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Microsoft

US Supreme Court Rejects Fast Track MS Case 263

The submissions have begun to flood in with the news that the US Supreme Court has refused to listen to the DOJ-Microsoft case, saying that it should go to Appeals Court first. This, of course, means that the case will be dragged out for quite a while longer, something which Microsoft was hoping for, as Gates has stated that he hopes the upcoming Presidential elections will put someone in office more friendly to the company. As well, the Appeals court has ruled in MS's favor before. CNNfn has more coverage as well.
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US Supreme Court Rejects Fast Track MS Case

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  • Yeah. Like certain immature act of vandalism in Boston harbor, that involved throwing imported tea in the water.
  • Hey, I could go for that. That's the best argument I've heard yet for getting involved enough to vote Nader. It only takes 15% to get the Green Party in there with the Dems and Reps? I'm there. Hell with holding out for grandiose effects like getting Nader elected president (he'd probably be assassinated! :P ), I like the idea of contributing toward proving a _three_ party (or more) system is needed. It is.
  • The question is, how far can they really push? Their products are a lot more nebulous and undefined than they used to be- and a lot less capable of exciting the consumer. People got thrilled over Win95, because at the time it was really something novel for a PC, and it ran on a lot of computers. W2K, ME can't make that claim- hell, ME _is_ 95 service pack 27 or so, and W2K looks like it.

    And remember that the whole idea of .net is to put software on a pay-per-use basis in the long run? The idea of changing consumers from a 'spend loads of money being forced to buy software' basis to a 'spend loads of money being allowed to use software you don't even get to keep' is only appealing to the stockholders- it's a loser of an idea to the consumer, who wants to believe they are getting stuff that will last forever and always remain useful- and THAT is the major (false) promise of MS software, that you get it and it will ALWAYS remain useful and NEVER go out of style or become unsupported because it's MS! MS is _always_ supported *cough, cough*

    What might be happening is the final phase of the scorched earth policy. The underground (linux, MacOS, Be etc) thrives, and there's only so far MS can really push- they can only make Windows legally compulsory in an indirect way, for instance creating a climate where banking software, election voting software etc. is Windows-only because nobody thinks it's worth bothering to develop such software for anything else. If they try to go further and, say, get legislation passed to ban Macs and Linux from the Internet (using some trumped-up argument) they will fail- it would be demanding so much that nobody would go along with it. If they succeeded, people would ignore those laws. There really is only so far that they can go with their monopoly, which is a bad thing for them as their business model is still based on ravenous expansion without limits- they are heading for a fall when it's time for them to reach an equilibrium and stop growing, because they're so utterly not based on sustaining business, only on expanding it. I would even say there is a chance of their overextending and collapsing, for business reasons only- what if they held a .net and nobody came? Well, first they'd doctor the PR and doctor the accounting and insist that everything was working- the most dangerous thing they could do, yet the most likely. Then, having run the stakes up to immense heights this way, they'd be facing- the IRS, over the accounting they'd done, and the press (what remains of it) over their deceptions, all without having got enough _genuine_ mindshare to maintain a survivable business- and remember MS is prone to obsoleting their old stuff to move you to the new stuff. If they can't do that they've just sabotaged themselves.

    The government's direct action just might be unnecessary...

  • The problem is, if it genuinely looks like the popular opinion's gone against Gates, all that bribe money goes for naught- the politician blithely doublecrosses the special interest in order to get re-elected. This would go for even Bush- if it looked like he was going to lose power and influence because he was easily painted as the puppet of MS, he would of course avoid helping them and possibly even hurt them to show he was not beholden. Therefore, paint him the puppet of MS, and see how much of that he's able to take. It _is_ an effective political attack.
  • I saw an argument that convinced me today to actually vote for Nader. It is this: if he gets what, 15% of the popular vote, the Green party ends up with federal funding like the Democrats and Republicans, and we suddenly have a THREE party system instead of an entrenched, deeply corrupt two party system.

    I don't have any faith that Gore would be that much better than Bush. Why do you? I'm not certain Nader would be much use either- but he is _different_ and coming from outside the two party system, besides which his agenda about corporations and trusts is very clear and mirrors my own. I am absolutely certain about who I want to be counted for at this point, and it doesn't matter so much that he's not super likely to win. A vote for Nader is notice of one more person who's _really_ against corpocracy. That record will stand, and the other politicians are very aware of these things. It puts them ALL on notice. If I voted for Gore, it would be meaningless- nothing about that says what I want to say with a vote. Even if he wins there's no way to tell I actually cared about something- 'anti-Bush' isn't much of an agenda and sends no message. 'actually voted for Nader, dammit!' damn well sends a message, win or lose.

  • Corporations- the entities that can kill you for only a small fine! :P

    In fact, if killing you will earn/save them more money than they would be fined for doing so, the corporation is _obligated_ to kill you! Isn't fiduciary duty wonderful? Isn't it neat to be able to afford lawyers that can finally make the penalties of criminal negligence cheaper than redesigning that gas tank, testing those tires, inspecting that food product? Isn't it just WIZZA PEACHY KEENO that fiduciary duty obliges the corporation to kill people if that gains shareholders more money than fixing the problems?

    Criminal negligence- it's not just a good idea, it's the law! :P

    (steps aside to watch the battle between '+1 insightful' and '-1 troll' with a couple of really sick bastards chiming in as '+1 funny' :) )

  • There needs to be more than one company for it to be an 'economy'.

    With only one company, it's more like 'fascism' or the classic Cold War version of 'communism'- you cannot blithely separate industry from government if one entity of industry runs everything.

    There are many mechanisms by which a company (particularly in information technology) can leverage its existing strengths to add more strengths and use all this strength not to help its customers but to screw competitors. Microsoft's illustrated this nicely and will no doubt have entire chapters of future history books, next to Standard Oil and the railroads and Ma Bell. Sort of the 'rabid weasel' variant of a classic trust- a literal version of 'network effects!

    If such a company manages to screw everybody else badly enough that there's no point even trying to do business in the field being controlled, then there is no more capitalist market in that field- see point 1, repeat until you have a clue, because...

    It ain't a 'market' if you can't comparison shop! :)

  • It's gratifying to see your point (1) on error of fact- I know I was greatly impressed with the depth of understanding illustrated by Jackson's findings of fact, and now more than ever his decision to issue 'em seperately is vindicated. He had to know his findings of law would be ripped to shreds for any or no reason at all. The pleasing part is that MS would have to show nobody could have reached those conclusions of fact- as you say, ain't happening. They are all too convincing.

    Regarding the error in law, clearly this is what the MS guys are after- the question is, to what end? I wonder if they really expect a slap on the wrist, or think they can make insincere pledges of good faith at this point. The question that comes to my mind is this: might the appeals court entirely reject Jackson's breakup idea, instead choosing to be 'nice' by leaving MS in one piece- and imposing a web of REGULATION? It's hard to see how many other answers there would be. In a lot of ways MS would be better off broken up- I saw another poster expressing gratitude that they would not 'metastasize', and the analogy is both jarring and apt. Perhaps we're all better off if they are _not_ broken up, if they remain monolithic.

  • > Unfortunately, this requires an ammendment to the Constitution.

    However, that amendment to the constitution isn't possible. There are only two prohibitted amendments:

    provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one
    thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first
    and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that
    no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage
    in the Senate.

    The first is no longer relevant, but the small states will not give up the second (I'll probably be in the majority in Nevada with a "secession first" view).

