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Microsoft Softens Up On Competition 150

Posted by Zonk
from the letting-other-people-through-the-door dept.
shaneFalco writes "The BBC is reporting that Microsoft, prompted in part by their recently legal woes in the European Union will allow vendors to set non-Microsoft applications as the default on Windows computers. This initiative is part of a dozen 'tenets to promote competition' that the company is adopting in the face of stiff criticism of business tactics in Europe. Other tents include not retaliating against businesses that promote non-MS software, and a relaxing of restrictions on licensing Windows-related patents." From the article: "The principles might mean that some manufacturers will promote search engines other than Microsoft's own, Mr Smith said - an apparent reference to Google, which has looked to be on a collision course with Microsoft over search engines. 'There are certain steps we can't take that would have been permitted a decade ago,' the executive added." We touched on this announcement yesterday, but details on the '12 tenets' were less clear at that point.
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Microsoft Softens Up On Competition

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  • How nice (Score:4, Funny)

    by rolyatknarf (973068) * on Thursday July 20, 2006 @06:27PM (#15753166)
    The article gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling for Microsoft. They really are nice people after all. They are even going through a twelve step program to make themselves better.
    • Great. Then I can sleep soundly at night with Microsoft stock in my Roth-IRA account, even through I just switched to a Mac. :P
    • These nice people really do remind me of a large aggressive dog that lashes out at everything. If a master gets jack of it (EU) and gives it a punch square in the nose (I'm against animal cruelty!) it will back off hurt while it works out The New World Order. Then the dog will work on a way to then correct its wrong doings (these 12 steps) and after a short time completely ignore them and go back to what it was doing after forgetting that the threat of being punched is real. Moral of the story is it wont
    • How can anyone not buy Vista now? It's made by such a swell company who goes out of there way to along with everyone. Just reading about them puts me in the mood for a picnic.
  • Just install the apps and select the preferences you want...

    So this is either just pure marketing, or someone at MS half-arsed an app to automate default file and protocol associations.

    • by eln (21727) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @06:32PM (#15753207) Homepage
      Sure, YOU can, but until now most OEMs were contractually obligated not to change the defaults to non-MS alternatives.

      Having OEMs ship with non-MS defaults is big, because the vast majority of users will pretty much stick with default settings in most cases.
    • "Just install the apps and select the preferences you want..."

      and pray it works

    • This is not about consumers changing settings on thier own computers. It is about letting manufacturers change the setting on machines that they sell to the public with Windows installed. The real reason that this is a big deal is because most users (those who do not read /.) are not going to go through the effort to track down a replacement for Windows Media Player and then set it as the default for all files. This is especially the case when MS makes it so WMP bugs the crap out of you if it is not the def
    • So this is either just pure marketing, or someone at MS half-arsed an app to automate default file and protocol associations.
      Or you don't know what you're talking about.

      I'm going with number three. This is about the OEM deciding what is default on your system instead of MS. I don't see what the big deal is about since neither option is any good.
    • by kimvette (919543) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @07:20PM (#15753509) Homepage Journal
      It's more than that. It's (pick one or more of the following):

        ( ) Microsoft's meeting antitrust settlement requirements by not only providing mechanisms to change the defaults, but actually implementing the GUI to make it possible for non-geeks to do so
        ( ) Political spin/marketing bragging about how they're good guys when in reality they were forced to do this
        ( ) Unlike Google, known for making efforts to "do no evil" Microsoft is known primarily for doing evil and then not apologising afterward. Making their meeting DoJ requirements look like new value-added features is great marketing. "Hey we let you change small aspects of your desktop, new in Vista. Upgrade your PC today!"
        ( ) Microsoft's wanting to avoid further extensions of antitrust settlements
        ( ) Ballmer didn't feel like throwing any chairs yesterday (I kid, I kid)

      Previously if you wanted to change some of these settings it was digging through the registry (a frightning prospect for Mr. Old School businessman who can barely master Hotmail or for Joe Sixpack) or knowing about and downloading xteq's xsetup (or for some settings, TweakUI from Microsoft Powertoys)
      • Previously if you wanted to change some of these settings it was digging through the registry (a frightning prospect for Mr. Old School businessman who can barely master Hotmail or for Joe Sixpack) or knowing about and downloading xteq's xsetup (or for some settings, TweakUI from Microsoft Powertoys)

        Er... or use the "Set Program Access and Defaults" wizard, which has been on the start menu since Windows 2000 and Windows 98 SE came out.
        • Funny, the search engine setting isn't there on the Windows 2000 I've seen. Is it on yours?
          • Set Program Access and Defaults was definitely NOT in Windows 98.

