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Sun Microsystems

Sun To Continue To Go After Microsoft 249

Raiford writes "Sun Microsystem's has vowed to continue their pursuit of seeking damages from Microsoft in spite of the current ruling. A Reuters feature describes yesterday's ruling a setback for Sun and upholding light punishment on Microsoft. The current decision has not deterred Sun from pursuing a billion dollar suit maintaining a position of claiming significant harm from what they feel is clear monopoly"
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Sun To Continue To Go After Microsoft

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  • by Raul654 ( 453029 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @12:21PM (#4588301) Homepage
    Ok, Sun sues Microsoft in a long and costly trial, and and wins $1 billion end (maybe). Microsoft still has $30 Billion in the bank.
    • A billion to Sun, a few billion to the EU, a billion to AOL plus all the individual civil suits. The findings of facts make these lawsuits a slam dunk. After a while all these could add up to some real money.
      • by JordanH ( 75307 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @12:37PM (#4588396) Homepage Journal
        Not really. They actually have closer to $40 Billion in the bank now and they're accumulating at the rate of about $1 Billion a month.

        So, $1 Billion to Sun, $3 Billion to the EU, $1 Billion to AOL, and let's be really generous and say $7 Billion covers all the rest and their lawyers.

        If the lawsuits take more than a year, and they will, they'll still have more than they started with.

        • And when Bill's stock dips because of all the
          negative publicity, that cash pile will have to
          be used to prop up the stock price or else
          Bill will have to actually start paying his
          employees rather than just offer them stock
          options.

          This could get interesting.

          Has anyone written up the implication for
          MicroSoft if their stock loses value? Would
          be an interesting read.
          • Has anyone written up the implication for MicroSoft if their stock loses value? Would be an interesting read.

            Microsoft's capitalization is such a big part of the stock market that economic anxiety probably had a lot to do with this plutocrats-whores Administration deciding to back off on the Antitrust case.

            See the following analysis of Microsoft's financial pyramid for enlightenment:

            Microsoft Fraud Facts [billparish.com]

            • by tc ( 93768 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @10:56PM (#4591814)
              Enron of software? On what grounds? The article you linked to is pure bunk, and it's pretty easy to see why.

              While it's true that if stock options were accounted for as expenditure, Microsoft would have posted a paper loss in some previous years, it's also true that when the stock fell, the same computation would have left them posting a phenomincal profit for precisely the same reason. These fluctuations are exactly why accounting stock options as expenses year-on-year doesn't make sense, and why it is not generally accepted accounting practice.

              The undeniable fact is that somehow Microsoft has accumulated over $40 billion in liquid asset reserves. How did that happen if they took a loss every year? The contrast with Enron could not be more stark.

              PS. I thought the reference to The Economist was particularly cute, since the article referred to concluded nothing like the taken out-of-context quote implied.

            • And when Bill's stock dips because of all the negative publicity, that cash pile will have to be used to prop up the stock price or else Bill will have to actually start paying his employees rather than just offer them stock options.

              This could get interesting.

              Has anyone written up the implication for MicroSoft if their stock loses value? Would be an interesting read.

            Follow the stock market much?

            MSFT is down more than 50% since it's high in late 1999. That's never caused them to seriously dip into their cash reserves.

            In any case, any bad publicity they might receive from various civil actions will be more than counter-balanced by the fact that the DOJ case is over now.

        • Not really. They actually have closer to $40 Billion in the bank now and they're accumulating at the rate of about $1 Billion a month.

          Hold it. They're not accumulating wealth at the rate of $1B per month.

          $1B per month is their income . From that, they must pay expenses.

          They're still ridiculously rich and apparantly getting richer, but not THAT fast.

      • The findings of facts make these lawsuits a slam dunk.
        This is actually untrue. The finding of fact mainl saves time, but it proves MS a monopoly in OS's.

        Sun is charging that MS is being anti-competitive with .NET integration into their OS's. That's a pretty narrow thing to avert. On top of that MS has a pretty good shot of showing that the .NET integration stuff - like in .NET Server and all that - is an extension of software that already exisits (IIS, DTC, etc). Better still MS has a really good shot at arguing they are no where *near* a monopoly in the server space, which is obviously true. And if they get anywhere in holding up there end of the bargin with the settlement, then, well, it might be more difficult than Sun thinks to win.

        But seriously, this isn't a slam dunk. Nothing involving lots of lawyers is. And nothing for $1B is. My guess is Sun will go into court and either 1) blow the case or 2) accuse of being bad, and ask for $1B, after which time MS will just say "okay". Either way, Sun isn't really significantly helping themselves.
    • Once one group wins against MS, it sets a nice precedent for others to go and sue their monopolistic ass. Law is very much about precedent, so where 1 case has gone subsequent cases will often go as well.
  • Go for it, man! Whatever you might feel about McNealy personally, ya gotta give him credit for sheer guts and having razor-sharp focus IMHO.
    • Yeah, ya gotta give him credit for being a complete imbecile, willing to sacrifice his company (not really his anyway, as it's publicly traded) for a personal vendetta.

      I hate microsoft as much as the next guy, but McNealy and Ellison are just whiny little bitches - it's just that Ellison can still (sort of) afford to whine; whereas McNealy is taking Sun down the shitter.
    • by rutledjw ( 447990 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @12:30PM (#4588350) Homepage
      I dunno. I think I'd rather see Sun focus on improving their products (Sparc and Java) than go after MS. I'm not convinced you can really corner those characters.

      Further, I think MS will hang themselves. No, I'm serious here. Oppressive corporate strategies - both licensing and DRM sorts of things will get them eventually. Neither of these are beneficial to the consumer (business or personal) and at some point, MS will have to pay the price. If one is to believe some of the articles floating around, companies are already looking to *nix as an MS alternative

      I think Sun should focus on making their products the best they can and spend less time railing on the Evil Empire (tm).

      • Yeah I gotta agree with you on that, about MS eventually hanging themselves. As far as focus goes, I really meant SunONE, having recently read an interview with McNealy and it was obvious that's where all his focus is. Not that I'm any kind of Sun expert or anything; I just think they have cool hardware and definitely a strong *nix background.
      • Further, I think MS will hang themselves. No, I'm serious here. Oppressive corporate strategies - both licensing and DRM sorts of things will get them eventually.

        This may be true, but I don't think that anybody can predict exactly what will happen. Look at IBM, fifteen years ago THEY were the Microsoft of the computing world. Everybody hated them, but they used them because there was no real alternative.

        Now IBM is still a HUGE company, but we no longer consider them "evil". My opinion is that is where Microsoft will eventually head. A big company that still has a lot of clout, but will no longer be the defacto company that nobody can challenge. :-/

      • "Further, I think MS will hang themselves. No, I'm serious here."

