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Microsoft

Microsoft Kicks Playstation2 out of CeBit. 663

dnaumov writes "According to this article on ZDNET, Microsoft complained to the show organizers, Hannover Messe AG, that Sony was breaching show rules by letting people play on Sony PlayStation 2 game consoles. While Sony has been letting people play their consoles at CeBIT for the past 3 years, that didn't really bother anyone. However, MS seemed to not like the fact and filled a complaint. What makes this even more funny is that Microsoft officials denied that the company had complained to the Messe. but the show organizers confirmed that Richard Roy, vice president, corporate strategy, had complained. This effectively forced PS2 out of the show and Sony started packing their bags on Sunday. Microsoft was also displaying their XBOX console at the show."
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Microsoft Kicks Playstation2 out of CeBit.

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  • Umm.... (Score:2, Informative)

    by JoeLinux ( 20366 )
    Hmm....this would be one of the few time Microsoft has ever gained anything by playing by the rules. I find it wildly ironic. Seems like it's one of those rules that everyone ignores until one person wildly breaks it. Wonder if MS will be subtly letting people "experience" XBox at the show under some "other" name. ("No, we aren't letting them test-drive the X-Box, we're letting them 'feel' the controllers. They simply are hooked up at the time.")

    KMFMS.

    JoeLinux
    • Well, whatever they did, it certainly looks like a cheap shot. I wouldn't shed any tears over Sony though as they have their own types of monopolies that they perpetute.

      Hey, Sony, thanks for Everquest.

    • Ah no Microsoft followed the rule of the show.

      BUT and this is a big BUT... They had partners showing off the X-BOX with software from the partners. So technically MS was not breaking the rules, but because the partners were selling add-ons they were not breaking the rules either.

      Sony did not have this luck.

      I saw it on NTV and people were annoyed.

      You know the stupidity of MS never ceases to amaze me. MS has everyone breathing down their neck. And what do they do? They yell and scream when someone else is breaking the rules.

      A good punishment of MS would not be to break the company or anything related to licensing software. Get the top brass to retire immediately and sell their stocks for a fair price. As Lou Gerstner says, after ten years running a company change needs to occur otherwise you become stale and uncreative...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I've never been to Cebit but, I can't help but wonder what kind of tech show has a rule prohibiting visitors from test driving the technologies on display. It seems quite rediculous to me. I certainly have no desire to visit ant show with such absurd rules.

    • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @07:11PM (#3183992) Homepage Journal
      I would hypothesize that MS having Employees demonstrate the consoles instead of having visitors play them made the difference. Employees playing the games is the same as making a presentation.

      If that's the case, MS COULD have been in the right. "Well, if people are busy playing games, they're not paying attention to the exhibitors" -- that could be why that rule would be there in the first place.

      Talk about bad sportsmanship though. Even if MS had good intentions (ha!) there's no way anybody's going to say 'Go MS!'

      BTW, just because I'm playing Devil's Advocate here doesn't mean you have the right to come in, misinterpret me, and then tell me I'm an idiot. I've had enough of that over the last week. I don't support what MS did so don't twist what I said into saying I do.
      • BTW, just because I'm playing Devil's Advocate here doesn't mean you have the right to come in, misinterpret me, and then tell me I'm an idiot. I've had enough of that over the last week. I don't support what MS did so don't twist what I said into saying I do.
        Yet more proof that people just don't understand what /. is all about....
    • The reason is simple: It allows companies to display vaporware as 'the next big thing' at these shows. Obviously it bothered Microsoft that Sony's 'next big thing' actually worked, and that they were comfortable enough about their product that they allowed tinkering.

  • Frankly, CeBit organizers should have told Richard Roy his company had been found in violation of U.S. antitrust law (a scared shadow of the EU version) and asked to leave with all his exhibitors - wouldn't want a legitimate trade show to lose its reputation because a piratical company happens to be there.

    There's a simple solution to bullshit like this - flip Microsoft the bird and spend your and your company's money elsewhere.
  • And? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vena ( 318873 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @06:53PM (#3183880)
    So Sony breaks the rules, and get caught doing it. Ok where's the problem? Are we to assume that because Microsoft turned them in, that the rule never existed? Or hey, maybe Microsoft made the rule years before just so they could catch Sony in the act now that they're competators. This is nonsense. Sony broke the rule, they pay the price. The only saving grace would be if Sony wasn't aware of this rule.

    I doubt that. Highly.

