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Microsoft Softens Up On Competition

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the letting-other-people-through-the-door dept.

150

shaneFalco writes "The BBC is reporting that Microsoft, prompted in part by their recently legal woes in the European Union will allow vendors to set non-Microsoft applications as the default on Windows computers. This initiative is part of a dozen 'tenets to promote competition' that the company is adopting in the face of stiff criticism of business tactics in Europe. Other tents include not retaliating against businesses that promote non-MS software, and a relaxing of restrictions on licensing Windows-related patents." From the article: "The principles might mean that some manufacturers will promote search engines other than Microsoft's own, Mr Smith said - an apparent reference to Google, which has looked to be on a collision course with Microsoft over search engines. 'There are certain steps we can't take that would have been permitted a decade ago,' the executive added." We touched on this announcement yesterday, but details on the '12 tenets' were less clear at that point.

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150 comments

How nice (4, Funny)

rolyatknarf (973068) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753166)

The article gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling for Microsoft. They really are nice people after all. They are even going through a twelve step program to make themselves better.

Re:How nice (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753348)

Great. Then I can sleep soundly at night with Microsoft stock in my Roth-IRA account, even through I just switched to a Mac. :P

The nice dog... (1)

cloricus (691063) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753370)

These nice people really do remind me of a large aggressive dog that lashes out at everything. If a master gets jack of it (EU) and gives it a punch square in the nose (I'm against animal cruelty!) it will back off hurt while it works out The New World Order. Then the dog will work on a way to then correct its wrong doings (these 12 steps) and after a short time completely ignore them and go back to what it was doing after forgetting that the threat of being punched is real. Moral of the story is it wont last.

Re:The nice dog... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15753731)

Moral of the story is it wont last.

Moral of your penis is you don't have one.

Re:How nice (1)

lyz (988147) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753375)

How can anyone not buy Vista now? It's made by such a swell company who goes out of there way to along with everyone. Just reading about them puts me in the mood for a picnic.

Re:How nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15753412)

Amazing how the EU is imposing these kind of arbitrary restrictions on what MS can and cannot do with Windows, but turn a completely blind eye to Apple's totally monopoly over all things Apple.

Yes, I know there has been a bit of whining about iTunes, but that is a completely different issue, since it has nothing to do with the operating system.

It's just pathetic how the reigning sentiment of the anti-MS crowd is that politicians will do a better job designing how Windows should work than Microsoft. I'll bet they run around calling themselves "fiscal conservatives", too.

It's just a question of magnitude (4, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753903)

the EU is imposing these kind of arbitrary restrictions on what MS can and cannot do with Windows, but turn a completely blind eye to Apple's totally monopoly over all things Apple


Huh, maybe their respective 95%/5% market shares have something to do with that decision?

Re:How nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15754270)

I don't fell warm and fuzzy about Microsoft. Could someone tell them not to keep putting their own web browser and media client in the root of the programs menu even after you have removed them from the all user's and default user's profiles? It is rude, Microsoft, to disobey the actions of your customers like that (and not more than a little bit anti-competitive).

You can already do this! (1, Insightful)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753171)

Just install the apps and select the preferences you want...

So this is either just pure marketing, or someone at MS half-arsed an app to automate default file and protocol associations.

Re:You can already do this! (5, Informative)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753207)

Sure, YOU can, but until now most OEMs were contractually obligated not to change the defaults to non-MS alternatives.

Having OEMs ship with non-MS defaults is big, because the vast majority of users will pretty much stick with default settings in most cases.

Re:You can already do this! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15753366)

OEMs have been able to change the defaults since the settlement of the US Antitrust case. Which is obvious if you've seen a Dell from the last few years.

Re:You can already do this! (3, Funny)

rolyatknarf (973068) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753246)

"Just install the apps and select the preferences you want..."

and pray it works

Re:You can already do this! (3, Informative)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753262)

This is not about consumers changing settings on thier own computers. It is about letting manufacturers change the setting on machines that they sell to the public with Windows installed. The real reason that this is a big deal is because most users (those who do not read /.) are not going to go through the effort to track down a replacement for Windows Media Player and then set it as the default for all files. This is especially the case when MS makes it so WMP bugs the crap out of you if it is not the default for everything under the sun.

Re:You can already do this! (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753315)

So this is either just pure marketing, or someone at MS half-arsed an app to automate default file and protocol associations.
Or you don't know what you're talking about.

I'm going with number three. This is about the OEM deciding what is default on your system instead of MS. I don't see what the big deal is about since neither option is any good.

