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Microsoft

Feds to Publish Public Comments on MS Settlement 365

Silas writes: "This AP Article notes that the government is going to be releasing the comments submitted by the public on the Microsoft anti-trust case. Highlight: 'Overall, the department said it received about 7,500 comments from people in favor of the settlement reached by the federal government and nine states, while 15,000 opposed it. Another 7,000 comments were dismissed as opinion, like "I hate Microsoft."' Apparently they have to publish and respond to each one." CNN is carrying the AP wire story as well.
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Feds to Publish Public Comments on MS Settlement

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  • by moniker_21 ( 414164 ) on Thursday February 07, 2002 @03:18PM (#2969206)
    Am I the only one that finds the AP photo just to the left of the article which pictures someone putting a hat on top of Bill Gates' head really hilarious? God it must be nice to be super rich. And here I am putting on my hat in the morning all by myself like a sucker......
    • Apparently: "Bill Gates, chairman and founder of Microsoft Corporation, receives a doctor's hat from Professor Henrik Alfredsson during a ceremony at the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2002. Gates was promoted honorary doctor by the institute. (AP Photo/Pressens Bild/Jack Mikrut)"
    • If I was in the Justice department, one of my required remedies would be that Bill Gates would have to dress up as Mr. Monopoly whenever he appears in public. This would last as long as Microsoft had the majority of the OS market.
  • That's it? (Score:5, Funny)

    by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Thursday February 07, 2002 @03:18PM (#2969208) Journal
    You mean, all the slashdot stories and everything, and we only got 15,000 responses?

    Come on, guys, where is your activistic spirit?
    • Re:That's it? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Caball ( 58351 )
      My guess is that the majority of happy/satisfied (they do exist, you know) Microsoft/Windows users didn't bother to write, while all of the angry linux zealots fired off diatribes.
      • My guess is that the majority of happy/satisfied (they do exist, you know) Microsoft/Windows users didn't bother to write, while all of the angry linux zealots fired off diatribes.

        My guess is that the majority of Windows users were too busy running ScanDisk on their crashed systems, while the "angry Linux zealots" were unhampered by technical difficulties and thusly had a lot more free time.
        • "while the "angry Linux zealots" were unhampered by technical difficulties and thusly had a lot more free time."

          Are you kidding me? I've been trying to get my computer to print for over a week. Stupid lpr.

      • And if all that the volume of messages measured was "how many people who wrote like/dislike Windows?", then of what real use would the call for comments be? What meaning is there to all the Linux zealots who copied one of the form letters from slashdot, or the Windows users who ... well, I assume did the same, although I didn't see any pro-Microsoft letters posted here.


        It seems to me that the volume of letters shouldn't be considered much more than an interesting statistic. It's a actual quality of the arguments that should count, whether there were 15,000 or 15.

      • I wrote somewhere between a one and two page letter, sent it by email and snail mail. I think I kept to the point of rejecting the settlement pretty well, but I hope mine wasn't rejected as "opinion". I have a feeling that they had a tendancy to sway towards +settlement comments. (and even that left them with twice the amount of anti-settlement letters.)
    • Re:That's it? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Dino ( 9081 )
      Considering that's more comments than the all front page Slashdot stories combined see, I'd say it's not too shabby.

      Clearly, it shows the Government, Microsoft and the world and the people are against the Microsoft Settlement.
    • Re:That's it? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Brownstar ( 139242 ) on Thursday February 07, 2002 @03:27PM (#2969289)
      In all likely hood the 15,000 weren't from slashdot.

      We probably sent the 7,000 opinions..
    • Re:That's it? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Flower ( 31351 ) on Thursday February 07, 2002 @03:44PM (#2969397) Homepage
      With all the /. stories I expected to see a higher number of porn^H^H^H^Hgoatse.cx messages. But that's just me.

      It's a sad state of affairs when even the trolls don't live up to their potential.

      On a more serious note, what do you expect? /. can't even organize a boycott of DVDs. Hell, we even get frontpage stories about the latest anime DVDs to come out. You have a majority here that when you take an activist stand, like say voting for Nader, tell you you wasted your vote even when said critic admits to not voting at all.

      Most of the /. crowd and even me to a shameful degree don't have an activist bone in their body. We're opinionated but not motivated and definately not inconvenienced enough to "get religion." The fact is we're too diverse of group to all congregate on any real issue. Having an interest in technology is simply not encompassing enough to organize this group.

