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Microsoft

25 More States Oppose MSFT Antitrust Dismissal 255

phebz23 writes "News.com is reporting that 25 more states (even Washington!) are rallying behind the previous 9 to prevent Judge Kollar-Kotelly from dismissing the case on the grounds that the states should not have say in antitrust policy which is opposite of Microsoft's motion. They cite the Clayton Act, which grants them the authority to continue the case." Important to note that the states say: "even when the federal government has proposed to settle a case. Congress has granted the states clear authority to proceed independently under Section 16, despite the fact that the federal government has chosen not to act, has proposed to settle a case, has in fact settled a case, or has taken the matter to trial."
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25 More States Oppose MSFT Antitrust Dismissal

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  • what about 2.4ghtz cordless phones and x10 wireless stuff?
  • Misleading Headline (Score:5, Informative)

    by BurritoWarrior ( 90481 ) on Friday March 15, 2002 @09:31PM (#3171399)
    The states aren't really rallying around the other 9. What they are concerned with, isn't this case, but their ability to bring antritrust cases in the future. Hence they are supporting the 9 states bringing of the case regardless of what they feel about the merits of the MS case.
    • by jd142 ( 129673 )
      Wish I hadn't used up all my mod points. This is a good point. The issue here is not whether the states necessarily agree or disagree with the settlement, what they are doing is protecting their right to deal with the issue themselves. This should go to the Supreme Court. It will be interesting to see how a Republican Supreme Court deals with the issue. Traditionally, Republicans claim to be in favor of states rights over federal rights but this case pits big business and deregulation against that. We'll see what happens.

      • by Wateshay ( 122749 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [legan.llib]> on Friday March 15, 2002 @10:05PM (#3171524) Homepage Journal
        Republican or not, the current Supreme Court has not been a lapdog for special interests. Since they never need to run a reelection campaign, they're also pretty hard to buy off. Regardless, though, they can have it both ways, if they are so inclined. The issue that will come before them is whether or not the states have jurisdiction in the case, not whether the case itself has merit.
      • by R2.0 ( 532027 )
        "This should go to the Supreme Court. "

        Why? There is no real issue; the states have a right to proceed as written in statute.

        I think the underlying point here is that MS's motion is patently absurd, and they know it. My guess is the are doing it to delay as long as they can because CKK isn't turning out to be the pushover they expected, and they see the end coming.
        • Why? There is no real issue; the states have a right to proceed as written in statute.

          Well, a signifigant number of cases have been dealt with which were opposing existing laws, such as Pleshy v. Ferguson, or Brown v. Board of Education.

          Have no doubt, MSFT will push as hard as they can to erode the ability of states to harm them.
      • Traditionally, Republicans claim to be in favor of states rights over federal rights
        ...except when it suits them to do the opposite. Witness the 2000 Presidential Election.

        I honestly don't believe either party is in favour of "State's rights", I think whatever situation they're in they'll go for a power grab. Pushing "States rights" have suited Republicans of late because of the Red-Blue map of the US. If it were the other way around, you can bet it'd be the Dems.

        • by GSloop ( 165220 )
          Or, if it offends your base...

          Witness Oregon - we've passed (TWICE) a death with dignity act. It allows terminally ill residents to request from a doctor (with a 2nd opinion, and only if the physician feels the person making the request isn't mentally unstable) a lethal perscription when they have 6 months or less to live.

          Republicans are very wary of pissing off their right wing so called "religous" base.

          [I digress madly here, so if you want the short version, skip the next section!]
          I say so called, because their religeon as far as I can tell, is trying to get the state to "improve" the morality of its' citizens. [Before you get all foamy at the mouth, I am a conservative protestant abstraction too.] What's so utterly absurd about this, is that people choose to take the steps to a higher spiritual morality - the state doesn't influence anything. Harranging your citizens or outlawing what you see as immoral behavior won't improve the spiritual lives of those around you. A spiritual experience is what I choose FOR MYSELF - no one can "help" me choose it. The only encouragement that I can see that might be appropriate, is that of a close friend, of whom I ASK about spiritual issues. Notice that this is MY CHOICE to investigate spiritual avenues.
          [End of wild digression! Sorry...]

