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Windows 7 Eyed For Antitrust Violations

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the keep-it-on-the-up-and-up dept.

Microsoft 290

Preedit writes "The committee that oversees Microsoft's compliance with the 2002 antitrust settlement now has its hands on Windows 7. The Technical Committee is checking to see if the software meets the settlement's terms. Among other things, it's looking at whether Windows 7 favors Microsoft apps over third party programs, according to InformationWeek. The story also notes that Vista SP1 includes a number of changes that were added to satisfy the committee. For instance, it eliminates several browser overrides where Vista ignored users' default preferences and automatically launched Explorer. Windows 7 is due sometime around 2010."

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I Think Windows Lacks Features (5, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22704898)

It's really too bad they didn't add enough features in Vista, and need another version to do this.

I look forward to the 1,500 new options that will be available in group policies. I think I will understand most of these before Windows 8 is delivered.

Meanwhile, what do I do with this Glass Turd?

Re:I Think Windows Lacks Features (5, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#22704948)

Meanwhile, what do I do with this Glass Turd?

Polish it, of course. :-P

Cheers

Re:I Think Windows Lacks Features (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22705272)

Meanwhile, what do I do with this Glass Turd?
Polish it, of course. :-P
Why do you guys always have to turn something into a Polack joke?

Re:I Think Windows Lacks Features (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705450)

"Polish it, of course. :-P"
Why do you guys always have to turn something into a Polack joke?

Bah! Polish, not Polish!! ;-)

Cheers

Re:I Think Windows Lacks Features (1)

harry666t (1062422) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705742)

i am polish, you insensitive clod!

Who cares (4, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22704922)

We're just going to hack it anyway to run whatever 3rd party apps we want.. the EU is really going overboard IMO with forcing microsoft to make their OS how the EU wants it made. If microsoft wants to make Internet Explorer the only app that can access the internet, that's their prerogative.. nobody has to buy Windows. Even if there was no excellent free alternative, which there is.

Re:Who cares (1)

psychodelicacy (1170611) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705026)

This is something that struck me. I don't know much about this topic, and I wondered why it's so wrong if the Microsoft OS works better with its own software? Is it that Microsoft is deliberately making 3rd-party software work less well? Or just that they don't support it as well as they support their own? (N.B. I'm not a particular Microsoft supporter - I mainly use various flavours of Linux and much prefer them.)

And, as an aside, did anyone else read the post title and think that Bill Gates had mutated?

Re:Who cares (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705242)

I wondered why it's so wrong if the Microsoft OS works better with its own software?

If Microsoft had solid competition, there would be no problem. The issue as it stands is that Microsoft has a monopoly on the Operating System business. Because of that monopoly, Microsoft can crush nearly any competitor they want in other areas by ensuring that their own software works better than the competitor's software. Examples of this include:

- Windows Media Player provides a superior Windows experience than RealPlayer

- IE provided a superior browsing experience on Windows over Netscape Navigator

In both cases, Microsoft effectively wiped out those company's markets by giving the software away for free. Which meant that Real and Netscape could no longer charge for their software.

Now one can argue that Microsoft produced superior products to both company's offerings. And there would be truth to that statement. The problem is that Microsoft ensured that there will never again be competitors in either space. Microsoft effectively wiped both markets out of existence and forced consumers to accept higher costs for Windows to subsidize those markets. Even worse, there is then zero incentive for Microsoft to innovate in either market. So consumers pay higher prices when no new development is happening in those areas.

While some balance is returning to those markets thanks to Apple and Open Source, the damage done has been extremely negative for the industry, with the WMV pseudo-standard and the IE pseudo-standard locking out competing OSes for nearly a decade. From an economist's point of view, the OS, multimedia, and web-browser markets would be a lot farther along today if Microsoft had never managed a stranglehold on these markets.

Re:Who cares (1)

psychodelicacy (1170611) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705334)

Thanks - I wasn't aware of the history. (I'm reading a history of computing at the moment, but am currently up to the development of FORTRAN!)

OT: Re:Who cares (1)

snoyberg (787126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705464)

What's the name of the book? Sounds like something I might be interested in.

Re:OT: Re:Who cares (1)

psychodelicacy (1170611) | more than 6 years ago | (#22706156)

"A History of Modern Computing" by Paul E. Ceruzzi. It's not bad at all, though it assumes a little bit more knowledge than I have (being an academic working in medieval studies.) So I have to keep looking things up on Wikipedia, like how a transistor works! In contrast, it might well be a little too basic for the average slashdotter.

Re:Who cares (4, Funny)

andy9701 (112808) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705834)

- Windows Media Player provides a superior Windows experience than RealPlayer

You make it sound like that was actually hard to do.... ;)

Re:Who cares (4, Funny)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 6 years ago | (#22706188)

Indeed. I read that and was thinking Real would be suing Etch-a-sketch for providing a superior media experience next.

Re:Who cares (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22705874)

>> If Microsoft had solid competition, there would be no problem.

Wrong, at the time they had to play by the same rules. MS might have now to obey to a stricter ruleset because they have been convicted.. before that they had to obey the same rules of every other OS provider.

This leads us to a problem as old as DosShell and DoubleSpace integrated in MS-DOS if not older:
  1) See an OS missing a key feature
  2) Provide an utility which provides that feature
  3) Profit!
  4) Watch a similar utility being integrated in the OS
  5) Bankrupt

At the same time IE was integrated in the OS, most OS already came with a browser in default inst. If you believe the difference was in the "bundled utility" vs "OS component" thing, Konqueror became a key part of KDE before conviction came.

