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Microsoft

Rivals Upset At Windows XP Features 495

Posted by timothy
from the get-the-milk-for-free dept.
Beowu1f writes: "Found an AP story on yahoo with a few snippet comments from the Iowa Attorney General, AOL, RealNetworks, Norton and a law professor. The article is relatively plain, talking about how rivals are getting pissed at the snowballing of features into XP, .NET and Hailstorm, saying it's the same as what MS did with IE, etc. etc." The article quotes David Farber, too. I don't mind that most Linux distros come with CD-burning software, IRC clients, a great paint program, etc. -- but then, they're independently written and optional.
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Rivals Upset At Windows XP Features

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    ..and I still wonder why people keep using WinZip when there's PowerArchiver [powerarchiver.com] to be downloaded for free. One of the few compression programs for Win32 that supports bzip2.

    mIRC is "nice", but compared to BitchX it's really annoying and lacking in functionality. blahblahblah.

    --- posting anonymously to preserve the rain-forest.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 12, 2001 @09:42AM (#227324)
    Tilt your head 90 degrees counter-clockwise for the Eric Cartman effect.
  • This is an interesting point. Is there a case for permitting/encouraging MS to go absolutely as far as it can, bundling everything, disallowing third party apps and having you pay by the minute?

    How bad would MS have to get in order to _force_ adoption of alternatives like OSX and Linux, and given that this approach would continue to give them power and money, how do you stop them from just buying Apple and having legislation passed making Linux illegal?

    Maybe we're better off muddling through with the antitrust legislation and _not_ giving MS enough rope to hang itself. That is making a big assumption- that it won't first strangle everyone else in the world with that rope, before hanging itself.

    There is no reason in the world Microsoft cannot expand into being the only effective source of information, network connectivity, communications, and identification services.

    That means you would no longer have a social security number- privatizing would mean you'd have a Microsoft number, and without it you could not buy anything, drive, or vote. This is not unthinkable- look at it as an outsourcing of existing governmental functions.

  • by pb (1020)
    Don't worry, you'll hear from the consumers soon enough.

    I've got a copy of Windows XP Beta 2 from my University, and it annoys me greatly that I can't disable MSN Messenger.

    I don't use it, I don't have an account, I don't want it. And yet, it runs on startup. Even if I try to get rid of it. And now msconfig does too, for no apparent reason.

    It's bothersome, not helpful. The last thing I need is more crap automatically running whenever I login. Crap I don't use. Crap I don't want. Microsoft.

    Good thing I never boot into Windows XP. :)
    ---
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu].
  • Microsoft is free to do whatever they want, but third parties are free to do whatever they want.

    Microsoft is NOT free to do whatever they want. Since they've been determined to be a monopoly, they are NOT free to leverage their OS monopoly to harm their competitors in other markets. Anti-trust laws exist to try to remedy a flaw in our market system. They are there for a reason and they should be enforced.

  • You consider that site to be some sort of authority? You must be joking.

  • Just to throw this in, since most people will think we're commie hippy scum..

    Wal-Mart doesn't suck because they provide cheaper goods/services. No one is against that. The customer wins when that happens.

    The suck part is that all of the smaller businesses can't compete with Wal-Mart. They go bankrupt. When these businesses made money, they stayed in the community. Their owners live there and spend their money there.

    The money that Wal-Mart makes leaves the community entirely. Suddenly, the only place you can find employment is at Wal-Mart. All of the surrounding businesses that don't even compete with Wal-Mart in any way suddenly lose some business because the businesses that do compete with Wal-Mart have closed. Class mobility just became a little harder.

  • Back in 1993, Microsoft testified in court that their spreadsheet did not use undocumented calls. Recently (1999) researchers at Cambridge University (UK) finished disassembling the machine code -- and it did use those undocumented calls (as Lotus 1-2-3 could not).

    Not only does Microsoft use improper monopolistic business practices, they are more than willing to perjure themselves about it.

    fwiw

  • Why can I install Netscape and KDE/Gnome when I install RedHat?

    Because it makes sense. Instead of Redhat putting a filesystem, kernel, and /bin /etc on my hard drive and telling me to go find what I need (aka Linux circa 1992), it installs all sorts of stuff that it thinks would make my life as a consumer easier.

    So, instead of MS putting just an OS on a machine and telling you good luck, the figure networking is somethign most machines do - lets add it in. Memory management at the OS level is a good thing - lets put it in. When win95 came out, not everyone had mega-gig drives, so disk compression was something the customer still wanted, so they put it in the OS as well.

    Perhaps we should be bitching cause Win98 and Linux 2.4 both have USB support built in. Win95 and Linux both have TCP/IP support built in.

    They both (using RedHat,Debian, etc...) have a CD player. If not for the DeCSS suit, they'd probably both have a DVD player.

    As things become more of a standard, they become part of the base for the simplicity of the end user.

    As for the features, I dunno - I never used QEMM or Stacker, however, those features must be like half of MS Word - no one really uses them, otherwise people would be using QEMM and Stacker instead of what MS included.
  • MS should be able to do whatever they want, and sell it however they want. If they want to give software away, they should be able to. If they want to charge high prices for software that most of their customers don't need, then that should be their prerogative. They are the ones paying the development costs.

    If you don't like what Microsoft has to offer, then don't buy it. Plain and simple. Buy from their competitors instead, or write your own software.

    Eventually the rest of the software industry will realize that it is impossible to build a business out of competing with Microsoft on their own turf, and they will try something else. If you are in the business of selling software that runs on Windows, and your business begins to do well, you will have one of two options 1) sell out to Microsoft, 2) get crushed when Microsoft bundles a "free" clone of your software with Windows. Either way you take the risks, and Microsoft makes the money.

    Microsoft may be chuck full of smart people. But they couldn't compete if the entire software industry was against them. There are plenty of companies that are giving them a run for their money now, and Microsoft essentially controls the playing field. So now Microsoft has released yet another OS, and yet another group of whiners will line up in court to protest, but I personally don't feel sorry for them. Surely they saw this day coming. Microsoft has been stabbing their partners in the back since the beginning of the PC. There are plenty of alternative OSes out their, and any one of them could be a desktop contender if the software industry added their support. Heck, Linux is becoming a fairly useable desktop, and the desktop software companies are doing their best to ignore it. That's fine with me, I am not particularly interested in desktop software, but I certainly get tired of hearing software companies complain about Microsoft when Microsoft's dominance is their own darn fault.

  • You may be rolling out Windows 2000, but the sales numbers are in, and Windows 2000 has sold exceptionally poorly. That's part of the reason that Microsoft is pushing so hard with Windows XP. They need an OS upgrade that will actually entice customers to switch. Hardware sales are down, and preload profits are not going to be enough to give them double digit growth.

    What's especially funny is that Microsoft is probably shooting themselves in the foot. What is your company going to do with Windows 2000 now that XP is going to be released shortly. They are probably kicking themselves now, wishing that they had waited another six months. Those companies that are still in the planning stages are probably holding off to see if they should start testing Windows XP instead. Not that it really matters. Chances are good that they have finally got Windows NT (or Windows 98) working well enough. They probably don't really want to upgrade. They are merely worried about falling too far behind the curve.

  • Thanks reposter. I couldn't have said it better myself.
  • Monopolies, especially monopolies that are not customer oriented, are always short lived. The oil and railroad monopolies are good examples of this, in fact. The oil monopoly is finished, and the railroad monopoly probably would be finished, but the government got involved and screwed it up (as usual).

    You see, monopolies make a lot of money, and those profits draw competitors like flies to honey. Most of these competitors fail, but eventually some sharp guy finds a way to circumvent the monopoly, and the monopoly becomes a commodity product (or worse, it becomes obsolete). Microsoft is in this position now. Operating systems and Office suites are on their way to becoming infrastructure, and not products. People are actually giving away software that is nearly as good as what Microsoft charges hundreds of dollars for. Regulating Microsoft just delays the inevitable. Eventually the software industry is going to realize that they simply can't compete with Microsoft on the Windows desktop, and the survivors will start to use their influence to push customers somewhere where they have a fighting chance.

    It is clear that Microsoft plays dirty, stabs their allies in the back, forces crappy software on the public, and a million other unsavory things. However, the solution is not to try and regulate them. This has been tried and has failed miserably. For nearly 20 years the DOJ has been breathing down Microsoft's neck, and Microsoft is more influential now than ever. The solution is to allow them to mistreat their allies and customers until their allies and customers dessert them. As long as software houses feel that they have some legal protection from Microsoft's tactics they will continue to waltz into the alligator's mouth.

  • I know how much work it takes to roll out a new platform. Which is why it doesn't surprise me that Win2K hasn't done very well. Rolling out Windows 2000 is a lot of work, and the benefits for most desktop users are minimal. The business that I work for already gets perfectly acceptable uptime from our NT desktops, Windows NT runs all of the software that we need. It works well with our legacy systems, and it is (at this point) quite inexpensive to maintain.

    Windows 2000, on the other hand, is an entirely new operating system. With new pitfalls, shortcomings, compatibility issues, training issues, etc. However, as a desktop the only real bonus is that it has a slightly different new GUI. Oh, and it supports USB devices (which we are not particularly keen on supporting either).

