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U.S. Adds Years To Microsoft's 'Probation'

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the bad-multinational-corporation dept.

206

An anonymous reader writes "The U.S. Justice Department has added another two years to its agreement with Microsoft, extending the protocol licensing program that is part of the company's penance for anti-competitive activities. The organization feels Microsoft is providing documentation too slowly to its licensees." From the article: "At one time, the Justice Department and several state Attorneys General had sought a breakup of Microsoft in order to prevent it from abusing its Windows monopoly. Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson at one point ordered such a move, though his ruling was later reversed on appeal. Ultimately Microsoft settled with the Department of Justice, agreeing to far more modest restrictions, including the protocol licensing program." Relatedly, regulators have cleared Vista of anti-competitive elements. They examined the OS on concerns an added search box may have given the company a home-field advantage.

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206 comments

The _real_ enemy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15322369)

Adobe type libraries! [adobe.com] The requested URL (yro/06/05/12/2249236.shtml) was not found. If you feel like it, mail the url, and where ya came from to [send email to pater@slashdot.org via gmail] pater@slashdot.org.

Probation? (4, Insightful)

Trelane (16124) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322388)

I thought that probation was about...
well... you know...
keeping you from doing the stuff you got in trouble for .

Re:Probation? (1, Troll)

menace3society (768451) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322489)

No, probation is for when the prosecution needs to look like tough guys who can handle the case, in spite of the fact that a) they don't have a legal leg to stand on; and/or b) someone higher-up in the process for making these decisions tells them not to hurt a defendant who has close ties with said higher-up. If you offer to settle for probation, the prosecution doesn't have to admit they fucked up and look like jackasses, and nine defendants out of ten will settle for it because it means no prison time.

Innocent until proven guilty? More like, "Only slightly guilty until proven really guilty."

They called Clinton crazy (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15322828)

I remember in the early 1990's people thought Bill Clinton was crazy for suggesting that some day every middle-class family will own a computer, and every child in the US will be taught how to use one... Well, here we are here, and, truthfully, thanks, in part, to Bill Gates.

I know Microsoft is evil, anticompetitive, and all, but, honestly, they did bring innovation (and pushed Apple to innovate), they established a de-facto standard for personal computing, and they made owning computers easy and accessible, which stimulated the demand, driving the prices down.

Remember that before MS's rise, Apple was just as bad, given how they got all happy and cosy with their market share, kept the prices up, $5000+ /computer, and slowed innovation, until Microsoft lit a fire under their ass and caused them to evolve (and I am saying this as someone who owns and uses Macs almost exclusively).

Isn't it sad that any company that is becoming succesfull is automatically punished with breakup threats, union re-negotiation (and unionizing), and even direct legislation, as in the case of Walmart:
(Maryland lawmakers bucked the will of the state's Republican governor and the nation's largest retailer yesterday, voting to become the first state to effectively require that Wal-Mart spend more on employee health care. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic le/2006/01/12/AR2006011201251.html [washingtonpost.com] )

I know that unchecked monopoly is anti-free-market and is thus bad, but there just has to be a middle ground between estabishing monopolies on the one side, and punishing success of the other side.

Re:They called Clinton crazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15323059)

there just has to be a middle ground between estabishing monopolies on the one side, and punishing success of the other side

It's perfectly legal to be a monopoly. It's not legal, however, to abuse that monopoly in order to screw more money out of consumers.

Re:They called Clinton crazy (1)

patiodragon (920102) | more than 7 years ago | (#15323133)

"I remember in the early 1990's people thought Bill Clinton was crazy for suggesting that some day every middle-class family will own a computer, and every child in the US will be taught how to use one..."

This is a TOTAL rewrite of my history. I was in my 20's in the early 90's, in the USA, and I didn't know anybody who didn't know that computers were going to enter every facet of our lives eventually. Not by a certain date, but eventually. Who ARE these "people" of which you speak?

harsh penalty (5, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322402)

"You haven't supplied the information you were required to as part of the terms of settlement, so instead of doing something about it, we'll give you more time."

Relatedly??? (-1, Flamebait)

rsborg (111459) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322403)

Zonk, wtf does this mean?

-back on topic, even though it's questionable tactics again (leveraging desktop vs. search), the anti-trust litigation has done one thing: kept MS from "innovating" too much. I'm pretty sure that without a good strong light being shined on their shady business practices, they would have easily co-opted the internet, TCP/IP and all sorts of other "free" things today.

Re:Relatedly??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15322440)


I'm pretty sure that without a good strong light being shined on their shady business practices, they would have easily co-opted the internet, TCP/IP and all sorts of other "free" things today.


And a damn good thing too. We needed to save the co-opting the internet for the telcos.

Re:Relatedly??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15323010)

Mod parent up please. Internet would be better user MS than user AT&T and Google!

Remember several months ago out Gov'ment asked Yahoo, Google, and MSN to turn over our search term lists?

Well, Microsoft's MSN was the ONLY ONE THAT REFUSED to violate our privacy, while google and yahoo rolled over and let the Gov't Eff us in the Ay.

Re:Relatedly??? (2, Informative)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322684)

Definition [reference.com] .

I'm all for giving the editors a hard time when they fuck up the English language, but this isn't one of those times.

