say the least but this is the wrong way to fix that. Is this the logic? 1) MS makes a shitty / poor documented product. 2) Everyone buys it 3) Sue MS until they fix it 4) Make some cash in the process.

Re:Screw the EU (3, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215357)

I don't think my logic is off here. Thats just my point. The fact is you have these politicans making technical decisions that they know nothing about.

This is the logical fallacy of "ad hominem attack."

Media Player was wrong and so is this.

This is a repeat of your "argument by association."

You haven't provided any logical reasons why you think this particular ruling will be ineffective. Stop wasting my time by avoiding the topic. Why do you think this particular punishment will not help in the way I described?

I'm for open standards just as much as the next guy. But arguing that a private company must comply with that belief is wrong.

I'm all for nonviolent resolution of problems, but trying to force convicted murderers to not illegally carrying concealed guns while on parole is just wrong.

What MS has done is against the law. This particular part of the punishment says they will stop breaking the law in this particular way. It isn't about open standards, it is about tying a product from a monopolized market with a product from a non-monopolized market. Ford can make tires and size they want with weird, proprietary ways to attach the rim to the rotor. If, however, they gain a monopoly on cars, they have to document that attachment and allow third parties to interoperate with it. Otherwise, they can just spread their monopoly into new monopolies, thus removing customer choice, competition, innovation, and all the other benefits of the free market. It is the law, and MS broke it, intentionally, under the belief that they would make more money doing so than obeying the law.

In theory, MS can comply with the law in another way, by removing all the secret interaction between their desktop and server completely. Just tear the functionality out of one of the products and they will be in compliance with the law, if not with their signed agreement for how they would stop breaking the law.

MS business practices have been shady to say the least but this is the wrong way to fix that.

They haven't been shady in this case, they have been blatantly illegal as ruled by numerous court systems. Ordering them to stop breaking the law is definitely the way to fix it.

Is this the logic? 1) MS makes a shitty / poor documented product. 2) Everyone buys it 3) Sue MS until they fix it 4) Make some cash in the process.

1) You're right so far. 2) Wrong. MS coerces many people into buying it, by tying it to their desktop system, which is a monopoly and no one can do business without. 3) This isn't a lawsuit. No one is being sued. This is committing a crime, criminal law, not civil. The courts don't sue you for murder. They convict you, as they did MS. 4) Fines are very nearly the only punishment that can be levied against corporations. They could order them broken up into separate companies, but this is a step in the right direction.

You seem to be very misinformed in numerous ways. You should do a little research on this case and on antitrust law (both what it is and why almost every country has it in similar form). MS has not been convicted of making shitty/ poorly documented products. They've been convicted of leveraging their monopoly on desktop OSs to make consumers buy those products, even though they are shitty. The basic purpose of anti-trust law is to stop companies from abusing monopolies in ways that obviously harm consumers and markets.

Re:Screw the EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15214897)

You apparent don't buy into thinking and logic either, do you? XPN is non-standard, isn't available from OEM's afaik, cost the same as the standard edition, and you have no idea wether it might be "boobi-trapped" by ms to "punish" those who might dare to make a statement by getting it in any case. Now, what where the incentitives to get it?

Re:Screw the EU (0, Troll)

cortana (588495) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214925)

Your faith in the good intentions of the EU Commission is likewise moronic. It is simply fortunate that our goal (of getting MS to open their protocols) is temporarily aligned with the goal of the Commission (extortion).

Re:Screw the EU (1)

pimterry (970628) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215072)

The BROKE THE LAW. Read the words. Not only EU law, but US law. It's not like it's opinion it's something that _has_ happened. The EU is not extorting anybody, it's simply following it's own (and many places') regulations to the letter.

Where in that can you POSSIBLY say the EU is moronic? It's (unlike microsoft) just following the rules!

PimTerry

Re:Screw the EU (1)

stangy (871995) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215161)

Sure they are following the rules they they set. Really tough to do that... How does the US Law have anything to do with this??

Re:Screw the EU (2, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215422)

Sure they are following the rules they they set. Really tough to do that...

I think you're a little unclear on the concept of "rule by law." It's not like the people who convicted and are responsible for overseeing MS's punishment had anything to do with passing the laws under which they were convicted. Anthropomorphizing the EU is absurd.

How does the US Law have anything to do with this??

Because the US, the EU, and almost every other country in the world has laws that make what MS did a crime. You can't complain that the EU is unfairly punishing MS by selective application of the law any more than you can complain when they convict someone of murder. Both murder and anti-trust tying are illegal almost everywhere. The EU enforces laws prohibit both offenses both against native residents and foreigners regularly. It is doubly hypocritical to make such a claim when they have been convicted in the US of the same offense.

