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States and DoJ Divided On Microsoft Antitrust Success

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the all-better-now dept.

Microsoft 123

Rob writes "Computer Business Review is reporting that the US Department of Justice and five States have declared themselves satisfied with the antitrust enforcement efforts taken against Microsoft despite a further seven States maintaining they have had 'little or no discernible impact in the marketplace.' While the US DoJ and five States — New York, Louisiana, Maryland, Ohio, and Wisconsin (The New York Group) — reported that the final judgments have succeeded in increasing competition to the benefit of consumers, seven States making up the California Group are not convinced."

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123 comments

The question is simple (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463003)

Are you more able today to buy a computer without a Microsoft OS than you were 4 years ago?

Re:The question is simple (5, Insightful)

gatzke (2977) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463057)


Your questions is ridiculous.

You always have had choices. Mac has always been there. There have always been linux shops that sell hardware. More expensive and less support, but you could do it.

How do you define "more able" to buy something? Price? Availability? Support? Number of vendors?

MS bundles products, closes interfaces, and forces new version upgrades. This is an abuse of monopoly power.

IANAL, but MS was declared a monopoly back around 2000. I don't think a judge ever declared them to no longer be a monopoly, so I assume that ruling stands.

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/2479.html [ecommercetimes.com]

Re:The question is simple (5, Informative)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463229)

He didn't ask whether it is possible to buy a non-Microsoft PC. Of course it has always been possible. He asked how easy it is. This is a quite legitimate question, even if as you point out it includes several different factors such as price and number of vendors.

It's documented that Microsoft has entered into restrictive contracts with OEMs so they pay per PC sold, whether or not it includes Windows. Also that Microsoft has threatened vendors (e.g. IBM) with an increase in the price they pay for Windows and used this as a tool to stop vendors from including competitors' software they don't like. Some of these restrictive deals were replaced with similar ones that look better on paper but are much the same in practice (e.g. paying a Microsoft tax on each PC of a certain 'model' that was sold, so if a vendor wants to exclude Windows they must print new name badges and manuals). A simple injunctive remedy IHMO would be to require that Microsoft sell Windows licences at the same price to all vendors, and that the licence be paid for only if Windows is included with the PC.

You are quite right about the bundling of products etc. That is another example of monopoly power. It doesn't make the complaint about Microsoft preventing OEMs from offering Windows-free PCs any less valid.

Mod Parent Up (1)

Eivind Eklund (5161) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463549)

The injunctive remedy is interesting and appropriate. Yes, it is interfering with business - but monopolies get to be interfered with, at least if we want a functioning market. And pricing Windows as a commodity would be good, overall.

Eivind.

Even Simpler Re:The question is simple (1, Informative)

Rex1Ballard (779781) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466269)

Let's make it even simpler:
  • Can you go into a computer store and compare a PC running Windows, with a PC running Linux, or a PC running Solaris, or even a PC Running OS/X with the same ease as you can go into a video store and compare a VCR from RCA, Sony, Magnavox, and Phillips?
  • Can you go into a computer store and compare a PC loaded with OpenOffice to a PC loaded with MS-Office 2007?
  • Can you go into a computer store and see from the descriptions on or near the display which PCs are READY to run Linux?
  • Can you go into a computer store and run view FireFox, Sunbird, and OpenOffice preinstalled and ready to go?
Microsoft has locked out Linux from Retailer Shelves

Yes, the proliferation of broadband and WiFi hot spots that allow laptop users to download a CD-ROM in 30 minutes has made it easier for end users to install non-microsoft applications, by Microsoft still maintains total monopoly control over the OEM and retailer channel. When I shop at K-Mart, I can look at the games available for Sony PlayStation, Nintendo, and even X-Box, even test drive them, even see if the kids will like them. When I buy software for a PC there is NO facility to take a "Test Drive". On the other hand, Microsoft makes sure that their middleware, "applets" (bundled applications), and other anticompetitive products are fully loaded and ready to demonstrate.

Applications Barrier to Entry Still Exists

Remember, the whole premise of the Antitrust case was that Microsoft had created an "Applications Barrier to Entry", preventing the widespread marketing and adoption of applications capable of running on competitive platforms. Furthermore, it was ruled that Microsoft was illegally using it's existing monopoly to exclude competitors from the marketplace (IE Distribution Channels).

Monopoly or Collusion

There are two possibilities. One is that Microsoft has been arm-twisting and coercing the OEMs, through fraud (vaporware) extortion (buy more than you need or we will give you NO licenses), blackmail (if you sell machines without Windows, we will claim you are promoting piracy), and sabotage (want a patch that permanently damages your hardware - similar to the way we fried IBM's Cyrix chips with Windows NT 4.0 service pack 2?).

The other possibility is that the OEMs were willing co-conspirators in a collusion scheme designed to exclude competitors like Novell, Sun, and Apple from the marketplace. Could it be that the OEMs openly conspired to exclude Linux distributors, and other distributors of PC compatible operating systems such as Linux, Solaris, BSD, and OS/X from the marketplace, by refusing to allow them into the OEM distribution channel?

The evidence and actions of the OEMs indicate quite the opposite. Hewlett Packard designed all of their AMD-64 based laptop and desktop PCs to be fully compatible with Linux. They even announced that they would offer their PCs with Linux - for about 3 days. Then what happened? Did Microsoft "crack down"? Dell and Toshiba have also attempted similar "Linux PC" announcements - only to withdraw the offerings within 3-4 days. IBM's Sam Palmisano had publicly announced that IBM would be converting to Linux and OSS by the end of 2007. It seems that Microsoft made it so unpleasant for IBM, that IBM scuttled the PC division, and sold it to Lenovo. The only Desktops they still sell - are available with Linux as well as Windows.

Yet with all these attempts to announce and promote Linux based PCs, not a single Linux PC has made it to the shelves of a major national or international retail franchise. Wal-Mart has offered Linux PCs for almost 10 years now, but only on their web site, and only as pretty much a seasonal offering.

Desktop Virtualization has been thwarted

The technology is available to enable Linux and Windows to run on the same machine. Dual-boot, Desktop Virtualization, and multicore processors have made it possible to run both Linux and Windows on the same desktop, at the same time. Yet NO major OEM has been able to get such configurations to the retailer shelf space!! Why is that?

Microsoft still in control of OEM advertising and configuration

One possibility is that Microsoft still uses their control over the logo and copyrights to control the content of the advertizing and the configuration of the PCs being displayed on Retail Shelves. Remember, Microsoft requires that OEMs get prior written permission before publishing any advertizement containing the Microsoft trademarks and Logos. It seems that ads that make no mention of Linux or competitor products get approved within hours. Ads that mention competitive products or the ability to run competitor products such as SUSE Linux seem to take months to get approved. Usually, by the time the content has been reviewed (with additional questions or revisions), the product being advertized is "Obsolete", and the vendor has to start all over again with a new version.

The issue was mentioned in one of the review hearings. The California group mentioned the requirement that OEMs put "Manufacturer reccomends Windows XP with this machine", but when challenged by the DOJ, Microsoft said that was "so that people didn't get confused and buy Windows 98 or Windows NT 4.0 for it (never mind that Microsoft had stopped selling those products years earlier).

Other "Lock Out" Tactics

When Bootable CDs such as Knoppix became available, the retailers put protective guards around the CD drives to keep them from opening. Clearly this was an effort to prevent Linux Compatibility testing.

When Microsoft promoted DirectX video cards, they knew that Linux was still using OpenGL. Some companies like NVidia and ATI offered both OpenGL chipsets and DirectX chipsets. Over time, the PCs which were shipped to retailers with the DirectX chipsets (Windows Only), were sitting on the shelves too long. Machines were often discounted more than 50%. Similar machines, with AMD-64 bit chips, OpenGL video cards, and Linux friendly network and WiFi cards, continued to maintain their price, often being discounted less than 20% from their retail price before being replaced with newer technology. Very few "clearance sales" were required.