Although... (1)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322939)

Someone may justifiably bitch when adverbs are used indiscriminately. Fortunately, that disease is mostly restricted to journalists who write sophomorically to communicate effectively to the childishly demented general public.

two more years (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15322407)

Two more years of looking the other way.

I am confused... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15322914)

Two more years of looking the other way.

Do you mean Republican Congress' stance on Bush, or the Justice Dept's stance on Microsoft?

A new concept in software design (5, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322414)

regulators have cleared Vista of anti-competitive elements. They examined the OS on concerns an added search box may have given the company a home-field advantage.

      First software was designed to do stuff because it was needed.
      Later, software was designed to do stuff that was cool.
      Still later, software was designed to make money.
      Then software was designed primarily by marketing departments
      Now, software is designed by lawyers and the judicial system?

      What a great world we live in.

Uh, no. (5, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322552)

The court case was intended to stop Microsoft designing OTHER people's software by means of lawyers and judges. (That's why they refer to "anti-competitive".)


I don't approve of laws designing software, but I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with stopping people abusing laws to prevent software from being designed. I also have no problem with laws that enforce progress.


(The State of Oregon recently received some thinly-veiled threats from Microsoft's CEO over Oregon's active support for Open Source - both towards Oregon and towards all Microsoft shops in Oregon. Although not a part of the DoJ lawsuit, and therefore probably not a part of this review, I would feel a lot more comfortable if States receiving such threats reviewed their legality. Last I heard, "demands with menaces" was not considered an OK activity.)

Re:Uh, no. (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322747)

I have not heard that about Oregon - could you please provide a link?

Re:Uh, no. (2, Informative)

stripe42 (845170) | more than 7 years ago | (#15323004)

I don't think I found the gp's reference, but this story was interesting:
http://www.oregonlive.com/newslogs/oregonian/index .ssf?/mtlogs/olive_oregonian_news/archives/2006_05 .html [oregonlive.com]

Ballmer to Oregon: Open-source lacks innovation and creates few jobs

In Portland today to help dedicate Portland State University's new engineering building, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said Oregon needs to continue investing in higher education if the state wants to be competitive globally in attracting technology jobs -- and he downplayed open-source software as a minor economic contributor.

"All the great technology centers are characterized by great technology universities," Ballmer said in an interview this morning.

Microsoft donated $200,000 toward a $53 million upgrade to PSU's Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science, which includes the brand-new $35 million engineering building dedicated this morning and a new Microsoft lab. Ballmer said Oregon has the necessary ingredients for an increasingly robust high-tech economy -- given the large presence of Intel and other technology companies in the state -- but needs to continue investing in higher education to capitalize on that opportunity.

Oregon is a hub for open source software development, which is created collaboratively and generally given away free. An open source operating system called Linux is the chief rival to Microsoft's Windows. In this morning's interview, Ballmer said open source has a role in the technology world but that it hasn't contributed much to innovation or to economic achievement.

"There aren't that many jobs being created by anything out of open source," Ballmer said. In contrast, he cited a study commission by Microsoft that indicates the company and its partners contribute $3 billion to Oregon's economy.

"There's no innovation that we've seen come out of at least Linux," Ballmer said. "Linux is a clone of a 30-year-operating system."

- Mike Rogoway

Re:Uh, no. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15323043)

Fuck you DShitredge, you pathetic piece of shit.

Re:Uh, no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15322933)

OK, give them 2 more years of watching them break laws. That'll show them!

Re:Uh, no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15323047)

I certainly hope not, but sometimes Oklahoma surprises us all....

An automotive precedent (1)

xixax (44677) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322563)

Pesky gubmint, I want my gas guzzling death trap behemoth with no seat belts and impaling steering column!

Yeah, I know the market would have delievered it without Nader.

Xix

Re:An automotive precedent (1, Offtopic)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322712)

If motorcycles are still legal, then why not? I for one would love to have a simple sport roadster with none of that high-tech safty shit that adds 2/3rds the total cost. Just give me a Miata with 400+ HP under the hood for 12 grand. It CAN be done, far cheaper even. But it will NEVER happen do to all the beurocratic overhead in legal costs.

Re:An automotive precedent (1)

xixax (44677) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322849)

Consistent, rarional government is too much to hope for. And all that tech stuff has made cars cheaper if more disposable.

FWIW, I think the best approach to cars, bikes, mountain climbing, smoking, drugs is to build in any costs to the public and let people do whatever they want to themselves. Not very likely I know.

Oh, and you *can* still get the car I describe, only it's called a HumVee.

Xix.

You are exactly right (1, Offtopic)

JPriest (547211) | more than 7 years ago | (#15323027)

The smallest 4 wheeled cars you can buy in the US today are still nearly 3000 pounds. The Ariel Atom [arielmotor.co.uk] (reviewed: here [google.com] is interesting, for $30,000 it smokes most $400,000+ supercars becasue it is only ~1,000 lbs (F1 inspired design).

Due to regulation, such cars will never make it in the US, which is a shame since they could get the same MPG as a hybrid car but with half the cost and twice the performance (like a motorcycle).

Windows is fine in one piece, TYVM. (1, Flamebait)

WereTiger (148010) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322429)

Dear US Government, Leave Microsoft the hell alone.

I like Windows, I like IE, I prefer Google over MSN and nothing's stopping me from using it.

Microsoft products are default.. NO KIDDING, it's THEIR OS, not yours or their competitors.