    The electoral votes which give the small states disproportionaly more choice are part of that senatorial representation. We're not giving it up.

    hawk, esq., a diehard Nevadan wandering the country
  • >Remember, you're only allowed to appeal if you can show new evidence
    >or demonstrate that the last trial was somehow unfair,

    No, this is just plain wrong (though it has application to capital punishment).

    THis is a federal civil case. You *cannot* introduce new evidence. You *cannot* even introduce new arguments about the old evidence. You have two bases for appeal:

    1) error of fact. To do this, you must show that no reasonable person could have reached the conclusion of fact *from the evidence* admitted. This isn't even remotely likely in this case. Again, the standard isn't just "decided wrong," but "couldn't possibly conclude that."

    2) error in law. The trial judge (or lower court) made an error in applying the law. Here, the lower court's opinion receives no weigyht at all, and the legal arguments are made again. In this case, though, there is no way to avoid the conclusion of illegal monopoly given the Findings of Fact. There is room to argue about the remedy, however. [and personally, I think some of the state AG's should push for a multiple-vendors-of-windows solution]

    hawk, esq.
  • The electoral votes are party of the senatorial role: states don't get "number of reps + 2", but one for each rep, and one for each senator. Reducing the prerogatives of having a senator is a reduction in that senatorial representation.

    hawk, esq.
  • That's what microsoft is after. For them to have any expectation of reversing the findings of fact is as silly as, well, the courtroom behavior. So no *reasonable* lawyer expects to see them reversed, but then, if the firm of Larry, Mo, and Curly continues to represent ms . . .

    The focus is then on the remedies. The conclusions of violations are inescapable, but it is possible that the appellate process would impose an entirely diffferent remedie, which is where microsoft's real hopes lay.

    And in the topsy-turvy world of spin, splitting ms is being construed as "anti free market", while the "lesser" remedy of massive regulation is seen as "pro free market".

    In reality (speaking as an economics professor rather than a laywer now), splitting a monopolist which ahas used market power is the *pro* markets response . . .

    Time to write anotehr op-ed piece . . .
  • Rehnquist himself having actually worked for Microsoft would be a conflict. His son working for a firm that works for microsoft isn't even close.

    hawk, esq.
  • I've heard rumors to the point that Gore is actively considering Nader as a cabinet member if he does get elected. Which means that as the end of the election gets near, Nader may drop out and endose Gore as to strength Gore's footholds.

    On the other hand, Nader is trying to get the necessary percentage of popular vote (15%?) such that the Green Party will qualify as an 'equal' with the Dem and Reps and be able to get federal campaign funding for the next election. If as October closes and he's near that number, he will probably stick it out.

  • In classic anti-trust cases like Big Oil and the Baby Bell breakup, business operated at a much slower pace, largely because it would take some time in days for business related events to reach the stock market (The Black Tuesday was actually spread over 3 days, but the heaviest loses were on that Tuesday). Thus, spending years for an anti-trust trial was ok, because neither businesses nor technology were moving at a pace that would have changed the picture by the time the trail and appeals process was over.

    However, today, trial and appeals are about as long as they were before, but business move on the cliched "internet time"; if a company memos employes about potental layoffs at 9am EST, their stock could be devalued by half by the close of the market that day. Companies merge and go bankrupt daily. MS, for example will probably release 5 new OS systems (98, NT, 2000, ME, Whistler) before this case is done, all with more and more 'intergrated' applications that can potentally harm the competition in the market.

    However, MS does deserve some review; they argue that there are aspects of the way that Jackson ran the case that are more operating details as opposed to issues at large that should first be considered by an appealate court. To some extent, I agree with this. But MS also knows that any delay in the final final judgement of this case is going to allow them time to release products that might be questionable under it.

    IMHO, however, they know this, and the DOJ knows this, and the Supreme Court knows this. I feel that the SC should have added a stipulation, that if the case in the appeal court was not resolved within a year, then the SC would automatically hear it, as to expitide the process. Now, MS has the oppotunity to play games with their 'friends' in the Appealate court and could extend this case out well past it's usefulness ... when .net is in place by more than 90% of the PC base.

  • okay, using "meme" would have been bad, but using the word "engram", you just totally lost all credibility with me, scientology-boy.
  • this is why I never advocated a breakup, or a fine for Microsoft - I think such measures would be silly and ineffective, and they'd only pass them on to the consumers.

    The only answer to this question is; find the people who made the decisions, gave the orders for illegal behavior, and put the fuckers behind bars. Naughty children need to be spanked. Perhaps Bill Gates can bundle license plates with crushed rocks?
  • don't forget how badly LDAP is embraced by MAD (Microsoft Active Directory)
  • Look, Perot got like 20% of the popular vote, did it send "the establishment" a message? Yeah, the message was: lay low for a few years, make some superficial changes, then go back to normal later when the reform party becomes a public joke.

    Next thing you know, Dan Quayle will be running for president in 2004 on the Green ticket.

    Now in some (IMHO) more progressive european countries, where they have more than two evil parties, they do a run-off if any candidate gets less than 50% of the vote. In that case, you don't have to be afraid to vote for the guy you want to win, because you won't end up with a minority winner.
  • Huh? The Appeals court is one of the checks and balances.

  • Uhh the executive branch presumably dictates the actions of the prosecutor in this case, whereas the judicial branch would be in charge of the court in general. e.g. the president would say "maybe we should just drop all the charges" and that's the end of that.
  • I really believe that if some good reporter were to investigate the financial dealings of the members of the DC Circuit Court, and those of their close family members, that attempts by Microsoft to influence this case will be found. Playing this one legally when none of the rest of their dealings with the public courts have been conducted that way would be too out of character for Microsoft. They believe they own all the marbles, and therefore the rules are up to them.
  • I'm glad to hear that. If M$ HAS to break out of the x86 straightjacket, they will. I don't want them to Metastasize. I want them to die with the x86.

    M$ is ONLY on the x86, Linux is on EVERY other platform and Aqua (or an Aqua-like environment,) will give the leverage onto the desktop that Unix needs.

    Once Intel gets a reliable OS running natively on the Itanium (and it now has one, Linux) and they can get a user friendly face on it (Aqua) look for the x86 instruction set to go so that their hardware can run free of the M$ anchor and fast as Hell! :-)

    Let M$ win the battle and lose the war.
  • Pondscum, sorry politicians, are failed lawyers who can be bought for a shag in the oval office.

    By the time they get there, they are so compromised that they are virtually useless.

    You want a representative government, pick the people out of the phone book. Until then all you're going to get are failed lawyers making even more laws.

    That's all they know how to do in response to anything (and that's not exactly the right response to a shark attack...)
  • In my case, I go to http://www.state.ma.us/ and click on 'elections' and try to figure out which document will describe the electoral college process; if your state does not have good online archives, try writing to the office of the Secretary in your state's capital; at least, in Massachusetts, the election information seems to be published by the Secretary of the Commonwealth. (Obviously you'd have a State Secretary or a Secretary of -the- State in a state that didn't call itself a commonwealth!)
    And, of course, if none of this works out, you can go to the public library; especially in the fall they tend to have government leaflets/handbooks/manuals to hand out.

    You can email me at parity@angelfire.com.


