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Microsoft

Microsoft to use Linux Defense 141

Sean Garagan writes "Well, it looks like MS is going to start using Linux to try and save itself. According to an article at PCWeek, MS will use Linux as an example of why it doesn't have a monopoly when it questions the gov'ts last witness, an MIT Economics prof. " If this is true, then I think it's a nice nail in their coffin- the only real threat to their monopoly is tens of thousands of programmers working for free? Great defense. We're not a monopoly, really.
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Microsoft to use Linux Defense

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  • Dead wrong. *thwack*

    MS does indeed have a monopoly. The issue at the heart of the matter ISN'T whether or not Joe Schmo can write an OS or application. The issue is whether or not Joe Schmo can enter the market.

    Think about it: MS has

    • Engaged OEMs in closed contracts that expressidly forbit installation of non-MS OS's. Hell, IBM can't even preinstall THEIR OWN OS (OS2/Warp).

    • Engaged OEMs in closed contracts that mandate the installation of (and payment for) MS Office on EVERY pc they sell. Want WordPerfect? Too bad. Have a copy of Office already and don't want to pay for another? Too bad. I can personally attest to this from buying my PC from Dell...

    • Consumed smaller startup companies simply to squash NON-MS technologies.

    • Consumed smaller startup companies to corner the market on emerging technologies.

    • Embedded formerly SEPARATE programs into Windows, for the sole purpose of discouraging purchase of competing programs. Case-in-point: IE 4.0. A separate product (you can download it and it ALONE from the MS web site), but tied to Win98 because it's "a vital part of the OS." Bah.

    • Bastardized standards, licensed technologies, and protocols in such a manner as to make the MS-Way the One True Way. Java, streaming media, and DHTML, to name a few examples.


    Joe Schmo stands NO CHANCE of being able to successfully market his software, whether it be an OS or application. Sure, you can begin to, but as soon as it appears on MS's radar, you will be embraced-and-extended, or squashed.

    MS has the most popular OS. They used this to corner the market regarding Office Suites, Internet Browsers, Server OS's, and others. Not to mention the attempted takeovers of the ISP market (MSN, anyone?), news media (MSNBC, anyone?), and high-end graphics market (Chrome Effects, Farenheit, SGI deals, anyone?), to name just a few.

    Predatory business practices, when used by a company large enough to throw substantial weight behind them == monopoly.

    --

  • Check this [vcnet.com]. How many of these companies still exist today? Less than half. What choice did they have but to sell out? NONE. Sell out, or MS releases a competing product and kills you.

    --

  • Lemme clarify... MS releases a shoddy immitation of your product, and kills you with marketing, FUD, and vapor. "Competing" in the sense that it stands to take away marketshare from you, not competing in the sense of "battle on a level playing field"

    --

  • Are you the reincarnation of Ivan? MEEPT! maybe?

    Take this crap to alt.fan.billgates where it belongs...

    --

  • Actually, This is Chewbacca [starwars.com]. :-)
  • It's all in the angle. Microsoft will probably be emphasizing "IBM and Linux," "Red Hat, Caldera, Turbo, et al and Linux," "Oracle and Linux," etc. The point being, they will play up the corporate connections and downplay the "freeness" of the GNU project and Linux. "See, there are other big players in the OS marketplace and they are offering an alternative to Windows, therefore, no monopoly exists."

  • An Anonymous Coward was caught uttering the following:
    Puleeze... Like exclusivity clauses in contracts define whether a company is a monopoly. Sounds more like good business sense to me. I'd like to see the govt. sue McDonalds cause I can't get a Pepsi there. BTW, Pepsi doesn't own Taco Bell, or KFC, or Pizza Hut.
    Well, if Microsoft were still a small company, I would see the need for exclusivity clauses in their contracts, but with them being the market leader? Come on. Exclusive contracts like that in today's market serves only one purpose: to cut out the competition. In Microsoft's position as a desktop Monopoly, they should not be allowed to do this.
    The point is the original posted claimed the Microsoft is buying companies and shutting them down to sqash their technologies. Someone name two of these companies for me. I didn't think so.
    You thought too soon:
    • BAO (Bruce Artwick Organization): Developer of Microsoft Flight Simulator and Flight Shop, a Flight Simulator add-on. Result: Purchased company, canceled U.S. distribution of Flight Shop. Circa 1995.
    • Blue Ribbon Soundworks, Ltd. Developer of SuperJam, EasyKeys and other MIDI music products for Amiga, OS/2 and Windows. Result: Purchased company. EasyKeys for OS/2 and Amiga products discontinued soon after. Circa 1995.
    • Blue Ribbon Soundworks, Ltd. Developer of SuperJam, EasyKeys and other MIDI music products for Amiga, OS/2 and Windows. Result: Purchased company. EasyKeys for OS/2 and Amiga products discontinued soon after. Circa 1997.
    • Softimage 3D graphics applications developer. Result: Purchased company; eventually discontinued development of non-Windows products.
    You wanted two? I gave you four. you want more? Check here [vcnet.com].
    It saves an extra download, extra installation, and hasn't made my system and less stable. Plus I can still use Netscape and Opera, so what's the issue?
    Touchy issue here. I agree with what you argue on this in principle, but after dealing with several systems with IE, this seems like more of an excuse. I've used many different Win32 systems in my time, and honestly, I wish I could get rid of the integrated browser and use the regular Explorer from Win95. Saying you can install Netscape and Opera just doesn't cut it anymore. What if I don't want any part of IE? Even to browse local resources? Saving download and installation time for something you do not want is not helpful to the customer in general...no matter how useful it might be to you.
    Actually if the stupid gov't would get the hell out of the way the market will take care of everything, and quicker than any court system. Linux proves that if nothing else.
    You must be really naive if you think the market can handle itself. This has been categorically proven otherwise. No matter how many times I hear people say it, if the market was capable of taking care of itself, then Microsoft would not be a problem now.

    Put simply, this market is no longer about technical issues it's about marketing prowess and the computer industry is no exception in this respect! (Remember Beta vs VHS?)

    Microsoft has near absolute power in this market due to its checkbook, and although Linux is making serious inroads, it is simply not a threat to Microsoft...yet! Linux needs a stable and consistent desktop before it can threaten Microsoft where it makes its money: the home user. Until then, expect the courts to move faster than Linux.

    BTW - The government is not stupid in excercising its right (yes, its right) to enforce the Sherman Anti-Trust laws. It's amazing to me how many Microsoft pundits overlook this fact.

    - Cliff
  • First off, I want to appologize for the length of this post. When one writes a long article, another tends to have to write another longer article to get the point across without losing the reader. If you are not interested in a lengthy diatribe on this topic, then please skip this post!

    An Anonymous Coward was caught preaching the following in response to BOredAtWork:
    >Engaged OEMs in closed contracts that expressidly forbit installation of
    >non-MS OS's. Hell, IBM can't even preinstall THEIR OWN OS
    >(OS2/Warp).

    So, what? Nobody forced IBM to install Windows on their Aptivas. Oh, what's that you say? IBM wouldn't be able to sell their Aptivas if they didn't have Windows installed? So, you're saying that consumers WANT Windows? If consumers don't want Windows, then IBM wouldn't bother to put Windows on its computers. The fact that it makes good business sense for them to go exclusively Windows over OS/2 is the result of consumers choosing Windows over OS/2, not the result of Microsoft being a big schoolyard bully.
    You give Microsoft FAR too much credit here. IBM preloaded Windows on Aptivas because they already had a deal with Microsoft from their PS/2 days. It was simple economics, not a matter of the customer's preferences. I do agree that IBM could have installed OS/2 on those Aptivas if they wanted, but IBM has been quoted as saying that OS/2 was NOT meant for the home market...and that was a mistake on their part.
    >Engaged OEMs in closed contracts that mandate the installation of
    >(and payment for) MS Office on EVERY pc they sell.
    >Want WordPerfect? Too bad. Have a copy of Office already
    >and don't want to pay for another? Too bad. I can
    >personally attest to this from buying my PC from Dell...

    Same argument. Dell could ship with StarOffice, Linux, and Netscape 4.5. But they chose to deal with Microsoft. And, Microsoft made an offer to sell Windows, which Dell accepted. That's life in the big city. Oh, yeah, and nobody's forced to buy from Dell. Or from any other OEM who sells its computers with MS Office. People WANT these products. Is it illegal for MS to sell them what they want?
    You missed something here. First off, when Dell entered their agreement with Microsoft, StarOffice, Linux weren't on anyone's radar. Microsoft was the only game in town. Secondly, several OEMs would have preferred to install different application suites but were forced to take Office becuase of tying agreements between Windows and other Microsoft offerings (this was going to be in the anti-trust case, but was removed). Microsoft isn't in the business of selling you what you want, hell, there might be some non-Microsoft offerings in there. Instead, they'll sell you what they want you to have even if it means shoving it down your throat! Last I checked, product tying was illegal, and "force feeding" was just damned annoying.

