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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.
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AOL Time Warner Files Anti-Trust Suit against MS

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  • Better luck (Score:1, Insightful)

    by MaxwellsSilverHammer (10318) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:37PM (#2884152)
    This is like Mothra versus Gamillon. Maybe TW/AOL will have better luck than the Feds in pinning something substantive on the eels.
  • Re:Hypocritical (Score:1, Insightful)

    by DrXym (126579) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:37PM (#2884154)
    Tell me which market AOL holds a monopoly in and you may have a point.
  • 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...
  • by generic-man (33649) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:38PM (#2884174) Homepage Journal
    Personally, I feel that Microsoft has done a great injustice to the world of computing and to the world at large by its flagrant anti-competitive behavior. I would like to say that I am boycotting the Microsoft Corporation, as they say, because they are not supportive of fundamental rights to compete in an economy. Microsoft has a monopoly due to its predatory business practices, and will continue to do so until we, Americans, fight for what is right in the world of business.

    After all, if it weren't for Microsoft, we'd still be using computers with at most 640 KB [thocp.net] of memory. Remember when Bill Gates said "640K ought to be enough for anybody" in 1981? Well, Bill, it isn't. One of my license-free Ogg Vorbis audio files alone takes more than that much space. Thanks to my boycott of Microsoft, I would like to proudly note that I will Ogg and not WMA.
  • 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 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.

  • Re:Hypocritical (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ooblek (544753) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:43PM (#2884224)
    AOL may not hold a monopoly by itself, but I'm betting non-TW companies aren't going to be able to buy pop-up ads on AOL. They don't have a monopoly yet, but they have the capability to make sure that the news you see, both online and on TV, comes from a single source. In short, you have to believe what they want you to believe.

    I guess one corporate strategy is to sue people when your product can't compete in the market. Netscape chose a different path for the evolution of their product, and it appears it was the wrong one.

  • Re:Better luck ?? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by alfredo (18243) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:44PM (#2884227)
    They were nailed good, but Ashcroft relizing that MS gives a lot of money to his party decided to cut a deal with them. Let's turn over themarket to you and you continue giving us money.
  • 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?
  • by Arcturax (454188) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:48PM (#2884276)
    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.
  • by Eric Dizkord (458194) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:48PM (#2884277) Homepage
    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...
  • Re:Big mistake (Score:2, Insightful)

    by xZAQx (472674) <[zrizer] [at] [sbcglobal.net]> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:48PM (#2884282) Homepage
    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]?
  • by dcgaber (473400) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:51PM (#2884301)
    Well it is around 6 months since the Appeals court confirmed that MS is a monopolist, and less than that since the supreme court denied cert (essentially saying there was nothing wrong with the appeals court ruling). So we are talking about less than half a year to set the case up, that is not much time given the complexities of the issue. They wanted to wait for a confirmed ruling so thy would not have to establish that as part of the case.
  • Re:Barf me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Scrooge919 (188405) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:52PM (#2884309)
    Amen! If Netscape had made a better browser, people would have used it. Period. And Netscape 6 is carrying on the tradition of being a slow, bug-ridden piece of crap. If IE were ported to Linux, I doubt it would take very long before it became the dominant browser there, too. It's just a better product.

    Ditto the comments about other people competing with Microsoft too! MS is not perfect by any means, and it is obviously possible to make a better product and compete with them.

    I used Netscape for a LONG time before finally switching to IE. I decided that I had been using an inferior product for no other reason than it wasn't MS. So I switched and now use the superior product, and will continue to do so until a better one comes along.
  • Re:Hypocritical (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DrXym (126579) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:52PM (#2884312)
    Of course non-AOL companies can buy pop-up ads on AOL. How else do they make money?? In fact if you run AOL or go to their website you'll see they've got hundreds of partners selling content & merchandise. This is no different than what happens if you visit MSN or Yahoo!


    As for Netscape... how are they meant to compete when Microsoft (which owns the OS) ships IE with the OS and threatens manufacturers to dump Netscape's browser or face higher OEM costs and other punitive measures? You cannot compete in a market if your competitor has systematically destroyed it.