    --Parity
  • I've already had most of this debate in a thread under the voting poll [slashdot.org], but, briefly -

    a) I think you should vote your conscience not 'strategically'; democracy works best if everyone votes their conscience and ignores the pundits and pollsters.

    b) -If- you still insist on voting strategically, remember to vote strategically -within your district- ... Presidential votes are not popular votes, but go through the electoral college; I'm told New York elects its delegates per-district; other states have a 'winner-takes-all' policy where -all- the electoral votes for a -state- go to one candidate. If you've got a per district policy in your state, you have a very good chance of electing a Nader in your district (depending on your districts voter makeup, of course, and the activities of your local green party... but it's just as doable as electing a state representative from a minor party.) If you've got a statewide electoral delegate policy, well - realistically, your state is going to go to one of the big two and chances are your state is not really even contested. ie, even if the popular polls are a dead-heat, on a state-by-state basis probably only 4 or 5 states will actually be 'contested' and the remainder will be 'givens' on election day.

    c) Given b, Per-district representation is the most obvious way to break the stranglehold the Big 2 have on the presidential electoral process; campaign for per-district representatives if your state has a winner-takes-all rule! (Of course it won't happen -this- year, but hey.)

    d) I have to go research my state's voting rules now, so there is no point d. ;)
    --Parity
  • The "fast track" option is provided for exactly this case. Since the MS case is almost certainly going to go to the Supreme Court anyway, and since significant harm to consumers may happen (and on the basis of past evidence, is likely to happen) while we wait on the whole appeals process, it makes sense to take antitrust cases directly to the highest court in the land. A quick resolution is good for consumers and the judicial system, but not so good for Microsoft, which is why they're fighting it tooth and nail.

    I would hardly call Microsoft the best company with the best products, either. Best marketing and lawyers, maybe :)

  • This whole idea of voting against somebody is bullshit. There is no such thing. If you vote for Al Gore and the Democrats, you are voting for the DMCA. You are voting for the War on Drugs. You are voting for a political system in which bribes (aka soft money) are routinely exchanged in public.

    You can tell yourself whatever lies you want, but the fact is that by voting for a Republicrat you are showing your support for the current corrupt system. Our current system is quickly failing. As long as people continue to buy into the FUD and vote for candidates which they know are corrupted by soft money and which they don't really want to see elected, it's going to keep getting worse. Every time somebody endorses the Republicrats with their vote, they are endorsing the current decline of our democracy into a cesspool of big-money corruption.
  • This decision preserves 200 or so years of judicial protocol where the SC is the *last* court of appeals, in which they hear only cases that merit there attention. They could very well decide *not* to hear this case if they believe the Court of Appeals came to the right decision. This is a process the entire Judicial system would be extremely reluctant to tinker with.

    Except that for most of the 20th century, the Supreme Court heard *all* antitrust cases by direct appeal. The SUpreme COurt is also the court of original jurisdiction for a certain class of cases. The dispute between New Jersey and New York over whether the landfills at Ellis Island were in New York or New Jersey (having sales tax implications) was heard *directly* by the Supreme Court as the court of original jurisdiction.

  • On being a corporate leech:
    Don't knock it until you try it.

    The great thing about this nation is the freedom to become as filthy rich as you like (as long as you pay your taxes). You also have the freedom to have no ambition and make minimum wage at the local BK. Don't get bitter at the success of other people just because you're sick of standing next to the fry machine.

    So, if you're really sick of the "corporate leeches", get off your fat ass and do something about it. Organize. Run for office. Do something besides whining on Slashdot and going back to playing Everquest.

  • You are incorrect.

    I -want- Nader elected.
    It's not going to happen, period, due to the system.

    So I'll vote for Gore, who I'm kinda eh about, but I certainly don't want Bush in office. My voting for Gore does more to keep Bush out of office than my vote for Nader would do to get him IN office (which would be, zero).

  • When Minnesota starts holding elections in a electoral college format, you let me know.
  • Yeah, you could vote for Nader.

    You could also throw your vote into a black hole. End result is the same.

    He won't win in an electorial college system.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but Perot had about 20% of the popular vote back in 1992. From what I'm reading right now, he got zippy electorial votes.

    Read this for some more information [devvy.com].

    Don't get me wrong. I love Nader, and would be happy to see him in office. I also realize that's not going to happen, and will vote for the less evil.

  • It's a shame that half the public has to resort to voting against someone they don't want rather than for someone they do want, but sometimes that's the only sensible option once the race is down to two candidates.

    Still, a protest vote can be safe in certain circumstances. If your state is already going to Bush, you could vote for Nader as a signal to the Democratic party that they have gotten too conservative. If your state is already going to Gore, you could vote for Buchanan as a signal to the Republican party that they have gotten too liberal.

    But if your state is up for grabs, IMO you should vote against the one of the leading pair that you think will be most harmful to society.

    --
  • > Corporations are owned by human beings, with rights under the law. They're called the shareholders.

    So whenever Microsoft is found guilty of wrongdoing, those shareholders are going to pay the damages and/or spend time in jail. Right?

    --
  • > The government sticks it's nose too much into the economy as it is.

    You're right. I think the government should stop creating corporations, issuing legal tender, busting insider trading, paving highways, and all that kind of crap.

    --
  • > So Nader runs as a Grenn, getting votes from disenchanted liberals, and causing Gore to lose. That, in turn, causes a crisis in the Democratic Party, and *maybe* leading to a recommitment to liberal philosophies.

    Of course, an almost exact analog for this has been going on with the Republican party for quite a few years now, and arguably cost GB.Sr the election eight years ago.

    But the effect has not been as clean as an idealist might have hoped for. Witness the odd behavior at the convention this year, and the odd absence of never-say-die planks in the public platform. (When's the last time Bush picked a fight with Gore over gun control or abortion?)

    I think the two mainstream parties are quickly converging on a "vaporware" strategy of saying one thing to get elected, doing something radically different afterward, and hoping the public falls for it again four years later.

    --
  • Anyone know the conversion ratio between "dollars" and "luck"? Or is luck just measured in units of dollars to begin with?

    --
  • It forces Microsoft to 'behave' more than they would otherwise do...

    How? This delay just gives M$ more time for 'business as usual'. They aren't "in check"; they aren't "behaving"; they are trying to maintain the status quo as long as possible. Don't believe me? Take a look at this [slashdot.org] . What exactly is "slowing them down in their voracious ways"??
  • I can't believe that anyone here would consider voting for someone who pushed hard for adoption of the Clipper Chip. Remember? Key escrow for all encryption...

    But then, I guess you care less about personal privacy than attacking corporations just on the grounds they are giant and you dislike them. I don't like what big corporations are trying to do either, but currently it looks to me like the most worrying thing is the attack on personal privacy from all directions (government and business). But of those two groups, government is a lot more worrying to me. If you keep a government that respects personal privacy, then you might have a chance to force corporations to do so at some point.

    To me, Gore has a proven track record of being the least trustworthy so far.
  • The reason the process is allowed to be short-circuited in anti-trust cases is to allow for swift action to protect the economy and the American consumer. How does that apply in this case? Two words: "Windows 2000".

    W2K is not a part of this case, but it IS a continuation of the same tactics demonstrated to be in violation of trust law. W2K embraces and extends Kerberos, network file sharing, DNS, .... It's a Blueprint for Domination" [ccianet.org]. In the data center world, we are already feeling pressure to change the way we do business, simply because of the way W2K works. While other platforms can play in a W2K world, the objective is simple: Windows 2000 server and Active Directory rule the enterprise.