If Google made an OS and integrated Google search technology would everyone cry foul? Probably not, the hypocritical zealots.

Let Microsoft include a default browser, search engine, mail client, antivirus/antispam, office suite, whatever. If there's something different I prefer I'll switch that element.

Thank-you for your consideration.

Re:Windows is fine in one piece, TYVM. (4, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322465)

If Google made an OS and integrated Google search technology would everyone cry foul?
No, at least not with the justification they have when Microsoft does it, unless Google, instead of Microsft, had a desktop OS monopoly. The legal objection is based on leveraging a monopoly in one market to negate effective competition in another market. If Google, say, put together their own Linux distribution tomorrow, they could integrate whatever they wanted with it before they established an OS monopoly. If they ever did, though, their ability to leverage it to gain traction in other markets would be constrained by law.
Probably not, the hypocritical zealots.
Its only hypocritical when you are ignoring the central (monopoly) element of the objection.

Yeah but (0)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322899)

If someone has a monopoly on desktops, it's *obviously because their OS is the best. The free market picked a winner! They deserve the spoils of war for all that innovating.

Just like Titanic is *obviously the best movie ever made. Look at the box office.

(note: set sarcasm detectors on 'stun')

Re:Windows is fine in one piece, TYVM. (1)

joshetc (955226) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322990)

shouldnt they get sued then for using their search engine monopoly to promote their linux distro? Which I'd imagine is what they'd do..

I know they havent been declared a monopoly yet but I'm sure if they made a hard push at a linux distro they would be found just that.

Re:Windows is fine in one piece, TYVM. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15322486)

In fact, I will select a different text editor, bitmap editor, music player, dvd player, solitaire game, and anti-virus tool. I am sure there will be others.

Re:Windows is fine in one piece, TYVM. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15322615)

It's good to see /. moderation at its best. Say anything bad about Linux and watch your post get moderated down, down and thrice down. It's why a self moderation system does not work, it's why I've stopped using osnews.com, and it's why I'm sick and tired of the Linux and open source communities - they simply cannot accept any criticism whatsoever.

In all honesty, I cannot wait for the day when software patents spread the world over and really screw Linux users badly. The sooner, the better. I'd like to see those that are peddling software and libraries that allow interaction with DVDs (libdecss), and MP3s forcefully taken down for patent infringement. It's only a matter of time before Microsoft and other large companies start to make aggressive patent moves against Linux, and as far as I'm concerned, Linux deserves every single bit of crap that's thrown at it.

I used to like Linux years ago, but now, with the new crowd of wankers using it, and advocating it, I can't stand it, and the sooner it goes away, the damn well better in my eyes.

Try not to have a nice day shitdot sheeple

Re:Windows is one fine piece of ... (1)

KwKSilver (857599) | more than 7 years ago | (#15323071)

It's only a matter of time before Microsoft and other large companies start to make aggressive patent moves against Linux, and as far as I'm concerned, Linux deserves every single bit of crap that's thrown at it.
Are you listening DOJ? Oh, Pretending not to hear. Sorry to bother you. Actually your beloved MS and its proprietary suck-buddies are a lot more likely to be going after one another, as there's more profit to be had by Symantec vs. MS, or MS vs. Oracle or Adobe vs. MS than MS vs. Puppy Linux, where they might stand to win some poor bastard's stack of bills.

Say anything bad about Linux and watch your post get moderated down, down and thrice down.
More like say anything mildly negative about MS and get modded to oblivion, as near as I can tell. Oh, and one more thing, tell Bill, Steve and Darl, they need to spend some more money to get you guys into a better Troll-school. You used to like Linux? Hard to believe. Enjoy your 30 pieces of silver, though.

Re:Windows is fine in one piece, TYVM. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322754)

Wow, you completly do not understand the issues of this case.

Re:Windows is fine in one piece, TYVM. (2, Funny)

DesireCampbell (923687) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322836)

Wow! What a great explanation of the "issues of the case". You, sir, are a great man.

I'm not going to quote your awesome explanation here because it would overload the server's bandwidth. Because it was that good.

Parent is right - but no one listens (1, Interesting)

DesireCampbell (923687) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322815)

True that. True that.

The problem lies not with Microsoft doing anything illegal, or unethical, and even the bundling of software isn't the problem - it's doing it while being popular that's the problem.

Everything Microsoft has done either is being done or was being done not too long ago by other software development companies.

The problem is that Microsoft succeeded by doing this, while the others did not.

Take Apple, for example, they bundle a lot more into their OS than Microsoft does but they aren't even glanced at. Including the 'search' feature that is talked about in TFA pales in comparison to Spotlight in OSX - but no one has a problem with Apple.

Others will raise the fact that "it's different for Microsoft because they have a monopoly". Which is true - but they have a monopoly because their Operating System is designed to work on the most popular systems available. Almost anyone can install Windows on almost any computer.


It's not like Microsoft designs their OS to work only with the machines they build in-house.

In fact, they can't. They'd never be allowed to. They're not allowed to do a lot of things that every other company is allowed to.

Personally I believe it's wrong to impose such huge regulations (that stem from laws that were never meant for this kind of business) on Microsoft. A lot of these regulations are ridiculous (though some do promote competition).

My biggest problem with the continued litigation and dragging down of Microsoft with superfluous rules is that it doesn't help the consumer. These regulations are supposed to help the consumer - but they don't.

