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Microsoft

Microsoft Tweaks Desktop Icon Licensing in XP 242

jeffy124 writes "Microsoft has made a slight adjustment to their recent change in OEM licensing in a direct response to AOL's hijacking of the desktop. The gist is show MSN's icon too, or don't show any." As jeffy124 points out, this comes, more or less, straight as a reaction to the AOL-Compaq deal.
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Microsoft Tweaks Desktop Icon Licensing in XP

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you don't know what "fair use" means, please stop throwing the term around to try and sound smart. It just makes it harder for other idiots to learn what it really means.

    In no way, shape or form is this any sort of "fair use" issue.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Dear Small Business Owner,

    In order to access the internet from a computer running any version Microsoft Windows, you must have a valid MSN account. You do not appear to have a valid MSN account and now have 30 days in which to obtain a valid MSN account.

    Please contact us within 30 days with your MSN account number or your current internet access will be terminiated.

    Sincerely,

    Bill Gates
    BSA President
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yep, and your comments are right on. What Microsoft keeps forgetting is that they don't *own* Compaq (or at least not enough of it to have any kind of meaningful control, from strictly a stock ownership standpoint, never mind the politics for the moment). Compaq has had a business relationship with AOL for many years, and AOL has business relationships with many computer vendors, some of whom like Compaq actually lower themselves to selling products that include Microsoft's so-called "operating systems". So, when Compaq decides that it wants to sell some of its own products, configured in a way that it feels makes good business sense in that they will be attractive to the market that they're trying to sell to, it's not up to Microsoft to try to dictate what those products will look like.

    AOL does not publically discuss their server and network configurations, but you can comfortably assume that most of their systems are not Wintel systems - there are a lot of UNIX boxes of various types (and which are far more scaleable than MS' offerings) - and they are not tied to one vendor.

    In other words, Michael Capellas finally took enough vitamins and good advice and told Bill Gates to shove it. MC is trying to be responsible to Compaq's stockholders, not Bill Gates, for once. Compaq makes more money (despite a very poor market at the moment) off of products using its own operating systems than it does from those that use Microsoft's.

    What's hilarious is that, as others have pointed out, Bill Gates and his minions have once again demonstrated their tunnel vision and have just created another PR debacle for themselves. That, in itself, gives Compaq all the more reason to stand up for itself and not be so closely identified with a convicted felon that has already tried (as revealed in sworn testimony in court) to screw Compaq in a variety of situations.
  • Is that Microsoft listened to feedback from users and have designed Windows XP to have very few icons on the desktop. I haven't installed the latest beta but I think it may only have like one icon. I am not sure exactly why but I suspect it's because a large number of Win9x enabled desktops shipped with a whole lot of clutter and users didn't like that.

    So Microsoft has said that icons should be only placed down in the Start Menu. It's very easy in recent versions to drag these icons down into the start tray or off onto the desktop, if the user wants easy access to those apps. This is a change from the way Win95 or NT4 worked.

    So this is really about User preferences.

    Now AOL has come out and said that they are going to not only install their broken piece of shit software on the machines, they are also going to spam the desktop with lot's of useless icons. Obviously they don't get it, but then they never have.

    I don't understand Microsoft's position as to placing MSN icons out there as well. I guess they are taking the attitude... Well if you're going to destroy our OS, we want to be part of it.

    Personally I'd rather just have a computer ship with a clean OS, and if they want to include extra crap to make my life easier, just throw a CD in the box and if I want it, I'll install it.

  • I'm not bashing, but I will make this observation...

    StarOffice, Corel Office, and Applix Office happen to have consistent within themselves menus. Many of the other apps have menus that are consistent with the rest of things.

    I'll bet your complaint is less that the menus aren't standard and more that they're not the way Windows presents them. But you never stop to think about that- you're so used to Windows you don't think about anything of the sort.
  • If Microsoft's stuff is as easy as they claim it is, you can offer installation services a' la Dell Plus for an extra charge. You could also offer install packs that blast the image out (Hell, if you're working with an OEM, you're already doing that!) on demand and in 15-20 minutes they're ready to rock- no matter which OS they want.

    Saying that it'd kill the sales is disingenious- there's ways of carrying through with the suggestion that users and OEMs can not only live with, but would find workable just the same.
  • The license has to be with whatever installation of MS' product goes out. What they COULD do, however, is pre-package the system installer images with the machines going to Windows customers and let the system installer CD do the install work for them- no fuss, no muss.

    But that would be a problem with the deals they made with MS, now wouldn't it?
  • MS is so used to being a total monopoly that they can't even imagine playing (let alone winning) a game that has an even playing field, or where everyone uses the same rules.

    Why don't they just get nostalgic and throw false error messages anytime anyone uses any blasphemous icon, offering to create a pious ms icon in it's place?

    the cash from msn subscriptions should more than pay for the court settlement years after the fact.

  • Get a copy of the Mouse Basics Hypercard stack that came with the B&W Macs. It still runs. I encourage all new computer users to run through it, since it actually teaches people how to use a computer. Why isn't this shipped anymore on Macs? Why don't Windows computers come with one? There wasn't much to it. Probably the same resons noone ships manuals or disks anymore.

    -----
    My God, it's full of source!
  • you can apply the monopoly test (something I made up):

    If all MS produced was the OS, would they be upset by people bundling their icons (or software) on the desktop?

    I would say the answer is 'no'. Why would they? If they were only producing an OS, it would be in their best interests to be as open (as in well documented and with known standards) as possible, to allow as many people to hook into their OS as possible and to allow people the flexability to do as they please with their OS.

    The more people that can utilise the OS and the more they find the OS useful, the more OS product they sell.

    However, MS doesn't think like that because it has an agenda - ie to sell it's other products. And as we all know, it does this by locking out other competitors. That is an abuse of your monopoly powers.

    So in this situation, I would argue that MS should have no say as to what people want to install as icons on their desktop - to do so is to once again abuse their monopolistic position.

  • Fair use is a copyright term. So it applies
    to copies and making copies for personal use
    and so on. I was not using it in that legal
    sense, but in the colloquial sense which seems
    to be emerging. The colloquial usage just means
    what can I legally do with this thing I purchased?
    <br><br>
    Of course you could have explained your position
    and the meaning of "fair use" instead of being a prick about it. And I don't think knowing the
    legal definition of "fair use" has anything
    to do with being smart, certainly not in your
    case.
    <br><br>
    -Kevin
  • The thing that bugs me about this is that Microsoft is basically telling OEMs how to use the software that they have paid for.

    This seems very harmful to consumers.

    One defense Microsoft does have though is that they should not be expected to provide support for any non-MS software preloaded by the OEM. So the burden should be on the OEM to clarify this.

