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Microsoft

The AOL-Netscape-Sun Triune want to slay Microsoft 230

paRcat wrote to us with the lastest news from MS Trial. It appears, from court documents, that AOL-Sun-Netscpe (Or, Apollo, Zeus and Odyssey as they referred to themselves) have laid a plan to make Microsoft irrelevant. Reading through much of it is common-sense, but it's interesting to see the plans laid out, including the tidbit that IE4-AOL is "the last" one. The three are betting heavily on the notion that everything runs off of the Internet-and they mean everything, pairing that with Java from Sun, and Netscape in applications, they want to dominate everything.
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The AOL-Netscape-Sun Triune set to slay Microsoft

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  • Now I can't for myself see how Java could be used for low level OS stuff (rather redundant) but such an OS exists already [sun.com].
    Remember that the Java classes are essentially executable code and chips do exist that use bytecode as the native language so it may not be that bad.

    Despite all this, the notion seems like their playing king of the hill and not sleigh the dragon.
  • Hi Folks,

    I feel like the only Netscaper out here in /. land. Maybe all my brethren are scared to post. Now for the defence.

    While I am of the mind that almost all of our media is now catering to the interests of a few corporate giants (NBC - GE, ABC - DISNEY.. etc), I do not think that the trinity that I now work for will be bad for the Internet and it's protocols. It's not the same as the electromagnetic spectrum and the silliness of the US Govt and the telco/cable/telephone cartels. Netscape and Sun have been innovators who have open sourced and RFCed a very valuable segment of the common literature. I'm going to try to help it stay that way. More folks helping Mozilla would go a long way too.

    As for the content of those Internet channels that we surf, well, we know AOL's "family" policy. We each have our own opinion on that. But it's for sure that you can use these technologies to put up your own websites, and say whatever you please. Please do.

    Microsoft picked the fight. Just maybe someone else will win.

    (Then of course, capitalism will fall into ruin and we'll all live free, liberated, able to lead our lives productively without having to sell our labor -- but that's certainly not my employer's opinion!)

  • Reminds me of Foundation, when they're worried about Anacreon being taken over. [Anyone who hasn't read Asimov should stop reading at this point.] Like the treaty between the Galactic Empire and Anacreon, it was a few pages of crap that boiled down to basically nothing.

    It is somewhat scary though. I don't want AOL everywhere. I really, really dislike them. To put it lightly.
    Same applies to MS, though.
  • Let me clarify.
    they = the leaders on Terminus
    "Anacreon being taken over" should be "Anacreon taking over them"
    Sorry.. heh
  • Yes, I've seen the other coverage. That's why the tone of the article seems so strange. And you're right about Boies. He not only pulls these things off, he does them with just the right timing and theatrical sense. Thing is, though, that all else about the deal aside, if AOL, which MS says is now so powerful that they can challenge MS in the marketplace, is afraid to annoy MS by dropping MS's browser in favor of one AOL owns, that only shores up the proposition that MS has a monopoly. It certainly doesn't help MS's case any.

  • Posted by FascDot Killed My Previous Use:

    Let me get this straight. The people who put "MS" in "MSNBC" have no influence whatsoever over the editorial content?

    They aren't involved in hiring or firing anyone?
    They don't provide any advertising revenue?
    They don't provide any funding in any form (such as paychecks, lowered/eliminated prices on hardware/software)?

    No influence? Or invisible influence? Or all-pervasive influence that the (no offense) serfs such as yourself don't even notice?

    I'm sure you've never gotten a call from MS in the middle of the night: "Nice family you've got there. Be a shame if somethin' happen'd to it." But that doesn't mean they have no influence.
    --
    "Please remember that how you say something is often more important than what you say." - Rob Malda
  • In this book, the bad guys were a Cable Company/Internet Provider

    Spooky isn't it?

    --Blerik
  • It's going to be tough for them to pull off. "AOL Everywhere"? The slogan has got to be bolder than the reality of it. It probably translates more into, "AOL available on every reasonable platform and pipe." I guess I can't argue with that.

    Sun's vision of fat servers and dumb clients? Maybe. There are certainly a few issues which are going to work against that -- privacy, and games. I might want to type, send, and store my email on a remote server, but I'm going to be a whole lot less trusting to put personal finances and information on an online "excel/word" application to be stored and managed for me.

    Even WORSE, it leads to "metered computing", which nobody wants. Quake type games become impossible to run, and you've got vendor lock-in with their decision of what application you run. (Well, kind of like Microsoft, huh?)

    Sun has done a great job of defending its turf ever since Microsoft jumped it on the workstation space, and made a feeble attempt at the datacenter. I'm rooting for Sun here. As far as AOL? If it floats someone's boat, good for them. Just don't ram it down my throat like MSN.

    Well, the author has made an interesting point, which I hate to say that I've fallen into. The point is that the battle against Microsoft is going to change the landscape in ways I may not like, win or lose. Linux is looking better even more these days. I need to install it.
  • Posted by FascDot Killed My Previous Use:

    If they do, I'm sure we'll see the story on Slashdot:

    Truisms for Nerds. Stuff that's Obvious.
    --
    "Please remember that how you say something is often more important than what you say." - Rob Malda
  • So this is what Illiad was predicting... (see UF here [userfriendly.org])
  • but why bother? You, cjr, have put into words my very thoughts. Thank you.

    I got a wonderful mental picture with hoards of gaunt and starving people frantically digging in the plains of Texas for oil; dirt was flying everywhere as they sought to compete with Standard Oil! Reminds me alot of today's computing marketplace.

    If you ask me, Microsoft is insulting our intelligence! Who in their right mind would fall for Microsoft's assertion that these three companies pose any REAL threat to it's monopoly? Not me says I.

    I'm sick to death of Microsoft's heavy handedness in the computing industry - it's time for a change! I laud these three (now two) company's (AOL and Sun) partnership; it may someday become competition for Microsoft. Someday.
  • . . . wasn't it McNealy who said;
    "you don't have any privacy anyway, so get over it"

    ?


    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
    -jafac's law
  • Todd -- Did you read our daily trial coverage the day before? Brock Meeks covered it (he's our lead guy on the trial) and basically reported the same stuff that everyone else did. http://www.msnbc.com/news/279890.asp

    Anyone who would accuse Brock of having a pro-MS bias is crazy! The MS flaks and lawyers usually run for cover when he comes to ask them questions. And Brill's Content (the independent ombudsman magazine) just wrote an article commending him for being impartial in spite of MS' partnership in our site (they weren't so kind with ABC's Disney affiliation a couple months back!)

    Anyway, the story we wrote on AOL wasn't supposed to be about the jusge's reaction, but was a feature spun-off from the trial. The idea was to take a step back and sift through all the documents ourselves and determine what we could about the nature of this blockbuster deal.

    So we'd already reported the part you said, and were trying to take the story in a direction that would add value for our readers. And to satisfy our own curiosity, as I (as someone who covers AOL and Netscape) personally found the documents fascinating.

    And that email from Case you mentioned -- you should have been there in court. David Boies slowly stood up and waited quietly for Warden to finished. Then at a key moment, he introduced Pittman's respone citing a rule of evidence that it should be included since it was part of the same document technically.

