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MS Exec Testifies In Favor of OS Manipulation 823

Niscenus writes: "The NYTimes, where free registration is required, reports that a Microsoft VP, Christopher Jones, explains that Microsoft must be allowed to prevent competitors' programmes from being installed for the consumer's best interest. Most interesting quote: 'In his written testimony, Mr. Jones said the states' proposals would confuse consumers, enabling competitors to cover up icons like the "Start" button on the Windows desktop screen that consumers use to navigate and even allowing a competing operating system like Linux to start up instead of Windows.' Any dualboot LiLo user who learned they can't defrag the hard way can understand this ..."
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MS Exec Testifies In Favor of OS Manipulation

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  • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:14PM (#3422407) Homepage Journal
    Mr. Jones said that since Internet Explorer was part of Windows, the settlement did not require Microsoft to let computer makers automatically turn on Netscape.

    So, um ... isn't he kind of making the states' case for them?

    The arrogance coming out of Redmond just gets more breathtaking by the day. They deny any wrongdoing while admitting to exactly the behavior which even the appeals court (which was so clearly biased in Microsoft's favor that it was almost embarrassing) found was illegal, and then insist that this behavior is not only legal but ethical and right. These people really do not live in the same world as the rest of us.
  • by j09824 ( 572485 ) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:53PM (#3422542)
    The Soviet Union was Good because it kept consumers from getting confused by all those competing offers. If you were lucky, you got the care you were assigned, the apartment you were assigned, and the health care you were assigned. You didn't have much, but at least you weren't confused.

    Microsoft is the same way: they don't give you much, but they are going to fight tooth and nail to keep you from getting confused by too much choice. Come to papa Gates, he'll take care of you, just like papa Stalin did before.

  • Re:I have an idea... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by constantnormal ( 512494 ) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:58PM (#3422556)
    That's about as significant as all those insects trying to stop my windshield on a hot summer evening...

    Let's take your notion to an extreme, and say that EVERYONE who is opposed to being limited to Microsoft Windoze make a stand and switch to the Mac OS on Macintosh hardware. If I have any sort of understanding as to the relative sizes of the users involved, not only would Microsoft not notice the absence of the "Linux Community", Apple would only perceive a 4%-5% increase in sales.

    Given this, one has to wonder why Microsoft bothers to struggle for the last 5% of market share (they'd like to snuff Apple as well as Linux)... and it has to come down to a desire on their part to obliterate any possible alternatives to running Windoze, so they can make their immense income seem small against the potential of making environmentally-friendly versions of Windoze that bio-degrade over the span of a year requiring a new purchase at ever-increasing prices (.NET by any other name).

    Alternatives to Microsoft products do not pose a threat to Microsoft's current operations, but do limit the amount of pain they can force upon the consumer in the future. Elected officials pose no threat to them, so long as we continue to have the best government money can buy.
  • Re:Is it just me.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Beautyon ( 214567 ) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @08:03PM (#3422570) Homepage
    You can imagine a call to Windows tech support from someone using Windows that has had the Start button removed.

    Actually, what they would do is refuse to help you if you are running a version of windows that is in any way modified.

    This could create a huge secondary market for telephone technical support.
  • What ?!? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rawlink ( 5781 ) <rawlink@@@gmail...com> on Saturday April 27, 2002 @08:10PM (#3422589)
    Why is covering up the start button a bad thing? If there is a start button to cover up, haven't they sold a license of windows? How does that impact their sales?
  • Re:Is it just me.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Arandir ( 19206 ) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @08:24PM (#3422640) Homepage Journal
    Weird story. I got this third hand, but I plan to see for myself next time I visit my friend.

    His kid's computer, which I built, and installed dual-boot WinME and Slackware, was having problems booting into Windows. Windows was on one drive, and Linux on the other. Lilo was set to dual boot, with Windows as the default. He tried reinstalling Windows but he was unable to. When he called me, I said it sounded like the harddrive was going out. So he took it into the local shop, and they found nothing wrong with any of the hardware.