    -Kevin
  • 1) The grocery store does not own Coca-cola. If they change what is inside, even if they notify the customer, it is food-tampering.

    They don't sell 'Rum and Coca-Cola' or any other mixed drinks in your country?

    Reselling is often *all about* making a few changes and enhancements to a product. Whether that be a more convenient location to buy it, services or an icon to a vastly superior and corn-flake compatible ISP.

  • One important thing to remember: It is not illegal to have a monopoly.

    In other words, even though people don't like MS's monopoly over the OS market, that by itself is not the problem.

    But...

    The real problem, as was so well pointed out in the above post, is that it is illegal to:

    • Use your monopoly power to charge higher prices for your products than you would otherwise be able to charge, and...
    • Use your monopoly power in one market to extend your power in another market.
    This is the reason the whole Netscape issue was so important, because MS was shown to have used its monopoly in the OS to extend into the Applications (specifically, the browser) market.

    Now, it's happening all over again... in the ISP market. If left unchecked, it should be a pretty simple matter for MS to crush AOL as an ISP, by simply making it far easier to install MSN than it is to load AOL.

    MS wants to control the Internet, as can be seen by their plays in .NET and Hailstorm, and they will go to any length to get that power.

    --

  • Ford may have a right to tell Ford dealers that they can't put GM signs up on their walls, or risk losing the right to sell Fords.
  • But after they've sold their product to e.g. compaq or AOL. they should be able to do with it whatever they like.

    They don't 'sell the product' - they sell a 'license to use' the product - anyone who doesn't understand that difference shouldn't even be participating in the debate, let along being modded 'insightful' - more like 'clueless'.

    If you buy a license, the product remains the property of Msft. Corp.

    Should a theatre that bought the rights to show "Planet of the Apes" be allowed to 'do anything they want' with it? Like re-edit it? Put ads for the local hardware store in it?? Of course not- the movie is still the property of the production company or whatever, not the theatre that is charging per-seat tickets to view the movie. Now a theatre could actually purchase the product and do whatever they want with it, but it's going to be VERY expensive because the owners will want the production costs plus whatever profits they expect to get in the future from second run theatres, videos, television, mktng tie-ins, etc. etc. etc. Similarly, Compaq could purchase XP from Microsoft and do whatever they want with it but it'll be very expensive and would ammount to a corporate takeover of msft.

    The real question in the courts is how much can companies like Msft can use their license terms for monopoly maintenance and abuse?

  • No, it's more like McDonalds trying to tell me I'm not allowed to dip my McNuggets in any sauce except theirs.

    Or that I MUST take their sauce, and dip my nugget in it before each bite. Even if I prefer to use my own sauce, or just plain don't like them with sauce at all.

    It's also like them telling me that I can't take their nasty tomato off of their burger, even if I want to put a slice from one of my homegrowns on it instead. I'm permitted to put my nice tomato on it if I like, but the slimy razor-cut one they provide must stay. (Their tomato will be on the burger, or there will be no tomatoes at all.)

    It's also like a local burger shop buying their buns from McDonalds (wholesale or whatever) only to discover they come with the "special sauce" pre-smeared on them. And they're not allowed to try to scrape it off. (Not to mention that nobody else sells buns that their burgers will fit on... because McDonalds sends jackbooted lawyers to scare the bejeezus out of any local bakery that tries. They have a patent on buns, you see...)
  • If Microsoft wants its MSN icon--or any other icon for that matter--on the desktop, then it should enter into the SAME SORT OF LICENSING DEAL THAT AOL IS MAKING WITH OTHER OEMS. Stating that their icons must show, or no icons will be allowed, is just another example of how Microsoft flexes its muscles to promote its inferior products (not that I wish to imply that AOL's product is in any way superior).

    I have a term that Microsoft should learn: It's called playing fair.

    If Microsoft doesn't want to play fair, then they deserve to be bitch-slapped by the DoJ and court system for being a monopoly and illegally protecting that monopoly.

    Get a clue, Microsoft!
    --
  • It used to be that the courts held that regardless of the EULA text, software was sold, but I understand that they now agree that it is only licensed. This demonstrates the power of advertising ... or something.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • As often as it is to their short term advantage. Or long term, of course, but they don't notice that quite as often.

    Notice: The customers advantage is totally irrelevant here. They don't really intentionally hurt themselves to hurt their customers. It just feels that way.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • So you can also add an icon called: 'Remove Microsoft MSN access icon'
  • 100 bucks says the evil company wins.

    So.... Would that be Microsoft, or AOL?


  • My father is convinced that double-clicking on links makes the page load faster.


    I just tried that and it worked!
  • > Gotta love that quote though. People don't use the word 'ballyhooed' anything like enough.

    That's probably why he's the VP of a big corp, and we're just ordinary geeks.

    I'm going to start saying "ballyhooed" once a day, to see if it gives my career a boost. Maybe I'll throw in a "23-skidoo" every week or two as well.

    --
  • That's silly. If, say, Boar's Head were to do that, the deli would say "OK, fine. I'll go do business with Thumann's." PC vendors are over the barrel, however. They CAN'T substitute a work-alike product for Microsoft Windows, because it doesn't exist.

    When I get a ham sandwich, I'm not AWFULLY concerned about who made the ham. I mean, I'd like it to be of good quality, but many quality hams are compatible with the sort of bread I like. Not true of PC operating systems.

    That's why monopolies are bad.
  • Oooooh no.

    But if you do anything we don't like we'll just change the rules again.
  • How can you be so foolish? This isn't anything to do with monopolies. This is just another sign of Microsoft innovating in response to the times, under-promising and over-delivering, as they put it. Never before has anyone come up with this sort of rule, so once more MS are taking a brave step forward. And it's just this sort of brave, plucky, all-American innovation that the evil commie DOJ want to stifle...
  • by Pahroza ( 24427 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @04:46AM (#2180965)
    Don't forget the following though. They didn't purchase the software, simply a license to use it as described by Microsoft.

    Do I agree that it should be this way? No. I believe as probably most of you do, that if you DO purchase closed source software, you should be able to use it any way you see fit.
  • "North American Airlines rejects this month's issue of your in-flight magazine. One of the advertisers is an automobile rental company which violates our standards. We remind you that any advertisement for automobile rental must include a mention of North American Auto Rental, our affiliated company."
  • From this you have you choice of the following national online services:

    And what about the smaller companies? Isn't this just crying for a large-company-only world? People like easy stuff, and if four companies are made much easier by putting ready icons on the desktop...

    Who would get the icons there anyway? Where do you draw the line of a "major" ISP?

    Those who can pay enough to Microsoft? Obviously ridiculous.

    Everybody? No chance.

    You quote four large "national online services", but you're forgetting Windows is a global product. The service providers in other parts of the world are very different, somewhere I'll guarentee there are no "national online services".