    By the time Warden was done objecting, both Jackson and Colburn (not to mention all of us in the peanut gallery) were so curious about what the response was, that Warden had no choice but to ask Colburn about it right then and there.

    It ended up turning what was looking like a big point for MS into a huge score for the government. Boies is quite an attorney.
  • by jtn ( 6204 )
    Yes, Sun has given us Java. There is nothing inherently wrong with Java; unfortunately, there seem to be more non-developers out there who decide to moan about how bad it supposedly is. As for Jini, it isn't really "vaporware" as it actually exists. Never heard about the demos they pulled off a little while back? Not to mention the notice it got at last JavaOne. Vaporware has to be defined as lack of existance. Jini doesn't fit that role.
  • There is nothing illegal about having a monopoly, this is anti-trust, which is when you have monopoly or near monopoly, you leverage that to keep your monopoly.

    An example, Standard Oil in the 19th century. They had a near monopoly in the Oil business. If a competitor would appear, then Standard would undercut the competitor's prices until the competitor could not afford to stay in the business.

    This is similar to what MS did with IE, give it away for free to kill Netscape.

    It's the anti-competative behavior that is illegal.
    1. What do you expect from company whose logo is an eye in a triangle?
    2. The article might be a little more persuasive from a non-MS-owned source.

  • Let us go back, about 2000 years back, to be precise...

    During the rule of the Roman emperor Gaius Julius Caesar, Rome was prospering. He had just bumped off Pompey, and conquered Gaul. So on the whole he was doing pretty good.

    Now along comes Brutus et al, and they kill him. A bit of a problem on the ol' conquering front, being dead.

    Now, this understandably causes a bit of civil unrest. (and I'll get to the point in a minute..) Mark Anthony, Caesar's adopted son, takes a bit of objection to a bunch of upstarts going and killing his father, so he stirs up the public a bit. They soon are after the conspirator's blood.

    When they are safely in exile (the conspirators, not Anthony), he and Octavius, and Lepidus form the second Triumvirate (three men). They take control, and are soon no better on the evil dictator front than Caesar.

    Now isn't this like the AOL-Sun-Netscape Triune wanting to kill Microsoft? Let's do a little comparison...

    AOL NETSCAPE SUN | MICROSOFT

    ANTHONY OCTAVIUS LEPIDUS | CONSPIRATORS


    There we go. And we mustn't forget the end of the second Triumvirate, they all got jealous of each other, and ended up with Ant and Octavius killing Lepidus, and Ant killing Octo.

    (I apologise for any historical errors in the text...I'm kinda winging it a bit until my End of Year exams.)
  • The problem with the "AOL PC" is where are the other applications, ie. Office applications??? What else could you do with an AOL PC other than surf and send email?? Not much else -- no games, no office apps, no servers, just surfing.

    Look at what both Corel and Microsoft are doing with their 2000 suites. They're working towards selling the end user a "thin client" application that includes just enough functionality to allow the user to do whatever has to be done on the client side, i.e. setup, configuration, UI, etc. with the core of the application living on a server at your local neighborhood Application Service Provider (ASP). In other words, without the ASP (whether it's your corporate app servers or your ISP) your MS Office is an empty shell. This is a bad thing, just another way to lock users into proprietary software, in my opinion.

    There are some interesting articles floating around that detail how Microsoft, Intel, HP, Cisco and other big players are investing in the infrastructure required for this type of application.

  • AOL's visions of the future look even scarier than MS's current monopoly - FAR worse. Or am I just being paranoid? It seems like AOL wants to completely replace the Internet with their own network, and control of the network is FAR worse than control of the endpoints. Look at why AOL doesn't want to get involved with cable companies - That's some scary stuff.

    Still, I hope that AOL/Netscape/Sun is moderately successful in their plans - I don't think they'll achieve the plans they have, but they probably WILL shake MS up quite a bit. This is going to leave a perfect opportunity for Linus's joking comments about world domination to become true. After MS's marketing stranglehold is broken, technically superior solutions will finally rise.

    You might say that AOL/NS/Sun will try to FUD us to nonexistence like MS has. Well, we've got a headstart on them by around 10 million users, and we're already growing rapidly.
  • I don't really know very well what AOL get up to, but as it says in the subject, having some similar points is not the same as being the same. Similarly, having a monopoloy/large share of a particular market does not make one a monopolist - ie use that share to abuse consumers and other companies.

    Does any of the other 3:

    • Keep changing the APIs between released products to make it harder for other developers to keep up with MS's own apps?
    • Using licensing agreements/pricing as a way to crush competitors, and encourage/force them to not compete with MS? (see how much arm-twisting MS did to IBM over Windows 95...)
    • Pay employee's little salary, recruiting only/mostly 'believes' from college with little real-world experience, using share-options as a carrot to encourage employee's to slave away mindlessly, and basically encourage the execs to do whatever they can do smash the competition?
    • Have Mindcraft analogue?
    • Have a history of partnering/investing in other companies, 'stealing' that company's ideas/etc, and bringing out their own product, in the end killing their 'partner'?
    • Have $20B in the bank ready to spend on crushing/buying up the competition.

    I could go on much further. Basically, there's lots of things MS have done that just about no other company has ever done or done to that extreme. There's lots of people who seem to fall to MS's own PR - ie anyone who wants to supplant us, is just as bad as us.

    Also, to focus on Sun's Java software is highly missleading. Sure it's their biggest PR problems with respect to the open source community, but it's still a far cry from typical MS operations. Anyone can get the source code to Java. (not even close with Windows, and MS's 'hints' of open source seem to be just starshine so far). Sun's 'community source liscense' is still pretty closed, and they need to sort out things though. Neither is Java a once off - Sun are making most of their source code available it seems. Jini is most definately not vapourware - how can it be vapourware if the source code has been available for downloading for months? Also, part of Java (the JavaServer Pages/servlet stuff) is be coming with Apache, as source code, under the Apache liscense. Far cry from MS.

    Java is just a tiny, but highly visible part of Sun, and they make very little revenue or profit from it directly. Sun's hardware and Solaris software is highly reliable, secure, scalable - far more so than Windows.

  • oh come on, this is obviously just a bunch of microsoft FUD [blockstackers.com] going on.
    thats all, I am not going to belive this untill I start seeing some hard evidence on things not owned by microsoft.
    I mean this really paints a BAD!! picture of the AOL-NETSCAPE-SUN trio. and just what is this legal battle of MS about, its about microsoft's monolpoly, and who are the key players in it, aol, netscape, and sun.
    and I don't think that trio would try to beat MS at there own game and get in the same position as MS is in, at least netscape and sun is smarter than that, I am not to sure about aol though
  • by Kalvin ( 45585 )
    As if Sun & the other companies are any better. If they were in the same position as MS they'd probably use the same tactics.
  • MSNBC seem to positively delight in baiting their part-funders into trying to influence the editorial policy, with articles highly critical of both their business practices and their software and praising Linux to the skies. I think this guy is sincere.
    --
    Employ me! Unix,Linux,crypto/security,Perl,C/C++,distance work. Edinburgh UK.
  • 1970/1 (I forget... gotta check that Win^H^H^H game programming book again)

    First GUI invented Used to hate Xerox for
    dropping the project but no doubt it's because of Luddites like yourself who were using that killer application - the lawn mower - most of the time.

