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Microsoft

Time For Anti-Trust 2.0? 435

Posted by Zonk
from the taking-it-on-the-road dept.
An anonymous reader writes, "PC manufacturer Acer is complaining that Microsoft has jacked up the price of Vista, and that the basic versions are so basic no one will ship them. Since the collapse of the Microsoft anti-trust case under the Bush administration in 2001, manufacturers have no choice but to accede, adding hundreds of dollars to the cost of each PC. With Gates now proclaiming victory over European regulators, Microsoft once again seems unstoppable. But Microsoft had drawn itself close to the Republican Party. With the Republicans now evicted from the House and Senate, is it time to look at the Microsoft anti-trust suit? Could Microsoft be compelled to lower its inflating Vista prices, or to open their tech or even supply funding to Linux-flavored Windows such as Wine? What do Slashdot readers think about the likelihood of another go at breaking up the Windows monopoly?"
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Time For Anti-Trust 2.0?

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  • by EsbenMoseHansen (731150) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @06:29AM (#16803918) Homepage

    I welcome high prices on w32. There are alternatives, said manufactures could just install one of those.

    Now, if the prices dependent on not selling anything by w32, I can see the point, and that should be fined so heavily that they never, ever dream of doing it again.

    • by hey! (33014) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @10:04AM (#16804880) Homepage Journal
      I welcome high prices on w32. There are alternatives, said manufactures could just install one of those.

      You are missing the point.

      As a monopoly, they don't have to worry about competition in their core business when they set prices. They are probably pretty aware of the price point at which people will give up and go to Linux or MacOS.

      The existence of alternatives doesn't preclude having a monopoly, nor does having a monopoly preclude the existence of alternatives. It only has to be impractical for most consumers to choose an alternative.

      Antitrust is there to ensuer that alternatives are remain for the consumer by protected those alternatives from unfair competition. However, charging high prices is not a form of unfair competition. As you point out, it is good for the alternative vendors, just bad for consumers.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Urza9814 (883915)
      There really AREN'T alternatives for most people. I dunno about cedega, but wine is pretty much completely useless, and even simple things like web browsing is a bit difficult. That whole no flash 9 thing is a pain, considering about 90% of popular non-geek websites use flash everywhere.

      Personally...I use Linux. And I like it. But between the lack of plugins for web browsing, the incredibly difficulty of installing things, and the lack of any real good compatibility for windoze apps, it's nowhere near good
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Yartrebo (690383)
        Wine seems pretty good for most MS Windows 3.x programs.

        I have flash disabled (actually, I never installed it since I find the EULA too nasty), and if a site requires it, I just move on to the next site. Only a tiny fraction (1 or 2%) of the sites I try to visit require it, though many more need it for their ads to work (which is the reason I would disable it even if it were installed).

        As far as installation goes, what good are programs for MS OSs if virtually all have a EULA that I'm not willing to sign? A
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by PygmySurfer (442860)
          Wine seems pretty good for most MS Windows 3.x programs.

          That's just great. If everyone could get by with 10 year old programs, that'd be a perfect solution.
    • First: everyone check my comment history to confirm that I'm as much a raving anti-MS, logiciel libre freak as the next guy.

      But this thread is dangerous:
      "if major pc manufacturers start shipping pcs without windows, they lose their discount pricing on windows & other ms software"
      "In addition, there should be no "incentives" of any kind"

      C'mon guys, we believe in a free market here. What's needed is for a manufacturer or two to grow a pair, offer preinstalled Linux, and put some effort behind it. Some mar
      • by alanQuatermain (840239) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @10:43AM (#16805118) Homepage

        Well, sadly I can't provide a citation for this (although hey, this is Slashdot-- citations are for wimps, right?), but I was under the impression that the deal worked something like this:

        • Do as MS asks (only sell Windows, avoid bundling things MS doesn't like)-- pay in the region of $25-$50 for each Windows license.
        • Do your own thing: pay full retail price.

