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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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  • Barf me (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Reality Master 101 (179095) <RealityMaster101&gmail,com> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:39PM (#2884177) Homepage Journal

    OK, I can appreciate the fact that Microsoft has engaged is some questionable business practices (although, it's arguable whether they're actually illegal or not).

    But the Netscape browser was bug-ridden piece of crap. That's why they died.

    Put it this way: Microsoft also gives away an e-mail client. But other people [eudora.com] who make e-mail clients are whining -- they just make a better product.

    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.

  • Big mistake (Score:2, Interesting)

    by aridhol (112307) <ka_lac@hotmail.com> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:40PM (#2884187) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:40PM (#2884195)
    The future of our browser is not subject
    to the outcome of this trial. Mozilla will
    march on as the best browser whether or not
    it can displace Microosoft as the default
    on your aunt's computer. Thank god for open source!
  • AOL/RHAT explained? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ajs (35943) <ajs AT ajs DOT 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 Rude Turnip (49495) <valuation&gmail,com> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:42PM (#2884210)
    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.
  • 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.
  • by PierceLabs (549351) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:45PM (#2884233)
    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.
  • 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?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:46PM (#2884261)
    You can say that again! AOLTW is a little hypocritical. Who really believes that AOL-TW merger should have been approved? People saying MS is attempting to take over the internet have should go after the bigger giant - AOLTW. Microsoft's internet division has been a dismal failure. Ballmer already stated that he had to do it again that they wouldn't have bothered, because it is one of their only divisions that loses money.
  • by ajs (35943) <ajs AT ajs DOT 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.
  • 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...
  • by Thellan (187645) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:49PM (#2884291)
    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.
  • Re:Barf me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mapmaker (140036) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:49PM (#2884294)
    No, it's not arguable whether Microsoft's business practices were illegal. Microsoft has been found guilty in federal court of breaking federal anti-trust laws.

    That's what this AOL suit is all about. In essence their suit is saying "You were found guilty of breaking anti-trust laws. Now we want to be compensated for our loss that resulted from your illegal actions."
  • Happy/sad (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cadfael (103180) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:52PM (#2884318) Homepage Journal
    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?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:53PM (#2884332)
    The Enron disaster brought out the fact that Ashcroft has received Campaign contributions not only from Enron but also from ***MICROSOFT***!!!

    He already has recused himself from the Enron case, so he should have also recused himself from the DOJ/Microsoft anti-trust suit, as well as any future Microsoft cases.
  • by halo8 (445515) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:54PM (#2884339)
    "But you can't bring yourself to care"

    Being a Hockey fan and not a football fan I cant make any analogies

    But the out come of this "game" could have more serious repercussions, imagine if Compaq/HP started selling Linux/AOL and Dell Gateway only sold M$/M$N

    I think that's one possible outcome, but chances are the game will go overtime and just end in a tie.
  • by eyez (119632) <eyez@nOspAm.babblica.net> 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.

  • by dukeblue219 (212029) <dukeblue219&aol,com> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:55PM (#2884346) Homepage
    The problem is that this is a civil case. A lawsuit, not a trial. The so called "double jeopardy" movie thing is not quite presented right anyways. AFAIK, Bob can't be tried for shooting John on Christmas Eve more than once, but if Bob shoots John again he can be tried for shooting him that second time. Even if it were a criminal case, Netscape could always claim that this was a different set of crimes.
  • 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.
  • 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 SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:58PM (#2884371)
    Actually. I think it's more like watching the two school bullies getting into a fight with each other.

    Horray! Hopefully they'll both end up getting injured.

  • by geekoid (135745) <[dadinportland] [at] [yahoo.com]> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:00PM (#2884392) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • Re:I'm confused... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mr_Matt (225037) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:00PM (#2884397)
    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... :)
  • Re:Barf me (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bryanbrunton (262081) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:01PM (#2884399)
    >> But the Netscape browser was bug-ridden piece of crap. That's why they died.

    If the giant flaming a**hole that is Bill Gates had intelligently realized that he didn't need to cheat in this market to win, then Microsoft wouldn't be in the current state that it is.

    Alas, Gates' maturity problems have cost Microsoft a few billion dollars and possibly doomed Microsoft in the long term as the behavior of his company was a primary fuel for the rise of Linux.