    This is why this case needs to be expedited. By the time the appellate court wades through it, and it gets appealled again to the Supreme Court (and don't think MS won't want the S.C. to here it if they lose in appeals), W2K will be firmly rooted exactly where Microsoft wants it. Then, if they lose, the arguments start about where to break it up. Can you split apart Windows 2000 Server (OS) apart from Active Directory (application) into seperate companies (and still have anything work)? Look, you can't break it apart here! Oh, and Exchange 2000 is tightly integrated in Active Directory, so we have to keep that too. And Back Office is .....

    Welcome to inovative integration.

  • Real Change [realchange.org] has some interesting dirt on all of the candidates -- here's what they have on Nader:

    Authoritarian hypocrite, secret luxury house, owned by the trial lawyers' lobby, just another politician, busted a union among his workers, abuses workers, amassing millions of dollars and playing the stock market with it, secrecy and stonewalling, vindictive toward critics, forced contributions to his college PIRG groups.

    Ralph Nader's Skeleton Closet [realchange.org]

    Si
  • ,I>Microsoft broke the law. The corporation is being allowed the same rights as a human in due process, while still hurting the economy, and people... If a individual person were to do the same, he'd be locked away, and stripped of his rights.

    Indeed humans charged with crimes (and innocent in the eyes of the law) are not infrequently held in custody.
    The laws governing companies allow for no analogy with prison, either on remand or as a punishment.
  • Corporations don't have the same rights as a human. That's why the law that applies to companies is call "company law". Simple really.

    When it comes to being charged with a crime they appear to have rights over and above even those of a high status human.
  • You're missing the biggest government intervention in the economy of all: the entire idea of corporations as people,

    Or rather "semi-people", in a way which gives rights but not responsibilities and risks.
  • Hate Microsoft all you like. Don't deny them the same legal process anyone else is entitled to - no matter what you think you might know about what they did or how they did it.
    And then if they wind up broken-up or subject to some other remedy, justice is seen to be done and they have nothing left to complain about.


    The problem is that companies are treated differently from people when it comes to being tried. Is Microsoft held in "jail", are they subject to any kind of restrictions on their behaviour until the trial is concluded? A person standing trial would not be able to conduct their normal business, they would be in the court. A convicted person typically makes any appeals from a jail cell.
    I.E. they are not being offered the same legal process as "John Doe". They are being given one which has several advantages. If the US government really wants to present the fiction of corporations as people then they should actually treat them as people. Even if they have to find creative ways to jail, bail and execute a corporation.
  • If corporations are entities with rights under the law, perhaps we should start charging corporations which deliberately cause other corporations to die with murder.

    As well as other catagories of homicide and "assualt" for cases which don't actually result in "death".

    Instead of treating corporations less like real people, perhaps we should be treating them _more_ like real people

    One important point is that even when charged with something serious a corporation can carry on exactly as before. A person in the same situation cannot, they are either held in a jail or subject to some kind of bail order.
  • A corperation exists to protect it's investors and executives, i.e. you create a corperation to grant yourself a form of limited liability when you are fucking with people.

    Whilst a corporation may exist to protect these people from liability. (IMHO this protection should not extend to any liabilities related to criminal actions in the first place.) There is no reason to protect the corporate entity from any liability what so ever. Think of a corporation like a car protecting it's occupants, so long as it does that it dosn't matter if the car ends up a wreck.
  • licensing is not government intervention. It's a contract between private parties. If the contract between private parties is based on laws or customs, it's still an agreement between 2 parties.

    Except that governments play a big part in what can and can't be decided by contract. As well as what clauses can and cannot be legally enforeced. e.g. governments really don't like people using contracts in personal relationships thus try and make it difficult.
  • This is why I believe that the only things that a company should have the right to do in order to increase sales is to improve the quality of their products or services.

    You'd also need laws cripple things like software licences. Such that companies can't use them to add additional restrictions not granted by general IP laws such as patents and copyright. Licences could only grant the holder additional rights, but by default there would be no difference between a CD containing music and one containing software. None of this OEM or retail version nonsense or issues like if you install OS X on your machines you can't install OS Y.
  • by mpe ( 36238 )
    Once HP, Dell, Compaq, Emachines, and Gateway all move from MS, who are they going to sell thier OS to.

    Problem is that MS is enguaging is dodgy selling tactics, effectivly saying to OEM's if you don't exclusivly install our OS then you will pay far more per unit (assuming we will even sell it to you at all.) In a normal situation OEM's would be able to say "go away we'll buy from a wholesaler instead of direct", however there simply is no such thing a wholesaler for MS Software.
    Ditching Windows is catch 22 for the OEM, until there is competition it's very risky for the OEM to sell anything else, but you won't get competion until major OEM's stop selling Windows exclusivly.
    The only way around is to have the Microsoft pricing model declared illegal then have them forced to sell software like books, music CDs, etc. With lowering the price only acceptable based on volume shipped, be it to a large OEM or a reseller. Once a copy is sold then normal rules apply to further sales.
  • Are you implying that Microsoft is innocent? Or that even a obviously guilty party has the right to manipulate the system all they want?

    You have to have money in order to go thru a legal case of this size. How many court cases thru history have put most companies out of business simply due to all the legal fees? If you believe strongly that OJ Simson did it, and even if today he was actually to admit it and even produce a video tape of him committing the crime... How fair do you think it is that the guilty can no longer be punished due to the way the laws are written in the US?

    And since when has the consumers liking and disliking having anything to do with anything? I don't know about you but I hate MS Windows, and this is after realizing all the little things in it that does make it quite a user friendly OS... until the registry starts to get a bit swisscheesed the moment you install your first application. I have yet to see any Most-Requested Consumer feature go into MS Windows yet. How many people realize that programming today allows us to move to a completely seperate platform with our code if we wanted to thanks to emulation transport layers and other form of translation glue between hardware and software? Win32 APIs, etc could be more standardize to allow consumers more applications written for cross-platform compatiblity allowing customers TRUE CHOICE without being locked into the market.

    Microsoft is a Monopoly because they are LOCKING the market with their software. Its plain and simple. The fact that it TAKES SO DAMN LONG to even find them guilty in a court of law just shows that the tech industry was not thought of when due process was made into the overly bloated system it is today. And as long as this country is routed in Capitalism and every level in our government and corporations has some manager or government offical practicing what they do best on their job... Job Security. When's the last time you had to write a description about your job and you bullshitted so much in fear that they might find out they really didn't need you and could instantly be replaced or your position faded out entirely?

    When you say "Good for Microsoft", your also saying 'Good for this system of things'. Course, thats just my opinion.

    Sincerely,

    -Matthew

  • It's bad law and ought to be reversed. When the founding fathers talked about right endowed by our creator they were not thinking of artificial soul-less immortal beings. Beings without souls should not have the same rights as beings with souls. This is why dogs don't have the same rights as you.

    A Dick and a Bush .. You know somebody's gonna get screwed.

  • But those human beings already have rights. Denying a corporation the right to free speech is not the same as denying the human beings who own or work for the corporation free speech. My dog does not have free speech rights so why should the corporation I work for? Granting soul-less immortal beings the same rights as humans was a profound mistake by the supreme court we ought to work very hard to get that bit of bad law revesed.

    A Dick and a Bush .. You know somebody's gonna get screwed.