    That's why Windows 2000 hasn't been very successful. It's too much work for too little benefit. It was worth switching to Windows 95, because Windows 3.1 was so crappy. Likewise Windows NT 4.0 was worth the switch from Windows 9X, not because Windows NT was the best OS on the planet, but because Windows 9X was so bad. Windows 2000, on the other hand, gets you very little that you couldn't accomplish by simply upgrading your web browser.

  • Considering the amount of money spent on Windows 2000 development, and the anemic rate of adoption, I can guarantee you that Microsoft doesn't share your feelings. Microsoft is trying to find some way of maintaining double digit growth, and Windows 2000 is not helping. Windows 2000 is good software, but it hasn't been a very good investment for Microsoft, and it certainly hasn't stopped the growing acceptance of Windows alternatives.

  • Everyone expects word processing capability from their operating system. Why does Microsoft include that sucky "Microsoft Write" program in Windows? Why don't they give people what people want, and bundle in Word instead?

    Why isn't Norton Utilities bundled in with Windows? Or Excel, or Photoshop? People need these tools, people use these tools. It's a rhetorical question, of course -- I know as well as you do why these aren't bundled.

    But have you ever noticed that Microsoft Windows ships with a minimalist word processor, a minimalist paint program, wimpy little scandisk and defragmentation tools... and a great big bloated millions-of-dollars-to-develop millions-of-dollars-to-advertise lots-of-bells-and-whistles web browser?

    Now, tell me this: Let's say I make you CEO of a company and task you to market a web browser to compete with Microsoft. How will you do it? by the way, any innovative feature you think up will become part of Microsoft Windows within six months.

    Some Microsoft exec once said something to the tune of 'the only possible outcomes of competing with us are that we buy you, someone else buys you, or you go out of business.' I'm looking for the exact quote, but I can't find it any more.

  • by Brian Kendig (1959) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @09:30AM (#227357) Homepage
    The difference is:

    (1) Imagine that a single company made 96% of all the cars on the road.

    (2) Imagine that company wanted to own the car stereo market, so they dumped loads of money into R&D and came up with a car stereo which was as good as all the aftermarket ones.

    They advertise that they are putting this super car stereo in all their cars for free. This kills the third-party car stereo market. But there ain't no such thing as a free lunch, so the cost is made up for increasing the price of parts for these cars.

    If Microsoft shipped a simple, bare-bones, no-bells-and-whistles web browser with their operating system, and then marketed a super-gee-whiz version of their web browser separately, I wouldn't complain. After all, this is what they do with MS Write / MS Word!

    Why isn't Microsoft bundling all the functionality of Microsoft Word into every copy of Windows?

  • This is the world that the Microsoft detractors want to go back to.

    It will never happen, but it sure doesn't stop them from whining.

    In the meantime the /. Linux crowd whines, not because they use Windows, but because they bundle all these features themselves into Linux distributions. If they can somehow make Microsoft go back to the old days of having to buy third party products for networking, etc... suddenly Linux becomes a whole lot more attractive.
  • What is unfair?

    How much did Sun Microsystems sink into StarOffice?

    Yet they are giving it away for free as a loss leader to sell more hardware.

    Isn't that unfair?

    I agree, life isn't fair. The aggressive nature of this market has most certainly benefited consumers.

    Nobody should ever need more than a 33Mhz processor.
  • "Really? And what information do you think isn't available?

    More than one word, preferably, so we know what you're talking about?"

    OK, how about four phrases: WordPerfect, Lotus 1-2-3, Novell Netware, Netscape Navigator.

    If you have followed the history of any of these products since the mid-1980's, you know that they have all suffered from the same problem. Pretty much since the release of MS-Windows 3.11, every release of MS-DOS or Windows has contained some change in DLL's, API's, or data structures that has broken these applications.

    "Oops, sorry about that". "It was always in the standard - you just didn't interpret it correctly" "Change the API? No, we didn't change the API".

    This kind of behaviour is very very common in competitive industries, and everyone who works in such industries (a) knows it goes on (b) keeps their mouth shut if their company is doing it (c) also keeps their mouth shut if their competitor/supplier (e.g. Microsoft) is doing it, for fear of being punished further. However, when there is only one supplier of a key product worldwide - I leave the conclusion to you.

    Take a look at the history of the FTC's investigation into the breakfast cereal industry, the FTC/DOJ investigations into airline pricing, or the layoff lawsuit against American Can for more details.

    sPh
  • "Norton and Adaptec are part of an entire cottage industry of companies that exist solely off of the increadable failings of the Windows operating system to provide what it should * as an operating system.* "

    While I personally have sympathy for your point of view, there IS an alternate school of thought (if not alternate universe) that goes like this: the failings and shortfalls in MS-DOS and follow-on products are exactly what made Microsoft the dominant force it is today. Because there was a hunger for "legitimate" personal computing power, people bought IBM PC's in huge numbers (circa 1982). Because there were shortcomings in the system, a huge cottage industry of enhancements, improvements, utilities, hardware, and software sprang up. Once this cottage industry got rolling, it gave the PC platform the momentum that other attempts (Exidy Sorceror, anyone?) had never had.

    Afer the first few boom years, Microsoft could have easily incorporated many of these improvements and utilities into their product. Perhaps they didn't so as not to kill the goose? Not that it makes me happy that, e.g. timesync, is an add-on to NT, but mabye there is a method to the madness.

    sPh

  • I think it is right, that we should fight with producing better software.

    What I fear however is lack of support from the hardware vendors. Certain hardware development like nvidia's 3d chips is driven in direct cooperation with Microsoft.

    A similiar example is DVD decoding software, Apple's Quicktime, Real's line of products, Sun's Java software.

    The Linux community is able to use most of these, by provided binary releases. Platforms, that are not able to make use of these binaries are left out.

  • Actually you CAN get cars without the stereo and they WILL deduct it's value if you really wanted. (My ex did this) You're then free to put in whatever you want and use the money you saved towards a better product. Go ahead and go to a car dealer and try it! They may give you some BS for a while, but if you persist you can. (DISLAIMER: Some dealers are easier to deal with others)

    What WindowsXP is doing is charging for all theses things without the option to NOT buy them. Meaning that to upgrade there are additional costs on top of the cost of Windows. (Notice the difference between the the Car example and the Windows example!? HINT: In the car example you CAN get money back for your stereo. In the Windows example, you CAN'T!)

    What this means is users are MUCH less likely to upgrade to third party products because they were already forced to pay for a simular product. There will always be the exceptions of the really hardcore users who WILL take that hit and upgrade some of their components anyways.

    It's not that difficult to see.

    OK ... bash away! :)
  • But WalMart/Eckerds/Walgreens don't have monopolies, not in the least.

    What they do have is economy of scale. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, and just because you can't compete with them doesn't make them EvileNasty.

    There's nothing stopping you from teaming up with all the convience stores in your area, and sharing the bulk orders. You're not in competition with each other: you serve completely different customer bases. So work together as a loose coalition, so that you all can compete against your real competition.

    No one guaranteed your father a successful business. If he can't make it work in the face of competition -- even when that competition is a superstore with efficiency levels that'd give your dad wet dreams -- then it's fair and just that his business ceases to be.

    Speaking of efficiency levels, your dad's business wastes at least 30% of its costs on inefficiency, rework, mistakes and such. Reducing those costs will pay back to the bottom line something on the order of 100% better than increasing sales. If he really wants to compete, he can: and he can do it by focusing on cutting senseless overhead costs.

    That's how WalMart has done it, by the way. They typically don't keep warehouses of inventory: they keep it all on semi-trailers, en route to just-in-time restocking. They use sophisticated computer tracking and modeling. They make manufacturers responsible for maintaining inventory levels. They are, in a word, wickedly efficient.



    --
  • Yes, with their amazing mind-control satellites, Microsoft Marketing can convince people that they are watching video files that they actually aren't, that CD's are being burned when they are in fact being melted, that they are playing games when in fact they are being eaten by voles. Microsoft Marketing can square the circle, move faster than the speed of light, and transform base metals into purest gold.

    Man, if marketing (just what do you mean when you say marketing, anyway?) were even half as powerful and capable of overwhelming human rationality as you say it was, I'd have gone to B-school and conquered the eastern seaboard by now.

  • You don't pay the cost of the car, you pay the price of the car, and it may be more profitable for a manufacturer to include a number of goodies as standard in all units of a model in order to attract consumers than to try to charge incrememtnally for including them as options.

    Remember, unless you directly pay the actual physical maker of a product for exactly what you order, you are never paying for "just" the cost of something. There's been an entire complicated process involving your expectations, the going market price of a good, the general social consensus for the value of a good (including the "get what you pay for" psychology when leads many consumers to actually be less likely to buy a given good if it is priced for less than they expect. How much time do you spend shopping in the bargain bin at a music store?)

    Even from the simpler model the pretends that we actually pay for cost, the realities of manufacturing are such that it can be cheaper to include something initially than to support making it an option.

  • It's curious that news come when some extremist comments on GPL are published at freshmeat:
    "Use of Open Source Software Should Be Restricted"
    http://freshmeat.net/articles/view/257/

    Information should be Free... but what if it's used to take away the freedom of others? The GPL places technical restrictions on the use of the software it protects. Bjorn Gohla believes it should also place political restrictions on it.

    So it seems that extremism is todays sign of the equation... For both sides.