Re:You can already do this! (5, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753509)

It's more than that. It's (pick one or more of the following):

  ( ) Microsoft's meeting antitrust settlement requirements by not only providing mechanisms to change the defaults, but actually implementing the GUI to make it possible for non-geeks to do so
  ( ) Political spin/marketing bragging about how they're good guys when in reality they were forced to do this
  ( ) Unlike Google, known for making efforts to "do no evil" Microsoft is known primarily for doing evil and then not apologising afterward. Making their meeting DoJ requirements look like new value-added features is great marketing. "Hey we let you change small aspects of your desktop, new in Vista. Upgrade your PC today!"
  ( ) Microsoft's wanting to avoid further extensions of antitrust settlements
  ( ) Ballmer didn't feel like throwing any chairs yesterday (I kid, I kid)

Previously if you wanted to change some of these settings it was digging through the registry (a frightning prospect for Mr. Old School businessman who can barely master Hotmail or for Joe Sixpack) or knowing about and downloading xteq's xsetup (or for some settings, TweakUI from Microsoft Powertoys)

Re:You can already do this! (1)

spectecjr (31235) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753741)

Previously if you wanted to change some of these settings it was digging through the registry (a frightning prospect for Mr. Old School businessman who can barely master Hotmail or for Joe Sixpack) or knowing about and downloading xteq's xsetup (or for some settings, TweakUI from Microsoft Powertoys)

Er... or use the "Set Program Access and Defaults" wizard, which has been on the start menu since Windows 2000 and Windows 98 SE came out.

Re:You can already do this! (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753810)

Funny, the search engine setting isn't there on the Windows 2000 I've seen. Is it on yours?

Re:You can already do this! (3, Insightful)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753671)

Not quite... There are (were?) big discounts to OEM's (Gateway, Dell) on licenses for Windows, assuming certain conditions were met.
For example, Gateway wanted realplayer (god, no!) as the default. However, to do so, they would lose some/all of their discount. It doesn't hurt gateway to not bundle it, and it's good for them.
I think that's the reason why the anti-trust case came up. As far as I know, they were stifling competition by "forcing" (for lack of a better term - incentivizing?) them to bundle/make default/use exclusively Internet Explorer. So, (not sure of the extent) they would lose their discount if they even bundled netscape.
None of this is aimed at the consumer. None of the problems they're addressing deal with the user.
However, what I'm really excited about is the opening of protocols they said. Stuff like easy domain login can now be focused on, and existing bugs can be removed. Nice!

Your Getting A Dell (4, Funny)

dduardo (592868) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753178)

Now with 50% more junk preinstalled with every PC.

Re:Your Getting A Dell (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753214)

Now with 50% more junk preinstalled with every PC.

Typically laptop users suffer more than desktop, from bloat. Oddly, my laptop drive crapped out and I'm borrowing a desktop of approximately the same CPU clockage but the delay in loading during boot up is considerably longer on the desktop. Both HP-Compaq. Odd that.

(The reason being laptops usually use lower power north-south bridge and thus run a bit slower clock.

Re:Your Getting A Dell (2, Insightful)

jasonwc (939262) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753257)

Laptops also have considerably slower hard drives with slower access times. Many of the higher capacity laptop drives (100-120 GB) are also 4200 RPM which pales in comparison to the standard 7200 RPM of desktop drives with much larger capacities. 5400 RPM laptop drives are quite a bit more expensive than 4200 RPM drives, and that means most entry level and midrange laptops are going to use slow drives.

Re:Your Getting A Dell (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753269)

I'd rather have a 100GB 4200RPM then a 40GB 7200RPM :-)

Plus that's what the 2GB of memory is for.

Tom

Re:Your Getting A Dell (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753358)

Laptops also have considerably slower hard drives with slower access times. Many of the higher capacity laptop drives (100-120 GB) are also 4200 RPM which pales in comparison to the standard 7200 RPM of desktop drives with much larger capacities. 5400 RPM laptop drives are quite a bit more expensive than 4200 RPM drives, and that means most entry level and midrange laptops are going to use slow drives.

I think you left out the word "typically" as my laptop (HPQ nw9440) has a 7200 rpm hard disk drive. They're not uncommon in higher-end portables. This machine is sold as a "mobile workstation". It weighs about eight pounds and is around 1.1 inches thick, which makes it about the same weight and thickness as my old Mobile-P3 Thinkpad (A21p.) Pretty amusing. This has the high-end Core Duo whose model I always forget (T2600?)

Re:Your Getting A Dell (1)

Petrushka (815171) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753651)

My laptop (Tosh Satellite 1100) is four years old. It has a 1.3 GHz Celeron. But that's plenty: the only real deficiency that truly annoys me is the speed of its hard drive, 5200(?) rpm. It's good to know that 7200 is available, but it just wouldn't enough of a leap for me to justify a new one; my old Tosh will last me until flash or hybrid drives become standard and affordable, I think.

HOLY FUCKING SHIT YOU ARE A GODDAMN NIGGER! CUNT! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15753271)

you fucking nigger cunt! go die you worthless shitpile!

Re:Your Getting A Dell (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753279)

You're Getting A Dell

You misspelled "You're going to Hell".

