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Microsoft

Allchin Admits MSFT Violated the Law 609

Posted by timothy
from the ha-ha-only-serious dept.
An Anonymous Coward writes: "CNN is running what amounts to a two part article about the nine states who are continuing their case against Microsoft in which Jim Allchins admits Microsoft violated the law. The first part of the article deals with Jim Allchins assertion that there is no way for Microsoft to remove Internet Explorer from Windows without crippling the OS. However, he admits that the demonstration in court which showed this crippling was in fact rigged and that they have not done studies to se if it would be possible to produce an OS without the browser imbedded in it. The second part of the story involves Allchin admitting that Microsoft has violated the law but refused to specify the violations. 'I don't think that I can summarize those,' Allchin said. 'I'm not an attorney.'"
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Allchin Admits MSFT Violated the Law

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  • by xTown (94562) on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @04:24PM (#3114240)
    ...in the article...


    "Somebody could say, 'Look, I want to make Microsoft's life miserable; so I'll tell
    you what, I'll pay you $10 million a year to torture Microsoft."'


    I'll do it for $5 million a year!

  • 'I don't think that I can summarize those,' Allchin said. 'I'm not an attorney.'"

    So? ;)

    'Nuff said.
  • by Trinity-Infinity (91335) on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @04:25PM (#3114252) Homepage
    How many others have rigged as a rule? Enron had an entire Energy Securities Trade Center occupying a floor of an office building in Houston. They rigged that demo for the gov't.... The gov't rigged its missle tests (and those still failed!).

    No need to mod or flame. I just think its interesting/sad that companies stoop to this level. Now excuse me as I go rig my code so my boss will sign off on it before the deadline...
    • by doconnor (134648) on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @04:39PM (#3114366) Homepage
      One difference with the Mircosoft case is when they rigged the demo, they where doing it in court. They where clearly commiting prejury. In the Enron case it may be just fraud. In the missle test it was probably just lying.
    • Rigging for a demo is one thing but rigging for testimony in a cout of law is another.

      found a couple of sites that explain the law a little more clearly. I hope
      Maine Law [state.me.us]
      and Vt Law [vtbar.org]

      an excerpt from the VT law.
      "RULE 3.4 FAIRNESS TO OPPOSING PARTY AND COUNSEL
      A lawyer shall not:

      (a) unlawfully obstruct another party's access to evidence or unlawfully alter, destroy or conceal a document or other material having potential evidentiary value. A lawyer shall not counsel or assist another person to do any such act;

      (b) falsify evidence, counsel or assist a witness to testify falsely, or offer an inducement to a witness that is prohibited by law;"
      followed by
      "Documents and other items of evidence are often essential to establish a claim or defense. Subject to evidentiary privileges, the right of an opposing party, including the government, to obtain evidence through discovery or subpoena is an important procedural right. The exercise of that right can be frustrated if relevant material is altered, concealed or destroyed. Applicable law in many jurisdictions makes it an offense to destroy material for purpose of impairing its availability in a pending proceeding or one whose commencement can be foreseen. Falsifying evidence is also generally a criminal offense. Paragraph (a) applies to evidentiary material generally, including computerized information."

      to note: computerized information!!

      If we were in china it would look a little diff.
      China [fas.org]
      "Article 306. During the course of criminal procedure, any defender, law agent destroys, falsifies evidence, assist parties concerned in destroying, falsifying evidence, threatening, luring witnesses to contravene facts, change their testimony or make false testimony is to be sentenced to not more than three years of fixed-term imprisonment or criminal detention; when the circumstances are severe, to not less than three years and not more than seven years of fixed-term imprisonment."

      Well if it were anyone besides MS I believe the trial would start new now.
      Oh well I'm not an expert on these things.

    • Enron had an entire Energy Securities Trade Center occupying a floor of an office building in Houston.

      That wasn't a rigged demo. The trading operation was the one real asset they had, and UBS/Warburg bought it from them.

      What Enron got in trouble for was cooking their books by hiding their debts in bogus partnerships, not for making bogus trades on the futures markets.

      -jcr
      • That wasn't a rigged demo. The trading operation was the one real asset they had, and UBS/Warburg bought it from them.
        Um, no. Here's one link [click2houston.com]. Enron apparently set up bogus "trading floors" full of janitors and secretaries looking intently into monitors and talking on telephones to impress potential investors.

        That's not to say that they didn't have actual trading going on too, because obviously they did. But as with everything they felt the need to "cook the books".

        sPh

  • I don't get it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mckeowbc (513776) on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @04:26PM (#3114268) Homepage
    How can Microsoft state that they cannot create an OS without an imbedded browser, when Solaris, BSD, and Linux are all perfectly viable, and usable operating systems, that do not have the browser imbedded in them. Someone please enlighten me.
    • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Soko (17987) on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @04:37PM (#3114349) Homepage
      Simple. A lot of the core functionality in Windows is based on standard web protocols - like the help system. As is thier future business model - .Net is based on SOAP and XML, don't forget. No integrated browser in thier OSes, no lock on thier .Net software/services.