    If it is allowed to sell a box that has only Microsoft icons, it should be allowed to sell a box with only AOL icons -- it's the consumers choise!

    On the other hand, if AOL should be required to add a Microsoft icon on the desktop, then Microsoft should be required to add an AOL icon on their desktop. And if Microsoft should be required to add an AOL icon on their desktop, they should also be required to add a Columbia Internet icon.
  • And there it is. A non-monopoly may engage in a broader scope of anticompetitive behavior to its advantage than can a monopoly.

    Microsoft's evils have now come home to roost. I rather love listening to them whine about how "tough" it is in the fast lane. . .
  • by nevets ( 39138 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @05:03AM (#2180973) Homepage Journal
    I understand your point if Microsoft didn't do the same thing themselves. They tried very hard to prevent their competitors from getting onto the desktop. But when a OEM does it to them, they cry murder.

    I don't buy your analogy. MS has a monopoly on the windows desktop. Now if McDonalds made buildings, and BurgerKing had to buy one of these MD buildings, and then McDonalds told BurgerKing that they must sell Big Macs along with their Woppers, or not sell anything at all. Then you would have a similar analogy.

    The difference here is that the desktop is not just a medium for marketing. But it is an active place where the consumer does their work. Having that icon is not just advertising, it is a medium to actually sign up. Microsoft plays this game so much, when removing their competetors from the desktop and placing them into the start menu only, and they say they are cleaning the desktop. MS just says, that the user can still put the icon on the desktop and calling it "consumer choice". Now the shoe is on the other foot. The OEM decides what is on the desktop and MS is up in arms.


    Steven Rostedt
  • from the simpsons:

    jay sherman (film critic): how do you sleep at night?

    rainier wolfcastle (based on ahnold): on a lahge pile of money, wif many beautiful ladies ...
  • I don't see why the default desktop should be seen as an advertising medium at all. I mean - I've already shelled out good money for the OS, why should I have to be advertised to as well?

    If I buy a new car, I can live with a badge on the front and back telling people what kind of car it is, but I don't expect to have the doors and the roof emblazened with the complay logo and the phone number for the service department
  • Ah that brings back memories. When I was little, this used to be my favorite "game" to play. I'd watch all the animations move and play around with all the objects on the screen.

    My Power Mac G4 did come with a tutorial but it was really short. It was nowhere near as fun and actually wouldn't run without manually switching resolutions. What person who doesn't know how to click a mouse will know how to do that?
  • There's a slight difference: Microsoft has never sold a single copy of any version of any software package they produce. They license.

    But if I go to the computer shop around the corner and buy a windows license, I am allowed to install whatever program I like on it.
    why isn't AOL or compaq allowed to do the same ?
    ---
  • by BorgDrone ( 64343 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @04:56AM (#2180982) Homepage
    But after they've sold their product to e.g. compaq or AOL. they should be able to do with it whatever they like.

    to me, this is kinda like a consumer buying a retail windows install, and then finding out he's only allowed to install Microsoft Certified applications on it.

    "Instatallation of Mozilla on this OS is not permitted"
    for now it's only OEM desktops, but when will the rest follow ?
    ---
  • This fight between AOL and MS, in the big picture, is over mindshare. That is, who will a new PC owner (in this case, a Compaq owner) think of when they think "Internet access"?

    I suspect that the vast majority of Slashdot readers would be damned if they thought of either AOL or MS for online access, for reasons that often include reliability, principles, and pride.

    So, AOL and MS are fighting over, frankly, the less savvy computer user. Yes, I know that these days, this defines the majority...but doesn't it seem a little sad that a big part of this fight is based on the fact that the typical user will double-click on whatever icon on the desktop offers Internet access? Dog? Bell? Pavlov?

    I just find it a little disheartening that many of the recent stories in the IT world--AOL vs MS and the countless virus stories, to name a few--seem to revolve around the fact that computer users, as a whole...aren't that bright. Hey, I'm not trying to put myself on a pedestal with this mini-rant...hell, it took me 20 minutes just to write this :)

    Just my 1.5 cents.

  • by jdfox ( 74524 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @05:19AM (#2180987)
    There are ways to help competitors out, but telling MS that their own desktop is off limits is like telling McDonalds to sell their Big Macs and McNuggets... somewhere other than at a McDonalds.

    MS are fond of using the "burger and fries" metaphor to defend their control of the UI, and of deciding what to call "part of the OS". It suits MS marketing well, but is disingenuous IMHO.

    A burger is an impulse purchase: a one-shot consumable. Your burger does not serve as anything other than your next meal: it is not the gateway to your bank, your mail, other people's products, etc. It is instantly usable with all its competitors' products, since its "platform" is your mouth, not a PC. And perhaps most importantly, burgers are always sold directly from the manufacturer to the consumer through retail outlets: there is no reseller channel for McDonalds.

    A car is a better metaphor for this. Buy a Ford car, and paint it any color you like. Stick badges all over it. Pull the badge off the grille. Put big bull horns on the front, and 'roo bars. Add fluffy seat covers. Just leave the internals alone, or Ford can justifiably refuse to service it for you. Similarly, MS has no business dictating the UI to a reseller, so long as they're not changing anything internally.

    So, shifting my head around temporarily to Closed Source Business Mode, I can understand them objecting to something that changes or adds DLLs and EXEs to render Windows UI components differently, but they have no business objecting to altered icons or wallpaper.
  • I have to agree with this. Microsoft does a lot of bad things, but they don't scare me nearly as much as AOL Time Warner. Microsoft may be harming some innovation, but AOL Time Warner's control over a broad range of media outlets is really scarry, and they've shown themselves to be no friend of consumers many times in the past. It may be ironic that Microsoft is the one forcing "competition" on AOL, but I still think it's a good thing.
  • If they want to pay the OEMS more than AOL to buy that ad space out from under AOL's nose, that's one thing, but to use their market position to prevent AOL from being the only ones with an icon on the desktop seems like unfair competition.

    They tried that. It's one of the main things they got in trouble for. They were offering discounts on the price of Windows to OEMs that would exclusively offer IE as the web browser. That was considered anti-competitive. AOL is allowed to enter into exclusive agreements with OEMs to push AOL, but Microsoft, because of their Monopoly in the OS market cannot. Since they can't have an exclusive agreement, they decided to prohibit AOL from having one either. OEMs have the choice of both or none. Seems fair and equitable to me. Consumers get a choice. No one is being excluded. I can't say I feel even a little bit sorry for AOL. They aren't looking out for consumers, they're looking out for themselves through exclusive marketing practices. Though I don't think they have a monoplly, they have by far the largets share of the ISP market. They don't need an unfair advantage over Microsoft to compete in the ISP market. Allowing them to have exclusive marketing agreements with OEMs whilc MS can't would be unfair. Microsoft just leveled the playing field.
  • I guess you can argue that MS is using their Monopoly to distribute MSN, but I have a hard time figuring out what's really wrong with it. It isn't an exclusive deal. OEMs can place other ISP's icon's on the desktop as well, they just have to include MSN as well. If an OEM doesn't want to include any icons they have that choice as well. MSN also has a seperate cost involved, so you don't have to purchase MSN when you buy Windows. The products aren't tied in that sense.

