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Microsoft To Appeal EU Decision 237

Posted by Zonk
from the fighting-the-old-country dept.
An anonymous reader writes "News.com has an article on Microsoft's upcoming appeal of the EU antitrust decision. Their argument is essentially that they shouldn't be penalized for becoming successful in a marketplace." From the article: "Microsoft relies on the fact that its communication protocols are technologically innovative and are covered by intellectual-property rights ... [the company] had designed its Windows server operating systems from the outset to interoperate with non-Microsoft server operating systems"
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Microsoft To Appeal EU Decision

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  • by liliafan (454080) * on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:07PM (#15106328) Homepage
    "Microsoft had designed its Windows server operating systems from the outset to interoperate with non-Microsoft server operating systems,"


    If this is the case why are they complaining so much about documenting the protocols that would allow non-Microsoft software to interoperate?

    A lot of people don't agree with the EU anti-trust, personally I think the EU is succeeding where the US anti-trust cases failed, they are actually punishing M$, hopefully, Microsoft will learn a lesson this time around.....I doubt they will though.
    • by symbolic (11752)
      I personally think the EU case is a well-deserved and long overdue slap. We saw the overall effect of the Anti-competitive ruling- which, for all intents and purposes, accomplished very little. The EU's requirement should have been part of the US settlement from the very outset.

      In my opinion, you can't dominate a marketplace and expect to do bsuiness as you please...it's just too risky - especially when you consider that the medium in question is a huge part of the technical infrastructure.
    • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:34PM (#15106541) Homepage
      The interaction only goes one way. And strangely, few if any complaints about that from the vendors whose territory they trample.

      Seems all of their own interoperability is for the purpose of migration [to Windows], not for peaceful cohabitation in a mixed computing environment.
    • I just can't believe they appealed...
      • I can believe they appealed - I would be more surprised if they didn't.

        I just can't believe they are using the "shouldn't be penalized for becoming successful in a marketplace" argument.

        I have a monopoly on product X, therefore I should be allowed to let it continue to inflict pain and damage. This is a defense?

        • I was joking. They'll always appeal, unless they settle.
        • Do you even know what monopoly means? I doubt it.

          What kind of pain are they inflicting and on whom? Same question for damage.
          • by sconeu (64226) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @02:29PM (#15107493) Homepage Journal
            It means I own both Boardwalk and Park Place :-)
    • It is well known that these suits don't have any effct on MS business practices. From a money standpoint, it is almost impossible to fine them enough that it is worth their while to comply. The lawsuits take years, at which time the tech will become obsolete, all the while there is an obscene amount of cash coming in that can pay any lawsuits that have been brought forth in the past. I don't have the answer to stopping shady business practices like this but realize that it hurts the creativity of companies
      • If it's really that bad, couldn't the EU put an injunction on MS and force them to stop selling their products in the EU. Yeah, it's not ideal, but it would hurt MS enough to stop dragging their feet, especially if people got sick of waiting and started to move to Linux.
    • by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @01:11PM (#15106823) Homepage
      Not sure if these are in strictly chronological order, but:

      1. We shouldn't have to give out documentation because we're not a monopoly
      2. We can't give out documentation.
      3. We gave out source code; that's the same as documentation
      4. We can't figure out what exactly it is you want us to give out.
      5. We don't need to give out documentation; the stuff is already interoperable enough.
      6. We shouldn't have to give out documentation 'cause that would mean giving away our intellectual property.

      This would be hilarious if it weren't so damaging to the marketplace. Could someone point me to the part of the EU's decision where Microsoft is required to sign over its intellectual property to someone?

    • Microsoft relies on the fact that its communication protocols are technologically innovative and are covered by intellectual-property rights

      The bigger question is why do they need to protect the protocols and APIs? _IF_ their product is superior, who would use anything else? If someone made software that could communicate with Windows clients/servers (Samba makes a good example), and Windows is still better, few if any people would use Samba, and hence it would cease to exist.

