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Microsoft

Microsoft Case Proceeds 307

YeOldeCurmudgeon writes "This story just posted on Yahoo: Federal Judge Denies Microsoft Motion to Dismiss Antitrust Case. Microsoft's motion to dismiss the suit filed by the 9 dissenting states was denied. The judge agrees the states can sue." An article in the San Francisco Chronicle summarizes the case's current state and what's coming up next.
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Microsoft Case Proceeds

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  • Still a chance (Score:1, Insightful)

    by snarfer ( 168723 )
    So there's still a chance of the OS and productivity software markets opening up to competition, instead of the Bush "settlement" (read: bribe payoff) which gives government protection to the Microsoft monopoly!

    The idea of the antitrust suit was to enable competition. Here's a test of the result of the Bush "settlement" - has there been increased investment in companies competing with Microsoft in the OS and productivity software arenas?

  • by smartin ( 942 ) on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @07:03PM (#3690501)
    M$ should be forced to pay one million ... no one billion dollars to the FSF.
    • and (Score:2, Funny)

      by smartin ( 942 )
      RMS should be appointed to their board of directors
      • Re:and (Score:3, Funny)

        by ShmuelP ( 5675 )
        It wouldn't help to have RMS on their board of directors - he would probably refuse to use any proprietary software, and therefore not find out when the meeting are scheduled!

        --
        It's funny. Laugh.
    • I'd estimate the real amount to be more like 100B dollars. Please don't mod me funny, i'm as serious as a heart attack.
    • My favorites:
      1) Forced full and free release of all fileformats they created and will create in the last+next 10 years
      2) Held liable for security flaws (this is one for another trial
      3) Forced standards compilance for html
      4) Some huge powerfull comittie above their head, that needs to approve the defaults and quality of all releases. Install ms haters in it
      5) Absolute forbidden to arrange per-oem deals, one price policy, clear and open
      6) Full refunds for all ever-bundled software!
      ...

      1 and 5 seem to be the most feasible...

      Of course, there is still bill-torture, per crash refunds, ...
    • M$ should be forced to pay one million ... no one billion dollars to the FSF.

      And $39-billion back to their customers.
  • Hooray! The Microsoft case continues! Kudos to the judge who agreed the states can sue. This is a happy day for the good guys, because although the war against the EVIL EMPIRE hasn't yet been won, this decision brings us one step closer to a world of freedom, without the limitations and problems Microsoft sees fit to impose on the good people of the world.

    This is a happy day for the BSDs, for Linux, and for all the freedom-loving people of the world.

  • by lingqi ( 577227 ) on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @07:09PM (#3690541) Journal
    Somebody explain to me why it takes 1187 pages to say "this case can go on" and why it takes this long to figure out a punishment.

    This should be all very, very simple. provisional punishments like "you will now allow people to take off IE" does not stop MS from behaving anti-competetively.

    I mean, just fine them! in fact, fine the crap out of them. You are found guilty of anti-competitive behavior, you choke up 80% of your profits for the next two years (as from SEC filings) or 10% of the company net worth -- which ever is higher. if you do it again, 90%/15%; third time -- dissolution of charter. (third might be a little harsh, but again, we are following the "simple" route of spirit)

    -- when the share holders suddenly realize that, wow, my $$ are going away because the corporate lawyer / managers are screwing up by doing illegal stuff, i don't think they will be happy about the anti-competitive behavior anymore -- i mean, $$ drives the company, so hit it where it hurts; not some bs settlement that they can just circumvent later.
    • The real issue is that the decision is simply not good enough. The judges decision if not overruled sets a legal precedent and the thought process and reasoning is as as important.

      So the large papers are important because they are the law.
    • I can't wait for my day in court one of these days. I'm going ALL-OUT Microsoft Defense(tm)
    • You are found guilty of anti-competitive behavior, you choke up 80% of your profits for the next two years (as from SEC filings) or 10% of the company net worth -- which ever is higher. if you do it again, 90%/15%

      Companies can hide their profits by investing their money. If a company has $6 billion in profit, they can invest $5 billion, leaving them with $1 billion in profit.

      Ten percent of Microsoft's net worth does not even begin to compare to the benefits Microsoft has gained from their anti-competitive actions. And that's only counting to the present day. The benefits of increased market share and customer lock-in will continue to go on long after the case is settled.

      This case has been going on for six years. 80% of Microsoft's profits for the next two years is far less than their monopolistic practices netted. Your proposed minuscule punishment will tell Microsoft, "go ahead and carry out your anti-competitive practices. We might take 20% next decade."

      third time -- dissolution of charter.

      People (e.g. Ralph Nadar) say this all the time. What good would it actually do?

      If you really want to fine them, why not force them to sell stock (with the government collecting the proceeds)? This will cause an immediate drop in their investor's net worth, and decrease the investor's control over the company.

      • * True, profits can be hidden as you have pointed out; however, they have to answer to the stock holders for the horrible price to earning ratio for the next two years. (btw, it can be any number of years / percentage, this is just an example, after all) and with a P/E ratio 5 times as low, i would highly suspect some (large) stock price drops.

        * a ruling similar to what i have mentioned would set a case-law for future anti-competitive behavior with defineable, universal reprimand that, i believe, should have an impact on any company regardless of their size or the nature of their business. furthermore, hopefully with a case law such as this, the trials will not take such a long time.

        * dissolution of charter would be stupid, in fact i would not even vote for it. Like i said, it would be kind of severe -- and all the windows users out there would be royally screwed. It was a suggesting in spirit, not meant to be taken literally.

