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Microsoft

New Documents Shed Light on Microsoft's Tactics 614

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the skeletons-from-the-closet dept.
Tigen writes "As the NY Times reports, even as MS prepares to face penalties from the European Union, testimony during the second week of trial in the consumer class-action lawsuit in Minnesota has revealed some embarrassing internal documents from Microsoft which were not disclosed in the 1997 federal antitrust lawsuit. Items include a 1990 letter from Bill Gates to Andy Grove, and Microsoft's illegal tactics against the Go Corporation, a Silicon Valley startup."
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New Documents Shed Light on Microsoft's Tactics

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  • by torpor (458) <{ibisum} {at} {gmail.com}> on Thursday March 25, 2004 @04:36AM (#8665476) Homepage Journal
    I've contended for years that computing in general has been held back by Microsoft, not pushed forward, and this is an example of just how that has been the case.

    There are a lot of 'high order' dreams in the computing science. The CS holy grail of pocket, portable computing is only now coming to fruition (thank you Palm), but has been on the cards since at least the 60's as a design reference/specification. Go could've given us this in the late 1980's, early 90's. Microsofts' machinations, however, prevented that from happening.

    I understand now, why the Palm founders adopted their 'found and leave' strategy for PalmOS. In the light of Go, Inc's demise it makes sense to light 4 or 5 small fires that the enemy can't put -all- out, rather than making a very large target, like Go and Motorola did ...

    I stopped using Microsoft products in 1998. They'll not get one penny of $ from this consumer, and not one item of code from this programmer. I tell all my Microsoft-using friends to fuck off with their self-made problems, too, and get real operating systems, from real software companies ... and most of them do.
  • by torpor (458) <{ibisum} {at} {gmail.com}> on Thursday March 25, 2004 @04:39AM (#8665491) Homepage Journal
    We've found one dead body, the criminal is in jail.

    We don't need to find any more. Even if they are out there, somewhere in the ditch, buried ... nah ... its 'not needed'.

    You should be marked "-1 Ignorant Buffoon", but alas thats ... only ... possible in the alternative /. universe ... in my head.
  • by ewe2 (47163) <ewetoo AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday March 25, 2004 @04:41AM (#8665496) Homepage Journal
    ... after all it's a Markoff article.
  • Microsoft Crimes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amigoro (761348) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @04:43AM (#8665502) Homepage Journal
    From Analysing of the NY Times article: a letter in which Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman, the chief executive of Intel at the time, that any support given to the Go Corporation,would be considered an aggressive move against Microsoft.
    If this is not anti-competitive, then what is?

    Microsoft violated a signed secrecy agreement with Go and showed that Microsoft possessed technical documents from Go that it should not have had access to.
    Industrial Espionage.

    Microsoft violated nondisclosure agreements with Go, and then used that information to build PenWindows, a competitor to Go's PenPoint operating system.
    GO has loyalty rights for PenWindows. GO should sue PenWindows licensee's individually. This is what Microsoft is trying to do to Linux users through SCO. GO has more legal grounds to stand on that SCO.

    Shortly after the letter was written, Intel reduced its planned investment in Go from $10 million to $2 million
    Intel was held to ransom, and they paid it.

    The advice read in part that the focus should be shifted from "killing the competitor" to "providing a better solution to the customer's problems."
    So they did believe in Killing Competition. A tiger never changes its stripes.

    I think some of these allegations could ammount to criminal offences. I do hope Mr. Gates does a time in a cell with No Windows

    Moderate this comment
    Negative: Offtopic [mithuro.com] Flamebait [mithuro.com] Troll [mithuro.com] Redundant [mithuro.com]
    Positive: Insightful [mithuro.com] Interesting [mithuro.com] Informative [mithuro.com] Funny [mithuro.com]

  • by MoonFog (586818) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @04:44AM (#8665507)
    In the EU they may be forced to exclude Windows Media Player from the operating system in addition to heavy fines. I think they should be worried about both.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 25, 2004 @04:45AM (#8665511)
    No, with more than $50 billion in the bank you shouldn't be to afraid. However you should be afraid if the reason for having this kind of money in the bank, that is, not giving information to your competitors about how servers and the desktops interact and bundling your own products with your operating system in order to force competitors out of the market, is attacked, as it is in the European Case.
  • slashbot (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 25, 2004 @04:46AM (#8665517)
    Typical slashbot FUD.

    Please explain how pocket, portable computing would have been possible even ten years ago. The hardware was the limiting factor. Microsoft had nothing to do with it - the state of the semiconductor industry did. We didn't have CPUs that worked withotu sucking *lots* of juice. NMOS CPUs were very power hungry.

