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Dan Gillmor on WinXP 327

Posted by Hemos
from the stop-me-before-i-monopolize-again dept.
A reader writes:There's a new column from Dan Gillmor on SiliconValley.com about Windows XP. The column calls for an injunction stopping the shipping of WinXP. Dan's got a well thought out list of reasons why and how it would work."
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Dan Gillmor on WinXP

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  • Let Microsoft spend all that cash on their uber-marketing campain. Then pass the injuction. :-)
  • Doesn't Dan Gillmor look like the father from Different Strokes. Nice to see he's doing something useful after all these years.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Some of us actually LIKE using it. Don't get me wrong, I can think of a half dozen better OS's than Windows, technically speaking. But as I am FORCED to use Windows for work during the day, Windows XP is -- bar none -- the best Windows OS. I've been using XP since beta 2, now at RC2. It's crashed perhaps 3 times, and I use it non-stop during the day. I rarely have to reboot it.

    Posting anonymously so that I don't feel the WRATH. (Just pretend you see the +2 Karma points.)
  • by Gingko (195226) on Friday August 03, 2001 @11:24AM (#2113077)
    I don't want to come across as one of the "everything /. posts about MS is biased" crowd, so I won't comment on the decision to post this. However, some of the points in the article made me laugh.

    Microsoft has added ''code-signing'' measures -- verification, supposedly, that downloads will be safe -- that could scare customers away from using software that competes with Microsoft's offerings.

    How do you spell FUD? This is just silly. Microsoft have added code-signing (which I thought had been around a while) - which they could use to scare people away? How? I suppose they could do something by only allowing MS code to get signed or something, but that's pretty damn unlikely. The idea is that you can be certain where the code has come from, and then it is up to you to decide whether you trust it. Microsoft add *no* commentary on whether they think you should trust it or not, and to assume they will do is just paranoia.

    Microsoft removed the Java environment from XP, thereby breaking thousands of Web sites that use Java. XP customers will face endless downloads to replace the functionality they'd come to expect.

    While I'd rather the JVM was still in XP (but I hadn't noticed it was gone, will check that tonight when I get home), I don't feel any anger towards Microsoft for removing it. They have a competing platform, in .NET. Their attempts to do something with Java, rightly or wrongly, resulted in them getting their wrists slapped. No-one at MS that I've talked to really cares that much about Java. So why should they include it?

    Microsoft is bundling all kinds of services into XP in ways that block competition, from photography software to video/audio playback. If customers want to use other vendors' products they'll have to jump through Microsoft-designed hoops

    Slightly more questionable this. But I do like having ZIP folders natively as part of Explorer. But I've never had any problems with replacing functionality with the alternatives. I am an *informed* user. It is my business as a user to remain informed, and to make the choices that are right for me.

    I could go on, and the article makes points about the OEM market that do sound pretty worrying to me. But all this article does is regurgitate some of the common fears and rumours surrounding XP, without *any* real and substantial justification of this strange injunction idea. I agree with authentication of XP, since you can control what is being posted, and I don't think piracy is good. I haven't had to use my Passport once, and I've been using XP since Beta 1 (as in never - have never even typed in the password).

    I guess I just don't understand why people are making such a noise about fairly minor complaints. My cynical side is telling me that it's indicative of a jealousy of success, but I don't think that's always the case.

    Henry
    • How do you spell FUD? This is just silly. Microsoft have added code-signing (which I thought had been around a while) - which they could use to scare people away? How? I suppose they could do something by only allowing MS code to get signed or something, but that's pretty damn unlikely. The idea is that you can be certain where the code has come from, and then it is up to you to decide whether you trust it. Microsoft add *no* commentary on whether they think you should trust it or not, and to assume they will do is just paranoia.

      This isn't anything like verisign. Apparantly you haven't run into unsupported code, but I have on numerous drivers in Win2K. They pop up a nice message box with text to the effect of "Microsoft tests drivers to ensure compatability with Windows 2000. The driver you are installing has not been certified by Microsoft. Installing this driver may damage your Windows installation. Are you sure you want to proceed?" As I understand it, in WinXP, they'll be doing this with apps as well. The message's wording could certainly frighten someone away from using a competative product. In order for this to be at all a good thing, we have to trust that Microsoft will a: fairly evaluate both it's own and it's competitors' products, b: do so in a timely fashion for both and c: not lie, ever. I have every reason in the world not to trust them in the least, and so do you.

  • It seems to me like people are continuing to attack the Microsoft problem from the supply side, as if there was no demand for the Microsoft products. There are a few problems as I can see with the current approach to fixing the MS problem:
    (1) People use Microsoft because it is what they know, not because it is the only thing out on the market. The time investment required to learn to use software is a *real* investment. So, in my opinion, one of the keys to competing against Microsoft is to lower the cost (in time) of learning to use your product. In other words, make Linux "look and feel" exactly like Windows -- control panels and all -- and more people will probably switch. I know this is painful, but it works. Just ask Apple.
    (2) People use Microsoft because it is the only thing that they have used. In other words, Windows comes pre-installed on most new hardware. However, demand for Linux-based machines is so small that even devotees like Dell have been forced to drop the offering. Perhaps if we accomplished (1) we might fare better in combatting (2).
    (3) People use Microsoft Windows because other people use Microsoft Windows. This is known in economics as a network externality, and there is no way to battle against this with injunctions against future sales. Over 80% (perhaps more) of the world's computers currently run some windows-type OS, which has obvious effects on the number of software packages available and on people's propensity to buy. We would need a task force set up to sneak into people's homes to install other operating systems in order for injunctions to work.

    Anyway, the point is that the nature of software encourages monopolies, so there is really no way to get rid of them (especially not with injunctions). No matter what product it is, it will feature high barriers to entry, network externalities, etc... the real question is whether the monopoly hurts consumers, not whether the monopoly should exist. And if it does hurt consumers, then how do we fix the problem. An injunction presumes the former, and does nothing toward the latter.
    • The question (and one of the main points of antitrust law) is whether a monopolist should be allowed to use that monopoly to leverage a monopoly in another area of the market without any competition at all.

      The problem is that since much of the software market is subject to network externalities, having a monopoly in one market could potentially lead to one company swallowing the entire industry if they are allowed to continually leverage new monopolies from existing ones without any competition.

      The original monopoly was obtained because, at least to some extent, MS was competing on the basis of product features. If they are allowed to leverage this monopoly into other areas in an unrestricted way, there is no guarantee that the new monopoly products will have good quality or reasonable prices because there will have been little or no competition; yet, most of us will be forced to use them because of the so called network externalities. By that point, the cost of switching to a higher quality competetor will be outweighed by the cost of being incompatable with everyone else. This is already the case with operating systems and office suites.

