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Microsoft

Microsoft Quickies 313

Yesterday, the court decided to break up Microsoft. Here's a little list of resources and places on the web where you can learn more about it. Microsoft has requested that the ruling be set aside until an appellate court hears its case, read about that on CNN. ZDNet has a big thing on it here, as well as new words from Judge Jackson. The Financial Times site, FT.com, has news and a Ballmer interview here. Here's something from the Washington Post, talking about the possibility of an out-of-court settlement. Enjoy.
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Microsoft Quickies

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  • Apple aren't saints, you know. Trust me, I've been entirely Macbased for years and write Mac software to boot :) I would think that my opinion carries some weight because at least I use the things and have some familiarity with them.

    As Apple expands outward into new products and services (do NOT use the 'i' word, do NOT use the 'i' word... ;) ), they begin trying out techniques and mechanisms that lock people into their stuff or force upgrades. I just got the latest 'MacAddict' today- one of the main articles is "How To Create an 'iDisk' without OS9". The iDisk is a sort of networked storage for iMacs and the like, on Apple's servers. They're within their rights to do whatever with it- hell, at one point the usage agreement literally said all intellectual property hosted there became Apple's property! Big stink, and they backed down and revised it. But in theory you're still supposed to be using OS9 for this stuff.

    If they had the lock on OSes and software, this type of behavior would be a serious problem. As it is- the main problem seems to be that, for the moment, there _are_ no mainstream consumer OSes that are genuinely enlightened- MS are evil and built to stay that way, and Apple are.. mercurial. There are many good things about them, and many bad things about them- and of course they are under MS's thumb, still.

    I do like the idea of OSX and am likely to switch my powermac to that at some point- I am just wary of what conditions will go along with it. I don't mind that there's no guarantee it'll work with an upgraded 9500- that's my problem, I take responsibility. I will have serious reservations over any of the following 'features': automatic updating, connecting to Apple servers to check on stuff like copy-protection, MS middleware built into the system, obligatory idiot-ware. Any of that stuff made _permanent_ would be a dealbreaker for me- I'd be willing to learn what to disable and remove (that's the key to getting Macs rock-stable anyhow! *g*) but I would have major problems if I'm denied a choice in the matter.

    What I want is Darwin, solid and _simple_, with Quartz and whatever they're up to with a GUI- and NO TIE-INS! I don't want Appleworks bundled- latest version sucks anyhow. I don't want AOL built into the system- or even AIM. And I don't want IE built into the system- I'd sooner use an antique version of Netscape.

    Maybe the iCab folks will be doing a version of their browser for OSX, eventually. I could get very enthusiastic about that- when iCab works I tend to love it. Had some bad luck with betas...

  • This link SF Chronicle: Workers Take In Stride [sfgate.com] has an image of several Bay Area Microsoft employees sitting round an ...

    ...Apple Macintosh Powerbook!

    :-)

  • For all of you monkeys that said MS could not appeal the restrictions that take place in 90 days, here's an article [techweb.com] on Techweb on how MS is appealing Jackson's refusal to stay the restrictions. Enjoy.
  • Like everyone else who has replied so far, I disagree with your perception of Microsoft, but damn I admire what you wrote. You have stood up to the angry mob, and done it in a fair and even handed manner. This has got to be the most courageous and articulate post I've ever seen on Slashdot. Microsoft doesn't deserve you.

  • Worth more than a fullblown actively predatory monopoly with 95% of their market at the peak of their powers?

    Nothing is 'worth' as much as that, man.

    Sell your stock. No normal company warrants the 'valuation' an unregulated monopoly gets. He's right- it's all over.

  • by Markar ( 154019 ) on Thursday June 08, 2000 @12:11PM (#1014976)
    he could have ruled that MicroSoft by walking through the doors to the courtroom agreed to abide by the decision of the judge and to accept it as final; no appeal. Now that would have been justice, a Walk-Through agreement!

  • Here are a few examples, IMHO...

    You just invalidated your argument, in terms of demonstrating Microsoft's guilt.

    Couldn't the government point to much more stable operating systems...

    They did point to them; their conclusions were that Linux is pretty much a server OS at this point, Be OS isn't viable because application support is limited and Be doesn't market it as a replacement to Windows, and Mac OS doesn't run on Intel-compatible hardware. If Microsoft had viable competition, they wouldn't be a monopoly!

    One could point out that MSFT uses all (or nearly all) of it's resources to make their products user friendly...

    And you're saying that's harmful?

    How about the many recent Outlook exploits?

    As has been pointed out before, the only reason those viruses target Windows and Outlook is that there's a lot of people running that software, not because it's inherently insecure in and of itself. Sure, Outlook launches VB scripts automatically, which is inexcusable, but that has nothing to do with Windows whatsoever, and nobody's ever accused Outlook of having a monopoly, to my knowledge.

    What about the upgrade cycle? ...That's harming consumers in terms of their money spending.

    Upgrades were addressed in the Final Judgement. Microsoft isn't required to release free upgrades, but they can no longer force people to upgrade if they don't want to. See section 3.i.

    And then there's the harm to non-consumers. Ie, the MSFT tax. Buying a computer from almost any dealer necessitates the installation (and hence purchase) of windows.

    The Final Judgement also dealt with that. See sections 3.a.ii and 3.f.

    Do yourself a favor and read the court documents before complaining about the conclusions that were drawn from them. And by the way, FWIW, I agree with you completely.

    --

  • by GypC ( 7592 ) on Thursday June 08, 2000 @01:19PM (#1014982) Homepage Journal

    My users are nurses... they've got important work to do and right now.

    They'd rather have a green screen than a blue screen.

    Text is text. Books are books even without fancy pictures. People with real work to do need certain information. A lot of it can be done more simply and efficiently with plain text, one thing at a time, no crashes :)

    "Free your mind and your ass will follow"

  • An MSFT press release reads:
    > [ ... ] many elements of the government's proposal that we think go beyond what's reasonable. It's not just the breakup, but also the [ ... ] "

    Is it just me, or does my bullshit detector go off the scale whenever I see multibillion dollar companies using apostrophes in press release?

    Do these companies ever use "chatty" language riddled with apostrophes when speaking the "truth" (albeit bastardized) to their shareholders? Never. To their politicians? To their lobby groups? To their lawyers? Never, never, never.

    The only time you'll see colloquialisms and apostrophes in press releases is when there's not even a grain of truth involved. It's a surefire sign that you're getting pure bullshit, as it were, as opposed to the normal, lower-grade bullshit that usually appears in press releases. It's a major red flag that says everything in the press release is a lie, that your argument doesn't have a leg to stand on, and the best your PR managers can do for you is to make you look "more human" by "talking down" to the peons in informal language.

    When you or I do it on Slashdot, it's because we're speaking from the heart. When a PR flack does it, it's merely obvious that the sincerity is being faked. And poorly, at that.

    We're not buying your act, Bill. Not for a fscking second. Use all the apostrophes you want. We see through your PR flacks.

  • Bill Door

    But... Death is cool... death may not be, but Death is. He tries so hard too...
  • And you know what? I bet you the separate IE company wouldn't be solvent -- couldn't justify its' own expenses. Know what else? Microsoft should HAVE to deal with that.. Netscape did -- that's why Mozilla is Open Source now. That, my friends, would be justice

    No that my friend, would be vengeful retribution. There is no justice in creating a company destined to fail simply to satisfy people's thirst for revenge.
    A web browser on it's own cannot support itself because people now expect them to be free. The money to be made from browser development is from creating development tools and you refuse them even that so unless MSIE walks away with MSDN (visual C++/Basic/J++/XML technologies) then splitting of the browser will be and exercise in destruction that will hurt everybody, consumers the most.
    PS: Even if they open sourced it it would still cost a great deal to maintain. AOL has kept on average 100 developers working on Mozilla at any one time while the average regular contributers hovers in the 30s. Besides the MSIE code base is probably convuloted enough that releasing the source would matter to very few people who are not heavily into COM/COM+/DCOM which basically counts out most of the slashdot crowd (except maybe the GNOME folk since they are so heavily into components).

    PPS: Just my $0.02, gotta get back to coding....

  • by mikpos ( 2397 ) on Thursday June 08, 2000 @10:11AM (#1014993) Homepage
    Microsoft has had plenty of opportunity to settle out of court already, and, as far as I can see, it hasn't even considered it. The reports coming back from Bill (BTW did anyone see what Bill said on CNN last night?) seem to say that Microsoft still thinks that it hasn't broken any laws. I don't know if this is just selective reading (if I don't know about the law, I'm not breaking it!) or if they still think they can somehow convince (or dare I say bribe?) their way out of it, but it's seems obvious that they're not going to submit to anything willingly within the near future.

    And in reference to the department of this story, I'd say it's already about as boring as Napster. One more story about this and I think I'll have reached my tolerance limit. Ya, so sucks to you.
  • by sillyputty ( 198480 ) on Thursday June 08, 2000 @12:20PM (#1014994)

    I don't quite understand all the fervor I see here. Do you honestly believe that this will open the marketplace to another Operating System any time soon? This does little to address the reasons that Microsoft had a monopoly to begin with.