    I would be fine if MS paid the OEM's to 'have this and this requirement', but they're not. MSN is a completely seperate service, and deserves to be treated that why.

    You make a good point, but how is MS supposed to do this. If they offer discounts on Windows for people to include MSN, then they are tying the products together. They aren't supposed to do that. They aren't allowed to play by the same rules that AOL is. That's the nature of antitrust law. If they want to be able to compete fairly with AOL in the ISP market, then this seems like a reasonable way to do it. As long as consumers aren't being harmed, why shouldn't they be allowed to do it? The only thing they've really done is prevent other ISPs from limiting consumer's choices. It seems strange that Microsoft would be doing things to insure consumers have a choice, but it comes down to if they can't be anticompetitive, then they won't let anyone else either. Sounds like a good thing to me.
  • MSN is AOL's main competitor. MSN is not allowed to have exclusive contracts with OEMs because of Microsoft's OS Monopoly. OEMs weren't agreeing to make AOL the "dominant" ISP in their distribution, they were agreeing to make them the only ISP in the distribution. Because AOL isn't a monopoly, this is perfectly legal. Microsoft is giveing OEMs the choice of placing no ISP icon's on the desktop. They are just leveling the playing field in the ISP market by requireing that no one else can have an exclusive OEM agreement, since they can't. I can see that the OEMs won't like this, because it limits their ability to sell advertising on the Windows desktop, but I don't see how consumers are being harmed by having a choice. If consumers aren't being harmed, then antitrust laws shouldn't prevent it. Sure, MS is forcing their will on OEMs. Since they're under the gun and have to compete fairly, they are forcing an even playing field. I don't understand how you can argue that an exclusive agreement promotes competition, while an non-exclusive agreement prohibits it.
  • but their not playing fairly if they use their monopoly to force OEMs to level the playing field, are they?

    Is it fair for AOL to be entering into exclusive marketing agreements when their largest competitor, Microsoft, cannot? The real place I think we disagree is that you seem to be concerned that Microsoft is not treating the OEMs "fairly" in your opinion. I'm more concerned that consumers are treated fairly. The actions of a Monopoly are only illegal if they harm consumers.

    Other companies (including Microsoft) can also pay for exclusive rights to an OEMs desktop configuration.

    Actually, I don't think they can. Microsoft's exclusive agreements with OEMs regarding the distribution of IE is one of the things that got them into trouble. If Microsoft can enter into this same kind of exclusive agreement, then that would be a more "fair" way for them to handle this issue.

    The idea of MSN getting free advertising, while AOL has to pay for it does make me consider that there could be some harm to consumers in the long run. But I really don't think AOL pays much for getting it's Icon on user's desktops. AOL was only paying larger sums as commisions for people actually signing up for AOL through the icon on Compaq computers. Microsoft's not allowing AOL exclusive desktop space also has another effect. It means that other ISPs that don't have AOL's heap of cash will be more likely able to get their icons on the desktop.

    I agree that Microsoft isn't "playing nice". I'm just not sure that they aren't helping consumers more than they are hurting them with this action. If the only harm here is that AOL and Compaq don't get to gang up and reduce consumer choice in the interests of their own greed, then I don't see how this is anticompetitive.

  • After rethinking things, I would think that if MSN makes agreements with OEMs that are in no way tied to Windows licensing, then MS shouldn't get in trouble for antitrust issues. The trouble they go into was from tying the two products together, which in a way is what they are doing now. Unlike many of the products that MS has integrated into Windows, I can't see how requiring a MSN icon really helps consumers, and you've convinced me that it can harm them.

    I still don't like the kind of exclusive marketing contract that Compaq and AOL are talking about. It seems anticompetitive to me, and I don't like the reasoning that it's ok as long as you're not a monopoly. Some monopolies are natural, and I don't feel the government should artificially try to restore competition my making the monopoly play by one set of rules, while their competitors play by another. But that really isn't the issue at hand. The issue is Microsoft tying the advertising of MSN to Windows XP, which should be prevented.
  • Dear Mr. Gates:

    Your insistence that I obtain an MSN account puzzles me. First, the only windows I use is a variant of X Windows called XFree86. I tried a Microsoft version of windows, but it was so unstable it would not even run Microsoft software without crashing. The first time I tried to upgrade, the price of the upgrade was three times as much as a stand-alone operating system called Linux, sold by several vendors, each proclaiming advantages over the others.

    I bought the Microsoft upgrade, and installed it. After a few attempts, the upgrade OS asked me to put in the disk for the old OS from which I was upgrading. Then it asked for obscure numbers from arcane locations. Then it wanted to be registered on the Internet before the Internet connection was even activated. After going through all of this, and rebooting the computer several times, I finally got a tutorial. When the tutorial was finished, I tried to run one of my old programs. It would not run on the upgrade, and the data would not transfer because the program version that came with the upgrade had a data format incompatible with my existing software. Both versions came from Microsoft. I tried some other programs. A few ran, a few brought the "Blue Screen of Death", and a few from Microsoft and others crashed because they tried to perform an illegal operation.

    After this disgusting demonstration of an operating system unable to handle even the simplest errors, I went back to the vendor and bought a version of Linux featuring many utilities from the Gnu project. It took some time to learn, but the manuals and on-line help files were clear, and source code was available to check out the tough questions. Crashes are history, as is anything with the Microsoft name. Kindly address any communications telling me to use Microsoft products to the Dead Letter Office of the United States Postal Service.

    Regards,
    William L. Jones, PE
  • 100 bucks says the evil company wins.
  • That's basically it. MSN is allowed to get into the same agreements as AOL. But, Microsoft as a whole cannot use Windows as a leverage to push MSN. That's an illegal abuse of their monopoly

    Clearly Microsoft either doesn't know how to get into agreements like this without illegally leveraging their monopoly or they don't care to. That makes them a weaker business because they don't know how to negotiate for both parties' mutual benefit without resorting to, "Do what we want or you can't sell you product with Windows." Breaking them up would force them to learn how to negotiate properly and would probably make them a better company in the long run.

