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Microsoft

Microsoft Case Slogs Forward 171

jchristopher writes "The government asked an appeals court to issue an order moving the Microsoft case back to the trial court as soon as possible today. According to this Cnet article, such an order could hint at an injunction blocking the distribution of Microsoft's Windows XP. "
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Microsoft Case Slogs Forward

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...we will still feel the effects of this recent push by the DOJ. To help support my point, I'll cite Yahoo. Just a few days ago, Yahoo released earnings reports, and exceeded expectations by exactly $.01 (the expected was breakeven, $.00). At the end of the day, damn near every technology stock received a boost in stock price (some significant, some not). This has been called, rather harshly, "irrational stupidity" by some people I know on Wall Street (not trying to troll). My point is that a very, very insignificant change can cause waves of paranoia on the stock exhange: mass psychology at its worst.

    Now before the Linuxites come out en mass and say that MS losing ground is a good thing, I have to beg to differ. As we saw, ALL internet/technology stocks got a boost from Yahoo. And that was Yahoo. Imagine if MSFT had a dump of stock? Even moreso, as the technology bubble contines to rupture on Wall Street, the main thing that keeps the US economy alive is consumer confidence; people are still spending, despite the problems companies are having. If that confidence disappers, it could lead to stagflation. In reality, I know a bunch of MS stock holders were hoping for a split. Congrats, you've just doubled your stock.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to preach gloom and doom. But I think that we should consider the more distant effects. A sharp change is almost never good...it doesn't give people and options enough time to react and think clearly. Just my thoughts.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm sorry, but assuming that "X Windows" has any positive name recognition or is 'successful' at all is just plain retarded. (Successful at getting 1% desktop market share! Woo!)

    97% of people will have no idea what you are talking about, 2% will have a acid flashback to the terrible little Sun IPX that some previous employer made them use, and the final 1% of pimply faced Linux geeks will want to mod up as funny.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Gee, that was certainly worth posting a story for...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    They already collapsed [slashdot.org] a couple of months ago, didn't they?
  • by oGMo ( 379 ) on Saturday July 14, 2001 @10:03AM (#85860)
    The "whole point" is being top dog by attracting customers, usually done by offering a better product.

    No, it's not. The whole point of being a business is for one single, unswerving goal: to make as much money as you possibly can. Customers are irrelevant, except for sucking as much money out of them as possible. Product is irrelevant, except where used to get customers to give you as much money as possible.

    Don't take the romantic view of businesses "serving the public," "making a better product," or any such nonsense. They have no interest in making something better. They merely balance what they must put out against what they bring in, such that they're bringing in the most and putting out the least. If a given company could sell you a little box that did nothing for $1000, don't you think they would? (Jokes about Windows PCs aside ;-)) Tech support? Customer service? Think that means they care about you? They don't. These things are merely to keep you coming back, and to comply with any laws that keep them from being sued into the ground, etc.

    Is the point of a 100 meter race to beat your opponents mercilessly about the knees with a lead pipe so they can't run as well as you? No (unless you're Tonya Harding), the point is to run faster than they do.

    The point of a 100 meter race is to get to the end before everyone else. There are usually usually rules about interference... and if there aren't, it would be foolish not to take every advantage against your opponent you could get, right? And even if there were, if you don't get caught, it's not a rule, right? (There are, of course, honorable people, who wish to win "fairly," but if the norm becomes interfering with competitors, then they'll either quit, seeing that winning "fairly" is impossible, or they'll quickly change their definition of what is fair.)

    Same with business, except I've yet to see an honorable business. There is no law, unless you get caught. Every advantage is to be taken, to make as much money as quickly as possible. The ultimate logical end of this is to control the entire market, crushing competition, and extracting as much money as possible from everyone else.

    I used to think differently about these things. Then I got to know some business people. Now I detest it all more than ever before.

  • Windows XP will not be the first MS OS with a standard TCP/IP stack.

    I know Windows 2000 falls into that category, and I suspect this is a trait that has been part of the NT line for quite some time, but I have no direct proof of that other than we do IP spoofing using NT4 at work for testing.

    The only reason Steve Gibson got his undies in a bunch about this was because now HOME USERS will have STANDARD TCP/IP stacks that they can EXPLOIT.

    [sorry had to throw in some weird upper case to sound wild-assed like Mr. Gibson]
  • I think you need to obtain the Beta and play with it.

    XP has some incredibly nice features, such as the multi-user desktop, etc.

  • In Windows XP if a user is currently logged into a machine and has the machine locked... You can still logon as yourself and do stuff without interrupting the other users session.

    You can leave yourself logged in, and at the logon window it will list the users with open sessions and you can select between them.

  • by sheldon ( 2322 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @10:36PM (#85864)
    Do you remember when voice recognition was first being discussed? It was 10 years ago, at least.

    But it had limitations because of processing power. As the hardware became faster, it became more easily possible to do voice recognition.

    Do you remember when Wolfenstein 3D came out? How about Doom? Quake?

    Again, as the video cards became faster and more capable of handling the 3D texturing the games became more full featured graphically.

    Speaking of 3D, do you remember when Jurassic Park came out? How incredible the images of the Dinosaurs were? Or even Terminator 2 and how incredible the morphing terminator was.

    All of these things were possible because of faster/better/cheaper hardware.

    It wasn't because the programmers were lousy, or the design sucked. It was because they wanted to do something and that something required more power!

    I've been using personal computers since 1982 when my VIC-20 had 5K of RAM and ran at 1Mhz. Do you seriously want to go back to using a machine like that?

  • Has the general computer using population been brainwashed into thinking they have to buy a new PC to run a new operating system?
    What? You mean that's not true? You mean I don't need to buy a Commodore 128 when I finally have time and energy to buy GEOS 2.x? My current machine (C64G [www.iki.fi]) will be enough?

    Hooray!

    =)

    But seriously, I think this is the sad state of the world. =( Then again, usually there's no harm of getting a newest OS when you buy a new machine, but it's definitely not necessary.

  • What do you mean "finally"? Win2K has this in the form of RUNAS available both from the command line as well as from a shift-rightclick context menu.
  • It's like cancer or some other deadly disease - you don't have to have any certain political viewpoint to be against it.

    And the funny thing is that Microsoft called Open Source software cancer... (as well as virus, pac man, anti-american, ...) Hey, they almost went as far as calling it the root of all evil.
    ___

  • You mentioned geeks who hated MS.

    You mentioned competitors that really hate MS.

    But what about geeky competitors who really REALLY hate MS?


    Chas - The one, the only.
    THANK GOD!!!
  • Tax money? USA? The people of the whole frickin' world have wasted entirely too much money, period, on Microsoft as it is.

    I also want this over and done with, but only with the proper outcome.

  • What broken .NET code? There is no .NET code!

    (that was toungue in cheek: I know there are some beta releases of some pieces of .NET out there.)

  • To most home users Windows NT and Windows 2000 have never even existed. These folks are about to see what in their minds will be the greatest technological leap in computer technology since the GUI....

    And why is that? Microsoft has had decent tech on the shelf for years and despite many past promises to deliver it to home users, they always managed to crap out another 98SE or ME version of DOS/Windows.

    (Windows 95 was a genius bit of compatibility engineering, not to mention it hit the 4MB RAM target barely, and I can understand why it was released. It was a critical piece in ending the Really Bad Old Days era of crap PC hardware. However, the irony that MS is still selling this compatibility solution except minus all the compatibility bits is lost on me.)

    but because you're running 9x, there is a very slight chance that even if I do everything right your computer will stop working and you'll have to reinstall everything." ... Simply the benefit Dell/Compaq/Gateway etc. will get from not having to handle grandma calling and asking why the screen turns blue when the computer turns on is going to dramatically impact a few profit margins.

    OEMs have been crying to Microsoft for years to reduce support costs, and Microsoft's answer has usually been More Of The Same. I've yet to get an adequate explaination on why NT has been 'shelved' the way it has over the years. I can suspect internal politics or some bizarre monopoly-driven logic that I can't understand. I can even suspect your .sig argument about support calls, except that MS doesn't really make that much money in the relative sense from support (most of it falls on the OEMs or corporate IT). Maybe it's just the upfront fear of breaking lots of stuff -- Even with XP's compat features, it will be less compatible with previous versions than Win95 was. But still, with MS's weight to throw around, I have to think that any compat issues will be resolved within a year or two.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm more than happy that Microsoft is finally fulfilling their promise of the early 90s and selling NT as the next-gen conumer OS. I'm just disheartened and confused that it took as long as it did.

    My suspicion is that MS has finally prepared themselves for an era where the OS company is either split off (by force or by choice) or that long term desktop OS profit growth will be virutally nil so they are sticking the whole thing in maintenance mode. I can't help to think that maybe XP is the gotterdammerung of Microsoft Operating Systems.
    --
  • by nathanm ( 12287 ) <nathanm AT engineer DOT com> on Friday July 13, 2001 @08:42PM (#85872)
    Great, there goes every single bit of hope that the PC industry may recover in Q4.
    This is exactly why Microsoft should be punished severely, when an entire sector of the economy revolves around a single company. People aren't buying the latest & greatest PCs because they're major overkill for most peoples' needs and they can get by with year or two old ones. Just because a single company releases some resource intensive (hog) software shouldn't force people to upgrade their computers.
  • by PRickard ( 16563 ) <pr@ms-b c . c om> on Friday July 13, 2001 @08:59PM (#85873) Homepage
    rknop typed: Indeed, there are lots of pro business folks out there who believe that business in the computer industry would do a whole lot better without the bullying monopolistic tactics of Microsoft.

