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MS Exec Testifies In Favor of OS Manipulation 823

Posted by timothy
from the destroy-village-in-order-to-save dept.
Niscenus writes: "The NYTimes, where free registration is required, reports that a Microsoft VP, Christopher Jones, explains that Microsoft must be allowed to prevent competitors' programmes from being installed for the consumer's best interest. Most interesting quote: 'In his written testimony, Mr. Jones said the states' proposals would confuse consumers, enabling competitors to cover up icons like the "Start" button on the Windows desktop screen that consumers use to navigate and even allowing a competing operating system like Linux to start up instead of Windows.' Any dualboot LiLo user who learned they can't defrag the hard way can understand this ..."
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MS Exec Testifies In Favor of OS Manipulation

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  • Is it just me.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Galahad2 (517736)
    Is it just me, or does Microsoft seem really condescending all the time? I don't understand their PR policy of considering their users idiots.

    ...However appropiate that labeling may be. ;)
    • Re:Is it just me.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by quintessent (197518) <my usr name on toofgiB [tod] moc> on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:30PM (#3422474) Journal
      That's just it. How many of the 280 million people in the U.S. know, for example, what a kernel is? I don't know if it's fair to equate "computer illiterate" with "idiot".

      However, many of these novices end up purchasing new computers and hoping they can learn something without breaking the thing. You can imagine a call to Windows tech support from someone using Windows that has had the Start button removed.

      Dual boot could be a problem depending on how it's done. If there was a giant Windows logo on the front of the box, but it booted into Linux by default, then you could have some confused users.
      • Re:Is it just me.. (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Beautyon (214567)
        You can imagine a call to Windows tech support from someone using Windows that has had the Start button removed.

        Actually, what they would do is refuse to help you if you are running a version of windows that is in any way modified.

        This could create a huge secondary market for telephone technical support.
      • Re:Is it just me.. (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Arandir (19206)
        Weird story. I got this third hand, but I plan to see for myself next time I visit my friend.

        His kid's computer, which I built, and installed dual-boot WinME and Slackware, was having problems booting into Windows. Windows was on one drive, and Linux on the other. Lilo was set to dual boot, with Windows as the default. He tried reinstalling Windows but he was unable to. When he called me, I said it sounded like the harddrive was going out. So he took it into the local shop, and they found nothing wrong with any of the hardware.

        From what the tech told him, LILO was preventing Windows from operating. He did a DOS fdisk/mbr, and everything worked. Sounds to me like LILO was giving Windows some of it's own medicine :-)
        • Re:Is it just me.. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by justsomebody (525308)
          I'm 10 years in computer service bussines and I've never heard that kind of things. I've heard that Microsoft drivers cause software bad blocks, IBM even released DFT (must be invoked if driv consists MS Operating System) memo around to resellers.

          On the other side, I've already seen for quite a few times Windows destroying MBR block (no Linux was on the scene). This and bad sectors were caused by software error in 90% so I think more like LILO was trying to load from MBR and yes, LILO was causing noisy sounds.

          Not to start a flamewar, but counting my machines: Windows disk failures 6 : Linux 0. And I'm mostly deploying linux servers with multiple hard drives.
      • Re:Is it just me.. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by nolife (233813) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @08:36PM (#3422677) Homepage Journal
        I might be wrong here but..
        When you buy a computer pre installed with OEM Windows, the support comes from the vendor, not MS. Ever see an OEM disk? It specifically states to contact the vendor for support. How would allowing a vendor to install whatever make it harder on MS? If the vendor installs it, the vendor supports it. This is no different for OEM hardware. MS will help you if you call them but you will pay for it. Sounds like MS is trying to increase the FUD factor for a practice that has already been in existance for years.
        • Re:Is it just me.. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by frleong (241095)
          The problem is with service packs and updates. If you remove stuff arbitrarily, it is extremely difficult for Windows Update or service packs to work properly.
          • Re:Is it just me.. (Score:3, Informative)

            by coats (1068)
            The problem is with service packs and updates. If you remove stuffarbitrarily, it is extremely difficult for Windows Update or service packs to work properly.
            Then someone in Redmond is incompetent. But we knew that already...

            And when Microsoft causes Windows service packs to deactivate application software like Eudora, and replace it with other application software like Outlook, and dosot on Federal Interest Computers -- as they have done, then Microsoft has committed a felony. And should have been punished accordingly: not simply broken up into different divisions, but broken up, dissolved, and all their assets confiscated.

            • Re:Is it just me.. (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Superkind (261908)
              And should have been punished accordingly: not simply broken up into different divisions, but broken up, dissolved, and all their assets confiscated.
              I once spend some thoughts on what would happen if Microsoft suddenly ceased to exist. Almost every company in the world using computers uses Windows (except for some Linux support companies, and even there I've seen Windows in e.g. PR and Sales). What would they do if they suddenly don't get any more support for their OS because the manufacturer is dead. They would be pretty fucked, I guess. Another thing: What if they want to expand, but can't buy any more licences? What happens to software once the producer doesn't exist anymore? Abandonware?

              And which OS would be a successor for Windows?