I'm not defending M$ practices here, but I just want to note that things are much more grayish than the black vs white you (and many others) want everyone to believe.

Re:Who cares (2, Insightful)

Deanalator (806515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705884)

I will never understand why open source enthusiasts get so angry when Microsoft starts giving things away for free. Has anyone ever stopped to think that this antitrust thing is the reason windows is such an underpowered POS? Maybe this is why they aren't able to give away decent developer tools, standardized antivirus, or a decent package management system.

Mircosoft does a lot of bad things, but giving away software is not one of them. Their competitors (various open source projects) give away much higher quality code for free. Every time Microsoft tries to add a new feature, they get their asses sued off by every company that hacked in that new feature before, and are now charging ridiculous amounts of money for it.

I dislike Microsoft because they do not play well with standards bodies. I think that's lame, and they need to learn their place. On the other hand, if they actually started shipping a fully featured OS where I didn't have to pay a ton of money for all the additional bell and whistles, I would seriously consider switching to windows.

Re:Who cares (5, Insightful)

scuba0 (950343) | more than 6 years ago | (#22706056)

Mircosoft does a lot of bad things, but giving away software is not one of them.

Oh, so you think that all software that Microsoft is not charging you for is free?, it is not! Every customer that buys Windows is paying for all applications that follow with. By locking their customers in with their built-in software which is mostly in the way they are missuisng their monopoly.

Re:Who cares (4, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#22706172)

Mircosoft does a lot of bad things, but giving away software is not one of them. Their competitors (various open source projects) give away much higher quality code for free. Every time Microsoft tries to add a new feature, they get their asses sued off by every company that hacked in that new feature before, and are now charging ridiculous amounts of money for it.

The first part is that it isn't that Microsoft gives it away for free that is the problem, its that they bundle it, make it the default, and even integrate it with the OS.

If Microsoft limited their free giveaways to software that had to be downloaded from their website and installed manually, their competitors would have a lot less to bitch about.

And the second part is that the rules CHANGE when you have a monopoly. What are perfectly acceptable business practices in a competitive market are abusive and illegal in a monopoly. In a competitive market if you don't like what a company is doing you just stop buying from them... in a monopoly you can't, so market forces cease to be effective.

Re:Who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22706212)

Has anyone ever stopped to think that this antitrust thing is the reason windows is such an underpowered POS?

Windows was an underpowered POS long before antitrust ever came into the picture. Windows itself was basically an ungainly add-on to DOS until they went entirely with the NT base with XP.

Re:Who cares (1)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 6 years ago | (#22706046)

And IE would still provide superior web experience if they just would included tabs and addons same time as Firefox.
They didn't do that and now Firefox is going ahead but this is very very rare thing what has happend.

Now Firefox/Opera has change to survive because many website developer use W3C standards and not IE *hit.

Re:Who cares (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#22706128)

Windows Media Player provides a superior Windows experience than RealPlayer

And you blame Microsoft? Real decided to become nasty at one point (I think v. 10), running all the time, and being impossible to remove. WMP always was better.

Any time any MS product succeeds, do you assume it must be because of anticompetitive practices. Office is better than OpenOffice for many corporate uses, due to the annoying features that 80% of consumers don't use.

The problem is not when their software works better on than their competitor's software. The problem is when their software works better because of unfair advantages.

Re:Who cares (4, Informative)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705370)

To add to the other reply, MS also kept a lot of the internal windows API documentation under lock and key (via NDA), obfuscated, or very expensive to license. This makes it very hard for other companies to get their applications using Windows effectively, while MS' own offerings of course don't have that problem. More openness in their standards and API's were one of the big things the EU required of them.

Re:Who cares (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705912)

In general, what Microsoft has been doing is a combination of using undocumented APIs and formats (both of which have landed them in trouble in court) and strong-arm tactics that ensure Windows remains absolutely dominant in the PC market. It isn't so surprising that their software works better on Windows than competitors' software; a programmer could just call up or shout down the hall and get an answer to an API question within Microsoft, whereas an external programmer would have to read through thousands of pages of documentation. However, the problem is that Microsoft actively works against competitors developing Windows applications, widening the inherent gap. That is an antitrust violation, although the Bush administration has shied away from prosecuting corporations, and it is unlikely that the next administration will press Microsoft any harder.

Re:Who cares (5, Insightful)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705074)

Actually, that is the whole crux of the EU arguement, Microsoft DID force people to buy Windows... in particular PC manufacturers. If you wanted ANY machines with Windows, ALL of your machines had to be Windows. You wanted any Office software, it had to be MS Office or else no Windows which means no PC's.

Amazing how people blatantly ignore this.

Re:Who cares (-1, Offtopic)

qoncept (599709) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705754)

I watched a fight this weekend and all the babes were wearing Corona stuff. No Dos Equis or Tecate.

Re:Who cares (1, Troll)

Kev647 (904931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705144)

Agreed. It is kind of like Apple and the iPod; no one has to buy an iPod, but wouldn't you say there is some "favoritisms," if you could even call it that, with the iPod and the software? You MUST run iTunes, and should you use anything else or change the firmware, it voids your warranty. Thus, you must kowtow to Apple and accept their belief of what they think is best for you. Some people need to be told, other's want to choose for themselves. The most we should be able to do is educate other's so that they can make the right decisions for themselves.