Re:Your Getting A Dell (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15753434)

You're Getting A Dell

You misspelled "You're going to Hell".
Tsk. Remember back when the Dell dude got arrested for pot [cbsnews.com] ? Dell dropped the familliar "Dude, you're getting a Dell" campaign like a hot potato. I think it was Jay Leno that coined the phrase "Dude, you're going to jail!" (he said before I saw it anywhere in print).

Re:Your Getting A Dell (2, Funny)

jtwronski (465067) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753715)

Hmm, I always thought pot was a gateway drug!

Okay, old joke, but I thought it was fitting.

Re:Your Getting A Dell (1)

Monkeys!!! (831558) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753992)

Part of me wants to laugh but another part of me whimpers from the memory of clearing out my Dell Laptop when I got it.

We promise.. (4, Interesting)

vancondo (986849) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753180)

One of the 12 tenants is 'Promising not to retaliate against computer makers that support non-Microsoft software.'

Hmm.. does a slightly higher pricing structure count as 'retaliation', or is that just good business sense? I guess it's a matter of semantics.

Re:We promise.. (3, Insightful)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753322)

Not really. Just Microsoft trying to squeeze money wherever they can find it. Since the current Windows OS and hardware is good enough to run everything out there, there's no strong motivation for Joe Blow and Missy Six-Pack to upgrade Windows Vista. No upgrades, no money. The economics is pretty simple at this level.

Yes (4, Informative)

donutello (88309) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753532)

From Twelve Tenets to Promote Competition [microsoft.com] :


Microsoft will not retaliate against any computer manufacturer that supports non-Microsoft software. To provide transparency on this point, Microsoft will post a standard volume-based price list to a Web site that is accessible to computer manufacturers, as it has under the U.S. antitrust ruling. Windows royalties will be determined based on that price list, without regard to any decisions the computer manufacturer makes concerning the promotion of non-Microsoft software.

Re:Yes (1)

Trelane (16124) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753929)

inquiring minds want to know: where's the list?

Any requirement... (3, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753190)

Is there any requirement that we won't see a replay of the Opera-Bork-Bork-Bork fiasco in Microsoft ensuring competitor's components are noticeably more clunky than their own?

i still don't like it, keep the playing field a bit tilted

Wtf? (4, Insightful)

Poromenos1 (830658) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753197)

The hell? They will ALLOW them? Where does it say that Microsoft has a say in what is set up as default in the OS? Do they seriously think they can make people only use their searches/office/whatever?

Re:Wtf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15753236)

If you are a microsoft vendor and install their os's, then you are "supposed" to use all their programs as defaults.

Re:Wtf? (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753244)

Well, market dominance has "allowed" them to do so for some time. Where've you been? Burkina Faso?
BTW, "default" and "make people use" are two different things, at least for those not afraid of their computers. For them, the two may well be equivalent.
It may mean the beginning of the end of their dominance though I'm sure that has been predicted before.

Re:Wtf? (1)

dorath (939402) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753292)

There are many people who will just use whatever the default is when they get the machine.

If the default is IE, they'll use IE. If the default is Opera, they'll use Opera. As long as it works there isn't any reason for them to change anything.

By setting their products as the default MS is able to increase/maintain its share due to the reticence and/or lack of desire by the user base to change.

And the problem is? (1)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753377)

Really, what's wrong with Microsoft setting it's own programs as the default? I mean, if I made an OS, a browser and a search engine, I would bundle the browser with the OS as the default (because I own it, so no one will complain about me selling their browser), and I'd set my search engine as the default because I think my search engine is the best and I want to give my customers the best. Sure, IE isn't that great, but Microsoft is GIVING IT AWAY. If I'm missing something, someone please explain this because I don't get it at all..

Re:And the problem is? (2, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753543)

If you're a hardware distributor you'd like to control what software is installed when you sell your computers. You'd like for your users to have a pleasant and unique experience right out of the box. If the OS distributor controls the defaults you've lost a slight potential edge in the market. If the OS defaults are customizable, however, you have more control over the computers you sell.

Re:Wtf? (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753537)

Where does it say that Microsoft has a say in what is set up as default in the OS?

That would be the contractual agreement between OEMs and Microsoft.

Microsoft have every right to insist OEMs ship *Microsoft's product* just the way *Microsoft* wants them to. Likewise, OEMs have every right to refuse and thus lose any incidental benefits agreeing to the contract might have provided like, say, lower prices.

You think the biggest $CAR_MANUFACTURER deal in $MAJOR_CITY is allowed to present the cars in whatever way they want ? Hell, no - they have to have them displayed *exactly* how $CAR_MANUFACTURER says they do, who will dictate which models are given the best positions, which other models (and/or brands) can be in the same general area, etc, etc.

Do they seriously think they can make people only use their searches/office/whatever?

