Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
Microsoft

Microsoft Seeks Dismissal with 9 Dissenting States 463

zalix writes "Microsoft is seeking a dismissal of the case brought by the 9 States who have refused to settle. In court papers filed yesterday Microsoft claims that the states have no contitutional authority to bring such action stating that "Permitting the nonsettling states to seek sweeping, nationwide relief under the federal antitrust laws and would raise serious constitutional questions," They go on to state "This would destroy Windows desktop operating systems as a stable and consistent development platform,"."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft Seeks Dismissal with 9 Dissenting States

Comments Filter:
  • by shatfield ( 199969 ) on Thursday February 28, 2002 @09:57AM (#3083961)
    They've committed crimes...
    They've been caught...
    They've been charged...
    They've been tried...
    They've been found guilty. Twice.

    Someone hang them. Please!
    • due to some happenings in the States during the sixties, a hanging is a racial statement... even if it has nothing to do with ethnicity. Hell, you can't even say lynch without someone cocking an eyebrow and thinking you're in the KKK. Sad.
    • We can't find a rope that is long enough or is M$ compatible. Well there is of course some that is but it says in the license that we're not allowed to hang any M$ products.
      We have thought of using OSR(open source rope). But M$ say's that it is easy to crack and that we might end up hanging ourself and if we do there won't be any helpline to call.

      ***
      Insanity is in the mind of the beholder
      • I found a rope that would work. It's of suitable size and strength. Unfortunately it's wrapped around a music CD case and figure out how it was wrapped around the jewl case, unwrap it, and use it for another purpose would violate the DMCA and the RIAA would crawl up my crack. Hope they like the smell.
      • [...] Well there is of course some that is but it says in the license that we're not allowed to hang any M+ACQ- products.

        Also have in mind that using rope to hang Microsoft may destroy ropes as a stable and consistent hanging platform.

        :-)
    • "This would destroy Windows desktop operating systems as a stable and consistent development platform,"

      I'm so scared. I'm going to have nightmares now...

  • ...that Microsoft releases these statements just to watch the inevitable flames on message boards like this one.

    "This would destroy Windows desktop operating systems as a stable and consistent development platform,"

    Can you moderate a press release as -1 Troll?
    • void rant()
      {
      I guess Linux die-hards won't ever give up the "stable" issue with Windows because that's been their biggest gripe in years past. Windows 2000 is stable, like 99% of the other OSes out there. Considering all of the hardware support, ease if installation & use - they've done a hell of a job. Yes, I have my own complaints. But considering most folks on here don't even have a Windows 2K/XP machine setup, you certainly shouldn't be bitching about the stability of an OS that you don't use. Like Linux, it will work well if the user configures it properly. Hell, Linux isn't stable when I install it because I haven't the experience. So it doesn't matter much to most of the IT world because we can build stable win2k boxes. There aren't enough experienced linux users out there to warrant a company to commit to it when an experienced Linux Sys/Net-admin is going to demand more money because there are ten times as many half-way decent(sure, there's plenty of half-assed as well) NT/2K admins.
      }
      • Windows 2000 hasnt even been out long enough to be called 'stable'. Stable is when your machine is up for years. Years and years. Under heavy multiple application use. A few months isnt stable. A year between expected needed reboots is not acceptable either.

        I dont know any decent MS admin who doesnt reboot the machines on schedules, or who consolidates multiple applications on a machine. You cant do it without risking random crashes, because W2K isnt even close to anything resembling 'stable'.
        • You're right about scheduled reboots and not consolidating services on one machine coming about from Windows perceived lack of stability.

          But, to be fair, Win2K is much more stable than earlier versions of Windows. Frankly, I think the competition from Linux and other Unices was the main motivating force behind that development.

          But my main gripe with the stable and consistent part of Microsofts new legal filing was the unwritten codicil that ought to have been added -

          ...stable and consistent until products of competitors become a luscious new market for us and motivate us to "innovate and improve" "Windows"...
  • No State Injury? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by erasmus_ ( 119185 ) on Thursday February 28, 2002 @09:59AM (#3083970)
    The states "seek to establish themselves as national antitrust policymakers" in a case where they haven't shown any "state-specific injury," the company argued in part.

    How can it possibly be that the states have shown no specific cases in their area? I'm sure there are many constituents in this state, or companies, that can demonstrate being harmed by some area of Microsoft actions. The states didn't just all jump on the bandwagon against Microsoft without having any cases themselves, they simply pooled their cases together. And now that the overall case seems to not be happening, they're seeking once again to address their grievances individually by state, b/c they're not happy with the settlement.

    I don't see how that's unconstitutional - since the main trial already agreed that MS had a monopoly in the OS market, the states aren't seeking to make federal decisions, only to use them to help their case.

    The article is a little sparse, but I don't see this being a solid argument at this point.
    • While the States are prosecuting, this is being done in a Federal Court. I think the Federal Court ought have jurisdiction over the constitutional issues raised in the petittion for dismissal. Would one of you Lawyers care to explain the basis of thier claim for us?

    • Re:No State Injury? (Score:3, Informative)

      by devnullkac ( 223246 )
      The issue of "state-specific injury" refers to grievances which exist only within one or more of the 10 remaining jurisdictions. For example, if California has a problem with OS/IE tying, Microsoft is claiming that the state cannot bring suit unless OS/IE tying is only being done on products marketed within its borders. If the same problem exists elsewhere, it can only be addressed at the federal level.

