Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Microsoft

AOL Time Warner Files Anti-Trust Suit against MS 949

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the who-didn't-see-that-coming dept.
ChazeFroy writes "This article at the Washington Post says that AOL Time Warner has filed a suit against Microsoft seeking damages from anti-competitive practices over the Netscape browser." Can't say I'm surprised.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

AOL Time Warner Files Anti-Trust Suit against MS

Comments Filter:
  • by zhar (533174)
    Is it just me or does the world's largest media company filing against the world's largest software company seem just a bit hipocritical?
  • by FatAlb3rt (533682) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:35PM (#2884138) Homepage
    Here. [cnn.com]

  • http://biz.yahoo.com/rb/020122/business_tech_aol_m icrosoft_dc_2.html
  • by DrEmilioLazardo (517119) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:37PM (#2884155)
    ...with the lawsuit(s) that the states are still pursuing against Microsoft? I thought that part of the reason for the states v. MS was these type of problems (MS trying to squeeze out Netscape). And even though AOL has already had their input on the matter, I guess they still have the right to sue. Seems odd that they'd just now jump on the bandwagon, and that they could have been on it all along...
    • You have to remember that at one point they used to have an agreement with respect to AOL in the OS. Now that the deal is gone, I don't think we'll be seeing AOL holding back against Microsoft much at all.
    • Think about it a second. Can you say "Slam dunk!"

      MS already has a judgement against them on the basis of this case - it's almost a matter of - How much can we take ol' Billy Boy for?

      I kinda like it.
    • by ptrourke (529610) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:58PM (#2884372) Homepage

      I thought that part of the reason for the states v. MS was these type of problems (MS trying to squeeze out Netscape). And even though AOL has already had their input on the matter, I guess they still have the right to sue. Seems odd that they'd just now jump on the bandwagon, and that they could have been on it all along.

      Not odd at all.

      1. The US and the states are acting in the public interest, not in Netscape's.
      2. Despite this, if the US and the states had come up with a good remedy, that might have been enough for AOL/TW.
      3. AOL/TW sits back and waits to see what happens, letting the US and the states spend all the money.
      4. When they get the decision they want, but don't get the remedy they want, they bring suit in their own interests, using the existing judgment to reduce the amount of resources they have to dedicate to the suit, while putting themselves in the driver's seat with regard to the ultimate remedy.

      Makes perfect sense to me.

  • Darn it (Score:4, Funny)

    by NiftyNews (537829) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:37PM (#2884156) Homepage
    Man, this is a perfect time to buy stock in that Lawyers Mutual Fund.

    If such a fund did exist, it would be skyrocketing every day of the week. Hey Vanguard, you listening?
    • by bwt (68845)
      Alas, tt is illegal for law firms to sell stock.

      But law firms do go through the ups and downs of the economy, and many have had layoffs recently. Some types of law correlate with the economy, but some run backwards to what everybody else is doing.

      During recessions, corporate law departments get decimated (many fewer start-ups), bankruptcy departments surge, criminal law goes up some (the unemployed are restless), employment law departements do well (planning layoffs and the lawsuits they cause) and litigation goes down (less total investment in companies means fewer disputes, and companies in the red aren't as eager to sue other companies).

      It actually would be a good time to buy now, because the economy has bottomed out so "buy low, sell high" means to buy now.
  • isn't it impossible to be triad (sp?) for the same crime twice? I thought Netscape already filed an anti-trust suit for the same reason years ago and lost.

    --
    Garett
    • You are confusing criminal and civil law.

      All of these cases are civil cases.

      • by ajakk (29927) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:43PM (#2884217) Homepage
        Actually, you can't be tried on the same case twice in civil law
        either. However, the difference between civil law and criminal law
        is that in civil law, the plaintiff can be anyone, while in criminal law,
        only the government can bring the case.

        Who is bringing the suit does matter.
    • You can be tried for a crime which you have been accused of committing against after you were last tried for it. If you've been found innocent of beating someone up, you can't then go beat the person up, and escape trial because of having been tried for it before. It's a different crime if there are new events involved, and MicroSoft has done things in the past few years.
  • The corporate wars have begun. AOL just fired the first shot across the bow.

    No good will come of this.
    • Actually, MS fired the first shot by forcing IE upon Windows users.
    • by ajs (35943) <ajs@ a j s . com> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:47PM (#2884271) Homepage Journal
      First shot?! You must be joking. The Corporate wars have been raging since the early 1900s. Cars were probably the largest example pre-1960s, but we've seen this in agricultural products, chain stores, computer manufacturers (DEC vs IBM comes to mind), movie studios (the wars between which have become movies themselves), etc, etc.