    1975 MS formed
    Big Whoop. BAssIC. Down with IBM (who used to share source monopoles as they were).

    ...

    1985 First 32-bit OS Available
    Amiga for $500 in 1987 - NC before NCs.
    4096 colors
    Big question how come the following was gaining ground?

    1991 Tandy 1000 SL $1200 384k RAM 8086 16 Colors
    Let me see your Luddite merit badge again.

    Incidentally the birth of Linux.

    Hmm 1999 the PUBLIC discovers multiple GUI's.

    Get off your phony evolutionary theorist high horse. The next generation is going to be more than just lame App servers over the net. That's the fucking best you can come up with? I see Open Hardware design, I see intelligent effects processor boards for High Budget Multimedia artists. They will be able to do in a virtual world what they can do on canvas and with clay. And I mean artistic effects boards that can transfer learned styles from one 3D model to another. Distorted Model Style Recognition. I see every person being able to do the work they need to do at whatever paradigm they need to do it. Not the crap that happens to be the latest bullshit fad.

    You've had a desk job too long get some air on the moon.
  • It's not different at all, of course (except that there are three companies which makes it a trust and not a monopoly perhaps).

    There seems to be an assumption that microsoft is somehow `evil'. This is wrong. They are just doing the best they can to make money, the same as any company will. Sun would do the same thing if they were in microsoft's shoes (as would I). Because Microsoft are a monopoly, their attempts to make money hurt the consumer, but it's not their fault they are a monopoly, it's just that free markets are vulnerable to this kind of cascade runaway where all power ends up with one organisation.

    So of course, it will not be fifferent. All we can hope is that the anti monopoly laws are enforced sooner next time around.
  • catdoc can convert .doc into TeX or plain text.
    Works on all but the most complicated docs.
  • Isn't it ironic that MSNBC is reporting on the planned demise of Micros~1?

    Tom Byrum
  • 'Triune': Hemos started using a thesaurus.
    ---
    Ryan Wilhelm
    Lotus Notes Administrator
    Executive Risk, Inc.
  • Why don't they just make a pact with COREL & ORACLE. COREL makes an office suite-didn't they try a JAVA one or something a couple years ago? And use Oracle for your database--personal addition. Even if they did something like that-it is no different than M$. I know commitees take a while, but you do get some pretty decent standards from them. If a cooperation sets the standards like M$ or anyone else, everyone pays for it & w/ more than money. If they want to make a commercial product, fine. But let an independent standards body create the standards and follow them. If they would do that, it would certainly fix a lot of problems. All for now...
  • Office is a relatively new to the world of Office computing. WordPerfect was the standard for sometime, if MS starts to lose it, WP could come back into play.
  • by tweek ( 18111 ) on Wednesday June 16, 1999 @09:23AM (#1847416) Homepage Journal
    from Microsoft how? I am far from a fan of MS by any stretch but quite honestly how does this make this trinity different from the way Microsoft is now? Other than the fact that its 3 companies united via partnership. I'm far from a lawyer as well so does this still constitute the same business practices that MS is in trouble for right now?
  • Bullocks. MS stole the idea of COM from industry-standard CORBA, but couldn't bare to adapt to an accepted standard that wasn't explicity controlled by them.
  • I didn't say that the current incarnation of Office 2000 is a thin client application--I said they were working towards this goal. There's plenty of press that proves this, including statements from Mr. Gates himself.

    Here's an interesting article that gives some clues on where things are headed. This is not a pretty picture:

    http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,3 7913,00.html [news.com]

  • I say that the AOL symbol should be the main part of the
    "evil three" logo, because, like you said, it almost fits the bill
    already. Also, Netscape is really just a part of aol now. And,
    of course, AOL is by far the most evil and MS-like of the three
    companies.

    Start with the AOL logo, and color it black, with evil looking fire
    peeking around the edges. Inside, blend in a picture of a sinister
    mozilla, warped and twisted from it's previously good, pure
    form. In the monster's eye, or perhaps partly hidden behind
    the head, put a deep red, sinister looking sun.

    I think a logo like that would be really cool, funny, and make
    a statement at the same time. Anyone out there really good
    with the Gimp? I'm not, but I'll try my best.

  • Well I don't know if this eases your conspiricy theories at all, but I just search www.msnbc.com for both "GE" and "General Electric" and got "No MSNBC articles found". "Microsoft" of course provides a gazillion hits.

    (GE owns NBC.)
    --
  • by Kurt Gray ( 935 ) on Wednesday June 16, 1999 @09:28AM (#1847426) Homepage Journal
    The problem with the "AOL PC" is where are the
    other applications, ie. Office applications???
    What else could you do with an AOL PC other
    than surf and send email?? Not much else --
    no games, no office apps, no servers, just
    surfing. You may as well buy a WebTV. If you
    think you can build Java apps to play Quake
    and write heavily formatted spread sheets, well
    it's not going to happen any time soon -- Java
    can't handle heavy applications.

    Microsoft's dominance rests on at least three
    hinges: Windows, Microsoft Office, and Internet
    Explorer. OK, so you figure you can replace
    Windows and Internet Explorer but you're
    forgeting the Big One: Microsoft Office, and
    I don't recall Sun or Netscape having any office
    application ready to roll.

    As long as the business world is hopelessly
    addicted to MS Office, Windows will be there
    too. The only real threat to that market is
    Linux w/ Star Office or Applix or some other
    office suite in Linux.
  • This is different because you have three different companies involved, each with their own agenda. This would be the same as if MS were to be broken up.
  • How scary is the thought of McMicroAOLExxonDisneySoftInc.gov (Or whatever combinations of current corps scare you the most)??

    I'm betting on microsoft.mil myself..

    Microsoft: We make the things that make communications break.

  • THERE YOU GO!!!

    ANTHONY OCTAVIUS LEPIDUS | CONSPIRATORS

    Now you SEE!

    Anthony Octavius Lepidus == A O L == AOL the Conspirators!!! And SUN is Several Ugly Nutkickers... and you don't even want to know about Netscape...


  • remenber that JVM that sun ported to the palm V? think that they are gearing up to test some of these ideas?
    and with AOL graping ICQ, winAMP. they are gathering the data they need. and the app's they need to tie everything to netcenter.

    thank discorda, that mozilla is open source, cause when it is ready im grabing a copy and rolling my own... ( need a good browser and mozilla is getting everything right )

    if you look, (just scan some headlines) sometimes you can see what is "really" going on.

    nmarshall
    #include "standard_disclaimer.h"
    R.U. SIRIUS: THE ONLY POSSIBLE RESPONSE
  • Sure, Netscape/Sun/AOL want to defeat Microsoft. That doesn't mean that their plans are in actual reality likely to damage Microsofts' desktop OS stranglehold.

    --

  • This could be way out of hand, but, hey, thats never stopped me before:

    3 posts.