    This may seem a bit offtopic, but this reminds me of a boss I once had who didn't know how to get people to do what she wanted without threatening their jobs. It's important for a manager to be able to get their employees to do things not just because the manager is telling them to, but because it's to the mutual benefit of all parties involved. That's how the best work is done. For her, she couldn't do that. All she knew was, "Do as I say, or I'll fire you." No kidding. After she was promoted to my boss, she threatened to fire me every two days for things as silly as not helping her troubleshoot her computer. I and everyone else in her group quit (with others in the company threatening to quit if they were moved into her group) and she got demoted. But in Microsoft's case, they've got a monopoly and the other parties can't "quit" Microsoft. Can you imagine Compaq or Dell not selling Windows-based computers any more and staying in business for more than a month?


  • "I guess someone will claim they are exercising thier "monopoly" by making that requirement. "

    Of course they are.

    "Two wrongs don't make a right, hence the AOL deal is just as bad as what people accused MS of."

    No. MS SOLD their OS to an OEM. But now they're saying that if AOL will pay that SAME OEM to install AOL Software, then the OEM must make MSN software easily available, at no cost to MS.

    If I buy your car, and plan to install Pirelli tires, what gives you the right to say I must have big Firestone logo's on the hubcaps?

    I would be fine if MS paid the OEM's to 'have this and this requirement', but they're not. MSN is a completely seperate service, and deserves to be treated that why. Dial-UP is NOT a requirement of the OS, and not a necessity for ANYONE.

    Personally, I LIKED the extra GUI that vendors such as Packard Bell added to their systems. It made the end-user experience so much better. Yeah, they were resource hogs, but that's not a big deal anymore. MS's claim of people just 'sitting down at any PC and knowing how to use it', goes over with me about as well as Bill's attempt to get schools to teach Hex.


  • they can't be expected to miss out on the most lucrative advertising medium, the Windows desktop, just because they happen to own it.

    Yes, it's irresistible to use the big club if you happen to be the one wielding it. Reminds me of another arena.

    Ask any ISP or CLEC that attempts to compete with the local phone company what it's like to feel the blows from such a club.


    Telco: "Whump!"

    Competitor:"Ouch! No fair! Did you see him abuse me with that deliberate screw-up in the C.O.?"

    Public/Regulators:"Technology? What's that? How interesting, another competitor bites the dust."

  • This case is unique, in that it it the only dispute I've heard of in the computer industry where I actually want *both* parties to loose.

    This fight could get real interesting as the XP public release comes down to the wire at approximately the same time that the remedy for the court ruling is being considered.

    One conceivable outcome is for XP to be released without any default easy ISP connections, be it MSN or AOL:)

  • As long as the customer is made aware that some change has taken place, there is nothing the original food mfg can do about it.

    Sure there is - they can refuse to sell the deli ham at a discount price unless the deli agreed to not "tamper" with it. In other words, they could pull a Microsoft.

  • The reseller isn't allowed to do any such thing without a specific license from the manufactuer. Without special arrangement, a Ford F150 has to be, in every conceivable way, exactly like it was when it left the assembly line, when the customer buys it new.

    That's simply not true. There are TONS of dealer added options you can get that are NOT available from the factory on Fords and every other kind of car.

    I just recently bought a new vehicle - I didn't have any modifications done to it, but some dealers were doing things like adding leather (not available from the factory) and NOT giving consumers a choice (except to shop elsewhere). There was enough of a demand for them to do that, and they made enough money on this very popular vehicle to gouge even more out of the consumer.

    This is not even case where people asked for it - when the showed up at the dealer, every single one of these vehicles had leather, NONE of them came from the factory that way.

    Dealers do it all the time - usually things to mark up that the consumer doesn't even want: rust protection, paint protection (clearcoat) packages, fog lights - and you know what - a great comparison with the rest of this thread - many dealers (gasp!) put their OWN LOGOS on the back of the cars!

    There's tons of other businesses like this, too. The difference is that Ford is not a monopoly - if they restricted dealers, more dealers would want to sell other types of vehicles where they can add on stuff to increase their profits. Computer OEMs don't really have this option, that's why MS can put it in their license that OEMs must do this or must not do that.

    This is a prime example of exactly how monopolies hurt consumers.

  • I'm an OEM. I paid for each and every copy of windows that I sell onto the purchaser. Don't I own the desktop? - shouldn't I be able to put MY advertising on it?

    First, you licensed the product - not bought it, and the answer to your question is: not if your agreement with Microsoft says you can't.

    Which, IMO, ought to be null and void, unenforcable. It's simply anti-competetive and..uh..monopolistic.

  • But after they've sold their product to e.g. compaq or AOL. they should be able to do with it whatever they like
    I agree, but then they shouldn't be able to call it Windows if they are selling a modified product, or they should have to tell customers that they modified it.
    =\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\= \=\=\
  • And this ISN'T just advertising, it IS a product modification. Windows as a whole is the product, that includes everything on the desktop, advertisement or not. By changing what programs are on the desktop they have modified the product.
    =\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\ =\=\=\=\=\
  • Isn't this the same sort of illegal action that Microsoft has gotten in trouble for already?
    Damn; you beat me to the post ; )

    But seriously, yeah, as I understood it (and I've read a lot about the MS case, as I suspect a lot of other people here have) one of the main problems was that MS was bundling IE with Windows. You couldn't get Windows without IE, so why would anyone bother installing Netscape? This was an anti-competitive move by Microsoft.

    I don't see how shoving MSN down people's throats is any different from this. Granted, they needed to respond to AOL, but I don't think this was a fair way to do so.

  • by Dr_Cheeks ( 110261 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @05:27AM (#2181025) Homepage Journal
    ...the typical user will double-click on whatever icon...
    You've clearly never tried to show my parents how to do anything. Single click? Sure. Triple (or even quadruple) click? Sure. Double click so slowly that you edit the name of the icon? Sure. But a regular double click is a rare beast indeed (yes, I have tried altering the click-speed, but their click-fingers keep changing speed).

    Unless they're clicking on links on a web page of course, and then they double click every single time (despite having been told not to by me repeatedly for the past 6 years).

  • One defense Microsoft does have though is that they should not be expected to provide support for any non-MS software preloaded by the OEM.

    Well, Microsoft doesn't provide support for Microsoft software preloaded by the OEM, so this hardly seems like an issue.

    Oh, and by the way, fair use is only a default condition, it can be overridden by a contract, such as in this case. If books had shrinkwrap licenses, they could restrict your fair use too.