      IOW, if IE goes, likely so would a lot of the executives, since a big chunk o' change would be thrown into the hopper. That tends to make shareholders and Boards of Directors slightly pissed off.

      BTW, KDE uses Konquerer for it's help system too, does it not? So, an HTML renderer built into a desktop environment isn't (or shouldn't be) an issue. The issue is that Microsoft had criminal intent when it first bundled it's browser into Windows 95 - "cutting off the air suppy" of Netscape. They need this behaviour remedied, nothing else, IMHO.

      Soko
      • Ok, how about this. You've got the html renderer and you've got IE that uses it. Distribute windows with the html renderer, but not IE, a set of code that takes advantage of the html render. The ability to make favorites, have security settings, run javascript, go forward and back, those are features of the web browser, i.e., IE. The ability to determine the correct color of a block of text in a paragraph in a table given a specific stylesheet is a feature of the html renderer. That would mean that IE for windows can take advantage of the html renderer that ships with windows. IE for the mac would need to ship with its own html renderer. IE for linux could rely on KDE's html renderer.

        Does that make sense?

        • Re:I don't get it (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Soko (17987)
          Yes, removing the IE executeable would go a long way to rectifying the situation - all 89K (IE6.0) of it - since the average user wouldn't see the "Web Browser", and leave the door open for others. Don't forget how Windows is built tho - iexplore.exe is just a COM containter. MSHTML.DLL is doing the real work.That's used by pervasively throughout the OS, and would mean eviscerating the whole OS in order to remove it. Not allowing IE to render HTML these days is counter-productive from the end-users point of view, anyway. They want HTML based help, since it's a simple click 'n go interface.

          Your last suggestion is pretty close, I'd say. IE on the Mac uses the Quartz HTML redering engine, I think, so Microsoft is actually depandant on Apple there. Having IE use Konq's HTML rendering engine seems redundant - just use Konq. Having them port COM or COM+ (or making a CORBA bridge of some sort) to Linux/*BSD/*NIX would make a lot more sense, to me.

          Soko
          • They [end-users] want HTML based help, since it's a simple click 'n go interface.

            I don't buy this at all. The WinHelp system was far superior to HTMLHelp. It could do a lot of things (such as pop-up definitions) that HTMLHelp still can't do, and a lot of help developers and end-users miss it. I think HTMLHelp is another solid example of Microsoft making HTML rendering pervasive in the OS, not because it's a better solution, but because it gives them stronger control of the market.
      • Simple. A lot of the core functionality in Windows is based on standard web protocols - like the help system

        I don't buy that argument. Sure, it may be difficult or expensive for them to remove IE from the OS, but it's NOT impossible. What sort of effort is involved is their problem, not the courts.
      • Not exactly,

        You CAN switch the HTML engine or even the browser for help - if you're talking about HTML help of course - nothing stopping you from using Gecko (select KMozilla), Mozilla, Galeon or even Opera - it's up to you..

        Of course - you'll loose other features of Konqueror - all the plugins ;)
    • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gorillasoft (463718) on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @04:38PM (#3114357)
      How can Microsoft state that they cannot create an OS without an imbedded browser, when Solaris, BSD, and Linux are all perfectly viable, and usable operating systems, that do not have the browser imbedded in them. Someone please enlighten me.


      They aren't saying that they can not create a new OS without an embedded browser - they are saying that they can not remove the already embedded browser (Internet Explorer) from their current OS's without breaking them to the point where they would no longer function. That's a big difference, and whether or not you believe them is up to you.
      • Re:I don't get it (Score:2, Interesting)

        by sqlrob (173498)
        They aren't saying that they can not create a new OS without an embedded browser - they are saying that they can not remove the already embedded browser (Internet Explorer) from their current OS's without breaking them to the point where they would no longer function.

        But you could. Yes, it would break anything that used it. But if something else (Mozilla?) was put in supplying the same interfaces? Why (technically) does it have to be IE?

    • It's not that they can't. It's that they chose not to as an engineering approach and now they're stuck with it. Sure they can start all over again, but that's throwing away the product. That's similar to saying that *nix can create an operating system without a GUI ... why can't Microsoft? It's not that it can't, but it chose not to. And to do it now would be catastrophic.
    • Re:I don't get it (Score:2, Insightful)

      by metoc (224422)
      Interesting.

      Assuming Microsoft is market driven, what is the market for a browserless OS? The general computer user will not be too thrilled to learn that they have to download, buy. etc. a browsers (which one???). Especially after getting used to having one included for free.

      Imagine going to buy a car and find out that you have to buy a radio if you want it, and you have your choice of 5+ radio's, all with different features, prices, etc.

      Bottom line is the buying public has gotten used to getting the browser for free, and we can't turn back the clock.
  • by waxmop (195319) <.ten.xunilemoh.koolrevo. .ta. .pomxaw.> on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @04:28PM (#3114277)
    So IANAL, but I'm really surprised this guy admitted to rigging the demonstration.

    So how is this not perjury? Perhaps the demo wasn't submitted necessarily as evidence.