No, nor are they suggesting they should. This is about *contract-bound OEMs selling computers with Windows* not end users. Once you've got the thing, you can do whatever you want with it, within the bounds of copyright law.

Re:Wtf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15753652)

You think the biggest $CAR_MANUFACTURER deal in $MAJOR_CITY is allowed to present the cars in whatever way they want ? Hell, no - they have to have them displayed *exactly* how $CAR_MANUFACTURER says they do, who will dictate which models are given the best positions, which other models (and/or brands) can be in the same general area, etc, etc.

And if one car manufacturer controlled 95% of the market then this might be a problem.

Re:Wtf? (2, Insightful)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753942)

Microsoft have every right to insist OEMs ship *Microsoft's product* just the way *Microsoft* wants them to.


Not if they leverage their monopoly position to do so. This got them into trouble in the 90s when they would threaten to revoke Windows licenses, a sure-fire OEM killer since Windows is a monopoly.

Re:Wtf? (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753631)

They've been doing it for years: OEM vendors and major customers faced serious price penalties if they used non-Microsoft default web browers or streaming media players. Search tools are just the next round of Microsoft using their monopoly in the operating system to directly interfere with other markets, as vendors face penalties for installing Google or other search defaults instead of the Microsoft search engine.

Re:Wtf? (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753668)

If OEMs want to sell PCs, yes Microsoft pretty much does get a say in what software comes preinstalled. They can't use it to pressure OEMs as much as they used to, but they don't really have to anymore. As available and widely used as OSs like Linux and OSX are these days, off the shelf vendors are still primarily interested in selling PCs with Windows. And, as another poster stated, MS doesn't really have to refuse anyone software to preinstall without hurting them, they just have to up the price a bit.

They'll get a way with it less and less as time goes by, partly through regulation and partly through a continual adoption of the alternatives, but for now they still have a pretty persuasive hold over OEMs.

Re:Wtf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15754298)

The hell? They will ALLOW them? Where does it say that Microsoft has a say in what is set up as default in the OS? Do they seriously think they can make people only use their searches/office/whatever?


Thank you for your interest to Microsoft (tm). However your post is critical of Microsofts (tm) business practices and has not been authorized by Microsoft Free Speech (tm) program. By the rules of 278 different EULAs you have accepted, your licenses will be now revoked, all your children are now belong to us and you will be soon relocated to Elbonia by local BSA/FBI unit. Please stay where you're, we've already located your position, disabled your BMW's engine and tapped your phone lines.

Welcome to the World of Microsoft.

Great. (5, Insightful)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753201)

This is lovely on paper, but with regards to:

Promising not to retaliate against computer makers that support non-Microsoft software.


How precisely do they propose to differentiate between "retaliation against a computer maker" and "business decisions" due to any other little thing the maker may do that they decide they don't like? Would it be possible to argue that regardless of the actions of the maker, Microsoft could never stop selling to them or change pricing ever again without risking constant litigation? Seems like a disaster waiting to happen either way once a precedent is set(either against or for Microsoft).

Re:Great. (4, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753272)

If Microsoft raises pricing for one particular vendor without similarly raising prices on all other vendors selling the same volume, chances are it's retaliation.

Microsoft needs to stop playing games and just set different prices for different numbers of units sold and be done with it. The more complex they make their OEM pricing models, and the more factors they base pricing on, the more likely they are to be hit with lawsuits based on unfair pricing.

Re:Great. (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753341)

I sincerely doubt that would work as an argument though, since selling at a different rate depending on Volume has been around since someone decided to give a free chicken with every four they traded for. It would leave a fair bit of leeway if Microsoft decided the cost of losing out on other makers in a given volume range decides to order less due to this if the pressure it applied to a specific one seemed worth it. Unless they created a new volume price range or some such that only a single vendor fell into could I see this argument going far.

Re:Great. (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753354)

theres a missing who in there, where I leave to you.

Publish volume-based pricing (2, Informative)

donutello (88309) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753479)

Other articles on this subject state that Microsoft intends to publish a volume-based price list for OEMs. As long as they conform to that price structure, they can't be accused of retaliation.

Re:Publish volume-based pricing (2, Insightful)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753728)

Except, of course, that for major distributors there tend to be some nice little "perks" and "discounts" and "value-added benefits" that are so large they affect the overall cost of the product to the vendors. If 90 out of 100 vendors buying those bulk licenses qualify for those "discounts" because they sole-source their setups from Microsoft, and the other 10 don't get the discounts even if they buy the same number of licenses, then they've been retaliated against.

Microsoft got cought doing exactly this sort of thing before their last brush with the US Department of Justice: we'll see if htey begin to stop doing it after this lawsuit.