        I also think that Microsoft will die, but not at their own hands. There are dozens of upcoming private lawsuits against the company and more and more will come, given the state of their DRM and licensing plans.

        I say that MSFT will die at the hands of their lawyers. The very people that helped them maintain supremacy will suck them dry. How much does a top rank corporate lawyer charge? A damn lot of money, probably several million dollars per case, hundreds of millions of big cases. And even MSFT can't sustain that forever. (Ironic, no?)

      • I think I'd rather see Sun focus on improving their products (Sparc and Java) than go after MS.

        In the case of java, going after MS is a significant part of improving Sun's product. The main value of java is as a "network" language. It is only useful if all versions of java can be kept compatible. Sun's lawsuit against MS's java was based on the fact that Microsoft has long supplied a version of java that is full of incompatibilities with Sun's. This is almost certainly intentional, and has the purpose of making java less useful than it would be if MS's java were compatible.

        There's a tendency of users to judge a product by the behavior of the one instance that they have available. Microsoft users judge java by MS's java, and they find it buggy and incompatible. So they conclude that java is buggy and incompatible.

        But Sun owns java. If they can get judges that haven't been bought by Microsoft, they can stop MS's campaign to damage java. In fact, they might even be able to get a court order to replace MS's java with Sun's version on Windows machines. Then all those java applets out there might actually work the same everywhere.

        Of course, now that it's clear that the US DoJ and at least some courts are in Microsoft's pocket, it's not obvious that Sun can prevail in the courts.

        • In the case of java, going after MS is a significant part of improving Sun's product. The main value of java is as a "network" language. It is only useful if all versions of java can be kept compatible.

          Only useful to whom?

          Seriously, most languages do not run on every platform without code modifications. There is every reason why a programmer would want a language with object features without the syntactic crap associated with Stroustrup's dog.

          So Sun has 'won' that fight, they now get to keep Java pure and Microsoft have their own language C Sharp. Incidentally the Kotelly judgement notes that Microsoft has the right to make an incomatible VM if it chooses under the appeals court findings, they simply have to ensure that developers are aware that their stuff is incompatible.

          So the ongoing case appears to be flawed at best. Microsoft has ceased all sale of Java products. In fact Suns argument is now that having sued Microsoft to stop distribution of Java Microsoft are now doing something illegal by refusing to distribute Java

          Sun will die and Java may die with it. McNeally is Sun's Ken Olsen. There is simly no real value left in the company. IBM have handed their ass to them on Java code. Intel have handed them their ass on performance. Apple has a much better Unix based O/S . Linux has the mindshare.

          Notice that Microsoft does not appear in the to four reasons why Sun is going to die. The only reason that Microsoft is a threat to Sun is that the Sun employees are all far too busy minding Microsoft's business and spending almost none minding their own.

    • Whatever you might feel about McNealy personally, ya gotta give him credit for sheer guts and having razor-sharp focus IMHO

      I guess you haven't been following Sun for very long, because McNealy and "focus" don't get along. Sun has flipflopped for years unable to decide if they were a workstation vendor, a server vendor, a vertical one-stop shop a la IBM or something else altogether (see their current marketing campaign around SunONE). The "dot in dotcom" was a disaster for them, and now their sales are being hurt by their own second-hand kit (why buy a brand new Sun Blade workstation when you can pick up a very capable Ultra 60 or 30 for a fraction of the price?). They spent years insisting that Solaris on SPARC was their crown jewels, they fudged the decision on Solaris x86 and now they are selling Linux on x86 machines, this time competing with themselves directly. Or StarOffice - that was part of a plan to compete directly with PCs using cheap workstations running Solaris (the Ultra 5) and thin clients (Sun Ray). It didn't pan out, and they were pretty much forced to give away StarOffice for free (you think they did that out of the goodness of their hearts?). Over the past couple of years their development toolset has been called SPARCworks, SunPro, Forte and now it's SunONE Studio - the same basic tools rebranded depending on whether Sun think the future is embedded, HPC, Internet or "ONE". And Java - for a long time, IBM's JVM on x86 wiped the floor with Sun's on SPARC (may even still be true, haven't checked recently).

      Sun have some great products and technologies, but what will kill them is their sheer lack of focus. Right now they need to reestablish the SPARC as the processor for serious computing and establish the Sun Fire/Blade as the platforms for it, and they need to get Java's performance on their low end machines up to the level where it can seriously be used for interactive apps then start selling them in bulk to the people who are currently buying their workstations from Dell.

      But the very first thing they need if for McNealy to drop his personal feud with Microsoft and define his company in terms of what his customers want, not simply reacting to whatever MS do.
  • by rnd() ( 118781 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @12:25PM (#4588317) Homepage
    I guess for some it's easier to litigate than it is to spend time/money on developing better products.

    To see how confident Wall Street feels about this strategy, look here [yahoo.com].
    • I don't think a chart that shows that their stock has dropped really says anything. Of course, if you compare [yahoo.com] it to the S&P, Dow, Nasdaq, and MSFT, it definitely has done much worse. Hell, VA Software [yahoo.com] (Slashdot's parent) and RedHat [yahoo.com] has even outperformed SUNW - which is really sad.
    • Horse hockey (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I guess for some it's easier to litigate than it is to spend time/money on developing better products

      Developing better products have nothing to do with it. MS wouldn't be where it is today if it had to depend on developing better products (and there's not much danger of that happening). It's about being the toughest meanest, sneakiest, breaking the rules (MS was found guilty of anti-trust violations, remember?) and buying influence to avoid severe penalties. Welcome to the new business world.

    • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @12:42PM (#4588421)
      I guess for some it's easier to litigate than it is to spend time/money on developing better products.

      Hmmm... I didn't see any place in the article that stated Sun was dropping it's R&D program to pursue the lawsuit. Nor did they mention anything about Bill Joy becoming a lawyer, or similar steps.

      These are not mutually exclusive.

    • by Schnapple ( 262314 ) <tomkidd@noSPAm.viatexas.com> on Sunday November 03, 2002 @12:50PM (#4588477) Homepage
      If I had mod points I'd mod this up. Microsoft is not infallible, all you have to do is do a better product.

      Microsoft's PhotoDraw product tried a couple of times to enter the graphics market. Never did put a dent in Photoshop or CorelDRAW.

      Does anyone remember the Windows Sound System? Microsoft tried to make a sound card at one point in time. Creative didn't go anywhere or sue.

      And let's not forget how Sony and Nintendo are handing Microsoft their hat in the console arena.