            It was added to Windows XP in SP1, and in Windows 2000 SP3. And it certainly does not allow one to set a default search engine.

            As for setting a search engine, TweakUI for Win9x allowed you to set a non-MSN search engine for Internet Explorer, going back to IE5, if I recall corectly. I have no idea if TweakUI for Windows XP lets you do this, but considering IE7 lets you select a search engine in the exact same way Firefox does, I'd say they'v
            • Set Program Access and Defaults was definitely NOT in Windows 98.

              It was added to Windows XP in SP1, and in Windows 2000 SP3.


              Seconded. No such functionality existed in Win98. I don't know if it was added with an update later, but I doubt it.
    • Not quite... There are (were?) big discounts to OEM's (Gateway, Dell) on licenses for Windows, assuming certain conditions were met.
      For example, Gateway wanted realplayer (god, no!) as the default. However, to do so, they would lose some/all of their discount. It doesn't hurt gateway to not bundle it, and it's good for them.
      I think that's the reason why the anti-trust case came up. As far as I know, they were stifling competition by "forcing" (for lack of a better term - incentivizing?) them to bundle/m
    • or, the EU sanctions may have make them think about a thing or two.
  • by dduardo (592868) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @06:28PM (#15753178)
    Now with 50% more junk preinstalled with every PC.
    • Now with 50% more junk preinstalled with every PC.

      Typically laptop users suffer more than desktop, from bloat. Oddly, my laptop drive crapped out and I'm borrowing a desktop of approximately the same CPU clockage but the delay in loading during boot up is considerably longer on the desktop. Both HP-Compaq. Odd that.

      (The reason being laptops usually use lower power north-south bridge and thus run a bit slower clock.

      • by jasonwc (939262)
        Laptops also have considerably slower hard drives with slower access times. Many of the higher capacity laptop drives (100-120 GB) are also 4200 RPM which pales in comparison to the standard 7200 RPM of desktop drives with much larger capacities. 5400 RPM laptop drives are quite a bit more expensive than 4200 RPM drives, and that means most entry level and midrange laptops are going to use slow drives.
        • I'd rather have a 100GB 4200RPM then a 40GB 7200RPM :-)

          Plus that's what the 2GB of memory is for.

          Tom
          • That's alright because you can get 100GB 7200RPM laptop drives. I upgraded my 1.1GHz P3 laptop to a 7200RPM drive a couple of years ago, and can tell you that there is no way I would go back to anything less it makes that much of a difference.
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Laptops also have considerably slower hard drives with slower access times. Many of the higher capacity laptop drives (100-120 GB) are also 4200 RPM which pales in comparison to the standard 7200 RPM of desktop drives with much larger capacities. 5400 RPM laptop drives are quite a bit more expensive than 4200 RPM drives, and that means most entry level and midrange laptops are going to use slow drives.

          I think you left out the word "typically" as my laptop (HPQ nw9440) has a 7200 rpm hard disk drive. The

          • My laptop (Tosh Satellite 1100) is four years old. It has a 1.3 GHz Celeron. But that's plenty: the only real deficiency that truly annoys me is the speed of its hard drive, 5200(?) rpm. It's good to know that 7200 is available, but it just wouldn't enough of a leap for me to justify a new one; my old Tosh will last me until flash or hybrid drives become standard and affordable, I think.
    • You're Getting A Dell

      You misspelled "You're going to Hell".
      • by Anonymous Coward
        You're Getting A Dell

        You misspelled "You're going to Hell".
        Tsk. Remember back when the Dell dude got arrested for pot [cbsnews.com]? Dell dropped the familliar "Dude, you're getting a Dell" campaign like a hot potato. I think it was Jay Leno that coined the phrase "Dude, you're going to jail!" (he said before I saw it anywhere in print).
  • We promise.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by vancondo (986849) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @06:28PM (#15753180) Homepage
    One of the 12 tenants is 'Promising not to retaliate against computer makers that support non-Microsoft software.'