        In the post-Dell world of low-margin commodity PC's, the difference is likely to be at least $100, possibly more. Hell, there are even things like 'co-marketing' grants from the likes of MS and Intel, where the OEM gets money in return for putting MS or Intel prominently in their advertising, and I'm sure that the MS one offsets most of the remaining cost of the Windows licenses. However, when you're competing for a slice of the $500 PC market, you don't want your $25 copy of Windows to start costing $150 now. Or, in the case of Vista, $200 or more (because no-one wants the basic versions, as Acer suggests). Now, if you don't get favourable pricing, your offering either costs $700 compared to the competition's $500, or else you're going to lose money on every unit sold.

        It's not the potential markup on a $1400 PC that hurts -- it's the markup on a $400 or $500 PC that hurts, because the retail price of Windows will increase that by a fairly noticeable percentage.

        -Q

      • by cyber-vandal (148830) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @02:31PM (#16806674) Homepage
        Linux would already be on a lot of desktops except for one important detail: it doesn't run Windows apps and drivers very well or at all. The inability to get round that obstacle is what has defeated every single would-be competitor over the last 11 years.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by molnarcs (675885)
      I don't like MS, I think they are evil, etc, etc.. But, this whole whining of hw manufacturers because of high prices is completely ridiculous. Not only because there are alternatives, but because these are the same manufacturers who constantly have to be nagged to provide specs to standard hardware to free software developers (and quite often they don't do it). The linux desktop has became a viable alternative now for 80 % of users - most of problems that still exist are hardware issues. And here comes Ace
  • It is obvious (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kurt555gs (309278) <kurt555gsNO@SPAMovi.com> on Saturday November 11, 2006 @06:34AM (#16803926) Homepage
    Look at what M$ is pulling with Novel and Linux. This is typical M$ arrogance and disdain for the law.

    They should have been broken up before, and they should now.

    No one, or company should be allowed to act this way in any modern society.

    Cheers.
       
    • by ScentCone (795499)
      Look at what M$ is pulling with Novel and Linux. This is typical M$ arrogance and disdain for the law.

      Yeah, Novell was just dragged, kicking and screaming, into a dark alley and forced to sign that one, weren't they! Not. [novell.com]

      This is about Novell making more money by having broader services and options to offer their customers, and about Microsoft doing the same.

      Arrogance? Would you rather that every company that's striving to keep its millions of investors and thousands of employees happy, and not just
    • Re:It is obvious (Score:4, Insightful)

      by drsquare (530038) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @09:06AM (#16804570)
      No one, or company should be allowed to act this way in any modern society.


      What, charging the price that the market will bear? If you don't like it, do what I did and install Linux.

      The world would be a much better place if people looked after their own business rather than crying for the government to come and help them all the time.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by nine-times (778537)

        Except that Microsoft is relying on our government to enforce its patents and copyrights, all of which is supposed to be for the public good. If Microsoft is going to break the rules and show disdain for the public good, and they really want the government to stay out of it, then how about they stay all the way out of it and stop enforcing Microsoft's IP?

        I know we sometimes get into a mode of thinking where "capitalism" is used to justify an attitude of corporate entitlement. Still, I think it's worth not

      • by Ucklak (755284)
        With the release if Vista, I can honestly say that I've missed the XP boat.

        If cost is an issue with the OEMs, Apple tends to gain here.
      • Re:It is obvious (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Alef (605149) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @10:06AM (#16804886)
        What, charging the price that the market will bear? If you don't like it, do what I did and install Linux.

        You make it sound as if that is always a viable option. Perhaps for ones home computer, but often not for companies. In many industries Windows and MS Office is the de facto standard. Also, even when it is possible, switching a reasonably large organisation to Linux isn't exactly cheap either. Change is expensive -- especially when the monopolists are experts at vendor lock-in.

        • by drsquare (530038)
          What is exactly forcing you to upgrade?
      • If you don't like it, do what I did and install Linux.

        In a perfect world that would be possible for everyone. Unfortunately we don't live in a perfect world and there are factors which, to this day, hinder the migration process. We are talking about certain specialized software which doesn't have a linux version, like tailored legacy software or even fundamental tools like autoCAD (no, running it over WINE is not a serious option).