Re:Who cares (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22705208)

Difference being that Apple isn't a convicted monopolist.

Re:Who cares (1)

joeytmann (664434) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705574)

Just because they haven't been convicted makes it any less wrong.

Re:Who cares (2, Insightful)

Wordplay (54438) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705722)

Actually, it probably does. Encouraging the sales of one product through the market share of another is only illegal when you have monopoly power. Otherwise, it's simply good software business strategy.

That's really the conflict here. The things that Microsoft does, in and of themselves, aren't heinous at the face of it, and lots of other software companies do similar things. It's only when you consider the entire snowball effect that the implications become clear.

Re:Who cares (1)

joeytmann (664434) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705800)

errrr Just because they haven't been convicted doesn't make it any less wrong. guess i should have hit preview first.

Re:Who cares (1)

psychodelicacy (1170611) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705268)

But of course there are favouritisms! Apart from anything else, this is a commercial product and Apple wants your money. But more than that, the average iPod user isn't going to be very computer-savvy and is likely to screw up their new toy if they try to play around with it. Providing a single software interface for it and making it very difficult to use anything else cuts down on the number of people who are going to brick their iPods. Personally, I'm happy with iTunes. It's generally better than anything open source I've found. And, if I remember correctly, it's free to download to manage your music collection even if you don't own an iPod. (Someone correct me on that if I'm wrong).

Re:Who cares (1)

Kev647 (904931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705364)

No, you are correct here. And I personally enjoy knowing that should I have any problems, Apple is the only one that I have to go to for the fix. That puts me at ease and comfort. And to the gentleman before your post, claiming Apple to not be a "convicted monopolist," you make it it sound like Microsoft is a "convicted monopolist." Microsoft is a monopoly and actually, thats fine. Being and having a monopoly is not the problem. The PROBLEM lies with how you use your power. If you bundle IE and the foundation and make everyone use it (when it is sold separately for other OSs) and your intention is to crush any competition, and you make deals with hardware computer manufacturers to only carry all or nothing of software packages with your company, that IS the PROBLEM. So, being a "convicted monopolist" is not an issue here. Your post is irrelevant.

Re:Who cares (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705714)

Disclaimer: this is not ad hominem, please don't take this personally.

Supporting Apple is the exact same as supporting Microsoft. They both employ lock ins and monopoly abuse. The only difference is one is convicted and hated unilaterally (rightly so, of course), and the other is seen as "well, it's not Microsoft, so it's okay".

Those with knowledge of Apple's lock in never bothered to buy an Ipod to begin with. By the time the "unreplaceable" battery came around, or the "unreplaceable iphone battery" came around, you should have known better. Also since you have a wealth of options other than Itunes, people should have had more common sense.

Between Apple and Microsoft the word choice is an anathema to their products on so many levels that it makes me wonder what people really believe. It's alright though, open source shows that there are and will be many other options.

Re:Who cares (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705400)

It's generally better than anything open source I've found.


I know I'm not the target user, and while I have a lot of music, I don't have loads of it. I've never found myself needing anything more to manage my music than a filesystem and file browser (or shell). All these "jukebox" style applications are completely unnecessary!

Re:Who cares (5, Interesting)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705298)

You MUST run iTunes
Hmm.. My ipod I sync with Amarok (on ubuntu). Sure I can't download podcasts and stuff from the itunes store, but it will play any supported media on my player (mp3's).

My Fiancee has a laptop running windows 2000. Her brand new ipod nano requires version 7.4 of itunes, which won't run on windows 2000. She is doing fine using Winamp!.

Your logic is completely backwards. If i want DRM'd content from the apple store, I must use itunes, and an ipod. If I don't want to access that content, I don't! Just like if I want DRM'd content from Microsoft for a zune.

If I want to purchase MP3's legally online, I go to amazon.com, purchase the .mp3 file, and load it onto the player of my choice (including ipods)

Re:Who cares (1)

aslate (675607) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705518)

However if she bought an iPod touch or the iPhone she would need to use iTunes. The Winamp plugin doesn't manage my iPod, it doesn't even see it.

The worst thing is that iTunes is incredibly glitchy for me, right down to if i change window to it, half the time the entire interface is black and i have to switch out and switch back again.

Re:Who cares (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705684)

You're confusing what's technically possible with how things were designed. I'm sure that with sufficient determination, you could make third-party software that impersonates iTunes and allows you to use their store in order to go out of your way to buy DRMed music. Why you would do so is beyond me, but that's irrelevant. The only support for iPods with third-party players has come from reverse-engineering; likewise for WMA/WMV formats to the best of my knowledge. You can't really consider reverse-engineered solutions as an alternative option when determining anti-trust violations - they're usually half-baked, flaky, and break any time an update to the 'real' solution is issued.

As it is, Apple still certainly doesn't have a monopoly on the music download market. They certainly have a very large market share, but that's because there's a ton of people buying their players. If people buy iPods instead of Zunes or whatever other alternatives are out there, that's their fault. Conversely, if people buy Windows because it was the only option on X machine, then you're on the line (if Ubuntu or something else was available across all systems then you're lowering the chance of a violation, but when does it go from software installed because of a monopoly versus the PC equivalent of not being able to customize the toast button on your toaster to instead turn on the air conditioner?). By and large, people get and use Windows because it's often the only option, whereas (the same) people get iPods because they want them over other players. The former is what's arguably a monopoly; the latter is market forces in action.