This would seem to indicate that end users are demanding Linux and Windows XP on the same machine using virtualization. The Mac, with OS/X supports such configurations, probably because Microsoft wants to be included in a market that was created by another OS. Dell, Lenovo, HP, Acer, and Gateway on the other hand, don't seem to have the ability to get permission to distribute such configurations. Remember, the OEMs are required to get Microsoft's prior written permission to make any changes to the software configuration. Getting a new driver added seems to take less than a day. Getting permission to ship Linux with VMWare or Xen, and installing Windows XP as a client seems to be nearly impossible. To my knowledge, Microsoft has never approved such requests. How many such requests have been received and were simply "tied up in legal department review".

Microsoft still defying the courts

Even though Microsoft has a direct court order mandating that they not interfere with the OEM's attempts to distribute Linux, they have been able to passively "not cooperate". On the other hand, the Vista Home edition licenses explicitly forbid such configurations, even by the End Users, and Microsoft's Vista license even gives Microsoft the ability to disable the PC if such configurations are attempted.

Only 5 out of 25 agree that settlement was effective

It is significant that only 5 states, the New York Group, have agreed that the settlement was effective. Remember, Microsoft was taken to court by 25 states. Massachusetts has never accepted the settlement, and will probably be happy to point out how ineffective it was. The California group has clearly weighed in against the settlement, claiming that it was totally ineffective. Of the remaining states, how many are also less than happy with how the settlement has turned out?

Re:Even Simpler Re:The question is simple (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20468221)

Ok, but what's a VCR?

Re:The question is simple (2, Insightful)

The Spoonman (634311) | more than 6 years ago | (#20470027)

He didn't ask whether it is possible to buy a non-Microsoft PC. Of course it has always been possible. He asked how easy it is. This is a quite legitimate question, even if as you point out it includes several different factors such as price and number of vendors.

But, the question implies that the "average user" is shopping around to get a Linux PC. As the major vendors have shown, when they offer it as an option, it rarely sells. The price benefit certainly isn't there (an average cost drop of about $50 since OEMs don't pay retail for Windows). So, the question should be: "How easy is it for the average user to purchase a Linux PC?" The reason the question isn't asked like this is simply the answer: "Not very, but they're not looking for it anyway".

It's documented that Microsoft has entered into restrictive contracts with OEMs so they pay per PC sold, whether or not it includes Windows.

Well documented, indeed. Now, show me the documentation that it's happened since the 1995 ruling making said contracts illegal? No conspiracy theories, please, actual documentation.

A simple injunctive remedy IHMO would be to require that Microsoft sell Windows licences at the same price to all vendors, and that the licence be paid for only if Windows is included with the PC.

The second is already in place and has been since 1995. The first is just the kind of poor thinking that's prevelant on Slashdot. Who sets the price? The courts? How do they determine said price? How often is it revisited? Is it a percentage of cost to produce a profit? Are you going to require that of other OS vendors since you're hampering one for being too successful? See, it's not a "simple" injunction, is it?

You are quite right about the bundling of products etc. That is another example of monopoly power

No, it's not, it's an example of providing customers with what they've asked for. Show me a desktop Linux distribution that doesn't come with a web browser. Show me one without some kind of media player. For that matter, show me a Mac with those limitations. Can't, can you? Why do you think that is? Because people use computers these days for connectivity. Without a browser, a machine (and OS) is useless, so MS provides you with one. My question has always been: If they didn't provide you with a browser (or any other kind of "Internet client"), how would you get one? Go to the store and buy a disk with Firefox on it? Have a friend download it for you? The backlash would be immediate and valid. Just because MS provides you with a browser, doesn't mean you have to use it. Just because they provide you a media player, doesn't mean you have to use it. There's nothing stopping anyone from using a Mozilla product on a Windows box and never has been (aside from the tremendously poor coding back when it was still a Netscape product). I don't have a single box that I use IE on. I prefer Media Player to the other options, though. :) Arguments against "bundling" IE are just as valid as "bundling" Notepad. Aren't you concerned about all of the people who make text editors being put out of work?

It doesn't make the complaint about Microsoft preventing OEMs from offering Windows-free PCs any less valid.

No, reality already does a good enough job of that.

Re:The question is simple (1)

mazarin5 (309432) | more than 6 years ago | (#20468361)

It's my interpretation that the GP was spoofing the rhetoric used during the Bush-Kerry election:

"Just ask yourself this: Are you safer now that you were four years ago?" in regards to the terrrists [sic], delivered with an implicit "Duh, of course!"

Re:The question is simple (1)

gatzke (2977) | more than 6 years ago | (#20468597)


Thanks for explaining the joke to me. LOL.

For some reason, I just assumed the antitrust ruling was about four years ago, so it was an idiotic question. Now that you point out that it can be interpreted in jest, it is actually funny.

Sometimes you argue with an idiot, sometimes you are the idiot.

What a maroon!

Re:The question is simple (2, Insightful)

jorghis (1000092) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463081)

You always could. Apple has been selling PCs since before most slashdotters were born. Noone is forcing you to buy a windows pc. The issue isnt whether or not non-windows computers are avaiable. The issue is whether or not MS is unfairly using its dominant consumer OS position to gain market share in other applications.

Re:The question is simple (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463259)

Actually, most definitely, yes. Apple has captured a much greater market share (particularly in laptops) than they had before the anti-trust stuff. And Linux has captured a level of popularity that I never would have expected (never would have expected to see a company like Dell selling it as an option on their systems).

Re:The question is simple (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463903)

Is that a measure of how much more easily you can by a non-Windows PC, or a measure of how much more mightily strongly people want a non-Windows PC?

Between MS stagnation, price hikes, security and other high-profile bugs, and the growing (if still low) sophistication/informedness of PC buyers, plus Apple's tremendously popular brand (mostly boosted by iPods and iTunes), is MS any less a monopoly abuser? Or are they just keeping down an overwhelming percentage of a much larger demand, so the non-MS growth would be much, much larger without their abuse?

Re:The question is simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20463295)

Are you more able today to buy a computer without a Microsoft OS than you

were 4 years ago?Yep, just chosen models in chosen countries. If they were serious, they would unbundle the OS from the computer. Ban it, enforce the anti-trust law.

Re:The question is simple (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20463783)

So does this also make Apple the same as Microsoft? Can you use iTunes with another portable media player? You can with Media Player though.

I am neither Pro M$ or Pro Linux. I live in a world where these are both needed and used. Does anyone complain about Adobe? Apple? No, because they are small compaired to M$. Intel has been doing this crap for years, sure they only have 90% of the Processors world wide, not just your CPU mind you, but Flash Memory, chips in your Phones, etc. Of Course this is the number the lawsuite in Japan used.

If Linux was more user friendly, to people like my grandmother, and more streamlined between distro's, then yes, M$ would start to suffer. Sure anyone half techie can use Linux, but lets face facts, that is not the majority of your PC users or people buying them anymore. Apple has made a great start in that. Lets see what 2 or 3 years gets us.

Re:The question is simple (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464947)

I complain about Adobe occasionally. I complain about companies whose products I think are bloated whether they are a large or small company. I couldn't give a toss if a company has a monopoly as long as they are providing a worthwhile service/product at a reasonable price. Nobody would care about MS being on top if they didn't bring out bollocks like Vista. Honestly I thought they had finally started sorting things out with XP, it's hilarious how bad the reception of Vista has been. I was worried that everyone was going to welcome it with open arms, but I've even had someone at work who is just your average teenager (though these days kids are brought up with computers so they are a bit more computer literate) install XP onto her laptop because she thought that Vista was a load of balls. I am encouraged.

Re:The question is simple (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464389)

That's not the question, though. The question is, is Microsoft still engaging in anti-competitive practices? Are they continuing to leverage their monopoly with Windows and their monopoly with Office to reinforce each other? Are they leveraging those monopolies to force users to adopt other Microsoft products? Do they have APIs in Windows/Office/Exchange that they aren't really making public in order to stifle competition? Are they continuing to use their own proprietary standards, protocols, and file-formats when open alternatives are available, purely in order to reinforce their vendor lock-in?

There are more questions of that sort to ask, but the question is, as a monopoly, is Microsoft engaging in anti-trust violations? And though it might not legally be the issue, perhaps most important issue in my mind is, is Microsoft harming the software industry and hampering innovation for the purpose of maintaining a dominant market position?

Basically, is Microsoft causing more harm than good? If so, we should try to change the situation somehow, and antitrust laws seem like a good place to start.