    Microsoft may have bullied illegally into the browser market, but nobody here is screaming, "Yay! We can all get a new browser!" You all seem to be celebrating the death of Windows, admittedly a flawed OS. This won't kill Windows. This probably won't even kill Internet Explorer, at least not for a long time.

    Ask yourself: Why is Microsoft so huge? Every other post on Slashdot puts Windows down. Is it the best OS out there? Nope. Second best? Third? Nope. How did it get so big? The easy answer is that Bill FORCED everyone to have it! Yeah! But that's not true. Microsoft is huge not because Windows is the best, but because Windows is popular.

    Popularity has a whole different set of rules from competence. If you want to see the difference, look at your workplace politics, and then pick up a copy of "Entertainment Weekly" or some similar magazine. If one of your coworkers goes to jail for drugs, abuses his spouse, and gets divorced six times, he's a loser and nobody wants anything to with him. But if he's a movie star, then it's almost expected and it's okay. Windows works the same way. It's unstable, it's secretive, and it's bloated, which should all be cardinal sins for an OS. But it runs all the cool games, all the neat office tools, and all the multimedia stuff you could want. Plus, you don't need a degree, or even significant experience, to install it correctly. You can't seriously expect people to forget that overnight because it's revealed to be incompetent AND a bully, especially when they already knew it was incompetent and didn't care.

    Microsoft Windows will continue to sell as long as it is the best OS for what the majority of computer users use it for: light office work and games. Money talks, majority rules, pick your cliche. It doesn't matter what Windows can't do, because it's the Hollywood OS. Until another OS comes along that can do all this better AND as easily (or nearly so), I don't think anything will change.

    I'd like to add that Microsoft is right to claim innovation. Innovation is not invention. Look it up. Innovation is ABOUT stealing others' ideas and using them in a "better" way. And in this business, "better" = "more popular" because that means more money, and money is what business is all about. If MS was able to steal bits and pieces of other companies and make more money than the idea's originator had, then that is, by business definitions, innovation.

    This isn't meant to be a particularly pro-Microsoft message. I just don't see why anyone thinks this will change the fact that Microsoft is so ubiquitous.

    Comments are welcomed.

  • I hate to say it, but I really doubt the breakup will do much good. Sure, we'll have an applications company and an OS company, but where's the competition? Internet Explorer will continue to evolve on its current path, getting further and further away from standards-based HTML and more toward proprietary extensions, XML and ActiveFillInTheBlank (which, of course, all require the MS development kits to compile.) By adding all these "features" to IE and their other internet software, they are, in essence, trying to take control of the internet. Sure, you can use sendmail, Apache, Mozilla and whatever, but you'll miss out on so much unless you use Microsoft's Microsoft-enhanced products (here's where the proprietary Kerberos extensions come in.)

    Splitting up the company into divisions won't solve anything; the baby Bills will continue acting the way they always have. And in 3 years, when the injunction expires, what's to prevent a merger? Judge Jackson should have ordered Microsoft split into 3 or 4 identical companies with equal access to all the source code. Then we'd have to see some innovation in order for any of those companies to survive!

    Of course, my personal feeling on the matter is that Microsoft should be left intact, but Bill Gates should be found personally guilty and executed.

  • > If you look at any adverstisement with bill in it, you'll notice that Bill looks
    > friendly in some way. The fact of the matter is, is that Bill doesn't want to look like
    > the 'richest person in the world', he wants to look like your next door neighbor, somebody
    > who you wouldn't dare of commiting such business atrocities.

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who's noticed MSFT's use of informal language in press releases [slashdot.org] as a manipulative tactic.

    Fsck your PR reps with a copy of Win2K sideways, Bill. We know exactly how your PR campain works, and we see straight through it.

  • Point out that the reasons for needing free and open access to the Windows API's are intuitively obvious to the most casual observer.

    Anyone NOT knowing what an API is, is simple unqualified to comment.
  • But now the hand of karma has come back to Redmond, to complete some unfinished business.

    Judge: "Hmm... this company deserves a (Score: -1, Monopoly)!"

    Sorry, couldn't resist...

  • by hypergeek ( 125182 ) on Thursday June 08, 2000 @06:09PM (#1015003)
    "In the little town of Springfield, Nelson Muntz is raising his index finger toward Redmond, pointing, and saying, "Ha ha!""

    Same sentiment. Different finger.

  • Wish I had points now to moderate you up but I'll do the next best thing by quoting [slashdot.org] you:

    Like everyone else who has replied so far, I disagree with your perception of Microsoft, but damn I admire what you wrote. You have stood up to the angry mob, and done it in a fair and even handed manner. This has got to be the most courageous and articulate post I've ever seen on Slashdot. Microsoft doesn't deserve you.

    Well said.

    Actually, just like a lot of responders I see here, I used to be paranoid about the possibility of Microsoft trolls coming onto Slashdot en masse and polluting it - team moderation on Microsoft threads, that kind of thing - but I now see it an entirely different way. My belief is that a goodly portion of the Microsoft employees that do come onto Slashdot (yes, they do, lots do) are actually learning to think the way we do: first to stop loathing us, then to respect us, then... who knows, maybe even become like us. There really is no desciple quite so zealous as a convert.
    --
  • By making the split so that Applications (Office) and Browsers (MSIE) are still in the same group, they'll still be able to do this to consumers who rely on Microsoft applications.

    Not only that, but they will be able to continue to play the one-two game with browsers and servers, hooking them together will all kinds of proprietary and polluted protocols. The remedies do a little bit to interfere with this strategem, but not enough. The inevitable result of this weakness will be yet another legal go around when it becomes obvious that the new Microsoft Apps monopoly needs to be further dismantled.
    --
  • Cringely's argument is interesting, but wrong.

    He assumes that the DoJ antitrust case intended to show that Microsoft has a monopoly and that its monopoly has harmed consumers, so is illegal. He argues that the DoJ failed to establish that the Microsoft monopoly harmed consumers (and goes on to offer an argument that it did, in fact.) From this he concludes that the case might well be reversed on appeal.

    The DoJ theory of this case was rather different than Cringely supposes. True, it's illegal to have a monopoly if it harms consumers. But, it's also illegal to use the power of ones monopoly to extend it to other adjacent markets! _This_ is the legal hook the DoJ hung its hat on.

    I'll agree with Cringely that the case might have been stronger, had the DoJ also proven the first proposition (that consumers have been harmed), but the second transgression is also oppressive for a company that has a monopoly. It might be the case that the DoJ felt a case on the "harm" standard was weak, a matter of "what if" opinion. In any event, they went after the second theory and proved it well enough to get Judge Jackson to agree with them roundly in his Findings of Fact.

    Issues decided in a Findings of Fact can't be reargued on appeal. The appellate court (be it the Federal Appeals Court or the Supreme Court) can only address Matters of Law. In this case, the relevant Law issue is whether of not the Sherman Antitrust Act applies to sanction the conduct established by the Findings of Fact. It does, and therefore the ruling will be affirmed.

  • NGWS clearly fits the definition of Middleware.

    According to section 3.g of the Final Judgement, Microsoft can't bundle any Middleware Products to Windows unless they let you take it out, and unless they give discounts to OEMs who license Windows but remove the Middleware Product. Since Microsoft isn't likely to be happy with this, does this mean that NGWS will not be distributed as part of Windows at all?

    --

  • > Microsoft is huge not because Windows is the best, but because Windows is popular.

    No, Micorsoft is huge because IBM selected them to provide the OS for the IBM PC.

    Windows is not "popular". All my non-computer-literate friends use Windows, and they hate computers.

    > Look it up. Innovation is ABOUT stealing others' ideas and using them in a "better" way

    I did look it up. Mr. Webster and associates do not support your spin.

    However, Micorsoft may still find a loophole, because Webster also defines innovation (among other things) as "doing things differently". Before Microsoft, people were not in the habit of letting total strangers send mail from their accounts, so perhaps Micorsoft can claim innovation on that basis.

    But in the broader sense, stealing or buying someone else's idea is not "doing things differently" - its doing the same damn thing that someone else thought of first.

    > And in this business, "better" = "more popular" because that means more money, and money is what business is all about.

    Which is a perfect illustration of why Micorsoft has not been good for consumers. For consumers, "better" = "better", and preferably for less money.

    > I just don't see why anyone thinks this will change the fact that Microsoft is so ubiquitous.

    It could go either way. The Baby Bills will still be dangerous, simply because they have such a huge wad of cash to throw around, and also because they are already well established on so many desktops. We'll soon see whether the remedy will actually give the competition a chance. (Like you, I have my doubts.)