    Today we have calculators [hp.com] with 75 MHz processors, powered off AAA batteries. Would that have been possible 10 years ago? perhaps, but the price would have been insane.

    Companies are always free to develop their own embedded OS; some do. Back then the hardware wasn't available. So quit the microsoft bashing.

    Typical slashdot groupthink [anti-slash.org]
  • by Hektor_Troy (262592) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @04:46AM (#8665519)
    Well, Mr. Obvious, would you be as kind as to point us to some references to these kidnappings?
  • Great Friend... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jimmyCarter (56088) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @04:51AM (#8665534) Journal
    I tell all my Microsoft-using friends to fuck off with their self-made problems, too..

    Surely there's a way you can express your displeasure with MS products to your friends with a little more tact?
  • by pubjames (468013) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @04:53AM (#8665541)
    I've contended for years that computing in general has been held back by Microsoft, not pushed forward, and this is an example of just how that has been the case.

    I think the clearest demonstrator that Microsoft has held back innovation is PowerPoint. Because it is virtually installed as default on all business machines, everyone uses it. Microsoft has had little motivation to update it, so it still functions like a piece of software from ten years ago. But ask any graphic designer about it and they will free out about how impossibly sh*t it is for creating presentations, especially bearing in mind the amazing graphics computers are capable of these days. And yet where is the strong competition for PowerPoint? There isn't one, because it is impossible to compete with the kind of product bundling Microsoft can get away with.
  • by prat393 (757559) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @04:53AM (#8665543)

    It's very interesting that as a consequence of Microsoft's domination of the market, people give you very weird looks when you tell them you don't use windows. Then they calm down, an idea hits them, and they ask, "Oh, so you use Mac, then?" The weird look, however, wrests itself upward from its grave where the pallbearers were finally resting with (they thought) the satisfaction of a job well done, and climbs back on to the poor user's face when you're forced to disillusion them.

    Using something other than windows is almost a stigma in some circles (circles the average slashdotter has little contact with, and avoids as much as possible), and it's the fact that most people only know and (ha!) understand how to use one OS that leads to this sorry state of affairs. A consuming fear of new ideas leads to stagnation, not innovation, and this fear is exactly what the Microsoft monopoly has led us into.

  • Re:slashbot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LostCluster (625375) * on Thursday March 25, 2004 @04:55AM (#8665550)
    Companies are always free to develop their own embedded OS; some do. Back then the hardware wasn't available. So quit the microsoft bashing.

    You seem to have forgoten what Wintel is...

    OS writers are very much in a co-dependant relationship with the chip makers... the direction that the OS writers take their software and the direction the chip makers take their chips have to be in sync because one will not work without the other.

    Thus, research into chip design was up until recently funneled towards keeping up with the Moore's Law pace of faster and faster clock speeds. Research into creating a chip that could run on low power just wasn't done because there wasn't much of a market for it.

    In order to justify writing an OS for a handheld, you need to know what chip you're going to be running on. In order to build a chip geared for handheld use, you need to be sure somebody's actually going to make handhelds.... it's a classic catch 22, and Microsoft appears to have blocked the Go-Motorola partnership that would have made those advances a decade or so before they actually happened.
  • by Crash Culligan (227354) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @05:09AM (#8665595) Journal
    It's over. The antitrust trial has gone by. A decision was made and we've stuck to it.

    A decision was made, but a lot of people believe that decision was just so much tepid crap. Courts have been overturned in the past; perhaps if enough new evidence comes to light, the case can be reopened.

    What now? does dragging this stuff up accomplishe anything more? It's just for microsoft bashing.

    Yes, it does serve a purpose. It serves to dig up more facts and evidence should someone in the judiciary ever get wise and reevaluate that case.

    Even if the trial never reopens, the Court of Public Opinion is always open. The more people learn what kinds of jiggery-pokery Microsoft has been up to, the more likely Microsoft will gets its just desserts sooner or later, and the less likely anyone else will ever pull such stunts again.

    Honestly. I'm trying to figure out your attitude. "Microsoft did it, they got away with it, and that's good enough for me!" Are you always this doggedly complacent?

    This whole story should be market -1 FLAMEBAIT

    Need something burned down in a big hurry? Then come on down to the Flamebait Market, for all your pyromaniac needs!

  • by James Durie (1426) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @05:10AM (#8665597)
    The case in the EU isn't really about the money.
    If the fine were the only issue microsoft would have paid it and said "sorry we wont do it again" before going off and doing it again.

    The main issue in the EU case and the reason Microsoft is going to appeal it is control.