      Many people are reluctant to punish Microsoft because, so far, they are percieved as a "benevolent" or "beneficial" monopolist in some ways (e.g., uniformity and homogeneity can make computing easier for many users), but if they are allowed to completely take over the industry, how long do you think they will remain benevolent and beneficial?

      As soon as they are allowed to take new "increasing returns" markets without any competition, you can be sure that quality will drop and prices will increase.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I think that the day that we allow the government to keep a perfectly safe product from shipping

    wow, didn't realize MS made a single perfectly safe product. let's see, there's the whole office suite, with macro viruses up the ass and sideways.
    then there's the win9x series of OS'es, which put you online in the goatse.cx position, ready for action.

    oh yeah, about outlook, i think it might be vunerable, but i forgot how exactly. i think i might have read it at Gibson's site..... something about viruses.

    then there is crap like code red, designed to go after MS servers.....

    MS has a really bad track record behind it. they have a large, intelligent computer geek base who hates them, as well as some of the crappiest security/coding in the business.

    i think the last quality MS product i used was scandisk.exe for DOS. now that was a nice little program.

  • The article is ridiculous. What the guy who wrote it does not tell the readers is:
    • Sun got an injunction to stop Microsoft distributing Java
    • The 'key features' for which Passport is required are the instant messaging service. It is kind of hard to use an IM without some sort of identity registration and AOL is keeping AIM closed
    • Kodak want to install a driver that directs all pictures taken in an open format to Kodak's own web site. Microsoft has told them that it does not meet their requirements for drivers that ship with the O/S. Kodak is using FUD to try to get its own way.
    • Code signing has been used in Active-X and Java downloads for five years. Microsoft has never attempted to use the scheme to exclude software vendors and is not actually a CA for code signing certificates.
    • The idea of smart-tags was that anyone could set up an annotation service. Hooking up to Encarta as a default seemed a good idea.
    • The finding of the appeals court was that Microsoft was a monopoly, the tying claim in the windows case that Gilmor claims several times was affirmed was in fact reversed.

    But who cares about facts when you are a silicon valley journalist and your readers will suck up anything thats anti-Microsoft even if it is utter lies.

    The guy sounds like he wants to be the Rush Limbaugh of the tech sector. I guess next we will be hearing how Microsoft own the media and negative views of microsoft can never be heard.

    • > Sun got an injunction to stop Microsoft distributing Java

      Ummmm, IIRC, the injunction was against distributing something and calling it Java that wasn't really Java. To me that means, that Microsoft certainly could have distributed a true Java that conformed to standards, and was indeed, "Java". But they chose not to conform to this particular standard that they didn't control. Don't forget that "Java" is a Registered Trademark, and while I may also believe that Sun should move Java to a standards body, for the moment they MUST aggressively defend a trademark, or lose it.

      IANAL, but IMHO Microsoft could have distributed Java with WinXP. It's just Microsoft-Embrace-Extend-Extinguish-and-call-it "Java" that they can't.
      • Ummmm, IIRC, the injunction was against distributing something and calling it Java that wasn't really Java

        The final settlement of the case was that Microsoft could continue to distribute the JVM with existing products for up to six years. However the question of whether Windows XP is a new version of an old product and thus covered or if it is a new product is arguable. Given Sun's previous behavior attempting to get an injuction against Microsoft releasing products despite a contract clause specifically denying that relief I don't see why people would expect Microsoft to do anything else.

        The settlement was not about naming alone, it also covered the code that Microsoft had written. What the settlement came down to is that Sun now has sole control over the future of Java. Microsoft has no say in the future of the language, nor does anyone in the 'open source' community. Why should any company be forced to distribute a closed proprietary system in the name of 'open standards'?

        The removal of Java from Windows XP is due soley to the lawsuit. The party that started the lawsuit is Sun, so blame Sun for the removal of the Java VM.

  • This has been said before and I'll say it again: Microsoft has been found guilty. They've been breaking the law and they are still breaking a law. This means that they should be punished.

    I am not really sure whether this MS break-up would do any good, but I think I would rather see WinXP delayed by the US goverment and MS forced to alter WinXP. I'm all for WinXP, as long as it doesn't have Product Activation and Passport and as long as I can choose whether I want to install WMP 8, MSN Messenger, MSIE during the actual installation of the OS. Although it would be "OK" if I could actually remove all these components after the installation without breaking anything.

    And don't start telling me that "Microsoft is a private company! Nobody has business telling MS how to make their products!" and all that BS. That statement would be correct if MS didn't break the law, which they did. At this point, the goverment HAS to do something to the way MS makes their products.

    I just hope they just won't sit on their asses and will actually DO SOMETHING, before WinXP gets out of the door...It was scheduled to go RTM when ? On 27th of August ? Little time left...
    • They can get an injuntion preventing the release of XP any time up till the October release date. It just gets a little harder to get one after the code goes to the OEMs. If I remember correctly the proposed release date to the public is October 25th.. The judge could rule on the 24th. that XP cannot be sold and all of those machines sitting at Best Buy waiting to be sold the next day will have to go back to the manufacturer to be re-imaged. It all depends on the judge and how willing he is to create a big ruckus.
  • What gives Microsoft and other companies like them their power isn't so much a monopoly as the fact that they take advantage of ignorance. Those of us who are somewhat knowledgable about computers can see the problems with Microsoft and their practices. However, the average Joe Blow doesn't know or care that there are better alternatives. They buy their computer and turn it on and use what they're given. They don't want to bother downloading or installing new stuff. They just want it to work.

    Microsoft and AOL know this and use this to their advantage. Thus, as long as Microsoft is the defacto OS, they can use the ignorance to their advantage. The normal customer doesn't realize what they're missing, and in most cases they don't really care. The savvy ones can always find ways around MS's control, but we're not the majority of Windows users. Only when the government steps in will MS be called into check, since the populous on whole has demonstrated a particular apathy to the situation.

    This whole issue with XP will demonstrate once and for all if our government really supports the people or not. If nothing is done and XP goes to market as is, it will be obvious that Congress is nothing more than pawns for the mega corporations like Microsoft and AOL Time Warner. This will be a sad day in America, for we will be witness to the beginnings of the coporate government culture so many writers have predicted.

  • They managed to escape the wrath of millions of users infected with yet another virus (SirCam or Code Red, it doesn't matter) even though it's clearly because of the numerous security holes found in MS products.. "it's not our fault people havn't applied patches 1-56, and feature packs 1-4, plus the "enhancement bonus mega super pack" that are clearly offered on our web site!" Now they've decided to include some new "features" in WinXP to make everyone's lives even better!

    I can just picture a strategy meeting deep inside MS headquarters ....

    Bill - "gentlemen, how can we rake in even more money for next year? I want to buy Russia and parts of Africa and turn them into a giant water-park for my kid"
    Lackey Marketing Yes Man - "ummmm how about we start deciding what's best for users, make them call us every time they add new hardware to their system or try to reinstall the OS, automatically redirect their web links to places WE want them to go, and remove stuff that people have come to expect in an OS to make their lives even harder!"
    Bill - "I like it!"