  • by Gerad (86818) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:52PM (#2884325)
    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.
  • by radiojock (542397) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:53PM (#2884331)
    Oh Stop beating your chest... Look the fact is this.. You are dead wrong.. With out Microsoft being around I doubt you or MANY other /.ers would be using computers at all. I'm not a huge fan of MS either, so don't get me wrong. MS has pushed(forced) the development of faster computers. I bet you wouldn't even be "on-line" if it hadn't been for MS. Aol/Time Warner has done MORE damage then MS could ever. Hmm you don't like MS... Don't use it! Up until just a few years ago there was no choice of what OS to run on Macintoshs, If you bought one you where stuck using 0S. whatever... Hmm when you bye a Mips based SGI what comes on it ( and NO you can't option Linux or BSD from the factory) Hmm What about a Sparc ... hmm once again NOPE ... factory stuff You all have a choice, Use MS or don't it's up to you. I'm tired of hearing all of this MS bashing! Grow up people! Oh and as far as your claim of "I feel that Microsoft has done a great injustice to the world of computing and to the world at large by its flagrant anti-competitive behavior" Just think back to Apple and the Clone wars... and BTW, No I'm not in favor of this suit, it's just another drain on our tax dollars...
  • 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 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.

  • Re:Barf me (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 4of12 (97621) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:58PM (#2884374) Homepage Journal

    Of course, it's always amusing watching free software advocates (who think software should be free/beer) whine about Microsoft giving away software for free.

    Alright, you win.

    I'll stop whining about Microsoft making IE strongly integrated by default in its operating systems (you know, the ones that come installed by default on 90+ percent of the PCs that you find in stores?)

    In particular, if Microsoft started giving away free software such as AOL 7.0 or Red Hat 7.2 or the source code to IE as part of their magnanimous gestures, then I'd be prepared to eat crow.

    I'm waiting.

  • by Brian Kendig (1959) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:59PM (#2884380) Homepage
    That's right. The Netscape browser stagnated while Microsoft continued to pour money into IE development and to give IE away for free.

    To anybody who says that Netscape should have just made a better browser and competed better: let's play a game of Monopoly! Except I'm changing the rules a little bit. I get to start with all the money I've ever won from every other game of Monopoly I've ever played (six figures by now), while you start with the standard $1500. This means that every property I land on, I can immediately buy and build hotels on, while you've got to work to earn your money.

    Think this is unfair? Quit your griping, and put more attention into playing a good game! You can still beat me, it's a fair fight!
  • Justice == Money (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:00PM (#2884396)
    And by "justice", he means "money".

    Hey, everybody knows that they are one and the same. OJ proved that. BTW, he's in the news again. Girlfriend missing for more than a month and her dead rotting cat was just discovered in her home by police, cat was probably there unattended and unfed for weeks too. Something sure smells funny and it ain't just the cat.
  • 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 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
  • by schatt (31250) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:06PM (#2884456) Homepage
    Actually, it's the exact same story as on the washington post web site. The story is an AP (Associated Press) story, and any newspaper or publication that subscribes to the AP wire can reprint the story with proper credit (which msnbc has done).
    They could, if they wished, even edit it for space, per many AP agreements, but on the web, they don't need to do so. NBC appears to do most of the news for the msnbc site, while MS seems to do more of the opinion type stuff.
    But, don't take my word for it, check for yourself, as in everything.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Netscape 4 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Joe U (443617) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:31PM (#2884632) Homepage Journal
    For the past several years we had Netscape 4.x, the bastion of stability and standards compliance, available to the world, and people still use IE. Go figure.

    Netscape had their chance, they blew it with the total crap known as Netscape 4, any decent company would have killed software that was as bug ridden as Netscape was.

    Oh yah, they did kill it. AOL picked IE as their default browser.
  • 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."
  • Re:Hypocritical (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DrXym (126579) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:39PM (#2884684)
    I think you'll find the web will become considerably more friendly towards Mozilla & Netscape 6.x when AOL uses the Gecko engine in its clients. AFAIK the Compuserve is going to switch over pretty soon now.
  • by LunaticLeo (3949) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:41PM (#2884705) Homepage
    Anti-Trust law 101. What you call "bundling" is called "Tieing". When a company holds a monopoly in a market, they are specifically prohibited from "tieing" non-monopoly products with their monopoly products.

    Remember it is not illegal to be a monopoly. But once you are a monopoly, the rules change for you. Things that were once common sense business tactics and legal are now illegal. Using your monopoly in one area to gain leverage for another product is ILLEGAL.