    Hmm.. does a slightly higher pricing structure count as 'retaliation', or is that just good business sense? I guess it's a matter of semantics.
    • Re:We promise.. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by creimer (824291) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @06:51PM (#15753322) Homepage
      Not really. Just Microsoft trying to squeeze money wherever they can find it. Since the current Windows OS and hardware is good enough to run everything out there, there's no strong motivation for Joe Blow and Missy Six-Pack to upgrade Windows Vista. No upgrades, no money. The economics is pretty simple at this level.
    • Yes (Score:5, Informative)

      by donutello (88309) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @07:23PM (#15753532) Homepage
      From Twelve Tenets to Promote Competition [microsoft.com]:


      Microsoft will not retaliate against any computer manufacturer that supports non-Microsoft software. To provide transparency on this point, Microsoft will post a standard volume-based price list to a Web site that is accessible to computer manufacturers, as it has under the U.S. antitrust ruling. Windows royalties will be determined based on that price list, without regard to any decisions the computer manufacturer makes concerning the promotion of non-Microsoft software.
      • by Trelane (16124)
        inquiring minds want to know: where's the list?
        • Well they said it's accessible to computer manufacturers ... not to you. You get the list right after you sign the NDA.

          What? You don't trust them to do the right thing? What could ever go wrong with that plan?
      • It is like: Mafia promises not to kill judges.

        "Microsoft will not retaliate against any computer manufacturer that supports non-Microsoft software. To provide transparency on this point, Microsoft will post a standard volume-based price list to a Web site that is accessible to computer manufacturers, as it has under the U.S. antitrust ruling."

        I mean, should that not be taken for granted? Further there are other actions possible than just price driven approaches. E.g. you do not supply interoperability infor
  • Any requirement... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ackthpt (218170) * on Thursday July 20, 2006 @06:30PM (#15753190) Homepage Journal

    Is there any requirement that we won't see a replay of the Opera-Bork-Bork-Bork fiasco in Microsoft ensuring competitor's components are noticeably more clunky than their own?

    i still don't like it, keep the playing field a bit tilted

  • Wtf? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Poromenos1 (830658) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @06:30PM (#15753197) Homepage
    The hell? They will ALLOW them? Where does it say that Microsoft has a say in what is set up as default in the OS? Do they seriously think they can make people only use their searches/office/whatever?
    • Well, market dominance has "allowed" them to do so for some time. Where've you been? Burkina Faso?
      BTW, "default" and "make people use" are two different things, at least for those not afraid of their computers. For them, the two may well be equivalent.
      It may mean the beginning of the end of their dominance though I'm sure that has been predicted before.
    • There are many people who will just use whatever the default is when they get the machine.

      If the default is IE, they'll use IE. If the default is Opera, they'll use Opera. As long as it works there isn't any reason for them to change anything.

      By setting their products as the default MS is able to increase/maintain its share due to the reticence and/or lack of desire by the user base to change.
      • Really, what's wrong with Microsoft setting it's own programs as the default? I mean, if I made an OS, a browser and a search engine, I would bundle the browser with the OS as the default (because I own it, so no one will complain about me selling their browser), and I'd set my search engine as the default because I think my search engine is the best and I want to give my customers the best. Sure, IE isn't that great, but Microsoft is GIVING IT AWAY. If I'm missing something, someone please explain this bec
        • If you're a hardware distributor you'd like to control what software is installed when you sell your computers. You'd like for your users to have a pleasant and unique experience right out of the box. If the OS distributor controls the defaults you've lost a slight potential edge in the market. If the OS defaults are customizable, however, you have more control over the computers you sell.
        • by jthill (303417)

          What you've got there is called a "strawman" rebuttal: a reply to a different point than the one at hand.

          The problem isn't with them bundling. Never was. The problem is what they'll do to vendors who want to build different bundles, what they'll do to customers that want different software. Microsoft doesn't like to talk about those parts. They want to talk about everything but those parts. They got convicted of a felony for those parts. They act all hurt when people remember and act accordingly. All

        • by KwKSilver (857599)

          Sure, IE isn't that great, but Microsoft is GIVING IT AWAY. If I'm missing something, someone please explain this because I don't get it at all..

          Fascinating. Do you really believe that MS is giving IE away. Do you thing that MS's IE developers don't get paid??! Really. It's fairly obvious that the cost of IE is rolled into the cost of Windows. MS is no more giving IE away than GM is giving away free seats with every car they sell.