    1 sort of pro m$
    1 sort of anti mozilla
    1 other

    Hmmmm . . . probably my paranoia . . .
  • by pqbon ( 7033 )
    Java is the week link

    Just think how many times we have recently heard about so and so not using java-OS for net-puters, handheld devices, palmtops, etc?
    I don't think that a java system will ever be a commercial success. And Yes I have written some serios Client Server Jave.


    "There is no spoon" - Neo, The Matrix
    "SPOOOOOOOOON!" - The Tick, The Tick
  • Heh...Perhaps we should change the title from "Anonymous Coward" to "Anonymous Moron"? (as opposed to those of us morons who bother to log in :) That would keep the privacy people from ranting that anonymity != cowardice.

    (shielding self from flames by people who don't realize I'm being facetious)
  • I don't throw away my AOL CD's.

    I let my gerbil chew them up and use the shavings as bedding.

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
    -jafac's law
  • As I said, they may use cut-throat tactics, but that is not illegal. If you want a computer that doesn't run windows, you can buy a mac, and now you can buy a computer with linux(and it doesn't even have to be a server). There are several alternatives to MS, just no one wants to use them. That is not MS's fault. Who own's netscape? AOL. Is AOL alive and well? very much so... therefor is netscape alive and well? yup.

    I hate Microsoft, but the consumer has alternatives offered to them, and all of those alternatives can do just as much as a MS product can do, peoples just don't want to change. The average consumer -likes- windows and doesn't want something different, MS should not be sued for that.

    They do not have a monopoly, they just have a succesful company. Take many European contries for example, in holland windows is $300, due to that schools and most home users use Linux. A monopoly is when you can hike the prices and people -must- pay, like the oil monopoly once had.

    Business is a mean, cruel, heartless world that MS has just done very well in.

  • Hrm, a triangle with an eye in the center... a good Idea, beacuse in theory if they held all your data, they could look at it... (like they'd be useing any kind of encription)

    but there is one problem... AOL already *has* that logo :)
    ---------------
    Chad Okere
  • First, just because Netscape still exists and is owned by another company it does not necessarily follow that they are doing well. If they were doing so well, they might still have a profitable browser business. Unfortunately, Microsoft feared Netscape becoming a platform unto itself, so they did everything they could to sink Netscape's browser. They did pretty well until the browser went open source. They can't touch it directly now. All they can do is hope to proprietize as many protocols and whatnot as possible so that nobody else has access to them. This was all laid out in the Halloween memos.

    Secondly, cut-throat tactics can be very illegal if you have a monopoly.

    They do not have a monopoly, they just have a succesful company. (...) A monopoly is when you can hike the prices and people -must- pay

    Once again, Windows is proprietary. Businesses have to standardize in order to keep their support costs as low as possible. If you want to exchange documents with 90% of the computer-using world, you need to have Microsoft Office. MS Office is only available on Windows and Mac platforms. The Mac platform is too risky because Microsoft can take Office away from them at any time and has threatened to do so in the past if Apple didn't do what they wanted. Businesses can't take that risk if it's not absolutely necessary.

    I think the ruling in the DOJ case will confirm that Microsoft has a monopoly. It is due to network effects. They are real. They do exist, no matter what Microsoft's pet economist says. If they didn't have a monopoly, they wouldn't be able to threaten OEMs with higher prices. They wouldn't be able to keep competitors from gaining access to the OEMs, or at least limit their access. They can and do raise prices at will, just not on the retail shelves where it is highly noticeable. They raise the prices to OEMs using secret contracts that nobody else knows any details of.

    There are massive barriers to entry for any new OS. The only thing that makes any competition possible at all is people DONATING their time, money, and effort into creating an alternative. That is not a sign of a healthy market. Be actually offered to let OEMs ship BeOS for free if they would just give customers the option of purchasing a machine preinstalled with it. Unfortunately, OEMs are still rather afraid of Microsoft. They can have their prices jacked through the roof if they don't behave. The only reason we see any Linux machines being offered now is because Microsoft can't do anything with the DOJ breathing down its neck. If they (by some miracle) win their case or if the result is another weak agreement, all hell will break loose and Microsoft will once again crack down on everyone who was not kissing their butt the entire time.

    The bottom line is that the average computer user really doesn't have much choice since they can't buy preloaded machines from the top ten OEMs out there (only one of which is offering anything other than Windows on a desktop machine). As long as Microsoft is able to keep the OEMs from offering anything else, it will remain this way. Perhaps their grip will be broken when the trial is over. One can only hope. Businesses have virtually no choice, depending on what business they're in. They may be able to run various types of servers, but on the desktop, it's nearly always Microsoft. There is no other option for them because Office is THE standard. Trying to get businesses to switch from one standard to a new one will cause alot of chaos. That's why Microsoft is sitting pretty. People are locked in. It would take a huge influence to move them. Unless Microsoft raises its prices above what the market will bear (which is quite alot due to the costs of switching), their monopoly will stay intact.

  • First off, most of these came from pre-"Halloween Documents" e-mails. That's almost 5 years internet time. And much of this sounds like pipe-dreams and wishful thinking.

    One bad thing--
    "Further, AOL plans to morph its ICQ instant messaging software into a desktop-based portal that would use Netscape technology as a browser -- something that could further increase its browser share."

    Why, why, why do you take a very good niche product and try to make it everything? That philosophy makes software so large it creates it's own gravity, and it starts to suck. Will they turn WinAmp into a full-blown sound editing environment, with Mp3 support? My confidence in AOL's bidness acumen is diving past zero.

    One other point...this was on MSNBC.com. (Yes,I read MSNBC, say what you will, MS knows GUI's) However, in the many stories I have read there (many on comp./int. news) this is by far the most biased. It's not subtle how they portray these companies, and I quote...
    " "Our view of AOL is, let's take the interactivity they love and have come to depend on as a necessity in their life and take pieces of it linking it back to AOL and in the process finding new revenue streams per member so we're not only making new money for adding new members but adding devices that get revenue from the members," Pittman said. "

    While this may be true, this paints a VERY negative picture of AOL from an "impartial" news source. (which obviously shows MSNBC isn't, making it even more insidious). Let's have a look see at the core of the M$ plan to expoit ppl.
    (like MSNBC, the channel, every notice who buys all the ads there? All M$'s partners)

    Bottom line, you can't trust any news sources, other than /., and even here most of it is wrong, spun, or opinion. (..and of course, M$ is evil and in need of a good slaying)

    '''''';;;;;;..... (core vented. meltdown avoided. Good job Homer)

  • "That's fuckin' scary! I say execute the bastards! Get them out of the gene pool!"

    *CHEER*
    *CHEER*

    I agree completely! When I first started (circa 286s, we live in a backwards shit-town.. *sigh*)
    I at least had the base intelligence to know that if my modem had a 9-pin connector, that it must connect to one of the 9-pins in the back of the pretty box. ;)

    I also started running a BBS with no knowledge of what to do, or how. But guess what.. it became pretty popular. I have since lost my records of user feedback, but from a 486/50 with a single 2400 modem as dialin I think that's good.

    The way I see it if people can't use their heads for anything other than keeping rain off their necks, they have *NO* business owning a computer at all. Using one, fine. As long as someone with half a brain takes care of the thing.
  • Sorry. Not just "slashdot readers". Nobody on the consumer-side wants "metered computing".