          I just wish the Republican party would slink back to being a conservative economic policy group, that generally supports a laise fair policy. Get out of the religous/moral stuff - it's not doing you or the country any good. Plus, it just gets us more and more Rep candidates that are extreme, because they're the only ones who get through the primaries.

          Anyhow, I'll cease ranting, but it generally seems that both parties will take whatever stance they want, as long as it's convienient at the time.

          Makes me want to spit!

          Cheers!
      • Its not really a dificult legal issue. It is simple statutory interpretation.

        I really doubt that the Supreme court will take this.
      • In the case of my state, Kentucky, we couldn't afford to go further with the case. So we dropped out of the case. It was not because we agreed with Ashcroft/Gates, but because we don't have as much money as Microsoft and the Bush administration.
    • And the Net difference in the effect is what??
  • by linzeal ( 197905 ) on Friday March 15, 2002 @09:32PM (#3171406) Homepage Journal
    You can piss all over citizen's rights in the united states and barely a wimper will ever be heard in the "hallowed" halls of congress. Piss on the state rights and they will bite your dick off and tell you how tasty it is.

    This is I feel the beginning of "to the pain" for microsoft. I wonder if even they understand fully how quaint little laws from the states themselves will begin popping up dragging them into dangerous and legally hopeless territory?

    • Without a doubt. If this goes thru right, MS will wish the Feds didn't go so easy on them. Imagine being pulled apart by 9 large dogs. I think this might be pretty similar to what is about to happen to MS. We can only hope.

      Jaysyn
    • Another sad addition to this statement is the fact that when the states start passing these little ditties in retaliation for getting "pissed on", many other ligitimate companies will get mangled in the process...

      To step on a huge company like Microsoft it's going to take a big mofo boot, and in the act of stepping, your bound to take out many helpless ants...
  • Resistance... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by taernim ( 557097 )
    ... is futile.
    When will the states learn they can't compete with MS?!?!

    Heh, just kidding.

    Seriously though, what is the impact of the States continuing the case if the Federal Government has already dismissed it?

    Does it lessen the damage(s) or penalties that could have originally been levied on M$?

    • Re:Resistance... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Hoo00 ( 123566 )

      "They invade our [harddisk] space, and we fall back. They assimilate entire [open source] worlds, and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn here! [with GPL!?]" said Capt. Jean-Luc Picard in First Contact

      Seriously though, any state would fight for this right. It is a dangerous precedent.
  • by BWJones ( 18351 ) on Friday March 15, 2002 @09:36PM (#3171425) Homepage Journal
    This is important for the continuity of government and the law. Essentially the Department of Justice did a complete about face after the Bush administration came into office. (Microsoft gave more money to government and incumbents than did Enron by the way including our Federal Attourney General who while recusing himself from Enron case did not apparently see any conflict of interest in the Microsoft case).

    If the states did not have this kind of legal standing, cases that stretched over administrations could side-step the law entirely.
  • Almost unsurprising (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Vancouverite ( 227795 ) <brendt...hess@@@motosport...com> on Friday March 15, 2002 @09:39PM (#3171435)
    Considering Microsoft's contention that the dissenting states didn't have any legal standing to continue the case, this is pretty unsurprising (although I admit, I didn't expect it).

    The states are, at the minimum, protecting their right to bring suit. If the Attorneys General of the states didn't react to the MS contention on standing, they would be falling down in their responsibility to protect the states' legal rights in court.

    It will be interesting to see what the actual filings say... so far, I haven't found a public link to them.
  • hmm (Score:2, Funny)

    Built-in protection against Micorosoft's lobbying efforts at the federal level. I wouldn't have thought our government capable of such forsight.
    • Re:hmm (Score:5, Funny)

      by Decimal ( 154606 ) on Friday March 15, 2002 @10:36PM (#3171624) Homepage Journal
      Built-in protection against Micorosoft's lobbying efforts at the federal level. I wouldn't have thought our government capable of such forsight.

      The government can't help it. The protection is completely integrated with the Operating System. Removing it would break the government completely, or worse, we'd be seeing literally thousands of U.S. government variants! You don't want that, do you?
      • You don't want that, do you?