      Not that I agree with the argument, mind you, but I think that's their point.
      • Re:No State Injury? (Score:2, Informative)

        by erasmus_ ( 119185 )
        Ah, that does explain it a little better. But even if they're setting it up in this way, that still doesn't make sense. Not a lawyer, but when any other criminal commits crimes in different states, eg kill people here and there, it does not automatically become a federal case. I know from my History (Channel :) that they try him and convict in one state, then turn over to another for justice. I realize this may be different, but still, if there are individual consumers in each state harmed, they can't be forced to settle just b/c the federal case is settling, I would think.

        I'd love to see a more detailed legal dissection of this, I need to look at other posts (was too busy with work).
    • How can it possibly be that the states have shown no specific cases in their area?

      Exactly. Heck the trial record specifically referenced Netscape, which was based in California, which IIRC is still one of the dissenting states.

    • IANAL, but... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I read somewhere about this that MS might have a case, but it's a slim chance.

      The essence of what the legal expert was saying was that the case was filed jointly by the states and the feds, or some such thing--not just by the feds--and so it's within reasonable limits for the states to ask for settlements separately from the feds. Basically, it had something to do with the way the case was filed to begin with.

      In any event, as the legal expert went on, because of the way the case was filed, MS should have protested initially, during the beginning of the trial. The fact that they have waited so long damages their argument--if this is a constitutional problem, they should have addressed it when the case was first brought against them, and argued that the states shouldn't have separate authority as a plaintiff to begin with.

      That's my understanding of this issue at this point.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 28, 2002 @09:59AM (#3083975)
    In the interest of conservation of space, will anyone who simply wishes to make the obvious sarcastic joke about "windows as a stable and consistent development platform" quote please do so as a reply to this comment you are now reading, so the rest of us can just scroll quickly past and ignore the lot of these comments in one block?

    Thank you.
  • Other reportings.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by lemonhed ( 412041 ) on Thursday February 28, 2002 @09:59AM (#3083976) Journal
    It was also reported that a federal judge overseeing the Microsoft antitrust case has dismissed a suit brought by a nonprofit antitrust group claiming that the parties didn't fully disclose communication related to the proposed settlement. See this link [computerworld.com]

    And this...... Microsoft has filed a new motion in U.S. District Court to block media access to four depositions that have already been taken in its antitrust case, as well as one that has not yet occurred. See this link [computerworld.com]

    And finally, a great place to get all the goods on the case... visit here!!! [usdoj.gov] Good luck!
    • by gowen ( 141411 ) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Thursday February 28, 2002 @10:40AM (#3084264) Homepage Journal
      Microsoft has filed a new motion in U.S. District Court to block media access to four depositions that have already been taken in its antitrust case
      The reason is that one of these depositions consists of nothing except Steve Ballmer wearing a big foam hand and chanting "We're number 1! We're number 1! Microsoft! Microsoft!" in sync with 2,000 MS employees. For seven hours.

      They're afraid people might take the piss.
  • Okay, we'll take relief in just our 9 states then. The rest of you can suffer.

    But I think it is an invalid point, it isn't the Justice department which would be applying the law, it would be the Federal court, which certainly has jurisdiction over the entire country.
    • Since it's an interstate business, it can't be forced to treat those nine states differently.
      • by dthable ( 163749 ) on Thursday February 28, 2002 @10:18AM (#3084118) Journal
        Since it's an interstate business, it can't be forced to treat those nine states differently.

        I never thought that Business Law class would become useful...

        Each state is given the right to dictate commerce in their state from The Constitution. As interstate business took off, people saw the need for a uniformed method of trade, thus some of the lawmakers and lawyers met to propose the Uniform Commercial Code. This was a set of laws that controlled how to conduct business and defined a uniform set of rules regarding trade. Each state had to review the laws and then pass a copy of the UCC.

        Today, they still need to lobby each state and ask the state to pass the law. The only reason the laws are uniform is because each state agrees to use the basic premise of these codes. The constitution still allows them to pass any commercial codes they want. If the nine states want to treat Microsoft differently, then they can. This is the same reason that the UCITA is only approved in two states. Everyone is allowed to make their own decision.

        What Microsoft is really asking for is that the courts stomp over another little piece of The Constitution and ban the states from using their legal right to control commerce in their states.
  • IE is not a product. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Flarners ( 458839 ) on Thursday February 28, 2002 @10:03AM (#3084004) Journal
    The states' call for an open-source version of Internet Explorer would destroy "any incentive for Microsoft to invest in the creation of such new versions," Microsoft said.

    But they don't sell Internet Explorer. It's not a product. They don't make any money from it. Is Microsoft hereby admitting that IE is source code controlled as a way of manipulating Web standards in order to control the Internet? That they develop the product for free in order to drive competitors underwater?

    Very interesting quote.
    • by erasmus_ ( 119185 ) on Thursday February 28, 2002 @10:13AM (#3084085)
      Just because they don't sell it, doesn't mean they don't make money on it. The browser is used as a tool to divert users to their services such as Expedia, MSN, Carpoint, and so on, which in turn can make money for the company.

      Now before you flame MS, Real, Netscape and AOL all do the same thing - the product is free, but one has to do quite a great deal of cleanup after the installation.
      AOL IM and Netscape - Delete QuickLaunch, Delete IE toolbar button, delete Favorite, delete Try AOL shortcuts
      Real - Unassociate it with all the media types, get rid of "notifications", delete Favorites and QuickLaunch

      At least in case of IE, all I have to clean out are the favorites it creates, in Media and Links. Not that bad.
      • Netscape and AOL all do the same thing - the product is free

        Because they are forced not to sell it.

        Netscape doesn't sell it's product because Microsoft's illegal dumping of the Internet Explorer product onto the market flooded the market with a cheap alternative and changed the rules so that to succeed, competitors had to rely on a business model that included giving their product away. They failed. Netscape is dead; AOL bought them. The only commercial browser left is Opera, who subsists on the scraps of the market.