  • Re:Hipocritical (Score:2, Interesting)

    by damiam (409504) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:05PM (#2884446)
    Six companies is not a monopoly. One company is.
  • by bwt (68845) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:05PM (#2884451) Homepage
    The DOJ and the states sue MS to stop and to remedy harms to the general public (consumers). AOL will sue MS to stop and to remedy harms to them specifically. I wouldn't be surprised to see Sun sue MS over Java again, by the way. Federal law calls for triple (3X) actual damages as a remedy.

    The interesting question is whether they will seek to prove additional anticompetitive behavior in the web browser arena, or if they will simply try to cash in on what has already been decided in DOJ v MS.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:09PM (#2884479)
    The Conclusions of Law [usdoj.gov] was filed in the Microsoft case, opening them up for civil suits almost two years ago. What took them so long?
  • by pressman (182919) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:18PM (#2884539) Homepage
    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 jvmatthe (116058) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:20PM (#2884548) Homepage
    As I recall, AOL chose to stick with an IE-based browser in their latest iteration of the AOL software. If I wanted to take seriously this complaint from AOL about Microsoft being so anti-competitive, I'd like to see AOL stick to their guns and use Netscape/Mozilla as their main browser.

    Or even better: give AOL users a choice!

    Still, maybe this is all just part of a larger plan: "See, Your Honor?!? We can't even use the browser we own and develop because the defendant's anti-competitive business practices have unfairly made IE the standard browser that web site authors design for. If we used our own browser, our users would complain that too many sites didn't work!"
  • by cisco_rob (443705) <robshort&venturenet,net> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:21PM (#2884559) Homepage
    check this. [msnbc.com]
  • enough is enough (Score:2, Interesting)

    by neoevans (179332) <neoevans&gmail,com> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:31PM (#2884622) Homepage
    Isn't there some sort of limitation on how many people can sue a person/company (same thing in the US) for the same thing ?

    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.

    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?

    Isn't that like GM being forced to give the option to include either their own air-conditioning system, or one from Ford!

    Stupid Canadian side-note:Is sueing someone the only way to compete in the American market? Seems to me like the new "American-Way", is to sue someone today!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:37PM (#2884674)
    You know why people chose Netscape over IE?

    Because, if you had images in Netscape without width and height tags, Netscape wouldn't show you anything until every single image loaded.

    IE, on the other, would. It would then throw in the images as they got loaded.

    The result? On most pages, IE appeared to be about a million times fast... whereas Netscape would often be stuck waiting for an ad to load or something and just sit there with a blank screen.

    There were similar things with incomplete table tags. If the HTML was incorrect, or if the page didn't finish loading properly (a not uncommon occurance over modems) IE would show you the page, Netscape would show you a nice blank screen.

    And Netscape *never* fixed that. (Mozilla doesn't count.) All this bundling, and giving away free, and all that shit is secondary - the main reason is, their product stuck. Anyone who's used Netscape 4, and is honest, can tell you that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:39PM (#2884682)
    okay....you obviously know nothing about what Netscape are suing about - so lemme tell ya...

    Netscape gave away their browser for free use....and after IE was released, they gave it away for commercial use. THIS WAS NOT WHERE THEY MADE MONEY.

    The Nescape server software (web services, email etc) as what companies, governments and educational institutions were paying for. You could buy NT 3.51 Workstation, and install the Netscape services, and have a full fledged server. So what did M$ do? Changed the licenses for NT 4.0 Workstation so that you had to buy the Server version if more than 10 people were accessing the computer. Obviously people would have to buy the MS server, so they didn't bother buying the netscape one......and now what is the cost?

    Exchange :)
  • 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.
  • Re:Hypocritical (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xonker (29382) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @06:43PM (#2884721) Homepage Journal
    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.

    Yes, Netscape made a huge mistake in trying to sell popular software that ran on Windows. They happened to create a market that a larger company with no scruples, and deep pockets, coveted and for that they were squashed.

    I don't hear you complaining about Microsoft suing other companies trying to enter the market. (Lindows)

    they have the capability to make sure that the news you see, both online and on TV, comes from a single source.

    Perhaps, if you only get your news from AOL-TW's sources. They can't keep you from watching your local news, reading your local newspaper or looking for news online from a site that isn't controlled or owned by AOL.

    I do share concern that AOL-TW controls too many news sources, but AOL's control of the media pales in comparison to Microsoft's control of the average computer user.

