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New Mexico Drops out of Microsoft Case 271

Hiawatha writes: "Looks like Microsoft has peeled off one of the states." The article is kinda interesting, it talks about how New Mexico's attorney general is all on Microsoft's side now against the remaining states. It's amazing that after years of abusing its power, Microsoft is just gonna walk over this. *sigh*.
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New Mexico Drops out of Microsoft Case

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    That's exactly what everyone says everytime MS puts lots of money into something. Remember how Win2k was going to destory Microsoft? Hm.. Lets see... Win2k sales have been growing every month since it's release. Same with Office 2k which was another doomsday device for Microsoft.

    Just get over it, they're better than 99% of other companies out there. You have to either deal with it or shut up.
  • And at the risk of perpetuating this off-topic thread:

    Yes, the condom provides a possible solution the social problem of unwanted pregnancy. And yet, unwanted pregnancy happens a lot still. Why? Because the technological solution isn't used. Technology provides the tools to solve problems, but not the motivation for using them. The sociological solution of teaching people about the implications of sex and their options for preventing its unwanted side-effects (and convincing them to believe you) will solve the problem. The existence of the condom does nothing unless the social issues surrounding its use are dealt with.

  • As a (transplanted) New Mexican, I can only say that I'm saddened but not surprised. This state has a long history of completely rolling over for Corporate America. Our PRC (Public Regulatory Committee) has pretty much been completely bought by USWest/QWest which does whatever it wants, including stealing $50million in illegal profits and stifling competition in DSL and phone services, much to the detriment of consumers. The Intel plant here uses more water than half the city of Albuquerque every single day, and we're a bigtime desert community. Basically, this sell-out is nothing new and it's a shame that one of the poorest states in the nation is saddled with various levels of government that are so eager to ditch the interests of the populace in favor of whichever corporate entity with a big checkbook that happens to come along.
  • Microsoft is winning? Judge Jackson, against all expectations, handed them their ass. The appeals court, against all expectations, upheld Jackson's Findings Of Fact _and_ the guilty verdict for criminal monopoly maintenance. Microsoft is _guilty_. They did not get away. They _lost_. Now it's just a matter of finding a suitable punishment/remedy- and once again it's nothing but 'oh, but of course they're not going to do anything, they'll just let Microsoft go because money and power are more important than justice'. This, after how many times it's been shown to be self-defeating nonsense and untrue?

    Microsoft is going to be _thwacked_ in some sort of way. Dunno just how, but count how many times 'everyone said' they were going to be let off, and then got totally screwed. It's not over. Suppose they get caught for threatening the New Mexico AG? "Do what we say, 'Patsy', and nobody gets hurt".

    Microsoft are going to be _hosed_ with due process of law. Call that 'winning'? Cos I don't.

  • Yeah, but you see I don't care much about the giving-software-away/integrating part. Maybe I write GPLed software myself and give it away for free- maybe I see software as something that will eventually become so easy to produce that it tends to become as valueless as speech: in other words, that it would be insane to charge for it but it could still be very influential if it expresses something striking and useful.

    Right now it's as if people are patenting English words on the grounds that most people are illiterate and can't write... this is unclearness on the concept.

    Besides, Microsoft's practices of dumping software products and bolting stuff to the OS, even if it will eventually become meaningless in an expanding 'free software' world, did AT THE TIME illustrate just the same pattern that the armtwisting of OEMs illustrated. Even if proprietary software is destined to become a historical curiosity (i.e. 'even if the future is like an RMS wet dream), at the time of the behavior, proprietary software was thought to be a market, and Microsoft's INTENT was not to deprecate the role of proprietary software, but to use their monopoly power to seize the market. The fact that their software highlights the failings of proprietary software (see the recent MSN Messenger outage! And they mean to use this stuff for .NET?) is not their intent, and you can't take that as an excuse to let them off. Just because they're digging their own grave doesn't mean you throw up your hands and let them off the hook. (*g* wonder how many more metaphors I can inflict on them in a single sentence?)

  • Unix will take the server market. Microsoft will hold the desktop. Which is more valuable is arguable. Nothing else to say, really.

  • You seem to think that Microsoft is being threatened with punishment because it is a monopoly. This is what MS has wanted you to believe. Microsoft is being threatened because they harmed consumers. I couldn't give a damn about Netscape -- they were just a bunch of wannabe monopolists anyway. This isn't about protecting them. It's about the harm done to consumers.

    This is not based speculation from their actions. It is based on direct evidence of MS executives' intentions.

    Did it help you, the consumer, when Microsoft used it's discriminatory pricing to punish vendors who marketed competing products? Did it save you from the confusing situation where multiple products competed for your affection?

    I must admit, the whole IE bundling thing is dumb. I think MS was actually making the right decision to include a browser with the OS. But there are other issues that have nothing to do with MS's "freedom to innovate". There's nothing innovative about using your monopoly to stifle competition. That's what this lawsuit is about.

    Punishing MS for business tactics that harm consumers and the free market system is not contrary to OSS, America, or anything else other than unbridled capitalism. The US did unbridled capitalism for a while, and it didn't work well. That's why anti-trust laws exist.

  • Hell, you could have 100% of all market share and that still doesn't make you a monopoly.

    Yes it would, actually. However, it wouldn't necessarily mean you've done anything illegal. There is no law against being a monopoly.

    a. the ability to control prices in market

    As the court found, Microsoft has increased their prices significantly over the years. They can do this due to network effects which create a high barrier to entry in the OS market. In other words, there is a point at which it becomes financially cheaper to switch to an alternative, however, that point is quite high due to all the infrastructure investments companies have made. Microsoft is taking full advantage of that fact by continually raising their prices, but keeping them below that point. They are reaping monopoly profits.

    b. the unresponsives to customer needs

    The only thing Microsoft has really had to fear is that someone else could get a stranglehold on part of the industry that would put them in a position to dictate terms to Microsoft. This is the only thing that has kept them "innovating." In this case I have to define "innovating" as buying up competitors or simply duplicating their products and distributing them with the monopoly OS to drive the company out of the market. As far as OSes alone are concerned, Microsoft only really competes with its own products (i.e. Win2k vs. Win98/ME).

    c. the lack of serious competition or the threat of serious competiton.

    As I've stated already, there is no serious competition in the desktop OS market right now. The barriers to entry are too high.

    But just because the competition fails it doesn't mean that MS is a monopoly.

    No, just because the competition fails, it doesn't mean MS is a monopoly. However, when you look at WHY they failed, then you see that Microsoft is indeed a monopoly, and not only that, they abuse their monopoly position quite regularly. The internal MS email that was revealed during the course of the trial illustrated quite nicely that MS understands their position very well and fully intended to take advantage of it.

  • How long would Apple remain a competitor without MS Office and IE available on that platform? Apple competes at Microsoft's discretion. Hell, Microsoft invests in Apple! Do you really think they consider them to be real competition?

  • by Danse ( 1026 )

    I'm talking about competition between platforms.

    Platforms aren't viable without applications.

    From a user point of view, we have choices. We can choose to use: Windows, MacOS 9, Mac OSX, Linux, Unix, BeOS, etc etc etc.

    Not if we want to run standard applications. That's the whole point. Microsoft IS the standard today. If Microsoft wants to make Apple irrelevant they simply have to stop porting Office, IE, and a few other apps and Apple will be relegated to being just another niche OS. They won't do this right now because Apple is convenient to point to when they need to claim they have competition.

    However, the courts decides that they are only concerned with the x86 processor family, and only non niche OSes, (which is how they eliminated all the other OSes for x86).

    Look at what you're talking about. The other OSes ARE niche OSes. Microsoft has over 90% of the desktop OS market, x86 or otherwise. Linux isn't a viable desktop OS for the vast majority of people simply because Microsoft doesn't sell a version of Office for it and it doesn't have a big enough marketshare for developers to create top-teir apps and games for it. This is why barriers to entry are so important in determining what constitutes a monopoly. If an OS doesn't have enough marketshare, then nobody develops for it. If nobody develops for it, it won't gain marketshare.