      So the question becomes- are

  • Sure, George (Score:5, Informative)

    by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:09PM (#15106348) Homepage Journal
    had designed its Windows server operating systems from the outset to interoperate with non-Microsoft server operating systems
    Sure. That's why SMB is so appallingly documented that the only way to re-implement it is by packet sniffing Windows clients. And why their Kerberos implementation [networkworld.com] was deliberately incompatible with everyone elses, and with the incompatibility protected as a trade secret.
    • Screwing with those who wish to communicate with your operating system via your protocols is all part of INNOVATION! Abusing your monopoly position is all part of INNOVATION! Poor long suffering Microsoft, the Jesus of Software, so maligned by so many.
      • Jesus?!?! (Score:3, Funny)

        by Savage-Rabbit (308260)
        crewing with those who wish to communicate with your operating system via your protocols is all part of INNOVATION! Abusing your monopoly position is all part of INNOVATION! Poor long suffering Microsoft, the Jesus of Software, so maligned by so many.

        I don't think your, Jesus analogy will hold because Jesus' disciples were men of peace and unlike some of the people at Microsoft they would never have thrown chairs at the faithful.
        • I don't think your, Jesus analogy will hold because Jesus' disciples were men of peace and unlike some of the people at Microsoft they would never have thrown chairs at the faithful.

          At the faithful? no. But I think you should re-aquaint yourself with Matthew 21:12:

          "And Jesus entered the temple of God and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said unto them, 'It is written, "My house shall be called a
          • "And Jesus entered the temple of God and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said unto them, 'It is written, "My house shall be called a house of prayer"; but you make it a den of robbers.'

            Yeah, I think Jesus went Balmer on them!

            I'm going to FUCKING KILL the money-changers!
        • I don't think your, Jesus analogy will hold because Jesus' disciples were men of peace and unlike some of the people at Microsoft they would never have thrown chairs at the faithful.

          I think you're missing the guy's point. MS is trying to paint themselves as some wonderful company that obeys the laws and doesn't hurt anyone, when in fact any idiot can see that they're an abusive monopolist. Just like how they're always screaming about innovation, when in fact they do very little innovation of their own and
          • So, Microsoft isn't like Jesus (Linus Torvalds probably is moreso), but the Pharisees.

            Among other things, Jesus kind of said things like, you don't need to talk to a priest to talk to god, and other things that struck hard at the business model of the Pharisees and their monopoly on access to God, as well as their sucking up to the Romans.
  • by truthsearch (249536) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:16PM (#15106412) Homepage Journal
    Sure, they were designed to interoperate. They just weren't documented. Or not documented well.

    Anything can interoperate with any other as long as the protocols are documented and those documents are made available.
    • by k12linux (627320) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:50PM (#15106663)
      Right. Anyone can communicate in a foreign langauge as long as they take the time to learn it too. Of course if those who speak it refuse to teach someone who doesn't then good luck trying to master the langauge. The best MS outsiders can do is listen in on the conversation, try to pick out the right words and see what happens when you repeat some of them back to someone else. (With any luck you make no major mistakes and the person you are talking to doesn't become enraged and kill you.)

      MS's SMB/CIFS implementation is really not different. They refuse to teach anyone else the protocols (language) and what progress there has been was due to packet sniffing (listening in) and repeating things back that seem right to see what happens.

  • Frankly... (Score:5, Funny)

    by dex22 (239643) <plasticuser@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:17PM (#15106422) Homepage
    I can't imagine Microsoft appealing to anyone... ;)
  • Msg to those in EU (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:17PM (#15106424)
    Write to your reps in the EU to encourage them to keep up the pressure. Don't let it drop like it did in the US. Those of us across the pond from you are still shocked that the case was won by the US DOJ after spending millions of $US then rendered ineffective by politics.


    We need open standards. We need interoperability. However, closed standards, proprietary formats, and DRM all serve to preserve marketshare by those owning the technology and serve to lock out any competition. Bid on a project and you can propose vendor A version 2000 or vendor A version 2003 or vendora A version XP.... Now that is competition, right?

    • More than that, maybe they should also hear from us "Americans" who were also disappointed with the recently purchased decision that allowed Microsoft to escape any and all punishment. Give me some addresses (email would be easy... hope they'll actually read it) and I'll do some writing too.
  • Wrong argument (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:22PM (#15106464)
    Their argument is essentially that they shouldn't be penalized for becoming successful in a marketplace

    Shouldn't that be "penalised" not "penalized" as I'm pretty sure they use English rather than American in the EU, certainally we do in my part :-)

    Anyhow it's a deliberatley misleading argument - they're not being penalised for being successful, they're being penalised for BREAKING THE LAW. They really need to understand that the EU sees them as CRIMINALS and not contributing members of society. If they don't want to be treated as criminals then they shouldn't willfully and deliberatley break the law.