    Regarding the IE4 "integration":
    What is the so-called-illegal part here? That's already been ruled to be OK by the appeals court. Oh, and I personally think using HTML for help over RTF is a valid reason for bundling IE. Windows Help has always been an obnoxious hack on RTF, but HTML is designed to be used in just the way Windows Help used RTF. I don't see the problem with this upgrade.
    Well, the appeals court got this one wrong in my opinion (not that mine really matters), but that doesn't make product tying any more legal...and IE4+Win98 is product tying. Period. Why? Because there was already an existing browser market. If someone else who had an OS had integrated a browser, it would be fine, but the market leader (ie the owner of the Desktop Monopoly) does it, then the lawyers start pouncing.
    Additionally, IE 4 includes some DLLS which weren't originally part of Win 95, but have become popular to use by some 3rd party developers. It's a lot easier for MS and the 3rd parties if IE comes with Windows, instead of distributing it with each piece of software that uses it.
    Another excuse. What's preventing 3rd party developers from including it in their own distributions? I agree that it makes SENSE to include that DLL as part of an optional system package, but to call it part of the OS? No sir. Two entirely different things. Fact: The user has no choice but to accept IE when they install Windows. The choice to deinstall it doesn't come until later, and even that "deinstallation" isn't done properly.
    Besides, MS isn't the only company to ship multiple products in one package. Every linux distributor I know of ships a whole bunch of software with the Linux kernel. But, I'll stick with MS. Should Microsoft be harassed because they bundled freecell? That was, and certainly still is, not an integral part of the OS. The same is true with EDIT.COM or Notepad. Where do you draw the line?
    Where do you draw the line? Where Linux has, of course. Each of these products you've mentioned (including EDIT.COM) are applications. Linux doesn't claim that any of its applications are part and parcel of the OS. With Linux and other Operating Systems that bundle, you have the choice at install time whether these optional packages are installed. Not true with IE and most of the stuff that comes with Windows.
    >Bastardized standards, licensed technologies, and protocols
    >in such a manner as to make the MS-Way the One True
    >Way. Java, streaming media, and DHTML, to name
    >a few examples.

    Um... I'll take it one charge at a time.

    What you call Bastardized standards some call added functionality. "Embrace and extend" is a clever strategy to gain business. By making their version do more than the published standard (Java for one) they give their customers more for their money than if MS had limited themselves to the standard. When is it illegal to make your software better than the other guy's? When you're Microsoft.
    Added functionality is one thing, but when the people want that added functionality, then it should be incorporated into the standard. "Added functionality" isn't really added functionality until it becomes part of a standard protocol ! Until then, such "added functionality" is only available in the hands of one entity and that is not good for the consumer. Ask yourself then: If Microsoft was so committed to the customer, why haven't they worked with Standardization Committees to get this "added functionality" worked into the standards? Again, "embrace and extend" is only useful for someone trying to watch the bottom line in the easiest way possible.
    Joe Schmo can survive if his software meets his custmoers wants. If MS copies his idea, then adds stuff to make it incompatible with Joe's work, then Joe had better get to coding, and make his version do all that MS's does.
    And how is Joe Schmo supposed to fight a multi-billion dollar corporation without some protection of his ideas. Just because you can copy someone's ideas doesn't mean that you should. Clean room implementations of someone else's ideas are fine, but anything else falls short. Microsoft usually gives them an offer they can't refuse: sell out or die. And if they don't sell out, Microsoft will live up to their alternative threat, by any means necessary.

    How does this help the perception of a "vital and innovative market"? -- It doesn't.
    Oh yeah, and what, pray tell, does squash mean? Beaten in the market by a superior product? How is that illegal?
    *sigh* -- That sounds as lame as Bill Gates in his DOJ deposition. What do you think it means? it means exactly what I stated above: "destroy by any means necessary".
    Anytime Microsoft goes into a business venture, it's automatically an attempted takeover of the industry? It was this part of the comment that really pushed me to reply. This passage here really shows a fundamental anti-Microsoft bias, causing a tinted view of the facts.
    How is this a tinted view of the facts, when in fact, there are several markets out there that are particularly worried about this exact thing! A few markets come to mind: Real Estate and Automobile Sales. You may think that this worry shows a "fundamental anti-Microsoft bias", but this bias only comes from the analysis of past behavior. Anti-Microsoft bias or not (and put plainly, I do have one): If the shoe fits, one should wear it.
    Should an action be illegal because you don't like it? That seems to be the idea behind this posting. How does any of this justify the government's role in the matter?
    Absolutely not! However, you seem to think that dislike is the only thing motivated behind this shift against Microsoft. Although it plays a big part, one has to look at why this company is so disliked: It's not that Microsoft is successful, it's how it attained that success! I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The government is perfectly within its rights to enforce the Sherman Anti-Trust laws! That's my justification, and it's also the DOJ's.
    It's a commonly accepted fact that the software industry is different from most. Patents are silly, marginal costs are low, and turnover is rapid. How is it, then, that traditional government definitions of predatory monopoly should apply here? While MS is, or approaches, the government definition of a monopoly, Windows and Office are a far cry from becoming the economic definition of a monopoly. Witness the revival of Apple and the booming growth of Linux to see that.
    This industry may be different than most, but its still subject to the rules every other market uses. It's the rules we've been using since the Union was founded, and for the most part, these rules work. Why should the software market be treated differently than any other? Point out to me distinct differences that would invalidate the Sherman Anti-Trust laws or the basic economic laws on which Sherman was founded. Until you can show me such proof, I'll continue to disagree with you. And if Windows is not the economic definition of a Monopoly, then tell me why its stock value is so high? Dispite the growth of Apple and Linux, neither of these issues can approach the fact that Microsoft and Windows have the greatest mindshare in this industry.

    And with that mindshare, they can do anything to anyone in the industry that they want to.

    - Cliff
  • The voiciferous Anonymous Coward responded to my earlier post with the following:
    "Why is it that I can't pick and choose what offerings from Microsoft I want to have on my computer? Why can't I get a system preinstalled with Windows98 and WordPerfect 8?"

    You can. 1) Build your own computer. 2) Buy a copy of Windows 95. 3) Buy a copy of Wordperfect.

    Remember, you are getting DISCOUNTS on pre-loaded software which occurs because the vendor can handle that product in BULK.
    You aren't answering my question. I was asking about preloading here, not assembling my own computer from scratch! Sure, the cheaper price comes from bulk deals, but I bet you that a company could get a good deal from Corel to preload WordPerfect onto their new Windows systems, and they can do this in addition to preloading Office or whatever other office suite they think their customers will want. To only allow pre-loads for just Microsoft Office strikes me as a huge and unfair bias! I want to see Dell and Gateway offer a variety of software from a variety of vendors, not one single, monolithic company. You have yet to provide me with a good reason why this is, and why the market tolerates it.
    First of all, IE 4.0 is verfitably part of the operating system. So it's not forcing one product on the other, because IE 4.0 is IN the operating system. And I've studied EXACTLY how this was done, and many MANY parts of the operating system rely on IE code because the code is so reusable.
    I too have studied the "integration" of IE into Windows98, and I must strongly disagree here. You mention that it's part of the OS simply because of the fact that the code is reusable...well, so is libgtk.a, so is libncurses.a, so are a lot of other libraries on Linux, but Linux doesn't go far enough as stating that any of them are part of the operating system ! Sure, there are several DLLs that IE uses that could be argued as part of the operating system, but we aren't talking DLLs, we are talking IExplorer.EXE and the HTML rendering engine. Neither of these things are critical to the functioning of an Operating System and should not be shoved down users throats. Fine. You like the integration - good for you, but Microsoft went against the reccommendations of a few of their own focus groups when it came to the decision to "include" IE as part of the Operating System.

    Your argument about the new help files being better than the old RTF system is also lacking. The RTF help system worked and in my opinion is just as functional, if not moreso than its newer HTML-based equivalent. So why throw it all out all of that work on the old Help system simply to move to an HTML based system? You gain nothing from such a move.

