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EU Launches Yet Another Antitrust Probe Into Microsoft

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the getting-probed-always-a-bummer dept.

Microsoft 373

Connor writes "The EU has announced a new wide-ranging antitrust probe into Microsoft's practices of bundling software with Windows, as well as whether its products interoperate sufficiently with competitors' products. 'The first area of investigation will concern interoperability of some of Microsoft's products, including Office 2007, the .NET Framework, and some of Microsoft's server products.' The other prong of the investigation is a response to Opera's antitrust complaint, but will look at other products, too. 'The Commission will also look at desktop search and Windows Live as well in addition to other products. The EC says that its investigation will "focus on allegations that a range of products have been unlawfully tied to sales of Microsoft's dominant operating system."'"

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gay niggers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22039572)

from outter space

Poor Microsoft... (-1, Redundant)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 6 years ago | (#22039608)

They've been probed by the EU so much their ass looks like ground beef.

Oh wait, it already looked like that...

I am SO never going to get a job at Microsoft...

Re:Poor Microsoft... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22039980)

i didnt know that microsoft was looking for a pizza delivery boy.

Re:Poor Microsoft... (4, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040086)

i didnt know that microsoft was looking for a pizza delivery boy.
They already had one, but he started throwing chairs at people, making threats, and swearing a lot, so they promoted him to CEO.

Re:Poor Microsoft... (0, Offtopic)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040188)

Ground beef... heheheh Chuck, roast, prime round, round eye, UP CHUCK...? If you equate their leadership to Star Trek's mad admirals, you can start corporate Mad Cow DisEase...

And if you DHCP their ass and bind an address, you'll be bound to grief on their ground beef.

(The Anti-Trust can keep steaming along. I'm pro-DIStrust of them. But, I AM happy that vista runs inside my VirtualBox-equipped PCLinuxOS2007 computer. Installed without too much of an issue, just about 45 minutes, 2 or 3 virtual reboots, and some minor tweaking (turn of UAC, need some vid drivers, need to activate the NIC or find a way to share files tween Linux and Blista...)...)

Oh, No, Not again! (-1, Troll)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 6 years ago | (#22039624)

Oh no! Did a company make products that go well together? Could it be that they were designed for eachother?

Seriously, afterwards, let's launch an antitrust case against playstation because their platform doesn't play wii and xbox games.

Re:Oh, No, Not again! (3, Insightful)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22039798)

Could it be that they were designed for eachother
That is exactly the problem. Windows needs IE. They used to be independent products, so there is proof that Windows doesn't need to need IE. MS could just as well kept them separate.

Re:Oh, No, Not again! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22039874)

Yeah, but why does Oprah care?

Re:Oh, No, Not again! (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040506)

That is exactly the problem. Windows needs IE. They used to be independent products, so there is proof that Windows doesn't need to need IE. MS could just as well kept them separate.

This is a ridiculous statement. Cars used to be separate from air conditioning too; people used to have to add a window evaporative cooler to their coupe back in the forties. Just try convincing the majority of people that cars don't need air conditioning! (If you go back even farther, cars used to regularly come without heaters, too, so we can do this all day...

EVERYONE uses a web browser as an OS component today. No, really! Sun has been doing HTML documentation for a long, long time; they used to bundle Netscape 2 for the purpose of reading it (and websurfing.) Microsoft, of course, has been doing it since they integrated Aieee! Apple, naturally, uses HTML fairly liberally.

Naturally, no one else uses it to the extent that Microsoft does, to the point where folder views contain HTML. But why should Microsoft not be permitted to do this?

Microsoft bundling IE wasn't the problem. Microsoft forbidding their customers (OEMs) to bundle other web browsers (and other competing products) was. Your statements make it clear that you do not understand the problem.

Re:Oh, No, Not again! (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22041054)

When Sun bundled Netscape 2, how tightly integrated was it? Could you remove it if you wanted to? Integrating AC into a car makes sense. Everybody expects a car to have tires, too. You don't see many auto manufactures making their cars dependent on having at least one of the tires made by the auto company.

Re:Oh, No, Not again! (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22041090)

There though is a difference in bundling and integrating. Firefox is bundled in Ubuntu, a quick apt-get remove firefox solves the problem, Konqueror is bundled in KDE I can remove Konqueror with a simple apt-get remove konqueror, although that disables some features of KDE, most programs can still be launched. IE though can't be removed by any normal methods from the OS, and that is one of the primary concerns because even if you do use a third-party browser (Opera, Firefox) you still have the flaws of IE still on your machine. In a car, if you really want to you can replace an air conditioner with another one (even though there really is no need too) but IE you can't. Even though I never have been a Sun customer I am 99% sure that Netscape can be totally removed and a different web browser loaded on with no problem, with IE you can't do that.

The stupidity of MS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22041202)

Microsoft bundling IE wasn't the problem. Microsoft forbidding their customers (OEMs) to bundle other web browsers (and other competing products) was. Your statements make it clear that you do not understand the problem.

This is what always struck me the most about how stupid it was of MS to engage in this behavior. MS IE has always been, by far, the best browser on Windows. When IE3.02 was released, people were LITERALLY fleeing to it away from Netscape... a browser they had actually paid money for!!

And from that time until now, IE has always been the most stable browser to use. Now sure, other browsers had some better features (tabs, and... um... tabs... oh, and that acid thing which nobody cares about, too), but just talking in terms of stability, IE has always been the best. Mozilla does a good job of masking when the browser crashes (it crashes and reopens all the windows you had prior to crashing)... but that's just a band-aid on a bullet wound.