      • Re:That's it? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jafac ( 1449 ) on Thursday February 07, 2002 @03:57PM (#2969471) Homepage
        For the record:
        I wrote a 4 page letter expressing my view on the Microsoft case, (I did use the phrase "Microsoft sucks" followed by "the life out of the computer industry"). I did not use a template, or fire off a quick one liner.

        I wrote my senators about the case.
        I wrote my senators about the DeCSS case.
        I wrote them about the passage of the DMCA.

        SHAME on anyone here who has ever had to reinstall Windows just because "the registry got messed up" - and did not voice their opinion on this case. Shame on you.
        • I submitted to the Calif. AG, and subsequently under the Tunney Act to the DOJ.

          I wrote my congressman about Sklyarov, Felten and the DMCA.

          I spoke to him (very briefly) after he gave a talk at my synagogue.
      • Re:That's it? (OT) (Score:3, Informative)

        by RickHunter ( 103108 )

        Hell, we even get frontpage stories about the latest anime DVDs to come out.

        Why should we boycott anime DVDs? Most of the publishers aren't members of the MPAA, and don't pay DVD CCA dues. (The exception being Manga, who generally carries only the really bad stuff anyway) Many anime DVDs don't even use macrovision or encryption, and the North American releases generally aren't region-coded.

        I'd say these are the kinds of DVDs we should be buying, to show that we're willing to support companies that don't place ludicrous restrictions on their "intellectual property".

    • Given that when they actually dug into the responses, less than 50 were really well researched and made significant points about the case. I mean talk about signal to noise ratios.
    • I was one of the few who actually put it on paper and spent money on a stamp.

      Why? Because as so often been pointed out on here, a physical manifestation of opinion is more likely to get attention and a response. I'm looking forward to receiving it, by US mail and come what may, a copy of the letter and the response will be family artifacts.

      It feels good to participate in a democracy. I encourage it.

    • by Zeinfeld ( 263942 ) on Thursday February 07, 2002 @04:43PM (#2969757) Homepage
      Dealling with the responses is an exercise in what we called at the MIT AI lab 'mass listening'. It is very hard to correlate that volume of response in a usefull fashion. But it is done every week for the President and on a smaller scale each member of congress.

      I am not surprised at the breakdown of the messages, except that the number of messages rejected as 'opinion' (7,000) sounds rather low if anything. The number of form letters (3,000)also sounds like it on the low side.

      I doubt that anyone in the administrationis going to treat the messages as 'votes' [what start a lawsuit to stop them being counted? - Ed]. The number of messages on both sides will have been inflated by 'astroturf' (fake grass roots) campaigns by Microsoft, Sun, AOL etc. Fortunately messages of that type tend to be easier to spot than the people who purchase the campaigns think.

      The bulk of the messages will simply repeat each other and standard positions fed to people by the media (including slashdot). I suspect that the 48 'substantive' comments are mainly the briefs written by industry lawyers to support one party or another. I strongly suspect however that it is the case that practically every idea expressed in the 22,000 contributions is covered in the 48 'substantive' contributions. Identifying a small number of contributions that put all the important issues well is a tremendous service to people trying to read the materials.

      Taking the feedback as email will have helped sorting to an enormous degree. But a structured forum with some form of moderation could have helped the feedback further, collapsing repetative positions down to one instance and such. The moderation need not have been on the slashdot model in which there is a single pool of moderators, there could be twin panels of moderators representing each side. After all posting troll comments and pornography would do nothing for either side unless they wanted to discredit the dabate.

      Finally the cost of publication at $400 a page does not seem unreasonable, it is roughly equivalent to the cost of printing and distributing about 1,000 copies. That is not much more than one per senator, congressman, state AG, party affected and news organization.

    • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Thursday February 07, 2002 @05:01PM (#2969896) Journal
      Well there were the form letters.

      Then there were the "me too"s

      So you actually had a decnt chance of being included in the comment base if you took the time to actually write an intelligent thoughtful comment. Form letters were tossed as obvious attempts to flood the channel.

      It probably winds up being similar to the number of comments in any number of Slash articles, and reading everything above 0.

      !5,000 submittals that were not trolls, flamebait, etc, and which actually had some content is probably not that bad.

      Heck, you could go for months here at slash before you hit that many.

      Just taker a look at alterslash [alterslash.org]

    • You mean, all the slashdot stories and everything, and we only got 15,000 responses?