    Making Microsoft remove media player (and who knows maybe others will happen later).
    Making them provide *complete* specs such that other software companies can make totally compatible products.

    Those are the real issues. Efforts to control microsofts future not make them pay for wrong-doings in the past.

    The best thing that could come out of the EU case is the interoperability thing. Imagine if you could choose your html renderer and it slots itself into place so perfectly that anywher IE was used before your choice of renederer gets used now.

    How about an NTFS implementation for Linux with complete read/write compatibility.

    How about open office reading/writing all of Office's document formats perfectly.

    That is what microsoft is scared of.

  • by goatan (673464) <ian.hearn@rpa.gsi.gov.uk> on Thursday March 25, 2004 @05:11AM (#8665600) Journal
    the plaintiffs contend the new documents show that Microsoft violated nondisclosure agreements with Go, and then used that information to build PenWindows, a competitor to Go's PenPoint operating system. The documents included Microsoft's internal e-mail messages showing that it had detailed knowledge of Go's product plans.

    Every time Microsoft goes on about piracy hurting them damaging innovation etc they should be reminded of this that they are IP thieves themselves and if SCO can ask for $1million from IBM then what can the former executives of Go sue Microsoft for? All hypothetical of course the documents have yet to prove this is the case.

  • Re:slashbot (Score:4, Insightful)

    by maxwell demon (590494) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @05:13AM (#8665605) Journal
    and Microsoft appears to have blocked the Go-Motorola partnership

    Go-Motorola partnership? The article talks about an investment reduction from Intel. Given that Intel and Motorola are competitors, maybe Intel just didn't want to indirectly fund their own competitor?
  • by NanoGator (522640) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @05:23AM (#8665634) Homepage Journal
    "I've contended for years that computing in general has been held back by Microsoft, not pushed forward, and this is an example of just how that has been the case."

    Yeah, never mind that Windows gave computers some much needed unity. Never mind that computer ownership skyrocketed after Windows 95 came out. Never mind that nearly every household has a computer in it, now. Microsoft held back computing. Anybody remember the Commodore days? Having a computer was like driving a moped.
  • by NanoGator (522640) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @05:26AM (#8665641) Homepage Journal
    "What now? does dragging this stuff up accomplishe anything more? It's just for microsoft bashing."

    One man's flamebait is another man's insightfu.
  • by cmacb (547347) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @05:42AM (#8665685) Homepage Journal
    "I've contended for years that computing in general has been held back by Microsoft, not pushed forward, and this is an example of just how that has been the case."

    Same here. Only now I find people don't argue with me so much. While Intel has done a credible job of advancing the hardware, they probably would have done more had they not relied on the nod-nod-wink-wink relationship with Microsoft.

    The true agent of change is the hardware, and now software technology moving off-shore. Sadly, the cost of overcoming the Microsoft bottleneck will be America's loss of dominance in computing. Emerging economies have no desire to pay top dollar for a mediocre operating system, and with fabrication of hardware all going on elsewhere the PC is becoming close to a disposable device which means the OS needs to be that way too.

    History will lay a large part of the blame at Bill Gate's feet. Having squandered our technology lead for his own personal gains and ego is a distinction he well deserves.
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @05:53AM (#8665708) Journal
    As others have pointed out the journalist in question is not 100% reliable and I rather trust Groklaw. At least people there know law. If these documents are real it should be trivial to verify having been shown in a courtroom.

    IF it is true then it just goes once again to show how fucking rotten the legal system is. Tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth eh? So will these be grounds for a new case? Wasn't Martha Stewart found guilty of lying to an officer instead of insider dealing? Can they get MS on withholding evidence? Perhaps even going after people who can be jailed? I personally don't believe for a second that this could be accidental (IF of course it is real)

    Some posts seem to mention that attempting to create or abuse a monopoly is a felony. Doesn't this mean that MS is a criminal? So how exactly is it still allowed to do business as usual? Companies seem to want all the perks of being treated a real people but none of the bad stuff like oh say being punished for committing crimes.

    Oh well at least we can snigger at all the microsoft apologist trying to wriggle out of this one. This must be one of their worst weeks. Embarrising papers, being fined and if you look at groklaw yet more hypocrasy by claiming that the EU has no right to tell it how to behave while MS itself is asking the EU to tell Lindows how to behave.

    I almost pity the MS fans. Almost.

  • Re:slashbot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SlashDread (38969) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @05:54AM (#8665711)
    Typical MS FUD.

    Please explain how YET ANOTHER example of MS using dubious business practices to stiffle competition is not hurting progress.

    You alledge that it is not to blame MS for not being able to use AAA batteries 10 years ago, and you are right.

