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New Blow for Microsoft in EU Row 341

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the smackdown-2.0 dept.
twitter writes "The BBC is reporting on a stinging rebuke to Microsoft and their last defensive move in the EU anti-trust trials. Boston district court judge Mark Wolf accused Microsoft of trying to 'circumvent and undermine' European Law by requesting Novell documents. The story reminds us that last month, a federal judge in California denied subpoenas of Oracle and Sun for the same reasons, that a New York judge is currently considering a request against IBM and that Microsoft will be appealing their March 2004 conviction next week and may face millions of dollars of fines a day. New complaints were made just two months ago."
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New Blow for Microsoft in EU Row

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  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @10:29PM (#15154719) Journal
    "Enforcing Microsoft's ... subpoena to Novell would circumvent and undermine the law of the European Community concerning how a litigant may obtain third-party documents,"
    So why isn't MS going through the proper legal channels in Europe?

    Even if their subpoena gets denied in Europe, they can later use the denial as a grounds for appeal (again, in Europe).
    • by utlemming (654269) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @10:54PM (#15154801) Homepage
      Quite simple: Microsoft can't get what they want in Europe. In Europe there are laws that prevent Microsoft from seeing third-party documents. What Microsoft is hoping is that it can get the documents in the United States when the EU specifically prohbits it. What is even more interesting is that Microsoft actually thinks that some Federal Judge is stupid enough to grant the request. If Microsoft was to get the documents I would wonder if Microsoft would be in trouble with the EU. I know if I was on the commission, I would punish Microsoft for such back-handed ways.
    • Why should they. They own many more politicians here in the US.

      Look MS doesn't care about anything other then their money. They will do anything and everything to win. They have no ethics, morals or any guiding principles other then "make more money". That's it, end of story.
  • by Stiletto (12066) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @10:29PM (#15154721)
    "I did lose a million dollars last year. I expect to lose a million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars next year. You know, Mr. Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year, I'll have to close this place in...sixty years."
    • It's that much per day. And then some.

      Not even microsoft is going to be able to bleed millions of dollers PER DAY.
      For starters, their investors will not stand for it. YOu wanna ses a shareholder revolt? If MS keeps this shit up, expect to see one.
    • At a million dollars per year in sixy years MS will lose 60 million dollars. That's nothing. Bill Gates couch has more money between the cushions.

      If they lost a million dollars a year they could go for 600 years. Remember they have a FuckTon (TM) amount of money.
    • I never thought I'd live to see the day when Citizen Kane is quoted on Slashdot, but there it was, and modded up, too.

      There might be hope after all.
  • If only then the EU could funnel that money right back into local software companies and the open source infrastructure they base their products on. Oh wait, they will -- after beaucracy fees, of course! And oh wait again ... a lot of those local software companies also base their products on Microsoft's infrastructure ... blarg, so complex!
  • When the BBC runs it like this.

    Especially with that pic of Bill.
  • by spisska (796395) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @11:09PM (#15154859)

    It's refreshing to see that Microsoft's legal strategy of 'displace and distend' is finally running out of gas. Stretching out and distorting legal proceedings through any and all means is exactly how they ended up convicted of but unpunished for abusing a monopoly position in the US. Europe, thankfully, is no such pushover.

    It's also refreshing to see that US states (CA and MA) acknowledge that, not only do their state laws not apply to the EU, but that they as states are obliged to protect the legitimate interests of companies located in their states against corporate behaviour that has already been found to be criminal on both sides of the Atlantic.

    Microsoft broke the law and has been twice convicted for it. They have, however, paid no price for doing so and have not changed their business habits whatsoever. They are still embracing and extending, they are still moving into new markets to undercut and squeeze out rivals with the help of their OS, and they are still treating market regulators as contemptible wretches who can be outlasted, outspent, and buried under the collective output of an extremely high-priced legal team.

    • (I hate Microsoft but) this post made me think of Walmart.
      They are still embracing and extending, they are still moving into new markets to undercut and squeeze out rivals with the help of their OS, and they are still treating market regulators as contemptible wretches who can be outlasted, outspent, and buried under the collective output of an extremely high-priced legal team.
    • by Cadallin (863437) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @04:20AM (#15155617)
      I rather thought they suceeded in the US by fighting a rear-guard delaying action, while waiting for an EVEN MORE* corporate friendly administration to come to power and call off the dogs. At least that's how I saw it.

      *Please don't pretend the Clinton administration wasn't corporate friendly, it's just flat out wrong. The only difference was that Cliinton, being a Democratic Leadership Council owned democrat, at least put up an appearance of acting in the public interest, while the Bush administration has basically bent the united states over a table and made the whole country scream "Thank you Sir! May I have another?"

      What the United States needs is the reincarnation of Franklin D. Roosevelt, a slavishly loyal Congress, a meteor to fall on the Supreme Court, and about 20 years.