    Anti-Trust laws were created after the Robber barrons of the Railroads and Sugar Trusts and other scandals of the early 1900s. You don't want to go back to those times, trust me or read a book on the subject.
  • Not since Microsoft made it a "standard".

    Before then, you downloaded one with an ftp client, or bought Netscape in a box from the local computer store. Had competition been able to thrive in the browser and OS market, partnerships between an OS vendor and Netscape (or Opera) would have been formed and the prices would have been built into the price of the OS.

    It might seem like speculation, but what I'm saying is that had there been competition, the browser market would have shaped up like any other market. Browsers would be cheap, but they would still be paid for one way or the other, unless it's OSS.

    Microsoft clearly killed this market, making it impossible for anyone to make money from selling a browser.
  • by fire-eyes (522894) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:44PM (#2884725) Homepage
    if i buy a (x86) computer, there is a 98% chance that it will come with windows, and there is a lot of pressure to use windows on that computer in the first place; pressure from friends & co-workers who use it, pressure from employers who use it, pressure from the salespeople selling me the computer. pressure from people on the 'net, who use windows media to give away audio & video clips, or word to present documentation.

    When I was growing up there was tons of 'peer pressure' to do all sorts of things. Drugs and other things I find to be stupid and pointless (don't bother ranting on that).

    People act like peer pressure is something you have to abide by, and thats rubbish.

    The choices are out there. Take them or leave them, and don't whine either way about choices you yourself made.
  • 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 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.

  • 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.
  • Re:Hypocritical (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Palin (3182) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @07:04PM (#2884863) Homepage Journal
    No, Netscape chose a path too late. Far too late.

    Their 4.x line of browsers sucked and was already loosing market share to IE. Then MS decided to give away IE making the switch from a sucky Netscape browser (which cost money at the time) to a free MS browser that was getting better with each release was a no-brainer.

    The first NS browser that was able to compete with IE 5.0 and later was NS 6, which was based on an incomplete Mozilla.

    Mozilla is the future for Netscape (either open source or branded) and it was the right decision IMHO, it just came WAY TOO LATE. By the time NS/Mozilla made the decision to ditch the old NS 4.X core MS had pretty much wrapped and won the browser wars.

    Now, and with equal footing I hope that the NS 6/Mozilla line can re-gain marketshare from Microsoft. AOL should ditch IE in their AOL product and replace it with Mozilla/NS, but they can't because MS won't give them the special consideration (desktop placement and all) if they do.

    If the many, many millions of AOL users suddenly started using NS/Mozilla (because it was switched out by the latest AOL upgrade) the world, browser wise would shape up to be a different landscape IMHO.
  • by plugger (450839) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @07:08PM (#2884888) Homepage
    Microsoft is getting what is coming to it, not for "distributing superior software for 0% the price of a competitor", but for coercing OEMs into offering no other choice.
  • by abigor (540274) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @07:09PM (#2884898)
    You've made kind of a non-point. OEMs configure the OS and its apps in-house. It would be nice for people to order a Dell and see Netscape as one of the options. That would be best for the consumer, not having something rammed down their throats with no choice (even if you happen to like "your" IE6.)

    As for your .NET comment: The browser issue is NOT the past, it is very much the present, because the browser is a crucial part of .NET. Don't you think having more browsers on the desktop might prevent proprietary hooks in the .NET protocols and the CLI? At the very least, it would help to keep MS honest about their web strategy, and maybe allow superior technology (J2EE) to have an even chance.
  • by flathead_iv (155332) <ihbryant&ou,edu> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @07:09PM (#2884904) Homepage


    I don't think that the fact that AOL finally
    has a browser that will soon be ready for
    a promotional campaign is exactly a coincidence,
    either.

  • Re:Hipocritical (Score:2, Insightful)

    by carlos_benj (140796) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @07:16PM (#2884942) Journal
    it's wrong to sue someone for making a product better than yours.

    But that's not the point. Microsoft was not content to win on the technical merits of their software. The point is that they leveraged their monopoly position in OS to strong-arm the distribution channel into locking Netscape out - something that a company whose name recognition and OS penetration should have been all the one-two punch they'd need to knock out most competitors, regardless of their software's merits.
  • Re:Barf me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by clontzman (325677) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @07:17PM (#2884951) Homepage
    Linux users wouldn't stand for a browser that had to be built into the kernel. Except for Red Hat and Mandrake idiots, but then again I don't classify them as 'Linux users'.