    • Re:And? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Restil ( 31903 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @07:04PM (#3183954) Homepage
      Sony packed up and left. Sure, they were violating the rules, whatever those were. Since nobody other than a competitior ever complained about it probably indicated it was one of those rules that are on the books but we don't want to waste the time taking off, but we'll happily look the other way if its broken.

      They could have chosen to simply abide by the rules for the rest of the show. However, packing up and leaving made a more effective statement. At first, it sounds like they're just a bad sport, but consider this fact. They are widely visible going through the process of packing up their equipment and hauling it away. The article even made mention of that fact. A good percentage of the show attendees will see this happening and ask why. And everyone will tell them "Microsoft made them leave". It won't necessarily be 100% accurate, but thats the rumor that's going to go around for the rest of the show. And for the remainder of that show, the mention of Microsoft will leave a bad taste in the mouths of a lot of people. And a lot of people will leave and go on with their professional lives. They may not think any higher of sony. But they will think less of Microsoft. And Microsoft has fingers in the proverbial commercial pie far beyond the world of console gaming systems.

      -Restil
      • but which strategy will sell more Playstations, thus making more money for Sony? Remember that Sony has probably already paid for the show space, equipment rental, and hotel rooms.

        Sony stays and demos their new games.

        Sony leaves and demoes NO games, while people watch Microsoft demo cool new XBox games.

        • CeBIT is not exactly a gamer's convention. Sony was making a corporate presence, no doubt showing off their Palm based handhelds as much as the PS2. Thinking of it this way, the whole *point* of the convention was to get Sony's name on everybody's lips. So they don't show off some games - it's not like the gaming industry won't see them. But as to getting their name mentioned in the news? Okay - now without looking it up, name a big company at CeBIT other than Sony and MS. MS got a black eye, Sony looks like the underdog who was simply letting the attendants use the product. In reality, that's still the case - it might be a PR move, but it's honest PR.

          --
          Evan

          • Oh, and in case it wasn't clear - the article said nothing about Sony leaving - just that they packed up their hands-on PS2 demonstration.

            --
            Evan

      • A good percentage of the show attendees will see this happening and ask why. And everyone will tell them "Microsoft made them leave". Yeah, and Sony 'surrendering' to Microsoft is going to make them lose a LOT of face in certain circles.
        And Microsoft has fingers in the proverbial commercial pie far beyond the world of console gaming systems.
        Yeah, and poor old Sony doesn't.
      • Re:And? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 18, 2002 @07:18PM (#3184035)

        Sony packed up and left.

        They didn't. ZDNET doesn't say that either, if you read closely. They removed the PS2s, but the rest of their much bigger exhibition is still there. A much more detailed report about what happened is delivered by Heise. Use the fish if you have trouble reading this article [heise.de].

      • Sony packed up and left. Sure, they were violating the rules, whatever those were. Since nobody other than a competitior ever complained about it probably indicated it was one of those rules that are on the books but we don't want to waste the time taking off, but we'll happily look the other way if its broken.

        Just like antitrust law which no one bue Sun and AOL and Oracle and Digital and Be complained about Microsoft breaking? Oh they are competitors so we should just ignore the stupid law because no one but competitors complain.
        • In case it wasn't obvious, the above was sarcasm.

          A rule is a rule. You either change the rule or decide not to play the game - you can't decide to play the game by your own rules.
          • A rule is a rule.
            >>>>
            No, there are real rules and fake rules. Real rules are there for important things (don't kill people). Fake rules are there either just to cover somebody's ass (basically, any rule in the public school system) or to protect people from themselves. The first one is bad to break. The second one is stupid not to break, because everyone else is too. If a rule isn't enforced unless somebody actively complains, then it probably wasn't important anyway.
      • Big bully Microsoft knocks Sony out of the playground.

        Sony's going to get the sympathy vote out of this. And portrayed as a victim in the press.

        Dumb move Microsoft.
      • At first, it sounds like they're just a bad sport, but consider this fact.... They are widely visible going through the process of packing up their equipment ... And everyone will tell them "Microsoft made them leave". It won't necessarily be 100% accurate, but thats the rumor that's going to go around for the rest of the show.
        So they're bad sports and manipulative bastards. Well, I suppose it's good to see Sony can compete with Microsoft and Nintendo on a "pure evil" level.
        • Re:And? (Score:3, Funny)

          by Kintanon ( 65528 )
          Yeah, but Sony is MY kinda evil! If I could get them to agree to it I would use nothing but Sony stuff, I'd wear it, play it, work on it, live it, if they made food I'd eat it. When the world is ruled by the Megacorps I'm gonna sign up with Sony. If there must be one huge monopoly in the electronics industry my vote is with Sony. I Am Sony's Little Bitch!!