  • Well so what? Who really cares if there is one less restaurant in the world. Lets take the other side let's say the restaurant was serving e-coli infected food are you going to jail the corporation? Are you going to jail the CEO or the shareholders? Corporations can kill people (firestone) and everybody involved gets off scott free. No personal responsibility at all.
    Financial damages are nothing to an entity designed to generate more revenue it's just a temporary setback. If I killed 60 or a 100 people I would be put to death by the state if firestone the soul-less immortal being kills 60 to a 100 people it gets fined! Not only does it escape jail and death but the amount it gets fined is the equavalent of me getting fined $1000.00. Otherwise all the pretense about due process is just crap. What good is due process if it can never end up in a meaningful punishment for the guilty party. I say ff a corporation kills it ought to be killed. All the assets of the company ought to be seized and the shareholders ought to be left high and dry and ought to lose all their money. Maybe then they would act to make their corporation act ethically. It's like my dog If I can't control the behaviour of my dog I am liable and my dog will be put to death.

    A Dick and a Bush .. You know somebody's gonna get screwed.

  • Why would MS's upper management be distracted? In a well managed company (and you don't get where MS is without being well managed) the only people being "distracted" by the case should be MS's legal system and emplyees who have to testify."

    I can only hope they are all made to testify again and on TV this time. The more people who see how slimy and unethical these guys are the more ms will suffer.

    A Dick and a Bush .. You know somebody's gonna get screwed.

  • If he got into office he would be killed in the first week. Corporations like MS wouldnt stand for it. Hey did you hear that the new encarta commercial seems to be disguised ad for dubya bush?

    A Dick and a Bush .. You know somebody's gonna get screwed.

  • He never claimed that, why are you lying? You lose credibility when you lie to try and accuse somebody else of lying.

    A Dick and a Bush .. You know somebody's gonna get screwed.

  • lets say that you live in texas, nevada, montana or any of the wacko-rape-and-pillage western states and you voted for a democrat aren't you trhowing your vote away anyways? If you are going to throw your vote away anyway might as well vote nader and sleep better.

    A Dick and a Bush .. You know somebody's gonna get screwed.

  • Oh yes Reagan did it. LOL. If Clinton had NOTHING to do with the economy then Reagan had NOTHING to do with the economy during his presidency either.

    A Dick and a Bush .. You know somebody's gonna get screwed.

  • Why is it so outregeous? Are you claiming that the management of MS and the corporation that is MS are so ethically pure that they would never ever attempt to influence judges? They have history of slimy behaviour and it makes perfect sense to expect them to act slimy in the present and in the future. They have already poured millions into the election and have dubya in their back pocket. If they are attempting to influence politicians why not judges?

    A Dick and a Bush .. You know somebody's gonna get screwed.

  • ooooh his brother owns a $100,000.00 house. He must be evil that Nader. I am gald he plays hardball his enemies do that's for sure. It's a wonder he is still alive.

    A Dick and a Bush .. You know somebody's gonna get screwed.

    1. Who stands to gain the most from the case going to the apellate courts? DOES Microsoft really have that sort of good vibe coming from the possible next administration, or will someone try to block the DoJ from dropping this?
    2. IANAL, so I'm hoping one of the readers is: if you drop a case during the appeal, does the other side automatically 'win'? Is it possible to drop in mid-appeal?
    3. Will the educational process that was in the first case be allowed in the appeal? That is, both sides educated the judge on the issues, which resulted in an informed opinion.
    4. What's the track record on monopoly remedies being reversed on appeal?

    Anyone got the answers? I don't, but would like to know.
    ----

  • Yeah, you could vote for Nader. You could also throw your vote into a black hole. End result is the same.

    You don't vote on who you think will win. This isn't a horse race. You vote for the person you would want elected. Anything ELSE is throwing away your vote.

    GORE BUSH
    CHOOSE ONE
    OBEY
  • It's not about being nice or retaliating, it's about spending enough time and thought looking at the case and deciding if this is something that should really be done. I'm in favor of breaking up Microsoft, but it's a huge decision, and I don't want future historians to possibly look back on this and wonder how we messed up so badly. This decision could affect the economy a fair amount too.

    If we're gonna do it, let's do it right.
    --

  • if they didn't accept this case, i can't imagine one they would.
    We have survived ten years now with only one viable choice in operating systems. (At least, that's what the anti-MS folks claim.)

    If MS were the only supplier of gasoline, or the only bank, or even the only airline, I'm sure the Court would be much more eager to resolve the case.
  • You are a fool who has incorrectly analyzed your choices.

    Here are your errors:
    1. Thinking there's a difference between Gore and Bush - there isn't
    2. Thinking your vote affects anything, regardless of who you voted for - it doesn't. The chance that your one vote prevents Bush from gaining office is less than your chance of winning the lottery.
    3. Thinking a vote for a third party candidate who can't win doesn't get noticed - Perot's 20% scared the shit out of politicians. Do you think we'd have a budget surplus 8 years later without him?

    I'm also guessing you don't live in Minnesota ;-)
  • Here's a thought - think longer term. So Bush may beat Gore. If no one votes for Nader, we'll have this same awful choice 4 years from now. At which point, if no one votes alternatively, it'll repeat over and over. Think longer term. Nader won't win, but a successful campaign from Nader will probably mean more in the long run than whether Bush or Gore wins.

  • This decision preserves 200 or so years of judicial protocol where the SC is the *last* court of appeals, in which they hear only cases that merit there attention.

    Actually, prior to passage of the Expediting Act (see below), the Supreme ourt was tasked with directly hearing all federal anti-trust cases.