              • Linux - forget it. Fine for techies, unusable for computer illiterates.
              • Minix - ahahahahahaha! No comment.
              • Other Unices/BSD - see Linux.
              • BeOs - gone.
              • QNX - fits on a disk, contains a GUI and a browser. But it's still far too geeky.
              • Several Windows Clones/free implementations of the Windows API - latest thing I saw was a blue screen, so a part of the kernel was already there.
              • A new development? Stuff it. We need something now. And right now there is nothing that could match Windows when it comes to companies and "normal" consumers.
              I guess not only companies would be fucked. What about you? What about me?

              Microsoft dead is a damn bad thing, if you ask me. (No, I don't work for them, no, they don't pay me. This is just my opinion.) Splitting stuff like the HTML control (the Internet Explorer is in fact just a window around that control) from the rest of the OS would be a stupid thing to do. But letting vendors place other icons on the desktop - damn, who cares?

              • Re:Is it just me.. (Score:3, Insightful)

                by xtremex (130532)
                Unusable for computer illiterates? When did you use Linux last? Redhat 5 with Kernel 2.0??
                Redhat is not the most user friendly (they market for the server end.) Use a desktop based distro, like Mandrake, SUSE or hell, even Lycoris.) my mother uses Linux (SUSE). No problems.My wife uses Linux. My GRANDMOTHER uses Mandrake (installed myself and givena s an xmas present) no problems....so what about it not being usable to computer illiterates?
              • Re:Is it just me.. (Score:4, Insightful)

                by NumberSyx (130129) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @02:35AM (#3423684) Journal

                Linux - forget it. Fine for techies, unusable for computer illiterates.

                If Windows ceased to exist, you'd be very suprised at how fast Linux would become usable by the masses. Remember neccessity is the mother of invention. I'd bet overnight, RedHat would be a billion dollar company, within a week, every Dell would ship with Linux and within a month IBM would be fielding a new version of OS/2. There would be no shortage of companies rushing to fill the void and of all the alterentive OS's, Linux is the closest to being viable on the desktop.

      • Re:Is it just me.. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by StormReaver (59959) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @08:54PM (#3422733)
        "You can imagine a call to Windows tech support from someone using Windows that has had the Start button removed."

        You know, you have a point there. I think that in order to protect everyone from having to ever think again, we should take this to its natural conclusion. Since very few people know what a soffet is, I propose that the world forcefully aggregates all building materials and building technologies to a single company (how about Black & Decker, since that's a well-known company).

        I further propose that any attempt to produce any non-B&D tools, machinery, or compatible technologies be punishable by multimillion dollar fines since any new construction will obviously be infringing on B&D's intellectual property. After all, it's well known that building materials and techniques were all invented by Black & Decker.

        Any improvements to existing technology must also be banned because it might hurt Black & Decker's profits and the resulting tools may confuse non-builders who believe that complex projects should build themselves.

        Also, Black & Decker should be allowed to automatically seek out and destroy competing tools in order to ease the confusion of the end user. After all, swinging a hammer with a blue grip is much different from swinging a hammer with a red grip. Such disparity in the end user's experience is harmful to the industry. Imagine what would happen if the end-user bought a toolbox with a big Black & Decker logo on the side, but found a non-Black & Decker hammer inside. Oh the horror.
    • What person has Linux installed (and set to default boot) installed on their computer that would be confused when linux booted or when the star button changed it's appearence? Even if the company was selling a dual-boot system, it would have been specified as such and most likely would still have boot to Windows by default.
  • by CashCarSTAR (548853) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:06PM (#3422367)
    I was once in favour of some sort of moderate compromise. Allowing OEMs more leeway with what they can do with th OS and eliminating anti-competitive activies from MS at a sales level. (The "MS-tax", punishing alternative OS, etc.) After reading that, maybe we need to disband Microsoft, take the source code and OSS it. Not so much from a consumer standpoint, but if this the official MS line, then maybe MS shouldn't exist.
    • by dalassa (204012) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:11PM (#3422388) Journal
      It is somewhat akin to saying a GE refigerator can prevent a non-GE toaster in the same house to protect the homeowner. People are losing sight that a computer is a tool on which programs are loaded. No where does it say that one appliance should dictact your other appliances, nor should one piece of software dictate what other software can run.
      • I learned "the hard way" that I can't have my toaster, fridge, washing machine and microwave on the same circuit. If only maytag could have been there to stop me.
        • Wondering what "the hard way" is... Either a tripped breaker or blown fuse, either way not that big of a deal. Any you CAN have your toaster, fridge, washing machine, and microwave on the same circuit. Just as long as you don't use your toaster, washing machine, or microwave in any combination concurrently you should be able to use any of these appliances together with a fridge without overloading a single circuit.
      • Wouldn't it be more akin to having a GE refrigerator and wanting to put a non-GE "replacement" part in it, say the ice maker. Should GE have to use a "standard" connection for ice makers so someone could replace it with another non GE one?

        Now someone can make a replacement (a la the old Norton Desktop for Windows or something), but GE doesn't have to support it, nor give the dealers selling it the option of including it with the original purchase..
        • This would be a valid analogy only if Microsoft made computers.

          In this analogy, Microsoft would make the compressor, HP or Dell would have made the refridgerator. The manufacturer of one component should have no say in what manufacturers are used for other components.

