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Judge Jackson Orders Final MS Case Summaries 203

Richard Finney writes "The Associated Press reports that U.S. District Judge Thoms Penfield Jackson has ordered Microsoft and the Department of Justice to present their versions of the 'facts.' This is a step forward to a final verdict: 'GUILTY!' I hope. Yahoo! News has the story here."
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Final Judgement: Jackson order final summaries.

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  • Hey if they broke the law they should be punished. Just like Kevin Mitnick. M$ is not above the law.
  • by Axe ( 11122 )
    Were it not the witnesses who were lying? Did you never, ever lie? I did lie for sure. That happens. Says nothing bad about the law as it is, in my opinion.

    It like buggy software. Yes, it does not work.
    It is a lie. Yet, we still write it.

  • First dude said:
    By the terms of the per-processor clause MS would have had a prima facie case against any OEM that did not fork over a license fee for every PC sold, whether it actually had Windows on it or not.

    To which second dude replied:
    And any PC manufacturer is free to forego selling Windows and thereby avoid this liscence. They can't survive without Windows, you say? Well, that's their choice. If Libux is so great, they can start an all-Linux company, and then they don't have to pay the MS tax.

    I'm not sure if what the first guy said was correct or not, but if it was it'd mean that OEMs would have to pay the "MS tax" whether or not they used Windows, without the option of saving cash by using another OS.

  • Man if M$ is so powerful that they can cause a worldwide caos and a global collapse of economies then they have no business claiming they don't have a monopoly. If Bill G. had that much power then I'd be first one in line to put a bullet in his head.
  • by Axe ( 11122 )
    Nobody is forcing anyone to buy Microsoft products

    Yes they do. They very fscking do force us. They have OEMs by the balls. Even if you by a Linux system from Dell, you pay for acopy of MS Windows - they charge per CPU. We bought
    10 Dells - we paid 1K extra - it was never installed - can you, wise ass, get our money back? Do not think so.
    Our group ditched that NT crap and uses Linux and Solaris. Yet, when our company (government) pays for MS Shmoffice or NT Workstation - they force agreement per employee.
    You can stuff your bullshit up your ass, Mr. Coward. You LIE.

  • Don't forget such notable items as:
    Xenix(way back when)
    Windows 3.x (definitely a different beast from Win1-3
    Windows for Workgroups
    Are we counting WinNT Terminal Server as a different OS? Is the actual kernal different, or are the differences higher level?

    Anybody want to draw um a nifty little "MS family tree" to properly identify all these monstrosities?
  • I'm always amazed at the hypocracy(sp?) that exists within the Linux community. We say that we don't want the government taxing the net, telling us what we can say or do the net, etc. Yet at the same time, we want the government to do something to Microsoft?


    I think you've set up a...whatsitcalled...a false dichotomy here. Most people would not agree with the statement "Government should regulate (foo)" or the statement "Government should not regulate (foo)" (foo being microsoft, the internet, what have you).

    Rather, most people (correct me if I'm wrong) would agree with something like the statement "Government should regulate when it makes sense for it to do so." (which seems rather tautological...oh well). Just because it does not make sense for government to regulate one aspect of technology does not mean that it automatically also does not make sense for the government to regulate some other aspect. Each case must be considered independently. It is not a display of hypocrisy for one to say that government should prosecute Microsoft but not tax the Internet, since other than both being technology-related these two examples of government activity bear very little resemblance to each other.

    IMNHO, the government should stay out of the whole mess. The system will self-regulate. Take a look at history. All empires colapse at some point, either because they get to big for those in power to maintain control, or because they are too big and slow to deal with a rapidilly changing situation. This is exactly what will happen to MS. (snip)

    In regard to this point, it must be stated that empires take a bloody long time to fall naturally. If there's any quicker method to safely get rid of an unpleasant or abusive empire, then it's certainly not a bad idea to use it.

  • You might do well to look at the performance of the government with respect to business matters. Tiem and again they display their ineptitude. They broke up Standard Oil again and again to keep oil prices down. Uh huh. And they broke up AT&T so we could have competition in the phone business. I still can't get any local carrier than Pac Bell.

    The "capabilities" you quote are asserted by government, but widely challenged. The government operates on a deficit: illegal for a business to do so. The government has committed acts of malfeasance in management (i.e. SSS) for which executives of private corporations would be jailed.

    In a word: YES it is incapable of making any rational judgment about the operation of the software industry.

    At last check, Windows was the only OS for which no secondary purchase authorization was required in the FedGov. Level playing field? Hardly.
  • I would not eat a Microsoft Burger ...afraid of the occassional Blue S*** Of Death.