    From what the tech told him, LILO was preventing Windows from operating. He did a DOS fdisk/mbr, and everything worked. Sounds to me like LILO was giving Windows some of it's own medicine :-)
  • Re:I have an idea... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 4444444 ( 444444 ) <4444444444444444 ... 444444@lenny.com> on Saturday April 27, 2002 @08:27PM (#3422646) Homepage
    MS's setup is the best OS setup I have ever used, period
    Maybe the best YOU have ever used but there are few million people that could tell you that the Mas OS installer is definatly the easiest and most trouble free ever
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 27, 2002 @08:30PM (#3422659)
    A Microsoft executive told a federal judge today that the company should be allowed to make changes in its Windows operating system that impair the performance of other programs so long as the company believes it is acting in the best interest of Windows users.

    Which leads to the question what would happen when (after browser & co were made part of the Windows) Microsoft decided that MS Internet(R) is part of Windows. With Microsoft's ever-extending definition of what consitutes the Windows operating system this wouldn't be too far a stretch for their Marketing department I guess...

  • Re:Is it just me.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by justsomebody ( 525308 ) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @09:01PM (#3422750) Journal
    I'm 10 years in computer service bussines and I've never heard that kind of things. I've heard that Microsoft drivers cause software bad blocks, IBM even released DFT (must be invoked if driv consists MS Operating System) memo around to resellers.

    On the other side, I've already seen for quite a few times Windows destroying MBR block (no Linux was on the scene). This and bad sectors were caused by software error in 90% so I think more like LILO was trying to load from MBR and yes, LILO was causing noisy sounds.

    Not to start a flamewar, but counting my machines: Windows disk failures 6 : Linux 0. And I'm mostly deploying linux servers with multiple hard drives.
  • by LordZardoz ( 155141 ) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @09:37PM (#3422886)
    The source to the operating system is not what is needed. Besides, with so many Linux Zealots raving about how crappy windows is, I am not sure that it would really be taken advantage of anyway. What should be done is to have the file-formats open sourced. This would allow people to use the Data/Files they created on any system they want and with any application they wish. This much is currently expected with the right to rip MP3's from CD's you own.

    As I see it, it is only right that you should pay for an application you use if it is sold as a proprietary application. However, you should not be forced to continue to use that application to manipulate your files if a superior alternative exists.

    Neither Microsoft nor Corel nor any other provider of a quality word processor owns the copyright to works I create with their application. So why should they require me to use only their application to manipulate those works.

  • by Shiny Metal S. ( 544229 ) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @09:57PM (#3422947) Homepage

    Not so much from a consumer standpoint, but if this the official MS line, then maybe MS shouldn't exist.

    If you want to finish the harmful existence of Microsoft, then just spread the word about Bill Parish's MSFT Fraud Facts: Microsoft Financial Pyramid Summary [billparish.com] and other updates [billparish.com] to current and potential MSFT shareholders. That should do it.

  • by andrewski ( 113600 ) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @09:58PM (#3422952) Homepage
    Have you ever seen how many different calculator brands and models there were in the former USSR? There are even multiple brands of Soviet synthesizers.

    A more apt comparison might be made to the US's political parties. You don't get much choice, but at least you aren't confused.
  • Opportunity Lost (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @10:05PM (#3422969) Homepage
    Mr. Jones answered: "I don't think people buy Windows because Microsoft is a monopoly. I go to work every day to build great products that people are going to love."

    Unfortunately, counsel did not retort, "If you believe the users love your products, set them free. If they come back, they are yours. If they don't, they were never yours to begin with." :-)
  • Re:Is it just me.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Superkind ( 261908 ) <bombe&pterodactylus,net> on Sunday April 28, 2002 @12:49AM (#3423442) Homepage
    And should have been punished accordingly: not simply broken up into different divisions, but broken up, dissolved, and all their assets confiscated.
    I once spend some thoughts on what would happen if Microsoft suddenly ceased to exist. Almost every company in the world using computers uses Windows (except for some Linux support companies, and even there I've seen Windows in e.g. PR and Sales). What would they do if they suddenly don't get any more support for their OS because the manufacturer is dead. They would be pretty fucked, I guess. Another thing: What if they want to expand, but can't buy any more licences? What happens to software once the producer doesn't exist anymore? Abandonware?

    And which OS would be a successor for Windows?

    • Linux - forget it. Fine for techies, unusable for computer illiterates.
    • Minix - ahahahahahaha! No comment.
    • Other Unices/BSD - see Linux.
    • BeOs - gone.
    • QNX - fits on a disk, contains a GUI and a browser. But it's still far too geeky.
    • Several Windows Clones/free implementations of the Windows API - latest thing I saw was a blue screen, so a part of the kernel was already there.
    • A new development? Stuff it. We need something now. And right now there is nothing that could match Windows when it comes to companies and "normal" consumers.
    I guess not only companies would be fucked. What about you? What about me?