    Call it a dead paradigm if you wish, but when people pay money for goods, they want to OWN something.

    That's why marriage is more popular than prostitution.

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
    -jafac's law
  • MSNBC reports enough "bad" news about MS only to maintain an air of credibility. They would probably not run a truly harsh piece on MS or NBC.

    If you think that MSNBC is credible news, then...

    Does anyone know if MSNBC ran a piece summarizing the judgement in the MSTemps case, and if so, how was it slanted?
  • You want some insight? Why not write a dozen or so "intentionally" anti-Microsoft slanted articles and see what happens?

    In the best-case scenario, it could be fun, and give msnbc.com a bunch of sensational hits.

    On the other hand, in the worst-case scenario. . .

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
    -jafac's law
  • why, when most of us Linux-i86 users can use VMWare to get what we need (except for Games) from Windows on our Linux boxes?

    Oddly enough, this form of Windows running subservient to Linux, I can handle...
  • I find it interesting how few people seem to be noticing that this "news" piece appears on the web news service owned by Microsoft!

    (Obviously, the AC to whom I am responding DID notice it.)

    Anyway, the article was a totally transparent: "Don't be afraid of poor abused little ol' innocent Microsoft, be afraid of this horrible three-headed monster we are depicting!"

    Sheesh!

    Sun, AOL, and Netscape have to band together like this just to keep their head above water against the "We WILL be the ONLY writer of any kind of software on planet earth" monster from Redmond. World dominance will not be the result of the Sun, AOL, Netscape alliance. Mere survival may be.

    A blatant FUD piece to attempt to draw attention away from the REAL ISSUE!

    I, for one, am not buying.
  • MS monopolizes the programming market , the desktop application market, and the OS market.

    Sun wants Java to be the programming language. AOL wants everyone to download applications from them for an hourly rate. Netscape wanted their browser to make the underlying OS irrelevant. You'd have a layered monopoly, each partner controlling a layer. Of course, Microsoft will just roll over and die...
  • Agreed. And if you click on it then they're funding Slashdot. :-)
  • Anthony Octavius Lepidus == A O L == AOL the Conspirators!!!

    ...and I completely missed this!


    DOH!


    Any ideas for Netscape?

    submissions to me at goochieboy@hotmal.com.
  • Posted by FascDot Killed My Previous Use:

    Other headlines:

    Experts Announce: Fire is Hot
    "Pope is Catholic," Theologian Claims

    --
    "Please remember that how you say something is often more important than what you say." - Rob Malda
  • On the contrary. Two companies are not allowed to cooperate and combine to create a monopoly according to antitrust laws.
  • It looks like an MSNBC user account. Why did this person not get credited for the story?
  • OH, I don't know... WebTVs are still selling.

    What if someone came up with a modem (POTS, Cable or xDSL) for PlayStations &/o N64? Wouldn't be much different, there, either.

  • Well, if that isn't quite the comparison.

    A better comparison would probably be local phone calls. Nearly everyone takes unlimited local calls, though metered is often an option. Except for people that almost never use the phone, it's a great convenience not to have to monitor use, even if you could save a little money on metered.

    People are often quite happy to rent rather than to buy, if the financial terms are right. For instance, many people lease cars - and many others have no interest in this, even though it might be more financially sensible. I think it's fair to say that people prefer to own rather than rent, and prefer flat rate to metered, but are willing to consider those options if there's a large financial benefit. Given that metered computing is rarely cheaper for most people (and certainly not slashdotters) than the fixed rates that come up, it's being squished.

    If Microsoft offered Office licenses at $10/year or $400 for unlimited use, people would flock to the yearly license.
  • ...and I think I saw on Bloomberg's Monday morning that Qwest tendered, or was thinking about tendering, an offer for USWorst for $44BillUS. Their stock took a hit that day.
  • Posted by FascDot Killed My Previous Use:

    I'll assume from context you really meant "MS knows First Impressions" or something, because brother, they ain't got a clue on GUI's.

    I actually PREFER to use FVWM in X to Win95 (except for cut 'n' paste).
    --
    "Please remember that how you say something is often more important than what you say." - Rob Malda
  • by E.Z. ( 60623 ) on Wednesday June 16, 1999 @01:54PM (#1847475) Homepage
    Easy there, Oliver Stone. The black helicopters will be here soon enough...

    serf, huh?

    I don't know how familiar you are with the news business in general. First of all if you think ANY news is not under some corporate control, you aren't paranoid enough!

    All news organizations (or at least the good ones)are in a constant stuggle to protect the editorial side (that is news, etc.) from the publishing/advertising side.

    In every newspaper in america, you will find ad executives furious about how some upstart reporter daned to go and write an exposee that pissed off their client, and now they have to sweet talk that client or lose a huge customer that's a giant source of revenue, and don't these reporters understand that they shouldn't piss these people off?

    But we do understand. All too well. And we are intentionally shielded from those ad people. Most news organization have strict firewalls to prevent reporters and editors from worrying about ads and revenue.

    So no. Microsoft does not have hiring and firing power over me. No Microsoft representative has ANY input in my evaluations. And I believe firmly that if Bill Gates himself called Merrill Brown (the editor in chief of MSNBC) and told him to fire me, Merrill would say, "Bill, go take a flying fuck in a rolling donught."

    You think us reporter-serfs who live, eat, breath, and deficate scrutiny and public disclosure really wouldn't notice influence if it were there?

    How come you're not so worried about GE's influence? We are FAR more tied to NBC and CNBC from a content standpoint then we are to MS.

    MS paid for half of MSNBC. True. They have revenue goals they want met. They want us to use their technology. But they have NEVER repeat NEVER altered our content and news judgement. I am very impressed with the quality of my editors (and I don't say that lightly as I have authority problems and my respect is not easily earned).

    This is not to say that the scenario you painted has never happened at any news organization in America. Take Disney's influence in making ABC pull a story on the lack of safety at Disney's theme parks...

    But what happens? The rest of the media chews them a new asshole. As I hope they would to MSNBC if a similar scenario ever were to happen.

    I know I would be the first whistleblower. It's not like we make much money as reporters anyway... we basically have nothing to lose but our reputations and love of the truth.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm not rooting for Sun but I do hope MS, Sun and AOL will
    become more involved in a struggle which increases the
    opportunities for open source to become more of an alternative
    for "average" consumers.

    AOL's resentment towards MS has been well known for some
    time - it goes back to their feeling pressured by MS to use the
    IE browser.

    The danger is exactly what Sun wants - fat servers and thin
    clients, and metered computing in which software is downloaded
    and rented. Back to the old mainframe timesharing days -
    that is Sun's mentality.

    Java is ok, but if it is inceasingly used in this way then it
    does pose a far greater threat than MS. We don't need
    clients or servers, but end users who are both. The potential
    of the internet is nullified if it does not become more like
    a peer-to-peer network in every way. In such an environment
    open source can thrive. With fat servers and thin clients.
    everything is controlled at the server end - some of you
    sysadmins may like that, befause it takes control out of the
    hands of users. But, it really puts more control in the hands
    of fewer and fewer giant multinationals.