        Another factor which voids that "just install linux" option is the lac

    • Speaking of the Novell deal, what are the odds that we'll see a distro called "Redmond Linux" as an option for PCs, the poor man's Windows with Wine, Mono, and some other stuff meant to make one say "Geez -- I wish I just simply had Windows!"
  • the basic versions are so basic no one will ship them
    Great, a basic version is just what I'm looking for. I'm in need of an OS, not a goddamn truckload of crappy applications that I'm going to have to replace by much higher-quality open source alternatives.
    • by PriyanPhoenix (900509) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @06:51AM (#16803992) Homepage
      Although it's true that many people can do without the bundled Media Centre in preference of alternatives and will probably experience *better* performance Aero-free, that's not all they've stripped out. Laptop users with basic may be feeling a little chilly without Windows Mobility Centre. Sure, you don't *need* it travel, connect wirelessly and work, but in this day and age of mobile communication those are pretty basic OS features they've decided to limit to enhanced editions. The other issue is that Aero is not purely aesthetic and does offer some functional usability features too. Just how long it will be until a developer of one of those Open Source apps you love decides to utilise a cool element of the Aero interface, forgetting momentarily that not everyone has it. After all, he doesn't code for Macs for exactly that reason...
      • by drsquare (530038)
        Just how long it will be until a developer of one of those Open Source apps you love decides to utilise a cool element of the Aero interface, forgetting momentarily that not everyone has it.


        You can't blame Microsoft for poor amateur coding. Oh wait maybe you can! But seriously it wouldn't be the first time an open source developer had forgotten or neglected something, and it's not the fault of anyone but said open-source developer.
  • by Ekhymosis (949557) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @06:45AM (#16803966) Homepage
    I don't foresee MS being being put back on the anti-trust spotlight anytime soon, not until 1-2 years. While congress maybe dems now, that does not guarentee anything against MS, especially since other priorities like Iraq or Korea looming. However, once things calm down on the international front, I do hope they do drag MS back to the anti-trust court and hopefully wrap things up before another big business friendly administration comes in and ruins it again.

    Mind you, I particularly don't care much for MS, however if anti-trust can break its monopoly, I do believe that it will bring about a great revolution in software quality that will be seen for many years to come. More competition = better choices for us. =)

    • by westlake (615356)
      I don't foresee MS being being put back on the anti-trust spotlight anytime soon

      There was never a popular majority demanding the break-up of Microsoft. Anti-Trust sentiment in the U.S. is notoriously short-lived and the long-term consequences of a break-up are always second-guessed. Standard Oil. AT&T.

  • Fool's errand (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The Democrats in the congress do not have enough political capital to waste on slaying Microsoft. In under 2 years, no less. Not when there are other priorities.

    Plus, I say let them jack up prices. Let manufacturers hurt. It may convince them to introduce Ubuntu pre-loaded machines. Why not? It doesn't require a complete changeover, just a quiet new line of products. Snowball effect, at some point. Surely they see the trend of the snowball coming their way, anyhow.

    Or price the same machines without
    • by bsane (148894)
      It may convince them to introduce Ubuntu pre-loaded machines.

      Except with every antitrust action ending in MS victory to date, what would stop them from pulling their licensing agreement with any company that bundled linux?

      That threat will keep the manufacturers in line. Sure it would be the boldest violation yet, but any manufactuerer involved would be bankrupt before it was resolved.
  • by Total_Wimp (564548) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @06:48AM (#16803978)
    The submission takes a bunch of half truthes, wishfull thinking and hope for revenge and throws it altogether to make a stew designed to rile up the /. reader. Don't bite.

    The truth:

    1. OEM Windows licenses are nowhere close to "hundreds of dollars". You'll still be able to buy $500 PCs
    2. Force to open to WINE?!?!?! Are you smoking crack? The judge migh, literally, laugh.
    3. Microsoft has not "won" over EU regulators yet. This is only one battle.
    4. Just because we have a democratic congress is no reason to look for revenge "killings." Yes, MS is a Monopoly that totaly abuses it's position in a way that's damaging to its competition, but have you heard we're at war? The new congress should look at MS again before too long, but definately not right now. They have far more important work to do.