There's no excuse for the EU forcing Microsoft to un-bundle Media Player from Vista. I mean, come on, I thought that was the most retarded thing I'd ever heard.

But then they decided a 'search' feature might be too much.

Re:Parent is right - but no one listens (1)

Traiklin (901982) | more than 7 years ago | (#15323058)

I understand Microsoft has a monoply, no problems there but what I don't get is how you summed everything up.

Microsoft doesn't force anyone to use the programs that are pre-installed on the system.

First thing I do after reinstalling windows is head to ATI and get my graphic card drivers (naturally) then I go and get the programs I want.

Sure Media player is there but I consider it bloated for what I use, so I go and grab media player classic cause it does what I want and it's not bloated. Infact the ONLY thing I use Media Player for is to get music on my MP3 player (cause I haven't found a program that works with it, never looked hard though).

For DVD's I use PowerDVD cause I like the way it looks (but then I only use it to test movies I make to make sure they turn out properly)

I use IE to head over to firefox and get that install it and use it as my default browser. I then grab Thunderbird and use it as my default email client, Simply because I never cared for Outlook (no clue why just never did).

Not once have I seen a window pop up saying I can't install them/I shouldn't install them because I already have a program on My PC that takes care of that.

Why don't they go after the 360 while they are at it? it's the only system to offer a wireless controller , Hard drive Headset and a couple other things out of the box (Remember this is right now) the PS2 & Gamecube don't offer this it's a monopoly cause they are including things that their competetors don't for free! they aren't FORCING anyone to use the stuff, they aren't FORCING anyone to buy it but when they do they get alittle something extra for free.

As much as I hate microsoft what they went after them for was pointless, They were trying to make it easier for the end user to just turn on the computer and have it work. If they didn't include Media player your average computer user wouldn't know how to play a video cause there is no player (as it is with the different codecs it makes it hard enough), so they want to go look for a player but suprise! they had to take IE out of the OS so you don't even have the web anymore, it was considered anti-competative and they were forced to take it out, so now what are you to do?

Just like when they first got taken to court and had to take Office out of Windows, who did this hurt more? Microsoft or the end user?

When I went from Windows 95 to windows ME (I know, one shitty OS to another shitty OS) I wondered what had happened to all the stuff that was in 95, Word was gone (which my mother used on a daily basis) yet I had no clue what to tell her, I went searching and found out they were forced to take it out cause it was anti-competative. I just couldn't (and still can't) wrap my mind around this, Were there really that many word proccesing programs out there that microsoft including one in their OS hurt buisness?

I didn't learn about OpenOffice till like 2003 and when I tried to use it it kept crashing and was way to bloated (it's better now though), I did find one program called ABIWord (I think that was it, their mascot was an Ant) but it crashed CONSTANTLY, my mother couldn't open a document for more then 5 minutes before it errored.

so in the end, the government forcing microsoft to split Office from Windows did basically nothing except cause my mom problems with the documents she had from windows 95, since she could no longer open them without Office.

Like a few people said above, they are only going after Microsoft because they are the most widely used OS. If it was Apple they would be going after them, if it was Linux they would be going after them.

Now what they should go after microsoft for is their tactic of signing a contract to publish a program, take the source code, finish it up, cancel the contract, claim ownership the program and either sue the crap out of the company they were going to help or just let them rot away.

Re:Windows is fine in one piece, TYVM. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15323024)

Hey winshit fucktard, go fucking kill yourself!

Micro$hit should've been denied to do business anywhere in the world for what those greedy bastards have done and continue doing!
Open Source Rulez, Micro$hit drulz!

Slap On The Wrist: Part Deux (4, Interesting)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322436)

Well maybe this signifies that the Justice Dept now realizes WHY Microsoft was brought before them and that their measures taken thus far have proven futile in getting the company to change their tactics.

Bureaucratic waste (4, Insightful)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322447)

What a complete waste of time.

Has the State involvement in this issue achieved anything?

And how much did it COST?

We're all sitting here paying tax through our noses.

Who's spending this money?

What are we getting for it?

How many millions have been spent on this excercise which has had no significant impact on the MS monopoly?

What alternaative? (1)

xixax (44677) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322531)

So where is the failure? And what is the alternative?

Perhaps there is too much corporate involvemeent in the State.

How much taxpayer money is being spent to create and maintain exclusive scarcity for MS and other IP claimants?

Xix.

Re:Bureaucratic waste (4, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322610)

Well, things were moving along pretty nicely and for a moment it looked like something was actually going to be done. Then in 2001, everything changed for some inexplicable reason...

Re:Bureaucratic waste (2, Informative)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322697)

Has the State involvement in this issue achieved anything?

Mainly restrictions on MS's behavior with OEMs:

+ Dell and other OEMs can now load up their machines with RealPlayer, Firefox, Googlebar, etc without worrying about losing their Windows contract.
+ You can buy Linux or other alt-OS machines from major OEMs -- these were very scarse before the trial.
+ In theory, all OEMs have the same pricing, so MS can't threaten them with removing the special dicounts.

That's not very much, but it hits on the core issue of MS's monopoly strategy by preventing them "cutting off the airsupply" to non-MS software.

Re:Bureaucratic waste (1)

Skreems (598317) | more than 7 years ago | (#15323015)

Please show me where I can purchase a machine from Dell without getting charged for a copy of Windows. I've looked, and I can't find it. Hopefully I'm just blind, but I don't think these things are as common as you say.