    CITE 15 USC [lawlinks.com] Sec. 29 01/26/98
    EXPCITE TITLE 15 - COMMERCE AND TRADE
    CHAPTER 1 - MONOPOLIES AND COMBINATIONS IN RESTRAINT OF TRADE
    TEXT Sec. 29. Appeals
    (a) Court of appeals; review by Supreme Court
    Except as otherwise expressly provided by this section, in every
    civil action brought in any district court of the United States
    under the Act entitled ''An Act to protect trade and commerce
    against unlawful restraints and monopolies'', approved July 2,
    1890, or any other Acts having like purpose that have been or
    hereafter may be enacted, in which the United States is the
    complainant and equitable relief is sought, any appeal from a final
    judgement entered in any such action shall be taken to the court of
    appeals pursuant to sections 1291 and 2107 of title 28. Any appeal
    from an interlocutory order entered in any such action shall be
    taken to the court of appeals pursuant to sections 1292(a)(1) and
    2107 of title 28 but not otherwise. Any judgment entered by the
    court of appeals in any such action shall be subject to review by
    the Supreme Court upon a writ of certiorari as provided in section
    1254(1) of title 28. (b) Direct appeals to Supreme Court
    An appeal from a final judgment pursuant to subsection (a) of
    this section shall lie directly to the Supreme Court, if, upon
    application of a party filed within fifteen days of the filing of a
    notice of appeal, the district judge who adjudicated the case
    enters an order stating that immediate consideration of the appeal
    by the Supreme Court is of general public importance in the
    administration of justice. Such order shall be filed within thirty
    days after the filing of a notice of appeal. When such an order is
    filed, the appeal and any cross appeal shall be docketed in the
    time and manner prescribed by the rules of the Supreme Court. The
    Supreme Court shall thereupon either (1) dispose of the appeal and
    any cross appeal in the same manner as any other direct appeal
    authorized by law, or (2) in its discretion, deny the direct appeal
    and remand the case to the court of appeals, which shall then have
    jurisdiction to hear and determine the same as if the appeal and
    any cross appeal therein had been docketed in the court of appeals
    in the first instance pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.
    SOURCE (Feb. 11, 1903, ch. 544, Sec. 2, 32 Stat. 823; Mar. 3, 1911, ch.
    231, Sec. 291, 36 Stat. 1167; June 9, 1944, ch. 239, 58 Stat. 272;
    June 25, 1948, ch. 646, Sec. 17, 62 Stat. 989; Dec. 21, 1974, Pub.
    L. 93-528, Sec. 5, 88 Stat. 1709.)
    NOTES REFERENCES IN TEXT
    The Act entitled ''An Act to protect trade and commerce against
    unlawful restraints and monopolies'', approved July 2, 1890,
    referred to in subsec. (a), is known as the Sherman Act, and is
    classified to sections 1 to 7 of this title.
    CODIFICATION
    Section was previously set out in both this section and in
    section 45 of former Title 49, Transportation.
    AMENDMENTS
    1974 - Pub. L. 93-528 substituted provisions for appeals to the
    court of appeals from civil actions in district courts where
    equitable relief is sought, review by the Supreme Court of
    judgments of courts of appeals, and for direct appeals to the
    Supreme Court of cases involving general public importance, for
    provisions that appeals from final judgments of district courts lie
    to the Supreme Court only.
    1948 - Act June 25, 1948, amended section generally to strike out
    provisions relating to time for appeal, procedure, etc. See
    sections 2101 and 2109 of Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial
    Procedure.
    1944 - Act June 9, 1944, provided for certification of case to
    circuit court of appeals when there was no quorum of Justices of
    the Supreme Court qualified to participate in the consideration of
    the case and for designation of circuit judges in the event of
    disqualification from hearing the case.
    CHANGE OF NAME
    Act Mar. 3, 1911, which transferred the powers and duties of the
    circuit courts to the district courts, substituted ''district
    court'' for ''circuit court''.
    EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1974 AMENDMENT
    Section 7 of Pub. L. 93-528 provided that: ''The amendment made
    by section 5 of this Act (amending this section) shall not apply to
    an action in which a notice of appeal to the Supreme Court has been
    filed on or before the fifteenth day following the date of
    enactment of this Act (Dec. 21, 1974). Appeal in any such action
    shall be taken pursuant to the provisions of section 2 of the Act
    of February 11, 1903 (32 Stat. 823), as amended (15 U.S.C. 29;
    (former) 49 U.S.C. 45) which were in effect on the day preceding
    the date of enactment of this Act.''
    EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1948 AMENDMENT
    Section 38 of act June 25, 1948, provided that the amendment made
    by that act is effective Sept. 1, 1948.
    EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1944 AMENDMENT
    The last paragraph of act June 9, 1944, provided: ''This Act
    (this section) shall apply to every case pending before the Supreme
    Court of the United States on the date of its enactment (June 9,
    1944).'' SHORT TITLE
    Act Feb. 11, 1903, which enacted sections 28 and 29 of this
    title, is commonly known as the ''Expediting Act''.
    CROSSREF CROSS REFERENCES
    Direct appeals from decisions of three-judge courts, see section
    1253 of Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure.
    Time for appeal to Supreme Court, see section 2101 of Title 28.


  • CNN has this story. [cnn.com]
    Wired has this one [wired.com].
  • Illegal is illegal, that is the point of this case. Laws against monopolies don't exist for nothing. The idea that capitalism can order itself fully without laws and regulation is an illusion.

    Following your reasoning, one could also say ('survival of the fittest') that the company that manages to eliminate (i.e. kill, murder) all staff/CEO's of its competitors, shall win. And if the state would try to prevent those illegal actions (killing is illegal in the US I assume) that would be "the government sticking it's nose into the economy"?!?
  • There can be no doubt that the Supreme Court will decide this eventually. Why can't they look at it now. Are they lazy? Afraid? I'm not buying the 'Due Process' argument. The fact that the SC was able to decide the motion to expedite implies that it is within the bounds of the legal system.
  • A few people made comments about voting for Nader, so I just wanted to add my two cents on this topic.

    A lot of people have said that voting for Nader would be your way of saying that you want an end to companies like Microsoft. That much is true. It would send a message to the federal government that a significant portion of the population really does care about this issue.

    I'm going to take a giant leap here and say that of the people who would like Nader as President, if they were told they had to choose between Bush and Gore, they'd choose Gore. Bush, like most Republicans, is pro-corporate and would most likely pressure the DOJ (which he technically shouldn't do) to drop the MS case or do something to make it more likely the DOJ will lose or give up.

    In addition, most people would say that Nader will never win. One on hand, it's true. Nader will never get enough votes to win. On the other hand, it's irrelevant because people are supposed to vote for whom they want as President, not for whom they think will win.

    However, there is one thing I think a lot of pro-Nader people don't seem to realize (or don't want to admit). Given the above assertions, about half the population will vote for Bush, and the other half will vote for Gore or Nader. This leads one to a conclusion: a vote for Nader is a vote against Gore.

    In other words, voting for Nader may make Bush President. Say for example 45% of the people vote for Bush. If Nader weren't around, then 55% of the people would vote for Gore, and he'd win. However, if 15% of the people vote for Nader instead of Gore (it could happen - Perot almost got 15% back when he ran for President), then that means that Gore will only get 40%, and Bush will win, despite the fact that most of the people in the country don't want him as President! In other words, Bush would be a "minority President", but he would still be President, and then everyone who voted for Nader will be screwed.

    This is an issue that my wife and I are struggling with. Do we vote for Nader and send a message to our government, but risk putting Bush in office instead? Maybe someone on Slashdot can help us decide?
    --

  • I would have to disagree...

    MS has a version of NT for the DEC (compaq now) alpha. It also has worked with DEC in the past to give windows API under VMS. MFC is available under the MAC...
    and the list goes on...

    My point is, they are not so x86 only as many people think
  • Because the appeals court is full of MS fans and shills. A couple of judges reportedly have several million dollars of MS stock. Of course, they don't think that this makes them biased, so they don't recuse themselves. The appeals court has almost never ruled against Microsoft in the last dozen or so years when MS lost in a lower court. It is a foregone conclusion that the appeals court will reverse jackson and rule in favor of MS. It is also a foregone conclusion that none of their kids will "ever be hungry again". Asking for the Supreme court to hear the case directly is the closest the govt can come to stating this. If they say this in plain english, they run the risk of being in contempt of court.
  • Hmm.. so you think ONE lower court judge is more qualified to rule/less biased on a case than nine people on the appeals bench. All this on the basis of the fact that his rulings are what you like.

    Thinking 101.
  • Microsoft believes there were several factual and procedural errors committed during the lower court trial. For example (I'm making this up) they could argue that Jackson was asleep during some critical argument or that a particular piece of evidence he disallowed should have been allowed, etc. Small stuff.

    The Supreme Court does not rule at that level. The Supreme Court assumes the facts and records as accepted by the lower/appeals courts and then rules simply on matters of law. So if the facts and records at that level indeed were incorrect then the Supreme Court would be committing an injustice by ruling on their basis.

    The appeals courts job at this point is to create the final set of facts and records which the Supreme Court will use to make its judgement on the basis of.

    Oh, and IANAL btw.
  • Indeed.

    Today, I found this [colorado.edu] article on Memepool [memepool.com]. In it is an editorial and a lengthy interview with Ralph Nader. That man has a serious (if not well-intentioned, as I would like to believe) chip on his shoulder when it comes to corporatist america and democracy in general.

    I would LOVE to see him in the White House. Hell, I'd love to see him as just an ADVISOR in the White House.

    Rami
    --
  • And I fully intend to vote for him. Even though, I live in Israel right now, I am going to go wayt out of my way and head on down to the American Embassy JUST TO VOTE FOR NADER.