    Thank you! I'm glad someone besides me finally said that. I am extremely pro-business and extremely conservative, but I've spent the last five years now working on The Microsoft Boycott Campaign [msboycott.com]. Look how many conservatives are working with Ms opposition groups. Bob Dole and Robert Bork?? AND Ralph Nader. Considering that, who can still actually believe only liberal anti-business people oppose The Behemoth? Microsoft is a threat to you no matter where you are politically - a company that doesn't care about consumers or competition one bit. It's like cancer or some other deadly disease - you don't have to have any certain political viewpoint to be against it.

  • by mattbee ( 17533 )
    Has the general computer using population been brainwashed into thinking they have to buy a new PC to run a new operating system?


    Well, yes, but this is because most PC buyers don't get what an OS actually is, nor what to do when they've fucked up their Windows installation for one reason or another-- the simplest solution for many is just to start afresh with a new PC. Particulaly virulent is the meme that computers somehow get `arthritis' become intrinsically slower at time goes on, hence need replacing. I'm not sure which marketroid started that one, but I'm sure his company rewarded him with a small Caribbean island for his troubles :-)

    I've just about beaten my own Dad out of the mentality that when his P133-based computer gets `bogged down', the solution is to delete all the gaudy, ad-laden cover-CD software he's installed to run on startup, or (once) reinstall the OS, not replace the whole machine :-) And I've got another friend who'd (reasonably enough, but naively) wanted to get rid of a Netware client on his Win98 machine, and just deleted the Netware directory. Windows never started after that, and reasoned that it would never have happened if he'd gone with a branded PC rather than taking my advice & building one from parts. I nearly throttled him & left him to reinstall the OS for himself :-)

    So yes, basically, there's no money in tech. support for the masses of home users out there: properly qualified people will cost 30-40 quid an hour, and economics dictates that if you've got an older machine but don't know a friendly wizard who'll help out with a serious problem, it's going to be a better investment just to get a new one. If the PC market wasn't so cut-throat, maybe PC makers could charge for and compete on quality of technical support rather than how much they've skimped on it.

    Matthew, very relieved at the fact he's graduated and no longer playing tech. support to all and sundry around college :-)
  • It's an IETF [ietf.org] standard. (ISO/OSI did, indeed, have a set of internetworking protocol 'standards' that were competing against TCP/IP, but they lost that battle hands-down in the '80s, as it became clear that TCP/IP was the de facto standard.)
  • Its funny, I was thinking the same thing .. and continue to think the same thing every time I hear the word Microsoft & anti-trust.

    The reality of it, computer science is the base of the tech industry IMHO. Thats where the real `innovation is happening. Now, if I learned anything in comp-sci is that progress is made by working with abstractions. You can build two sets of tools (A & B) and use the two of them to build an even better tool = C. Now tool C wouldnt of been possible/realistic without A & B.
    Unfortunately Microsoft is a -great- industry catalyst. Case in point, look at Ximian with now Mono, a .NET alternative. Would anyone argue that a strong machine-independent distributed processing environment ... yada yada .. (I am not a .NET programmer, or understand 100% what it is... and I dont have the energy to waste my time talking to or reading Microsoft marketing brainwash) but the point is... Microsoft, by flexing its monopoly, has encouraged something new from Ximian and Open Source Community, and very probably to be the foundation for many more open source innovations of the future.

    All I can say is I am glad that MS & AOL didnt come to a deal. I hope that they can hate each-other enough to pull a checks and balances for each-other as MS is realizing by its whole .NET and server-infrastructure that the desktop is eventually doomed. Does that mean that AOL is potentially as powerful as microsoft?

    (Sony+AOL+RedHat) ~= Microsoft?

    I believe on a fair playing field, yes.

    Not very often that I agree with ESR. (Often times his ego muddles what he is trying to say) ... but I did agree with his feeling that we should be able to beat Microsoft fair and square. Just as years ago I have made the move to Linux at home and finally the workplace, millions of others will this year too. Eventually we will hit the critical mass.

    As much as we all hate Microsoft, and as much as I feel that they have ruined many companies and in certain cases stifled true innovation I do feel that they can be co-existed with having strong competition and innovation on the part of the open source community. Justice in its true sense wont happen today or tomorrow, but as every new user joins the linux movement, its a very tiny string that, with millions of others, will eventually pull the ogre down. Unfortunately, people are not patient to wait for that to happen naturally.




    --------------------
    Would you like a Python based alternative to PHP/ASP/JSP?
  • I guess I don't understand the system. Under capitalism, being the top dog and driving your competitors out of business is the whole point... right? Isn't it contradictory to then punish somebody for merely "playing by the rules"? It's not as if they did anything criminal, after all.

    Besides, couldn't you find a monopoly anywhere you looked, if you just narrowed the scope enough? It seems that if Microsoft were really pawning off below-market quality at market (or above) prices, competitors would come around looking to make some cash with offerings closer to market levels. No, I'm not talking about startups, but the real companies who can make a difference - the IBMs of the world.

    To be fair, shouldn't we be equally suspicious of people who complain to regulators about "unfair business practices" and "monopoly abuse"? After all, it is easier to lobby and manipulate the coercive powers of the state than it is to actually get off your arse and compete.

  • No, sorry, thanks for playing. The "whole point" is being top dog by attracting customers, usually done by offering a better product. Is the point of a 100 meter race to beat your opponents mercilessly about the knees with a lead pipe so they can't run as well as you? No (unless you're Tonya Harding), the point is to run faster than they do.

    Having a better product incorporates many things, one of which is offering better services for your product. Microsoft excels in this arena by making their products extremely accessable to the users of their product through their, albeit, questionable business practices. Practices that can also ultimately be used by their competitors - something which is hardly ever mentioned, but is very relevant.

    Ethics aside, Microsoft has not inherently coerced anybody to do anything. At least, not that has been shown. Remember, only the state has the power to do that.

    > "It's not as if they did anything criminal, after all."

    Yes, they did. Whether or not you think it's fair, there are laws, and MS broke them.

    The only laws they broke are the very laws we are debating. My argument here is not the fairness of the laws, though there may be some merit there, but of the contradictory nature of having a set of rules and restrictions (in the form of antitrust and business regulation) that are at odds with the very nature of the system they regulate.

    Regulators and "trustbusters" are a peculiar bunch, anyway. If a company is charging a price that is too high, they claim "monopoly abuse." If companies charge the same price, they claim "collusion." If a company charges a price that is too low, they claim "predatory pricing." Does anything satisfy these people? Or do they just hold a general grudge that somebody, somewhere, is making money?

    Funny you should mention IBM. OS/2, anyone?

    OS/2's failure could indicate that Microsoft is merely doing everything right and that the profit margins in the bundled desktop OS/application market are very small. IBM could have tried much, much harder if they really cared about making a difference in that market. Perhaps they were afraid they would be targeted by regulators themselves for such actions.

  • This is a very intriguing argument, because it a mirrors a belief that the only sustainable monopolies are those that are government granted.

    However, I'm not sure that I agree with your concern about patents. First, because a solution to the problem would probably cause more harm than good (increased regulation of patent granting, and potential arbitrary patent revocation that is based on shifting political winds). Second, because the same patent "abuse" can be employed by competitors.

    The use of patents you have detailed is almost a necessary evil of the system. The initial explanation for patent granting is the protection of intellectual property, as private ownership is crucial to accurate price assessment, which leads to efficency in the market. Is the government grant of such mini-monopolies worse than any alternative system? That could lead to another discussion.

  • Actually, the U.S. began down the path of socialism before FDR came along, although FDR increased the acceleration. Established before FDR were particular departures from freedom and liberty - antitrust, business regulation, the federal reserve system, and "international" welfare through the first Roosevelt's brand of Cuban protectionism/expansionism and Wilson's goading for intervention in the Great War.

    In fact, true capitalism was probably never practiced in the U.S. Even before the trustbusting era, there were monopoly-granting tariffs on imported goods and engagement in true criminal business practices that went unaddressed.

  • It's not to block its release. It's to have it recalled after its release.
  • I would like to see that. As they are a US based company. Then they could revolk their charter. It would make it a good day for every but their share holders.
  • Murderers don't go walking around free during their appeal process, why should MS? There's a big difference between murder and antitrust. If you can't see that, then please, please, please, crack a book. Simon
  • With the possible exception of the video conferencing software bundled in XP what is a decent reason to go out and buy a new PC? Seriously, I know quite a few shops still using NT with no planned upgrade to W2K for nearly a year. At my place of work there is a greater need to upgrade other systems than to buy a slew of new desktops to run 2K or XP. For us, the new ad software we're running is more of a motivator to get new Dells than an OS.

    From where I'm standing, XP isn't going to be the Holy Grail analysts are making it out to be.

  • The price of most everything else in the computer (with the exception of cutting edge graphics cards) have also dramatically dropped in price, too.

    Everything hardware, the price of Windows, Office, etc certainly hasn't come down. Thus preloaded Microsoft stuff forms an even bigger proportion of the cost of a new machine...
  • fwiw, IE5.1 carbon ships on the MacOS X CD.