Ah ha! (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463035)

Well, now we know which states Microsoft has the most paid lobbyists in.

Seriously, I don't see how the antitrust suit has had much bearing on Microsoft's behavior. They continue to act like a monopolist. Prices for Microsoft operating systems have actually gone UP, not down (despite prices for virtually everything else in their industry dropping) and their market share hasn't changed significantly in anyway -- when it has changed, it's been due to superior and/or cheaper products, such as all-in-one file servers with embedded OS, Linux, or improvements in Apple's Mac OS X.

Oddly enough... (0, Troll)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463099)

Oddly enough I was talking to some Microsoft folks yesterday and we talked about the old days and the new days. And the Microsoft of 1995 is not the Microsoft of 2007. Yes they still do certain things, but many things have changed. Microsoft is different company these days, and I think it is because they had their hands slapped.

For those that say, nothing has changed, well then you don't remember what Microsoft was like in 1994! Back then Microsoft was rabid and not a company you wanted in your cross-sights. Now most people don't care about having Microsoft in their cross-sights.

Re:Oddly enough... (4, Insightful)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463135)

Yes they still do certain things, but many things have changed.
And yet you haven't mentioned what they do differently.

Re:Oddly enough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20463211)

Isn't it obvious. They're much more open about abusing their monopoly.
The DoJ has no power over them as we've all seen.
The EU fined them. Wow... A $1 increase in the price of Vista will pay that off.
They know they can do whatever they want and get away with it.
They don't need to hide their wrongdoings any more, just like all large companies.

Re:Oddly enough... (1)

weicco (645927) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463343)

Well then you could provide us a list of wrongdoing from the past, let's say, a year?

Re:Oddly enough... (5, Insightful)

Eponymous Bastard (1143615) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463451)

Would you count tampering with ISO approval process for OOXML to standardize something only they can implement as furthering their monopoly? Suddenly they can keep locking in documents from government bodies that require an ISO standard file format

Seriously, this has been on /. all week

Re:Oddly enough... (5, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463565)

Well then you could provide us a list of wrongdoing from the past, let's say, a year?

I'll start.

  1. Claiming Linux violates 235 patents.
  2. Introduce OOXML to spike ODF, and stacking ISO
  3. Subverting Massachusetts to prevent adoption of ODF there.
  4. Novell-Microsoft agreement
  5. Preventing alternative desktop search engines.
  6. Introducing Silverlight to spike Flash
  7. Introducing XPS to spike PDF
  8. Refusing to open APIs and protocols despite EU decision.
  9. Breaking all of their own "12 tenets' before they even got started.
There's more, but that's a good start.

Re:Oddly enough... (2, Insightful)

monkville (987042) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463659)

Apart for 2b and 8 ( which are debatable at best), the rest seem to be normal business activites which any other for-profit organisation would undertake.

Re:Oddly enough... (1)

FauxPasIII (75900) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463769)

> Apart for 2b and 8 ( which are debatable at best), the rest seem to be normal
> business activites which any other for-profit organisation would undertake.

Perhaps, perhaps not. In any case, individuals and corporations which have been tried and convicted for criminal behavior don't enjoy the same freedom of action as those who have not.

Re:Oddly enough... (1)

Specter (11099) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465625)

"corporations which have been tried and convicted for criminal behavior don't enjoy the same freedom of action as those who have not."

You've managed to gloss over anti-trust's largest problem: defining criminal behavior. Actions that are perfectly legal below a certain threshold (size, market share, popularity) run the risk of being arbitrarily declared illegal after the fact.

Re:Oddly enough... (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466709)

I agree. And, that's why the majority of anti-trust remedies call for behavior changes. However, after a company, like Microsoft, has been under the anti-trust microsope for 15 years or so, they should have a good idea of what does and doesn't constitue anti-trust violations. There are, however, always going to be new issues (like suddenly, claiming Media Players are anti-trust issues).

Re:Oddly enough... (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466621)

Yes, I agree. Corproations that have been tried and convicted of criminal behavior shouldn't enjoy the same freedom of action as those who have not.

Now, what does that have to do with Microsoft? They have not been tried or convicted of any criminal activities. Perhaps you're confusing civil actions, ie a lawsuit, with a criminal trial. The former is two private parties (or the government acting as a private party) asking a court to rule over a dispute using laws to determine the 'winner'. The only outcome of a civil action is injunctive or monetary damages. (ie you owe $x or you must stop doing y). In rare cases, structural remedies may also occur.

Criminal trials, on the other hand, are about punishment for wrongdoing.

As an example, OJ Simpson was aquited of criminal charges in the murder of his wife. However, was found guilty in civil court and was required to pay damages to the plaintiffs. That's why his civil rights were not reduced at all, and he is not a convicted felon.

Re:Oddly enough... (1)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471171)

It makes no practical difference that MS was found to have violated antitrust laws in a civil suit rather than a criminal suit. Either way, they are not legally "the same as any other company", once they've been found to be a monopoly by the courts.

Re:Oddly enough... (5, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464383)

OK. Lets add blatant lying about xbox fault rates, and defective design in order to extend their monopoly. Then just a few weeks ago paying off one of the studios to drop blu-ray. Then there are all the WGA lies about it working in the face of continual failures. Then the advertising about performance and stability of vista just a few weeks before they supply a performance and stability service pack. Add to that cheating on their taxes by off shoring patent royalties. Lets see, there are the crazy claims that M$ can use GPLv3 code with out being bound by GPLv3. Also there was the mother of all adware patents that uses "context data" from your hard drive to show you advertisements and "apportion and credit advertising revenue" to ad suppliers in real time. There was also that whole blatant blue jay patent theft thing.

Yeah, I know that's not a full year, in fact I got sick of searching /. just back to july, if you want to find the rest of the disgusting B$ behaviour coming out of redmond for the nine months prior to that look for yourself ;).

Re:Oddly enough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20465821)

You can't extend a monopoly you don't have, and Microsoft certainly doesn't have a monopoly on video game consoles or HD movie formats.

In fact, very little of what you said has anything to do with illegal monopoly activity, they're just behavior that you don't like.

Being unlikable isn't (currently) against the law.

Re:Oddly enough... (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466779)

Since when does Microsoft have a monopoly in video game consoles? And since when is lying about defect rates even illegal? Perhaps something related to Sarbanes-Oxley or the SEC, but not anti-trust wise.

Further, Microsoft is merely backing HD-DVD, they don't own it. And HD-DVD certainly isn't a monopoly either.

By the way, Microsoft did the right thing with the Blue-Jay thing. They invalidated their own patent. But, since you ahve an axe to grind, I suppose you'll use anything you can get. Valid, or not.

How much? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20468335)

Just how much do you get paid, man? You shill all day long for Microsoft and I hardly ever see a post where you're *not* shilling for them, but I don't subscribe so maybe I just can't go back far enough.

Now, you're right that the XBOX isn't really relevant to the anti-trust stuff. I'll give you that, at least, but stacking the deck for OOXML sure looks like a blatant anti-trust problem, especially given that we had an entire article on why that violates US anti-trust law.

From that other post, though:

> Now, what does that have to do with Microsoft? They have not been tried or convicted of any criminal activities.

True, they're civil wrongs. But the findings of fact that they're an illegal monopoly from the first anti-trust case persist, even though the DoJ dropped that after we changed presidents. That's why we had all the state anti-trust actions, you know.

So it's well-established that they're an illegal monopoly and they therefore do not have the same freedom of action. Sure, it's not a *criminal* enterprise (that we know of), but it's still unlawful.

Why would you split hairs to give people a lesson in criminal vs. civil law when the point was that they'd acted unlawfully and were being punished for it? It's like trying to distract someone from the forest by pointing at all the trees.

Re:How much? (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471075)

Just because I get tired of all the constant anti-microsoft rhetoric doesn't make me a shill. Yes, if you went back further than the last 2 dozen comments, you'd see a lot more.

Whether or not Microsoft "stacked" the ISO deck doesn't have any real bearance on anti-trust either. Having OOXML as an ISO standard is not anti-competitive. It may break other rules or laws, but anti-competitive? How? It's not like OOXML being an ISO standard forces anyone to use office.