      This is the most recent volly in the long-standing AOL/MS fight which has affected the Windows desktop, AOL's bundling, MSN's partnerships, Netscape's buy-out and many other skirmishes.
  • Press Release (Score:5, Redundant)

    by alacqua (535697) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:38PM (#2884169) Homepage
    Damn, you submitted faster than I did. Anyway, here's the press release. [reuters.com] I like the part about treble damages.
  • Quandry! (Score:5, Funny)

    by KFury (19522) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:38PM (#2884170) Homepage
    Can't.. decide! ... Who's more... evil!

    Can we axe them both, and start over with Yahoo!?
  • ...and not the last. As far as I know, this is the first direct confrontation in which the two media giants are not merely competeing with each other, but actually battling with each other. I imagine that these kind of battles will become more and more frequent, MS and AOLTW constantly suing each other.
  • ...film at 11.

    Personally, AOL-TW scares me more than Microsoft; they've got that whole scary media empire thing going in addition to a large army of idiot users, whereas Microsoft only has a much smaller number of MCSEs (aka, professional dummies) to answer back with.

    • by eyez (119632) <eyez@babblicaCOUGAR.net minus cat> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:55PM (#2884345) Homepage
      Personally, AOL-TW scares me more than Microsoft; they've got that whole scary media empire thing going in addition to a large army of idiot users, whereas Microsoft only has a much smaller number of MCSEs (aka, professional dummies) to answer back with.


      Not me. Microsoft and AOL-TW have one fundamental difference- AOLTW isn't afraid to play fair. Remember that there is nothing /REALLY/ wrong with having a monopoly- Only abusing the power that having one gives you.


      AOLTW has their hands dipped in just about everything. Music, TV, Movies, Magzines, Internet, All kinds of entertainment... But there's not a single market in which they hold a 90% dominance. They Play fair, and the battles that their products win, they win based on the customer view of superiority. Microsoft plays off it's 90% dominance, and tries to destroy all competition.

      • Nah, neither is holy. The only difference is that Microsoft's management is dangerously meglomaniacle. They often are in instances where they crush their competition just for the sake of an insignifigant amount of security.

        For example, they probably would have the same browser market share they do now had they not integrated IE into the OS and done all that stupid OEM stuff that they did, but Bill has a god complex to feed.

        AOL/TW does seem to be the more mentally sound of the two, but you wouldn't see me crying if the top execs of either were to find themselves in front of a firing squad.

  • Big mistake (Score:2, Interesting)

    by aridhol (112307)
    Before they try to have Microsoft remove IE from the default install, AOL will have to improve Netscape. Otherwise, people will just re-install IE separately, and show that they think IE is better on its own merits, not just because Microsoft is pushing it.
    • Re:Big mistake (Score:2, Insightful)

      by xZAQx (472674)
      By "better" you mean of course "used to it" right?
      IE is not better than Mozilla/Netscape. Ok, actually it's better than netscape 'cuz Netscape sucks.
      But Mozilla trashes IE (mouse gestures, tabbed browsing...etc).

      How come netscape 6 is so far from the beaten path of the Dragon [mozilla.org]?
  • poll idea! (Score:2, Funny)

    by jeffy124 (453342)
    The articles I've seen on this state that Netscape is seeking unspecified damages from MS. Idea for a /. poll:

    How much should Microsoft pay Netscape in damages?
    - $0-$99,999
    - $100,000-$999,999
    - $1,000,000-$9,999,999
    - Bill Gates's Estate
    - CowboyNeal's Life Savings
  • by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:41PM (#2884198) Homepage
    This is like watching your two least favorite football teams play in the Superbowl. You know a lot is at stake, but you can't bring yourself to care.

    I liked this quote: AOL executive John Buckley noted the court ruling and said, "This action is an attempt to get justice in this matter."

    And by "justice", he means "money".

    -B
    • by blonde rser (253047) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:31PM (#2884623) Homepage
      I don't mean to jump on you specifically but I see this analogy to law thrown around a lot and it makes me nervous. More and more people are looking at court battles as sporting competitions; consider the make up of both teams, weigh advantages and disadvantages of each, consider how similar you are with each, and hope the team you like more wins.

      This is a fine for sports but in a court case only the laws at hand should be considered. Otherwise, in practise, only nice and likable people have access to the law. Or in other words being mean and unlikable becomes illegal because you will always lose in court.

      Sure law is fundementally like this because it falls from man and some forms of sympathy are inevitable. But we don't have to encourage this behavior. Microsoft is dislikable but not because everything they do is illegal. And people tend to like to do illegal things to dislikable people; this is a major motivator for illegal activities, even among likable people. Therefore in some suits that Microsoft is involved in the law favors Microsoft, even if they are the dislikable party. In these cases I hope Microsoft wins because a society not tempered by blind justice is far more dangerous than Microsoft could ever hope to be.