    They're never going to learn that they can't have it all. Every time someone trys to win at their game they just change the rules and hope no one notices. I have hopes that XP will more stable and easier to use than previous versions of windows, but all these new "enahncements" are making me think twice.

  • by Mello (21860) on Friday August 03, 2001 @11:29AM (#2122725)
    The Ideal Windows XP

    No Internet Explorer It stifles competition. People can download the browser of their choice.

    Java Plugin Loaded Windows XP should support Java out of the box so that people do not have to download it.

    No MSN Icon on the Desktop Windows XP is already one Microsoft Product. They cannot use it to 'push' other products they produce.

    AOL Icon on the Desktop AOL Time Warner should have a right to advertise on and windows desktop. After all they are not Microsoft.

    Passport should be removed If people want a crappy free e-mail account or Instant Messaging they should refer to the above AOL Icon on their desktop.

    Code-Signing is bad Microsoft should not be allowed to tell people what drivers/software have been proven to run under windows xp. They can find this out on their own.

    Windows Activation Microsoft has no right to attempt to stop piracy. After all piracy much like death is inevetible. Any attempts to prolong life.. err I mean stop piracy should be stopped.

    In conclusion I also feel that the word Microsoft should be removed from WindowsXP. After all it's just an operating system. Obviously the internet is much more important therefore WindowsXP should be labeled accordingly as AOL Time Warner Windows XP.
  • a way to beat anything that is thrown at it. I dont know if we will be able to ever beat them by using the legal system. They have to many lawyers searching for ways to stall things so that by the time they do get into court, the item is already obsolete. Look at the whole Netscape IE thing. By the time the court ruled they were a monopoly Netscape had shrunk to about 15% market share. And now the appeal has gone there way (somewhat) and the next judgement will not be heard for years. The legal system is to slow. We will beat them by making a better product. They seem to find ways to shoot themselvs in the foot, look at all of the bugs in IIS. I think the legal system is a waste when it comes to microsoft. XP will ship on time, I would bet on it. But we will have a better desktop OS in about a year or two (would be sooner if KDE and GNOME could work things out) and we already have a better, more stable server OS.
  • Let them release their software and maybe, just maybe, people will finally see through Microsoft's PR smoke screen and refuse to buy it. Or if they get it in a bundle with their new computer, refuse to use it because of all the hoops Microsoft makes them jump through (what, this new OS I bought won't let me trade MP3s? Who the hell do these Microsoft people think they are?!). Maybe this is wishful thinking, but I still hope that at some point consumers themselves will get tired of being herded like cattle and start making their own decisions. Damn, *this* would be a good time for a x86 port of MacOS X...
    • by Ozric (30691)
      That sounds fine, but it won't work. I hate to say it, but most people are really stupid. Have you ever talked to a layman about the problems with XP, and watched their eyes glaze over. No, people will buy PCs with XP and not know any better. They will all sign up on passport and that will be that. I fear that a law protecting the common public is in order here.

      We as the Tech savy should take it up and inform as many people as we can about XP and the evil that it is. But again, the public at large will eat it up. And the Linux freaks might just make matters worse. Remember most people still don't understand what the DOJ case is about.

    • That's a nice thought, and way down the road, it might happen. However, how many good companies that could have pushed innovation faster will be put out of business in the process? Society also changed eventually and pulled itself out of the dark ages. How much more advanced to you think we would be if we never had to deal with long periods during which innovation and progress are put down, though?

    • what, this new OS I bought won't let me trade MP3s?

      Uh ... what? Who ever said that? How could Microsoft even stop such a thing? I don't get it.

      (And for the record, I am using XP RC1, so I'd think I would know whether or not mp3-sharing has been blocked.) (Not that it's possible to block such a thing, short of disallowing the installation of sharing apps, which is also not possible.)

  • The argument that code signing is bad is entirely specious. I don't know how many times I've messed up my own machines by installing beta hardware drivers. Fortunately, I have the knowledge to fix it. My clients on the other hand call me :)

    All code signing does is warn the user (earlier versions actually blocked the install and I believe that can be set for enterprise use) of the potential consequences of their actions and recommend they check the vendors web site. Click install anyway and you're set to go. You can knock Windows compatibility testing all you want (slow, expensive, somewhat pointless come to mind) but when you see the garbage that many second and third tier hardware vendors produce without it its a long time coming.

    Real must have gotten used to Microsoft pushing Media Player by this point -- I doubt Photoshop is quaking at a souped up Microsoft Paint. In former years, we called the arduous hoops competitors had to jump through to compete against these powerhouses software installation.

    Dan Gillmor needs to stick with the key arguments (how online registration will be enforced, Java, Passport) and quit trying to pad his laundry list.

  • I am sick of businesses cluttering up the legal system with their petty squabbles.

    If there is an OS out there that is actually better than XP, let it fight it out in the marketplace. This is the USA after all.

    I hate microsoft products, but I use them all the time. This is because at this moment in the development of the information revolution, they are the best tools for the job.

    If there is a better alternative, I am sure American consumers will vote with their wallets as they always have done.

    Surely the last thing we need is for the lawyers($$$) to get involved ?

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I am sure American consumers will vote with their wallets as they always have done.

      The greatest trick the Devil ever did was to convince everyone he didn't even exist. The greatest scam the corporations have pulled off was to convince the consumers that they could actually effect the rise or fall of a major company by "voting with their wallets".

      The sad truth is that a) the better product doesn't necessarily win the competition and b) when a company grows big enough it doesn't need to pander its clients anymore and can dictate all the terms it wants instead (the largest companies can tell governments what to do!).

      • I find it highly amusing that any pro-Microsoft view on slashdot is instantly marked as 'troll'. They really cannot handle alternative viewpoints here, can they ?

        But on your point about the best product not winning, I think you need to look at it from another perspective. The product that succeeds in the marketplace is by definition the best product.

        I think this is where slashdot readers go wrong. They are so full of indignant moral outrage, they cannot see the fact that for most Americans, Microsoft make the best software.

        • The product that succeeds in the marketplace is by definition the best product.

          Bullshit.

          Take a look at the Billboard Hot 100. Would you seriously argue that this represents the best music available? Or even the best music being made today?

          Do you think that best-selling books, or highest-rated TV shows, represent the best work in these media? You beleive that "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" is the best television show airing in the USA today, and that the lastest Danielle Steel and Jackie Collins efforts are amoung the best works of the written word?

          Quality and popularity are completely independent variables.

          Microsoft got where they are by riding IBM's coat-tails, by clever business tricks, and industrial strength marketing. They've managed to make the quality of their product almost as irrelevant as the quality of a pair of Nike's is to a well-branded teenager.