Also, no. The Findings of fact do not declare Microsoft to be an illegal monopoly. Perhaps you shoul read it. It actually declares Microsoft to be a *LEGAL* one, ie having gained their monopoly legally. Further, Findings of fact don't draw any conclusions.

Now, the Conclusions of Law claimed that Microsoft had abused it's monopoly power illegally, but that doesn't mean Microsoft is an illegal monopoly. So no, it's not "well established" that they're an illegal monopoly, since that is not the case. The opposite is, in fact, the case.

It's not splitting hairs either. Do you consider it splitting hairs to say that someone who committed civil copyright infringement is guilty of felonious theft? It's a *HUGE* difference between civil proceedings and criminal ones. It's a *HUGE* difference betwee claiming someone is a felon, and someone merely being sued in a civil lawsuit.

Or are you going to start calling all those people sued by the MPAA and RIAA felons because they agreed to a settlement?

Re:Oddly enough... (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464869)

most normal business activities undertaken by for-profit organizations are illegal for monopolies.

Re:Oddly enough... (1)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 6 years ago | (#20470923)

Apart for 2b and 8 ( which are debatable at best), the rest seem to be normal business activites which any other for-profit organisation would undertake.


Convicted monopolists are not "any other for-profit organisation".

A R G H!!! (4, Funny)

mattgreen (701203) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463865)

Whenever I read a story about MS I'd always feel something change within me. It was a sort of nervous tremor, a rush of energy over me. However, it would be gone as quickly as it came. Normally, I don't think too much about it. But after reading this list, I was thrown into a blind fury, consumed by unadulterated rage the likes of which I have never unleashed from my mother's basement. Raising my fist high, I stabbed in the general direction of Redmond with a force of approximately 4.76lb of sheer brutality. The resulting shockwave from my outburst surely disrupted the evil Redmond campus, if but momentarily.

Brothers, we must join together. Let us never forget the list of endless sins that this company has perpetuated. Egregious, dastardly sins that would make their grandmothers cry when they heard them. We must continue to fight this war! Our main offensive shall be the posting of vehement rants on community-driven websites, such as Slashdot. The sheer number of these pointed essays shall bowl over our enemies in no time! This is a battle of numbers: do not feel the need to invoke mighty weapons of logic at every turn! And, also remember, your own stories of woe relating to Microsoft are worth as much, if not more, than logical arguments.

I trust you will not let me down.

Re:A R G H!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20464367)

That was just worthy of /b/. It is destined to become a copy pasta.

BTW, Not your personal army!

Re:A R G H!!! (1)

MasterOfCeremonies (853832) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464565)

Use linux.

Re:A R G H!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20468379)

I didn't get the 4.76 reference. What's that about?

Re:A R G H!!! (1)

mattgreen (701203) | more than 6 years ago | (#20469267)

A dreadful version of Netscape Navigator?

Actually, it was entirely random and supposed to denote a very small amount of force. YMMV when you try this at home, but IANAL.

Re:Oddly enough... (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465233)

The humanity! The sheer horror! I can't believe they're not standing next to Chemical Ali, most surely their crimes are far worse than his. Pfft, killing a few people. Bah. That pales in comparison to this mighty list.

Ahahaha. Seriously, dude, you should be embarassed. As I read this, one phrase came to mind "...and get to the bad part?".

Re:Oddly enough... (1)

josteos (455905) | more than 6 years ago | (#20467313)

5. Preventing alternative desktop search engines.


As I understand it, it isn't that they PREVENT or BLOCK alternative desktop search. You can still install Google Desktop Search or Yahoo! Search or whatever search you want. You can use it at will, even. But what they don't let you do is REPLACE the desktop search built into Vista. Their claim (and I have no reason to doubt them) is that there are other pieces of the system which depend on services provided by desktop search. Additionally they did make concessions to Google re: desktop search even tho those were not required by the terms of the settlement.

Microsoft has done enough to earn a good skewering, but desktop search is not one of them. So install & use the one you want. And let this issue go.

Re:Ah ha! (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463203)

Not exactly shocking to hear that California (where Apple is based) is not satisfied with the Washington-based MS's anti-trust efforts. Sad to be that cynical, but these things almost always boil down to politics over substance.

Re:Ah ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20466503)

California is also home to the vast majority of MPAA and RIAA members...all of whom would like nothing more than for Microsoft to have unfettered monopolistic powers. It's home to Intel and AMD who, without Microsoft, would have had a hard time convincing people to upgrade their computers as often as Microsoft has convinced them to.

On the flip side, Apple is one of many companies in California that would be considered competitors of Microsoft. Google and Sun being two other obvious examples.

California's economy is large enough that politicians are forced to take a more balanced stance to avoid making powerful corporate enemies.

Re:Ah ha! (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464247)

Prices for Microsoft operating systems have actually gone UP, not down (despite prices for virtually everything else in their industry dropping)

The suggested retail price for Windows 3.1 in 1992 was $149.95

Microsoft Announces Worldwide Availability of Windows 3.1 [google.com]

Vista Home Basic Full Version [amazon.com] is $183 at Amazon.com and $139 at Royal Discount Technologies [royaldiscount.com]

Windows is approaching one billion users on the desktop - one Windows PC for every 6.5 people on the planet. Microsoft Antitrust Settlement Is a Success! [eweek.com]

There are enormous economies of scale in building and marketing for the Windows platform.

The $800 Dell Inspiron Vista Premium Laptop [walmart.com] will feature a dual core CPU, 2 GB RAM, a 120 GB HDD, and a DVD burner -- tech that simply isn't imaginable at mass market pricing in 1992.

Re:Ah ha! (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20469177)

I'm not sure if you're disagreeing with me or what. Even if you compare the SRP of Windows 3.1 (149.95) with a discounted price (139) today, which is an unfair comparison anyway, $150 vs. $140 isn't a price drop, it's effectively a price increase based on those massive economies of scale you just mentioned. Compare that to the Dell Inspiron Vista Premium Laptop, at $800 today, a Dell similar Dell notebook [pqarchiver.com] , featuring a 25 MHz 386SL processor with a 60 MB HDD (no, that's not a typo, that's 'megabyte'), was around $3000.

So if we compare the laptop price difference with Windows, Windows Vista Home Basic should cost around, what? $50 or so? And actually less, since Home Basic is a crippled OS.

Actually, it's quite simple... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20463103)

For Microsoft it's just a business decision. If the fines for not complying are smaller than the loss they would face by complying, then they won't change anything and just pay the fine. This has happened in Europe, where they had to pay hundreds of million of dollars and elsewhere.

This is just another example how much power they wield and how _corrupt_ some states in the US (and ofc elsewhere) are.

You were expecting...? (3, Interesting)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463117)

The nature of our current government makes a mockery of the FTC and anti-trust regulations. How can we reasonably expect anti-trust regulation from a federal government which is almost entirely composed of corporate henchmen?

Re:You were expecting...? (2, Informative)

faloi (738831) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463235)

You're between a rock and hard place. If you believe that Firefox usage is up, and that other players have significant say in the media player business, then you're buying that the world is more competitive than it was 8 or 9 years ago. And you agree with the "corporate henchman" at the DoJ.

If you believe market share should be the only indicator of whether injunctions have worked, and you won't be satisfied until Microsoft has some percentage (let's say less than 50%), then it really won't matter what happens until Microsoft is less of a company than they are now.

Personally, I would've thought this kind of slap on the wrist might've been the impetus that gets Microsoft to write better software, but Vista has proven that not to be the case. I firmly believe the only reason that Microsoft still has dominance in the desktop OS market is because people are comfortable with the software that runs on their OS, and they stick with it. Unless you're up for government mandating that all citizens stop using MS Office, or playing games on their computers, I don't see Microsoft's market share changing very rapidly.

Re:You were expecting...? (1)

click2005 (921437) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463379)

I firmly believe the only reason that Microsoft still has dominance in the desktop OS market is because people are comfortable with the software that runs on their OS, and they stick with it.

Microsoft still forces PC makers to only selling Windows PCs. If they try to sell PCs with non-Windows OS they are denied any discounts on MS products. This lowers the profit margins on a PC by a lot.