    Frankly I doubt that courts, government decisions and competition will now do any good to stop M$. That had to be done two years ago. Now it's too late. The sense on how M$ runs forward looks much the same as some people in brown/black uniforms back in the 30s. And people will only react in two ways. Either they accept this new "plague" or they will reject it fully and completely.

    Again two champs are formed in a battlefield. Again the future is to be decided between two extremes with the same common denominator - militantism.

    Curiosly, again the federal government of The United States of America takes a "wait and see" position. Waiting for the electronic Pearl Harbour?
  • That's exactly what the policies of M$ lead to. And that exactly what many M$ opponents point to. What is todays third party software on Windows. a good piece of it is patches, turnarounds, features that Windows lacks of. Small brickets that for some reason M$ "forgets" allways to put on its unique "distro". The most popular are the the tons of antivirus programs that "save the day" of millions of users.

    People ask why bundlemaniac M$ does not introduce them in some new version and makes user lives easier as it always claim. Some denote that they always cost "almost nothing". Others note that without this stuff Windows always looks much more "pristine" and "clean". Anyway thay are today the base of waht has become software on M$ platform - small pebbles to please the savages...
  • I can assure that M$ motto "take over the world" was already visible in the beginning of 1987. I know this because I had a very close friend working on some OS/2, PS/2 stuff back then in IBM. And in June or July 1987 IBM got a big kick from M$ that showed their true intentions. Anyway, even after tons of people warned that M$ should be kicked out of the train, IBM bosses kept the belief that, after that harsh episode, it would still be possible to work with them... The result is plainly visible.

    So we have some consolation. Even the Emperor wasn't able to see Dart Vader climbing to power...
  • There is a big difference between having a financial Evil Empire controlling you and a philosophic-nearly-religious like Microsoft trying to show you what you need. Yes, IBM could have taken a big grip on the market. But we know that it was not M$ that saved the world but the mistake of IBM to produce its first PC with a nearly "open" license: OSA. M$ only went after the Taiwanese and Compaq as it was its only way to make money. Anyway they always tried to control this market and the first blow was to stop the production of DOS for non-Intel machines. Did you know that Yamaha produced quite good PCs on Z80? They worked under MS-DOS and even 4 years ago I saw some of these machines still working. Some hackers started their career on them. They had a much better video and sound capabilities rather than the classical Intel PC. However M$ decided to create the Wintel dominion...
  • I think Linux has a real problem, and that is the elitist attitude found among developers. "Why don't they just read the man pages", etc. There is a real market for a distribution which can easily replace a newbie's MS Windows OS, however, it seems that no one wants to build it. Why? The geeks would rather keep it for themselves.

    There's nothing wrong with an elitist attitude and wanting to "keep it for yourself".

    The problem is the intellectual dishonesty involved in ripping on Microsoft (and Apple) because they make a consumer-level product while steadfastly refusing to adapt Unix to the consumer market.

    It's a "Put up or Shut up" situation, and Unix community's reaction is to do neither, even though Unix OSes have the capability to be better than Windows, both technically and in terms of user interface.
    --
  • by IntlHarvester (11985) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @09:34AM (#227390) Journal
    There has actually been numerous lawsuits and fed investigations of the car stereo situation. So far, Detroit has gotten away with what they've been doing (for example, the oval-shaped stereo in Tauruses), but don't oversimplify the situation.
    --
  • Who complains about the stuff that Microsoft bundles with Windows? Microsoft's competition and, well, Linux zealots. OK, not just Linux zealots, but those of that ilk. Mind you, I'm not saying that being a zealot is a bad thing, nor am I saying that Microsoft is doing the "right" thing.

    One thing is clear, though. Microsoft is in business to make money. If you are naive enough to ask them to start unbundling the operating system, then I think that it's appropriate to start looking at what the competition bundles as well.

    Take a gander through any distribution of Linux. You'll probably see even more functionality in a standard RedHat installation than you will in Windows 98. Yet Corel isn't cursing at RedHat because they've chosen to install a "free" office suite instead of making users purchase an alternative. You don't see the folks at Opera cursing RedHat because Netscape is part of the OS bundle. You don't see MetroX complaining because XFree is part of the distro.

    And yet, there's a huge uproar because Microsoft elects to include these sorts of things (and less) in their Windows OS's. This shouldn't catch anyone by surprise. Microsoft's aim has always been to maintain a chokehold on the operating system market, and guess what? That's not illegal!

    In fact, the very thing that caused the entire DOJ vs. Microsoft case was that Netscape claimed that they were going out of business because Microsoft was bundling a browser for free. Yet the only difference between Microsoft and Netscape was in the way they gave the browser away. And now Netscape is a part of the AOL/Time Warner conglomerate that is cast in the same mold as Microsoft.

    Even Jim Clark knew that when he created Netscape that he had a limited amount of time to be successful. He took that as a normal part of being in the software business, and anyone who is involved in software to that degree would be foolish to not be so aware.

    I'm a Linux and BSD user myself. I also use Windows because there are tasks that each OS is best suited for. I cannot honestly say that, as a consumer, I have been injured by anything that Microsoft has done in the past. The same holds true for virtually every Linux distribution that I've tried. So the harm, in my mind, is not to me the consumer, but perhaps to some software company that failed to look in the rearview mirror to see what was coming up behind them.

    I firmly believe that the entire us vs. Microsoft tempest boils down to the fact that a bunch of people got rich by aggressively pursuing their business plan and everyone else is jealous. Sure, maybe that's painting with a broad brush, but there is a ring of truth to it.

    -h-

  • by Sloppy (14984) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @11:47AM (#227408) Homepage Journal

    It's been known since the early 90s (to paraphrase/steal the words of the authors of "Undocumented DOS"): Your product may be a DLL in the next version of Windows. If you develop apps for Windows, don't act all shocked when it finally happens to you.

    You gambled: take the risk that MS will eventually get around to backstabbing you, and in the mean time, enjoy having a fairly large market. When they finally come for you, don't bitch about it. Where the fuck were you when Microsoft was preloading Windows on everyone's PC and making per-CPU licensing deals? Where the fuck were you when users of the minority platforms cried out for more apps? You ignored them because their market was too small, and you reinforced Microsoft's dominance and legitimized Windows as a desktop product. So shut the fuck up and quit begging the government to protect you now that you've reaped what you've sown.


    ---
  • You can't get the car for less money if you don't want the stereo

    Yes, you can.

    I don't know why everyone uses this analogy -- I guess most people never try to buy cars without stereos, but there's certainly nothing wrong with it, and if the dealer knows you you'll go to the guy down the street to get it for less without the stereo, he'll give you the price break or lose your business.

    The point isn't about the stereo, or the stereo's quality or price -- its about the fact that no car manufacturer requires (or could legally require), as a condition of sale, that the dealer only sell you a factory-installed stereo.

    In fact, many dealers have (very) profitable stereo shops as part of the dealership and will replace the manufacturer unit with a superior aftermarket unit. The manufacturers have no problem with this, because it is a great way to keep dealers happy and profitable selling their goods without any extra expense on behalf of the manufacturer.

    The point is, they leave the choice to the dealer, because their goal is to sell cars, not control your driving experience.

    Microsoft does not, they dictate to the OEMs what they may and may not sell to customers.

    Imagine if your car dealer could sell you an upgraded stereo system, but they had to put it in the trunk because only the manufacturer unit was allowed to be placed in-dash. Furthermore, the in-dash unit would occassionally turn on and override the aftermarket unit. Regardless of the quality of aftermarket units, would this make for a pleasant driving experience? Would this damage the market for even superior aftermarket units?

    ---------------------------------------------
  • Linux has an interesting marketing plan. It's free. All you need to do is download it and install it.

    I've bought lots more versions of Linux than I ever did of Windows. Partially to support the distributors, partially because downloading is a pain, partially because ...

    Hey, it's free. You can't argue with that price. And when a new version comes out, everyone gets excited. And there's eight or nine major vendors to choose between each slightly different, better in some way. And ...

    And it's free! Can't argue with that. Even if you run into problems, can't be mad at Linux, because you didn't pay anything for that. Just for convenience and distribution. And this new version is ... It has Journalled Files! (or something). Release early and often. You shouldn't have bought the x.0 release, the x.1 will be lots better (usually true, but the excitement is around the x.0 release).

    It's an interesting marketing plan. I LIKE it. But it sure isn't cheap. OTOH, it is entertaining. And Libre! (Free!)


    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • I don't really even care if they are independently funded, as long as all the api's that they use are honestly documented and accessible to other developers. But then I'm not planning to sell software. If I were, then that would be a real consideration.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • ROTFLMAO!

    --
  • by Osty (16825) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @12:16PM (#227417)

    I wrote my first "free software" ... free software creds, ok?

    Meaningless masturbation. Why bother listing all of that? Do any of us really care? Does it somehow make you more knowledgeable about Microsoft or the Windows market?

    Virii. The system is inherently insecure. Everybody bitches about it, in fact it's the number one complaint of the pro Linux crowd that Windows is insecure, and rightfully so. *System* security is a *system* problem.

    Uhh ... no. Windows (NT and 2000 -- I'm not even considering Win9x here) can actually be considered more secure than Linux (assuming both machines are properly setup by knowledgeable administrators), as it's more difficult to run code remotely on an NT box. As for the virus problem, the only reason it exists is because Windows is vastly more popular than pretty much anything else. As we've seen in the past few months, even Linux can have "virii" (well, worms, but still ...).