    On the other hand, Microsoft has survived the last 15+ years by flexing its muscle rather than by providing quality, and if the split cuts them down too small to bully, they'll have to reinvent themselves if they don't want to wash up. (Honestly, I think they've had to struggle just to maintain their grip ever since the internet blindsided them. They may have gone down without the DoJ's intervention, but I suppose we'll never know now. At least Bill will have an excuse for his failures, though.)

    As a side note, I notice Corel's wounded stocks took a great leap after the judgement came down, apparently because investors have decided that competing on Micorsoft's turf may longer be a corporate death penalty in and of itself.

    --
  • My question is, isn't it a bit too late to settle?

    Even if they came up with a great offer now, can the judge roll back his ruling?

    --
  • I have seen a theory mentioned previously (can't remember where) that went something like this:


    Microsoft doesn't really care about the specific result of the trial, it's just trying to delay a resolution until George Bush Jr. gets elected. Bush will intervene and stop the DOJ's pursuit of Microsoft.

    Could somebody comment on the

    1. Likelihood that this is Microsoft's strategy
    2. That, assuming that Bush is elected (which, from an outsider's perspective, looks at least as likely as not), that Bush will a) want to, and b) be able to, achieve a resolution that keeps Microsoft together and "innovating".
  • > If you've been watching TV lately, you'd notice that Bill is in the commercials.

    One thing that has pissed me off for the past year or so is the incredible amount of free air time Bill has gotten because the trial is "news". Every time I turn the telly on that ape is spouting his FUDdish bullshit trying to scare the masses into thinking they are going to suffer if he loses this case. Richest man in the world, and he doesn't even have to pay to spread his propaganda!

    > Yet, Bill still denies any wrongdoing. If you do something bad, and you admit to it, most people won't get angry, they'll just say "that's bad", no please don't do it again.

    Yeah. What ever happened to the "youthful indiscretion" defense? He could learn a lot from watching Bubba Clinton and Bubba Bush.

    He's as amateur at being a con man as he is at being a visionary.

    --
  • by billscarwasher ( 73764 ) on Thursday June 08, 2000 @12:32PM (#1015024)
    How about:

    MICROS~1 and MICROS~2
  • IANAL also, but I've read much commentary, and suppositivly there isn't any presendence for doing it the other way. Apparently all other anti-trust trials have done the judgement phase the same way. But its still up to the Supreme Court to decide if such presedent is wrong.
  • Just on a curious note, exactly what do you have in karma? =)
  • Please do not belittle the importance of the American Revolution by equating it to the Microsoft case. Microsoft, more than likely, would have been brought down by market forces and the eventual dominance of open-source.

    I'm sorry. In my original post with respect to the American Revolution, I explained (albeit briefly) that I wasn't trying to compare or equate the American Revolution with MSFT vs DOJ in any way. I was merely offering an example of a situation where some short-term confusion/uncertainty/general badness may be necessary for the overall longer-term good of the people.

  • All you heard were rumors. There was no fact.
    Secondly, simply moving their offices to Canada would be pointless. THey are a US registered company. You don't just 'up and move' like that. You cannot.
    They can't just say 'now we are registered in XXX country/state'. Shareholders have stock in Microsoft, registered wherever it is registered.....

  • So, stopping development of a very successful product in order to screw over another company is called what? Anyone? :)

    Uh, 'New Economy Business Plan'?

    Battle Cry of The New Economy: 'Yuh want fries widdat?'

    ======
    "Rex unto my cleeb, and thou shalt have everlasting blort." - Zorp 3:16

  • > After he found them guilty, he skipped the hearing on the proposed remedies.

    No, he did have hearings, let both sides present their cases, surprised everyone by going in to a second round, and even let Microsoft get the last word in both times.

    The fact the Microsoft foolishly wasted the hearings whingeing and trying to re-open questions about the FoF is no sweat off the judge's back.

    Personally, I don't think Microsoft has a chance. Even if they scratch up a procedural error, the FoF is now part of the legal history of the USA, and they are going to get nailed for it.

    Their only hope (that I can see) is that the current pro-business courts might decide that anti-trust actions are unconstitutional in general, and throw the whole thing out on that basis. It could happen, but Bill would not be wise to bank on it.

    If he really wants to protect his baby, he should step aside and appoint a new visionary-in-chief whose visions involve the application of technology rather than the preservation of a monopoly. So far as I can see, they haven't done a darn thing since the Mac came out, that was not merely an attempt to preserve their lucrative market position. If the Baby Bills keep playing that game, they'll get hit again in a couple of years.

    --
  • several Bay Area Microsoft employees sitting round an ...

    ...Apple Macintosh Powerbook!

    :-)

    Gee...I wonder if they're also using *snicker* MS Office and MS Internet Explorer for the Mac! Wouldn't that be a hoot!

    Apple has long been a Microsoft platform. Remember 1984 and the advent of the Mac? Bill Gates and Microsoft were there.

  • MickeySoft and MinneSoft.


    ...phil
  • Yes. I DO think it would open things up soon. It may take a year or two.. but that is soon.

    They would be forced (by the market..) to be more honest and forthcoming in publishing the UI for their OS. Their product would become an OS.. and they would have to cater to what people want, not to what microsoft wants you to have.

    See.. they adjust their OS so they can keep their apps in the market, and adjust their apps to keep their os in the market. Period. This is the heart of what MS does.

    So.. as soon as I can run office on Linux, and have a proper win32 api emulated (and it WILL happen), ms would be in ap osition where they actually have to provide something that is technically superior to what is free in order to make money.

  • 1: of course this is their strategy, because they've raised the stakes to where it would require a Presidential pardon, or Act of God, to get them off

    2: *ROFL* Explain how being a lackey to the biggest, most shameless special interest this side of the NRA is _good_? For Bush to do this would be political suicide. It would make him a laughingstock. They would have to be threatening him on a Mafia-like scale, like 'Do this or we kill your daughter', to be able to compel the President to act in such a way- and the President has more divisions (STR).

    Seriously- to expect this, you would be expecting a _politician_ to place Microsoft's interests ABOVE HIS OWN. Ain't gonna happen. Shrub would be looking out for his own image, and screw Microsoft.

  • > the Court of Appeals could choose to overturn the ruling simply because of these procedural errors

    But has anyone pointed out any actual procedural errors? Sure, Judge PJ didn't have much patience with the MSBS, but did he actually skimp on procedure? Most observers have been saying that the judge has been exceptionally careful, and had the appeals process in mind every step of the way.

    I know MS is whingeing because they were not allowed to open a reconsideration of the months-old FoF when they were supposed to be responding to the proposed remedies, but this hardly looks like a procedural error. Like the judge said, they had months and months to present whatever evidence they had.

    --
  • by quonsar ( 61695 ) on Thursday June 08, 2000 @12:42PM (#1015058) Homepage

    He isn't living in reality...

    followed by:

    ...we are still making the best software and are well-positioned to advance the state of computing...

    Pretty clear to ME who is living in reality in this instance.

    ======
    "Rex unto my cleeb, and thou shalt have everlasting blort." - Zorp 3:16

  • And they are free to design such interfaces into windows... but if they are split, the OS division will HAVE to give the same access to those specs that they give to the MS Software company, lettin *anyone* who wants to get into the busines write apps with an *equal* chance as far as windows goes. THe OS will not favour a single app developer, as it does now.
  • by rjamestaylor ( 117847 ) <rjamestaylor@gmail.com> on Thursday June 08, 2000 @12:45PM (#1015061) Journal
    How about:
    ?icros~1.vbs
    ?icros~2.vbs
    If you've not used UNDELETE, you won't understand...
  • They cannot afford the sheer level of staffing required to keep up with the patches, fixes, etc that problems like the recent outlook virii/trojan horses/worms have caused.

    MS has just released [microsoft.com] a security patch that is to address the scripting vulnerabilities in Outlook (only Outlook 98, and Outlook 2000 patches available, no patches for older versions or Outlook Express that I can see).

    According to the press release (written as a interview with Sr.VP Steven Sinofsky - You have to read it - it's really hilarious), it will provide "an unprecedented degree of security for computer users. With this update, Outlook will be a substantially more secure email application."

    This was prompted because "virus writers have become very sophisticated and have made it very difficult for users to know if an email attachment is safe."

    Also, the update "increases Outlook security protections by changing your Internet security setting within Outlook from 'Internet' to 'Restricted' zone. This disables most automatic scripting and ActiveX controls. Active scripting will also be disabled in the Restricted Zone by default."

    WOW! What an innovation. Potentially hostile code will be disabled by default in the restricted zone! (Umm, what exactly is the point of the restricted zone if not to have active content disabled by default? Oh, I remember now, there might be "legitimate business scenarios where this is useful.")

  • It's always that way. Take the Internet for example.

    "Step 1. The Internet is never going to amount to much."

    "Step 2. Our Internet is going to be Better"

    "Step 3. We Invented the Internet."

    Repeat cycle for the next technology. In your example, the NetPC.

    -John
  • The reports coming back from Bill (BTW did anyone see what Bill said on CNN last night?) seem to say that Microsoft still thinks that it hasn't broken any laws.