Seeing where Netscape started, it's not that amazing how after all these years, and even after the panacea of going open source, the browser still isn't stable. Polishing a turd doesn't change it's basic nature, no matter how much time and energy you put into it.

But the logic the EU, and Opera, employ in making a subset of laws which only apply to Microsoft, it just seems really destructive. If I were Microsoft, I would actually challenge the fact that the "you can't bundle" law only applies to them. If they get a 'fair' judgement which says companies can't bundle anything with anything, it would devastate the EU to the stone age. You couldn't sell a TV with a remote control, or a toy with batteries, or a car with a stereo, or floor mats, or wiper blades, or even oil or gasoline. The EU would reduce itself to a collective of nations legally forced to selling everything in DIY kits... with parts made by different manufacturers.

Just based upon the sheer magnitude of insanity the EU's previous rulings have made, I think they would be forced to backpedal. Otherwise, making Apple unbundle Safari and all their other apps would only be the start of their landslide into anarchy.

Re:Oh, No, Not again! (4, Insightful)

catxk (1086945) | more than 6 years ago | (#22039826)

"Could it be that they were designed for eachother?" Yes, it could be. It could also be that they design software in a way that unlawfully or unethically discourages the use of other software. Lets see what they find out during the investigation. Microsoft is a powerful company, and as such, just like powerful politicians, they should be under constant investigation.

Re:Oh, No, Not again! (1, Informative)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040138)

If toyota makes cars, but then decides they want to engineer their own CD players and install them as stock on all their cars, is it against sony, because people will most likely just use the stock cd player? Goodness knows there are manufacturers who make steering-wheel covers who'd be pissed if toyota sent out their cars with great steering wheel covers too.

What microsoft is doing is covering the bases. Yeah, NERO's pissed when MS new OS has burning capabilities in it, but lets face it, interfacing with hardware (a technology like DVD-RW is getting older every day) is a primary function that I'd wonder WHY the OS doesn't already do that. If I bought a computer with no web browser, I couldn't go get opera and install it. It's not like Windows comes with Office- that'd be nice. I just think it's a bunch of whiney babies. Don't like it? Buy a mac!

My guess is that the people here complaining probably already have a mac, which is why I got modded down. I like microsoft. There I said it. Don't mark me Flamebait cause I have an opinion that MAC fanboys don't share with me.

Re:Oh, No, Not again! (1)

catxk (1086945) | more than 6 years ago | (#22041030)

What's with these constant car comparisons? What if my Volvo ran Windows, now there's a disaster scenario for you.

Seriously though, it doesn't make sense to compare preinstalled cd players or AC units in cars with Microsoft's software policies. For one because those preinstalled units were bought from a third party* on a competetive market and are subject to being switched out for a number of reasons, most important price and quality! If Microsoft released an updated Windows version every year or so and everytime evaluated their bundled browser and were prepared to switch if a competitor proved to be cheaper and of higher quality, then no one would complain! Now there is a car comparison for you. Now stop using them.

* There might be cases where this is not true although I doubt it. If there are cases, it would require the "in house" cd player to be competitive on the open market, otherwise it wouldn't make any sense for the car manufacturer to keep the production within the company. Now here's an interesting point: why the hell is IE still being produced!? Microsoft share holders ought to be outraged!

Re:Oh, No, Not again! (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22041252)

There are quite a few differences between your analogy and the real thing. It is not impossible to remove the stock CD player and replace it with a higher-quality player and still have the car work properly. If you remove IE from Windows it causes problems according to MS http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Removal_of_Internet_Explorer [wikipedia.org] and so it is nearly imposable to remove it. Your car analogy is more like a Linux distribution, you can take just about anything out and replace it and it will still be a vehicle, (probably a car, but if you want to add wings to it and a jet engine and make it a plane, go ahead) but Windows and IE is more like they put the CD player, steering wheel cover, seats, and just about everything else onto the engine making it impossible to remove one component without damaging the engine. Also, unlike in the car business, just about 90% of computers run Windows, so would a company that makes car CD players have a right to complain when 90% of their business is now not available? Yes, they would.

Re:Oh, No, Not again! (3, Insightful)

Flipao (903929) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040034)

Oh no! Did a company make products that go well together? Could it be that they were designed for eachother? Seriously, afterwards, let's launch an antitrust case against playstation because their platform doesn't play wii and xbox games.
The problem is not simply that they make products that work well with each other, it's also that they do it while owning the desktop OS business.

Not to mention their attempts to squeeze the life out of open formats like ODF.

Also, it shows the EU has the balls to stand up to MS and their anti competitive practices, something the US has been unable to do for a while.

Re:Oh, No, Not again! (1, Flamebait)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040258)

Oh my god- a pro-microsoft argument that actually makes sense. Let's mark it troll.

Re:Oh, No, Not again! (0, Troll)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040542)

It's not that they work well together, but that they intentionally break means by which other software can work well with them. Exhibit A is the mutilation of Kerberos.

Nothing like the Redmond Apologist crowd? So what did they give you to turn?

Re:Oh, No, Not again! (1)

jopsen (885607) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040964)

Could it be that they were designed for eachother?
Offtoppic but: Actually not, microsoft got internet explorer when the bought another company.

Another one? (4, Informative)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22039670)

Can anybody tell me what MS has actually been forced to do as a result of anti-trust lawsuits? I don't mean what they have been told to do but rather what they were forced to follow through with. IIRC, they still haven't paid a hefty fine imposed by the EU a long time ago.

Re:Another one? (4, Informative)

Scarblac (122480) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040082)

They paid about 500 million euro in 2004, while they were still appealing the decision. Their last appeal was turned down last year.