    Microsoft dead is a damn bad thing, if you ask me. (No, I don't work for them, no, they don't pay me. This is just my opinion.) Splitting stuff like the HTML control (the Internet Explorer is in fact just a window around that control) from the rest of the OS would be a stupid thing to do. But letting vendors place other icons on the desktop - damn, who cares?

  • Re:Is it just me.. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 28, 2002 @01:15AM (#3423493)
    Here's the plan. Everyone buys Macs and recommends them to all their friends. Now before we get all of the Macs too expensive, too slow, too limited in software, etc. posts, ask yourself how much is your computing destiny worth? By this I mean, Microsoft wants control. They want you to pay them for every 1 or 0 that you interact with, eventually. You may think you can buy fast, cheap, PC hardware without benefiting Microsoft, but if it is from an OEM, a 1 goes in Microsoft's column when counting market share and no one follows up to see if you installed another OS once you get it home. If you build your own, but install a "free" copy of Windows to play your games or surf the net, you add to their numbers when the game is purchased or the log files are checked. And if you think "free" versions will always be available, Microsoft is gunning for you already. The only way to use PC hardware and not benefit Microsoft is to build your own and install linux or some other OS, but will enough people be able to do this to drive Microsoft's dominance down to 80%? Even if Linux was pre-installed on every harddrive manufactured, not enough people build their own, compared to OEMs, to make even a dent in the overall market share. PC hardware is the crack of the industry, but in saving a few bucks now, you only make Microsoft stronger. If professionals banded together and recommended Macs, if they had enough discipline to swear off Microsoft machines and the OS completely for a few years, if we would all sacrifice and give Apple a 20% share within a few years, the weaknesses in Microsoft's armor would show. OEMs follow dollars, not court orders so Windows will stay in one form or another until some weight is given to an alternative platform, one that is available to the masses without benefiting Microsoft from simply being purchased. After Microsoft's numbers fall, OEMs might just consider installing some other OS, people won't consider it a standard any more or if anything a standard in decline, developers might venture out to other markets, PHB might read about something else in their complimentary magazines on their cross-country flights, and competition will once again work. PC hardware will always be there. Once Microsoft is knocked down a peg, you can go back to buying it and swear off Apple machines forever, because Microsoft's control would have been broken.
  • Re:Is it just me.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Superkind ( 261908 ) <bombe&pterodactylus,net> on Sunday April 28, 2002 @01:38AM (#3423539) Homepage
    And which OS would be a successor for Windows?
    Great, they have finalled ported it to x86? Good news.

    Oh... you say they haven't? So you are going to buy me a G4 (or something with a performance similar to that of my Athlon XP 1900+ with 1 GB RAM)? Thank you very much.

  • Re:I have an idea... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @01:47AM (#3423555) Homepage
    MS's setup is the best OS setup I have ever used, period.

    There is one better than that... no setup at all. You buy your PC at Frye's, bring it home, plug it in, and everything is already set up and ready to use. That's what Microsoft has now, and what it is desparately trying to keep any other OS from obtaining.

  • by cygnusx ( 193092 ) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @02:04AM (#3423598) Homepage
    > You'd rather play lawyerball

    Sad, but true. There is no company out there (outside a few Free/Opensource software developers) who's interested in the PC platform at all. IBM's basically given it up (though they'll make ThinkPads as long as they sell) and Sun has this whole `PCs suck' attitude that will bite them every time they try anything to do with the desktop.

    Face it, the only people on Earth trying to create a good experience for the desktop user is Apple, Microsoft, and the GNOME and KDE teams. And here GNOME (even with Sun support) and KDE are waaay short on resources. What'd be really interesting is IBM (or Sun) pumping some money into a Quartz-workalike for Linux. Or release some high-quality hinted fonts into the public domain. Or getting real usability engineers to create a good graphic-from-bottom-up OS. (Heck, if Apple can do this with BSD/Darwin, why not OrganizationX with Linux?)