    This raises a very important point: antitrust law is retroactive and arbitrary. Think about it. If, when Microsoft tried to sign their first OEM-lockup agreement, a lawyer had said "hang on, you can't do this, because of such-and-such legislation passed n years ago as a result of the precedent of someone vs. someone-else", this situation wouldn't exist today.

    You must also realise that the US government has benefitted enormously from this so-called monopolistic behavior. If there's one thing governments like above everything else, it's taxes, and MS was a huge revenue stream for them, both directly and indirectly. How do they tax free software? Another thing governments like is employment, I don't know how many people (5? 10?) were employed in the local area for every MS employee who lived and spent there, but that's a lot of happy voters. How many people do Red Hat employ?

    The third thing governments love is control. They tried to control MS with a lawsuit, but failed. What do you suppose will happen when they decide that they want to control the open source movement?

    Just something to think about.

  • I worry that this one is going to be knocked down by a higher court. A lot of legally knowledgable people I know say that Jackson migh have been a little to quick on the draw for this to stand. Any lawyer out there care to comment?

    IANAL. Well, the way I understand it is Jackson's actually playing this pretty smart. Yes, he did frog-march Microsoft through the remedy phase, but what can happen? If the remedies don't stand up on appeal it just comes back into Jackson's court - he gets to fix it. This is nothing like the kind of problem he'd have if the conclusions of law didn't stand, and that's why he was so careful and thorough making those totally solid and bulletproof.

    Personally, I think he's handled this case just brilliantly from end to end, and his most recent stroke of genius is to get the whole process ready for the Supreme Court's fall session - otherwise, Microsoft might have been able to delay the whole process by yet another year.
    --
  • > I am certain much of slashdot would kill to work at Microsoft.

    No, but I have considered applying, for the sheer joy of a chance to turn them down.

    --
  • Would it be possible to have Gates and Ballmer fired and kicked out of Microsoft _because_ they insist on running the company as if there is no court order?

    Seriously, surely at some point it becomes obvious that they are pursuing a suicidal strategy? They are violating their fiduciary duty.

  • Finally.

    Well, this is cause for celebration.

    I was going to use the fact that it was Thursday as an excuse to drink ( not that I actually need one ), but this is soo much sweeter.

    Prost!

  • I think another interesting perspective is that of the great Robert X. Cringely ... Put simply, he believes that Microsoft lost the trial on purpose.

    Oh, Cringeley again. Remember his previous article, where he claimed Judge Jackson was a wimp afraid to order Microsoft around?

    Microsoft lost this the good old-fashioned way - the prosecutors at the Justice Department showed in court that Microsoft broke the law. There really isn't any question about this. Go back and read the court's findings of fact [usdoj.gov] for a detailed list of Microsoft's illegal acts if you have any doubts about this. All the testimony and documents [usdoj.gov] are on-line, too. As an example, read this memo from Bill Gates [usdoj.gov] calling for incompatible extensions to HTML.

  • "What makes you think it won't happen again?"

    Uh, the fact that the law is against them, that the arguments you cite have _squat_ to do with the legal system, that they completely humiliated themselves in court and are damned lucky to not be facing lots of charges for perjury and obstruction of justice?

    Maybe you should return to windows programming and leave law, justice and politics to those who are experts in them... furrfu... how surprised people like you have been with each successive step in the justice process... do you think it is so arbitrary? Face it- MS got _hammered_ and it is because they were and are fscking GUILTY and don't even bother to conceal it or change a note! Is that so hard to understand?

    "I should go free, because the law is wrong, and I will not admit I did anything wrong!" furrfu- tell it to the judge- oh wait, they did, and that is precisely why they are being hammered, because they were given lots of chances to negotiate something milder and scorned all of them...

  • by DrgnDancer ( 137700 ) on Thursday June 08, 2000 @10:14AM (#1015084) Homepage

    I worry that this one is going to be knocked down by a higher court. A lot of legally knowledgable people I know say that Jackson migh have been a little to quick on the draw for this to stand. Any lawyer out there care to comment?

    One thing that does amaze me is the number of people who believe that Microsoft broke the law, but think they should not be punished becaus "It will hurt the industry", or it "Stifle innovation", or "Make my life more complicated". If they broke the law, they broke the law. It should not matter whether punishing them will cause some IT shops to gasp have to diversify. It should not matter that they are a dominant industry player (In fact they got to that position by breaking the law.. how much \farther are they willing to go to stay there?)
  • I think another interesting perspective is that of the great Robert X. Cringely, in the latest edition of the Pulpit. All is spelled out here [pbs.org].

    Put simply, he believes that Microsoft lost the trial on purpose: in order to be illegal, a monopoly must be harmful to its consumers, and the DoJ failed to dig up enough evidence to that (such as the "Windows Certified" scam), choosing instead to focus on the damage done to other companies (particularly Netscape). So Microsoft is pretty damned sure it will get Judge Jackson's ruling overturned on the appeals court, all will be back to normal, and at best it'll take a few years for the DoJ to find a new strategy to take them down; in the meantime, Microsoft will be "innovating" a few billion dollars more out of the consumers' pockets.

    That's all his opinion, of course. But it looks right on the money. And it does account for the incredible stupidity that the MS lawyers have shown in court...

  • by K-Man ( 4117 ) on Thursday June 08, 2000 @03:15PM (#1015091)
    Over on Salon there are some articles about the differences between the IBM case and the MS case, and, to summarize the last 10-20 years, I would say that MS was passed the baton by IBM, and became IBM in much less time than IBM took, but the DOJ also got through the antitrust part much faster than it did with IBM, due to its prior experience with the business model.

    Looking at MS today, and dealing with some of the parts of the monolith, it's easy for me to see the resemblances to IBM in the 80's - dominant market position, booming profits, and top people, but also an overbearing, creeping internal stagnation that leaves people looking forward to the salad bar at lunch more than the workday.

    The reasons for this sort of decline are easier to see in hindsight, but the basic fact is that a monopoly has no reason to innovate or grow beyond a certain point. It becomes a virtual reality - new products are only expected to work with other company products, deadlines are only vaguely necessary, and the external, chaotic world becomes less and less relevant. (For example, I took a trip up to MS a few months ago, and, judging from the posters on the walls, what was their major concern? Software piracy! As if a bunch of engineers in an ugly office park were going to do something about it.)

    The tragic effect of this isolation, and one that IBM went through in the early 90's, is that the good tech gets shunned along with the bad stuff. A lot of the top people that IBM hired ended up watching great, enterprise-grade software and hardware go down the toilet, while shoddy, overhyped substitutes were pushed by dodgy competitors. Part of that was human nature (and lower prices), but the less-seen reason was the the marketing process had become disconnected from customers, and the tech wasn't able to make a difference to the consumer. It's one thing to have the best disk drive in the world, but another thing to have the best drive that people can plug into their PC's, Macs, or Sun workstations (or MP3 players).

    Microsoft is pretty close to that stage now. Putting great tech into Word or NT is good, but selling the same stuff independently is better, and that's a scenario that most people being hired by MS today will never see. IBM learned its lesson late, but they now see that opening up interfaces isn't giving away the farm. People still buy all-IBM when they want tightly integrated systems with high reliability, but they also mix and match to get unique things that IBM does well.

    The appeals court can do what it wants; the fact is that the people who need to know what MS has been doing, now know, and will apply this knowledge as appropriate in the future. I have no qualms about admitting that IBM was a monopoly (even though I have a lot of ties to the company), and I think that MS has some growing up to do before it can admit that it has some bad elements. The fact is, management let a lot of people down. I've often bashed MS in the past, but I hoped deep down that the charges were more illusion than fact. However purposeful sabotage of competitors just doesn't feel right, and one day MS will be a better place to work if these practices are stopped.
  • it's for certain the complete truth. Just like the message I am responding to.

    What, other people here would lie? I am shocked -- shocked! -- that you wouldn't believe me unquestioningly ;)

    If you have any Macintosh programmer acquaintances that have been in the business for at least ten years, there's a reasonable chance (100% if they live in BC) they've heard of me and can verify this, note that I am not an Anonymous Coward like yourself!

    If not, here's the invite to Redmond, if you know any of the named people you can check with them if I'm making this up or not.

    And if you don't have a wide enough network to verify my claims given all those leads ... well, guess your opinion is pretty worthless then, isn't it now?

    Hi Alex -

    We would like to invite you to Redmond, WA to interview for a Software Design Engineer position on the Cross Platforms Team in the Digital Media Division - this is Pat Sweeney's team. Adam Hondiuk will be contacting you to arrange your travel and interview schedule. Also please pull the following documents together -- should we want to extend an offer at the outset of the interviews and you are interested then we'll need to have our legal department review and determine visa eligibility.

    Thank you and I look forward to meeting you - if you have any questions I can be reached at 425-703-XXXX.
    [No, I will not post Brooke's phone number on /. I might need to ask her for a job someday.]