        At this point, why not. The federal government is only in the war business anyway. Look at the Bush family and the Carlyle group for instance. War=$$$. That's it, that's all. Somehow, I can't think we'd be better off with 50 state governments. At least you'd have a choice of where to live. As it is, we're all patsies for the folks with the cash.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 15, 2002 @09:39PM (#3171438)
    this is the proverbial tip of the iceburg, just like it was for Big Tobacco. Once one state nails you, the others come out of the woodwork to feast on your entrails.

    Then more come.

    And more.

    Pretty soon any state's attorney looking to add a notch to his belt buckle is dragging you into court on this violation, or that violation, and using state law, not federal, to force you into any compromising position they choose.

    Now mind you, this won't put them out of business (the old, don't kill the goose that lays the golden egg theory). But forget about the days where you only had to face a -significant- lawsuit once every 4 or 5 years. Get ready for several a year from now on. And no settlement is going to make it go away.

    • So, will they do just what they did with big tobacco? Implement a government settlement whereby MS will be required to raise the price of their product over the next few years to pay off the settlement while never calling it a "tax"?

      If anything the tobacco cases show that the government would be better suited to tax using a tax and not a settlement.
    • this is the proverbial tip of the iceburg, just like it was for Big Tobacco

      unfortunately, big tobacco is still going strong, and still advertising to kids, despite that multi-giga-buck settlement.

      i wonder if MS has found a way to make their products addictive too.
  • It's still good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by restive ( 542491 ) on Friday March 15, 2002 @09:39PM (#3171439)
    It's true that this antitrust trial is dragging on and on, but I feel it is good for the general public.

    Face it, a LOT of the public doesn't really care or understand the ins and outs of this trial. The more states that stand up for their rights, the more the public gets to learn about Microsoft's blatant misuse of their monopoly. It does drag on and on, but it degrades Microsoft's public image by constantly being in court for stuff they KNOW is against the law.
  • It seems as if M$'s motion might have backfired a bit. I wonder if this latest development might lead to the 25 backing the 9 in some other areas as well, they've just shown that they finally have the gonads to stand up to the beast.
  • You would be surprised as to the amount of direct outright propaganda that Washingtonians receive every day in favor of Microsoft.

    (such as the 'story' on 'software piracy' that they aired last night. Including how you lose out on that lovely support MS gives you, yah right, LOL! If you buy a plan that includes it. . . . Ah, or how piracy only saves companies a 'few' dollars, not mentioning that those office CDs cost a few hundreds from MS and that buying them FROM piraters costs only a few dollars. Heh.)

    All of the stories have such a horrid positive angle to them that I swear MS could declare that Washington State is seceding from The Union and nobody in the news bureaus would bat an eye. :(
    • People use the multimedia to brainwash you into whatever they want. Just watch the sound bites at election time, back stabbing as an artform.

      The tv commerical that pisses me off is about kids who are smoking a joint, then they say the drug money is used for supporting terrorism.
      -
      Sure you can trust the government! Just ask an Indian!
    • Washington State isn't jumping on the "let's break up Microsoft" bandwagon; it's jumping on the "if we don't stand up for states' rights the federal government will usurp them" bandwagon.
  • I have the solution (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Howard Roark ( 13208 ) on Friday March 15, 2002 @09:50PM (#3171464)
    After a long period of consideration, here is what the remedy should be:

    1. For a period of 10 years, Microsoft shall be prohibited from selling any operating system product directly or indirectly to a computer manufacturer.

    2. For a period of 10 years, Microsoft application products shall limit their file formats to an approved version of XML. Furthermore, for a period of 10 years, any changes to application file formats shall be announced and documented nine months prior to their commercial introduction.

    3. Microsoft shall release upgrades to existing versions of applications to enable them to write the documented XML file format and to disable their ability to write the previous proprietary file formats. Their ability to read the previous proprietary format shall remain unchanged.

    Now sit down and think what the world would be like.
    • Haha, yeah, I tell you what, you just go ahead and submit that, m'kay?


      You are missing a key issue that is often overlooked. Bunches of slahdot types love to make suggestions on how to cripple Microsoft and how to make them pay.

      Unfortunately, you have no idea about anything.