        People have lived under Microsoft's monopoly so long that they've forgotten how competition was supposed to work. It's sad.
        • Netscape doesn't sell it's product because Microsoft's illegal dumping of the Internet Explorer product onto the market flooded the market with a cheap alternative and changed the rules so that to succeed, competitors had to rely on a business model that included giving their product away. They failed. Netscape is dead; AOL bought them. The only commercial browser left is Opera, who subsists on the scraps of the market.

          Suppose a OSS GPL'ed browser was super popular 5 years ago? Then Netscape *still* couldn't make money off it since people would use the free alternative.

          To put things in other perspective. How much money is MS loosing to GCC or media players like Winamp?

          It swings both ways!

          I think what pisses trolls like you is that its MS that took advantage of it [e.g. you're stupid to not have thought of it].

          Stop being a sore loser and just try to be a more positive influence!

          Tom
          • It swings both ways because thats the only price point left.

            Basically Microsoft defeated all competitors in the market, and elimintated the ability to charge for certain software.

            Now the market itself has created a competitor that operates against the same strategy of providing software for free, the GPL.

            That is exactly why Microsoft is so scared of Open Source software, it takes away the competitive advantage they had used to gain domination of the market.

            But then, they reap what they sow, its their own damn fault that the price point for browsers, media players, etc. it $ 0.
          • by mwa ( 26272 )
            Suppose a OSS GPL'ed browser was super popular 5 years ago? Then Netscape *still* couldn't make money off it since people would use the free alternative.


            You missed the word illegal in the post you responded to. Microsoft has a monopoly in the OS market. If there'd been an OSS GPL'ed browser available at that time, it too would have suffered the fate of Netscape because of the barrier to entry on the Windows desktop. Although it might have contributed to Netscape's failure, it wouldn't have been illegal for it to do so.


            To put things in other perspective. How much money is MS loosing to GCC or media players like Winamp?


            If I had to guess, I'd say nothing. At least nothing significant to Microsoft's bottom line. Since they bundle Media Player, few people will go get Winamp. Since you really need MFC support to do Windows code, most developers are going to get a compiler that easily supports MFC. It's that darned "barrier to entry" again.


            Go read the FOF [usdoj.gov]

        • Because they are forced not to sell it.

          Not true.

          Netscape was giving away their product for free in the beginning to educational users - but there was no verifiable method of proving that one was or wasn't a student, so it was essentially free for all comers. This was before Explorer.

          AOL has given away their software pretty much since the beginning - but they sell the service it connects to.

          Opera is the only one that has had a for-profit model since the beginning. But we're used to free browsers so it's probably doomed in the end.
      • by Dr_Claw ( 68208 )
        Just because they don't sell it, doesn't mean they don't make money on it. The browser is used as a tool to divert users to their services such as Expedia, MSN, Carpoint, and so on, which in turn can make money for the company.

        Indeed, IE is a very useful thing for them for getting people onto MSN/Hotmail/etc.

        Now before you flame MS, Real, Netscape and AOL all do the same thing - the product is free, but one has to do quite a great deal of cleanup after the installation.

        Yes other companies are bad too. Real is a very good example - I spend ages turning off the notification, auto-updates, usage tracking, news/etc headlines, and other options after I'm silly enough to install it. Netscape (as in the browser/communicator suite) isn't anywhere near as bad though - about par for most applications (no I *don't* want that extra crap program, no I *don't* want icons on my desktop, etc). These things are normally easily disabled whilst doing a custom install and not having to fiddle afterwards. Although I have to admit I've not used it recently, so perhaps AOL's integration has got worse. Personally I do spend some time with whatever browser configuring things such as home page, display preferences, cookie settings, etc, but those are my likes and not nasty extras forced upon me. IE I probably spend least time on, but only because there're fewer options.

        At least in case of IE, all I have to clean out are the favorites it creates, in Media and Links. Not that bad.

        Not quite. You need to update it to the latest version to be secure against a large number of security holes allowing access to your filesystem. After the update it often likes to ask you about setting up mail accounts and sends you off to MSN whether you want to or not. Then there are the things you've mentioned. But you don't go far enough. You should disable the user tracking stuff too (hint: Tools -> Internet Options -> Advanced -> Enable Profile Assistant - use the ? tool to see exact what that does - nice eh). Disabling various things that tie in with IE is also a good idea (see recent security alert about unique identifier in windows media player that can be accessed via IE). Microsoft's integration is not a good thing. Finally I'll repeat my comment about availability of options - there're things I would like to change about IE but I can't (IE 6 and WMP tie-ins in particular). I'm more happy installing Real player/similar and spending some time to know that I've disabled all the "dodgy" stuff than I am using IE with the number of security alerts that appear for it.

      • I will flame Msft, and Real, Netscape and AOL too if they use the same tactics. Just becase other people are committing crimes doesn't make it legal. The problem is that Msft has been allowed to get away with murder, so naturally other compaines say, well, we have to do it too in order to succeed. Msft is a bad example, and letting them get off scott free with their schenanigans is utilmately bad for everyone. You can see a lot of companies trying to emulate the Msft business model, just like many did before the the IBM business model. All I need point out is what Ken Lay of Enron said, "We're the Microsoft of the energy sector". All we can hope for now is that people wise up and Microsoft becomes the Enron of the software sector.