        Lastly, I am not sure who you intend MS sell their stock to. make the stock public would be met with similar problems as we have right now -- individual investors and fund administrators will see the difference between "getting $$ from illegal activities" and "behaving morally". my bet is that they will be taking the money route. besides that, who would buy stock that you *KNOW* the price would be going down? If you sell to the government -- it would also run into problems -- first is that the government is horribly inefficient, and 2, you are GIVING THEM MONEY for breaking the law. (i am pretty sure the last one is not what you meant, though)
      • third time -- dissolution of charter.

        People (e.g. Ralph Nadar) say this all the time. What good would it actually do?

        It depends on how it's done.

        As far as I'm concerned, dissolution of Microsoft's business charter should be done by (a) selling off all their assets and (b) taking all the resulting proceeds plus the money in the bank and distributing it equally amongst all working citizens of the United States, except for those who own stock in the company.

        The reason for doing it that way? To make it clear to everyone that if your company breaks the law too much, it will die and the people who have invested in it will lose everything they've invested.

        Seems to me that it's the only way to keep companies from behaving like Microsoft: make it clear that doing so will, in the long run, be so unprofitable that the people running the show won't even think about it.

    • ...The share holders suddenly realize that, wow, my $$ are going away because the corporate lawyer / managers are screwing up by doing illegal stuff...

      I think you are *really* onto something here. Somehow MS is able to squiggle out of stuff -- lying in court -- corporate income taxes -- court settlements -- etc ... And when you suggest otherwise, they get belligerent (sp?), start spreading FUD, and founding political organizations [meanwhile I can't squiggle out of a parking ticket].

      You are right on the money when you say the courts need to damage the shareholders, because they are the only people that have leverage over MS. The legal system has been ineffective.
    • I've said it time and time again that that this is not a trivial issue at all. To YOU it is obvious because of your clear bias against MS. Personally, myself (and many others) do not believe that what was done with IE was anti-competitive in any way. This is America, and everyone has a right to a fair trial and to voice their side of an argument. MS has been found guilty, but what they are guilty of is not trivial either. Personally, I believe in pro-customer solutions not anti-MS punishments. Remember, the point of antitrust is to restore competition not to punish the corporation. For example, I think that MS's strongarmed OEM licensing agreements should be regulated or banned altogether. But that's just me. There are many other people who's full time job is to think about all of these issues, so while we have our opinions, none of us really see the depth of the issues at hand.
      • [I] do not believe that what was done with IE was anti-competitive in any way.
        For example, I think that MS's strongarmed OEM licensing agreements should be regulated or banned altogether.
        IE benefited from just such strongarmed licencing practices. Microsoft threatened to withdraw supplies of Windows from OEMs who replaced IE on the desktop with another browser. The whole "Integration with Windows" thing was just a means of justifying it ("want to remove it? Sorry, you can't, it's part of the OS").

        Similar threats were made to OEMs who used products competing with MS Office. In the process, Microsoft totally destroyed the market share of Lotus 1-2-3, Quattro Pro, Paradox, Wordperfect and a few others whose names escape me. They very nearly killed Borland as a company, and did kill Wordperfect (who were bought out by Corel). I'm don't recall how Lotus fared (bought out by IBM?).

        Those four products, at least, were _all_ respected market leaders. Many people still talk about Wordperfect as some hallowed "golden age" of word processing. Lotus 1-2-3 and Quattro Pro BUILT the spreadsheet market, and Excel was the poor cousin for years, until MS strongarmed it onto half the world's desktops. There is certainly a case for the argument "Netscape would have died anyway" (I used 4.61 - crash central), but not all four of these. In short, MS abused its windows monopoly to totally obliterate its competitors in a very lucrative market.

        Microsoft is guilty as hell of abusing its monopoly, and IE vs Netscape is only a sideshow. Even the Findings Of Fact make it clear that Netscape was just "in the way", and MS's real target for their IE behaviour was Java.

        There are many who say that the DOJ case was run badly. I think I agree with that in many ways - they went chasing after side issues all the time, and the whole Netscape-Java-Windows-OS-Competitor chain is too tenuous for many people to even follow (never mind the "Java would never have threatened windows anyway" argument). MS Office would have made a much easier target.

      • > This is America, and everyone has a right to a fair > trial

        LOL... sure, and you're all equal in the eyes of the law, whether you're a white male millionaire with three houses, a helicopter, who belongs to the same clubs (and went to the same schools) as the bloatocracy of the state's machinery, or an unemployed black man living in poverty in an inner-city. Suuuurrrreeee... and the easter bunny comes and leaves you chocolate eggs. Give me a break!
      • by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Thursday June 13, 2002 @08:04AM (#3692984)
        I've said it time and time again that that this is not a trivial issue at all. To YOU it is obvious because of your clear bias against MS. Personally, myself (and many others) do not believe that what was done with IE was anti-competitive in any way

        I'd be interested to know how giving away a product that costs money to make for free, deliberately, in order to "cut off their air supply" (I think that was the phrase MS execs used, right?) is not anti-competitive. Please enlighten me.

        • Besides the fact that Netscape has always been free for personal and educational use (I don't know anyone who's ever paid for it but used it legally), the point is
          MS deliberately added a feature to an OS that their customers wanted. Many people use Internet Explorer more then the windows file explorer. It's just like punishing MS for "giving away Dialup Networking" for free because then there was no need to buy Trumpet Winsock (see Win3.x). It also made sense to use DHTML and ActiveX for simple GUI's for apps like MS-HELP plus easier 3rd party Windows development. It make a ton of sense on the technical side, it gave the customers what it wanted, and it pissed off Netscape because all of the suddon the browser became a commoddity just like "file managers" or "shells" did in the days of DOS when Win2.x came out.