    System tools, configuration, install and uninstall, etc., are criminally in short supply or, where they exist, of poor quality. The very idea that I need to purchase an aftermarket uninstaller is criminal, as is the fact that I have to pay a license fee, ( built into the price of my software), to companies such as InstallShield to get the install and uninstall processes at least somewhat properly done. It's criminal that I have to pay money to an aftermarket software company such as Norton simply to secure and configure and maintain my Windows system.

    By "system tools", what do you mean? Seems to me like all the Administrative Tools and the Control Panel would be considered "system tools". On top of that, you have standard stuff like ping, tracert, nslookup, and so on. And if you want stuff like perl, python, or bash to do some scripting (and you don't want to use the Windows Scripting Host), you can get them just fine. As for the installer situation, I guess you haven't heard about this nifty little thing called "Microsoft Installer". Released slighlty prior to Windows 2000, and available for 95, 98, NT4, and Me (shipped with Me), the Microsoft Installer gets rid of the whole Installshield dependency (though Installshield has built a tool to make it easier to generate an msi. You should don't have to use it). I won't even bother to mention how fragmented Linux's whole installer systems are.

    It's criminal that I have to pay money to Adaptec/Roxio * to make an I/O device function properly!* CD burning is an OPERATING SYSTEM function, just as much as writing to floppy or HD is.

    I agree, to an extent. The low-level I/O functionality should be in the OS. however, that doesn't mean Adaptec can't go and make a nice gui on top of it. If these companies would get their heads our of their asses and start working rather than bitching, they'd see they're not so screwed as they think they are.

    For that matter, as far as I'm concerned, all development tools and MS Office ought to come with the OS at no additional charge as well, * just as they do with most Linux distros*.

    And you want to be able to buy all that for $99. Yeah, right. Remember, Microsoft's software is written by professionals, not volunteers writing in their free time. For them to continue to be able to produce software, they need to charge the proper amount for their products (and whether you like Microsoft or not, I think you'd agree that they should be allowed to continue writing software and let the market get rid of them if it will, rather than forcing them out by pricing caps). On top of that, I'd rather pay money for a quality office suite like Microsoft Office, rather than suffer with a free suite like Star Office.

    Ok, and how about this, *ISN'T* Linux a valid, open, standards based alternative to Windows? Hmmmmmm?

    MY desktop says it is.

    And MY desktop says it isn't. Woah, anecdotal evidence! That's no better than the "Linux is more stable because I had my computer stay up for three years straight, once" argument. Linux may well be more stable, but that kind of anecdotal evidence means less than nothing.

  • To address all the postings pointing out that Linux distros also do bundling: The difference you're overlooking is that Microsoft is a monopoly, and they are using their monopoly in one market to harm competitors in another. That is illegal.

    Microsoft's counter-argument is that they are just enhancing the OS (i.e. they aren't going into another market).

  • You see, all these 3rd party programs need an operating system to run on. However if the dependency is on Microsoft which is telling the 3rd party software vendors to "screw off" where do you think that they will go? One possibility is Apple, and even Linux. Most of these people will be in the same boat as the base source inbetween MacOSX and Linux would be portable (GUI enhancements probably wouldn't).

    Real, AOL, etc. go invest in Mandrake and RedHat and bundle end user OS'es. Linux is great for us geeks, but we need to evolve it to the user who doesn't want to know everything as well.

  • I don't think Apple is worse. Back in the early days they bundled in products like MacWrite and MacPaint. When they realized this was hurting the development of better third party products, they dropped these products. Fat chance of Microsoft ever responding in such a manner.

  • MacOSX can't burn CD's because of a bug,

    Not true at all. OS X was not capable of burning CDs when originally shipped because the components were not ready.

    Since shipping Apple has supplied several downloadable updates and enhancements, one of which enables CD burning.

  • remember that redhat did not write all of those little programs, they simply include them. Imagine if windows came with Eudora, and mozilla, an aol client, whatever cd burning software people use... and it was all optional. See the difference?
  • Man oh man, I love the "Expert user testimony."

    If you can't remove bloody MSN IM, it's cuz you haven't even tried to look at the options!!!

    In there, you'll find a little check box that says something like "Stat with Windows" or something. KILL IT. And MSN IM won't start again. Now, maybe this is just too hard compared to editing some text file somewhere, but I think it's pretty intuitive.
  • by gregbaker (22648) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @09:52AM (#227429) Homepage
    They advertise that they are putting this super car stereo in all their cars for free.
    ...and if you take the car to a mechanic with another manufacturer's radio in it, the mechanic tells you the problem is with the radio. And, the manufacturer occasionally changes the size of the radio mount, so competitor's radios no longer fit.

    Greg

  • Funny shaped stereos have been around in Europe for ages. I've got one of the early ones in my '92 Citroen ZX. Nice car but I'd love to be able to fit a CD changer at some point :)

    The point, when they started this out, was that car security was becoming a serious problem. Dunno if it's much better now, but insurance premiums had started going through the roof due to theft. Stereos were a standard size and a plugin module - very easy to steal indeed and will then fit almost any car. They got stolen in large quantities.

    Make them a funny size and they'll only fit another identical car - much smaller market, plus the only real point in buying one is replacing a dead unit. If you have the car you already have the stereo.

    Some cars go further and split the unit into parts - find a Vauxhall Astra, for example, and the display is a separate unit located elsewhere. Not that readily removable, either.

    The point, though, is that while it _does_ stop people readily replacing their stereos, that isn't the only significant effect. Plus, what does the car manufacturer gain, given that they ship a stereo with each car anyway? If anything they now lose as they have to put a better one in as the customer can't simply replace the standard rubbish...

    They aren't exactly knocking out a competitor here.
  • by NeoMage (29426) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @11:12AM (#227436)
    The same thing can be applied to just about any platform, not just Windows. When the development of the product line has stepped a certain amount ahead of a certain release it becomes increasingly expensive to keep going back and fixing bugs in older versions.. especially when the bugs become even more benign and affect fewer consumers of the product.

    Microsoft has a standard "n - 2" policy for supporting product lines, so when 2 more releases of the same product come out they will typically no longer fix bugs the that version. I think that's pretty fair since it means that Windows NT 3.51 is still in this category and was released many years ago.

    I wouldn't expect any commercial software vendor to have to keep up with ~ 5 years of support when most bugs for a product are probably fixed in 2 - 3 years. Sure, more bugs always crop up - but that's why you need business justification to fix bugs.

    I'm sure that if you went to the mainstream kernel team and complained about a bug in 2.2 that was fixed in a newer release, that they would not go porting it back. Ok so you can change the source yourself but this is not always possible and also not always viable (Linux is special here).

    So consider these things when thinking about product cycles. It may not seem like it all the time, but there are valid business reasons behind moving support away from a product.
  • you're missing the point. Yes, MS has competing programs in many of those areas. The problem is illegally utilizing their monopoly to kill competition in unfair ways. Or even, gasp, use underhanded tactics to gain market share. When you control the OS so tightly it's easy. You don't even have to break stuff, just don't fix specific OS problems other apps have. Then, after they spend the money to include a work around, you can finally get to the problem and gain a few more weeks or months as their fix is broken.

    It's just happened so many times before, that's why I don't like it. Win2k is fine, I am happy with most of the apps you mentioned, most work pretty well. Forcing people to buy stuff they don't need crosses a pretty hard line in my personal opinion of where the "market" should end. Monopoly is a dangerous thing to our markets, especially when your business is selling bits of plastic (or just electrons) for $100 a pop. Bah, another ms rant on /., who'da thunk it.
    --
  • Believe it or not Microsoft has got to actually SELL copies of Windows XP. If Windows XP is chuck full of stupid "features" that are actually disincentives to the upgrade then people will stick with what they have.

    No they won't. Microsoft puts major pressure on OEMs to ship the latest version of Windows. Prices on older versions are typically not cut, and sometimes pricing it set so that older versions actually cost more. 6 months after XP is introduced, it will be virtually impossible to buy a computer from a major OEM that doesn't have it pre-installed. Most people won't know enough to go somewhere else. And it won't even really be a viable option for those few who do; new hardware and software won't support the old OS after a while.

    --
  • They already do.

    Try reading up on it:
    http://msdn.microsoft.com

    Or do you have any specific examples of where they don't?

    Simon
  • What is wrong with Microsoft attempting to compete on the desktop they created?

    NOTHING.

    That is the nature of competition. These aftermarket software companies - like Netscape, Real, AOL, etc - are just that. Aftermarket. If MS incorporates programs into their OS - so freaking what? It's their OS - and their desktop. The aftermarket has just changed. Now, browsers are all free, or IM clients, or audio applications - there's an aftermarket for a different product.

    It's that simple.

    Now, if these companies want to survive, they need to work on making their products compatible with a cross-OS open standard so anyone can use their programs.

    It boils down to the fact that if these companies want their software to survive, they've got to uncouple it from Windows dependencies, because MS can and should expand into those areas.

    That's competition, my friends.
    HI Mom!
  • I don't see how anyone could compare Microsoft, who has a monopoly, with Apple who has 10% of the desktop market, or less. If Apple ever gets 90% of the desktop market (or even 50%), then people will question their bundling issues as hard as Microsoft's.