Unless you're up for government mandating that all citizens stop using MS Office, or playing games on their computers, I don't see Microsoft's market share changing very rapidly.

That is exactly what the government should do. If a company is abusing a monopoly, they should be made to suffer financially until their behaviour changes. Steps should be taken to break the monopoly and give customers more choice. If MS doesn't like it they should stop their anti-competitive behaviour.

Re:You were expecting...? (1)

faloi (738831) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464907)

Steps should be taken to break the monopoly and give customers more choice.

How, exactly, does the government preventing people from using a line of products from a manufacturer give the customers more choice? I'm all for, potentially, forcing Microsoft to pay for some advertising for some other options to their ubiquitous office and media applications, but forcing people to stop using them...

Re:You were expecting...? (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465285)

Microsoft still forces PC makers to only selling Windows PCs. If they try to sell PCs with non-Windows OS they are denied any discounts on MS products. This lowers the profit margins on a PC by a lot.

Linky? I'm sure you have evidence for this?

That is exactly what the government should do. If a company is abusing a monopoly, they should be made to suffer financially until their behaviour changes. Steps should be taken to break the monopoly and give customers more choice. If MS doesn't like it they should stop their anti-competitive behaviour.

Unfortunately, for your point, consumers do have choice. Of course there's OS X, but Linux is even free. I mean, I'm confused - is Linux better than Vista/XP or not? You all swear it is, but in the next breath say consumers have no choice. I guess you can have your cake and eat it too after all.

Re:You were expecting...? (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464335)

I firmly believe the only reason that Microsoft still has dominance in the desktop OS market is because people are comfortable with the software that runs on their OS, and they stick with it.
MS Office is the main reason people continue to use Windows. That's why Microsoft is so desperate to get OOXML made standard by ISO. They need to maintain their office document lock-in in order to maintain their desktop OS marketshare. If ODF takes over, then people would have choices about what office software to use, and they would all be able to read and write documents created with other office suites and applications. Then people could choose other platforms to run those applications on. That would destroy the MS monopoly. They obviously cannot allow that to happen, which is why we see them going to such lengths to corrupt the ISO voting process. It should be a relatively straight-forward decision. The OOXML standard as it has been presented is not possible to fully implement for anyone but Microsoft. That should be the end of it, but of course money can override common sense. Corruption is the main enemy we face.

Web standards noncompliance (4, Insightful)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463341)

Microsoft's continued abuse of its monopoly for operating systems is clearly apparent in its failure to implement web standards in IE.

Smaller browser vendors with vastly less funding have made giant strides in their implementations of CSS, SVG, mathml and DOM. Microsoft has done as little as possible to implement those standards, but somehow has found the resources and the rationalization to implement SilVerliGht, which is a stolen, bastardized clone of SVG.

Unlike 10 years ago, the world has moved past its reliance on Microsoft to embrace other vendors products willingly. No wonder IE's market share continues to fall precipitously.

Re:Web standards noncompliance (1)

JoelKatz (46478) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463439)

First you complain that Microsoft ignores standards. Then you complain that they steal standards. What's the option you'd like them to take?

Re:Web standards noncompliance (2, Insightful)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463571)

The option is obvious of course. To adhere to standards they haven't stolen. Or are you trying to claim that Microsoft hasn't been tampering with the standard approval process?

Re:Web standards noncompliance (1)

JoelKatz (46478) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464041)

I guess you're just too subtle for me. Maybe you could explain what your actual complaint is rather than just saying "Microsoft = bad" and just assuming everyone knows why. Seriously, I'd love to know what your issue is, but you have to make at least some effort to explain it.

Re:Web standards noncompliance (1)

MikkoIkonen (1151817) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464469)

JoelKatz, I guess you're just too subtle for me. Maybe you could explain what your actual confusion is rather than just saying "you're just too subtle for me" and just assuming everyone knows why. Seriously, I'd love to know what your issue is, but you have to make an infinite amount of effort to explain it.

Re:Web standards noncompliance (1)

JoelKatz (46478) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464669)

My issue is that the post I'm responding to criticizes Microsoft for two things. First, it criticizes Microsoft for ignoring or failing to implement standards. Then, it criticizes Microsoft for participating in the standards process and implementing standards.

There might be a legitimate complaint in there. Perhaps he feels there is some particular reason Microsoft should implement those particular standards. Perhaps he has a beef with the way Microsoft participated in the standards process. But he doesn't say, so his post is really no better than "Microsoft is bad".

If there's a legitimate complaint in there, I'd like to know what it is. It may well be legitimate and valid, but it doesn't help anybody if it's so vague nobody can figure out what it actually is.

Frankly, I don't see that standards-compliance in IE is inherently particularly good or bad. If Microsoft doesn't implement standards, that gives competing browsers an advantage if those standards are beneficial. If they're not, there doesn't seem to be any reason Microsoft should implement them.

If Microsoft makes a good browser, that's good for everyone who uses it. If they make a bad browser, it's good for everyone who competes with it.

If they don't take ideas from other people, they are ignoring standards. If they do, they are stealing.

You need to complain with enough detail that people can figure out what your complaining about.

Re:Web standards noncompliance (2, Insightful)

MikkoIkonen (1151817) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465425)

"First, it criticizes Microsoft for ignoring or failing to implement standards. Then, it criticizes Microsoft for participating in the standards process and implementing standards."

Nowhere does anyone criticize Microsoft for implementing standards because they simply haven't implemented standards .

The OP criticizes Microsoft for implementing a "bastardized clone" of a standard, which is not the same thing as a standard. It is the obverse of a standard.

When browser vendors all implement the same standard markup, designers and developers only have to write web pages *once*. Designs and web applications can *flourish* because they are cheap to make and quick to appear.

When browser vendors each implement different markup languages, designers and developers suffer the nightmare of having to write and debug web pages and web applications again and again and again and again. Consumers miss out on new designs and new applications. The world is stuck in 1997, which suits Microsoft just fine since 1997 was a very profitable year for that company.

Meanwhile, for consumers, 2007 is a choice between buying Vista for more than they payed for an operating system in 1997, and buying five year old XP for the same price as they would pay for Vista! Do you get excited by that kind of choice?

Re:Web standards noncompliance (1)

JoelKatz (46478) | more than 6 years ago | (#20468257)

I just don't think you can have it both ways. You can either have everyone using the same browser or you can have a world where you have to test and tweak your web pages for every browser.

As for Vista, I agree that it's quite a screwed up OS right now. It will, I think, get better in the next few months as the most horrible bugs will get fixed.

Still, I am deeply saddened that all of the core enhancements that I expected to see in Vista failed to materialize. I don't think that's going to change. I was expecting the core to be rewritten for modern CPUs, and I don't see any evidence that's happened. Memory management, networking, scheduling and other key services that were broken in XP seem to be just as broken, of not more so, in Vista.

Why the hell doesn't apple sell OSX as a product?! Back when their hardware was ludicrously overpriced, I could understand it. Why buy crappy overpriced Macs if you could buy commodity hardware and still run OSX and Macintosh applications on it?

But now, Apple's hardware is really nice (people are even buying it to run Windows and Linux on!) and it's reasonably priced. So there is no reason not to sell OSX as a product. Does Apple have no interest in really taking on Microsoft?

Re:Web standards noncompliance (1)

Eivind Eklund (5161) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463581)

Following standards without messing with the standardization process (though participating in it as an ethical member), of course.

Or, barring that, sitting down and dying. If they can't be a responsible corporate citizen - which I'd prefer - they should die. Even if that requires that they just get shut down by the government.

Eivind.

A paragraph too far... (1)

huckamania (533052) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464461)

"Unlike 10 years ago, the world has moved past its reliance on Microsoft to embrace other vendors products willingly. No wonder IE's market share continues to fall precipitously."

So then you agree with the DoJ and the 5 states that the thing they did vis-a-vis Microsoft worked? Good, glad to have that settled.

All of you whiney fan-bois and grrls should take a step back and realize what it is you are admitting when you say the stupid things that you say. If the things MS makes are 'defectivebydesign', then monopoly or not, some other system will win. If MS can't innovate, can't implement standards, can't make stable systems, then some other system will win. If closed source is such a bad model, then some other system will win.