Re:Who cares (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705718)

If I want to purchase MP3 s legally online, I go to amazon.com, purchase the .mp3 file, and load it onto the player of my choice including ipods
Which might put Apple in an interesting anti-trust position when Amazon (or similar) write a 3rd party app (with the new SDK) for the iPhone which links directly to their Amazon sales portal. Will Apple block this app? Is that an anti-trust issue? Does this SDK mean the iPhone is now a 'platform' much like the PC, or a 'device' allowing Apple to rule it in total?

(I cant take credit for this idea, as I heard it on This Week In Tech this morning - just repeating it for all y'all.)

Re:Who cares (2, Insightful)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705326)

If Apple were to make it so that the iPod could only play Apple-only MP3's, which could only be produced from Apple-only rippers and could then only be used with Apple-only computers, you might have an arguement. But no, the iPod might need iTunes to work, but that is a cross-platform product so defeats your arguement here. Infact, Apple's made sure that the iPod is as flexible as possible, going out of their way in many ways to work with other peoples products.

Re:Who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22705786)

The difference is your decision to use an ipod to listen to music does not affect my decision to select an mp3 player to listen to music.

However, the fact that most people share office documents, if I want to be 100% compatible, I have no choice but to do likewise, and that does affect me.

A program should be selected because it has the best interface for my needs, not because of how it encodes MY data.

Re:Who cares (1)

Kev647 (904931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705898)

It truly does affect your decision if I buy an iPod. I contribute to the 70+ percent of MP# market share of people who do own iPods. YOU may be of the other types of people who are not swayed by popular demand or hype, but most people, I would argue, are. And why would something sell so well? People will assume (if it does or if it actually doesn't) that it does well in what it does. There can't be THAT MANY IDIOTS buying those things. It MUST have done SOMETHING RIGHT! And so, they will be influenced by this and buy the product, only aiding in further increase in market share. You can see how this grows from here. It is is simply science stuff.

I care... (1)

jfbilodeau (931293) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705180)

I care on multiple accounts:

1. I care enough not to use Windows or MS Office because I enjoy my computing freedom.
2. I realize that most people don't care what an OS is and what a web browser is. They also don't realize that there is no need for anti-virus and the MS Tax.
3. I care enough that I will NOT hack Windows to run my applications. I will not fix the code that Microsoft purposefully broke. Let the house of glass collapse under its own weight.

J-F

Re:I care... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22705936)

Let the house of glass collapse under its own weight.
it may be shoddy, but it ain't glass, it's transparent aluminum!

Re:Who cares (4, Insightful)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705226)

If microsoft wants to make Internet Explorer the only app that can access the internet, that's their prerogative..

False. Governments have the right and the duty to protect the relatively free market from abusive monopolies.

Re:Who cares (5, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705664)

Governments have the right and the duty to protect the relatively free market from abusive monopolies.
Governments don't have rights. They have powers.

Re:Who cares (1)

Touvan (868256) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705696)

Governments have the right and the duty to protect the relatively free market from abusive monopolies.

That's exactly right. If we want freedom in the market, we need rules and oversight to make sure freedom remains, and companies and cartels don't dominate. Of course that means the end of Freeman's "free-lunch for the already dominant players market" which is what he seems to have meant by that term. Humans are such symbol shifters, and it's great to see the meaning of that particular symbol shift.

Re:Who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22705528)

I care. First, I wouldn't need to do so much hacking. Second, the longer M$ is allowed to remain a monopoly, the longer it will take for free alternatives to become viable options for your average Joe.

Re:Who cares (2, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705600)

nobody has to buy Windows. Even if there was no excellent free alternative, which there is.
then why is it that you need to go out of your way to get anything else than a windows pre-loaded machine? why is it that 95% of the software that is made only works in windows leaving any other OS to use WINE + the performance penalty? why is it that IE makes up over 70% of the browser market even though 1) it is the least standards compliant 2) only after IE7 did it finally have tabs/popup blocker both having been standard in other browsers. MS uses their desktop monopoly to wedge themselves into the top spot elsewhere as well. they don't compete on quality, they are simply "just there" and "good enough" to the average consumer. were the situation reversed, that is to say that if Firefox were installed by default and ingrained into the OS internals, IE would be the underdog.

Re:Who cares (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705614)

YES! You hit the nail right on it's head. For the average company there are so many alternatives for Windows...
Rrrright. Until the moment that I can run MS Office on an other operating system we're stuck with Windows.

Personally I think it's a good thing that MS is not allowed to force you (1) to use Explorer if you buy Windows. or Mediaplayer or Outlook or ........

(1) or "encourage" you to use it because they can use special undocumented features in the OS than make their applications faster.

Re:Who cares (2, Insightful)

ChrisA90278 (905188) | more than 6 years ago | (#22706012)

The rules change when you become a monopoly.

Let's use a example. I'm selling water in containers on the street corner. Some one wants to buy a bottle from me but I say No, if you want to buy my water you have to also buy a set of water glasses from me and this bag o ready mix cement too. You walk away laughing.

Now lets say I'm selling water but lets say the no one else has water for sale. I'm a mono[oly water seller. Now I bet you would buy that set of glasses and the cement.

The above is very clear cut. The real world is not but still it shows why the rules change. Being a monopoly gives a seller to much power over a buyer so most places try to place limits on mono[polies to limit their power.

I've done code reviews before for gov't contracts (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 6 years ago | (#22706174)

This is the main method of the application. This is the ultra-secret API call which calls the secret x86 instruction set we held Intel at gunpoint for which makes our applications run in awesome mode. This is our logger.