    I'm glad people are still interested in this subject, but you definately need to start looking at this realistically. This isn't so much a start as an unrealistic rant.

    TW
    • by wmeyer (17620)
      And 51 to 49 hardly constitutes the "eviction" of Republicans from the Senate.
    • by elwinc (663074)
      Fine points. Lemme just add (IANAL) that not all monopolies are illegal. It depends on how the company got to its monopoly position and what it's doing with it. You can make a pretty good case that MS got its OS monopoly position legally. The Office monopoly is more questionable, but if you want to re-try it in court, you prolly need new facts; all the old stuff has been tried once already. I believe that monopoly behavior is a criminal case, so double jeopardy applies (i.e. prosecutors can't just keep
    • 4. Just because we have a democratic congress is no reason to look for revenge "killings." Yes, MS is a Monopoly that totaly abuses it's position in a way that's damaging to its competition, but have you heard we're at war? The new congress should look at MS again before too long, but definately not right now. They have far more important work to do.

      Nancy Pelosi is far too politically savvy to fight that battle. She grew up in Baltimore political family; she knows how to get things done and how to pick wha
    • by suv4x4 (956391)
      The submission takes a bunch of half truthes, wishfull thinking and hope for revenge and throws it altogether to make a stew designed to rile up the /. reader. Don't bite.

      You can say than for almost all of the submissions here :P
      Really, this is not a news site for a long time now.
    • 1. OEM Windows licenses are nowhere close to "hundreds of dollars". You'll still be able to buy $500 PCs

      except you should not have to jump through ridiculous hoops to get the money back for a bundled OEM install you never wanted [linuxworld.com]... that $500 PC should really be $400 without the "Windows tax"... [wikipedia.org]

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AusIV (950840)
      Force to open to WINE?!?!?! Are you smoking crack? The judge migh, literally, laugh.
      Nobody from WINE is asking for the Windows source - a reliable API would be all that's necessary to make WINE much more consistent with Windows, and I know there was some talk that the EU may force Microsoft to release an API, though I'm not sure what happened with that.
  • by ehack (115197) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @06:49AM (#16803984) Journal
    MS are busily pricing themselves out of the market. I don't have a problem with that.
    • by PriyanPhoenix (900509) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @06:56AM (#16804020) Homepage

      It would be nice if it was true but you can only price yourself out of the market if there are alternatives in that market. Much as we love Linux, as far as most consumers and businesses are concerned, it's still not in that market.

      So Vista's real rival is...WinXP. What inflated prices will do is simply delay the roll-out of Vista. Companies will almost certainly wait until their next hardware upgrade cycle at which point they will have little choice but to go with Vista anyway.

      • by S.O.B. (136083)
        Where I work Windows XP is being rolled out just now. It'll be a long time before they even contemplate rolling out Vista.
  • Who buys retail (Score:2, Redundant)

    by davmoo (63521)
    The great majority of people who acquire Vista will not do so by buying Vista on an entirely new machine. Therefore, what the full retail price of Vista is does not have a lot of impact here. Anyone who thinks Gateway, Dell, or HP pays full retail for Vista (or XP) needs to take off their rose-colored glasses and look again. Acer probably doesn't pay retail either, although they also probably do pay more than "the big three".
    • by davmoo (63521)
      Shit. I should have used "preview". That first sentence should read "The great majority of people who acquire Vista will not do so by buying Vista at retail, they will do so by buying an entirely new machine."
    • by tehanu (682528)
      That is a very good point. So I guess the real question is, have MS jacked up the price of the OEM versions of Vista?
    • It's not just Vista, and it's not just retail. I've got a couple non-profit companies I support who are accustomed to buying Office 2k3 Pro volume license keys at charity pricing for $99 a license. Well, now Office 2k7 went gold, and you can't buy 2k3 VLK. Now you abruptly have to order the 2k7 VLK. The charity price for Office 2007 Pro charity is... $299.

