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Congressman Advocates Breaking-Up a Guilty MS

Hemos posted more than 14 years ago | from the it's-the-baby-bells dept.

Microsoft 394

Zulu_McDuffy wrote to us with an opinion piece by a Silicon Valley Congressman, Tom Campbell. He says that if "broad liability" was found in the anti-trust suit, the only logical thing to do would be breaking-up the corporation. What do you guys think? Is that the only solution? The alternative is regulation, which no one seems to be interested in doing.

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Regulation not that bad... (1)

Listerine (7695) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636556)

Some regulation wouldn't help. If they just broke up Microsoft, then another company could potentially do the same thing in 50 years from now. If they make some -->REASONABLE-- regulations, then something like this wouldn't happen again.

Breaking up is good to do (4)

JoeFaust (25587) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636559)

I actually think that breaking up Microsoft would be a good thing. As much as I hate to admit it, Microsoft is here to stay. Linux isn't going to kill them anytime soon.

That being said, I would like to see Microsoft produce some quality applications. They do have some. Visual J++ is my Java IDE of choice, and I'll take IE5 over Netscape any day.

If the Operating Systems team was separated from the Application team, then maybe they'd stop trying to produce bastard hybrids and focus on one thing at a time. With some massive scope reduction, I think that all the talent at Microsoft could produce some killer apps.


Break them up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1636561)

How can you regulate them, they will still have hidden agendas etc. The only thing left to do is break them up.

One is enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1636565)

One microsoft is bad enough. We don't need more than one.

Government Solutions Are Better? (1)

Calexico (38510) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636567)

MS has done plenty of things wrong but do we really think the government can do better? Even given that market is made up of individuals who are idiots, is a government imposed solution better than a market driven one? As anti-MS as I feel viscerally, I'm not sure I trust the government to do anything right in this case.

Stock (1)

norom (96976) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636570)

"Significant regulation makes investors get real nervous real quick,"

What an understatement. Watch the prices fall faster than a NT machine thrown out a window.

Licensing Agreements (1)

seppy (2431) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636572)

Allow anyone who wants to enter in a licensing agreement. I think that would be all that was required. As a general rule source code should be available, and I think this might be a good time to set the precendence. Not good having the government doing what the marketplace should have done. Stupid pointy hair IT managers are obviously responsible for the rise of the might M$. I'd really like to just ignore them and make them go away, personally.

Just laugh at the vendor selling NT solutions, they'll get the picture eventually. Hopefully.


Might be the only solution (1)

Pyr (18277) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636575)

Although the libertarian in me hates having the government step in to meddle with businesses, it seems like breaking up MS is the only solution. Even if it's only split between Operating system and Apps, would there really be any bad consequences of doing this?

Government regulations will never work in the computer industry, they're way too slow.

Of course, if Microsoft is left as it is the Linux bandwagon will continue to be fueled by the anti-ms sentiment, which might be enough to eventually effectivley solve the trust problem.

break them up (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636577)

Its a cycle tho...the phone companies are buying each other out again...they'll have to be broken up again soon too...but breaking up MS would proably solve the problem, too much power in anyone's (or company's or govs) hands is generally a Bad Thing (TM). And today money seems to equal power, so breaking them up into lots of smaller pieces would spead the money more.

Re:Regulation not that bad... (1)

nahtanoj (96808) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636671)

The whole question is how much do you regulate? This is quite similar to the break-up of Ma Bell. In some ways, things got better (like being able to own your own phone) and some things got worse (Bell labs). I think that if regulations came into play (if Microsoft is found liable) that it would soon lead to regulation of the web. This, of course, seems to be looming anyway.

The way to hurt Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1636674)

The only way to really push the point home to Mr. Gates is make him publish all the source code to everything Microsoft have ever made. All his money and monoploy power come from his hold on the code, remove this and you destroy his ability to control others.

MS Breakup is absurd. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1636677)

Breaking up Microsoft is a stupid idea, it would accomplish nothing.

Baby Bills (2)

BugMaster ChuckyD (18439) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636680)

Some time ago I saw a link to MICROS~1's "freedom to innovate" page I of couse took advantage of the offer to not only remind MICROS~1 that they have never innovated anything, not once, ever and to also e-mail to all my congress critters that, in my opinion, MICROS~1 should be broken up into seperate companies 1 to do OSes, 1 to do consumer apps, 1 to do commercial/enterprise apps, and one to do software develpoment apps.

I got a nice letter back from my ChristianConservativeRepublican Senator saying he didn't beleive in gov't interference in the marketplace. Oh well, it was fun though.

Clearly MICROS~1 is abusing their dominant position in the marketplace, and breaking them up would allow for competition based on the quality of the competing products, not based on whether MICROS~1 alows the competition entry to the marketplace.

I'm not afraid of microsoft anymore. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1636683)

Let them stay together, their public image is completely tainted.. Free software can take them down now with no problem, the government would only screw it up more. I think that there is enough awareness in free software and Linux in general now that they pose no threat to us anymore.

Re:Breaking up is good to do (2)

Suydam (881) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636688)

I agree. Breaking up Microsoft would allow the "good" parts to flourish. Presumably the software division, or the "Office Products" division would continue to produce their fine office suite.

Despite the horrific bloat in MS-Office, Word still blows the doors off of Word Perfect (and I use Word Perfect for 80% of my word processing I know what I'm talking about).

On the other hand, does eliminating the close ties between software and OS prevent MS from leveraging their monopoly? I'm not so sure it does. I could see the OS division sill having too much clout. After all, there is nothing to stop them from giving preferencial treatment to the other divisions of MS or something like that.

But How? (1)

robserver (87613) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636691)

The question as I see it is not if MS should be broken up, but rather how? This is not like a telephone co or an oil co where you can just break the company into several companies that do the same thing. This is a new type of Trust and if MS is broken up by product then we will just have several smaller monopolys.

Re:Regulation not that bad... (1)

ez8 (29763) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636695)

If this happens again 50 years from now, then break that monopoly up too.
Regulation would give bureaucrats and politicians an excuse to stick their noses where they don't belong.