      On the flipside, Microsoft tried to buy Intuit to take over their Quicken product. Since this was when the DOJ was starting to breathe down MS' neck, they backed off. Instead, they went on to make Microsoft Money as good as possible. The result? Now Microsoft Money is consistently rated higher than Quicken by critics and its taking away critical market share.

      Two years ago, PalmOS enabled devices commanded 86% of the market - nowadays the market is more than half PocketPC.

      In these last two examples, Microsoft didn't pull any punches, they were just better. Perhaps if Netscape had kept up instead of whining to the feds they could have beat Microsoft.

      And as for the notion that a good chunk of the reason Microsoft "wins" in the business world is because of mindshare (i.e., the bosses all just think MS is better) - tough shit. I mean, suing a company because they happen to be more popular? Sun is crying to mommy. Too bad mommy just called it bullshit.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        "Well, since this one product was rated better, its corporate survival of the fittest"

        This does not apply to the IE/Netscape issue.

        Back when IE started being bundled, it was bad. Horribly bad.

        Netscape clearly had the better product. It was fast, small, and had the latest bells and whistles like Java, Javascript, cgi support, and a whole host of other things we take for granted today.

        Back then, IE was little more than an explorer hack to view web pages instead of folder contents. It had mediocre support, if any, for the latest technologies of the time, in addition to it being slow and bloated.

        Microsoft started bundling IE with Windows, and shut Netscape out, effectively killing Netscape's marketshare within 18 months.

        This is not some fiction story from the newspaper, and this is not a "what if" from an Economics textbook.

        This really happened, and it is one of the examples of prime examples of when market forces fail. A better product should always succeed in the market. It doesn't always happen that way, especially when there is a monopoly around.
        • Nope

          IE1: Was awful. Was bundled with Windows. Went nowhere.

          IE2: Was Better. Was bundled with Windows. Got a little market share.

          IE3: Was on a par with Netscape and maybe a little better. Was bundled with Windows. Got some market share.

          IE4: Blew Netscape away. Was bundled with Windows. Owned the market.

          The bundling never changed. What changed was that IE got better and better and Netscape sat on their collective asses and whined about how unfair it was that they weren't guaranteed market share.

          • What you state is not exactly true.

            IE 1 and 2 was not bundled with windows.

            IE 3 was bundled with OSSR 2 of windows 95,
            but was not setup to run. You had to click
            on it to install it, and you could get rid
            of it.

            OSSR 2 was not something you could buy
            over the counter either.

            IE4 was integrated into windows 95 and
            you could not get rid of it.
            • Windows NT 4.0 ships with IE version 2.0 bundled.

              IE 4 was never integrated with Windows 95, it was integrated with Windows 98.
            • Wrong.

              IE 1.0 was available either as part of the Windows 95 Plus Pack. EVERY SINGLE OEM copy of Windows 95 shipped with the Plus Pack installed. Every one. (Although it was up to the OEMs whether they wanted it, every one of them decided to.)

              Various OEM Service Releases bundled later versions of IE including (as you point out) IE 3.0 being bundled as part of OSR2 and unless the OEM decided that they didn't want to include the Plus Pack components, they were installed as part of the OEM version of Windows.

              As for IE4 being integrated into Win 95, nope. It was a stand-alone package and was later included into Windows 98.
              • "windows 95" was a typo, although as
                pointed out by another reply, it was
                included in version C of win95. It
                basically, ran through and installed ie 4
                after installing win95 B.

                I dispute your claime that "EVERY SINGLE
                OEM" copy was shipped with the Plus Pack
                installed. I worked as a PC technician
                at the time, and I recall quite a few
                Compaq's and IBMs that did not install
                the plus pack.

                Also, being in the plus pack and being
                in the operating system is a diffirent
                thing. Quite a few people ran out and
                boght windows 95 in a box.
        • Microsoft didn't really bundle IE with Windows until the release of Windows 98 in the summer of 1998. While IE 2 did come with NT4, and IE 3 shipped with some OEM versions of Win95, they were insignifigant.

          IE 4.x was released in late 1997. Up until this point Microsoft didn't command more than about 10-20% of the market.

          After the release of IE4, Microsoft marketshare began to increase. By the end of 1998 they had around 30-40%. At this point Netscape abandoned the browser market, releasing the source to Navigator.

          Microsoft then went on to release 4.01, 5.0, 5.01, 5.5, and finally 6.0. With each release their market share increased. They didn't get above 50% until after the release of the 5.0 browser.

          "Microsoft started bundling IE with Windows, and shut Netscape out, effectively killing Netscape's marketshare within 18 months."

          No, Netscape abandoned the market while they still had majority share.

          "This is not some fiction story from the newspaper, and this is not a "what if" from an Economics textbook."

          Actually your interpretation is fiction.

          "A better product should always succeed in the market. "

          The better product did succeed. In this case it was IE 4.0. The Netscape 4.x browser by comparison was quite bad, this was largely due to Netscape getting into a battle over HTML standards, most notably CSS1. Netscape lost, and they tried to quickly shoehorn support for the new standards in, which resulted in unstable HTML rendering.

          Go read any of many articles out there on the internet discussing trying to write HTML which renders under Netscape 4.x. The product is pretty much universally hated by web developers.
        • Netscape clearly had the better product. It was fast, small, and had the latest bells and whistles like Java, Javascript, cgi support, and a whole host of other things we take for granted today.

          It's tempting to blame Microsoft for Netscape's failure, but it's not what happened. To understand this, you must understand Netscape's strategy: to create demand for server products. What mattered to the business plan was there were lots of people with browsers demanding content from servers, and Netscape developed their browser for the sole reason of seeding the market.

          I'm not making this up, here are some quotes [fastcompany.com] from the founders:

          Skeptics continue to wonder about Netscape's strategy: How can a company that aspires to dominate a market give away its core product? In fact the Navigator, while certainly Netscape's most famous product, is not its core product. The Navigator is the market-maker by which Netscape establishes a standard. Its growing collection of server products -- complex software that companies use to post information on the Web and conduct electronic commerce --are the revenue generators through which Netscape will earn the bulk of its profits.

          "Netscape builds printing presses," says President James Barksdale. "But first I've got to teach everybody to read, or there won't be any publishers."

          Jim Clark offers a simpler explanation. "This is not freeware," he says, "this is marketware."


          What killed Netscape is that they overreached themselves; version 1.x of their server products were the first serious products on the market, version 2.x were very good (NES 2.01 is still probably the best webserver I have deployed) but 3.x were terrible: buggy and slow. That's what caused their collapse, people stopped buying their server products. By the time they lost the browser war, it was irrelevant anyway.
      • by nrosier ( 99582 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @01:34PM (#4588794)
        Does anyone remember the Windows Sound System? Microsoft tried to make a sound card at one point in time. Creative didn't go anywhere or sue.
        Microsoft couldn't bundle the card with their OS...