          Kintanon
    • I agree. It's too bad Sony decided to just pack up and leave. What MS did was bad sportsmanship, what Sony did was try to elicit more support against MS. "Well, MS is whiny about us breaking rules, so we'll leave."

      Sadly, ppl already hate MS enough that they'll use this as another attempt to bash MS and yadda yadda yadda. One guy posted "who'd by a game system from these people?" Well my response to that is "somebody who wants to play games."

      • what Sony did was try to elicit more support against MS. "Well, MS is whiny about us breaking rules, so we'll leave."

        Sony didn't leave. They just packed up their PS2 display - you *are* aware that Sony makes some other gadgets than the PS2... you know... handhelds, sterios, MP3 players, laptops, camcorders... pretty much everything in the electronic universe.

        --
        Evan

        • Nitpick nitpick nitpick. Their Playstations are gone, right? Their games are gone, right? Microsoft looks like the bad guy, particularly because the misleading headlines say 'Microsoft booted Sony', right?

          My point still stands.
    • Re:And? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by phyxeld ( 558628 )
      The other question is why a trade show wouldn't let companies offer hands-on demos at their's booths.
      Anyone know a logical reason for a rule like that?
      • Re:And? (Score:3, Informative)

        by JabberWokky ( 19442 )
        Safety - to prevent clustering that causes a fire hazard. Despite that, it's a rule that is seldom obeyed... it's just there so the organizers have a reason to stop something that is causing a serious traffic stop. Tossing out giveaways is also generally verboten, and it happens at most conventions.

        --
        Evan

    • For the most part here, the story is "CeBIT has stupid rule".

      Sometimes we do tradeshows, and they all have stupid rules ("You can give away this, not that..."). We try to follow the rules, and it's frustrating for our PR people when the booth next to us doesn't (and steals traffic by handing out candy when we only get to hand out pens...)

      But the organizers never do anything, because they don't want some immature PR people to pack off their whole show just because they were giving out dweedles instead of doobles. Or because they weren't following the conference theme colors. Or weren't wearing enough clothing.

      MS does awful things, but in this case, I'm proud of them for at least standing up. Maybe one day conference organizers will only make rules that they intend people to follow, will distribute those rules, and make sure people do follow them when conference rolls around.

      .
    • A) Why did Sony have to leave altogether?

      B) You can be damn sure that Microsoft complained because Sony/PS2 is a direct competitor. It's not like they felt like being good little participants, and complain about all rule violations. I bet if you go back a few years, you'll find other "playable" shits that were at Cebit that *weren't* in Microsoft's disfavor that they did no complaining about. MS, it seems, has learned the lobbying trade very very well, politically and otherwise.

      C) What kind of fucking show is this that you can't test out the equipment? Why don't they just handcuff you at the entrance?
    • by M@T ( 10268 )
      This is nonsense. Sony broke the rule, they pay the price.

      Were the situation reversed, I'm sure MS would have Sony, the CeBIT organisers and probably the DOJ, and the Attournies General of 34 states, hauled up in front of an appeals court by now (complete with an injunction to prevent CeBIT from closing the show until the case was resolved to their satisfaction... ;-)

  • by anothy ( 83176 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @06:54PM (#3183883) Homepage
    the article mentioned that sony tried to compromise, but how? what did the various involved parties suggest? i mean, MS has the XboX on display, with employees doing the playing; surely sony could have done the same. what's the exact rule sony was violating?
    • Why, the rule about not competing with Microsoft, of course!

    • I would imagine the rule was probably originally put in place to save the game/console companies from having to run people off their consoles all the time. Go into a Best Buy and watch some of those dinguses play the demo PS2's and XBoxes for hours on end and you'll see what I mean. If you're demoing your products, you're basically kissing customer ass for 10 hours a day, and you don't really want to be bothered with trying to get some jerk to share with the rest of Cebit.

      Now clearly at some point Sony figured it was worth the trouble to let people play with their toys, and that's fine, but it also puts all the other game companies at a disadvantage. Which booth are you going to go to: the one with Halo on demo loop, or the one where you can play GTA3? Microsoft maybe didn't have the facilities or manpower to let people play hands on, so they complained to make sure their booth wasn't a graveyard.

      Now, maybe next year Cebit decides to change it's rules and allow hands-on play, which would be fine, as all companies can come prepared. But as for this year, I think asking Sony to stop the hands-on was the right call.
  • by Dr Caleb ( 121505 ) <thedarkknight@sh ... a minus math_god> on Monday March 18, 2002 @06:56PM (#3183894) Homepage Journal
    After all, game consoles aren't for playing with!