Open file formats (3)

itsjpr (16533) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636699)

A guilty MS should only be required to open the file formats it uses. That's it. Linux will find its place without the help from the DOJ. Anything else the DOJ could do would only hurt other industry players later on.

Breaking up is hard to do.... (3)

Masker (25119) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636701)

How exactly would the split work? Split into major chunks of functionality (OS, compiler, applications, hardware, misc. bits)? I guess that wouldn't be so hard, but to what effect? If MS Office only runs on MS Windows, and Office is the most popular office suite (remember that the Office suite == operating system to naive users), then what does it matter? For development purposes, if the VC++ compiler only generates MS Windows binaries, and MFC is a framework for MS Windows only, then there's no difference. Does it hurt MS financially? That's not the point of the suit, in my mind; we should foster competition, not simply punish MS.

Besides, where do you split MS' applications between "core OS functionality" and "user application"? They've already tried to blur that line with IE4.0, and I wonder if naive users (and legislators) really know the difference between user-space applications and core OS applications. (Heh, what would be a non-core OS application in *nix? Anything in /usr/*/bin and /opt are "add-ons" and anything in /bin is "core"? =) )

Nah, it would hurt them worse to do something like force them to port Office and VC++ to other operating systems (Linux, Solaris, BeOS, OS/2...). And to open the source of the OS, so that people can truly see what the hell is going on in there!

Break it up (1)

Lazarus54 (98551) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636711)

Microsoft really should be broken up. I agree with the previous poster in that they make some nice apps (InterDev comes to mind) but some of the others are worthless. Beyond that, I think a more important point is one from a business outlook and not just a consumer's -- Microsoft has already proven itself to be steadily profitable (perhaps through book balancing, but still) and the market benefit of having 3 microsofts competing would be excellent. Not only would we get better apps but they would be cheaper through competition and perhaps even *gasp* cross-platform. Well, more than they are already, though I'm not holding my breath on this one.

Breaking it up. (1)

lscoughlin (71054) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636712)

Breaking MS into an apps division and an OS division with a clause to on cooperate through publicly available API's i feel, is definitely the way to go.

Splitting between OS and Apps (2)

Indomitus (578) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636716)

I think a split between MS-OS and MS-Apps would be a good thing for everyone. With the ability to let the Apps people look at and change the OS gone, it would allow much more real competition. An example I heard somewhere: If MS-OS wanted to integrate a browser into the OS, they would be forced to write App agnostic hooks into the OS that any browser could use, or the feature would be much less useful and much less worthwhile. With MS making both items, it behooves the OS team to only build the MS browser into the OS. This would have to be watched so the two new companies don't collude and effectivly become 1 company again but it would be the best solution for the industry overall. It eliminates the need for hefty regulation that might stifle other companies and it gives everybody a new reason to compete and innovate.

Break them up (1)

a9db0 (31053) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636718)

Regulating M$ doesn't make any long-term sense, unless the USG declares them a legal monopoly vis a vis the original AT&T. I don't think any of us want that.

Breaking the company into several different individually owned, operated, and traded companies makes the most sense. There needs to be an Operating Systems company, and Applications company, a Tools company, and an "Other" company with real firewalls between the three. That will help create a more level playing field.

Re:One is enough (1)

mulan (84969) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636723)

Two words: Baby Bell

Is everyone that works directly or indirectly at Microsoft tainted with the same monopolizing attitudes as those that have created the monopoly? I have to say 'no'. In every poorly managed, back-stabbing company, there is always someone, who could move up into the executive level, that doesn't have the same agandas which caused this mess in the first place.

With that in mind, the forced breakup of Microsoft could allows those people to "step up to the plate" and possibly change the monopoly and win by having a better product.

Microsoft is, itself, dead. Baby Microsofts could prove to be stellar company which produces an excellent product.

It's something to think about ...

Re:Might be the only solution (2)

Chuck McD (82486) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636726)

If you broke Microsoft into OS and Apps,
you'd have two monopolies instead of one: Company one has a monopoly on desktop OS sales,
the other has it on Office application suites.
How does the consumer win?

And where would you make the divide? Is IE
part of the OS or the applications?
Can the OS have an e-mail client (OE) or is that part of the applications?

Open Source their operating system only! (2)

bgarcia (33222) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636729)

Microsoft's "embrace and extend" method of ridding themselves of competition has always centered on their operating system. If you want to kill Netscape, make a browser part of the OS, etc.

What if the government simply forced them to make only their operating system open source? Well, I think you'll see them doing an about-face on saying IE is part of the OS.

But this would also prevent Microsoft from using their OS dominance to kill off competing products.

99 little bugs in the code, 99 bugs in the code,
fix one bug, compile it again...

don't break it, just open it up. (1)

mdvkng (59799) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636731)

I can't see breaking them up as solving anything. It could actually harm the market more than help it. It would also do nothing to prevent another information age monopoly from rising down the road.

I say force them to open up the code in the areas of monopoly and keep it on the books as a solution to future software monopolies. BTW, by "open the code" I mean go as far as GPL levels of "open." Maybe extend that rule to ensure network protocols stay open.

Just a thought, but I think it may be more effective than a simple breakup.


Confusion (1)

Matt-69 (50913) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636733)

I thought the original plan was to divide them up into two companies, hardware and software? Though I must admit dividing the OS and other gay software divisions makes a lot more sense given the nature of the trial.

Would this breakup be beneficial to M$ in the long run or would leaving them together be better for them? Seems to me that it would be easier for the Free Software movement to take them out if their image is still tainted.

My 2

Re:Breaking up is good to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1636735)

MS has produced some very good things, like ADO (ActiveX Data Objects), a cross-language library
for accessing databases etc.

OTOH, they've managed to make crap like Visual Basic, and to top that is even considering to drop the brilliant Visual J++. (And COOL is supposed to be the next MS Java, AFAIK. *yikes*)

The reason for that so many of the big'n heavy tools for WinXX are MS', is due to that they develop the libraries _and_ the tools.

