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States Drop Planned Presentation of Modular Windows 353

sketchkid writes "CNBC just reported that the nine states have dropped their planned presentation of a version of Windows XP without certain "middleware". Apparently, Microsoft said the news of this presentation blindsided them and that they would need "an indefinite period of time to prepare its response", but the states don't want to prolong the case any more."
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States Drop Planned Presentation of Modular Windows

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  • Huh?!? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ablair ( 318858 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @06:29PM (#3493577)
    Isn't demonstrating a modular Windows key to the States' case showing it can be done? Maybe they had problems with their version and didn't want to shoot themselves in the foot...
    • Re:Huh?!? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @06:45PM (#3493686) Homepage Journal
      didn't want to shoot themselves in the foot...

      While the states have had a misstep or two, I see the wisdom in not prolonging the trial. Time is currently on Microsoft's side and the testimony and intent to demonstrate modular Windows, was probably sufficient. Actually going ahead with the demo c^Hwould give Microsoft a leg up in appeal of any unfavorable ruling.

    • Re:Huh?!? (Score:2, Informative)

      by snarfer ( 168723 )
      They already made their point to the judge. Microsoft said it can't be done. Now the judge knows that it can be done. That's all that the states were trying to get across.
      • But that's the thing, since it was never admitted as evidence it can't be considered by the judge..

        • Re:Huh?!? (Score:3, Informative)

          by tenman ( 247215 )
          Not true. The effort can and will be presented as evidence. This combined with expert drivel, and Microsoft's "indefinite period" response thing, CAN be taken into consideration. The judge is allowed to contrive facts from the proceedings themselves. Will he? I don't know, but it is possible, and the states have a really strong case. Especially in light of the fact that several on their witness list are now inadmissible
      • Actually the Judge probably has even more doubts now than she had prior to their retraction. The states say the can do something, and then say they're not going to? Believe me ... if it was a rock-solid demo, they'd wait as long as they needed to perform the demo. It's comparable to the OJ glove though... if it worked, it'd be golden ... if it failed ... it seals their fate.
      • Re:Huh?!? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Zeinfeld ( 263942 )
        They already made their point to the judge. Microsoft said it can't be done. Now the judge knows that it can be done. That's all that the states were trying to get across.

        No, the judge does not know that it can be done, she knows that the states claimed that it could be done but backed out when Microsoft asked for time to investigate the 'demonstration' and prepare for a rebuttal.

        The issue is not over whether Windows XP can be made to run with specific pieces added or subtracted, the issue is whether such an O/S could be sold to end consumers and would not cause confusion, loss of interoperability etc.

        Windows Embedded is not a replacement for Windows XP, it does not provide features that consumers are likely to expect in an O/S like the ability to instal any program. You can run Word on windows embedded but you have to decide at the time you cut the O/S whether it is included or not

        The critical test for an alleged stripped down version of windows is whether you can still use it to run commercial software. Can you take the CD of tombraider and install it on the machine? Can you run Lotus Notes on the machine etc?

        In the end the court case is entirely irrelevant as Microsoft could "comply" with any modularization order from the judge by issuing a new version of Windows, calling it Windows FL (For Lusers) and putting a sticker on the box stating '9 Dissenting States Compliant Software, don't complain to us if the software you want to run requires a module we were not allowed to include'. I can guarantee that there would be no hardware manufaturer who would want to buy it.

        • Re:Huh?!? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by tenman ( 247215 )
          First off, you assume that there is software that runs great under windows as it is today....

          Next, while you can say that lotus notes seems to run 'correctly', I would need you to define 'correctly'.

          One, I would want to show you a list of features that we would like to implement into our tool, but can't because Microsoft doesn't us to over run their files (something that other OS's allow today).

          Two, I would ask that you to run Joe Sixpack's hacked up version of the tomb raider engine, and have it satisfy your own 'correctly' term (something that users of other OS's can do today).

          Finally, not only do I need to be able as a developer to change the machines environment, but also I would like you to prove to me that Microsoft doesn't take ownership of file types that I have other programs to deal with.

          You make a strong point, but it's a little off the track. Microsoft is bullying other software Manufactures out of the market place with a big stick and a pace that is frightening. By not allowing competition for the desktop they are doing three things. They are driving me out of business, they are deciding for the customer what programs they can run, and they are engaging in antitrust activates
    • Re:Huh?!? (Score:2, Interesting)

      Unless Microsoft is being completely dishonest, then they seem to have every confidence that the States can make a compelling presentation. As it is, we know that they're being at least partially dishonest. After all, to be "blindsided" by the fact that their own software was modular enough to remove key componenets?