    Microsoft knows how expensive it is for businesses to switch OSes. That's why they can get away with their onerous EULAs and high prices. Companies have to think of the bottom line. They have already invested heavily in Microsoft products. They can't just switch to something else unless they can show that it will cost them less over the next couple of quarters. So Microsoft prices their products as high as they can without crossing the line that would cause companies to abandon them in favor of another OS. So really there is no competition to make an impact on Microsoft's prices. The only thing that affects them are the barriers to entry of the OS market. That's why they tried to destroy Java. It threatened to lower the barrier. Same with Netscape. Browsers had the potential to become platforms themselves. They wouldn't allow that.

    The only thing that even resembles competition for Microsoft is Open Source software. And that is only because it doesn't play the same game as Microsoft so MS hasn't been able to beat it yet. It is an anomoly though. It's not a commercial interest for the most part. Most attempts to make a profit from it have failed. I'm not sure it should even be considered part of the market by the court. It's really a strange animal. More of a backlash against the screwed up IP laws in this country than an attempt to compete with commercial software. It is, however, good to know that all the software know-how and code is not locked up by corporations yet.

  • Breaking up microsoft goes against this idea. Microsoft became popular because EVERYONE used their software, not because they bought out all their competing OS's.

    Two things. First, they originally got their market position because IBM made DOS the default OS to ship on all their PCs. Second, they don't have to buy out other OSes. Network effects are quite real and quite powerful. Since IBM made Microsoft the standard, it created a powerful incentive for everyone to use it, even if something better came along. Unless you can get everyone else to switch en masse along with you, you can't really move to a non-standard OS without alienating yourself from your customers, business partners, etc.

    The people that want MS broken up are competition

    Of course they are! They are the victims of Microsoft's illegal tactics! They want something done about it. I can't blame them for that. Even the appeals court didn't overturn the facts of the case which state that Microsoft DID abuse its monopoly. It did commit a crime!

  • Just 5 years ago, I remember shopping for a car with my GF, and a V6 accord could be had for $16,000.00

    Of course in the last 5 years the Accord has been upscaled quite a bit with the Civic taking over the lower end and another (i forgot the name now) taking over the "itty bitty" category from the civic. I don't think you can compare the two now.

    How much is matinee now? $5.75 How about just 3 years ago? $3.00 Now I know inflation isn't that high.... That's what a monopoly does to you, since over here, Regal Cinemas is the only theatre chain in town... Don't want to pay $7.75? Then you're SOL, don't watch a movie than....

    Was this meant to support your point? If so, you lost me.

    As for the insurance companies, I have to chalk it up to corruption. The government mandates that we have insurance on our vehicles, but they don't do nearly enough to make sure the insurance companies don't screw people over. The insurance industry is huge and has great lobbying power. That's why you get screwed.

  • by Danse ( 1026 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @07:26PM (#88266)

    if MS had a true monopoly, there would be only one OS on all systems.

    By this statement alone, it's obvious that you don't understand what you're talking about. People like you love to throw out this nifty-sounding bullshit and hope that other ignoramouses will buy into it. If you knew a thing about markets, you'd know that you don't have to have 100% of a market to be a monopoly. You'd also know that having a monopoly is not illegal in itself. You'd understand that it comes down to how whether or not they use that monopoly in ways that gives their products a marked advantage over other products which has nothing to do with the quality of the product itself. This goes against the idea of free and open competition that our economy is based on. That's why the government is supposed to step in and right things. In Microsoft's case the government completely screwed its first attempt by believing Microsoft would abide by the spirit of their agreement rather than jumping straight through the first loophole they found. Now they're back for another try and I, for one, will be extremely pissed off if they screw this one up too. I'm sick of seeing Microsoft use their OS monopoly to beat OEMs and competitors into submission. Nor do I want to see them get away with the profit of their actions. Of course the fucked up IP laws in this country only make it easier for them.

  • I was going to say...

    There is no difference between what MS does, or Sun or IBM or GE.

    Actually a far worse company than Microsoft is Oracle, but they never get any attention placed on them. There is also no CEO more driven, aggressive, mean-spirited or down right evil than Larry Ellison.

    Well maybe Steve Jobs, but he's only dangerous to himself.
  • Wow are you ever out of touch with reality.

    you might want to cut back on that Guinness.
  • Do you seriously think the Add/Remove program list will actually remove the core IE functionality?

    Get real. IE functionality is embedded all throughout Windows XP, Office, Money, numerous third party apps, etc.

    Think customers are going to be happy when Active Directory doesn't work? Nope...

    All they'll be doing is removing iexplore.exe and the icon, the core of IE which is essentially the HTML rendering engine will still exist on the machine in the form of COM objects.
  • I don't see how you can possibly call the software produced by Oracle to be "great", and the software produced by Microsoft to be "mediocre."

    You've severely mischaracterized both individuals. The only explanation I can think of is that you do not use either companies products.

  • by sheldon ( 2322 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @07:39PM (#88276)

    Linus Torvalds didn't create Linux because of Microsoft.

    He created Linux because he wanted something better than Minix, but couldn't afford to go out and buy any of the Commercial Unices of the time.

    I can't remember what all was around back then. I recall SCO Unix and there were several SVR4 releases. I don't recall when Unixware and BSDi entered the market...

    But in '92 if you wanted Unix on your desktop that mean paying at least $600, but more often close to $3,000 or so if you wanted a C compiler, etc.

    This anti-Microsoft thing didn't start happening until much much later, and it wasn't Mr. Torvalds driving it.

    There's few of us around who remember this, it seems.
  • A few things you have wrong:

    1) Windows is _not_ easy enough for any given Grandma to use. Maybe yours, but definitely not mine. My Dad (who has been using computers for a long time, and has a masters in engineering) has trouble figuring out how Windows works all the time. The only thing that makes it "easy" is that its used everywhere.

    2) Macintoshes have always been easier to use. Macintoshes have brought more to the usability of computing than _anything_ else. Personally, I don't like the company Apple either. However, they have at least brought something to computing.

    I always tell people - if you want something that's easy to use, run Mac OS. If you want something that's technically excellent, run UNIX. If you don't want either of those, stick with Windows.

  • "If anyone wants to get in a slap on the wrist before it's too late..."

    Anybody see last Thursday's Cringely [pbs.org]? (They're dated on Thursdays but usually don't get posted 'til almost Friday) He offers the opinion that if the cost of settlement goes as high as 2 Billion Dollars that MS will just use the money to buy an island somewhere and move offshore instead. He's not joking. "I have no idea where Microsoft would move, but I know they are considering it. Let me repeat that: I KNOW THEY ARE CONSIDERING IT."

    As he further says "As a diplomat, Gates couldn't even be arrested for speeding on visits back to Redmond..."

    It's worth a read.

  • When I said buy I meant as in make the necessary investments in the right local politicians and the choicer real estate, however, BG could probably afford to pick up a few nukes and the odd missle or two on the black market should he need to encourage other countries not to mess with them.
  • This idea of Microsoft's buying a country is so idiotic it's breathtaking. An independent nation under Microsoft would have no protection either from invasion or from trade barriers. The company would have to spend an incredible amount each year just to have some sort of national defense establishment, and even Microsoft's money can't purchase that many state-of-the-art fighter planes. And what leverage would Microsoft the company/country have in trade negotiations with say Europe or Asia? Furthermore what exactly would it mean for Microsoft to purchase a country? Sure they might hold all of the property and be able to ship in tens of thousands of programmers, but would this mean that Bill Gates gets instantly appointed dictator for life? Even with tens of thousands of programmers, far more people than that will be living in whatever country would be purchased. Let's see, richer mostly white minority tries to rule over a probably darker skin much more populous majority--wait a minute, that's what South Africa tried! And at least the South African whites had the motivation that they were fighting for their home country, which would not be the case for Microsoft's employees. That type of social situation is going to go over real well with the talent Microsoft must keep attracting, let alone world opinion. To buy off the population Microsoft would again be faced with ruinous expenditures on social programs--health care, education, care of the elderly. And what exactly does moving to another country do for Microsoft now that its main worries are lawsuits for damages in the US, not a break-up? Microsoft still has the bulk of its business in the US.

  • It is my opinion that MS isn't a monopoly, and I hold this opinion for three primary reasons:

    It's not a matter of opinion, it's been decided by a federal court and upheld unanimously by the court of appeals. You're barking up the wrong tree.

    a. They cannot, despite sustained efforts, control prices of desktop operating systems or application level software.

    You're living on another planet. Over the years the price of Microsoft's consumer OS has climbed steadily. It now costs more than a year's income for some people.