A split in a Win/Libs company and a tool company can lead to either very good tools and libraries or less innovation and lesser integrated tools, IMHO.

(I'd take Linux any day over WinNT, but the lack of something similar to ADO makes that impossible for me.)

Good point... (1)

Listerine (7695) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636740)

With some miracle, regulation could be passed that forbids exactly what it is that Microsoft is doing. That way, MS would have to change, and no other company could take its place. I don't mean anti-trust laws; those already exist. I mean more specific to software. And if done right, it can be kept from leaking into the internet.

I'm not quite sure how it would be worded or worked, but I think that it could possible be done, so that it appeases most of the people, but specifically me. :P

Re:Breaking up is hard to do.... (1)

Aerolith_alpha (85503) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636744)

What I would like to see is a split right down the middle of Microsoft. Its a very unrealistic thing to do, but in my opinion it would be the best in terms of generating comeptition. Let them keep all the annoying integration of software if they want, but force them into two companies, maybe NT vs 9x or something like that, although they are really designed to serve two different markets.

Re:The way to hurt Microsoft (1)

thewiz (24994) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636747)

It may hurt Micro$oft, but it could be a boon to the consumer/user community. Imagine a Windows product that you actually had the ability to fix the bugs in ala Open Source. Wow, a version of Windows where you won't get the Blue Screen of Death everyday.

Re:Stock (1)

reflector (62643) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636750)

It would primarily affect Microsoft investors. The govt isn't out to regulate companies in general, just the extremely crooked ones. As far as MS stock prices dropping, GOOD! I have no sympathy for people who invest their money in, and thus support, a company with the market ethics of MS. Even Ballmer says that MS stock is extremely overvalued.

Any action would be catastrophic (2)

ciurana (2603) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636752)

Any government involvement in our industry would be detrimental to all of us. The best way to combat Microsoft is by letting market forces evolve.

Do you guys remember when IBM were the Bad Guys? Microsoft didn't require government intervention and controls to eat their lunch. Market forces take over sooner or later. And the government's stupid anti-trust action against IBM was dismissed anyway.

As formidable a threat as Microsoft seems, keep in mind that government action in any way threatens our freedom to innovate and to determine the course of our industry. How would any of us like bureaucrats dictating what code to write, who you can it be sold to? Keep all the encryption restrictions in mind. Now extend that to the rest of the industry. Bad news.


Justice from the DOJ? (1)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636754)

If Microsoft is found guilty, taking the legal chainsaw to it is the only just thing to due. Most software companies get their start by writing software, but almost all of what Microsoft has done (with a successfull product) has been to buy it from somebody else, mess it up, dumb it down, then force-feed it to the industry. We all remember MS-DOS, right? In what way was that better than UNIX? In what way was it even comparable to other OSs at the time? And, MSs products that ARE good would recieve a lot more comercial competition if MS didn't have such a stranglehold on so many vendors.

Re:MS Breakup is absurd. (1)

TheRogue (71674) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636758)

Why do you think it is so stupid? This is not flamebait - just a legitimate question. I am not sure I know where I stand on the issue, and you are one of the few arguing against breakup. Why?

Re:Open Source their operating system only! (1)

Royster (16042) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636760)

One big problem: MS dosn't own the rights to all of the code in the OS. They have licensed rights to portions of it from third parties. If the court tried to make them open those parts, the copyright holders would have something to say about it.

Break up something that matters to me... (1)

HarveyOpolis (14530) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636763)

I am not a fan of much of Microsoft... but I do like some of their products.

My only Windows machine is my laptop. It's running Windows 98 SE with IE5 and Office 2000.

I do think that Microsoft should give installers a choice on whether or not to install IE5 (if you choose no, only minimal parts to IE5 will be installed.. but no internet explorer icon will be placed, etc).

The thing is, Internet Explorer is the best browser. Netscape Navigator is a poor example of a Linux app since it crashes and has more quirks than IE5 that I don't like. Not to mention the text handling.

If they are going to divide MS up... which is already divided into divisions anyway... it won't necessarily help. Regulation is the only cure in my eyes. Make sure that the OS division doesn't block features of a competing product of another division.

I've lost touch over what this anti-trust suit is all about. What are they trying to accomplish?

Their monopoly is caused more by them shelling out cash for developers and computer manufacturers to sell Windows and Windows products.

The thing is... it doesn't stop Dell or other companies from selling Linux based machines. And it doesn't stop developers from producing Windows software.

Nor will dividing the company prevent the various grants that Microsoft gives out to developers.

Where am I wrong here?

Re:The way to hurt Microsoft (1)

Chuck McD (82486) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636765)

While that would hurt Mr Gates, what would
it do for the consumers? If the published
source code is still MS proprietary, no one can
use it in building any new projects without paying
MS. If you want to make it Public Domain, or GPL, or BSD, etc., you are talking about the
goverment siezing the property of a corporation (and therefor from the shareholders). do you really want the goverment going around siezing private property?

Make them give refunds (1)

slickwillie (34689) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636771)

to anyone who felt they were forced to buy from M$FT when they didn't have a choice.

On second thought, I've never actually *purchased* any of the M$FT products I use ....

The Microsoft Spaghetti Problem (1)

Marillion (33728) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636774)

I really don't see how breaking up would change much. At least not in the next ten years?
You break them into Applications and Systems. This from the company who called a browser part of Systems, who called ActiveX (nee OLE) part of Systems.
Spliting Microsoft would be like modularizng spaghetti code.
They mix system and application DLL's. Every version of Word comes out will six or more DLL's that should have been distributed in an OS patch kit. Of course it can be done, but it's not pretty.

another alternative? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1636777)

What of forcing Microsoft to open source their products? That is about the best way I can think of to make Microsoft practice fair business practices. Yes, it will take them time to adjust to this new paradigm, but it seems to me that they have the resources to do it, and to do it without falling behind in the market.