Also, they made available the specs for the SMB protocol, which the Samba team bought (for about $14k).

Re:Another one? (2, Interesting)

BvF7734 (1181911) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040098)

Can anybody tell me what MS has actually been forced to do as a result of anti-trust lawsuits? I don't mean what they have been told to do but rather what they were forced to follow through with. IIRC, they still haven't paid a hefty fine imposed by the EU a long time ago.

Haven't they been forced to hide there Monopolistic ways more carefully now? Possibly find new ways and means of extending their tentacles just a bit further without rousing suspicion? Just a though...

Re:Another one? (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040384)

Nah. 600 million dollars (isn't that what they were forced to pay?) is not a lot for them.

Re:Another one? (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040170)

Let me think.. There is a version of XP for European markets that doesn't include Media Player. They also published some more detailed specs on the api, and some windows networking protocols. There was also a version that didn't have a Java virtual machine, or was required to have the sun virtual machine, or something like that. Nothing thats been earth shattering. I have a little hard time thinking that any remedy in any court, short of breaking up the company, will have much of a real impact on its market share in any market.

Re:Another one? (4, Informative)

KokorHekkus (986906) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040202)

The 2003 fine was paid during 2004 (http://www.news.com/2100-1014_3-5255715.html [news.com] ). The other additional fines most likely have been as well since Microsoft does have a business presence in Europe via Microsoft EMEA located in Ireland I belive (EMEA stands for Europe, Middle-East, Africa). Should the boardmembers refuse to pay then that would land them in court and result in possible personal punishments. No sane business professional would do that no matter how many chairs are thrown on the other side of the atlantic.

Re:Another one? (1)

Kugrian (886993) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040440)

Windows Vista Home Basic
Windows Vista Home Basic (Internet Edition)
Windows Vista Home Basic (Low-Media Edition)
Windows Vista Home Basic (Internet and Low-Media Edition)
Windows Vista Home Premium
Windows Vista Home Premium (Internet Edition) ...
Profit!

Shudder... (5, Funny)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 6 years ago | (#22039704)

I normally am happy when bad things happen to Microsoft, but I was Antitrust-Probed by aliens once, and I know how it can feel.

Re:Shudder... You haven't been probed until... (0, Offtopic)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040354)

Byung-Gu gets ahold of your rear with his phallic, silver, steam-delivering alien anal probe.

He says, "See this here?... It's headed for a special place..." LOL!

He says no one has been able to stand it for more than an hour (I suppose he meant ALIENS, not humans...), but at least he lubes the thing. When it arrives on screen, it's a stunner. If you live in SF, you can borrow it from SFPL. Or, you can buy it online... Funny as hell. Crosses every imaginable film/movie genre in about 2 hours. Can't make stuff like this in the US...

http://www.kfccinema.com/reviews/horror/savethegreenplanet/savethegreenplanet.html [kfccinema.com]

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/10004650-save_the_green_planet/ [rottentomatoes.com]

http://www.loveasianfilm.com/reviews/savethegreenplanet.html [loveasianfilm.com]

Microsoft tactics (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22039708)

Here is more info on EU Launches Yet Another Antitrust Probe Into Microsoft

http://spamslashdot.myminicity.com/sec [myminicity.com]

Trap link - "Slashdot spammer" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22039976)

Trap link - "Slashdot spammer"

Apple's next (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22039710)

Look at the way their iPod and iTunes don't work as fully with competitors products as their own!!!11

Re:Apple's next (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22039898)

don't work as fully with competitors products
At least they do work. I doubt Zune works with Macs and I would bet money that WMP doesn't.

The World (1, Flamebait)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 6 years ago | (#22039744)

China protects its own by keeping its currency undervalued.
Europe protects its own through litigation and trade restricting laws.
The Unites States rapes its own through outsourcing, overspending and reducing taxes on the rich.

Which one do you think will be a world power in 50 years?

Re:The World (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22040008)

Which one do you think will be a world power in 50 years?

The one that makes software?

Incidentally, if citizens are protected by a weak currency, how are Americans being "raped"? The dollar is falling through the floor!

Re:The World (4, Interesting)

Bellum Aeternus (891584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040684)

Economic strength is reason that the United States it the world super power; military is over-rated and a result of economic strength. American assets are priced in US dollars and as the dollar drops so does the value of the country. Additionally, a huge amount of America's debt is owed in foreign currency and as the dollar drops the debt's value increases proportionally; again making America poorer and therefore weaker. Also, as the dollar's value drops against world currencies (particularly the Euro) foreign reserves are switch from being dollar based to being Euro based; again diminishing the economic might and influence of the United States.

At this point in time the US is so dramically richer than any other state in the world that it doesn't really matter - how ever over the next decade we're likely to see the rise of two new super powers that rival the Unites States: European Union (the confused, sluggish super power) and China (the unified and aggressive super power).

The last time we saw the Unites States challenged it was by the USSR and Japan. The USSR was fundamentally flawed by actually being a totalitarian state which are inherently flawed over the long run. Japan wasn't as flawed, but it inflexible work force (worse than Europe's) has severely limited its ability to compete. In both cases the US system simply out spent and maneuvered them. I don't think the US will be able to do this again unless China's one-child laws begin to damage their economy with the upcoming population drop and Europe's reformist governments get voted out.

As for the article and topic on hand: good. M$ needs to be pushed to be competitive and not just handicapped by overly relying on their OS monopoly. Their censure by the EU will only work to improve the US economy (in the long run) and the EU consumer. Kudos to the EU for having the balls to do this and showing up the US government.

Re:The World (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040528)

RE:['Which one do you think will be a world power in 50 years?]"