      Okay, maybe I'm being too harsh there. After all, the trial is winding up, and the XP Embedded presentation would amount to new evidence, which a defendant should be given time to prepare against. But you'd think that any competent lawyers would have prepared for this possibility, unless the M$ tech people have been exaggerating the merits of the case to the lawyers. It still seems like a stalling tactic.

      It's time to surround the Redmond campus, and shout and wave signs! We will not rest until The Beast is overthrown! But we may take some time off for Star Wars II...
  • Dirty Tactics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by svwolfpack ( 411870 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @06:30PM (#3493586) Homepage
    That's not a bad strategy... announce that it will take forever to prepare a rebuttal, knowing the states want this trial over with NOW. Although its curious that the states obviously dont think this testimony will be strong enough for the end result to be worth it. Bottom line: It's dirty tactic, but legal, and afterall, it's Microsoft.
    • This has been MS's strategy from the start. Winning isn't about the judgement, it's about the penalty. WIth $40B in the bank, just delay until no one wants to fight anymore. Like that article said, they could BUY the states outright.
      • Yup... notice the extreme measures they took when they were found guilty of being a monopoly... oh yea, nothing, they released windows XP right after. If the trail, judgement, etc takes another year, that'll be fine with them, because it means they get another year or two with the appeal, or whatever they do next. The longer they have things tied up in the courts, the longer they can continue to do whatever they want, and be more and more entrenched.

        Noticed that the last while has produced a lot of MS programs that seem to just scream out that they are a monopoly? Hardware activation, .net, all that is almost throwing it in the face of the court that "we'll keep on doing what we've been found guilty of!"
    • Re:Dirty Tactics (Score:2, Interesting)

      I was baffeled when I read this. There are time restrictions on these sorts of things. If you are involved in a civil lawsuit with another person, and they present some document evidence that you hadn't seen before, you can't say "Woa! This is gonna take me a year or two to review and come up with a rebuttle for.". You can't hold up the courts and your opponent indefintely with your problems. The judge should recognize that MS has known about the modular Windows project for as long as it has existed, realize that MS has the resources to analyze the project fairly quickly and effectively (they wrote the code originally), and give MS a limited amount of time (I would say no more than a month) to prepare a rebuttle.

      This seems like a very irrational action on the state's part, to the point that I would begin to suspect dirty tricks on someone's part (most likely MS). They have been in this legal action for such a long time already, what's a few more weeks up to a month? Unless the judge would allow the "indefinite" amount of time MS claims it needs, which would be complete BS IMO.
      • As you already know, this is not a civil case, as there is more at stake here, then the demise of a corparation.

        This trial will set presidence for future cases, and it is best to allow time for arguments. This allows for a better base case.
    • Re:Dirty Tactics (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sheldon ( 2322 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @07:58PM (#3494000)
      I want to know why the state's didn't submit this as evidence right from the beginning. Or why they didn't call this person as a witness during their phase of the trial.

      Why would they wait until the last minute?

      I don't think there was any dirty tricks. From what I've seen the States lawyers have just not been very well prepared because they keep forgetting things and wanting to bring them up later.
    • note that infinite and indefinite are not the same things.

      indefinite means that they just don't know how long it will take to prepare.

      still, that's a lame-assed excuse. standard stall-tactics. sigh.

    • by heretic108 ( 454817 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @09:13PM (#3494250)
      Something that rang my alarm bells about the 'modular embedded windows' is the fact that it doesn't have an automatic mechanism for installing additional programs.

      I can't rule out that some unscrupulous hardware vendors may customise an 'embedded/modular Windows' to only allow installation of certain apps, namely apps supplied through the hardware vendor.

      So you don't like the browser on the computer you bought from Acme Discounts Inc? You don't like the advert bars, and your browsing history being periodically sent to their servers? Tough shit! You're not allowed to install another browser.

      Solution would be to install another OS. But, surprise surprise! Acme Discounts Inc has done some weird shit on the motherboard that requires a special driver, only available as a part of their custom cut of 'modular windows'. It won't take any other OS. Attempts to write a driver to work around this are forbidden under the DMCA!

      Welcome to the death of the standard PC, and the birth of the corporate controlled 'computing appliance'! Imagine Acme Discounts Inc selling such hobbled machines below cost for years to kill the competition.

      Yes, M$ are bad bastards, yes, they have a history of unconscienable conduct in the marketplace, but there are people who are just waiting for the first opportunity to do much worse!

      • AFAIK MS never designed or wanted Embedded XP to be in general consumer PCs. That is why the demonstration makes so little sense to me. And that is why Embedded XP doesn't have add/remove program functionality -- it is designed for turnkey systems that get rolled out for a single purpose.