          Which reminds me of why MS started "giving away IE. As was determine

    • Where does it say that Microsoft has a say in what is set up as default in the OS?

      That would be the contractual agreement between OEMs and Microsoft.

      Microsoft have every right to insist OEMs ship *Microsoft's product* just the way *Microsoft* wants them to. Likewise, OEMs have every right to refuse and thus lose any incidental benefits agreeing to the contract might have provided like, say, lower prices.

      You think the biggest $CAR_MANUFACTURER deal in $MAJOR_CITY is allowed to present the cars in whateve

      • Re:Wtf? (Score:3, Insightful)

        Microsoft have every right to insist OEMs ship *Microsoft's product* just the way *Microsoft* wants them to.


        Not if they leverage their monopoly position to do so. This got them into trouble in the 90s when they would threaten to revoke Windows licenses, a sure-fire OEM killer since Windows is a monopoly.
    • They've been doing it for years: OEM vendors and major customers faced serious price penalties if they used non-Microsoft default web browers or streaming media players. Search tools are just the next round of Microsoft using their monopoly in the operating system to directly interfere with other markets, as vendors face penalties for installing Google or other search defaults instead of the Microsoft search engine.
    • If OEMs want to sell PCs, yes Microsoft pretty much does get a say in what software comes preinstalled. They can't use it to pressure OEMs as much as they used to, but they don't really have to anymore. As available and widely used as OSs like Linux and OSX are these days, off the shelf vendors are still primarily interested in selling PCs with Windows. And, as another poster stated, MS doesn't really have to refuse anyone software to preinstall without hurting them, they just have to up the price a bit.

      The
    • by Tim C (15259)
      On the other hand, setting aside anti-trust legislation for a moment, where does it say that MS isn't allowed to charge whatever price they want to whoever they feel like it? What's to say - remembering my previous caveat - that they can't double or triple the price to an OEM who wants to change system defaults to non-MS software, or install OpenOffice, etc?

      The only reason anyone can tell them that they can't do that is because they lost the anti-trust case. If they were just another OS vendor with a roughl
  • Great. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Adambomb (118938) * on Thursday July 20, 2006 @06:31PM (#15753201) Journal
    This is lovely on paper, but with regards to:

    Promising not to retaliate against computer makers that support non-Microsoft software.


    How precisely do they propose to differentiate between "retaliation against a computer maker" and "business decisions" due to any other little thing the maker may do that they decide they don't like? Would it be possible to argue that regardless of the actions of the maker, Microsoft could never stop selling to them or change pricing ever again without risking constant litigation? Seems like a disaster waiting to happen either way once a precedent is set(either against or for Microsoft).
    • Re:Great. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by eln (21727) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @06:43PM (#15753272) Homepage
      If Microsoft raises pricing for one particular vendor without similarly raising prices on all other vendors selling the same volume, chances are it's retaliation.

      Microsoft needs to stop playing games and just set different prices for different numbers of units sold and be done with it. The more complex they make their OEM pricing models, and the more factors they base pricing on, the more likely they are to be hit with lawsuits based on unfair pricing.
      • I sincerely doubt that would work as an argument though, since selling at a different rate depending on Volume has been around since someone decided to give a free chicken with every four they traded for. It would leave a fair bit of leeway if Microsoft decided the cost of losing out on other makers in a given volume range decides to order less due to this if the pressure it applied to a specific one seemed worth it. Unless they created a new volume price range or some such that only a single vendor fell in
    • Other articles on this subject state that Microsoft intends to publish a volume-based price list for OEMs. As long as they conform to that price structure, they can't be accused of retaliation.
      • Except, of course, that for major distributors there tend to be some nice little "perks" and "discounts" and "value-added benefits" that are so large they affect the overall cost of the product to the vendors. If 90 out of 100 vendors buying those bulk licenses qualify for those "discounts" because they sole-source their setups from Microsoft, and the other 10 don't get the discounts even if they buy the same number of licenses, then they've been retaliated against.