      I suspect the 7,000 "I hate Microsoft" comments were from slashdotters as well. So that's really 22,000 responses from here ;)

    • by austad ( 22163 )
      The 7500 in favor of the settlement were submitted through the DOJ website. Logs showed 7500 referrer lines that said "MS Outlook:Subject: Go here and save our asses"

      Many of the submissions looked to be generated by scripts.
  • by mgw1181 ( 214961 ) on Thursday February 07, 2002 @03:19PM (#2969214)
    How many of the 7,500 comments in favor of the settlement came from Microsoft?

    And...

    How many of the 7,000 "I hate microsoft" comments came from /. readers?

    Anyone?

    :)
    • by GreyPoopon ( 411036 ) <gpoopon@@@gmail...com> on Thursday February 07, 2002 @03:31PM (#2969323)
      Excellent question. I did note that either in the attached article or one I read earlier today, they stated that responses from a FORM letter, as provided by both Microsoft advocates and opponents were considered not applicable. This would then indicate that the 15,000 responses only contained individual opinions. What might be more interesting is to find out how many of the pro-Settlement comments came from Microsoft employees or others with key relationships to Microsoft, and how many of the anti-Settlement comments came from people with relationships to heavy Microsoft competitors.

      I think the process that they used to weed out the "useless" content clearly indicates that they are not in the slightest concerned with majority opinion, but are more interested in the actual content of opinions. Of course, it's also possible that it's just a formality. Hopefully the fact that 2/3 of the opinions are dissenting will make them think a bit.

      • I think the process that they used to weed out the "useless" content clearly indicates that they are not in the slightest concerned with majority opinion, but are more interested in the actual content of opinions.

        You say that like it's a bad thing!

        Keep this in mind: do you give more weight to posts that contain an thoughtful arguement, or to a bunch of "me too" posts?

        Also, I think you are confusing a legal determination from an election. The latter is a case where noone cares why someone favors one side or another, simply how many favorred a given side.

        The legal detemriantion, however, looks to see why it is felt an action would be in violation of laws on the books, what the impact would be on affected groups (in this case, consumers, etc.). Quality over quantity matters.

        • You say that like it's a bad thing!

          I agree with you. I didn't mean to say it that way, but that's how it came out. I think the purpose was to examine the content all along, but I believe there are a lot of disappointed petition signers out there who would have taken the time and thought to submit their own opinions if they had realized how the information was to be handled. Also, my guess is that these rules are clearly spelled out somewhere, but nobody bothered to check.

      • Would you consider linux a major MS competator? Would having close ties to the linux community make you a biased opinion giver any less than having close ties to sun?
    • That's akin to saying Linus generated all the negative comments against Microsoft.

      Why does it have to be "came from Microsoft". There must be some Windows lovers out there. Anyone?

      • There must be some Windows lovers out there. Anyone?

        I think the pro-Microsoft people out there realize that they have nothing to fear.

        When, in 5 years, Microsoft is ordered to pay a $10 fine, the pro-Microsoft people will be glad they didn't waste 30 minutes coming up with a coherent sentence supporting Microsoft.
    • How many "I hate microsoft" comments came from Microsoft?
  • one of the cdroms (Score:3, Interesting)

    by berniematt ( 245458 ) on Thursday February 07, 2002 @03:19PM (#2969215) Homepage
    As much as I hate to admit it, I think I would be interested to read some of the comments that people had to say on this matter. Does anybody know how the CD-ROM's that they speak of in the article could be obtained? This might even be good for my school's library [msoe.edu].
    • I'd rather do something far more intresting with the data on it; See how many form letters there are - both pro and con.
      What 'reasons' are the most popular.
      And all other sorts of statitics.
  • by jeffy124 ( 453342 ) on Thursday February 07, 2002 @03:20PM (#2969229) Homepage Journal
    • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Thursday February 07, 2002 @03:53PM (#2969444) Homepage Journal
      As contemplated by the Tunney Act, the United States and Microsoft are considering whether, in response to the public comments, to submit to the Court proposed modifications to the RPFJ.

      I can just see it...

      <<dream sequence>>

      M$: "And as the people of the united states have so eloquently spoken and made themselves clear on this matter, we at Microsoft would like to offer all of our products as Open Source and further, to address the financial hardships suffered by users of our non-secure products and those driven from business by our monopolistic practices, we offer to pay a find of $100 billion dollars, which we would prefer the government invest in Open Source initiatives."