    AOL is also ok. It provides a needed service for many people.
    If open source cannot do the same (it already is with some
    portals for Linux), then it will never reach the majority of
    users. However, it is also possible for users to move beyond
    that especially with Linux. We just need software to help
    novices set up web sites and servers, with hands-on help
    from nerds who can charge for their services.

    We need lots of little centers of activity everywhere, not just
    a few big ones.

    Sun and AOL are forgetting what PC's are all about. End user
    control. People using Windows do have the illusion that they
    have control of their own systems, but many are now realizing
    that they don't have much control. This is an opportunity for
    Linux and other systems to move in. This stragegy by
    Sun and AOL will not work so long as people want to control
    their own systems and store data on their own systems.
    Yes, the internet is nice, but most PC users do a lot more with
    their computers - games, business, desktop apps, etc. They
    will not be inclined to "rent" software which is downloaded onto
    their thin clients with Java because then it will become very
    clear that they have absolutely no control.

    Anyway, it will take some time for people to free themselves
    from MS Office dependency.

    In summary, this strategy will only partially work for AOL and
    Sun but will hurt MS and make open source (Linux, BSD) look
    a lot more attractive to a lot more people.

  • And Compaq? They got a much lower price than IBM because ...
  • Excuse me while I go in the corner and puke my guts out!

    Just what we need is the #1 source of idiocy on the internet dominating everything...I mean I'm not fond of Microsoft either, but at least they don't proliferate the net with complete morons...
  • Microsoft will win out in the end for one, good reason: They control time itself. Yes! its true. Whenever you copy files, etc., time slows down. First it reports that copying the file will take 15 minutes, then within 5 seconds, it is halved, again and again. By the end, the last 5 seconds takes two minutes or more!

    How can anyone compete against a copany that controls time?

    BitPoet
  • But who won in the end?
    In your analogy the decaying republic turned roman empire (i.e. propriatary s/w companies and wannabe monopolists) eventually collapses in on itself and the real winners are the unwashed hordes at the fringes of the empire who go on to rule Europe.

    Who are the unwashed hordes of barbarians at the gate who eventually win... the goths, visigoths, vandals and franks?
  • The article is written by Microsoft minions!
    What do you expect it to say! You never bite
    the hand that feeds you!

    It is an article. It has words in it. Any actual
    value is buried in the noise. (sigh)
  • Well, for a different point of view, check out Tim O'Reilly's essay [oreilly.com] in Open Sources, where he talks about "infoware", and opens the essay by mentioning people who wanted to buy a computer just so they could buy books at Amazon.com

    Newbies just coming online now already might not be able to see the distinction between AOL and the rest of the web --- so I can definitely see someone buying a machine because they heard of AOL and all that instant messaging fun (!) from other newbie friends. And the AOL marketing will probably play off that.

    =moJ
    - - - - - -
    swagmag.com [swagmag.com]

  • It's not the AOL-Netscape-Sun triune anymore. It's AOL and Sun, since there is no Netscape Corporation.
  • I thought Netscape gave away the browser, first. I thought the intent of that was to capture market and up-end the game against IE, by changing the rules...
  • Well, perhaps I'm biased myself, not liking Microsoft's positions and attitudes, but I find it strange that an MSNBC article is the only one favoring Microsoft on Colburn's testimony and AOL's plans. Everyone else was reporting that the judge was openly skeptical of what point MS was trying to make with this issue, and generally not making it sound like MS scored any points.

    Eg.: Colburn's memo about dropping IE, which MS tried to make much of. They weren't happy to have Case's response to that memo brought in as well, in which Case basically said that dropping IE wasn't feasible due to repercussions from MS if they did that.

  • Look at what both Corel and Microsoft are doing with their 2000 suites. They're working towards selling the end user a "thin client" application that includes just enough functionality to allow the user to do whatever has to be done on the client side, i.e. setup, configuration, UI, etc. with the core of the application living on a server at your local neighborhood Application Service Provider (ASP). In other words, without the ASP (whether it's your corporate app servers or your ISP) your MS Office is an empty shell. This is a bad thing, just another way to lock users into proprietary software, in my opinion.


    Apparently you have never installed MS Ofiices 2000. You do not need an application server at all, just install and go. You have the option, as you have with all recent versions of MS Office to run it from a server, a CD or local HDD. The server install is noghting new and at smaller companies where storage can get tight at times, it is very helpful. I have never run COrel so I won't comment on it, but what MS is doing is nothing new, they won't make Office have to have an application server anytime soon, but you will always be able to run it from the server.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Nothing I saw in the exposed plans looks illegal. The problem with MS isn't that they have a monopoly, it's that they use it "to stifle innovation". When WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3 were the undisputed winners in their niche, DOJ (and users) didn't care, because they weren't trying to take over desktop printers, banking, and worldwide media. It's OK to corner a market based on better product. It's not OK to corner a market by leveraging a monopoly in another market, regardless of whether your product is of competitive quality.

    Besides, how much power would AOL have if they "won"? They would be providing a service based on Open Standards, through third-party telco's, with little proprietary content. What would be the barrier to entry for a better product, with the V.C. available these to support advertising?
  • 2. Is a JVM system really fast enough now to work as a real OS or even application on its own?

    On a PII-333 with the Symantec JVM a SSH client written in Java (no assembly assist for the Crypto) can scroll the screen far faster then I can read. I can tell when it GC'es (or maybe when the network loses a packet) because it pauses long enough to make out a few words (my "standard" test is to cat an ~500K /etc/termcap).

    Disabling the SSH encryption it timed as faster then the Telnet that came with my Windows box (i.e. receving SSH packets in the clear, doing a CRC, and displaying them was faster in Java then doing even less work in C -- I assume they didn't feel a need to tune for speed, and I did).

    On a PPro-180 under FreeBSD the Sun JDK limped along fairly painfully, I could guess how many lines were in eatch SSH "packet". (actually it was a Duel PPro-180, but I dout Java tryed to schedule diffrent threads on diffrent CPUs)

    The JVM implmentation makes a huge diffrence, but I would say Java is fast enough for a lot more tasks then people tend to give it credit for.

  • Hmm... i wonder how much Microsoft's current stuff is just trying to milk their current cash cow for what I think MS sees as their future.

    Look at what Microsoft has been investing in: content and content providers (Northwave Communications, RoadRunner, WebMD, MSNBC, etc.).

    And, why did MS want Intuit? Not to sell Quicken, but to get the banking connections that Intuit has fostered...

    I think Microsoft is slowly morphing into a transaction-based shell of a company. Perhaps MS will still make software in the future, perhaps they won't. But they'll be making residuals wherever they leave their investment dollars...

    Why make $190/copy of Office2K when you can make $0.001/transaction on a few (hundred) million or billion transactions a day with no effort?
  • There used to be a partial game out there called Fragg Island that was written in Java - took forever to load, but rendered fast...
  • ...not any more. The BIFF5 format is easy enough to download. The OLE SDK stuff (with the OLE Document format, which Word & Excel docs are) is readily available, too.

    That several companies offer conversion software for Word Docs should be clue enough.