Re:Publish volume-based pricing (3, Interesting)

donutello (88309) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753757)

From Twelve Tenets to Promote Competition [microsoft.com] :

Microsoft will not retaliate against any computer manufacturer that supports non-Microsoft software. To provide transparency on this point, Microsoft will post a standard volume-based price list to a Web site that is accessible to computer manufacturers, as it has under the U.S. antitrust ruling. Windows royalties will be determined based on that price list, without regard to any decisions the computer manufacturer makes concerning the promotion of non-Microsoft software.

Re:Publish volume-based pricing (3, Funny)

AngryDill (740460) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754036)

...standard volume-based price list to a Web site that is accessible to computer manufacturers, as it has under the U.S. antitrust ruling

To show how good we know are; we swear we'll keep doing what we're forced to by law! ;-)

-a.d.-

Re:Great. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753575)

"How precisely do they propose to differentiate between "retaliation against a computer maker" and "business decisions" "

they will post volume liscensing. So if you get charged more for 1000 pieces then you competitor, you can bring anti-trust lawsuits to the table.

Re:Great. (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753935)

And this is how you know it's ridiculous to make laws like anti-trust apply to intellectual property. If you find yourself asking questions like this, the law/policy is idiotic.

PR only, and poor at that. (0, Flamebait)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754067)

How precisely do they propose to differentiate between "retaliation against a computer maker" and "business decisions" due to any other little thing the maker may do that they decide they don't like?

What makes you think they mean it? The fact that they have admitted the practice should convince you they can do it again.

As in so many cases in the past, this is just another damage control press release and no one should expect change. In the court prooven case of DRDOS, they planned both the technical and PR attacks in advance. In that case, internal emails show they programmed Win3.1 to error out for anything but their own DOS and planned to astroturf the newsgroups to blame DRDOS. It worked and DRDOS failed. Ditto Netscape, Word Perfect, Correl and all other private "competitors". When a new net nasty takes out every corporate network, they issue statements about how "security is job 1" and hype their patches. Now that they are being tagged by the EU for trying to lock down the world of media and computers in general, they issue this bogus and confusing release. They think they can talk their way out of anything.

They need a good old fashion hanging judge to say, "For getting smart, boy, I'm going to double your daily fine until you comply." The lenient stance of the Bush administration and the EU so far are just short of ludicrous. In the mean time, I'm waiting for sales of Vista to tank and the sun to finally set on M$ and non free junk.

Nihilists! (1)

13bPower (869223) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753211)

I mean, say what you like about the tenets to promote competition, Dude, at least it's an ethos.

Re:Nihilists! (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753303)

Dude, at least it's an ethos..

No, I'd say it's more of a pathos.

Re:Nihilists! (1)

plantman-the-womb-st (776722) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753441)

Yeah, and it really ties the room together.

Re:Nihilists! (1)

Oxyrubber (982275) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753642)

If I could give you karma points, I would have already. Anyone to quote a Cohen movie (especially THE Lebowsky) is certainly worthy.

softening? (4, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753216)

I hail Microsoft's perceived "softening" as a positive step albeit driven largely by legal fiat. However, one need only read this article on Microsoft and their stance against Google [com.com] to realize and recognize Microsoft retains its hubris and aggressive stance.

Consider from the above article:

Turner said the company is also gearing up to take on IBM and Oracle, among other competitors, with new products slated for debut in the next few months. But he saved his most acerbic comments for Google.

"Those people are not going to be allowed to take food off of our plate, because that is what they are intending to do," he said.

The hubris is Microsoft's assumption anyone getting business is taking food off of their plate, or something they consider rightfully theirs, as opposed to customers who make choices in a free marketplace. Fortunately the marketplace is tipped somewhat more towards a level playing field (not all the way, but better than before).

Hey! (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753255)

The hubris is Microsoft's assumption anyone getting business is taking food off of their plate, or something they consider rightfully theirs...

You bastard! Your post denied Microsoft from making a compatible post which is their right!

From now on all posts to /. regarding Microsoft will come from Microsoft, however in the interest of fair competition, you may forward your post to Microsoft for inclusion in their post to ensure compatibility.

Re:Hey! (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753560)

Microsoft? Compatibility? That's how we know your post is a fake.

Re:softening? (1)

killjoe (766577) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753663)

Think about this. Does a bad person wake up one day and become good all of a sudden? Do they stop all the habits they built up over a lifetime and aquire new ones overnight? Can they change their entire worldview in a snap?

Of course not and neither can MS. As long as MS management stays the same they will not change their behavior. This is just some pablum put out there to appease the press and the gullable. Actions speak louder then words. Let's see how they behave in the next three months and then decide.

Re:softening? (1)

AngryDill (740460) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754057)

Well said! What we have here is just a few more hollow promises so they can cash in on the positive P.R.

-a.d.-

Means nothing (3, Interesting)

loraksus (171574) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753297)

All this will do is start a bidding war on the oem's end. Besides, installing the next version of messenger (or a MS download of any kind) will have a screen that will have all the default options revert back to MS's settings.
It doesn't really matter what browser they use, if the homepage is msn.com, they still get their unique visitor and ads displayed numbers bumped.
OTOH, .mp3 will be associated with Musicmatch jukebox or some equally bloated shitty app. I think we can all agree that is a loss.