        And computer appliances aren't such a bad idea, just a bad idea for you and me. I would hate to have a computer that I couldn't mess around with. On the other hand, my mom would love the same computer for the fact that she can't screw it up.
        • For instance, take the first embedded systems to be offered to the general public: calculators. Check this article: "Buried Gold in the SR-52", by Cliff Penn, Byte magazine, Dec 1976, pp30-34, to see how you can hack a calculator to do things the designers had never thought of.
    • To the extent that this is being played to the media, the states have made their point, maybe even better than with an in-court demonstration. The demonstration you didn't get to see. It can't do anything to improve Microsoft's reputation.
    • I think Microsoft may have played into the States' hands.

      Announce XP modular demo. You wouldn't announce it if you couldn't do it; announcing you can do it and willingness to back it up are all you have to do. The actual demo is little more than yet another Windows desktop minus a few icons. Judge would have been bored and is probably smart enough to take a screen shot, delete the icons and see for herself.

      And then Microsoft yells "Fire!" If modular Windows is such a "bad" idea, wouldn't Microsoft already have x^y reasons why it wouldn't work? Why would they need to go back to Redmond for a couple of years and root around in the attic for rebuttal info?

      Getting them to want so much time to prepare rebuttal is pretty much an admission that "we tried it and it didn't work" or "it won't work" is a load of bullshit because they DO know it will work.

      MS had to either put up -- rebut the demo -- or shut up. Now they don't get to rebut and they have to quit talking about it.

      (There was a great Law and Order where the prosecutor did this kind of thing. He couldn't bring up a particular piece of evidence, but he could allude to it. Alluding to it was all he had to do since the awareness of its existence was 90% of the damage).
  • It sounds like Microsoft wins this round -- perhaps rightly so, if this really was a last-minute bit of evidence. (Recall that one of Microsoft's demos was proven fraudulent after some time to study it, and of course Microsoft would assume that anyone else might do the same thing, so they'd need time to uncover the tricks.)

    I dunno if it matters much -- there really isn't any big argument about whether some stuff could be separated from Windows, only whether it "should" be separated. In some ways, the states may gain a benefit since the judge knows there is a demo out there showing it works (sure, she's supposed to disregard evidence that wasn't formally submitted, but how can you really ignore an offer of evidence that goes to the very core of the case?)

    • It sounds like Microsoft wins this round

      Not hardly. Microsot was lying, telling the judge that it is not possible to have WEindows without Media Player and other "middleware". This is about how long it would take Microsoft to come up with a response to the states demonstration that it CAN be done.

      The point is made on the judge that it can be done, that Microsoft was lying.

      Of course, what it will come down to is whether this judge is a member of the Federalist Society. It won't be about the law.
  • Hilarious (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tapin ( 157076 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @06:32PM (#3493602)
    This is actually great news, and I'd be surprised if it's not what they were expecting to do all along (of course, they'd never admit to it).

    Think of it from the States' point of view: "Yeah, we've got a version of the OS running modularly, but you didn't want us to show it. So no, you can't see how we did it. But you'd better get cracking."

    In addition, they don't actually have to demonstrate its stability and all that -- it's just taken at face value that it's stable enough, since that's how it was presented when it was introduced.

    This is great. Looks like a win-win scenario for the States.

    • Re:Hilarious (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sc00ter ( 99550 )
      How? If it's a jury trial the jury would never know about the modular version, and they wouldn't be allowed to say "we have it, but MS won't let us show it" because they will.. after MS gets to examine it, and it's within their rights to request it.

      If it's not a jury trial, then the judge(s) can't take it into consideration when they make their decision because it was never introduced as evidence.

      • Re:Hilarious (Score:2, Informative)

        by snarfer ( 168723 )

        It isn't a jury trial. It isn't even a trial. It's a hearing to determine the penalty for Microsoft now that they have been found guilty.

        They are trying to determine whether ordering Microsoft to make available a version of Windows without "middleware' such as Media Player is feasible. If they have to release a modular version computer manufacturers can CHOOSE to include Real Player instead of Media Player, for example, and companies can compete for the business.
        • Re:Hilarious (Score:4, Informative)

          by Prior Restraint ( 179698 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @07:24PM (#3493869)

          It's a hearing to determine the penalty for Microsoft now that they have been found guilty.

          Actually, it isn't a penalty; it's a remedy. The judge isn't supposed to punish Microsoft for breaking anti-trust law; she's supposed to impose a remedy that will "undo" the damage that has been done.

    • by cscx ( 541332 )
      Yeah, of course. They'll take for granted that the states were going to prove that "Windows XP Embedded: The modular version of Windows" is modular.