  • I agree. A couple years ago Microsoft settled a lawsuit with the state of California over the old MS Office boxes that clearly showed "Microsoft Mail" to be part of the package (but it turned out that you couldn't actually use the Mail software without an additional client licence). The result was tens of millions of dollars worth of free Office licences for CA schools, which cost Microsoft absolutely nothing of course, except lost revenue.

    New Mexico went cheap.
  • OK, I'm "dumb", but someone over at Microsoft makes a marketing decision to take an existing product and sell it to home users and you are falling all over yourself to call it "monumental".

    Better to be dumb than a wet pantied fanboy.

    Sorry, if you want monumental, try NT 3.1. If you want monopolistic marketing strategies try what's happened to NT since then. If you want to be interesting try explaining to me and the rest of Slashdot why "NT Home" was cancelled in the mid 90s, and why "2000 Home" was cancelled last year, and why XP Home is interesting to anyone who isn't ignorant.

    (By support gravytrain, I am certainly not talking about PSS -- I'm talking about solving people's support issues by upselling them to a new OS and or computer. And PSS hasn't be free since the dark ages.)
  • by IntlHarvester ( 11985 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @09:14PM (#88293) Journal
    How the fuck is XP "innovation" at all? Let's take the 10 year old NT kernel, bolt on Plug-n-Play (5 years too late), and bolt on a really retarded MS Bob-like inteface. XP is the cheapest new OS in years, excluding marketing costs.

    More interesting is that Microsoft used their monopoly to essentially segement the market by downplaying NT for the last 8 years and foisting what was supposed to be a compatibility solution (Win9x) but turned out to be an unreliable pre-modern piece of shit onto 90% of the computing public's desktops.

    My guess is that they've realized that the support gravytrain and the upgrade cycle is over. Expect Win XP to hang around for a long time.
  • by ethereal ( 13958 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @05:34PM (#88300) Journal

    The reason that XP is better is precisely because there is competition (of a sort) from Linux and Mac OS X. This is more pronounced in the server arena, though - from all reports W2K is a big improvement over NT4 for server use, precisely because Linux is a very credible threat in the server arena. Also, Microsoft has some impetus to turn out new (not necessarily better) software frequently in order to keep customers on the upgrade trail and ensure consistent cash flow to meet Microsoft's business needs.

    True, Microsoft has innovated at times, mostly as a direct result of being spurred by competition. But their usual practice is to innovate a little and then market a lot in order to bury the most recent threat (lately it's Real, leading to Windows Media Player). Once Microsoft switches to its new subscription pricing model, they will have no reason to innovate at all without competition (because they don't have to force an upgrade every few years), and I think you'll see innovation stop in those markets where they have no competition.

    The market is still as open as it ever has been. Programmers just don't try hard enough to compete (they sure do bitch though).

    If you can't get your really cool software onto new PCs because Microsoft has used its OS monopoly to push MS-apps, then it doesn't matter how hard you've tried. If you've written the most innovative code anywhere, but Microsoft can use its ill-gotten gains to clone your project from scratch faster than you can lock in market share, it doesn't matter how much work you've put into things. For very basic reasons ingrained in our capitalistic system, as well as network effects dictated by the nature of software in general, it's very tough to unseat a reigning monopoly, especially one which has shown itself to be as unprincipled as Microsoft.

    You only have to read a quote from a venture capitalist saying that they won't fund businesses that would go up against Microsoft to see how strong and resilient the monopoly really is. VCs understand innovation - they're not afraid of funding projects that are often too innovative and ahead of their time. But they know markets too, and the truth is that in some markets it has been and will continue to be almost impossible to compete with Microsoft on the basis of innovative products or competitive (but profitable) pricing.

  • by ethereal ( 13958 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @04:03PM (#88301) Journal

    I read that comment as "We know that no one can control Microsoft, so at least we'll get on their good side while they're relatively weakened". What a huge loss for the forces of law and order.

    All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. - Edmund Burke

    I'm amazed that anyone would consider lightening up on Microsoft just because they're trying (not very convincingly) to clean up their act now. Present good deeds don't make up for past misconduct in any other court in the land. The attitude is "Well, they've changed their ways, and it would be too hard to prosecute them any further, so...". Where's the famous American thirst for vengeance that gets fired up whenever some lunatic blows up a building? :)

  • Fortunately, the impact of this decision will be relatively minimal. The general public won't pay much attention to this, because very few people actually realize that New Mexico is part of the United States [state.nm.us]. So you see, we actually have very little to worry about.

  • Joe Average can't figure out linux

    Joe Average can't figure out Windows either. If you have ever used Windows, you'll know the user-friendliness isn't a factor in Windows' dominance at all.

  • It probably has a hell of a lot more to do with the fact that New Mexico just about does anything to keep Intel happy. And without Microsoft, the market for x86 chips (which are only cheap due to the size of the Wintel base) would plummet.

  • He offers the opinion that if the cost of settlement goes as high as 2 Billion Dollars that MS will just use the money to buy an island somewhere and move offshore instead.
    Even if MS moves offshore, they'll still be selling products to US customers, they'll still need to maintain some offices in the US, they'll still have to hold some assets in US banks, and they can't make money in the US without the protection of US copyright laws.

    They can run, but they can't hide.

  • If Microsoft holds only the desktop, their stock will go down. Investors are bidding up MSFT so high because they expect it to grow -- now that they have ninety-mumble percent of the desktop market, the only way they can grow is by expanding their share in other markets.
  • by sharkey ( 16670 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @05:42PM (#88308)
    Try scrolling down. The article is longer than a couple of paragraphs.

  • by sharkey ( 16670 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @07:14PM (#88309)
    From the first draft of the CNET article,

    "Originally planned for last week, the announcement was delayed when Madrid and the Microsoft lawyers could not use MSN IM to finalise the sell-out."

  • Yes, Microsoft has more money than all 19 states put together.

    Does anyone have any facts to back this up? I really find it hard to believe. Of course, Microsoft has more money in all their departments put together than the individual states do in merely their AG departments, but that's comparing apples to oranges. But it's a big stretch to say that Microsoft has more money that all these states put together.
  • You see, I want a choice as to what software I utilize on my computer.

    Microsoft most certainly does not want me to have that choice.

    I'm drinking an Anchor Steam right now. Pete's Brewing company would rather have me drinking a Pete's Wicked. My CPU is AMD. Intel doesn't like that. Even the open source community is not immune. I'm running FreeBSD. That's certainly not what the typical Slashdot poster would recommend.

    In all of the above situations, the competitors to the products am an using wish I was using something else. But they will not insist upon it. Instead, they will play by the rules of the game and try to win me over by various voluntary means, such as marketing or making a better product.

    Microsoft is no different. Their goal is not to deny you a choice, but instead to offer you a product that you desire more than what the competition offers. For you, I, and most of the Slashdot readship, they have failed. But they have suceeded immeasurably in the first time computer user category.

    Microsoft has acted no differently than most software companies. What they are being tried for is perfectly legal and ethical for small companies. But Microsoft is not small, and are being sued for doing nothing more than being big. Exclusive contracts with OEMs is nothing new. Bundling two products together is nothing new. Offering discounts to the largest customers is nothing new.

    Wishing the competition did not do so well is nothing new.
  • I have to use their stupid products at work, and they make the frustration level of my job ten times worse.

    At my work I have to use Solaris. It's awful! I get a choice between CDE and olwm. Evil Sun! Evil cruel Sun! Of course, my employer had nothing to do with it.

    It has devoured company after company.

    I am aware of no company that Microsoft has bought out that was not already for sale. If a company doesn't want to be bought, they shouldn't go public. Instead of blaming Microsoft, blame all the stockholders who sold.

    The company I work for just got bought by a corporation at least five times the size of Microsoft. We were miniscule in size compared to them. But we made a competing product that had the number one market share in its category. How did they buy us out? Because we were for sale.

    They want to make you pay to keep your software running.

    So, they have decided to lease their software instead of selling it. My landlord does they same thing. I have to pay month after month to live in my own home. Awful! Of course, your choosing to use other software will be considerably easier than my choosing to buy my own home.

    If you don't want to rent Microsoft software, then don't. No one is making you rent it.

    ...every unhappy customer that wanders off, shaves a little sliver off the MS block.