    That was my point--we bash Microsoft because of their market position, not because of their actions. Reread my post before you accuse me of trolling again. You have flamed me for having a different perspective on the same conclusions, which seems rather oppresive. I know it goes against the Slashdot Overmind to suggest that Microsoft might be being treated unfairly, but I'm hardly being unreasonable. While I understand that it has far more effect on the market when you have ten times as much market share, you can't fairly double standards like that. It's just plain unfair to penalize someone simply because they're the best at what they do (if everyone else is trying to do the same thing).

    As for iTunes, Apple pulled a classic Microsoft move there--they bought out another company's product (Cassidy & Green's SoundJam), gave it a facelift, and are giving it away free. iTunes is quite possibly the best-of-class Mac MP3 player, and, even if it weren't, is MACAST enough better to warrant the $15-25 shareware fee? I don't think so...

    Conflict Catcher and Disk Doctor used to be important products, but they've been gradually overshadowed by Apple replacements. I find Extensions Manager perfectly adequate, and, ever since Apple built Disk Doctor functionality into the OS (it runs at startup after a crash), I haven't had much need for Norton. For 90% of users, those Apple substitutes are good enough; those competitors have been relegated to a niche within a niche.

    Apple has also destroyed competing commercial products through bundling. Remember Symmantec GreatWorks? Apple crushed it by bundling ClarisWorks/AppleWorks with Performas...

    Just in case you were going to suggest I'm a Mac beginner and have no clue what I'm talking about, I've done six years of Mac consulting, as well as commercial software development for the Mac.
  • Hmm... I've just had one person tell me I'm wrong because Apple doesn't bundle anything that's a vital OS component (ala Internet Explorer for Windows), and another person tell me I'm wrong to compare QuickTime to Media Player because QuickTime does provide important OS functionality. Make up your (collective) minds, people.

    Yes, you can disable QuickTime, weird things will break, but most stuff will still work. The same is true of Internet Explorer. In fact, it was a major embarrasment for Microsoft when the DOJ expert witness showed IE could be removed, despite Microsoft's claims to the contrary.

    You seem to think that the relative excellence or suckiness of an app or utility is somehow relevant to the legality of bundling it with the OS. It doesn't matter whether iTunes rocks or Disc Burner sucks, bundling them is just as wrong (or right) as bundling media players and CD burners with Windows. If Apple can bundle apps that do X with their OS, then so can Microsoft.
  • by tbo (35008) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @10:15AM (#227456) Journal
    As a loyal Mac user, it breaks my heart to say this, but Apple is worse when it comes to bundling. Let's take a look at the list of things Apple has bundled or currently bundled with their OS and computers:

    QuickTime: A media player, bundled with all Macs and current MacOS versions.

    iTunes: A MP3 player, ripper, and audio-CD burner program, bundled with new Macs and Mac OS X, I believe.

    Disc Burner: A CD burner program, bundled with new Macs and Mac OS versions.

    Cyberdog: Though now defunct, Apple used to bundle the Cyberdog browser with the OS as part of OpenDoc (a really cool idea that didn't quite make it, possibly killed by MS).

    Mail
    : A decent email client bundled with OS X.

    Apache, FTP daemon, etc, all the usual Unix stuff: bundled with Mac OS X.

    AppleWorks: a multi-purpose application package, sort of a poor-man's Offfice with a database thrown in. Bundled with new iMacs.

    Then there's third-party software like Quicken, which is often bundled with iMacs, and, of course, both Netscape and IE are bundled with the Mac OS (I think IE is the default install).

    All in all, Apple seems to bundle more stuff than Microsoft does. My conclusion is that we complain about MS because they're the market leader, not because of their actions, and I'm not sure if that's the right thing to do...
  • Why isn't Microsoft bundling all the functionality of Microsoft Word into every copy of Windows?

    Obviously their customers don't want it, and it wouldn't add value for them...

  • IE's success has little to do with the bundling. It's just that it had parity with Netscape at the 3.0 version, and 4.0 (three years ago) completely blew Netscape out of the water.

    Bullshit. IE's success had everything to do with bundling, because IE 4.0 had parity with NS 4.0. IE 3.x was nowhere near as good as NS 3.x. Once they achieved (almost) parity with NS, their market share took off...

  • In case you slept through the anti-trust trial, Netscape offered free licences to OEMs for pack-in installs. Microsoft responded by telling the OEMs if they shipped Netscape, they would lose their right to ship OEM versions of Windows.

    This is where the problem is. In most cases suppliers cannot dictate anything like this because their customer could simply go elsewhere. (To either another supplier or another reseller.)
  • MS should be able to do whatever they want, and sell it however they want. If they want to give software away, they should be able to. If they want to charge high prices for software that most of their customers don't need, then that should be their prerogative. They are the ones paying the development costs.

    Except that they shouldn't be able to impose conditions on the purchaser. i.e. they can't tell OEMs what they can and can't put on computers they sell. Can't stop people reselling it, including "OEM" copies.
  • by mpe (36238)
    I've got a copy of Windows XP Beta 2 from my University, and it annoys me greatly that I can't disable MSN Messenger.
    I don't use it, I don't have an account, I don't want it. And yet, it runs on startup.


    Sounds like more and more single user oriented junk being added in...
  • Because MS makes the best OS for people who aren't nerds.

    How do you explain the error messages it comes up with, the registry, expecting the end user to be a sysadmin, etc?
  • The other alternative is that OEMs give the finger to MS and continue to ship WinME

    Except that they can't, given the way Microsoft supplies them.
  • If Microsoft spent as much time and money in making a better product instead of adding half-assed "features" to their existing operating systems, nobody would complain.

    Maybe also consider features people might actually want. e.g. the ability not to have to copy user data back and forth over a network (which Windows never needed to do in the first place) or how about decent login scripting (like Netware had before Windows 95 even came out)...
  • Windows might be the lesser of two evils. It is not without faults (in fact, it is full of them) but it is the best choice for a clueless end user.

    It may be the best choice for one specific catagory of "clueless end users". The single user dialup home user.
    However the exact same things which make it good for this user make it an utter disaster when it comes to corporate networking.
  • The real reason of course is that MS doesn't want people running NT 4 anymore.

    Also they don't appear to want people to use Win2K to serve 95/98/ME clients. A subtle change was make in the SMB protocol negotiation which causes problems. Whilst Microsoft has released an update it's a "telephone, work through a maze and BTW we might charge you" update. Rather than simply being available for download.
  • Really? Whats so bad about USB? Sure, Firewire might be better (even though most PC's don't come starnard with it). But having a mouse connected to a firewire port is a bit of a waste IMHO, even though you can run multiple devices.

    In the vast majority of cases USB appears to be a solution in search of a problem. In a great many cases there is nothing wrong with a serial or PS/2 mouse.
  • There are lemon laws which protect the buyers of cars, there are no laws protecting the buyers of software.

    Such laws being in addition to more general consumer protection legislation. If anything laws such as UCITA are the exact opposite (combined with the ongoing perversion of "copyright".)
  • OS X has most of this stuff bundled as well

    No one seems to be complaining about it
    That's because Apple is not trying to maintain an illegal monopoly like M$...
    --
    You think being a MIB is all voodoo mind control? You should see the paperwork!
  • by YoungHack (36385) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @09:43AM (#227474)
    If you were thinking about piriting WinZip, I might suggest rather that you look into PowerArchiver. Very nice. Free (beer).

    www.powerarchiver.com
  • by macpeep (36699) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @11:30AM (#227475)
    I'm curious.. What process is that exactly? I'm curious cause you can check every single process that is running, which DLL's it has loaded etc. and while I see a lot of other stuff like csrss, I sure as hell don't see anything related to IE.

    I also don't understand why the hell anyone would like to remove the best web browser on earth from their installation. Maybe it's just me but it bothers me when people spend a large portion of their day hating Microsoft and Bill Gates. Define yourself by what you are FOR, not by what you are AGAINST.
  • I actually havea the Beta 2 version of XP, it isn't too bad from a consumer viewpoint. It may overall be bad for the computer software industry. However one thing that I see as a possible bonus for those of us who prefer Linux. Vendors that may be displaced by this move, they may be more tempted to produce linux products whre MS is not currently producing competing products. Of course, the only really interesting windows-only software out there are games.
  • I hear that a lot. It's okay when Linux does it, but not when Microsoft does it. KDE integrates its browser into the file manager, but that's okay. Microsoft does it, and they become the root of all evil. As for the independently written aspect, with the exception of IE, most of Microsoft's bundles (media player, MSN messenger) aren't integrated and non-removable. They're just as "optional" as your Linux components, except installed by default. I guess what I'm asking is this: If it's okay for Linux to do it, stop bitching at Microsoft because they do it.

    You can't compare the two. Microsoft is a closed system. They don't provide you the "hooks" you need for full integration. This provides them with a competitive advantage in ALL software written for their operating system that no company that produces Windows applications can hope to match. The only reason Microsoft DOESN'T integrate EVERYTHING is because they know it's unethical and that they'll get slapped in the buttocks for it.

    On the Linux side, the code is all open. If there are no hooks for deeper integration, you can take the code and do whatever you want with it as long as you release your code as well. If KDE wants to integrate its browser with its file manager, fine! I can see the code, I know how it works, I can replicate it with my own file manager if I want.