    They may be attempting to appeal that decision, however for the fact remains that it's not their success that has them up in the dock, it's their illegal behaviour.

    Specifically for abusing their monopoly position to the detriment of the market - adminttedly the monoply does show they were successful but that entire argument is a fallacy.
    • They really need to understand that the EU sees them as CRIMINALS and not contributing members of society.

      You are entirely correct. Microsoft are criminals. I don't think there is any doubt over this.

      The only fundemental difference is who's getting the share the loot

    • Re:Wrong argument (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bogtha (906264) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:56PM (#15106712)

      Anyhow it's a deliberatley misleading argument - they're not being penalised for being successful, they're being penalised for BREAKING THE LAW.

      I wish we could punish people who spout insincere rhetoric like this by treating them as if they were being honest.

      Microsoft: "We shouldn't be punished for becoming successful."
      EU: "Okay, we agree to those terms, appeal over."
      [A month goes by.]
      Microsoft: "Why are you forcing us to comply with the original judgement?"
      EU: "Why wouldn't we? That wasn't a punishment for being successful, that was a punishment for being anticompetitive."
      Microsoft: "We appeal!"
      EU: "You already had your appeal, we agreed to your terms, remember?"

    • by ccady (569355) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @01:07PM (#15106793) Journal

      Shouldn't that be "penalised" not "penalized" as I'm pretty sure they use English rather than American in the EU, certainally we do in my part :-)

      Anyhow it's a deliberatley misleading argument ... they shouldn't willfully and deliberatley break the law.

      Is deliberatley an English word, too? No wonder us 'merican hicks cain't git it right.

      [Just pulling your leg. Not disturbed, just amused.]

    • Microsoft are not being penalised for becoming successful in the marketplace, they're being penalised for what they've done to the marketplace once they've become 'successful'.
    • They're being penalised because they were *successful* in breaking the law.


    • Shouldn't that be "penalised" not "penalized"...


      Actually, that should be "penisized", beat with a wet noodle.


      MjM

    • Yeah, but "abusing monopoly position", what the hell does that mean? That is so vauge as to be meaningless. A law like that isn't a law, it is a catch-all disclaimer to allow the government to go after any company it feels like.

      One of the things that seperates a Democracy, with a Dictatorship, is that laws are precise and followable. "Don't drive faster than 100km/hour". That is a good law. It is absolutely clear what that law means. "Don't release more than x tons of carbon per y kw energy produced". That
  • What IP rights ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by alexhs (877055) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:27PM (#15106487) Homepage Journal
    the Commission's demands threaten Microsoft's intellectual-property rights.

    What intellectual property rights ? The EU Commision didn't ask for the source code (copyright), and software patents have no legal value in Europe...
    • by truthsearch (249536) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:47PM (#15106646) Homepage Journal
      Communications protocols. MS claims it's their IP and they don't have to share it (as in publicly document it). But they also claim they interoperate. They think no one is smart enough to see the contradiction.
      • by cortana (588495)
        Don't let them get away with such a crass generalisation. A protocol can not be patented because it is not an invention; it can not be copyrighted because it is not a creative or artistic work; it can not be a trade secret because it is disclosed when software implementing the protocol is given to someone else; and it is impossible to trademark because it's not a ... trade mark.

        Putting aside the French attempt to create a new form of Intellectual property (the DRM right), is there any other form of IP I hav
      • So why I get fined for speeding, can I argue that it's my money and I don't have to hand it over...?

        They're just whining.

  • Ah, I see! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:27PM (#15106492) Homepage Journal
    [the company] had designed its Windows server operating systems from the outset to interoperate with non-Microsoft server operating systems
    Its non-Microsoft client operating systems that they have the problem with. You can have your slice of server space, but if your alternative OS's try and pick up market share for desktop computers, then they'll do everything they can to stop you.
    • Its non-Microsoft client operating systems that they have the problem with.

      Not really. MS has not been judged as having a monopoly in the server space (rightfully so, IMHO). It has been judged as having a monopoly in the desktop space. MS can tie its servers to anything it wants, except its desktop. Because it has a monopoly on the desktop it is illegal for them to tie anything to the desktop via bundling or secret protocols, because it gives them an unfair advantage in the new market (in this case serve

  • When will Microsoft be defeated by the EU?