    • Um, so things that are free and not products? That's a slippery slope don't you think? That could easily be extended to include all "free" software, much of which the readers of Slashdot tout constantly. Apparently, none of those are "products" in your opinion.
      • by modipodio ( 556587 ) on Thursday February 28, 2002 @10:53AM (#3084386)
        The question you have to ask you're self is where is a company making there money , that is there product ,not neccesarily what they give away for free. A company can spend alot of time developing something ,(say a an audio codex), and then give away that codex then sell hardware/special software to stream it /some other thing to take advantadge of it in some way.The point is that 90 percent of the work may go into the codex which is given away freely and only ten percent into the thing which makes the money.

        However according to www.dictionary.com i.e is a product.

        "\Prod"uct\, n. [L. productus, p. pr. of producere. See Produce.] 1. Anything that is produced, whether as the result of generation, growth, labor, or thought, or by the operation of involuntary causes; as, the products of the season, or of the farm; the products of manufactures; the products of the brain."

        It is the purpose of Ie that is called in to question by microsofts comment,"The states' call for an open-source version of Internet Explorer would destroy "any incentive for Microsoft to invest in the creation of such new versions,"",It is a product not intended to make money but to hold other browsers at bay, it is a tool of control for microsoft, if it were open source it would lose value as a tool of control .

        In my mind a ,'company's products',are the things which make it capital or profit, all other things which the company gives away merly assist this process and in my opinion ie is more of a tool than a product, and it was produced with this aim in mind .
    • Think about this: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      How is it fair that the government can tell a company what to do with their intellectual property? That sounds like totalitarianism, or communism to me. How can they demand that Microsoft release the IE source code, et. al.? Just think about this for a second. What if they did the exact opposite? What if they tried to force Linux and all the GNU tools to be closed source? What would you think about that? Not like it much? Uh huh. If they forced the code open for IE, it would inevitably lead to intellectual theft of Microsoft... makes you wonder how little time it would take for that code to "somehow accidentally" end up on the desks of Mozilla/Netscrape developers? That's not fair play to me. Sounds more like horseshit.
      • If someone used intellectual property in an illegal manner to create an illegal trust or monopoly, I can see it.

        Linux users can't really make a monopoly as there is no controlling body, just a distributed group of independent and mostly unpaid coders that happen to be cooperating for kicks - no single company or person really has any real code, if there were such, others can take the code and go somewhere else.
      • by raistlinne ( 13725 ) <lansdoct@@@cs...alfred...edu> on Thursday February 28, 2002 @10:41AM (#3084276) Homepage

        If you recall, the only reason that there is the idea of "intellectual property" is because the government created this legal fiction for purposes of public good. Very similar to the existence of a corporation, actually.

        You see, the government grants the special status of a corporation, and the special status of copyright. Given that those are both (useful) legal fictions, it is not unreasonable that the government can take them away or control them when these government created and granted legal fictions get abused.

        Noone would stomach the government telling someone that they're not allowed to distribute the source code to their own program. What a person does is up to them (subject to constrains of law at least theoretically designed to keep people from infringing on each others' rights). A person as such has (inalienable) rights, including those of property and freedom of speech. However, a corporation doesn't even exist until the government creates it, and copyright does not exist on its own without the government creating it. Seeing as how both are their creations, is it not unreasonable that the government can direct the uses of its creation to prevent their abuses?


        • What a person does is up to them (subject to constrains of law at least theoretically designed to keep people from infringing on each others' rights). A person as such has (inalienable) rights, including those of property and freedom of speech. However, a corporation doesn't even exist until the government creates it, and copyright does not exist on its own without the government creating it.

          It looks like you believe in freedom of speech. How about freedom of association? How about the freedom to contract? Can I get together with a bunch of my friends and form an association called -- say -- "Microsoft Corporation"? With contracts specifying that we delegate to the officers of the association the power to exercise some of our rights on our behalf? And contracts between that association and other associations and individuals, that agree to deal with the association as a unit as far as debts, liability, and so on are concerned? How is the government involved there?

          It looks like you believe in a right to own property, by which you apparently mean physical property. What makes the right to own physical property more "inalienable" than the right to own intellectual property? Certainly there are functional arguments (ideas cannot be used up, etc.), but those have nothing to do with "inalienable rights".

          There's no such thing as an inalienable right. There are only social and legal conventions. You have a "right" to free speech because the majority of society recognizes that right, and has agreed on a legal system to support it. You have a "right" to own property because the majority of society respects that right, and has agreed on a legal system to support it.

          We can argue about what kind of social and legal conventions we should have. But let's not draw arbitrary lines in the sand and say some conventions are as fundamental as laws of physics and other conventions are "created by government".

  • by Dutchmaan ( 442553 ) on Thursday February 28, 2002 @10:04AM (#3084010) Homepage
    Microsoft today re-released it's revised version of the second draft of it's DOJ AgreementXP 7.0.9b package.

    Under this agreement the states agree to re ammend an future litigation to include future contestment to future settlements of future points of litigation involving but not precluding any agreement in the first place.

    In the event of any preclusion of an agreement to be acceptable to both or any parties invlolved are hereby resolved to the point of future litigation pending a court order with at least a 365 day warning pending aprroval of a senate oversight committee.

    If these agreements are not met then proceed to Go and do NOT collect $200/month.

  • Seriously... how can individual states, without the support of the other 41 states, force Microsoft to be split up, or open source windows, or release all the APIs? Would such a ruling only apply within the 9 states? How could that possibly work?

    Only a federal court can make sweeping antitrust rulings. The federal courts have already spoken, so how can a few states go against that ruling?

    • Re:Seriously (Score:5, Informative)

      by gilroy ( 155262 ) on Thursday February 28, 2002 @10:25AM (#3084160) Homepage Journal
      Blockquoth the poster:

      The federal courts have already spoken, so how can a few states go against that ruling?