    How about ActiveFurnature? According to the MS Marketdroids, it dynamically adjusts to provide maximum comfort. Sure, some people have complained about beeing strangled by their chairs, but such talk is "anecdotal".

    MS Interstate Explorer - i'm imagining a nightmarish little micro-stationwagon that "conveniently" remembers how to drive to your house and unlock your front door - oh look, some script kiddy broke into your kar (by hitting ESC), drove to your house, and cleaned you out. Microsoft will fix that b^H^H^H^H^H^H modify that feature with the next service pack.

    Release early, release only crap* is not tolerated in other industries. I don't want to have to deal with it in any software I use. That's why I hate MS (although, IMHO, the current DOJ case is unfounded).

    *The actual line is "Release early, release often", but MS's idea of "often" is orders of magnitude slower than our reality.
  • The government also mandated long ago that public corporations have a responsibility to make a profit, and to plan for their continued profitability. Failure to do so leaves the officers of said corporation liable for charges of mismanagement. Charges which could lead to prison terms for the execs.

    Before the gov't freed me from phone company tyranny, I had never experienced the failure of a telephone. No hardware failure. Ever. since then, I have lost count of the telephones I have bought, but I would reckon their half-life at as much as two years.

    The government is indeed the only one to rein in a monopolist, but they started twice before, both times with valid cases, and they blew it. Now they have an invalid case, and thousands, if not millions, are cheering them on.

    The present case is bogus. The previous cases were real, but were dropped. I will not cheer for a "victory" in a bogus case, as it reduces my own freedom.
  • I'm always amazed at the hypocracy(sp?) that exists within the Linux community. We say that we don't want the government taxing the net, telling us what we can say or do the net, etc. Yet at the same time, we want the government to do something to Microsoft?

    IMNHO, the government should stay out of the whole mess. The system will self-regulate. Take a look at history. All empires colapse at some point, either because they get to big for those in power to maintain control, or because they are too big and slow to deal with a rapidilly changing situation. This is exactly what will happen to MS.

    Why do you think their products suck so much? Is it because their programmers are all idiots? No. It's simply because their leaders (BillG and friends) aren't always in sync with thier developers, testers, etc, etc. Why do you think BillG gave up leadership and went back to help make things better? For this exact reason. But it's probably to late. The empire has already started to crumble and will continue to do so.

    Also, Microsoft is faced by small, quick moving enemies on all sides. PalmOS, Linux, network appliances, BeOS, and just a changing landscape in the computer world. They're not quick enough to react to all the threats, and they will fall. We should let it happen and not have the government step into it.

    Deepak Saxena
    Project Director, Linux Demo Day '99

  • Windows bombs out so much because they've spent all that time and money on six(*) separate operating systems instead of starting with a single good design and refining it.

    They are: (1)DOS, (2)Windows 1-3, (3)Windows 95-98, (4)OS/2, (5)Windows NT, (6)Win2000.

    (*)Note that this arbitrarily counts DOS and the original Windows as two operating systems... which is technically incorrect. (Of course, by using a strict definition of operating system one may disqualify DOS, Windows 1-3, and Win95/8 as well. ;) It also counts as separate the time, money, and planning they spent on OS/2, of which NT was originally derived -- but much changed. And, the final obvious error I see in this analysis, Win2000 is derived, to a lesser or greater degree, from NT -- but it may be changed enough to qualify in spirit and implementation as a new OS.
  • -- Maybe Linux would win this challenge, however most companies would probably go with the "reliable" Microsoft. --

    What surprises me is that Microsoft software really *isn't* reliable. Like, at all. In our office, the workstations all have NT on them, and what do we do? We all ssh to a Linux box, and have five or six terminals open and work remotely.

    Yet we have to have Microsoft compatibility in a BIG way, because that is demanded of us by everyone else, because so many people have no idea how you would live outside of Windoze...

    This is where nice-looking front-ends come in: much as I really, really despise Gnome and KDE (I am a cut-down wm, usually fvwm, person myself) they look *reassuring* to exactly the kind of people that wouldn't think, oh, I should really be using Linux. If a window manager looks like Win95, then, much as hardcore people (like meself) scream and rant, it's not us it's aimed at.

    Horses for courses. (TM)
  • Flame bait taken:

    Well tell me then, why giving 30,000+ people their livelyhood, making a quarter of them millionaries is bad?

    I don't care how many people BG employs. He imposes an involuntary tax from a far greater number. Are you offering the extreme wealth of Microsoft as proof that they are not evil? Hey, I got some tobacco stocks for you man.