          Finally, you missed my entire point. Regardless of my arguments, I've simply proved that the issue is complex, and is not as cut-and-dry as anti-MS fanatics seem to make it. Any intellectually objective person should be able to look at an issue and say, "Ok, I dissagree with you, but I see how some of the points are arguable and worth discussing further". This being said, even if they've been found guilty, if the issue is as complex as I make it out to be, then the "resolution" is just as complex. The punishment for pre-meditated murder is a lot more harsh then someone who accidentally killed someone (an analogy NOT a comparison, people here tend to confuse the two). If MS intended to extend the OS just as they have in many other ways, and since a web browser is now a commodity, it's hard to prove that MS was being completely evil (all corporations are "evil" to an extent) in trying to crush the competition in an anti-competitive manner. If they were ignorant of the fact that adding an obvious feature to Windows was illigal (I sure was), then the rememdy should reflect this.
        • I'd be interested to know how giving away a product that costs money to make for free, deliberately, in order to "cut off their air supply" ... is not anti-competitive.

          What, you mean like Linux, Mozilla, ...?

          These things all cost to make, whether in terms of the time and resources of the developers, or the investments made by companies like Red Hat. However, they are all given away for free under the GPL or something similar. Many of those behind them would love to see MS' commercial equivalents (Windows, IE, ...) lose market share to the free alternatives.

          Is the whole Linux community guilty of anti-competitive behaviour?

          I don't like some of the MS behaviour in recent years any more than you do, but you can't just make black-and-white arguments like that. If you could, we wouldn't need all the legal hassle going on just now -- as opposed to just not needing most of it, which you can't help thinking is actually the case... ;-)

      • Personally, myself (and many others) do not believe that what was done with IE was anti-competitive in any way.

        But at some point the court has to make a decision. Microsoft was convicted more than a year ago and has run out of appeals. If you don't like the verdict, oh well, but the judge needs to go forward. What you and I say doesn't affect the verdict.

      • While punishment may not be a goal of antitrust action, restoring competition and denying the monopolist the fruits of their illegal behavior are both legitimate goals of antitrust action. The latter might be misinterpreted by some as punishment. It's not; why should a monopolist be allowed to retain benefits reaped from breaking the law? That serves as an incentive for lawbreaking, so the illicit benefits must be confiscated. This is not punitive action; it's "natural consequences" for breaking antitrust law.
    • I would say the reason this trial (and any trial for that matter) is taking so long is because of lawyers.
      It's not as simple as people sitting around and having a high-level conversation on the merits of one point or another.
      Communication in the western legal system is very 1-way. Each party has a very specific period to say very specific things. The other party may offer limited response during this period. The legal system is crafted to make it extremely difficult to get your point across in a matter that 'pleases the court' unless you're a lawyer.
      Once this system is in place, it is up to the lawyers how long the case goes on for. Now how long do they want it to go on for? As long as friggin possible!
      In this case in particular, I also assume that there is some serious 'incentive' for the court to find in Micro$oft's favour. I wouldn't be surprised if the outcome had already been decided and everyone's just 'going through the motions' now. After all, the justice department did switch sides...
    • "Somebody explain to me why it takes 1187 pages to say "this case can go on" and why it takes this long to figure out a punishment"

      It is because the MSFT corporate lawyers are paid huge money to come up with hundreds of silly ideas why the case should be dismissed and the judge has to refute every one of them. You said yourself that this will eventually annoy the shareholders and I agree. Refuting many ideas takes many words.

      I hope that in this case and in the hundreds of upcoming private suits resulting from Hon. T. P. Jackson's "Finding of Fact," it will be MSFT's own lawyers that suck them dry. The irony will be rich like tarte au sucre* the day when MSFT gets brought down by the fees from their own legal cousel.

      * this literally means "sugar pie" which is an extremely sweet traditional French-Canadian treat [betterbaking.com].

  • Yippee! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by JanusFury ( 452699 )
    Let's waste more taxpayer dollars, more time, and do absolutely nothing.

    Screw suing MS, how about actually DOING something about it? Instead of suing them for 'monopoly practices', which will be next-to-impossible to prove in court, why not just STOP BUYING THEIR SOFTWARE.

    Stupid yuppie government decision-making.
    • Re:Yippee! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by WetCat ( 558132 )
      Exactly! Can you please tell me how you can avoid buying Windows XP now when you are buying Toshiba notebook?
      • I work for the government, BTW, so I have a bit of an inside view, here.

        The Gov is a big enough purchaser of computers, that this could be feasable - why not build their own? Set up a factory somewhere, and build custom government computers, assembly-line style. Only include hardware and software that's needed, and save money all over the place. Most computer dealers include crap the Gov doesn't need, so it'd work well, probably.
    • Hear hear. Microsoft wouldn't be able to do half the crap they get away with if certain large customers simply refused to use their software anymore.
    • Re:Yippee! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MrResistor ( 120588 )
      Instead of suing them for 'monopoly practices', which will be next-to-impossible to prove in court

      Which Microsoft Anti-trust trial have you been watching? Microsoft has already been found guilty of abusive monopoly prcatices, and the case didn't even deal with their most damaging practices; their OEM agreements. In fact, their appeal has nothing to do with overturning that verdict, that appeal was rejected. This one is about trying to reduce the punishment.

      I agree about not buying their software, though.

  • by dinotrac ( 18304 ) on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @07:13PM (#3690573) Journal
    What I found interesting was the Judge's characterization of Microsoft's motion as misrepresenting the holdings of the cases it cited in support of the motion to dismiss.

    That's a powerful statement from a judge and should be taken by Microsoft as a warning. It seems that the last thing they should be doing is demonstrating to the Court a complete and utter disregard for truth and for the law.