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

  • The issue that AOL and OEM's face is that Microsoft gets to put their icon on the desktop for free. AOL has to pay for placement.
  • Um, if you read it, AOL is paying the OEMs, not Microsoft, for placement.
  • by rvaniwaa ( 136502 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @04:53AM (#2181041) Homepage
    "but telling MS that their own desktop is off limits is like telling McDonalds to sell their Big Macs and McNuggets... somewhere other than at a McDonalds"

    Not at all. What this is like is McDonalds trying to tell me that if I decide to resell their product that I must keep it exactly as they sold it to me. Also, a point that is missed here is that MS has a monopoly. As a monopoly, they must play by different rules than other companies like McDonalds who does not have a monopoly.

  • I think its rude to allow for one company to exercise an attitude we find abhorrent in another. One standard, and hold them all to it.
    I totally agree. Since AOL had to negotiate with and pay Compaq to get the icon for their ISP service on the desktop Compaq is shipping, MSN should have to also.
    Negotiations with AOL:
    (Compaq): "All right, it's agreed then. You'll pay us $1 million, and we'll put an icon for your service on the desktop we ship."
    (AOL): "Sounds good."

    Negotiations with MSN:
    (Compaq): "All right, it's agreed then. You'll pay us $1 million, and we'll put an icon for your service on the desktop we ship."
    (MSN): "Uh, no. Tell you what; you put our icon on your desktop or we won't let you have any desktops to ship."

    Yes, Microsoft is once again abusing their monopolistic position.

    Chris Beckenbach

  • They don't call it Windows. They call it a computer. It'd be different if they were getting Windows from Microsoft, changing it around -- putting the AOL logo on the desktop, and then selling it as a retail box of Windows.


    Refrag
  • There are certain tactics that a monopoly cannot use, but that a non-monopoly can. Check out this Google [google.com] search. Note that the word "Microsoft" is not part of the search, when you start getting back results. :)


    Refrag
  • "I suspect that the vast majority of Slashdot readers would be damned if they thought of either AOL or MS for online access, for reasons that often include reliability, principles, and pride."

    Unfortunately, I did think of AOL for online access when you 'asked'. AOL Time Warner provides my Road Runner cable modem Internet access.


    Refrag
  • by Refrag ( 145266 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @08:09AM (#2181050) Homepage
    Ciener Woods Ford [cienerwoodsford.com] in North Carolina readily sells Ciener Edition Fords that have various extensive modifications done to them before they hit the lot.


    Refrag
  • by Spoing ( 152917 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @04:50AM (#2181053) Homepage
    How can this guy sleep at night?

    On gold-lined silk pillows, while throngs of bare-naked nymphs...well, what would you do with that much money?

  • "
    Should a theatre that bought the rights to show "Planet of the Apes" be allowed to 'do anything they want' with it? Like re-edit it? Put ads for the local hardware store in it??
    "

    However, here the film company are specifying the make of cola that can be bought in the foyer.
  • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @04:55AM (#2181062) Journal
    The rules of the world change because they are a monoply.

    Microsoft has yet to adjust to this.

    Also, there is a blurring of the lines of what constitutes an operating system. It seems here that Microsoft has defined the operating system as a Marketing system for Microsoft products, vs a system that allows the computer to run other applications. Microsoft has the idea that the appearance of certain icons is essentail or harmful to the marketing functions of the operating system. When those icons are irrelevent to to the actual core non-marketing functions of the system.

    This is the most irritating part of Microsoft.

    Microsoft, of course, finds it rude and unsettling when someone else engages in the practices that Microsoft has engaged in for years and years.

    Lawsuit prospects continue.n I would love to see microsoft forced to allow everyone do what they want on the desktop, just to tweak there noses. but it would be a bit of a pain for tech support geeks, all those "non standard" menu systems.

  • by The Abominous Salad ( 182076 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @04:33AM (#2181065) Homepage
    I mean, it's Microsoft's operating system. They can't be expected to pay licencing or advertising costs to promote their own (other) products, and they can't be expected to miss out on the most lucrative advertising medium, the Windows desktop, just because they happen to own it. There are ways to help competitors out, but telling MS that their own desktop is off limits is like telling McDonalds to sell their Big Macs and McNuggets... somewhere other than at a McDonalds.
  • If they change what is inside, even if they notify the customer, it is food-tampering.

    I guess you never seen a grocery store deli. They "gasp" open the sliced ham packages and bologna packages, make sandwitches out of them, then saran wrap them and resell them! Ye Gods the horror! Food tampering! Food tampering! Not. As long as the customer is made aware that some change has taken place, there is nothing the original food mfg can do about it.

  • by Mike1024 ( 184871 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @04:39AM (#2181067)
    This case is unique, in that it it the only dispute I've heard of in the computer industry where I actually want *both* parties to loose.

    "It appears that Microsoft is backing off their much ballyhooed itty bitty teeny weeny sliver of flexibility and heading back to the rigid stance that has been slapped down by the second-highest court in the land," said AOL Time Warner vice president John Buckley.

    Gotta love that quote though. People don't use the word 'ballyhooed' anything like enough.

    Michael
  • Or how about, you walk into Wendy's one day, and you notice the only advertisements on the walls are for Burger King. Kinda strange...
  • I think the best solution is this: put a folder marked Online Services onto the initial desktop for Windows XP, or at least have a pop-up window to select your ISP when you first start up your computer. From this you have you choice of the following national online services:

    1. MSN
    2. America Online
    3. CompuServe
    4. EarthLink

    There will also be a setup icon to enter the configuration settings of the ISP you're already using.

    By the way, if you install the Full or OEM editions of Windows 95, 98, or ME, the MSN icon is on the desktop itself, so that's old news for Microsoft to put the MSN setup icon on the main desktop of Windows XP.
  • Can you imagine an analog ANYWHERE ELSE?!

    Er, no sir - you either put Quaxxon gasoline in it every time you fill up, or if you DO fill up somewhere else, you're required to make sure you ALSO run down the street and put in a half a tank of Quaxxon.

    And if you refuse, you have two choices. Go out and buy yourself one of those *sniff* OTHER machines, you know, the really efficient ones what can run for days, or go brew your own gas, but that's probably illegal and really really scary.

    But if you do brew your own, we're going to get several plug-ugly executives to stick their tongues out at you once a quarter. So there.

  • If grocery stores wish to paint Coke cans green prior to re-selling, I see no reason they should be stopped from doing this. They should even be allowed to change what's *in* the Coke, as long as the customer is made aware of this fact.

    Isn't this sort of the point of capitalism, brand differentiation?

    --

  • I share Microsoft's righteous outrage at AOL's attempt to monopolistically control the desktops of those who use their software.

    I don't know where they got the idea [ridiculopathy.com]- but no one could have come up with something so evil on their own.

    Clearly, any attempt to control the desktop icons on a commodity-style operating system would constitute an illegal act, a crime against the state. [ridiculopathy.com]

    I agree with Microsoft that AOL should stop plying their dirty tricks tactics and play fair.