    That's the difference and thats why it's Ok for Linux to do it.
  • For an ordinary consumer, a CD-burning software bundled with the OS *is* convenience, as they might not feel confident installing CD Creator themselves. The fact that everything is built in will let these people take advantage of some of the previously unknown features in their computer, while more advanced users are always free to install whatever they want in their computers.

    ~James
  • Bullshit. I haven't seen a new Windows box in a while that didn't come bundled with Word 2000 - not the rest of the Office suite, mind you. Apparenlty it's enough value for, e.g. Dell to shell out extra cash and bundle an extra CD in even their low-end laptops.

    Their customers DO want it, so Dell pays extra to get it there. Duh.

    The problem comes when Microsoft, who now has Dell's nuts in a vice, decides to add a surcharge to any manufacturer who *doesn't* purchase that windows add-on, since, of course, it results in more piracy. Then they go into court on another anti-trust violation and talk about how the base price for their operating system is low. Fuck'em. They are as bad for the consumer and the market as any rapacious business I can think of. I'm quite tired of them.

    Boss of nothin. Big deal.
    Son, go get daddy's hard plastic eyes.

  • Here is the difference.
    You don't own software you wond the car. You can sell your car to somebody else you can't sell your software. You can buy a used car, you can't buy used software. You can let anybody you want fix your car, you can't let anybody fix windows except MS. The car comes with a warranty the software does not. There are lemon laws which protect the buyers of cars, there are no laws protecting the buyers of software. If cars are defective the govt fill force them to do a recall to fix the car, software comapnies can sell you worthless buggy shit all they want.

    I won't go on I hope by now you understand the difference between owning something like a car, toaster or a television and licensing software.
  • "Ohh, right. You need a B.CS. to even install it, much less configure it, or figure out how everything works"

    Not really anybody of average intelligence can install mandrake or redhat. Of course most windows users are below intelligence but that's another story alltogether.
  • Amen to that. The software industry is like a septic tank. All the big chunks of shit have risen to the top and now they are stinking up the place something awful.
  • by brianvan (42539) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @12:12PM (#227487)
    Excellent point.

    I suppose that operating systems are a tough business to be in anyway... that is, suppose a lot of the reasons why Windows is an "entrenched" OS (application support, hardware support, brand name recognition, ease-of-use, existing user base, etc.) were nullified by Monday morning at 10am. I seriously doubt that Linux, BeOS, and OS/2 would fill in all the gaps and/or do a better job for most users anytime within the next 2 years. But even more important, I seriously doubt that someone on Monday morning, deciding to seize the opportunity, could make an OS from scratch within the next two years that could compete among the remaining OSes. Considering that a very large user base, several times the size of the MS Windows core development team, has spent the better part of a decade building a better OS from scratch in an open and collaborative process, yet only 5% of the market uses it and most admit that it's not ready for most of the 85% majority OS users, that says something about the sheer difficulty of living up to the expectations set by Windows.

    Before anyone adds that MS is anticompetitive and THAT'S why they're entrenched... well, Linux is free, it's been around awhile, and the business world knows about it. With all respect to the concept that people don't like change... I think the expense of Windows licenses would be enough motivation for the majority of the business world and computer manufacturers to jump ship by now. But Windows apparently has enough advantages to keep a lot of people in its tent.

    The fact is, Windows, Linux, and now even OS X, constantly set a very high bar for what's expected in an operating system. OS X took YEARS to come around, and GNU/Linux is a very complex system for providing a very complete library of tools and applications that can be bundled as a package (and unbundled, as well). I marvel at innovation that's so speedy and prolific like this.

    Microsoft plays unfair? Probably. But in this "business", I doubt that fair could ever win anymore. I think that at some point we have to settle for "unfair" but "pretty damn good". Just like with Intel... they might have a questionable lock on their market (well, AMD has been creeping in on them for a number of years and they're permanently in the game now), but can you really look down on a company that has kept up with Moore's Law for over two decades? If we had 10 processor vendors competing harshly today to sell 33mhz processors, would that be better for the consumer?
  • by aufait (45237) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @10:06AM (#227489) Homepage
    Netscape whined about Microsoft pushing them out of the browser business by giving away free software.

    No, they complained , among other things, that MS tied it to the OS and refused to allow OEMs to add Netscape to the desktop. Not only did MS ensure that every new purchaser of Windows had a copy of IE, they also guarenteed that the purchaser would not have a copy of Netscape no matter what inticements Netscape offered the OEMs.

    But that is exactly the way the Netscape pushed Spyglass out of the same market.

    I agree that Netscape was trying to do the same thing MS was: use their domination of the browser market as leverage to gain greater market share in the server market.

    However, Netscape was on an equal footing with Spyglass in that they could only offer inducements to OEMs and ISPs to distribute their browser, trial programs, etc. MS had one advantage none of the other sellers of browsers had: the OS. The could (and did) use their control of the desktop to make sure every user had a copy of their software which could not be deleted and that none of their competitor's browsers would show up on the desktop "out of the box".

  • by Betcour (50623) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @11:06PM (#227493)
    Actually Real Networks is a terrible company - their software is so full of marketing and commercial shit you have to click on a good hundred of checkboxes to NOT get spam and constant sollicitation.
  • by Inoshiro (71693) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @01:13PM (#227506) Homepage
    Right. suck said it best [suck.com]. Practices that commonly happen (all comps come preloaded with MS OS) are not questioned, and are impossible to get around [thock.com] in most places.

    There are only two or there places where I can get a laptop not bundled with the MS tax.
    --
  • by sg3000 (87992) <sg_public AT mac DOT com> on Saturday May 12, 2001 @09:47AM (#227534)

    [Here's my submission of the story that got rejected for some reason]

    Ah, Spring! It brings birds, neighbors mowing their laws, and the newly-awaken actions from everyone's favorite monopoly!

    That's right, Microsoft's at it again. This time, it's Windows XP, and Microsoft's idea to bundle tons of new stuff into it. The associated press reports [nwsource.com] that Microsoft is bundling plenty of stuff to keep the Department of Justice busy: MSN Instant Messenger now loads automatically every time you boot Windows XP. A firewall and DVD player are included as well. Of course the firewall will work as advertised, and will never work only to block messages to rivals' network connections while leaving Microsoft open to send anything they want back to Microsoft's servers. Microsoft has never done that, and it's horrible of you to think they would! Look, that issue with the greeting card company [nytimes.com] in 1999 was just a misunderstanding, not policy.

    Microsoft is just trying to give the consumers what they want. As a Microsoft spokes person said, "If people don't find those features compelling enough to upgrade they can keep whatever the heck they want. They're not forced to upgrade."

    Funny they should say that.

    Microsoft's new upgrade policy basically says that if large companies to upgrade to Windows XP and Office XP by October 2001, they won't be eligible for upgrade pricing after that. ZD Net reports [zdnet.com] that Microsoft is raising fees from anywhere from 33 to 107%. Guernsey Research analyst Chris LeToq summarized these actions saying that Microsoft is forcing an upgrade.

    Clearly Microsoft is no longer concerned about any actions from the DOJ. Lest we forget, according to an article from the Mercury Center in 1999 (sorry, no URL available), they hedged their bets by buying off the presidential candidates early ($18k for John McCain, and they helped finance Bush's gubernatorial inauguration). According to the New York Times, Microsoft hired Ralph Reed, one of Bush's top consultants, to help them during the DOJ trial.


  • by sg3000 (87992) <sg_public AT mac DOT com> on Saturday May 12, 2001 @01:31PM (#227535)

    I don't see how anyone could compare Microsoft, who has a monopoly, with Apple who has 10% of the desktop market, or less. If Apple ever gets 90% of the desktop market (or even 50%), then people will question their bundling issues as hard as Microsoft's.

    Repeat after me: Companies with monopolies are treated differently than those without monopolies.

    Plus, Apple's bundlings are more for giving a newbie user a simple capability. For example, Disk Burner provides basic disc burning capabilities, but a user will quickly outgrow it's capability and go with Toast when they want to do xBook capabilities or multiple sessions. Or iTunes has basic MP3 jukebox capabilities, but advanced users quickly move to the more feature-full options. One could argue that Apple is helping third-party companies by giving users a simple application that shows them the need for the more feature-rich application for sale by a third party. Witness the success of Cassidy & Green's Conflict Catcher or Norton Disk Doctor even though Apple has bundled Extension Manager and Disk First Aid for years.

    Microsoft, on the other hand is building applications to compete with their vendors. Microsoft Word, Excel, Internet Explorer, Outlook, etc has the most features of any application in their class. I'm not saying they're better, but I'm saying that Microsoft happily competes with its "partners" in a way far different than Apple.


  • by Cyberdyne (104305) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @09:25AM (#227546) Journal
    Guess what? Many cars come "bundled" with car stereos. You can't get the car for less money if you don't want the stereo. Guess what else? That stereo was probably built by the car manufacturer under a different name.

    Actually, a lot of those stereos are built by the big-name brands - Sony, Blaupunkt etc - and then rebadged by the car manufacturer. That's why the manufacturers don't complain: they're the ones benefitting!

    Deal with it. Getting more applications for your money instead of less is a good thing.