Re:Bureaucratic waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15322814)

What a complete waste of time. I agree.

Has the State involvement in this issue achieved anything? No.

And how much did it COST? Lots.

We're all sitting here paying tax through our noses. Yes, yes we are.

Who's spending this money? Bush.

What are we getting for it? A larger anus.

Re:Bureaucratic waste (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15322832)

If you'll remember, the case changed trajectories dramatically in 2001. Microsoft had been convicted on pretty much all counts and was facing the prospect of some pretty grim (and effective) remedies. But suddenly, in 2001, the Justice Department decided that since they couldn't drop charges after a conviction, they would do the next best thing and surrender via "a settlement".

So, yes, we spent a lot of money on this, and we're not getting any benefit. It doesn't mean government oversight doesn't work. It means that when we pay for government oversight that isn't happening, we're screwed.

Re:Bureaucratic waste (3, Informative)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322868)

Microsoft had been convicted on pretty much all counts and was facing the prospect of some pretty grim (and effective) remedies.

This is the classic incorrect version of the story parroted by fools who get their information from Slashdot posts. In reality, the appeals court threw out much of the judgement againt Microsoft:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_antitrust_c ase#Appeal [wikipedia.org]
The D.C. Circuit remanded the case for consideration of a proper remedy for "drastically altered scope of liability"

they would do the next best thing and surrender via "a settlement".

The Clinton administration repeatedly tried to settle the case, and the Gore adminisration would have done likewise. Bush probably did go a little easier than the democrats would have however. I am absolutely not a Bush defender, just fighting against moronic conspiracy theories put forward by ignorant people.

Re:Bureaucratic waste (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322940)

I've never heard that before. I guess it might be true, but let's look at history:

gov: slam Microsoft...
gov: slam Microsoft...
gov: slam Microsoft...
gov: slam Microsoft...
gov: slam Microsoft...
gov: slam Microsoft...
gov: slam Microsoft...
gov: We have them were we want them...this is going to hurt!
Bush comes into office
gov: Let's settle while you laugh at the silliness of it all...
Microsoft: *snickering* *wink* *wink* Ok...this is horrible! *wink* *wink*
gov: Oh you violated the agreement...we'll ignore that.
gov: Oh you violated again and have yet to comply in other areas of the agreement...we'll ignore that.
gov: We'll give you two more years of this horrible punishment.

Seems to me the ton completely changed after Bush took office. So, if Clinton did attempt to settle it was probably on real terms which Microsoft did not want to comply. So, in the final summary, it smells like Bush has made a night and day difference here and there is no blame to share with past administrations.

Re:Bureaucratic waste (1)

trenien (974611) | more than 7 years ago | (#15323080)

But wasn't that one of Bush promises before he got 'elected'?

If I remember correctly, back in 2000 Bush specifically stated that if he got the office, the charges against M$ would be dropped as fast as possible.

Not being a US citizen, at the time I couldn't really have cared less who from either Republicrats parties got to the White House except for that little fact.

Re:Bureaucratic waste (2, Informative)

YU Nicks NE Way (129084) | more than 7 years ago | (#15323131)

You should go read the wiki article and learn the history.

The appelate court basically threw the whole case out. It threw out the Section one claims. It upheld the bundling claims, but required the government to actually show net consumer harm -- recall that the DOJ and the states did have to concede that the bundling of IE into Windows had consumer benefits. The court set a high bar for accepting such a claim.

Basically, the US looked at the resulting mess, and said "Fooey. We can't get anything out of this." The states, for the most part, said "Fooey. Well, we can get some money out of this." Massachusetts said "We're going to keep fighting this." Reilly got his head handed to them by the District court.

Re:Bureaucratic waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15322994)

It took years for AT&Ts monopoly to be broken up by the government. In fact, it took about 30 years before they got split up.

Its all just a matter of time. Not to say our representitives don't need a little push to get them going.

Microsoft and its so called standards (5, Insightful)

camcorder (759720) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322499)

I can only dream of a computing experience, which has lack of unknown formats. I would really be a lot more happy to see wmv files to be played without any problem, or office documents openning flawlessly in various applications.

Real question is why should we stick to just one application for any format. If every unique application made their own file format, nobody would be able to share anything, and why does Internet ever exists if we won't be able share our documents.

That's not an open source issue, or free market problem. It's the lack of mentality for sharing of information. People really suffer from these compatibility problems, and if someone made a research about the lost and or wasted time related to these issues, it would be easily seen that it's very huge problem that computer users experience. And with the growing trend of DRM and stuff we will just suffer this more and more.

People should convert, open, edit any format with any application coded for them. To let this, those willing to create a format, should clearly state specifications for these formats, or clearly state that this format is just for a specific application and should not be shared so that users won't use those files for sharing. A .doc file created with 200x version of Microsoft Word is just like the feces of this application. And if we don't want to make Internet or our networks sewer we should definately stop sharing those crap (literally) through the wires.

Re:Microsoft and its so called standards (1)

Typhon100 (641308) | more than 7 years ago | (#15323037)

Which is why Office 2007 will save files in .docx, .xlsx, etc, which are cabbed xml files. The schema is public and in fact the format is going through the standards process, after which it be an actual standard and no longer controlled by MS.