    And if he's not on the ballot, I will rip it up.

    Rami
    --
  • You're wrong. The constitution mandates that in all states, the electoral college is elected in a winner takes all approach. Candidates carry states, not districts. As long as 51% voter vote for Gore or Bush in a particular state, the entire electoral college for that candidate is elected.
  • Remember, in the U.S., the popular vote is irrelevant. The electoral college is all that matters. So, even though Clinton got only 43%, of the popular vote, he recieved the votes from a majority of the country's electoral college.

    A canidtate does have to get a majority of the electoral college votes to be elected. If not, the House gets to determine the winner. So, a run-off would be required if 1/3 of the states in the US voted for one canidate, 1/3 for another, and the rest voted for another canidate.

    From http://www.state.ma.us:80/s ec/ ele/elecoll/colljan6.htm [state.ma.us]

    The United States Senator President in the presence of the Senate and House opens the certificates and counts the votes on January 6 at 1:00 p.m. The candidates receiving an absolute majority (270) of the electoral votes are declared President and Vice-President of the United States. If no candidate for President receives a majority, the three highest vote recipients are voted on by the House. Each state has one vote and a majority is needed for election. If no candidate for Vice-President receives a majority, the Senate votes on the two highest vote recipients. If the President-elect dies before January 20, the Vice-President takes office. If additional information is required, please contact our office at (617) 727-2828.
  • Wow -- this is really a perfect parody of a typical Slashdot post regarding MS. No evidence; bizarre assertions about the internal feelings, motives, and beliefs of people the author has never met; the solid conviction that genuinely honest disagreement with the poster's view is impossible... it really captures all the elements in just a few sentences. I give it a 10.

    -BBB

  • by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Tuesday September 26, 2000 @05:08AM (#753787) Homepage Journal
    The Appeals Court has decided that computers are far too complex for human beings to comprehend, and have placed up an idol to the Great Gates, Prophet of All Things Digital.

    Meanwhile, Emperor Gates bought the White House, and issued decrees stating that Microsoft is now the One True Government of the World, and that support for Democracy was to be phased out.

    Seriously, this is scary. The appeals court has effectively ruled, in the past, that technology is outside the US legal system. Which may mean MS is essentially lawless and entitled to do anything, whether "legal" or not, with total impunity.

    Sure, the Appeals Court might like that now, but I won't be too sure they'll think the same, if MS decides to declare martial law & invade America. They've greater resources & technology than the US Military (which all use versions of MS s/w that MS know the bugs of AND know the security holes of).

    IMHO, we need to stop worrying on whether the US Government, in it's efforts to wiretap, have found your secret recipe for chocolate brownies. Instead, we need to pay a bit more attention to a certain corporate giant that has ALL the money, resources and knowledge needed to cripple the US and assert itself as the One True Government.

    Conspiracy theory? Sure! Highly Improbable? Certainly! Much more illuminating than arguing over who's "right" - DEFINITELY!

    In 100 years time, this case won't make any real difference. But, if the nightmare scenario above turns out to be real, in 100 years time, you'll see a difference that would make your worst nightmares feel warm and cheery.

  • by Loundry ( 4143 ) on Tuesday September 26, 2000 @05:15AM (#753788) Journal

    I am not too naive to understand that the US wants to push this case along as fast as possible so that there isn't too much turmoil within the economy, but isn't that what a capatilist society is supposed to be about? The survival of the fittest? The best companies with the best products that the consumer likes best WINS?!

    Yes, this is the theory (as I understand it) behind capitalism: all companies try hard to make good products. Consumers will select the best product and buy it. Therefore, the companies that make the best products win. This competitive activity fosters innovation and our society ends up better off.

    Here is the problem: companies only like capitalism when they want to get into a market. Once they are in that market, they hate capitalism. Competitors mean that they have to work harder to make their products better. It's much easier and cheaper to destroy your competitor than to compete against their products.

    This is why I believe that the only things that a company should have the right to do in order to increase sales is to improve the quality of their products or services. It is the only thing which fosters what I see as competition. Everything else is designed to destroy competitors, which is, by nature, anti-capitalistic. Let me say that again: competing against a competitor's products is competitive, destroying a competitor is not. (If the competitor is destroyed becuase their products can't compete with yours in terms of quality, then that's another story.)

    This is why I believe in antitrust as a valid function of government. It's like the referee at an american football game: they make sure that the teams compete instead of engage in clipping, holding, murder, and other such illegal activities. NOTE: I have no idea the best way for government enforcement of antitrust. Like all government activity, it's ripe for corruption and that part sucks.

    Now anyone who has looked at Microsoft's history can tell that their competitive activities have been anything but competitive. Microsoft is out for blood. They will do anything and say anything to destroy their competitors. Therefore, I think that the government's action is capitalistic, for it's attempting to rectify something that is not.

  • by crumley ( 12964 ) on Tuesday September 26, 2000 @05:08AM (#753789) Homepage Journal
    Finally, If the SC would bypass the Court of Appeals, then they would open themselves to a huge increase in their caseload and diminish the value and impact of the lower courts.

    A huge increase in case load is unlikely since the law that allows for bypasssing the Court of Appeals only applies to anti-trust cases. Besides which, the SC can decide on each case if they want to allow it to bypass the CoA. I agree that the SC made the right decision (even though I'd like the case to be over with quickly), but the reasons that this is the right decision have nothing to do with SC caseload.

    --

  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Tuesday September 26, 2000 @08:01AM (#753790) Homepage Journal

    Corporations are owned by human beings, with rights under the law. They're called the shareholders.

    But those shareholders never have to face the consequences of the acts of the company, beyond the potential loss of equity. I really wonder: why do we have limited liability at all? Why is it that an individual is held accountable for their actions, but if a bunch of individuals put their money together, we have laws that waive that accountability? It doesn't makes sense to me. Corporations look like just another socialist/commie invention, in opposition to the principles of capitalism and basic ethics.

    If a business doesn't have limited liability, then it really is a person or a group people, and perhaps it should have some rights. But if it's just a shield that lets people do whatever they want to without having to face consequences, then I don't think it deserves any respect or consideration at all.


    ---
  • by Mike Schiraldi ( 18296 ) on Tuesday September 26, 2000 @04:30AM (#753791) Homepage Journal
    So i guess the law that says important antitrust cases can go straight to the Supreme Court is useless, since if they didn't accept this case, i can't imagine one they would. What more did they want?
    --
  • by austad ( 22163 ) on Tuesday September 26, 2000 @04:36AM (#753792) Homepage
    Gates has stated that he hopes the upcoming Presidential elections will put someone in office more friendly to the company.

    Gates will be fuckity-fuck-fucked if Nader gets into office. Vote Anti-corporation [votenader.org]
  • by deacent ( 32502 ) on Tuesday September 26, 2000 @05:05AM (#753793)

    I am not too naive to understand that the US wants to push this case along as fast as possible so that there isn't too much turmoil within the economy, but isn't that what a capatilist society is supposed to be about? The survival of the fittest? The best companies with the best products that the consumer likes best WINS?!

    Who said anything about liking MS products? The public has brought this upon themselves by treating MS as the only viable option. It's sort of a vicious cycle. The OEMs don't want to risk their Windows contracts because they feel the market won't buy their computers without Windows and the public only sees Windows because the OEMs had to pay for a Windows license for every machine shipped, regardless of whether it had Windows on it or not. I wonder if you would have seen Dells with Red Hat on them if it wasn't for this case.