China for sure, the EU? maybe, the USA i doubt it...

how does one undervalue a currency? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22040544)

Despite seacrhing for an explanation, I've never understood this. How is this done? What does it do? And why is it done?

Re:The World (3, Informative)

BrentH (1154987) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040698)

Damn, does the FUD never end? A small search on Google [google.nl] demonstrates that the EU fines domesitc industries at least as much as foreign ones (I read the official numbers ones, can't find the source now, but most 'income' was from domestic corporations). Just because Spanish Telecom, Fujifilm and Siemens don't reach the/your news, doesn't mean they're fined hundreds of millions of euros.

Re:The World (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22040734)

Let's protect our own by sending them MS OS versions without "bundled software". Good luck keeping up with Microsoft, and spending more money to purchase "bundled software" a la carte - or settling for subpar alternatives.

Re:The World - Mythical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22040902)

The Unites States rapes its own through [...] reducing taxes on the rich.

Really? If you work in the US, have you looked at you pay stub recently?

Did you know:
The top 5% of wage earners in the US pay over 53% of the income tax.
The top 10% pay nearly 65% of the income tax.
And the top 50% pay a whopping 96% of the income tax.

So you think taxes have been reduced on the rich?

It ties back to making a profit (3, Interesting)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22039782)

Microsoft has a bit of a juggling act to do. On one hand, they're bound to make the maximum possible profit for their investors as a corporation. On the other side, they have to do so in a way that keeps various governments off their backs, and keeps from being -overtly- anti-competitive--because, let's face it, the maximum possible profit will be made by M$ being a monopoly.

I do rather wish, though, that it was the QC department rather than the legal department that got all the funding for these ventures; the strategy of 'sue everyone and who cares about the product' didn't seem to work too well for SCO, and with the rather notable--especially in Europe--rejection of Vista, M$ would do well to take note of the problems with their product. Legal muscle and dominance of the marketplace will take you far, but such things are no excuse for honest innovation (or, if you can't do it honestly, buying it or stealing it from someone else--anyone heard of any actual production plans for those nifty tabletop computers from a few months back yet?)

The word you are looking for is "Ethical" (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040480)

Microsoft has a bit of a juggling act to do. On one hand, they're bound to make the maximum possible profit for their investors as a corporation.

Within the bounds of ethics! Microsoft is at a minimum one of the least ethical companies.

On the other side, they have to do so in a way that keeps various governments off their backs, and keeps from being -overtly- anti-competitive--because, let's face it, the maximum possible profit will be made by M$ being a monopoly.

Ummm, that's ethics as well.

Re:The word you are looking for is "Ethical" (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22041130)

What are these 'ethics' you speak of, and are they legally enforcable?

All facetiousness aside, the investors -can- sue the board of directors etc. for malfeasance if M$ does not take every effort to make the maximum possible profit--so that's not really so much 'ethics' as 'staying on the investors' good side'

The probe isn't meant to be an analysis of ethics--because, yes, frankly, M$ has all the ethics of a kitten-and-puppy sausage maker. It's meant to figure out if they can bring a case against 'em for contravening the anti-monopoly laws; the only ethics involved are those which the legislators considered when passing the anti-monopoly laws in the first place.

Really, the only corporations that are bound by ethical practices are those of whose members are part of some body that concerns itself with ethics--e.g. lawyers, doctors, and the like.

enough? (1, Troll)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 6 years ago | (#22039864)

Does anyone else think enough is enough? I'm not an expert with Opera or Windows but from what I've read Opera seems to work well with Windows (some will claim even better than IE). To me this sounds like the creators of Opera are not happy their market share isn't has high as they'd like, so they hopped on the "blame Microsoft for the world's problems" bandwagon and are hoping the Socalist leaning EU will give them some handouts.

Will the EU keep pecking away at M$ until the company is forced to break up and become a non-factor... then go after the company that takes it's place (google)?

Re:enough? (5, Insightful)

dvice_null (981029) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040040)

> Does anyone else think enough is enough?

They have laws and they try to force everyone to obey those laws. Every time Microsoft has done something that would be illegal in most countries, it itself has said that it will obey the laws of the place where it operates. So Microsoft should be quite happy with this. EU is just helping them to obey the laws.

Microsoft has a lot of business and they might have broken several laws. Should rest of these crimes be forgotten simply because they were already judged?

I have no doubt that EU will handle the issues professionally and Microsoft will only get what it deserves. If they have done nothing wrong, they have nothing to worry about.

Re:enough? (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040714)

That's fine, I'm all about punishing them for breaking the law. My perception is, and I could be wrong, that these smaller companies are now begging for table scraps because they feel like they didn't get enough of the pie to begin with. In the US capitalism is "suppose" to be the system that rules them all... if your market share sucks then you need to improve your product or marketing. It's a different story in Europe. I just am not keen on the idea of trying to destroy M$ through the courts so that your product is there to fill the void. Maybe it's karma on M$'s part... but when will it stop? Do they do anything to limit google's explosion or will they wait until it's too late there?

Re:enough? (1)

jopsen (885607) | more than 6 years ago | (#22041092)

if your market share sucks then you need to improve your product or marketing. It's a different story in Europe.
Yes, when the free market is not free anymore, we need to do something... The free marked needs to be controlled in order to stay free!
Otherwise we'll only have big multinational cooperations left...

Re:enough? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22040184)

Will the EU keep pecking away at M$ until the company is forced to break up and become a non-factor... then go after the company that takes it's place (google)?
Until Microsoft start competing on merit rather than relying on the hogtied consumer to keep aiding them, yes. At least I hope so.