      First off, remedies have to be proportionate. This case is about Netscape and integrated browsers. To restrict 75% of MS's core product sales over such an issue is unheard of in monopoly law. Simply unheard of. It is without precedent.

      Second off, remedies have to follow causation. This isn't civil land - penalities are supposed to fix the problem - not to vastly punish or cripple a company. (Those are rightly done in civil court, ala Sun). The fact is that proving harm to the consumer is damn near impossible - before MS's illegal tactics browsers cost money. Plus, there was only one option (Netscape). Now, browsers are free and there are a host of choices that more free and better quality. It is virtually impossible to prove damage to consumers over this issue!

      Finally, your options 2 and 3 are completly out of nowhere. Somehow you decided that this case is a wish list of stuff to get from MS, huh?

      I got news for you - it wouldn't and won't happen. You're plan to strip OEMs of Windows to ideally force them into Linux/blah wouldn't work well at all. Most consumer people would simply avoid buying new computers or alternatively would simply purchase Windows off the shelf and have a friend/nerd down the street install it. Somehow you expect that all the world's computer problems will just go away if MS is crippled for the next ten years! People will unlearn what they know and just flock to more difficult/expensive/harder to learn/easier to learn/better alternatives!

      Yeah right. Let us all know when you get back to reality.
      • by Howard Roark ( 13208 ) on Friday March 15, 2002 @10:35PM (#3171622)
        Well, at least a thoughtful reply.

        The point is to restore competition. Microsoft was able to destroy the market for OS products years by forging exclusive OEM distribution agreements that incorporated a little trick called cliff pricing. This was ruled illegal in the first antitrust case years ago.

        By prohibiting MS from selling to OEMs, the marketplace of operating systems is restored. Customers can buy what they want be it Windows or whatever. I suspect (contrary to your assertion) that what would emerge would be a number of Windows compatible operating systems to leverage the huge windows compatible applications base.

        The second part of the monopoly is in office suites. This came from Microsoft's ability to take advantage of their control of the platform. Opening the file formats just allows other products to interoperate on a level playing field.

        I don't see that this proposed remedy is exessively punitive, it merely restores the marketplace to a state that existed before the illegal behavior. In many ways I feel it is similar to the breakup of the telephone monopoly. True, people would be inconvienced with the burden of choice.
        • by 1g$man ( 221286 )
          Well, I'm sure apple would love your terms. Then they'd be the only company selling computers with a usable operating system.

          Why the heck do you want to force consumers to purchase their operating system seperately and install it themselves? That's like forcing me to buy a car without an engine. Screw that.

          - - - - -

          The only thing anti-trust courts need to do with OEM contracts is not allow Microsoft to base prices of Windows based upon whether other software is bundled with the system. That fixes the OEM problem, and restores choice to the consumer.

          Let the civil courts handle punishment/damages claims.
        • This remedy is BEYOND extensively punitive. As the previous poster already mentioned, much of your argument doesn't even address the original case at hand.

          Beyond that, 10 years is a very long time in a very ast moving industry like technology. 2-5 years might have been more reasonable.

          However, you fail understand WHY OEMs sell Windows with the PC - it adds value to the consumer. COuld you imagine having to purchase a car without an engine? Not a great analogy, I know, because Microsoft doesn't build the cars but the premise is the same. When GM or Ford sells you the car with the engine or wheels they add value to the consumer.

          You'll probably say you get a choice of engines when you buy a new car. Sometimes and even then they are designed by the same company. To make the analogy work in your favor one would be able to put a GM engine in a Ford vehicle. It doesn't work that way for a number of reasons, least of which being it would increase the cost ofautomobiles having to build engines to a basic, least common denominator design so they could be dropped in a competing manufacturers automobile.

          Back to the OS. Dell tried selling desktops with Linux preinstalled and it didn't go over well. They stopped because they were losing money on the venture, not because Microsoft bullied them. The current remedy the DOJ and Microsoft signed will allow OEMs to offer alernate OSes but the OEMs will only do so if they can make money. If they run into the problems Dell had then they will drop the OSes draining their profits. That's business.
          • Cars are not a good analogy.