    Yeah. Just like getting long-distance service bundled with your local phone service was a really good thing, and we all love getting Windows bundled with our PCs - oh. Wait. We don't. That's why it's illegal...

    The whole point of the anti-trust legislation is that when you have a monopoly in one market (local phone service, OS sales) you aren't allowed to use that monopoly to boost market share in another market (long distance, applications) - that's illegal abuse of monopoly power, which is what AT&T were cut up for, and what MS will hopefully be cut up for...

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @10:28AM (#227557) Homepage
    For $98, you can buy a commercial product that removes Internet Explorer. [98lite.net] That's all it does. And people buy it. It improves performance, too, because IE has a process running all the time.

    Maybe this is the future of third-party software - stuff that removes preloaded Microsoft crap, just to free up resources for real work.

  • Ok, lets take a look at Windows. People don't want HTML rendering engines and stuff built in. Fine, so you take out high-level network stuff. What about low-level? Remember the days of Trumpet Winsock, and how you needed third party software to even get onto the Internet? Ok, so we take that out, because it's unfair bundling. What about device drivers? Remember the old days in DOS when you'd install a game, and you'd pick your soundcard and video card from a list? Gravis Ultrasound Max, Sound Blaster Pro or compatible, ATI, S3, Trident, all that? What about windowing environments? In the PC world, they started out as third party addons for DOS; Desqview and the like. So out they go. What about memory management? Quarterdeck got pretty pissed when EMM386 got bundled in with DOS. Hell, what about filesystems? Do you honestly think Sun's incapable of making a filesystem worth having? Of course not. But Veritas would get pretty pissed. Operating systems are including more and more stuff as time goes on, and I, for one, think it's a good thing. I like the fact that I don't have to tweak TSRs and IRQs in Windows the way I had to in DOS. I like the idea of buying a network card and having it work with the OS, and not needing to get a third party TCP/IP stack. I like the idea of software being able to say 'Requires DirectX 7' and that being the end of it.
  • by kfg (145172) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @09:07AM (#227592)
    MS stops bundling all these apps with the operating system and instead makes them available as free downloads.

    Is anyone here in favor of banning freely downloadable software?

    KFG
  • by kfg (145172) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @11:13AM (#227593)
    Ok, look people, I'm not a Microsoftie.

    I wrote my first "free software" project in 1976, ( Blackjack for the IBM/360, in APL).

    I run Linux as my prefered desktop. It boots in console mode by default. I edit in vi. I use cdparanoia and lame from the console to encode in Ogg Vorbis. I use png for all my graphics. I converted my entire business to Linux years ago when I got tired of MS breaking all my apps with each meaningless 'upgrade'which they charged me thousands for. I do all my development work in Linux, from the console, no IDE, no prorpriatary libraries.

    I've got fsckin' free software creds, ok?

    However. . . Let me delineate a few of the reasons I hate MS products and see if some of these complaints don't sound familiar.

    Virii. The system is inherently insecure. Everybody bitches about it, in fact it's the number one complaint of the pro Linux crowd that Windows is insecure, and rightfully so. *System* security is a *system* problem.

    System tools, configuration, install and uninstall, etc., are criminally in short supply or, where they exist, of poor quality. The very idea that I need to purchase an aftermarket uninstaller is criminal, as is the fact that I have to pay a license fee, ( built into the price of my software), to companies such as InstallShield to get the install and uninstall processes at least somewhat properly done. It's criminal that I have to pay money to an aftermarket software company such as Norton simply to secure and configure and maintain my Windows system.

    It's criminal that I have to pay money to Adaptec/Roxio * to make an I/O device function properly!* CD burning is an OPERATING SYSTEM function, just as much as writing to floppy or HD is.

    Norton and Adaptec are part of an entire cottage industry of companies that exist solely off of the increadable failings of the Windows operating system to provide what it should * as an operating system.*

    I am NOT going to critize them for all of these various failings and THEN critize them for *bundling apps* that should have been part of the OS from day one.

    Norton and Adaptec have no inherent right to make a living from the shoddyness of Windows. They were handed a cash cow.

    When MS fixes these deplorable flaws in their operating system I'm not of a mood to praise them, but I'm willing to at least speak up and say, " It's about bloody well time guys!"

    Now if we want examples of MS being just plain evil they are easy enough to come by. Kerberos, WMA, extortionate licensing practices, the extreme arrogance with which they handled themselves during the antitrust trial, Clippy, etc., but bundling legitmate OS level functionality into an OS just isn't one of them.

    For that matter, as far as I'm concerned, all development tools and MS Office ought to come with the OS at no additional charge as well, * just as they do with most Linux distros*.

    If MS maintained fully open standards, supplied all needed development tools, had transparent APIs that remained fairly stable and * bundled every possible app they could* with the system for about $99 I'd be a lot HAPPIER with them as a company. To hell with Adaptec. Don't forget that they arn't 'good guys' either. They're just another lawyer happy corporation claiming they have a right to take your money.

    Windows would STILL be a buggy toy OS, but they would be giving to the consumer what they should expect to get for a reasonable price, and so long as the development framework remained open fairly in the marketplace.

    Untill all of the above happens I'll continue to use Linux, thank you very much. Perhaps that is why some Linux advocates are against such *bundling of apps*? Because it would put Windows on a better financial footing with respect to a good Linux Distro?

    As for breaking MS up into seperate companies, Should ESR be prevented from from working on emacs because he's on the VA Linux payroll? Should he be banned from being payed to work on vi as well!? Isn't part of the whole "open source" movement to get as much software, of high enough quality, at as low a price, as possible available to the consumer?

    Ok, and how about this, *ISN'T* Linux a valid, open, standards based alternative to Windows? Hmmmmmm?

    MY desktop says it is.

    And where it fails, say gaming and web browsing, is it truely MSes fault for being anti competitive, or have we just failed to come up with the code so far?

    Let's kill MS with tons of high quality, functional code people, not by letting lawyers say that some scumsucking corporation deserves to rip off part of your money as much as MS does.

    KFG
  • by General_Corto (152906) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @09:09AM (#227601)
    "If people don't find those features compelling enough to upgrade," Cullinan said, "they can keep whatever the heck they want. They're not forced to upgrade."
    That's all very nice to say, but Microsoft won't let you 'keep whatever the heck you want' and support it (and your decision); they'll eventually force you into purchasing the new OS, because it has features the other's don't.

    Personally, I think the next MS case should be over the fact that they no longer support versions of their software; if it could be legally proven that one version of windows (let's say Win95) performed the same tasks as another version (i.e. WinME), but was no longer supported by the company, then they should have to purchase those licenses back (imho). Now *that* would make them suffer.
  • by piecewise (169377) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @09:17AM (#227615) Journal
    Good point. However, the issue in this case is that Microsoft made it very difficult if not impossible to remove that car stereo and implement a different brand stereo.

    If Ford, for example, made it impossible to remove the stereos from the car, you would agree that aftermarket stereo manufacturers would in fact not survive.

    There's nothing wrong with features. We must look at the definition of 'illegal monopoly.' I would say that when Microsoft "bundles" items and then makes it that difficult to change them or even install an additional copy of a similar program, you've got problems.

    I am supposing, however, that with the Republican administration, none of this matters too much. Or is that a misconception? I don't Bush would ever split up MS, but then again it's not just Bush doing the splitting.
  • Somehow, getting more for your money is bad for the consumer.

    Guess what? Many cars come "bundled" with car stereos. You can't get the car for less money if you don't want the stereo. Guess what else? That stereo was probably built by the car manufacturer under a different name.

    Yet, somehow aftermarket car stereo manufacturers manage to survive. I don't here them whining about "monopolistic" policies of the car manufacturers, even that clearly costs them huge amounts of market.

    Deal with it. Getting more applications for your money instead of less is a good thing.


    --

  • by Segfault 11 (201269) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @09:18AM (#227647) Homepage
    IE's success has little to do with the bundling. It's just that it had parity with Netscape at the 3.0 version, and 4.0 (three years ago) completely blew Netscape out of the water. The same will be applicable for all of these other programs.

    The people at Real should look at their own product before they go claiming that Windows Media Player is "not the best product". WMP7 is starting to cross the line, but it's still far far removed from the crapware that is RealPlayer or QuickTime. I'd use Winamp, but it doesn't play videos.

    I don't care much for MSN Messenger, but it has been my IM for a while, so I may as well use that.

    I'm not going to use the Windows DVD player -- I went through all of that before. A regular player that I can run on my larger TV with a remote control is much nicer.

    As far as firewalls go... well, it's a security product written by Microsoft. It might be good for warding off tigers and polar bears.
  • by Telastyn (206146) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @10:44AM (#227650)
    I work for a smallish startup (1000 people) that actually produces product, so has been fairly resilient to the recent adjustment of valuations. We got a version of win2k around December of last year, and after a week of poking at it, deceided that the benefits from the installs would negate the downtime of migrating users over. The roll over was pretty painless.

    Now we recieved a beta version of winXP in the office a few weeks back, and let me just say that we will not be upgrading to it. Basically it doesn't add anything new. Sure, theres a few little cool features, but honestly it's not worth the effort.

    Do I think it's wrong to bundle Windows Media Player with the os? no, not really. Do I think it's wrong to bundle a anti-virus program with winxp? Hell, nobody complained with msav in dos.