    That's the kind of thing that makes a judge mad and judges are bad people to have mad at you.
    • by jimhill ( 7277 ) on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @07:17PM (#3690601) Homepage
      One of Microsoft's (apparent) legal strategies in its many courtroom appearances has been to goad and provoke the judge into saying or writing something intemperate which the company can then use as "evidence of bias" for an appeal should they lose. It worked like a charm with Jackson -- Judge KK appears to be aware of that and is holding her tongue.
      • by tempest303 ( 259600 ) <(jensknutson) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @07:28PM (#3690668) Homepage
        I'd say she's doing better than that. Judge KK seems to be bending over backwards for MS in some situations, but standing strong when they pull some screwy crap like this motion to dismiss. Much as I thought Judge Jackson never actually said anything untrue or particularly biased (but I guess I'm biased, so who knows ;) I'm glad that when Microsoft FINALLY gets their Official Spanking from the court, we won't have to put up with as much whining from MS and the "pro-business" crowd (note the quotes) about how the judge was biased, the trial was unfair, etc.
        • I'm glad that when Microsoft FINALLY gets their Official Spanking from the court...

          And therein lies the problem. Spankings hurt for what, a half hour at most?

        • I'm glad that when Microsoft FINALLY gets their Official Spanking from the court, we won't have to put up with as much whining from MS and the "pro-business" crowd (note the quotes) about how the judge was biased, the trial was unfair, etc.

          Nonsense. They'll be making that claim no matter what.

    • I am an attorney, but this is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction. If you get your legal advice from slashdot, please contact me about a real estate purchase.


      Predicting judges' rullings from comments is difficult, but the language used here is as telling as we're likely to get.


      The first rule of litigation is, "Don't piss off the judge." Microsoft violated this repeatedly in the original tri8al, and then drew a lucky break when the judge that they had utterly alienated (hey, judges get upset by perjury and frauds upon the court; guess which single group was *most* upset with Clinton?) ran off his big mouth and generally acted like the wrong end of a horse.


      From the language she used, it looks like they're well on their way to alienating another.


      hawk, esq.

      • I just noticed the language at the end of the article. It is a common (but inexcusable!) error: The appellate court did *not* overturn the remedy from the original judge. After microsoft bellowed that this was the case, they took the unusal step of issueing an extra order to clarify.


        They tossed out *everything* that Jackson did following his opening of his over-sized mouth to the press, on the grounds that he'd undermined credibilty of the system. THe court *explicitly* noted that they had not ruled out a breakup or any other remedy.


        hawk, esq.

        • Drives me nuts, too.

          The court, in light of Jackson's stupidity, had no choice but to send the remedy back for review and clarification.

          What generally gets lost is that the actual verdict was upheld by a unanimous court. That's unanimous as in don't count on the Supreme Court to grant certiori, and this from an appellate court generally regarded as both conservative and sympathetic to big business.
          • yes.


            For that matter, Jackson was generally regarded as conservative and sympathetic to big business. MS alienated him.


            One qualification, though: while the findings of fact were upheld unanimously, the appellate court did find more evidence needed for a couple of the conclusions of law--so that portion of the case got dropped.


            hawk, esq

            • >the appellate court did find more evidence needed for a couple of the conclusions of law--so that portion of the case got dropped.

              You're right, of course.
              Bottom line thinking on my part.
              ;0)
    • I think you actually believe that the justice system of the United States has something to do with "Truth" as a serious concept. Anybody outside the country can clearly see it does not.

      The american justice and legal system is a wonderfully complex chess game. You find the cleverest way to use the law to avoid having to tell the truth, and you win.

      Microsoft understand this very well.
      • >Microsoft understand this very well.

        I'm beginning to wonder. Of late, it doesn't seem that their chess game is working very well.

        They got lucky when Jackson got stupid, but they still have a verdict standing against them. Worse, that verdict's been upheld unanimously and is about as likely to ever be overturned as I am to grow feathers.

        Now, in the remedy hearing, at at time when they really could make up some serious ground -- who cares if you lose the case but get off with a hand slap -- they are blowing it again by showing utter disdain for the judge.

        There were fortunate that the new Justice Department is sympathetic and unwilling to press for appropriate sanctions. The judge, however, is not part of the Justice Department and is not part of the current administration at all. They still have time to screw the pooch.

        And, of course, we haven't even mentioned all the civil actions that are lying around out there.

  • by tcd004 ( 134130 ) on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @07:14PM (#3690583) Homepage
    Read em here [lostbrain.com]

    Please note, this is a joke.

    Now go back to your daily lives.
  • I would like to see this:

    1. Modular windows for OEM's
    2. Retail windows which forces you to use MS products

    This setup would mean, basically.. if you want a "nice" version of windows, you have to get it from OEM's .. if you want to be microsoft dependent, you can get it from them..

    End Result? Microsoft is 50% happy (but who really cares except their investors), OEM's are happy, developers of replacement software (real player, netscape, etc) are happy ...... the idea is, Microsoft sortof gets its way, the states sortof get their way .. is that too hard ?!
  • by peterdaly ( 123554 ) <petedaly.ix@netcom@com> on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @07:15PM (#3690593)
    "Microsoft quotes selectively from a number of cases with the effect of mischaracterizing their holdings," U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote in response to the settlement argument. "The court finds this tactic unpersuasive."

    and later on...

    A final footnote noting Justice's objections was the only reference sympathetic to Microsoft in the 35-page opinion.

    Is it possible she is starting to show what she thinks about the case? Up until now, at least from what I have read, she has remained very unbiased.

    -Pete
    • Replying just about the questionable quotes given, the first seems fairly unbiased to me. It is up to the judge to make decisions, in this case, and this sounds like part of it.