        Perhaps if Netscape had kept up instead of whining to the feds they could have beat Microsoft.
        If you choke somebody so they don't have any R&D money left to develop the thing, what else can you do? Remember Netscape used to sell their browser for commercial use. Microsoft just bundled it with their OS (for which you have to pay so they got $$$ anyway).

        I mean, suing a company because they happen to be more popular?
        Where in the lawsuit is it mentionned that they are suing over popularity? You need a reality check.
        • by sheldon ( 2322 )
          "Microsoft couldn't bundle the card with their OS..."

          Sure they could. Just throw it in the box with the OS, same as bundling any other product.

          "If you choke somebody so they don't have any R&D money left to develop the thing, what else can you do?"

          Choke? Microsoft didn't choke Netscape... Netscape was one of the first dot-bombs... they blew through their financing like it was candy.

          "Remember Netscape used to sell their browser for commercial use."

          Maybe so, but they encouraged people to download it for free and never really were in a position to obtain money for the browser. Andreesen in his usenet postings said that Netscape intended on giving the browser away for free, and making money on the servers. Mosaic was always free.

          "Microsoft just bundled it with their OS (for which you have to pay so they got $$$ anyway)."

          Bundling assumes that it was a seperate product to begin with. It was simply an enhancement to the OS, from the start. I'll simply point out that No operating system on the market today is sold without a web browser included, obviously indicating that being able to view HTML is a fundamental feature that consumers are expecting.

          Besides, Netscape was going to make their money by selling the server. If you'll remember correctly they started off by breaking whatever HTML common standards there were by locking their client to the server. That is, in order to get some of the advanced features of the server to work, you had to use their client. (I recall they introduced forms in this manner)

          This is why IE still to this day uses the word Mozilla in it's browser tag, because early versions of IE 2 and IE 3 had to pretend to be a Netscape browser so that the server would let them work.

          Basic problem was Netscape hadn't really thought out their business model very well.
    • I guess for some it's easier to litigate than it is to spend time/money on developing better products.

      That does appear to be Caldera's business model, at least.

      And of course, it was the only thing that could have saved RAMBUS...

      And of course, let us not forget DVD. :P Of course, DVD goes to a whole new level; instead of attempting to litigate based on current laws, it actually set out to (and succeeded in) change the law in order to open the way for future litigation.

  • by Voytek ( 15888 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @12:26PM (#4588323) Journal
    This just proves it. Sun needs to stop fucking around with an irrelevant lawsuit the will never be resolved.

    Instead, Sun needs to go after .NET with a Java3 marketing blitz, before .NET gets too established. Take all that money they're spending on lawyers and saturate the enterprise app market with advertising and FUD.

    Let me clarify that I'm absolutely not joking - I'm a J2EE consultant, and I really like the technology; I don't savor the prospect of having to become a .NET consultant to pay the bills in 3 or 4 years.
    • by vicious_sloth ( 534928 ) <louie4@nOspAM.cooper.edu> on Sunday November 03, 2002 @12:34PM (#4588377) Homepage Journal
      That may be true and all, but Sun really needs this lawsuit, not only to protect itself but to keep microsoft in check. Say Sun did not file lawsuit, then they are in effect condoning M$'s monoplistic behavior. Its like trying to play fair with someone who keeps on cheating.

      It is a very unfair fight though, Microsoft has tons of cash and resources to battle with. If no one says or does anything (ie. file lawsuits) then Microsoft will keep on expanding its monolopy and destroying competition.

      If Sun wins this, it would be a big blow to Microsoft and open then door to even more lawsuits against Microsoft, and then evetually we may even get real competition, which is a good thing(tm)
      • What ever happened to the "let the best software win" viewpoint? If non Microsoft software is "better enough", then it will win. No business would sacrefice profit out of some sentimental attachment to Microsoft products.
        • by ReelOddeeo ( 115880 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @03:38PM (#4589553)
          What ever happened to the "let the best software win" viewpoint? If non Microsoft software is "better enough", then it will win. No business would sacrefice profit out of some sentimental attachment to Microsoft products.

          This is so flawed I don't know where to begin.

          Yeah, Microosft, whatever happened to let the best software win?

          Were you involved with computers during the mid 1980's? People who just recently arrived on the scene seem to think that Microsoft got to where they are by making superior products.

          People don't choose Microsoft because it is the best. They get it because they have no real choice.

          Order a new PC. You get to choose what kind of monitor you want. Choose what video card you want. Choose how large a hard drive you want. How much RAM. Some OEM's let you make more choices than others. But one choice they don't let you make is what OS to run. (You can have any OS you want as long as you pay Microsoft.)

          This was especially true during the early days. Even if you wanted a competing OS, and there WERE competing OSes for awhile during the early 80's, you still had to pay Microsoft for their OS, even if it was not installed on your new box. This is because of Microsoft's exclusive arrangements with manufacturers. This is how you build a monopoly. By eliminating choices. In 1995, Microsoft finally signed a consent decree with the DOJ promising to stop this practice. Too little, too late.

          Once you are an established monopoly, you can charge anything you want. Nothing else to compare prices to. Microsoft's price has gone only one direction. Now that you are raking in the money, you can pour buckets of money into development in order to finally develop good products.

          Then a whole new niave generation comes along which thinks that people choose Microsoft because it is best.
          • Your post contains a variety of items that are incorrect, but several stand out:

            OEMs were not forced by Microsoft to ship a copy of Windows on every machine. It is you that is naive. Microsoft has an OEM arrangement that gives OEMs an incentive to buy a license for each PC sold. That those OEMs choose to do so is a result of the fact that 90% of their customers ask for Windows to be pre-installed. The alternate choice would have been to pay the standard retail price for all copies of Windows actually sold.

            You may view this as some sort of trickery, but it's not. It is a simple business arrangement. That Dell (and others) decided to package and price their products in a way that offends you was their choice. OEMs could have just as easily masked the price of Windows in the configuration of their hardware. Why didn't they? Because evidently some consumers consider the addition of Windows to be a source of added value, or at least not a source of diminished value.

            This isn't necessarly my opinion, it is the outcome of a free market. Consumers decide what they want based on the information they have. This is why companies spend money on ads.

            Now let's talk about the Software itself:

            Windows 95 was at least as stable as MacOS 8.x, and more stable than MacOS 7.x. The fact that more software developers chose to write software for Windows led to the presence of many more software titles for Windows, and this in turn led more consumers to purchase machines capable of running Windows. This was true for most businesses and many households.