    Can somebody explain how he can make this statement legally?

    • by Shagg (99693) on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @04:46PM (#3114423)
      So IANAL, but I'm really surprised this guy admitted to rigging the demonstration.

      Can somebody explain how he can make this statement legally?


      I can explain... he never said it. Read the article, not the (incorrect) summary by the poster. The only thing Allchin says is that he can't remove IE from Windows. The article then goes on to talk about the part of the case where MS did a demo of this, and that MS later admitted the demo computer was rigged. Allchin himself never said the demo was rigged.


      Now, if your question is "How can MS admit that the demo was rigged, and not have perjury added to their list of charges", I don't know the answer. If it already hasn't been, I'd wonder why not.

  • Hmmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dghcasp (459766) on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @04:28PM (#3114280)
    Ballmer complained that it would be too expensive to build a version of the Java programming language to package with Windows, as requested by the states. The states clarified that Microsoft wouldn't have to bear those costs.

    Build?

    Something wrong with just licensing the one that Sun already provides for free? That provides cross-platform portability (more or less) right out of the box?

    Oh wait, sorry, I forgot I was talking about Microsoft.

  • Headline? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aralin (107264) on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @04:28PM (#3114283)
    So after a federal judge and court of appeals said that they violated a law and after half a year of haggling someone in Microsoft finally admits it. Well, what a headline. :)
  • by gfxguy (98788)
    "Sun Microsystems (can) go buy 10,000 copies, and they can have people just sit there and generate work requests to us every minute of every day," Ballmer said. "Somebody could say, 'Look, I want to make Microsoft's life miserable; so I'll tell you what, I'll pay you $10 million a year to torture Microsoft."'
    Thanks for the idea, Steve!
    • When did Microsoft become a lifeform? Between his recent comments and his "monkey boy" episode, I'm beginning to wonder if Ballmer is an even bigger nutcase than Steve Jobs.
      • Re:Microsoft's life? (Score:3, Informative)

        by baka_boy (171146)
        Umm...corporations have social security numbers. In a painfully literal, legal sense, they're as "alive" as you or I.

        (Well, as alive as I am, anyway; no offence, but I don't know you from a grad student's AI project.)
        • Too bad you can't kill one as easily as a person.

          No, really - Corporate Personhood is one of the worst legal abuses of the 19th century. Corporations can own stock, lobby congress, and sue people, but they aren't as vulnerable as humans, they don't do jailtime, and they tend to have more money for lawyers. Nice recipe for abuse, huh?

      • It wasn't an isolated incident - it's an example of a fairly common activity. And it's also very sane and beneficial. He's trying to "pump people up", and encourage pride in the company. It's the exact same thing that happens at sporting events, and many other team efforts. I'm not saying it doesn't look dumb as hell - just that if you listen to the audiance you can tell it is working.

        --
        Evan

  • WTF? This guy could't say why Windows couldn't run without IE, let alone what the legal violations were. What the hell was Win95 if it wasn't Windows without IE? Do they seriously think that there is not another engine that can do what IE did for Win98, 2k, XP?


    This article was a little to vague and short on content for my taste. Why the hell did they even run it?


    Nahtanoj

  • "...Ballmer said companies like Sun Microsystems, whose relationship with Microsoft is notoriously prickly, would dedicate themselves to frustrating Microsoft engineers.


    "Sun Microsystems (can) go buy 10,000 copies, and they can have people just sit there and generate work requests to us every minute of every day," Ballmer said. "Somebody could say, 'Look, I want to make Microsoft's life miserable; so I'll tell you what, I'll pay you $10 million a year to torture Microsoft.'"


    I just want to say that I'm totally available to take that job.


    This takes me back to every Microsoft blandishment that other software companies were just being paranoid about their tactics. The spectacle of the richest corporation in the world whining about how Sun Microsystems is out to get them is both funny and sad. O Brave New World...

    • Not to pick nits, but MS isn't even close [fortune.com] to being the richest company in the world. At least, not in terms of revenues...and a judgement of wealth based on stock value vs. stock outstanding is, in MS's case, grossly inaccurate due to their "stock options as salary" scam.

  • by AdamBa (64128) on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @04:32PM (#3114306) Homepage
    "he admits that the demonstration in court which showed this crippling was in fact rigged"

    Gee does he? I must have missed where in the article he actually said that.

    Plus the big claim that Allchin is admitting some big thing is overblown (admittedly the linked-to article makes the same mistake). If you wade through Allchin's 250+ page deposition [microsoft.com], the exchange is (p. 27):

    Q. Well, you understand, do you not, that Microsoft was found to have done certain things that violated the law?

    A. Yes.

    This is just a statement of fact...Microsoft was indeed found guilty. It doesn't imply he thinks Microsoft *should* have been found guilty.

    - adam

    • So? A convicted criminal doesn't GET to have a say in whether s/he should have been found guilty. S/He WAS and that is the end of that. They ARE guilty, no question, no argument. They DID violate the law, no question, no argument. The MUST be punished, no question, no argument. End of story.