      As for the second line, I'm thinking that is simply the press' view on things, and I hope a reading of the actual statement can confirm or deny this. Counting the times the judge seemed sympathetic to Microsoft without making the same judgement call as to the number or times the judge was sympathetic to "the other guys" is just bad reporting.
    • Is it possible she is starting to show what she thinks about the case? Up until now, at least from what I have read, she has remained very unbiased.

      You naughty, nasty, subversive, sneaky little insinuator, you. ;-)

      I catch a ill-defined whiff of a nebulous hint of an unclear suggestion of a vague implication that having thoughts is bias.

  • When? (Score:5, Funny)

    by rant-mode-on ( 512772 ) on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @07:20PM (#3690619) Homepage
    My god, when will it ever end?

    Microsoft that is, not the trial.
  • that's right, stick to the Man(TM)
  • I mean, not to sound like I am against the trial, but the length has realy made me apathetic. am I the only one?
    • Perhaps this trial should use opensource tactics. Judge Early, Judge Often!

      But think about it.. this case is taking longer than it took to build Mozilla. If that's not saying something...

    • I mean, not to sound like I am against the trial, but the length has realy made me apathetic. am I the only one?

      IBM managed to tie its antitrust case up in court for 13 years. Finally during the Regan administration Baxter dropped the case due to "lack of merit".

      Microsoft just needs to keep stringing it out. File endless appeal after endless appeal on whatever grounds they can find.

      Of course, by that time, the next paradigm shift may have come along, just as microcomputers largely made mainframes irrelevant to most people. (Of course, Apple's John Scully said it best in Boston MacWorld 1987: The mainframe isn't irrelevant, it's a perfectly good perhiperal [for obtaining data from].) So even if MS can keep this in court for many years, the world will go on.
      • by fw3 ( 523647 ) on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @08:55PM (#3691124) Homepage Journal
        I suggest you read "Folded, Spindled, and Mutilated: Economic Analysis and U.S. Vs. IBM" by Franklin M. Fisher et. al.

        IBM has it's points good and bad, however the DOJ case (brought by the Johnson administration) was severely flawed (in ways that the MS case is not at least imho).

        Among other things the prosecutors made their case on the basis of the market for mainframes. In presenting their case they eliminated the sales of Digital (then the #2 manufacturerer of computing equipment). Then they *included* the sales of IBM's competition in plug-compatible into IBM's 'market share'.

        This is how they came up with the '80%' supposed market share figure that was widely published and believed. There were numerous other stupidities in this case.

        MS has not, and while they managed to effectively sidestep a weakly worded consent decree after the '95 case, that very disrespect for the law is a big part of why the opposition is playing hardball this time around.

        First time the rumor was that Gates threatened the Clinton administration that he'd take MS offshore. As has been said in posts above this one, you can only thumb your nose at the judge for so long before she decides to flex her muscles.

        MS has begun to clean up it's act and behave in ways that are required of a monopoly. If they are found guilty and then go back and try to do the same cr*p yet again I daresay they will be facing a truly PO'd judicial system.

        • If they are found guilty

          What do you mean, if? They already have been found guilty - everything that's going on now is to determine how they should be punished.

          All of the arguing is over what they can and cannot be forced to do, both legally and technologically (eg is it technologically possible to force them to offer a "modular" version of Windows, etc)

          Cheers,

          Tim
    • ...is that nobody ever does anything about it... (-:
  • Good for the states, and for us!

    Yahoo!:
    "Microsoft quotes selectively from a number of cases with the effect of mischaracterizing their holdings," U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote in response to the settlement argument. "The court finds this tactic unpersuasive."

    I said "wow!" out loud when I read that. That is fantastic, perhaps we have a judge that isn't going to lay down to all of MS's bullshit this time. Great!

    Before her ruling, the judge asked the Justice Department for its opinion. Department lawyers -- as well as representatives of 25 other states that backed up the nine attorneys general -- agreed that the states should be able to bring their case.

    Well well, perhaps a few more states can hop on.. If that's possible.

    That Other Site:
    Each side gave Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly plenty to chew on as she prepares for final oral arguments, ...

    And I was hoping for anal, ... No wait, I haven't seen her.
  • by crovira ( 10242 ) on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @07:33PM (#3690699) Homepage
    That would be trivial to implement and verify. And they would have nothing to complain about since that just enforces the status quo.

    Any M$ app/OS on anything BUT an x86 box and Gates and Dancing Monkey Boy kiss their assets good bye and rot in jail for as long as the app/OS is available on anything but the x86.

    Steve Jobs will just have to learn to like OpenOffice or StarOffice.
  • by wackybrit ( 321117 ) on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @07:33PM (#3690701) Homepage Journal
    Since the mid 80's, the 'operating system' has been extremely important to Microsoft. Making sure everyone adopted Windows 95 and 98 was extremely important for the success of the company, as it locked them into the current architecture (2000/XP etc). This has meant that operating systems are VERY important to MS.

    This may not be the case for much longer. With the advent of Linux, operating systems have been somewhat commoditized. With .NET, the operating system is not as important as it once was.. in the future, a proper .NET program will run on any system that has a .NET compatible VM and the correct class libraries!

    Believe it or not, in 5 years, you could see Mac/Linux people buying, and running natively, stuff like Office and Visual Basic.NET, thanks to Microsoft embracing the concept of the virtual machine.

    I think Microsoft is going to bank on the success of its virtual machine (.NET) and this whole new platform-independant architecture. Even if Microsoft was forced out of the OS game.. it's not a disaster for them. They still have the critical mass of users to sell software to (Office, etc), and a critical mass of developers used to developing for their platforms.