          • Take a look at the Billboard Hot 100. Would you seriously argue that this represents the best music available? Or even the best music being made today?

            I agree completely - but at the same time, the distinction being drawn is between being the best product and being the best music. Quality and success are independent, yes, but the quality of a product - as a product - is measured in its success.
          • Quality and popularity are completely independent variables.

            They are definatley different, but so is quality and customer satisfaction. You can have the highest quality product in the world, but if it doesn't do what the customer wants, then it's useless to them.

            Microsoft got where they are by riding IBM's coat-tails, by clever business tricks, and industrial strength marketing.

            Microsoft used many tricks in the process of getting where they are now, but the biggest reason is that they gave users the features they want. A very high level of stability is an exelent feature in an OS, but most people will still choose a reasonably stable OS which does what they want it to do.

            Other OS's are beginning to compete with Windows in the features department, so Microsoft better work on their quality. They seem to be trying to address that problem by moving their consumer OS customers to XP which is based on the NT kernel. If Linux developers don't think there's anything they can learn from Windows, then Linux isn't likely to ever gain a lot of desktop market share. In the desktop market, quality and stability aren't enough.

    • The whole problem is that Microsoft aren't fighting on grounds of which OS is best. They're doing everything possible to avoid that, since they'd lose. The court cases are to prevent Microsoft from using unfair tactics to reinforce their monopoly.
    • The case isn't really about trying to help another OS establish itself in the market. Indeed, Microsoft has every right to have a monopoly position in any particular market. What they don't have the right to do is to use that monopoly position to aquire market share in another market. While the fact remains that MS has a desktop OS monopoly, they have the ability to prevent other companies from fighting it out in the marketplace, and from their claims to manufactorers that DRDOS wouldn't work with Windows to their refusal to license Windows95 to IBM unless IBM stopped putting their own OS on machines as well (with the actual phrase "who else are you going to go to? We're the only game in town." being used in one communication submitted as evidence during the trial) to using preditory pricing on their Internet browser and then bundling it as an included application in their os to the current efforts to include everything from firewall software to video editing software, that (using their desktop monopoly to prevent other companies from fighting it out in the marketplace) is exactly what they've done and continue to do.

      That's what the case is about, and why even an appeals court that has shown itself to be very pro-marketplace upheld the full verdict of guilty.

    • Sure we consumers could vote for/choose the better OS with our wallets, but then who's to say Microsoft won't just come along and buy up the competition (which they'll undoubtedly see as a threat) and dismantle it. Microsoft's got billions and billions of dollars at its disposal for such things.
  • Tried and denied (Score:3, Informative)

    by decesare (167184) on Friday August 03, 2001 @11:09AM (#2131425)

    According to the Register in this article [theregister.co.uk] from yesterday, the DOJ tried to get the case expedited for the purpose of getting said injunction, but was denied by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

  • If Microsoft is going to get told not to ship WinXP... This would be the perfect chance for Apple to release osX on x86 hardware. Something to think about Apple...
    • I'm astounded that Apple hasn't gone down that path. With the name recognition of "Apple" and the developer pool for *BSD, as well as commercial giants like Microsoft and Adobe, OS-X on the PC could definately compete. However, one would have to think that those hundreds of millions of dollars Microsoft invested in Apple came at a high cost....
      • I'm astounded that Apple hasn't gone down that path. With the name recognition of "Apple" and the developer pool for *BSD, as well as commercial giants like Microsoft and Adobe, OS-X on the PC could definately compete.

        And who would buy it? What programs would run on it?

        To be astounded at Apple's failure to act must be an exhausting condition. Apple has been sleeping at the wheel at least fifteen years. Even Steve Jobs couldn't think of anything to do with the company that was more innovative than pretty boxes designed for niche marketing to architects and hairdressers.

        The idea is utterly crackpot. Jobs has already failled to sell Nextstep on x86 once and almost ten years has gone by since. The sole value in the Apple O/S is that the software manufacturer controls the hardware. So the whole system is guaranteed to work together.

        As for the name recognition of Apple, don't be too sure that it has a good reputation outside the US. Resentment over Apple's past discriminatory pricing is still remembered. US Apple weenies might think the company the embodiment of good but I think of it as the company that wanted to charge me $3000 more for a computer because I lived in Europe.

  • Mcorsoft insists they are adding features to their OS simply because it's what users want. They are correct by that statement. Personally, I like Windows Media Player and IE. But I only like WMP for some formats, I use other programs (QuickTime, RealPlayer, and WinAmp) for most multimedia clips.

    What MS is failing to do is give te consumers ability to use a different program for in a lot of cases. Getting those other programs to be the default for the formats I want took hell.

    Apple has already provided QuickTime within OS-X, so MS could make the argument 'Why isn't Apple being tortured?' Because QuickTime will allow another program to use it's formats. If MS would recognize that, then MS would still be the pet peeve they are, just not on the audio/video front.

  • ...but personally, I could never support a court injunction preventing a company from shipping their product. Isn't this a little like Dmitri being arrested for the "innovation" that he did? I think that the day that we allow the government to keep a perfectly safe product from shipping is the day that we have finally undermined all our principles of capitalism and the free market.

    Intervening in Microsoft's business practices, while it may give the suffering Microserfs some kind of satisfaction, won't really solve anything, and it certainly sets a bad precedent. Personally, I don't see what everyone's complaining about. I use Linux on a daily basis, and I certainly have seen nothing that would drive me back into the waiting arms of M$. We have a great operating system, what is everyone so scared of M$ for?

    • ..but personally, I could never support a court injunction preventing a company from shipping their product. Isn't this a little like Dmitri being arrested for the "innovation" that he did? I think that the day that we allow the government to keep a perfectly safe product from shipping is the day that we have finally undermined all our principles of capitalism and the free market.

      The only problem with that is that in the findings of fact, it was found that Microsoft had abused their monopoly position. While it is not illegal to be a monopoly. It is illegal to abuse that power. The time that it takes for a court case to go from findings, to sentance, through all the appeals is just too long. If Microsoft is allowed to continue business as normal until the appeal process is over, any punishment given will be worthless. The punishment will fit the situation as it exists now, and will not be appropriate for the new sitution.
    • I think that the day that we allow the government to keep a perfectly safe product from shipping is the day that we have finally undermined all our principles of capitalism and the free market.

      Here's the fundamental joke in capitalism: in order to have a free market, the government MUST interfere. It sounds incredibly moronic, but it's one of those funny little paradoxes like how sometimes we have to make war to have peace.

      If you give companies complete and utter free reign over the market, they quickly do everything they can to squash all competition and then the free market goes away. You may think, "Well, those companies that do this are better than the competition and hence deserve control over the market." The problem with this reasoning is that once a monopoly is obtained, the company can leverage that power to keep competition down while offering an inferior product.