    * From 1 to 6 months
    * From 6 months to a year
    * From 1 to 2 years
    * From 2 and 5 years
    * More than 5 years
    * When CowboyNeal says it will

    Place your bets, gentlemen. Place your bets.
  • by jd (1658) <imipak@noSPam.yahoo.com> on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:41PM (#15106611) Homepage Journal
    If Microsoft can show anything that is both genuinely "innovative" (and using the BSD TCP/IP stack is not innovative) and compatible with non-Windows systems (excluding Samba, as that was reverse-engineered), I'd say the EU should be willing to listen and should perhaps reduce or suspend the fine. (So that regular Slashdottians don't suffer a heart attack, I don't consider this remotely likely.)


    If Microsoft is appealing on flagarantly fraudulant grounds that lie somewhere between making false statements to a court of law, deceptive advertising, and wilful abuse of the appeals system, then the EU should seriously examine if the law would allow them to increase the fine. Doubling it would seem suitable.


    This needs to be settled, once and for all, in a way that is fair but decisive.

    • "and compatible with non-Windows systems (excluding Samba, as that was reverse-engineered),"

      From what I understand, the SMB protocol that samba works on has been around longer than Microsoft have been using it. It's another case of the embrace, extend and exclude method of "innovation" that landed MS in the courts in the first place.

    • Even as a solid M$ hater, I must admit they are innovative. They just hype themselves to about 5-10 times of their actual performance. There's a few cool things coming out of Redmond every now and then. The problem is that they're overselling themselves so badly that everyone without a clue thinks they're the pinacle of the computer business - when they're more like the tail end.
  • by dueyfinster (872608) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:49PM (#15106659) Homepage
    Microsoft uses Ireland as a base to filter billions of dollars every year (Through a wholly owned obscure subsidiary), through a solicitors office in Dublin. That office controls all license revenue from Asia, Europe and Africa. On average they contribute $50 per person per year to Irish economy, with our low corporation tax rates. The EU has FULL legislative power over this, what represents a huge chunk, if not more than 50% of MSFT's business, so unlike South Korea, Microsoft could not just leave (like they threatened to move to Canada), as most of their Intellectual Property rights are based here in Ireland. The E.U. probably holds the most power over Microsoft then any legislator in the world, its all whether they are bman enough to make Microsoft pay for their crimes.....
  • Microsoft relies on the fact that its communication protocols are technologically innovative

    That really is fantastic (in both senses). Microsoft have seriously outdone themselves with that one. An upside-down toilet would be technologically innovative and about as much use as one of their communication protocols. At least it made me smile.

  • I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who actually hates the anti-trust suits against Microsoft.

    I hate that the EU has made Microsoft ship separate versions of Windows: ones without Media Player or IE. But what if I use WMA and IE? These are important pieces of software that every computer needs. Every PC needs to be able to go online, and play media files.

    Now, I don't use IE or WMA; but I used to. I'm smart enough to figure out how to find better programs online. But if I didn't have IE to begin with - ho
    • I hate that the EU has made Microsoft ship separate versions of Windows: ones without Media Player or IE. But what if I use WMA and IE? These are important pieces of software that every computer needs. Every PC needs to be able to go online, and play media files.

      It is very disturbing that you think that the need to browse the web and play media files by definition means a computer must have IE and WMP.

      It's not about a company shipping Windows without IE or WMP. It's about a computer company being able to
    • I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who actually hates the anti-trust suits against Microsoft.

      Nope, there are plenty of people who are clueless or who have been fooled by their constant PR campaign of misinformation.

      I hate that the EU has made Microsoft ship separate versions of Windows: ones without Media Player or IE. But what if I use WMA and IE? These are important pieces of software that every computer needs. Every PC needs to be able to go online, and play media files.

      When was the last time you b

  • Read the article - "designed its Windows server operating systems from the outset to interoperate with non-Microsoft server operating systems"

    This is exactly the problem. They said:

    MS Windows server ===== works with ======> non-MS server OS

    They did not say

    non-MS OS ====== works with ========> MS Windows server

    ...and that is exactly the problem that they are being sued for

    Don't be fooled by the doublespeak.

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