Re:enough? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040318)

So do you think that Microsoft should be allowed to disobey whatever laws they see fit? No matter what you think of their products, you have to admit that Microsoft plays dirty. Nobody likes it, especially not the EU.

No one here, not even the EU, is asking for the destruction of Microsoft. What's being asked of Microsoft is plain and simple -- compete on the merits of your product, not on your ability to illegally maintain a monopoly. Is that too much ask?

Re:enough? (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040398)

No one here...is asking for the destruction of Microsoft

You must be new here.

Re:enough? (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040838)

That's not my point, if M$ did something against the law, punish them. Opera filing suit seems to me to be grasping at straws. They don't like being the red-headed step child that get's no love (like IE and Firefox do) so they will file a lawsuit in a locale that has already ruled against M$.

Re:enough? (2, Insightful)

Fweeky (41046) | more than 6 years ago | (#22041048)

To me this sounds like the creators of Opera are not happy their market share isn't has high as they'd like, so they hopped on the "blame Microsoft for the world's problems" bandwagon and are hoping the Socalist leaning EU will give them some handouts.
The antitrust complaint is primarily about Microsoft's atrocious standards support; standards which Microsoft themselves had a hand in creating are almost invariably poorly supported, with both little coverage and massive bugs which basically go unfixed forever. In the mean time, web developers end up wasting huge amounts of time and effort working around problems, often to the detriment of support for other browsers. If Microsoft actually had to compete in a market for web browsers they'd never get a look in; they'd actually have to make a token effort to keep up with the rest of the industry.

Instead they're abusing their position and holding the industry back. I think every web developer on the planet would like to see them get a kick up the backside . It would make a change from swearing at them in CSS/HTML/JS comments.

The bundling issue I'm more ambivalent about; making them unbundle WMP didn't exactly achieve much, but perhaps the processes surrounding it were more valuable than the unbundling itself. Still, I hardly agree it's got anything to do with Opera wanting a "handout", whatever the fuck that means.

Re:enough? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22041278)

from what I've read Opera seems to work well with Windows (some will claim even better than IE)


That's the point. Opera does work "even better" than IE, but for some reason having the better product isn't enough in this market.

their market share isn't has high as they'd like,


More specifically, their market share isn't as high as it would be if they were able to compete fairly. Simply put, if there was free trade in browsers then Windows would have 5% market share and IE would have &lt 2% market share; if that. Enough will be enough when Microsoft has paid compensation for everybody damaged by the fact that they have more. That means every company hacked; every shareholder (e.g. in Netscape) robbed; every gpensioner who's pension was reduced; every PC owner forced to pay Microsoft tax. Every person who's computer has crashed (yes; if there had been competition in the OS market, you probably would not have lost your thesis). Or put another way, Microsoft should probably pay compensation several times the value of the company.

the Socalist leaning EU


What is this strange statement meant to mean? The EU is fundamentally a free trade organisation. It's a primarily right wing / liberal [wikipedia.org] organisation dedicated to the interests of business. Why not just come out and say "the pedophile leaning United States of America" or something equally stupid?

Will the EU keep pecking away at M$


If the EU is serious, they should stop pecking and start taking out decent Lion sized bites. Pecking gets us nowhere. Unless maybe they go for the eyes.

A New Reality For Microsoft (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22039876)

I think people are so use to the past decade of Microsoft getting away with pretty much anything they wanted and effectively walking away from any legal or government intervention that it is hard to grasp that that is no longer the case. Microsoft is getting a lesson right now from the EU like someone who just got pulled over for a speeding ticket and speeds off and gets pulled over again. The fact that you just got pulled over a few minutes ago means absolutely nothing.

There is a certain, and strange, Microsoft fanbase that is roughly of the mindset of "Microsoft is always teh winner". They might not even like Microsoft products but somehow identify with the company as somehow being badass and that "Bill Gates will just buy his way out of this with pocketchange LOL!" type sentiments.

Tough times ahead for that crowd. Look for much crying about how life isn't fair from them.

Re:A New Reality For Microsoft (1)

jorghis (1000092) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040854)

I dont think I have ever seen an MS fanboy talk like that.

Currently there are over 75 posts in this topic and several are pro-MS. (although obviously they are in the minority and modded below comments like yours) Can you point to a single one that has the sentiment "Bill Gates will just buy his way out of this with pocketchange LOL!"?

Re:A New Reality For Microsoft (2, Insightful)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22041204)

There is a certain, and strange, Microsoft fanbase that is roughly of the mindset of "Microsoft is always teh winner".
Well, Microsoft WAS the winner as far as pretty much everything computer-related was concerned for almost all users. The past ten years or so has seen hugely increased Apple adoption, as well as a number of products that are distinctly NON Microsoft that are beginning to compete. Google, Firefox, all the rest. Instead of the giant Microsoft conglomerate, there are a half dozen or so specialized competitors that, while never coming near to combating Microsoft, can whittle away at one specific aspect of their overall package. MS is still the evil empire, but far larger portions of the users are beginning to realize that there are other options. When there was nothing to compete with, there was no problem. But now that the little guys are around, it's an issue when Microsoft stomps down on them.

Good EU! (5, Interesting)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 6 years ago | (#22039912)

This is just great! If we get Internet Explorer, Windows Mediaplayer, Windows shell (GUI) and few others ripped off from Operating System, we would get a great platform.

No, this dont mean that Microsoft could not sell them or develope those. Just that those users who dont need a Microsoft own webbrowser or a WMP. Can remove them. OEM manufactures can install Opera or Firefox or OTHER webbrowser instead IE and VLC or any other mediaplayer instead of WMP.