    My God! Doesn't anyone think of the children?

  • by nullard ( 541520 ) <nullprogram.voicesinmyhead@cc> on Monday March 18, 2002 @06:56PM (#3183901) Journal
    See! Here's proof, Microsoft isn't anticompetitive, it is just defending itself against evil monopolies like Sony.
  • A great comment (Score:2, Interesting)

    I read a comment on the page of the article that was insightful and I felt I should share it. The individual who wrote it is clearly not the most well-written guy in the world, but I think you get his point.

    The sand-kicking six year olds at it again. And, don't give me any of that "rules are rules" crap, cuz that don't fly when you are talking about the convicted monopolist turned snitch. I can just see the tattle-tail doing trying to imitate the fake teary eyed look of Ballmer during his latest deposition. What do they teach first at the Redmond campus, foot-stomping or lying???

    Sure, we do participate in a lot of Microsoft bashing here at Slashdot -- I'll admit that. But for Christ's sake, they deserve it.

    Linux -- Because You're Too Good For Those Other Crappy Kernels. [monolinux.com]
    • So in this case, let's take Microsoft out of the picture for a moment. If the German equivalent of...lets say, a fire marshall or other government safety official makes the same complaint to the shows organizers, then everything is fine, BAD SONY!!

      But in this case since it is big bad Microsoft making the complaint, then it's earth shattering news?

      Hypocrates...
  • Childish. (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by saintlupus ( 227599 )
    My, I certainly hope they remembered their kickball when storming off to go home.

    --saint
  • by M@T ( 10268 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @07:01PM (#3183936)

    Pardon my ignorance, but can anyone explain the purpose of CeBIT if you can't actually play with the hardware? Particularly if the vendor is happy for you to take it for a test-drive... otherwise you may as well consider it as vapourware.

    • by ballista ( 215359 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @07:25PM (#3184092)
      While I don't know anything about this particular show, it often comes down to the show wanting to eliminate large crowds gathering on the show floor. Ideally people should be moving around. Allowing them to play with the hardware causes people to gather waiting for their turn etc. From the show organizers point of view this will block the isle ways between venders and not allow people to get to some venders booths. Those venders cut off will complain and since they spent good money on the booth they have every right to complain.

      Sony probably couldn't come to a compromise since their booth was designed to allow people to take their own test drives. This means they probably didn't have the staff on hand to run continuous demos and most likely didn't have the booth space for demos to work. Most likely all of their "compromises" involved user test drives. Microsoft did nothing wrong by complaining. Underhanded as it is, since I bet their booths were sufficently far apart.

      Denying they complained is, however, typical Microsoft.

    • I think Sony's main idea was that as a parent - you can leave your kids play PS2 games while your walking in this huge area without looking for them (and CeBit IS the biggest show), and Sony will get more PR, and maybe sell some more machines - everyone wins...

      Enter MS world - cry, whine, and kick...
  • So now we are mad at Microsoft for following the rules? (That is, not letting people play games?) I'm just making sure -- sometimes it's confusing to keep up with.
  • by kruczkowski ( 160872 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @07:10PM (#3183985) Homepage
    I could have sworn that people were playing the xbox at CeBIT... should have taken a picture. And why would CeBIT care? That's the point of the show, to demo your products! Hell, I should file a complaint that MS had the Compaq ipaqs all on display and people were using them. How is this any different?
    • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @07:49PM (#3184244) Homepage Journal
      Games can engross people when they're really there to listen to presentaitons. If Sony has a bunch of games to play, its not fair to the other exhibitors trying to sell actual products. CeBit doesn't strike me as the type of place to sell games, but rather to get the market informed on new products coming out. When you're fiddling with a Laptop, you're exploring what you can do with it so you can write a review of it later. It's not quite the same as killing time playing a game.

      • Gaming = 20 billion dollar industry.

        Can we please get over the prejudice that games and gaming hardware are not an actual product? If that's so, then what are we to attribute the rise of the PC to? Microsoft word? Is your laptop therefore not an actual product?

        (BTW, if you read a previous post WRT Western Digital, both WD and Nvida had PLAYABLE X-boxes at their booths. This wasn't because the rule is inflexible, it is because someone complained.)
      • If Sony has a bunch of games to play, its not fair to the other exhibitors trying to sell actual products.

        If one exhibitor has a product which is more popular then is it "fair" to the other exhibitors?

        CeBit doesn't strike me as the type of place to sell games, but rather to get the market informed on new products coming out.