    You bash for bashing's sake

    You honestly don't have a clue why people dislike Microsoft? Honestly?

    Let me paraphrase your post:

    This News for Nerds site is hard on Microsoft. I really like Microsoft, and therefore all you other nerds are wrong. I don't think they're evil. As evidence, they are very rich. This in itself proves they are wonderful. Also, open source people are not very rich. So this community must not be very useful.

    Finally, you say

    Tell me how many mouth had the open source community feed?

    Well, there are a lot of people saving money by not using Microsoft. I guess the savings could be converted into foodstuffs, or be spun back into the economy to do useful work. As opposed to fattening some multimillionaires in Redmond.
  • I thought we had a character limit on how long comments could be? Oh wait, it's in preferences and mine's set at 4096. Well, that's going to change real quick...
  • They are so blatantly guilty to just about anyone without a vested interest.

    Maybe some of us are still unconvinced of their bad nature. I remember my turning point: several years ago Microsoft tried to buy out Quicken because Microsoft Money was not good enough. When asked by a reporter how badly this would damage competition, Bill Gates claimed, that on the contrary, it would improve competition. Up until that time I was a Microsoft customer, but I was shocked that such a powerful authority as Gates would tell such an arrogant lie and expect people to believe it. It was a frightening moment, because you know that most everyone would believe this, since they are computer illiterate.

    From that point on, I vowed to boycott and oppose them. Certainly everything about them since that time has only confirmed my decision.

    I hope that the DOJ extracts the maximum penalty from them.

  • Corporations do not have to become governments in order to have that power. In addition to the intellectual property arguments made by other responses to this comment, corporations write laws and pay congresspeople to pass them every single day in the USA. Beyond the obvious things like writing laws and donating to candidate's coffers if they "support" corporate causes, companies mire up the enforcment of laws they don't like in the courts, they get around fines (especially within the EPA) by stalling and "negotiating" with the government. William Greider has written extensively on this topic, I suggest you check him out. I recommend 'Who Will Tell The People' for a good intro to his work.
  • I agree that they should be prosecuted, and that there are reasons for which they should be sanctioned. Unfortunately, the present case is not one of them.

    If the DOJ could get their act together, there are plenty of things for which I would cheer them on. This just doesn't happen to be among them.

    When the government designes our computers, I well revert to a note pad and pencil.
  • Of course, a verdict is nowhere from the end. This'll drag through the appellate courts for another couple of years.
  • Agreed. However, that relates to the predatory practices they use(d), not to the inclusion of a browser.
  • That was by no means his first such lie, but it may have been the first really blatant one that the public noticed. For many of us, the first was when he told IBM he had an OS, and we had already known of Tim Patterson and his OS at SCP.

    Pirates of Silicon Valley followed the book well enough to get it right. M$ is, and has been, an opportunistic operation based not on technology, but on acquisition. Even so, they have rights, and one of those is freedom from harassment by government. The current case is nonsense. They should have been hit, and hit hard, but the DOJ, on the issue of predatory practices, but DOJ blew it.

    Some of us have economic responsibilities in the real world, and cannot indulge in a boycott without damaging our own employers.

    Windows sucks, but it is pervasive. While that continues, small companies have few options.
  • The government also mandated long ago that public corporations have a responsibility to make a profit, and to plan for their continued profitability. Failure to do so leaves the officers of said corporation liable for charges of mismanagement. Charges which could lead to prison terms for the execs.
    Yeah, it also precudes them from dumping toxic waste in our drinking water, making fraudulent claims, and hosts of other things that would enhance their profitiability.... What's your point?
    Before the gov't freed me from phone company tyranny, I had never experienced the failure of a telephone.
    When was this? This prohibition predates the AT&T breakup (which was over the tying of local and long distance service). While AT&T did rent equipment to customers (and btw, still will), this was not required, and AT&T was barred from requiring it.

    The present case is bogus.
    You are of course, entitled to your opinion. The DOJ is (obviously) of a different mind. Fortunately, there exists in this country, a means for arbitrating diffrences over how the laws work. And when Judge Jackson makes his ruling, and the decision is (or isn't appealed) said mechanism will be working...
  • As much as I hate Microsoft and would like to see it destroyed, I don't think the government should be involved. From what I have heard of Microsoft's actions, they certainly seem ethically repugnant, but I don't think that they should be illegal. I tend to think that problems such as Microsoft should be dealt with through education and activism. Supporting Linux or BSD is an excellent example of this.

    Then again I am, unlike Jon Katz, a libertarian. Those who support a more activist government may likely disagree.