            IE 2.x and 1.x were garbage. By the time Netscape 3 came out, closely followed by IE3, Microsoft had won the browser war. Since then it has been Netscape playing catch-up, both in terms of browser performance and standards-compliance.

            Before Office 95, competetors like WordPerfect produced superior products. But then WordPerfect 7 was released and it was an absolute dog. Lots of people I knew made the switch then, even after they had purchased WordPerfect.

            Microsoft has made similar improvements in a variety of markets. I honestly believe that if the people running Apple had been smarter businesspeople, Microsoft would be lucky to be in second place today. Apple hardware and software had such a tremendous advantage for so long, both in terms of performance and usability, that it is an absolute shame that the company wasn't able to thrive competetively as a business. Some people I've known who have worked at Apple have told stories that suggest that it was managed loosely by self-characterized 'geniuses' who preferred glory over profits.

            So, in a nutshell, I believe that if you're in business to sell software you have to accomplish a couple of things, and one of the most important is having a product available now that people are willing to pay for. Microsoft has this strategy down pat, which is why it is one of the most successful companies in the history of the world. Sure, you can imagine better software, and you may even be able to build it. But the fact is you didn't and they did. To the winner goes the spoils.
          • Bullshit, I've (or my parents when I was a lot younger) been buying computers since the days of XTs and I never bought one with an MS OS installed. Go shop elsewhere than Dell and you'll see you're free to buy what you want.

            The fact is every other thing that tried to compete on PC wasn't very useful, DR-DOS sucked and was very slow with some applications, Gem and pre-3.11 version of Windows were pratically useless it's no wonder they didn't worked. And Lotus and WP didn't fly on windows because they were really bad. I was a die hard WP user at the time and didn't want anything to do with Word, first time I saw Word 2.0 for Windows I switched and never went back, it was just so much better.
        • Bullshit.
          You don't know about the antitrust suit do you?
          Microsoft has been in court for the past few years over antitrust violations. This means they abused their monopoly position to force an inferior product down people's throats. The government is only interested in this because it HURTS CONSUMERS because the very 'let the best software win' method fails to work under monopoly conditions.
          Get a clue.


          • Some economists argue that monopolies are actually an incentive for innovation, because the reward is so great for the company that innovates enough to break the monopoly. In any case, it's a tough question to ask in hindsight, though the answer is pretty simple if you're an apologist for one of Microsoft's competetors.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The thing is, for Sun, this lawsuit may actually be a money-making opportunity to fund that Java3 blitz you want.

      They've got a federal ruling that Microsoft is a monopoly, so its fairly easy for them to roll the dice and hope for a nice damages ruling of $500 million or more. That kind of loss won't hurt Microsoft, but it could provide Sun with working capital for R&D or marketing.

      A new development platform needs a period of inexpensive experimentation to take root amoung corporate developers. Microsoft will surely subsidize .Net (selling tools, components and training for much less than they finally intend to), so Sun needs a way to postpone raising the prices of J2EE services to sustainable levels for as long as they can.

      Besides, it could also be a matter of principle- Sun feels that their Java project could've been much more successful by this 10 year mark if Microsoft hadn't tampered with it, and they'd like to make it official. And the very fact of a Sun win in court translates to positive publicity thats worth a lot of marketing dollars.
      • "They've got a federal ruling that Microsoft is a monopoly, so its fairly easy for them to roll the dice and hope for a nice damages ruling of $500 million or more."

        Well assuming the judge doesn't just blindly accept the findings of fact at face value, this might be a tough case to prove. If I were MS I would argue that the district court was wrong about MS deceiving developers on Java. Was there any testamony in the trial in which a developer stated that they use J++ to develop a product, and after releasing it discovered it wasn't cross-platform? Or was the "evidence" entirely in the form of speculation, i.e. Everyone using Java would expect it to be cross-platform therefore MS must have deceived anyone who used J++?
    • I agree Sun needs to keep development focused on improving their technologies. J2EE and NET's version of Web Services really need to play transparently with each other. Other than having a generic VM, the rest of .NET strikes me as the same ubiquitous marketing fluff when Microsoft named everything ActiveX...

      On the other hand, if you throw a wrench into their marketing machine with a lawsuit, why not? From a strategic standpoint this is a good move for the legal department - assuming the development and marketing efforts are not ablated.

      Like you, few things make me shudder like ASP.NET...

    • You hit the nail on the head. I'm from the other side of the fence - I'm a .NET consultant. However, I know that .NET would not be around if it wasn't for J2EE. Instead of whining about Sun's licensing, Microsoft stepped up to the plate and made an awesome platform. Sun needs to take the same approach. Sun does not need Microsoft to make a successful platform, all they need is good technology.
  • Ok, BUT (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bullseye2 ( 54643 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @12:27PM (#4588335)
    As a Solaris Admin, (and HP-UX and Linux,) I can apreciate what Windoze has done. HOWEVER, I must say that SUN has done some underhanded move itself. Anyone else remember the little e-cache issue.
    • Re:Ok, BUT (Score:5, Informative)

      by Zapman ( 2662 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @02:48PM (#4589265)
      I remember the ecache issue quite well. I don't know if I'd call it underhanded on Sun's part, though maybe for IBM.

      See, IBM sold Sun the cache for their CPU's, and never bothered to inform them that there was a rather high failure rate. And with Sun throwing 8 megs of cache on their chips, you're bound to run into that sooner rather than later.

      BTW: this problem got fixed when they started the SAMBRA process (effectivly, 16 megs of cache, 8 megs, mirrored, any byte goes bad, and it's flagged, and the mirror is used only), and was wacked totally when they started using (Toshiba?) instead of IBM for cache.

      Now, if you're refering to how they didn't exactly publicise the fact that there wre significant problems... you might have a point there. However, I can see how they only wanted to fix those who 1) Sun they had the supply for (it takes a while to ramp up a new design for the same processor) and 2) customers who had the most need of the new chips. If it hasn't failed yet, why change it?

      My company was rather high on the list and Sun replaced every system board, and every stick of ram, and every CPU in both of our e10k's.

      For free.

      All we had to do was schedule the downtime.
    • Oh come on. Yeah Sun messed up, but it hardly compares to M$'s constant business practices. The e-cache issue they did drop the ball on handling, but the entire issue was that Sun's supplier of the part gave dodgy components. Sun innocently shipped them not realising there was an issue.

      Where they really dropped the ball was handling the replacements, but this was a MISTAKE rather than a deliberate, underhanded business decision. The scale of the problem took time to come to light, they had to understand the issues, and the volumes involved. Even if they had wanted to swap out every possibly faulty module immediately it would have taken time to

      1) find and fix the roote cause, don't want replacement units with the same fault,

      2) test all those extra modules - after all they are now LESS likely to trust the parts coming in from the supplier

      3) source all of those unplanned for parts, in the volumes we are talking about that is probably going to require the supplier to increase their production volumes to accomodate and that will take time also.

      If you've got more examples of abuse then give them, I keep hearing of Sun's abuse of the market, but all anyone has ever come back with is e-cache. One issue does not a villain make.

      DISCLAIMER - I'm a Sun employee but these views are not those of my employer or sanctioned by them in any way.
  • by dacarr ( 562277 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @12:32PM (#4588365) Homepage Journal
    While Microsoft is effectively competing with Sun for the universal compatibility market (hey, if you can't get it one way, get it another, right?), Microsoft is also introducing copy-protection schemes, and is as far as I can tell dealing with .NET in such a way that it's supposed to be easier for the user to deal with than an "obscure programming language" like Java - however I think Microsoft is dealing with what made COBOL such a pain, in that it's not the syntactic structure of a language that makes it difficult or easy, it's the amount of state one is required to balance (and sugar coating a complex language only makes things worse).
  • Different things. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Having a monopoly that you have got by illegal business-practices and having a monopoly that you have got by doing good products are not the same thing.

    Microsoft has been conducting some illegal business-practices but what have SUN have that would have been able to compete?

    Have SUN at any time made a desktop that has been really viable and sellable. Honest. Don't think so.
  • by call -151 ( 230520 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @12:34PM (#4588374) Homepage
    Remember that the last DOJ probe into Microsoft was derailed by the change from Clinton to Bush (things were looking promising, but right before the elections there was a go-slow/wait-and-see pause) that resulted in a much more `business-friendly' administration that did not pursue the settlement very agressively.


    With this in mind, maybe if Sun starts something now they are hoping that in two years there may be another administration that might think that monopoly power abuse is actually a bad thing and will pick up the ball then... It can't hurt to start something now with that hope...

    • How is it "business-friendly" to not pursue the Microsoft case?!? It is only friendly for one business (MSFT) but very unfriendly to many many other business.

      Overall, it is "business unfriendly". As is commonly known, monopolies are bad and harmful for the overall economy, disturbing a healthy competition and market. It is extremely short sighted and simplistic to describe not pursuing this as business friendly.

    • "Remember that the last DOJ probe into Microsoft was derailed by the change from Clinton to Bush"

      Actually no. It was derailed by the Appeals court overturning Judge Jackson's conclusions of law.

      Clinton/Bush wouldn't have mattered... the case brought by the DOJ was fundamentally flawed(They should never have focused on Netscape), and Jackson didn't help matters with his obvious ineptitude and bias.
    • Well, something bad could happen, theoretically. The current administration holds views that are very favorable toward Big Business; the bigger the business, the better. Said administration also holds views that are very unfavorable toward anyone or anything that might be detrimental to the "American" way of life (that includes Big Business).

      If Sun is seen as attacking Microsoft (the Bigger Business), it could be seen as attacking American interests. They could find themselves on the wrong end of economic sanctions. After all, they would be the newest addition to the ever-growing Axis of Evil. Excuse me, agents are knocking at my door.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Sun got it! They at last made a working open source business-model.

    1: Write free software.
    2: ?
    3: Sue people.
    4: Profit!
  • Moby Dick (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CatWrangler ( 622292 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @12:39PM (#4588408) Journal
    Ahab McNealy was entertaining for a while, but enough is enough. He needs to regroup, realize that as odeous as Microsoft is, he needs to focus his energy elsewhere for the time being.

    The Great White Whale will still be there, fat and bloated, and will have it's justice eventually.

    Tilting at windmills can be fun, but after a while it begins to effect the rest of your business.

  • by mskfisher ( 22425 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @12:44PM (#4588434) Homepage Journal
    Am I the only one that got the image of a dour-faced Sol vengefully thrashing at Microsoft with solar flares?
  • litigation (Score:3, Funny)

    by Nobley ( 598336 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @12:49PM (#4588462) Journal
    heck, its a good time to be a lawyer isnt it,.. How long until Microsoft starts suing Microsoft I wonder.
  • by RealityThreek ( 534082 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @12:55PM (#4588505)
    The usual opinion seems to be that MS will eventually bring itself down because of oppressive licensing tactics, etc.

    The unfortunate thing is that they have actually been getting better in stability and security in their products. If they continue to improve their products to a point where they are actually half-decent, the only upperhand we'll still have is that opensource software is free as in beer.

    I like seeing opensource stuff because it is free, but also because it's an alternative. Having competition means innovation and better products all around. But if people stop seeing Microsoft software as crappy and crash-prone then what incentive is there to switch away from it?

    • "The unfortunate thing is that they have actually been getting better in stability and security in their products. If they continue to improve their products to a point where they are actually half-decent, the only upperhand we'll still have is that opensource software is free as in beer."


      "Free as in beer" still won't be the only advantage that Open Source has.

      First, "free as in speech" has its uses, too. Even non-developers benefit from having lots of programmers' eyeballs available to find bugs, backdoors. There is also the advantage of not having EULAs that have things like "phone-home" clauses buried in the legalese, or having to keep track of just how many legal copies one has.

      Second, most Open Source products have the advanage of not coming from vendors that one wouldn't or shouldn't buy a used car from. MS, by contrast, has had such a record of dishonesty, i.e. the misleading error message that Win3.1 betas showed when installed on DR-DOS, astroturfing, Halloween Documents, the short-lived Mac-to-PC switch ad, that they are not a vendor that should be trusted with anything critical. How can one tell if an MS Service Pack or hot fix actually does what Microsoft says it does? How can one be sure that a habitual deceiver isn't lying? Actually, here, the "free as in speech" thing ties back into the trust issue. With Open Source, one can audit the code if one is truly paranoid. Trust isn't as necessary. With MS closed-source stuff, one has to take MS at its word that it is kosher.
      • "Even non-developers benefit from having lots of programmers' eyeballs available to find bugs, backdoors."

        But is this really happening to any significant degree? The last thing most programmers want to spend time doing is going over someone elses code looking for bugs. Getting paid to do it is one thing, doing it for nothing is something else.

        "With Open Source, one can audit the code if one is truly paranoid. Trust isn't as necessary."

        Any significant application will take a lot of time and money to audit and even more to modify if there is a problem. If a company is that paranoid perhaps it would be more cost effective to go back to pen and paper and drop computers all together.
  • here's a decent interview with Scott McNealy from Linux Magazine, check it out at http://www.linux-mag.com/2002-08/mcnealy_01.html
  • by Space Coyote ( 413320 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @01:01PM (#4588535) Homepage
    It's actually a good thing for Sun that the antitrust trial focused almost exclusively on the browser issue. And the findings of fact still stand, whether the DoJ crumpled or not.