How many remembers what is definition of Operating System?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operating_system [wikipedia.org]

"An operating system (OS) is the software that manages the sharing of the resources of a computer and provides programmers with an interface used to access those resources. An operating system processes system data and user input, and responds by allocating and managing tasks and internal system resources as a service to users and programs of the system. At the foundation of all system software, an operating system performs basic tasks such as controlling and allocating memory, prioritizing system requests, controlling input and output devices, facilitating networking and managing file systems. Most operating systems come with an application that provides a user interface for managing the operating system, such as a command line interpreter or graphical user interface. The operating system forms a platform for other system software and for application software."

And what we have left if we remove all applications what dosn't remove any of these definition parts? Just pure OS.

It would be much better if a Microsoft would become as two corporation, other to build and sell basic OS and other to sell all other software like WMP, IE, Office, Games, Outlook etc etc. Together user could get windows as it is now and every one would be happy.

And those who needs just windows OS, would get Operating System and nothing more. They could install just their games to it or software what are needed and use computer happily.

Re:Good EU! (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040012)

Well, I was ok with your post until you quoted the definition of OS. If you're going to play that game, than Linux shouldn't come with any applications either.

Re:Good EU! (2, Funny)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040078)

Re:Good EU! (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040490)

I didn't receive anything RH, Ubuntu, Debian, etc. all still exist. Remember, if you sell and OS, you CAN'T provide anything else. No more one stop shops, so to speak.

Re:Good EU! (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040648)

You asked for bare Linux, and you can get that if you want to. IIRC, MS is allowed to sell WMP bundled with XP, but they need to have a non-WMP version available.

Re:Good EU! (1)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040660)

RH and Ubuntu do not sell OSs (they can't: they own neither the OS itself nor the apps). They sell a service.

Debian does not sell anything.

Re:Good EU! (2, Informative)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22041140)

They offer you the chance to send them $2 in exchange for mailing you a CDs with their release on it. This is "selling it".

Furthermore, they would be within the scope of the license to package and charge you to download their distribution (as long as your payment included the right to obtain source code).

What they would NOT be able to do, is stop somebody from setting up an FTP site and giving away the copy they bought to everybody and anybody who wanted it. Thus, Red Hat users can get CentOS instead of purchasing the "Official" releases of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Re:Good EU! (3, Insightful)

jZnat (793348) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040448)

Linux doesn't come with any applications. Go ahead and download the Linux kernel at kernel.org, and tell me, do any versions of the Linux kernel provide any additional applications? Nope.

Re:Good EU! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22040454)

Linux doesn't come with any applications. But the bundled distributions do.

Re:Good EU! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22040602)

That's why it's called "GNU/Linux".

Whats wrong with including apps anyways? (3, Interesting)

jorghis (1000092) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040128)

I dont get this whole idea that including applications with your OS is somehow evil. There are certain things that the average user expects to be able to do with a PC out of the box. Things like browsing the internet, playing a media file, etc.

(warning car analogy ahead)

It is kind of like telling auto manufacturers that they cannot include built in AC, CD player, or any other ameneties with their cars because it kills the third party market even though these are things that consumers expect to come with their cars.

Re:Whats wrong with including apps anyways? (4, Informative)

taniwha (70410) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040504)

nothing - so long as in the process you are not leveraging a monopoly - the problem isn't including apps, it's using your OS monopoly to out-compete other app vendors

Re:Whats wrong with including apps anyways? (0, Troll)

jorghis (1000092) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040586)

And how on earth are they supposed to include the apps their users expect without "using your OS monopoly to out-compete other app vendors"?

So if Linux were the domnant OS... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22041024)

...would you consent to no apps being bundled with any retail distro, by edict? Or would you be a hypocrite in this case?

Re:Good EU! (1)

onecheapgeek (964280) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040210)

I agree completely. Furthermore, I am stunned (STUNNED, I tell you!) that Windows Live could possibly be designed to work with Windows exclusively. This is a terrible crime that must be *yawn*

Re:Good EU! (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040470)

Uhh, you do know the "definition" of a product isn't any kind of logical way to limit the product, right? Nobody cares what the "definition" of an operating system is. People expect to be able to install an OS (or purchase one pre-installed) and to be able to do some core set of things with the computer in a standard way. This definition has changed over time.

It's ridiculous that people think MS should include less in Windows and that this would somehow help consumers. Consumers expect to be able to login to any Windows machine and run IE. They may want to use another browser, and if they know how they can certainly do so. But there is some core set of functionality people want from the OS. Playing basic media files, browsing the web, copying files over the network, simple text editors, utilities, etc...

If you don't want to use the stuff that comes with the OS, install different stuff.

This is stupid (1, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040192)

And I will tell you exactly why I think so. Microsoft releases a retail version of Windows. Included in this retail version of Windows is Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer.

Number 1. Both of these are FREE PROGRAMS. You can download any version of IE and WMP for free directly from Microsoft (and yes, I am aware they don't retain older versions for downloading). You won't see Internet Explorer or WMP sitting on Best Buy's shelves.

Number 2. After installing windows, the first two programs I install are Media Player Classic and Firefox. Both free, legal alternatives. If someone is upset with Microsoft including those other two programs in there, don't use them. Yes, they take up a minimal amount of disk space...but if you are complaining about 50-100 MB of disk space when you can get a 1 TB drive in a 3.5" model for roughtly $250-$300, you are just looking for something to complain about.

Number 3. Those who don't know any better obviously don't care that they come included...and if they do care, they will do the research required to download and use something else.