          • Good point, but even if Microsoft did make the computers they would still have no right to tie the purchase or use of some of their products into another of their products that just happens to be a monopoly product. Plain and simple, if GE made the ONLY fridges, or were one of only a select few, who happen to have less than 5% of the market share combined against GE's 95%, and was ruled to have a monopoly then it would CERTAINLY be illegal for them to forbid this type of product tieing. As it stands GE does NOT have a monopoly on the fridge market and there are PLENTY OF ALTERNATIVE vendors for this type of product, so they are free to do whatever they want with their ice makers.
        • Nope, it's not more like that at all. The OS is only software like all other software that uses the cpu, gpu, ram, and other hardware resources in your PC.

          Therefore it is much more like the previous analogy where Windows is the Refrigerator and M$ wants to make sure you also buy their brand of toaster, microwave, dishwasher, etc. so your appliances will be 'compatible' even though competing brands do just fine and they all receive power from the same source of electricity.

          The UI might be a little different and you may get different features from different suppliers but as long as the product does what you want and 'interoperates' to the degree you require, who is M$ to say you can't use it.

        • Umm, well yes, GE should be forced to allow other companies to offer competitive options if there is a market for that. I may be wrong, but I'm fairly certain that there was EXACTLY this type of ruling with one or more of the big-three auto makers in the US with regard to their car stereo systems. YES, they DO have to make the stereo an option and YES they do have to include an antenna with a standard connector if you don't get their stereo. IIRC they tried to anti-compete their way out of tying their sale of car stereos with the sale of their cars by saying that they would offer the option to NOT get their stereo but then they would completely yank out the antenna cable and the antenna itself. That basically would lock out all other vendors because replacing a whole antenna system on a car is MUCH more costly than just installing a different stereo. What you are advocating is to allow Microsoft to say that you can't run any other word-processor than Microsoft Word, any other diagraming tool than Microsoft Visio, any other spreadsheet than Excel, etc. That is anti-competitive and illegal.
    • Blockquoth the poster:

      . . . maybe we need to disband Microsoft, take the source code and OSS it. Not so much from a consumer standpoint, but if this the official MS line, then maybe MS shouldn't exist.

      Great idea! But how are you going to do it? The US Government, under whose jurisdiction Microsoft falls, has been unable to break up the company, or even impose penalties of any severity for their proven monopolistic crimes.

      So, maybe we turn to the users? Get real. Approx 95% of the computer-using populace uses Windows for their operating system, and approximately 99% of those users have no idea what it is that Microsoft has done wrong. They don't care, either.

      That about eliminates the possible attacks against Microsoft, unless you want to turn to illegal methods. Attacking the company on a physical level (instead of legal) is an EXCELLENT way to get yourself hunted down, arrested, charged with terrorism, and executed.

      Face it, no matter how much you dislike MS, they are basically unassailable. They have the US government in one pocket, and a boatload of high-class lawyers in the other.

      So there it is. We're stuck with them until 1) they do something so unnuterably ludicrous that the common man on the street sits up and pays attention or 2) they implode due to internal politics. Nothing lasts forever . . . but it sure looks like Microsoft is going to outlast *me*, and I'm only 22.

      • So there it is. We're stuck with them until 1) they do something so unnuterably ludicrous that the common man on the street sits up and pays attention or 2) they implode due to internal politics. Nothing lasts forever . . . but it sure looks like Microsoft is going to outlast *me*, and I'm only 22.

        There are thousands, if not millions of people all over the world who are entirely 100% Microsoft free. How much MS software do you think RMS uses on a daily basis (other than to create a replacement for)?

        You forgot number three (3) from that list. Suck it up, ditch MS products, and live happily ever after.
    • Sigh... how about just not buying Windows instead?

      I would really like to know what might have been accomplished if all the passion, all the lawyering, all the planning, all the brainpower that goes into trying to take down MSFT had been used to create competing products instead (and I don't mean GPL software that has no hope of generating enough revenue to really compete). Sadly, we will probably never find out. Seems like too many people have been taught it's easier to whine. Maybe it is, but it's a helluva lot less interesting to watch. Come on, IBM, bring back OS/2. Scrape off Be and verticly integrate it with hardware. Heck, if you verticly integrate Linux with hardware (thus removing the economic problem associated with the GPL) that would work too. There are so many fine creative ways to strike at the heart of MSFT and benefit the consumer. But no. You'd rather play lawyerball.

      • Scrape off Be and verticly integrate it with hardware.


        That would have been done a long time ago if Microsoft hadn't used its monopoly to make sure [theregister.co.uk] no major hardware vendor would dare to do it. If anything deserves legal redress, it's that.

      • > You'd rather play lawyerball

        Sad, but true. There is no company out there (outside a few Free/Opensource software developers) who's interested in the PC platform at all. IBM's basically given it up (though they'll make ThinkPads as long as they sell) and Sun has this whole `PCs suck' attitude that will bite them every time they try anything to do with the desktop.

        Face it, the only people on Earth trying to create a good experience for the desktop user is Apple, Microsoft, and the GNOME and KDE teams. And here GNOME (even with Sun support) and KDE are waaay short on resources. What'd be really interesting is IBM (or Sun) pumping some money into a Quartz-workalike for Linux. Or release some high-quality hinted fonts into the public domain. Or getting real usability engineers to create a good graphic-from-bottom-up OS. (Heck, if Apple can do this with BSD/Darwin, why not OrganizationX with Linux?)