      Must be some good stuff in there to justify blowing the hell out of these social-services organizations' budgets.

      Maybe if there'd been some sort of wa
  • Vista Only (Score:5, Insightful)

    by quokkapox (847798) <quokkapox@gmail.com> on Saturday November 11, 2006 @07:03AM (#16804052)

    Nobody has mentioned the fact that within a few months of release, Vista will be the ONLY Microsoft operating system you can get on an OEM PC. You won't be able to buy an XP machine anymore because Microsoft doesn't want you to. In a free market, Windows XP would become cheaper and due to the fact that it's battle-tested, will probably be more desirable for some time, than Vista.

    But there is not a free market, is there? You can't buy an OEM PC without paying some sort of windows tax, with few exceptions. And the latest windows tax is Vista.

    • by drsmithy (35869)

      In a free market, Windows XP would become cheaper and due to the fact that it's battle-tested, will probably be more desirable for some time, than Vista.

      What other commercial software are you thinking of that behaves like this ?

    • Re:Vista Only (Score:5, Insightful)

      by drsquare (530038) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @09:14AM (#16804614)
      In a free market, Windows XP would become cheaper and due to the fact that it's battle-tested, will probably be more desirable for some time, than Vista.


      In a free market, a merchant can choose to stop selling something if he wants to sell something else instead.
      • Re:Vista Only (Score:4, Insightful)

        by McCart42 (207315) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @11:20AM (#16805314) Homepage
        In a free market, buyers can choose to resell their goods once they've got their use out of them.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by a.d.trick (894813)
        I'm pretty sure the OEM's aren't the ones interested in stopping their sales of XP. After all, selling XP doesn't make them any less money and will probably end up making them more because many of the buyers will want to ugrade to Vista once all their friends have it and to most people, upgrading means buying a new computer.
    • by Aladrin (926209)
      Correct me if I'm wrong, but when WinXP came out, it was still possible to order computers with WinME for quite a while afterwards... As much as a year, I think.

      And I think the main reason they stopped offering it was that so few people ordered WinME on the computer that it wasn't cost-effective to offer that choice anymore.

      Besides all that, there's 2 more things wrong with the whole scenario:

      1) PC Manufacturers will simply ship the cheapest version on the default PCs that get sent to stores and offer the
    • by kalidasa (577403)

      Funny, the PC I'm working on right now will be available with a different operating system in March. That operating system is OS X. Even funnier - it will also run Vista, once a few adjustments have been made to the firmware.

      PC means "personal computer," i.e., the product description of the orignal Apple II. Then IBM made it a product name. If you're talking about

  • by killjoe (766577) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @07:04AM (#16804056)
    The justice dept is run by the white house and there is no way in hell this white house is going to go after any corporation let alone MS.
  • Interesting (Score:3, Funny)

    by Timesprout (579035) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @07:11AM (#16804080)
    5 Stories ago the war was won and over. Now MS are back to evil monopoly status and government intervention is required apparently to defeat them. Again.
    • server != client (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Per Abrahamsen (1397)
      Get it? Microsoft has nothing like a monopoly on the server side, and never had it. They do have a de-facto monopoly on the client side.

      The only thing that prevents them from extending their client-side monopoly to the server is the threat of government regulation. Otherwise, it is simple a question of letting the clients refuse to talk to "unauthorized" servers.
  • by Daltorak (122403) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @07:34AM (#16804164)
    This story is overflowing with FUD and misrepresentation. A routine fact-check will demonstrate this. Let's pull this apart:

    According to Jim Wong, senior corporate vice president of the Taiwan-based company, the issue is simply that the basic home edition of Vista, Home Basic, which is available for preorder on Amazon.co.uk for 154.99 pounds ($293), is so basic that users will be forced to move to Vista Home Premium, at 189.99 pounds ($359).

    First of all, they got the prices of Vista wrong: Vista Home Basic (non-upgrade) is 185 GBP [amazon.co.uk]; Vista Home Premium is 224 GBP [amazon.co.uk].