    At least for spreadsheets, is there much market other than Excel (so who cares)?
  • That's fuckin' scary! I say execute the bastards! Get them out of the gene pool!
  • Actually, MSNBC has been remarkably balanced in the past, with their articles about Linux and Microsoft. I don't think they're biased because of Microsoft's partial ownership of them, and I'm a naturally distrustful guy.
  • The day I can buy software with a title deed I'll kiss the ground.

    Really an economy can't go on if it stops itself.

    DUH!

    Plus at this point it should be quite clear that a company that controls the market and its consumers globally where they have nowhere to put the money since it is global only smacks of corporate onanism. Totally not the real thing. Look at it like this a snake that bites everything it owns including itself. Globalization is going to cause economies to literally cancel each other if only few control the world leaving an equilibrium that will kill everything. On the other hand globalization with small businesses is going to open up many opportunities.

    But that means at least partial knowledge of the things you work with.

    We really have to get rid of guys like this Swami DesktopComputingIsDeadanananananda.

    As for marriage/prostitution, there's a lot of ownership themes in pimping. Why do you think it's illegal? It's so women should feel guilty and dirty which makes them hardly a voice in the system and so only the pimps make the money off the women's work.
  • No, I find it quite natural that a MS associated news source tries to create the illusion of a credible threat towards Microsoft, in order to help them in the court.

    Where is the irony in that?

  • Anyway, the article was a totally transparent: "Don't be afraid of poor abused little ol' innocent Microsoft, be afraid of this horrible three-headed monster we are depicting!"

    If you are referring to the picture at the top of the article, you might notice that the three people at the bottom (with swords?) have the symbols of the Trio on their backs. That would make MS the 3-headed monster. I made the same mistake on immediate examination.

    However, the fact that they were making plans, and had ideas on how to implement them, gives weight to the idea that the market isn't as closed as they would have us believe. That article makes me think that all these companies really want is to replace MS, not make the environment better for users.

    In the end, that is (should be) the goal of anti-trust legislation: guarantee competition. If MS acted to prevent these companies from replacing their OS as dominant, that's one thing. If, on the other hand, these companies were just too wary of the development and advertising costs associated with entering the fray, why are we spending money on them? I don't remember seeing AOL or Sun or Netscape releasing an OS, MS drastically cutting the price of Winblows, and raising it back after the other died.

    Basically, this trial is about the other companies being upset that MS is better at pulling the wool over the consumers' eyes than thay are. I think Netscape is a greatly superior browser (my employers, unfortunately, don't), but MS has greatly superior advertising (in that it exists), and the great majority of our fellow countrypeople are more swayed by advertising than quality.

    ohhhh.... bad post.... long.....

  • we would have been hearing how cars provided competition for Standard Oil because these could also run on oil provided by other vendors (even though none had relevant market share or production capacity at the time, so no choice was available to buyers).
    Furthermore, we would have heard that the alleged monopoly on oil could fall apart at any moment, as a multitude of people were digging in the earth with the purpose of striking oil.
    And lastly, they would have told that oil was about to be overtaken by nuclear and solar energy (and one shouldn't bother about questioning whether these can provide energy for cars) so, despite Standard Oil's market share, the company wouldn't have market power at the moment of investigation.
  • by TreesCanHurt ( 20666 ) on Wednesday June 16, 1999 @09:30AM (#1847527)
    Nice URL-- looks like it's reflected through a hotmail machine... (209.185.130.250) ?

    Correct URL is http://www.msnbc.com/news/280218.asp [msnbc.com]
  • by The G ( 7787 ) on Wednesday June 16, 1999 @09:30AM (#1847528)
    Well, Rob, you'll need a new icon for the new Holy Trinity here. Who knows, in five years maybe they'll be the new MSFT. The market seems to need a 500-pound gorilla, and once Redmond is out of the picture someone else will take its place. Sounds like these folks want to be that.

    This year, they're the good guys. Next year maybe they'll be the bad guys. Ah well, if we didn't want excitement and constant change, we wouldn't be working in technology, eh?
  • Because it is not an OS monopoly. They are attempting to compete with MicroSoft by making dependencies irrelevant. They may sound evil when they talk about how they're going to do it, but consider who they are up against.

    In any case, in the long run, a "monopoly" built on platform independence is still better than one that thrives on platform dependence.

    Besides, companies have been trying these strategies against MS for a long time. I don't think this one would look as good as it does if it weren't for the fact that MS is currently in trial and on their best behavior.
  • I know certain aspects of my sentiments have been said, but I must say them...

    Microsoft is like some ancient emperor. MS wants to get control of all the 'kingdoms' in the area. It doesn't want to make their citizens (both old an new) live in horrible conditions, but it also isn't the goal to make them live in eden-like spleandor. This means that the citizens (for the most part; not a universal rule) can still live their day-to-day lives even if everything about the empire they live in is trash. While most surely any sane person would want to leave, it's akin to wanting to walk out on a bad movie instead of escape chinese water torture.

    I'm really not a history person (despite taking it :), but while this may not accurately reflect how ancient emperors really were, I hope my point about MS still comes across. They aren't here to deliver crappy products, it just happens in the midst of not caring if they deliver good products over their market share. Now, our favorite Tripant is different. MS is a bit sick, a bit misguided, and unfortunatly it's never been brought to a sanitarium. AOL is pure evil. Netscape has been (essentially) what MS would perhaps be if it were the underdog, aside from certain marketing aspects (and intelligence with perspective). Sun, as a company, is irrelevant to me, so I won't comment on them. But under the oppression of an empire (figuratively speaking), we'll find two types of people. One usually succeeds, one doesn't.

    Type A: Martin Luther King's. The Ghandis. These people don't often succeed, but when they do, they do so while being completely 100% in the right (subjectively) and changing the world for the better. This would be Linux, for the most part. Passive-Resistance. Peace, man.

    Type B: The Angry Mob. In the empire analogy, these guys would consist mostly of the nobles who probably still have it pretty good. What do they do? They find the nearest town that's a main part of the empire (as in, a town of the empire before it decided taking over their neighbor's lands was fun for the whole family) and they torch the houses of all the citizens. Althought they feel better, the rest of the citizens of the empire suddenly get the mistaken impression that the empire is good because of the terrorists they now have to compare to. Instead of creating a new empire of 'nobles', they end up getting caught and in jail. Nothing is accomplished, except perhaps a bit of thankfulness on the citizens part that the empire has locked a few cruel people in the dungeons, and a perspective that it could be worse... they could be under the hands of those freaks.
  • (B) the raised price was for a newer version of Windows that IBM hadn't contributed dev effort to.

    (A)What newer version of Windows hasn't included all the older crap (that IBM apparently helped to create)?

    (B) Why justification does Microsoft have for charging IBM 2-3 times as much for Windows as other OEMs just because a new version with some extra "features" was released?

    (C) How do you explain the threats by Joachim Kempin that if IBM didn't stop marketing and/or offering OS/2, they would have to pay alot more for Windows.

    (D) How do you explain the deal that Kempin tried to arrange that involved having IBM stop shipping SmartSuite for six months to a year in order to receive a discount on Windows (which would have still had IBM paying more than any other major OEM).