        Something like this, coupled with a getting-better Office suite (OpenOffice) for $49.95 -- now that would get Microsoft's attention all right. But hey, hiring lawyers is cheaper than doing R&D, I guess :-\
    • Not so much from a consumer standpoint, but if this the official MS line, then maybe MS shouldn't exist.

      If you want to finish the harmful existence of Microsoft, then just spread the word about Bill Parish's MSFT Fraud Facts: Microsoft Financial Pyramid Summary [billparish.com] and other updates [billparish.com] to current and potential MSFT shareholders. That should do it.

    • Unless the state lawyers are complete idiots, I think that MS has, once again, shot themselves in the foot.

      Here we have yet another senior MS executive who is saying that

      • MS should be able to restrict competition if it thinks it's in the interests of the consumer
      • arguing that the decisions that they made about Netscape (and found to have been illegal and against consumer interests) are in the consumer's interests
      • arguing that having a machine boot up into Linux by default is bad for consumers. (remember that they argued that Linux is one of the few viable competetor to themselves).
      They are, in effect, arguing that the DOJ agreement should stand because it would allow them to continue the sorts of anti-competitive actions that they've been convicted of, and that the agreement is supposed to remedy.
  • by Stephen VanDahm (88206) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:08PM (#3422371) Homepage
    I assume that most of you already know about this, but in case you don't, here's a link to the Random NYTimes.com Registration Generator:

    http://www.majcher.com/nytview.html

    Take care,

    Steve
    • Or... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Cyph (240321) <[yoonix] [at] [speakeasy.net]> on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:39PM (#3422499)
      You can just use the random generator thing like this:

      http://www.majcher.com/nytview.html?url=http://w ww . ytimes.com/2002/04/26/technology/26SOFT.html

      Link to the NYTimes article in this submission. [majcher.com]

      I've found that feature to be quite useful... maybe Slashdot should start posting all the NYTimes URLs with the registration generator. :D
    • ...you could just create your own, free NYT account. Why do people have such a problem doing this?

      - A.P.
  • LILO and Defrag (Score:3, Informative)

    by user32.ExitWindowsEx (250475) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:11PM (#3422386)
    "Any dualboot LiLo user who learned they can't defrag the hard way can understand this ..."

    Would someone explain to me what the issue he refers to is?
    (Personally, I use System Commander 7 --- mouse-enabled boot loaders are a Good Thing (tm) )
  • What do covering up the start button and installation have to do with one another? I really don't understand why you need to prevent installation just to avoid having the Start button obscured. Couldn't you just make the windows task bar Always-On-Top? Or just disallow anything to be drawn there while not in fullscreen mode?

    His argument is pretty weak for the VP of a major corporation. Hopefully the court sees through it.

    Websurfing done right! StumbleUpon [stumbleupon.com]
    • The Start-Button is another way they control who puts apps on Windows. They were going to open up the desktop for OEM's to put icons on. They added a bunch of stuff to the Start-Button so users would use that instead of the desktop and they obviously would control how/what applications installed to what part of the Start-Button list.

      Everything they do is to keep their software on top and NOT to make the OS easier to use. Keeping other OS's from booting is the same as keeping other applications buried from the users access.

      It still amazes me business's buy PC's with MS Windows on it. If they just looked at a graph of their IT expenses over the last 5+ years they would be saying, "What business are we in, funding IT or our 'product X'?"

      The rest of the world is finally getting this. Why the US market doesn't is just plain stupid. Look at the US Government, they still require MS Office file formats. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

      LoB
  • Arrogance (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sean Clifford (322444) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:12PM (#3422395) Journal
    Their arrogance never ceases to amaze me. It's pretty clear that massive companies are beyond the law. Enron, Microsoft, whoever - if you're big enough and rich enough you don't have to be bothered by pesky lawsuits. Sure, there needs to be some kind of proceeding to ensure that "fairness" is given lip-service.

    I'm completely disgusted.

  • by mesozoic (134277) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:12PM (#3422396)

    In his written testimony, Mr. Jones said the states' proposals would confuse consumers, enabling competitors to cover up icons like the "Start" button on the Windows desktop screen that consumers use to navigate and even allowing a competing operating system like Linux to start up instead of Windows.

    Yeah, God forbid we should allow a competing operating system to start up instead of Windows. If this is the kind of stuff coming out of a Microsoft exec's mouth during trial, the states must be having a field day.

    Now what's all this about the Start button? Maybe Microsoft has predicted that the next step for companies who are trying desperately to get into the desktop (Yahoo, etc.) to offer their own customized Start Menu replacements?

    • by Paul Komarek (794) <komarek.paul@gmail.com> on Sunday April 28, 2002 @02:17AM (#3423635) Homepage
      It used to be that OEMs like HP would provide all sorts of user-friendly tools to help new users orient to their computer. These tools would occasionaly replace various bit of Windows functionality in some cases. An example might be a specialized "Start" button that would pop up a friendly menu tailored for the software that HP chose to install. HP might include a registration wizard that popped up the first time a person hit the Start button, etc.