2 weeks later...

Approved!

You could always.. (1)

thyrf (1059934) | more than 6 years ago | (#22704940)

What do i do with this glass turd?

Downgrade of course!

Re:You could always.. (0, Flamebait)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705264)

Downgrade of course!
Downgrade should be in quotes when referring to vista...

I love the software that says "Can be run on Windows2000 or Greater" Which includes Linux and OSX but not Vista...

Re:You could always.. (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705332)

Or, you could reevaluate your needs, and if possible, not run Windows. Granted, sometimes you have no choice, but most people could get their work done with an open source OS without any trouble.

of course it violates antitrust (1, Insightful)

OrochimaruVoldemort (1248060) | more than 6 years ago | (#22704942)

any new windows will always come under this scrutiny, and for good reason. the mainstream US does not use linux or macs, so windows is seen as the dominant os figure. this gives them a justification to bring up charges.

They'll do nothing (2, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#22704952)

The watchdogs have rubber teeth. So far they've done nothing and MS ignores them.

Lost causes (3, Interesting)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22704962)

Microsoft Outlook needs (and loads) MS Word. MS Visual Studio requires MS Office for some of the data aware components to work at all. Windows Media player often "reactivates" all on its lonesome

Re:Lost causes (2, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705174)

Microsoft Outlook needs (and loads) MS Word. MS Visual Studio requires MS Office for some of the data aware components to work at all. Windows Media player often "reactivates" all on its lonesome

And, a surprising amount of the time after an update My Firefox and Thunderbird clients have to tell me that they're no longer the default applications and do I want to re-enable them.

For some reason, I find that rather annoying. It was my setting yesterday, just because you patched a vulnerability on Outlook, why have you made it the default application?

I believe my iTunes has occasionally had to re-assert itself as the default player for audio files on my PC.

Cheers

Re:Lost causes (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705706)

And, a surprising amount of the time after an update My Firefox and Thunderbird clients have to tell me that they're no longer the default applications and do I want to re-enable them.

For some reason, I find that rather annoying. It was my setting yesterday, just because you patched a vulnerability on Outlook, why have you made it the default application?


I fear I'm going to be modded down for this, but this is a sincere request and not a fanboy blurb - unfortunately there's no means to do private messaging here on slashdot, so I have to ask this publicly. Have you actually *considered* moving to Linux? Perhaps you're in the privileged position where you don't actually *need* Windows software, and switching would benefit you since you wouldn't need to bother with Windows annoyances anymore.

If you're willing to discuss this a little further, don't hesitate in dropping me a mail :)

Re:Lost causes (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705880)

I fear I'm going to be modded down for this, but this is a sincere request and not a fanboy blurb - unfortunately there's no means to do private messaging here on slashdot, so I have to ask this publicly. Have you actually *considered* moving to Linux? Perhaps you're in the privileged position where you don't actually *need* Windows software, and switching would benefit you since you wouldn't need to bother with Windows annoyances anymore.

At home I have a FreeBSD box, and a Windows XP box -- the latter was a concession to needing it for some things, and not being able to get away from it and because I found dual boot a nuisance to maintain -- it has a network name of "grudge". I've been running Linux and/or FreeBSD since about '92 or so (Kernel 0.99a on Slackware baby with a gazillion 1.44" floppies).

At work, I have an XP laptop and a W2k3 server. Those I couldn't possibly migrate away to another OS, so I'm stuck with it. I still use Firefox/Thunderbird though.

The reality of it is, most of us don't have the luxury of migrating away from Windows 100%. My FreeBSD box does is my mail client and file-server. The XP box is for the stuff I need that I can't do on FreeBSD (iTunes, my tax software, my digital camera software). It's just easiest to co-exist and keep the XP box tamed than ditch it.

I've got the best solution I could find, but, sadly, I still get to see some of the oddities.

I suspect a lot of people, for at least their work machines, are stuck in the wacky world of Windows. :-P

Cheers

Virtual machine (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 6 years ago | (#22706164)

You might also want to try running Windows XP inside a virtual machine (VirtualBox and VMWare come to mind).

Those can run your windows applications (Tax software) and even have modes where the Windows' windows are drawn as normal windows on the X-Window screen (instead of being only on the virtual screen inside the virtual machine) and thus mostly look-like native application (visually similar to what you get by running them with Wine, although the backend is completely different).

Also, a lot of these application, thanks to stuff like LIBUSB, enable to have your actual USB hardware (iPod, Digital Camera) be "connected" on the virtual machine and be accessed from Windows XP as if you where actually plugging the hardware into a genuine computer (VirtualBox does this, we use this capability to run a HP ScanJet 5400c scanner - whose driver aren't perfect for Linux/Sane and are non-existant for Vista/Twain).

Basically, instead of an actual "grudge" machine, you have an emulator doing the exact same job.

Re:Lost causes (1)

initialE (758110) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705186)

Nowadays Outlook and Word, they're sold together anyway. You're not being forced to buy one product because you bought the other.

Re:Lost causes (3, Insightful)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705312)

Microsoft Outlook needs (and loads) MS Word.

No, it doesn't.

MS Visual Studio requires MS Office for some of the data aware components to work at all.

You mean the components that are designed to get data from MS Office? The horror!

Windows Media player often "reactivates" all on its lonesome

Funny, it's never done that for me.