Pot. Kettle. Black. (1)

KingJawa (65904) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636780)

The U.S. Government, on it's holy quest to stop monopolies, should stop and take a look at the Postal Service and Amtrak. These 'companies' are monopolies by law, not by market effects. While I'm not too happy w/Microsoft, it still seems ominous that a MonopolyMaker like the Federal Government is spreading anti-monopoly propoganda.

Re:Government Solutions Are Better? (1)

Phositron (91143) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636781)

I agree completely. Microsoft is not the greatest of commpanies, but they are infinetly better than the government. The government should have nothing to do with the Microsoft trial. Only bad things can come of it. But on another note, After I read the heading to this article I thought what would the world be like if Microsoft was broken up? Every magaizine would cover the story. It would characterize the 90's.

Re:Regulation not that bad... (1)

Listerine (7695) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636784)

If you run, say, a BBS, and someone spams it to hell, and you delete the spam, do you not write something so that it would be significantly more dificult for them to spam?

Anyways, if that isn't the government's job, what is? If went completely lax on business regulations, everything would be owned by 2 or 3 MegaCorps.

Random thoughts (1)

Golden Eagle (49328) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636787)

If Jackson determines that Microsoft's business practices are broad violations of the antitrust law, then Campbell said it would be appropriate to hold a remedies hearing to explore what should be done.

This is news? "Buerocrat advocates buerocracy." Geez. This article would have been better summed up in 2 sentances and made an "Ask Slashdot."

Campbell said that no one can know the extent of Microsoft's liability, if any, until District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson issues his "findings of fact," which may come as soon as this month.

So, Jackson knows everything and will reveal it all when he comes out of his inner sanctum to spread enlightenment to the nation? Everyone knows what Microsoft has done and continues to do. "If any" indeed.

As to what to do, I don;t think breaking up Microsoft will really acomplish anything. Sure, they can't be quite the bullies they were before, but they'd stil have a monopoly on operating systems for quite a while (how long depends on how cynical you are).
The only thing I can think of at the moment is to make them release the source code to Windows, but that's not really very good because (a) who wants to deal with that mess? (b) they'd muscle out anyone who tried, and (c) embrace and extend.
So, I don't really see a solution short of outlawing Windows (and that's not going to happen).

A Really Radical Idea (1)

wilkinsm (13507) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636790)

The problem is that Microsoft has almost a "monopoly" over operating systems, right?

It's simple. Force all the windows code to be dumped into the public domain. Let them keep their applications and the like, but force all of IE/windows 9x/NT OS stuff to be open.

I think the answer to this problem is deregulation, not regulation.

MS should be forced to GPL Windows source code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1636793)

If Microsoft is deemed to be a monopoly it would only make sense to treat Windows source code as Open Source.

Re:Open file formats (1)

Chuck McD (82486) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636795)

As one of the punishments, this isn't a bad idea.
Forcing MS to open the documentation on their many proprietary file formats and APIs would help even the playing field for startup competitors.

You answered your own question. (1)

FascDot Killed My Pr (24021) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636801)

Hemos asked: "Is that the only solution? The alternative is regulation...."

So the simple answer is "if there is an alternative, by definition there is more than one solution." The longer answer is: "What's wrong with (the right) legislation?"

For instance, why not just enforce false advertising laws? If a product is claimed to have feature A but turns out not to, that's a lawsuit. If a product is claimed to have feature A in "the next release" but turns out not to, that's a lawsuit.

Another example: Contracts that too heavily favor one party are illegal. So when company C makes a deal with company D that favors C's products at the expense of D's, that's a lawsuit.

Most of the evilness of Microsoft is a result of the non-enforcement of existing laws.

Don't just break them up (3)

ChrisRijk (1818) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636803)

Just breaking up the company doesn't do a great deal by itself, I'd say, though that does depend on how and where you break them up. I think they should also be forced to openly and publically publish all their APIs, specs, development information, etc well in advance of any product release. MS currently use them to undermine their competition - force others to have over IP (interlectual property) or similar in return, threaten to or delay giving out information etc etc. Also, the price they charge OEMs for Windows should be based only on volume and other 'normal' things, rather than doing it all secretly. For instance, MS threatened to make OEMs pay $5-10 more unless they include IE (pre Windows 98 days), or if they do include any 'competitors' (ie Netscape). They also really screwed IBM over the price for Windows 95 because IBM wanted to continue selling OS/2 and Windows 3.1

As a little aside, Scott McNealy (Sun CEO) said that he didn't think MS should be broken up - he said it could be like those horror movies where you cut the monster into bits each of which turn into a new monster ^-^. Also, he said that breaking up should only really apply when a company has a total monopoly - there is still competition remaining. Last I heard, Larry Ellison (Oracle CEO) was in favour of breaking MS up...

One problem facing the DoJ is that most of their real options involves something that would cause MS's stock price to collapse. Since the US's stock prices have built up to a massive bubble, this could trigger the bubble to burst. However, that bubble is going to burst sooner or later, and the sooner the better really, though it'd be better if it was gentler...

And finally, I can't remember the words exactly, but in the DoJ's proposed Findings of Fact, they said (with regards to MS's attack on Netscape) "First they said they did not shoot the victim, then that everybody shot the victim, then that the victim wasn't harmed" ^-^

Bust 'em up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1636805)

They are bastads break them up. Of course if you buy microsoft stock now, you will have 5+ companies which are indepantly successful, it will send the stock through the roof. bust 'em make bill gates richer

Could someone please explain ... ? (1)

monaco (37517) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636807)

the benefit of breaking up, since I'm not versed in antitrust law?

Let's say MS is broken up into an OS company and an apps company. What prevents the OS co. from saying, "hey, we just formed a strategic alliance with MSApps Co, so we're going to bundle IE with windows and optimize windows for running office apps, just like we did before"?