      Also on the list of things the states were going to prove is that the milk in my Cheerios is milk and not Elmer's glue, and that my Windows XP Workstation is really running XP, not PalmOS.
  • MS Marketing and sales personnel probably make presentations on XP Embedded every week. Surely MS can just fly a couple of their marketing people to help fill in the gaps where the demo falls short.
    • Surely MS can just fly a couple of their marketing people to help fill in the gaps where the demo falls short.

      Or just put together a demo video, and splice extra footage into the gaps where the demo falls short.
  • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @06:33PM (#3493609)
    Not that surprising really. Having used Embedded NT in the past I was more then a little confused as to what they where going to demonstrate. Sure, embedded windows is modular during the rollout phase. However once installed it cant be changed. In other words you cant install Word onto it once its up and running. In this respect it is not a good example of what the DOJ is after MS to produce, a modular end user OS.
    • by rhizome ( 115711 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @07:03PM (#3493760) Homepage Journal
      Why do people keep getting stuck on shortsighted speculation on what the demo would actually comprise? The point is not that "Embedded NT" should become the retail version of Windows, the point is that the modularity is possible. Microsoft has gone to great lengths to stipulate that it is infinitely impossible to cut the interdependencies in Windows (9x, 2k, XP), which is apparently not the case since they've already gone ahead and constructed an industrial version of this very idea. Perhaps the states realize that it wouldn't be as pretty as they'd like it to be, but it's certainly conceivable that the ability to install software - to take one missing feature - could be added to the existing modular codebase. And yes, applications might require rewrites, but it's nobody's contention that the changeover would be happening tomorrow.
      • The point is MS designed Windows for Consumers and has integrated certain functionality that is critical to features that Consumers (arguably) want. Whethor or not it's technically possible to make a "Modular Windows Based OS" is irrelvant (and trivial). The point is, the States have not proven that they can make a marketable version of Windows that will, A) has the full functionality of Windows (MS-HELP uses ActiveX and IE specficic DHTML), and B) that is reasonably cost effecitve to support.

        There are millions of things that are technically feasable. The point is whethor or not it's possible to remove IE but not remove critical functionality (like MS-HELP, Active Desktop, Explorer, and the hundreds of third party applications that rely on it). "Win98Lite" doesn't even remove the core browsing engine. _IT'S STILL THERE!_.

        Now, what MS _can_ do is allow OEM's to remove the IE icon from the desktop and replace it with, say, Opera.
        • It's not the States' responsibility to design a version of Windows that is "marketable". It is the States' responsibility to ensure that Microsoft is no longer able to break the law using their OS monopoly.
  • an indefinite period of time to prepare its response

    In the Microsoft Dictionary we find: Prepare (v) Rig.

  • Load of Crap. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Picass0 ( 147474 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @06:34PM (#3493619) Homepage Journal

    The states had MS nailed on the modularity issue. They should push on. I smell some campaign funds being spread around.

    It's MS's product. How long can it take for MS to study an MS product and work up a defense?

    This isn't even as fun as the Wookie defense.

    • Re:Load of Crap. (Score:5, Informative)

      by kawika ( 87069 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @07:08PM (#3493780)
      Please don't let me disturb your conspriracy theory, but perhaps Microsoft really did need some time to build a defense to the last-minute introduction of the XP Embedded demo.

      For example, let's say the states introduced into evidence an XP Embedded build that included no browser components, just a TCP/IP stack. No HTML rendering engine, no Internet cache, no Internet HTTP/FTP protocol support, no URL parsing routines, no system JavaScript. All of these are part of the existing documented Windows OS APIs, but browsers like Netscape don't use them because they invent their own wheels for portability's sake. So you should be able to show this particular build of XP Embedded running Netscape and having no part of Windows Internet technologies installed.

      If the states try this, I would expect Microsoft to show that a lot of third-party software will not work properly with so much of the Windows API ripped out. That would include Quicken and my own script-based software, just to mention a couple dear to my heart.

      Anyway, my point is that Microsoft probably does need some time to respond, and the time will depend on what the states plan to present. The word indefinite can mean "unlimited" but can also mean "not clear". Perhaps the time they need isn't clear until they have a chance to see what the states are planning.
      • They could only be planning an obfuscation, not a proper defense. The fact is, not for the first time, they lied shamelessly, they were called on it, and they don't want to admit it.

      • If the states try this, I would expect Microsoft to show that a lot of third-party software will not work properly with so much of the Windows API ripped out. That would include Quicken and my own script-based software, just to mention a couple dear to my heart.

        Ok, so if they remove "stuff" then other "stuff" like yoiur script-based software doesn't work. Big whoop - all that means is that in the documentation for your software, in the requirements section, you add "Internet Explorer 6" and bingo the users download IE 6, the IE "stuff" gets put into windows - as a choice, not forced upon them - and they happily run your software.