      The courts have spoken, but only to the effect that Microsoft is a convicted monopolist. The DoJ and 9 states have proposed a settlement with Microsoft that would take the case out of the hands of the federal court by settling it. These other 9 states have refused to be part of that settlement and want the case to proceed.
    • Re:Seriously (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Zapdos ( 70654 )
      You assume 41 states are against this. That is how they "MS" wants you to read that. I havent heard any of the 41 states complain.
  • They go on to state "This would destroy Windows desktop operating systems as a stable and consistent development platform"

    For the first time in my life, I want to give money to lawyers. Can I start paying California taxes if I'm a Canadian?
  • In other news... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by brogdon ( 65526 ) on Thursday February 28, 2002 @10:07AM (#3084038) Homepage
    Microsoft and the government have released a new, revised settlement agreement, according to this article [washingtonpost.com] at the Washington Post [washingtonpost.com]. Changes include removing a provision that apparently would have let Microsoft use hardware patents without compensating the owners (?!), more requirements for API disclosure by MS, and a broadening of the language of the document to make it harder for MS to weasel out of things.

    Anyway, thought it might be an interesting read to go along with this story.
    • I don't know about everyone else here, but I still have a really bad taste in my mouth left by a certian non-truth based report made on the WP... I'll believe any real changes when I see them.
  • by jvmatthe ( 116058 ) on Thursday February 28, 2002 @10:10AM (#3084058) Homepage
    A quote from the article:

    The states' call for an open-source version of Internet Explorer would destroy "any incentive for Microsoft to invest in the creation of such new versions," Microsoft said.

    So what they're saying here is that when free software succeeds, they can't compete. If ever one questioned whether Microsoft feared free software, this should quell such doubts. They know that as soon as the source is available better products can and probably will be made. And apparently that's competition they can't handle. (Yes, this is toll-like, but I kind of like being a troll sometimes. My next point is hopefully better. :^D )

    Also, their objection seems ill-founded to me. If they wish to complain that these states shouldn't be able to bring an anti-trust action that has national implications, I'd want to know if they'd objected to the original 18 states being included. That is, wanting to eliminate states from the equation seems to say that the DoJ is the only body that should be taking Microsoft to court, in which case they should have objected to the original 18 states. Taking issue with the inclusion of any states at this point seems like wanting to change the rules you had tacitly accepted after the game has been played for several years.
    • So what they're saying here is that when free software succeeds, they can't compete.

      IE is free software. Just ask Netscape.

      If ever one questioned whether Microsoft feared free software, this should quell such doubts. They know that as soon as the source is available better products can and probably will be made. And apparently that's competition they can't handle.

      No, what they are saying is that they paid for the development of IE and don't want to be forced to give away their intellectual property. They don't want there to be a Linux version because the availability of IE in Windows gives them a market advantage over Linux. Say what you want about IE, but there are many sites, including e-commerce, that don't work correctly under other browsers. I don't care why. It's simply true. I run Opera and have to switch to IE occasionally for that reason. My friends who run Mozilla and Netscape report the same thing.

      You need to look past your "open source rulez!" tattoo and think like a business person. Microsoft does not want to invest man-years in a wildly popular software product and then give the source away. That's not surprising, hard to understand, or indicative that they feel technologically inferior to the herd of cats that is the open source movement.

      Now, in light of the verdict, the question must be asked if this is a fair remedy. I believe that it is. But it's not enough. I think that all Microsoft data file formats need to be open-source and that any change to a file format must be made public at least six months prior to release of a product (e.g., Office) that uses said format.

      P.S. I have 50 Karma points so I don't have to be nice for a while. Mod this down as flamebait or troll if you wish.
      • I would also add that while I am no friend of MS, and think they should suffer badly for their transgressions, this whole "give us your code" thing going on in the settlement talks strikes me as trophy-hunting.

        It somehow seems cheap and beneath us to be running around saying "You were a bad boy, now you need to give us all your code."
        • by fmaxwell ( 249001 ) on Thursday February 28, 2002 @01:35PM (#3085594) Homepage Journal
          I would also add that while I am no friend of MS, and think they should suffer badly for their transgressions, this whole "give us your code" thing going on in the settlement talks strikes me as trophy-hunting.

          It's hard to come up with another option to address the wrongs. Microsoft crushed Netscape by bundling IE with the OS while Netscape had been charging for their browser. The average user looks for "a browser", not "a better browser" so Netscape was left out in the cold.

          As a result of Microsoft's dominence of the browser market, combined with proprietary extensions (ActiveX, VBscript, etc.), web sites were written to support IE rather than a generic HTTP-compliant browser.

          Now Microsoft is using the reliance on IE, and other proprietary products like Office, to keep Linux off of the desktop. Given that the browser was central to the trial, open-sourcing that would help put things back on an even keel.

          In the future, I think that the Microsoft should be required to document and release all data storage and transmission standards. If that is not done, this pattern will be repeated over and over.


    • The states' call for an open-source version of Internet Explorer would destroy "any incentive for Microsoft to invest in the creation of such new versions," Microsoft said.


      Um, if IE were open-sourced they wouldn't HAVE to invest in jack. Those who use it and are interested in improving it themselves would develop it. It's that MS wouldn't get to control its development that is the problem for them.

      It's hilarious that MS can be convicted of being a monopolist and still face such nonexistent regulations. It's as if you convicted a man of murder & robbery, let him off with a warning, then let him keep the gun because, after all, it is his gun and how's he going to earn money without it in the future? Back in the days of Standard Oil you could really get punished if you abused your monopoly. Ah, but this is the "information age". You can have it if you ask me.