    No, this IE integration solely amounts to Microsoft moving a few critical interface functions into DLLs used by IE, and then claiming that IE was part of the OS, simply because DLLs that it used were also part of the OS. The move to HTML help files was just something to lend credance to this, and not some design issue to improve Windows in any way!
    Second of all, those laws are written so vaguely that all kinds of companies hire lobbyists to pay ransom to the government so they aren't attacked by the laws. Microsoft didn't lobby for a very long time. Now the government is going after Microsoft for not paying its ransom money.
    I don't see it that way. If this were true, then a lot more companies would be coming under fire from the Government for not paying their "tax". Your argument here, is entirely too cynical to take seriously.
    Explain why it took FOREVER to be able to get ON the internet if you weren't in the government or the millitary or at a university.
    Umm...how about lack of interest from the general public? How about lack of funds for the Internet of 3-4 years ago to upgrade itself in anticipation of the needs of millions of millions of users? Do not kid yourself, the reason why the internet didn't become popular until it did was because it was not ready to handle it ! All of the standards that make up the Internet as we know it today were in place years before it became truly usable by the public. More often than not, the public was afraid of the Internet. It wasn't until the Web gained popularity that people saw that the Internet could be fun and ... *gasp* ... profitable.
    I'm not putting down standards. I AM putting down your suggestion that companies should wait till their new features are part of a standard before implimenting them...that would take FOREVER and they wouldn't gain any advantage from their work!
    My appologies. That was not my intent. Any company can add features as they see fit to their products, even to the point of making "extensions" to commodity protocols. But then if these "extensions" to the commodity protocol become popular enough, then the company should work with the standards boards to see if they can get their new functionality included in the proper standards. A company that does anything less is being irresponsible to their users and the market at large.
    "The Sherman Anti-Trust laws are in place simply to protect the consumer (ie, us) from the interests of a single corporation." Umm...how the hell do consumers need protection since WE'RE the people who decide whether companies live or die???
    Simply because a company does not have the best interest of the consumer at heart. If this were true, then the government would not need to step in and the market could truly be self-governing. This is not the case and some kind of regulation needs to be done when greed overrides a companies responsibility to it's customers (ie, providing a working product that does what it's advertised to do). Microsoft has shown time and time again, that it doesn't give a rat's ass about the consumer. Think I'm wrong? Pull out a copy of any Microsoft End-User-Licence-Agreement and read it. Hell, pull out almost any software license and it will read fairly similarly. Why is it that computer software liability is so low when computers (and the software they run) are becoming more and more important in our day to day lives? We have gone past the point, where a simple computer glitch could cost lives. It's about time the market reflected this. Consumers are hurt by monopoly powers in a market, especially when that market doesn't offer the protection necessary to insure that the customer has received what he has paid for. The Sherman Anti-Trust laws are designed to protect against such monopolies.
    What you're REALLY saying is that you don't trust the purchasing decisions of the general public. This is just another sign of "Programmer people sick of having to deal with computer idiots and the mess that they leave behind."
    No. You are saying that, and I don't know where this insinuation comes from because I have said no such thing. Me personally, I'm glad that more of the public have started using computers. It bothers me when I can solve a Win98 problem in 5 minutes, which two 30 minute calls to Microsoft Technical Support couldn't solve, simply because they can't write a decent binary registry that won't like to eat itself from time to time.

    I'll say it again, I think the Government is right in bringing Microsoft to court! If Microsoft is innocent of the charges that have been laid against it, then they can prove this to the public at large.

    So far, they've done a relatively poor job.

    - Cliff
  • So, what? Nobody forced IBM to install Windows on their Aptivas.

    You are evading the point. The matter is not whether companies have been force or not to pre-install Windows; the problem is that customers are forced to buy it, whether or not they want it.

    Oh, yeah, and nobody's forced to buy from Dell. Or from any other OEM who sells its computers with MS Office. People WANT these products. Is it illegal for MS to sell them what they want?

    No. What is illegal is to actively seek to force customers to buy their product, whether they want it or not.

    You keep missing the point. Anti-trust laws were not written to defend smaller companies from big ones like Microsoft, but rather to protect the customers and general public from the effects of a privately-held monopoly.

    For example, what if I'm willing to pay the high price for the bugfix-release Windows 98, but don't want IE 4.0? You might counter that IE is free. I don't care. It takes up space in my disk, and uses RAM on my machine even if I'm not using it, therefore making my machine go slower if I choose to use another product with the same functionality like Netscape.

    Your answer would seem to be: `No one forces you to use Microsoft. Go get another OS.' But what if my business already depends on Windows-based software? What other OS can I get? Since I have no other choice than Windows, Microsoft gets to force me to install software I don't want. Therefore, they cut down my choice as a customer.

    Besides, MS isn't the only company to ship multiple products in one package. Every linux distributor I know of ships a whole bunch of software with the Linux kernel. But, I'll stick with MS. Should Microsoft be harassed because they bundled freecell? That was, and certainly still is, not an integral part of the OS. The same is true with EDIT.COM or Notepad. Where do you draw the line?

    There is nothing wrong with bundling software. As I have said before, the problem is imposing software on people.

    I'm not forced to install most of the packages in Debian, for example. In fact, Debian even allows me to remove software essential for my system to function.

    In the same vein, I don't have to install Freecell if I dont't want, and I can remove EDIT.COM or Notepad easily. Anyway, I consider a text editor to be an essential system facility (editing config files to make something work, reading READMEs, etc.), so they are full justified in pre-installing it.

    The problem is that IE 5.0, being a Web Browser, is by no means an essential system facility, but rather a huge application program that pre-loads large parts of it at bootup, and you can't remove from your OS, no matter whether you have or not a use for a web browser.

    And switching their help system over to HTML might justify including a browser, but not forcing it on people the way they do (replacing the file manager).

    What you call Bastardized standards some call added functionality. "Embrace and extend" is a clever strategy to gain business. By making their version do more than the published standard (Java for one) they give their customers more for their money than if MS had limited themselves to the standard. When is it illegal to make your software better than the other guy's? When you're microsoft.

    Strawman. No one has contested Microsoft's freedom to add features to anything. What was contested was their breach of contract with Sun. Microsoft licensed Java under certain terms, among which says that they must implement the whole Java specification, and that they may not make any changes to the core Java class library. They did not implement the whole thing, and modified the core classes, and thus engaged in illegal practices. They have always been free to add all the functionality they like, as long as they abide by the contract they signed by their own free will.

    I know you mention this in your next paragraph. I don't understand why you raise this point (that Microsoft is being disallowed from adding features to Java), since you refute it yourself.

    Now the exaggeration and FUD begins. Anytime Microsoft goes into a business venture, it's automatically an attempted takeover of the industry?

    If they leverage their OS dominance, which is a basic infrastructure for all these business fields, to force their products on customers, or to make competitors products less profitable (for example, by API changes and such) it is. Note I'm not claiming anything about any case in particular; I'm just setting some criteria.

    But I say that's what's happened with IE 4.0. MS forces people to install and run their browser (it is your GUI desktop, for God's sake). Explorer gets partially pre-loaded into RAM at bootup, meaning that it will load faster, and that it will take up RAM that another browser could use to run faster.

    With that in mind, my real, basic question is this: Should an action be illegal because you don't like it? That seems to be the idea behind this posting.

    I don't think so. I think BOredAtWOrk (Welcome back, dude! Long time no see!) raised valid points.

    Windows and Office are a far cry from becoming the economic definition of a monopoly. Witness the revival of Apple and the booming growth of Linux to see that. Hmmm... Doesn't MS have a stake in Apple? And, show me a computer vendor that pre-installs GNU/Linux, and I'll show you dozens (hundreds? thousands?) that force you to buy Windows.

    ---

  • There are plenty of places where you can buy a system without Windows installed, just not from the big VARs. So what? No one forced these vendors to sign these contracts, and they certainly don't complain about the low price they get to buy Windows for in return for going with MS exclusively.

    This is not about the vendors. This is about customer choice.

    Anyway, let's put what you just said this way: Microsoft is making it unprofitable for most computer vendors not to give their customers choice on what OS to get on their machines.

    Hey, what could be wrong with allowing vendors to sell any OS their customers want? Most of them will go with Windows, anyway. But no. Vendors are pressured into not giving their customers any choice.

    Oh yeah, that's just horrible for the consumer. Here is a free browser. You can still use other browsers if you want to, but heres a free one. Yeah, that should be put a stop to.

    Oh god. I hate repeating myself. Here goes: Bundling is not a problem. Microsoft may bundle all the products they like. What they can't do is force a product into a customer. And this is what they are doing with IE 4.0. They are forcing people to install and run it (it's the GUI desktop, for christ's sake). Large parts of it get pre-loaded at system bootup, so it takes advantage of the OS to load up faster, something competing browsers can't do. And if you run say, Netscape, then you have two browsers in memory, and only use one. That affects system performance.

    ---

  • Name ONE time that Bill Gates has pointed a gun at somebody and FORCED them to buy a computer with Windows 95 installed on it. That's the only way that customers would be FORCED to buy Windows 95. There are several ways to avoid buying Windows 95 while buying a computer.

    My, oh my. Not only a forced (not with a gun, hehe) literal reading, but you drag Bill Gates into this as my victim. Poor little Billy, this commie jerk attacks him! (see next quote for the reason I mention communism)

    [regrading anti-trust laws] Bullshit. They were written by government officials who wanted to gain power over the American people. There is no good reason to have anti-trust laws, they are just one step closer to communism...but anyways...

    Now commie baiting, and bald assertion. Could you care to back this up?

    WRONG...I.E. 4.0 or 5.0 is split into several parts, and several of those parts are used by OTHER APPLICATIONS (such as the layout engine and the html parser). Notepad is NOT re-used by other applications and therefore, you can remove it without trouble.

    You're thinking of IE as program code. I'm thinking of it as a product, as a web browser. If MS wants to provide HTML parsing libraries with Windows they are welcome to do so. They are NOT welcome force a web browser application into customers, by artifically fitting it as a the file manager and claiming it's an unremovable essential system facility.

    If you REALLY think that it is becoming a problem, then migrate your business over to Linux.

    You make this sound trivial. Have _you_ ever tried to migrate a business to Linux? How much does it take: 5 minutes, a day maybe?

    The "if you don't like it, don't use it" answer is REALLY lame. When people have put time and money into setting up a system to make their work easier and better, it's not practical, or easy, to easily switch over to a different system.

    Microsoft has no right to exploit the fact that people can't easily switch to bury their competitors (and I don't mean Billy shoveling dirt, thank you) and force the acceptance of one product on the acceptance of other.