    ----
  • Adobe charges $500 or $600 or whatever it is these days for Photoshop Relative worth: I can easily recoup the $600 license fee for Photoshop in one 12 hour day. For what I make on my billable hours, Photoshop is priced correctly.

    ----
  • ie, people will see the government go after Microsoft and say "hooray! the government is here to protect us!" but as soon as they get involved in the Napster case and shut down the company (for all intents and purposes), the same group of people cry bloody murder about how the government has no place regulating free industry and is removing our rights and handing them to the corporations. Can't have it both ways, as a lot of the people on slashdot seem to want to.

    I'm sorry you didn't have time to reply to the rest of my "drivel". :)
  • I am no expert on cars, but from simply driving a Kia for an hour and then driving a Ferrari for an hour, I can tell that the two automobiles are not even in the same league.

    Perhaps to do a proper comparison I would need to test every aspect of the automobile and get right down to the metal and do a part-by-part analysis, but I would argue that the Photoshop is like a Ferrari in that you can sit at it for only a few moments and realize that it possesses more power than you could probably ever find legal uses for. :)
  • A lot of what any major R&D budget "gets us" is going to be transparent. Products are not labelled "NEW! FROM THE MICROSOFT RESEARCH DEPARTMENT!" for easy identification.

    I would argue that one of the most recent quality advancements to come out of Microsoft R&D is the optical technology to be found in their recent lines of mice. Granted, someone is going to post now "hey, optical mice were around in 1978!", but not at the consumer level as MS has introduced them.

    Maybe also you could count the natural language identification features of MS office, some of the neat features of the Visual C++ line (edit and continue, etc), on and on. They've done a lot of neat things.

    I don't think MSR had much to do with BOB, although I think they did do the work on the paperclip... hey, nobody bats 1.000. ;)
  • By pointing out the prices of those items, I was merely trying to illustrate how a company can do things with its products that are not good for all consumers who might be interested. I'd very much like to drive a Mercedes, but I can't. I can't afford it. In the same way, I'd very much like an MSDN Universal subscription, but I can't afford it, either.

    Your opinion on Microsoft's pricing is a bit subjective - some would argue that Microsoft's operating systems (I'm talking primarily about Windows 2000 now... Windows 9x/ME were not terribly expensive, and are, I will agree, total garbage) *are* the Mercedes of the OS world. No, they may not be the best servers. No, they may not be the best at all tasks. They are the best at playing games, a case can be made that they are the best development environments (that very much depends on what type of software you are developing), a case can be made that they are the operating systems that strike the best balance between power and usability, etc.

    Linux is NOT the Mercedes of the OS world. Nor are any of the *BSDs. If anything, they would be more in the hotrod/car modification camp... a small market share of people comprised mainly of those who like to get under the hood and make things work better. Also people who need a solid, stable workhorse. Hardly luxury automobiles.

    Abusing market share is one of the benefits of HAVING market share, as long as the company is not a monopoly (and Microsoft isn't, as there are alternatives, market share != monopoly... if you make by far the best product, in theory you deserve 100% market share even if there are alternatives... note that I am NOT saying MS makes the best product, what I AM saying is that their market share % is not indicative of their monopoly status) it's fine. If you do not use Windows, you cannot use their other products, so their market share abuses are transparent to you.

    I do not think that including WordPad on desktops by default is a tricky move to tie in the consumer to Word early on... if Microsoft sold an OS without basic word processing functions (requiring some formatting, therefore *.txt is not adequate) a large segment of the marketplace would be very upset... just the same as people would now be upset if they sold an OS without a browser. People have come to expect certain things as an integral part of the computing experience. Microsoft long ago made the shift from a bare-bones OS provider to a platform provider, and part of being a platform is providing those basic services with the actual OS.

    Besides, Word Perfect can read those *.doc files just fine. So can most other word processors.

    Monopoly status is not fairly defined as "when a company provides better alternatives to other programs, therefore giving the consumer no reason to buy product XYZ". That's called the free market at work. The fact is that those alternatives do exist, and as long as they do exist, MS is not a monopoly.

    They could have 100% market share in every single market, but if there are still alternatives, the reason for this would be that they simply provided the better products. Note that "better products" does not always imply "technical superiority".

    You're rather wrong with your opinion of how much it would cost to launch a new os. Here, let me break it down:

    Ma Bell = monopoly because they owned the infrastructure, and even to work at all, you needed an infrastructure. If you wanted to use a telephone, you went to Ma Bell. You had no choice. Zero. None. You couldn't build a new phone network because it would cost billions.
  • I can easily recoup the $300 or $400 license fee for Windows or Office in one 12 hour day. So there you go.

    Nobody says that everyone has a right to use their computers with whatever software they want for free (okay, someone does, but let's not get RMS in this discussion :), so as long as Microsoft software is reasonably priced for its market (ie: as long as people are still buying it), then let them charge as much as they want. It has nothing to do with being bad for consumers.

  • And no, "everyone" does not know "it", which I assume you mean to be that Microsoft is a monopoly.

    There are alternatives to Microsoft products. I have machines that do not run any Microsoft software and do exactly what I want them to do. Therefore, they are not a monopoly. There are some things that you can only do with Microsoft products, but that's their right as a company - there are some things you can only do with fast Internet access, some things you can only do with a Ferrari, some things you can only do with Mutt the email reader.
  • The definition of "monopoly" is not "the price can go up and down with little effect on their sales".

    The definition of "monopoly" is that a company is the only game in town for a service that is somehow necessary for many/most people. I'm sure a good lawyer (I am not one :) can explain it much better than that, but that's the gist of it.

    The price can be raised a certain amount without any effect on sales. This is true. This would also be true for countless other things in the marketplace - basketball sneakers, movie tickets, cd prices for top acts, etc etc etc.

    The fact is that the price of a pair of Nikes can go from $60 to $120 and sales will not be hurt a bit because PEOPLE WANT NIKES and will pay whatever Nike asks for them *within reason*. If you charge $3,000 for a pair of Nikes, people will stop buying them.

    Microsoft software can go from $100 to $400 and people will still buy it because the change is *within reason*. Microsoft COULD NOT CHARGE $3,000 for a Windows license because - pay attention to this part - PEOPLE WOULD STOP BUYING IT.

    Do you know what that means? It means Microsoft is operating in a free marketplace. It means there are alternatives. It means people are not *forced* to use MS products. Let Microsoft raise their prices as much as they wish - as long as people keep paying, more power to them! Same with Nike. I do not choose to wear Nike shoes made for 20 cents in some third world country and sold to our materialistic society for over a hundred dollars, NOR do I choose to use many Microsoft products simply because I do not wish to pay that much for most of my software.

    There are alternatives. Nike is not a monopoly, Microsoft is not a monopoly. Price raising is not a good indicator of Monopoly status. Period.

    Um, if Microsoft was shut down tomorrow, it would be YEARS before other companies could catch up to the level of innovation found in products such as MS Office (I notice nobody answered my challenge to name a better office suite), not to mention the fact that it would be patently unfair.

    If you shut down the Church of Scientology and took all of their money, spending it on high-grade rat feces would be a better expenditure of the money than what it was previously spent for, and hell, Good Things(tm) could even be done with it, but you know what? IT WOULD NOT BE FAIR. Corrupt cults like the CoS have a right to make money if people are stupid enough to send it to them, and Microsoft has a right to make money and have whatever market share they wish so long as there are alternatives to Microsoft products and people are still buying up everything they release in droves.

    It's not very difficult to understand.
  • There's this little company called "Apple Computer" that has spent quite a fair amount on advertising over the last few years. It is an alternative to Windows. People know about it. They don't choose to use it.

    Furthermore, Linux has been in the press NONSTOP for the last couple years. You really exhibit typical Slashdot arrogance by suggesting that "normal consumers" are just so stupid that they honestly do not realize that there are alternatives to Microsoft products. Give me a break. That's a happy rationalization for why MS has such a high market share.

    The fact is that people are VERY aware of MS alternatives, but simply believe that Microsoft products are *better*. And for the needs of many of those people, they are one hundred percent correct.

    "There are altrernatives to Mercedes, and consumers know that. Mercedes is not a monopoly in any market, Same with Photoshop. People actually buy it because it is good, not because it is the only product. Those who buy it know of the alternatives."

    I'm sorry friend, I didn't shoot myself in the foot. There are alternatives to Microsoft products, and people know of them. And the alternatives to Microsoft products are MUCH more well known than the alternatives to Photoshop. Actually, I can only name one Photoshop alternative and that is Paint Shop Pro... and that's a rather obscure program.

    Mac OS is quite a bit more well known than the GIMP or PSP, sorry to burst your bubble. People buy Microsoft software because their mother has it and their cousin has it and it does what they want it to do - plays their mp3s, reads their email, loads their games. That's it.

    They know of alternatives. They don't want them. High market share doesn't make Microsoft a monopoly, nor does it make Adobe a monopoly with Photoshop - it makes them good companies (however much that hurts you to admit).