It's hard to make a case that MS should continue to be hobbled when it's "The Year of Widespread Linux Adoption".

Re:A paragraph too far... (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464735)

If MS can't innovate, can't implement standards, can't make stable systems, then some other system will win. If closed source is such a bad model, then some other system will win.
The problem is that for the longest time, Microsoft has been the standard. Now that there are other possible standards out there that are becoming available, Microsoft is doing all it can to corrupt the process and prevent countries, states and other organizations from adopting and implementing those standards, using any means at its disposal, legal or illegal, ethical or unethical.

Re:Web standards noncompliance (1)

MikkoIkonen (1151817) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464949)

"So then you agree with the DoJ and the 5 states that the thing they did vis-a-vis Microsoft worked?"

Nobody is saying the antitrust decree worked. Do you understand the basis of the court's ruling? A monopolist is not allowed to use a monopoly in one market (operating systems) to skew market share in another market (browsers).

Microsoft continues to use its o/s monopoly to skew the browser market by bundling IE with every copy of Windows. The fact that IE's market share is falling only proves how unsatisfactory consumers find Microsoft's offering.

Microsoft continues to sell record numbers of units of Windows because the rest of the industry has not been able to develop and deploy alternative computing platforms (e.g. standardized web browsers) fast enough to enable a critical mass of applications to flourish. This hobbling of innovation was Microsoft's primary intent when they worked to "cut off Netscape's air supply".

In another 10 years, standards compliant browsers may have matured enough to support Web 3.0 applications that make the Windows platform unnecessary or optional for application developers who want to reach a large audience. At that point, you would be right in saying that Microsoft's interference in the browser market has been overcome. But calculate the price: 25 years to fulfill the promise that Netscape unleashed in the 1990s.

"Internet time" has been slowed by a factor of 10 while Microsoft's revenue has been exagerated by an incalculable degree. Is that sort of justice consumers deserve?

Re:Web standards noncompliance (1)

huckamania (533052) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465261)

"Microsoft continues to use its o/s monopoly to skew the browser market by bundling IE with every copy of Windows. The fact that IE's market share is falling only proves how unsatisfactory consumers find Microsoft's offering."

So then, the whole DoJ thing vis-a-vis microsoft is either working or unneccesary? Or you want it both ways?

Anywhile, what killed Netscape was trying to move into the browser/email/swiss-army-knife market. What a pig! Every modern OS distro comes with a browser. Phones have them for Pete's sake. It would have been idiotic for MS not to write their own browser.

""Internet time" has been slowed by a factor of 10..."

You must be too young to remember the bubble bursting on Web 1.0, which probably had a greater effect on "Internet time" then anything Microsoft did or didn't do. As far as standards, if they are important enough to enough people, then not implementing them should be good for competing browsers and bad for Microsoft. If IE did support all standards, it would be the first browser to do so.

Re:Web standards noncompliance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20466181)

"Microsoft continues to use its o/s monopoly to skew the browser market by bundling IE with every copy of Windows. The fact that IE's market share is falling only proves how unsatisfactory consumers find Microsoft's offering."

So then, the whole DoJ thing vis-a-vis microsoft is either working or unneccesary? Or you want it both ways?

Anywhile, what killed Netscape was trying to move into the browser/email/swiss-army-knife market. What a pig! Every modern OS distro comes with a browser. Phones have them for Pete's sake. It would have been idiotic for MS not to write their own browser.

""Internet time" has been slowed by a factor of 10..."

You must be too young to remember the bubble bursting on Web 1.0, which probably had a greater effect on "Internet time" then anything Microsoft did or didn't do. As far as standards, if they are important enough to enough people, then not implementing them should be good for competing browsers and bad for Microsoft. If IE did support all standards, it would be the first browser to do so.

Um, let me see if I can explain. If you have a heart attack, and you have a bypass, the choices are not "the bypass cured you" or "you had no problem." There is also the possibility that the bypass did too little good. Frankly, 10 years of Microsoft being required to offer all OEMs the same per unit pricing, for Windows computers only, would have made more sense. It could have been coupled with a requirement that Microsoft be paid $5 more for each computer shipping with IE as the default browser, after all, if IE better served the customer they could enable it, right?

Re:A paragraph too far... (1)

lwriemen (763666) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465867)

> If the things MS makes are 'defectivebydesign', then monopoly or not, some
> other system will win. If MS can't innovate, can't implement standards, can't
> make stable systems, then some other system will win.

If this was true, then Windows would have disappeared by the year 2000. OS/2, Amiga, Apple, and some *nix variant(s) would be splitting up the market. Standards would be in place to ensure file compatibilities.

Microsoft has set computing back by about 20 years.

The DoJ has to say it worked (3, Insightful)

tbannist (230135) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463421)

Really the Department of Justice deliberately bungled the law suit, and now they have no choice but to claim it's a success till the bitter end. The last thing they want is yet another investigation into official mismanagement and White House interference in a anti-trust case. Immediately after Bush was elected they pulled all senior DoJ staff off of the case and left only a few inexperienced lawyers (from that Bible School they're so fond of hiring from) on the case.

They had Microsoft up against a wall, and then suddenly they were best buddies with Microsoft and nothing had ever really been wrong in the first place. It was sickening and another black eye for the United States, but if at any point the DoJ admits that it's unsastisfied with the results, it opens up an old can worms for the house or the senate to investigate.

Re:The DoJ has to say it worked (1)

TechForensics (944258) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465809)

I disagree that the DOJ bungled the prosecution. Republican administration pressure from above assured Judge Jackson, who would have slid the knife into MS, was removed from the case. It's politics pure and simple.

Strike that; politics is neither pure nor simple.

Re:The DoJ has to say it worked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20465855)

Err, okay, the DOJ -as you say- deliberately borks up the case, with MS pinned. Old judge out, no new judge, Change the guards, Cheney and Ballmer have a nice long sitdown behind closed doors, we
have only their collective words that the case doesn't get discussed (what else would they
have to talk about? Oh yeah, the coming Patriot Act stuff) Kollar-Kelly gets handed the case,
never bothers looking at it. A couple of days before the deadline, she calls for the case,
looks at it for maybe a few hours tops (all the time she had, check it out). Calls the parties
in, slaps MS on the wrist, lets MS basically write it's own settlement, puts MS in charge
of it's own compliance, and calls it a day.

Yeah, great job USDOJ.

Oh yeah, everything is completely different now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20463685)

1. Microsoft has dumped its turd onto the ISO.
2. Microsoft will be dumping a turd on Adobe.
3. Microsoft has killed off more of the tools market for its platform with freebies.
4. Vista is a buggy, expensive POS. It will become the OS of 90% of personal computers within five years anyway.
5. Microsoft has made vague threats about the ownership of Linux. Let's not forget that Microsoft funded SCO's little foray under the watch of this DoJ.
6. Microsoft's biggest threat is from patent trolls, not legitimate competition.
7. Microsoft is still rumbling about leasing you your software. You haven't truly complained until Microsoft has become a utility monopoly for the entire country.

The settlement didn't really accomplish anything. Netscape was for all intents and purposes destroyed by the dumping of IE, and that was never remedied. Now it's basically a portal for a bad Digg clone. Mozilla was only salvaged through charitable donations of money and work.

Sun has seen more of a pinch from Java++. It will continue to see more as Vista's .NET integration draws more managed client-side development. That's probably 6-10 years from now, but it'll be a problem when Microsoft's free blub supplants Sun's free blub. Microsoft is much more effective at exploiting its resources than the crazy train that is Sun.

If it hadn't been for the iPod, Apple would be a zombie. Be is gone. Linux only competes as meekly as it does because it's given away. Don't tell me this isn't a dangerous power distribution.

On the other hand these States probably just want more freebies from Microsoft, and don't plan/expect any continued scrutiny to actually change the playing field for competing with Microsoft. California getting some more free licenses to Microsoft software isn't going to do anything. Let's face it, the antitrust enforcement in this country is a joke. They'd ok a merger between Microsoft and AT&T tomorrow.