    ---

  • gee..then I would make sure that *I* announce the product that I'm doing before Microsoft announces their product, wouldn't you think?

    Yeah, right, go straight ahead. See if anyone notices.

    If Microsoft releases a shoddy imitation of my product, then that gives me PERFECT advertizement material where I can point out how my product is better.

    Sure? While MS uses its far superior advertising budget to point out "how their product is better"?

    If my product is good enough, it will survive the FUD and any vaporware attempts that Microsoft makes.

    Ha. Wouldn't we all wish. Remember OS/2?

    ---

  • me:
    "My, oh my. Not only a forced (not with a gun, hehe) literal reading, but you drag Bill Gates into this as my victim. Poor little Billy, this commie jerk attacks him! (see next quote for the reason I mention communism)"

    you:
    Well, that is the only way you are FORCED to buy something. Otherwise, it's YOUR decision.

    Well, you continue to insist in twisting the meaning of words to suit your argument. Here are some of the aceptions of the verb force from Webster's:

    2. To constrain or compel; to coerce. 3. To impose or cause by necessity.

    Yes, some aceptions of the word force imply violence. But not the ones I'm using.

    I would thus urge you to end this dumb word game. I assume, from your posts, that you are a competent english speaker; if I'm having to force you with dictionary evidence to accept a sense of the verb force every competent english speaker knows, you are obviously being dense on purpose.

    There are many ways of coercing someone into buying some particular product, be them psychological, economic, or by force. One is to make the alternatives far less visible, by making it unprofitable for the distributors to offer. This is one of the things Microsoft has been accused of doing by their exclusive arrangements.

    you:
    Simple. It's MY business I have the right to sell MY product MY way any way I want to, because it is MY PRODUCT. I have the right to HIRE who I want. I have the right to FIRE who I want. It's simple ownership of property. If I don't have these rights, then I don't own my business, and although it may not be full communism, it sure the hell isn't capitalism anymore, because I can't do what I want with my capital!

    Your problem is with the government and the current state of law, then. The system the US has right now, instead of the unfettered capitalism you would like, is in place because the persons who constructed it believed such unfetterd capitalism was not good for the general welfare of their society. If you want to argue that they are wrong, and that either (a) the general welfare of society is not as important as having unfettered capitalism, or (b) that unfettered capitalism is better for the general welfare of society than the current system, and have good arguments for that, then I urge you to go ahead and put them in view. Because no one is going to accept your defense of Microsoft unless they share your political views.

    For the record, I'm an anti-capitalist (and you'd better not call me a communist), and I don't believe you should have the rights you claim above.

    you:
    No, what's REALLY lame is not taking responsibility for YOUR decisions. If you set up your system around Windows products, you must have had reasons behind it. If those reasons are no longer being met, then it's time to design a different system. The companies that have realized this have come MUCH further then the ones that have stuck with their old system.

    You are assuming that the person that chooses the system is the one that ends up taking the responsibility. In the real world, people change jobs. Needs change. Someone installed some system a decade ago, and is no longer around. And, say, you suddenly have a need to use the information in those old systems with others of a different type, which are not under your control (say, a customer's).

    This is a situation in which you never decided on the system in question. Yet you are being responsible for it. You cannot change over to a different system, because you need to be compatible with another system that tries its best to be compatible with no other. Therefore that incompatible, closed system you would like to avoid is the one that best meets your needs. But this is not because it is a superior system that gives customers what they would like; it is a system artificially designed to lock you into it, and make switching as difficult as possible. This is what Microsoft wants by decommoditizing standards.

    you:
    If you say that you don't want to switch from Windows to Linux because it's too much trouble, then fine...that's YOUR decision. And no one is saying that you HAVE to upgrade from Windows 95 to Windows 98!

    Ha. Try to buy a new computer with Windows 95 preinstalled. Or try to run a new software package that requires Win98 (actually, I don't know if there are any yet, but if there aren't, I'm sure there'll be Win2K exclusive programs) on your Win95 machine. You will be told "You have to upgrade to Win98 (or Win2K)." No one will `force' you (like, with a gun) to do so, but as people around you switch, more because of propaganda than reason, you will be more and more needy to do so.

    you:
    There's a reason that I'm calling this thread "defeatism"..everyone is saying "This is too hard" "Microsoft should make it easy..." Of course, I bet you haven't TRIED to convert people to Linux or TRIED marketing your own product...you just ASSUME that it is impossible.

    Please kindly point out where such a thing has been said. And I mean a textual quote which can unequivocably interpreted to mean that any of the participants in this thread has said that Microsoft should make it easy to switch, or switching to Linux is too hard.

    For the record, what I claim is the following:

    • That the switch is not trivial (not that it's `too hard' or `impossible'), as I think you portray it;
    • That Microsoft shouldn't make the switch artificially difficult. This means making difficulty of switching to a competitor's product a primary factor in design decisions. In english now: They don't have to make the switch easier, but they shouldn't be plotting to make it harder.

      ---

  • I don't know about you, but I wouldn't use IE for linux if such a thing existed. I think very few, if any people would. It would look bad for MS to make software that nobody used.
  • But Microsoft's use of Linux in their defense is really irrelavent. The question is anti-competitive practices. Monopoly or not, they are not justified in engaging in anti-competitive practices. Are they saying that just because Linux is out there that they are now now justified in co-opting open standards? In "de-commoditizing" Internet standards? I think not.

    --
  • Posted by lnc:

    MS is allowed, by law, to have a monopoly in a particular business. Companies with monopolies have to play be different rules because the anti-trust laws prohibit the use of one monopoly to create another. The crux of the governments case is that MS used its monopoly position in operating systems to create a monopoly position in Internet browsers. This behaviour is illegal if MS is found to have a monopoly in operating systems. Historically a company is considered to have a monopoly when they own more than 40% market share. Yes, that low, but it is the historical standard. MS meets this standard in spades. I've asked this question before. What if Dell, Compaq, Gateway and others start to ship Linux? How will that change things? Why would it change what consumers want? By the way, you can purchase a really nice Linux compatible system from eMachines for $399 at outpost.com. Here's a direct link [outpost.com]
  • Posted by drk_angel:

    Granted, I don't know nearly as much about Linux as I would like, what I do know is that it's about computing, not about making money.
    You pose an interesting idea, I just think we should remember where our priorities should lie.
  • >Good *grammer* is very useful in debates.

    Umm...
  • I see. They are going to use the: "We are not a monopoly because there are these thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of programmers and users out there that hate us so much that will not only LEARN Unix, they'll write their own!"

    Hahahahaha!

    That's like claiming your cat is not a predator because in eats grass once in a while.

    "This is Chewbaka..."
  • "Professor Fisher's testimony would give readers of his 1983 book whiplash," Microsoft's statement continued, referring to Fisher's text entitled "Folded, Spindled, and Mutilated: Economic Analysis and U.S. vs. IBM" (with John J. McGowan and Joen E. Greenwood; 1983). Fisher acted as chief economic witness for IBM when it was subject of its own lengthy DOJ antitrust investigation, according to Microsoft's rebuttal.

    In Fisher's book, he claims that "monopoly profits are earned through high prices and inferior products,"(emphasis mine) says Microsoft in its statement.

    Throughout the antitrust trial proceeding thus far, Microsoft has attempted to show that it has not jacked up operating system or application product prices, despite the fact that it has added numerous features and functionality to its offerings.



    Duh, that's exactly what ms has done. Granted that they haven't radically jacked up prices, but they sure haven't cut them down either - except of course when they do so to wipe out a competing product. They have a monopoly on the desktop - they can charge what they want, and they can continue to make inferior products. So, where's the inconsistency here?

    1999 prediction: If ms gets off with less than an order to dismantle itself, folks in this country - USA - will be in for even more marketdroid newspeak than ever before. So, just repeat after me

    white is black
    yes is no
    war is peace
    innovation is microsoft
  • Sorry, but there was a recent article - I'll find it and post it here - that pointed out the the research division at ms has not produced anything of significant value in 7-10 years and millions in operating budgets - with the notable exception of Bob. Ms does not innovate - it's just not built in to the corporate culture. They acquire and immitate, not innovate.
  • Now how do you see Microsoft as less of a monopoly now than before?

    I agree Linux is making inroads (to a whopping 2.5%) but Microsoft is still a monopoly. Remember, a monopoly isn't defined as 100% market share.
    ^~~^~^^~~^~^~^~^^~^^~^~^~~^^^~^^~~^~~~^~~^ ~
    ABORTED effort:
    Close all that you have.
  • >Engaged OEMs in closed contracts that
    >expressidly forbit installation of non-MS OS's.
    >Hell, IBM can't even preinstall THEIR OWN
    >OS (OS2/Warp).

    There are plenty of places where you can buy a system without Windows installed, just not from the big VARs. So what? No one forced these vendors to sign these contracts,


    Vroommmmm, did you miss that one. You suffer from the 747 effect. The point is not that Dell or anyone accepted these contracts, its that Microsoft felt the obligation to make those contracts exclusive. This is enforcing a /vertical/ monopoly. Now for instance Taco Bell does not sell Coke, that is a verticle monopoly, but wait lookee here, Taco Bell is owned by Pepsi. Hmmmmm......