Re:Lost causes (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705468)

Look, if you don't know, don't reply. But don't say it doesn't.

Re:Lost causes (4, Informative)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705654)

Well, let's see, I know 100% that Outlook in no way requires Word. It only would if you set Outlook to use Word as the email editor... but then that's an option you choose, and it's only available if Word is installed at all.

If I'm wrong about the VS "data aware" controls, tell me exactly to which controls you're refering.

Finally, I've had plenty of media players other than WMP that I had set as default, and I never had XP or so far Vista randomly "reset" them. So you're either making it up, or maybe there's something else going on, like group policy making the change.

Re:Lost causes (2, Informative)

maeltor (679257) | more than 6 years ago | (#22706194)

He's right. It doesnt REQUIRE it at all, it just happens to be installed with WORD as the default editor when Outlook is installed with Office, For example, look at SBS 2003. You get Outlook 2003 w/ Exchange when you buy SBS. It doesn't include Office and doesn't need it when installed.

Due date (4, Funny)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22704976)

Windows 7 is due sometime around 2010.
Which means it will be released around 2012, and may or may not have any relationship to the coming of the Apocalypse and/or the end of 13th b'ak'tun cycle.

Proceed with modding down; it was worth it!

Gotase up your ass! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22705010)

Goatse in your mouth. [twofo.co.uk]

You nerds love it.

VISTA is Windows V.6x??? (2, Funny)

starglider29a (719559) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705012)

Wake me when it hits version 6.61x!!! That would only leave us a month of monthly builds until The Prophecy is fulfilled!~

F & P (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22705016)

Mug 'O Frosty Piss

Ubuntu (1)

Bombula (670389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705052)

Ubuntu is coming on strong at long last. I myself made the leap halfway recently to a dual-boot system. Anyone have any forecast about the state of the OS market come 2010?

I know.... (5, Funny)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705138)

Anyone have any forecast about the state of the OS market come 2010?

It'll be the Year of the Linux Desktop (tm).

Re:Ubuntu (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705652)

I think there's a few things that need to happen for linux to take things to the next level:
  1. There needs to be a much tighter integration between LDAP, and Active Directory. We should be able to drop a linux box into a windows network and have it be able to administer it like a Windows 2003 server.
  2. The package configuration on a linux box should be saveable and verifiable. What I mean is that if person A gets a new computer, it should be dead simple to install up to date versions of all of the software they had on their old machine... or to clone the same configuration over several workstations. By verifyable, I mean if a library or something gets deleted, being able to issue a command to check that all packages are completely installed, not just that the package database says they are.
  3. In a similar vein, a tighter integration with Norton ghost or similar. I should be able to remotely install and uninstall software to a bank of computers at the click of a mouse.
  4. More Hardware drivers.
  5. More unification between different distros. One starts their user numbers at 500, another at 1000. You should be able to move the /home directory to whatever distro painlessly.
  6. A decent accounting package. People have been enslaved to Quicken for far too long. Although they seem to have their scheduled transactions going, Gnucash still can't close books at year end.

Why is Apple Any Better, By These Standards? (5, Interesting)

roadkill_cr (1155149) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705160)

"it's looking at whether Windows 7 favors Microsoft apps over third party programs"

Doesn't Apple very heavily lean towards Apple software?

(This isn't starting flaming, this is a legitimate question - what separates Apple from Microsoft in these regards?)

Apple is the, " Underdog" (1)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705290)

Apple's greatest virtue is that it's not microsoft. It doesn't have any other ethical merit I'm aware of, but for many people that's enough.

Re:Apple is the, " Underdog" (1)

snoyberg (787126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705622)

There's more to it than that. Microsoft is a convicted monopolist, so legally they are in different categories.

Re:Why is Apple Any Better, By These Standards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22705310)

A couple million more installations through 6 previous versions of software.

Re:Why is Apple Any Better, By These Standards? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22705316)

> what separates Apple from Microsoft in these regards?

Apple aren't a convicted monopolist! I agree that some of Apples business practices are less than stellar, but the only thing that even came close to being an anti-trust issue was the runaway success of iTunes.

Re:Why is Apple Any Better, By These Standards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22705386)

Apple is not a monopolist convict.

Re:Why is Apple Any Better, By These Standards? (0, Troll)

Lectoid (891115) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705402)

Well yea, but that's because Apple is better. I thought everyone knew that.

Re:Why is Apple Any Better, By These Standards? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705430)

Apple is separated from Microsoft in that they have a small market share, and are not using these tactics to maintain their dominance. It is fair to point out that open source OSes generally favor open source software (that is, systems like Fedora only put open source programs in the repositories).

Re:Why is Apple Any Better, By These Standards? (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705676)

"In thst thry have a small market share". Thats it. They ARE using strongarm tactics to maintain their dominance, especially with their satellite products (iTune, iPods, etc). But by law, it IS fine as long as their market share is small (and are having issues in certain countries already over iPods and whatsnot).

Re:Why is Apple Any Better, By These Standards? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705756)

I wouldn't call the 50% market share of the iPod and iTunes to be "dominance." They are a market leader, but dominance is a bit of a stretch; certainly, they are on a different order of magnitude than Microsoft when it comes to Windows.

Re:Why is Apple Any Better, By These Standards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22705878)

If any one company were to control fully one-half of their target market, that would undeniably be dominance. If one out of every two cars you saw was a GM make, that means that the other 50% are other makes. The other 50% isn't controlled by any one company, but rather by multiple companies scrabbling to get a foothold in the wake of the iPod's market dominance.