    Microsoft's ability to bribe politicians is one thing, but it doesn't grant them immunity from legal action on the part of those they may have wronged in the past. (I'll reserve judgment on their guilt until more evidence is presented, but I wouldn't put it past them considering what they did to Apple, Borland or Netscape)
  • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @01:04PM (#4588561) Homepage Journal
    Continuing lawsuits will be the only way to stop the M$ creature from consuming everything in it's path and creating a monoculture in the software and hardware market. We all see XBox and we all see where it is going. A thriving market need competition and challenge. M$, Intel, and AMD does not provide enough diversity for survival. The U.S. government has shown it will not protect the free market from terrorists.

    You can talk about lack of quality from Sun, Apple, Linux, SGI all day long, but if you believe in free markets, that talk holds no water. Many people pay a lot of money for the above products when it would often be simpler and less expensive to buy an old intel machine a steal a copy of windows. Yet the above companies survive.

    M$ is bringing investors and, to a larger degree, brokers a lot of profits. From that point of view the demise of Sun, probably bad for the long term, would be great for the short term as it would remove yet another thorn in M$ side.

    The fact is that Sun, Apple, and everyone else makes better products because of M$. M$ makes better products because of everyone else. The same goes for the Intel, AMD, Motorola and AMD.

    M$ wants the next step to a closed commodity box in which they control the hardware, software,and access. I do not think that this is a bad for certain applications. However, without competition, and without the lawsuits, this is all we will have for most applications.

    • Continuing lawsuits will be the only way to stop the M$ creature from consuming everything in it's path

      No, continuing innovation will be the only way to stop MS. Look at Apple. They finally innovated after being stale for all these years (iMac, iBooks, OS X, iPod, etc.), and aside from price they are competing very well with MS.
    • You can talk about lack of quality from Sun, Apple, Linux, SGI all day long, but if you believe in free markets, that talk holds no water. Many people pay a lot of money for the above products when it would often be simpler and less expensive to buy an old intel machine a steal a copy of windows. Yet the above companies survive.

      IMO Sun, Apple and SGI all have had more check marks in the quality column than Microsoft. This was particularly true in the 90s. Why ? Because the level of technology, expertise and engineering competence at these companies was higher. Microsoft has caught up in the quality level since 2000 but it has been, as you pointed out, due to the efforts of others. WinNT was the first Microsoft product to really represent any kind of impressive technology and Gates had to acquire that level of expertise from DEC. That is when the quality first started to appear and every MS product since has been builty on that technology.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 03, 2002 @01:14PM (#4588639)
    The Earth contiues to rotate around the Sun.
    Don Quixote still vexed by windmills.
  • Whew! (Score:2, Funny)

    by JQuazar ( 239705 )
    The article ends by quoting a Microsoft spokesman saying, "(The settlement) offers opportunities for our competitors, but we will continue to compete in the marketplace."

    What a relief! Oh look, I chewed my fingernails to the nub for no reason.
  • by Ars-Fartsica ( 166957 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @01:19PM (#4588680)
    I disagree that somehow revisiting the courts somehow distracts or weakens Sun. The fact is that these two companies have spent the better part of a decade in court and Sun will continue to use the courts to get any tiny concessions it can. Their abuse of the courts is no more exceptional than Microsoft's abuse of its monopoly.

    Note that Sun in not completely wasting its time here - over the years it has won very minor concessions that have forwarded Java in particular. Its doubtful that they will get much further, but it is in their interests to keep trying.

  • by bartash ( 93498 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @01:24PM (#4588726)
    Sun has a VP of Strategic Litigation.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 03, 2002 @01:41PM (#4588837)
    If Sun bitches about Microsoft being a monopoly, I have to ask: When did Sun ever produce affordable cheap desktop computers that students could buy, or software that secretaries could use in daily office work? How many people do you know own a Sun laptop? Or a Sun palmtop? When is the last time you ever saw a commercial computer game produced by Sun Microsystems sold at Electronics Boutique? Where are the Sun machines in retail stores such as WalMart, or at the thousands of Mom-and-Pop computer stores spread across the world who advertise in the daily newspapers? Can you even connect to AOL from a Sun machine using AOL software? Did Sun ever pursue this? "Well, AOL isn't used by our target demographic." GOTCHA!

    A long time ago, Sun seriously thought about buying Apple...then abandoned that plan. The desktop WASN'T their market at that time, otherwise it should have been a no-brainer. McNealy balked on the price. How convenient for Sun to continue their "Robin Hood" ruse of saving the masses from the Evil King, while Linux erodes their base (think of Oracle switching to Linux). And just how hard would it have been to re-create the Macintosh user-interface experience on Sun anyhow? Look at background of the authors of KDE and GNOME. Just what are those thousands of Sun employees DOING? Sun is complaining about Microsoft owning the Desktop?

    And what about their strategy? Sun produces Java for free -- "write once, run anwhere." So then their "Office-killer" should be easy to port to the Macintosh, just as Microsoft does. But wait, StarOffice is written in C++, so it's "unlikely" we'll see a port, according to Sun officials. And what about Sun's flip-flopping: First it was going to be free. Then Sun waffled and started charging for it. Java is Open Source -- but only sort of. Sun is complaining about Microsoft owning the Desktop?

    This flip flopping is not new. Consider the recent flap over the Solaris on 0x86 machines. Sun planned to drop support (and even the product) until enough users bitched about it (http://www.save-solaris-x86.org/). So much for "corporate strategy". Sun is complaining about Microsoft owning the Desktop?

    And I have never understood how Sun expected to profit from Java. If they thought that Java could be a loss-leader to push hardware, then they got a nasty lesson when their "thin-client" Java-based computers went nowhere. Sun can only blame themselves. Furthermore, if Java is "write once, run anywhere", then nobody needs to buy a Sun machine. Sun is complaining about Microsoft owning the Desktop?

    Maybe Sun though they could profit from "goodwill", ie, if they gave away their software, more people would be loyal to them for hardware. Looks like that strategy didn't work, and it only leads credence to the idea that Sun thinks of itself as a specialized HARDWARE company more than a software company. Sun is complaining about Microsoft owning the Desktop?

    Dressing up as a penguin ain't gonna sell more Sun computers, Scotty. How many millions were wasted on that stupid advertising campaign saying "We're the DOT in DOT COM"? Yeah, Sun is going to become a DOT pretty soon. And how many millions are being wasted on the lawyers? How many millions were pissed away when those same dollars could have been used wisely in software development or subsidizing lower costs for computer hardware?