    Blah blah blah, if you really think the government is any better a steward of our freedoms than the corporations, you need to do a bit of a history study.
  • My comparison to Mercedes was that raising prices can be seen as bad for the consumer, because it puts things out of the consumers reach, but simply because something is bad for the consumer does not make it legally wrong and requiring government change. That's simply a rebuttal to those who piss their pants based on Windows prices and licensing schemes and whatnot. Microsoft can charge whatever they wish, and if you don't want to pay it/can't pay it, then don't. Just like a Mercedes. And Microsoft doesn't need to be "the best" to charge Mercedes-like prices - you don't have to look far to see where corporations capitalize off of brand name/image recognition and not actual quality. Compare sometime the price of two idential cereals, but one with a Kelloggs logo on it and the other with your local supermarket. They taste the same, one is twice as expensive. It doesn't mean the government has to do anything about it.

    I said that people require a basic word processor *with formatting*, and stated that this is why Notepad is not adequate. Read my post more carefully. I don't think many people would use WordPad as a primary text editor, nor does it lock anyone in to the MS Office path, because WP and SO can read Docs, as you agree.

    And it is rather flimsy to say "It's MS's format therefore they do it best", WP and SO can read a .doc produced by WordPad, a very rudimentary word processor, 100% the same as MS Office can.

    So the whole bundled word processor issue isn't really substantial at all in any way. If it's the OEMs job to include a word processor, then explain to me why RedHat, Slackware et al include 129491249219 word processors/editors in their base distribution? The fact is that people expect to see a basic word processor bundled with their operating system. Period, end of story.

    I can't really address your "viable alternative" argument as that is so subjective it's not even funny. For a graphic designer, Mac OS 9/X is probably a perfectly viable alternative to Windows. For a programmer, Linux/*BSD is probably a perfectly viable alternative.

    You need to give an example of for whom there is no viable alternative to Windows. For the "easy to use" segment, you have Be or any number of KDE/GNOME preconfigured Linux machines. *shrug*
  • by tosderg ( 44011 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @10:32PM (#85897) Homepage
    Only on Slashdot can the government/justice system be the savior of humanity in one thread (when it is beating up on Microsoft) and the demon bane of all things good in another (the CDA of days gone by, the SS and SJG, the RIAA/MPAA rulings, etc).

    It has been summed up a THOUSAND times before by people with more knowledge of the subject than I have (I am but a student, and though I have followed the personal computer industry for 10 years or so, I have never been involved in any corporate decisionmaking so I can't really speak with authority on why businesses choose one thing over another), notably Dan Heskett, whose posts I read regularly simply because he seems to be one of the few voices of reason in most of these Microsoft threads.

    Anyway, here's the deal:

    Microsoft is here to stay. That cannot be argued. If the government stepped in and clubbed Microsoft like a baby seal until they were little more than a pool of blood on the floor, it may please the endless drones of "GO LUNIX M$ SUX!" people on /. who post as they do no doubt due to the need to feel like they belong to something (eek, JonKatz alert), it would be a VERY BAD THING for industry.

    If you create a company, what do you want, what is the American way: create company from nothing, build it up to huge levels, make $millions. People don't create companies to serve humanity. Microsoft may do things that are bad for consumers.

    BOO-FUCKING-HOO.

    Listen, it's "bad for consumers" that Adobe charges $500 or $600 or whatever it is these days for Photoshop. It's "bad for consumers" that Mercedes charges $55,000 for an automobile. The NERVE of those companies! It doesn't cost them that much to make the product!

    Economics 101: Good things cost money to make. For the *vast, vast, vast* majority of people in the computer industry, writing open source software is good for little more than a warm happy feeling in your belly due to knowing that you did something good to help out other people. There's a reason Adobe Photoshop is 700 times the program that any OSS alternative is (you GIMP weenies can burn in hell, I'm not even an advanced user and even I can tell it crumbles and dies next to Photoshop for advanced tasks) and it's because they charge so much money for the software that they can afford to spend money on real research and top employees.

    Look at Microsoft's R&D budget. It is absolutely *outrageous*. They don't use all that money researching new ways to dominate the world, kids: believe it or not, MS has and is doing some great things. I bet half of you out there posting on your l33t linux boxes are using a Microsoft mouse or a Microsoft keyboard. Why? Because when compared to other products in their price point, they absolutely dominate all ass.

    Yes, you can buy better keyboards. You can probably buy better mice too (though I've never seen them), but you sure as hell can't for the $40 one will typically run you from MS. And it sure as hell won't be as well supported.

    So software companies have a right to make money, have a right to do so however they see fit. Consumers be damned: in a free market, if the consumers get fucked, they fuck the company right back. That's the way the market works.

    ANTITRUST = MONOPOLY PROTECTION, **NOT** blanket consumer protection!

    If I create a company tomorrow and say that I will shine your shoes for $800, that is outrageous, it is bad for consumers, but the market will kick my ass because there are alternate ways to get your shoes shined, and shoe shining isn't even a necessity to begin with.
  • An Athlon 1200 based system for ~$750 WITH a 17" monitor and 128 MB of RAM? What possible application could a potential PC buyer have that needs more power than that?

    Converting a one hour MPEG-2 recording to MPEG-1 so I can burn it to a VCD. This can take about 2 hours on a P3-933. You can never have enough CPU.

    Of course, this has nothing to do with XP making PCs sell well. Your point is well taken. I'm just nitpicking the idea that we have all the CPU power we could ever use!

    Personally, with all of the nosey crap and DRM junk in XP, I'll not be installing it anywhere on my machines. I can live without WMP 8 thank you.

  • People will buy new systems (from their "old" 400MHz machines with 64MB of RAM and whatnot) because, in fact, more is required to run XP well, and such is the case with all new Windows releases.
  • Hmm...

    you will not put MS out of business - they may pull out of the US but that will have a far far greater impact on your economy than you ever want to think about (possible a depression when the collapse of dependant companies is taken into account)

    This is why MS may need to be preemptively broken (or modified in some way). If the loss of one company could cause as much damage to a single nation's economy, as you seem to believe, then that company is a threat to the very country that it resides in. Guess what that's known as. A MONOPOLY! Guess what Microsoft is being prosecuted for!

    shouldn't we be developing a more user friendly and desktop friendly OS for the home market - something which doesnt require the level of knowledge most Linux Distros need ? (the home users - moms and dads - wont ever run the product at the level it is now)

    Um, no? What needs to happen is Compaq, Gateway, Dell, et. al. need to start distributing a nice Linux desktop. Maybe with a well proofed Wine setup and heavily secured remote admin tools. Provide a mirror of that setup on a recovery CD (that is totally automated), and most "moms and dads" will be fine. That's about what they do for windows now. What, do you think a "mom" or "dad" could survive the windows install, or even really use it effectively? I'll say this now: They don't. They only use it because it's on there, and the software they get runs on it. That's ALL.

    Isnt it enought that we have the high ground as ethical and intelligent liberal thinking programmers with an ethic of producing the best possible solution ?

    Uh huh. And we sit here and get nowhere. We may have the high ground, but one effort of the "movement," as it may be called (I guess), is to spread this high ground to everyone. We want the best, we want everyone to have the best (except the "l33t f3w(lz)"). One needs to be proactive to do this, but when a company can actively lock you out of markets simply by the use of PHB quality tripe (and exclusivity agreements), it gets hard, fast (only after the trial started were PC manufacturers able to sell servers NOT running NT without fear of losing their client (9X) license).

    We won't utterly destroy MS. We'll fight them on multiple fronts, and if possible, render them irrelevant. They'll fade into the background, listed under various source distros and modules as "Legacy" and be forgotten. At least, that's what one would hope.

    Oh, and it's those third world countries that are permitting it. Seeing as how are laws aren't supposed to reach into other countries, we can't really do much about it. And as far as the hacker ethic is concerned, they believe exactly what MS tells them, that "hackers" are dangerous, want to steal your credit cards and pirate your software.
  • by CrayDrygu ( 56003 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @11:08PM (#85901)
    "I guess I don't understand the system. Under capitalism, being the top dog and driving your competitors out of business is the whole point... right?"

    No, sorry, thanks for playing. The "whole point" is being top dog by attracting customers, usually done by offering a better product. Is the point of a 100 meter race to beat your opponents mercilessly about the knees with a lead pipe so they can't run as well as you? No (unless you're Tonya Harding), the point is to run faster than they do.

    "It's not as if they did anything criminal, after all."

    Yes, they did. Whether or not you think it's fair, there are laws, and MS broke them.

    "No, I'm not talking about startups, but the real companies who can make a difference - the IBMs of the world."

    Funny you should mention IBM. OS/2, anyone?

    --

  • The previous injunction, the one tossed by the Appeals Court, was based on Jackson's opinion that MS was in violation of an existing agreement with the DOJ. The Appeals Court tossed the injunction on the grounds that the judge must make his decision based on contract law (it was an agreement), not based on antitrust law. The Appeals Court further stated that, under a broader antitrust action, MS's behavior might well be illegal.

    Now we have had that broader action and the Appeals Court has agreed that many of the things that MS does are indeed illegal. In particular, code mingling so that it is impossible to remove the application code for the browser is illegal. Presumably, doing the same thing for other applications (media players, instant messaging) would also be illegal. Given the way that MS has trumpeted "integration" in WinXP, I would think that an injunction barring distribution of WinXP until MS proves that it is in conformance with the Appeals Court ruling is a very logical (indeed obvious) next step for the government's case.

  • So what? Should one allow an evil company to continue with the next phase of eliminating all competition just because it is good for the industry at short term? Does the economy justify illegal actions?
  • An Athlon 1200 based system for ~$750 WITH a 17" monitor and 128 MB of RAM?