Sound like what you want?

Re:Microsoft and its so called standards (2, Informative)

Ankur Dave (929048) | more than 7 years ago | (#15323039)

To let this, those willing to create a format, should clearly state specifications for these formats, or clearly state that this format is just for a specific application and should not be shared so that users won't use those files for sharing. A .doc file created with 200x version of Microsoft Word is just like the feces of this application.

In Office 12 (the next version of Office), Microsoft will use an XML-based, open standard for documents. The extensions will be .docx, .xlsx, etc.

From http://www.winsupersite.com/showcase/office12_insi de_02.asp [winsupersite.com] :

"Word, Excel, and PowerPoint will ship with new native document formats in Office 12. Files created in these new Open XML formats will be demarked with an addition "x" in the file name extension."

So the format will be open in future, allowing other applications to be fully compatible with Office documents. It won't be "just for a specific application" anymore.

Noooo! (4, Funny)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322512)

Relatedly, regulators have cleared Vista of anti-competitive elements.

Nooooooo! That means the search box remains with MSN selected by default!

Why can't Microsoft be "fair" and set Google default like with the other browsers!

I'm devastated.

so, since the DOJ judgement (4, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322530)

What I don't understand is that since the DOJ judegement against Microsoft they've had time to rewrite their entire flagship OS from scratch, yet still haven't been able to document it? How naive does the government have to be?

Re:so, since the DOJ judgement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15322744)

How naive does the government have to be?

You misspelled corrupt.

Re:so, since the DOJ judgement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15323003)

They haven't rewritten the entire OS from scratch; frankly, I'm not certain how such a dumbass rumour even got started.

Real Issue (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15322539)

(rant mode)

I dont know if this issue has been looked at by the US or EU but it is much more of a concern to me that MS is activly releasing / selling software that is so insecure to the point that it seems to go out of its way to prevent techies and end users from properly securing it in order to keep (often confidential) data safe from malware, viruses etc.

There is also the wider issue of MS through their lack of a proper security model facilitating the creation and operation of botnets which are used to the detrement of users, businesses and the internet at large.

I use Windows and find it annoying that I need to apply 3rd party apps in an attept to minimise security risks to my computer when the OS maker should have secured the software before release.

Its not that I hate MS for their propriatory nature etc but I find myself trying a few Linux distos in an attmept to find a viable alternative although I am into the frame of mind that for my next computer purchase I will go for a mac depsite the high prices and the fact that I enjoy building my own systems.

If Windows worked properly and had a good security model then I would be happy; I think MS are wasting their time trying to fight the "pirates" and that their real problem (and as such priority) should be to make an OS that is suitable for widespread use. They should secure their software and if they feel the need add an "anti-piracy" function like activation, genuine advantage etc then whatever but make the software safe for people to use first.

(/rant mode)

Re:Real Issue (1)

Typhon100 (641308) | more than 7 years ago | (#15323046)

Ahh, but if MS shipped security software as part of windows, wouldn't that be "abusing their monopoly?"

You can't complain about lack of competition and having to use 3rd party programs at the same time.

domicile (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15322589)

Maybe now we can finally use Melinda Gates' new publlc search box.


The real enemy:

> Adobe type libraries! [adobe.com]

What a bunch of Crap (3, Insightful)

RedHatLinux (453603) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322596)

When the average person violates probation, they go straight to prison. They dont get a trial or a hearing to prove their innocence, nor does the state give them more time to get it right, or get their affairs in order.

Re:What a bunch of Crap (3, Informative)

SecureTheNet (915798) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322948)

When the average person violates probation, they go straight to prison. They dont get a trial or a hearing to prove their innocence, nor does the state give them more time to get it right, or get their affairs in order.

When the average person violates probation they are giving a probation violation hearing. The judge takes a look at the violation and can give prison time, but can also give community service, depending on the violation.

Settled (4, Insightful)

bblboy54 (926265) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322614)

The best word in the whole article is "settled" ... Microsoft settled with the government. This means if I get pulled over for speeding, I can settle with the office by giving him $50 and him leaving me alone, right? When you settle in court, you settle with the person you wronged.... You can't settle with the enforcement -- or at least shouldnt be able to. Your punishment is your punishment.

Re:Settled (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322751)

You've made a mistake, confusing criminal and civil courts. In a civil case, the defendant and the plaintiff may settle. In criminal matters the prosecution might offer the defense a deal, sometimes in consultation with the victims, sometimes not. In a criminal case, the prosecutor represents "the people", not the victims, although surely they are motivated to "get justice done for the victims", and will often want to get approval from the victims for plea bargain terms.

Just to review:

Criminal case: Prosecution, Defense

Civil case: Plaintiff, Defense

Re:Settled (1)

bblboy54 (926265) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322804)

I understand the difference between the types of court but I had thought that the prosecuter would have to communicate with the person who filed the complaint but thats apparently where I was mistaken. Thanks for the info tho.... definately appriciated.

Re:Settled (1)

adtifyj (868717) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322886)

You've made a mistake, confusing criminal and civil courts.

Anti-trust is supposed to be a criminal matter. The DOJ has refined the law so that only three types of violations are considered criminal: price fixing, bid rigging, and market allocation schemes.

Microsoft has been found guilty of two of the three illegal activities.