        Or, your installer checks the system for the components required by the software being installed, if they don't exist it says "This software requires , would you like to install this component now or abort the installation?"

        • and bingo the users download IE 6

          OK, lets say that windows can be sold without all the gunk that it comes with, without breaking netscape.

          So What?

          Microsoft then sell "Cutdown Windows" for $99.50, and "full windows" for $99.99, with a free upgrade from the "cut down" version for download?

          I'm not sure what forcing windows to be modularisable would do to benefit the consumer?

          And why dont they do microsoft for bundling msn messanger with XP - easilly removable with a regedit hack.
          • It means the user gets a choice. In web browser, in email client, in multimedia player in wether they *want* all that stuff at all.

            With the current situation Internet Explorer for example is forced upon the user - not even the OEM's get a choice about it, sure they can put Moz on the pc but they can't get rid of IE.

            Competitors don't even get a look in with that, how can they - IE comes "in the box" it does what the general public want, why would they change - but if hey are given a choice, "do you want IE, Mozilla, Opera.... or No Web Browser" then the competitors actually get a chance.

            It's not about breaking windows, it's about making the components of windows seperate products in order to allow other companies to offer thier version of a web browser, or email client etc.. without having to get over that hurdle of "it comes with one, why should I go to the trouble to change?".

            For people to actively remove something and replace it with a competing product requires that the competing product be immensely better than the one they remove - even then most people won't bother. But if they are given a choice to begin with ... "you can have this one... it does x and y, or this one... it does x, y and z" users will make the informed decision because it doesn't require extra effort.

            Nobody is saying that people SHOULD choose the competing products, it may be the case that the M/Soft products are better than the competitors. But people should be ABLE to choose the competing products if they desire it.

            And they *are* doing them for bundling MSN Messenger - it's not about one product, it's about the microsoft policy of "bundle it in - thereby shutting out the competitors, in any market we can".
      • ...the existing documented Windows OS APIs...
        I didn't think such things existed...

  • Hard to say whether this was good or bad for either side. I think the states really don't want to drag things out anymore, inasmuch as one of the major planks of any remedy is expeditious application to make up for literally years of unrestrained behavior by Microsoft.

    Lately, though, it seems that the states' legal team screwed up in some filings and when MS pulled witnesses at the last minute, they lost windows of opportunity to present evidence that the proposed DoJ remedy is woefully weak.

    Still, I would not be at all surprised to see a ruling that the states have a valid claim, followed by the DoJ and MS agreeing to another round of talks to bring the settlement closer to what the non-settling states want. Anything else would result in chaos, given that MS has to conduct business in settling states and non-settling states simultaneously.

  • by krmt ( 91422 ) <therefrmhere&yahoo,com> on Thursday May 09, 2002 @06:35PM (#3493626) Homepage
    Perhaps the states know that whether or not they can show it can be done is more of a moot point. The point of the penalty phase is to enforce the penalty, and if the penalty is to modularize Windows then they have to pay that penalty despite the cost. Whether or not they've alredy done it with XP Embedded doesn't really matter as much.

    Granted, I think showing off XP Embedded would have been a good thing (from what little I admittedly know about it) but perhaps they've got enough already. We all can acknowledge that speed is of the essence.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I hope the States at least mention

    and its

    Been how many years since that company proved explorer could be taken out of 98.

    • by cscx ( 541332 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @07:00PM (#3493753) Homepage
      [/mnt/win_ntfs/program files/internet explorer]% more 98lite.bat

      deltree /y "c:\program files\internet explorer\iexplore.exe"

      Of course it CAN be done. The point that everyone seems to be missing is that by removing [] IE's core components, you also tend to break a lot of applications. No one seems to freakin' mention that for 98lite to COMPLETELY remove IE from Windows 98, you need to provide the Windows 95 explorer.exe, comctrl32.dll, and shell32.dll files. Note that since you own a licensed copy of Win98 doesn't entitle you to a licensed copy of those Windows 95 files.

      So yeah, from a _Windows 98_ machine, it's impossible to remove all of IE's "core components" (well whatever you consider them) and still have a functioning Win98 machine, without additional modifications. You will undoubtedly break some apps, or have future apps be broken that have shdocvw.dll or mshtml.dll (a LOT) as dependencies.

      Do me a favor and remove glibc from Linux and tell me how that goes. Remember Linux is "modular"!
      • by jabster ( 198058 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @07:42PM (#3493937)
        a good reply to this mught be:

        which part of KDE does linux need to function properly?

        why would an OS *NEED* a web browser to function?

        • Why would an OS *NEED* a shell to function?

          Answer: it doesn't. You can completely remove bash, csh, ksh and all the other shells from your Linux install and the kernel will still boot up fine.