Re:Means nothing (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753607)

installing the next version of messenger (or a MS download of any kind)

I'm sorry, I think you misspelled any.

Or do you really think that MS is the only one who makes media players and such ask "do you want to change the default options to me"? ESPECIALLY media players. It's rare to find one that doesn't, at least in the Windows world.

Re:Means nothing (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753722)

Microsoft tends not to ask: they tend do it automatically as part of the security updates without notifying you.

Re:Means nothing (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753771)

What sort of default application thing has been reset via a security update?

I suppose it's possible that they do it with WM Player, because I use that by default for a lot of stuff, but that's about the only thing that I have that's set at default. Certainly no IE security update has returned IE to being default (this is over the life of this computer, which is just about 4 years now).

Re:Means nothing (1)

Trelane (16124) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753936)

I distinctly remember having to put the kibosh on Messenger any number of a bajillion times.

Not healthy... (-1, Redundant)

MBC1977 (978793) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753300)

Bah, I for one, don't see forcing a company to give up its infomation to rivals as healthy.
Maybe its the capitalist in me, but my blood, sweat, and tears put into a product(s), just to have
give it away, because I'm 'big' seems like the other company's are a bunch of whiny, crybabies
who need to be hand-fed.

Perhaps some don't care about making money (good, go find me the store that will give you food for free)
, but I find it saddening, when or if an individual wants to be #1, they get cut down, (like crabs in a barrel)

Personally, I hope MS figures out how to sidestep this, cause you should never be punished for winning.

Regards,
MBC1977
(US Marine, College Student, and Good Guy!)

Re:Not healthy... (1)

BeeRockxs (782462) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753455)

Looks like you didn't have any Economics classes in College, otherwise you'd know that a Monopoly is bad for an economy, and that's the reason why leveraging a monopoly in one market to gain an advantage in another market is forbidden.

Re:Not healthy... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15753473)

MBC1977 (US Marine, College Student, and Good Guy!) And exactly what about the opinion of a worthless piece of shit soldier is supposed to impress? Seriously, you members of the military are contemptable. Here's what we're going to do, when we need a nation of brown skinned women and children raped and murdered we'll let you know, until then shut your cock port and sit in your hole like a good little robot.

Re:Not healthy... (2, Informative)

molarmass192 (608071) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753496)

Sorry to break it to you, you're not a capitalist. Capitalism is primarily about the private ownership of the means of producion. Under the free market school of capitalism, which is what the US follows, anybody who is making disproportionate profits, like MS, is rapidly brough back into line by the competition. If the market becomes distorted by a monopoly or a oligopoly, it is the duty of the government to bring the balance of power back into check so the the free market may operate. The approach you describe is called anarcho-capitalism [wikipedia.org] , that's the brilliant school of thought that leads to depressions and support for it basically all but died in 1930s.

Re:Not healthy... (1)

imthesponge (621107) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753854)

"If the market becomes distorted by a monopoly or a oligopoly, it is the duty of the government to bring the balance of power back into check so the the free market may operate."

But then it's not a free market.

Re:Not healthy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15753946)

""But then it's not a free market.""

The 'free' in free market is relative. Not absolute. At least when you want a workable capitalist economy.

If a single business dominates others and sets the barrier for entry into a market so that that nobody can start a new business and compete then that business eventually becomes a psuedo-government.

Capitalism depends entirely on having a low barrier to entry into markets. You need compitition for it to function properly. Otherwise it's not realy different then a state-run monopoly.

In fact you end up with a great deal of collusion between government and economic forces. This is in fact one definition of fascism.. when government and businesses become essentially one large orginization to work together to profit off of controlling populations.

This is the danger that we face with the current government. I am all for corporations, even big ones. Without them we would not have most of what we have today. No nice safe automobiles or computers or international communication or cheap healthy food. None of that. BUT what we have to be very paranoid of is when government works to protect businesses and to protect business interests at the expense of other more important things. If a business (hint: airplanes or trains) are going out of business due to unmanagable workforces, expenses, or (usually and more likely) bad management then it's critical to let them simply die. IF there is a market, if there is a purpose, if there is somebody willing to pay to use a service then a new business will form that will do a superior job and take over for it.

Microsoft, due to it's abusive nature of it's monopoly, was able to dictate to Dell and other companies what they are allowed and not allowed to sell on their computer. If, as a computer reseller, you did not follow Microsoft's rules the price of software on your PC dramaticly increases and you get a huge delay in when you got your software.

So it was either do what Microsoft says or you go out of business. Microsoft specificly did this to prevent other software manufacturers from having a chance at competiting in areas were Microsoft didn't approve. (MS Office, MS Windows and other core products)

That is NOT a free market.