    Brooke
    For candidates outside of the United States:
    * Copy of all educational transcripts/diplomas with translations
    * Copy of passport (only pages with biographic information, visa stamps and writing)
    * Copy of NDA's or non-compete agreements with other employers
  • Companies don't want OS's they have to pay someone to tweak!

    No, they want someone to sell them computers with preinstalled Windows but without a backup CD, so they can't reinstall! They want OS licensing which means they have to buy a new copy of Windows if they upgrade the network card! God bless innovation and may he strike down the government heathen who dare to suggest that Microsoft's actions are the actions of a monopolist!

  • Well, i'll put aside all the things i have to say about Micro$oft, that would take too long for my share time, so i'll just reply to some topics i found accross some posts.

    About the break-up:
    I really want to mention that here, in Europe, when we break-up a company in 2 (two) it's intended to strenght it up.
    Yes, you read well, that would not be the case if Micro$oft would have been split into:
    - the OS
    - the IE
    - Word
    - Eccess
    - VB and so on ...
    Abusive, no, just fair: without that, the 2 companies are still in situtations of monopoly, by breaking it up the way i said, that (almost) prevents the situation to come back as it would involved too many money to reclaim the monopoly and that would be too harsh to support for all those companies. Though one have to consider that Bill Gate$ is very rich, enough to do that with it's own money the first time anyway.
    What is interesting to consider is the differences of judgement between countries:
    Here for a similar case, the owner of the companies had to sell them back to different persons, he gone to jail for 6 monthes, he was forbidden to be 'the representative of a portion of the population' (translate by: don't get along with politic or we'll break you further) for 5 years, and he wasn't allowed to do any business stuff for 2 years except from being an employee, but not in anything related to it's previous work ... yes, i thing this is fair. But of course there is a major difference: I'm in the country of Human Rights, not in the country of Money. Here when someone do something damaging to other people he gets what he deserves, not what the economy requires.

    Will it change things for Linux:
    Well i don't think so as they will keep the direction they use currently: Micro$oft will still lead in the US as long as the US government isn't losing money with it, and Linux will keep growing in Europe each day more because we don't want the Micro$oft Monopoly to slow down our economy any more.

    Linux is too hard to learn so M$ will remain first:
    I love people stating that 'i have learned Linux but i don't think the average user will'. Why the average Joe can't read in the US ? Can't he spoke with friends ? Or is having friends the problem ? Maybe he can't write ? Or worse: he's not smart enough to use a keyboard and a mouse with more than 2 buttons ? He's that dumb ? Then i'm pretty happy not being an average Joe !

    Maybe all that wouldn't ever happened with a bit of ethic ? ... Yes, you're right: ethic is not money valuable at short term.
  • Interesting point: are stability & user friendliness mutually exclusive? You imply that Windows has it and the others don't, while the others have stability and Windows doesn't, implying that it's an either/or proposition. Do you really believe that?



  • On the news updates portion of the front page at my page [oscarfish.com] I did a couple of short pieces as a parody of the latest Microsoft situation. Check it out if you'd like...
  • That's another old-IBMism that I had completely forgotten about - an overemphasis on status by association. One thing I noticed right away when I started my job delivering mail at IBM in the 80's was that everyone there felt like their shit didn't stink, not due to their own merits, but due to the company's. It was thought that working at IBM was a kind of Nirvana, unlike any work experience anywhere (something I see in the MS recruiting ads all over downtown). Actually it was a lot like the post office.

    That's a major part of what dragged IBM under. Success has an irresistable attraction for the mediocre, and they climbed aboard IBM in spades, and formed a company largely in their own image. It took a severe bludgeoning by the market to set them straight (and several rounds of layoffs).
  • I lived with some guys after college, and one of them kept talking about how great Microsoft was...till he flew out for an interview with them.

    The recruiter treated him as if he 'didn't know his place' and that it was a privilege to even be considered for a Microsoft job.

    After he returned, he refused all phone calls from anyone at Microsoft involved in recruting. He must have been worth calling, since they called a few times a week for about a month.

  • >... United States law as if it were the rules of a game, devoid of moral responsibility, free to be stretched or broken at will ...

    Kind of sums up the way the US Legal system seems to work nowadays :-)
  • by zeet ( 70981 ) on Thursday June 08, 2000 @10:26AM (#1015134)
    Microsoft has decided to change their stock ticker symbol to BSOD to reflect their new focus on Windows 2000.
  • I know I never even considered it as I'd be embarrased to have most of their stuff on my CV. I don't doubt that it's technically very good, but the amount of time I spend screaming at daft functionality or annoying interfaces is ridiculous. I find it hard to believe no-one else does, and don't particularly want to show up at a subsequent interview and admit 'yes, I was partially responsible for this program you scream at all day.'

    Before anyone goes through my URL and finds my CV - which happened last time this came up - yes, it _does_ mention Office. It says I can _use_ the daft software. What I don't want is to say I _wrote_ it.

    The other side is that I've long considered them an immoral monopoly and I don't particularly want my conscience to have to carry the load that I'm profiting from it.
  • I interviewed once with Microsoft. The two people conducting the interviews were the most repulsive, egotistical bastards I had ever met in my life. Later on in the day, one of them got in a big argument with a friend of mine over the fscking word processor he used to create the resume! It was the first time the placement office at school received complaints about the conduct of business reps conducting interviews on campus (they got lots of them too).

    I'm sorry, you couldn't pay me enough to work there.

  • Here [theregister.co.uk] is an "in denial" take on the Microsoft response.
    Another article pointing this out is here [yahoo.com].
  • There was a breakup of IBM, they were forced to sell their SBC divison to their competitor CDC, in order to increase competition. This page [intellectualactivist.com] has some details.

    Obviously, this was not such a big division as is proposed in Microsoft, but it does show that it's not unprecedented.

  • This raises a very important point: antitrust law is retroactive and arbitrary. Think about it. If, when Microsoft tried to sign their first OEM-lockup agreement, a lawyer had said "hang on, you can't do this, because of such-and-such legislation passed n years ago as a result of the precedent of someone vs. someone-else", this situation wouldn't exist today.

    If Microsoft had decent lawyers, that's exactly what they would have said. It's not our fault that they don't.

  • The necessary post full of other links....

    Salon article [salon.com]
    "End of the tech world" piece from AnchorDesk [zdnet.com]
    a "So What?" peice from E-Commerce Times [ecommercetimes.com]
    Forbes says sell the stock... [forbes.com]
    ...but StarTribune say keep it [startribune.com]
    MS and hardware [199.97.97.16]
    And last, but certainly not least, Ballmer says [zdnet.com] if they're broken up, prices will rise.

    Sometimes, it really baffles me that people get paid to write some of this stuff.
  • by Brian Kendig ( 1959 ) on Thursday June 08, 2000 @10:28AM (#1015144) Homepage
    You've got to give them credit -- Microsoft just doesn't give up. Notice that throughout their entire history of legal battles, Microsoft has never *once* even hinted that they may have knowingly broken the law; all along they've played this as if they're innocent martyrs of a corrupt legal system. They're not stupid, and they're not naive. They're doing this because to admit even one iota of guilt makes it that much easier for their legal foes to build a case against them. The longer they play innocent, misrepresent the issues to a gullible public, and keep digging potholes in the path of the legal proceedings, the longer they can continue to do business as usual. They're manipulating United States law as if it were the rules of a game, devoid of moral responsibility, free to be stretched or broken at will as long as Microsoft knows they can cope with the consequences.

    My concern, though, is that the two-company split ordered by the court won't do any good. So one company is still in charge of the destiny of Windows, and still has enormous power in the marketplace -- how long will it be before they begin to test the limits imposed on them and find loopholes to worm through, knowing that if they step over the line, the worst they might face is another long, drawn-out court battle until they're reined in again? And the applications company, do you really think they'll bother porting to the tiny Linux market? More likely, Microsoft Office will still have an unassailable dominant position on Windows, Windows will still have an unassailable position in the PC OS market, the Windows OS company will find a way to continue to rule the computer industry through intimidation, and nothing will have changed.

    I still believe the right solution would have been to have multiple vendors (fragments of Microsoft, existing companies, or new companies) developing and marketing their own versions of Windows. Only then would Windows be subject to real competition and be forced to become leaner, cheaper, and better, and only then would customers have real choice over what operating system to run on their computer. (Remember that in the business world, Macintosh is still widely looked as as a home computer and a toy, and a lot of people still don't even know what Linux is.)

  • ... when I read the coverage of the judgement, is the Microsoft reorganization of nearly two years ago, and how it seemed designed to give themselves ground to assert that it would be overly traumatic to split the OS and Applications into seperate companies. At least this was my impression; I never saw anyone in the press or on Slashdot recognize it.

    Perhaps you all recall how Bill decided to reorganize the company around "consumer" and "business" products, ending the division between the operating system and applications groups. This announcement was made not long after the DoJ filed suit against Microsoft, and talk of a breakup began murmuring around the net. The timing was too convenient to be a coincidence in my mind.