    Yup! I couldn't agree more. The customers are in full control of Microsoft. They made every dime they had because people bought their products. They didn't pass any omnibus tax bills. They didn't commit armed robbery. They didn't find it in a bag on the beach. Perhaps, just perhaps, Microsoft got as big as they did because a lot of people actually chose to buy their software? I sure wouldn't choose to buy it. But a hell of a lot of people do.
  • Do you know what a tied house is? It's where the pub has a contract not to sell just one brand. Sometimes they are outright owned by the brewery. Not much different than the agreements Microsoft has with a few OEMs.
  • The abuses you attribute to Microsoft are common, everyday occurances in any industry where one producer uses the services of another. Discounts for exclusive vendor contracts are a dime a dozen.

    You mentioned the free market, so I'll assume that you know what it means. In a free market, no party to a transaction is required to either buy or sell. Microsoft does not have to sell to Compaq, and Compaq does not have buy from Microsoft. In order for Compaq to purchase Windows, they had to agree to Microsoft's price. Exclusive contracts where part of that price. They voluntarily chose to pay a smaller monetary price with a contract than a higher monetary price without a contract.

    If entire industries and sectors have come to rely upon a single producer, it would be far better to question why those industries made such a stupid mistake than to question why Microsoft chose to sell to those willing to buy.

    And, to date, I have seen no Microsoft executive state that they wish to forcibly deny me a choice. Do you have any quotes and references to back up your claim that they did?
  • Why not install KDE, Gnome or your favourite X Window environment of choice ?

    I can't install KDE because it's Solaris 2.5.1 (not ICE or SM). I did install WindowMaker, but I had to install it in my own quota-limited home directory. I certainly didn't get any help from IT. But not of it was Sun's fault. I can only blame my employer for not preinstalling KDE, or giving me a larger home directory, or failing to grant me root access.

    Claiming that similar limitations to Microsoft, as the previous poster did, is just wrong. If someone has a beef with using Windows at work, then blame the employer.
  • They're not going to get off scot free.

    In case anybody missed it, when the appeals court decision was announced, Scott McNeally was positively crowing. Not only was the remedy (the breakup) vacated and remanded rather than reversed (translation: the lower court, less Penfield Jackson, can do anything from smack Bill on the wrist with a wet noodle, to shredding Microsoft and serving it to Linus Torvalds au brochette... but I digress), but the monopoly judgement was affirmed.

    Microsoft is a monopoly; it is so written in the law now.

    This means that Sun's (and AOL's and Compaq's) lawyers are working feverishly to come up with the best way to use that legal ammunition to hang it in to the Evil Empire. (I don't know what Oracle thinks of this, or whether they would even have standing, but gods help us all if Ellison decides it's worth it and goes after Bill.... the scene of legal carnage would be unimaginable.) New Mexico can get stuffed. The corporations have not yet begun to fight.

  • Taking on Microsoft on their own turf would be suicide. The only reason Linux is succeeding (at least in the server area) is because it is *not* taking on Microsoft head-on (proprietary OS promoted by a single company). Microsoft hasn't known how to fight Linux because Linux is not just one company that can be attacked. They are just finally learning what to attack (the process, the GPL), but it is an uphill battle for them.

    Heck, even Microsoft realizes that there some markets where even *they* have trouble competing head-on with the market leaders.

    At this point, Microsoft has such a lock on the intel desktop that it would be nearly impossible for a single commercial company to compete head-on (remember OS/2, BeOS, etc.). At this point in time, virtually the only hope for reducing their monopoly lies with open source software because it's a diffuse enough target that Microsoft is having trouble attacking it. Even so, it will be difficult unless Microsoft makes a HUGE mistake at some point in the future.
  • Well they have an unstable monopoly yes, which could be overturned if they didn't "innovate" but the big deal to me is not that they have a monopoly, (Remember its not illigal to have a monopoly) its what they are doing with the monopoly they have. XP in my opinion is very innovative, but it is also an attempt at monopolising almost every other type of internet buisness. They are going after licensing fees from photo making, (ok not a monopoly but definatly an abuse of their desktop monopoly). They are trying to monopolise Instant Messaging. And most importantly they are trying to become the single point of personal information sharing, for billing of internet purchases, once they get that they could become their own credit card company. Ok, so they now control the money flow of the internet, and your ability to buy anything from it. Once people get used to that, the amount of leverage they will have over our economy will be so huge its sickening.
  • It is a bit sketchy, but seriously I could definatly imaging that MS's legal department has more money than most states have for fighting legal battles, 19 of them put together I don't know. But they definatly have alot more than NM and NM isn't THAT poor. Did a quick bit of reasearch the Federal Government has a total budget for 2001 of about 20 billion for litegation/judicial of course probably less than 100 million was spent on MS, but the states themselves probably could only afford to spend probably a couple million at MOST. What state in their right mind would throw their whole budget at MS, while MS can throw a good percent of their money at the problem if they can show the investors that it will help.
  • by s390 ( 33540 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @12:32AM (#88330) Homepage
    The New Mexico AG simply doesn't want to have a say in further proceedings. If she can get M$ to pay the State's costs so far and retain the right to share in any eventual settlement extracted by the DoJ and the rest of the States, then it's just a management decision about where to allocate her staff, no matter how she or M$ might spin this. It won't have any affect on the rest of this case.

    Remember the important things:

    * The Appeals Court found Microsoft in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. This won't just go away, no matter what Gates does.

    * One of the reasons for vacating the breakup was uncertainty it would be an effective remedy to prevent future Microsoft misdeeds.

    * Another Judge could impose a breakup into _more_ pieces (OS Client, OS Server, Browser, Office, and Media); it could happen.

    * Conduct remedies could be imposed, with or without breakup; this would burden Microsoft greatly with DoJ oversight procedures.

    * The DoJ has to satisfy 18 States, some of which are still "very troubled" (read, pissed off) at Microsoft's recent actions and plans.

    * If not finally reversed, the Court's decision will fuel a storm of civil suits in the US alone. AOL Netscape has a solid foundation.

    * Europe's antitrust commission hasn't even _started_ in on Microsoft yet, and the US guilty verdict may influence their thinking.

    Microsoft is dead, everybody knows this... except them.

  • If microsoft really was as evil as a monopoly as you say they are, then why do they continue to innovate?

    Except that they don't "innovate", so much as change things for the sake of change and rip off other people's idea. (The former is also a rip off off of an idea General Motors came up with, the "annual model change".
  • He offers the opinion that if the cost of settlement goes as high as 2 Billion Dollars that MS will just use the money to buy an island somewhere and move offshore instead. He's not joking. "I have no idea where Microsoft would move, but I know they are considering it. Let me repeat that: I KNOW THEY ARE CONSIDERING IT."

    I doubt it since they wouldn't last too long if they did. Bill might be rich but you can't buy an army off the shelf. Not that that would do any good if someone "acidentally" fires off an SLBM.
  • This idea of Microsoft's buying a country is so idiotic it's breathtaking. An independent nation under Microsoft would have no protection either from invasion or from trade barriers. The company would have to spend an incredible amount each year just to have some sort of national defense establishment, and even Microsoft's money can't purchase that many state-of-the-art fighter planes.

    Are there any "state-of-the-art fighter planes" which have anti submarine capability. Let alone the ability to shoot down sub launched missiles?
  • When I said buy I meant as in make the necessary investments in the right local politicians and the choicer real estate, however, BG could probably afford to pick up a few nukes and the odd missle or two on the black market should he need to encourage other countries not to mess with them.

    In which case he may as well move to Iraq...
  • May be more a matter of $10-million * 19 Attorneys General == very good deal for Microsoft.
  • Although the price trend of off the shelf commodities has been going up the last five years the price of hardware and software have been trending down. The price of just about every piece of software has gone down over the last five years except MS products where MS has a monopoly. The price of Windows and office have gone up while the price of ms money and ms works has gone down. Monopoly = ability to jack up prices.
  • A federal judge has ruled that MS is a monopoly. An Appeals court has upheld that ruling. They also both have ruled that MS has abused that monopoly to the detriment of consumers. They have only disagreed on what the punishment should be.