      In NO other sort of case does the convict get to have a say in whether or not, and to what extent, they should be punished. Of COURSE they will be punished. That is beyond their authority to say anything about. Microsoft should be held to the same reality as EVERYONE else found guilty of crime.


      I don't give a damn whether Gates, Ballmer, or Allchin accept that they did wrong, THEY DID and they don't get to have a say in the matter. Found. Guilty. The end of the story. Now it is time to pay the piper for their GUILT. Sheesh.

      • by AdamBa (64128) on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @04:53PM (#3114472) Homepage
        The headline "Allchin Admits MSFT Violated the Law" is misleading/biased/troll/whatever. He only admitted that Microsoft was found to have violated the law. For legal purposes that is an irrelevant distinction once the verdict is in, but for slashdot purposes it is being sensationalist.

        - adam

    • >>"he admits that the demonstration in court which showed this crippling was in fact rigged"
      >Gee does he? I must have missed where in the article he actually said that.

      I can't cite a web page, but Allchin did in fact appear to be a deer in the headlights when the government questioned him about the inconsistancies of the referenced video evidence. On further questioning, he basically stated that the system must have been setup wrong. He then stated that MS would redo the test, and it would be re-submitted as evidence.

      MS later completely withdrew its' video testimony completely. That may not be a blatant confession, but it does say a couple of things to me.

      Either:

      A) At best, MS couldn't design a decent test, using the same software engineers who designed the product.

      Or

      B) At worst, MS blantantly rigged the evidence and attempted to willfully mislead the court.

      If you were betting $1000, which choice would you bet on? Me, I'd pick B. But silly me, I'm probably just stupid.

      Any way you look at it, it's scary. It either means you can't trust any of MS's testimony, because they couldn't find their butts with both hands, or you can't trust any of MS's testimony, because they refuse to be honest.

      Either way, it amazes me that anyone believes ANYTHING that MS says. Clearly, at best they simply don't know anything.

      Cheers!
      • Here's a little follow-up

        [go.com]
        ABCNEWS.com
        Feb. 5 -- Microsoft admitted on Thursday that its videotaped demonstration of a browser-less Windows 98 -- a key piece of evidence in its defense against antitrust charges -- did not depict an actual test, but rather a simulation...

        From Google, becaues CNet expired the article
        [google.com]
        Judge: Video discrepancy "very troubling"

        By Bloomberg News
        Special to CNET News.com
        February 3, 1999, 3:50 PM PT

        WASHINGTON--The judge in Microsoft's antitrust trial today said today that discrepancies in a video demonstration played by the software giant in court were "very troubling" and raised questions about its reliability as evidence.

        [google.com]
        Microsoft trips on video evidence

        By Bloomberg News
        Special to CNET News.com
        February 2, 1999, 5:05 PM PT

        update Microsoft's expert technical witness was tripped up at the company's antitrust trial, forced to acknowledge inaccuracies in a videotaped presentation that Microsoft's lawyers played in court.

        While I can't find confirmation that MS did pull the video evidence (I am sure they did), it's clear what they presented wasn't correct, and that it was in error was KNOWN!

        It may be biased, but it's factual!

        Cheers!
      • I hate to beat a dead horse...
        No, actually I kind of enjoy it here...[grin]

        [nwsource.com]
        Microsoft trial: Second bad video airs in courtroom
      • Either way, it amazes me that anyone believes ANYTHING that MS says.

        If they are being tried in court, how can anything they say be used as evidence one way or the other? Is this just another thing of American legal system I don't comprehend?

        It's like asking an axe murderer: Did you kill those people? -No, honestly not. -OK, we'll let you go then.

    • He referred to an especially embarrassing part of Microsoft's case, in which the company showed a videotape to make the argument that Windows would be damaged if a user attempted to remove the Internet Explorer (IE) Web browser. Microsoft later admitted the demonstration computer was rigged.

      The timeline in question is that Microsoft, after the original presentation, admitted that it had been rigged. Allchin did not admit it in this deposition.
  • by pbur (88030)
    If you want the "Scheduled Tasks" folder in My Computer, you have to install Internet Explorer...Since when has the equivilent of cron needed a web browser to work?

    Pbur

    • Since when has the equivilent of cron needed a web browser to work?
      Apparantly since 1998 or so.

    • Since when has the equivilent of cron needed a web browser to work?

      it doesn't, or at least not in Windows 2000.

      Start > Run > Cmd.exe > "at /?" yields:

      The AT command schedules commands and programs to run on a computer at a specified time and date. The Schedule service must be running to use the AT command.

      AT [\\computername] [ [id] [/DELETE] | /DELETE [/YES]] AT [\\computername] time [/INTERACTIVE] [ /EVERY:date[,...] | /NEXT:date[,...]] "command"

      \\computername Specifies a remote computer. Commands are scheduled on t local computer if this parameter is omitted.

      id Is an identification number assigned to a scheduled command.

      /delete Cancels a scheduled command. If id is omitted, all the scheduled commands on the computer are canceled.