Re:Why is Apple Any Better, By These Standards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22705534)

Until recently, Apple computers had Apple software. Companies didn't make "consumer-grade" Apple software. Apple made it. Apple made it well. People like iTunes. People like Safari. People don't like WMP, people don't like IE. If the only choices given are by the manufacturer, then don't hate the one that at least makes functional software.

Because it's more standards-friendly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22705828)

"it's looking at whether Windows 7 favors Microsoft apps over third party programs"

Doesn't Apple very heavily lean towards Apple software?

(This isn't starting flaming, this is a legitimate question - what separates Apple from Microsoft in these regards?)


That rather depends on what you mean by "lean heavily", doesn't it?

Apple is generally pretty standards-friendly. And why not? Interoperability represents a threat to a company that has a near monopoly, as Microsoft has. But it tends to be in the interests of the smaller players.

So, for example, Microsoft tries to lock businesses into Outlook/Exchange. Apple, by contrast, has Darwin Calendar Server available:

http://trac.calendarserver.org/projects/calendarserver [calendarserver.org]

That uses open protocols, like CalDAV, and is even itself open-source code. Here's the source code:

http://subversion.tigris.org/servlets/ProjectDocumentList?folderID=260&expandFolder=74 [tigris.org]

But, even if it wasn't open source, it uses CalDAV. That's the point. You can use Apple's calendar server with someone else's calendar clients -- say, this one:

http://www.mozilla.org/projects/calendar/sunbird/ [mozilla.org]

Alternatively, you could use Apple iCal client on OS X with someone else CalDAV server -- e.g.:

http://www.osafoundation.org/ [osafoundation.org]

So, no, whatever some people might like you to believe NOT the same at all.

Re:Why is Apple Any Better, By These Standards? (1)

LightWing (1131011) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705830)

The approach. Look at the motivations behind it. For Microsoft it's both an issue of control and of money (which go hand in hand if you're the biggest dog pulling).

For Apple you could say the same, except that they don't hold the same amount of users Microsoft does.

Now, if that's so where does this distinction of 'better than' come into play? Where, there are a fewfacets to consider.

Morality. Does the company in question make any considerations based on morality, regardless of whether or not such considerations may consume company resources without the explicit expectation of a financial or strategic gain? You could also say this is a form of selflessness. The ability to think on equal terms with moral values to real money. In this, the company would have high moral values that would in most cases put monetary value and gain to second place.

There has to be some consideration given to the rights of the users. Does the OS company work to suppress what the user is and is not able to do? Or are they more comfortable with allowing the user to make their own choices?

A company less concerned with user rights would want a monopoly hold on the software their users have available to them. Microsoft has been a pretty good one for that.

I don't know though, I guess if you had to generalize things one might suggest that Apple seems to care a little more about what they are doing than Microsoft. Certainly they are both businesses and are guilty of some business level ambitions.

It's like the difference between a good book and a bad one. If the writer cares about the story (assuming he/she is a competent enough writer), their writing will generally be much more sincere than a writer who's doing it to 'make it big'. Sincerity. That's a good way of saying it, actually.... you could call Microsoft more insincere than Apple.

Re:Why is Apple Any Better, By These Standards? (3, Informative)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705894)

Apple sells and bundles a lot of applications, but it is really easy to switch to a third party app, and your preferences are honored. For example, if you set a mozilla-based browser as the default, you will never end up with Safari opening up, and the only time Webkit will get used is in the help system or generating a preview in the Finder. (Granted, on windows, it's pretty much the same, except that it is not uncommon for apps to launch IE even when Firefox is the default.)

In some cases, it seems that Apple has made it too easy for third party apps to become the default. Stuffit in particular is almost viral in the way it claims all compressed files as it's own. I'd prefer the OS to ask me for confirmation before letting Stuffit rape my prefs just because I want to use a piece of legacy software in a .sit archive.

Perhaps one of the benefits of Apple's approach is that the underlying frameworks are far more separated from the front-end applications. Services like Quicktime and Webkit are usable by all apps, with relatively few undocumented APIs. Those frameworks are also more extendable, which makes for better interoperability. (eg. there are free Quicktime components that add oog support to all applications that use QT, even iTunes.) Webkit is open-source, so if you fix a rendering bug or download a nightly with a new feature, all applications can take advantage of that (even the proprietary apps).

Forcing IE (5, Interesting)

diodeus (96408) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705172)

"For instance, it eliminates several browser overrides where Vista ignored users' default preferences and automatically launched Explorer."

Yup, just try clicking on a link in a Messenger conversation with or without Vista. You get IE, like it or not.

Re:Forcing IE (1)

VoltCurve (1248644) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705836)

uhh, I get Firefox when I do that. Maybe you just suck?

Re:Forcing IE (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 6 years ago | (#22706048)

FYI: In any .NET application, you click an URL, IE is used. This is regardless if you have FF (or what have you) set as the default browser.

Windows 7 is due sometime... (0, Redundant)

subl33t (739983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705356)

...around 2010 -ish

this is total BS (-1, Flamebait)

jgarra23 (1109651) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705368)

I hate this anti-trust crap with Windows. Let MS do whatever they want to lock people into using their OS and other crap. This isn't flamebait btw, they're a private company who can make the product however they want and if people are too stupid to realize that there are other options out there so be it.