    Where did you see that? I'd take one of those...
  • I think 80% of the people here would agree that they deserve it, and if not then why? They used their monopoly to drive countless people out of the market, why not give them a taste of their own medicine, seems pretty appropriate to me.

    As far as it not being over yet, that's nonsense. They have already been found guilty and should be punished immediately. They have a right to appeal, and if they win then the punishment can be withdrawn.

    Murderers don't go walking around free during their appeal process, why should MS?

  • The difference is irrelevent. The point is they broke the law and have been found guilty, their punishment should be enforced now, which is how most crimes are dealt with, just not with big business.

  • There is no evidence whatsoever that the reason the government wants the Microsoft case expedited is so they can block XP's release.

    And people wonder why Joe Public doesn't take web-based news sources seriously...

  • Heh, heh! How very true. Thankfully, I'm not one of those people.

    But, unforunately, EVERYONE has had some amount of money diverted from programs that could use it to pay for the government's case against Microsoft.
    Interested in weather forecasting?

  • Great, there goes every single bit of hope that the PC industry may recover in Q4.
    This is exactly why Microsoft should be punished severely, when an entire sector of the economy revolves around a single company


    Right on the button. I feel the same way about the United States of America. America should be punished severely, when the world economy revolves around a single country.

    I also know a few people personally that should be severely punished cause they're too successful as well.

    Maybe we should start a gang?
  • Now why exactly is XP suddenly going to convince people to drop 1K on a new machine?

    If I understand correctly, XP would be the 98/ME interface with underlying NT/2000 OS. So it might (for once) represent a more reliable OS for the home user, which would be truly new from MS. It will certainly be a bigger, more resource hungry OS, so when MS stop allowing sales of 98/ME and only allows sales of XP, anyone needing to buy a new OS will virtually be required to buy a heftier machine. Remember, with XP, you don't want to try upgrading too much after install, as this may require relicensing, and who knows what MS will do with that.

    --
  • true software innovation will never happen if people just rely on hardware to overcome software bottlenecks. too many people, not just MS, let poor programming slide because they think people are willing and able to buy the newest cpus, hard drives or memory. that's why we have bloated OSes and productivity software and games.
  • There are alternatives to Microsoft products. I have machines that do not run any Microsoft software and do exactly what I want them to do. Therefore, they are not a monopoly. There are some things that you can only do with Microsoft products, but that's their right as a company - there are some things you can only do with fast Internet access, some things you can only do with a Ferrari, some things you can only do with Mutt the email reader.

    And that's where the problem lies. Your Ma Bell example before was a good one. The telephone wasn't the only way to communicate. You could send a letter or a telegraph, but you couldn't use the phone without Ma Bell's toll fees. And yet, by your own words they were a monopoly.

    Same thing with Microsoft. You can not do a lot of things without a Microsoft OS, and while this may be their "right" as a company, it certaintly doesn't help consumers to be locked in by this. While it does benefit in some ways, like the peripherals and IE (which has it's downsides too) it can most certainly hurt. Things like the ILoveYou virus, which I just had to eradicate from a computer at work, are prime examples of Microsoft not being the ideal "choice."

    For many people, windows software is a necessity, and the fact is that Microsoft is anticompetitive. If you don't believe that, then go look at the findings of fact, which were upheld by the appeals court. Microsoft doesn't compete, they crush the "competition" in a way that stifles true innovation and prevents a lot of good. Sure, we have a billion and one features for MS Office (yes, it is the best office suite out there) but how many of those do you actually use? How would MS Office have competed in the long run with Lotus or Corel or any of the other major players had MS not crushed them by bundling it cheaply with their OS a few years ago?

    MS does have some good stuff, most notably Excel (the only MS product I actually like), but they also have a monopoly on many critical features.

    Sure, you can run Be or Linux sans Office, but that's like sending a letter via the pony express rather than using the telephone.

    "I may not have morals, but I have standards."
  • You seem to think of government as being a homogeneous entity, with a single goal in mind. Perhaps you'd better consider the following:

    1) Slashdot itself isn't homogeneous. People have varying opinions.
    2) The government is composed of a lot of different parts, with different goals. The MS case has little to do with the Napster case, and the fact that you want to put them together suggests that you're just looking to push some buttons.
    3) Many people who are for the antitrust suit against Microsoft are for it because they believe that Microsoft stifles everyone else's freedom, and that the government can interfere with Microsoft's freedom in order to protect everyone else's.
    4) Many people are against the Napster case are against it because they see Napster as a tool of getting around the overcharging monopoly that is the RIAA. These people see Napster as a tool for freedom, and the idea of the government shutting it down, especially if it is actually driving CD sales, is seen as being hurtful to consumers.

    As TheFrood said, things aren't so homgeneous. You may want to consider this a bit more before getting angry at "Slashdot" for being hypocritical.

    "I may not have morals, but I have standards."
  • Great, there goes every single bit of hope that the PC industry may recover in Q4.
  • The industry does not at all revolve around Microsoft. Every PC hardware manufacturer (such as Intel, AMD, Dell, Compaq, Gateway, and HP) are seriously counting on Windows XP for Q4 sales. All of their forward looking statements count XP as the reason why there might possibly be an economic recovery in the second half. PC sales are expected to be flat this year, but if XP is blocked, they will be severely down.

    If Windows XP is blocked (and I don't see that as at all likely), there is no question that the Nasdaq will sink below 1,000.

    The fact that hardware manufacturers are counting on Microsoft to deliver XP is not Microsoft's fault, it's the hardware maker's fault for depending on Microsoft. If they could build their own killer app's, they wouldn't care if XP was blocked. But, of course, that would set the industry back 20 years when every manufacturer had their own closed and proprietary software for their computers.
  • That seems a bit unjustified considering that the case is still under heavy appeal and that the government still has a long, long, long way to go before they can call this one "done".

    Not really when you take in account, that they have been found GUILTY and the only thing reverted is the punishment.

    Its like if you would say, well, this murderer was found guilty, but since he apppealed death sentence, we should let him go free before we find appropriate sentence and litigate it in court to the end. I think that even injunction against WXP wouldn't be enough to bare microsoft from repeating its crime.

  • On the other hand with Windows XP blocked, we might see some more money in R&D invested by computer manufacturers into a Linux desktop. Don't you understand? The monopoly is bad for the industry. If something like delaying XP should set back whole industry, then something is wrong. I would rather let the PC market recover for even 2 more years and then come out healthy, than have it recover immediatelly for the price of having it en large taxed by Microsoft.
  • I was drinking hot coffee when I read your comment. You made me laugh, you bastard--have you ever chuckled hot coffee out your nose? It's not pleasant, I assure you... ;-)

  • by Sir_Winston ( 107378 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @10:26PM (#85923)
    The people who think that the government might try to block release of WinXP are quite frankly suffering from dementia, hysteria, or are just plain on crack.

    Doesn't anyone here read the financial news or watch CNN or FoxNews financial reports? The government is trying to expedite things because Microsoft has been in settlement talks with some of the States who've filed suit. Arizona (or was it New Mexico? I think Arizona) has already withdrawn itself from the suit.

    The fact is that the MS case is waning, and the world at large just wants to get it over with "for the sake of the [stock] market". A few geeks like us who hate Microsoft, and a few competitors who *really* hate Microsoft, do not make up for all the ordinary people who use Microsoft products at home and work every day, and who see it as just a benign thing on their computer that helps them do stuff.

    Like it or not, face it: the Court of Appeals has basically said that MS will not get broken up. Sure, their reasoning for remand was that Jackson misbehaved, but in reality do you think the next judge is going to order a break-up after the prior Appeals Court Smack-Down? Fuck no. Microsoft will get some injunctions handed to it not to engage in certain anti-competitive practices, such as forbidding OEMs from installing software (like AOL--you know AOL will make deals with big OEMs to get on the WinXP desktop, since their dealings with MS have crumbled), get a few fines, and that will be the end of it.

    None of it will affect you or I or Microsoft even. The game is nearly over, and like it or not, even though Microsoft lost, they won--in that they will not be broken up, and they will most likely receive a little slap on the wrist now that the new DOJ and some of the States have changed tune.

  • Actually, my thought was that this created hope that the PC would ever recover.
  • What I find odd is that a lot of people think that when the government asks for something, it has to be done, especially in this situation. Afaik, there is a separation between the justice system and the government/state. (I'm no US of A citizen but that separation is a cornerstone for all western societies). So the government can ask all they want, if the justice system decides otherwise, all the government can do is sigh and move on.

    When a government put pressure on the justice system to take a certain decision, the necessary separation between the justice system AND the state is in jeopardy. No matter what the case is, microsoft, drugs, whatever, the separation should be in tact. Only THEN a justice system can be truely independent.
    --

  • That's an interesting perspective, but my experience differs. I work for a consulting firm that deals with pretty big corporations and we find that the significant portions of desktop TCO are:

    1. "User initiated" faults. E.g. user doing something wrong requiring a technician to visit. W2k / NT doesn't really help (though correct permissions, mandatory profiles and strict policies is certainly a step in the right direction!).
    2. HW failure. Irrespective of underlying OS
    3. OS faulure. A tiny TCO concern. If win9x crashes, restart. If 5 minutes every other day is significant then you need to rethink your IT policy seriously!
    4. Software upgrade cycle. E.g. the cost of deploying and supporting new version of office every 18 months, SP's every 6 months, patches every month.
    5. (Related to the last point) The largest TCO factor is the firm link between the application lifecycle and the infrastructure lifecycle. The costs for upgrading 10,000 desktops to 128Mb of RAM, 800x600, 3Gb HD space free, 500Mhz+ are massive. That's why companies have a "PC Burn Rate" of about 18 to 24 months.