    I think it's time you accepted the fact that MS is a monopoly and that they have harmed the consumers.
  • Your analogy is very apt. MS is the bully in the schoolyard. There are two possible responses to a bully. One report the bully to the authorities two gang up and beat the bully to a pulp. In this case the second option is out of the question. Mainly because the bully is a 30 year old karate expert and the kids are all 12 year olds. No matter how they gang up they will not be able to beat up the bully.
    Also bullying is itself illegal. Hitting the bully back is illegal, just like the bully is committing assault by hitting the 12 year olds.
    It remains to be seen wheather the authorities will make the bully stop committing assault or not (I doubt it very much).
    What I would like to see is for someone to hold Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, and the rest of the mafioso to be held personally responsible for their acts.
    This will probably mean a well placed explosive but I digress (and besides I would never reccomend that someone actually kill these bastards or cause them great bodily harm there are other ways to hold evil people personally responsible for their actions).
  • I see now. A thirty year old bully who is a karate expert should be able to beat up on any 12 year he sees because he has gained his expertise through many battles.
    Yes by golly that sure seems right.
  • It is obvious Microsoft will continue to resist attempts to require this remedy. It is time to settle this case and move forward.

    Yeah, and most murderers resist attempts to require the death penalty. Must be nice to have the prosecutors give up just because you resist their penalties....
  • Not what was displayed on my screen, it wasn't... Maybe the /. editors are in fact reading a different article than I was.
  • it talks about how New Mexico's attorney general is all on Microsoft's side now against the remaining states.

    Um, lemme see. The single quote from the AG contains, "I am no longer persuaded a breakup remains appropriate or will ultimately be ordered by the courts. It is obvious Microsoft will continue to resist attempts to require this remedy." That doesn't come screaming out of the page at me as "being all on Microsoft's side."

    That sounds more like, "they're not going to give up, and they have more money than all 19 states in the suit put together, so we would run out of money first. Let's go do something constructive instead."

    Ah, but it's Slashdot. If you're not ranting against the evils of Microsoft, you're all on their side.

    (Go ahead, smack me for wanting some journalistic integrity. I've got karma to blow.)

  • Guess I forgot the &lt rhetorial question &gt tag :)
  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @03:57PM (#88352)
    How many states are still involved in the suit?

    The only real problem is that the case is going to drag on and on (much like IBM) so any "correctional damage" (aka Justice) might not be effective if everyone could just agree to what the sentence should be.
  • Does anyone know if the New Mexico State government recently recieved one of those threatening software audit letters from Microsoft? :-)
  • Maybe so, but in microsoft's case, "profit warning" means "we'll make 4 billion instead of 5."

  • NT5, unfortunately, isn't fully unified, most drivers from 9X and a lot of applications refused to work. XP does NOT have these issues, I have not seen anything fail to work from either 9X or NT.


  • I had to pay for Windows on my machine whether I wanted it or not

    In my honest opinion this is either untrue, or the computer vendor's fault, not Microsoft's. Microsoft has had serious problems with vendors loading Windows on PCs and not paying Microsoft for all the licenses. In order to simplify the auditing process of these vendors Microsoft offers discounts on their OS to large vendors which pay for Windows licenses for all the systems made of a certain model. Auditing is simplified by counting up the number of systems of that model that were shipped, and making sure the licenses were paid for. The vendor can choose to offer models without Windows, but there just isn't a lot of demand for those models, so the expenses of having a seperate model line just aren't worth it. Therefore, the models you can buy all have Windows on them.
    Now you as a consumer want to buy a computer. As a Linux user, you have no use for Windows. The vendor could offer you a computer that doesn't have Windows on it, but it doesn't make finacial sense for them to do so. This isn't just because MS offers them Windows discounts, but because offering a system in a different configuration simply costs them money, and there isn't that large of a demand for Linux systems from these vendors. You still have the option of trying to get the vendor to refund the price of Windows to you. Insert IANAL disclaimer here. Microsoft's EULA, which the vendors know about and have a responsability to conform with as OEMs of Microsoft's products, states that you can return the software if unused. The vendor will likely nog get reimbursed for the refund by Microsoft. The vendor has chosen to take the discount on the price of window, so returns are now their problem. That's the price they pay for the discounted price.
    What this does is create a niche market for smaller vendors who aren't elligable for these large volume discount programs. They have to pay higher prices for each copy of Windows that they buy, but the aren't required to ship Windows on all the systems of a specific model. This also makes a market where companies like Penguin Computing can hopefully make money.
    The big problem I heard about was getting laptops without Windows installed. It sounds like some vendors now have these available. If there's a profitable market, someone will sell it.
    It's just my opinion, but the Windows Rebate Day thing was running high on a lot of I hate Microsoft FUD, rather than facts.
  • by Moonshadow ( 84117 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @04:10PM (#88360)
    No! Bad! 99% of the prosecuting states isn't good enough! I demand a full 100%!

    Maybe we should see if we can get Judge Patel on this case. Her technical incompetance could be useful. Just call the Microsoft programmers "hackers" (Well, it's gotta be some really hacked up code...) and we've got it in the bag. But then again, she'd probably be happy with a nice big Microsoft "donation", right up next to her RIAA one.
  • ...this one:

    In June, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit upheld a lower court's ruling that Microsoft had illegally maintained a monopoly in Intel-based operating systems.
    I'm glad that it keeps getting repeated in the media.
  • Pete's never charged the bottlers any more money because they also bottled Anchor Steam. Pete's doesn't get paid for a beer sale from the bottling company whether or not it's a Pete's brew that's sold or an Anchor Steam.

    Microsoft didn't use every dirty trick in the book to stifle competition and make sure that the consumer didn't have a choice of what to use. Microsoft invented the book.

  • by rapett0 ( 92674 ) <.moc.liamtoh. .ta. .dogdiuqil.> on Thursday July 12, 2001 @04:30PM (#88366) Homepage Journal
    Of course, and lets remember now 10 companies that came out of AT&T's monopoloy are now bigger then that monopoly ever was. How is their image ruined? Seriously? I am not a major MS product user or supporter, yet all the lawsuit told me was that they know how to market. XBox is not going to fail if you know *anything* about the video game market. XP is going to have some issues, but by in large, NT was slow to take off, as was Me, but now they are everywhere. Define no longer what it used to be? I can agree on a superficial front, and even from a technology side, but I think you meant behemoth of industry, and to that I say you are *completely* wrong. Last I checked MS has even MORE desktop market share then it had before. The percentages are different with Linux et al adding to their camps, but there are so many more desktops out there that MS has even more then before.

    M$ bashing only helps M$++ in the end.

  • You are dumb.

    1) There isn't much of a support gravy train - PSS at microsoft has traditionally been a free resource.

    2) XP is monumental in that it brings SMP, JFS, firewalling, NAT, etc etc and other modern OS features to a consumer OS. Only Mac OS X** has tried to bring any of those features to home users. Wether or not OSX will be the commercial success apple hopes it will be remains to be seen.

    XP is finally going to unify the Win32 platform (sort of) :)

    ** OS/2 doesn't really count as a consumer OS anymore than AmigaDOS does :)

  • Microsofts Market cap is hovering around 400billion.

    They have 0 debt.


    They have about 28billion in cash and equivalents.

    Look, MS makes so much money off of loan interest (MS loans cash to banks and other financial institutions) that their company wide investment income is larger than some of their product groups.

    Guess which tech company is _not_ doing layoffs, forced vacations, etc etc. No no. Instead of fucking its employees, Microsofts idea of "cost cutting" is "we'll hire less people for a while", and "from now on, we're going to look over expense reports when you turn them in"

  • what part of "consumer OS" did you miss ?

    Does your grandma run IRIX ?

  • You need to re-examine your premises.

    a. They cannot, despite sustained efforts, control prices of desktop operating systems or application level software.

    A great proportion of the lucrative revenue stream for Microsoft comes about through enterprise licensing agreements. Large corporations (pick *any* one near you) have to standardize on their platforms to contain the costs of support. Guess which standard they "pick"? Believe me, if Microsoft raised the price of Office by 20%, we might not like it, but we'd pay. The alternatives are not considered worthy competitors, mainly because they are not considered "standard". Read any classified ads for receptionists, secretaries, bookkeepers and see how many of those advertisements demand skills of any software besides Microsoft's.

    b. They cannot, despite sustained efforts, control the course of the industry.

    It may be true that they haven't controlled every aspect of the IT business completely, but they have come closer than anyone since IBM of the 1960s.

    Microsoft defines the standard for PC software. If you expect to develop anything in that environment, then you'd better damn well pay attention to the next release of Windows and keep your MSDN subscription payments up.