          *You* as the user won't be able to do much, but hey that's not my problem. If you want to define the OS as being without a user interface then be my guest.
      • You don't break 'a lot' of applications. Very few have any problem with this, and the ones that do hardly 'break'. For instance, edonkey uses mshtml.dll to display an add banner, in it's absence, you just don't get the ad banners. Big whee.

        My browser is registered with the system, any application that wants to bring it up can, easily. This is more than enough 'integration' for me, thanks.

        Yes, unfortunately you do need a licensed copy of 95 to legally make later versions work they way I and many others want it to work - but for MS that is not a problem, being that they own the copyright they could make it available in any way they want. They could come out with XP light in a week if they wanted it, without the integration. That's the whole point, though, they want to shove this 'integration' down the throats of everyone that uses their OS, in order to control the internet. This is why they were convicted in the first place, and any 'remedy' that leaves them free to continue doing what they were convicted for is nothing more than a farce.

      • Note that since you own a licensed copy of Win98 doesn't entitle you to a licensed copy of those Windows 95 files.

        Microsoft is trying to argue that they are incapable of complying with a court order to create an EI-free version of Windows. Well, Microsoft certainly has the authority supply Win95 files. They just don't WANT to ship IE-free Windows.

  • by LordSah ( 185088 )
    Is anyone else tired of seeing tiny scraps of news about MS on Slashdot everyday? There's two articles about MS today, one yesterday. Thinking back, it seems that there have been one or two stories posted about Microsoft everyday lately.

    I like Slashdot for stories about tech, science and geek curios. Could the editors leave reporting every detail of the trial to CNN, and focus on more interesting stuff? Please?
  • It really would take an indefinite time period to un-fuck windows. Anybody who has done coding for an O/S or a large application knows the difficulties inherent in un-fucking any kludgey pile of spaghetti code.

    More problems would be introduced in the process, rendering the final product very unstable. This is exactly what Microsoft wants to demonstrate--that the O/S can not function with IE removed.

  • by Chris Canfield ( 548473 ) <[ten.dleifnacsirhc] [ta] [todhsals]> on Thursday May 09, 2002 @06:39PM (#3493654) Homepage
    "By Jove Sherlock, I've found the bloody knife with Moriarty's fingerprints all over it!"

    "That's astounding, Watson! I want to see this evidence. Moriarty, how do you feel about this?"

    "The law allows me time to consider this evidence, and I will need an infinite amount of it."

    "Well, we don't have an infinite amount of time, therefore we do not have enough time to consider the knife. Too bad, I really wanted to see it."

    "Case dismissed."

    • by tshak ( 173364 )
      Anyone who thinks the case or even this isolated issue is this cut-and-dry is ignoring intelect and thriving on zealotry.
      • Re:A cautionary tale (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Chris Canfield ( 548473 ) <[ten.dleifnacsirhc] [ta] [todhsals]> on Thursday May 09, 2002 @08:06PM (#3494038) Homepage
        Unsatisfied intellect begets zealotry when years beget nothing. Microsoft's proven abuse patterns [] and their enviable ability to outspend the consumer protection arm of the government has begotten a bit of lighthearted humor.

        Perhaps the dear reader of the twice-above post will realize that neither moral justice nor the public's economic interest is best served when justice hinges upon the ability to pay. Or perhaps they will just walk away having recieved the message that "Microsoft is evil." I have no moral qualms about putting that message into people's heads, as Microsoft's behavior record should be what people use in deciding the value to society of a corporation. If and when they finally prove me wrong, I promise to recant. However, with the actions WRT Opera, Dr. Dos, Samba, security through obscurity, planned obselescence and obfuscation of the Word file format, and the proposed school computer settlement, I might as well promise to move to Tibet upon a semblance of a genuine corporate philanthropy.

  • The actual demo is really unnecessary to the states case. Simply by asking to show the demo they have "proven" that States claim that a modularized windows is possible, indeed it is possible by somebody other than Microsoft. Microsoft used a cheezy legal trick to prevent the demo, indicating they had no effective rebuttal to this claim.

    I really, really, really hope this is a good judge. There is plenty of good signs, she allowed this demo, but she's been *really* careful to give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt and every turn. Microsoft has been convicted and that conviction has been upheld on appeal, so she has only to set a fair and reasonable sentence.

    The real concern I have is that she's been so good there is not going to be much room for an appeal either way ...

  • I had this hope, you know, that the people here who said "the states are just holding out for money" were wrong; that the states actually cared. I saw this demo and thought "yes, this may be the final straw." Clearly I was naive and overly optimistic.