    Personnally I think Microsoft could do some good/interesting things by instead of licensing the OS to manufacturers and/or users licensing it to distributors who then value add things and resell the OS as their own distribution.

    Someone could then actually sell a version of windows with litestep out of the box, or with an installer that lets you choose IE or Netscape or kmeleon or opera or...

    Wouldn't that be interesting
  • by OblongPlatypus (233746) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @09:08AM (#227677)
    I just killed a field mouse for 120 XP, how much do I get if I kill this Windows thing?
  • Why on God's green Earth should Microsoft have to demonstrate that the programs are funded differently from the OS? Nothing personal, but that's just silly. Should KDE have to demonstrate that Konqueror or Kedit or any other app was created differently or separately from the rest of the environment?
    It's a good question, but ultimately not hard to answer. Microsoft is demanding a payment from users for a package they, usually, are required to use in order to fully interoperate with the majority of other computer users out there. Because that payment is made for a product in a monopoly position (which, for the sake of clarification because many out there misunderstand it, means control over the market, not a 100% market share), it's reasonable that people paying that money should not be forced to pay for an unrelated product simply in order to obtain the product they actually need (to conduct business, etc.)

    Average people burn CDs now, so why shouldn't burning software be integrated into their PCs instead of them having to go buy it? Are y'all jumping down Apple's throat for doing the same bloody thing? No? hen I question the motives you're really using.
    Actually, I didn't mention that, and I would say that CD burning is actually a basic operating system function. It's a device driver, and a reasonable interface to that device driver. Should Mac OS X include it? Yes. Should Linux include it? Yes, and it does, sort of, if you can get it working, which I can't (damn SCSI subsystem, grumble.) Should Windows include it? Yes.

    Should Windows force you to install a streaming media system so you can view MPEG-4 movies streamed in an encrypted format from Microsoft NT Server systems, just because you want to put a file on a CD, or an MP3, or whatever? F--- no. What the hell does one have to do with the other? Even assuming that there are going to be places where the two can interoperate, CD burning requires nothing more than a handful of codecs.

    Until I can get a unified distribution where most of the widgets look the same, the shortcuts are all the same, the Internet browser plays almost all content without needing to be coddled and added to, and there's an integrated media application that just works with multimedia without prodding or looking very out of place--I'm going to stick with Windows. I may have to Ctrl-Alt-Del Explorer once a day due to the web browser integration, but at least almost all pages and content work right. See, ease of use trumps my philosophical instincts. I use my computer to do stuff; my computer shouldn't keep requiring me to do stuff for it.
    Which is fine. I respect your choice of alternative operating system, and I even respect your desire to have IE, Outlook Express, MSN Messenger, and Windows Media Services all installed on your hard disk and, for the most part, all in memory when you're using your machine.

    But there's no reason why someone else should subsidise your desire to do this. And there's no reason why competitors should find their products perform poorly and roadblocks are installed simply because the product that the average business needs, if it wishes to remain in business, and employees generally need at home if they want their skills to stay in sync, and which everyone else gets because of the first two and the fact that Microsoft forces companies that offer customers a choice of OSes to pay more per unit than those that force everyone to buy Windows, comes with a whole set of apps unrelated to "being an operating system" preinstalled and loaded into memory.

    That's messed up.
    --

  • by squiggleslash (241428) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @09:42AM (#227694) Homepage Journal
    As long as Microsoft can demonstrate that the unbundled apps are funded independently of the operating system, I have no objection.

    I have no objection to buying a $50 OS, and then adding freely downloadable apps funded by, for example, sales of streaming software, advertising, etc. But I do have an objection to buying a $200 OS and having to pay for the development of those apps, and not having the choice of being able to choose a competitors' alternative.

    The key is the word bundling. In this case, things are being added to the operating system that have nothing to do with the operating system, and people are being forced to buy them if they buy the OS, regardless of whether they want them or not.
    --

  • they should have every right to bundle what they want in their operating system. How is that protecting consumers means forcing them to buy more software? How is this preventing users from buying more software if they want to? How is that when features are added to linux distributions its not the same thing? Why? Is it because Linux is free? Why? Is because you can choose to install someone elses version (Guess what, I installed someone elses defragger on my windows - nothing prevent me)

    If anything the widespread use of PCs has been because we had someone who made it easy on the "BELOW average person". Thats the key to this whole issue, the majority of consumers want to plug it in and go. They don't want to have to download a web browser, an email program, or even a word processor.

    Wordpad has been in windows forever, and do people complain about it? It does 90% of what most people could ever want! Should windows be without tcp/ip support? After all the story goes that some poor third party company is obviously being prevented from thriving because TCP/IP is in the operating system.

    What utter bullshit. They can include any software they want in their operating system. It does not prevent me from using WHAT I WANT to use.

    So who decides what is acceptable for them to bundle in their operating system??? WHO? You want the government to do it?

    Lets see... pick what can and cannot be in an operating system (optional install or not - they put it on the CD)

    1. sound card support
    2. video driver support
    3. cd rom support
    4. dvd player support
    5. avi support
    6. mp3 support
    7. mouse support
    8. basic networking
    9. TCP/IP
    10. DIAL UP
    11. DSL/Cable support?
    12. Word processing (ie word pad)
    13. Word processing (ie something like WORD)
    14. Database support (I would love at least a standard one, something I can use without having to buy ACCESS)
    15. Browser (internet/intranet)
    16. Email program
    17. FTP program (via a browser interface)
    18. Game support via specialty drivers
    19. Disk utilities
    20. Advanced disk utilities
    21. PC Security services
    22. encryption
    23. Software to customize the operating system
    24. auto matic update process
    25. uninstall programs
    26. support for the disabled (try and remove it - they couldn't even if they wanted to... thats what happens when governments decide what you must have and must not have!!!!!)
    27. pretty backgrounds
    28. themes
    29. cd burning software
    30. file management software(explorer - command line should be all they need eh?)

    Come on, pick. I bet you can't get an agreement on all of them, hell 90% would be tough. So what to do? Tell them none of it? Would you buy an operating system that could not do half of whats listed? How about only one fourth???

    The point is, you do have a choice in operating systems. You can run linux or windows on your PC. You can even step back and run dos or desqview. You can even run OS/2. So if its such a heartache then why don't do it? Hell, its only apple that forces people to run their stuff, they run competitors on their hardware and software platforms out of business... but I guess thats okay, because only 5% suffer from it :)
  • by Zeinfeld (263942) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @09:13AM (#227714) Homepage
    I get more than a little fed up when Microsofts competitors complain about competition and using tactics they use themselves.

    Netscape whined about Microsoft pushing them out of the browser business by giving away free software. But that is exactly the way the Netscape pushed Spyglass out of the same market. Netscape claimed to be charging for the browser but gave away as many copies as they could to seed the market.

    Complaints about dotnet and hailstorm have to be considered in the same light. Sun made an attempt to gain a stranglehold over the development of computing languages. Java is the only 'standard' I know of where one manufacturer has a veto over the languages development.

    All in all it reminds me of the Republicans complaints about Clinton's bribe taking while all the time taking even bigger bribes themselves from the tobacco lobby, etc. etc. etc etc.

  • "I don't know of any businesses that have rolled out Windows XP"

    No kidding? Isn't it surprising that no businesses have rolled out a product that's not scheduled to release until 5 months from now?

    "nor do I know of any that have done a serious desktop rollout of Windows 2000, for that matter"

    So what am I doing working on a project to roll out Win2K to over 30,000 users? Many other companies are doing the same thing. They're mostly all still in the planning stages though, since it's a very big job to convert your whole infrastructure.

    Don't get me wrong, I think Microsoft are pure evil too. However, there's no reason to resort to misinformation.

  • by reposter (450888) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @09:08AM (#227807)
    Believe it or not Microsoft has got to actually SELL copies of Windows XP. If Windows XP is chuck full of stupid "features" that are actually disincentives to the upgrade then people will stick with what they have. This is nearly as dangerous for Microsoft as if the user had switched to Linux. Remember, Microsoft's biggest competitor isn't Corel, or Oracle, or IBM, or even the amorphous "Linux," Micrsoft's biggest competitor is previous versions of their own software.

    Even worse issues like games and compatibility with work also make it more likely that people will stick with what they have. I don't know of any businesses that have rolled out Windows XP (nor do I know of any that have done a serious desktop rollout of Windows 2000, for that matter). They should be making their operating system as attractive to buyers as they possibly can. Instead they are lining up an initiative to treat their customers as copyright breaking thieves. Things like WMA and the new copy protection scheme aren't likely to entire current Windows users to this new OS.

    Meanwhile Linux will continue to grow. naysayers have been predicting its imminent demise since it's first arrival on the scene, and they have always been spectacularly wrong. The reason for this is simple, Linux is too darned useful. It's price tag is a siren song for hackers and entrepreneurs everywhere, and the cost of maintaining the infrastructure that keeps Linux alive is negligible. Microsoft can't bankrupt Linux, it can't buy Linux, and it can't intimidate enough Linuxers to make a difference.

    This doesn't make Linux better than Windows. I personally don't think that Linux is ready for the desktop, for example. But it does guarantee that Linux will keep growing, and that it will continue to become a more viable alternative every day. If Microsoft continues to misuse their customers they will someday find that most of them are jumping ship.

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