Inform the Ignorant... (1)

TheRogue (71674) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636808)

Everyone is agruing here about breakup or not, regulate or not, and force open source or not. Basically, breakup will do very little - baby MS's will still make products that only run on Windows and eventually the separation will be lost again. Regulation could spell doom for the entire software industry - we constantly complain about crypto regulations, what if there were other regulations on what software could or could not do... This leaves forcing Open Source. I think this is probably the best idea for everyone involved. MS gets free help with their software; users get better software; and we finally get to see why Windows is the way it is and possibly even port Office and other useful apps to *NIX. The problem is that the government is not so aware of the virutes of Open Source. Everyone - write you congressman, email the DOJ and let them know of this option - for the good of everyone!

Finally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1636809)

A first post thats not a "first post"

The Geek Ethnic Minority (1)

FooBarSmith (85970) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636812)

didn't Hilary Clinton recently get stung in NY for shamelessly trying to buy some ethnic minority vote?

now this guy is in Silicon Valley, a pretty wired up place - is the population of tech people here high enough to count as an 'ethnic' minority? (note quotes). Isn't he shamelessly trying to get the backing of a large swathe of the population (the richest segment).

strikes me as though he could care less about Microsoft, politics and votes from the geek sector seem more important to him.

Aide: Use the anti-microsoft sentiment
Senator: Who are Microsoft?
Aide: 27% of your votors hate them, the rest are indifferent.
Senator: Those bastards! This is unamerican and anti competitive, lets break them up!
Aide: Yessir, the gravy train will come in for you sir.

What's wrong with the current situation? (1)

Somnus (46089) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636814)

What happened to good ol' capitalism, where you could control your assets without busybody regulators butting in? So you don't like Microsoft -- use Linux, or MacOS, or BeOS, but don't get all sissy and whine about Microsoft. I don't like Bill Gates because his company makes crappy software (nice hardware, though), and has succeeded in convincing consumers that this is an acceptable level of quality; I have no quarrel with his business practices -- if you don't want to pay extra for OEM Windows, support the increasing number of Linux-centric vendors like Penguin Systems and VA research, or demand a refund.

I'm not playing devil's advocate nor troll -- check out my website.

*** Proven iconoclast, aspiring bohemian. ***

Is it hurting or justice we want. (1)

Hobbes_ (78793) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636816)

The objective is not to hurt for the sake of it, but to set a standard where by no one can control the desktop.

Will breaking them up help? If so in what way? What's to stop them working a system where by thier office suite gets all the low down before everyone else on the how the OS is going?

Personally I think they should at least make the source code for Windows OS freely availble to whoever wants it, along with all undocumented functions. I can't see this happening though.

Yes - but leave their Office suite alone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1636817)

Windows is the monopoly commodity, true - but do not extend open-sourcing Windows to their other software products. After all, Microsoft still has to make money.

Break up M$? I don't think so (2)

starlady (90005) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636821)

At the turn of the century, Standard Oil had a monopoly on oil refinement. The U.S. government filed an antitrust law (under the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890) and broke the company up. When they informed its CEO, John D. Rockefeller, of their decision, he merely laughed and said that the seven companies they broke Standard into would continue to dominate the market.

Think he was wrong? Remember the last time you bought gas? Whose pump did you use?

Standard never went away... they just renamed it. To Exxon, Phillips, Chevron, Amoco, Citgo...

Microsoft will never go away if the government takes action. Only real, honest-to-goodness competition can bring down the giant.


Re:Baby Bills (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1636823)

I of couse took advantage of the offer to not only remind MICROS~1 that they have never innovated anything, not once, ever

Perhaps you should take some time to peruse through

You'll find lots of innovative stuff there. Additionally, MS has innovated lots of other technologies and techniques. Usually these are small things which go unnoticed (for instance, underlining misspelled words in Microsoft Word in real-time. No other word processor did that before Word).

You may not like all of ms's innovations, but baldly stating that they have never innovated anything is simply a lie. Yes, they do copy lots of things and are quite often late to the game. But your credibility is shot if you make such stupid statements.

Why Break Up? (1)

JessupX (98946) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636825)

How about if we get MS to release and support current/future versions of office for linux and other operating systems? They could still sell it as commercial software at the same cost as the windows version. A HUGE step for linux getting it on the office desktop. Look at WinNT. All it needed was office and good network stability to become a standard in the business environment. It would be a lot easier then breaking the company up. The only problem I see is, who would port and develop it? -Marc

Differences (2)

GnrcMan (53534) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636826)

I remain neutral on this issue right now...but I would like to point out some points to consider.

The software industry is very much different from any other industry that has ever existed. One of the major differences is cost of entry, and a related diffence is required capital.

The software industry is very inexpensive to enter, comparatively speaking. Once you are in the "software business", relatively little capital is required to keep the business going. Every other monopoly I've ever seen has been precisely the opposite! Oil, telecom, even IBM(as a "potental monopoly" at one point)! These industries are phenomenally expensive. Especially telecom. This is why telecom industries like to consolidate, and you see no small telecom companies(except a few artifically created ones, i.e. local government subsidized phone co's or LD resellers, who are still paying the big companies!).

Look at never would have worked if the required capital was anywhere near that of the traditional monopoly.

What I'm trying to say is this: If Microsoft is to be considered a monopoly, that would be a significant departure from the traditional monopolies. There are many differences. They all need to be addressed before jumping to conclusions.

Non-breakup solution that's fair to all (1)

Waldo (4398) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636828)

The US government is a big part of the problem. If the government really wants to fix the problem, they should require that any software purchased by our government must have publicly available file and protocol specifications. Also, any computer hardware purchased should have publicly available interface specifications.

Don't break MS up open source them. (1)

Grey (14278) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636830)

I think that RMS had a better idea on what to do with a guilty MS. Force the opening of MS sources and compliance with published standards. I think that this in the long run this will be better for society then a bunch of Picosofts running around with virtual monopolies in their fields.

MICROS~1, the government, and you (1)

mitchy (34242) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636832)

Gee, let's break them all up! It sure worked wonders for the phone companies!