Re:Settled (1)

Hal9000_sn3 (707590) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322926)

What if in this particular case the entity that was wronged was not the government, not the customers, and not the competitors, but instead was the so-called marketplace. How do you propose that Microsoft remedy the wrongs they were accused of, if it is really the whole natural order of things that are supposed to happen in a free-market environment that Microsoft's behavior had upset?

Just wondering.

Re:Settled (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15322961)

Anyone can "settle" with the government regarding criminal offences. It's usually called a plea bargain.

I'm not too sure about the States, but up here in Canada if you get a speeding ticket and choose to fight it in court, you are pretty much guarenteed a lower fine if you show up on the court date and talk to the crown (prosecutor). They "settle" all the time. The more you know, eh?

no no not microsoft.. it's friday.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15322639)

Friday we hate Sony..

Microsoft hating is so wednesday..

SCO hating is every other day of the week.. except monday.. monday we hate the patent office.

Re:no no not microsoft.. it's friday.. (1)

mikerm19 (809641) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322972)

If businesses would quit giving us reasons to hate them, it wouldn't matter what day it was. Microsoft is getting away with breaking the law, and people should know about it, even if it was Saturday or Sunday.

Unjust (4, Insightful)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322652)

So, Microsoft violates their probation. What *should* happen is this:

The company should be disbanded, all its assets forfeited and sold at auction. Anyone on the executive committee of the company, and anyone else who knew or should have known that this violation would have occurred, should be sentenced to at least ten years in prison, and their personal assets forfeited and auctioned off.

Nothing less that that would happen to you or me and the company we controlled, if we purposely used our company to violate federal laws. The last thing we'd hear from a judge is "I see you are having trouble complying with the orders of this court. Perhaps if we give you a few more years to work on it you can get back to us on how you're coming with the whole court-mandated actions thing, okay?"

You and I wouldn't get that treatment. We would go to prison, our assets woudl be seized, and it wouldn't make the news.

Re:Unjust (1)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322784)

The company should be disbanded, all its assets forfeited and sold at auction. Anyone on the executive committee of the company, and anyone else who knew or should have known that this violation would have occurred, should be sentenced to at least ten years in prison, and their personal assets forfeited and auctioned off.
In other news, Microsoft HQ moves to India, all the top execs are offered amnesty in India. US economy collapses. Microsoft CEO Bill Gates has more wealth than the bottom 45 percent of American households combined. http://www.cooperativeindividualism.org/wealth_dis tribution1999.html [cooperativ...ualism.org]

Re:Unjust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15322954)

OK, he goes to India. Everything he owns is siezed.

Re:Unjust (2, Insightful)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322879)

Do you have any idea how much this would cost the government, corporations, and small businesses? All their support would instantly vanish, they would all have to do a massive retool of almost every piece of software they own, or have developed independently. Doing what you propose would decimate the US economy. If you thought the unemployment of Tech people after the internet bubble burst was bad, your idea would cause an utter nightmare.

There are bigger issues here to consider then a few people's hate for Microsoft.

Re:Unjust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15322938)

Just re-read that drunken drivvel and ask yourselves how someone somewhere said insightful

Re:Unjust (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#15323105)

>"I see you are having trouble complying with the orders of this court."

This made me think of Clippy. "It looks like you are trying to weasel out of a court settlement. Would you like to
o Hire more lawyers,
o Keep delaying until the pressure is off,
o obey the law?"

Re:Unjust (1)

sexyrexy (793497) | more than 7 years ago | (#15323138)

You go to jail and have your assets seized for fraud, not for traffic violations. "Anti-competitive behavior" is the speeding ticket of corporate crime. Fraud gets the company disbanded. Plus, no one gives a shit if you or I go to jail or lose all our money except us. An entire industry and thousands upon thousands of jobs and the investment of millions of people in stock would be severely damaged. When considering cases like this, it's not so simple as comparing a person to a major multinational corporation.

campaign donations? (3, Insightful)

ninjaz (1202) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322685)

The cynic in me suspects this is a move to ensure that the huge bribes^H^H^H^H^H^Hcampaign donations keep rolling in from Microsoft at least through the next US presidential election. The only real downside of this ruling for Microsoft appears to be the risk of a less-friendly attorney general taking office -- that is, through a Republican Party loss in the 2008 presidential elections.

Re:campaign donations? (1)

OmegaBlac (752432) | more than 7 years ago | (#15323095)

Remember, Microsoft donates to both major political parties so it is a win-win situation for them either way regardless if its a Republican or Democrat administration in power. They have learned their lessons from what their competitors pulled in the 90s USDOJ anti-trust case against them.

Don't forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15322711)

Europe's fine!

Perhaps a silly question... (1)

yobjob (942868) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322718)

...why are they still allowed to include internet explorer with windows?

Re:Perhaps a silly question... (1)

Davus (905996) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322864)

Eh, a web browser is pretty much a core to any modern day operating system. If the user had no web browser, even if they had intentions of downloading an alternative, they would not be able to retrieve one in the first place.
Have to toss something in. ;)

In Other News... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15322722)

Microsoft Vista was delayed for an additional two years. Microsoft insisted the time similarity of the delay and court order were only a coincidence and had absolutely nothing to do with them trying to hijack standards.

without even looking (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322742)

usual monopoly crap i imagine

instead of moaning about what people willingly spent their hard earned cash on offer a compelling alternative. Then you can have the moral high ground.