      DoJ: "Which still isn't good enough for us at the Justice Department, and we'd like to place Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer and other top Microsoft executives responsible, in irons and secure in the basement of a dairy barn for five years, or until they all go insane, whichever comes first."

      M$: "Fair enough."

      <<exit dream sequence>>

      Whoa! I must have been dreaming!

  • Outsiders (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jones E. Versichoran ( 541105 ) <jversichoran@r o g e rs.com> on Thursday February 07, 2002 @03:21PM (#2969234) Homepage
    I'll still be interested to see if comments from non-Americans are included. I guess I understand in the event that they're not, but it would be nice to see some consideration, given that this ruling will assuredly affect the whole of the developed world and much of the undeveloped...

    • Re:Outsiders (Score:3, Interesting)

      While the opinion of citizens of other nations would be interesting, I don't believe it would be appropriate to make it part of the decision in this case. Comment is being sought because one of the parties to the proposed settlement is the US Government, and thus those who that government represents are given a chance to speak. It doesn't have anything to do with who the settlement affects.

      Besides, other countries can, and have, launched their own suits against Microsoft. I'm sure many of them would be offended if I suggested that I as an American should be able to critique and influence their decision.
      • Re:Outsiders (Score:4, Informative)

        by dreadpiratemark ( 450962 ) on Thursday February 07, 2002 @03:38PM (#2969362)
        Actually, I can assure you that they are being included. This was a public comment period required by the Tenney Act and when I contacted a DOJ employee working on the MS case who I know, I was assured that all comments - foreign or otherwise - were being included in the talley. The only exception to this were comments that came in in other languages which were filed as 'other' or something of the sort.

        Now, as to if you think that people from other countries should weigh in or not, well, that's a good point. But apparently DOJ really was looking for a broad review & reaction to this settlement more than a specificly US reaction. It seems a little odd to me, but that's what I was told.

        Mark
        • But apparently DOJ really was looking for a broad review & reaction to this settlement more than a specificly US reaction. It seems a little odd to me, but that's what I was told.


          Well -why does it seem odd?
          Microsoft policy is written in Redmond and from there disseminated _globally_ with only minor tweaks to "handle" local market differences. I see this as the US Fed *correctly* (!) understanding that US consumers and businesses interest is very deeply tied into global business practices. As such, asking for comment from all corners of the globe will present a much more accurate picture of the REAL Microsoft, and as such present an opportunity to lay just the right amount of "smack down" to Bill and Co.

  • I wonder... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Ethelred Unraed ( 32954 ) on Thursday February 07, 2002 @03:22PM (#2969240) Journal

    I wonder how many of the responses were thrown out because they were moderated to "-1 Troll"?

    And how many just said "First post"?

    Cheers,

    Ethelred

  • A pattern! (Score:5, Informative)

    by CrazyBrett ( 233858 ) on Thursday February 07, 2002 @03:22PM (#2969244)
    7500 for
    15000 against
    7000 trolls

    That's 1:2:1, which tends to be about the same ratio seen in a slashdot thread!
    The real world imitating slashdot, or vice versa?
  • Form Letters (Score:2, Insightful)

    by XaProf ( 553425 )
    Quoting from the story:

    "About 2,800 of the comments were form letters - both pro- and anti-Microsoft groups offered their supporters a way to sign on to a prewritten document."

    Wonder why the DoJ didn't tell us how those 2,800 form letters were divided between pro- and anti-Microsoft. Perhaps the number of genuine Microsoft "supporters" is lower than even the paltry 7,500 cited in the article....

    Just a thought, I could be mistaken....
  • by keytoe ( 91531 ) on Thursday February 07, 2002 @03:23PM (#2969253) Homepage

    The story says they are required to publish the comments. Due to the sheer volume, this "will cost about $4 million and cover 10,000 pages". All I have to say is: Yeesh!.

    Perhaps it's time to send in another letter urging them to pursue the option to publish online and on CD-ROM in order to fulfil this obligation.

    It seems a bit excessive to spend $4 million and countless trees to publish the roughly 3000 substantive messages received out of the 30000 total messages.

    And does the guy that mailed the ASCII goatse.cx message really need to be published in a federal registry?