  • States (Score:5, Funny)

    by Drachemorder ( 549870 ) <`gro.gnimagnaitsirhc' `ta' `nodnarb'> on Thursday February 28, 2002 @10:10AM (#3084059) Homepage
    The states certainly have constitutional authority to bring suit against Microsoft for wrongs that affect their state.

    Since Microsoft's actions do, indeed, affect consumers in every single one of the 50 states, I'd say the non-settling states have a very valid case. One could argue that any potential remedies would have to be limited to the states in question, but we all know that isn't very feasible. ("You mean I have to go to another state to get a computer without Windows preinstalled?!")

    And don't forget, the judge hasn't approved the Justice Department's settlement yet. She can still overrule it as being insufficient to remedy Microsoft's conduct, and I hope she does exactly that.

    If only Judge Jackson had been a bit more polite with his ruling, we might have a couple Baby Bills instead of having to go through all this...

  • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Thursday February 28, 2002 @10:16AM (#3084107)
    Microsoft claims that the states have no contitutional authority to bring such action stating that "Permitting the nonsettling states to seek sweeping, nationwide relief under the federal antitrust laws and would raise serious constitutional questions."

    To which the response should be:

    "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

    This should take all of five minutes to resolve.
  • Corporate Power (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 1/137 ( 179946 ) on Thursday February 28, 2002 @10:17AM (#3084115)

    The hilarious and refreshing adbusters [adbusters.org] site claims that back in the day when a corporation exceeded its powers or ceased to serve the public interest, its charter was revoked and its very right to exist was nullified

    Their main point is that corporate personhood--which grants corporations some rights as individuals--has effectively eroded the rights of real individuals. Since corporations have vast resources to vigorously defend their rights, they exercise more rights than you and I.

    I think that we shouldn't fixate on Microsoft; there is a wider problem of corporations becoming too powerful in general. Microsoft is a symptom.

  • That's standard procedure, really. I don't see where it's big news. Big news would be if the dismissal was actually granted.
  • "This would destroy Windows desktop operating systems as a stable and consistent development platform"

    Wouldn't that require it be a stable platform to begin with? It's like me saying, "Eating this bag of jelly beans will destroy my ability to run the Boston Marathon in 10 minutes, 32 seconds."
  • by jweb ( 520801 )
    I loathe M$ as much as any other /. reader, but

    Is this really newsworthy?

    The obvious legal tactic when facing any lawsuit is to file a dismissal motion. And, in said dismissal motion, they come up with (make up) any arguments in support of the motion that they can. And said motions are generally denied, and the legal proceedings continue on.

    BTW, IANAL

  • Open Source IE (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kwishot ( 453761 )
    Does anyone else think that having IE "open-sourced" might actually be a good thing?
    Not because it would hurt Microsoft, but rather so that the open-source community would be able to take hold of it and make it a better program.
    You have to admit that IE is much faster than most of the competing browsers, and that it's all around not a half-bad browser.
    If the open-source community could take this browser and turn it into something better, that would be awesome.

    -kwishot
    • I think it would be a good idea. But then aren't you dealing with different distros? How do you distribute such a thing? Would downloads or CDs work?

      How would AOL handle it? Woudl they switch to Mozilla or just tweak IE to be their client?

      While a good idea I suspect it would just fragment IE even more.
    • Hmmm, I have a bunch of operating systems, and a bunch of browsers on my computer and here is what I have found.

      Galeon on Ximian Gnome is the fastest for rendering pages

      IE under w2k is the fastest to load

      Opera is middle of the pack for both, but handles some IE inconsistencies better than Galeon/Mozilla

      I haven't used Konqueror for a few revs

      From seeing what happens to newer IE (5.5) on a older (AMD 350) PC with 32m RAM, I would guess that the reason it loads faster is because more of itself is already loaded as part of windows, you should see this machine hit the swap file when it runs. After seeing the Unix port of IE and it's ridiculous hardware requirements.. I can't believe how bloated it is. it's almost equal to a full win95 install just for a browser. That's nuts.

      I use Galeon most, I like the functionality of it.

  • SyRuP Fudge. This is also how the MS senior managment team views the proposal.
  • "Actually holding us repsonsible for the illegal actions that we have been found guilty of should be unconstitutional. You should be happy just to slap us on the wrist like all those other times we got caught breaking the law. Now go away and let us get back to the business of dominating the world."
  • by nakhla ( 68363 ) on Thursday February 28, 2002 @10:28AM (#3084179) Homepage
    As much as I hate to admit it, Microsoft is right about this one. I was talking to a friend who is a lawyer, and he said this could technically fall under the clause that states cannot make rules that apply to other states. It's similar to the laws that say if I'm married in one state, I'm married in another. They have to recognize that. Well, it's unconstitutional for Maryland to make laws that would affect Georgia.

    This is just what I was told, so I'm going by that. I'm not an expert on the Constitution so I don't know.
      • said this could technically fall under the clause that states cannot make rules that apply to other states

      Mmm, they have a point, but the solution would be to only oblige Microsoft to provide stripped down versions, or to license their IP to developers in the contesting states. That'd be inconvenient for Microsoft, but, well, cry me a fucking river. This is meant to be a penalty.

      Also, it'd be a great reward for the states that have stuck to their guns: suddenly they're hot property for developers wanting a pound of Microsoft flesh.

      Of course, Microsoft would claim this would be too complex to be workable. Lest we forget, Microsoft already sell their products worldwide. Splitting US into USA and USB (B for BASTARDS!) wouldn't kill them.