        Microsoft got cought doing exactly this so
        • by donutello (88309) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:14PM (#15753757) Homepage
          From Twelve Tenets to Promote Competition [microsoft.com]:

          Microsoft will not retaliate against any computer manufacturer that supports non-Microsoft software. To provide transparency on this point, Microsoft will post a standard volume-based price list to a Web site that is accessible to computer manufacturers, as it has under the U.S. antitrust ruling. Windows royalties will be determined based on that price list, without regard to any decisions the computer manufacturer makes concerning the promotion of non-Microsoft software.
          • ...standard volume-based price list to a Web site that is accessible to computer manufacturers, as it has under the U.S. antitrust ruling

            To show how good we know are; we swear we'll keep doing what we're forced to by law! ;-)

            -a.d.-

          • And that voulme pricing should top out at, say, 10000 copies. At some (reasonable) level, there's no more efficiency to be had by buying more copies, and all copies should be sold at the same price to all OEM's. Not only is that basic fairness, it also cuts down on the barrier to new OEM's entering the market.

            Also, there should be no other side agreements like 'Windows license with every machine we sell'. And co-advertising agreements (or other stealth discounts) based on restricting what the OEM is allo
    • "How precisely do they propose to differentiate between "retaliation against a computer maker" and "business decisions" "

      they will post volume liscensing. So if you get charged more for 1000 pieces then you competitor, you can bring anti-trust lawsuits to the table.

    • they don't retaliate... they just scale back on the "market development funds" (aka kickbacks) they pay the manufacturer...

      the effective end result is exactly the same, but they can quite honestly and truthfully claim that they haven't put the price up for that manufacturer.

  • I mean, say what you like about the tenets to promote competition, Dude, at least it's an ethos.
  • softening? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by yagu (721525) * <yayagu@@@gmail...com> on Thursday July 20, 2006 @06:34PM (#15753216) Journal

    I hail Microsoft's perceived "softening" as a positive step albeit driven largely by legal fiat. However, one need only read this article on Microsoft and their stance against Google [com.com] to realize and recognize Microsoft retains its hubris and aggressive stance.

    Consider from the above article:

    Turner said the company is also gearing up to take on IBM and Oracle, among other competitors, with new products slated for debut in the next few months. But he saved his most acerbic comments for Google.

    "Those people are not going to be allowed to take food off of our plate, because that is what they are intending to do," he said.

    The hubris is Microsoft's assumption anyone getting business is taking food off of their plate, or something they consider rightfully theirs, as opposed to customers who make choices in a free marketplace. Fortunately the marketplace is tipped somewhat more towards a level playing field (not all the way, but better than before).

    • by ackthpt (218170) *

      The hubris is Microsoft's assumption anyone getting business is taking food off of their plate, or something they consider rightfully theirs...

      You bastard! Your post denied Microsoft from making a compatible post which is their right!

      From now on all posts to /. regarding Microsoft will come from Microsoft, however in the interest of fair competition, you may forward your post to Microsoft for inclusion in their post to ensure compatibility.

    • Think about this. Does a bad person wake up one day and become good all of a sudden? Do they stop all the habits they built up over a lifetime and aquire new ones overnight? Can they change their entire worldview in a snap?

      Of course not and neither can MS. As long as MS management stays the same they will not change their behavior. This is just some pablum put out there to appease the press and the gullable. Actions speak louder then words. Let's see how they behave in the next three months and then decide.
    • And what exactly is wrong with being aggressive? That is what drives competition, after all. Are companies supposed to just skip along happily and be friends with one another, never making an effort to undercut, innovate, outproduce and outmaneuver? Indeed, such a world is what anti-trust legislation is REALLY intended to prevent.
  • Means nothing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by loraksus (171574) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @06:48PM (#15753297) Homepage
    All this will do is start a bidding war on the oem's end. Besides, installing the next version of messenger (or a MS download of any kind) will have a screen that will have all the default options revert back to MS's settings.
    It doesn't really matter what browser they use, if the homepage is msn.com, they still get their unique visitor and ads displayed numbers bumped.
    OTOH, .mp3 will be associated with Musicmatch jukebox or some equally bloated shitty app. I think we can all agree that is a loss.
    • installing the next version of messenger (or a MS download of any kind)

      I'm sorry, I think you misspelled any.

      Or do you really think that MS is the only one who makes media players and such ask "do you want to change the default options to me"? ESPECIALLY media players. It's rare to find one that doesn't, at least in the Windows world.
      • Microsoft tends not to ask: they tend do it automatically as part of the security updates without notifying you.
        • What sort of default application thing has been reset via a security update?