    Dell, Compaq and Gateway have simply made a business decision that it is more profitable to accept terms from Redmond than to develop an OS and, through marketing, be able to displace the incredible installed base of Windows. Such a course of action would be a suicidal last resort.

    As far as most people are concerned, "Windows came with My Computer" and any thought of replacing it falls into the same category as replacing the power supply. It's technically difficult and there's no reason to do so.

    ....W I N D O W S I S T H E S T A N D A R D .
    and I don't care how stable Linux is and if it's given away for free. If it doesn't run Office and won't run all the ShrinkWrap software I bought from Egghead over the past 10 years and if I have to do something technical to install it, then I, as an average consumer, am not interested in it. I'd rather continue bleeding money at a small rate to a monopoly than to undergo the transition from Windows.

    In summary, if you had spent the last 15 years in a PC software house developing an office productivity application, then I think you would have automatically acquired a genuine appreciation for the state of the competitive landscape with Microsoft.

    I live in New Mexico, and I'm more ashamed than ever to have Patricia Madrid as my state Attorney General.

  • by zpengo ( 99887 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @03:57PM (#88374) Homepage
    "To my mind this matter is now ripe for speedy resolution," New Mexico Attorney General Patricia Madrid said in a statement. "I am no longer persuaded a breakup remains appropriate or will ultimately be ordered by the courts. It is obvious Microsoft will continue to resist attempts to require this remedy. It is time to settle this case and move forward."

    I think that is a great summary of where this case is going, not just on a state level but also on a national level.

    The courts will not order a break-up, and Microsoft knows it. They've cleaned up their image enough to get away with what they've done in the past. If anyone wants to get in a slap on the wrist before it's too late, this would be the time to give it to them.

  • Ah, but it's Slashdot. If you're not ranting against the evils of Microsoft, you're all on their side.

    While I understand your point generally, and agree with it on occasion, I think it does not apply in this case.

    Yes, Microsoft has more money than all 19 states put together. The only leverage the states have against Microsoft's prodigious financial resources is forcing Microsoft to fight 19 legal battles in 19 different states and courts of law simultaneously. The Court of Appeals did deliver a unanimous decision against Microsoft supporting the monopoly charge which gave the courts a comfortable legal position to hold. So New Mexico pulling out weakens that leverage by breaking down the solidarity. Without several states pushing Microsoft, there is no leverage.

    Furthermore, New Mexico Attorney General Patricia Madrid also stated, according to the article, "...the decision to have New Mexico settle its case with Microsoft will help open the way for the remaining parties to pursue realistic settlement terms," which is rather suspect since its clearly pushing for the other states to drop the lawsuit and settle which is only in Microsoft's interest. New Mexico has nothing to gain by the other states dropping their lawsuits - afterall, they've got their settlement so why should they care one way or another. Unless perhaps part of their settlement deal with Microsoft was to encourage other states to settle as well?

    Not saying that's the case but the potential is there.

    - tokengeekgrrl

  • Microsoft is winning on the legal front. Hey, I've even heard jokes that were when Microsoft got broken up the two companies were going to be, Legal, and everything else. Having states drop out is not a good thing on this case. But there needs to be more than just this case going on.
    Well, if this case is any indication, Microsoft Legal would go down in flames. The decision by the appeals court criticised Microsoft's defense time and time again. Microsoft is winning, not because of their legal team, but instead despite it, but because the prosecution isn't doing a very good job of coming up with sufficient evidence to prove that MS is doing what they claim.

    No, I think the joke would work much better as Microsoft Marketing, and the rest of the company. All jokes aside, however, I think Microsoft would likely be benefited by splitting up rather than hurt by it. The end result would probably be that both divisions would try things they would have otherwise avoided in fear of competing against themselves, and most likely make even more money. Look at the "Baby Bells", and the effect of that split-up. If you want to see Microsoft hurt, asking them to be split up won't further your purpose. I don't think it's even a suitable remedy, since there's virtually no reason to believe that two Microsofts would stimulate more competition than just one Microsoft.

    Remember that the aim of this lawsuit isn't to punish Microsoft but to remedy the anti-trust situation that Microsoft has created by their actions. I honestly think that points number 1 and 2 that GNU has proposed [gnu.org] would do better than virtually any of the other recommendation that has been put forward. It would allow Microsoft to continue "innovating" and developing their products, however they would be required to document EVERYTHING, and would not be able to litigate against those who made compatible products unless they used Microsoft copyrighted code illegally. The end result would be that Microsoft developers would be happier, Microsoft's competitors would have better tools to compete with Microsoft on a level playing field, and it would negate the complaints of many competitors that Microsoft has an unfair advantage since they control both the OS and applications and can make whatever modification they need to either to make their own products work better (even if damages the performance of competitors products). I do not agree with point three, however, since this is a remedy for Microsoft's actions, not for hardware manufacturers.

    The only body that I can think would be hurt by this would be Microsoft, in that they would have to invest in more employees to document the currently undocumented interfaces. The pain would only be temporary, as when the documentation on the currently undocumented interfaces is complete, only slightly more people would be needed to maintain documentation for new products and existing ones.

  • by bfree ( 113420 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @05:07PM (#88387)
    1. To think that the console battle has even begun is a delusion! Now we have Sony, Nintendo, Sega and MS. MS will probably find that by the time the XBox is starting to have the sort of titles required to get taken seriously, Sony will have a PS^3 which runs Linux (hey maybe they'll change to Be or QNX or XP hehe) and still runs PS2 games (if not PS1). The Gamers market is going to be a LOT harder for them to get into, too many of it's market will be thinking "I'm not having my console BSOD".
    2. I remeber NT 3.5 .... it didn't get far! NT4 (Chicago) was meant to solve all this by bringing all the dos users up to the NT codebse... it failed and NT gained a server role for MS but not spectacular numbers (think NT V 9x boxes). Me ... I don't know a single person who runs it (though I know many who ditched it). Win 9x is everywhere ... the latest efforts are getting a very very slow rollout! Of and the 2000 you never montioned, it's struggling to replace NT on servers and is still being left on the shelf for the 9x (or maybe Me) line on the Desktop. MS are successful and sell a lot of products, but their performance is really becoming a lot less spectacular (hence subscriptions are coming).
    Bottom line, MS are NOT what they were! They have fragmented their userbase (not fatally, but it is weakening their position). MS's business model is in ensuring that PCs come with Windows and that people buy the upgrades they release until they replace the PC with a new Windows PC. People are staying behind and not upgrading (ignoring the people who do upgrade...illegally). Add to this their attempts to take dangerous decisions (XBox, XP, .NET) and the legal threats on both sides of the Atlantic ... 5,4,3 years ago MS were awsome, Since then the chinks in the armour have started opening up.
  • I don't mind giving up a little money, a little "freedom", and a little control in return for less hassle, less complication, and less investment of time. I think for that reason, I am in the majority.

    You are right. Dozens of purchases of RedHat Linux think this way.

  • by Galvatron ( 115029 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @04:49PM (#88392)
    I don't necessarily disagree with you (I think MS may have some tough times ahead, but it is fairly competently run... dunno, we'll see), but the Baby Bells growing is fairly standard for broken monopolies. In fact, one of the Robber Barons (don't remember off the top of my head which one) was informed while playing golf that the government had split his company. He nodded his head, turned to his golfing partner and said "buy stock in my company, it'll double in a year." And it did, indeed, go through the roof.

    Basically, monopolies are owned for the most part by fairly meglomaniacal types, and so even when it would make economic sense to spin part of it off, they don't want to, or don't think about it, because they like owning an enormous, monopolistic company. The companies get so big that they repress their own industries, and end up not only preventing themselves from making a profit, but also stifle the growth of the industry, cutting into their own revenues too.

    This is one of the reasons I was happy that the courts rejected the break up order. I'd rather see Microsoft get beaten down than have them be split into two smaller, more dynamic Baby-softs, that continue to dominate their markets (OS and Office software, respectively) for years to come.

    The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.

  • True. So, Problem, what good are you doing posting on Slashdot?

    Works both ways. All of us sitting here is getting nothing done, but are we necessarily part of the problem? Not really.

    I'm rather happy that at least someone in government knows when it's wise to stop spending tax money, though I wish he'd move to Texas where that kind of discretion might bring the education levels up out of the dirt.
  • I can think of quite a few console gaming friends who would not know what BSOD stands for.