  • You'd think by now that they would realize that thier image is going down. Instead of being protective, why don't they put that effort into innovation? I don't think it's in their DNA.

    Microsoft is sort of like General Motors - they stick with their old program, and wonder why they keep getting bludgeoned on the head time after time.

    Heard recently in the Microsoft boardroom:

    Gates: "Why does this keep happening to us? I give away billions and Europe treats us so badly."

    Ballmer: "I haven't thrown any chairs la
  • Neal Stephenson stated it best in his essay (available free and legally on the web) The History of the Command line: Microsoft is not a traditional monopoly, and legally is not a monopoly at all if we follow strict adherance to the definition. It, however, does have a monopoly on the mindshare of the people. There is plenty of competition for MS, and much of it is arguably superior. The people just dont want to hear it, MS has won their minds. Of course one of the bigger results of this is driver companies
    • Yeah, right...

      Microsoft *have* PC desktop monopoly, period. It is nothing wrong with that. Problem is - they have used all their monopoly power and benefits what they have because of that to...crush competition in semilegal ways, but mostly, with problems of compability for them (t.i. competition).

      It is illegal and really *should* be illegal. Personally I don't give a damn that Microsoft has bilions, that it has very big market cap. I simply don't use their products, because Linux *for me* works. OS X works
    • It wasn't so much that MS won my heart, as it was that they popped up a scary window that my system was broken, and requested that I please phone this number. When I did, the gentle person probed, asking questions, until I admitted I was running windows on top of DR DOS instead of MS DOS. This was a scam, but I didn't know that until long after the superior DR DOS was put out of business, and the company who bought the remains was put out of business, and the company who bought next (Novell) succesfully s
  • by Flying pig (925874) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @02:48AM (#15155411)
    I have a relative who does European legal work for a certain Redmond based company. On behalf of him and corporate lawyers elsewhere, I hope Microsoft never gives in in this case. Mortgages, pension funds, property development, private school fees, skiing holidays, yachts and private aircraft all depend on Redmond fighting this case to the last ditch and beyond. To all the naysayers who think that Microsoft should just cave in before a load of Europeans (led by someone called Nellie, btw) I say: Think of the poor lawyers! Think of their children!
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @05:21AM (#15155759)
    MS is required to provide "meaningful" API documentation. Now, anyone who's ever worked for a large corp knows one thing: These docs don't exist. Never did. Never will. You know how it goes, you write software, it is late, you get pressure, you somehow patch it together and you finally check it in then fall into coma. Documentation? Read the effing source!

    Now, RTFS works in house. Where you can, to some extent at least, hand over the source or at least the more important parts of it. Including "documentation" that goes along the lines of "and as the second argument, pass a structure to fill in so you know if the hack throws a fit worse than Balmer".

    Can you hand out that kind of "documentation"? And is it "meaningful"?

    Hardly. It would be, at best, an oath of disclosure of your inaptitude.

    MS is indeed with its back to the wall. They simply CANNOT produce those docs. They most likely don't exist. Hell, the people who COULD write the docs most likely don't exist anymore there. Not even with "more time" they could give the essential information required. So they're playing the game of stalling, appealing, calling for aid to whoever is available and tries to grasp for straws.
    • Nonsense. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jotaeleemeese (303437)
      If your "big corporation" is full of prgramming cowboys you can't extrapolate that to all the other big corporations.

      There are many corporations that document properly their programms, including detailed API information.

      I would expect thisto be the case in a software development company like MS.
    • by carrier lost (222597) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @10:28AM (#15157474) Homepage

      I respectfully disagree with this comment.

      I think Microsoft is fighting tooth-and-nail to withold the information necessary to interoperate seamlessly with Office (particularly Word and Excel) and Windows. Once that information is out, Samba, Open Office and a ragged horde of other smaller, free applications will slaughter those two cash cows and Microsoft will be mortally wounded.

      "They simply CANNOT produce those docs. They most likely don't exist."

      Enough of this documentation exists so that newer developers can create newer versions of Office which interoperate with older versions. That's all that's necessary.

      Just my opinion, anyway

      MjM

  • The real point (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LaughingCoder (914424) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @06:40AM (#15155937)
    At some point you just have to wonder what the real point of these suits is ...

    Hmmm, Microsoft has a big pile of money. Everybody wants it. That would be the real point.
  • by carrier lost (222597) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @10:34AM (#15157549) Homepage

    Microsoft is fighting tooth-and-nail to withold the information necessary to interoperate seamlessly with Office (particularly Word and Excel) and Windows.

    Once that information is out, Samba, Open Office and a ragged horde of other smaller, free applications will slaughter those two cash cows and Microsoft will be mortally wounded.

    Just my opinion, anyway

    MjM

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