        When did Sony's console and games cease to be a "product"

        When you're fiddling with a Laptop, you're exploring what you can do with it so you can write a review of it later. It's not quite the same as killing time playing a game.

        Without being a telepath how can you tell that person A "fiddling with a laptop" and person B "playing a game" don't have exctly the same motivation? Maybe the person with the laptop is "killing time".
    • by ZxCv ( 6138 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @07:55PM (#3184271) Homepage
      The article clearly stated that MS had employees demoing the consoles, so my guess is these are the people you saw. The fact they complained is a little fucked up, but I really doubt they would complain about Sony doing it if they were doing the same thing themselves.
  • Funny isn't it... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nochops ( 522181 )
    Isn't it funny how you conveiently quote the entire first paragraph except for the last sentence?

    Here is the entire first paragraph (note the last sentence):"Microsoft complained to the show organizers, Hannover Messe AG, that Sony was breaching show rules by letting people play on Sony PlayStation 2 game consoles. Technically, this was right and the Messe was forced to act on the complaint"

    What is news here? There were rules, and Sony broke them. It's as simple as that. Microsoft had every right to complain to the organizers, as did every other vendor. The fact that nobody complained in the previous years has no bearing at all. If I commit a crime, and nobody knows and therefore nobody complains, is it ok to commit a second crime? Nobody complained about my prevoius crime, so it must be ok, right?

    If you ask me, I say this entire post should be considered a troll and be removed from /. The lame final sentence of the post:"Microsoft was also displaying their XBOX console at the show." just shows the length some people go to in order to make Microsoft bad. Notice that this says "displaying", not "playing".

    The only reason it's here is that it's a story about Microsoft doing something to protect themselves.
  • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @07:18PM (#3184040) Homepage Journal
    Hmm.. well we're all quick to shout 'MS sucks!' over this, but this story is seriously lacking in details. There's just enough of a hint that there's a larger story going on here, I'm not willing to play judge.

    Why would MS complain about Sony unless they did something to provoke it? MS has employees demonstrating XBOX's, right? What if that was because MS read the rules and decided to bring a bunch of employees down to man the stations, only to find Sony stations unmanned so the public could play. I'd be mad about that. That means MS had to pay more people to come down.

    What if Sony tried to complain about MS's booth being too loud, so MS fired a tit-for-tat shot back?

    What if people were hovering around the Sony stations simply to play games, and they didn't want to go anywhere else because they couldn't play games? That means that Sony has an unfair advantage to attracting people.

    We don't know enough about this story to pass judgement, so please reserve your karma whoring 'I hate MS!' posts for the time when actual facts arrive.
    • Why would MS complain about Sony unless they did something to provoke it?

      What planet are you living on??? Microsoft chose to compete against Sony. That's why MS complained.

      Suppose MS had seen that the no-play rule wasn't enforced, and chose instead to allow their visitors to play the Xbox at the same show with the PS2 consoles... oh wait, maybe that wasn't such a good idea after all...

      Do you "Get it" now??
      • "What planet are you living on??? Microsoft chose to compete against Sony. That's why MS complained"

        Well, if you oversimplify as situation, it does sonud like it'd happen that way, doesn't it? The thing is, if MS draws attention to a rule like that, it means that they cannot break it themselves. That would not work in their favor, if anything it'd draw attention to them. I bet there was a more significant reason that ZDNet hasn't reported.

        In any case, I'm not going to let personal feelings about MS get in the way of my understanding what really happened. Do you 'Get it' now?
    • And here it is... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @01:01AM (#3185546)
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/entertainment/new _media/newsid_1879000/1879078.stm

      Microsoft's Xbox launched across Europe last week where it will compete with the hugely popular PlayStation 2 console from Sony.

      The spokeswoman added: "Both companies were showing their machines but Microsoft followed the rules and did not have any games to play on it, while Sony did. CeBIT is not for playing games."

      She said CeBIT asked Sony to switch the games off but instead the company removed all of its consoles from the fair.

      But boy, it sure is fun to bash M$...

  • Perhaps Sony and the show organizers should have agreed to settle the situation by giving free PS2's to everybody.

    -Miko

  • MS did NOT kick Playstation out of CeBit. CeBit has a rule, and CeBit enforced it based on MS complaining. MS was playing by the rules so why shouldn't Sony? Of course MS is now noticing this because of the XBox. The Playstation wasn't in there radars years ago, and now it is. There's nothing strange or new about this concept.