    They'll soon find out if they buy an Xbox...

  • by gilroy ( 155262 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @10:26PM (#88411) Homepage Journal
    Vlockquoth the poster:
    Punishing MS because you don't like their products or
    their business tactics or their authentication practices or .NET or just plain because Word crashed on you in the middle of a term paper is wrong [emphasis added]
    Unless their business practices are illegal. The argument against Microsoft is that they have leveraged the legitimate power they accrued through the decision of consumers (although I don't believe that that choice was entirely free... I had to pay for Windows on my machine whether I wanted it or not) into areas quite unrelated to it.

    Did most people choose Internet Explorer because it was technically superior or because Microsoft made it integral to the OS and made the OS unstable for other browsers? (BTW, don't tell me about how much more wonderful IE is. Let's talk about its relative merit at the time they began bundling it. I used NS and IE at that time and they were comparable. I actually preferred NS. Lately Netscape/AOL has really dropped the ball, but that isn't strictly relevant.)

    The drive behind the antitrust case is exactly that consumers were denied the ability to make choices based on merit. Just because Soviet candidates always received 100% of the vote doesn't mean people actually wanted them in office...

  • No way! Dude, they, like, allowed manufacturers to remove the internet explorer icon from the desktop and shit!
    The like, competition might dominate the market and like bankrupt MS. This is, like, umm, risky or something.
    They, like shouldn't be sued now.

    Oh. Shit. They already killed the competition.
    Bad grammar aside, their "remove the IE icon" trick is typical of the shit they pull (i.e. conquer, kill all competition, then agree to tone down and watch as everyone comes back to them willingly.) "Please Sir, Can I have another?"

    I have no idea what a few people in New Mexico are thinking. WTF? seems to be the most appropriate response. (although it's kind of cool that when the lawsuits are over, my state gets a bit more $ and New Mexico gets shit, except for the congressman / governor etc, who continues to get campaign contributions from MS)

    God Bless america or some shit.

    The slashdot 2 minute between postings limit:
    Pissing off coffee drinking /.'ers since Spring 2001.

  • They dont need to "buy" a whole country, as you pointed out, its not economically responsible... they only need to move to a country with a more benign disposition towards them.

    Already the authorities of the city of Vancouver and the province of British Columbia have approached Microsoft letting them know that they would never sue them for monopolistic practices.

    But then all slashdotters would be singing "Blame Canada!"

    C'mon, flame me!

  • I have some disagreements with your point of view.

    It is my opinion that MS isn't a monopoly, and I hold this opinion for three primary reasons:

    a. They cannot, despite sustained efforts, control prices of desktop operating systems or application level software. The main competitors for the desktop OS market are of course Linux distros. If MS doubled the price of Windows 2000/XP from ~380 to ~800, do you think many/any people would switch? The answer: a qualified yet resounding 'yes'. Its already happened to a lesser degree. Windows 2000 is significantly more expensive than Windows 98/ME, and as such uptake for Win2k has been generally disappointing.

    b. They cannot, despite sustained efforts, control the course of the industry. MS hasnt' been terribly innovative - they are generally a step or two behind technologically. They tried desperately to shift online use away from general purpose Internet access to propertiary-service based access - MSN was heavily promoted, cross-promoted, and distributed. Before any measure of success was sustained they were forced by market pressure to adopt a more friendly ISP look-and-feel. This is just one of many examples.

    c. Despite massive market share, there is strong, robust, and featureful competiton on multiple fronts. Of course for one, there are alternative hardware platforms. Apple springs right to mind, followed closely by Sparc. On the x86 platform, Linux is of course an ever present and terribly strong platform. Already linux.com reports that millions use it on the desktop, while Netcraft reports that Windows holds about 1/2 of the web-sever market share.

    I don't appreciate MS's business tactics, but basically I don't see them as terribly illegal. The whole anti-trust case hinges on one thing: MS as a monopoly. Without that, the case is more or less about business ethics. And that is not a topic that should be discussed in court.

    About OEMs, they need to sack up. Between Dell and Compaq very close to 50% of all computers get sold. With their clout they could *easily* force MS to loosen terms of licensing. If they formed a consortium and bought a real-end user OS like Be or splintered AtheOS, and sunk a few million a month into it, MS *would* surely respond. The thought of losing millions of sales will jolt *any* company into a less than favorable barganing position. But so long as Michael Dell and the fine people at Compaq continue to be Billy G's lapdogs, the retail computer market will continue to be Windows dominated.

  • It's amazing that after years of abusing its power, Microsoft is just gonna walk over this. *sigh*.

    You know whats amazing to me? Let me tell you.

    I find it amazing that someone who apparently espouses freedom, choice, and the American Way - and who believes that Linux delivers it - would so gladly overule the conscious choice of millions of fellow Americans and world citizens.

    I know you don't lime Microsoft, Mr. Taco. I understand your decision, and respect it. I am glad that you have choosen not to use them. But, let me explain to you my point of view.

    Microsoft has power because people have delegated it to them. You may not have, and thats fine. But the majority of us have. I don't want to know the finer details of semaphore locking, or that changing context switching times increased responsiveness in gnome. I just want my computers do what I want, when I want it. I don't care about free beer or free speech. I dont care to argue about the level-of-freeness between the different OSI approved licenses (because we all know its BSD, right).

    I don't mind giving up a little money, a little "freedom", and a little control in return for less hassle, less complication, and less investment of time. I think for that reason, I am in the majority.

    So Mr. CmdrTaco, thank you for your opinion, and I like your site. Its very nice. But please, for the rest of us, let us decide what OS we want. I choose Windows, and then Be, and then Linux. In that order of preference. I am imformed and smart and even sometimes savvy. I am a grownup, and can make such decisions. I value my freedom, and I value yours.

    MS has power, not because they have stolen it, or crushed it from Netscape, or stolen it from you. They have power because myself, and millions of others, have choosen to give it to them. We have made the decision, just as you have made yours. And I am happy with it. I hope MS beats this trial, and I will recap why: for them to lose would discount Linux as a serious OS, and I think thats not true. A loss for MS would be a loss for me - it would by defintion mean that I had in fact not choosen MS but that they had forced me to use their products - and this simply isn't true.

    CmdrTaco, I ask that you reconsider - you value your freedom, and I value mine. Punishing MS because you don't like their products or their business tactics or their authentication practices or .NET or just plain because Word crashed on you in the middle of a term paper is wrong, and its inconsistent with the values of the OSS community. I have made my choice, you have made yours, may the best OS win.
  • They are just plain Evil dont you see that

    Okay, then don't use their products! Dont buy frm OEMS who do! Its SO SIMPLE.

    You don't need the government to destroy them. Do it yourselves, the right way.
  • Refutation of the refutation:

    a. MS's biggest competitor isnt strictly itself. Even so, it is a legal or theoretically argument. MS has competitors constantly trying to destroy them - think Sun, and of course Linux. If if that werent true it doesn't mean that MS is a monopoly. It just means that they are popular, and trying to get people to upgrade to a newer version.
    b. MS saw that they were losing to the competition.. How could they competition unless they arent a monopoly? If Windows is a monopoly, and MS forces you to use it, then they can force you to use MSN, and then they can force you to use their applications. But that obviously isn't true because AOL is 4x the size of MSN, and Earthlink is 3x the size of MSN.

    c. The court case is wrong. The market is not Desktop OS for x86 hardware. That is far too narrow.

    The anti-trust trial can only happen on the supposition that MS is a monopoly. No monopoly and their tactics are entirely legal. The "proven" part is in mind temporary, and I expect that MS will and should win this one.
    ,br> Your closing point is perfect! It proves that MS isn't a monopoly. Win2k/XP is a better OS because Linux is forcing MS to make improvements in all kinds of fields. That is a sign of a market driven corporation, not a monopoly. If MS were a monopoly then Win2k/XP would go down hill from Windows 95/98, despite what Linux was doing. When Linux was young, Windows 95 was standard along with Windows NT. MS stepped up the pace of development in response to the new threat and has vastly improved things with Win2k. The usuability and stability and even security of Win2k is SO far advanced from that of 95/NT its not even comparable. Its all a response to a credible competitor - namely Linux!
  • Sorry, hardware man, you are really wrong.