Number 4. LINUX AND OSX!!!! It's not like Windows is the only game in town...it is perhaps for gaming, but that is not Microsoft's fault...you wouldn't try to sue Sony because your PS3 can't play an Amiga game, would you?

All I'm saying is that this is complete and utter stupidity. People that use windows don't care that they are using windows. If they care enough that they are using windows, they will look at what the other alternatives are. "But...but...but...I HAVE to use office, it's what my job uses!" That's your company's fault for using Microsoft products...no one forced them to. Just like no one has forced you to use Microsoft products.

It's the monopoly stupid (2, Insightful)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040764)

None of your points relate to the monopoly status of Microsoft. If there were valid competition, i.e. vendors *had* to work with standards because those who did not would LOSE business.

Microsoft's monopoly control makes it bad. With greater than 90% of the personal computer market, it does not need to work with others in order to continue to do business. In fact, the normal feedback processes of capitalism are inverted with monopolies. To maintain their position they must push against a level playing field.

The argument "no one forced" the purchase of Microsoft products is patently and provably false. Go to Best Buy or Staples and buy a P.C. laptop without Windows. Just go ahead and try. The barriers put in the way are amazing.

Comcast won't support you on a P.C. if you don't use Windows, so you are forced to have a version of Windows in order to get support.

coercion is a form of force.

 

Re:It's the monopoly stupid (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040962)

The argument "no one forced" the purchase of Microsoft products is patently and provably false. Go to Best Buy or Staples and buy a P.C. laptop without Windows. Just go ahead and try. The barriers put in the way are amazing.

Comcast won't support you on a P.C. if you don't use Windows, so you are forced to have a version of Windows in order to get support.


And last time I checked, Best Buy, Comcast, and those laptop manufacturers are seperate companies from Microsoft. They could just as easily sell all their computers without Windows.

Of course, the next step in that argument is that no one would buy them. Going along that line of thinking, who is at fault here; Microsoft, or the people and companies that continue to buy and use their products?

Re:It's the monopoly stupid (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22041222)

And last time I checked, Best Buy, Comcast, and those laptop manufacturers are seperate companies from Microsoft. They could just as easily sell all their computers without Windows.

100% absolutely correct. It is Microsoft MONOPOLY that makes real competition impossible. The barriers to use of another product make it almost impossible to not use Microsoft products.

Of course, the next step in that argument is that no one would buy them. Going along that line of thinking, who is at fault here; Microsoft, or the people and companies that continue to buy and use their products?

"Fault" does not matter. Yes, Microsoft has been found to be illegally maintaining their monopoly, but besides that point, they *are* a monopoly, they *are* harming competition, they *are* eliminating choice.

If you want to say it isn't Microsoft's fault, I disagree, but it is undeniable they are either the cause or benefactor of an anti-competitive environment. We must eliminate the anti-completive environment.

Re:It's the monopoly stupid (1)

jorghis (1000092) | more than 6 years ago | (#22041108)

"Go to Best Buy or Staples and buy a P.C. laptop without Windows. Just go ahead and try. The barriers put in the way are amazing."

Here you go:

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=8398673&type=product&id=1179877238756 [bestbuy.com]

Re:It's the monopoly stupid (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22041262)

Just so you know, that is not a P.C. laptop, it is a Macintosh, but you knew that.

In further news.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22040244)

... Steve Jobs announces that OS/X will now include a full function CAD drafting system called iDraft. Throngs outside the Apple offices literally throw their money at Jobs.

.NET Framework? (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040272)

If I have this correctlty, ASP.Net is executed server side 100% of the time and returns HTML and javascript to the browser. How would this not work on every single operating system and browser out there? Am I missing something? I mean Office 2007 you have a point; but .NET?

Re:.NET Framework? (1)

pwilli (1102893) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040472)

"ASP.NET" isn't the same as ".NET-Framework". While the ASP.NET is (as you described) completly OS-independent for the client, the .NET-Framework is more like the JavaVM an runtime environment for .NET-Applications, which are executed on the clients system.

Re:.NET Framework? (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040692)

ASP.NET, you're right. The "problem" here is the client side .NET framework, a large beast of a JIT compiler with a base framework of classes - much like Java. Someone probably thinks it's killing Java market share (it's not, but if you ask me anything that kills Java market share has to be good) and therefore is illegal. It's a load of bullshit, really. Just the EU looking for a way to get some more free money. Office 2007 I disagree with too - it's not bundled. What exactly are they going to fine them for there? Making an Office suite at all? Wow. Watch out OpenOffice.org, you're next to be fined for making an office suite!

Re:.NET Framework? (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040710)

You don't have it correctly. .NET can be used to code desktop apps, and the code only runs under windows (Mono's pretty good, but not perfect).

Re:.NET Framework? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22041040)

...and the code only runs under windows...
Imagine that, code written for an OS only runs on that OS. Why not investigate MS's use of ATL and MFC while they're at it?

Re:.NET Framework? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22041056)

You seem to assume everyone is on the client side. In either case:

Bundling .NET server stuff with Windows Server inhibits competitors like ColdFusion (Adobe), PHP (OSS), JSP (Sun) etc.
Bundling .NET client stuff with Windows XP/Vista inhibits competitors like Qt (Trolltech), Gtk (OSS), Java (Sun) etc.

Bored (0)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040276)

I'm getting bored of reading about the EU's investigations into Microsoft. It's quite clearly not working.

Re:Bored (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040890)

I'm getting bored of reading about the EU's investigations into Microsoft. It's quite clearly not working.

__
The last fine they paid was $613 million, that pays for a lot of investigation.

Re:Bored (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22041166)

I think it is, they've released the specs for samba... And other protocols...