    Microsoft has to play by the rules, [ridiculopathy.com] why should AOL be any different?

  • 1) The grocery store does not own Coca-cola. If they change what is inside, even if they notify the customer, it is food-tampering. If they want their own Coke-ripoff product, they can market their own brands, which several chain stores already do. Likewise, no company should be allowed to legally alter someone else's product and put the same package on it.

    2) Ooo, look, AOL and MSN icons. Move to delete bin. Repeat as needed. If computer companies insist on making deals to have stuff start on the desktop, they had better be prepared to deal with people who don't want it there and take steps to remove it. Once I buy the computer from Dell/Compaq/whoever, it's mine, and I'll damn well erase anything I want to. Actually, I'm much more likely to request a formatted drive to begin with and do my own software installs, but if they don't have that option or insist that they don't, all it takes is "format c:"

    How is this a major issue to anyone with a working keyboard and mouse?

    Kierthos
  • It use to be that simple.... Today, you purchase WinME with a new Dell/Compaq/most larger folks it comes with a neutered version of DOS. You can not build (without some hacking an emergency disk) a bootable floopy -> bootable (almost) blank HDD.

    These days, most OEM's give you a recovery CD rather than a complete build of the OS anyhow. A fair bit of hacking let you install Win98SE in the past, not sure if you can still do that with ME. I thought about ordering one of those $400 Gateway servers a few weeks back. Talked to the sales rep, and they would not sell me a copy of Win2K pro - only Server - since they did not have an image for that MB/BIOS combo. Grrr.

    These "recovery" CD's make it real hard to get software you have licensed for a machine into a VMWare instance.

  • This "license to use it" may be legal in US, but may not be in other countries.

    IANAL, but my brother is, and I discussed this with him. The OEM (like compaq, IBM, etc) is not buying or licensig the software here in brasil, he is just RE-SELING it to the final consumer, who IS NOT bound by Microsoft's EULA, and you know why ??? Because there's no signature in a paper...

    MS's EULA is a contract, and contracts are valid only with both partie's signature.
    One solution to the OEM would be instaling some kind of "wizard" on the machine and tell MS that the wizard is suposed to show the user how the hardware works, give the user an intoduction to Windows and "Help him configure the system". Then this wizard could simply wipe MSN's icon from the desktop if the user clicks "yes", and that's it...

    In US MS may have some legal tool to prevent this, like including in the EULA that the final user can't remove the standard icons, but as I said, MS's EULA is VOID in brasil (and probably in other countries too). Here the user can do whatever he wants, including reverse engineering and decompile. Copyright laws prevent the user from copying the software, just like it prevent someone to produce and sell an exact replica of a car, but one can still disassemble the engine to see how it works...

    --
  • Should a theatre that bought the rights to show "Planet of the Apes" be allowed to 'do anything they want' with it? Like re-edit it? Put ads for the local hardware store in it??

    Hate to tell you this, but many theatres do show local advertisements before the movie.

    From a different perspective, do movie studios dictate what advertisements can be shown during a movie they've licensed to a network?

  • Why don't they (OEM) sell the pc without any OS, and then let people install it them selfs? That would really level the playing field for everyone. People would not have to buy a Windows licence which they don't use, MS has no real legal problems anymore because the illegal deals with the OEMs are not there any more, and AOL can offer you a free cd with every PC (just like they do today with magazines). Wouldn't that make everybody happy?
  • All or none.

    I guess someone will claim they are exercising thier "monopoly" by making that requirement.

    Its the fairest way to end-run the AOL (we haven't been put in court, so we can do all the things that are bad until then) deal.

    Two wrongs don't make a right, hence the AOL deal is just as bad as what people accused MS of.

    As for MS featuring their products over AOL's IM and the AOL service, uh, people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw rocks...

    Subsitute AOL/MS and Windows/IM "We at NNNN are trying to comply with the Federal Requlators regarding making changes to YYYYY but it will take a few years as it is very difficult"

    (still I like this new solution - it just begs the question - can everyone get on the desktop now so we can end this silliness)

  • ""Microsoft has the idea that the appearance of certain icons is essentail or harmful to the marketing functions of the operating system. When those icons are irrelevent to to the actual core non-marketing functions of the system.""

    If they are irrelevant, then why are you so concerned that they want theirs too?

    Huh?

    ""The rules of the world change because they are a monoply.
    Microsoft has yet to adjust to this.""

    but it does not excuse other companies to use the same tactics. Icons are irrelevant, so why should they adjust their behaviour?

    I think its rude to allow for one company to exercise an attitude we find abhorrent in another. One standard, and hold them all to it.

  • They should not be required to support a product where the OEM has changed the installed software or the presentation.

    Second, how long before these same "protectors of the public" tell Ms that they cannot install a MSN icon through a store bought upgrade version of Windows? Shouldn't we stop them there too?

    How long before this same government, in a statement to protect consumers at all levels, determines that all desktops, (apple and linux too) must be open to everyone, meaning if it can run there the OEM must put it there, or the creator of the software must do so?

  • How can you say the AOL deal was wrong, but MS forcing their icons to remain (or all being removed) being right? The main idea here is MS forcing OEMs to do what MS says with teh desktop. Remember, OEMs see the desktop as a tool too and a revenue stream. I see nothing wrong with an OEM agreeing to make AOL the dominant ISP - same as some other OEM making MS the dominant ISP - so long as it is the OEMs choice because THEN you have competition, not a monopoly like MS forcing their will on EVERYONE.

    Personally, I can't understand why AOL let this slip out before the release of XP - they knew Microsoft would pull this crap.

  • "Uau! They don't really give a fig about the Goverment suit. Next you know they will change their mind again and reclaim the desktop as Microsoft-only, and the hell with all."

    Yep. It doesn't speak well of them either way... Either they made the change naievely thinking everyone would march in jackboot lines with MSN, or else they never intended to allow anyone (but them) to profit from the desktop.

    IMO, them restricting what the OEM does to the desktop seems to me to be a violation of the "first sale" doctrine. But it's just another example of why it benefits both customer and OEM to use a free OS (free as in speech). There is no "iron fist" around your business telling you what you can and cannot do to the PC you are selling.

    "I sure wish I could use the same attitude in my dealings with the Goverment."

    Don't you wish? Microsoft seems to have "fuck you" money. They have enough to say "fuck you" to anything the feds say or do. Microsoft, as IBM put it, is arrogant. It remains to be seen as to whether the government or the consumer will make them pay for their overbearing arrogance.