            People install operating systems all the time. This very minute, Wal-Mart [walmart.com] will sell you any of 9 models of PC without an OS. Replacement hard drives come blank and, "re-install Windows" is probably the most commonly spoken phrase in tech support today.
            • I'll be curious to see how long this OS free PC sales pitch works for Wal-Mart. Also, I'd like to see, though I doubt it will be a highly touted number, how many people purchase Windows with the PC, how many come in within a few days to prchase Windows only after realizing there was no OS on the PC and how many poeple purchase an alternative OS.

              Also, I'd wager that once Linux sees a significant penetration into the consumer desktop market - 20-30% perhaps - that tech support will see many more "re-install Linux" suggestions as well. The reason being, OSes are complex no matter which one and it is far easier for tech support to suggest a reinstall than to hand hold a technologically inept person through a proper fix procedure. Not to mention the various in window managers and configuration settings for typical Linux installs making tech support even more difficult. This might not be such a big deal because Linux is going to have to standardize their UI before they even reach 5% market penetration of the desktop OS market.
          • However, you fail understand WHY OEMs sell Windows with the PC - it adds value to the consumer.

            It may add value to one specific group of customers. That is the home user who only ever buys computers one at a time, occasionally. (Even then these arn't a homogeneous group of people, so the "one size fits all" logic of the OEM install is suspect.)
            However for the corporate customer, who either regularly buys computers or buys them by the tens or hundreds and requires interoperation with existing software and networks, OEM preinstalls can at best be a complete and utter waste of time. Even if they have supposedly the "right" version of Windows (assuming they even use Windows) and application software preloaded it's probably completly wrongly configured. Either they can have someone spend hours reconfiguring it or simply reinstall/drive image from scratch. These customers want machines to a standard, but it's their standard...
            Guess which kind of customer buys the most computers.
        • Early on in this fiasco, I remember seeing a remedy that made sense. Your comment about opening the file formats to Office reminded me.

          Open file formats and BSD licence the entire Windows* codebase.

          Probelm solved. MS would have to compete on features, stability and price. Winners: consumers. Losers: Well, they already are, even if they haven't figured it out yet.

          • Probelm solved. MS would have to compete on features, stability and price. Winners: consumers. Losers: Well, they already are, even if they haven't figured it out yet.

            Wrong, forked Windows is bad for consumers. It is an indenfisble position to suggest that forked Windows will benefit users in any way whatsoever. IT will benefit OEMs and ISV's, but definately not users. It took Linux to put Unix back together, what would it take to put Windows back together?

            That'd be very bad, m'kay.

            And finally, I have no idea why I was modded down to Flamebait and Troll status.
            • forked Windows is bad for consumers

              Windows 95
              Windows 98
              Windows 98SE
              Windows ME
              Windows NT 3.51
              Windows NT 4.0
              Windows 2000
              Windows XP
              Windows CE

              • Yes, except those are versions, not really forks (except Ce).

                IE - code written for Win95 runs on WinXP without modification. Windows was forked in a way with NT, but now, its just the NT codebase.

                Even MS realizes that incompatibilies between Windows code was bad. And now they've fixed that. And now, its just one big happy codebase.

                • code written for Win95 runs on WinXP without modification.

                  Considering some code written for some revisions of 95 won't even run on all versions of 95 this is suspect. There is also plenty of code which requires such bodges as making the executable read/write or giving the user elevated privileges in order to even work at all on NT/XP. Whilst this might not require modifying the application it does require tossing away some of the major advantages NT/XP have over 9X.
                  • Considering some code written for some revisions of 95 won't even run on all versions of 95 this is suspect. There is also plenty of code which requires such bodges as making the executable read/write or giving the user elevated privileges in order to even work at all on NT/XP. Whilst this might not require modifying the application it does require tossing away some of the major advantages NT/XP have over 9X.

                    Win95 is now really old. If you think about it, it was released October 1995. The biggest problem nowadays is dependencies, and thats a big reason MS has dropped support for Win95.

                    The point is however, that code writen for Win32 with MFC will work just dandy across the versions - and if you use a really small subset it will even compile for WinCE. Now, as soon as you start doing bad things that are never recommended, you get broken ass-apps. Win95 apps were notoriously like this because many developers had not yet thrown off their 16-bit Win31 ways.