    >Consumed smaller startup companies simply to
    >squash NON-MS technologies.

    I don't belive that is even being addressed in the DOJ lawsuit. Besides I can't think of any companies that have been purchased and their technology abandoned by MS. Put into products, yes, but not abandoned. Got any examples?


    Um, vroom again. If they're purchased they are not `Non-MS' technologies anymore are they.

    Oh yeah, that's just horrible for the consumer. Here is a free browser.

    A low flying plane that one was. Wasn't it free even before it was made a part of the OS? Maybe free wasn't enough. Maybe that is the case. And you can't argue that incorporating that buggy mess into the OS (the UI actually) was good for the comsumer. It creates more overhead, and crashes a lot more.

    and to close...
    No one is forcing you to use any of MS's products or standards.

    I don't. Not even at work. Does Microsoft let you use another OS at work?
    ^~~^~^^~~^~^~^~^^~^^~^~^~~^^^~^^~~^~~~^~~^~
    ABORTED effort:
    Close all that you have.
  • by On Lawn ( 1073 )
    I'm a lucky one.

    BTW, in a success story, mentioning Linux twice in two nights has gotten me two job opportunities. Woohoo!
    ^~~^~^^~~^~^~^~^^~^^~^~^~~^^^~^^~~^~~~^~~ ^~
    ABORTED effort:
    Close all that you have.
  • Boy, if you like Anonymous Coward posting try using a name. Its a much better adrenaline rush. And if you can pick a fight with Ivan your really in fat city, that man wears out the best of us ten or twenty at a time.

    and...
    Oh, now I get it. You are one of those small minded people whose world view is shaken if someone actually disagrees with you.
    Then they must be part of some big conspiracy. Well, that probably is a comforting way to look at things if you can't face reality.


    Sticks and stones. I never said anything about a conspiracy.

    ^~~^~^^~~^~^~^~^^~^^~^~^~~^^^~^^~~^~~~^~~^~
    ABORTED effort:
    Close all that you have.
  • Microsoft will be using the Chewbacca defense. "Ladies and gentleman of the 'Supposed' jury, this is Chewbacca." [starwars.com]

    "Chewbacca's a wookie, he's from the planet keskik.

    "Now why would a wookie who is 8 feet tall choose to live on the planet endor with a bunch of ewoks who are only 2 feet tall?

    "That does not make sense!

    "So you are probably asking yourself why am I , a highly paid attourney for a major software company talking about a wookie in from of a federal judge in a restrait of trade case? That does not make sense.

    "So why would a simple homegrown sweet os like Windows, which is even now being threated by the big bad linux be simultaneously attacked by the government when it is clear that the Linux os holds the true monopoly. It does not make sense

    "So , remember, ladies and gentlemen of the 'supposed' jury, if Chewbacca lives with penguins on endor you must aquit.

    "Look at the happy monkey!


  • Is the title of this link supposed to be parody on "Dreaded wookie defense?". Sure seems such to me.
  • I like this:

    4.Infiltrate the newsgroups (SlashDot et. al) with inflammatory comments making more rift in the Linux camps and then spread more FUD on fragmented the so-called "Linux-Community" is.


    Heh. The Linux community does quite well at this by themselves. It started with Slackware and the guy was going to *shock* charge for a CD. And it's extended itself right on into the GNOME/KDE wars, and everything else...

  • Note that Microsoft posted replies to every single one of the testimonies before the testimony itself was posted.


    Given that journalists are more eager to be the first than to be the best informed, they get priority coverage in the media. This strategy has proved to be very succesful as a pre-emptive strike against the impact the actual testimony may have on the public.


    Some considerations wrt the allegation of Microsoft having a monopoly with Windows:

    • Windows and Linux are not "plug-compatible", so they are not in the same market. Rockefeller could have a monopoly in oil, even though both are fuel and can to some extend be used for the same purposes. One can make cars running on coal, but one can't throw coal in the gas tank and then drive away. Microsoft has a 100% market share and hence a monopoly in the operating systems that conform to the "Windows standard". Compare this with the numerous companies that sell Linux. There is competition in the market for Linux OS's, but none in the market for "Windows compatible OS".
    • Does the existence of the Dutch language demonstrate that the US standardization on the English language is continually threatened and engaged in fierce competition with Dutch?
    • Microsoft's successful regulation of the computer industry by lowering prices for large customers, but raising it again when those customers have the guts to pre-install non-Microsoft software constitutes "denial of entry". On this kind of regulation see my: "Regulation through taxation" [billwatch.net].

    And while I'm at it, a blatant plug: if you are interested in a regular analysis of Microsoft's position and actions, you may be interested in visiting billwatch.net [billwatch.net]
  • In Fisher's book, he claims that "monopoly profits are earned through high prices and inferior products," says Microsoft in its statement.


    Hmmmm, $100 for an OS that doesn't work 98% of teh time. Sounds about right to me.
  • The fact that the only OS other than MS's NT gaining market share is one that is developed outside the market framework is supposed to support MS's argument? That is, to develop an OS regardless of the fact that there were more apps available for a competitor needed developers who were free from the pressure to sell, does not contradict the statement that with more apps you can increase your market and become a monopoly in a market where different companies are trying to make money from the same market.
  • A monopoly does not have to have barriers to entry to exist. A monopoly, however has to have most, if not all of some segment of a market. A monopoly can naturally exist- and in the eyes of the law, it's fine to have one, so long as you don't use the position to maintain itself or to establish other monopolies in other market segments. On the desktop, you have to admit, they have something like 80-99% of the market (or so they say)- this constitutes a monopoly over the desktop operating systems market. They used this position to wedge their way into the server, applications, and internet market segments- and that is what the DOJ trial is all about.
  • It's more like the "Wookie" defense, and that won't work with that argument.
  • And we can only hope that they call witnesses from RedHat, Caldera, et al. Not what I'd call friendly witnesses ;-)
    --
    Aaron Gaudio
    "The fool finds ignorance all around him.
  • Have you tried to get one? Dell requires a minimum purchase of something like 10 machines to have them install Linux on them. As for Compaq, I don't know but I'd wager it's something similar. Since most people don't want 10 computers, this isn't really an option.

    The problem is MS's licensing. Dell,Compaq, et al. don't save any money (and thus don't pass any savings to the consumer) by *not* installing MS's products because they license per model. So they would have to have a completely seperate line of computers for Linux, and although that would be sweet, they probably don't think there's enough of a market for that yet.

    I would think Compaq would be under greater pressure to support Linux because it can run on both PCs and Alphas, which they own. They could use Linux to leverage their PC market for the Alpha (e.g. people [including IT personel and excutives] get used to Linux on their PC at home, businesses can feel more comfortable getting Linux-installed Alphas at work). Of course, they would be cutting into Digitial UNIX, but eventually their gonna have to drop that anyways (and VMS? yechh). Linux may represent Compaq's best means of keeping Alpha alive.

    Sure, NT runs on Alpha too, but it's not 64-bit native, it's not as well supported (app-wise) and I doubt MS is planning on continuing their support of Alpha at all (unless they really get pissed at Intel).
    --
    Aaron Gaudio
    "The fool finds ignorance all around him.
  • You should probably talk to Linux International about ads for Linux in general, or the various vendors such as RedHat about their flavors of Linux. As for me, I'd love to see a television commercial or even an indepth (unbiased) report on Linux.
    --
    Aaron Gaudio
    "The fool finds ignorance all around him.
  • Heh heh heh thought that'd get your attention.

    I would think that under antitrust law (although I am no lawyer), the only relevant issues are: (1) is Microsoft a monopoly (not were they; not will they be) and (2) did Microsoft engage (and are they engaging) in acts deemed illegal under antitrust law? The fact that Linux is an alternative operating system does not weigh in on this at all, because Microsoft, to date, still has a monopoly on the personal computer operating system market, because they have (an estimated) 90+% market share in that area.

    And besides, is Microsoft going to argue that the only means to undermine their monopoly is to produce a product pro bono? With lawyers like that, who needs the DOJ?

    --
    Aaron Gaudio
    "The fool finds ignorance all around him.
  • "Bobbitt" comes to mind. ;-)

    ElpDragon.


  • ....there are countless numbers of people who use its direct descendant, the Talking Shifty-Eyed Paper Clip. Oh, wait! That's because they forced it on the hapless Word user! BAHAHAHAHAHA!




    OK, Elp, get a hold of yourself...



    ElpDragon

  • Thought I'd try to clarify a few things... hope it helps.

    We aren't asking that the Windows source code be released as you seem to imply with your reference to the open-source movement. We are merely asking that the full and complete programmers' interface be available to everyone -- which is documentation, not code.

    For a simplistic example, take a car. The owner's manual describes how to take care of all aspects of the car. The owner's manual to the Microsoft Car, however, happens to omit the section on changing the oil, which means you have to take your car to a Microsoft Certified Service Station when your oil is running low.

    Sure, in a real car, you can guess. Look for the dipstick, look for the screw-on cap that smells like oil when you take it off. But for a programmer, there's no dipstick, there's no cap, and there's no oil smell... unless you have the source code, or unless you're very, VERY good and have several weeks of time on your hands. So you have to rely on the documentation... which is, in this case, missing a good number of things.