    CeBit has the rule for a reason which should be enforced regardless of who reported it. If it's a pointless rule then CeBit's customers need to gather and voice their concern - not something to be done in the middle of the tradeshow.
  • Message from SONY: "See ya at Tokyo game show, Microsoft ;-)"

    BTW, just came back from Japan last week. The XBox is doing very poorly over there. People are complaining about compat and quality issues over the system itself (DVD filing and over heating, noise, etc...) and the quality of the games in general. The video game press in Japan doesn't say good things neither about XBox. All you hear about is Sony new network and Game Cube awesome new titles.

    Poor M$ ;-) At least they can make their way in the States. Did you say uncompetitive practices again? No...

    PPA, the girl next door.
  • by UnifiedTechs ( 100743 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @07:25PM (#3184089) Homepage
    From Story:
    This effectively forced PS2 out of the show and Sony started packing their bags on Sunday.

    From Article:
    On Sunday morning Sony started packing up its 27 PS2s.

    I don't know what anyone else reads from this article, but I read Sony packed up the consoles they were letting people play, nothing about leaving the show. Maybe Sony did leave the show, but I doupt that, and the article does not say specifically. I really can't see Cebit making Sony mad by completly kicking them out, they just told them to stop breaking the rules.
  • Sony did NOT leave! (Score:5, Informative)

    by YKnot ( 181580 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @07:32PM (#3184135)
    Citing the the ZDNET article: "On Sunday morning Sony started packing up its 27 PS2s. The show, in Hannover, Germany, officially finishes on Wednesday." This is very misleading if you read it sloppy. Sony did not leave the show. They removed the PS2s, no more no less. The entire Sony booth is 2000 square meters, only 100 square meters where dedicated to the PS2. The rest is still there. This article [heise.de] by German magazine c't explains the situation in much more detail. Use the fish translation [altavista.com] if you don't understand German.
    • Use the fish translation [altavista.com] if you don't understand German.


      What do I use to translate the fish translation? Is there a pidgeon english-to-english translator out there?


    • by DVega ( 211997 )
      The link to the babelfish translation was broken for me. However this link [altavista.com] works fine.
    • The reason they left was so that MS'd look bad. And that's what happened. Slashdot, obviously biased against MS, posts an article saying 'MS kicks Sony out of CeBit', even though that isn't even close to what happened.

      Complain about MS's business practices all you want, Sony certainly could have stood a little taller in this case.

      Id really like to know what brought this to MS's attention. It's puzzling that MS would have one of it's own doors closed (i.e. letting people play XBOX's...) in order to stop Sony. I haven't ruled out that MS was just being a bastard, but you got to wonder what precipitated the complaint.
  • C'mon, Sony was merely disobeying an unjust law! I think Thoreau would stand by me on this one ;)

    -J

  • Ever been to CeBit? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Spoing ( 152917 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @07:36PM (#3184155) Homepage
    I have. Twice. Both times manning a booth.

    Unlike Comdex, CeBit starts out as a serious and sober event. It is well organized. It is very productive. It is run by Germans. It does not have buxom booth bunnies. (OK, not Los Vegas-style booth bunnies and those that are there are few and far between and you can't get your picture with them.)

    The only giddy joy and adventure at CeBit beyond the cool tech is the day the local kids come in to get and trade pins, and at night in the on-site beer hall, getting drunk, then challenging some Japaneese company to tug of war and hooting ape calls. Who needs language?

    While Microsoft was fully justified in complaining if the sound was loud at the Sony booth, it sure sounds like they are taking on the role of smarmy tattle tale. That in itself is not in the spirit of CeBit.

  • by Lumpish Scholar ( 17107 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @07:39PM (#3184178) Homepage Journal
    Sony was breaching show rules by letting people play on Sony PlayStation 2 game consoles. Technically, this was right and the Messe was forced to act on the complaint. Sony approached Microsoft to find a compromise and entered into protracted discussions with the Messe for a deal acceptable for all parties, but none could be found. On Sunday morning Sony started packing up its 27 PS2s.
    A lot of reactions here imply that Sony had a choice in how to react, and voluntarily withdrew from the show entirely rather than some lesser measure.

    But did they "pick up their toys and go home"? If so, how many of their toys?

    They packed up their consoles. I imagine they were forced to (see below). I also imagine they left their other products. "Sony Ericsson['s] stand ... is close to half the length of the building" [web-services.net]

    Note also that Microsoft didn't just snitch; they had some kind of approval/veto power. Microsoft may have had the power to force all the Playstations out of the show.

    I look forward to further coverage.