    The Sun is setting very quickly. Go ahead and sue. You'll only be hastening your demise.

  • by Snork Asaurus ( 595692 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @01:46PM (#4588870) Journal
    I'll bet that in their collective minds MS feels vindicated - the fact that they were found guilty of anti-trust violations is years-old news and really isn't important to them anyway. What is important to them is that they got away with it, probably thanks in no small part to Asscroft and Bush and some well-spent campaign contributions. The media is helping MS to appear vindicated by shouting "Microsoft Won!" and then whispering "at getting away with it". I expect that MS will behave like a petulant child that only received a scolding and a wink for setting fire to the school house and truly exploit their apparent omnipotence from now on.

    So, unfortunately, in today's screwed-up world, maybe the lesson that Sun needs to learn from this is to play outside the rules and fight like hell when caught. To the victor of that game go the spoils.

  • I think that Sun has lost more sales this year to IBM/Linux solutions, than to Microsoft.
  • If you can't win, litigate.

    Alternatively, if you cannot win the arguments you can always buy up the US President and Congress.
  • Scott McNealy just has a bad case of Gates-envy and is wasting Suns money and resources. McNealy even said in an intervew a few years ago that Bill Gates is just doing what he has to for the MS stock holders, that if he (McNealy) ran MS he would do anything differently than Gates. Then his is poor track record with Java open source. Java licensing. And constant smoke on his support for Linux and open-source. It's alway I support
    Linux and open-source with conditions.

    McNealy is just a Unix version of Bill Gates.
  • Don't blame Sun. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by small_dick ( 127697 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @02:52PM (#4589286)
    Thanks to the criminality of Microsoft, and the ineptitude of (now) all three branches of the US government in dealing with that criminality, as well as the current "Welfare for Microsoft" campaign being levied by the US government ("Microsoft Everywhere"), all you can say is "I don't blame them a bit".

    This was an extremely competent technology company, one that set many standards for innovation and openness.

    Now they are a mere shadow of their former slf, primarily due to criminality of another company, one receiving aid and encouragement by a government that is supposed to foster the free market and competition for the good of it's citizens.

    Shame on the US gov't for their toothless mediocrity. Go get 'em, Sun.
    • Shame on the US gov't for their toothless mediocrity. Go get 'em, Sun.

      Perhaps the nine dissenting states can stick it to Microsoft where it will really hurt: by introducing anti-monopolyware policies and legislation. That is, if they're not gutless.
  • by Otis_INF ( 130595 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @03:35PM (#4589527) Homepage
    Sun should improve their own stuff, like the Java SDK, to meet MS quality as shown in the .NET SDK. Non-developers might start laughing now, but I'm dead serious: MS has the best stuff available for developers: a kick ass developer website (MSDN website) and f.e. a kick ass SDK for .NET (with excellent documentation, tools and examples).

    So why on earth should I start using Sun stuff and abandone MS stuff, in a way that makes MONEY for Sun? Sun hardware, their cashcow, is very expensive, and competes with IBM, not with MS, their Java is nice, but MS' material is better...

    When I started developing software after university graduation in 1994, Sun was king and if you wanted to use Unix (PC/MS stuff was err... crap :) ) you focussed on Sun's hardware. Today this is not the case anymore: Win2k server on a dead cheap Dell with .NET (free) will do perfectly. So why bother with expensive Sun hardware? Because it runs till doomsday without a reboot? I can buy 2 Dell servers and 2 win2k licenses for these boxes plus a hardware load balancer for the price of a sun server. Such a setup WILL run till doomsday and I still save money.

    And IF I want to leave the MS ship, I can remove the Win2k from those boxes, install a Linux distro and start using Java. Sun won't get a dime.

    So, looking at all this, the REAL reason Sun has lost a lot of money is not due to MS, but because there are cheaper alternatives which WILL meet the requirements of the customer. Sun isn't the first option for many people, it's an option for a shrinking group of people. This lawsuit isn't helping Sun at all, since this lawsuit will not make Sun an option for a growing group of people AGAIN, will not make money for Sun in the long run. The reason for this is that there are MORE alternatives than the wintel combination: Linux + Java.

    McNealy should really start thinking about how to make Sun no.1. again by making Sun a valuable option, instead of crying fool about a competitor who simply does what it should do: make money, and lots of it.
    • 1) M$ released their SDK for free because Sun's was released for free. (Sun's existence helped you there).

      2) M$ released .NET because Sun created Java. You benefited from M$'s copycat technology - the best of which Sun pioneered.

      3) The reason that you can leave M$ and use another enterprise-class technology platform is because of Sun. (And they don't charge you for the freedom).

      Sounds like you owe Sun a lot of gratitude. Cursing them for not making more money when you yourself benefited from their actions makes you look like an idiot.

      Wait till your utopia bears out, Sun is gone, M$ starts charging for their SDK, there is no alternative in Linux (because Java/J2EE is gone), and you're taking out loans to pay for your beloved M$ non-evolving copy-cat technology.

      A fool is someone who can't figure out who their friends are. . . until too late.
  • Look at their product line. Their base-level SunBlade 2000 workstation has a 1GHz processor, 1GB of memory, a 73GB disk drive, a good graphics board, comes with StarOffice, and costs $10,995. Keyboard and monitor extra. What's wrong with this picture?

    Oh, and for $20,000, you can get the version with 2 CPUs, everything else remaining the same.

    Those guys are living in an alternate universe.

  • I'd pay a private investigator to find out how much Judge CKK and her friends and family spend over the next couple of years and where that money came from.

    If you think I'm joking, ask yourself this: why do we pay more to more senior judges? Hint: the answer isn't "shucks, because they plum deserve it". It's to reduce the incentive to take bribes. No? Then why exactly do we pay them more?

    I'm not saying she took a bribe. I am saying that it would explain the verdict, and that judges are, when all's said and done, only human. They have to put their kids through college and pay off mortgages just like anybody else. And if you're going to take one bribe in an otherwise spotless career, you'd best make it a big one.

    • "I'm not saying she took a bribe. I am saying that it would explain the verdict, and that judges are, when all's said and done, only human."

      I suggest you read her ruling if you want to understand the verdict.

      The idea that she ruled in good faith is much more plausable than believing she would risk the destruction of her career and reputation (not to mention her liberty) for a few bucks from MS.

      You don't give MS enough credit either. Even if you think Gates would do this if he thought he'd get away with it, he's not stupid enough to try.

      Actually one article I read indicated that she had to sell her Sun stock at a loss when she had been randomly selected to hear this case.

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