    And now the judgement is in, and it is an order to split the company along its old lines of organization. I predict that MS will soon complain that the company isn't properly organized to divide the OSes from the Applications without hurting both too much. (But first they have to admit that they lost... they don't even seem to be doing that.)

  • by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Thursday June 08, 2000 @10:29AM (#1015148) Homepage Journal
    All that'll happen is that Microsoft will appeal, the DoJ will take it to the Supreme Court, and MS lawyers will plead that their prior appeal, wrt Internet Explorer, set a precident in which the law did not apply to large companies. Some large back-handers later, the Supreme Court will agree and call for an ammendment to the Constitution placing Big Business outside the American Judicial system entirely. The new (Republican) President will concur, and if necessary, force the ammendment through with an Executive Order, which gives the President totalitarian powers.
  • I buy my electricity, gas and water service from a monopoly-utility. Having these services provided by a monopoly allows standardization and prevents duplication of effort, both of which are in the public interest. But these utilities are regulated to prevent them from abusing their monopoly power.

    Can you imagine if the electric company threatened to cut of my power because I didn't buy all my electric appliances from them? Or if they somehow changed the voltage to make competitors appliances self-destruct...

    I see Windows as being in the same situation. Windows has esentially become a utility. In many ways this is good because it creates a standard of interoperability. The problem is they have illegally (according to US antitrust law) leveraged their monopoly power to enhance their other businesses.

    In the US, utilities are regulated by a State Public Utility Commision. Windows is also a utility, and is now being subjected to similar regulation. In my mind this is appropriate and consistent with the public interest.
  • The two companies are prevented from working together, aside from the OS company licensing products and technology from the apps company under specific rules. Plus, both companies are required to continue to do their best to remain successful and competitive. For the apps company to exclusively support Windows makes no more sense for the Microsoft apps company than it does for any other applications developer, and for the OS company to support Microsoft apps to the exclusion of other products is similarly stupid.

    --

  • by jd ( 1658 )
    Linking Microsoft with Gun makers is accurate. Both make products designed to kill, maim and destroy.

    As for Microsoft being "responsible" for today's computer environment, I'd agree. Without Microsoft, we'd be decades ahead in every corner of life. They ARE responsible for America's decay and collapse. Without tightly-bound EULA's, buggy software, deliberate security holes, easter-eggs larger than the entire Linux kernel, etc, the most common OS' out there today would be Acorn's RiscOS (LIGHT-YEARS ahead of Windows!), BSD4.4, any one of the OS' for the Apple Mac, and Linux.

    Which would YOU rather have?

    As for MS bringing the PC to the people -- bull! MSDOS was the first widely-used "standard" (that wasn't), but trust me on this. Put someone in front of DOS, and then put them in front of RiscOS, I know which they'd go for. And it ain't a MS product.

  • From the Post article mentioned above...
    In an interview with The Washington Post yesterday, Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson urged the parties to "swallow their own reluctance to compromise and reach a remedy that both sides, if not elated by, nevertheless are willing to extend."

    The exhortation was not new for the judge. "I've always tried to nudge them in that direction," Jackson said. "That's one of the reasons I asked and was fortunate to get Judge [Richard] Posner to mediate. I thought if anyone could bring them to a consensus, he would be able to do it."

    Anyone recall what the DOJ is calling for in the settlement?
  • (A repost of a comment I posted on ZDNet's TalkBack...)

    This has nothing to do with Microsoft being a successful and large company. This has nothing to do with Microsoft being a monopoly, per se. It is possible to have a legal monopoly.

    This case is about Microsoft illegally using their monopoly to stifle competition. In this specific instance, it is about Microsoft using their monopoly on the desktop OS to stifle competition in the internet browser market.

    Microsoft basically spent a billion dollars to develop a very good web browser. This, in and of itself, is not bad. Microsoft then gave this browser away, instead of selling it. Again, this is not bad in and of itself.

    Microsoft then started packaging the web browser in every copy of its operating system that it sold. This starts getting into a grayer area. Since Microsoft has an effective monopoly on the desktop OS market, this means that almost everyone buying a new pc or the most up-to-date operating system received a free copy of the web browser. This gave Microsoft an advantage over all other browsers on the market. I dont' think that this is illegal, but it is a gray area.

    The illegal part came when Microsoft started threatening PC manufacturers who wanted to install Netscape's browser instead of Microsoft's browser. These threats ran the gamut from prohibitive pricing for Microsoft OS licenses to actually not allowing PC manufacturers to sell Microsoft's OS (which would effectively destroy a PC manufacturers chance to sell PCs). Microsoft also limited what icons PC manufacturers could put on the desktop, what software could be installed, etc. Microsoft used their OS monopoly to dictate to PC manufacturers that only the Microsoft web browser would be installed when the PC shipped. And this is very definitely illegal.

    If Microsoft had stuck to legal business practices, there would not be a problem. Microsoft could've continued with their monopoly in a completely legal way. They could've introduced Internet Explorer, but then left it up to PC manufacturers what web browser was installed on new computers. But Microsoft wanted to control the browser market, and used their OS monopoly to make this happen. THIS is what caused the breakup (if it ever happens).
  • It's interesting that you say that he's biased.

    In previous cases he's been considered quite pro-business. Here's an interesting quote from a recent article [deseretnews.com] about him:

    Why did the judge so thoroughly reject Microsoft's defense? And why is he ordering what the company calls its "death sentence," the breakup of one of history's most profitable and successful enterprises? The judge himself explains: "Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus," he says, citing a Latin aphorism meaning, "Untrue in one thing, untrue in everything." "I don't subscribe to that as absolutely true," the judge says. "But it does lead one to suspicion. It's a universal human experience. If someone lies to you once, how much else can you credit as the truth?"

    So are you saying that he's biased because he didn't like being lied to in a court of law or having faked evidence being presented as the truth? INAL, what I've read from legal scholars is that the finding of fact and the ruling were all structured to stand up during the expected appeals process. If you know so many ways that it can be overturned, start listing them.

  • It is not easy being told by your friends, by your enemies, and by the media that you are an evil lawbreaker, even if you don't buy it yourself. It's not easy to wear a smile to work when a large part of your compensation (salary is fairly low) is in the toilet. It is *definitely* not easy to recruit smart people to work for a company that, in their minds, might not exist in a year.

    Oh, cry me a river.

    You were not unaware of what your company was doing. You chose to continue to work for them.

    That's aiding and abetting.

    This complaint of yours is like the getaway driver saying "but I didn't rob the convenience store, Bill and Steve did".

    Tough; you should have quit and gone to work for a less predatory company. You didn't, and now you get a little of the tar and feathers stuck to you. Bend over and take it like a man.

    Quit now; your next employer will completely understand why you didn't give 2 weeks notice.

    Be glad Judge Jackson didn't have the option of immediately dissolving the company. His interview makes it clear he would have liked to have done that.

    --
  • by Paul Johnson ( 33553 ) on Thursday June 08, 2000 @10:32AM (#1015161) Homepage
    Any news on the expedited move to the Supreme Court? Its obvious that this case is going to wind up there sooner or later (unless Linux happens to make it moot). ISTR past talk about an option for the Judge to bump it up there directly, bypassing the Appeals court. This has two important effects:
    1. It avoids a court known to be more friendly to MS than Judge Jackson
    2. It shortens the process by a year or two.
    But I can't see anything in any of the news stories on this.

    Paul.

  • Oops, I accidently posted this to the wrong thread :-0 (Rob, it's a bug... I can't d/c while composing a reply any more.) Here it is again, for what it's worth...

    New ways of Getting through Windows Security.

    My impression at this point is that the idea behind NGWS is to use rpc implemented via SOAP (an awkward sort of XML rpc wrapper for Visual Basic) to split traditional desktop apps into a client-resident part and a server-resident part. I find this concept incredibly scary - mainly because of the security record of the company that's doing it. Forchrissakes, if they can't even keep Visual Basic programs from executing out of email attachments, what's going to happen when they open up whole server farms for this kind of intrusion? How many hundreds of creative new possibilities are they proposing to create to let script kiddies come in and take over Windows boxes over the net?

    It's already been demonstrated as clearly as necessary how porous Windows really is on the security front, and everybody knows what the main actor in the last drama was: Visual Basic Script. You'd think the thing to do would be to get it under control, but instead we have this proposal to deploy the exact same disasterous design all over the entire net.
    --
  • Now why would you need any other source of news about this than Microsofts own website?

    "There are many elements of the government's proposal that we think go beyond what's reasonable. It's not just the breakup, but also the fact that when we do innovative work we have to give it to our competitors, rather than get the benefits of our innovation..

    Yeah.. now how about those innovations.. Kerberos, Email, TCP/IP, the GUI, Active Scripting, Java etc.etc... I mean what would you all do if MS had not 'innovated' all these things.. I guess at least we'd still have the net, since it was Al Gore that 'innovated' that.
    -
  • by Col. Klink (retired) ( 11632 ) on Thursday June 08, 2000 @05:23PM (#1015167)
    Yeah, I saw Bill's press conference. Many softball questions, but a couple of good ones he pretty much didn't answer.