    In essence, .NET allows Microsoft's software to dominate on EVERY PLATFORM, and this is a great thing for them. A very clever move, and it may make all this antitrust case very irrelevant.
    • Bad form to reply to one's own post, but.. just remembered.. there's a discussion about Microsoft and possible VM strategy from today here [metafilter.com].
      • So I'm thinking then that M$ will suddenly start to look at thin clients in a whole new light.

        If the OS is commoditized, they still have to make their money elsewhere.

        *wavy lines*

        Office? No problem! Don't buy that expensive Dell workstation - buy the cheapo thin client for your drones, and a big old server running WinXX and use .NET to leverage!

        Oh yeah, now we got you where we want you on per seat licensing, and even though you just realized it, what you gonna do? Eat the cost of those 400 thin clients? Or pay us our per-seat fee?

        Good boy, sign here.

        */end wavy lines*
        • "If the OS is commoditized, they still have to make their money elsewhere."

          That's true, but it solves the core issue of the anti-trust case -- Microsoft muscling OEMs that had no other reasonable choice but to ship Windows.

          Microsoft might have dodged the bullet on the breakup plan, but that only buys them time to use pre-installation to get everyone hooked on .NET -- the end result is probably the same. And that result is Windows being worthless (it's already down to ~$30 in bulk).

          Furthermore, it's a hellava lot easier to switch word processors than it is to switch OSes. There's historical precedence of that actually happening (WordPerfect once had 80%+ marketshare).
    • In essence, .NET allows Microsoft's software to dominate on EVERY PLATFORM

      sed s/.NET/JAVA/ | sed s/Microsoft/Sun/

      I don't think so Tim...

      • Java != .NET (Score:3, Interesting)

        by wackybrit ( 321117 )
        In essence, .NET allows Microsoft's software to dominate on EVERY PLATFORM

        sed s/.NET/JAVA/ | sed s/Microsoft/Sun/

        I don't think so Tim...


        Microsoft has many advantages now over Sun in 1994.

        For a start, Microsoft has an extremely large user base who are going to end up using .NET whether they like it or not. If you want to stick with Microsoft, .NET is not an option, it's what you'll have to use.

        .NET is already being ported to other platforms. Ximian are working on something for GNU/Linux, and MS even released their own source code [microsoft.com] demonstrating a FreeBSD .NET implementation.

        Java was on lots of platforms, but it was VERY limited in what it could do on each one. .NET's virtual machine and class libraries can do WAY more than what Java can.

        Java limited people to one language, a language that many coders didn't like. .NET is just a VM/platform, whereas 'Java' was both the JVM *and* a language. This limited extension capabilities, as well as the conversion of older software. You couldn't load up your old C software, and get it working in Java.. with VB.NET, VC.NET etc.. this is a possibility. People have already created FORTH and COBOL compilers for .NET!

        Either way, .NET may not be a success, but it has several very important things going for it, and Java had none of them. I mean.. come on.. Sun hardly had millions of users in 1994! Microsoft has got .NET out quickly, and is saturating the marketplace, ensuring their success into the future.

        I might not love Microsoft, but I have to hand it to them.. they're speculating, and I think it's the right one.
        • Re:Java != .NET (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Hard_Code ( 49548 ) on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @09:37PM (#3691297)
          ".NET's virtual machine and class libraries can do WAY more than what Java can."

          Like? From what I can tell, .NET (or rather CLR) adds some small syntactic features (simpler inlining of native code, automatic boxing), and some "web services integration". If you look at the .NET class library, it is almost literally a 1-to-1 mapping to the Java class libraries. And automatic boxing and parameterized types are coming to Java in 1.5. As far as web services and middleware, Java is FAR ahead of the pack with J2EE which is absolutely dominating enterprise middleware and what is now being hyped as "web services". Servlet engines and JSP were in production for quite a while before .NET thank-you-very-much. Unfortunately MS did everything it could to kill the prospects of Java on the client, so we never really saw that come to fruition, while of course .NET will be getting automatic first class treatment on the client side which it will undoubtedly be able to leverage to accelerate acceptence in areas which J2EE is currently dominating.

          ".NET is just a VM/platform, whereas 'Java' was both the JVM *and* a language."

          Well, .NET is a VM/platform geared towards a particular type of language (e.g., C#). From what I've read everything else is pretty much C# with different keyword/token names. That's not to say it is a *bad* thing, since MS's goal is mostly migrating its *current* base of developers. But it's far from magically-better-than-Java.

          "You couldn't load up your old C software, and get it working in Java."

          Woah! Could that have been a feature! ;)

          "with VB.NET, VC.NET etc.. this is a possibility."

          Yes, because the goal of .NET is to migrate current MS developers to a new architecture with many of the benefits of the Java platform.

          "People have already created FORTH and COBOL compilers for .NET!"

          Will wonders never cease! Perhaps you want to take a look at a list of the many languages that run on the Java VM [tu-berlin.de] (the page says "160 systems"...I'm not sure what that means, but there are a whole bunch). All this, long before .NET was anything but vapor.

          "but it has several very important things going for it, and Java had none of them."

          Come on, be fair, you are really pulling this out of your ass.

          Actually I'd have to say I like, and am impressed by the .NET architecture, and regularly step in to defend the architecture (if not MS) in front of FUDders and bashers. It is a great step up from the mess of native languages Microsoft was supporting. It has many of the nice features of the Java platform, and some new ones. But it would be really naive and unfair to not recognize the tremendous success Java has had and is having today in the same realms .NET is just now attempting to address. Maybe being one of those who are just now boarding the ship makes things look so much more rosier, than to myself, who has been on the ship already for 3 years ;)
          • Java was good, but sun totally fucked (sorry about the slang) it with licensing agreements. We don't even consider it a contender for anything anymore because we don't want to deal with sun.