    Something like this, coupled with a getting-better Office suite (OpenOffice) for $49.95 -- now that would get Microsoft's attention all right. But hey, hiring lawyers is cheaper than doing R&D, I guess :-\
  • Re:What a joke! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Paul Komarek ( 794 ) <komarek.paul@gmail.com> on Sunday April 28, 2002 @03:44AM (#3423825) Homepage
    As you probably anticipated, I still don't agree with you completely:

    1) Darwin is Unix, but OS X is not. OS X is a union of Darwin and a UI. The UI was certainly not targeted at me, and Darwin was certainly not targetted at Apple's primary audience. At any rate, my comment about Unix being made by hackers, for hackers, was primarily a historical reference to the origins of Unix (as well as GNU/Linux).

    2) Why would I want to make XP look like 95? The way it *looks* is not that important to me. Heck, I thought fvwm was a good-enough window manager, since my idea of a good window manager is one which lets you put lots of terminals on one screen, and then gives you further virtual desktops to fill up with more terminals (and allows customized key-bindings to hop between the desktops). I recently saw that some Microsoft employees released "power user" software that gives a semblance of these capabilities to Windows XP, and I think this is great (even though the pager appears to be a hack using iconized windows). But why didn't Microsoft include this stuff in XP?

    3) I should make it clear that calling the MS filesystems "disgraceful" is my opinion, which I believe has some merit. This is why I don't like any of the Windows filesystems (please correct me if MS has "fixed" any of these things into NTFS 5):

    a) The Windows filesystems have a hard-wired connection between filesystem names and physical devices (i.e. C:\..., D:\..., etc), which causes software configuration information in the non-human-readable registry to depend on physical device configuration.

    b) Using \ instead of /, since \ requires a longer reach on standard keyboards (while this is true, I'm not really serious about this)

    c) The separation between devices and files. It is my opinion that the "everything is a file" philosophy employed in the Unix file systems is arguably superior to Microsoft's half-assed support of this concept ('copy con foo.txt' works, but which file represents the sound card's DSP on NTFS 5?). This philosophy goes a long ways in providing nearly-uniform access to all parts of your computer. This design decision greatly enhances the power of scripts, especially when coupled with pipes, redirection, and fine control over file handles.

    d) The lack of symbolic links (does NTFS finally have these?). Windows shortcuts require unnecessary nonsense to create programmatically.

    e) Windows filesystems, AFAIK, *all* make a distinction between "text" and "binary" files. It is arguable whether this was appropriate in DOS. It is clearly inappropriate now.

    f) I don't know about NTFS, but VFAT is case-random. It is difficult, programatically, to correctly discover the original capitalization of a filename.

    I'll stop there, because that's what was on the top of my head when I made the comment that Windows filesystems were "disgraceful".

    4) My accusation was that Microsoft has completely neglected the command line. That Cygnus Solutions saw fit to remedy this, as best they could, does not excuse Microsoft's utter failure to provide a reasonable command line interface by default. For me, this is important. And XEmacs isn't really the sort of command-line use I'm referring to; even if it were, it isn't supported by Microsoft or provided by default. Finally, why bother turning Windows into Unix, instead of just using Unix? Especially since you can find Free (and free, to boot) Unix implementations? Doing so makes sense for people not allowed to run Unix, but I'm not among these people.

    FWIW, there are many LaTeX implementations available for Windows, and you can use TeTeX or MikTeX via cygwin. However, Microsoft decidied to focus its effort on various equation editors that can't seem to agree which font to use (for instance, curly-epsilon or set-inclusion epsilon seems to depend on which Microsoft software packages happen to be present on the computer used for display -- can't they at least be consistent within their own software?).

    I wasn't really trying to support the assertion that Windows sucked for everyone. I was trying to support the assertion that Windows sucks for me. I wanted to make this point against my perception that you were asserting everyone could like Windows if they just got over their ethical hangups about Microsoft and Windows.

    The Windows power users I've watched (all of which are developers or researchers, because of the company I keep) seem to make every effort to turn Windows into Unix. It seems you are suggesting that something in Windows has the possibility of causing power users to lose their minds every day. This suggests to me that Windows is ill-suited for power users. I must admit I don't understand the point of your quote from Tim O'Reilly.

    Although you didn't suggest it, I'd like to emphasize that , given a choice, there is no good reason to overcome one's sense of ethics in order to use Windows.

    -Paul Komarek

%DCL-MEM-BAD, bad memory VMS-F-PDGERS, pudding between the ears