    I'd like to know what a lawyer has to say about whether Microsoft would indeed be given "indefinite time" for its response or would rather the Judge would tell them they're screwed. The fact the states gave up their most damning presentation just because Microsoft basically said they had no defense is to me unforgivable. Is there no hope? Do people not care anymore?

  • by pyrrho ( 167252 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @06:50PM (#3493704) Journal
    Gates admitted that Embedded XP was modular and was based on the same technology as regular XP. He admited it could be modular IF Microsoft Wanted. What more is there to prove. In reality reducing it to a demo of someones hack to put XP embedded on a PC only risks making it look bad. In reality, I think it's better this way.

    Remember: Everything Bill Gates et al said on the stand would lead the judge to think it can be done... and if she thinks that a demo cannot do anything more...

    I was happy to see the judge allow the demo in the first place, but not so much so she would see it, but because it shows she's open to evidence that Microsoft is culpable and not particularly honest in what it claims to the court.
    • Gates admitted that Embedded XP was modular and was based on the same technology as regular XP. He admited it could be modular IF Microsoft Wanted. What more is there to prove.

      Please mod parent up. This is an extremely important point - especially to those conspiracy theorists that are claiming that MS has bought the DOJ hence why the demo is not important. Wrong. The demo is irrelevant.
    • Gates never claimed that it could not be done. Madnick(the Prof from MIT) never said it could not be done.

      Their argument the entire time was that it was infeasible to be done. Basically the argument was that it would substantially increase the cost of the OS because of the amount of additional testing that would need to be performed. Not just to Microsoft, but also to the OEMs, or otherwise the problems of stuff not working would be pushed down onto Consumers, which would not make anybody happy.

      Now the question the states have to answer is whether or not this extra cost is justified. i.e. does the benefits offered to increased competition outweigh the costs pushed onto MS, OEMs and consumers as a result of this.

      It's not exactly clear to me how you can be dishonest about that since it is a value judgement, loosely based on opinion. But if you disagree, which I'm sure you do, I would highly encourage you to provide some quotations from the trial transcript which substantiates your claim that Microsoft was not honest in court.
  • Not surprising (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Keighvin ( 166133 )
    Dragging this whole affair out has been to Microsoft's advantage since the beginning, and they're squeezing every possible drop from it. In the meantime they continue to work unregulated and haven't changed any of their business practices: the playing field of the browser war (which initially started this) has altered dramatically since. It's likely that unless new evidence of continued abuse can be brought to the attention of the courts, andy remedy handed down will be both out of date and inadequate.
  • by aralin ( 107264 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @07:04PM (#3493761)
    Basicly they said, we have an expert who can do it, but we won't show him. Now they got in CKK's mind that its possible, but never gave M$ a chance to rebute it by withdrawing for pretty sane reasons. I think they scored big time with this trick. Especially since the blend of Embeded WinXP and WinXP , which is what it most likely is, would not work all that well and they can expect it.

    You need to think a little bit more like lawyer to see how they can score points in the trial.

    • The states have accomplished nothing in court today. This wasn't clever at all, and just plain stupid. If it isn't shown in court, then the judge has to dismiss the idea and not take it into account when making his/her judgement.

      They scored no point at all. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the judge though less of the states lawyers now.
  • It's better this way (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Romancer ( 19668 )
    This way the States side gets to say that it is possible and not have Microsoft able to point out problems or try to attack the demo.

    And on a personal note:
    Blindsided?! WTF?
    isn't that the exact specific point in the case, to get a modular version of windows? Wouldn't they be somewhere near that mindset, since the past weeks have been about a modular version?

    Whatever, now microsoft plays dumb,

    Microsoft: "uh we need an indeterminate time to prepare a defense"

    Judge: "you've had over a year bitch."
    • And on a personal note:
      Blindsided?! WTF?
      isn't that the exact specific point in the case, to get a modular version of windows? Wouldn't they be somewhere near that mindset, since the past weeks have been about a modular version?

      It's actually the way the law works (and is a good thing believe it or not).

      The States didn't present this as evidence when the hearings first started. MS claimed that this was in order to prevent MS from being able to prepare a rebuttal. The judge allowed it because of it's importance, but MS is saying that the need time to prepare.

      The judge _has_ to give MS time to prepare. It is the only fair thing to do. Just because MS said they needed an "indefinite" amount of time doesn't mean the judge couldn't have limited it to a reasonable period. I believe the States do not feel that this evidence could withstand an MS rebuttal so they tried to pull this move in order to "blindside" MS.

      I want MS to get punished as much as the next guy but perserving the basic principles of democracy are far more important to me than this case.
  • I'm glad to see Microsoft getting on this. In their David and Goliath battle against big government interference its nice to see the little guy come out on top for once.
  • Wasn't this covered earlier in the trial, when M$ produced that video showing Windows supposedly crashing when IE was removed, and then later it was shown that the video had been doctored.