    The first unanswered question was if they had started seriously thinking about a split and what the other company might be called.

    The second good question was something like "US Steel benefitted consumers too, but was a monopoly and was split up. How is MS different?" Bill's answer, of course, was to talk about how great MS is and how much they've innovated, and that, apparently, is the difference.

    > they're not going to submit to anything willingly within the near future.

    Which is precisely the reasoning Jackson gave for splitting them up.
  • by / ( 33804 ) on Thursday June 08, 2000 @10:36AM (#1015174)
    From ZDNet:
    Judge Jackson, 63 years old, is a bear of a man, with a shock of white hair, a deep tan and an old black pipe he often stoked during the interview. Reclining in a leather swivel chair in his book-lined chambers in U.S. District Court here...

    Judge Jackson is a bear [about.com] and is into leather? Sounds like the perfect judge to knock Gates and Balmer up and give them what-for. I must say, though, "Penfield" isn't such a great name for a leather daddy....

    j/k
  • by iCEBaLM ( 34905 ) <icebalm&icebalm,com> on Thursday June 08, 2000 @05:34PM (#1015175)
    imagine how you would feel if Red Hat or VA were trading at 53 cents and the press constantly dissed it despite the fact that you believe it makes the best software and will dominate the future of the industry.

    Well, heh, this is pretty funny:

    1 - I don't think Redhat makes the best software
    2 - VA doesn't make *any* software
    3 - Their stock price means absolutely 0 to me

    You see, in the world of (free|open source) software, stock price means nothing because those who want to work on it still will regardless of any stock price.

    MS broke the law, deal with it, leave MS if you are so inclined, but don't get angry because a court and people are calling a duck a duck.

    -- iCEBaLM
  • by XPulga ( 1242 ) on Thursday June 08, 2000 @10:39AM (#1015184) Homepage
    The situation with Microsoft is that nobody knows what to do with it.

    The first decision was to divide it as it has gathered too much power. Having this one decided, they faced the question: divide in how many companies ?
    The correct answer to this is the number of Microsoft-like companies we would like to have in the world: zero.

    The whole thing is not about monopoly or jurisprudence, it is about dividing by zero.

  • by wass ( 72082 ) on Thursday June 08, 2000 @10:47AM (#1015194)
    One thing that does amaze me is the number of people who believe that Microsoft broke the law, but think they should not be punished becaus "It will hurt the industry", or it "Stifle innovation", or "Make my life more complicated". If they broke the law, they broke the law.

    I completely agree with you. My friend was pointing out that breaking up MSFT, or punishing them in other ways, may hurt the US economy (this may or may not be true, however). IMHO, this is just all the more reason to stop them before the US economy is even more at their mercy.

    If we allow a company that repeatedly broke the law to carry on with business as usual, just for the sole purpose of not damaging our precious economy, then we're entering a very dangerous situation. This would hint that the company, MSFT in this instance, holds within it enough power to alter US legal rulings. This is a scary proposition, in that money and economy hold a higher position then the legislative branch of the government. The law, then, becomes nearly useless. It's one of Murphy's auxiliary rules coming true - The Golden Rule. He who owns the gold makes the rules.

    To look from a wider perspective, big change (including economic) usually brings with it some temporary instability and uncertainty, but after the fog clears, it's for the better. For example, look at the US revolution (and no, I'm not comparing the ruling of MSFT to any necessary revolution by the people or anything like that). The colonists, at the price of their comfort and safety, put an end to the British tax and lack of representation by revolting. Sure, things were a mess for awhile, but for the colonists life was much better afterwards.

    Just my twopence.

  • by konstant ( 63560 ) on Thursday June 08, 2000 @10:54AM (#1015203)
    Put simply, he believes that Microsoft lost the trial on purpose: in order to be illegal, a monopoly must be harmful to its consumers, and the DoJ failed to dig up enough evidence to that

    He isn't living in reality. Losing this trial has caused enormous damage to Microsoft, whether or not it is overturned on appeal.

    It is not easy being told by your friends, by your enemies, and by the media that you are an evil lawbreaker, even if you don't buy it yourself. It's not easy to wear a smile to work when a large part of your compensation (salary is fairly low) is in the toilet. It is *definitely* not easy to recruit smart people to work for a company that, in their minds, might not exist in a year.

    Productivity is down, morale is down, the only thing that isn't hurt is the fact that (in our opinions) we are still making the best software and are well-positioned to advance the state of computing in the next few years. But even that is somewhat galling - imagine how you would feel if Red Hat or VA were trading at 53 cents and the press constantly dissed it despite the fact that you believe it makes the best software and will dominate the future of the industry.

    No, the prevailing opinion (or excuse, depending upon how you look at it) among my immediate friends at Microsoft is that we lost the trial because the judge wasn't following the law. You disagree. We will discover who is correct at the appeals level.

    -konstant
    Yes! We are all individuals! I'm not!
  • by Hogarth ( 98887 ) on Thursday June 08, 2000 @10:58AM (#1015207)
    I agree to some of your points, Brian. The two company split ordered by the court won't do ANY good.. but the reason for that is this:

    NGWS. Next Generation Windows Services.

    Billy-boy and company believe that the future of computing is through an Application Service Provider type model. They believe that the browser will be the application platform by which they deliver absolutely every component of their value proposition.

    By making the split so that Applications (Office) and Browsers (MSIE) are still in the same group, they'll still be able to do this to consumers who rely on Microsoft applications. Not only that, but you can bet your sweet booty that they won't be letting any other ASP's host the applications they develop. They'll only be available by MSN.

    Micro$haft has just gotten rolling, and the true power is still residing within one single corporate entity.

    I believe that at least 4 splits would have been required to really bring competition back to the market:

    • One for backoffice software. Win2k, SQL server, IIS, et al.
    • One for consumer versions of Windows. (WinME)
    • One for internet service providing (MSN, Expedia, bCentral, Hotmail, etc.)
    • One for Internet Explorer development
    • One for application development (Office)

    And you know what? I bet you the separate IE company wouldn't be solvent -- couldn't justify its' own expenses. Know what else? Microsoft should HAVE to deal with that.. Netscape did -- that's why Mozilla is Open Source now. That, my friends, would be justice.

    Hogarth

  • by rjamestaylor ( 117847 ) <rjamestaylor@gmail.com> on Thursday June 08, 2000 @11:01AM (#1015210) Journal
    ZDNet is asking for the names of the two new companies. My suggestion:

    1. MicrOs
    2. MicrApps
    Or, should the capitalization on #2 be adjusted? ;)
  • by wass ( 72082 ) on Thursday June 08, 2000 @11:02AM (#1015215)
    in order to be illegal, a monopoly must be harmful to its consumers, and the DoJ failed to dig up enough evidence to that (such as the "Windows Certified" scam), choosing instead to focus on the damage done to other companies (particularly Netscape)

    Are they serious? No harm to consumers? Here are a few examples, IMHO, that point out harm MSFT has caused it's consumers.

    Instability . Couldn't the government point to much more stable operating systems, a la Linux, BSD, Solaris, AIX, and other which I don't know much about? These OS's I've listed are very stable, and nearly everyone who's ever used windows knows that it certainly isn't. Can this be evidence enough?
    One could point out that MSFT uses all (or nearly all) of it's resources to make their products user friendly, at the expense of stability. Could it be claimed that by making this their goal, and not offering consumers stability that most other OS's offer, that they've been harmed?

    Lack of Security . How about the many recent Outlook exploits? That's an example of how trying to tie the application (Outlook) to the OS, (ie, leveraging their monopoly), viruses are easily spread. Hence, harm has come to consumers, due to files being erased, etc.

    Upgrading. What about the upgrade cycle? Pay for the OS, then pay for each bug-fixing service pack and upgrade? Then pay for the next upgrade to fix the bugs caused by the previous upgrade. Ad nauseum. That's harming consumers in terms of their money spending.

    MSFT Tax. And then there's the harm to non-consumers. Ie, the MSFT tax. Buying a computer from almost any dealer necessitates the installation (and hence purchase) of windows.

    So, in these ways, amongst others, I think consumers have been harmed. Does anyone agree/disagree?

  • by chompz ( 180011 ) on Thursday June 08, 2000 @11:07AM (#1015226)
    Microsoft's case for appeal should be pretty simple to pull off. They should be able to just ignore Microsoft entirely and go after Jackson's preconcieved ideas. Jackson's statements after he passed judgement were very negative, and did not give the case fair judgment. Microsoft was guaranteed a fair and impartital trial, but with the judge choosing sides, its pretty to dismiss it as a valid trial. It will be heard again by a different judge, maybe one who doesn't have a strong bias.