I know plenty of techies, creative-types and non-users who have discovered non-MS OSes and other software & love it. My mom is the simplest user you could ask for & uses Linux. Plenty of programmer & artist friends of mine have moved on to OSX. It's THEIR CHOICE.

It's not like Windows is the only OS out there and regardless of its market share, the alternatives are widely known & advertised. I went to Brazil for vacation recently & noticed that everyone down there uses Linux. I myself use Debian.

Big whoop. Let them lock people in. It's so silly to think that "ooooh we know better" and "ooooh people can't think for themselves" and "oooh people need the govt. to protect them".

I'm not saying we don't need to have anti-trust watchdogs but this is a ridiculous waste of time money and resources. Oh, Netscape lost the browser "war" in the 90s because it sucked, not because of some evil-Microsoft crap like everyone makes it sounds AND... if you look at it in the long-run, we're better off that Microsoft won that "war" because we have the Mozilla foundation & firefox & Opera to use which we probably wouldn't if Netscape had won.

Re:this is total BS (-1, Troll)

jgarra23 (1109651) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705530)

To whoever modded me flamebait, thanks for proving my point! :)

Re:this is total BS (1)

cbart387 (1192883) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705740)

They're out in force today. ;) I saw another post [slashdot.org] that was on the side of Microsoft and they came down hard on it as well. I guess that's what meta-moderation is for... (though I have yet to get one of the hiveminds in my meta-mod)

Re:this is total BS (2, Interesting)

psychodelicacy (1170611) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705558)

I sort of agree with you, except that t seems to me that most places you buy computers sell them with Microsoft software pre-installed. (Unless they're selling Macs, obv.) So a) the average computer user thinks that Windows is the best option (otherwise why would computer manufacturers always ship with it), b) the average computer user gets used to using Windows, and c) the average computer user pays extra for their system because they think they need Windows with it.

If computers were sold without an OS, and the customer given the choice of buying Windows or having a Linux distro on a free CD, especially if they were buying from one of these places that'll come to your house and set it all up for you, I think Linux would be doing much better. And the consumers would get a better deal.

Re:this is total BS (1)

jgarra23 (1109651) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705716)


I sort of agree with you, except that t seems to me that most places you buy computers sell them with Microsoft software pre-installed. (Unless they're selling Macs, obv.) So a) the average computer user thinks that Windows is the best option (otherwise why would computer manufacturers always ship with it), b) the average computer user gets used to using Windows, and c) the average computer user pays extra for their system because they think they need Windows with it.


Thanks for refining my point here... I have some more thoughts on the issue. Generally anti-trusts are used to break a locked-in industry. Think US steel or Standard Oil or Ma-Bell... these were all instances where not only was there a huge corporation which mobbed the market and supply but also where there are/were huge operational costs & barriers to breaking in the industry. To write software the barrier is *MUCH* lower and sometimes, non-existent! :) So here we have an industry where there is a juggernaut in-place however there *ARE* viable alternatives which do quite well on their own, so what if they don't have the same usage-adoption rates...

I believe what we have with Microsoft is more of a McDonalds or Coca-Cola thing going on than an actual monopoly. We have three companies in the last sentence which, through great marketing and no business ethics, have nearly cornered a market which there are still viable alternatives to- it's just that the public is either ignorant or too stupid to use them (the alternatives) and yet we have no need for anti-trust in any of these markets because the alternatives still do just fine.

Re:this is total BS (2, Interesting)

psychodelicacy (1170611) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705942)

I guess the difference is that McDonalds and Coca Cola's products haven't become almost-essential tools for a wide variety of people. I'd have trouble getting a job if I didn't know how to use a computer, and so would a vast number of other people. Knowing the difference between a Big Mac and a Bacon Cheeseburger is less likely to be a feature of my CV. Using a computer is a priority for people, so Microsoft not only has a massive share of the market, it also has a relatively captive audience. Because most computers come with Windows pre-installed, and because Windows is so well-known, that is what most people will use in their workplaces. This encourages them to use Windows at home, too. In contrast, the fact that there's a Coke vending machine in your office doesn't mean that you won't drink Pepsi at home - the choice of drink has no impact on your work efficiency and employability.

I don't know whether there's an answer to this. Different OSs will always work differently, and most people will learn to use the one that they will encounter more frequently. Getting employers to shift to Linux will never be easy, and until they do, employees will favour Windows as the OS to learn. Microsoft is lucky that, despite the fact that it now faces controls, it managed to manoeuvre itself into a position where people will choose Windows regardless of the fact that there are other free and more efficient options. Isn't legislating against Microsoft now like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted?

Overreacting... (1)

Sta7ic (819090) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705406)

Most of these "flaws" were likely caused by some programmer who made it work and had more interest in getting something off his list than interest in "furthering the visibility of Microsoft products".

Not everyone likes to speculate on the backstory, though, so I guess the gov't gets to run around with this 'til they're happy, whether or not it does anything really constructive.

i just don't get it (1, Flamebait)

ImTheDarkcyde (759406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705990)

I just can't figure out the issue. Windows ships with IE, OSX ships with Safari. Because more people use Windows, Microsoft should remove its first party program and OSX shouldn't?

I know what the real crying is about, and can sympathize that third party solitaire and redundant media players have no market, but I don't want to pay for a stripped down OS.

Slow News Day? (1)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 6 years ago | (#22706152)

First I read an article about Google thinking spammers and and other bad guys will use new tricks to target people and now an article about an overseer actually overseeing.

Can't wait for "Birdwatcher caught watching birds!"

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