                    Oddly enough though, you have to realize that even Win16 code will run pretty well on WinXP. I have two apps that I need compatibility reasons that are in fact designed for Windows 3.0 that I routinely run on WinXP. Thats a pretty good record.

            • Wrong, forked Windows is bad for consumers. It is an indenfisble position to suggest that forked Windows will benefit users in any way whatsoever.

              You have to go back quite a long way to find a situation when Windows wasn't forked. Indeed the current version, XP, is quite deleberatly forked 4 or 5 ways by Microsoft.
        • I responded to you in good faith, and got modded down as flamebait and troll. No idea why, but hey, this is a good thread.

          1. The point is not to restore competition. The point is to allow competition to restore itself. That is a key point. After AT&T was broken up, the government didnt found competitve local exchanges; they just made it possible. And they didnt disallow AT&T pieces from selling services or products. They simply opened the market for competition, which is the whole idea of antitrust laws.

          2. Without remedy of any kind, the original complaints have been fully nullified. Point in case: today there are more choices for OSs for desktop (x86, PPC, G4, etc) PCs than before MS's illegal actions. There are more choices for browsers. There are more choices for so called "middleware".

          3. By prohibiting MS selling OS's to OEMs you denying consumers what they want. This is anti-intitutive, since the stated purpose of the trial is to give consumers more choice, not less. Regardless of what we want, millions of people will still want Windows - even if 50% switched to something else it would not deter the large number of people who Windows newbies/enthusists/loyalists. Denying those people pre-installed Windows is just as bad as MS denying you pre-installed Linux. Why trade one monolithic private monopoly for a monolithic government-enforced monopoly? It doesnt make sense, and its fundamentally unfair.

          3. There is no "second part" of the monopoly. MS does not have a monopoly in office suites. Its not even alleged. Its not even covered in the complaintants. There is competition in the so called "office-suite" market. But whats more forcing MS to give away its property (file formats which thney design and mantain) is simply unsupportable. Again, it is without precendent. See, compatibility is a feature of software. When you shop for software, there are tradeoffs. You can go with this package which is cheaper/faster/better or you can choose this which boasts 99% compatibility, or this package which is multi-platform, etc. File-format compatibility would be nice - don't get me wrong. I'd love for AbiWord to be able to open office documents 100% flawlessly. However, forcing MS to give away their property is simply not right. They wrote the code, they designed the file format, they did it. As a *BSD user I dont support forcing people who code GPL to give away their code in a *BSD format. When it comes down to it, you either have to respect intellectual property - including OSS rights to publish under the GPL and MS's right to not publish file formats - or abandon them all together (and there is a good case to be made for that, but it is outside the purview of this discussion).

          4. Finally, choice is a burden but a worthwhile one. But do not be deceived. Today, without government intervention (and granted, it is definately not out of charity) MS allows OEMs quite a bit of leeway when licensing OSs. They will no longer be punishing OEMs for choosing alternatives. That's a fact. How many vendors have you seen switch? How many are moving en-masse to alternatives? None that I know of. A few have made a few "business" lines of PCs available with RH or what not. A few sell bare PCs (like Walmart).

          The point is that we have choice now. Today. Under the proposed plan there would be less choice, which is bad - even if one of those choices is MS. Choice is key to competition, and allowing room for choice is what the purpose of anti-trust fundamentally is all about.
          • By prohibiting MS selling OS's to OEMs you denying consumers what they want.

            Except that consumers don't want the same thing. One size most definitly does not fit all.
            Some want the current status quo, some want to be able to buy a computer and an OS licence from the same source and do their own install some want to source their hardware and software (which may or may not be software the hardware supplier could supply anyway) from different sources.
            IMHO the problem here isn't MS selling to OEMs so much as having "OEM" and "retail" licences. Rather than having a situation where there is only one entity called a "Windows (version XYZ) Licence" and where Microsoft is able to make discounts based around any criteria other than number of units (per period of time).
            Preventing direct sale to OEMs is a possible way to rectify this situation.
            • IMHO the problem here isn't MS selling to OEMs so much as having "OEM" and "retail" licences. Rather than having a situation where there is only one entity called a "Windows (version XYZ) Licence" and where Microsoft is able to make discounts based around any criteria other than number of units (per period of time).