  • by trcooper ( 18794 ) <coopNO@SPAMredout.org> on Thursday February 07, 2002 @03:23PM (#2969255) Homepage
    I wonder how many of the comments that were against the settlement were looking for a harsher settlement as opposed to the number of those thinking no action or less action should be taken. At first glance the numbers seem to indicate that twice as many people think there should have been harsher punishment, but the actual content of those comments could be different.
  • My letter was a 3 page diatribe against Microsoft which most certainly could be summed up in "I Hate Microsoft." I don't think I even mentioned the Settlement until the end :-P

    Oh well, hopefully this settlement will be rejected and we all get another chance!

    Must remember to talk about the settlement, must remember to talk about the settlement......
  • I can't help but wonder if Microsoft has somebody hard at work translating Kurt Sibold's open letter to English, declaring those 15,000 critical comments slanderous. :/
  • Use grep to count all the "fsck microsoft" versus "I hate microsoft" vs. "Leave Microsoft alone!" (return address @microsoft.com)... 8-)
  • Astroturfing? (Score:2, Interesting)

    I hope they publish the commenters' names. I hope somebody tries to contact a statistically significant pool of them to find out why they wrote what they wrote.

    I wonder what percentage of the 7500 in favor of the settlement are Microsoft employees' sisters, or work at companies with Microsoft contracts, or were somehow contacted by Microsoft PR hacks and "encouraged" to write letters. It'd be hilarious to find that 6000 of the letters were all written by some poor intern at Microsoft, using names from the phone book.

    • but by the same token, how many of the 15,000 against the settlement or the 7,000 "I hate M$FT" were written by employees of AOL/Time Warner/Netscape?
    • Re:Astroturfing? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jafac ( 1449 )
      I hope they DON'T publish my name. I don't want to be rounded up by Bill Gate's jack-booted SE's after this suit is thrown out, and it's made clear who the "rabble-rousers" were.

      In fact, I really hope that they don't find out who I work for, because my company has a relationship with Microsoft (as any software company in today's world really must, if they're to have any chance of long-term surival). They might think that my opinion reflects poorly on my employer.
  • Just great. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lemmy Caution ( 8378 ) on Thursday February 07, 2002 @03:27PM (#2969288) Homepage
    This means, of course, that the anti-Microsoft community was represented by a goatse.cx link.

    My first reaction was that anti-Microsoft loonies would, by their zealous over-reaction, bile, vitriol, and social incompetence, play right into the hands of Microsoft. Of course, there's a handful of loonies on the pro-Microsoft, or anti-regulation side of the barricades, as well, but for the most part, even though I'm not a part of either of those camps, I suspect that none of their partisans are quite as fanatical about their cause, and so probably appear more reasoned and sensible. However, I'm sure that some loonies on each side posed as loonies on the other, and it all came out in the wash.

    Like T.S. Eliot said in The Waste Land, "The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate
    intensity".

    • Re:Just great. (Score:2, Informative)

      by Ian Pointer ( 11337 )
      >Like T.S. Eliot said in The Waste Land, "The best >lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of >passionate
      >intensity".

      Just a nitpick, that's actually from W.B. Yeats' The Second Coming, not Eliot 8-).
  • Am I the only one who thinks that very few people sent there comments? My guess is that they're probably all from geeks. I don't think that the rest of the world cares about this subject.
  • by Hee Hee Hee ( 310695 ) on Thursday February 07, 2002 @03:28PM (#2969298)
    From the Report, regarding public comments:

    A small number of these submissions are simply advertisements or, in at least one case, pornography.

    It also said that all submitters of comments will have their names listed in the Federal Register.

    Cool! I'll be famous!

    I submitted a comment...did you?

  • by A Commentor ( 459578 ) on Thursday February 07, 2002 @03:28PM (#2969300) Homepage
    Seeing how MS has already admitted to sending letters to congress with other people's names, doubtful they would be stupid enough to do it again with this, but the people/names should at least be verified.

    Most likely that those 7500 people are just shareholders of MS.

  • If I remember correctly, microsoft has played this game illegally before with alleged grass roots campaigns (having people who dont even exist sending letters to their representatives), fixed online polls to sway public opinion (zdnet), and squashed competition and innovation to make the almighty dollar.

    Somehow i fail to belive that those 7000 letters are from real people and just another fabrication from microsoft.
    • If I remember correctly, microsoft has played this game illegally before with alleged grass roots campaigns (having people who dont even exist sending letters to their representatives)

      Well, they did actually exist, its just that sometimes they were already dead [newsfactor.com] at the time they sent the letters.