A free market is were a business is allowed to choose, people are allowed to choose, and people are allowed to create new products without be penalized for it.

Re:Not healthy... (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754267)

It's not fine to make any company give up internal information to competitors, of course.

But, when you find yourself in the very comfortable position of a monopoly, you have to play by other rules. These rules help protect other companies that would be completely unable to thrive in a saturated ecosystem.

And, in this case, we are talking about a monopolist that has not restrained itself from leveraging one monopoly to extend it to other business areas, sucking competitors dry after promising them business in return to knowledge and leaving a trail of corporate corpses in its wake.

So, yes. They have proved, time and again, their anti-social attitude and they must be contained.

I don't know if they will be able to sidestep it, but watching them try will sure prove entertaining.

Re:Not healthy... (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754289)

Lets put it in terms you will understand
in a fight between platoons you can expect certain things (rifles grenades maybe at4s/other shoulder launched missles and other such things)
but what happens if some jarhead decides to call down an airstrike or Naval Gun fire?
That is the problem with Microsoft (not to mention a few WMDs like Office and IE and ISS)

What are they then? (2, Informative)

Tx (96709) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753302)

I just went through a bunch of hits from Google news as well as the TFA - hundreds of stories all saying Microsoft has published these 12 tenets, not one actually listing them. WTF?

Found 'em on eweek (4, Informative)

Tx (96709) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753349)

1. The first principle goes to the installation of any software.

"We will ensure that Microsoft will design Windows in ways that make it easy for people to add non-Microsoft features," Smith said.

No. 2 is easy access: Computer manufacturers are free to add icons, shortcuts and the like to the Windows Start menu and other places used to access software programs so that customers can easily find them, Microsoft said.

No. 3 is defaults. Microsoft will design Windows so as to let computer manufacturers and users set non-Microsoft programs to operate by default in certain categories, such as Web browsing and media playback, Microsoft said; computer manufacturers can set these defaults as they please when building new PCs.

No. 4 is exclusive promotion of non-Microsoft programs, Smith said.

"This is an important new issue in regard to things like media and Internet search, as we are broadening to adopt this for Internet search as well," he said, indicating that Microsoft's fierce competition with Google aside, the company is dedicated to this principle.

Guru Jakob Nielsen offers advice on designing applications for usability. Click here to watch the video.

No. 5 is business terms: Microsoft will not retaliate against any computer manufacturer that supports non-Microsoft software, Smith said.

To provide transparency on this point, Microsoft will post a standard volume-based price list to a Web site that is accessible to computer manufacturers, as it has under the U.S. antitrust ruling, he said.

Principle No. 6 deals with APIs. Microsoft provides the developer community with a broad range of innovative operating system services, via documented APIs (application programming interfaces), for use in developing state-of-the-art applications.

And the U.S. antitrust ruling requires that Microsoft disclose all of the interfaces internal to Windows called by "middleware" within the operating system, Smith said.

Principle No. 7 involves Internet services, where Microsoft is contributing to innovation in the area of Internet services with services that the company calls Windows Live, Smith said.

"Microsoft will design Windows Live as a product that is separate from Windows. Customers will be free to choose Windows with or without Windows Live," the company said.

No. 8 is Open Internet access, where Microsoft will design and license Windows so that it does not block access to any lawful Web site or impose any fee for reaching any non-Microsoft Web site or using any non-Microsoft Web service, Smith said.

Principle No. 9 is "no exclusivity," Smith said.

The U.S. antitrust ruling provides that Microsoft may not enter into contracts that require any third party to promote Windows or any "middleware" in Windows on an exclusive basis and Microsoft has pledged to continue this, Smith said.

Next Page: Microsoft's pledges.

Principles 10 through 12 deal with interoperability for users and say that Microsoft will make its communications protocols available for commercial release, the company will generally license patents on its operating system inventions, and the company is committed to supporting industry standards.

Official MS URL to the 12 Tenets (4, Informative)

I'm Don Giovanni (598558) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753393)

"We touched on this yesterday, but the 12 tenets weren't clear at that point ... ", so we touch on it again tdday, but still fail to provide the official URL to the actual 12 tenets (a URL which was released yesterday, so the 12 tenets were indeed clear).

Anyway, here's the official link:
Windows Principles: Twelve Tenets to Promote Competition [microsoft.com]

(Note that according to the text, the tenets are in keeping with and following the spirit of the MS/USDOJ settlement, rather than having to do with EU fines (though the latter likely played a role).)

Re:Official MS URL to the 12 Tenets (1)

jejones (115979) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753572)

From that page:

"Microsoft will generally license patents on its operating system inventions (other than those that differentiate the appearance of Microsoft's products) on fair and reasonable terms so long as licensees respect Microsoft's intellectual property rights."

I'm sure the terms and the definition of respecting MS's IP rights will be such as to preclude their use in GPL software.