    That is however not the issue.

    The -issue- is how MS is illegaly extending its monopoly into other markets, and how this IS NOT promoting innovation, if only simply because if your new innovation gets eyeballed by MS, you basically lost.

    remember drdos?
    remember netscape?
    remember stack?
    remember Citrix?
    remember real? Oh well Ill ask that one in two years.

    So why start in the first place? THATS what software devolpers are thinking, and I alledge that this is the reason for the lack of innovation in the past 15 years.

    I alledge this is another reason for the dotcom bubble burst. I alledge this is the reason for the general dubious image ICT now has world wide.

    And I -know- it has cost many Office Automation specialists lots of lost happiness.

    "/Dread"
  • by CBravo (35450) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @06:05AM (#8665733)
    Dude, I'm glad that powerpoint has this 10 year old look and isn't updated (or degraded which would be more to the point).

    Powerpoint is at least a stable app which I, a linux user, need. I cannot get around it because presentations are often done on someone elses computer.
  • by goatan (673464) <ian.hearn@rpa.gsi.gov.uk> on Thursday March 25, 2004 @06:08AM (#8665743) Journal
    I'd love to see a large company not go down in flames, we certainly don't need to see MIcrosoft need to lay off anybody, the tech sector is suffering enough.

    Perhaps if companys where less like Microsoft and Enron Etc. and the senior managers actually punished when do act like that then you wouldn't see so many go down in flames.

  • by danheskett (178529) <danheskett@NoSPAm.gmail.com> on Thursday March 25, 2004 @06:19AM (#8665771)
    Heck, even a minor hurdle like installation and configuration of Trumpet Winsock to get online would cut down the riffraff by at least two orders of magnitude.
    Wow, you are a grade A prick. I tell you what, why not call up my parents and tell them they are "riffraff" and don't belong on the Internet.

    In the end you'd be huriting yourself, and I'll tell you why:

    Without the riffraff you hate:

    You wouldn't be able to afford broadband Internet access, becase common DSL/Cable technology wouldn't be cost justifiable. Your only option would be costly ISDN or a fractional T1

    All computer hardware would still be expensive, niche-ish, mostly proprietary and stagnant because of a lack of high-demand, high-profit incentives. Think IBM's MCA architecture as the baseline for what to expect from every manufacturer.

    Thousands, if not millions of excellent paying, very rewarding positions in software development, hardware development, IT, and computer related industries would be no more. Entry level positions would be no more.

    You and everyone else would still have to pay a graphic designer $100/hr to design a simple brouchure, business card, letterheard, or form. And don't forget expensive multi-color printing costs for virtually anything not able to be photographed.

    Online multi-player gaming, high-quality games, and amazing simulations would be gone, thanks again to low demand and crazy high cost-per-unit ratios.

    That's just a taste. To all the whiny "joe6pack" hating asshole nerds out there -- try to remember who subsidizes your low-cost, commodity hardware, low-latency high-speed connections, and increased social status. If Sun, or IBM, or other early players had their way the "average" PC would still cost $3500, require expensive manuals and training to operate, be based on closed proprietary hardware requiring expensive licensing to develop software or add-ons for and be out of the reach of the "joe6packs" out there.

  • Re:slashbot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dashing Leech (688077) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @06:30AM (#8665798)
    So quit the microsoft bashing.

    An odd statement to make given that the main article is about proof of anti-competitive and illegal activities of Microsoft, not to mention their recent European fines for similar activities.

    What exactly does Microsoft have to do wrong before you'll consider "Microsoft bashing" reasonable. Perhaps if they clubbed some baby seals?

  • by Ed_Moyse (171820) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @06:30AM (#8665799) Homepage
    How in the HELL was that insightful? We had *PICTURES* of Guantanamo bay detainees, we had released prisoners talking about it, the fucking US government admitted that they were there (perhaps not thousands, but cetrainly hundreds). It is fucking THERE.It's not that people aren't asking for proof ... they've already seen it!

    I have (personally) NOT seen proof of Andy Grove keeping IBM employees in a cellar, and I would damn well like some evidence of it if I'm expected to take that seriously.
  • Re:slashbot (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 25, 2004 @06:32AM (#8665808)
    > 20 years ago, the Tandy corp had a number of portables on the market. First notable ones are the Tandy 100/200/300. These are slightly larger then a handheld, full sized keyboards, and the model 100 I believe offered 20 hours of battery life on AA batteries, at least according to my google search. Spread sheet, wordprocessor, and database I believe were all standard on the model 300, as well as basic.

    Yes. I actually learn computing on one of those (TRS-80 model 100) in 1983.