    IE isn't built into the kernel. It's built into explorer.exe, which isn't dissimilar from having Konquerer built into KDE.

  • by ecc0 (548386) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @07:18PM (#2884959)
    This crap against Microsoft is getting old. If people didn't want to use IE on most WIN32 PCs, and programmers didn't want to code for IE, there's nothing stopping them from using something else.

    This has been said millions of times already, still people do not get it. Joe Blow will not download a 15 Mb alternate web browser with a dialup connection if there's already an adequate web browser included with the operating system.

    After all, Microsoft as a company that makes both an OS ans a Web-browser (which happens to be fully integrated with the OS). Who's to say they have to give the option to package the OS with someone else's browser?

    Noone says so. What some people suggest, though, is that Microsoft stop including IE with Windows, so that computer manufacturers/retailers and/or consumers can choose the best web browser for their need. In a perfect world, you would be able to get your new Windows PC with Internet Explorer, Netscape, Opera, [...] or no web browser at all.
  • by ecc0 (548386) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @07:42PM (#2885117)
    Microsoft killed competition in the web browser market. Microsoft has more than 90% of the PC operating system market. When Microsoft includes a free web browser with their operating system, which is as good as the commercial alternative, they kill all competition.

    Now, your analogy would be good if GM had 90% of the market share for cars, and suspension systems had previously only been sold separately, but they suddenly started including them to kill off the suspension system manufacturers.
  • Re:Barf me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jwkane (180726) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @07:49PM (#2885153) Homepage
    This is so ignorant... sorry for the long post

    In days gone by, MS and NS compete for the browser market.

    NS does so to make a profit. They charge about 30 bucks for a personal licence. They are doing pretty well, they have the majority of the market and are making some money. They have some rough times and some bad releases, but they are a relativly small and extremely young company.

    MS realizes that the web contains the potential for true cross-platform applications. Somewhere down the road web servers can evolve into application servers. Any client can access those applications.

    This spells doom for microsoft because they are (in their darkest soul of souls) an applications company. If browsers evolve into generic remote application clients then MSFT collapses.

    So they pour money into IE. We arn't talking about chump-change, we're talking big bucks to out-develop netscape. First they race to create a viable competitor and give it away.

    Who paid to have IE developed? Everyone who has purchased a windows license post NT 3.0 (which was bundled with IE 2.x as I recall).

    Microsoft expects us to believe that IE is free. They expect us to believe that Media Player is free. The list is long, because MS is an applications company.

    The fundamental fact is; if some independant company had released IE 1.0 as competiton for netscape they could not have made enough money to develop through IE 4.x.

    With MS bankrolling IE development they could create a NS competitor (took quite a few versions but they certainly did it), and give it away for free.

    Once they reached that step NS had no chance. Income dissolves and NS can no longer afford to develop a competitive product.

    So when I hear the "IE is better than netscape, that's why they won" flavor of crap I can only respond with "yes". Microsoft spent hordes of money to create a piece of sotware for which their is (according to the price MS charges) no value.

    MS bought the ability to guide the evolution of the Internet. You had better believe they are going to get a huge return on that investment. They seem to believe that the route to capitalization is through .NET. If they are wrong it won't matter because they have a monopoly. They will keep trying until they find a way to extract more money from us.

    The essencial question, the one that keeps me up nights is this: Will the abuses of MS's monopoly power force the internet five years down the line to be a shadow of what it could be?
  • by coyote-san (38515) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @07:51PM (#2885167)
    He was tried once by two separate sovereign powers. No single power tried him twice.

    This is a key difference between the American model and most other countries. In those countries there's one sovereign power that was originally tied to a monarch, and all of the subdivisions are mere administrative conveniences. All of the major laws (e.g., criminalizing murder or assault) are national.

    In the US, each state is a sovereign power. Not only does each state implement it's "police powers" differently, the Federal government generally does *not* use police power with two exceptions. The first is serious crimes involving multiple states, the second is law enforcement on federal lands where local enforcement is undesirable (e.g., military bases, or to a smaller extent national parks).

    This is why the modern crop of "conservatives" seem so... insane... to anyone with a sense of history. True conservatives would never support the federal government getting involved in small local crimes like possession of small amounts of drugs. They aren't even comfortable with the FBI being the lead agency in bank robberies, even if it's nominally because the banks are FDIC insured. (In truth, it's because the bank robbers of the 1930s fled across state borders and the feds were legitimately brought due to the interstate flight, but they decided to "streamline" the process and ended up creating a precedence.)