          I suppose it's possible that they do it with WM Player, because I use that by default for a lot of stuff, but that's about the only thing that I have that's set at default. Certainly no IE security update has returned IE to being default (this is over the life of this computer, which is just about 4 years now).
        • As that is not my experience, I am going to have to ask for some proof of that.
      • iTunes is particularly bad in that respect - not only does it want to be your default for absolutely everything, but it forces you to install Quicktime *and* installs an iPod helper service without asking.

        A touch arrogant; not everyone who wants to buy music online has an iPod, and how hard would it be to make it configurable?
        • yup - and ipodservice is an absolute pain for (admittedly poorly written ones that have a hard time re-establishing comm without a reboot) all in one printer drivers - both on the pc and mac side.
  • What are they then? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tx (96709) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @06:49PM (#15753302) Journal
    I just went through a bunch of hits from Google news as well as the TFA - hundreds of stories all saying Microsoft has published these 12 tenets, not one actually listing them. WTF?
    • Found 'em on eweek (Score:5, Informative)

      by Tx (96709) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @06:54PM (#15753349) Journal
      1. The first principle goes to the installation of any software.

      "We will ensure that Microsoft will design Windows in ways that make it easy for people to add non-Microsoft features," Smith said.

      No. 2 is easy access: Computer manufacturers are free to add icons, shortcuts and the like to the Windows Start menu and other places used to access software programs so that customers can easily find them, Microsoft said.

      No. 3 is defaults. Microsoft will design Windows so as to let computer manufacturers and users set non-Microsoft programs to operate by default in certain categories, such as Web browsing and media playback, Microsoft said; computer manufacturers can set these defaults as they please when building new PCs.

      No. 4 is exclusive promotion of non-Microsoft programs, Smith said.

      "This is an important new issue in regard to things like media and Internet search, as we are broadening to adopt this for Internet search as well," he said, indicating that Microsoft's fierce competition with Google aside, the company is dedicated to this principle.

      Guru Jakob Nielsen offers advice on designing applications for usability. Click here to watch the video.

      No. 5 is business terms: Microsoft will not retaliate against any computer manufacturer that supports non-Microsoft software, Smith said.

      To provide transparency on this point, Microsoft will post a standard volume-based price list to a Web site that is accessible to computer manufacturers, as it has under the U.S. antitrust ruling, he said.

      Principle No. 6 deals with APIs. Microsoft provides the developer community with a broad range of innovative operating system services, via documented APIs (application programming interfaces), for use in developing state-of-the-art applications.

      And the U.S. antitrust ruling requires that Microsoft disclose all of the interfaces internal to Windows called by "middleware" within the operating system, Smith said.

      Principle No. 7 involves Internet services, where Microsoft is contributing to innovation in the area of Internet services with services that the company calls Windows Live, Smith said.

      "Microsoft will design Windows Live as a product that is separate from Windows. Customers will be free to choose Windows with or without Windows Live," the company said.

      No. 8 is Open Internet access, where Microsoft will design and license Windows so that it does not block access to any lawful Web site or impose any fee for reaching any non-Microsoft Web site or using any non-Microsoft Web service, Smith said.

      Principle No. 9 is "no exclusivity," Smith said.

      The U.S. antitrust ruling provides that Microsoft may not enter into contracts that require any third party to promote Windows or any "middleware" in Windows on an exclusive basis and Microsoft has pledged to continue this, Smith said.

      Next Page: Microsoft's pledges.

      Principles 10 through 12 deal with interoperability for users and say that Microsoft will make its communications protocols available for commercial release, the company will generally license patents on its operating system inventions, and the company is committed to supporting industry standards.
  • by I'm Don Giovanni (598558) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @07:01PM (#15753393)
    "We touched on this yesterday, but the 12 tenets weren't clear at that point ... ", so we touch on it again tdday, but still fail to provide the official URL to the actual 12 tenets (a URL which was released yesterday, so the 12 tenets were indeed clear).

    Anyway, here's the official link:
    Windows Principles: Twelve Tenets to Promote Competition [microsoft.com]

    (Note that according to the text, the tenets are in keeping with and following the spirit of the MS/USDOJ settlement, rather than having to do with EU fines (though the latter likely played a role).)