    Life about 20 hours on 4 AA batteries
    A4-size
    Full size keyboard
    8x40 chars LCD (64x240 pixels) (The 200 had 16x40, IIRC)
    32Kb ROM: Basic (microsoft), Text Editor, Address Book, Scheduler and Terminal
    Integrated modem and compuserve account
    32 Kb RAM
    80c85 processor (sort of dumbed down 8080)

    This machine just rocked. It still work.

    If microsoft did not destroy the computing landscape in the last 20 years, we'd have incredible machines right now. (of course, chips would be much slower, memory would be smaller, as the unification of the market around wintel put all the efforts in that direction, but I beleive that we would have 5 times less [techinally] powerfull machines that would be 20 times more usefull. Come on, we don't really need a P4 3GHz to edit text documents)

  • by thodu (530182) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @06:36AM (#8665823)
    At times I wonder if people have become so desensitized to people in positions of power lying to them that they no longer care. People have to accept wrong behaviour from politicians, businessmen, the media and everybody else. It does not matter if George Bush lies, or Bill Gates bullies his way through or Wall Street analysts pump up a stock - this type of behaviour does not shock or surprise - it is expected of them.
  • Re:Article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by willamowius (193393) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @06:39AM (#8665835) Homepage
    BTW: Appending "&pagewanted=print" gives an even more readable page.
  • by albanac (214852) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @06:44AM (#8665849) Homepage Journal

    Making Microsoft remove media player (and who knows maybe others will happen later). Making them provide *complete* specs such that other software companies can make totally compatible products.

    How about an NTFS implementation for Linux with complete read/write compatibility. How about open office reading/writing all of Office's document formats perfectly.

    It should be pointed that the complete disclosure clause under dicussion by the EU Commission is of client-server application formats and APIs. That is, it only applies to stopping Microsoft leveraging control of the desktop into control of the server market. So neither of your examples would actually be covered by this penalty, but some other very useful things (SMB stuff, all the IE-only hacks which bad html authors constantly abuse, asp; this is not an exhaustive list) will be covered.

    ~cHris
  • by jimhill (7277) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @07:04AM (#8665900) Homepage
    I may well be a grade A prick. Your doom and gloom scenario of what sorts of things we'd have to do without if not for the legions of clueless doesn't pain me too greatly, mostly because the loss of every item you listed wouldn't affect me a jot. However, that wasn't my point.

    My point, such as it was, is this: The oblivious and the clueless are capable of causing (or being used to cause, same effect) great damage to the 'Net as a whole. Almost invariably, those people are using a Microsoft Windows product as the base of their computing experience.

    In the US, just about everyone has a car. Even our poor people do. They are ubiquitous. That ubiquity has led to subsidies which lower the cost of vehicles, fuels, roads, and the like. And yet, we _still_ demand that people be licensed because if they get onto the public infrastructure without some basic skills they can cause enormous harm.

    Granted, getting your box pwn3d because you think someone you've never heard of sent you a calculator attached to a message consisting of random nouns doesn't quite rank up there with driving an 88 Buick through a preschool playground, but it has a cost. The burden on the infrastructure thanks to Windows machine is estimated to be billions of dollars. Identity-theft stories frequently involve vulnerabilities in IE or IIS.

    All I want is to see some basic skills. If you're the kind of person who clicks attachments from strangers then goddammit, you do not belong on the Internet with the rest of us. And yes, that extends even to your parents, who I am sure are delightful people and don't actually do that sort of thing because you know what you're about and they'd certainly listen to you.

    If a company invented a circular saw that was so "intuitive" that no one read the user's manual, indeed no manual came with the saw, there'd be a lot of injury. And no one would applaud that company for bringing circular saws to the masses, or for leading to a price drop across the board on power tools.

    Now I'm going to conclude with an admission that I've been awake for about 52 hours so if my initial message or this one are more incoherent than usual, it's not alcohol's fault.
  • Re:slashbot (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blincoln (592401) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @07:15AM (#8665925) Homepage Journal
    remember drdos?
    remember netscape?
    remember stack?
    remember Citrix?
    remember real?


    Citrix is doing fine. MS adding Terminal Server into Windows doesn't remove the market for what Metaframe does.

    In the era of DRDOS, I was using an Apple IIe, but I suspect its failure had more to do with it not offering any clear advantage over MSDOS.

    Netscape killed themselves by not adding anything significant to their browser for years after they first released Communicator. Communicator was better than IE3, but not IE4, and included a whole bunch of extra junk (like that incredibly bad WYSIWYG HTML editor) that increased the download size for every update to ridiculous amounts for a dialup connection.