    He should have build it himself - however, if did want "hardware support" then he has to live by the hardware vendor's rules, and therefore, MS's rules.

    Its a shame he had to buy two copies. On a second note, did he try to get a refund on Windows 95? You know the EULA for Windows * allows you to immedatiely seek a refund for any copies of Windows to which you do not agree to the EULA. When he got the second box he shoul have clicked "disagree" on teh click-wrap, and then got his money refuneded, then used his legal license to run on.

    But basically it comes down to this: he wanted a feature (support) so he had to play by the rules needed to get that feature (buying ready-installed OS).

  • Why don't you grow an opinion of your own. Astroturf is pretty damn ugly.

    Yeah, cause supporting MS is a such a conventional opinion on slashdot.

    Working backwards:

    that is not always a valid option

    I am not concerned about people who do not have the skill/desire/knowledge to avoid MS. If you choose to use MS because you don't know how to avoid them thats fine by me, but at least admit that still choose them. Component based systems are simple enough for a reasonably smart adult to assemble. Hell, I put together a brand new box yesterday during the commerical break of the Sox/Mets game. Not tough. Regardless though, ease-of-use is a feature and if you want that feature you must play by the rules of the OEM, which happen to be the rules of MS.

    Hell, what percentage of slashdot readers are using a wholly custom box? Hmmm? I doubt that even here on /. it is over 40%.
    Okay, so what if it is 40%. That's low in my opinion, but still, I'll bite. 40% means that 40% of people who DIDNT buy Windows pre-installed. That means they either (a) bought Windows or (b) don't use Windows but rather something or else or (c) stole Windows. That means that MS and non-MS users on slashdot would be about half-and-half. That would make it damn near a legal impossibility to be a monopoly (amoung slashdot readers of course).

    What MS did wrong was imposing such rules on the hardware vendors.
    Wrong. MS didnt impose anything on anyone. They didnt round up vendors and force them into deals. They used market research, exclusive deals, deep deep price cuts, and other very extremely effective techniques to get vendors to sign on the line. Good for them, I admire tenacious business people, and besides, not a single practice they employed is illegal in non-monopoly enterprises.

    If they wanted to sell machines with Windows on them at all, they could only sell machines with Windows on them.
    Yes, just like how at Pizza Hut you can only get Pepsi, not Pepsi and Coke. Just like when you go to Burger King you can only get Coke and not Pepsi and Coke. Its exclusive licensing, and it happens ALL the time. Its fine, its legal, and its not going away.

    Well, yes, they could get retail copies, but the price difference is so unreasonable that nobody could make a profit selling that way.
    Well, actually it means they had to raise prices to do that, which meant it would be smarter to go right to the OEM. They wanted a benefit (low-price, high-profits) and so they made a business decision to achieve that goal (OEM arrangement with MS).

    MS effectively prohibited anybody from selling PC's without including a MS OS.
    False. That is a lie. They did no such thing. What they did was: (a) create a very high incentive for OEMS to distribute Windows 9x, (b) spend lavishly on advertising of Windows 9x, (c) create an unprecedented demand for Windows that has yet to be matched by anyone. Furthermore, I have built and bought dozens, and been responsible for purchases of hundreds of non-Windows PC's since the early '90s. I have never not found a vendor to sell me "clean" PC's. Did I buy them from Compaq? No. Did I buy them from Dell? No. They are pupets for MS, screw them.

    is next to impossible to get a refund for Windows
  • by danheskett ( 178529 ) <danheskettNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday July 13, 2001 @05:57AM (#88445)
    You sir are brainwashed.. I'm not going to get into a conversation, debate, argument or a lengthy reply.

    You and CmdrTaco are the same. I must be defective. I must be a luser. I must have been tricked, lied to, and decieved into using their products.

    Its simple man: screw.

    I can make my own decisions, as can you. I make mine, and live by them. You should too. MS hasnt forced you to do anything. Its the big lie. You keep hearing it and hearing and hearing until you believe it. So why not share with all of us why you have been oppressed by MS? How have they forced you to use windows? Let me guess some popssible answeres:

    "Ohh, my boss makes me use WIndows!" the always populate "It came on my computer, i had to buy it!" or perhaps the silly "I didnt know any better because of their advertising!"

    Dude, sack up and take responsibility. You use MS products because you want to or the alternatives are unattractive. Make a choice and live by it - if its not working out switch.

    May the best OS win, but the best doesn't mean "technical merits" all the time you dolt.
  • The latest incarnation of the Microsoft English Dictionary [infowarrior.org] has been made available just the other day.

    One interesting tidbit:

    "Heroin Economics" - Common practice of drug dealers looking to establish a customer base by providing free samples to "hook" users, at which time the dealer raises his prices for his product. Since people are now dependent, they will naturally pay whatever is necessary to obtain the substance. In the software world, for years Microsoft tolerated software piracy (both casual and organized) as its user base expanded and the company became a monopoly on the desktop with millions of "hooked" users and organizations...at which time it raised its prices and plans to force users to pay annual tributes to feed their dependence on Microsoft products and services. (See "Product Activation Technology")

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

  • Microsoft didnt get away scot free. The state settled with them on the condition that Microsoft would pay the legal expenses for the State of New Mexico.

    In related news, Microsoft is pulling all copies of Win 98/ME/NT/2000 off the shelves in New Mexico and replacing them with Windows 3.1
  • microsoft probably agreed to ignore all license violations in the NM govenment offices.

    ... but how close do you think that, is to the truth? Besides Microsoft get's to write software piracy off as a loss don't they? (I don't see how they could, but can they?)

    The worst vice is advice...
  • What all this has made clear to me is that IBM really blew it in 1978. Pansy ass IBM didn't even wait to be found in violation of the law, they just signed and implemented a consent decree that required them not to do the illegal bundling they knew they were guilty of. What's more, the idiots went on to actually obey the decree! Utter incompetents.

    Microsoft, now, they understand that the DOJ and the states aren't really serious, and don't really have the staying power to go through with it. A strategy composed of equal parts of pleas of innocence, legal maneuvering, public whining and bold-faced contempt for the legal process are going to see Microsoft through the trouble and out the other side.

    Laws? Pah! Those only apply to other companies.

  • Just so you know I got a Mac Cube for $1100. You seem to be inflating the price to make your point
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @04:01PM (#88453)
    Remember, Micro-Soft was started by Gates and Allen [nwsource.com] in Albuquerque, NM : the state *had* to pull off the suit to preserve historical decency.
  • Nobody believes Microsoft will (or even can) be broken up. The suit itself, with a long-dead browser war at its core and free of the stickier issuse of monopoly, was a bit of fluffy fantasy- here and gone.

    If it makes you feel any better, I've put together a Microsoft retrospective for y'all:

  • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @05:24PM (#88491)
    "CmdrTaco, Repeat after me: 'Their image is ruined. Their image is ruined.'"

    Um... no, it's not. Right, wrong, the Gallup Polls never lie. The average American feels that Microsoft is a company that came out on top through hard work and perserverance (the "American Way (TM)") and that their presence in the industry is an overwhelmingly good thing.

    Personally, I'm waiting for the day when Linux developers have to appear before the HUAC.

    "It really *is* over, MS is no longer what it used to be, and it is downhill from here."

    Let me tell you about this .NET thing that seems to be catching on... I just got a propoganda pamphlet about it today in the mail, in fact...

  • by h. simpson ( 464174 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @04:20PM (#88514)
    Though the New Mexican [or is that New Mexico's, anyway] Attorney General is settling the case, she did leave the door open for more litigation from other states. New Mexico will also take in the benefits of any court decisions that the rest of the still pursuing states get.

    And to those who say that Microsoft is crumbling; it's image is ruined. Bull. That's not even close to true. Their stock is making an amazing come back after losing nearly two thirds of their stock value. Sales are better than ever; the advertising over their .NET and XP software is everywhere and they haven't even started their campaigns yet. Crumbling ususally isn't associated with a soaring profit line and stock price...

    Not saying that this is good [lest I get the hurt of the -1 mod] but I'm just saying that as the lame Backstreet boys say Microsoft "is stronger than yesterday...."

    -H. Simpson.
    (I really think I just ruined my post by using a quote from a pop boy band)

  • by mojumbo ( 464529 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @03:58PM (#88515)
    ...microsoft probably agreed to ignore all license violations in the NM govenment offices.

An elephant is a mouse with an operating system.