Look here, fellow mutants, in order to break up Ma Bell, they had to regulate them so tightly (to keep them apart) that it was impossible for any other NEW companies to emerge. It's hard enough starting a new company; and impossible in an industry that requires 5 times the startup to meet all of the red tape requirements.

Do you REALLY want to give the software industry that kind of an enema? I'd hope not. Besides, without Microsoft I would never again relish the opportunity to laugh at all of my friends / relatives / coworkers when their machines froze.

- mitchy

Re:Stock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1636834)

Ballmer said that all tech stocks, including Microsoft are over valued.

He didn't single out Microsoft as being over valued.

I think Red Hat is incredibly over-valued. By a factor of ten more than Microsoft. But that's just my opinion. Just like all the crap I am reading in these comments is just opinions.

One thing to do... (1)

Jonny Royale (62364) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636836)

Well, IMHO, there's one thing that could be done that would stop a large part of the Microsoft monopoly, and that's to stop these pre-loading deals they have with computer vendors.

See, what Microsoft does is, they go to these vendors, and they say: "We'll sell you copies of our Win9x operating system cheap. There's only one catch. You have to install a copy onto every machine you make."

So, the vendor takes the deal, the user gets Win9x wether they want it or not, and we wind up with Windows Refund Days...remember that? ;)

Ultimately, cutting out this deal would drive up prices for PC's in the short run. But (hopefully), as Linux and other alternative OS'es come into the fore, Microsoft will be forced to reduce the price of their pre-loaded OS to compete.

$.02 deposited

Might be Doing Microsoft a Favor (3)

IHateEverybody (75727) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636837)

Window NT has turned into an unmanageable mess. WinCE is getting its head handed to it by the PalmPilot. MSN has reinvented itself how many times? Win9x crashes if you lean on it. And don't even get me started about Microsoft Word! Breaking up Microsoft might give the "Baby Bills" a focus that they sorely lack.

A couple of the MS spawned companies might wind up with a combined value that dwarfs the current Microsoft.

Re:Confusion (1)

rwh (89653) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636841)

MSFT makes very little hardware: keyboards, mice, a remote control and a cordless phone and that's it.

IANAIL, but . . . (1)

MikeMc (91878) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636842)

Prove to me that breaking MS up will have any *real* effect -- what is to stop OS team A from meeting with App development team B to discuss tying an app to the OS ? The current head honchos at M$ will have their fingers in all pieces of the pie, no matter how it gets split up, and thus have an interest in business as usual.

Re:One is enough (1)

Adam Da Man (43405) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636844)

Yah, maybe if they split they'll have to fire some Marketing execs and a bunch of upper management. With them out of the way, I'm sure even MS can make decent software. It's not like the programmers want to make buggy stuff.

Re:Any action would be catastrophic (1)

haapi (16700) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636846)

The breakup of AT&T, which I personally believe was lobbied-for by IBM, so scared the shit out of everybody in the industry that the gov covered its ass and soon dropped the IBM anti-trust action.

Brilliant tactics by IBM, IMHO.

Re:Could someone please explain ... ? (1)

starlady (90005) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636848)

What prevents the OS co. from saying, "hey, we just formed a strategic alliance with MSApps Co, so we're going to bundle IE with windows and optimize windows for running office apps, just like we did before"?

Nothing. Except, of course, the US GOV will effectively forbid that (under contract tying laws) and the two MS's will simply find another way around it.


A breakup is only a slap on the wrist (2)

dattaway (3088) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636849)

If you broke Microsoft into OS and Apps, you'd have two monopolies instead of one:

I liken it to the idea of breaking up a spore of anthrax. Want more Microsoft? Break it up. So what happens if we don't break it up? We'll get more Microsoft.

Best bet is to investigate the people behind the anticompetitive deal making, not the company itself. Then the truly guilty parties might stand a better chance of being punished accordingly to the actual damages they caused. I doubt you will see this method promoted, because its not what they want you to hear.

A breakup of the company means less attention away from those responsible, not to mention the promotions of many to oversee the new companies. A breakup just rewards those involved.

Don't break 'em, Open 'em (1)

mwa (26272) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636851)

Although I'd kinda like to see a break-up, just for the impact it would have on the "big-business" customers I don't beleive it will stop collusion between the seperate idvisions, so...

Break 'em or not, require documentation on all API's and file formats on all products. Any product discovered to have "undocumented features" should be required to be completely (not just the suspect portions) open-sourced to prove they're not hiding anything.

I don't mind any company keeping their source closed, as long as they play fair. This would let them keep their code IF they stay honest. If they don't, they lose it all. I think even MS management can understand what that means.

OS and Apps (1)

Zhaus (33218) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636852)

Windows is the dominating OS because Office is the dominating office suite. Split apart Windows and Office, and Office will port to rival OS'es, and Windows will have to improve so it is still the best platform on which to run Office.

The consumers therefore get more choices as to what OS to run Office on, and those choices will continue to get better as the OS'es compete for the attention of Office.

If broken up, how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1636853)

Microsoft wouldn't really be broken up if the same directors sit on all the boards of the new companies, or if stockholders held shares in more than one of the companies. Stockholders, especially Bill Gates will still run those companies, and, I think, could reasonably be expected to continue on the same path that the current monolithic company is going along now in a coordinated fashion. Any breakup must require that stockholders in one part not hold stock in any other part for a minimum number of years. Otherwise, breaking it up is pointless.

Re:The way to hurt Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1636856)

The only advantage to Opening the Source for Microsoft would be if it got the Open Source hypemeisters to eat some crow.

Other alternatives (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1636857)

1) Outlaw the practice of bundling software automatically with hardware, make consumers aware of how much they are actually paying for the "pre-installed" copies of windows and office. This means, of course, that they could also elect to NOT pay.

2) Force M$ to release complete source to all their older products. Then at least SOMEONE could support them, 'cause Redmond sure doesn't.