    Real is even worse than Netscape - their player is mediocre to begin with, but it also tries to assimilate your entire system, is covered with ads, and has a download and install process that tries to trick you into buying premium features.

    MS has certainly done some bad things, but I don't think that blaming them for the failures of companies like Netscape is fair. Netscape tried to base an entire corporation on selling what is a basic internet utility that should be included with every OS, just like a text editor or FTP client.

    I alledge that this is the reason for the lack of innovation in the past 15 years.

    There are plenty of companies making genuinely innovative products - look at Adobe, Alias, Discreet, Cakewalk, Steinberg, or Macromedia. They do well because they make powerful, complex products that fill specific needs. They don't try and fund major businesses by selling a single piece of software that should be included for free when you buy an operating system, then start complaining when someone else *does* give it away for free.
  • Re:slashbot (Score:3, Insightful)

    by maximilln (654768) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @07:23AM (#8665958) Homepage Journal
    It certainly is anticompetitive behavior.

    But is it really illegal? As others have touched on, is Intel required to fund Go just because Microsoft officials tell them not to in order to avoid a monopoly lawsuit? That seems to have been the point of Microsoft lending money to keep Apple up and running. It helps to have a competitor if one is trying to prove there's no monopoly.

    Really the whole thing is silly. The gov't here in the US has a habit of doing this sort of thing: building up an industry empire and then tearing it down. To most of us it looks like a horrible cycle. To the people who know what company is next on the government launch list, however, it's a great way to invest and make millions.

    If only I had known that AT&T would be propped up, and then known when it would be torn down.
    If only I had known that Bell would be propped up, and then known when it would be torn down.
    If only I had known that Microsoft and Intel would be propped up, and then known when they were going to be torn down.

    There are lawmakers making deals with Wall Street people who _do_ know these things. They're the ones who are holding all of your 401k money.
  • Re:Media BS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Brataccas (213587) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @07:46AM (#8666042)
    Um, can someone explain to me exactly why this "comment" is marked as Interesting? This story has been carried all over the place - far in advance of the NYT article - and it is based on court submitted evidence, some of which is already available on the court's website.

    And how do you sell your soul to a book? That just has some mightily amusing implications depending on one's literary choices...

  • by gui_tarzan2000 (625775) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @07:46AM (#8666043)
    I can't help but wonder why so many people think that Microsoft has been the driving force in computer innovation? Do you naysayers really think that Mirosoft has the only people in the world that can think up new things or advance technology? How bizzare. I would argue that people have always been the innovators, not companies. Since people make up the design teams it would make sense that no matter what company is in charge, innovators are everywhere. It's just a matter of whether or not Microsoft will let you bring your product to the market. If you have enough power to tell OEMs such as Dell, Compaq, etc. that they *will* only sell MS Windows on their systems you have the power to do just about anything including controlling the market, something Bill Gates excels at. I know that some companies like HP and IBM are now pushing Linux, but where have they been for the past 15 years?

    For those of you who are too young to remember, Microsoft's marketing people destroyed the market for GeoWindows (a far better GUI), DRDOS, WordPerfect Suite, OS/2 and many other far superior packages by either buying them or forcing them out of business with whatever tactics they chose to use. My gut feeling is that threats were part of that equation but alas, I have no proof other than what people inside a couple of companies have told me.

    There are resources on the 'net for a list of companies that Gates has purchase or "acquired" over the last 20 years and if you look at it closely, it's scary. I can't find the link, maybe someone else can.

    Yes, I hate Microsoft and everything it stands for. For the past 15+ years I've watched them devour everyone around them save a few early pioneers. If IBM hadn't failed so miserably at marketing OS/2 I think we'd be using that instead. But I have to use Windows for my job, much as I hate to. I can't even use a Mac because the software I have to use won't run on it. Virtual PC used to be an option but M$ bought that too. Linux isn't ready yet. It's close, but not quite there. I actually prefer that but again, not enough software.

    So until there are lots more packages that run on a web server that are easy to use, fast and reliable (and don't forget inexpensive) we're stuck.

    Bill Gates has accomplished something no one else ever has, and most likely never will again. He controls (or is close to controlling) most of the world's technology from computers to broadband to automotive to cel phones and is only getting bigger and stronger. Until our government does something to stop Microsoft from some of its illegal activities and other companies are able to stand up to them with legitimate, cost effective programs and hardware it will continue. As long as Washington is run by corporations, that will not happen.