      /yes Used with cancel all jobs command when no further confirmation is desired.

      time Specifies the time when command is to run.

      /interactive Allows the job to interact with the desktop of the user who is logged on at the time the job runs.

      /every:date[,...] Runs the command on each specified day(s) of the week or month. If date is omitted, the current day of the month is assumed.

      /next:date[,...] Runs the specified command on the next occurrence of the day (for example, next Thursday). If date is omitted, t current day of the month is assumed.

      "command" Is the Windows NT command, or batch program to be run.

      And to be honest, no, I don't know why it's called "at".

      • And to be honest, no, I don't know why it's called "at".

        I'm sorry, you must not be familiar with the english language. In our language, the following statement would be analagous to the operation performed using the at command:

        at a certain time, perform this task.

        Hence the name, "at."

        Now obviously "cron" is a much more clear descriptive verb for this function... er...
    • > If you want the "Scheduled Tasks" folder in My Computer, you have to install Internet Explorer...Since when has the equivalent of cron needed a web browser to work?

      Since someone got caught perjuring themselves in court with a rigged demo videotape. I'll bet Gates himself stormed down to the development pens and said "Build me a crond that fails without a web browser, so next time I have to do this in front of a course, I don't have to perjure myself!"

  • Embedded browsers (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jayhawk88 (160512)
    and that they have not done studies to se if it would be possible to produce an OS without the browser imbedded in it.

    Hello, Windows 3.11? Who are these people kidding?

    When 9x codebase first came out, I know the idea of "integrating" Windows Explorer with Internet Explorer was some big huge revolutionary idea, but isn't it about time to admit that idea has pretty much run it course? 5 versions later, and the most Microsoft has done to get rid of Windows Explorer is hide it under the Accessories group. I don't see any of my lusers actively using this "browse your local drives through IE" feature, they all still differentiate between IE and Explorer/MyComputer.
  • by weez75 (34298) on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @04:34PM (#3114325) Homepage
    Regardless of what Microsoft says, anyone who works in IT knows that you can essentially achieve anything you can dream if given enough time and money. They *can* remove IE from their operating system should they decide to do it. Would it cost them alot of money? Would it cost them more than they earned by driving competition from the marketplace?

    Seems to me like this suit is something they foresaw so they built themselves a defense by integrating their browser into the OS just in case this argument was needed...
  • by jalilv (450956) on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @04:34PM (#3114328) Homepage
    With Products like IEradicator [98lite.net] from 98lite [98lite.net] which removes IE from all the Windows OS versions right up to Win2K and still keeps OS usable, would anyone in their right minds ever believe when Jim says "Forget about any business thing. Technically I just couldn't do it." ?

    - Jalil
    • Interesting. Has anyone ever used this? I would be surprised if it worked on Win2000. Every file dialog on Win2k has browsing capabilities. Unless they use one clean API to talk to IE, I would have to actually see this work to believe it. Any takers?

    • You don't get it. Of course MS could remove IE, after rewriting the dozens of other apps in Windows that depend on it. But that wouldn't help me or others like me- small ISVs who've been building on top of IE and relying on its presence in the OS ever since it became middleware. It's simple: you use 98lite or IEradicator or whatever, you disable my app. I don't mind if you use it on your own system, but a bunch of lawyers forcing its removal from the Windows retail or OEM distribution is fucking insane.
      • I don't mind if you use it on your own system, but a bunch of lawyers forcing its removal from the Windows retail or OEM distribution is fucking insane.

        Would you also think it's insane to break up a monopolist like Microsoft, since that would likely also impair your business?

        If so, your basic premise is that anything that could disrupt your business is insane, even if it's justified.

        If that is not your position, then you should see where Microsoft has broken the law and they will be punished. Those building their businesses on top of Microsoft's anti-competitive practices will suffer as well.
      • So bundle the parts of IE that your app needs WITH your app's installer (just make sure it installs the IE components without tying them to the OS), just like a shitload of apps already do.

        In fact I acquired IE4 solely because Pagemill insisted on installing it, and did so with its own installer.

        Or better yet, stop relying on IE (yeah, this may be a tall order from a coding/API standpoint, but IMO it'd be wiser in the long run).

        I've pretty much stopped installing ANY app that relies on IE, not because of IE, but because as a rule such apps are every bit as ill-mannered as IE itself. Not exactly a good start to a product review. :)

  • by ClosedSource (238333) on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @04:35PM (#3114333)
    The actual exchange was:

    Q: "What practices do you understand Microsoft was found guilty of?"

    A: "I believe that we were found that we tried to maintain a monopoly in the PC operating system space."

    Q:"And is it your understanding that Microsoft did that by engaging in certain practices that the courts have held to be unlawful?"

    A: "Yes,"

    This is like asking someone if they understand the charges against them, or asking them what the court verdict was. If they followed up with the question "do you believe the court's verdict was correct?" and he answered "yes", then it would be an admission.

  • The second part of the story involves Allchin admitting that Microsoft has violated the law but refused to specify the violations.