    • What about gays who get married in Hawaii, but their marriage is not recognized in any of the other 49 states? Sounds like your friend may need to do a bit of brushing up on his legal knowledge.
    • While it is true that states are not allowed to make laws (or take other actions) that interfere with interstate commerce or unfairly discriminate between residents/businesses in other states, I'm not sure I see how this applies here. There is no doubt that there is local harm in each case and that local remedies are quite possible. I would think that the available remedies might be limited (e.g., break-up may not be a reasonable remedy for state harm), but that does not mean the cases should be dismissed. It simply requires more creative remedies.

      Another basis for claiming the states' cases are illegitimate would be more of a federal preemption argument. Basically, stating that the Federal antitrust rules do not leave any room for state regulation of the same issues. I'm no expert in antitrust law, but I'm pretty sure that state's are allowed to have and enforce their own antitrust laws. The other issue I can think of with this would be if the states are actually trying to enforce the Federal laws on their own (in the same way that private parties may sue for other private parties for federal antitrust violations). I could see the Feds having final say there.

      This might also be more of a double jeopardy/due process kind of issue. You shouldn't have to deal with the same case twice. But again, it seems like the states shouldn't be bound by a Federal settlement if they are enforcing their own antitrust laws.

      I guess my observations bring up more questions than answers. There are issues here, but I doubt they are cut and dry for either side. Sadly, I'm left to pontificate, since I don't have time to study all the angles.

    • Your friend is totally incorrect, so incorrect that I would question his or her fitness to practice law in the United States.

      If the states tried to try MS in their state judicial systems and then apply any settlement country-wide, THEN your friend would be correct. The whole point here is that the states are in FEDERAL court. Which is where any party can go to seek the Federal Governement's involvement in matters that can't be handled at the state level.

      Your friend seems to feel that states are not allowed to bring suit in Federal Court. Utter nonsense.
  • Here we go again (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Thursday February 28, 2002 @10:29AM (#3084185) Homepage

    They never change their tune, do they? The "stable and consistent" quote is specifically in response to the requirement to strip middleware from the OS. Yes, yes, we've heard it before; there is no OS, it's all completely integrated, yadda yadda. I'm sure many of us are familiar with just how "unstable" (or otherwise) an OS without applications can be. That aside, it seems to me that if distros based on a stripped down OS and middleware from third parties really were to suck as much as Microsoft claims they would, then the principles of the free market would protect their fully featured version. Remember, nobody's asking them to stop selling their "all microsoft, all the way" distro, just to provide a stripped down version as well.

    • The states' call for an open-source version of Internet Explorer would destroy "any incentive for Microsoft to invest in the creation of such new versions," Microsoft said.

    Sure, if they want to give up and let someone else take over the browser market, they can stop investing in IE. They're saying that if they can't play by their rules, they won't play at all. You can sort of see their point: having their IP forcibly open sourced isn't really fair. Well guess what: that's the idea. This is a punishment. Microsoft have been found guilty of using Internet Explorer as a weapon to destroy Netscape. The penalty is to disarm that weapon by making it available to everybody. It's not meant to be fair, it's meant to be a commensurate penalty. I also note that it's not a case of Microsoft giving the source away, just making it available for scrutiny and licensing. Heck, maybe nobody will want to license it after they've seen it.

    In case anyone's interested, the actual States' proposal is here [naag.org]. It makes for pretty interesting reading, mandating the distribution of a Java VM with Windows, auctioning the rights to develop Office for other operating systems to a third party, and actually complying with standards, rather than just claiming that being 95% compliant is close enough (e.g. J++ versus Java).

    Before you start reading it, remember one thing: Microsoft are guilty. They are convicted monopolists, and they have repeatedly ignored previous behaviour orders. This remedy is meant to punish them, and to help their competitors at their expense. They did the crime, now they have to do the time.

    • You didnt address the issue.

      Microsoft claims that the states do not have the authority to force a nationwide settlement. Thats the issue here.

      No remedy should be forced on anyone if that remedy is unconstitutional - not you, not me, and not MS.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If their stable development platform would be destroyed....then it would be the same as they have destroyed countless other stable development platforms/programs with their monopolistic practices.

    Justice isn't about revenge and I realize that. But you can't destroy market segment after market segment and when we finally want to penalize you for it, you whine and say you'll lose. Yeah, that's the whole point. What do they want, a slap on the wrists again? It sounds like it to me. The only constitutional issue I see is if we do nothing. Then we would be allowing an abusive monopoly to become acceptable and a part of our life. And Microsoft (avoid conspiracy theories, this is a simple fact) wants to become of our daily life as much as possible. PCs, internet, cell phones, TV, gaming systems, you name it, Microsoft wants a piece of it. They want to become one of those companies like a power or utility company - completely integrated and absolutely necessary in our life. It's not just horizontal and vertial integration of markets MS is after, but rather, integration of everything. (Making the Bill Gates Borg icon all the more appropriate, I think.) If we let them continue down this course it would be unhealthy for the american (and international) economy. No one company should be so big and have control over as many markets as MS has and wants in the future. I'm not some conspiracy freak or rabid MS-hater, these are simple facts.
  • Choice Quote... (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by Threed ( 886 )
    ***
    Mundie said Microsoft is aware of the power of licensing pacts, but it is treading lightly for now. "If you stand in our shoes, we get enough flak just trying to get people to register their software," he said.
    ***

    Is that so... Well, maybe people would register their software if they had some assurance that the info would only be used to send patches out. Some of the junk mail MS has sent me is just incredible. I'd bet they're selling the info too.

  • by Odinson ( 4523 ) on Thursday February 28, 2002 @11:01AM (#3084463) Homepage Journal
    Wasn't the point of the Tunny act comment period to keep the DOJ honest? Where are the teeth?