    If the press reports seemed to be slanted against Microsoft, it's because Microsoft earned it. They were trying to use their prices to prevent IBM from competing. That's illegal if you have a monopoly, which seems to be pretty well established in court now. I believe there was even an email from a Microsoft exec to an IBM exec that stated that IBM can have Compaq's deal when IBM stops competing. Just another one of those damning emails that show exactly what Microsoft's intentions were.

  • by E.Z. ( 60623 ) on Wednesday June 16, 1999 @11:32AM (#1847552) Homepage
    Hey all -- I'm the drone who wrote this story for MSNBC. I've really enjoyed the comments here -- you guys have some great insights. I especially liked the post about Ceaser and his slayers... very clever. Of course, no one noticed that the companies got it all wrong: Sun should have been Apollo, not AOL... guess Steve Case never read Bulfinch's

    Anyway, for the record, when I first took the job at MSNBC, I shared all the concerns voiced here about the relationship between the news organization and Microsoft. I mean, I had just been covering the MS trial for the Mercury News, so it wasn't like I was ignorant about how MS goes about its business.

    But I was very pleased to discover that MS has NEVER tried to influence the editorial content of the site. I know its hard to believe. But I know I personally never would have taken the job if I thought otherwise. Now, three months later, I am pleased to say my editors are tickled pink when I (or my colleagues) are tough on MS, and have never told me to slant my news in ANY way, let alone pro-MS.

    Anyway, this story was really interesting to dig into. AOL/Sun/Netscape really look like they are trying to out-Microsoft Microsoft, in that they want to establish and control the standards, which has always been MS' game.

    You expect that of AOL, but what puzzles me more than anything else is Sun's involvement. They have been pretty big open-standard proponents in the past and I'm a little surprised to see them in this role. Thoughts anyone?

    Anyway, thanks for all the insight!

    -Elliot
  • So now you can have a system based on Proprietary Hardware (Sun) running on a Proprietary online service (AOL) and crashing just as much as Windoze (anything by Netscape)

    Basically, more of the same
  • by Mycroft-X ( 11435 ) on Wednesday June 16, 1999 @09:35AM (#1847567)
    Ok, if I read this correctly (and I admit I ran through it only once) then there are a few things that I think could hinder this plan.

    1. This seems unfeasible(sp?) until there is inexpensive and common high/ultrahigh-bandwidth connections to peoples homes. Perhaps AOL wants to buy Qwest? :-)

    2. Is a JVM system really fast enough now to work as a real OS or even application on its own?

    3. Somehow it seems to me that using the net as a giant application server is a very good way to both reduce security both on the server end (cracker modifies the Java code? BOOM) and in the data stream (we would want uber-encryption on this data, and it is still decoded on the server side, returning to my previous point).

    4. Who would run the massively high-speed computers to do all this processing? I would think that serving apps for x number of net users, combined with whatever encryption is needed on the data would slow most computers (I mean even SMP servers and clusters) to a crawl. And if you limit the number of connections to each server, what happens if there is a surge in users and the servers are overloaded? Can you say lawsuit?

    5. The 'net, even though it is designed to be redundant, occasionally loses connection with parts of itself. How would this be handled? For those on modem access, what if you are suddenly disconnected after typing 9 pages of a term paper? Are there accounts on these servers in which your abandoned document is saved, or does it just expire as soon as the connection times out?

    Tom Byrum
  • by MidKnight ( 19766 ) on Wednesday June 16, 1999 @09:45AM (#1847571)
    As the article mentions (about 3/4 the way down... gee, is this a biased article?), the AOL-Sun Internet Anywhere concept isn't a direct threat on Microsoft's operating system monopoly. So you can use your Java-based cell phone to check your AOL email by sometime next year -- is that going to replace the Windoze box you have on your desk at work? Nope. Not by a long shot.

    The focus of the anti-trust trial (which gets very little fanfare in this article) is whether Microsoft currently has a monopoly over operating systems, and whether they use that monopoly maliciously. Frankly, this is just smoke up the public's ass, trying to cloud the issue.

    -- Mid
  • by pspeed ( 12169 ) on Wednesday June 16, 1999 @09:50AM (#1847574)
    In a word, nothing. (BTW, read the _whole_ article. It becomes easier to not hear B. Gates' voice reading it as you go along.)

    It is a truely desperate effort on Microsoft's part to use this kind of material as a defense. It could backfire on them. These three companies are only going through with these deals because of Microsoft's dominance. And in the end, their plans could amount to nothing more than pipe dreams.

    Most of the quoted documents were apparently written by Sun. I am a Java advocate, but I'll be the first to tell you that Sun inappropriately likes to see their plight on a mythic scale. I equate some of their comments to those chain-letter type of e-mails that run around the internet comparing MS to a dragon, or a car, or a giant spider, etc.. When I was an OS/2 user (duck) I used to see these types of e-mails all the time. And we OS/2 users always held onto the belief that some day our OS would beat the evil MS. We knew it wasn't true, but that's what faith is all about.

    Alot of the triad's plans sound similarly dream-like. I do think that Java will become more wide-spread but you have to have a pretty faithful imagination to think it will dominate the desktop. (Nothing would please me more but I still have a few OS/2 pains where those muscles are.) There other plans are just that. Plans. Add 50 cents and you might be able to buy a cup of coffee. Only time will tell how much they succeed.

    Fortunately, the Judge in the trial seems to have a pretty good head on his shoulders. He seems to be able to recognize smoke and mirrors when he sees it. Still, only time will tell if they succeed.

    However, if MS does make it through this trial completely unscathed then I don't think the triads plans amount to anything.

    MS's "downfall" would have to come from another direction. And I won't hold my breath.
  • Netscape the browser might be alive and well, but Netscape the company ain't makin a dime off it right now... Guess who made it that way?

    None of those other OSes can really compete with Microsoft. MacOS is the closest thing to a competitor, but they can't do anything to cheese off MS or they lose Office and whatever else MS decides to do to them. BeOS is still too new and has no application support, and the OEMs are afraid that Microsoft will jack their prices for Windows through the roof if they offer it on desktop machines. Linux is making headway in the server arena, but that's not where Microsoft's monopoly power lies. When Microsoft has all the OEMs by the short and curlies, along with its main OS competitors (IBM and Apple), what can they do? It's blatantly obvious that Microsoft holds alot of power over these companies. Haven't you paid attention to what they did to IBM with the Windows pricing and development info? Jeez... wake up.

  • by wardk ( 3037 )
    I find it interesting that this article went into such exceptional detail about the business plans of these 3 companies. (At least the article mentions that Microsoft is the MS in MSNBC).

    Hasn't MS been able to have such excruciating details excluded from public view, in order to protect their business plans?

    I don't recall such intimate details of similar MS docs being published. Just excerpts of email, high level plans, etc. Perhaps this a decision by the particular publishers?

    I do think the article tried to deliver a resouding "look at all this competition MS has" to the readers. As if some javabox running AOL is gonna run MS out of business. We all know it's actually gonna be linux :-)

    The only character missing from this insidious consipracy is ex-borlander and wannabe MS killer, P. Kahn. that would make Bill tremble, eh?

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