Re:Oh yeah, everything is completely different now (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464349)

4. Vista is a buggy, expensive POS. It will become the OS of 90% of personal computers within five years anyway.

Actualy I don't hold that against them as an anti-trust point. The projection of 90% is maybe a little optomistic. Vista is driving Apple, Ubuntu, and even XP as alternatives to the OS with bugs.

My dad bought a Mac. I upgraded 4 older machines of mine to Ubuntu. My wife got a Vista Laptop for her Masters classes. I found out the hard way in the first day some of the bugs. It started simply. "Honey, please transfer my documents from the old machine and set up printing to use our LAN printers."

The Vista machine was unable to log into any SMB share requiring a password... 3 hours of internet searching later and one regestry edit later, that was fixed. Files transferred. My printers on the LAN use stand alone hardware printservers providing IPP printing. Everything from Windows 95-XP and all the Linux and Mac's connect fine. (older windows needed IPP drivers) Linux uses IPP with CUPS by default. Vista mangles the printer set up pages so bad renaming everything it took another 2 hours to properly configure printing. (It's called network printing. The port name on the print server has to be entered elsewhere and it's called printer name, not port.) IPP://192.168.1.101/lp1 becomes address 192.168.1.101 and on another page the port lp1 is entered in a field marked Printer Name. Very intuitive. My first attempt at setting up my first Linux box on the Windows only LAN back then took a total of 30 minutes instead of the 5 hours Vista took.

Well. (2, Interesting)

Renraku (518261) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463695)

Who do you turn to when the courts and states themselves are playing corporate favoritism? Can you sue the state, or is it time to bring out the soap box/ballot box/ammo box?

I'll tell you what... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20463793)

I live in Ohio and I can say this state became a cesspool of corruption with the majority of the corruption being on the Republican side thanks to Governor Taft. Games were played with the 2000 census to make it seem that Columbus is the largest city in the state. They simply absorbed all the little towns around them and then got a lot of federal finding re-channeled away from Cleveland to Columbus. At this point Cleveland is nearly dead and Columbus has... a Microsoft business center. I wonder how much bearing that has on things since Columbus is also the state capital. They attracted a lot more business simply because they got more federal funding to expand what they offer (which is little compared to Cleveland when you're talking about the arts and culture). If Cleveland was still considered the biggest city in Ohio (or if we played the same game and consolidated all of Cuyahoga county to become THE largest city in Ohio) there would be a decidedly left turn in Ohio politics since most of us up here are liberals. That would mean that business would take more a backseat to public interest. After all business are here to serve and not control.

Re:I'll tell you what... (1)

reddburn (1109121) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465835)

After all business are here to serve and not control.
Businesses are here to make money.

Re:I'll tell you what... (1)

misterhypno (978442) | more than 6 years ago | (#20469215)

Some businesses, historically speaking, have been here to do more than that. Look at Hearst's little war as a good example or Krupp's actually fostering wars for profit AND political advantage as another. There are many, many other examples.

The way to control a population is not by military force, but by controlling what the population thinks. By controlling the media and the methods by which information is stored, disseminated, displayed and processed, one can, without firing a shot, take over the world because, by doing so, one will be able to control what the public sees and, more importantly, what the public does NOT see and therefore one can control what the public will BELIEVE and THINK (when the public bothers to think at all, that is!).

This was one of the key premeses of Henlein's "Revolt in 2100."

Microsoft, if you look not all that closely, seems to be striving to gain control of the way media is processed, stored, transmitted and displayed.

Connect the dots.

It would be not a very great leap to go from where they are to a full-on assault to take over the world's media processing and programming infrastrusture.

Of course, "Revolt in 2100" was science fiction. But so were cell phones, personal computers, motorcycles, magnetic scanning technology, lasers, microwave cookers, palm-sized computers, television, radar, television and space stations...!

Paranoid fantasy? Quite possibly.

If nothing else, it might make a pretty good novel...! And that's NOVEL, not NOVELL!

A possible remedial solution.... (2, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463889)

I think extreme situations require extreme measures, and it is clear that the anti-trust control measures are not only ineffective; they are actually a suit of armour for Microsoft to further abuse their monopoly power. The world has close to a billion PCs now; that's a huge number given there's about 6 billion people. If the US will not act, and the EU will not be allowed to act... bodies like the ECMA and ISO will be subverted; then someone else has to take up the fight to bring justice.

More worrying than the monopoly is the fact that the PC burns much more power and is inferior as a platform compared to even small devices like cellphones, game devices and appliances. The failure of the OOXML fast track process shows that there is still hope, if only the whole world can act in concert. I suggest some measures to bring speedy correction in the PC industry:

1. Any component of the PC that does not conform to published, patent unencumbered standards must be taxed - this includes processors, video cards, winprinters, winmodems, audio devices, DRM chips, TCPA engines, kernels, hypervisors, operating systems, word processors etc. etc. The tax must be high enough to deter unscrupulous mfrs. to dictate their 'default' standards and abuse their positions to the detriment of the platform, the consumer and the market. A 30% tax should be levied for starters, and the corpus must be used to fund devleopment of 'free' alternatives in each segment above.

The recent network 'penalty' while playing system sounds in Vista is a case in point. Could Microsoft have got away with a 'published' audio device and driver architecture under a transparent benchmarking system? Who will compensate for the 'defective' protected media path architecture? Will the h/w mfrs freely replace their buggy cards with better performing ones? Countries other than the US must force them to do so.

2. Patents must be abolished in the PC industry - it is clear from the unholy MS - Novell alliance that even the biggest firms cannot enforce their patents, and they actually hinder innovation; and encourage cartels. The EU and several other nations do not still recognise s/w patents; the 15 year lifespan for a patent is absurd even in the h/w industry where monopolies can be built up in undre 5 years.

3. International standards need to be evolved that govern the use of the internet - it is too big and valuable to be subject to the machincations of a toothless US commerce agency. Companies that actively or passively contribute to the abuse of the internet must be punished and / or taxed. For instance, is a particular OS is the platform of choice for botnets, then the mfr. of the OS must fix the problem within a reasonable timeframe, or else open the source so the community will fix it themselves.

The proceedings in some of the standards bodies on the OOXML vote shows that they can govern the IT industry better than the anti-trust agencies. I tihnk they must be allowed to have a say, now that the US bodies have failed.

Re:A possible remedial solution.... (1)

cparker15 (779546) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466971)

jkrise for President!

Re:A possible remedial solution.... (1)

Jaxoreth (208176) | more than 6 years ago | (#20467257)

bodies like the ECMA and ISO will be subverted; then someone else has to take up the fight to bring justice.
We'll need guns... lots of guns.

Here's some accomplishments/victories (1)

dtjohnson (102237) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463907)

1) Microsoft has kept on supplying Windows to computer makers who offer a non-Windows option.

2) Microsoft has allowed hardware vendors to live who offer non-Windows drivers for their hardware.

3) Microsoft has not forced hardware and software vendors to exclusively use Microsoft protocols and standards.

4) Microsoft lets the user install software on their Windows sytems such as Open Office and Firefox that competes with Microsoft software.

5) Windows users don't have to pay a 'per minute' charge to use their system, just a one-time license fee when they buy it.

Of course, once the antitrust judicial oversight ends, so will all of this kindness by Microsoft. On day 1, Microsoft will pick up the phone to Intel and tell them to implement some Windows-only stuff on the next gen of 'Core Quadro' processors that will make their use by Apple...how shall we say it?...challenging.

Re:Here's some accomplishments/victories (1)

Renaissance 2K (773059) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464487)

...and then Apple will just switch to AMD processors. Sounds like a terrific idea to help AMD get a leg up on market share.

Re:Here's some accomplishments/victories (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20466737)

1) Microsoft has kept on supplying Windows to computer makers who offer a non-Windows option.


yes, but does msft still get paid for its OS if linux is installed on that home computer? if so, this isn't a success, it is a monopoly exercising its monopoly power to get paid while providing absolutely nothing.

2) Microsoft has allowed hardware vendors to live who offer non-Windows drivers for their hardware.


i don't see this as ever being a big issue. the driver issue has more to do with h/w suppliers being wary of spending time on non monopoly OSes and not wanting to open the requirements due to a fear of losing a competitive advantage.