    LOL
    First time ever in history!
    I thought this would never, ever happen.

    I've finally read someone at Microsoft admit it did something wrong at something!

    And I always thought Microsoft believed it was always correct at everything it ever ventured into. ;-)
  • No Study Required (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Petersko (564140) on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @04:38PM (#3114354)
    It's perfectly possible to know whether or not something is possible (meaning "realistic", since given unlimited time/resources anything is possible) without performing a study to find out.

    Given the direction that Microsoft is gone, it probably ISN'T possible to remove IE without rewriting massive parts of the OS. With the amount of in-depth knowledge Allchin has, he can probably state that with 100% certainty - and he doesn't need to do a study to know it for certain.

    The question is not whether they can provide an OS without a browser embedded - it's whether it is reasonable to modify their current OS's to that end.

    Also, Allchin cannot either confirm or deny whether Microsoft broke the law. That determination is for the courts, and his statement, in either direction, does not make it so.

    • Embedded XP, WinCE are modular, WindowsXP is... according to Microsoft a whole new platform that was a massive development undertaking.

      And you are saying that as part of the WindowsXP development they couldn't do on a server what they can do on a PDA ?
    • by Rogerborg (306625)
      • The question is not whether they can provide an OS without a browser embedded - it's whether it is reasonable to modify their current OS's to that end.

      I understand what you're saying, but that's not what Allchin's saying. The way the conversation should have gone is this:

      • Court: Can you unbundle IE?
      • Allchin: Yes.
      • Court:: How much would it cost?
      • Allchin: A million billion trillion dollars and the collapse of the free world.

      Instead, it went like this:

      • Court: Can you unbundle IE?
      • Allchin: Absolutely not. No way. It's not possible. It can't be done. It breaks the laws of physics. It requires time travel. God Himself could not do it.

      There's a small difference. In the first case, Allchin doesn't dumb down his answer for the benefit of that dumb old judge, and the necessity for him to lie is postponed.

      In other words: Microsoft must not be allowed to give shortcut answers to technical questions based on what they view as being a reasonable implementation. That's for the court to decide. The mistake the court made was to even let the technicalities be an issue, they should have just asked how much it would cost, and if the answer was "too much", then appointed an expert to cost it. Which they have done, belatedly, after being stonewalled for years.

  • Have I missed something? Hasn't MS been found guilty of lying in court (things like the rigged video)? Why isn't someone at least paying a perjury fine (or spending time in jail)? Or is that only for us regular folks?
  • by alizard (107678) <alizard@ecis.cRASPom minus berry> on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @04:39PM (#3114364) Homepage
    There's a script at http://www.98lite.net [98lite.net] called IEradicator which will zap MSIE from Windows 9.x / ME / 2000 using the Windows Installer. I've had an MSIE-free Windows machine for years. My experience is that Windows is stabler and faster without IE as an OS component. I wouldn't even consider installing these Windows operating systems now without removing MSIE as soon as the Windows install completes.

    I use Opera and Netscape instead.

    If you're running Windows 9.x-2000, I suggest you back up your machine completely and then give the MSIE install a try. You should get both satisfactory proof that Ballmer lied AND a better-running computer. Usual warning, your mileage may vary...

    As for XP, while MS may have done a better job at kludging IE into the OS to make it harder to untangle this time, I'm sure a development contract to the people at 98lite plus access to the Windows API will result in a very fast and clean solution to the problem.

    • by SuiteSisterMary (123932) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (nurbels)> on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @06:23PM (#3115113) Journal
      You should get both satisfactory proof that Ballmer lied AND a better-running computer. Usual warning, your mileage may vary...
      I will point out that the site is quite upfront in that they don't remove the IE engine, only the executable and various icons and other such resources. The stated reason for this is that many many other applications expect the core rendering engine to be there, so they can use it. Almost as if it were, you know, part of the operating system.....
      • by alizard (107678) <alizard@ecis.cRASPom minus berry> on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @06:41PM (#3115192) Homepage
        Depends on what you're trying to do. It rather appears that Office 9.x runs fine even with the rendering engine trashed.

        quote from the manual with 98lite

        98micro (Professional Edition Only)

        98mirco completely eliminates the Microsoft HTML engine (SHDOCVW.DLL, and MSHTML.DLL). You can not run any program that relies on this IE Engine; e.g. Outlook Express, FrontPage, and MS Money are out. But a system with Apache, Netscape, Opera, Pegasus Mail, Gravity, Agent etc. would be just fine! Microsoft Office 97 will install and run beautifully under 98micro!

        Our tests and diagnostics suggests that 98micro can be 15% to 20% faster than a stock Windows 98 installation.

        See the 98lite.net Performance Page
        http://www.98lite.net/perform.html for details.