      We have seen this happen in the U.S. during the latter portion of the 19th century, and for this reason anti-trust laws were invented. If the government doesn't stop monopolies from acting unfairly we end up with a situation that is unfair to consumers as well as competitors. A monopoly by one business is just as bad (if not worse) than a government controlled situation. The free market will destroy itself given enough time and no governmental interference.

    • by erroneus (253617) on Friday August 03, 2001 @02:09PM (#2158963) Homepage
      ...but personally, I could never support a court injunction preventing a company from shipping their product. Isn't this a little like Dmitri being arrested for the "innovation" that he did? I think that the day that we allow the government to keep a perfectly safe product from shipping is the day that we have finally undermined all our principles of capitalism and the free market.

      Woah. HOLD ON A DAMNED MINUTE!!

      Fact: Microsoft has been found criminally GUILTY. Fact: Microsoft is attempting to release a product that Propogates the crime for which they were found guilty.

      These facts go WAY BEYOND the idealistic free market motivations. They have been found guilty and before sentence can be passed, they are continuing and even going beyond in those practices.

      Let's say, for example, a bank robber got caught, was tried and found guilty but was still out on bail before sentencing. While out, he commits another bank robbery. Most people would jump all over this story saying that he has no respect for the law or court systems, that he was out of control and beyond rehabilitiation. In short, they'd be crying out for "life without parole."

      Microsoft is continuing "business as usual" in spite of the fact that their product structure has been found criminal in nature. Corporations are looked at in many ways as a pegal person entity...except in criminal cases? The justice system cannot put a corporation in jail but there are other remedies. There is nothing inappropriate about seeking an injunction against FURTHER criminal acts except that it seems somewhat redundant!!

      What if I were selling illegal copies of MS software, was caught, tried and found guilty? Then while out on bail awaiting sentencing, I sold MORE illegal Microsoft CDs to cover my legal costs? That would be "business as usual" right? Who do these court people think they are!?!? Interfering with my right to do business like that?! The nerve of them!!

      Hello? Have I brought my point home yet? They were found criminally guilty and they persist in doing it by releasing yet ANOTHER operating system with the browser illegally tied with the operating system. They ought to be slapped with an injunction and then with contempt of court to boot!!

      Some of these people are freaking insane!!
      • Let's say, for example, a bank robber got caught, was tried and found guilty but was still out on bail before sentencing. While out, he commits another bank robbery. Most people would jump all over this story saying that he has no respect for the law or court systems, that he was out of control and beyond rehabilitiation. In short, they'd be crying out for "life without parole."

        And on top of that people would be bitching up a blue streak that the guy was out on bail in the first place.

        (Not like they let people out on bail during the time between a guilty verdict and sentencing anyway.)
    • ...but personally, I could never support an injunction against company dumping toxic waste into rivers and streams. Isn't this just like not giving those tree huggers the time of day in the mainstream media? The day we let uncle sam get in the way of ordinary chemical production is the day we've thrown out all our principles of capitalism and the free market.

      Meddling in ordinary business practives, while it might give some satisfaction to some poor folks who have to drink tap water, but it won't really solve anything, and it certainly sets a dangerous precedent. Personally, I don't see what they're complaining about. I buy premium bottled water, and I've seen nothing in the polution infested public water utility that'd make we want to stop. We've got lots of great clean bottled water brands at every store, so why's everyone so scared over a few chemicals?

      and yes, I know it was a troll, but I just couldn't resist....

  • by sg3000 (87992) <sg_public.mac@com> on Friday August 03, 2001 @11:29AM (#2135054)

    Just to save some time, I'm listing all the standard rebuttals that go with any Microsoft monopoly story. Please pick one:

    ( ) Oh, great, now every company is going to have to ask the government's permission before they add any new features

    ( ) Why does the government want to punish any company when they become successful? Sun, Netscape, Apple, Kodak, etc. are all just jealous of Microsoft's success

    ( ) If you don't like Windows, DON'T use it! It's not like their forcing you to use it

    ( ) I'm not a big Microsoft supporter or anything, but I like how they're giving me free stuff. Do we really want the government to force us to pay more for stuff Microsoft wants to give us for free?

    ( ) Oh, yeah, well Apple has a monopoly on PowerPC-based Macs as well. Try to buy a Mac without Apple's OS and see who REALLY has a monopoly

    And to save time for the moderators, here are the mod points: Moderation totals: Troll=1, Flamebait=1, Redundant=1

    On a completely unrelated note, remember the story that the LA Times reported back in 1998 where Microsoft "was secretly been planning a massive media campaign designed to influence state investigators by creating the appearance of a groundswell of public support for the company"? Every time I read the same tired arguments as above, I can't help but think about that story.

  • From MS's recent actions, it almost seems like MS would welcome an injunction against XP. MS can see that the Industry, which has hardly enthusiastically embraced W2K, is not ready for something new, especially something which provides so little to the customer over what W2K provides.

    I wonder if MS would like XP's delivery to move way out, and blame the courts for it.

    • Your use of "industry" needs to be broken into finer distinctions, IMO.

      The software industry, the hardware industry and the users. The software industry isn't enthusiastic about having more capabilities bundled into wXP since that's less that they get to provide. The hardware industry, at this particular point in time, would welcome anything that would help move hardware through the channels. The users would welcome more capability in their OS, bundling if you will, and a more reliable platform which wXP provides.

      So 2/3rds of the "industry" would not want wXP delayed. Those that see themselves as competitors to Microsoft and who spend so much time, it seems, bashing Microsoft (which is, face it, an easy target in some circles) rather than thinking about how they can improve their own offerings would want wXP delayed since it appears to be an excellent product.

      With my "user" hat firmly in place, I have no sympathy with the software industry trying to compete in court rather than in the marketplace.

  • by KingAdrock (115014) on Friday August 03, 2001 @10:58AM (#2141914) Journal
    Microsoft removed the Java environment from XP, thereby breaking thousands of Web sites that use Java. XP customers will face endless downloads to replace the functionality they'd come to expect.

    I may be wrong, (Trust me it wouldn't be the first time) but isn't the removal of Java from XP stem from a court settlement between Sun and Microsoft. I don't think the settlement explicetly made Microsoft remove it from the operating system, but instead didn't allow Microsoft to develop a Java compiler or products anymore. Why should they be expected in include the VM if they don't have any control over it.

    It will still be available for download. So while it may temporarily render sites using Java useless -- they aren't broken forever.
    • When they bundled their own technology with their OS, like IE, Windows Media Player, etc, everybody and their brother was crying that this was foul play and they shouldn't bundle their own products with the OS.

      MS has listened to those people and has removed their OWN JVM from the OS. Fair deal, right?

      I guess not. Now there is NO JVM bundled with the OS and it's again foul play? What do you want then? bundling/integration or unbundling/not integration?

      Java is not their tech. They can include whatever they please with their OS. Last time I checked, Sun isn't shipping their Solaris product with IE either.

      • There's a big difference between the two terms in my subject. Bundling IE with Windows is not a bad thing, since if it were merely bundled, it could be removed and replaced with an alternative. Co-mingling is what people hate - tying IE to the base OS so that it cannot be removed/replaced it what the whole antitrust battle is about.

        The reason their dropping Java is that they were prevented from extending it with propriatary calls and then incorporating it into the OS (as C# is/will be). Since they could co-opt it and control it to tie folks into Windows-only solutions, they're dropping it altogether.

        Sure they have a right to do this, but the reasoning for people complaining are not hypocritical.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      You're wrong.

      MS can still ship Java. They can still use Java.

      They just can't take Java, make changes to it so that it's incompatable with real Java, and continue to call it Java.
    • "Why should they be expected in include the VM if they don't have any control over it."

      So by extension, why should they include anything in the OS if they don't have control over it?

      I am sure they would love to have proprietary versions of TCP/IP, DNS, and SMTP, but at the moment they do not have any control over these things, and yet the OS still supports it.

      Why should a JVM be any different?
    • you are :) (Score:3, Insightful)

      Sun simply told Microsoft that Java would NOT be "embraced and extended", that their Java tools had to be compatible with the standards Sun set. Microsoft got pissy about not being able to make an MS Java that was only compatible with windows (forcing companies to block out other OSs or code more because most internet users are windows Users) and decided to come up with C# to kill Java. Suprised that all the Java programmers did not instantly flock to C# (after all it IS made by MS) they decided to take all Java support out of XP and force a large download for users that want Java. MS hopes this move will for webpage designers to use MS langauges rather than Java, thus accomplishign the same objective they had before....stop other OS users from using the web effectively.
      • by ergo98 (9391)

        Sun simply told Microsoft that Java would NOT be "embraced and extended", that their Java tools had to be compatible with the standards Sun set.

        The "standards" that Sun wouldn't submit to a standard board because they wanted to retain the right to change things behind the scenes and simultaneously come out with the new Sun version and the new version of the "standard" (which of course meant that Sun was guaranteed to be in the lead...at least hypothetically. Of course in reality the Microsoft JVM was superior).

        ...Suprised that all the Java programmers did not instantly flock to C#...they decided to take all Java support out of XP and force a large download for users that want Java..

        Cutting analysis, especially given that C# is not available in a released product yet and is only available for those willing to beta test Visual Studio.Net. In any case most Java programmers can easily program in C# (and vice versa): It's just another tool for programmers to use. It's especially funny in that Sun has been pushing users to do a "large download" and download the "superior" Sun JVM for ages.

        Java is hardly a standard and instead it's Sun's way of strangeholding the marketplace to try to sell more Solaris boxes. Of course in reality it has hardly turned out in their favour (I recently got a copy of JumpStart: What a POS! Does Sun not spend any money on R&D? Seriously this hodge-podge of poorly performing, quirky, completely non-integrated tools is an absolute travesty and is laughable compared to something like Visual Studio.net). The only guilty party for Java's removal is Sun and their injunction which had the specific intention of crippling Microsoft in the Java arena to allow Sun to become the "standard".

        • Re:you are :) (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          "Java is hardly a standard and instead it's Sun's way of strangeholding the marketplace to try to sell more Solaris boxes."

          Java has not been formally standardized, but specifications for the language and the JVM are freely available. It is not difficult to determine what is Java and what is not. MS changed Java in a couple of key ways. First, they added keywords. Second, they had their compilers put attibutes into class code that only their JVM understood. The JVM specification says that you can put such attributes into the class code, but they cannot affect the semantics of the object. When the class files are executed with the MS JVM, they behave one way (such as calling a COM object), while execution with another spec-compliant JVM (that doesn't understand MS' attributes) will behave in another. This violates the JVM specification, and is why Sun sued to make MS stop doing this.

          As for your comment on this being a way to make people buy more Sun boxes, is there anyone that had to buy a Sun product, let alone a Sun computer, in order to get the Sun JVM? Your comment makes absolutely no sense.

          "The only guilty party for Java's removal is Sun and their injunction which had the specific intention of crippling Microsoft in the Java arena to allow Sun to become the standard."

          Sun went to court to enforce their contract, and prevent MS from passing off their polluted version of Java as the real thing. This is what the courts are for, enforcement of contracts and law.

          Your comments lead me to believe that you are from an alternate universe, in which logic works exactly opposite of how you would expect.
        • "The "standards" that Sun wouldn't submit to a standard board because they wanted to retain the right to change things behind the scenes and simultaneously come out with the new Sun version and the new version of the "standard" (which of course meant that Sun was guaranteed to be in the lead...at least hypothetically."

          Java is the intellectual property of Sun. MS signed a contract with Sun. MS violated that contract (big surprise there huh?). Sun sued MS. The court ruled in favor of Sun. MS instead of developing a JVM that honored the intellectual property of SUN decided to take their ball and go home.

          The sad thing is that the SUN lawyers actually thought they were negotiating with human beings when they signed the contract. They should have known by then they were dealing with pond scum who could never be expected to actually honor any contract.
    • The reason Micro$oft removed Java from XP was because they weren't allowed to "extend" Java with thier own incompatible extensions. The court ruling would have make Microsoft support Sun's java implementation. Rather than support an open standard, they have decided to try and kill java. Thier strategy will probably work as well.
    • While I agree with the article's author that Microsoft's motives are specifically to damage Java's hold on the market, I agree with your underlying point that they have every right *not* to include anything they don't care to include. I think I remember correctly, however, that the Sun-Microsoft settlement only required that any MS Java runtime system conform to the definitions Sun has set out, something MS's early attempts did not do. MS has chosen to produce such a Java Runtime for the last couple years, and has now chosen to stop doing so.

      While this is, of course, designed to harm Java, I rather agree with the position of... umm... maybe it was Stallman, but I forget exactly, that this could actually be good for Java if machine makers take the very reasonable step of installing Sun's JRE for Windows with all of their units. It would be a nice value add (like including all of the other stuff that's often included on PCs these days) that would cost nothing and actually be more useful to their customers than the 3 different photo-album programs typically included on a new retail machine. This way, every shipment of XP would either a: come with a standardized Java runtime from Sun or b: be purchaced by someone comfortable installing or upgrading an OS, who won't mind downloading it herself.

      • they have every right *not* to include anything they don't care to include

        Okay - and then doesn't that mean Compaq has every right to NOT include MSN icons on its desktops and only AOLs? They tried. But Microsoft saw a threat and stomped on it with a last minute licensing change requiring no online service icons on the desktop or MSN had to be included if ANY other service's icon was.. See how unfair it can be when you're NOT the Monopoly? I say shut them down - its sucks, yes and it gives you a dirty feeling, but he's right - Microsoft only understands the use of force and its the only way to get them to behave.

    • by cqnn (137172)
      Java may not be in the shipping version (beta)
      of Windows XP. But it is one of the first
      choices of things to install for IE from
      Windows Update.

      Also, as I understand, if IE detects a page that
      has Java, and has not already installed support,
      it can prompt the user to install it at that time.
      Just like support for flash, shockwave, and other
      plugin technologies works. So I don't see this
      breaking Java functionality for the Web.

      Where this might have an impact is for Java
      applications that are written in-house, or
      to be run without the browser. In which case
      the user is probably better off trying to install
      the latest compliant Java engine anyway.

    • I may be wrong, (Trust me it wouldn't be the first time) but isn't the removal of Java from XP stem from a court settlement between Sun and Microsoft. I don't think the settlement explicetly made Microsoft remove it from the operating system, but instead didn't allow Microsoft to develop a Java compiler or products anymore. Why should they be expected in include the VM if they don't have any control over it.
      I believe the terms were that the java products could not contain any Microsoft specific extenstions. Making them comply with SUN's java specifications, and being Microsoft they went back shiping an older version of their JVM that only supports JDK 1.0.4 if I remember correctly. Of course my own recollections my be totally fubar also!

      - subsolar

  • First:
    Microsoft removed the Java environment from XP, thereby breaking thousands of Web sites that use Java. XP customers will face endless downloads to replace the functionality they'd come to expect.

    Then: Microsoft is bundling all kinds of services into XP in ways that block competition, from photography software to video/audio playback. If customers want to use other vendors' products they'll have to jump through Microsoft-designed hoops.

    I see a contradiction here: first they remove some tech 'people have come to expect', which hurts the customer and then second: Microsoft bundles all kinds of tech, which seems to hurt the competition. So which one will it be, Dan: 1) remove it or 2) include it.

    Or, Dan, are you afraid XP will be so rocksolid, users will never be asking for another Desktop OS again, not from any vendor/coder-group ?

    • Well... a Java implementation is typically supplied by the operating system vendor to allow the operating system to run Java software. It's OS functionality. Instant message software and the like are applications specifically designed to compete with other companies' applications. One allows you to run more software and the other one makes you less likely to use other vendors' software. Different.

  • With all this licensing based on hardware stuff in XP, I am left to wonder, why not just go to a hardware based key that, in the event of it being broken, can be flash upgraded as well? Plug it into the USB/serial/paralled port. Other companies have been doing this for quite some time.
  • For the most part, I'm an M$ whore. I actually paid money to be in the XP preview program, and I must say this $10 appraising fee was well spent -- there's no way I could spend even $100 for an "upgrade" to this piece of crap.

    The minor enhancements they made to the shell as it currently works are nice, but I could do without the more dramatic changes.
  • by Zeinfeld (263942) on Friday August 03, 2001 @01:07PM (#2158630) Homepage
    A while back Kitty Kelley wrote a biography of Nancy Reagan creating a new litterary genre, the nasty-ography. The people in the media who thought Reagan a complete fool loved the book and it pretty much reversed the growing Reagan myth for a while until the dope's Altzheimer's disease became public.

    Then Kelley tried to repeat the trick and wrote a book about the UK Royal familly, oh dear. The problem was not that people did not want to hear bad things about the Royals, quite the contrary, after the soap opera divorces, familly feuds etc. the monarchy had become very unpopular. But Kelley's book made a whole series of unsubstantiated tabloid rumours that the Buck house PR team could explode with little difficulty. At the very time when the country was sickened by their reaction to Princess Diana's death the Kitty Kelley nasty-ography brought them undeserved sympathy.

    I think that the Gillmore article and others like it are likely to cause the same reaction. It is very noticable that the Slashcrew have got seriously out of sync with the readership on this one. Most of the posts are saying 'why give us this ill informed made up crap?".

    After all if we are going to start attacking MSFT on the basis of made up stuff it might as well be good made up stuff.

  • Here's an idea! (Score:4, Flamebait)

    by epukinsk (120536) on Friday August 03, 2001 @01:29PM (#2158712) Homepage Journal
    So Mr. Gates doesn't like these structural remedies? Perhaps he'd prefer a Mitnick-style behavioral remedy.

    Gates and his descendant Mr. Ballamer are never again to run a technology company in any way, shape, or form. No CEO, no "head technologist", no shareholder, no V.P., no nothing. They've demonstrated that at the helm of a technology company they have no restraint. They will break the law every time.

    Mitnick can't use a computer, they can't run a business. Fair is fair.

    -Erik
  • Taken from an article [cnet.com] strangely linked to by someone trying to criticize Microsoft's removal of Java:

    In a news conference, Sun executives said they were able to use Microsoft as a distribution tool to get Java into the hands of users when the software was in its infancy. Then Sun's lawsuit froze Microsoft's plans to modify Java for its own benefit, and Java became established in the meantime.

    "I don't think we gave away anything. They're writing a check for $20 million. They're continuing to distribute an outdated version of the technology, but they can't use it for .Net," Sueltz said. "All in all, it's a very good day for Sun."

    Sounds like Sun got exactly what they wanted, and it looks like just another attack on Microsoft because they're successful. They shouldn't include IE and should force users to do a big download to get a browser, but at the same time they should include Java (despite being restricted to using an ancient version, a "right" which Sun can revoke at any time) to save the user from doing a download. Wahhh!

  • So, now MS is being put into a position where it will have to beat a possible injunction by pushing XP out the door even faster. Never mind all of the anti-competitive reasons, my bigger concern is the open access to the raw TCP/IP stack, as discussed by Robert Cringely [pbs.org].

    Now, not only are these machines going to have an easily compromised stack, they are going to be even more buggy and vulnerable. The US most likely would not act fast enough to prevent this.

    IMHO, anti-competitive reasons will not prevent the release of XP. However, preventing its release on the grounds that it is of danger to the consumer sounds a lot more feasible.
  • by Lethyos (408045) on Friday August 03, 2001 @01:53PM (#2158853) Journal
    Preventing the release of WindowsXP will not help to "turn the tides" against Microsoft. I think the majority of Windows users, frustrated over Microsoft's poor quality or not, will find contempt for an injunction against XP's release. I think that it would be best to let Microsoft push the envelope as far as they can in this case until the consumers get absolutely fed up on their own accord. Don't tell them they're fed up. People will reject MS trash when they want to and in due time.

  • Horse* theHorse = new Horse(theStory);
    Kill(theHorse);
    while (theHorse.IsDead())
    {
    Post(theHorse.GetStory());
    Beat(theHorse);
    }

  • cuz, cuz... then the article would have some standing in that place we call reality.