      I really hope these new responses are put online in a form that can be easily converted to text (often the courts put these online only as scanned images). It seems that there is enough talent among SlashDot readers to determine if there is any MS astroturf interspersed with the grassroots.

      Practically every lobbyist does this to some extent, but the less dishonest ones do it by providing sample text that actual humans voluntarily choose to cut and paste into their letters. Not forging mail from the deceased.
  • Spam and Porn (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ami Ganguli ( 921 ) on Thursday February 07, 2002 @03:32PM (#2969330) Homepage
    More than a thousand messages were completely off topic. Some of those were advertisements - known as ``spam,'' - and at least one e-mail contained pornography.

    The first thing I thought when I read this: I bet some bastard sent in the goat sex link. Evil.

    Does this mean the government has to publish the porn and the spam in the register along with the legitimate comments?

  • by ism ( 180693 )
    Justice has asked the federal judge handling the case to allow it to publish them online and on CD-ROM.

    I'm glad to see this has a good chance of happening. It would definitely be nice to have easy access to the comments. I'm kind of interested in the 90% that were not "substantive," including the "pornography."

    The figures don't exactly add up though. The article states it received 30,000 comments and breaks it down into 15k, and 2 7.5k chunks. However, the first part of the article says only 10% was "substantive."

    If the numbers are true, I must say I'm actually quite pleased at the turnout. I'm curious as to whether or not the uh... less constructive comments will have any bearing on the decision. The article seems to paint the picture that most of those opposed the settlement. It does make you wonder if Microsoft's "grassroots" efforts are responsible for those comments.
  • "The Bush administration encouraged Americans to comment on the proposed settlement via e-mail, rather than fax or hard copy. It got what it wanted -- 90 to 95 percent of them came electronically, the department estimated. "

    I wonder how many viruses they got?
  • WUG (Score:4, Funny)

    by timdorr ( 213400 ) on Thursday February 07, 2002 @03:45PM (#2969401) Homepage
    There would have been an additional 25000 letters from the Windows User Group.

    But they either crashed their computers every 12 minutes writing the letters or got blocked by Office XP's WPA after they replaced their broken network card.
  • by craw ( 6958 ) on Thursday February 07, 2002 @03:50PM (#2969434) Homepage
    Here are some snippets [washingtonpost.com] of the comments from some of the "big guns" who responded. This article was published last week.
  • This bit from the inquirer is good, had to be editied a bit cause no strike tag is allowed here:

    WHO WOULD have predicted early in the case of the Department of Justice (DoJ) versus Microsoft that in 2002 both would not only be paddling the same canoe but spinning the same yarn?

    But, good golly Miss Molly, and Holy Pixellation! the unthinkable seems to have happened, with the Dow Jones newswire saying that the Great Vole and the DoJ want a one day hearing to settle the affair.

    So much so that they've issued a joint filing to the mediator appointed to clean the Augean stables, hmm, i mean, settle the matter.


  • by Rupert ( 28001 ) on Thursday February 07, 2002 @04:06PM (#2969523) Homepage Journal
    The DOJ would like to propose a new remedy, based on several of the 7,000 "opinions" received during the public comment phase.

    Under the terms of the proposed remedy Bill Gates will be required to pose for a photograph, to be published on the World Wide Web at http://goatse.microsoft.com/

    A DOJ spokesman said "We really had no clue what these people were asking for when they asked for Microsoft to 'open up their APIs'. But then someone sent us a link to goatse.cx, and all became clear."

    Microsofts attorneys were said to be considering the proposal, although an unnamed source pointed out that goatse.sun.com and goatse.oracle.com do not resolve.

    "When Steve & Larry open their asses on the web, then Bill might think about it," was the source's opinion.
  • Polls and Openions (Score:3, Interesting)

    by garoush ( 111257 ) on Thursday February 07, 2002 @04:10PM (#2969539) Homepage
    Is this how we are going to deal with our laws from now on? Ask the public via polls and opinions as to how to deal with an issue and than use that as a fact to win a case?

    I wander how many of those opinions came from people who *really* know what a computer is.

    ---
  • by Omega ( 1602 ) on Thursday February 07, 2002 @04:11PM (#2969542) Homepage
    The 7,000 PRO; 15,000 AGAINST; and 7,000 opinion numbers reflect a definite change in how people communicate their displeasure with the anti-competitive and illegal business practices of Microsoft.