    Companies are finding that they need to confront these issues and generally find:

    • "Staying still" doesn't work. New applications often, but not always provide competitive advantage to the business.
    • Mainframe technology solves some of the issues but there is a poor percieved user experience.
    • Server based computing technologies (e.g. MS TSE, Citrix Metafram, Tarantella etc) solve most or all of these problems. You get great managability, scalability and resilience combined with a rich and familiar user experience.

    For me, the best thing that the non-MS community can do is produce something to rival Terminal Server or Citrix. E.g. the ability to support _thin_ clients, management functionallity, a decent remote protocol (X is heavy!) offering client side caching, compression etc.

  • by MongooseCN ( 139203 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @09:32PM (#85934) Homepage
    PC makers have identified XP as a key factor for breathing new life into stalled PC sales.

    "We are hoping for and preparing for a jump in the (PC sales) category with the launch of XP,"


    Has the general computer using population been brainwashed into thinking they have to buy a new PC to run a new operating system?
  • You seem to place emphasis on the term "TECH SUPPORT."

    While I'm somewhat out of the loop on how the average (90%) of computer users are able to do anything with Win9x, I am aware that the support costs for such boxen can be quite unpleasant. If you want Windows, NT4 and 2k have lower TCO than 9x. It baffles me why businesses still have the majority of workstations running 9x.

    To most home users Windows NT and Windows 2000 have never even existed. These folks are about to see what in their minds will be the greatest technological leap in computer technology since the GUI.... the computer that doesn't crash all the time. I'll RECOMMEND that home users purchase this damn thing just so I don't have to deal with another call where I have to help a friend install new device drivers and give him the "Okay, I will help you with this, but because you're running 9x, there is a very slight chance that even if I do everything right your computer will stop working and you'll have to reinstall everything." speech.

    Windows 2000, in my experience, doesn't blow up when you plug in a USB whatzimagigger or install the latest version of Quake. 9x does. Simply the benefit Dell/Compaq/Gateway etc. will get from not having to handle grandma calling and asking why the screen turns blue when the computer turns on is going to dramatically impact a few profit margins.

    Chances are if you're reading /. and do REAL work with computers, you use *nix/2k, and maybe me/98 for games. The rest of the world has it REALLY bad and this thing is going to be the best thing since sliced bread once word gets out.
    --
  • Has the general computer using population been brainwashed into thinking they have to buy a new PC to run a new operating system?

    It's not brainwashing. They've been acting this way for years, so I'd chalk it up to human nature.

    I worked at a cots/commercial/shrink-wrapped software company, and from dealing with customers about 12+ years ago, easily half of all add-on software is sold to most people as part of an initial package.

    Much of it featureware covering tasks that people think they need but few people actually use; voice dictation, trip planning software, cookbook programs,.... If you cruse through a mega computer store, most of the programs sold are of this type.

    It's kind of like buying a promise. Since the machine is programmable and can do nearly anything is a bonus. They don't want to deal with making it do those tasks...so you get pre-packaged boxes of software that they never use because it doesn't really satisfy the initial promise.

    The only programs that actually get bought regularly are ones where people are forced to get them for one reason or another (Quicken, Word/Excel, ...).

  • Arizona (or was it New Mexico? I think Arizona) has already withdrawn itself from the suit.

    Hmm, that story is still on the front page (well, actually, it's in the "Older Stuff" Slashbox, but anyway...) - it was New Mexico [slashdot.org] who settled.

    --

  • "you GIMP weenies can burn in hell, I'm not even an advanced user and even I can tell it crumbles and dies next to Photoshop for advanced tasks"
    Isn't it kind of hard to compare two programs like this? You state yourself that you're barely even literate with GIMP, and you can "already" see how badly it compares to PS.
    Isn't this like dumping a newbie onto a command-line UNIX terminal and telling them "Go!"??? Of course they won't see the power of the system (as compared to their familiar, oh-so-friendly OS make by MicroCrap) because they don't know how to use the advanced functions!!! This is the type of comparison you're making here; if you're going to compare two packages of software, at least compare them properly -- advanced functions vs. advanced functions, etc -- not as you've done -- GIMP's low-level functions vs. Photoshop's brand-new super-duper filtering plugins.
    Granted, GIMP may very well NOT be as powerful as Photoshop - I'm not necessarily debating that; you just may want to do fair and informed comparisons in the future.
    - Jester
  • Only on Slashdot can the government/justice system be the savior of humanity in one thread (when it is beating up on Microsoft) and the demon bane of all things good in another (the CDA of days gone by, the SS and SJG, the RIAA/MPAA rulings, etc).

    I don't have time to respond to the rest of your drivel, but this paragraph deserves some attention.

    No, this does not happen only on Slashdot. Almost anyone you talk to will praise certain government actions while condemning others, and you can see this reflected in the general media. The government is composed of such a large number of divisions and departments that it's bound to generate mixed opinions. Only a simpleton would think that government actions are all good or all bad.

    TheFrood

  • The point is though, the GUILTY Part is still under appeal as well. The whole case can be reversed at any time in appeals. The case has to be fully adjudicated before the findings-of-fact can be challeneged.

    This is like saying to a murderer "we wont execute you because your case is still on appeal".
  • by danheskett ( 178529 ) <danheskett@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Friday July 13, 2001 @07:41PM (#85944)
    Well I am glad to see the wheels of justice continue on forward, but really, an injunction against Windows XP?

    That seems a bit unjustified considering that the case is still under heavy appeal and that the government still has a long, long, long way to go before they can call this one "done".

    Also, the judge who did it would immediately place himself in the spotlight, and be cast off into the "biased" pool from the get-go.

    I don't see an injunction happening - but it'd be damn suprising if it did come to pass.
  • The article said an injunction prior to the distribution of windows XP, not blocking the distribution of windows XP.
  • Given the Bush administration, and the perception that the administratioon is pro business, this is an interesting development, bound to put the MS drawers into a twist.

    I do recall that they replaced the old hand lawyers with a bunch of "beginners". (I need info to verify this)

    The analogy I see is a possible similiarity to coding projects. You could replace the old guard with a bunch of hotshot code jockeys all rather young and very talented, etc. I can only hope that we have the legal equivalent of this in the legal geeks now on the job.

    It would be very wonderful if the new crew were to give the MS bunch a rude surprise.

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

  • If I create a company tomorrow and say that I will shine your shoes for $800, that is outrageous, it is bad for consumers, but the market will kick my ass because there are alternate ways to get your shoes shined, and shoe shining isn't even a necessity to begin with.

    You are absolutely, 100% correct. The distinction is that you DON'T have a monopoly in the shoe shine business, which is why you'd get your ass kicked in the market - competition would quickly put you out of business.

    Microsoft, on the other hand, IS a monopoly. The price they charge for their products can go up and down with little effect on their sales.

    This is one of the reasons we have government - to act as the voice, the agent of the people when things need to change. The government is not always correct (DeCSS, for example), but in the end, the power does reside with the people. If you yell loudly enough as a group, you will be heard.

    It is not a crime for Microsoft to be a monopoly! It is however, illegal to behave in certain ways when you ARE a monopoly, which is what MS has done.

    You talk about how action against MS is bad for the industry, bad for the economy. Well what if Microsoft was shut down tomorrow? All the dollars that had been wasted on OS licenses, Office, and CALs for NT server could have instead been invested in new companies, creating new jobs, and filling new needs - needs that haven't even been thought of yet! That's innovation, and that's what Microsoft is stifling with their actions.

  • It means Microsoft is operating in a free marketplace.

    What? Do you really believe this? Everyone who works in the computer industry knows it, everyone on Slashdot knows it, and now a United States federal court has found that Microsoft is a monopoly.

    Note: It is NOT a crime to be a monopoly. There is no jail sentence, fines, or any other sanctions. However, there are laws which regulate what you can and cannot do WHEN you are a monopoly, and those are the laws Microsoft has broken. (bundling, etc.)

  • Therefore, they are not a monopoly.

    Well, the Federal Courts in the USA (where MS is based) disagree with you.

  • by jchristopher ( 198929 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @11:12PM (#85959)
    Look, Mac users (myself included, from time to time) are a finicky bunch. A program with a bad GUI can slide by on Windows, and maybe even do okay on Linux if it's stable and does what it's supposed to.

    I think Linux users, and to a lesser extent, Windows users, are more tolerant of bad user interface as long as the program is powerful.

    Mac users are not like that. They expect programs to work in similar fashion and expect them to follow the user interface guidelines for the OS. (Yes, even Apple - they got SKEWERED in the Mac press for the interface of Quicktime 4).

    So suggesting that everyone help port OpenOffice to MacOSX is great! I agree. But you've got to find a few graphic designers, user interface people, and documentation/help technical writers to come along to the porting party.

    If you want it to succeed you have to play to the users, and on Mac, they expect a lot.