            If you are wondering what I'm talking about, the easiest example is to try and compile jdk13 from the ports in FreeBSD, you can't w/o agreeing to about 500 agreements and giving them plenty of marketoid info. That along was enough to make me recomend against using java in favor of a VC app on a NT server for our most recent project (And I'm an 'Open Source Weenie'). Java just leaves a sour taste in my mouth, and they left one in MS's also when they tried to talk licenses.

            If the java specs were published, and the source was Free (Free as in speach, not free as in downloadable), Java would be alot better off than it is today, by shutting out MS they screwed themselfs, by bundling themselfs in legalese they turn everyone who has to deal with that junk off.
            • "If you are wondering what I'm talking about, the easiest example is to try and compile jdk13 from the ports in FreeBSD, you can't w/o agreeing to about 500 agreements and giving them plenty of marketoid info."

              And you think you will have better success with .NET??

              "That along was enough to make me recomend against using java in favor of a VC app on a NT server for our most recent project (And I'm an 'Open Source Weenie')."

              I thought we were talking FreeBSD. So not being able to build a proprietary VM on FreeBSD makes you choose an even more proprietary solution on an even more proprietary OS...?

              "If the java specs were published"

              They ARE published: Language Spec [sun.com] VM Spec [sun.com]

              "and the source was Free (Free as in speach, not free as in downloadable)"

              Again, how is .NET any better in this regard? Is the code for the .NET libraries even viewable (if not "open source")?? (Sun packages most of the source to their libraries with their SDKs for free for "reference" purposes)

              "by shutting out MS they screwed themselfs"

              Dude, MS shut *THEM* out, once they saw Java as a threat.

              To their credit Sun has done a great job with Java...they still maintain control (and with a competitor like MS and .NET, why wouldn't they want to?), but they have been increasingly open...they even recently came to an agreement with the Apache group on open source java J2EE certification. I'm really not holding my breath to see if MS is going to be more open-source friendly than Java.
          • You're also forgetting that Java has limited control over the operating system it's running on. For security, this is great, but when it comes to making proper software, it's not so good.

            Java apps just don't look as good and don't work as well as regular apps. Java apps have a reputation for being rather unstable. .NET provides features like Windows Forms and ADO.NET so that .NET applications can look and work in exactly the same way as regular apps (or at least the user thinks so).

            OTOH, many Java apps have weird customized UIs, or use awful Motif style interfaces. Thta's not what we want, we want people using native interface libraries, and .NET encourages this.
            • "You're also forgetting that Java has limited control over the operating system it's running on. For security, this is great, but when it comes to making proper software, it's not so good."

              Granted. But even .NET and now OpenBSD are copying the security features of Java.

              "Java apps just don't look as good and don't work as well as regular apps."
              "many Java apps have weird customized UIs, or use awful Motif style interfaces. Thta's not what we want, we want people using native interface libraries, and .NET encourages this."

              Again, true. Then again, let's just see how "nice" .NET apps look on anything but Windows operating systems. Also, for reference, check out IBM's Simple Widget Toolkit [eclipse.org] (tutorial [eclipse.org])which is a very thin layer on top of native widgets...applications using SWT are very fast and nice looking. I think you'll be surprised.

              That said, it is true that Java isn't as good on the client as it is on the server. Take a wild guess as to why that is...
        • Java limited people to one language, a language that many coders didn't like.

          Which language would that be, then? Would it be BASIC [mbay.net], or COBOL [legacyj.com] or ADA [gnat.com] or Python [jython.org] or FORTH [willware.net] or PASCAL [qut.edu.au] or C [uq.edu.au] or PERL [ebb.org] or FORTRAN [utk.edu] or LISP [umb.edu] or Scheme [sourceforge.net] or Smalltalk [smalltalkjvm.com] or one of these [tu-berlin.de]?

          In fact, surprise, surprise, there are over 200 different programming languages you can use to write Java VM programs in.

        • .NET is already being ported to other platforms.

          FUD. Of the roughly 1200 classes in Dotnet today, less than 200 are part of the ECMA standards (CLR, C Sharp). Most of the Dotnet functionality is contained in APIs such as Windows Forms and ADO.NET and these are not standardized, and are covered by a number of patents. Ximian may be attempting to clone them but any use of these components will entail risk. This is not the case with the Java (J2SE, J2EE) platform, which is well established on Linux and other OSes.
        • Microsoft has got .NET out quickly, and is saturating the marketplace, ensuring their success into the future.

          Did this happen last night, because I just woke up?
    • To me, application domination is acceptable- you can always dethrone an application by superior features. People are conscious of applications, they aren't infrastructure. In my mind, as long as something doesn't carry data or isn't infrastructure, it can be proprietary in its methods.

      This doesn't mean that open applications aren't great- what I mean by this is that we do not suffer nearly as much from closed applications as we do from closed infrastructure systems and closed file formats.

      .Net has infrastructure elements, but those are remarkably well documented, and the need to standardize will keep major elements of .Net from becoming a moving target.

      A
    • Believe it or not, in 5 years, you could see Mac/Linux people buying, and running natively, stuff like Office and Visual Basic.NET, thanks to Microsoft embracing the concept of the virtual machine.

      I understand the point you're trying to make, but... I can already buy Office for Mac.

    • by Erris ( 531066 )
      Believe it or not, in 5 years, you could see Mac/Linux people buying, and running natively, stuff like Office and Visual Basic.NET, thanks to Microsoft embracing the concept of the virtual machine.

      Sure thing Rilpley. Can you give me one reason people tie their work up in bloated, secret, propriatory formats that change once a year so that your previous work must be redone? Oh, that's right, people used Word because that's what the friendly M$ agent gave them in business school, then later it was the only comercial package that you could buy from a large retailer like Dell. So now with so many free alternatives available, you think people are going to continue to flog themsleves with M$ crap?