3) Declare a moratorium on ANY government spending for M$ products until they learn how to play nice. Remember, just like the tobacco industry, the U.S. government is currently spending millions to fight M$ in court, while simultaneously spending billions to license M$ products!!! I find this highly illogical

Disclaimer: Anonymous 'cause I don't want the Redmond Goon Squads to retaliate!

I think it's a good idea (= (1)

active8or (98950) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636864)

MS is a HUGE software house...

It's got spescialised divisions on evrything, so if you split microsoft up using these divisons as a model, we would get a greate number of good software produsers! (or maybe just a large number of really bad software...)

I'm still afraid of the impact this would have on the buisniss world...I donæt really know much about it, but with a enormous marcet like MS's, it must make a really big shockwave....right?

If they do break them up (1)

TheJet (93435) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636865)

Let me assume that the government chooses to break up M$ (I am not sure this is the best idea, but we'll just leave that out for now). I won't even try to assume what divisions that it would be broken up into.

Why not enforce the standard code licensing that most companies use, force M$ to open its code to everyone on equal ground. If they want to be able to give people access to the WinNT codebase, then they have to make it a publicly available option (i.e. no special prices to other M$ companies/divisions). So if Netscape/RedHat wanted to take a look into the Windows code they would pay the same licensing fee that everyone else does (including other M$ divisions/corporations). It wouldn't be open source, but it would level the playing field, there would be no more favoritism for M$ apps running in Windows.

Of course the hard part of this plan would be making sure that M$ doesn't do anything underhanded (like that's never happened before...)

Treat 'Em Like A Public Utility (1)

Hrunting (2191) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636866)

Why not? Let them still charge for Windows and let them maintain it as a monopoly, I don't mind. The difference is that they'd be subject to public regulation and rules similar to the phone company. See how they like the pressure of having to be required to make their sh*t work. I'm sure someone will say, "Yeah, but public utilities don't innovate unless they have to." How much is Microsoft innovating now?

I say if Microsoft wants to be a monopoly, so be it. Make them an official monopoly and let them have at it. Let's see how much they really like it.

And yeah, you can still use Linux, just like you can still use a diesel generator in your home.

Govenment Involvement Could Be Worse (1)

ggoebel (1760) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636867)

What we really need, is to open the door for a U.S. Government vs. every Tech company Spanish Inquisition. I would suggest that no good will come of opening the door for government regulation of the technology industry.

Sure a case can be made when extremely powerful companies like Microsoft hold 95% of a market, use bloadthroat business practices, and have an image for inferior products, and no innovation.

But the market corrects itself. And it does so much more effeciently than the Government. What is more dangerous, is to set a precedent for Government involvement in the Technology industry.

Could you imaging how many Tech companies would exist tomorrow if the they were faced with all the hurdles Drug, Car, Utility, Phone, and Airline companies face when getting their products to market?

Re:Baby Bills (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1636868)

But who is this MICROS~1 that you mention numerous times in your comment?

Is it the trading symbol for another Open Sores IPO?

Re:Breaking up is good to do (1)

Overt Coward (19347) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636869)

After all, there is nothing to stop them from giving preferencial treatment to the other divisions of MS or something like that.

Actually, most proposals I've seen from the "break-them-up" camp have put forth mechanisms to do exactly that -- prevent the OS division from collaborating with the applications division(s). The applications division(s) would only be allowed the same access to OS information (APIs, etc.) that would be publicly available to other companies.

Naturally, the only way for this to work would be punitive fines if any illegal collaboration would be discovered.

Honestly, one of the main complaints about Microsoft has been the issue of the blurring of the line between OS and applications, leading the the dreaded DLL dependency problems, among other things. This type of breakup should actually improve the quality of Microsoft applications and the stability of the OS.

It probably wouldn't take long to see versions of Office for UNIX/*BSD/Linux systems because the new divisions will no longer have a direct interest in the OS business -- and they will have to be fiscally responsible for their own success or failure.


A fair solution for MICROS~1 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1636870)

Is a fair solution possible?


And for those of you picturing the 8th air force overflying redmond washington with high explosives and bags of salt, keep a lid on it.

Simply remove the tools of their monopoly:

1) Enforce consumer choice. The #1 tool of monopoly that Microsoft uses is removing consumer choice through anticompetitive agreements. ALL consumer computer outlets should sell pre-configured versions of a certain number of operating systems. The choice of WHICH operating systems is up to the vendor, but let's say 10. Imagine if, when buying a computer, the consumer got this list:
a) Windows NT Server $1449
b) Redhat Linux with Apache: $90
c) Debian Linux with Apache: $0
d) OS/2 Warp $350


2) Remove all private interfaces between the operating system development group and all other software development groups at Microsoft. In short, if the "Word Team" gets access to the Win2K API's, then the rest of the world gets equal access. If the rest of the world gets no access to the Win2K API, then any access to the Win2K API by the "Office Team" would result in a fine of $1 billion per day.

It doesn't cripple the company. It forces them to produce competitive, interoperable products on a platform that anyone can develop for in a competitive manner.

Think about all the programming talent Microsoft has working hard to create evil. Think of what would happen if we could harness all that wealth and talent to create good products.

You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.

No way to avoid a "conduct remedy" (1)

Gleef (86) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636873)

Even if you break up Microsoft, you still have to impose a conduct remedy, with corresponding oversight. Say you break up Microsoft into an operating systems and an applications division, but have no restrictions on conduct. One division could just acquire the other.

If you put the simple requirement that they can't do that, either division could still grab anything else. If you limit one division to "only operating system products" and the other to "only applications and development products", then you are getting into the hard to define and enforce conduct remedies that Rep. Campbell claims to be trying to avoid. You also get into very tricky things, like how to define "operating system".

I don't have an easy answer. In fact, I don't thing there is an easy answer.


Re:Breaking up is good to do (1)

jonny_quest (97773) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636874)

I agree .... The fact that an Operating System vendor makes software apps for that OS seems like a conflict of interest. Remember back when WIN95 came out?? ... M$ released approx. 15 software applications specifically for Win95 on the same day while other software vendors were not able to .... definite conflict IMHO....

But Who Is Going To Own the Pieces? (1)

Royster (16042) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636877)

Breaking up MS into Baby Bills is fine and dandy either horizontally (several companies, each with license to the OS code) or vertically (systems, applications), but someone is going to have to own and operate these companies.

Who has the cash to buy in and who do you trust to do it?

Sun? IBM? AOL?

(Red Hat is a wrong answer. The company didn't benefit from the runup in stock price, the investors did.)

It's not your decision (1)

FireBrand (42290) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636884)

What gives any of you screaming for the break up of Microsoft or the government the right to decide wether Microsoft should be broken up or not. You don't own MIcrosoft and niether does the U.S government. If either "The People" or the Government owned Microsoft thenwe would be living in a marxist economy. If you don't like Microsoft then don't buy there products, I don't. The market will decide who rises and who falls. How would you like it if the government told you that you were too successful and had acquired too much stuff so they were going to give away two of your computers and one of the bedrooms in your house. If Microsoft is too big then they will suffer the fate of Ozymandias.

Re:Open file formats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1636885)

You mean, by letting Linux developers download the already-available file format specifications off the MSDN website??

Microsoft & the future (1)

doogieh (37062) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636886)

The options of intrusive government regs or breaking up microsoft aren't appealing. Instead--let them lose the help of government regulation. Take away their intellectual property rights in their operating system software.

If you look at what happened to the baby bells--the breakup of AT&T actually made a fortune for (almost) everyone involved, especially shareholders. And now, almost 15 years later, the baby bells are merging again into a new local monopoly, and at the same time the long distance companies are mergings (a few years ago Sprint+MCI/Worldcom would have been laughable...). On the other hand, direct government regulation wouldn't work for an industry like software. Imagine a hundred people with buckets trying to control a river in case it floods. That would be government regulation of Microsoft.

Much of what Microsoft actually did wrong (contrasted to the actual charges DOJ are bringing in the suit) involves misuse of techonology. You could say it is "borging" small developers and new technologies, then privatizing industry standards to its own proprietary systems to ensure dominance and control. The best way to handle this type of misuse of innovation, misuse of technology, is to deny it patent, copyright, and trademark protection on the technology it misused.

The patents and IP microsoft has are government grants. When they are misused, they can and should be taken away. It's not exactly "open source" but its a start.

the lawsuit has already done its job (1)

kootch (81702) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636887)

I think that a lot of good has come from this lawsuit, but I think if they were to do anything further, nothing but harm to the industry would occur.

What good has come you ask? I think that many consumers that otherwise would have remained in ignorance have been enlightened to some extent about what Microsoft has been doing and that there ARE alternatives to Microsoft and Intel. I've seen more people turning away from Microsoft products, turning away from the Wintel monopoly, and in general more knowledgable about the products and services that companies offer. Normal consumers that realize for once that it isn't imperative that they upgrade to '98, that they don't need the fastest Intel Pentium III chip, that yes, they can open their computer and install a new cd-rom drive...

but I feel that if the gov was going to come in and physically punish M$, then the industry will be shown that they need the Gov to come in and manage them because they can't do it themselves. It shows that legislation might need to be passed, but punishment in the form of breaking up the company is the wrong way to approach the problem.

Re:Breaking up is good to do (1)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636888)

Visual J++, isn't that MS's incorrect implementation of somebody else's language? If a company is going to create a new language, they shouldn't piggy-back it on another product's name familiarity. And, as a multi-platform computer user, IE isn't even as good as lynx, much less netscrape.

Why go away? (1)

FascDot Killed My Pr (24021) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636889)

A lot of people are saying "breaking MS up won't make them go away". So? The point here isn't to crush MS out of existence. The point is to make the tech industry safe for diversity.

Don't break them up (2)

Ledge Kindred (82988) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636890)

Breaking up Microsoft wouldn't accomplish anything.

I think the best thing that could happen to Microsoft (or worst, depending on point-of-view) is to force them to publish complete API specs for all their products, including things like document formats, and then audit them on a regular basis to ensure (insure?) that their own products are following their published APIs correctly. Further, prevent them from trying to sue anyone who develops products that implement their APIs.

This would allow for truly fair competition while not interfering with their place in "a free and open market." If Microsoft can truly "Innovate" then they will remain on top in the software industry. If it turns out they are merely leveraging OS monopoly and a faster, sleeker company comes along and pulls the rug out from under them, oh well, I guess they weren't all that innovative after all.

I leave it as an excercise to the reader as to how to solve the technical problems of auditing Microsoft to make sure their products really do follow their own published APIs....


Regulation? Or what? (1)

smoondog (85133) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636893)

After Ma Bell got ripped apart, the phone companies were definately not in a better position. This country still smarts a bit from that ruling, so I think it is safe to say that MS probably won't be broken up. (IMO) Guilty or not.

As another reader pointed out, breakup may be good for M$, and certainly good for William. But I think it is interesting that M$ made huge public market shifts during the trial to more internet and service company. I think we all know that privately M$ is just doing the same thing and made the market shifts so it will be harder to argue in court that M$ is the same company that is on trial. Same company, same market plan.

-- Moondog

Re:The way to hurt Microsoft (1)

wilkinsm (13507) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636894)

If you want to make it Public Domain, or GPL, or BSD, etc., you are talking about the
goverment siezing the property of a corporation (and therefor from the shareholders). do you really want the goverment going around siezing private property?

I think of it more as "national infrastructure."

Even if it was a one time gig, do you really think that Microsoft could obtain the same level of domination ever again?

They use shady practices to get their control, so it's alright to take that controlling power away.

Does a bank robber get to keep the money he stole even after he finally gets caught?

Is regulation possible? (1)

krh (83123) | more than 14 years ago | (#1636896)

While I think breaking up Microsoft (or attempting
to do so, at least) might be a bit overkill, how
possible would regulation even be? So far, they
seem to near invincible to people's attempts at
regulating their products; what makes you think
that this time around will be any different? Just a thought...
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