  • That seems a bit unjustified considering that the case is still under heavy appeal and that the government still has a long, long, long way to go before they can call this one "done".
    You might want to read an article by Lawrence Lessig [stanford.edu], a professor at Stanford Law School [stanford.edu], on the The New Republic website [tnr.com] entitled "WILL MICROSOFT ADMIT IT HAS LOST? Antitrust and Verify" [tnr.com].

    In the article, Prof. Lessig initially notes:
    Late last month, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously found that Microsoft had violated America's antitrust laws. In an unsigned opinion, the court held unequivocally that Microsoft was a monopolist that used its power to protect itself against nascent competition. Yet that's not the way Microsoft--and, in turn, the press--spun it. "Microsoft spared: appeals court overturns breakup order, assails trial judge," proclaimed The San Francisco Chronicle in a typical headline. "Gates wins a round in court," blared a follow-up piece in the Houston Chronicle. That spin isn't just wrong; it signals something dangerous. Much as he did after settling the government's first antitrust case with a consent decree in 1994, Bill Gates has been arguing that this latest ruling permits Microsoft to go on as if nothing had happened. That's not true. And now the Bush administration and the states need to deliver that message very clearly to Chairman Gates.
    Prof. Lessig concludes:
    In the fall, Microsoft will launch the first versions of its vision of the future--.Net, Hailstorm, and a new version of its operating system, Windows XP. The bundling of disparate software elements into these new products makes the bundling of Windows and Internet Explorer look like child's play. This week, Microsoft freed computer manufacturers to bundle a different browser with Windows XP. But this concession does not begin to address the questions about bundling raised by the court's opinion. Microsoft has bet the company on a strategy of tying together a vast range of products into a single Microsoft platform. From authentication to instant messaging, Windows-flavored code will do it all. No doubt some of this bundling is perfectly OK under the appellate court's test. And it is possible that the bunch together could be developed consistently with the law. But, given the vast range of functions being tied to the operating system, it is impossible to believe that a fair reading of the court's opinion would not raise questions about some--perhaps much--of it. Microsoft's refusal, however, even to acknowledge the principle in the court's opinion--or to acknowledge that this principle is different from the "freedom" it has consistently espoused--forces the government's hand. Were Microsoft willing to talk honestly about the rule the court has set, then relatively simple remedies, perhaps even a fine, would be enough. But when the company insists that black is white--that its "freedom to innovate" has been unaffected by this loss--then it is hard for a government charged with enforcing the law to ask for anything less than the strongest remedy possible--including a breakup. If the company with the greatest power over the Internet's future won't even acknowledge the law, then the government must make sure it can't use its power illegally to direct that future anymore.


  • There are so many advertising dollars at stake that there is no way the press will allow XP to be delayed. Remember - Microsoft has promised to spend even more than they did when they released Windows 95.

    There is so much money at stake that if Windows XP caused your computer to release a pack of rabid wild dogs into your house - the press would write "and it even comes with FREE pets!"

    In other words no matter how bad XP is - it is going to get glowing reviews.

    If you don't think all of those dollars have an effect on the legal system I suggest that you have someone whack you over the head with a two by four so as to knock some semblance of reality back into your life. I suspect that all along part of the motivation for the anti trust suit was to get Microsoft to turn loose of some of that pile of money that they have.

    Windows 95 proved to Microsoft that you can sell the public anything if you spend enough money pushing it. I defy anyone anywhere to point to a more unstable, insecure, virus ridden joke of an 'operating system' than that pile of rotting dingo's kidneys that Microsoft called 'Windows 95'.

    Microsoft seems to spend money on advertising in inverse relationship to how good the product they are pushing is: i.e. they spent a lot more on 95 than they did on NT - and they spent almost nothing on OS/2 when they were involved in it. IF XP keeps that trend up we can only look forward to something that will leave us wistful memories of the 'good old days of Win 95'.

    By the way, has anyone noticed that Microsoft's attitude is that all of the power that you pay for in a new computer belongs to them? Basically what you are getting to pay for with new hardware is the privilege of running even slower bloat ware than the last OS. Computers are about 100 times as fast today as they were 10 years ago - I defy anyone to show how Windows 2K is doing 100 times as much work as Windows for Work groups 3.11 - but on today's machines W2K is no faster than WFW 3.11 would run on a ten year old machine. Recently a co-worker got a new 900 MHZ computer with W2K on it - when I asked him how he liked it he said "God - its slow". I never figured out how to make a Z80 with 64 K of memory feel slow - I am in awe of programmers who are able to make a 900 MHZ Pentium III with 128 Mb run sluggishly - Microsoft's programmers have truly put the 'K' into 'Kwality'.

  • This is a strong indication that the DOJ has given up trying to negotiate a settlement with Microsoft. DOJ has the ability to negotiate for as long as they want to before asking the court to send the case back for a new punishment trial. Asking for the case to be sent back to the lower court means that DOJ has either given up trying to settle the case with Microsoft, or they are putting strong pressure on Microsoft to negotiate.

    Considering the astonishing statements that Microsoft executives have made about what the appeal court ruling means and the equally astonishing statements they have made about what is or is not negotiable I have no doubt that the DOJ has given up on them and will let the court decide.

    One thing you should really understand about this case. What I have seen in the press about what the appeals courts did and said ranges from highly "spun" to out right lies. The only way you can get a true understanding of how much trouble Microsoft is in is to read the appeals court ruling. Everything that Microsft has said about the ruling is a blatant and total lie.

    StoneWolf

    P.S.

    IANAL, but for self protection I have learned to read a contract and a court ruling.

  • The appeals court judges ranked pretty high on the jackass scale, too. They say they see no bias in Jackson's ruling but don't like his style and let Microsoft off the hook for that?
    Especially after Microsoft lies often and repeatedly to him...waste his time, disrespect him, and he's not supposed to say what he thinks of them afterwards?
    If he's to be pushed off cases for that behavior, more than half the US Supreme Court should be retired.
  • The fact is that the MS case is waning, and the world at large just wants to get it over with "for the sake of the [stock] market". A few geeks like us who hate Microsoft, and a few competitors who *really* hate Microsoft, do not make up for all the ordinary people who use Microsoft products at home and work every day, and who see it as just a benign thing on their computer that helps them do stuff.

    Not waning. Microsoft has been shown to be a predatory monopoly. And the court said that they should not be broken up because long term efficacy cannot be assurred (contrary to what Nader has said on the subject). The is bad for Microsoft. It is bad because they have inherited an extremely large amount of liability in a very litigious society (sort of like putting a big red bull's eye on them and saying "sue me"). Over 100 suits are in court waiting for this to be finalized and any settlement still sets precedent (note that Caldera vs Microsoft was cited as precedent in the tying issue by the appelate court-- a suit that microsoft settled out before the trial). Microsoft is in trouble.

    I do not hate Microsoft. They have been market bullies, but I cannot say that their net effect on the computer industry has been bad. In fact, Microsoft came into the industry with the idea of taking advantage of economy of scale so that they could undersell their competitors. Now that model is being shown to be non-sustainable, so they are looking at subscription revenues.

    But if it were not for Microsoft, the PC would not be as ubiquitous as it is today. That also means that open source software would also be retarded. In a kind of ironic way, open source software is the logical outgrowth of the positive aspects of Microsoft's business model, and I think that is why the GPL in particular frightens them so much.

    I think that the states will ask for an injunction against XP. But whether it is granted will be uncertain. I think that the courts will be careful regarding this, but that they will look at the integration of Hailstorm and XP with some skepticism.

  • Now that the browser wars have been reduced to a minor skirmish (leaving the losers to bicker over whether mozilla or konqueror is better. The previous ruling which, iirc, mandated the division of MS into an OS division and a browser division, seems pointless. With the trial moving ahead now, I sincerly hope that they find that the best solution now will be to divide them into an OS division and an application divisiion.

    I hope not. The IDC had an interesting press release where they said that such a division would lead to less competition, not more (although Linux as an OS might do well). Particularly, Microsoft Office for Linux would be likely to crush all competing office suites on that OS. Freeing the office monopoly from the OS monopoly would not be a Good Thing (tm) for the industry, I think. You would, instead, have two predatory monopolies, rather than one...

  • by rknop ( 240417 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @08:27PM (#85973) Homepage

    Given the Bush administration, and the perception that the administratioon is pro business, this is an interesting development, bound to put the MS drawers into a twist.

    While I'm not speaking specifically with regard to the Bush Administration's position, in general it is a poor assumption to equate "pro business" with "pro Microsoft." Indeed, there are lots of pro business folks out there who believe that business in the computer industry would do a whole lot better without the bullying monopolistic tactics of Microsoft.

    -Rob

  • The best answer to "And after we destory MS what then ?" is that the hero and heroin (in this case lawyers - yuck but doable) get married and live happily ever after. Don't you know that is the ending to all "good triumphs over evil stories". You might get a scene of the enslaved population crying with joy or a celebration and a feast... that part varies.
  • There are reason's why Microsoft should be punished severly but this is not it. Microsoft getting hit damaging the NASDAQ has nothing to do with it's monopolistic practices and everything to do with it being a very profitable company and investors feeling comfortable having their money invested in microsoft shares.

    First many people have microsoft on margin; why not it's a pretty safe bet (profit and history wise at least.) But if msft goes does and those investments get called all these investors suddenly need to sell other investments to cover their debt - creating a buyers market in what ever they own. And microsoft owners tend to own tech stock.