    (I found a German article; the Google translation included, "CeBIT nomenclature over contents of the fair in principle neither entertainment electronics nor plays may be pointed. Microsoft presents its play console "Xbox" behind glass." Try searching for "Udo Freialdenhofen," some Sony media relations person.)

    And why might Microsoft be extra offended? Maybe because of this (cached link): "Those of you in Germany can see the [Playstation 2] linux kit in action at CEBIT in Hanover this week, from 13-20th March. We're on the Sony stand in hall 2, C02." [google.com] They didn't just toss a competing game console; they got a bunch of Linux machines thrown out of the show!
  • Microsoft was not able to demo [msn.com] the XBOX, much to the disappointment of people who wanted to play with it because of the CeBit rules. There's no reason why they should be the only ones having to play by them.
  • Compromise? (Score:5, Funny)

    by dbretton ( 242493 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @07:46PM (#3184225) Homepage
    The article said that Sony tried to make a compromise to settle things. I wonder how that went...

    MS: You're cheat-in'! I'm telling!! I'm telling!

    Sony: Tell you what. We'll Rochambeau you for it.

    MS: What's Rochambeau? ...

    • If history, business practices, justice department negotiations and consent decrees are any example, it went like this:

      Microsoft: You will now adhere to *our* rules or we will buy your company or simply copy your product and "integrate" it into our next version of windows.

      Sony: But we're here to talk about a compromise!

      Microsoft: You will now adhere to our rules or we will buy your company...

      Sony: But, but, but...

      Microsoft: (writing check) Now see what you made me go and do? I'm very disappointed in you...

    • Sony: Tell you what. We'll Rochambeau you for it.

      Nah, they probably would have offered to settle with the ancient Japanese contest Jan-Ken-Pon...

      Cheers,
      Jim
  • I remain confused (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HuskyDog ( 143220 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @07:53PM (#3184260) Homepage
    I have read the article and I am left with more questions than I started with.

    1- Does anyone have the exact wording of the rule which Sony are supposed to have broken (preferably in English)?

    2- Does anyone have any information (i.e. not speculation) as to the purpose of the rule?

    3- I would have thought that a large group of people playing PS/2s would have been an easy thing to spot. Why did the CeBIT organisers not notice it for themselves? If they did notice and did nothing then that demonstrates to me that its not a rule that they actualy care about.

    4- Are rules like this common? I've been to lots of trade exhibitions in my time (admitedly most were not computer ones) and salesmen are normally keen to let potential customers try out the products (possibly under supervision).

    • (Note: I am just speculating here, but it looks plausible.)
      Kids: Many of the visitors at CeBit are parents with kids, and kids need some amusement. If these parents want to have a little time for themselves (and they do, believe me, just because you are a dad or mom, that doesn't completely kill the nerd in you) what better than let them play on a gameconsole or some such gadget.

      Even if it's not a console, kids need a little interaction, forcing them to a "watch only, no touching" policy frustrates the heck out of them, and as a consequence, their parents.

      So, the non-reinforcement of this rule might just have been a little expression of social skills, like what you have in many big companies. You don't always enforce a rule, except if you want to come off like a total jackass and be treated like one by your colleagues.

  • That Microsoft had removed. Seems pretty crappy. Since it is marketed as a game console they said it has to be removed.
  • by Jenova_Six ( 166461 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @08:21PM (#3184379)
    Sony has plenty of dirty tricks up their collective sleeve, as well.

    For example, at this same show (CeBit), they were running a large screen demo of one of their Clie handhelds, showing how it could play fullscreen video, etc. They even had a little camera set up and pointed at a real Clie, giving the indication that what was on the big screen was being taken directly from the screen on the handheld.

    Turns out, the big screen image didn't have anything to do with a real Clie screen. [pocketpcthoughts.com] It was all faked.

    Jenova_Six
  • by djbentle ( 553091 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @08:29PM (#3184410)
    According to the BBC: 'A spokeswoman for CeBIT told BBC News Online: "We received complaints from many, many exhibitors about Sony, including from Microsoft."' I haven't seen this mentioned in any of the other articles. I guess it makes it a more interesting story if Microsoft was the main instigator.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/entertainment/n ew _media/newsid_1879000/1879078.stm

    David
  • by Cerlyn ( 202990 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @08:56PM (#3184514)

    A few years back, while bleem! was still a company making a Playstation(tm) emulator, Sony attempted to get bleem! thrown out of the E3 exhibition (held in California). This was contrary to a court order that bleem! acquired stating that they were allowed to present.

    Unfortunately, my old, senile, brain can not remember the details of this incident (and I would prefer not to have large companies coming after me), but perhaps one of the younger people still in the emulation scene can recall the details.