    Given the full documentation of the Win32 API, though, it is easily possible to write an operating system which runs all Windows programs. I suspect this is why Microsoft keeps large pieces of it secret.

    ElpDragon.

  • If you really want a pure free market then you can't have copyrights or patents.
    amen!

    i pisses me off to no end when i hear the MS apologists rant on about "government interference" when in fact MS entire business is based on copyright, which is massive government interference.
    __

  • The fact is there has been a big anti-microsoft backlash for quite a while and if you
    think that the govt and courts are going to effect real change faster than the market could
    by companies moving to alternative platforms, I think you are mistaken.


    The government actually won't go faster, and even if it loses this case the government should maintain its scrutiny of Microsoft if only to keep them honest. I can't really say if MS actions violate anti-trust laws. But, I think scrutiny of MS needs to be maintained because at the very least they are right on the hairy edge of violating anti-trust laws. Probably the most difficult part is that most of MS clout comes from a perceived threat rather than overt threats or actions. Therefore, it is very hard to prove that they violated any laws. But, by keeping its eye on Microsoft the government nullifies the perceived threat and any overt threat from MS against a company that doesn't do what MS wants will quickly get MS spanked. This will allow the market to decide what lives and dies not MS.





  • Well, let's consider the high cost of Windows 98.
    Things Win98 has that Win95 does not...

    1) FAT32 = $10
    2) Bug Fixes = Free (cost of media)
    3) Minor performance enhancements = $10
    4) More Drivers = $10 for the service, and the few that don't come with my hardware.
    5) IE4 = Free (I use Netscape anyways.)

    So, total value for Win98 $30 plus the cost of media. Wait, I have Win95 OSR2. Therefore, Win98 is worth $20 to me.

    So, Win98 upgrade costs $90 for at best $30 worth of new software. Well, I would say a 300% mark up demonstrates overcharging for something that is basically a minor upgrade.

    On another note Win95's internal designation in Windows 4.0. Win98's is Windows 4.1. I recall spending $10 for the DOS 6.0 to 6.22 upgrade. So, if you figure inflation and increased complexity $30 for a single point upgrade is about right.



  • They have high prices for an inferior product namely Windows 98. What do you get with Windows98 that you don't get with Win95?

    Bug Fixes? They should be free to download.
    Drivers? Not worth much especially when hardware vendors supply most of them.
    FAT32? About the only thing worht getting, and it comes with Win95 OSR2.
    Improved Performance? This is marginal at best, not worth much to me.
    Integrated IE4? What if I don't like IE4, it is also free to download. Therefore should not add anythign to the price.

    Therefore, tell me how you justify spending $90 for an upgrade that gives you next to nothing of real value over the previous version.
  • The real cure is probably not government regulation, but the cooling of MS practices caused by goverment scrutiny. What would MS have done had IBM or Oracle had supported Linux without the DOJ case?
  • What utilities? And, why would I want them?

    I haven't heard of any "features" of Win98 that would make it worth $90. So, please list these all important utilities that make it worth $90.


  • Flame bait, I know.... but anyway:

    MS have a monopoly in a certain sector of the desktop OS market. To do an awful lot of things you have no option but to run Windows, either because of software avalibility or because explaining the difference to new users is just too much effort. While the various Unix variants are very nice, for a random person buying a PC for home use the market is such that they don't really make sense.

    MS isn't really doing anything visibly exciting with core products like 9[58] or Office - I haven't noticed anything much new that I wanted to use in Word or Excel since 6.0. They still release new versions every once in a while, but that's not the same thing. Merely providing more features doesn't sound like innovation to me - it's still a Widget, even if it is Mk.4 Widget with knobs on.

    With regard to Apple, they had some big management problems. They moved to PowerPC and IIRC did some stuff with the OS, but didn't manage to bring the users along with them (high initial costs and all that).
  • hardware (PC systems) from vendors that have a per-processor license with Microsfot. In other words from vendors that refuse to give a discount for the system without MS Windoze preinstalled.

    Let's also support honest Linux hardware vendors - i.e. those that sell ONLY Linux preinstalled.

    Disclaimer: I have a temptation to start such a business - the timing seems to be right.

  • Because you are not a hacker, don't know linux better than "hey, this computer is faster, cheaper, and more reliable than that one" and you just want a computer to write a paper, read email, etc. with. Either Linux is available preinstalled (with X, netscape, office suite, etc), or you buy a computer with Windows installed because you don't know how to install Linux.
  • I'm not gonna get into this flame war, but I'd like to comment on how funny that post is. I'm not all that concerned with M$ and it's legal floundering (I know we're gonna win, one way or another) but I do like to see good, honestly funny things on slashdot.

    Fantastic Post!

    ~nameless

    ps : i do hate microsoft, don't get me wrong ;)
  • OK guys. As the COO of the fastest growing technology form in Western New York, let me clue you in to the corporate mindset.

    Linux needs to develop relationships with the media, have an organized marketing structure (to keep M$ on their toes, and in a reactionary stance as opposed to a proactive one) as it stands right the Linux community is forced to be reactionary because they are merely RECEIVING press...not going out and GETTING press like Microsoft is.
    Remember, reality is that which is perceived and a majority of consumers get their impressions of Linux from places like PC-Magazine, ZD-NET etc. Where the journalists are as a majority absolutely clueless and have never touched Linux in their lives but know they have a deadline to meet or they lose their jobs. Linux is the perfect fallguy because there is no organized marketing efforts right now. Nothing that is rated as a corporate level initiative that is...
    To recap one more time...
    How does M$ plan to derail Linux:

    M$'s strategies are going to be close to the following. (from a source inside of M$)

    1.The closer to the Win2000 release the more FUD we should spread about open source.

    2.Spread FUD about how it is unstable, hard to use and is not in use in large numbers in corporate America.

    3.Spread the perception of ease-of use of Windows

    4.Infiltrate the newsgroups (SlashDot et. al) with inflammatory comments making more rift in the Linux camps and then spread more FUD on fragmented the so-called "Linux-Community" is.

    5.More than embrace & extend, we go after the companies that are known to use or embrace Linux and offer them large incentives to switch to Windows.

    6.Use the news sources and media outlets at our disposal to conduct mock tests against Linux and other competing operating systems, first by making windows lose to the competing OSs then after the debut of Windows-2000 conduct tests by "Independent Media Outlets" to let the world know how much our product has improved and outdone the competition. This "Impartial Validation" methods wins consumers over.

    Increase marketing pressures on current media partners and increase our financial stake in those companies.

    Does Microsoft have a Monopoly...I think so but I'm not an attorney. I do belive that they are a desperate company that talks out of both sides of their collective mouth. Mr Ed Muth, an official Microsoft Marketing Spokesman says that "Big budgets and big capital are needed" to write quality software.

    His boss, Billy Gates says "Our hold on the OS market is tenous....there could be a college kid who is out there right now who is writing an operating system that could take it all way from us..."

    So which is it?


    I'm no Bill Gates but I am however a guy who's company has a bigger advertising budget for this year than I think anyone has ever spent on Linux in an organized fashion ... roughly $300-500K
    TV, Radio, Billboards, Speeches, Tradeshows, etc.
    Instead of griping about M$ get proactive and do something about it.

    I'm open to ideas on an organized marketing effort on behalf of Linux and am willing to back it up with resources and money.

    Cheers and happy coding,

    Nick



    nick@linuxsystemsgroup.com

  • (before I begin we are doing a new website and the shell is there right now...sorry about that ;-))
    Let me reiterate...
    My goals with Linux may or may not be inline with many in the community. My history as many know was that I was a former Win32 Developer and used to work for Microsoft in terms of working contract for Volt Scientific. After losing a 6 month project on my home machine because Windows Self-destructed I vowed I would find an alternative or make one myself. Linux was right there with all the features I had ever wanted in an OS and the communtiy help out much when I was a hapless newby using my Slackware distrobution. I never forget a friends or friends. I worked my butt off to take this company where it is now but I don't want to do it without input from the community. Many eyes and minds see better than one.

    I feel that Linux is the best thing going for many platforms and many companies can benefit from it.
    Being a former USMC Captain and being stubborn as I am I went pounding doors to companies to find either A) They had no clue what I was talking about or B) They had succumbed to the MS FUD because it was easier than finding the truth.

    This can go one of two ways... Linux can stay a fringe OS with numbers around 7-10 Million or with proper exposure (proper meaning positive) it can leap to the stratusphere and take a life of it's own. Microsoft is so trapped in the morass of kludge they have built that I dare say that Windows-2000 will be accepted as a godsend the first month it is out (because of the strong "consumer" feedback (read M$ marketing arm) and the press ala ZD-Net et. al ) that essentially rides in M$'s back pocket.

    All I am looking for is the ideas of the community from whence it is derived to develop a marketing ideas and constructs to allow for the proliferation of Linux without the M$ FUD carrying on in the media. People like the Mr. Muths of the world or the Jesse Bersts (stick finger in the wind and see which way the gust comes from) style of journalism. I have a problem with the hit & run style of journalism currently practice by many so -called experts in the media. If the media can know that it has a steady group to call on for the real scoop they may be more inclined to do so.
    We must as well actively go out and GET publicity in a positive manner. (I do probably 7 public speaking engagements a month)

    The price of freedom is eternal vigilace.