    • From that page:

      "Microsoft will generally license patents on its operating system inventions (other than those that differentiate the appearance of Microsoft's products) on fair and reasonable terms so long as licensees respect Microsoft's intellectual property rights."

      I'm sure the terms and the definition of respecting MS's IP rights will be such as to preclude their use in GPL software.
    • Oops. Jumped the gun. Also from that page:

      "Microsoft will make available, on commercially reasonable terms, all of the communications protocols that it has built into Windows and that are used to facilitate communication with server versions of Windows."

      "Commercially reasonable terms" will, no doubt, exclude GPL software.
    • From the page you linked:

      1. Installation of any software. Computer manufacturers and customers are free to add any software to PCs that run Windows. More broadly, every computer manufacturer and customer is free to install and promote any operating system, any application, and any Web service on PCs that run Windows. Ultimately, end users are free to choose which software they prefer to use.

      This means that any vendor can sell a computer that dual boots Windows and Linux, right?

    • So the DOJ was pleased with baseless committments which did not change anything. Didn't they want to break the company up? It was a horrible defeat of US competition policy due to political change.

      I recommend to report abuses to your responsible antitrust agency in the future. The reason is that this is an instrument which educates them. Small steps.

      Find your national competition authority here
      http://ec.europa.eu/comm/competition/other_sites/ [europa.eu]
  • (...) Microsoft (...) will allow vendors to set non-Microsoft applications as the default on Windows computers.
    Quite a lot is wrong in a world (and "market[!] economy" [google.com]) where a phrase like this can actually be written&deemed to make sense.
  • What About Google? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 8ball629 (963244)
    Wasn't there recently an article about Microsoft telling Google to not compete with them?
  • That as the old gaurd begins stepping away, MS is becoming more rational.

    I can't speak for MS, but in other companies this happens after the board becins quitely suggesting that the people on top find mre to do with there time. Nothing big as to not upset stock prices, just someone to point out how flat growth has been.

    Please mod +1 pure speculation.
  • from the article:
    Giving outside software developers the same access to technical information that Windows developers have, so "competitors will know that they can plug into Windows to get services in the same way that built-in Windows features do"

    I wonder just WHAT technical information microsoft is talking about?
  • Was't allowing third-part software on windows, and not using restrictions on contracts conditions on the deal with the US govern in 1994?

    That because Microsoft didn't actually did the promises, lead to a trial loose by the company?

    That lead to another agreement with the new administration (bush) to soft the terms of the trial and Microsoft compromissed to allowing third-part software on windows, and not using restrictions on contracts again?

    And only now they start dloing it?

    Strange... I tought they should

  • Check out #10:
    "10. Communications protocols. Microsoft will make available, on commercially reasonable terms, all of the communications protocols that it has built into Windows and that are used to facilitate communication with server versions of Windows"

    That closes out Open Source, no?
  • Does this mean I can get my dual boot BeOS/Windows computer now?

    What?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Strange that this is the only post on this subject. Of course a lot of this is just marketing and something for the crowds. The point you raise is exactly what I was thinking. The first point is as follows:

      1. Installation of any software. Computer manufacturers and customers are free to add any software to PCs that run Windows. More broadly, every computer manufacturer and customer is free to install and promote any operating system, any application, and any Web service on PCs that run Windows. Ultimately,

  • Offers nothing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Zoxed (676559)
    All I can see on the list are;

    - the pretty obvious (eg we "allow" other firms icons !)
    - what they have been *forced* to do under US and EU antitrust rulings (eg interoperability and equal deals to OEMs).

    Or am I missing something ?
  • Impact (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mr_Silver (213637) on Friday July 21, 2006 @04:06AM (#15755075)

    The question I have is, how many of these OEM's are actually going to bother changing all the possible options?

    Okay, so someone like Dell might because they can make some extra money but if the large majority of the others simply don't bother then this change of policy by Microsoft won't equate to much for the average purchaser.

  • If the EU forced OEM vendors to ship "clean" PCs.

    Responsibility would be on the OS manufacturers to ship easy-to-use, no trouble, no options install disks for usage on the first install. These would have a standardized, regulated procedure that would be open to any OS company.
  • I hope Apple will also be forced to allow you to use other web servers, other than .Mac, when publishing stuff with their iLife software.

APL is a write-only language. I can write programs in APL, but I can't read any of them. -- Roy Keir

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