      Sure we can all continue to root for the popular and the likable but just hope that you never become unpopular, find yourself sued, and find people who root for the popular on the jury. I know I'm hoping this.
      • by gilroy (155262) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:39PM (#2884681) Homepage Journal
        Blockquoth the poster:

        Otherwise, in practise, only nice and likable people have access to the law. Or in other words being mean and unlikable becomes illegal because you will always lose in court.


        But surely in the case where the un-nice, unlikable bully actually has broken the law, it's OK to root for the people wallopping him. After all, the court said that Microsoft did engage in monopolistic behavior, the appellate court upheld that finding of fact, and AOL is suing for that breach. It seems to me that it's alright to root against MS on this, without having to say, "Nail Microsoft because I don't like them."
    • by broter (72865) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @07:29PM (#2885031) Homepage Journal
      • This is like watching your two least favorite football teams...

      Actually, I was thinking of my favorite Godzilla movie, cause no matter who wins, you know Tokyo is going to be decimated :)

  • AOL/RHAT explained? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ajs (35943) <ajs@ a j s . com> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:41PM (#2884201) Homepage Journal
    So, this would explain talks between AOL and RHAT. AOL would be very interested in RHAT's PoV on this, since MS has a track record for trotting out Linux as an example of their competition (which, on the desktop, Linux simply is not... yet).
  • by issachar (170323) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:41PM (#2884203) Homepage
    The last paragraph is the most interesting...

    "You can't literally put the market back in the competitive position it was in, so you'd have to think of a forward-looking remedy to help restore competition in the market as best as possible,"

    Exactly what would this "forward looking remedy" be? I seriously doubt a stripped down version of Windows would fly. Customers just wouldn't buy it. Not without a serious price cut, in the >30% range, and can we seriously make the claim that 30% of the value of Windows is in IE?

    I think this may be a case of too little, too late.

    • Hopefully much smarter people than me are out there working on a remedy, but I just don't see how they could help anything without a severely drastic course of action. By severely drastic I mean something like forcing all OEM's to sell dual boot machines with an OpenSource solution installed as the alternative.
    • Exactly what would this "forward looking remedy" be? I seriously doubt a stripped down version of Windows would fly. Customers just wouldn't buy it.

      Sounds like a good remedy to me. I mean, isn't that what this is all about? Making MS compete on the same footing as everyone else and not undercutting competitors by including the software for free with their OS?

      Not without a serious price cut, in the >30% range, and can we seriously make the claim that 30% of the value of Windows is in IE?

      Well if IE is so tightly integrated into Windows, I'd have to go with 'yes'. Possibly more than 30% for the average user.

      -jdm

    • perhaps break the IE cost out from the OS cost?
      As an example:
      "Ok the OS will cost you 80.00. would you like a browser for for that?"
      "yes"
      "ok its 20.00 for the browser, you can choose from IE, netscape, opera, whatever."

      I would say at least 30% of the value of XP is in the broser. MS is banking on making EVERYTHING with a browser interface. which mean you have to have a browser.
  • So when are we going to be hearing about microsoft filing an anti-anti-trust suit in response to the one file by AOL-Time-Warner???
  • Be, Inc. has an open and shut antitrust suit with Microsoft. The only thing that kept BeOS from being pre-loaded onto dual-boot systems of mainstream OEMs was exclusivity contracts that MS had with those OEMs. In the context of a monopoly, such contracts are illegal because they only serve to kill off new competitors.
  • Or whatever the legal mumbo jumbo for notice that you're ass is getting sued!

    (intended as humor)
  • by jonestor (443666) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:44PM (#2884232)
    The Washington Post?

    Ah well, I knew it was too good to be true.
  • by gwernol (167574) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:45PM (#2884238)
    (IANAL, of course). This is the silver lining to the disappointing outcome to the government's anti-trust case. While I would have preferred the anti-trust case to have resulted in a breakup of Microsoft or other strong measures against the company, it did at least hold that Microsoft was a monopoly.

    This allows other companies large and small to launch their own suits against Microsoft and have a good shot at winning. This could end up costing Microsoft a huge amount of money and effectively curtailing their worst business practices.

    Hey, I can dream, can't I?
  • I'm confused... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by markmoss (301064) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:46PM (#2884255)
    Normally, a company to company lawsuit over unfair competition will ask for damages due to lost sales. Just what are those damages when the price was $0.00?
    • Re:I'm confused... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Mr_Matt (225037)
      Normally, a company to company lawsuit over unfair competition will ask for damages due to lost sales. Just what are those damages when the price was $0.00?

      OK, but in this case they're not asking for damages due to lost sales. What's your point?

      Besides, I remember a time when Netscape wasn't free - the license allowed free use only for academic and other sundry use as defined in the EULA - everybody else had to pay (IIRC, YMMV, ROLLIN HAND :) Like the article says, AOL/TW wants "justice" for IE being given away, and driving away the ability for Netscape to charge for its product. Whether or not you think that's a good idea is another topic entirely... :)
  • by Arcturax (454188)
    Let these two behemoths duke it out while open source initiatives quietly outflank them both. While both sides are tied up in endless legal battles and tit-for-tat lawsuits, the rest of the world will keep innovating and possibly develop technologies which will make whatever they are fighting over sadly obselete.

    *gets some popcorn*

    This should be at the least an amusing development.
  • As far as my limited knowledge of the situation allows, I feel that this is just going to lead to chaos.

    One one hand, everyone hates MS. They're big, ominous, and imposing. They are known, however, for making at least a few quality products.

    On the other, we have AOL. Everyone also hates them. They're big, ominous, and imposing. They are known, also, for lack of quality in their products. Their demographic is much more focused and thus more easily reigned however, that being less than knowledgable net users (I use AOL by the way, so -don't- start flaming :P).

    This reminds very much, in a scary way, of shadowrun. Only we don't have a corporate court to settle this.

    Let's pray Gates and Case don't really have armies like we joke they do, or else I think a whole lotta /.ers are gonna have to turn street samurai...
  • by gorsh (75930) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:48PM (#2884279)
    AOL isn't in the best financial shape right now - the merger with Time Warner didn't work out as well as planned [fortune.com], and they're going to have huge losses this year. I'm guessing the thinking here is that if they can reach a huge out-of-court settlement with MS, it'll help them get back in the black. After all, Netscape's not good for much else anymore...
  • I have not sympathy for AOL. They are just as anti-competitive in the ISP market as Microsoft is in the OS market. They are just pretending to be an innocent who is being attacked by a big bully.

    Besides, what have they done with Netscape since they bought it. NOTHING, all of the improvements that have been made to it came through Mozilla not from AOL. They have not even been trying to improve Netscapes standing in the browser market.

    Both of these companies are bad when it comes to what is best for the consumer. It would be nice if they could both be split up into a couple companies each.
  • This answers the question: Who is More Evil than Satan. AOL obviously ;-)
  • at least one of them will lose.
  • I hope AOL wins a lot of money so they can send out USEFUL cd's, not just read-only ones. I sure would like them a lot more and just might install AO.... ok maybe not.
  • Happy/sad (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cadfael (103180)
    Okay, like many others, I don't know if I am happy or sad to see this. If this really meant that standards would be adhered to (here I mean legal as well as technical) then great, since by this time I doubt anyone thinks M$ is without blame ('cept maybe of course Bill G).

    Unfortunately, I just can't help but think this just means that AOLTW just wants a bigger share of the pie (either direct through their browser or indirect through cash judgements). If AOLTW were not perceived as nearly as evil (at least here on /.), maybe we'd all be a little happier.

    So, other than putting a crack in the armour of M$, what does AOLTW have to gain? Cash from a judgement (remember, M$ has about $36 Billion in the bank right now) isn't likely to mean much. AOLTW doesn't offer an OS (rumours to the contrary about acquiring RedHat ignored while proof is in the offing). MSN doesn't appear to be a threat to AOLTW. M$ is aiming to the home with the XBox (which will take years to come to any sort of fruition).

    I'm not trying to be ignorant, but really, what is in this for AOLTW?
  • you know they're both monsters, but it's kind of fun rooting for one of them...

    until he wins, and you have to worry about getting trampled.

  • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:52PM (#2884320)
    The remedy that I'd be most happy with is if Microsoft were forced to send out programmers to fix every website on the Internet that uses JavaScript in a way that only works on IE.

    Of course, they'd be exempt from fixing website code that actually conforms to a published standard. Maybe the punitive damages would be to make them fix Mozilla and Konqueror so that they correctly implement the standards as well.

    I'm getting really tired of having to try 3 different browsers before I can get through an online purchase.

  • Pot. Kettle. Black.

    Right. As much as I realize that AOL wants to protect it's business interests, and that going after their competition is a wise move, and that there are differences between AOL and MS's situation, this seems kinda lame.
  • sour grapes (Score:4, Funny)

    by spoonyfork (23307) <spoonyfork@NOSpam.gmail.com> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:54PM (#2884335) Journal
    If AOL bought RHAT, would Alan Cox leave in a huff and start a new club in downtown Durham, NC called RNA?

    Durnit! I'm 2 stories behind...

  • Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blueforce (192332) <clannagael@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:55PM (#2884343) Homepage Journal
    I don't friggin' get it.

    AOL is the largest ISP in the world.
    AOL has the most subscribers in the world.
    AOL owns Netscape.
    AOL bundles IE with it's software.

    huh?

    What are they gonna sue for? Stupidity?
  • by SlashChick (544252) <erica@e r i ca.biz> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:56PM (#2884356) Homepage Journal
    A couple of years ago (more?) when this whole thing started, I was a staunch supporter of Netscape. I really wanted to see Microsoft lose this one.

    Now, however, I worry about things like the following:

    "A judge would still have the challenge of choosing a remedy that would restore competition to the Internet browser market. Netscape has only a sliver of the Internet browser market, compared to its dominance several years ago."

    One of the "suggested" remedies is to force Microsoft to not include a browser with the OS. I have to question, though, whether this would really be best for the consumer.

    Remember back in the day when Windows 95 first shipped? The first thing I did upon loading 95 was to install a web browser. Usually, this meant a tedious process whereby I would use FTP to connect to ftp.netscape.com and go through several directories until I found the correct binary. This was a time-consuming and tedious process. Without a web browser, I couldn't install many of the programs I typically used, including an FTP client and WinZip (used to unpack programs back before the self-extracting .exe was in use.) I either had to have these programs on a CD, or I had to wait for Netscape to download (through command-line FTP, even!)

    So I question whether the "stripped-down" version of Windows is a real remedy, as it causes more inconvenience to consumers that way. Rather, I'd like to see Internet Explorer installed and a shortcut to install Netscape on the desktop, much like there are AOL shortcuts on most desktops now. That way, Netscape could be installed locally with little hassle, but there would still be a web browser in the OS for those who didn't care.

    A few years ago, I was up in arms about this whole thing. Now, I don't care any more, and I have a feeling that the vast majority of users feel the same way. I like my IE6 with its Google toolbar and Web development tools ("view partial source", anyone?). I would have applauded this decision a while ago, but now I think that Microsoft should just pay AOL its due and move on. This lawsuit is about something that should have been settled years ago, and it's time to worry about .Net, which is the future of Microsoft, instead of IE, which is the past.
  • Is Windows an OS? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sitturat (550687) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:57PM (#2884363) Homepage
    How is an OS defined?

    If it is just a kernel, then Microsoft should be sued for including:
    the Windows desktop
    the Windows start menu
    cd player
    calculator
    etc

    I think it is ridiculous to argue that a complete OS-in-a-can like MS Windows should not include a web browser. MS have demonstrated that a browser can be used to manage local files as well as surf the web, and is a fundamental part of their integrated package.

    Just because they were slow in including a web browser does not mean that they don't have the right to do it in the future.
    • by enkidu (13673) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:58PM (#2884811) Homepage Journal

      Just couldn't let this one go by:

      Microsoft isn't being sued for including the desktop/start menu etc. They are being sued for leveraging their monopoly on the kernel+OS+desktop into other software tools. They do have the right to include their web browser. But as a monopoly, they don't have the right to:

      • Forbid licensees from including other browsers or software [exclusion]
      • Charge more for windows without IE than with it [anticompetitive pricing]
      • Charge more for Windows or refuse to license because you want to add Netscape/Be/Linux onto the computer in addition to Windows [both]

      In my opinion, Microsoft has broken many many laws, the most aggregious being the use of exclusive licensing agreements with manufactures to lock out alternative operating systems and products.

      Heck Be (may it rest in peace) offered all PC manufacturers BeOS for free if they would include it on their shipping computers. Lots of companies were "interested". Microsoft prevented this from happening by threatening/extorting the manufacturers with their illegal "licensing agreement" and in the end only one, Hitachi, took them up. Even then, Hitachi was forced to hide the partition so you had to go through a labyrinth of steps to boot into Be.

      I think if any of the PC manufacturers ever grew some balls (or got desperate enough) and sued Microsoft for predatory pricing/illegal practices, they would have the best chance of all of winning a shitload of damages. Unfortunately, Microsoft would be able to drive any big manufacturer completely out of business before they could win in court.

  • now it makes sense (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Syre (234917) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:57PM (#2884366)
    Now AOL's purchase of Netscape makes more business sense now... they could get billions in damage payments now that Microsoft's anti-competitive illegal business practices have been established by anit-trust court.
  • by dperkins (63220) <davidrperkins@gmail. c o m> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:01PM (#2884404) Homepage
    I much prefer to see non-government entities going after Microsoft. It makes me uncomfortable when I see state and federal entities going after a company that doesn't have "clear cut" criminal activity going on. They *have* done harm to other companies. Those companies should sue.

    Much as I dislike them, the government's lawsuit against Microsoft has always looked a little too much like the government getting nervous with MS's cash reserves. The gov't doesn't like entities it can't push around.
    • by etceteral (113669) <jc ... facilitycabinet,> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:43PM (#2884717) Homepage
      Much as I dislike them, the government's lawsuit against Microsoft has always looked a little too much like the government getting nervous with MS's cash reserves.

      Uhh.... I'm nervous about MS's cash reserves. Actually... any corporation that giant (including AOLTW) should give us all pause about the amount of money they can throw at anything. I'd much rather the government have the money than MS, but I guess AOLTW will have to do (considering simply the justice-for-predatory-business-practices concept.) Until someone wakes up at the FCC that is.

      Remember... Your tax money in the early 80's helped give rise to the ARPA/NSFNET. Your money blown on MS-DOS 3.3 helped give rise to Windows 3.

      The gov't doesn't like entities it can't push around.

      Citizens should be able to push the Government around, corporations should not.
      And "free-market" (ie, battle-of-the-corner-Quik-E-Marts) concepts notwithstanding, Citzens alone can't do much to push around a trans-national corporation. Governments can.
  • by pgrote (68235) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:03PM (#2884418) Homepage
    Yep, that is billion with a B. Do you think that the timing of the lawsuit against Microsoft had anything to do with the fact the press is catching onto the mistakes AOL has made during the merger.

    According to Fortune, "Instead of adding up to the world's most valuable company, this merger has subtracted $155 billion of market cap. CEO-designate Richard Parsons promises to do the numbers a different way."

    Link is at: http://www.fortune.com/articles/2002/magazine/2002 0204/206105.html
  • by markmoss (301064) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:04PM (#2884437)
    I used to think that when the judge finally called up Microsoft to announce the final decision breaking them up, they'd answer the phone "Microsoft-AOL-TimeWarner-Disney-RCA-CBS-Fox-GE-GM -Boeing-UnitedStatesofAmerica..."
  • by Restil (31903) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:05PM (#2884443) Homepage
    I won't disagree that Microsoft has performed their fair share of monopolistic anticompetitive activities. What less can you expect from your favorite corporate giant intent on dominating the industry.

    But netscape had a running head start in the browser market, and for a while, Microsoft was constantly playing catchup. Had netscape kept Microsoft in that position, then browser integration would never have been a viable option, because people would have been upset with microsoft if netscape failed to perform properly, or if they didn't really want IE tightly integrated with their OS. The fact that Microsoft already had the market share of the browser market by the time the integration took place makes the whole issue a non-issue after all.

    Netscape lost their market because they stumbled. They got so caught up on insane stock prices and trying to be the supreme leader in the computer industry that they completely neglected to do the exact things required to achieve those goals. And they got blindsided by Microsoft. They have nobody to blame but themselves.

    Of course Microsoft has/had an almost inexhaustable source of capital to work with. They can throw money at a problem forever. But Netscape wasn't exactly broke. They had plenty of working capital and they had friendly business relations with other significant corporations like Sun. They had every ability to set the standards and run with it. When early implementations of IE with ineffective java support were breaking, Netscape and friends should have made the push to drag those customers to their camp, while Microsoft was behind.

    And they needed to KEEP RUNNING. But they didn't. They chose to stagnate. They let Microsoft catch up, and clean up their browser, along with adding the ability to properly render buggy code so they would be the "more compatible" browser when netscape would break on poorly written HTML code. They gave Microsoft the chance to play the "embrace and extend" game and were forced to switch into playing catchup themselves. And that's a game Microsoft can play forever.

    So don't cry too much for Netscape. They had their chance. And they blew it. They've done wonderful things, and I really wished they would have remained on top. But those days are gone. Crying about it now won't help them.

    -Restil
    • I hear what you're saying. I really do. However, the thing that really put the final coffin that is Netscape was when M$ started giving away their browser. NS actually made money selling their browser. It helped further the development of the browser and their server products. Then came the restrictive licensing agreements from M$. "OEM's! Thou shlat only place IE on your machine. Do it not and I shall revoke thine Windows license." Talk about playing hardball!

      I honestly don't think Netscape could have competed on quality of product alone once the fiery Red Eye in Morder... er... Redmond got wind of what they were actually doing down there in Mountain View. Give away the browser for free, get the people hooked, and then bolt it into the OS. Classic drug dealer approach!
    • by iso (87585) <.slash. .at. .warpzero.info.> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:20PM (#2884543) Homepage
      Netscape lost their market because they stumbled. They got so caught up on insane stock prices and trying to be the supreme leader in the computer industry that they completely neglected to do the exact things required to achieve those goals. And they got blindsided by Microsoft. They have nobody to blame but themselves.

      I'm no Netscape fan-boy, but how do you figure? If you had actually followed the events at the time, you'd know that the only reason Netscape "stumbled" was because Microsoft came along and put ten times more money into the development of IE while giving it away for free. Remember, Netscape was only free for non-commercial use (it was $30 otherwise).

      Netscape was faced with a rival that had an order of magnitude more resources and cut off their major source of revenue for development. As a result their browser became a buggy mess as they didn't have the time to do the decent development there were doing before.

      Let's be very frank here: Netscape died because they were forced out of business by anti-competitive business tactics of a monopoly power. Period. Netscape 4.x sucked because of this pressure, not in spite of it.

      - j
      • There is NOTHING illegal about spending tons and tons of money and making a better/cheaper/whatever product than the opposition. There is no anti-competition clause that says you have to make your stuff suck just because they competition does too. A coperartion is free to throw all the cash they like at a project to make it as good as possible. Heck, they are free to then sell it at a loss if it pleases them to do so (videogame consoles are sold at a loss). Even monoplies can do this.

        For example, suppose GM developed some revolutionary manufacturing technology (nanotech maybe) that allowed them to make industrial goods so precisely they basically never wore out, and do so at half the previous cost. They start producing cars that cost half what a Chrysler or Honda does and have 30 year warentees. This would, in short order, kill the sales of the other companies. Guess what? Not illegal.

        The anti-competition lawas are around to HELP consumers, not hurt them. For example if I'm a monoply I can't tell the sotres that I sell to not to carry your product because it competes with mine (something MS did). That hurts the consumers by limiting their options unfairly. However I can go and spend $10 Billion dollars to make my product so much better than yours that people only buy mine. That is perfectly legal.

        This is the real world, not preshcool. Everything is NOT fair. It is somewhat like baseball: there are rules and regulations ot keep everyone playing the same game, but there's nothing against spending tons of money to have an overwhelmingly good team.
        • IANAL, but AFAIK companies are in general NOT free to to sell products below cost or give them away for free - that's called dumping, and is illegal.

          I think the only reason the games consoles can do it is because it's part of a viable and LEGAL business model - razor and razorblades, not an attempt to use your deeper pockets to put a rival out of business as Microsoft did to Netscape.
        • There is NOTHING illegal about spending tons and tons of money and making a better/cheaper/whatever product than the opposition.

          No, but there is something illegal about doing that and giving the result away if you're a monopoly.

          You still don't get it; read the stories again. The laws are different for monopolies! Just because it would be legal for a non-monopoly doesn't necessarily mean it would be legal for a monopoly.

          And in this case, Microsoft engaged in predatory pricing (giving the browser away). Whatever you might remember, Netscape was still charging for it's browser when Microsoft released IE for free (here's [blooberry.com] the only link I can find on short notice), so the fact that Microsoft spent all of this money and then gave the browser away made it illegal, no matter who did it. It's called predatory pricing, and Microsoft didn't invent it, they just brought it to the software world (although I'm sure others have done it there, too).

          Please, if you're going to comment on whether Microsoft has broken the law, read the antitrust findings and find out exactly which laws Microsoft was convicted of breaking. Yes, convicted, not charged. They lost the antitrust suit, it was only the remedy that was sent back to the lower courts.

          Learn the laws, and then make an informed post.

      • Netscape was faced with a rival that had an order of magnitude more resources and cut off their major source of revenue for development. As a result their browser became a buggy mess as they didn't have the time to do the decent development there were doing before.

        What you say seems to make sense, but there's a question that shows a flaw in your argument - if Netscape couldn't afford to develop a decent, bug free browser with their resources, how is it that Opera, with less resources, has managed? How is it that Konquerer is a lot more useful and stable? Netscape has had a lot of time to get their program back together and they just haven't done it. They were stuck at 4.7 for the longest time, and it was a buggy mess. Their real problem was they didn't do a very good job on their product and they took a long time to realize they were at a developmental dead end and it was time to start over.
      • No... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sheldon (2322)
        "If you had actually followed the events at the time, you'd know that the only reason Netscape "stumbled" was because Microsoft came along and put ten times more money into the development of IE while giving it away for free."

        No, you obviously weren't around then to follow the events.

        Netscape stumbled on a number of issues. They were arrogant and lost the contract for AOLs browser as a result.

        They were arrogant and refused to work with the W3C standards body. Netscape 4.x was especially bad because they had lost a battle with the W3C over CSS and released a product which had major kludges in it.

        Articles such as this one:
        http://www.wowwebdesigns.com/power_guides/worst_ ni ghtmare.php

        Detail most of the problems that Netscape caused for themselves.

        "As a result their browser became a buggy mess as they didn't have the time to do the decent development there were doing before. "

        But somehow Microsoft had the time. Basically you are agreeing that Netscape's problems were caused because their developers were not as good. We should punish Microsoft because they are more competent?

        Since when does that promote a competitive marketplace?
    • by Narcocide (102829) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @07:01PM (#2884834) Homepage
      Let's get one thing straight here: However M$ managed to win with IE, it was NOT because it was a better piece of software. What the industry lost with the death of netscape was far more of a blow to
      the technological progress of web technologies than
      just the simple fact that IE is considered by most internet users to be the only acceptable browser. What the industry lost was JavaScript.
      ... now hear me out at least before you dismiss this post. The javascript i'm talking about isn't the cheesy mouseover-effect popup-annoyance ad-spamming tool that the industry knows today... the javascript i'm talking about is the client-side event-based windowing/navigation scripting language that the original technology could have evolved into before M$ crushed netscape and with it any chance of javascript growing past it's infancy.
  • by DocSnyder (10755) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:24PM (#2884576)
    • Apr 2002: Court decision whether the lawsuit will be accepted.