    Second, price-conversion. Everybody knows that you don't take the street price of a product in British pounds, run it through xe.com, and come out with the street price in USD. Microsoft's MSRP on Vista Home Basic (non-upgrade) is $199 USD [microsoft.com], -not- $293 as given in the article. Vista Home Premium (non-upgrade) is $239 USD [microsoft.com]. Note that the MSRP on XP Home Edition is $199 USD [amazon.com], the same as Vista Home Basic.

    Third, Microsoft has never sold an edition of Windows with the Media Center included on the retail market, so in a way there isn't really any good point of comparison.... of -course- it's going to be more expensive than XP Home.

    "The new (Vista) experience you hear of, if you get Basic, you won't feel it at all," Wong told PC Pro magazine. "There's no (Aero) graphics, no Media Center, no remote control."

    Yeah well, guess what? some people just don't want or need that stuff. Actually, I'd hazard a guess and say that the vast majority of users don't want or need Media Center functionality or a remote control. That's not what's worth harping on about. Home Premium does have a lot of neat things in it, especially for mobile users, media centers, tablet PC owners, etc., but it's useless for a lot of people who just use their computer to get stuff done.

    Wong also said that the manufacturer's license for Vista Home Premium is 10 percent more expensive than for XP Home.

    It's also got far more functionality (Media Center, new mobility features, XBox 360 connectivity, Tablet PC features) than XP Home Edition or Vista Home Basic Edition, the latter of which Acer is refusing to sell to its customers.

    "We have to pay more but users are not going to pay more," Wong said. This would mean an increase in the cost to PC manufacturers of 1 percent to 2 percent, according to Wong, in a business where the profit margin is around 5 percent or less.

    Quit your bitching, Mr. Wong. If the price of Windows is going up by 10% because you are choosing to force a higher edition on your customers, you pass that price increase on to users... it's not your job as a company to absorb price increases from Microsoft.

    At the top of the Vista lineup is the Ultimate Edition, which can be preordered for 325 pounds ($614) and, again, is significantly more expensive than the XP operating system it replaces.

    Ultimate Edition is covers a lot more ground than XP Professional. The thing comes with Media Center, twice as many games (good ones, too, like Chess and Majongg), backup software that doesn't suck, a bunch of extra software and add-ons analogous to the XP Plus! Pack, and even a friggin' UNIX stack to boot -- and that's not even going into
    • by Tim C (15259)
      Wong also said that the manufacturer's license for Vista Home Premium is 10 percent more expensive than for XP Home.

      There's this little thing called inflation; maybe you've heard of it? It means that, broadly speaking, prices go up with each passing year. The last desktop version of Windows was released 5 years ago; a 10% price increase accounts for less than 2% inflation per year. Sounds about right to me, at least for the UK.
  • The OLPC system is innovative hardware that proves that a computer does not need to be as expensive as they currently are. When it is possible to build a full features system for $130,- then the current prices of laptops and desktops for that matter are overpriced. On the OLPC it says explicitly that there will be little that you can not do that you can do on a $1.000,- laptop.

    The point. Computers are overpriced not only because of the cost of proprietary software but also because of the cost of the rat rac
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by faedle (114018)
      There's lots you can do on a US$699 laptop that you can't do on OLPC.

      You discount games. I call bullsh*t on that one, and here's why. While Second Life, World of Warcraft, or any of the large number of that style of game might not seem to be "important", it is.

      The whole idea of making sure that poor people can afford a computer is so you don't create a two-tier society of "techno-haves" and "techno-have-nots". You say, "well, get gaming kit" but in reality, a $100 "it runs no games" computer and a $200 "
  • No.