              MS has agreed (again, not outcharity, out of necessity) to stop variable pricing schemes for OEM licensing. All vendors will pay across the same tiered approach (they still get discounts based on then number of units they sell, but it is uniform and predictable).

              One size does not fill all. And that is clear. The market reflects that. People buy WinXP off the shelf for their white box machines, people buy it from OEMS with new PCs, people buy it straight from MS, etc.

              Prevent direct sales to OEMS introduces less choice for consumers. And thats anti-consumer.
    • Microsoft can keep doing everything they are doing now and I won't even care but there are a few things that I think (albeit impossible) would make the IT world a better place.

      - Must publish on the Internet in a timely manner after release the format of Excel, Word, etc. document's for third party vendors to also open and save to that format.

      - Must publish on the Internet in a timely manner after release the api to their filesystem.

      You get Microsoft to do those two things and the playing field is level for everyone.

      My 2 pents.
  • by I Want GNU! ( 556631 ) on Friday March 15, 2002 @09:52PM (#3171471) Homepage
    Yup, the $4.3 million to people in both political parties, including President Bush, appears not to have gone far enough for them. With all those billions, you would figure they could at least afford a cool $20 million to put down the antitrust measure, that sure would do it.

    Instead though, they put the same amount of pennies into political donations as they do for bug fixes...err wait...do they have a budget for bug fixes?
    • You can bet Bill will correct this horrible situation in the next election. . . problem is, buying off every state could cost more than even Micro$oft is worth! LOL

      • by red_dragon ( 1761 ) on Friday March 15, 2002 @10:29PM (#3171608) Homepage

        There is no doubt that Bill will try to correct this situation in the next election. However, (arguably) we all know that Bill is not so dense so as to go bankrupt while buying off every state. So, what else could he do? That's right:

        Bill Gates will run for President of the United States

        However, he will join neither the Republican nor the Democratic parties, because those were not invented by Microsoft. Instead, he'll be the candidate from the Business Software Alliance Party. Their flag will consist of Clippy drawn over the Windows logo on a blue background.

        I shudder at the thought of all this.

        • Bill Gates will run for President of the United States ...
          However, he will join neither the Republican nor the Democratic parties, because those were not invented by Microsoft. Instead, he'll be the candidate from the Business Software Alliance Party. Their flag will consist of Clippy drawn over the Windows logo on a blue background.


          ROFL!

    • The part that so many people miss when talking about political contributions is that for every politician you can influence with your money there are two or three of his opponents that now see you as a potential enemy. That's why most companies that give money give to both sides. They can't afford to make enemies. Besides, Microsoft isn't the only company with money to burn, and many of Microsoft's competitors are very important to the economies of much larger states than Washington. In the end, its votes that get you elected, and if you aren't pandering to your consituents you are likely to get run out on a rail no matter how much money you spend campaigning.

      Microsoft's "take on the world" mentality works against them in this case. Microsoft may be rich and powerful, but they have made a fat pile of enemies, and these enemies are beginning to organize themselves into coalitions, both in the technology world and the political one. It's not uncommon to see Microsoft's competitors rallying around technologies like Java or Linux, and many of the large companies that oppose Microsoft carry their own political supporters.

      In short, it would take a lot more than $20 million to pull Microsoft's fat out of the fire.

      • The part that so many people miss when talking about political contributions is that for every politician you can influence with your money there are two or three of his opponents that now see you as a potential enemy. That's why most companies that give money give to both sides.

        This is relativly easy in the US where politics at just about every level appears to be a "two horse race". Does the US even have political parties specific to certain regions, states or cities? Any which stand much chance of getting any candidates elected to either state bodies or Congress?
        In other countries it can be more difficult because there can be more sides and different political parties may be effective at different levels. So bribing 3 or 4 parties might give you control of national government, but you'd need to bribe 20-30 parties (and independants) to get all government.
  • News Flash: "Hail Redmondia"

    MS has defined the borders of "Redmondia"
    on 100 square miles of what was formerly
    contained in the State of Washington and ceceded from the United States.

    The State of Washington has accepted an
    undisclosed amount to enable Redmondia
    to establish a Monarchy within their borders.