    Personally, I think XP is going to be the first major setback for M$, as I don't see ANYONE lining up in droves to buy what is essentially a very minor upgrade to Windows 2000, that removes features and freedom from Windows 2000. As a matter of fact, the MORE XP sells, the more enemits MS will make of customers when they run up against the artificial "`Doze has decided not to let you upgrade this" wall.
  • Actually, for no good reason (other than that M$ wanted to force upgrades), Office XP will NOT run on `95, only 98, ME, 2000/NT, and XP.
  • Actually, they never said that you can't add icons to the desktop.
    What they refused to do is to allow you to take their own icons out.


    --
    Two witches watched two watches.
  • I'm not sure if you are aware of it, but that is what 98 did.

    --
    Two witches watched two watches.
  • Now, show me the place where I can buy a Ford car "out of the box" which is like this?
    Custom stuff is irrelevent, because you can do that for Windows as well.

    --
    Two witches watched two watches.
  • How do you know that it didn't?

    --
    Two witches watched two watches.
  • From a separate, but related article, concerning Compaq's replacement of the MSN icon with the AOL icon:

    Allchin seemed peeved about this move. "Hiding features from consumers -- I don't think that's a good thing,"

    Especially when it's a Microsoft product. What a hypocrite! How can this guy sleep at night?

  • Uau! They don't really give a fig about the Goverment suit. Next you know they will change their mind again and reclaim the desktop as Microsoft-only, and the hell with all.

    I sure wish I could use the same attitude in my dealings with the Goverment.

  • Personally, I think XP is going to be the first major setback for M$, as I don't see ANYONE lining up in droves to buy what is essentially a very minor upgrade to Windows 2000, that removes features and freedom from Windows 2000.

    Windows XP will be sold the same way as the others Windows, inside shiny new PCs. I don't think also many people will upgrade OSs, but many will change PCs, and surely, not change OSs back. And Windows XP will come already activated, so problems will not be inmediately obvious.

    After a while, software will start to appear that will run only in XP. The new Office XP (no idea if there is such a thing, but there will be) will not run on any other OS, and will bring something interesting, like XML support or something. Big bussiness will after a while decide they must keep only one desktop OS to reduce the maintenance costs and so on, and will buy WinXP licenses by the truckload. That's the scenario, for me.

    I'm right along with you, now it seems as if this "vicious" circle could be broken, as there are alternatives (Open Software and Win2000 mainly), and the licensing scheme can prove a little bit hard to swallow.

    But trust Microsoft. They will not push the registering or licensing thing so far as to alienate their customers. They will adapt and step back if needed, and try other ways. Their only limitation is their bussiness model, and that is beginning to crumble, but only beginning. Oh, well, we shall see.

    --

  • They should not be required to support a product where the OEM has changed the installed software or the presentation.

    True, but this is already the case. Microsoft does not support Windows that has been installed by an OEM. The OEM has its own support department for this. But all of this goes back to unnecessarily tying the browser into the operating system. The only practical reason to do so was to make sure that their browser was the defacto standard. Otherwise, the browser would have been easily separated from the rest of the OS and replaced by that of a competitor. Likewise, if Microsoft truly allows OEM's to add or remove features from the desktop, they aren't really changing the installed software. They are taking advantage of a feature Microsoft offered them.

    Second, how long before these same "protectors of the public" tell Ms that they cannot install a MSN icon through a store bought upgrade version of Windows? Shouldn't we stop them there too?

    I'm sorry, but this just isn't the same situation. There's not an OEM involved here. It would be more accurate to ask how long it would be before AOL can make deals with stores selling upgrade packages to include a special AOL-friendly version. This isn't likely to happen unless AOL becomes a VAR for Microsoft -- and if such happens, the terms of the contract aren't likely to allow such.

    How long before this same government, in a statement to protect consumers at all levels, determines that all desktops, (apple and linux too) must be open to everyone, meaning if it can run there the OEM must put it there, or the creator of the software must do so?

    Again, you're not seeing the point. This was an agreement between AOL and OEM's. There was no legislation or government statement that said all OEM's must put all possible packages on the machines. Instead, we're looking for the possibility that OEM's can choose to put what they want on the machines.

    GreyPoopon
    --

  • I guess someone will claim they are exercising thier "monopoly" by making that requirement.

    Yes, because they quite clearly are. They are using their operating system, which ships on almost all new desktop machines, as leverage to coax users into their internet service. They are also saying that OEM's cannot do likewise for competing services unless they provide equal coaxing for Microsoft's service. There are two nasty things that come out of monopolies. The first is exhorbitant prices -- which comes about once there are literarly no other choices for consumers. The second is the use of existing monopolies in one area of the market to destroy competition in another area. Both are illegal. Microsoft is not guilty of the first one (yet), but most definitely needs to bear guilt for the second.

    Its the fairest way to end-run the AOL (we haven't been put in court, so we can do all the things that are bad until then) deal. Two wrongs don't make a right, hence the AOL deal is just as bad as what people accused MS of.

    No, it's not. AOL doesn't sell operating systems. Don't get me wrong, AOL isn't sweet smelling and squeaky clean either. Obviously, they have their own potential monopoly situations with their total control over a large hunk of the media market. But in this segment of the market, AOL (and other potential providers) are being hurt by Microsoft's monopoly in the operating systems market. If major vendors like Compaq were selling desktop machines with a sizable slice of the operating system pie going to other OS flavors, Microsoft's move would merely be considered shrewd business. But with the current situation, it is abuse of a monopoly situation.

    As for MS featuring their products over AOL's IM and the AOL service, uh, people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw rocks...

    Certainly, AOL is flaming mad over this. But more importantly, vendors like Compaq should be angry. They aren't living in a glass house (at least not *this* glass house). If consumers knew enough about what's really going on, many of them would be angry too.

    GreyPoopon
    --

  • i have figured this out.
    the perfect solution is:
    -leave any icons on there, MSN, AOL, AIM, whatever.
    -make them all links to different linux sites, so that MSN becomes RedHat (SuSE for European MS users), AIM becomes a link to Jabber, etc.

    who's going to complain?

    "microsoft technical support, how can i help you?"

    "hi, this version of windows took forever to download, but it never crashes and i haven't had a virus delete anything yet! by the way, why has the start button changed to a big K in a cog?"
    --
    Slashdot: When News Breaks, We Give You The Pieces
  • The rules of the world change because they are a monoply.

    True, but maybe the common idea of a monopoly doesn't fit the Information Age. Software is a cloudy subject. I don't think Microsoft's "monopoly" is quite like the railroad and oil monopolies of the past. Sure, they shouldn't be allowed to have absolute control of the desktop once it's on a computer...but you can't have double standards either. I think they made the right move saying "all of nothing". Microsoft has just as much right having their icons on the desktop as AOL does (maybe even more...it is their OS). The bottom line is that we're still in the growing stages when it comes to IT. Definitions and guidlines are still very hazy. When you're dealing with software, you've got to rework the whole system. Nothing's black and white anymore.

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