    It's interesting to contrast this case (where the cops were charged with violating Rodney King's civil rights after acquittal in state court of other criminal charges) with Oklahoma trying to try Terry Nichols for murder because they don't think the federal life sentence is enough. They want a separate state trial solely so they can execute him.
  • Antitrust, huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BigZaphod (12942) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @08:03PM (#2885232) Homepage
    Yeah, well I don't trust Microsoft OR AOL/Time Warner! I guess I should file one of these things then too...

    What directory do I put it in, again?
  • Re:Hypocritical (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pyite (140350) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @08:21PM (#2885332)
    There's a difference between a legal monopoly and an illegal monopoly. AOL Time Warner isn't actively trying to make itself the ONLY news source. Microsoft is actively trying to make itself the only EVERYTHING. Don't make comments when you don't accurately understand the difference between legal and illegal monopolies.
  • by JFMulder (59706) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:11PM (#2885515)
    You guys are blinded by your hate towards Microsoft. Don't you realise that if Microsoft is forbidden to integrate IE to Windows, than KDE should then a serious hit too since "Konqueror" is pretty much the IE for KDE. Second, you can't stop Microsoft from shipping IE with Windows, otherwise, you wouldn't have the right to ship "Mozilla" or "Konqueror" or "Nescape 4.7" with Linux either.

    The only thing you can do is force them to include links to websites of Mozilla, Netscape, Opera on the desktop of redirect them to a webpage on their first IE launch. And I have no problem with the fact that Microsoft integrates the browser with the OS because I can't count the times where I dragged and dropped files from my HD to an FTP sites and vice-versa. The advantages are so big. Besides, that's not even integration, but only inter-process communication. So the only thing that really shows that IE is integrated into windows is that when IE crashes, Explorer tends to crash too, even tough under WinXP you'll not always loose your taskbar and systray when IE crashes.
  • by pyramid termite (458232) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:15PM (#2885531)
    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.
  • What damage? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by devleopard (317515) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @11:06PM (#2886014) Homepage
    Didn't Netscape make the move over to a free liscense before AOL bought them? So that means damages are $0. Additionally, if Microsoft hadn't been whooping up on poor little Netscape, wouldn't it have cost AOL more $$$ to buy the company? I can't fathom this scenario: since you saved us money, you have to pay us. Lastly, an open source community shouldn't support this. One of the most successful pieces of OSS ever is Mozilla. I would suggest that Mozilla's success was driven by the fact that Netscape commercially was a failure.
  • by loosifer (314643) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @11:47PM (#2886139) Homepage
    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.

  • No... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sheldon (2322) on Wednesday January 23, 2002 @12:19AM (#2886217)
    "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?
  • All I wont (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jamesconf (551862) on Wednesday January 23, 2002 @01:14AM (#2886386)
    I don't understand this. Why is no one currently sueing for the specs to MS only formats. At least Makeing it part of the Deal. The specs for doc files and the likes are the only thing I can see of intrest. That and maybe the API for windows and Direct X. I belive that would help out more people(Kword) then brakeing MS up or giveing a billon to schools(20 Million is MS land) --------------- I don't know who you are: stop calling me!
  • by Malcontent (40834) on Wednesday January 23, 2002 @01:34AM (#2886439)
    "I have to admit that *some* things brought to bear against Microsoft by our government are unfounded"

    First of all this action is not brought on by the govt. It's by another corporation who got shafted by MS and now wants payback. Perfectly OK by me.

    As for your point I think you must be kidding. The govt has so far done nothing except kiss MS ass. Their so-called punishment will be a joke and everyone knows it. MS came in and bitchslapped the US govt like an abused wife. The analogy is pretty good considering that their number one bitch is in the white house the number two bitch is the attorney general.
  • by bigfnb (542174) <bhomeyer1@nationalrelief.org> on Wednesday January 23, 2002 @09:50AM (#2887475)
    If AOL wanted more people to use Netscape, why would'nt they bundle that with their CD's that float all over the place(they make great coasters)? If MS can bundle IE with their OS, why can't AOL bundle NS w/ their mini-internet-OS?

    What's the point of getting pissed at MS for crunching down on NS, when AOL won't even support the product, by putting it with AOL??

    Just my .02$

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