        If you find an application that does not work under 98micro, it's possible that:

        it requires the MS HTML Engine and you'll have to abandon that application or use the ShellSwap feature of 98lite to swap to a shell containing the IE engine (SLEEK, CHUBBY, or OVERWEIGHT)

        a file is simply missing; you may be able to isolate the problem to the specific file and reinstall it (this is common and most often the result of uninstalling applications)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @04:40PM (#3114371)
    I hate to say it, but isnt this the same company that claims they ARE smart enough to securely handle ALL of our id's and financial information (ie Hailstorm)

    And now this same company tells me it can not do something as simple as modularize source code. I don't feel very safe anymore.
  • One of the things that has annoyed me the most about this case has been MSFT's continued insistance that they couldn't have broken any laws. Not merely the customary statements of innocence, or the hedged "we believe we broke no laws", but an out-and-out genuine incredulity that they would even be accused. The reaction of a sociopath.

    The fact that Micosoft won't even admit they were getting close to the line when everyone else was screaming they were far across it greatly disturbs me. Such an inability to distinguish right-from-wrong justifies unusually strong protective [harsh] measures.

    Allchin most certainly did not say this without approval. I think this is a trail-balloon being floated. How could MSFT be expected to abid by any conduct remedy when they don't recognize offending conduct?

  • by tz (130773) on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @04:43PM (#3114409)
    Ok, if I spend a lot of cash and agree not to sell it in a real consumer PC, Microsoft will sell me a version of XP where I can mix and match parts. I think I can even remove the browser. This is their embedded version of XP (does it have product activation?).

    But although they say it is too technically challenging to re-engineer windows XP so OEMs can do it, in their embedded section this is a selling point.
  • by mikeage (119105) <<slashdot> <at> <mikeage.net>> on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @04:45PM (#3114414) Homepage
    is like a fish without a bicycle.

    With apologies to Gloria Steinem.
  • by Control Group (105494) on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @04:45PM (#3114415) Homepage

    I seriously wonder what people (the nine states included) would do if MS stripped Windows down until it was just the OS itself. Bye-bye, calc, notepad, wordpad, solitaire, ftp, telnet, minesweeper, icons, windows, menus...

    This could be a classic case of "be careful what you wish for."

  • However, he admits that the demonstration in court which showed this crippling was in fact rigged and that they have not done studies to se if it would be possible to produce an OS without the browser imbedded in it.


    Well, we have done all the studies since, what?, the late eighties that you will ever need to see. It is called Free Software and open source. The friggin balls on this guy, eh?!

  • by blamanj (253811) on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @04:55PM (#3114491)
    If you read this story in the Register [theregister.co.uk], you see that despite being found guilty, nothing has changed at Microsoft.

    The states are asking for a modular version of Windows and ask if CE isn't designed that way? So what does the CEO of the company say? "I don't know," "I'm not an expert," "I can't recall."

    What a crock.
  • by ryanvm (247662) on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @04:55PM (#3114497)
    'I don't think that I can summarize those,' Allchin said. 'I'm not an attorney.'

    Feh - that's a weak response. He should have covered his mouth with his fist and, in classic George Costanza style, coughed out some unintelligible response.
  • Paranoia (Score:2, Funny)

    by HisMother (413313)
    Sun Microsystems (can) go buy 10,000 copies, and they can have people just sit there and generate work requests to us every minute of every day," Ballmer said. "Somebody could say, 'Look, I want to make Microsoft's life miserable; so I'll tell you what, I'll pay you $10 million a year to torture Microsoft."'
    Don't worry, Steve. Just keep that tinfoil hat on and we won't be able to control your mind.
  • some words seem too new for my dictionary!
  • First words of truth from MS. Yay.
  • Okay, okay... Any programmer in their right mind *knows* that the browser isn't an absolute, integral, part of the OS. Of course, MS is doing everything they can to 'fix' this - through actions like the change in direction of their help files from the old RTF-based nightmare. But, what has Microsoft gained? Millions and Millions of dollars in browser revenue? Put down the crack-pipe. It seems to me that all they've done is secure their position against other OS's. As I recall Netscape wasn't free when all this first started (if you were honest). I would have thought it natural that Apple or someone else would have integrated the browser with the OS and used it as a leverage point against Microsoft. Microsoft successfully countered any attack along these lines ahead of time without paying Netscape an arm and a leg to do it. I will bet my left testicle that had MS reached a licensing agreement with Netscape that right now Netscape would be swearing up and down on their mothers graves that browser integration into an OS is a 'great thing for the user'. Download a Linux distro and what do you find? A web browser is included. Users obviously *want* web browsers, and they like them to be included. Web browsers today are as integral a tool as notepad or calc... I'd hate if they weren't included because "they're not core to the OS" or "they stifle competition in the Hello World/Notepad programming arena". I like where the Windows help system is headed. I like easy access to online updates. I like the possibilities here. And, if such browser-enabled services are going to be basic parts of the OS I would expect *some* kind of browser to be included so that I don't have to install extra software just to unlock the full power of the OS. I don't just want the browser integrated in Windows. I want it integrated in *all* OS's. Okay, I'm done with my pro-MS mini-rant. *Now* you can flame me for my moronic opinion. Maybe I'm the *only* guy who likes IE. I'm a freak like that.
  • by maxpublic (450413) on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @05:21PM (#3114668) Homepage
    Microsoft didn't commit perjury. Microsoft, Inc., isn't a person and can't think, speak, or act. It's nothing more than a legal abstraction for an actual body of workers and equipment bound together in a commercial endeavor.