      Microsoft rewrote its OEM contracts to forbid such behavior, publically claiming that it hurt the integrety of the "consistent" (their word, not mine ;-) Windows "look-and-feel". They claimed that this hurt users by breeding confusion. Later on, HP released statistics from their tech support department that showed users had a far harder time without HPs changes to Windows, contradicting Microsoft's claim. Furthermore, HP saw the percentage of registrations fall; I'm sure that Microsoft saw their Windows registrations rise.

      More recently, Microsoft has claimed that allowing OEMs to customize Windows before shipping a machine to a customer violates their Windows copyright. In effect, I believe their argument is that the OEMs are creating an unauthorized derivative work. Ironically, it's because of Microsoft's successful defense against Apple that look-and-feel is not protected by copyright, and hence the OEMs cannot possibly be violating Microsoft's Windows copyright when they mess with the desktop icons and start button.

      I think it is reasonable to conclude that the witness was trying to confuse or pursuede the judge with this statement. That is, Microsoft is trying to spread FUD in the courtroom. I'm really hoping that Judge Collen Kollar-Kottelly has learned enough computer history to be able to discard such nonsense. Failing that, I'm hoping that she is smart enough to recognize unsupported FUD and dismiss it when making her decision.

      -Paul Komarek
  • by kfg (145172) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:12PM (#3422400)
    "even allowing a competing operating system like Linux to start up instead of Windows"

    This is part of their *defense* against punishment for illegally using monopolistic powers?

    KFG
    • It just goes to show how unwilling this administration is to punish Microsoft. I bet you even if they admitted that they hurt competition and will continue to hurt the competition using their monopoly powers, they will not get punished. We'll see how it ends up.
  • Has anyone got a problem with MS running itself out of business?

    I don't!!!!!
    • It never ceases to amaze the stupid words that come out of Microsoft executive's mouths. I have serious problems with the DOJ's case, the various proposed penalties, etc. But I don't have much sympathy when they seem hell bent on on complete dissolution.

      I mean, this is like a dope pusher on trial caught trying to sell a kilo to a juror! Any hope Microsoft had for overturning the conviction on appeal is destroyed. I've seen some mafiosos pull similar stunts, but you would think a corporate executive would have a few more brains.
  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:14PM (#3422407) Homepage Journal
    Mr. Jones said that since Internet Explorer was part of Windows, the settlement did not require Microsoft to let computer makers automatically turn on Netscape.


    So, um ... isn't he kind of making the states' case for them?

    The arrogance coming out of Redmond just gets more breathtaking by the day. They deny any wrongdoing while admitting to exactly the behavior which even the appeals court (which was so clearly biased in Microsoft's favor that it was almost embarrassing) found was illegal, and then insist that this behavior is not only legal but ethical and right. These people really do not live in the same world as the rest of us.
  • by sisukapalli1 (471175) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:21PM (#3422434)
    What about the brilliant innovation of Microsoft in changing the look and feel from Windows 2000 to Windows XP? I am reasonably computer literate, and use Gnome/KDE/CDE/W2k/W95, and still end up asking people, "How do you see the network neighbourhood?, What is the path for the desktop, and so on" (since I don't use it that frequently).

    The exec's statement seems contradictory. Microsoft dumps tonnes of new things (innovations like clippy) in every version of product, and they are telling people that if the manufacturer wanted to add or remove a couple of icons, it will make the user confused?

    The exec's reasoning that "there is a potential threat of dual booting" is absolutely ridiculous. Further, if the manufacturer wanted their users to run linux, they probably would be smart enough not to buy the XPensive bloatware for that PC to start with!

    S
  • Ouch ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by halftrack (454203) <jonkje@@@gmail...com> on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:22PM (#3422442) Homepage
    Stories like this confirms that Microsoft is more concerned about Windows the marketing strategy than Windows the operating system. Listen to this:

    In his written testimony, Mr. Jones said the states' proposals would confuse consumers, enabling competitors to cover up icons like the "Start" button on the Windows desktop screen that consumers use to navigate and even allowing a competing operating system like Linux to start up instead of Windows.

    So he belives that computer manufaturers have to deliver their machines with Windows. That supplying it with Linux would violate some written standard. Windows may be a de facto standard, but come on ... PC manufacturers are not required to sell their computers with Windows and would not be hiding anything from the user by installing a competing operating system like Linux.

    Last, but not least listen to this:

    I go to work every day to build great products that people are going to love.

    On what planet?

    For the record: I'm not entirely anti-Microsoft, but I am anti-Windows. Microsoft has made some great stuff and should be admired for some of the things that they've achived. (IANEAMBIAAW)
  • It's really funny to read that article and see the lengths people will go to to justify their own position. Mr. Jones obviously sees no harm in Microsoft using their own OS to promote their other products, and to block out their competitors products. And why would he? His job is obviously secured by it -- he has no interest in other companies suceeding.

    I don't think there's any easy way for competition to be encouraged, that will really hold Microsoft to any type of behaviour. Witness, for example, the way Microsoft used a license to cut the documention of CIFS off from their only real big competitor for that particular file system -- SAMBA. Because Samba is licensed under the GPL, they are unable to use the information contained within the document because of the license on it.

  • Mr. Jones said the states' proposals would confuse consumers, enabling competitors to cover up icons like the "Start" button on the Windows desktop screen that consumers use to navigate

    This type of statement seems to be confusing the Windows operating system with the skin of the Windows operating system... at least that's probably the best name for it these days, because it's essentially the look and feel of the OS. How many people apart from sysadmins want to use Windows, or any OS, because of "good" security or "good" file formats, or "good" anything except ease and consistency of use?

    Most people don't buy Windows because of the OS, they buy it for how it looks and works on top. If Microsoft were required to sell the OS separately from the skin, or at least let vendors replace the skin with a different one, I wouldn't personally mind as much about them requiring that people can't change their own marketed look and feel... To me that seems to be all that he's complaining about here.

    As long as consumers can actually choose the look and feel they want in the first place, it would be much easier for others to compete than to compete with an entire operating system.

    • by Captn Pepe (139650) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:41PM (#3422505)
      How many people apart from sysadmins want to use Windows, or any OS, because of "good" security or "good" file formats, or "good" anything except ease and consistency of use?

      Lots, actually. For many -- maybe even most -- people, one user interface is just as frustrating and complex as the next. To the extent that these people choose their OS at all, they choose to use the system that runs most of the applications they want to use. Until recently, this has by and large meant Windows since it had the best web browsers, Office, and the AOL client. Lately, an awful lot of these people have been walking into stores wanting an iMac because they saw a friend editing home videos or because that's what is advertized to work with the iPod.

      Most of the people I work with use Linux or similar, and none of them are sysadmins. They use it because the two more popular desktop OSes make astoundingly pathetic scientific workstations.
  • by Florian Weimer (88405) <fw@deneb.enyo.de> on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:25PM (#3422452) Homepage
    There was an FTC investigation in the beginning of the 90s (I've got a (German) quote from a PC Week article on the 1991-05-20 - "Is Microsoft controlling the information flow between operating system and application developers, in order to make competitors stumble?"). IIRC, it finally resulted in some settlement (and the establishment of Chinese Walls inside Microsoft or something like that).

    It seems that Microsoft wants lift these restrictions, after they have been found guilty of abusing a monopoly. Isn't this bizarre?
  • From the article:

    "In his written testimony, Mr. Jones said the states' proposals would confuse consumers, ...[or] even allowing a competing operating system like Linux to start up instead of Windows."


    I realize the average user may not wish to use Linux or a diff. *Nix system, but for those that would this seems like a blatant attack on them.

    Why do they keep getting away with this? Is everyone in Washington retarded? I don't mean to give retards a bad name, but come on?

    Why didn't he just come out and say, "We want to tell you what you can put on your computer. We know what's best. Resistance is futile." Fess up you wussy.
  • by acm (107375) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:35PM (#3422485) Homepage
    The link in the article to christopherrjones.com is incorrect, in that that is *not* the webpage of the Microsoft VP.
    My name is Christopher Ryan Jones. I currently live in Houston, TX. I am a student at North Harris College and the Owner of Think Computing. I guess that should do it for now. Look for more information coming as I have time to post it.
    poor guy.
  • by xcomputer_man (513295) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:36PM (#3422488) Homepage
    A young student is gloating to all his friends about how the whole of Slashdot was fooled into thinking his web site belonged to a Microsoft VP...

    [Email from ISP tech support: your monthly bandwidth quota has been exceeded.]

    Those $@#%#$%^*%% Slashdot editors! Arrruggh!!!
  • What a joke! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by no-body (127863) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:45PM (#3422518)
    This trial becomes more and more a charade - actually it is one getting more and more .

    Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson was right on: Cut out the OS - give it to a separtate company and let all the other's compete as they choose on applications.

    As long as this clear separation is avoided, there is bickering and cheating - in particular from the side of Microsoft. They are very skillful in this game. That's why they got there in the first place.

    The company owning the OS and writing applications to it always has an advantage and Microsoft tried and is succeeding in blurring the border between OS and applications to keep this advantage.

    This opportunity to clean this up was missed due to the fact that the judges of the appeals court are wimps.

    Just look at the possibility of being prejudiced. Has it ever been looked at if any of the judges or their close relatives had any stock or mututal fund with Microsoft stock in it? I doubt it.

    The courage to do "what is right" is missing in the US judidical system, things are done which are "politially right" or "don't hurt the consumer". What a mess!

    Very disappointing.

  • First of all, if MS isn't confronted on its monopolistic tactics, it might not be possible to run other software. The guy in the article was arguing for that ability.

    Second of all, people are doing a lot of work to make linux better. Herculean efforts are underway as we speak. Hang out at the dot (dot.kde.org), or at any number of sites at sourceforge if you're missing out on it. Or at freshmeat. Or any one of hundreds of other sites.

    Finally, the line about "microsoft and its gayness" was kind of offensive.
  • by j09824 (572485) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:53PM (#3422542)
    The Soviet Union was Good because it kept consumers from getting confused by all those competing offers. If you were lucky, you got the care you were assigned, the apartment you were assigned, and the health care you were assigned. You didn't have much, but at least you weren't confused.

    Microsoft is the same way: they don't give you much, but they are going to fight tooth and nail to keep you from getting confused by too much choice. Come to papa Gates, he'll take care of you, just like papa Stalin did before.

    • Have you ever seen how many different calculator brands and models there were in the former USSR? There are even multiple brands of Soviet synthesizers.

      A more apt comparison might be made to the US's political parties. You don't get much choice, but at least you aren't confused.
      • Especially true since the main two US political parties are nearly indistinguishable. Every citizen understands completely that no matter who they vote for, a politician will win and the citizen will lose. ;-)

        -Paul Komarek
    • Thats not so bad - I wouldn't mind being assigned a new job after losing mine in the .com bomb.
  • "You don't think people buy Windows because Microsoft has a monopoly?" Mr. Hodges asked. Mr. Jones answered: "I don't think people buy Windows because Microsoft is a monopoly. I go to work every day to build great products that people are going to love."
    Jones should have answered: "No, people don't buy Windows because Microsoft has a monopoly. Microsoft has a "monopoly" because people buy Windows."
  • Pure Bullshit (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by dh003i (203189)
    I've used WindowsME and there's NO WAY to cover up the START menu with an icon. That's fucking bullshit. I don't know why people let these lying pricks get away with saying that. Even if it were true, you can ALWAYS press the start menu button (now available on all Keyboards that come w/ OEMs).

    I love the part about, "even allowing a competing operating system like Linux to start up instead of Windows". Please, there's no reason to think that's bad except from MS' exclusive point of view where good means it makes them money. There is no impairment of function by allowing users to start up into another OS.

    When MS says they're doing this stuff to benefit the consumer, its pure fucking bullshit.
    • When MS says they're doing this stuff to benefit the consumer, its pure fucking bullshit.

      Ohh come on, you're telling me that you can't see the least little bit of good in providing a consistent navigation system across all operating systems sold since 1994?

      Really? No even a little bit?
  • I'm not sure what the netcraft output means:

    The site www.christopherrjones.com is running Apache/1.3.20 Sun Cobalt (Unix) PHP/4.2.0 mod_ssl/2.8.4 OpenSSL/0.9.6b mod_auth_pam_external/0.1 FrontPage/4.0.4.3 mod_perl/1.25 on Linux

    The sun cobalt stuff is a little confusing. I think it's a linux box, though.
  • by StormyMonday (163372) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @08:07PM (#3422580) Homepage
    ... the gloves are coming off.

    With no worries about antitrust prosecution, we're going to see a lot more of this stuff. We've already seen them state flat out [microsoft.com] that "donated" computers must have a legal Microsoft OS and attack the GPL directly; [microsoft.com] more FUD will surely follow.

    The only question is how far their "customers" can be pushed. My guess is pretty far. Never underestimate the pointy-hair factor. Most places, "learning something new" is interpereted as "complete retraining". PHBs regard doing anything new the way a nun would regard going to work in a brothel.

    About the only thing we can do is to make sure Open Source solutions don't get wired out due to:

    1. Laws or standards that mandate the use of patented/licensed technology. (*Must* use GIF, *must* pony up US$5000 to Unisys.)

    2. Laws that specify "maufacturer's liability" (release an Open Source program; get sued if somebody doesn't like it.)

    3. Laws mandating DRM hardware/software.

    I'm sure we're going to see a flood of these from the Microsoft keiretsu.
  • What ?!? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rawlink (5781) <(rawlink) (at) (gmail.com)> on Saturday April 27, 2002 @08:10PM (#3422589)
    Why is covering up the start button a bad thing? If there is a start button to cover up, haven't they sold a license of windows? How does that impact their sales?
    • Why is covering up the start button a bad thing?

      Did you ever try StarOffice 5.2? The "desktop" feature was just plain stupid.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    A Microsoft executive told a federal judge today that the company should be allowed to make changes in its Windows operating system that impair the performance of other programs so long as the company believes it is acting in the best interest of Windows users.

    Which leads to the question what would happen when (after browser & co were made part of the Windows) Microsoft decided that MS Internet(R) is part of Windows. With Microsoft's ever-extending definition of what consitutes the Windows operating system this wouldn't be too far a stretch for their Marketing department I guess...

  • by chris_sawtell (10326) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @09:02PM (#3422756) Journal
    It was exactly this sort of nonsense which was the root cause of the French revolution. The parallels
    are there. There will soon be another revolution in the US and this kind of thing will be sorted out most effectively.
  • by ottffssent (18387) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @09:05PM (#3422768)
    Alright. The DoJ clearly isn't doing a good job. The states' case is just going to be appealed anyway and likely won't do a very good job either. Why don't we just apply the same standards you and I would be held to? Let's get together a jury of Microsoft's peers. Let's see here:

    1) Microsoft is an OS vendor. Sun, Be (what's left of 'em), and Apple ought to be there.
    2) Microsoft is an office apps vendor. Lotus might like a seat.
    3) Microsoft is a video game console vendor. I'm sure Sony and Nintendo have some choice words.
    4) Microsoft provides internet service. Let's add AOL/TW.
    5) Microsoft provides a web server, a database, a mail server, and other such apps. Let's get someone from the Apache foundation, Oracle, Sendmail, and what the hell, the Samba team too.
    6) Microsoft writes a lot of buggy code, so let's get an old Netscape exec in too to round out our dozen.

    I'll bet we'd see some substantive remedies then!

    Before you complain that Be is hardly a peer of Microsoft, consider how 12 upper-middle-class white folks can be considered peers of a poor black woman.
  • by LordZardoz (155141) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @09:37PM (#3422886)
    The source to the operating system is not what is needed. Besides, with so many Linux Zealots raving about how crappy windows is, I am not sure that it would really be taken advantage of anyway. What should be done is to have the file-formats open sourced. This would allow people to use the Data/Files they created on any system they want and with any application they wish. This much is currently expected with the right to rip MP3's from CD's you own.

    As I see it, it is only right that you should pay for an application you use if it is sold as a proprietary application. However, you should not be forced to continue to use that application to manipulate your files if a superior alternative exists.

    Neither Microsoft nor Corel nor any other provider of a quality word processor owns the copyright to works I create with their application. So why should they require me to use only their application to manipulate those works.

    END COMMUNICATION
  • Standard Oil (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ch-chuck (9622) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @09:38PM (#3422890) Homepage
    I'm sure that, sometime during the antitrust cast against Rockefeller's oil monopoly, they cried about how the quality of oil the consumer gets would decline if they were'nt in charge of every drop of it.

    Yep, the old "we're doing it for the consumer's benefit" plea. How can they continue with the "Msft is a giant because of consumer choice" party line and, at the same time, do everything possible to take away consumer choice? And I don't mean consumers 'chose' dos back in 1981 and so it's gotta to be that way forever. I mean, just like in the US once a politician is democratically elected he isn't in power forever, every 2-4-6 years he has to be chosen again.

  • by javacowboy (222023) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @11:18PM (#3423173)
    I was talking to my friends today, and he told me they should have broken up M$ when they had the chance. It was a clean, clear, simple, and relatively regulation-free solution to a complex problem.

    Now the judge, the states, and M$ are getting into an endless and convoluted debate about whether or not M$ can offer stripped-down or modified version of Windows to reintroduce competition. Whatever *legitimate* (the present settlement is, IMHO, collusion between M$ and the feds) settlement is made that pleased the states will be a logistical and regulatory nightmare whose implementation will probably contain numerous loopholes that M$ can exploit and can stall for years in court defending.

    Judge Jackson had the right idea. Breaking up Microsoft into two separate companies would have accomplished in one fell swoop and with relatively little oversight and regulation what the states are proposing with their remedies. It would have automatically forced the applications company to offer Office and other M$ software for Linux and other alternative operating systems.. Furthermore, the Windows company would have simply offered an infinitely customizable operating system because they would have had no incentive to offer the application company's software as a default over competing software (ex, IE over Netscape).

    Instead of implementing this simple and self-policing remedy, everyone whether pro or anti settlement is proposing to make themselves jump through an infinite amount of regulatory and logistical hoops to accomplish the same objectives with far greater effort.

    M$ pulled a fast one when they managed to convince everybody that Judge Jackson was biased. He has every right to speak his mind on his opinion *AFTER* the verdict was rendered!
  • by StarTux (230379) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @11:46PM (#3423265) Journal
    Perhaps if the lawyer asked:

    "Are you a big evil monopoly that is out to take over the world, crush everyone and everything in your way?"

    The answer might be:

    "Yes, that is us".

    Lawyer might then say:

    "But if this appeals court goes against everything you want, would that not stop you?"

    Answer could be:

    "We would pull Windows from the market place, and watch IT fall apart as we are the structure that binds IT. We are the IT Gods and the court should realise that you don't mess in the affairs of Gods. Mess in our affairs and its bye bye IT".

    Lawyer:

    "Do you really believe you are IT Gods?"

    Possible answer:

    "Oh yes we are ."

    Lawyer:

    "What about Linux, what about Apple, would they not prosper?"

    Possible answer:

    "Huh? A stupid fat bad! They cannot even make a user friendly system, of course using a Unix like system has a lot to do with that. But it gets more popular hence we're clever enough to attack its GPL under pinnings".

    Lawyer:

    "Erm, Apple?".

    Possible Response:

    "What about Apple? We make fairly good profit off of them, but attacking right now is only what a stupid person would do in a court case that could decide our companies future, of course we're not going to try and finish them off until this case is over!".

    Lawyer:

    "I was referring to the user friendliness of OS X that runs on top of a Unix like system".

    Bang, bang bang from the judge:

    "Witness can stand down now please, I just cannot take anymore right now".

  • Wow.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Asprin (545477) <gsarnold.yahoo@com> on Saturday April 27, 2002 @11:56PM (#3423287) Homepage Journal
    Let me say that again...

    Wow.

    You know what honks my hairs? MS didn't REALLY start acting like a monopoly until they were already convicted.

    WTF.

    When this whole anti-trust thing came up, I (frankly) didn't think there was much of a case. Sure, there's the whole preferred pricing OEM license leverage thing, but hey, cheap software was cool, right? Most of the other stuff (IE?) was the sort of really nitpicky Al-Capone-tax-evasion stuff I'd expect from Larry Ellison and Steve Jobs because Bill Gates is smarter than they are, they know it and they're too ego-saturated to stop whining.

    Now I'm not so sure. In fact, place me FIRMLY in the camp that now believes the first judge (whassisname?) had the right idea. MS needs to be broken up into (at least) four parts:

    1)OS/Development

    2)application software and games.

    3)consumer products (XBox, peripherals)

    4)services (MSN, Expedia, Hotmail, Passport/hailstorm/whatever)

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