    Citizenship to the new country will be granted
    to all inhibitants of Redmondia and land rights
    will be transferred to MS Corp.

    "Change to Rules... whenever you appear to be
    about to loose... winning is just delaying
    any possibility of loosing."

    McD
    • Then we as the US could bar the sale of all goods here from Redmondia. :-)
      • by Anonymous Coward
        I'd just declare war...
      • Then we as the US could bar the sale of all goods here from Redmondia. :-)

        As could the rest of the world. Alternativly any nation could ignore Redmondian patents and copyrights on the basis they had no treaty obligation to take any notice of them.
        Effectivly Microsoft would immediatly go from being under the protection of the most powerful nation to one of the weakest. Probably get invaded by a military history society or something :)
  • All I have to say is: HA! HA! [eventsounds.com]

    Justice is served motherfucker!


  • Governments have a DUTY not to allow themselves to be manipulated.

    I notice that it takes a long time for abuses to be recognized, and to be stopped. Societies do not have efficient means for stopping a determined abuser, particularly one that exploits the lack of technical knowledge of its customers.

    Meanwhile, Microsoft has been continuing exactly as it did before, testing the limits. Perhaps there should be several new anti-trust and abuse-of-commerce cases.

    With Windows XP, Microsoft seems to be trying to blur the distinction between its computers and its customer's computers. Windows XP sometimes resembles a trojan (except that you must pay for it). Numerous operating system programs call Bill:
    1. Microsoft Media Player (tells Bill the music you like)
    2. Microsoft Direct Play Voice Test
    3. Microsoft Help and Support Center
    4. Microsoft Help Center Hosting Server
    5. Microsoft Application Error Reporting
    6. Microsoft Management Console
    7. Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service
    8. MS DTC Console program
    9. Services and Controller app
    10. Run DLL as an app
    11. Windows Explorer
    12. Microsoft Office keeps a number in each file you create that identifies your computer. No one has said why.
    13. Microsoft porn search looks on your hard drive for those photos of your wife. Okay, maybe not, but you aren't sure are you?
    14. These are just the ones I know about. There may be others.
    It is such a relief to use Linux! With Linux, there may be problems, but I know that they aren't caused deliberately. Linux is an OS that does not involve me in adversarial behavior.
  • I'm glad I live in Canada where my biggest problems are

    a) Passing School
    b) Getting a job
    c) Putting up with the bloody cold.

    See I have what could be construed as a relative interest in reality. What do you think will come of the "anti-trust" suit anyways? Suppose you guys break up Microsoft, then you will have to tackle IBM, Cisco, Intel, etc... [e.g. all other big mostly monopolies].

    What you will end up with is hurting yourselves. What you guys fail to realize is that real United States citizens actually work at these "evil" companies.

    While companies should be kept in check w.r.t their EULA's [e.g. fair use] arbitrarly breaking up companies only hurts yourselves.

    Tom
  • I just hate the fact that the people involved have know idea what's really going on. I mean, without Microsoft, we wouldn't have a lot of cool things (albeit, a few bad things too). Just look at how Microsoft has raised the bar for consumer level computers and graphics. I can easily jump onto a site like NerdTreeHouse [nerdtreehouse.com] and play a sweet 70 frames per second. Linux could never do that. Of course, the irony is that Linux servers power the backend of the graphics app. Hahahah.
  • 2/3rds of the states bother to "show up" and ultimately represent the underlying balance of and right to local judgement. Chalk up another one for freedom, regardless of what you think of this trial in general. I guess the US still has more life to it than I previously thought.

  • There is no such domain as news.com.com

    www.news.com is not an active site

    Is CNet not propogating their DNS records or something? com.com appears to be a travel agency.

  • I knew the world would start to get better once goatees and cigars fell out of fashion...
  • Regardless of what propganda they spread, we all know how Bush feels about "States Rights". He wasted no time bypassing the Florida state rights and going to the federal courts to stop counting the votes because it would have cause harm to his image ---well gosh, his image may have been tarnished! --- thinking back now and seeing how a year of bush has been we should be asking what harm was caused to America by not counting the all votes. OH wait, that's right, we are NOT allowed to question that, we can only wave our flags and be happy.

"The identical is equal to itself, since it is different." -- Franco Spisani

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