How's this for a concept? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15214461)

They are fining MSFT just because they can and its somewhat fashionable to do so.


If Microsoft don't like it, they can stop breaking the law.

Read the article - it's the commission! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15214265)

It's the commission that is in trouble (read Cook's comments). seems like someone with half a brain realized that engineers built something that might be worth money and has value. Wow, that is some really shocking thinking!

Thank God for the EU courts (5, Interesting)

couch_warrior (718752) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214482)

When the Bush administration took over here in the US, a wave of corruption swept through this country like sugar through a diabetic, stunning our enforcement agencies and causing public insitutions like the Patent Office to roll over and play dead. The Justice Department, which had already won and had Microsoft on the ropes, dropped the anti-trust suit like a hot potato, settling for a useless slap-on-the wrist penalty.
Thankfully the EU has some *balls*, and is not emasculated by the cult-of-monoplists that has shredded the integrity of the US government.
Hopefully, the massive inflation that is snowballing due to price-gouging in the oil industry and the resulting collapse of the real-estate balloon market will shock the US populace into sweeping the Republicans out of both houses of Congress while they clean out the White House.
Then there will be a chance that the US Dept. of Justice will get back into the business of enforcing the law.
It is my dearest fantasy to believe that I will someday see "Ballmer and Butthead" being led off to jail in handcuffs.

Fuck the EU and Blame Bush for everyhting is BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15214933)

Youre so representtive of the idiocy that plagues 49% of the population her in the US and a much higher percentage of the population in the EU.

The basic themes of the Association of Useful Idiots of which you belong are as follows-

Bush is the root of all evil and is simultaneously a stupid man incapable of anything worthy while at the same time so brilliantly evil holds sway over all aspects of our lives.

The EU has anything on their agenda remotely resembling fairness other than whats really going on...rampant anti-americanism of which they pursue via litigation against very profitable american corporations since the EU cant influence and American election in spite of their boy George Soros investing millions. FU EU

Microsoft occupies the position just below Bush on the evil scale regardless of the fact that they have made signifigant contributions furthering the cause of IT in spite of what its lame brained and leftist linux loving weasel critics say. Microsoft is evil to them handsdown and its ok for them (Microsoft cirtics) tp push their monopolistic agenda as the alternative, linux.

And then to throw in the USPTO as another one of Bush's evil conspircacies is just STUPID. That is a problem that has been brewing for years and you can blame that on one thing, lawyers.

Face it, your still smarting from 2000 and 2004, even if your a EU'bee. Guess what, get ready for more pain in 2008 and please keep it (idiotic rhetoric) coming, people like you help the cause more than they know!

P.S. The EU has balls...just a little reminder, the countries that make up the EU were the same ones that rolled over for the Nazis with the exception of the UK..the EU is the last place you'll find balls, unless your in Amsterdam of course!

 

Re:Fuck the EU and Blame Bush for everyhting is BS (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215223)

"Youre so representtive of the idiocy that plagues 49% of the population her in the US and a much higher percentage of the population in the EU."

Yes he is, if idiocy by your terms equals difference of opinion.

"The basic themes of the Association of Useful Idiots of which you belong are as follows-

Bush is the root of all evil and is simultaneously a stupid man incapable of anything worthy while at the same time so brilliantly evil holds sway over all aspects of our lives."

Bush has done very much bad things in his time as president. The list is very long and he has succesfully made public opinion to sway from pro US after the 9/11 to a public disaster. Torturing innocent civilians isnt good for public relations abroad.

"The EU has anything on their agenda remotely resembling fairness other than whats really going on...rampant anti-americanism of which they pursue via litigation against very profitable american corporations since the EU cant influence and American election in spite of their boy George Soros investing millions. FU EU"

The EU is anything but anti-US. Most are big US fanboys and wouldnt let a staged trial pass without making a fuss.

"Microsoft occupies the position just below Bush on the evil scale regardless of the fact that they have made signifigant contributions furthering the cause of IT in spite of what its lame brained and leftist linux loving weasel critics say. Microsoft is evil to them handsdown and its ok for them (Microsoft cirtics) tp push their monopolistic agenda as the alternative, linux."

The only thing Microsoft has really added are salespoeple who could sell refridgerators to Antarctica. Name one technology you think stems from Microsoft or one product they havent copied.

"And then to throw in the USPTO as another one of Bush's evil conspircacies is just STUPID. That is a problem that has been brewing for years and you can blame that on one thing, lawyers."

This i can agree on. Its a stupid mistake done by former administrations also. "If our people patent it first the money and IP stays in the US" Too bad it hurts domestic companies even worse than it hurts companies abroad.