    Secondly share are often used as collateral against loans. With that collateral diminished suddenly other companies can't get their loans for capital. And with no capital no returns.

    So yes the success of microsoft is a pretty major influence on the economy but it is natural in market capitalist economics for the market to be affected by the market leaders. If microsoft wasn't the market leader of tech stocks then somebody else would be. How they got there may be questioned but someone has to be there.

    Of course this wouldn't be an issue if companies belonged to the labor and all property belonged to the republic (I think that's a different argument for another time.)
  • true, but here in the US of A we're spending tax dollars to try to stop them. And jackasses like judge jackson are fucking it up.

    ___
  • by waytoomuchcoffee ( 263275 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @09:05PM (#85989)
    It would give them time to work on SP1.
  • by bryan1945 ( 301828 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @08:36PM (#85994) Journal
    As a capitalist kinda guy, I don't mind a company leveraging their strengths. As a tech guy, I dislike how MS has forced various stuff down consumers' throats.

    What I really, really HATE, though, is the complete buy-in of corporate IT/IS drones into MS. As a co-worker likes to tell me, MS was good at one point to solidify standards (back in the '80s). But we have progressed now to the point where we have standards bodies who can give us standards. For example, MS XP will be the first MS OS with an OSI standard TCP/IP stack? This took how many years? Also, all these corporate wankers deciding that MS is the best route? Come on, has there been a study where the MS OS route has resulted in a lower cost for support. Not that I've seen.

    Overall, I don't really blame MS, I (now) blame all the lemmings who follow "the group" when it comes to anything relating to computers.
  • Actually, no, I don't think so.
    What the court have found them guilty on is the OEM licensing terms. AFAIK, they have mostly stopped doing this licensing, no doubt due to the trial.

    MS can (and will) argue, that such a ban of new products will kill it. Not being able to intreduce new prodcuts for a the trial's time span (very likely another couple of years at least, can come up to a decade) is a sure-fire way to destroy MS.



    --
    Two witches watch two watches.
  • by fors ( 310930 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @09:08PM (#85999) Homepage
    Actually it is a very possible step. The appeals court agreed with the fact that Microsoft acted illegally. They just disagreed with the punishment. It is entirely possible that the next judge will decide that XP has to wait until it is decided what the punishment will be and if XP is more of the same behavior. You all keep forgetting one thing, Microsoft has been found guilty. They don't have the right to continue business as normal. A judge could conceivably decide to ban all introduction of new products from them until this case is settled. It wouldn't necessarily imply prejudice just an awareness of the importance of the outcome of this trial.
  • Oh shoot, I forgot my punchline. For GODs sakes, somebody help port OpenOffice to MacOS X!!! This will box in MS and keep them from opening that other revenue stream.
  • "... the main thing that keeps the US economy alive is consumer confidence; people are still spending, despite the problems companies are having. If that confidence disappers, it could lead to stagflation. In reality,"

    I may be wrong here, but there is another very important factor in consumer and public confidence that comes into play. While what you say is true about an abrupt change wreaking havoc on the stock market, I don't think it will be longterm and I certainly don't think it will spell the end of Microsoft.

    Consider that if the DOJ let MS off with a slap on the hand .... or worse ... an insignificant breakup that may only have the effect of creating two monopolies down the line ... then the public will see right through the sham and lose even more confidence in the DOJ and government as a whole. That can have some very long effects on the stockmarket. So, the DOJ is caught in a Catch22.

    I cannot see that the DOJ has any choice but to apply the anti-trust law and proceed to inflict some REAL pocketbook damages against MS. Suspending the release of XP is not going to appease anyone beyond the short-sited. They need to break the monopoly and free up the desktop and applications markets for real competition without intimidation from M$. That may very well send some shockwaves through the stockmarket in the interim, but it will hardly bring down M$, MS will just have to start playing on a more level playing field and considering they already have a greater chunk of the market, their chances are better than good to continue their success. The only difference will be that they will have to actually compete with other products and start providing quality.

    I can see this as a win-win situation for business and consumers alike. It may even restore some confidence in government. Then again, maybe it's too simple and obvious to work.
  • by n76lima ( 455808 ) on Friday July 13, 2001 @09:09PM (#86011)
    XP is not going to pull the Big 4 out of the PC sales doldrums. The reason PC sales have fallen off is 2 fold. We have a softening economy (DOH!) and the current crop of PCs are so very powerful and so very cheap that consumers don't want/need to upgrade to new machines. An Athlon 1200 based system for ~$750 WITH a 17" monitor and 128 MB of RAM? What possible application could a potential PC buyer have that needs more power than that? The problem is one of economics. If the PC is selling for 1/2 the price it was 2 years ago, then the manufacturer has to sell twice as many units to maintain sales volume in dollars. With the markup being so competitive there is the same or LESS percentage of profit in each unit. How long can you make money manufacturing the same product for the 1/2 the price and having to sell twice as many of them, and all the while each sale requires the same manpower to build, test and then TECH SUPPORT each unit? This is a recipe for financial ruin that all PC makers are struggling against. XP does not change any of this, particularly since MS will be selling XP to be installed on existing systems. No chance that they will insist it can only be purchased with a new system. The possibility that the DOJ is going to seek an injunction against the sale of XP as a remedy for past actions by MS may well send shock waves through the PC industry, but even if the Federal Government were PROMOTING the purchase of XP with tax incentives (XP purchase cost tax deductable to consumers?) This would NOT cause a stampede to buy new PCs. Thus "rescuing" PC builders in the 4th Quarter.
  • Over the last week or so i have posted several comments on MS stories in which i pointed out that the reason we enjoy the access to hardware and peripherals we have today was due to the WIntel block and the way in which MS has helped make the PC ubiqioutos.

    I also pointed out that MS products are all most home users and corporate customers want - there are as you all say alternatives out there but the MS lines dominate - NOTE im taling desktop only - i love Linux and run a number of Slackware and Caldera servers and Workstations and think it a far superior product for Web and Database (to name just 2)functions.

    The reality is no matter what we may wish or pray for MS are not dead and not about to be. The US government is a Republican and Pro Business one. The company will not be broken up - this is not seen as a viable solution by most anymore and the sales of their products continue to grow - Win2k pro is at i think about 20% growth per month and their application market has never been stronger in its dominance of the home, SOHO and Corporate Desktop.

    Im not in the US - im in Aus and down here the MS Anti Trust and Monopoly Trials are old news - not even seen on our media, the reality is that if MS pulled out of the US our government (and many others would bend over backwards for the jobs) you will not put MS out of business - they may pull out of the US but that will have a far far greater impact on your economy than you ever want to think about (possible a depression when the collapse of dependant companies is taken into account)

    So think for a minute - the open source movement produces incredible software for free and provides an alternative to Microsoft.

    Isnt it enought that we have the high ground as ethical and intelligent liberal thinking programmers with an ethic of producing the best possible solution ?

    Isnt it enought that Linux has enable millions of kids around the world to develop new skills and grow into the industry heavy weights of toomorrow ?

    I dont and never will subscribe to the Crush MS camp - this is short sighted to me - but ITS a RIGHT of people to have opinions and to be able to express them - so i have never and will never flame anyone for thos thoughts - and i will defend their right to express them as i would hope they would defend mine.

    SO i suggest a thought - If MS products are fine for some people and not for others shouldn't we be developing a more user friendly and desktop friendly OS for the home market - something which doesnt require the level of knowledge most Linux Distros need ? (the home users - moms and dads - wont ever run the product at the level it is now)

    Rather than trying to crush a company (and the 'war' has been going on for over 5 years and so far they are still getting bigger) we should provide an example of what many disparate people and cultures can produce when they work together.

    Please dont bother flaming me - i understand what i have just said is going to offend some of you - i dont pretend some of what people say about things doesnt offend me - i simply choose to post intelligently -

    And no i dont want to hear about the supposed illegalities and business practices of MS - they are redundant and coming from a country that allowed companies like Union Carbide, Dow Chemical, GE, Monsanto and many many others to pollute large swathes of the third world i feel a little hypocrtical - lets just be the best we can be and show the world what the hacker ethic is really all about.
  • Um, no? What needs to happen is Compaq, Gateway, Dell, et. al. need to start distributing a nice Linux desktop. Maybe with a well proofed Wine setup and heavily secured remote admin tools. Provide a mirror of that setup on a recovery CD (that is totally automated), and most "moms and dads" will be fine. That's about what they do for windows now. What, do you think a "mom" or "dad" could survive the windows install, or even really use it effectively? I'll say this now: They don't. They only use it because it's on there, and the software they get runs on it. That's ALL.
    **
    Actually thats a damn good point and one i missed - i commented the other day in a post about it. The fact is IMHO win isnt that hard to set up - most competent children can do it and if you dont know how chances are a friend or someone you know will and if you bought a Dell or similar then the process is as simple as bunging in a reinstall disk - Linux does need to get to this point - Very Very Good Point microlith

    To add a further thing what i would love to see is GPL and Linux to the point where it becomes an easy choice for the consumer - a tick on an order form - then you can compare the OS's and choose what you want - sort of like buying a car - do you get the 4 or 6 cylinder engine, with or without aircon, manual or auto.

    Maybe MS will become irrelevent then - who knows what will happen in the future - I simply would love to see a choice for all - from the average home user to the corporate IT manager.

"The voters have spoken, the bastards..." -- unknown

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