    Only 5 years ago, a great many people would have e-mailed flame after flame to the DOJ against Microsoft; founded not on evidence or logic, but on emotional, personal opinion. But thanks to PR awareness and education in the community, more people can cite specific evidence or examples of Microsoft's illegal behavior, and make rational, well-formed arguments on how Microsoft has damaged innovation, broken published protocols, APIs and standards and how they have illegally leveraged their market position to force out competitors.

    Gone, or at least greatly diminished, are the zealots who write "M$ SUCKS!" Instead, people are more educated on the issue and can express their comments with supporting evidence in a calm, rational manner.

    Despite these advances and compelling arguments, the US-DOJ still backed down on its position in the antitrust suit; but it can no longer be said that the majority of people who disapprove of Microsoft's business practices are "Anti-MS-Zealots."

  • DOJ is planning on publishing (on the web/cd/federal register/whatever) the ENTIRE e-mail that they received from people commenting on the case. This means that along with your comment, your e-mail address will be available to anyone who chooses to sort through whatever DOJ ends up releasing. It isn't too much of a stretch to then think of people who decide it's a good idea to send an e-mail to all the folks who spoke against MS or for MS, promoting whatever their cause is.

    I won't even think about the poor fools who thought it would be a good idea to include home addresses, phone numbers and other personal information in their signature.

    I'm quite sure, though, that the media outlets will pour over these addresses to look for trends like what they did with the screwed up ballots in Florida after the last election....

    Personally, I'm just glad that I used an account I barely ever use when I submitted my comment - no need having my work e-mail address published by DOJ!

    -Mark
  • Wow! (Score:5, Funny)

    by jasno ( 124830 ) on Thursday February 07, 2002 @04:23PM (#2969612) Journal
    I didn't realize the Govt had to publish the comments!

    So what happens if someone sent in the source to DeCss inside their email? Would they have had to publish it?
  • 7,500 - Pro Microsoft
    15,000 - mAnti-Microsoft
    7,000 - CowboyNeal
  • semi-off topic, but I'd like to point something out.

    I was just reading about this on The Register, and I hit a link regarding what the 9 remaining states are preposing.

    As usually happens, the article discusses what Microsoft will allow.

    To that, I say this: Punish Microsoft. If they resist the punishment, revoke their charter, and heavily fine Microsoft Executives.

    A simple ultimatum, isn't it? "You have broken the law. Accept the punishment, or die."
  • Yes, I did send mine. I like the policy of filtering out redundant and irrelevant comments. What is left over should provide some valuable insight as to what exactly people think about this whole thing.

    One thing for sure, this whole thing is never dull, just when you think you can see the outcome good or bad, it takes a turn in an unexpected direction. Overall I have good feelings about this. Maybe our system sort of works, just slowly...
  • Imagine it, they make every comment available, with sender's name. The next day, everybody that posted an anti-MS comment finds their copy of XP stops working. :)
  • by os2fan ( 254461 ) on Thursday February 07, 2002 @07:54PM (#2971075) Homepage
    I find the spam somewhat worryingly high, rather than low. Since the filter is the subject line must contain "Microsoft Settlement" or something, this means that over 1000 spam messages had been modified to include this in the title. This is disturbing.

    The subject "Hose your grandmother's account" would be filtered out because it does not contain the required subject header.

    Of those who said "I hate Microsoft" or "Linux Rulz", these give no constructive comment on either the settlement's comments or what has been excluded. Simply saying "I hate (some company)" may be an ethical statement that you hate them because they sell a product you hate, and is no indication that they are break the law. eg, "I hate Ford", because they sell cars, and I hate cars. This is not a reflection on Ford's business practices.

    My comment largely centered on possible antitrust comments in upgrades. For example, there is nothing stopping MS from doing things in "required" upgrades, such as shutting down competitive dual boots [Win2k], applications, &c. Upgrades and retail versions should be subject to the same technical restrictions as OEM versions viz Abiltity to not install assorted middleware, honouring multi-boots, etc.

  • by nvrrobx ( 71970 ) on Thursday February 07, 2002 @07:55PM (#2971084) Homepage
    Actually, according to this article [yahoo.com]:

    The gov't received over 30,000 emails, 2,900 were "substantive", 45 were "major", 2,800 were form letters.

    "Only about 10 percent had anything substantive to say, officials said, calling the volume unprecedented."

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