    • Aug 2002: Call for both sides to file documents about their position until Dec 2002.

    • Nov 2002: Microsoft seeks the deadline to be postponed until May 2003 as more documents have to be prepared.

    • Dec 2002: Court rejects Microsoft's effort but nonetheless postpones the deadline until Feb 2003.

    • Feb 2003: Both AOL and Microsoft file their documents.

    • Mar 2003: Some independent research institutes compare Mozilla and MSIE, with the latter winning hands down.

    • May 2003: An internal Microsoft memo has been leaked, dating Jan 2003 and proposing an independent research which should show MSIE as the clear winner, to be published in spring time 2003.

    • Jun 2003: Court calls for testimonials. Both parties have to file a list of people they wish to testify until Sep 2003.

    • Aug 2003: Microsoft asks for postponement as they want to have some more people testify. Court rejects but permits to file the list until Oct 2003.

    • Dec 2003: Court announces testimonials to begin Apr 2004.

    • May 2004: A video of Steve Ballmer has been shown on court. Asked about some emails he wrote about Netscape, he asks what they mean a web browser would be.

    • Jul 2004: Time for Bill Gates' testimonial. Bill Gates is absent, sending Al Bundy to court, hoping no one will notice the difference. The judge doesn't, but some of the attourneys do, and Microsoft regrets a "big mistake in using the wrong address database".

    • Feb 2005: Finding of facts published. Microsoft is guilty of having abused their monopoly to achieve domination of the browser market. Both parties have to file proposals about possible remedies until Jun 2005.

    • May 2005: AOL proposes Microsoft to split into one enterprise for browser development and a different one for bashing of competitors. Microsoft protests.

    • Jun 2005: Microsoft proposes to donate software worth $10bn to schools and universities. AOL protests.

    • Oct 2005: Court rules Microsoft having engaged in anti-competitive practices and orders Microsoft to remove the "features" preventing MSIE to connect to AOL web sites, even if they dare to include a non-Microsoft operating system and a non-Microsoft browser with their CDs.

    • Dec 2005: Microsoft asks the Supreme Court for the ruling to be overturned.

    • Jun 2006: Supreme Court rejects.

    • Oct 2006: AOL and Microsoft launch a common campaign against GNU, Google and Galeon which taken over a large market share while they were busy with each other on court...

  • oh well (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rice_burners_suck (243660) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:58PM (#2884807)

    Personally, I believe that AOL's service sucks. Furthermore, I disagree with the whole AOL/TW thing. In my opinion, content providers and connection providers should be separate entities.

    But let's ignore those comments for a moment. I feel I must applaud AOL for filing an Antitrust suit against Microsoft.

    Further, although I dislike AOL, I believe it would be beneficial to the consumer if AOL makes strategic alliances with every company that competes with Microsoft. This means they wouldn't buy those companies, but the group of companies can, together, provide quality, lower-priced products and services and crush Microsoft.

    Consider the recent rumors of AOL buying Red Hat. If, instead of buying, AOL made a strategic alliance with Red Hat, began providing a native Linux AOL client, and mass-mailed CDs containing a Linux distro with the client, this would give millions of AOL users a choice in operating systems, increase the amount of Linux installations out there, and decrease Microsoft's market share.

    Suppose AOL and Linux distributors got together and made such alliances with other companies that produce brand-name commercial software that competes with Microsoft's products. Thousands of titles and hundreds of companies are in this position. And suppose that this large alliance now makes deals with computer manufacturers. If only one large manufacturer, like Dell or Compaq, sold PCs with preinstalled Linux and bundled brand-name software, it would heavily reduce Microsoft's market share and bring the entire software community one step closer to winning the fight against the giant squid.

    But it'll probably never happen. And besides, RMS would probably commit suicide, so it's probably best, for his sake, that this never happens.xxxxx O xxxxx H xxxxx xxxxx W xxxxx E xxxxx L xxxxx L xxxxx

  • by aliebrah (135162) <ali@@@ebrahim...org> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @07:03PM (#2884853) Homepage
    Did it occur to anyone that AOL possibly bought NSCP for no reason other than to have the avenue open to do exactly this -- file suit against Microsoft.

    NSCP wouldn't have had the time or resources to do it, but AOL basically 'bought' a case for them to dump onto Microsoft. AOL on the other hand has the time and more than enough resources to make this a real PITA for Microsoft.

Biology is the only science in which multiplication means the same thing as division.

Working...