Microsoft & PC Repair (1)

xannash (861526) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040326)

I'm not big on Microsoft...In fact I can't stand the way they do business.

But if you happen to be in the field of Computer Repair or even MS Security (I know that's an oxymoron). Microsoft can make you loads of money. Since all MS Products are buggy and virus prone, people in the these industries should be praising Microsoft for giving them a way to support themselves and their families.

I can't help but think about all the other anti-trust BS that they've been through that has changed NOTHING.

Cognitive Dissonance (0, Flamebait)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040408)

The past couple of years, everyone on the hate-Microsoft bandwagon can't shut up about how Apple is eating Microsoft's lunch, Vista is rejected by the public, Linux is eroding Windows on the low-end, Mac market share is increasing rapidly, blah blah blah. Yet at the same time, they push for these antitrust probes which are based on the premise that Microsoft has something like a monopoly on desktop operating systems that prevents users from making a choice.

Doesn't these memes directly contradict each other?

I bet IBM can remember what this feels like. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22040422)

In the 50's, 60's and 70's IBM was repeatedly beat up on by antitrust people. The result was IBM couldn't ship a computer with an operating system pre installed. It didn't really mean that the computer wouldn't have an IBM operating system (since no one had a viable alternative available), it ment you had to buy the OS seperately. This practice continued into the era of the PC. Early IBM PCs were sold naked. This gave Microsoft the opportunity to sell MS DOS instead of the IBM labeled version of MS DOS. IBM's competitiors were able to sell computers with OS's installed but not IBM. Eventually this was changed, but not until IBM had been critically wounded in the market they created.
Microsoft may face the same future. They may be forced to sell a naked OS while their competitors will be selling an OS with lots of goodies bundled.
Is this a good thing? Who knows. Personally I think it may be a good thing.

It's a Monopoly (4, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040464)

Microsoft is a monopoly. It's been operating as one for over a decade. It's been declared one even in the monopoly-friendly US for 7 years. I hasn't changed, and is even worse globally like in the EU. Its monopoly comes from bundling across the IT product line, extending even beyond software. Until it's broken into individual OS, app, development, network, content and hardware corporations which don't make preferential deals with each other instead of with any other competitor to each other, it will operate as a market abusing monopoly. Why shouldn't it? And why should the EU put up with that, when Microsoft isn't even an EU corporation?

I just saved the EU a lot of money. Now, if they skip the probe and start barring monopolies like Microsoft at least from doing business with the EU governments, they might actually save the EU's people some money, and get some better products out of a more actually competitive environment.

Ironic (2, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040500)

This is ironic because one of my bigger gripes about Windows is that it does not bundle *enough* software. And the software/utilities they do include are generally subpar, IMO. I usually have to spend a few hours gathering all the little pieces of software that I need for Windows to be generally useful as a base. Need a PDF reader, PDF writer (print to PDF), better archive file handling, CD/DVD burning, updated drivers, telnet/ssh client that DOESN'T feel like it was coded in 1986 and never updated, etc. A lot of it has to do with XP being so damn old, of course, but even back when it was released the bundled utilities were mostly useless. OS X (and Linux to a greater degree for obvious reasons), on the other hand, comes almost completely ready for general use (minus major apps like Adobe Suite) out of the box. I hardly have to download anything to get OS X going. And then there's iLife, which I don't use.

I wonder if/when governments are going to start going after Apple. OS X is 10x "worse" than Windows when it comes to bundled software. I use "worse" lightly, of course, because I actually want bundled software.

-matthew

Re:Ironic (0, Troll)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040676)

I wonder if/when governments are going to start going after Apple. OS X is 10x "worse" than Windows when it comes to bundled software. I use "worse" lightly, of course, because I actually want bundled software.



There's a certain class of posters on /. that I can only assume to be mental retards, because even the most basic of concepts seems to illude them.

Apple is not a monopoly, you moron. Monopolies are constrained in their behavior in ways that other companies are not. This isn't a difficult concept, and I'm sure it's not the first time it's been introduced to you, so I can only conclude that you have a cretin-grade IQ.

Re:Ironic (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22040784)

The difference with Mac is that they don't sell you an operating system. They sell you a computer that happens to have an OS on it that Apple wrote. I don't think Apple cares what you run on it, if you can get it to work.

Re:Ironic (1)

notorious ninja (1137913) | more than 6 years ago | (#22041142)

But Apple does sell its OS. You can buy a computer that comes with their OS, but you can also just buy the OS seperately.

I don't get it... (1)

Captain Original (922169) | more than 6 years ago | (#22041086)

I don't understand this round of bruhaha... When Microsoft was/is using their market position to demand that manufacturers not bundle competing products, that's a monopolistic use of power. But that's not mentioned in the complaint at all...just a bunch of whining that "they aren't standards compliant." Yes, as a developer, it blows. But just because something blows doesn't mean it's abuse; it's just an asinine business practice. Furthermore, there are many other browsers available that work just fine with Windows, including Opera. In fact, FireFox is a great browser that is very successful on Windows.

To me, it seems that Opera is whining, and the EU is protecting a company that resides within its borders. If this was really a question of companies including software w/ their OSes, then Apple should be included as well. Hell, any Linux distro includes more software by default than Windows does. And I'm not even sure what the .NET framework or Office has to do with any of this. (Frankly, Office 2007 is so hard to use that the OSS crowd should be jumping for joy. I mean, if you have to basically learn a whole new software suite, why not learn the one that cost nothing to use?)

Apple is next (1)

n1_111 (597775) | more than 6 years ago | (#22041112)

so is everybody else.
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