    Jackson seemed to be pissed because he lost his last descision about M$ to an appeal, so he was vindictive in his method of making a descision. He may have weighed it in his head for a long time, but I don't think he considereded it from a fair and impartial point of view. If I'm right, he'll be hearing juvie cases for the next ten years until he retires...

    no matter what happens, microsoft is in my opinion guilty, but thier guilt doesn't matter if they weren't given a fair trial. It'll be a while before we hear the end of this. Maybe the trustbusters will be more carefull before trying antitrust cases, afterall, it is not a crime to be chosen by the average consumer, and therefore sell more units of thier software than others. It is a crime to tell OEM's not to give more software options, but that's probally not a trust thing anyhow. OEM's listen to the dollar, changing prices for someone who signs a contract for X number of years is common in all lines of business. That's not an issue.

    I agree that the computer industry is not exactly like anyother industry (except maybe Music and Video...) I know, we all hate the RIAA and MPAA, but seriously, they suffer from the same problems as people trying to profit from software in the digital age. Nobody gets too pissed when software exec's discuss anti-piracy measures (I like kenetix hardware lock idea), but when the RIAA starts sueing over the piracy of something they own, everyone is ready to get the gun.

    I know its flamebait, but that sounds a little hypocritical to me.

  • by Kurt Gray ( 935 ) on Thursday June 08, 2000 @11:24AM (#1015231) Homepage Journal
    I see NWGS as nothing more than a distraction
    to keep developers in the Microsoft camp.
    I used to be a MSDN subscriber and Windows
    programmer (forgive me, for I have sinned) so
    I know how the game works:

    while(1) {

    $new_API_name = new GlitzGlamName;
    rename($old_API_name, $new_API_name);
    hype($new_API_name);
    delay($new_API_name);
    enforce($new_API_name);
    change_spec($new_API_name);
    orphan($new_API_name);
    $old_API_name = $new_API_name;

    /* FIXME: Memory leak. Maybe free ($new_API_name) here? Ah screw it. Tell users to buy more RAM. */

    }

    Same ol' song and dance.
  • by Darren Winsper ( 136155 ) on Thursday June 08, 2000 @11:12AM (#1015239)

    the prevailing opinion (or excuse, depending upon how you look at it) among my immediate friends at Microsoft is that we lost the trial because the judge wasn't following the law.

    Perhaps the judge was following the law, perhaps he wasn't. But let's not forget that there was another party not following the law in the court room; Microsoft. Or has falsifying evidence suddenly become legal?

  • by Zoltar ( 24850 ) on Thursday June 08, 2000 @11:31AM (#1015241)
    Microsoft burned themselves with their integration

    I disagree. I think Microsoft burned themselves with their attitude. If you piss off enough people you will pay for it. That's the thing that gets me. I think that MS could have been the dominant software company without all the nasty things they did. When they got DOS bundled on the IBM... well.. it was pretty much their game to lose at that point.

    The fact is that many of these other companies basically shot themselves as much as MS did. Apple refused to compete on price...IBM had no clue how to market OS/2. Netscape imploded while it still had marketshare. Sure MS played a part in their demise... but not all of it

    If MS had been a little more politically correct the government would never have gone after them. All they had to do was give a little and it would have saved them more than a lot.
  • by wass ( 72082 ) on Thursday June 08, 2000 @11:34AM (#1015242)
    Productivity is down, morale is down, the only thing that isn't hurt is the fact that (in our opinions) we are still making the best software and are well-positioned to advance the state of computing in the next few years.

    I'm sorry, konstant, but what goes around comes around. The emotions of MSFT employees, which you've described, and I've quoted above, are not unique. I'd believe that the tens or hundreds of thousands of employees in the hundreds of companies that have been bought out or assimilated over the years by MSFT, or been unfairly driven to the ground through monopolostic techniques, for daring to compete with MSFT, probably felt the exact same way. And, I'm sure many of these employees also have fairly low salaries, and thus also lost barrels of money by watching their stock options come tumbling down.

    And the sad fact is, that's the just life as usual in the tech industry.

    What I'm curious about is how did MSFT feel about the IBM breakup back in the 80's? My friend told me that Bill Gates was actually complaining to the government about IBM's monopoly, but I can't substantiate this rumor. Anyone have info? Anyway, I would guess that MSFT was jumping for joy at IBM's antitrust ruling, because many IBM clones could now be built cheaply, all of which would still use the default operating system - MS-DOS. IBM probably felt the same way you describe above too. But MSFT jumped at this opportunity.

    You may have enjoyed it when you were on the top, where you were shielded from the pain caused by the ruin of these other companies. But now the hand of karma has come back to Redmond, to complete some unfinished business.

  • by styopa ( 58097 ) <{ude.odaroloc} {ta} {rsllih}> on Thursday June 08, 2000 @11:34AM (#1015244) Homepage
    At this point MS has lost, plain and simple. Even if this is overturned, the earliest that could happen is at least a year from now, during which time footholds into the industry have already made by companies that MS either can't buy or can't flat out destroy. Now, I have seen MS turn out great products when they desparately need to, NT3.51 and Excel 95 are good examples, but right now their ship is sinking and from what I can tell there is nothing they can do about it.

    My reasoning is as such.

    Web appliences and laptops running linux are either out there or will be in short order. PalmOS has taken over the PDA market. Apple has started to retake what they lost and then some, while linux keeps draining the power users from Windows. We can now buy PC's without Windows on it.

    The number one web server is Apache, and considering Sun released IPlanet free with your free copy of Solaris 8 (so long as you have >=16 processors). While linux has the number two position for lower-midsize servers, and the UNICES have the upper end. With linux and Solaris 8 both free, along with web server technology they just did to MS what MS did to Netscape with IE, drop the price of the product to zero. The same thing is happening with office products, StarOffice is free and when gOffice grows up it will be too. I already know one very large company that has decided that supporting all of the licences of MS Office takes too much money and is switching over to StarOffice.

    Java programers are starting to pop up like weeds, and although MS just won an appeal in the Java case the number of MS friendly developers is on the decline. When Java has the support of Sun, IBM, Apple, and a whole host of other companies their ability to corrupt has dropped significantly, so long as those companies stay true to the write once run anywhere.

    On top of this, MS keeps making enemies when it desparately needs friends. They don't want OEM's shipping full version of their OS, and are therefore telling them to create "repair" cds. The price for an office to licence MS Office continues to skyrocket. Even the student prices of their products are outragious. I see my fellow engineering and physics students abondoning MS at increasingly larger rates.

    On top of all this while MS drags this thing through the appeals process they have one hand tied behind their backs because they know if they make more extremely aggressive moves they will only hurt their chances of winning.

    Frankly, IMHO breaking them up is the best thing for MS. They will have a better chance of staying competative as separate companies.
  • by Pope ( 17780 ) on Thursday June 08, 2000 @11:43AM (#1015252)
    More proof of a Microsoft conspiracy:
    Office for the Mac is one of their better selling applications. It always makes money, and always sells. One of the big things Bill always held over Apple was taking away Office unless Apple dropped certain lawsuits against MS.
    So, stopping development of a very successful product in order to screw over another company is called what? Anyone? :)

    Pope

    Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Strength! Monopolies offer Choice!
  • by Kurt Gray ( 935 ) on Thursday June 08, 2000 @11:44AM (#1015255) Homepage Journal
    Ah you're right. Microsoft also has plans to rent its applications over the net. Microsoft is one of those software companies that obsesses over imaginary revenue lost due to piracy so they're eager to push some sort of pay-per-use revenue model. Several companies have tried that and failed already. Can Microsoft make it work? Remains to be seen.

    But it's funny how Gates scoffed at the idea of a network computer a couple of years ago when "network computer" was the buzzword of the month.In his NYT column he said NC's did not make sense and the PC is here to stay. He more or less said that the idea of applications being served from a network server was an obsolete scheme being marketed by Sun and Oracle because they sell servers. He stuck to his guns that Microsoft was all about the PC and power to the user, blah, blah, blah. Now Microsoft suddenly has this "new" idea of becoming an applications service provider. So in other words Windows clients would more like stripped-down applications clients... kind of like a network computer. So I guess if the thought never occured to you before then it must be a "new" idea.

  • by aphrael ( 20058 ) on Thursday June 08, 2000 @11:47AM (#1015262) Homepage
    DOJ has 15 days in which to ask Jackson to refer the case to the USSC. Once it has done so, he has 15 days to issue the referral.

    What happens from there depends on if the court is in session. If the court is in session, it gets the paperwork and decides whether or not to take the case. If the court is *not* in session, than one of the justices gets the paperwork and can (a) issue an emergency stay; (b) call for an emergency court hearing; (c) postpone consideration of taking the case until the court session starts (in October); or (d) refer the case back to the appeals court. *Any* of those actions can be overturned by a full vote of the court if another justice chooses to press the issue (although that is fairly rare).

    My bet is --- regardless of which path it takes --- the USSC will end up returning the case to the appeals court, mostly because it will allow the appeals court to help filter through the monstrous amount of data associated with the case (and because Rehnquist, at least, is well known for wanting to *reduce* the court's workload).

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