Re:Official MS URL to the 12 Tenets (1)

jejones (115979) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753578)

Oops. Jumped the gun. Also from that page:

"Microsoft will make available, on commercially reasonable terms, all of the communications protocols that it has built into Windows and that are used to facilitate communication with server versions of Windows."

"Commercially reasonable terms" will, no doubt, exclude GPL software.

Re:Official MS URL to the 12 Tenets (0, Flamebait)

stubear (130454) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754104)

No, they are more than welcome to pony up and pay the cash. They can also distribute applications that communicate with Windows Server as long as they honor the terms of the license they agree to with Microsoft. Ooops, I forgot, OSS advotaces only like it when everyoen has to agre to their terms, not when they have to agree to everyone elses terms.

Reality check (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753770)

From the page you linked:


1. Installation of any software. Computer manufacturers and customers are free to add any software to PCs that run Windows. More broadly, every computer manufacturer and customer is free to install and promote any operating system, any application, and any Web service on PCs that run Windows. Ultimately, end users are free to choose which software they prefer to use.


This means that any vendor can sell a computer that dual boots Windows and Linux, right?

L2 use windows nuubs (0, Troll)

Dangolo (974232) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753408)

This 'feature' was released with SP2 and it's called "Set Program Access and Defaults". ironically this was on the top of EVERYone's start menu after installing SP2, yet somehow all of europe missed it.
Aparently you need eyedoctors as much as you need orthodontists.

here's the link nubsauce:
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=332003 [microsoft.com]

Softening... (2, Funny)

Goodgerster (904325) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753437)

...means "padding the crowbar" in this sense...

Microsoft ... will allow ... on Windows computers? (1, Insightful)

D4C5CE (578304) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753485)

(...) Microsoft (...) will allow vendors to set non-Microsoft applications as the default on Windows computers.
Quite a lot is wrong in a world (and "market[!] economy" [google.com] ) where a phrase like this can actually be written&deemed to make sense.

This fits with a market economy (1)

imthesponge (621107) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753823)

Microsoft doesn't have to sell its software to vendors. Vendors sign a pre-sale contract [microsoft.com] promising to do and refrain from doing certain things with the software they resell to customers. A market economy wouldn't force Microsoft to sell their software except on their own terms.

What About Google? (2, Insightful)

8ball629 (963244) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753487)

Wasn't there recently an article about Microsoft telling Google to not compete with them?

Re:What About Google? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15753551)

Yes - it was about 'corporate search' and that Microsoft considers this area as 'theirs'. Such a drastic 360 in the span of a few weeks. Two things: either they assume people don't remember past two weeks or Microsoft are lying as always. Could it be that both are true. Time will tell.

Interesting (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753561)

That as the old gaurd begins stepping away, MS is becoming more rational.

I can't speak for MS, but in other companies this happens after the board becins quitely suggesting that the people on top find mre to do with there time. Nothing big as to not upset stock prices, just someone to point out how flat growth has been.

Please mod +1 pure speculation.

technical information... (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 7 years ago | (#15753850)

from the article:
Giving outside software developers the same access to technical information that Windows developers have, so "competitors will know that they can plug into Windows to get services in the same way that built-in Windows features do"

I wonder just WHAT technical information microsoft is talking about?

Tenet 11 kills Open Souce. (0, Troll)

Truth_Quark (219407) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754003)

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/newsroom/winxp/ WindowsPrinciples.mspx [microsoft.com]

11th tenet: "11. Availability of Microsoft patents. Microsoft will generally license patents on its operating system inventions (other than those that differentiate the appearance of Microsoft's products) on fair and reasonable terms so long as licensees respect Microsoft's intellectual property rights."

This means that OS will not be licensed patents. Neither will anyone be licensed patents for free.

The MS strategy has not changed ... crush the competition (which is OSS) in the courts.

strange, should not be done before? (1)

protomala (551662) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754054)

Was't allowing third-part software on windows, and not using restrictions on contracts conditions on the deal with the US govern in 1994?

That because Microsoft didn't actually did the promises, lead to a trial loose by the company?

That lead to another agreement with the new administration (bush) to soft the terms of the trial and Microsoft compromissed to allowing third-part software on windows, and not using restrictions on contracts again?


And only now they start dloing it?

Strange... I tought they should had started in 1994...

Theres always hope (1)

Skeith (931626) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754176)

Maybe I'm being too hopeful, but perhaps we'll see things like Opera, firefox and vlc preloaded with our dells now. Or dell browser and dell media player.

testing testing (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15754177)

Testing testing...

Protocols: not Open Source-friendly (1)

Knytefall (7348) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754253)

Check out #10:
"10. Communications protocols. Microsoft will make available, on commercially reasonable terms, all of the communications protocols that it has built into Windows and that are used to facilitate communication with server versions of Windows"

That closes out Open Source, no?
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