3) Microsoft has not forced hardware and software vendors to exclusively use Microsoft protocols and standards.


i disagree. as the de facto monopoly standard, they do "force" people to by their stuff and use their protocols b/c everyone else does. their fight against ODF proves this. they don't want a standard that anyone can easily implement and that will interoperate with different office products.

THEY FEAR THIS. that's why they went around bribing people to vote their way for OOXML certification. they KNOW their non standard standard will FORCE people to continue buying their products so they can interoperate with the microsoft monopoly.

4) Microsoft lets the user install software on their Windows sytems such as Open Office and Firefox that competes with Microsoft software.


this has *always* been the case. nothing new here. it is nice that some people *really* appreciate being able to install software on their computer, though. you must be *easy* to please!

5) Windows users don't have to pay a 'per minute' charge to use their system, just a one-time license fee when they buy it.


not yet, anyway. again, nothing new here. this has always been the case.

Of course, once the antitrust judicial oversight ends, so will all of this kindness by Microsoft. On day 1, Microsoft will pick up the phone to Intel and tell them to implement some Windows-only stuff on the next gen of 'Core Quadro' processors that will make their use by Apple...how shall we say it?...challenging.


they don't need to as long as they get to keep working their other monopolistic practices without consequence.

but, hey, this is how the world works, right?

you know, SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST at work.

that is the LAW OF NATURE and msft is the fittest and so they eat those things they don't like.

macro-evolutionist fans wouldn't have it any other way! right?

anything less would be moral and relativism, would it not? that can't be good, can it?

Linux on the desktop (Dell, HP, Lenovo) (3, Insightful)

Dark Fire (14267) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463925)

Is it possible that the reason that Dell, HP, and Lenovo are now offering desktop PCs with Linux has little to do with Linux and it's merits and more to do with the fact that the antitrust enforcement against Microsoft is about to expire and is up for review/renewal. OEM bullying to lockout competitors was one of the biggest complaints against Microsoft. But since the big 3 desktop PC vendors are selling Linux, the measures slapped on Microsoft have obviously worked and are no longer needed.

OEM Madness (2, Insightful)

organgtool (966989) | more than 6 years ago | (#20463959)

What annoys me is how most organizations focus on the inclusion of Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer in Windows despite the bigger antitrust violations that Microsoft has been commiting for years. Probably the worst antitrust offense Microsoft is commiting lies in its OEM license terms for Windows. Companies large and small rely on the huge discount that comes from selling OEM versions of Windows on their hardware, but the license terms prevent those vendors from selling PC's with no operating systems installed on them as well as PC's set up to dual boot Windows along with any other operating system. Yes, I know that FreeDOS has been used to work around the former of those problems, but regardless of the effectiveness of these tactics is the fact that Microsoft attempts to use such anti-competitive practices and the fact that they are always overlooked.

And on a slightly different note, could the fact that Windows is the only operating system that doesn't have a boot loader with the capability to load other operating systems be considered anti-competitive? Linux has had this feature for many years and even OS X supports dual-booting Windows, but Windows simply overwrites the MBR and renders all other installed operating systems to be unbootable until a recovery disk is used to repair the boot loader.

And finally, my biggest complaint about the EU and the US DOJ is that they fined Microsoft for including WMP and IE in Windows, but they have made little to no effort to "vote with their wallets" and use other operating systems. If they really found Microsoft's tactics to be anti-competitive, they could back up their statements by at least considering the use one of the many viable alternatives to Windows. Instead, they issue a fine while continuing to use Windows (hypocrites?) and make themselves look like a bunch of greedy grab-asses out to get a piece of the Microsoft pie. EU and US DOJ: actions speak louder than cheap (relative to Microsoft) fines.

Re:OEM Madness (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20464301)

And on a slightly different note, could the fact that Windows is the only operating system that doesn't have a boot loader with the capability to load other operating systems be considered anti-competitive?
You can actually boot other operating systems with NTLDR, although it's not as easy as most Linux distros make it.

It involves dumping the boot sector of the partition (with say, dd if=/dev/whatever of=bootsector bs=512 count=1), getting it to your NTFS partition, and specifying it in your boot.ini file.

Although since Vista re-organized the bootloader a lot, I'm not sure how to do this on Vista.

Re:OEM Madness (1)

IceFreak2000 (564869) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464569)

Use EasyBCD [neosmart.net] ; my home system currently triple-boots using the Vista bootloader into Vista, XP and Ubuntu. Frankly, it was a piece of piss to set up (just remember not to install GRUB on your MBR).

Re:OEM Madness (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464625)

Companies large and small rely on the huge discount that comes from selling OEM versions of Windows on their hardware, but the license terms prevent those vendors from selling PC's with no operating systems installed on them as well as PC's set up to dual boot Windows along with any other operating system

The market for the "naked" PC is essentially that of the purchase order in units of 100 to 1000.

In the home and SOHO markets the OEM system install has been the gold standard in retail for over twenty-five years.

No one but a Geek "Dual Boots" by choice.

Maintaining two operating systems, two program libraries and two skill sets is unfun.

It is essentially an admission that your primary OS doesn't support all the software you need to do your job.

Re:OEM Madness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20464757)

Quoth the poster: "It is essentially an admission that your primary OS doesn't support all the software you need to do your job."

Ummm, you've got that completely backwards. The other OSs are fully capable, they can "support" software quite handily.

But because of the monopoly position of Microsoft, not all developers are porting their software to the other operating systems.

Re:OEM Madness (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465097)

It is essentially an admission that your primary OS doesn't support all the software you need to do your job.
Unless you use Linux to do your job, and Windows just for games and other less essential stuff. If you're spending the money for a PC, then you're going to want it to be able to do all the things that you want to do with it. Microsoft makes that difficult at best.

im a newyorker so i can say this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20465109)

eff you, new york!

The Evil of Antitrust (1)

toddhisattva (127032) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465247)

Microsoft's monopoly is perhaps the best exemplar of the evil of antitrust.

It is the result of the US DoJ's antitrust persecution of IBM. http://www.hagley.lib.de.us/1980.htm [lib.de.us]

Think about it. Why did the mountain come to Mohamed? Why did IBM go shopping for a floppy DOS?

A floppy DOS is a weekend project for IBM. They could have made a better PC-DOS than Microsoft ever has, at a lower price for themselves and their customers.

There is only one entity that could have forced IBM to make such a stupid decision, and that was the US Government.

I am of split mind regarding antitrust prosecution of Microsoft. I admit to enjoying the schadenfreude, "he who lives by antitrust dies by antitrust," yet I understand at some point the madness of antitrust must stop.

Because lawyers are lousy system architects! They are rarely learned in discrete logic; they are only taught pretzel logic.

Re:The Evil of Antitrust (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#20468549)

Why did the mountain come to Mohamed? Why did IBM go shopping for a floppy DOS? A floppy DOS is a weekend project for IBM. They could have made a better PC-DOS than Microsoft ever has, at a lower price for themselves and their customers.

In 1975, IBM's 5100 "Suitcase" PC [wikipedia.org] sold for $9-$20,000.

The IBM PC was designed by a small team operating outside the normal corporate schedule and with a mandate to get an affordable product to market quickly. The IBM PC Concept [wikipedia.org] .

The team - quite sensibly - began looking at sub-contractors like Digital Research and Microsoft which had a track record in the infant PC market.

As a matter of fact.... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466141)

.... they are hoisting the "Mission Accomplished" banner as we speak (post).

ep?(.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20466167)

the Project [goat.cx]

Why does California care? (1)

Uncle_Meataxe (702474) | more than 6 years ago | (#20467021)

How much could California really care about a Microsoft monopoly if they force all state employees to use Windows? So much for the theory about the state going after MS because Apple's headquarters are in Cupertino.

I don't get it. (1)

coaxial (28297) | more than 6 years ago | (#20468695)

From the blurb:

The US Department of Justice and five States have declared themselves satisfied with the antitrust enforcement efforts taken against Microsoft despite a further seven States maintaining they have had 'little or no discernible impact in the marketplace.


No discernible impact on the market place. So why aren't they satisfied? Wasn't that the point?

Both the feds and the state governments are sorry. (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 6 years ago | (#20469205)

The feds are sorry they ever bothered Microsoft.

The states are sorry they stopped.
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