    AOL isn't the nicest corporation in the world, but Microsoft deserves to be punished for their actions here. They did abuse their monopoly of the desktop to limit choice of software. Make no mistake, they should not be punished merely for having the desktop monopoly, but they are engaging in illegal pracices to maintain that monopoly and extend it. They will continue to do so to push their MSN, .Net and other "services" until they are stopped.

    This suit is one way of doing so, and I wish AOL all the best in winning it.
  • by beebware (149208) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @07:00PM (#2884831) Homepage
    True, but if they were maintaining a proper monopoly over IM clients then why aren't AIM and ICQ using the same protocol? Because the different 'divisions' of AOL/T-W keep themselves to themselves. How about Microsoft releasing the spec. to MSN Messenger or Yahoo to Yahoo Messenger?
    As (in my opinion) the recent Kazaa thingy has shown, if anybody does get hold the protocol specification they can cut off your revenue stream. Kazaa made the Windows client to show advertisements which helped cover their development costs, running the authorisation servers etc etc - does the Linux client help them in anyway? Sometimes there is a different mentality between 'corporates' (such as AOL, Microsoft, Kazaa) and individuals (such as the people working on Linux). The corporates are there to make money - pure and simple. Individuals do it to have 'fun' (for want of a better word). That's the main difference and what people (especially on Slashdot) tend to forget.
    I'm now probably going to get flamed for speaking my mind, but please think about what I said before replying (pleeeasse!).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @07:00PM (#2884832)
    All the developers that were laid off by the Netscape stagnation in the late 90's get nothing from this lawsuit.

    If Time Warner wins this lawsuit it will only take money and credibility away from the computer sector.

    With the US economy as week as it is we geeks need to stand together against these carpet baggers!
  • 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 macinslak (41252) <macinslak@@@mac...com> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @07:08PM (#2884889)
    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.

  • by Rasputin (5106) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @07:38PM (#2885084) Homepage
    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?

    Customers aren't buying it now. In fact customers have *never* bought Windows in any volume. Its the vendors, the nice people with Microsoft's gun to their heads, that buy Windows. So, I guess nothing would change.

  • by pyrrho (167252) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @07:48PM (#2885148) Journal
    Some would say AOL was going to lose 155 Billion market cap anyway (some people say there is a recession and that the interrnet bubble burst). Luckily (for them, I mean), they merged with Time Warner before their Market Cap fell to a more realistic level, securing their place in the future. And I'm not fan of any of these parties, that's just analysis.

    If all MS has to rely on "sour grapes!" fine, judges are used to seeing defendant scream that about bedraggled victims. AOL bedraggled? No, but netscape is, and AOL needs to fight while it still has resources.
  • by jeffehobbs (419930) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @08:11PM (#2885269) Homepage

    This reminds me of what MS's Good Friend David "Big Fat Idiot" Coursey said a week ago:

    http://www.zdnet.com/anchordesk/stories/story/0,10 738,2838875,00.html [zdnet.com]

    "...let me also state quite categorically: Given the choice between a hyper-competitive and fast-moving Microsoft that breaks the law sometimes, and a hamstrung company where regulators make innovation an afterthought, I'll take the former every time. And so should you."

    Creepy, huh? As long as MS keeps making his cushy-ass ZDNet pundit job easier and easier (by eliminating choice!), he doesn't care how they break the law.

    ~Jeff

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:13PM (#2885524)
    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.
  • by Cygnusx12 (524532) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:14PM (#2885530)
    .. for what it's worth.. Intresting, after all these years. http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&selm=3220e7e 0.4271568%40news.blarg.net [google.com]
  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by barzok (26681) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @11:18PM (#2886059)
    A contract which they have renewed at least once since purchasing Netscape
  • by LunaticLeo (3949) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @11:25PM (#2886082) Homepage
    Not to be to dismisive, but the Cato institute are single minded appologists for all things corperate.

    I perused the pdf. Repeatedly they assert that all the bad behaviors of monopoly abuse (price fixing, tieing, etc) will magically be corrected by the "market". They never address the charge that monopolies eliminate the "free"(libre) in "free market". They blindly claim that market magic will fix any problems. Even if that claim is true, it is only after protracted distortions and damage to the markets and competion.

    Anti-Trust laws exist for very good reasons based on a long history of dramatically bad consequences. They are not a result of some covert socialist agenda.

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

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