That might work... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322912)

if MS hadn't used fraud and it's monopoly position to drive all significant competition into the ground.

Quick (no Googling), other that OO (which doesn't depend upon making a profit for survival), what other word processors or spreadsheets are available?

that Dick Cheney joke... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15322791)

... is costing Bill now. Although it was pretty funny at the time ("Real glad to be here, my other invite was to go hunting with Dick Cheney").

Plus, Preston Gates is no longer helping out.

-- more cynical than you

The issue is NOT bundling (4, Interesting)

KidSock (150684) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322877)

That legal strategy was designed by Real, Netscape and others to yield compensation dollars. The problem with Microsoft's anticompetitive behavior has to do with Inter Process Communication (IPC). A file is a form of IPC. A network message is IPC. If the details of the various forms of IPC are widely available products can interoperate and that is bad for Microsoft's market share. I believe that if a product is completely dominant in a market (e.g. Exchange / Outlook mail system on corporate intranets) the details regarding it's IPC should be made available so as to reduce the liability associated with using that product. In this particular case that liability is the unfair business practice of forcing other companies out of a market by leveraging undisclosed IPCs. Secondarily there are a number of other very good reasons for having alternative programs that understand the same IPCs but it's not clear that they have legal bearing.

confused.. (1, Troll)

joshetc (955226) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322884)

I'm by no means a MS fan boy, though I do use XP.

All I wanted to say is how exactly is it anti-competetive for them to bundle apps? I wouldn't even consider it anti-competetive to completely disallow add-on programs under their OS. I just don't understand where everyone got the idea that an operating system cannot include EVERYTHING a computer needs. Windows haters whine and complain about how it includes no useful software compared to other OS (notepad, calculator.. etc. All junk supposadly) then they start bundling somewhat useful apps (IE, Media Player, etc.) and they are anti-competetive.

What exactly is it? Did they have an ad-campaign touting their lack of features or something making it false advertising? If that isn't it then I dont understand the problem..

If they are in fact being anticompetetive then why are they not being sued for bundling an OS with their xbox consoles? Or even better.. for not making it easier to install linux on them? I understand its a "game console" which doesn't specifically say it has the ability to install 3rd party applications.. but neither does "personal computer".

Note: Most of this is in fact taken to the extreme, in which case I still think they have done nothing wrong. Also note that I DO think it sucks that they dominate the market, competetion is great... I just don't really think its their fault or they should be hurt for it. I'd like to see some other players step up and release an OS and featureset as easy to use with as much software as windows.. or possibly binary compatability / good emulation for windows apps.

I guess thats the point to an extent? If they documented everything better it would be much easier for someone / some company to do just that :D

Btw doesnt this psuedo-html crap to post here drive people crazy?

DOJ: dumb and dumber (4, Insightful)

EllynGeek (824747) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322918)

who gives a rip about bundled software? Everyone bundles. Duh. Their biggest crime is their illegal collusion with hardware vendors. That's their biggest lock on the market. Everything else flows from that- all those nice customers to bully and abuse, all those captive devs trapped in lardy Microsoft Foundation Classes, and their giant politician-purchasing war chest. The DOJ doesn't want to punish MS, it's just a big empty show.

"High-Priority Update" forces MS's Harshest EULA. (5, Insightful)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 7 years ago | (#15322920)

Those who try to document Microsoft's abuses find that there are too many to investigate and explain.

For example, Ed Foster's Gripelog has a story about Microsoft's Harshest EULA [gripe2ed.com] . Windows users who download the "High-Priority Update" called Windows Genuine Advantage Notification are required to agree to a new contract. Ed says, "Not only does Microsoft place restrictions on your right to criticize the software, it won't allow you to uninstall the software or to test it in an operating environment."

EULAs are a unique kind of contract in that they supposedly allow one party to the contract to force new contract provisions on the other. Contract law has always held that forced contracts are illegal.

If you buy, agree to the terms of use, and install Windows for your company and train your staff to use it and applications you buy for it, your total cost is far greater than the cost of Windows. Yet EULAs supposedly allow the software provider to change the contract provisions at any time, with no restrictions whatsoever. Your only option if you don't agree to the new contract provisions is to lose all the money you have invested and stop doing business until you can get new software. This is especially severe when a company has a monopoly on the operating system your business software needs to run.

The concept of fairness is completely absent from EULAs. Those who write EULAs believe that they can do anything they like. If you go to your kitchen and find a Microsoft employee eating your ice cream, check your EULA; maybe Microsoft has decided that Microsoft employees can raid your refrigerator.

who is being punished: us (1)

argoff (142580) | more than 7 years ago | (#15323078)

The whole theory of copyright is to provide an "incentive" to bring beneficial creations out into the open. Considering that it has been proven that MS violated this purpose, an appropiate punishment wouldn't require Microsoft to do anything - it would simply assert that Microsoft copyrights could no longer be enforced.

But as it is, the punishment that Microsoft gets is nothing compaired to the punishment we get as Microsoft still has the nearly unlimited right and leverage to squeese and sue us using copyright controlls - minus one or two exceptions. This "punishment" did not eliminate their ability to abuse, it enshrined it. However it is probably for the better, because the problem isn't Microsoft. They are just a symptom of the kinds of problems copyrights cause as they are brought to their logical conclusion. Get rid of copyrights and the other problems will solve themselves.
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