      M$ is going to have to legislate themselves out of their current predicament. Their usual anti-competitive marketing policies will simply destroy their old friends. FUD is failing them as more people free themselves, and dumping is NOT something they can continue forever. Without some kind of horrid digital rights denial laws, the coomiditization of OS is the death of M$ and friends. If the feds want money from M$ they had better fine them or regulate them like tobaco. Otherwise M$ will slip away like glass bottle makers.

    • With .NET, the operating system is not as important as it once was.. in the future, a proper .NET program will run on any system that has a .NET compatible VM and the correct class libraries!

      Funny, people were saying the same thing about Java five years ago.

      The only .NET Virtual Machines that will ever be 100% compatible with Office and other leading MS applications will be the one that Microsoft writes itself.

      Do you honestly think Microsoft is going to maintain OS X or Linux/x86 versions of their VM with the same enthusiasm as their Windows VM's?
  • by neo ( 4625 ) on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @08:12PM (#3690879)
    who had been given this case came to hate MS, in much the same way as the previous judge had. She hated them because they lied, they cheated and they were trying all kinds of tricks to sway her viewpoint.

    Now imagine you were really set to hit them upside the head with a nasty verdict. What would be the smartest thing in the world to do. Right... keep quiet about it. Never give a hint or whiff that you felt that way, or you'd never get your chance to apply a verdict at all. You'd know the previous judge really f*cked up when he talked about the case, so you wont make the same mistake. In fact, it would be nearly impossible for anyone to guess what you were planning on doing.

    This is clearly conjecture on my part, but god it would be nice if it was true.
    • Remember Sporkin (Score:4, Interesting)

      by johnos ( 109351 ) on Thursday June 13, 2002 @12:39AM (#3691896)
      He came to hate them too. And went too far as a result. MS turned that to their advantage, just as they did Jackson's missteps. Neither Jackson's or Sporkin's humiliations will be lost on this judge. She will be as careful as she can possibly be.

      I think the first two came to hate MS because they could see clearly the utter contempt MS has for the justice system, or anyone else that might get in their way. MS is still at it in this new courtroom. Lies, half truths, FUD, remorselessness, arrogance, self-serving "compliance" and disrespect for the intellegence of the bench are usually not part of a winning formula in court. Eventually, MS will find a judge that does not get provoked, but simply hammers them with the law. Hopefully, this judge will be the one.
  • Simple solution. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by chris_sawtell ( 10326 ) on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @09:53PM (#3691342) Journal
    They have done crime with computers.

    They should do time.

    Sling them in the slammer.

    Probation after 12 months.

    Computer no touchee for at least 3 years.

    Why is that not too hash?

    • They have created software which is so faulty that it's caused losses to other people counted in the Billions of Dollars. ( The cost of time needed to clean up after all the viruses and worms. )
    • They have charged hundreds and thousands of dollars for bits of plastic worth cents. That's a con job netting 40 Billion Dollars.
    • They have totally abused their monopoly position, and thus seriously impeded the progress of innovation in the data processing industry.
    • They are now demanding money from people on a regular basis to provide continued access to their programs. In my country that's called a protection racket.
    Those are the reasons why they are nothing more than a criminal gang and should do time.
    • They have done crime with computers.

      Who have? Gates and Ballmer? The executive VPs? Hundreds of developers? All Microsoft employees, inclusing the potwashers in the cafeteria?

      They have created software which is so faulty that it's caused losses to other people counted in the Billions of Dollars. ( The cost of time needed to clean up after all the viruses and worms. )

      1. Microsoft never created and released a product called MS Virus, nor MS Worm.
      2. The losses that are reported due to virus attacks are 80% bullshit.

      They have charged hundreds and thousands of dollars for bits of plastic worth cents. That's a con job netting 40 Billion Dollars.

      IIRC the value of the raw chemicals that make up the human body is under $20. Should people be allowed to kill whatever people they want, so long as they pay twenty bucks?

      Value of raw materials is not a meaningful indicator of total value.

      They are now demanding money from people on a regular basis to provide continued access to their programs. In my country that's called a protection racket.

      My landlady demands hundreds of dollars from me every month to provide continued access to my apartment. In my country that's called a lease.
  • courts to microsoft: Your corporation has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down. Close or Ignore?

    Microsoft has been clicking "ignore" for a while, but it looks like its no longer working. Lookes like they'll have to click "close"
  • As much as I love another opportunity to demagogue the issues of the trial and Microsoft's behavior, based on my admittedly limited knowledge of the law, this isn't a big deal. It is pretty much pro forma to file a motion to dismiss at every opportunity. The denial of such motions is pretty common also when there is ANY appearence of merit to the case. A conclusion of law from a federal judge and the upholding of that conclusion by an appelate court pretty much ensures that motions to dismiss will not fly. That really has nothing to do with what the ultimate sanction will be.

    In other words, this is just the normal grinding of the legal wheels. I am a dyed-in-the-wool MS hater (just so you know my prejudices), but when I sit back and really try to be objective about it, I'm not sure that I can think of a remedy that would be effective that would not also represent a fairly egregious exercise of state power. The best one I can think of would be a mammoth fine (and I mean mammoth). Breakup actually worked for me, but it seems clear the appeals court wasn't going for it (and I'd have had a 3-way split: OS, apps, and media holdings). Forced opening of code seems to me to be a seizure of property which, again given my limited knowledge, seems unprecedented in a case like this. Besides, John Locke would come back and haunt us...

    No, I'm thinking a mammoth fine. Something that really devalues the company. Something that will make shareholders spank MS management if they behave this way ever again.

    Complicated stuff...

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