  • by deego (587575) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @07:56AM (#8666077)
    > At times I wonder if people have become so desensitized to people in positions of power lying to them t

    The funny thing is, we impeach such "people in power" over a lie (that too, coming from a misunderstanding of terminology) when it comes to their personal business like having "sex" with an intern, but nothing gets done about a President lying to the world and taking a country to war for no reason.

  • Re:slashbot (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Brataccas (213587) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @08:09AM (#8666137)
    (witty yet personal attack ignored)

    Wha? Are you sure you're talking about the same company here? MS was established years before they acquired the rights to QDOS. They were already a successful company before the DOS licenses, certainly not as large, but successful. The US government can hardly be accused of "propping up" MS simply because they bought a product from them that they deemed useful. Certainly, at that time MS was hardly in control of anyone's destiny. Are you telling me I need to look out for the next world dominating commode corporation because the government might purchase some new toilets?

  • by rwebb (732790) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @08:29AM (#8666248)
    Nope. The fact the probably 99% of the world's population is not well-versed in computer science is what allows MS to dominate. You just aren't going to get 50 year olds to sit the fuck down, search out a Linux distro and set it up, forget use it. It's not happening now, it's not happening ever.

    Errmm... Remember, today's 50-yr old codgers are many of the same ones who got a start playing with Godbout S-100 kits and the like in the late 70s. Link [njcc.com] for those of you too young to remember hand-translating assembler mneumonics to write Z80 device drivers.

    And, as a bona fide 50+ fossil, I've had a lot of fun searching out and installing Linux distros. Even to the point of sprinkling a few Knoppix disks around the office to dazzle the unwashed masses with how fun (and easy) running Linux can be. (I don't mention things like Slackware until they're hooked...)

  • by The Queen (56621) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @08:50AM (#8666339) Homepage
    We (the public) may be a little numb, but it still hurts us.

    I would argue that you overestimate the majority, and underestimate the minority. I think most sheeple still do look up to Bush, and simply assume that America MUST be right to do what it's doing, because well, we're America. (Look at all the US flag stickers on all the cars around you...) But I think those of the public who are still thinking, reading, researching and really paying attention are hurt WAY more than any numbness could negate.

    I do, however, agree about the role models. I have no doubt that there is a Benjamin Franklin, a Jimmy Hendrix, and a Marie Curie among us, but the climate is very inhospitable to them right now. It's impossible to rise to any sort of power or recognition unless the government tells the media conglomerates to LET you (for whatever reasons they have). Real radical thinkers and revolutionaries are in hibernation, and all we have to look up to are basketball rapists and Vin freaking Diesel.

    I think I feel my breakfast coming back up...
  • Re:Article (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sisco (763303) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @08:58AM (#8666392)
    "In late 1993, Go was sold to AT&T where it was ultimately merged into the company's portable computer subsidiary. In 1994 the phone company shut down the effort in portable computing. Three months later Microsoft canceled its PenWindows project"

    As if this doesn't make it obvious what M$ was doing! They were only in the game to keep somebody else from innovating new technology. As soon as a potential competitor closed down, they stopped attempting to "provide a better solution for the customer." What a bunch of hooey!
  • by JordanH (75307) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @09:06AM (#8666447) Homepage Journal
    • Never mind that computer ownership skyrocketed after Windows 95 came out.

    Hmmm... You don't think that maybe the skyrocketing computer ownership had something to do with that World Wide Web thing that was exploding right around the same time?

    Oh, and don't suggest for a minute that the Web grew because of Windows95 (or NT), MS had a microscopic Web Server presence in those days. The content was all on Unix servers and people wanted to get to it. You had to buy a computer to get to it. Windows95 computers were the cheapest available.

    Accidental empires, indeed.

  • Re:Newsflash! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RetiredMidn (441788) * on Thursday March 25, 2004 @09:09AM (#8666466) Homepage
    Newsflash, they have made a lot of mistakes and set the tech industry back quite a ways by destroying innovation with subpar crap, but they also did a great deal to advance us.

    Sigh. The whole point here is that they destroyed innovation by wielding their influence as a major player in the industry to starve potentially competitive emerging technologies of support by threatening companies (like Intel in this case) that were otherwise inclined to support it.

    You can't "destroy innovation with subpar crap." You can certainly flood the market with crap, but that has relatively little effect on someone else's ability to create something better. Market dominance can certainly make it more difficult for someone to overtake you, but it's not impossible.

    The point many of us make is that Microsoft has, in fact, done relatively little to "advance us." (Exactly what has it done, by the way?) Instead, it has abused its relationships with other companies to obfuscate and intimidate, stifling emerging technologies until they (MSFT) can move into the space. Every time it is successful at this, it gains even more power to throw around the next time.

    Take a closer look at Go. They chose to build a new platform in part because they judged that they could create a more effective pen-based experience by starting from scratch around a new design center. Rather than tolerate an emerging new platform, Microsoft intimidated potential partners and, according to the emerging evidence, made and violated agreements with Go to take their ideas for Pen Windows. Now, years later, people will point to pen computing as one of the many things Microsoft supposedly did "to advance us."

    Microsoft created nothing here; they just bullied and destroyed.

  • Re:slashbot (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mbbac (568880) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @09:15AM (#8666500)
    Please explain how pocket, portable computing would have been possible even ten years ago. The hardware was the limiting factor. Microsoft had nothing to do with it - the state of the semiconductor industry did. We didn't have CPUs that worked withotu sucking *lots* of juice.
    The Newton was released in 1993; it is currently 2004. That would be 11 years ago.

    "Released in 1993, the Newton was one of the first PDAs (personal digital assistants) on the market." [wired.com]
  • Re:Media BS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @09:54AM (#8666941)
    First, the NYTimes now has a history of embellishing and a keeping lying journalist on the payroll.

    For the former accusation, that could be said of any (ANY) media organization. For the latter, to whom are you referring? Surely not Jayson Blair, he left the paper in disgrace long ago.

    (a poorly written book at that)

    You want to talk poorly written, talk about your own post here. You seem to care about Kevin Mitnick quite a bit, but can't bother to spell his name correctly even once?
  • by Hassman (320786) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @10:16AM (#8667191) Journal
    WHo's computer crashes a few times a day? I run XP at home very often and it never 'crashes'. I run 2000 at work all day (8 - 10 hrs) and it never 'crashes'...

    I think you need to revise your comment, as it is totally bogus.

    You want to know what is funny? When I ran Linux, it would 'crash' every now and then...but that was cuz of shitty hardware / drivers...not the OS.

    Don't blame MS here, most of the time when a computer hangs up or whatever it is becasue of the hardware or drivers...not the OS (at least now-a-days...this probably doesn't apply to the Win 95 or 98).
  • Re:slashbot (Score:2, Insightful)

    by null_session (137073) <.moc.bbewfoesuoh. .ta. .neb.> on Thursday March 25, 2004 @10:32AM (#8667395) Homepage
    Here is the illegal part :

    Other evidence presented by the plaintiffs' lawyers at trial yesterday gave an account of how Microsoft violated a signed secrecy agreement with Go and showed that Microsoft possessed technical documents from Go that it should not have had access to.

    So Microsoft stole product documentation. They either snuck in themselves and started pulling stuff of desks, or they paid someone to do the same. Or, perhaps they used a known vulnerability in their own software to steal it off a hard drive.

    What isn't illegal about that?
  • Re:Article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Speare (84249) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @10:36AM (#8667456) Homepage Journal

    Well I wish Slashdot would append [&partner=] to the links by default.

    When YOU abuse their lax partner system, the NYT isn't going to waste their time. When a company, OSDN, or its officers abuse their lax partner system, it is (1) a potential legal liability on the part of OSDN, and (2) going to make NYT change their whole system, probably for the worse.

  • by RdsArts (667685) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @11:54AM (#8668447) Homepage Journal
    Well, is it really any suprise? Look at movie ratings; tons of death and murders? PG-13. Show some skin? R or NC-17.

    Kids watching grown men run at each other and violently push one another around or tackle eachother into the ground for hours? Perfectly fine. Show a nipple for 2 seconds? Public outrage and a exploritory commision.

    There seems to be a very large, unnatural fear of sex.
  • by blamanj (253811) on Thursday March 25, 2004 @12:14PM (#8668790)
    In this day and age, I don't see how any company with a promising new product doesn't take great pains to hide the thing's existence from Microsoft to keep from getting ripped off.

    Actually, if you read Kaplan's book "Startup" (and it's been a few years since I revisited my copy), you'll see that they were very worried. So much so that they signed agreements with Microsoft to allow them to see the technology only if they wouldn't copy the feature of GO in their Windows OS code.

    IIRC, Microsoft pulled the extremely sleazy trick of sending the specs to the application division and called Pen Windows an application built on top of the Windows OS.

    If you look at the dead corporate bodies that litter the foundation of the MS monopoly, you'll find that the fatal wounds have come from a knife to the back.
  • Once again (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday March 25, 2004 @12:49PM (#8669320) Homepage Journal
    there is nothing wrong with a Monopoly, Only how you wield it.

Riches: A gift from Heaven signifying, "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased." -- John D. Rockefeller, (slander by Ambrose Bierce)

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