    Is there a way the judge can legally say "I have no confidence" that the proscution represnts the people anymore?

    Isn't MSFT claiming that the states are making law, when in fact they are just seeking retribution under the current existing law?

    Can anyone get away with murder if they find a way to restrain the prosecutions desire to explore all avenues of argument and punishment with the maximum force allowed?

    I guess what I am comming back to is, if the DOJ really couldn't care less(tm) about actually prosecuting MSFT are we just screwed?

  • by guinsu ( 198732 ) on Thursday February 28, 2002 @11:04AM (#3084496)
    I guess what Microsoft is really saying is that they don't want to have to make 50 different versions of Windows for sale in each state, and it is unconstitutional to require them too. However, there is a great counter example to this, which is auto manufacturers. They have to make modifications for certain states (CA), but it is legal to move a car from one state to another (used cars or when you move, etc). So maybe Microsoft will be forced to create certain versions for certain states. Of coruse they will complain how this will dirve them into bankrupcy or something. But if a car maker can modify an assembly line with all sorts of parts and expenses to deal with, then Microsoft can cetainly change software, which should be easier than changing around a factory.
  • by hobbestcat ( 473268 ) on Thursday February 28, 2002 @11:32AM (#3084673) Homepage
    Experts are once again issuing a warning the newly released MS SettlemeNT contains a security flaw which could allow malicious coders [microsoft.com] to take over your Intellectual Property [infoworld.com], delete files on your computer and gain control of your finances [cio.com]. MS denies these allegations though insiders say Microsoft is working on a patch. Back to you Neil.
  • by InfoSec ( 208475 ) on Thursday February 28, 2002 @11:45AM (#3084755) Homepage
    This is the first, of likely many, legal tactics that MS is going to use to prevent the ordered release of the Windows source code. As their argument actually has a minor bit of merit, the courts will have to investigate and argue their position. This means that MicroSoft's lawyers have some time to come up with their next time wasting strategy while they maintain their monopoly. Each time their arguments get shot down, they will come up with another argument which will bog down the entire case again and again until one of the following happens:

    - The states capitulate to a not so devastating settlement
    - The DOJ screws up and loses one of the arguments
    - Microsoft screws up and loses

    It's likely that we will not see an end to this case within this decade...
  • by osworks ( 561010 ) <mattc&osworks,org> on Thursday February 28, 2002 @12:15PM (#3084968) Homepage
    I would be willing to bet that the MS legal team doesn't believe that this motion has a snowball's chance in Bills own bedroom of going anywhere. This is a tactic to generate support among the large PC manufacturers who would have to support 2-3 different version of the same operating system. What they are saying is that it is illegal for one state to set the laws of another state, so if the disenting states win their case, then they will cause MS to make one version of Windows for those states, and one version for the rest of the country. You can imagine the logistical nightmare this would cause at HP, Dell, and Gateway.

    MS has admited that they recognized a problem when the rest of the industry didn't step up and defend them in this case. This is their unique way of squeezing that support out of them while still staying firmly in the dominant possition.

    Brilliant move if you ask me, good chance it will backfire though, and cause the pc makers to get more vocal about what they would like to see the final settlement look like.
  • by Mr. Sketch ( 111112 ) <mister.sketch@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Thursday February 28, 2002 @12:41PM (#3085142)
    Since Microsoft has been found guilty and the courts just need to determine a punishment, why does Microsoft have to accept it? Who ever asks the defendent if they accept the term of their punishment? Of course the defendent won't want to accept the terms, but they shouldn't have the option of choosing their punishment, because they are guilty. They aren't higher than the law, and once the prosocution and the judge agree on a punishment, it should then be forced on the defendent.

    This whole process of Microsoft having to agree to a settlement is pointless, and a waste of time, and I don't see why they even have to agree to it, it should just be forced on them.
  • by hawk ( 1151 ) <hawk@eyry.org> on Thursday February 28, 2002 @01:14PM (#3085433) Journal
    I am a lawyer, but this is not legal advice. If you need legal ad ice, contact an attorney licensed in your own jurisdiction.


    They do have a serious point: as a policy issue, individual states cannot be determining natiional issues, and shouldn't generally have standing to enforce national laws.


    However, the actions also violate the laws of the individual states, and they *do* have standing to enforce those.


    Additionally, taken to its extreme, microsoft's argument would seriously damage the notion of precedent. The states are suing because their citizens are damaged. They do not find the proposal by other parties to the suit adequate to solve the problem, and like any other plaintiff, can stay out of an inadequate settlement entered by the other plaintiffs. If they *do* prevail in showing a stronger remedy is proper for themselves, then the judge has the power to apply it nationwide.


    Microsoft has a point, and a reasonable argument--it's just not as strong as the arguments against it.


    hawk, esq.

  • by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Thursday February 28, 2002 @01:46PM (#3085717)
    My question is simple:

    Why do people want the source code to Windows?

    Of course, it means you can poke around and see how they do things, but since no-one else builds a platform in quite the way Windows is, I don't really see the point. Plus, Microsoft are going to fight long and hard not to open up their code.

    So, let them keep it closed.

    However I would have thought that forcing Microsoft to open up, document and distribute for free the file formats they use (doc, xls, ppt and so on and so on) for then next, say 25 years, would be far more advantagious to others. In other words, they cannot lock users into their own formats ever again.

    After all, once other applications can load and save Microsoft formats as well as Office can then surely then it would allow them to break onto the desktop and so foster proper competition?

"There are some good people in it, but the orchestra as a whole is equivalent to a gang bent on destruction." -- John Cage, composer

Working...