    Cheers,

    Nick
    LSG


    Sorry for any spelling errors but I have to type fast as my wife will kill me if I don't get off this computer right no...
  • Name those features. (Not the fact that their exclusive agreements gave them a head start on their drivers etc.) But a genuine feature?
    NT and win95 are still single user OSs and they want us to put that on our networks? HA!

    Can we say a Kludge over DOS?

    Please... I've studies that prove that Linux can increase productivity by 36% (GTE: 1998)

    NEXT!

    By the way... I really have a strong suspicion your a plant from M$ knowing how they operate.
    Or you just have never used Linux how it should be used. I get tired of the Microsofties who repeat the ..."Usability, discoverable, intuitive, enterprise ready, etc." Merely buzz words with NO substance....

    Here is the challenge...(with the exception of driver related issues) name one thing you can do on M$ platform that I can't do better on Linux?
    (I don't mean playing games either)


    Cheers,

    Nick
    LSG
  • A consistant easy to use interface it here. It's called either GNOME or KDE your CHOICE (stress CHOICE HERE) As a developer using the GTK Libs. and a former employee of Microsoft (via Volt Scientific as a developer) I can tell you the GTK/GDK libs are more flexible, robust and easier to program the kludging through the Win32 API.
    Your obviously not a developer.

    "The support of tons of hardware manufacturers"
    Again this is the driver issue we're not talking drivers here. I will say this though. Linux runs on more hardware than NT does... so...(by the by the Win32 Plug-&-Play is done incorrectly, one should probe the pci/isa/etc card not the BIOS)

    "a huge software library?" Good you have a question mark after it. There is more development software and more Libs to choose from under Linux than Windows HANDS DOWN!

    "And I suspect you are gonna argue a lot of the claims with a windows emulator"
    You suspected wrong. While I admire the goals of the WINE project I think it is going in the wrong direction. Don't waste time validating Windows or it's applications. As for a Windows Emulator...
    Actually I have no need of one. MS-Office is a DOG compared to Star Office 5.0. It has more features, and is far more stable. (again site the GTE Study)
    My company made over 5 million last year designing Servers, Workstations and laptops with Linux pre-installed and fully supported (you don't get support from M$ when you buy a machine with Windoze installed) In many cases we replaced windows workstations with Linux running a GNOME desktop with our enhancements on it and tailored per client request. Good luck trying to get that from Microsoft...
    The GNOME interface coupled with a good/fast X-Win manager based on CORBA destroys the outdated COM & DCOM based (read modified OLE) structs of the M$ desktop....NEXT

    M$ doesn't innovate anything....if you have doubts look at their "technologies" all are merely tweakes of exisiting technologies that are modified to be incompatable with other technologies.

    Usablilty....hmm try opening an application fully maximized. Now open another application non-maximized and place it in front of the already open one. Now write to the maximized application while still being able to see the smaller one NOT placing it behind the maximized one.....can't do it huh... Win32 API doesn't allow for more subtle mouse focus/mouse lead pointers and hints.

    Now try this...open your office suite, and a browser, and Photoshop and an editor or something.

    I open Star Office, Netscape, the GIMP and Emacs and still am at 93% of resources available and I have 64 MB RAM on this machine.

    Uptime is now over 143 days....and this is a development machine.

    Don't even attempt that on M$. Interesting thing about the NT microkernel. They put the GDI in as part of the kernel but kept the more essential functions as subsidiary aspects..... What a nightmare....

    Oh..show me how to administer a disk quota for a user under NT. (doens't have it)

    Show me how to set up the Telnet Server on NT(doen't have it)

    Under WinNT5.0 Beta 2 management console show me how to administer clusters (not recursions but actual PVM/MPI Clusters).... I can easily do that in LinuxConf (Linux management console)

    Show me Under WinNT5.0 Beta 2 management console how to lock down the desktop so a Windows95/98 user can't go to DOS and type a DEL TREE function
    (can't do it)

    Think this through. 1999 will be the year of Linux. Like it or not.

    As I have said before, Mr. Ed Muth says (to paraphrase) "You need big teams, big capital to make good software"

    Bill Gates Says (to paraphrase) :" Some college kid could write an OS and put us out of business tomorrow"

    SO Which is it?

    "But to say MS is uncompetitive and is not innovating, etc. IS JUST WRONG. I praise linux users for their intelligence, but some have not thought this through far enough."

    Sounds to me like Microsoft has some rethinking to do.


    By the way...
    $800 for a basic or C++ compiler PLEASE!
    The GNU compiler under libc6 is a 1024 bit lib. M$ is still 16&32 good grief...Linux has been 64 bit on ALPHA since 1995. M$...Not yet....


    "May the best company win!"
    What? Linux is NOT a company. That's what perplexes M$ so much I guess...

    Again, I ask what was it that you could do on the Microsoft SINGLE-USER OS's (ala 95/98/NT) That you can't do on Linux......still don't know....


    Cheers,

    Nick
    LSG


    PS: Typing fast please excuse spelling errors on my part...
  • START MENUS??? sorry but a majority of the M$ "innovations" were ripped off of other OSs.
    For example...the Explorer.exe is a modifed version of a Norton Utility which is in return a rip from a Unix Tool..modified etc. but they certainly didn't innovate it.

    Internet features???? So M$ invented the internet now... jees what next..??

    All marketing blah blah again name an example of a M$ innovation....I havn't seen it yet. DirectX is a joke unto itself please....ever take a look at the DirectAPI drivers for SGI or Linux on the video cards?

    Microsoft ASP...modified CGI with yet another proprietary application layer built in further proof that they want to make people use THEIR standards...not those already in existance...their arrogance is beyond belief...
  • hey scotty, let's be specific here, shall we:

    Start menu: see other poster

    "Internet features": Oh yeah. Like all the stuff the saw working on the web and said. Hey! Lets throw it in the OS. That sounds more like cut-and-paste than innovation. Hey, when I put a picture of my poodle on my web site by clicking on a button in Last..err..I mean Frontpage, is that an "Internet Feature ( not that they created frontpage itself-they bought it)"? No scooter, it's not innovation, its automation. Been doing that since before billg was born.

    "UI Enhancements"? C'mon dude. name one and we'll refute it.

    DirectX-hey, when I made a game for the Sega Genesis back in 1990-1991, did I hand do it in assembler? Probably not. I probably compiled the code and used an API. Sheesh. M$, as the sole proprietor of evil..er..I mean the OS, saw that they could extend their hegemony by providing this API. It's nothing new or special. It just makes sense in their "windows everywhere" philosophy.

    "there tons,tons,etc..." You tailing off on me boy? you're right, there are tons and tons of air in the world, but we can all see right through it, no?

    ps if boredatwork sees this: big fan of the clue stick-good to see you back thwacking away!
  • "I have not affiliation with MS and would support any other company with similar philosphies"

    How about government regimes?

    1) Denying the people's right to choose. ( You get to load IE whether you like it or not.) Often found in "totalitarian" and "police" states.

    2) Price fixing. Controlling the free market economy by setting the price on a commodity that you are the sole propreitor of. Often seen in "totalitarian" states to force citizens to be totally reliant on the government. Propaganda is often used to make citizens think they the state is the provider of all things necessary for their life, resulting in what is colloquially known as "brainwashing".

    "Hard work is payed off nicely"-not when that damn beeper bags you at three in the morning to reboot the server. I'll sleep, thank you.
  • This is something I have said to people time and time again. If current situations forgives past transgressions, does this mean that in the future, if a person is charged with a crime they did in the past, that being a nice person will allow them to get off? 'Oh...I know he killed all those people, but he hasn't killed anyone for years now, so we shouldn't convict him.'

    Breaking the law is breaking the law, nothing you do can change the past.
  • If there is only one company I don't see how you can call it a market. Eventually Microsoft will fall, but in the meantime it can cause a great deal of pain. If there were no threat of Anti-trust Microsoft would force every hardware vendor to take measures to run Microsoft OS's exclusively. Eventually enough vendors would band together and support something else, but we would have to go through the software equivalent of the US auto industry before Japanese cars became good. Plus Japanese cars could run on the existing roads and gas, an advantage competitors to an unrestricted Microsoft would be unlikely to see.

    It all depends on what the government does to remedy this problem. Force Microsoft to offer one price to everyone, allow resellers to modify the version they sell, require FULL COMPLETE and CORRECT specification of every system call, forbid Microsoft from discriminating against vendors who work with the competition, and forbid lawsuits against emulators.

    If you really want a pure free market then you can't have copyrights or patents. Utilities, roads and so forth would have to negotiate with each landowner they cross. Digging a well would require the permission of everyone else who owns property over that aquifer. I would be all for it, but it's probably a tad to libertarian for most folks.

    As long as I am forbidden from using graph coloring for register allocation, or finding relative primes with intent to perform modulus arithmetic we should at least force people to compete on price and quality.
  • Look at it this way. Under normal circumstances if you are at an intersection and the light is green you can proceed. However if traffic is heavy and you can make it all the way across, but enter anyway, you will block traffic. The result is grid-lock and just like with monopolies, grid-lock eventually goes away. In the meantime a great deal of grief can be spared by simply not blocking the intersection, or not leveraging a monopoly into other sectors of the economy. Same thing with Microsoft, normally you can offer any deal you damm well please, but when you start impeading others access to the market by leveraging your monopoly you are blocking traffic.


    Microsoft got where it is because IBM was ham-strung by the very same laws they are bleating about now. The bad old IBM would have simply built the entire PC in house or acquired the necessary companies. The entire commodity hardware market is a result of those laws. Now the same thing is going to happen for software. Either with the DOJ keeping Microsoft from getting in the way, or we will have to endure the long painful process of sending innovator after innovator into the maw of the borg.

    By the way, I don't want the source code to Windows as my keyboard is not protected from vomit. I don't care that Microsoft "steals" ideas and really if they only "stole" more of `em their stuff might not be so repugnant. It's the destruction of anyone not willing to pledge fealty to Lord Bill that I find unacceptable.
  • You're both right, Linux is a great OS, it has been for quite a while. But don't you find it strange that it gets recognized only when Microsoft is in trouble? The timing seems too good for them...
  • Why do they put up articles like this? It is like soaking yourself in gasoline, smoking, and then wondering why there are so many flames.
  • Standards are great, and I am in favor with many things being standardized. But you forget one thing, the standard must be well designed for it to be safe for the users. A problematic trend is standards developed by popular view rather than harsh scientific scrutiny are being chosen. I hope you feel safe driving over a bridge using our current trends of standard setting. Also i'm sure you will be the first one to buy brakes from a company using Microsoft embedded chips.

    To sum it up:
    Listening to popular view is dumb (case and point) the Black Plague: the people decide cats are evil and cause the plague so they kill the cats who kill the rats who actually cause the plague. Brilliant!
    Let us engineers/scientist set the standards not the idiots. (sorry to be blunt)
  • First, an OS has millions (of dollars or Open Source development hours) in development costs.

    Second, to achieve viability, an OS needs millions in development costs for applications written for it.

    Third, you need to persuade customers to ditch their millions invested in software, training, and support developed around the OS.

    This is why, despite the demonstratable inferiority of DOS, then WinXX, it keeps millions of seats captive.
  • Netscape didn't write an OS, they wrote an application. Microsoft leveraged Windows to gain market share over netscape. Microsoft's OS *IS* the barrier to entry in the app market, in that they can use the market share of their OS to keep other apps from competing. That alone is a violation of anti-trust laws.

    That still leaves to question of barriers and the OS. The fact that others *don't* compete is surely not enough to indicate that they are a monopoly. The remaining question is "has Microsoft prevented other OS's from competing"?

    Let's take DRDOS as an example. They created an error message in Windows to make it APPEAR as if DRDOS was not compatible. That seems like a barrier to me.

    Linux's biggest barrier to entry has been a lack of supported applications. It may be true that anyone can create and sell an OS, but no one will WANT one if it can't run apps. If Microsoft tried to stop apps from being developed for competing OS's, then they created barriers to entry.

    Hello java! The first real threat to Microsoft's OS monopoly, because it would allow developers to create apps that run anywhere. Microsoft created an "improved" version of Java which, incidentally, blunted its cross-platform nature and thus made the OS still important. They did this so that developers would not create apps that run on other machines. Whether their attempt was successful or not is really irrelevant. They did create a barrier to entry in the OS market when they broke java.

    In fact, everytime they've "adopted and extended," it has been for the purpose of creating barriers. The entire Halloween memo goes into great detail of their proposals to "compete" with Linux and open source by leveraging the fact many people CURRENTLY use their OS. If they make it expensive to change, they create barriers.
  • Microsoft is quite innovative. Not!!!

    The Boycott Micro$oft [vcnet.com] has an ongoing contest for people to suggest things that Microsoft has actually invented. So far, this list [vcnet.com] includes "Microsoft BOB" and "The Talking Paper Clip".

    Microsoft buys, borrows, or steals the innovations of others [vcnet.com]. (Even their original "cash cow" was bought from someone else.) When this fails to produce the desired results, they will kill the competition by, for instance, integrating the browser into their OS as an "essential feature". Microsoft may also do it with the "embrace and extend" or some of the other things they are trying to do to Linux [opensource.org]. Microsoft will even try to quash press reports of their activities [vcnet.com].

    When the court ordered Microsoft to remove MS Internet Explorer (a name which they misappropriated from someone then eventually bought) from MS Windows, Microsoft broke the OS to do it. During discovery, one of the government's experts provided a way to do it. By the time it came time to demonstrate it in court, Microsoft had changed MS Windows so that it the removal program would no longer work. [vcnet.com]

    But none of this behavior is innovative either. ;-)

  • I've heard plenty of arguments of people who are both for and against MS but have yet to hear anything that can refute the statements made above. I commend the intelligence and passion of all those who take the chance to stand up for themselves and accuse MS of doing something wrong. Unfortunately I do not know of any accusations that are true.

    If u have an intelligible argument, I would like to hear it.
  • I think the problem in this whole industry is obvious: It's the same problem happening in Washington right now. The people on the inside of the computer industry tend to hate MS much more than the average user does (theres plenty of poles to back me up), just as Congress tends to hate Clinton more than the public does. I think that if the industry had not followed MS's path, we would not have as big an industry as we do today. They appealed to the PUBLIC. Republicans did not and it hurt them in the last election. You people have to get your priorities strait. Who are you serving, the public or other technical people like yourself? I realize that MS may not have the most optimized OS or apps all the time--But it does what most people need it to. If you want some more precise software, then get it. But you can't blame them--they have a vision of simplicity that many others have not been as successful at and in the end thats whats more appealing. So listen to your customers, not your technical friends.
  • ...when stupid people did not have computers.

    Anyone too new in computing (ie less than 5 years or so) has no way of knowing exactly what is going on in all of this.

    Having watched Microsoft all the way back to 1980, I can tell you that they have NEVER had the users' interests in mind.

    I shudder to think what this world would be like today if Microsoft was not CONTROLLING the pace of the evolution of software.

    And to all of you "just build a better OS and they will come" gits, go back to Economics Class.

    It just isn't possible without critical mass.

    The ONLY reason I use an MS OS sometimes (I prefer Linux for all except what I cannot yet do with it) is because I HAVE TO.

    And finally, what I find REALLY funny is how the suckers on here and elsewhere are so ready to come to Microsoft's defense and buy yet more of their stock while they get repeatedly jammed in the bum from it all.

    Amazes me. It really realy does.

    Microsoft, if they REALLY cared, would open their API, or open their source, and make their money offering support. As it stands now, they can literally kick the crap out of any startup they choose... if this is not a barrier to entry, then what is??

    Please, THINK about this. HOW can you say this has no effect on the evolution of computing?? -- When any entrapeneur must live in fear of being TOO good that they may be assimilated by Microsoft?

    IF computing was simply about money, it would be ideal-- start up a company with a good idea, get bought out by Miscrosoft, get rich. Be happy, get a boat and sail around.

    I refuse to believe that the hacker spirit is dead. I refuse to believe that people do not do this for love (and a comfortable living, an HONEST living)... my hopes lie with Linux.

    I just PRAY that we can all agree on at least a "Desktop Standard" so that we have a chance. The hackers among us can still have a field day with custom versions, but we must at least allow a standard to emerge if we have ANY chance at all. We MUSt have a standard API to write to, so that developers have something to rally around. I'm NOT saying ONE API, simply a voted "standard".

    This way, Linux can be FREE, *and* be viable.

    Thanks for letting me share.

    --Thom
  • OK then - you want 3 places that stock Linux.

    How about 3 places in the UK that stock Linux?

    All South London - Croydon borough.

    1. PC World - Caldera, Red Hat and Suse. Sold right next door to the copies of Windows NT and BackOffice - obvious they bundle to power OSes together.
    2. Software Warehouse, Red Hat and Caldera.
    3. Circuit World. Red Hat along with bundles of other non Wintel and non PC software.

    It's not really lack of availability that we're talking about it's lack of oportunity - PC Vendors dont want to stick their necks out and offer non Windows systems because they have been afraid.
  • I do not completely understand the last paragraph - however as a mathematican I am familiar with graph coloring and relative primes. Could someone point me to some literature which explains what kind of algorithms cannot be used, and why?
  • How 'bout a link to a $400 box that does NOT come with Win98 and M$[rarely]Works preinstalled?
  • Based on price/performance, I'd say Linux has one of the most effective marketing departments in existance! Think what they could accomplish if they actually spent money on marketing! Word of mouth is not only the cheapest, it is also the most effective form of marketing!


    Seriously though, the mindset that good marketing can make up for bad technology is dangerously obsolete in the age of the Internet. Free trial downloads means anyone can instantly evaluate all competing software based on merit alone. Even Micro$oft's billions can't squelch the voice of dissent on the internet (although astroturf campaigns may be somehat effective -- M$ can afford to pay A LOT of people to post.) It may be that sooner than you think, your marketing budget won't mean a thing, unless you can deliver software as good as or better than your competitors. The Internet changes everything -- you either learn to play by the new rules or go home!

  • You know, maybe you could take a few hundred out of that $500K advertising budget, and maybe hire a web developer or two... just a thought... ;-)

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