    I honestly think that if someone posted that article here as a comment it would have merit b/c it's just a comment. Saying MS is bad/evil is fun/great/perhaps even accurate. Saying what they should and shouldn't do is also good for debate but imploring the Gov't to penalize a business....All you people saying /. should be journalistically responsible should point your flame throwers at sivalley.com

    Think about it, you ask the gov't today to tell MS it can't release an OS really means, "Write a law so MS can't do X (assuming there isn't one on the books already." Does MS violate any privacy laws with XP? I dunno and after having read the article I still dont! MS is possibly guilty of being immoral for XP (I say possibly cuz I haven't touched WinXP) but being criminally liable to the point of injuction? Either tell me why or STFU.
  • by Andrewkov (140579)
    One question, what the hell does the XP mean?

    I'm serious, and please excuse my ignorance!

  • FUDmeister (Score:3, Informative)

    by szcx (81006) on Friday August 03, 2001 @03:34PM (#2159512)
    Microsoft removed the Java environment from XP, thereby breaking thousands of Web sites that use Java. XP customers will face endless downloads to replace the functionality they'd come to expect.
    Way to go, FUDslinger.

    It's not installed by default, but it is featured prominently on the Windows Update [slashdot.org] page. Here's the description Microsoft has for it;

    Microsoft Virtual Machine
    Download size: 5.2 MB
    You have probably heard a lot about Java and all the cool things it can do on the Web. The Microsoft Virtual Machine (Microsoft VM) is what you need to be able to see and interact with all those cool Java applets. It's a special place for the applets to run where they won't interfere with the rest of your system.

    • I do. My mom doesn't know it exists. My dad is pretty sure it's just a myth. My older brother does. My little brother doesn't. My professors got frustrated with the .005k/sec download rates and don't even bother. The head of my school's computer center couldn't be bothered to. My other roommate does. My neighbour couldn't figure out how to work the damn thing.

      Common strain among all of us who do? We're *NOT* in Microsoft's target market for XP, and are the kinds of people who are still using Win95 if we can get away with it, and paid for the triple-digit-price-tag-driver-update that Win98 is if we happened to have a use for USB.

      Whatever anyone thinks morally about WinXP including java support, I see this more as an issue of getting "iMacs have no floppy drives" style bad press (albeit in a much smaller form). I have a feeling lots of people who end up using XP at work will notice their stock tickers and AIM QuickBuddy and all that don't work when they are using Windows XP and from that alone will by wary of making the upgrade.
  • Microsoft pretended to allow more competition on the desktop by saying -- now that Internet Explorer is totally integrated into the operating system and has an 80-plus percent market share -- that PC makers could remove the IE icon, but not the software code.

    How does having code on a machine that doesn't do anything call for an injunction. If MS removes the icons, good enough. Otherwise we end up with courts trying to determine what libraries should be included, that's just taking things too far.

    With transcendant hypocrisy, Microsoft complained about the damage to consumer choice when AOL said it would pay Compaq to put AOL only on Compaq desktops. Then Microsoft maintained its requirement, which flies in the face of supposed desktop flexibility, that PC makers give its Microsoft Network at least equal billing with any other online services.

    I'll agree that it's somewhat hypocritic of Microsoft to be the ones saying it, and requiring MSN isn't justified. However, I do thing that AOL making exclusive contracts like this is bad for consumuer choice, and in general a bad thing.

    Microsoft removed the Java environment from XP, thereby breaking thousands of Web sites that use Java. XP customers will face endless downloads to replace the functionality they'd come to expect.

    People bitch when Microsoft integrates things, and people bitch when they don't. I think not including Java has something to do with MS's settlement with SUN, but I don't know the details.

    Microsoft will force XP users to sign up for its Passport authentication system if they want to use key XP features. This is a dagger aimed at all kinds of other businesses, and despite Microsoft's claims to the contrary it represents a potentially massive threat to customers' security and privacy.

    Back to people bitching about MS integrating things. If you don't want to use the features that require Passport, don't use them. There's features in almost every software package you buy that you won't use. If you want the features, but don't want to give MS that much personal information, then you can choose to lie like other people do. Your choice.

    Microsoft is bundling all kinds of services into XP in ways that block competition, from photography software to video/audio playback. If customers want to use other vendors' products they'll have to jump through Microsoft-designed hoops.

    So what should MS be allowed to put into an OS. Is a TCP/IP stack ok? They didn't have one in Windows 3.0. Would consumers really be better off if they hadden't added one? How about adding hooks for Audio, and 3D video? How about a text editors, simple email, a calculator, disk defragmentor? Should everyone have to purchase everything seperately. If consumers only had to pay and average of $10 each for the things they get for free in Windows (just the ones most people use), how much would it cost them? It's also just not cost effective for Microsoft to make dozens of Windows distributions so that you can just buy the features you want. The courts didn't determine that MS was overcharging consumers. Let Microsoft continue to add the things people want to Windows. If allows MS to update their OS as the market changes, and it's good for consumers.

    Microsoft has added ''code-signing'' measures -- verification, supposedly, that downloads will be safe -- that could scare customers away from using software that competes with Microsoft's offerings.

    People bitch about MS's lack of security, and then they bitch when they try and do something about it. People downloading malicious code and running it is a serious problem, and code-signing is a way of warning people. Yes it can possibly have a detremental effect on some developers. There's almost nothing Microsoft can do that won't have a detremental effect on some developers.

    Windows XP contains harsh controls on users to prevent unauthorized copying of the software. If you reinstall the OS after upgrading your hardware in ways that Microsoft considers questionable, you'll need Microsoft's permission.

    I can understand that some people find these controls irritating and offensive, but how do they really hurt anyone. You've got a reasonable period of time after you load the OS before it becomes a problem (30 days maybe). SO people testing and reviewing hardware shouldn't be effected. You can upgrade a couple parts without a problem, and if you're going to upgrade more you just need to revalidate your license. How does this really hurt anyone who isn't trying to pirate the OS.

    If you haven't guessed, I think MS should be allowed to add new software to their OS including IE. I don't think they should be able to enter exclusive marketing agreements which tie Windows licening to other products like MSN and Office. Obviously there's a thin line there. I don't want to be forced into a subscription that includes MSN, Office, and Windows. But I don't want to have to buy everthing I need to use my computer a la carte either. Where would I draw the line? There isn't a very large market for Systems without a web browser, test editor, or even and IP stack. These are quickly becomming essential features in an OS distribution, and don't add significant cost to the OS. Let MS bundle / integrate them. Most home users don't need a full fledged office suite and it would significantly increase the cost of the OS. MSN also would greatly increase the cost of the OS, and most people really don't need the junk it offers, they just want an internet connection. Keep it seperate. This is a hard thing for a court to determine, which is why the courts should keep out of these thing unless there is clearly harm to consumers.
  • It's interesting that Microsoft chose to use Red Rider's song "Lunatic Fringe" to promote Windows XP on television. The Jargon File defines "Lunatic Fringe" as "Customers who can be relied upon to accept release 1 versions of software."

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