    Congress != Attorney General

    Try again after 2009 January 20.
    • by BCW2 (168187)
      Don't forget that New Mexico was the first state to cave on the anti trust suit, The Attorny General at that time was Patsy Madrid a Democrat who just lost an attempt at the House seat in Northern NM. Don't base your hopes on any party, the can all be bought and mostly are. If you think you actually have any representation in Washington you must make over $135,000/year since those clowns only represent their tax bracket and the higher one they want to get into. If you make less than $50,000 they don't care
  • About the only we would gain some freedom from Microsoft's OS monopoly would be to take some serious action, such as:

    1) Enforce all existing antitrust laws (this is not being done)
    2) Require that computer manufacturers not be allowed to bundle/include an MS-Windows license
    3) Prevent MS from trying to lock the OS license to a particular computer

    Never gonna happen, but it is nice to dream. None of the other so-called anti-trust penalties against Microsoft have had any teeth/impact. If you could ONLY buy com
  • by l3v1 (787564) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @09:20AM (#16804664)
    "Linux-flavored Windows such as Wine"

    W T F

  • Well, not only americans, but many people around the world is looking towards democrats to see them set right to many wrongs that had been done.
  • From the perspective of those who might like to see Microsoft destroyed completely, re-opening the antitrust case would actually be counterproductive.

    The reason why is because if they are allowed to continue to behave as a monopolist for a certain period of time, negative publicity resulting from their own continuing abusive and unethical actions will sink them in fairly short order. If they get broken up, while it might provide consumers with some remedy, it will also allow Microsoft to continue to exist,
  • ...we can't espouse Linux as a viable alternative in both the server and desktop markets and simultaneously complain that Micro$oft should be punished as an anti-trust violator because they're charging more for Vista and OEMs have no choice but to ship some form of Vista.

    They don't *have* to ship Vista. Hell, people should be yelling at Apple to make a go of it with OSX. Then you'd have OEMs who could ship Windows, OSX, various flavours of Linux.
  • Once again I hear the usual cries of, "if you don't like it, don't buy it" and "it's a free market."

    No, it's not a free market, and no, there is no choice! This is the simple truth of it for most people.

    When the principles of free enterprise are corrupted and perverted to the profit of the privileged, it is the people who must pay the price their masters set.

    Shed your tears not for the dollars lost, but rather for the freedoms spent.
  • Did they really win. The EU commisioner told MS to publish the protocols and unbundle certain applications. MS has done neither buts pleads 'confusion' over what the ruling really means.

    "It is therefore misleading to imply that the Commission could be the cause of delays in launching Vista in Europe."

    "One of the remedies imposed by the decision was for Microsoft to disclose complete and accurate interface documentation [eu.int] which would allow non-Microsoft work group servers to achieve full interoperabilit
  • by Brandybuck (704397) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @03:22PM (#16807056) Homepage Journal
    Ten years ago I was being told that Microsoft was a juggernaut that would squash anything in it's way. I was given all the usual tripe. That Sun would be out of business, that Linus Torvalds would be in jail for treason, that Gates would be knocking on my door to collect my firstborn. None of it happened.

    There is no monopoly. There is only a large marketshare. For the past ten years, during the very period of time everyone was telling me I had no choice, I have been using non-Microsoft systems. Currently I am using FreeBSD on my desktop and Mac OSX on my laptop. The only Windows I have is on my work-supplied laptop, and that's on a *secondary* partition. I can tell Bill Gates to "bite me" with no fear of repercussion.

    Sun is still going strong (and still stuck in their perpetual layoff/hire cycle). Solaris is still the workstation of choice, whose chief competition comes from Santa Clara instead of Redmond.

    Apple, the perpetually dying platform, is doing gangbusters. Sure, Microsoft gave them some money. But the very first thing they did with it was to come out with Safari and dump Internet Explorer. The OSX desktop is just starting to explode on the scene. I work with a lot of software companies, and most of them are moving into the Mac market for the very first time.

    During the very height of the Microsoft monopoly, Linux went from an obscure kernel project to a major player in the server and embedded markets with lots of inroads to the desktop. And it's not just because Open Source is the equivalent of "price dumping", because the service side of things isn't inexpensive.

    OpenOffice and Firefox have shown that high quality productivity tools don't need to come from Redmond.

    So where's the monopoly? What is stopping me, or anyone else, from not using Microsoft products? It may be still be hard to find pre-bundled Linux systems, but pre-bundled Mac OSX systems are just one aisle over. That's just on the desktop side. On the server side only the true-blue Microsoft fan still uses Windows on the server.

    In short, there is no monopoly.

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