    Why is the trial going over the same ground again ?

  • Murder trial...

    "Oh, I'm sorry your honorable. I wasn't aware that the prosecution has the knife. I'm going to have to ask you for some time off from this trial because I need to sort things out."

  • by rseuhs ( 322520 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @07:36PM (#3493917)
    1. Microsoft agrees not to bundle IE with Windows.

    2. Microsoft bundles IE with Windows

    3. Microsoft sais it would be difficult/impossible to unbundle it again.

    I just don't get it.

    I also can't build an extension of my house on the neighbours ground (= violate a contract) and later say "hey, hey, it will cost me too much to tear that extension down"

    Can please somebody enlighten me why it is relevant how difficult a modular version of Windows can be done?

    Why this strange double-standard?

  • Bottom line... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by march ( 215947 )
    Look, the bottom line is that of course it's modular and of course Microsoft has put connections to try to bind things together (in, many times, a really poor hack as I pointed out in a previous [] comment).

    The legal tactic the Gov is using is smart (for a change). They are pulling a "Microsoft" - say they are going to do it, so now people know it can be done, and then not doing it because it wastes time.

    Go Gov! (in this case :-) )

  • If new evidence is going to be introduced, the Disclosure rule means that the defense (aka Microsoft) are entitled to see it beforehand, so they can make a defense.

    Microsoft can't stall forever. The judge is supposed to set aside time for MS to regroup and plan, i'd guess about a month tops of recess until the case goes back into session. But that's what happens under normal circumstances, which begs the question:

    WHY, oh WHY didn't they do that? It appears that the States didn't want to wait the extra time. So it moves forward to a verdict a month ahead of time. This sounds bad.

  • If MS really were allowed to have even a reletivly "short" period of time (a few months, as much as ayear), they could easily push super hard and complete th e"next" version of windows, so when the states finally present thier modular windows, MS can respond, "Oh, hey look at atht. You guys were rigth after all. Ok we'll start making modular XP. Oh, but we stopped selling XP two months ago, now we sell Windows ZP, where every single system call must first be translated into html and passed to the internal webserver to be proccessed, we call it 'local web services'."
  • If you say that something can be done, but only in an infinite amount of time, then that's logically equivalent to saying it can't be done. So, if MSFT wants to say they'll take forever to come up with a defense, ipso facto it means that there is no possible defense. Therefore MSFT is guilty. QED.
  • GAH!!!!!! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nickd ( 58841 )

    will it allow OEM's to include multiple OS's on the bootloader without fear of recrimination from MS ?? NO (rip BeOS)

    will it allow third party developers to openly interact with MS systems/formats/protocols - without resorting to reverse engineering which is now illegal (DMCA) ?? NO

    will it stop MS from embracing and extending open standards and protocols and hence locking out competitors ?? NO

    MS is brilliant - they are kicking up a huge fuss over something that at the end of the day doesnt impede their monopolistic practices/status much at all. The choice at the end of the day will still be MS + XYZ modules or MS + ABC modules - ITS STILL WINDOWS!!!!!!
  • Would a modular version of Windows be good for:

    1. Consumers?

    2. Linux/Open Source alternatives?

    3. The technology industry?

    4. Microsoft?

    I'm trying to imagine a modular-windows world. What would the pros/cons be? Is this an appropriate "punishment" for Microsoft, or should we be careful what we wish for?

  • Bad feelings (Score:2, Interesting)

    by theolein ( 316044 )
    This whole Microsoft trial has given everyone, pro- and anti- Microsoft a bad feeling. The pros because they feel that the world is out to get them and the antis because of all that MS has done to abuse it's position and it's total lack of respect of anyone and anything else. What saddens me is that it seems that MS will never lose any trial because even if they were to be broken up or whatever they would just ignore the judgement, as they have in the past and they would no doubt adapt by by moving all applications into the OS for example. It seems no American government will ever be able to or want to stop them.

    In other words I think this trial is a waste of time. I think it would be better to fight MS's abuse there where one can, i.e. when they make a clear cut illegal licence or EULA and above all for OSS people to continue to improve the UI of Linux and to work towards making applications like OpenOffice and Mozilla better. At the same time it would be wise to continue the personal efforts to show schools and businesses that OSS can be just as good if not better.

    Apart from that the one legal measure that would be the most telling would be an audit of MS' code to see where it truly comes from.
  • by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @09:32PM (#3494314) Homepage
    A previously promoted [] lawyer was demoted and returned to the US after Microsoft exceutives learned of the cancellation.


  • Didn't anyone tell Micorsoft what this trial is about?

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle