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Final Arguments in MS vs. the States 381

Posted by michael
from the sergeants-major dept.
Bistronaut writes "Reports are in today on the final arguments between the 9 State Attorneys General and Microsoft (articles from eWeek). CNN also has a summary. Spoiler: States say, "Here are our priorities for reforming MS." - MS says, "We don't need no stinkin' remedy.""
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Final Arguments in MS vs. the States

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  • by TibbonZero (571809) <[Tibbon] [at] [gmail.com]> on Wednesday June 19, 2002 @09:43PM (#3733556) Homepage Journal
    Even all that Microsoft has done that is bad, lets think of the good things that they have also done for us. Where would we be without Microsoft's existance? How easy/hard would computers be to use? I don't think that Linux would even be as mature as it is because alot of people started off on Microsoft products, and turned to Linux as an alternative, but found their love of computers using Dos and Win3.1

    Just an idea, perhaps they haven't done anything good, but I think that they have done some for us. We should think of this before we totally bash (no pun intended, well just a little) them.

    • For one, without Microsoft I wouldn't have my beautiful Optical Intellimouse or my Natural Keyboard (can't type on anything else). And my friends wouldn't have their XBoxes, and I would never have played Motocross/Monster Truck Madness with my Sidewinder joystick.

      IMHO, Microsoft's gaming/input/hardware development has been the shining jewel of their whole company.
      • Why did you have to go and remind me about Age of Empires 2? Now I'm going to have to go for two weeks without sleep as I get my fix. This will most likely cause me to have to retake all the classes I'm taking this summer. Thus, I wont graduate on time! Good job buddy!
      • Optical mice an innovation of MS? (matter of fact, I think it was a link on/from /.)

        Hardly. That honor goes to an engineer at HP if memory serves.

        No opinion on anything else, but MTM is really good, mindless fun and the Sidewinder is Second only to The Logitec Wingman (too bad the hat switch did not last worth a damn)...or if you have money to burn...a ThrustMaster (really stiff stick, but, what would you expect from a company called "ThrustMaster"?).

        Perhaps they should get out of the software business and make gaming/input hardware?
        (joking, BTW...tho that depends on what CKK will say in the near future).
    • by Phroggy (441) <slashdot3.phroggy@com> on Wednesday June 19, 2002 @09:49PM (#3733601) Homepage
      Of course they've done good. They've also been convicted of breaking the law. Should we look the other way when Microsoft abuses their monopoly power, just because they've made computers more widespread? Should we look the other way when the county sherrif steals money, just because he's helped protect our community? Should we look the other way when a priest molests a child, just because he's done so much good in the church?

      Think about what you're saying, and quit trolling for Microsoft.
      • I am not really trying to Troll here, but I am just thinking of what Microsoft does for me on a day to day basis. Yes, I can see from other posts here, that other OSes would have probably taken the place of Windows if Microsoft had dissapeared in the 90's. I do know that after Win95, alot more people were starting to buy computers, but for some reason the release of OS/2 didn't fly as well, even though it had a few months up on Win95.

        What does Windows do for me?
        Compatability- let's face it, even all of our beloved OSes like *nix and OS2 dont' support everything that we want. Microsoft is generally up to date a good bit of stuff. If I want a Paralell scanner that I have to work, its easy. Linux, I look online, sorry that's not supported, it needs to be SCSI or USB. OS2, I don't know, but IBM isn't really pushing its updating now are they... Other things also fall into this pit. Alot of hardware is Windows only, while this isn't Microsoft's fault, its certainly nice to have an OS that's 'standard' on most desktops, no it's not the only OS I use, I have 3 linux boxes and 5 windows boxes around the house, all different flavors on all.
        Simplcity- While Mac OS offers this as well, which I am grateful for. I know Windows well. I know linux well too. However, there are too few 'standards' around for linux setups and configs. Its hard to troubleshoot. Perhaps thats just me, but it still needs maturing for standard setups, etc...


        There are a few other ways that Windows helps me, but I am outta time....

        Anyway, sorry if you guys thought I was trolling, but I just didn't see the 'antitrust' suits as being really a big deal, Microsoft didn't ever stop me from using a 3rd party utility or 'confuse' me about their options to install software. I can put Opera, or Mozilla, or Netscape, or AOL, or Realplayer on my system as easy as anything else. It's not stopping me from doing what I need to do. Anyway, there goes my Karma...

        • by bmetzler (12546) <bmetzler@@@live...com> on Wednesday June 19, 2002 @10:51PM (#3733807) Homepage Journal

          Anyway, sorry if you guys thought I was trolling, but I just didn't see the 'antitrust' suits as being really a big deal, Microsoft didn't ever stop me from using a 3rd party utility or 'confuse' me about their options to install software. I can put Opera, or Mozilla, or Netscape, or AOL, or Realplayer on my system as easy as anything else. It's not stopping me from doing what I need to do.

          Indirectly, they did. By not allowing OEM's to preload BeOS on their computers (That's an anti-trust violation!) they have not only prevented me from getting a quality OS from a quality OEM, but now I can't get BeOS at all! The same thing with Netscape. I can't get Netscape preloaded from an OEM because Microsoft is able to punish OEM's who want to sell me what I want. (Another anti-trust violation) For goodness sakes, they are supposed to be system integrator's. If I want Netscape 7 and Realplayer 8 on 40 PC's I purchase, I shouldn't have to pay someone else to install them. I should be able to get them preloaded from Dell. I can't though, and the reason is that Microsoft went around to OEM's and told them to not preload Netscape, or else. And we all know what, "Or else" means.

          Consider your feeling for Clear Channel. They have an increasing more powerful ability to control record companies. Suppose they told a record company to not sign up a certain group, or they'd not play any of the record companies music? Now all of a suddenly that band finds itself forced to sign with a small record company. Sure, you could probably buy the CD mail-order or something, but the music isn't heard on mainstream radio, sold at Best Buy and other retail outlets, and for the most part unknown. But it hasn't stopped you from listening to the copy you were able to purchase.

          See, it's the same thing with Microsoft. Sure, you can still use Opera. But because Microsoft is willing to break anti-trust law, you can't get Opera on your new Dell PC.

          Compatability- let's face it, even all of our beloved OSes like *nix and OS2 dont' support everything that we want. Microsoft is generally up to date a good bit of stuff. If I want a Paralell scanner that I have to work, its easy. Linux, I look online, sorry that's not supported, it needs to be SCSI or USB.

          This is one of the strangest pieces of logic I've ever seen. And I really wish that people would get some common sense and I'd never hear it again. Okay, maybe companies write drivers for Windows because it's the most popular. But that doesn't mean that drivers couldn't be written for other OS's. It just means that the companies don't want to write the drivers for other OS's. If Windows didn't exist today, companies would be writing drivers for at least one other OS. And that's a fact.

          -Brent
        • Rebut (Score:4, Insightful)

          by phriedom (561200) on Wednesday June 19, 2002 @10:52PM (#3733811)
          I say that if Microsoft didn't have a monopoly, then you would be able to get better driver support for other OSes. Microsoft establishes "standards" not for your benefit, nor for the benefit of hardware makers, but for their own benefit, and they break or "change" them when it suits their business goals. And they use access to these standards as reward or punishment.

          As for 3rd party apps, you can expect an unchecked monopoly to stop you from using them in subtle ways. I'm not saying that everything they have done is bad for us, I'm saying that a person who says "there is nothing wrong here" is ignoring the facts. Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson is smarter than you or I, and he studied this issue for a very long time and heard the best arguements money could buy, and he came to the conclusion that there is something very wrong here, and that it is bad for you and I, and that drastic measures are warranted.
          • Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson is smarter than you or I, and he studied this issue for a very long time and heard the best arguements money could buy, and he came to the conclusion that there is something very wrong here, and that it is bad for you and I, and that drastic measures are warranted.

            Not only that, but the appeals court, with a very conservative reputation, upheld most of the findings of Judge Jackson. The only important thing they overturned was the remedy, but mostly because of insufficient hearings into possible remedies. This doesn't preclude the present judge from recommending the same remedy, although this appears to be unlikely.
          • As is documented at the end of today's article here [theregister.co.uk].

    • "...but found their love of computers using Dos and Win3.1"

      Funny, when I got into computers back in 1991 I started with DOS and only began the love affair when I discovered OS/2.

      Where would we be without MS? Imagine a best of breed OS that evolved from the best aspects of OS/2, BeOS and Linux, all three of which would have had mainstream support and decent marketshares years ago if the OEMs weren't scared shiteless of retaliation from MS.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Actually, without Microsoft there would not have been a Linux. Because of the success of Microsoft there are now hundreds of millions of computers out there that can't run the latest Microsoft bloatware, but are still perfectly good for running Linux. So thank Bill for the inexpensive hardware base we now have for open source!
    • by Rasta Prefect (250915) on Wednesday June 19, 2002 @09:56PM (#3733632)
      Where would we be without Microsoft's existance? Just an idea, perhaps they haven't done anything good, but I think that they have done some for us.

      Running Netscape on OS/2 Warp? Running Mosaic on MacOS? Despite what they'd like you to believe, Microsoft has not contributed anything particularly vital to the ease of use of computers. The basic concepts can all be found elsewhere(and earlier). Windows at Xerox PARC and on MacOS. The mouse was invented well before Microsoft was founded. DOS was certainly nothing special, and Win95 didn't offer anything OS/2 wasn't doing well before. I fail to see any big favors they've done us.

    • by 0WaitState (231806) on Wednesday June 19, 2002 @09:57PM (#3733637)
      Where would we be without Microsoft's existance?

      Well, until I completely swore off developing on Microsoft I was rebooting several times a week ("Mouse movement detected. Reboot now?"), having to reinstall several times a year, spending days scouring bbs, usenet, msdn to see if anyone else had seen my particular microsoft problem before. Always wondering when Microsoft would break existing implementations in their attempts to force upgrade. I still have to help out relatives who think they've broken their system when Microsoft changes an Office format, I still spend much time deleting Outlook worm mail, I've had to spend time telling clueless managers what all that nimda traffic was in the (Netscape) webserver logs.

      So all in all, without Microsoft I'd probably have a couple months of my life back, lower stress levels, and a healthier liver.
      • "spending days scouring bbs, usenet, msdn to see if anyone else had seen my particular microsoft problem before"

        Thats the nice thing about Linux. Everyone has problems. You join any linux irc channel, and six people will give you four different URLs each telling you how to fix your problem, after reading only the first half of your question. (:

        *note: I use linux. I like it. At least the problems are consistant and fixable.
      • by tshak (173364)
        How can pure nonsense be Insightful? Oh, it's anti MS, nevermind. As bad as Win9x was, I NEVER had to reboot more then twice a month (lol). Still, 3+ times a week? That's rediculous. With Win2K, I don't even think about rebooting, until a stupid security patch comes out. Which is Win2K's only major pitfall - Security. And even then it's nowhere near as bad as people make it out to be (read: I don't use outlook) - especially for workstations that sit behind a firewall. Win2K may not be as stable as Solaris or FreeBSD, but is still very stable. As a desktop I'd contend that it's more stable then any Linux desktop I've tried*.

        * This is not based on recent, more mature Linux desktops. About 18 months ago at my last Job I had a Win2K box, a Linux box, and a laptop that dual booted Win2K/Linux. The Linux boxes where setup by our in house "Linux Guru" with a fancy CS degree, OSS dogma, and lack of showering all intact. Both Linux boxes - as a desktop - were booted at least once a week if not more. My Win2K box, which ran MSSQL server, IIS, Cold Fusion, ActiveState Perl, etc. ran incredible circles around the Linux boxes when it came to stability. I don't know how things are now (I gave up on Linux for the desktop, I'll take OS X for my Desktop Unix please), but at one time there's no doubt in my mind that Win2k was a significantly better desktop OS then Linux was. Needless to say, our Linux admin was cool, and I gave him a cool button that said something like, "It said I needed to upgrade Windows, so I installed Linux!" He liked that, and maybe he'll read this post and defend his boxes ;-).
    • That may be how it was for you... but...

      Firstly, a MAC is STILL easier to use and more straightforward than windows. So there goes that argument.

      Microsoft has NEVER made computers easier to use. Yes, they have become somewhat easier for joe average to use.

      And I sure didnt' get my start on DOS or Win3.1.

      And as for those that found their 'love of computers' on dos and win3.1, they would have also found it on any other computing system they used at the time.

      • Just for the record I got my 'start' on an Amiga 1000 with HAM so PaintShop Deluxe and Pool of Radiance would look beautiful. ah... those were the days of encryption in the form of decoder rings and manual strings... those were the days of BBSs and handset modem 'rings'...

        Video Toaster was the latest and greatest!!!!!

        of course now I'm all grown up and of course I use a 'grown up' OS, OSX, a mature(FreeBSD) and elegant (Quartz/Aqua/Cocoa) operating system.

        Microsoft happens to make a piece of software my employers bought for me that I use maybe 2 times per month to open a file that 1 out of 2 times could have been made in notepad/textedit. The other time is with a Powerpoint doc which is a 'just fine' implementation of presentation software.

        I only follow this M$ stuff cause of the drama and the humor of watching such an ego-inflated corporation squirm.

        p.s. Try YellowDog Linux on a G4 and you will swear off of X86 for the rest of your life. Yes the performance is that freakin' good (linux has and always will run better on the PPC architecture, why do you think that 9 out of ten embedded chips running linux are PPCs). In other words, you get what you pay for.

    • by Invictus2.0 (570276) on Wednesday June 19, 2002 @10:11PM (#3733691) Homepage
      What good has Microsoft done? Stephenson give us his always insightful take on this in In the Beginning was the Command Line [spack.org]

      "The availability of all this cheap but effective hardware was an unintended consequence of decisions that had been made more than a decade earlier by IBM and Microsoft. When Windows came out, and brought the GUI to a much larger market, the hardware regime changed: the cost of color video cards and high-resolution monitors began to drop, and is dropping still. This free-for-all approach to hardware meant that Windows was unavoidably clunky compared to MacOS. But the GUI brought computing to such a vast audience that volume went way up and prices collapsed. Meanwhile Apple, which so badly wanted a clean, integrated OS with video neatly integrated into processing hardware, had fallen far behind in market share, at least partly because their beautiful hardware cost so much.

      But the price that we Mac owners had to pay for superior aesthetics and engineering was not merely a financial one. There was a cultural price too, stemming from the fact that we couldn't open up the hood and mess around with it. Doug Barnes was right. Apple, in spite of its reputation as the machine of choice of scruffy, creative hacker types, had actually created a machine that discouraged hacking, while Microsoft, viewed as a technological laggard and copycat, had created a vast, disorderly parts bazaar--a primordial soup that eventually self-assembled into Linux."
      • I feel that Stephenson is attributing Microsoft for something that is not of their doing, namely the open nature of the hardware. The open nature of the HW allowed more companies to build the hardware and compete, which drove down the price. The lower price led more people to buy PC's than Mac's, even though the Mac interface was easier to use. This led to more software being developed for the PC, which led to more people to buy PC's because the software they wanted to use ran on PC's. This was all happening before any viable Windows release, and Windows did not really catch up to the Mac's capability until Windows 95. During that time, I believe that people were attracted to the PC not because the MS OS was so great, but because the HW was cheap and there were more applications available for it.

        MS received the most benefit from this situation (i.e. huge income and an eventual monopoly), but was not the cause of it.
    • by Eryq (313869) on Wednesday June 19, 2002 @10:19PM (#3733713) Homepage

      An honorable sentiment, BUT...

      ...seeing as Microsoft stole their user interface from the Apple Macintosh (which stole it from Xerox PARC's "Altos" system),

      ...and seeing that Mac had long filenames and REAL plug-and-play (with its pure SCSI architecture) years before MS had a clue that these might be good things,

      ...and seeing that the loss of Mac's market share to PCs was really due to price and NOT capability or ease of use (in 3 words: cheap PC clones),

      ...what exactly do you think we owe to Microsoft? Not one innovation in computing or user interfaces has come from Redmond. NOT ONE. And software? Their best products were purchased, not developed by them (Visio, PowerPoint, FrontPage, MSIE nee Spyglass Mosaic, etc., etc...). Even C# is just a Java ripoff.

      Let's leave Linux out of the picture for a minute. Sit down with a Mac (if you haven't already). Every good thing MS has given you, they got from Apple or other software vendors. Except the Internet, which was old when I was a pup... and the Web, which came from Tim Berners-Lee and a little NeXT box called info.cern.ch. :-)

      • It's kinda off topic, but Apple didn't actually steal anything from Parc Xerox, due mainly to two facts.

        1. The Altos was much less developed than the Mac, and only served as an inspiration for some of the UI features, perhaps 20% of them.

        2. Apple actually paid Xerox quite a hefty sum of money to get to come over and look at their system.

        OTOH, M$ did in fact steal and copy large parts of the MacOS wholesale.
    • by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Wednesday June 19, 2002 @11:07PM (#3733859) Homepage
      Hi.. I'm a mac user. I have been since the second grade. Before that, i had an apple //c.

      This is not because i am some kind of rabid mac fanatic. It is just because there has never been a point that any Microsoft OS looks compelling.

      When i need server work done, or webpages or CGI or whatever hosted, i use a variety of Unices (linux for my main server box, my college's Solaris box). I have been quite satisfied with the performance of all of them.

      I can quite honestly say Microsoft has never, ever done anything for me.

      The only Microsoft product i've ever owned was MSIE/OE; and i honestly believe that if it hadn't been for MS flooding the market with free IE to destroy Netscape's revenue, it would have been possible for a competitor to Netscape to appear, one i doubt would have been any worse than MSIE. So, OK, they gave me a stable, standards-compliant web browser, but they also destroyed the web browser market, preventing anyone else from creating a stable, standards-compliant web browser. So i'm going to say that those two things cancel each other out.

      I want to stress this hasn't just been "i won't use it if it's microsoft". Every time microsoft has released a product, i have looked at it, evaluated it, and simply come to the conclusion it is an inferior product compared to the competition.

      My sole experience with Microsoft's existence has been a steady train since 1991 or so of finding really cool new products and technologies, using these cool new products, and watching Microsoft destroy the corporations responsible for those products.

      So, what has Microsoft done for me? Well, i have a long list of really neat products that i think would have developed into something cool, but because of Microsoft's aggressive business practice, they were put out of business, and their ideas were developed no further. With the exception of Microsoft Office (sometimes), and MSIE (again, doesn't count, because Netscape is crap undeserving of a comparison and MS blocked any third parties out of the market), I have never, ever seen Microsoft put out a product superior to its competitors; the one exception, Office, was superior as such because 1), Microsoft knew that word processors were such a fierce field that they could only get by if it were on merit, and 2), they had ungodly amounts of resources from their more-dubiously-attained markets, and they threw all of them into making Office. Now that Office has successfully wiped all of its competitors, I seriously doubt it will improve any further. I also notice it seems to be about $200 more expensive than it as when Wordperfect was a viable alternative.
      I have seen MS steamroll over products that had the potential to be superior to all else, and be useful to me, if MS hadn't steamrolled them. Also, becuase Microsoft created a singular entity that turned the OS market into a single huge block, no one seems to care about making cross platform games, meaning I don't get many games these days. I mostly play old NES stuff.

      So, i'm reflecting. Everything that Microsoft has done for me ("to" me?) has come down to corrupting all software markets, making the software industry a horrible mess in which all other companies either squabble over MS's leftovers in specialty markets & die horribly at the drop of a hat or are existing "off the grid" (as it were) in the Open Source Fairy-Land. They have locked up ALL the resources in the industry into one huge industry, and absolutely destroyed choice; i have no serious options for my desktop machine except mac os x. (Linux's desktop abilities are incomplete, and Windows is just overall a joke. Where is Be? Where is Amiga? Where is OpenDoc? Where is the cool NaviOS from LAIN? Where is the evolution of basic computing assumptions?) And the funniest thing is, with all its absolutely rediculous resources and market presence and locked-in, NDA'd programmers and contracts and mindshare, Microsoft still can't and never has fricking created a better product than the underfunded, starving minority producers they stomp out, in any field except the very most recent versions of Office and MSIE, and they're even beginning to lose the advantage in THOSE areas!

      Wow. That's quite a lot Microsoft has done. Now tell me why i should think of the ending of this trial in any terms except for "the remedies must be as drastic as possible in order to save the software industry"?

      I live without Microsoft. I've also, incidentally, at school and jobs, used Microsoft products enough to know what living with Microsoft would be like.

      I can quite simply and honestly say that if you had to live without Microsoft, too, you would be absolutely no worse off.
      • I have never, ever seen Microsoft put out a product superior to its competitors; the one exception, Office, was superior as such because 1), Microsoft knew that word processors were such a fierce field that they could only get by if it were on merit, and 2), they had ungodly amounts of resources from their more-dubiously-attained markets, and they threw all of them into making Office

        Although I agree that MS Office is a good product it is no better than WordPerfect Suite, which had the dominance before MS took over. The only product in the suite that was slightly better than WP Suite was Excel. MS did some of the same things to WP Suite that it did to Netscape, it used its monopolistic power in the OS market to force OEM's to only ship MS Office. Frankly WP Suite 2000 was as good in every way, if not better IMHO, than MS Office 2000. I haven't had the chance to compair Suite 2002 to Office XP but considering the improvements made on office suites have stangenated I have a feeling that there is very little diffence.

        No one yelled when WP Suite was beaten up because it was no companies main product when it happened... Novel, Corel...
    • I don't think that Linux would even be as mature as it is because alot of people started off on Microsoft products, and turned to Linux as an alternative, but found their love of computers using Dos and Win3.1

      Wow, this really shows your age (or mine) because I remember starting off with a Sinclair and finding a love of computing in Apple IIs running prodos, Osbornes running CP/M, Commodore 64s running GEOS, and Acorns running RISCOS. I would say my love of computing is still intact *despite* suffering 4 long years (1992 my amiga dies - 1995 I discover Linux) under the Microsoft yoke.
      • Osbornes running CP/M

        > copy file1 file2
        "Copy file? Copy file??? I'm the prince of $#@!ing darkness, I'm not copying your bloody file! You're all @#%$ing mad! SHARON!!"
  • The 9 states want other companies to be able to replace Internet Explorer / Media Player / etc with their own products. Would the end user be able to do the same? Could I download the Opera display engine and replace the IE engine? Freeamp and Media player? Or would this be only availible to the large software companies (AOL and Real)?
    • Or even worse - MS no longer shipping a version with their stuff in it (yeah right), but could you imagine...

      I've got Dell Windows (Opera and RealPlayer)
      Oh...I've got Gateway Windows (Netscape and Quicktime)
      I've got Compaq/HP Windows (Opera and Quicktime)

      I still don't see where a technical solution is needed, just a contractual solution.
  • by grylnsmn (460178)
    ZDNet [com.com] is running an article on this as well. It has some interesting comments posted by the readers in their Talkback section.
  • by VultureMN (116540)
    Most of the talk about the MS case centers around how to keep Microsoft from unfairly clobbering competition, which is good. But how come we never see anything about penalties for past behavior? How 'bout a nice 10 billion dollar fine (only 1/3 of Microsoft's cash reserve...) that we can then throw at the ISS? Yeah...
  • Quick exerpt...
    ---snip---
    For their part, the non-settling states said additional disclosure of the source code that would allow rival software to work with the Windows operating system was their most important demand. "If you forced us to articulate the single highest priority -- that's it," states' attorney Steve Kuney told the judge.

    ---snip---

    As far as Microsoft's priorities with respect to the proposed remedies are concerned, Sullivan said its top priority is to make sure the company is not forced to reveal more of its source code, insisting that doing so would substantially harm the company and give and unfair advantage to competitors, arguments that Gates and other Microsoft executives have made repeatedly in the past.

    ---snip---

    Hello? Essentially, Microsoft says it's top priority is NOT doing what the states feel is the topmost remedy to the entire situation.

    Again, DOJ and MS lock horns head on and it will come down to the Judge.

    Dear god let us have a resolution already.
    • Hilarious.

      I just noticed, that one part of the non-settling states' demand, boiled down into a small phrase...

      allow rival software to work with the Windows operating system was their most important demand
      if I were to change it just slightly, to ...
      allow your software to work with the Windows operating system is their most important customer demand
      it could very easily be found in one of those 1 degree of separation advertising campaign Microsoft has been running for .NET.

      There's a subtle distinction going on that says a lot.

  • by fava (513118) on Wednesday June 19, 2002 @09:58PM (#3733642)
    Quote from article:
    Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler said that the company has always maintained that no remedy is in order, and the provisions outlined in the federal settlement
    go as far as the company is willing to go.
    Why does Microsoft keep acting like this is a negotiation between equals. They LOST, the court has a right to impose any settlement that it deems fit irregardless of what Microsoft wants. Now if both sides could agree on a settlement if would result in a much quicker settlement without the endless appeals, but Microsofts approval of the settlement is NOT necessary or even desirable.

    I am really getting tired of Microsofts attitude towards this whole trial. Take your lumps and move on.

    • by Eryq (313869) on Wednesday June 19, 2002 @10:32PM (#3733747) Homepage
      I am really getting tired of Microsofts attitude towards this whole trial.

      Attitude, hell... I'm getting tired of the fact that the DOJ has been humoring it. In what other court case can you think of where, after the conviction (upheld on appeal) the judge basically says...

      "Gee, guys... given that you're guilty and all, umm, you know... would it be okay, if, like, you maybe met with the injured parties and agreed on a sentence that was a little, you know, inconvenient for you? If that's ok with you, of course..."

      • I'm getting tired of the fact that the DOJ has been humoring it.
        Change in administrations tends to do that. The Bush administration favoring big companies, surprise surprise.
    • Yes, that's kinda scary, isn't it?

      Think of it: Microsoft acts like they're in a position to negotiate. And if there's something we've learned by now, it's that they may be crooks, but they're definitely not stupid.

      Actually, I think Dave Winer wrote something about it (can't find the link though -- sorry!). Maybe there's indeed something MSFT can negotiate: government access to people's data. Remember that thing about the FBI wanting to spread viral spyware? I'm sorry, but that just didn't make sense -- why would they spread malware at random and hope to infect the right terrorists^Wpersons? Either they're clueless... or it's a cover-up story. I certainly hope they're clueless.

      Gosh. I dearly hope I'm being paranoid here. Not that I use Microsoft software, of course... But still, that such a thing could happen scares the bejeesus out of me. Please tell me I'm wrong!
  • Micro$oft logic (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 19, 2002 @10:00PM (#3733656)
    As far as Microsoft's priorities with respect to the proposed remedies are concerned, Sullivan said its top priority is to make sure the company is not forced to reveal more of its source code, insisting that doing so would substantially harm the company and give and unfair advantage to competitors, arguments that Gates and other Microsoft executives have made repeatedly in the past.


    Microsoft also previously has argued that the states' demands go far beyond addressing the antitrust violations it actually committed and would harm consumers and the entire computer industry.


    So, disclosing source would benefit all of Micro$oft's competitors, but harm the entire computer industry??? How can that be, unless Micro$oft considers themselves to be "the entire computer industry"??? What economic textbook teaches them that reining in a monopoly harms consumers?


    You've got to give a lot of credit to the M$ lawyers for actually making these claims in court while keeping a straight face, but I suspect the judge is not amused by these insults to our intelligence.

  • keep trying to think of what would be the fairest penalty, and then they go do something that just pisses me off. So I finnally just throw my hands up and say to hell with them

    Since they should not have any benefit from any illegal act they have done, and since they were convicted of something, they should probably "dis-intergrate" the connection with the internet, and take anything primarily connected to the internet such as browsers, and MSN, and web server stuff, etc, and spin it all off as a separate company.

    things which are not primarily an internet thing (the OS thing, Office, etc) should be retained as another company.

    And the two compamnies should not be able to do any business with each other for 5 or 6 years, basically the length of time they have had the benefit of their illegal actions.

    nothing much, just my rant.

    • to hell with them

      A somewhat mediaeval punishment, but can we send them there now instead of waiting for nature to take its course? :)

      • to hell with them - A somewhat mediaeval punishment, but can we send them there now instead of waiting for nature to take its course? :)

        Personally, I prefer the Ivanova option,

        • a vastly accelerated payment of Karma.
  • by sam_handelman (519767) <skh2003.columbia@edu> on Wednesday June 19, 2002 @10:03PM (#3733670) Homepage Journal
    Okay, I've got the script.

    Basically, I've rewriten Bill's uninteresting personal life to be just like Larry Flynt's. Sorry, to be just like the personal life Larry was given in the movie. In Bill's case, we can gloss over the child pornography because it didn't happen.

    If someone had asked you before The People vs. Larry Flynt "can Courtney Love act?" you would say "No," but she did. Therefore, Britney Spears will play Mrs. Gates. She will play a heroine addict - she will win an Oscar. If Britney Spears gets an Oscar, it must be God's will. He works in mysterious ways.

    Bill Gates, who is every bit as ethical as Larry Flynt, is the hero of the picture. Only one man can make such a part work: Samuel L Jackson. Seth Green ("Scott Evil") spins well among teens - he'll cameo as Ashcroft. We've seen recently that only one man has the radiant malifluousness to play Judge Thomas Penfied Jackson: Christopher Lee. He'll really bring home the senseless brutality of the breakup order. Kevin Costner will produce and direct - he'll also play a fictionalised Gestalt of all of Bill's lawyers. Kevin is the only one who can make this star-bloated, ishtaresque monster expensive enough to actually sink a studio. Running Time: 4 hrs, 11 min.

    At the end of the picture, we roll Bill on in a wheelchair and he dedicates the picture to that mousy wife of his. Oh, yeah, she needs to die.

    The only question is - how can we convince Bill Gates to go before the court of appeals wearing a diaper?
  • States: Gates is a Poo-Poo Head! And here are thousands of reasons why, though we have neglected to organize and present them a focused and useful manner. Also, Ballmer smells.

    BillG + lawyers: Well, I'm rubber and you're glue, your thousands of reasons bounce off of me and stick to you!

    States: Uh, uh, uh, wait, that doesn't mean anything! I read in some law book that you actually have to refute our reasons and stuff!

    BillG + lawyers: Too late! We already said it! And look, here's our press release declaring that you smell your own farts! Nyah-nyah!

    States: Rats! We'd better focus our remaining arguments on declaring that we're not fart-smellers!

    Ballmer: Hey! I don't smell my own farts! (dances like a sweaty monkey)

    ----------

    Seriously, does anyone expect anything genuinely more informative than that from their arguments? the DOJ let MS dictate many of the terms of the debate, and wasted too much effort fighting MS on their own semantic turf, focusing insanely on the conceptually murky(-able) browser issues rather than looking at the "smoking gun" issues (such as OEM licensing and dual-booting, DR-DOS "incompatibility", even Apple and MS-Office). The states haven't done much of anything to expand on the DOJs well-supported, but poorly-executed arguments.

    Not that MS has come up with any non-philosphical arguments themselves - most of their objections are based on the idea that the law shouldn't apply in their "special case", which is based on "software is different/MS is too economically vital to mess with/Gates is a lovey-sweetums and everyone should just love him back".

    For crying out loud, the debates about post-modernism I attended in art school never achieved the bull-headed, pseudo-articulate, self-important levels of idiocy that this trial has.

    And now I've added to it..

    Blech.
    • For crying out loud, the debates about post-modernism I attended in art school never achieved the bull-headed, pseudo-articulate, self-important levels of idiocy that this trial has.

      Art students, unlike lawyers, at least care about the positive or negative aesthetics of what they are debating. They are just (generally) overeducated to the point that they actually think that 'subliminal counterinfluence of the overriding metaphor of substance' means something. Lawyers, on the other hand, are carefully trained to know exactly how to say something which sounds like it means something, while actually having no semantic content.

  • Special treatment? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by klui (457783)
    Do companies get special treatment when they've been convicted of a crime or is it just Microsoft? According to http://news.com.com/2100-1001-937326.html [com.com], the judge asked both sides to seek a compromise and "asked the plaintiff states "how could the defendant's proposed remedy be modified to make its terms more acceptable to plaintiffs." She also asked what changes the states would make to their remedy to satisfy issues raised during the court proceeding while still maintaining the remedy's goals."

    So if some normal schmoe is convicted of a crime, does this person get to have remedies changed so it's more "acceptable"?

    • by Chris Johnson (580) on Wednesday June 19, 2002 @10:39PM (#3733774) Homepage Journal
      If I was a psychotic compulsive bank robber convinced that all banks must be robbed (but not a complete fool), and I was in court having a restraining order thrashed out, then:

      -if the judge asked me 'Will you obey the restraining order?' I would likely have sense enough to protest that of course I would, your Honor.

      -if the Judge asked me 'What parts of this restraining order are fair and reasonable?', I would likely erupt in wild diatribes about how it's all totally unfair and unreasonable... which would be the truth as I saw it... and would be a far more revealing answer to the first question than you'd get from asking me the first question directly.

      Microsoft, in their closing argument, have made it absolutely clear that they will not cooperate with the eventual ruling in any way, and will continue to devote all their resources to evading it and denying it. I think the Judge asked them about it on purpose, to see how they'd react. Now we know. And now she knows.

  • by TheFrood (163934) on Wednesday June 19, 2002 @10:11PM (#3733690) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft lead attorney John Warden told Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly that the states' proposed remedy was punitive...

    Yeah, imagine that. Being convicted of a crime and then actually being punished. What a crazy world we live in, huh?

    Cheap humor aside, can anyone explain (and IANAL, so I'm asking honestly here) why a company that lost an antitrust suit gets to make arguments about what the punishment should be? If a private citizen is successfully sued, does s/he get to go through another round of hearings arguing that s/he shouldn't be penalized?

    Frood
    • If a private citizen is successfully sued, does s/he get to go through another round of hearings arguing that s/he shouldn't be penalized?
      0) IANAL.
      1) Microsoft was not sued.
      2) In a criminal case, yes.
  • When it dies, they do. Simple, clean and neat.

    Verification?

    ANY M$ product appear for ANY other platform and Gates and Balmer sleep in the Big House and they better NOT DROP THE SOAP. (Jobs will just have to push OpenOffice for OS X.)

    Total cost of verification and enforcement $0.00

    That's IT. That's ALL.
  • by esarjeant (100503) on Wednesday June 19, 2002 @10:26PM (#3733728) Homepage
    Remember when railroad companies used different sized track to eliminate competition? They also eliminated any semblance of travel convenience for the consumer.

    The commercial software establishment is largely like these now non-existant railroad franchises. People have discovered that it's just software, and they are happier to enjoy a level of compatibility accross a variety of systems.

    Of course, once the railroad industries agreed on standards it became possible for mass production of standards-based railway hardware. This eliminated much of the guesswork, tracks were wide enough to support trains of various sizes and shapes. Without these standards, the golden age of travel would have been unachievable.

    Software needs to adopt standards, and the open source community has been vital to that process.

    Given Microsoft's track record in this area, I think the best outcome now is for the judge to force MS to abide by standards for all present and future networking protocols. If a networked feature of MS software does not employ a documented RFC, W3C recommendation, etc. it must be fixed.

    And there should be a federal committee responsible for reviewing and enforcing this. It is not acceptable that standards can be implemented along with a proprietary MS protocol (eg: MS Exchange).

    Ultimately, all commercial software should be made to follow these rules, only the open source community will be allowed to innovate networking protocols. Most of the significant protocols came from open source / public domain anyway, let's mandate that tradition and stop companies like Microsoft from meddling with a good thing.
    • While I think this is a valid idea, I also think it is a bit strict. My problem is with a federal committee overseeing standard compliance. Remember a month ago the announcement [slashdot.org] that finally a C++ compiler existed that supported the entire language? There are hundreds of compilers and only one supports the full standard? Even my beloved Opera doesn't support every HTML standard perfectly (it's close, but not 100%).

      I don't know what punishment I would prescribe (probably open the APIs), but I think 100% standard compliance isn't it. If we were to act along those lines, maybe part of the action could be that MS could not extend any standards.

  • If the read the daily trial transcripts (which you can read here [microsoft.com]), You get the sense that the judge has been leaning towards MS, despite press reports.

    It is pretty clear that the states are only representing Sun ('Make MS use Java'), Novell ('Make Windows work with NDS'), Red Hat ('Make MS give us the Office source code'), et al, and don't give one whit about the public interest. The judge has picked up on this and kept telling the states to stop bringing up 'new' transgression and tell her how the states' changes serve the public interest. The states continued to ignore her at their own peril.

    Can't wait for the final decision.

    • I'm not sure that it is just a question of the public interest. As far as most members of the public (which slashdotters do not represent) they tend to think that integrated software is great. No need to go out and find a browser, media player, messenging tool etc. They don't want a modular O/S. The judge is there to serve the interest of competition. That interest is served (in my humble opinion) by exiting MS from the software market. That way they cannot act anti-competitively. I'm not talking about breaking them up, I mean forcing them to exit all non O/S based software by selling the rights to the highest bidder.
  • by Royster (16042) on Wednesday June 19, 2002 @10:33PM (#3733756) Homepage
    A report in the NYTimes earlier this week said that six former DOJ Antitrust officials chimed in on the proposed remedies [nytimes.com]. I've looked in several places, but haven't found a copy of the brief. Does anyone know where it can be found?
  • by Darth Paul (447243)
    Here's a snippet from the article at an aussie news site [news.com.au]

    During closing arguments, Microsoft lawyer John Warden refused to give any ground.

    "We have been through this. We negotiated. We went as far as we can go," Mr Warden said. "That's the deal."

    The judge, who had asked both sides to find middle ground, smiled slightly through Mr Warden's statements.

    Interesting, the first indicator of personal attitude from KK that I've heard of (You can draw conclusions whichever way you want). I remember an earlier /. post saying that if you wanted to slam MS with a killer verdict, you'd shut up and keep the appearance of impartiality until the end. I'd like to think that's what she's doing :) Just as long as she keeps it subtle and don't do a Jackson.

    I know if I were in her position and hearing that from Warden, I'd be blowing raspberries.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 19, 2002 @11:13PM (#3733874)
    ..that no computers can be sold with Windows preinstalled or bundled, so that consumers must buy Windows separately at a fixed, non-discountable full retail price (of Microsoft's choosing) and install it themselves. Everyone pays the same price, with no volume discounts.

    OEMs may ship computers with any other OS, or with no OS at all. If people truly want Windows, they are welcome to purchase and install it separately, and Microsoft can include anything they want in it, so there's no restriction on "innovation". They would not have to stick to standards, dislose APIs, include Java, whatever. Consumers would just be forced to make the conscious choice to buy and use it.

    For existing installations of Windows, Microsoft would be prohibited from selling upgrades to anyone other than consumers who bought retail - OEM installations would require a new retail purchase.
  • From the CNN article:
    [Microsoft attorney John] Warden also took exception to Sullivan's portrayal of Microsoft as some kind of scofflaw. "We haven't failed to get some message. We haven't claimed that we're immune from the law or anything of that kind," he said.

    I don't know what planet this fellow just landed from, but Microsoft's behavior speaks far louder than any of their press releases. Statements like this only make me more certain that Microsoft as a company revolves around the legal and marketing divisions, not product development-- since it seems that instead of trying to develop quality software, they push crap out the door (caring nothing for quality or whether patents stand in the way), and just let "the suits"- marketdroids and crack legal teams- sort it out, hypnotizing everyone into buying Windows/Office/WhatHaveYou and then suing into oblivion (or buying out) the meager competition. Furhtermore, it seems the backup plan is dumping product (ala Internet Explorer or Media Player) via the $30b float. In fact, given the above statement and the history of Microsoft Corp., I can now see the rationale behind the vicious statments against GPL'd software they keep publishing: they're jealous. Here are crack programmers worldwide, giving away a quality product, and doing it in a way that Microsoft can't ride on their coattails.

    Of course, I must only wonder if any of that jealousy is directed toward the quality aspect or just solely at the widely touted "viral" aspect of GPL software. Wait a minute, what am I saying? Microsoft couldn't define "quality" with a dictionary. Their copy of Meriam/Webster also seems to be missing "scofflaw"....
    • Translation from M$ speak:

      "We haven't failed to get some message. We haven't claimed that we're immune from the law or anything of that kind, but we're just going to ignore it like we always do."

  • by Ramsés Morales (13327) on Wednesday June 19, 2002 @11:32PM (#3733945)
    I'm from Panamá, and many latin american countries have the same opinion on this issue:

    Here, people is convinced that the DOJ is hurting USA's economy by fighting MS. They are convinced that MS is the "good guys" of the movie.

    When I try to explain that MS is really an unethical monopoly, no-one understands.... whats worst, is that there is people that doesn't wants to understand the facts.... "No, No, Microsoft is the messiah".

    It is sad to live in a third world country. Big companies like Microsoft can convince everyone of their lies.

    I have seen all kind of people beleiving MS's lies, in person. High school students, college students, government people in the highest positions (like our president), PhDs (not in computer science, of course).

    What could I do to make people open their eyes and see the truth???
    • by Svartalf (2997) on Thursday June 20, 2002 @12:03AM (#3734081) Homepage
      Congressman Villanueva's response to MS' letter opposing the law up for a vote in Peru's Congress is telling.

      http://www.pimientolinux.com/peru2ms/villanueva_ to _ms.html
    • Heh, that attitude is definitely not confined to Latin America. A good deal of the US populace feels the same way. Most people just don't know much about Microsoft...all they know is that MS made the operating system that runs on their computer and all the office software that they use at work. As long as the interfaces are slick and they can churn out spreadsheets, they don't really care about who made the software.

      Perhaps my perspective is a bit skewed because I live in Washington state, but I've only come across a handful of people who feel that MS should be punished as strongly as I do. The prevailing attitude is, "Awww, who cares about Microsoft, as long as Word still works?" They don't want to be bothered to learn the details of the case.
  • I'm no fan of Microsoft (as many will testify) but before we all make a huge noise about how Billy Boy and his sidekicks ought to be hung, drawn and quartered -- should we not look a little more closely at the systems that allowed them to get this far?

    It's a brave (or stupid) businessman who doesn't take advantage of an opportunity when it comes along -- and in the case of a listed company, management has a responsibility to stockholders to ensure that they get the maximum return on their investment.

    If this means taking full advantage of the capitalist environment and using all of ones abilities to gain a dominant position within a competitive marketplace then so be it.

    Gates & co have only done what thousands of other companies would love to have done. We hate M$ but we don't hate the others. The only difference is that Bill got lucky or was better at exploiting the opportunities that came along.

    And ultimately -- you've got to apportion some of the blame to stupid consumers. If people are prepared to pay the prices that MS charges for the products they sell then if they find themselves in the merciless grip of a monopolistic tyrant then who do they really have to blame?

    Nobody holds a gun to your head and says "You must buy Windows or we'll kill you" do they?

    No -- over the past 20 years or so, people have chosen to buy Billy-Boy's products because they thought they were getting a good deal (even if perhaps they weren't).

    Every other software vendor has had the same options and opportunities available to them -- but many have simply dropped the ball.

    Anyone remember Digital Research? They once owned the OS marketplace with CP/M and had a good slice of the languages marketplace with CBASIC and Pascal/MT+ Both of these products were superior to Bill's pathetic Basic80 and MS Pascal equivalents.

    Then Gary Kildall dropped the ball and MS took over the OS marketplace.

    And what about Borland? After the demise of Digital Research, they owned the most popular structured programming language in the world -- Turbo Pascal. Now, even though Delphi retains a band of loyal followers, Microsoft has effectively eclipsed Borland as the main vendor of PC-based computer languages (Java not withstanding).

    Then there was Ashton Tate and their dBase products. They owned the PC-based database marketplace -- and then they dropped the ball, allowing MS products such as Access and MS-SQL to take up the slack.

    Or what about Visicalc? When the IBM PC launched, Visicalc was the number-one spreadsheet. Look who owns that market now -- who dropped the ball?

    Word processing? It used to be Micropro's WordStar, then Word Perfect -- now it's... you guessed it, Microsoft Word.

    Did Microsoft bully all these other products out of the marketplace or force consumers to buy its versions instead? No, they simply turned out a better product at an acceptable price that was promoted with superior marketing.

    If we chose to all flock like lemmings to the abys that is Microsoft then we get what we deserve.

    However, there's now some light at the end of the tunnel. OSS such as Linux and its growing number of applications gives us the chance to break free of this self-induced addiction to MS products.

    But once again, nobody can force consumers to go the OSS way -- it's a choice they have to be make for themselves. Unfortunately, the consumer has already proven that they're none too bright when it comes to choosing the best long-term option eh?

    So, maybe we shouldn't be too quick to blame others for our own stupidity and short-sightedness.
    • blah blah blah

      You should read the findings of fact of jackson's opinion, and tell us why what judge jackson discovered microsoft to have done is ok.

    • by Kwil (53679) on Thursday June 20, 2002 @01:00AM (#3734248)
      Every other software vendor has had the same options and opportunities available to them

      Really?

      So you're saying that BeOS had the same options and opportunities available? They could have gone to the hardware companies and said "Look, if you give any indication that you're putting Windows on the same system, we're going to charge you double for the BeOS license" and not get laughed out of the office?

      You're suggesting that Netscape had the opportunity to use the revenue from their massive monopoly on OEM OS sales to back them giving away their browser until it crushed the competition?

      Possibly you're suggesting that Word Perfect or Lotus had the opportunity to leverage their intimate knowledge of propietary Windows APIs to make their software run as fast as any competitor, or that they could modify the underlying OS to cause problems with Microsoft Word or Excel?

      Now, can you argue that other companies dropped the ball? Sure, some did. But don't be so quick to assume stupidity on the part of a public that was robbed of any choice from a company leveraging it's monopoly in one area (the OS) to eliminate competition in other areas.
    • Every other software vendor has had the same options and opportunities available to them

      So Sun and Apple and SGI and Linux and BSD etc. all had the opportunity to supply the operating system for IBM's PC? Do remember that microsoft didn't get to where it is by some sort of tactical genius on the part of bill gates, it got where it is largely by luck. Microsoft was chosen to supply the operating system on what wasn't planned to be a huge product. However, when compaq reverse engineered the PC and started making them cheaply, the market for them exploded handing microsoft the dominant position as the OS distributor.

      Microsoft's boat was carried by the rising waters of the PC hardware industry - rising waters that they were in no way responsible for.

      Now, granted, it was possible for microsoft to lose its tremendous windfall, and to their credit (as tactitions) they didn't. They managed to kill their competition for PC operating systems (of course, the only competition that I can think of was OS/2 which came late in the game (and unmarketed) and something called NeoGeo (or something of that kind), which was also later on). But had microsoft not had this tremendous advantage, had their company not been hugely bolstered by events far beyond their control, they would have found their dominance much harder to win.

      Another advantage little commented on is the boom that the internet has provided for them. They were again in a good position when the internet gave a huge number of people a reason (email + the web) to own a computer. So again with a giant boom in computer purchases stimulated by this new reason to own a computer, microsoft again had its boat brought up by rising waters.

      And as the saying goes, there's nothing so conducive to success as huge gobs of money. But give microsoft time. They may yet drop the ball that they've been handed. There are some interesting rumors of what will happen when they become a mature company whose stock does not rise in value (abnormally) and thus they are unable to print money in the form of stock options. But that isn't relevant to the current discussion.

      You said that everyone had the same opportunities. They did not. That doesn't make microsoft any better or worse than other companies, but it also means that they are not comparable. Microsoft has been immensely successful and they have immensely abused their success. That is what's really important. We need to undue the damage that they've done and unshakle computing from the bonds that microsoft put on it in an attempt to keep it from running away.



    • Are you real? The only thing resembling logic in your post is the paragraph about Gary Kildall. But hey, even that can be argued. After all, the guy had a passion for life and flying. Had that fateful day been overcast, we would be in a very different world today.

      Everything else you say is a contradiction to your assumptions. Yes, Microsoft did bully their way in every one of those examples.

      Borland? Go ask Phil what he thinks about this. After getting hammered over and over by not having access to the same information Microsoft had for its own development tools. After being chronically late and behind Microsoft new operating systems because most of the stuff had to be reversed engineered (while Microsoft's own tools came ahead of these releases).

      Visicalc? Lotus 123 came up with something for the 8086 faster (Visicalc was CP/M only for quite a while). That turned Lotus into a winner overnight. Overtime, Microsoft turned its dreadful Multiplan into Excel, forced it down the throat of every OEM and robbed the market share (as opposed to "winning" it). Not to mention it did everything it could to make Lotus 123 not to work with Microsoft products.

      I can go on and on about this. Heck! I lived though all this and I am very intimate with all these scenarios as I was directly involved with many of them.

      I get you point and it could be a valid one had you chosen very different examples. As is, it feels more like a paid Microsoft drone trolling around to create confusion.
    • Sure some of the companies have dropped the ball. But let's look at one of your examples. One is enough for right now, for there are many other examples that follow suit.

      Word processing? It used to be Micropro's WordStar, then Word Perfect -- now it's... you guessed it, Microsoft Word.

      Did Microsoft bully all these other products out of the marketplace or force consumers to buy its versions instead? No, they simply turned out a better product at an acceptable price that was promoted with superior marketing.


      Okay, so WordPerfect Suite had over 70% of the market at one point or another. What happened next, MS Office 95 became competative and Novell fscked up by not releasing an NT version at all. But there are other issues that one should look at, MS Office 95 was not necessarily a better office suite nor was it "superior marketing" or Novell's screw up that drove the nail into the coffin. There were several other things that did it:
      1. Control of the OEM's. The ability to tell the OEM's that if you do not ship product X with your PC's you don't get Windows is called abuse of Monopoly. This happened.
      2. Beaking of opponents products. I used NT 4.0 and Corel WP Suite 7, and I refused to get a Service Pack until I saw a fix on the Corel site because I knew that the Servce Pack would break WP Suite. This also occured with products like CC Mail and Lotis Notes.
      3. I also remember in the dorms that roughly a month after Corel would release a new fix to the MS Word decoding problem MS would release a patch for Office breaking it again.

      Using a monopoly to force OEM's to ship not ship certain products is abuse of monopoly. Purposefully breaking compatability with other products to enforce the use of your own is illegal when it is your monopoly that allows you to do that. It is one thing to offer a choice while at the same time have a superior product, it is another to forcefully stifle choice with superior resources to favor your product. It is a fine line between agressive and preditory and MS is WAY on the side on preditory.

      As I said before this is but one example. People have already given examples using BeOS, but there is also the issue of Eudora, CC Mail, Notes, etc... Also, Borland sued MS because of preditory hiring practices. MS was targeting key Borland programmers with obsene amounts of money to leave Borland even when the programmers were not needed (not all were unused but some were removed for the sole purpose of making sure Borland didn't have them). This was settled out of court. And although no one puts a gun to your head telling you to buy a computer not everyone wants to build their computer from parts and until recently it was hard/impossible to buy a PC without Windows pre-installed because OEM's feared retaliation.

      Sure we shouldn't be quick to set the blame to when others are short sighted but one looks at this case it is as obvious as a neon beer sign in the window of a bar that MS blatently abused its power. MS shouldn't be punished for others mistakes it should be punished for its illegal actions, to which there are numerous.
    • by Andy_R (114137) on Thursday June 20, 2002 @05:59AM (#3734927) Homepage Journal
      You have completely missed the point!

      There is at least one comment that explains why in every /. story on this case, but I guess it's not redundant until people actually understand it...

      Microsoft is NOT ON TRIAL for being a monopoly.

      There is NOTHING WRONG with being a monopoly under US law.

      Microsoft were ABUSING their monopoly, which there ARE laws against.
    • Nobody holds a gun to your head and says "You must buy Windows or we'll kill you" do they?

      Yes. Microsoft did this (Albeit in a financial way) to a local company wanting to change from MS to Novell / Linux. The company (Now bankrupt) felt that MS didn't live up to their demands and wanted out of a contract binding the to upgrades and MS-only networking. MS says; Of course you can get out of the contract, just pay up the agreed upon fee. This fee was of course a mandatory part of the contract, non-negoitable and large enough to keep the struggeling company from affording anything else after getting out of the MS deal.

    • If GM made tires, the only choice for tires on GM vehicles would very quickly be GM tires.

      M$ OfficeSuite being bundled in with the OS murdered the competition in their beds.

      If Tony Soprano wanted you to sell his brand of cigars and ONLY his brand of cigars at your store, you would quickly have HIS brand and ONLY his brand of cigars at your store. Furthermore HE doesn't pay and he tell you how much you're going to sell his cigars for.

      M$ did not sell to consumers, they twisted the arms of OEMs, blatantly and illegally (there's NO dispute about that. Its already been proved in a prior case,) to get their OS forced onto the machines.

      Don't make excuses for M$.

      They need to get LOCKED onto the X86 architecture under pain of imprisonment for Gates & Balmer.

      And then we let history resume its proper course.
    • I'm no fan of Microsoft (as many will testify) but before we all make a huge noise about how Billy Boy and his sidekicks ought to be hung, drawn and quartered

      I think you don't understand the anti-trust process.

      First, the current trial, Ashcroft v. Microsoft, isn't about punishing Microsoft for what they've done at all. The purpose is to:

      1. Determine if Microsoft is a monopoly (verdict: yes, upheld on appeal).
      2. Determine if Microsoft has abused its monopoly status to suppress competition (verdict: yes, upheld on appeal). Keep in mind that it is *not* illegal to obtain or be a monopoly. It is only illegal to use your monopoly status to suppress competition in order to maintain or extend your monopoly.
      3. Find and impose a remedy which prevents Microsoft from suppressing competition in the future (verdict will be complex. Judge Jackson imposed a breakup as the remedy, but his remedy was overturned on appeal. The settlement was another attempt to find an acceptable remedy, but the states refused to accept it and the courts have ruled that states have a right to push for harsher remedies. Since that failed, the judge will now select her remedy, which will again be reviewed by the court of appeals, unlike a settlement, which is why everyone wanted to settle if possible.)

      There is no punishment of MS to be found here, just steps to ensure that anti-competitive behavior is quashed now.

      Of course every company behaves in the same ways that MS has. Or should, if they want to be aggressive competitors in the marketplace. The difference is that once you become a monopoly the rules change and you have to be more careful about how you compete, because you have disproportionate power to affect the competition.

      Separately, the companies that can prove they were unfairly damaged by Microsoft's anti-competitive behavior will sue (some are suing already) for damages. They'll rely on decisions 1 and 2 from the current trial but will still have to prove that it was Microsoft's anti-competitive actions that damaged them and determine how much damage was done. In those trials, Microsoft's lawyers will pick apart every bad business decision made by those companies and try to show that it was their own failings, not Microsoft's actions that caused them to lose in the marketplace.

      Had Microsoft abided carefully by the terms of the 94 consent decree, and had they generally taken note of the fact that they were now a monopoly and had to be more careful, none of this would have been necessary. Essentially, the investigation and the consent decree were Microsoft's warnings that "for you, the rules have now changed", but Microsoft chose not to heed those warnings. Since MS won't voluntarily reign in its excesses, the courts are trying to figure out how to reign them in going forward.

  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday June 20, 2002 @12:45AM (#3734212) Homepage
    "Reconstructing" an antitrust violator's business is normal operating procedure in antitrust cases. When IBM lost an antitrust case, they had to disclose the specs for mainframe peripherals, which created a whole plug-compatible industry, and eventually plug-compatible non-IBM mainframes.

    When AT&T lost an antitrust case, the whole phone system had to be rearchitected. That was a massive technical effort of enormous complexity. Supporting multiple long distance carriers was a huge job. But, by court order, it was done.

    The sanctions proposed for Microsoft are mild by comparison. A comparable remedy for Microsoft would be to force Microsoft to separate into an applications business unit and an OS business unit, with a requirement for published APIs.

    Since all the antitrust lawyers and the judge know the history of antitrust law, they know all this, and Microsoft is just grandstanding.

  • ...to get me MY daiy in court, 'cause I is goona use that Microsoft Deeefense:

    "I ama truuly sorry yo'onor, but I cain't take me no time in no jail cell for robbin them there store. Iffin I did, then just how do you reckon that I rob me some more stores in the future?"

    "I see your point, sir. Based on th eMicrosoft Precident, I find that, while guilty, you simply cannot be given any penalty as that would hamper your ability to commit further crimes. Case dismissed!"
  • Is there some way of breaking Microsofts delay tactics? If you've read Kafka, you'll recognize the indefinite postponement technique.

    Years pass, and Microsoft is left to self-regulate while the trial passes by. We all know how controlled and ethical the Redmond juggernaut is..

    On the bright side, their products have admittedly improved quite a bit during the trial, if you look away from the security.
  • Spoiler: States say, "Here are our priorities for reforming MS." - MS says, "We don't need no stinkin' remedy.""

    NOOOOOOO!!!!!!! Now youve ruined the whole trial for me, I thought MS was going to pull one of its trademark change of hearts and say please, please break us up. Thanks a lot.

  • Dateline 06/20/02...

    George W. Bush today announced to abandon his idea for cabinet level status for Homeland Security and instead simply declare a new "Department of Microsoft".

    Under the new cabinet it will be dictated that all U.S. citizens will be given a copy of all Microsoft software while on overseas computers will be restricted to "pay-as-you-go" plans which will expire unless you pay the MsTariff '02.

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James

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