  • by Oestergaard ( 3005 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @11:16PM (#3185178) Homepage

    The argument that someone else raised, that such a rule could exist because "people might be hanging around Sony's booth only to play games, and not go look at the other exhibitors", simply doesn't hold - for the following reasons.

    CeBIT is the largest such exhibition in the world, there are more than 8000 exhibitors, and more than 150.000 visitors each day. You don't just "browse" the exhibition, you plan your visits from home.

    The ticket is around $120 - you don't waste a day there just for playing a $40 game.

    Sony let people play with their software, and so what ? They let me play with Linux on their PS/2 as well. And being an exhibitor there, I've let people play with our software in our booth as well. Just like Sun let me play with their software, IBM with theirs, etc. etc. etc.
  • by steveoc ( 2661 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @11:23PM (#3185198)
    You have heard all the usual reasons, now listen to this one :

    Consider the historical fact that anyone who has been stupid enough to 'partner' with Microsoft on some project, ends up being eaten as either part of the main course, or as a dessert dish.

    I knew that Sega was doomed when they signed up to run CE on the dreamcast - MS just used them up for development ideas, and then surpise - MS comes out with it's own console.

    What 3rd party software developer would be stupid enough to think that by developing titles for the XBox things will be any different.

    The current batch of XBox developers are just being used as cheap cannon fodder by General Gates to find out where the minefields are, and to probe the enemy line for weaknesses.

    Many XBox developers are going to go under as part of the course, and MS will not bat an eyelid. Those early casualties will be the lucky ones.

    Woe unto them who succeed in this market ! For the day will surely cometh where Microsoft decides that there is money to be made in this market.

    You will know when this will be happening for the signs shall surely be there .. those that have wisdom will know the signs.

    1. The Beast will announce that it 'has no intention of entering the game development market'. Know ye that this is a sure sign of the approaching apocalypse.

    2. Plagues of bugs shall befall the leading developers. They will claim that Microsoft's new API's dont work as advertised, and that they are not getting good support from MS anymore. Know ye that this is a sure sign that the machinations of the beast are well underway.

    3. The Beast shall frown, and publicly express it's dissapointment with the developers. Know ye that this is surely a sign that there is no turning back henceforth.

    4. The Beast shall unleash an 'innovative' range of new games, all developed in house by MS Entertainment Software Division. Know ye that ye have been fooled and deceived by the beast..

    5. Critics will describe these as thinly vieled replicas of other games developed by previously successful XBox developers. Know ye that your moans and the gnashing of thy teeth will be in vain - for nobody will be left to hear ye.

    These things shall surely come to pass.

    If it is any consolation, Developers who write good code for PS2 / GCN deserve and receive respect. Particularly PS2 developers who have come to terms with parallized code and VU1 asm.

    Anyone get the feeling that MS is trying to attract a bunch of $10 per hour VB/Access 'gurus' to the XBox ? Their job (in the above scenario) must surely be to locate the enemy machine gun positions by drawing their fire, and to provide human scaling ramps for the first layers of wire.

    Sig:

  • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @03:49AM (#3185834) Homepage
    Please don't allow me to assist in the well-documented transition of Slashdot from a technical site to a political forum, but I can't resist in this situation.

    Sony broke the rules. Sony let gamers play the games on the systems they sell during a trade show. Sony gets kicked out of the game. Microsoft broke the rules. Microsoft was found guilty of illegal bundling, hiding api's, and setting monopolistic terms to computer vendors in 94, 99, and 2001. Microsoft gets kicked out of the game.

    Sounds fair.

    Yes, Sony is a huge corporation that has attempted to leverage its presence (though not dominance) in consumer electronics to sell standards like the memory stick and DVD's. Yes, Sony is known to try and muscle competitors. However, something is inherintly wrong when a competitor can have you kicked out of a trade show because you let people have fun with your toys. I would think the director of the convention would have the power to make an exception on the grounds that the rule is unnecessary in this situation, and give Sony the year to plan a show without user interaction. Furthermore, it is in the show organizer's best financial interest if the customers participating in the show have a good time, and the only thing at a convention more enjoyable than free gaming is free gaming schwag.

    The only group who benefits from this action is Microsoft (who, of course, lied about it afterwards to introduce doubt). The only reason Microsoft would act in this way is if they didn't want to compete. Is this sounding familiar?

    Up until this point the X-box was starting to sound tempting so long as they could correct durability issues. With this action, Microsoft has reaffirmed once again why it is our moral imperitive to not give money to assholes... they just become more powerful assholes across more markets.

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