"Face it, your still smarting from 2000 and 2004, even if your a EU'bee. Guess what, get ready for more pain in 2008 and please keep it (idiotic rhetoric) coming, people like you help the cause more than they know!"

The TV is what helps the cause. Hopefully more people will find the internet and see for themselves how incredibly biased the US media really are.

"P.S. The EU has balls...just a little reminder, the countries that make up the EU were the same ones that rolled over for the Nazis with the exception of the UK..the EU is the last place you'll find balls, unless your in Amsterdam of course!"

You should sue your history teacher for malpractice. Germany won because of very good strategies and military supremacy.

Re:Fuck the EU and Blame Bush for everyhting is BS (2, Interesting)

couch_warrior (718752) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215228)

Actually, you're barking up the wrong tree. I'm neither EU nor a Democrat. I'm a fundamentalist Christian Republican who voted Republican since Reagan, *but* has finally realized that he has been conned with -family values- rhetoric while the robber barons on the right-wing fringe of the Republican party have raped the country blind. That 32% and falling rating that Bush is getting is the fundamentalists realizing that they have been hoodwinked, and abandoning the party. Hopefully the Democrats will have the common sense ( a risky hope admittedly) to use this as a mandate to fix the *right* things. Put the Capital Gains tax up to 60% where it belongs, cut the parasitical military-industrial corporate welfare system in half, fix our schools, and socialize the medical system so everyone gets care. Of course it goes without saying that we should disband the comically incompetent Department of Good-ole-boy Security and open our borders. Say good bye to facism folks, we're about to clean out its last stronghold in the next couple of elections.

Aw, dammit! (3, Funny)

AriaStar (964558) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214555)

Bush illegally spying on us, Microsoft illegally marketing, what next, gas companies illegally price-gouging us? Is there no one we can trust?!

Microsoft's Karma (1)

peterfa (941523) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214815)

It seems that Microsofts karma just might catch up to them. If the rumors are true, and this whole post will assume that certain rumors are true, then Microsoft has hidden layers and interfaces as well as code designed to cause certain programs to fail to function. Dr. DOS, Netscape Navigator, and a few other programs that were crushed due to these dirty tricks (continuing assumptions...) will find retribution finally for the wrongful deaths.

FUD will die. Microsoft's Windows will become more stable (notice: more assumptions) since millions will be writting patches all over the place, and we'll see a golden age in computer...

Microsoft on the other hand will be sued out of life and limb.

Hate M$ but... (2, Interesting)

Kuazz (959596) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215246)

When I first heard of the EU slamming M$ I was excited that someone finally did it, but it has turned into a farce. As much as M$ disgusts me I think the EU has over stepped its bounds. I think this is just the EU's way of America bashing. M$ is a big US company and the EU wants to take them down a notch.

The only thing stifling innovation in the EU is the consumers themselves. If the EU doesn't like M$, they should not #$%@ing buy it. I bet if the EU used all non M$ products it would be few short months before M$ was compatible with them and doing anything to win back the market. Just because the EU has not come up with a viable option to M$ doesn't mean they have the right to mold M$ into the product they want.

If you will excuse me, I believe sticking up for M$ has made me want to vomit.

~Kuazz

Is this encouraging or rigging the competition? (0)

rvprasad (970514) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215316)

After reading a little about the case, my understanding was that the commission is asking Microsoft to publicize their protocol standards so that it encourages competition. As my understanding goes, competition is not based on knowing how your opponent does what he/she does; it is based on if you can do better than your opponent.

MS releases SMB protocol, the Samba group developed a public implementation, and lots of people used Samba. Great! But no where in this picture did MS and Samba reach an agreement. So, why would MS be liable to any changes to SMB or other parts of Windows that might affect the functioning of Samba? Even if publicizing such a change meant that it would address world poverty (I'm sure in such cases MS will publicize the protocol) let alone convert a matchbox into a file server.

I think such cases illustrates the lack of competitive spirit in modern day business. Instead of competing via innovation when unable to collaborate, it seems that people are more interested in just stealing innovations.

Furthermore, the commission's demands suggests that either
    1) the competitors are stupid (Samba developers cannot be stupid!) and cannot come up with a novel idea that can surpass Microsoft's protocol standards? or
    2) the competitors want a share of the pie they did not cook?

I will be surprised if any competent developer will agree to either of the above suggestions. Now, if Samba developers do indeed want to work on MS protocols and deliver a better public product, then why don't they work with Microsoft instead of working against Microsoft? If MS does not want to collaborate with Samba, then why not develop an alternative and convince the public that the alternative is a better choice? I know that it is easier said than done, but then, nodoby said competition was easy.
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