    I'm not crazy about the idea of trying to punish a company because they are successful, but that's not what the DOJ has been arguing. They are arguing that MS became successful and then used the power afforded to them by their success to keep potential threats of competition at bay. That's what the Sherman Act is about. Contrary to popular belief, it is legal to have a monopoly in the U.S. You just need to make sure you compete on merits.

    -Jennifer

  • by MartinG ( 52587 ) on Tuesday September 26, 2000 @05:03AM (#753794) Homepage Journal
    "Survival of the fittest" is good.

    "Survival of someone who happens to be very big because they once perhaps used to be the fittest and are now bullying the fittest into submission" is bad.

    > The government sticks it's nose too much into the economy as it is.

    I whole-heartedly agree.

    > I say, "Good for Microsoft."

    I whole-heartedly think "bollocks"

  • by Pfhreakaz0id ( 82141 ) on Tuesday September 26, 2000 @11:13AM (#753795)
    I'm not so sure. According to this article about the matter [salon.com] "Federal law says judges should disqualify themselves from cases in which their child is known to have "an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding."

    Rehnquist apparently doesn't think there is a legal problem nor an appearance one by a "reasonable" person. I disagree (and I'm pretty neutral about Micro$oft)
    ---

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Tuesday September 26, 2000 @04:34AM (#753796) Homepage Journal
    It'd be most amusing if Ralph Nader somehow managed to make it into office. Never happen, of course, but I'm sure if it did, it'd provoke some most amusing responses in Redmond.
  • by 4im ( 181450 ) on Tuesday September 26, 2000 @05:06AM (#753797)
    Don't deny them the same legal process anyone else is entitled to

    IIRC MS themselves asked for the case to be brought to the supreme court. So, there can be no talk about denying them anything.

    I am just sad that this is going to take that much more time in which MS is going to wreak havoc on the IT industry. They do have a track history for that, and disrespect of court's orders etc.

  • by satch89450 ( 186046 ) on Tuesday September 26, 2000 @06:41AM (#753798) Homepage

    I'd like to put forth another view, one that has been synthesized from a number of legal web sites and magazine articles published at the time Da Judge petitioned the Supreme Court to take the M$ case.

    The one statement that was made by virtually every single source, both pro and con, was that the Supreme Court was not equipped to deal with all the issues that the Microsoft appeal would raise. When it was compared to the AT&T breakup, every single writer said that the major difference between AT&T and Microsoft was that there were no disputes in fact or procedure in the AT&T case versus many disputes in fact and procedure in the Microsoft case. Anyone who had read the briefs from DoJ and Microsoft will agree that the two sides are far, far apart on many issues.

    One interesting prediction I recall was that if the Supreme Court were to take up the action, the Higest Court would "hire" the DC Court of Appeals to do much of the legwork. The pundit then speculated that the difference between that procedural model and the more formal appeal-superappeal process would be minimal. What I recall of the article said "It might save a month or two of time."

    I disagree with other posters in this thread. The Supreme Court hasn't refused to hear any appeal at all. The action taken by the Supreme Court was specific to taking the case now instead of later, when the Appeals court could take care of the viewpoint differences of the two sides.

    Also, the DC Court of Appeals would be able to rule on such things as the lack of a remedies phase of the trial.

    Me, I think it's a good thing.

  • by fwr ( 69372 ) on Tuesday September 26, 2000 @04:33AM (#753799)
    Reuters reports (via Yahoo!) that his son works for a Boston law firm and is actually working on a private antitrust case for Microsoft! Now, if that isn't a conflict of interest then I don't know what is...
  • OK everyone. Microsoft isn't going to get split up in a few weeks like everyone here seems to want. We have three possible scenarios:

    1) MS is split. MS/OS runs like crazy to fix the stupid bugs and cuts much better deals with the PC makers. MS/Apps promises to release Office for Linux and Mac & Anything else, making corporate purchasers happy and destroying the chances of OSS office suites.

    2) MS is stuck in court for years, distracting senior management and stopping .NET from being more than wishful thinking. All the productive people are seriously demotivated and start buying posters at ThinkGeek. Probably nothing serious will happen at the end but if they're tied up for long enough it won't matter. GNU/Linux, KDE & Gnome will take over the desktop by being nice to people and not trying to sue them.

    3) The case is thrown out of the appeals court, the government doesn't appeal and corporations end up ruling the world. The internet becomes a kind of dumbed-down AOL with the wild old TCP/IP being removed as too open to abuse by terrorists, hackers and other undesirables.

    My money is on scenario 2, option 3 is too dangerous even for the US government (I hope). Either way, lets keep on building OSS solutions and promoting the fact that companies don't have to spent large sums of money and sign dodgy EULAs to get the solutions they need.

  • by Global-Lightning ( 166494 ) on Tuesday September 26, 2000 @04:50AM (#753801)
    The Supreme Court made the right decision by not taking this case before it's heard by the Court of Appeals.

    It allows more arguments to be made and heard, creating a larger body of knowledge surrounding the case before it goes to the SC. Very little new information or lines of reasoning are made when a case goes to the SC, rather the Court passes judgement on decisions and arguments made in the lower courts.

    This decision preserves 200 or so years of judicial protocol where the SC is the *last* court of appeals, in which they hear only cases that merit there attention. They could very well decide *not* to hear this case if they believe the Court of Appeals came to the right decision. This is a process the entire Judicial system would be extremely reluctant to tinker with.

    Finally, If the SC would bypass the Court of Appeals, then they would open themselves to a huge increase in their caseload and diminish the value and impact of the lower courts.

    Just because the could take a case directly, doesn't mean they have to.

  • by Bilestoad ( 60385 ) on Tuesday September 26, 2000 @04:37AM (#753802)
    Hate Microsoft all you like. Don't deny them the same legal process anyone else is entitled to - no matter what you think you might know about what they did or how they did it.

    And then if they wind up broken-up or subject to some other remedy, justice is seen to be done and they have nothing left to complain about. It should be obvious that this court case has been about PR as much as law. ("Freedom to Innovate" etc...)

    Sure the lawyers get rich, but when hasn't this been the case?
  • by Deskpoet ( 215561 ) on Tuesday September 26, 2000 @04:51AM (#753803) Homepage Journal
    WHY should an immortal paper entity be given due process? A corp is a thing, with less life than a slug (and even less benefits to the planet).

    I wish you corp leeches would get a clue. This is MY world, too, and every time you equate a human being with a faux entity like a corporation, you steal a bit of our collective humanity, diminishing me and everyone else right along with your sorry selves.

    If you want to be a lap dog, feel free. Just keep it away from the rest of us.

    Due process INDEED.

  • by OlympicSponsor ( 236309 ) on Tuesday September 26, 2000 @04:58AM (#753804)
    "The government sticks it's nose too much into the economy as it is."

    This is a great concept--but you are only applying it halfway. You've either got to do the whole thing, or none at all. For instance, how do you think MS got to the point it is? A lot of it was through patents (gov't intervention), copyrights (gov't intervention) and licensing (contract law is more gov't intervention).

    Microsoft is benefitting from governmental (which is to say "societal") institutions such as the above, therefore it has to be good back to us. If it doesn't we retaliate (through anti-trust lawsuits, etc). You can't deplore anti-Microsoft action while ignoring pro-Microsoft action.
    --

The only difference between a car salesman and a computer salesman is that the car salesman knows he's lying.

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