    No, Microsoft didn't commit perjury. But folks who work for Microsoft did. Now, if *I* were to commit perjury in a court of law *I'd* go to jail. Why, then, are you protected from punishment when you commit felonies while working for a corporation?

    Max
  • We can prove IE isn't really required for windows 9x. Here is a company that provides the tools to remove it - for free.

    http://www.98lite.net/ieradicator.html

    Though some (microsoft) software requires it to be present - such as Money 2000 - or so I've heard.

    So why doesn't this discussion about if its part of the operating system go away? We discuss if this application is part of the O/S most weeks. Its an application they added to their bundle, despite it reducing the reliability of their software.

    Its almost funny that MS want to own the web-browser for windows so badly! They give it away for free, it reduces the security and reliability of their operating system even though it isn't really needed, you can't remove it even from a server that doesn't even have a console attached. It's hurting their products quiet a lot... they must be desperate to take all this pain.

  • by endoboy (560088) on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @05:27PM (#3114720)
    "technically I just couldn't do it" can be parsed a number of ways.... Consider, for instance, the following possible interpretations

    (my PC was turned off when I tried), so "technically....."--- emphasis on "technically"

    (I haven't studied the nuances of the relevant programming language), so "technically I... " ---emphasis on "I"

    (I signed a contract agreeing not to), so "technically I just couldn't..." ---emphasis on couldn't

    Just call me paranoid...but they may still be out to get me
  • by volpe (58112) on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @05:29PM (#3114737)
    Imagine. If Tim Berners-Lee hadn't invented the World Wide Web, MSFT would have this huge component of their operating system hanging around with nothing to do, and there would be nothing they could do about it.

    MS Guy #1: What's this program over here?
    MS Guy #2: I call it "iexplore.exe"
    #1: What's it do?
    #2: Well, nothing yet. I mean, it sends requests
    to servers, captures the results and
    displays them, but there aren't any servers
    it works with, so...
    #1: So.... why is it here?
    #2: Well, I'll be damned if I know why, but the
    operating system just kept crapping out until
    I wrote the thing. So, I guess we're stuck
    with it.
    #1: Sounds good to me.
  • by jejones (115979) on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @05:59PM (#3114947) Journal
    Steve Ballmer, a college friend of company founder Bill Gates and current chief executive officer, said Microsoft would be forced to offer an infinite number of Windows versions under the states' demands, all with or without extra features.

    Gee...I wonder how Daimler-Chrysler offers so many versions of the PT Cruiser? Four models, nine colors, manual or automatic transmission, three choices for "security group", side airbags or not, deep tint windows or not, three choices of exterior accents, six more options one can choose or not....let's see, that comes to 165,888 possible variations on the PT Cruiser (and I'm leaving out the "woody" and gold exteriors, I think...). Mr. Ballmer, Henry "you can have a Model T in any color you want as long as it's black" Ford was a long time ago--why should computer users have fewer choices than car buyers?

    • Gee...I wonder how Daimler-Chrysler offers so many versions of the PT Cruiser? Four models, nine colors, manual or automatic transmission, three choices for "security group", side airbags or not, deep tint windows or not, three choices of exterior accents, six more options one can choose or not....let's see, that comes to 165,888 possible variations on the PT Cruiser (and I'm leaving out the "woody" and gold exteriors, I think...)

      That dosn't even take into account things like possible different engine/fuel options, radios, air conditioning, etc. Some of which may only be available to the fleet buyer. The same company produces a wide range of types of car too. So even if someone just wanted to buy from this one manufacturer they have plenty of choice
      Though if you want a vehicle with lots of options you go to Airbus or Boeing...
  • Never (Score:3, Funny)

    by BigBir3d (454486) on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @07:25PM (#3115378) Journal
    "The modified measures should deflate Microsoft's overblown rhetoric and apocalyptic predictions about the proposed remedies," Blumenthal said.

    This would require a smaller ego, would it not?
  • by adamy (78406) on Tuesday March 05, 2002 @07:27PM (#3115390) Homepage Journal
    Yes, the Web Browser is the killer app for desktop operating systems. Yes it makes sense for MS to include one in their system.

    What they did was use Monopoly power to kill a competitor. Netscape (with all its problems) was building a user interface system. A cross platform, internet aware system for running applications. Sincer it was crossplatform, you could write an application (albeit a simple, HTML one) and run it anywhere that the system was supported. Mac, Solaris, OS/2, Linux, BSD, Amiga...this was a real threat to Microsoft. By bundling the broswer with their OS, they used their monoply to kill Netscape. The court stepped in to tell them to stop, and they lied to the court. Perjury is a felony, up their with Rape and Homicide in the legal levle. Why is it such a highly prosecuted crime? Because it is the underpinning of our legal system that is at stake.

"Laugh while you can, monkey-boy." -- Dr. Emilio Lizardo

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