  • Even if Microsoft eventually wins, years from now as long as they are under pressure from the government it allows the OEM's to have a little freedom and offer other operating systems with 'less' fear of Microsoft retaliation.

    I am sure all this news frenzy around Linux and Open Source would not have been as intense had MS been able to FUD back even harder that it is.

    You would not have seen all the investment by OEM's and others in Redhat.

    You probably would only have seen Corel's support and Microsoft would have found a way to put the nail in the Corel's coffin. Now they are restrained from banging nails into coffins and if it drags on and on it will become a moot point if Microsoft wins or loses.

    Ken Broadfoot

  • Good points, all, and it seems apparent that the collapse of M$ in it's own entropy has begun. If in doubt, see Win2K.

    My own hope is for BeOS to do well. It's clean, fast, well conceived, well implemented, and well documented. Well, the last point is open to argument, but M$ has lowered the bar so far on docs that most other things (even Linux) seem better documented.
  • May go through the appellate courts, but all those unvested programmers are not going to be happy if MS loses, and the stock price drops.

    In addtion, the Fed Gov could stop purchasing MS products, or make it extreamly difficult and time consuming (why do yo need this, how come, is there a different solution, we will get back to after we get through with the 6 month backlog).

    And if this comes out at the same time as Win 00, and win 00 has problems, then short MS stock.
  • Yeah, it also precudes them from dumping toxic waste in our drinking water, making fraudulent claims, and hosts of other things that would enhance their profitiability.... What's your point?

    My point is that the management of public safety is an altogether different matter, as is fraud.

    Deciding what features may or may not be included in any software product (whether an OS or an app) is not the rightful domain of the government.

    Throughout the history of this country, competitors have driven one another out of business. It's intrinsic in the capitalist model, and no company has the "right" to be in business.

    Staying in business depends (or should depend) on delivering a needed product at an attractive price, with an acceptable level of quality.

    If BeOS thrives, and Windows dies, so be it. But let it be determined by consumers, not by bureaucrats. And if it swings the other way, likewise, let it be determined by the market.

    We who live in the world of small business live by our wits and skills. Let M$ and Netscape do the same. Without the "benefit" of unjustified government intervention.
  • i tend to agree, in a perfect world. unfortunatley our society & governamnt is stil made up of capitolists. and any movement would be stigmatized as a bunch of left-wing wackos before any momentum should be gained. - in many ways microsoft doesn't behave like a monopoly. i think their proof of their monopolistic ways is not their profit margins but in their ability to get away with selling such crap for so long. any other company would be long out of business, if they frustrated their users the way MS has, many time. - so sadly the most likely way of impacting MS's business practices is the courts... ----- "just thowing in my two cents worth.... can keep the cahnge"
  • The company apparently hopes to capitalize on a potentially embarrassing slip by government witness Franklin Fisher, an economist. Fisher told Justice lawyer David Boies in January that Microsoft's behavior ``on balance'' hasn't harmed consumers ``up to this point.''

    Whoops. But when you really get down to it, I don't think it has hurt home consumers to an extent that the company should be [disbanded|split up|fined|whatever]. It's impact on business, security, and so on is another matter. I think it is in no way clear cut that the DOJ will win, and ALSO it is in no way clear cut that the DOJ should win.

    --Remove SPAM from my address to mail me
  • 'blue' screen can pop up for other low level errors, such as a disk missing. it's common for one to show up if the OS still exspects a CD or zip disk. you can just hit escape and clear it
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • You bring up a good point. It takes time for an OS to mature. It takes time to ferret out all of the bugs and to find all of the design flaws. Unfortunatly the bar has been lowered and the general public has grown to accept an OS that pretty much works, instead of demanding a product that is rock solid. So why should MS care about really getting it right when own the market with %80 right? I have no doubt that MS could get it right if they wanted to. Unfortunatly they are driven by revenue and not by quality so the need to pump out new products overides the need for quality.

    I always wondered why MS built NT with any backwards compatability. This was there chance to do it the right way and they started out behind the eight ball from the start.

    MS can't even get the bug fixes right. At me company we are afraid to install the latest SP for NT becasue everytime we install one it fixes a few bugs but breaks some things that were working just fine. Why would you want to introduce new *features* in a bug fix. Why do they have to make things that should be simple such a pain in the ass.

    I'm not sure that even if they loose the case against the DOJ that it will make any difference. I really have a hard time believing that the judicial system knows what to do.
  • >As much as I hate Microsoft and would like to see it destroyed, I don't think the government should be involved.

    Of course, you do realize that Microsoft's business success directly relies on "government involvement" in the form of enforcement of copyright laws and shrink-wrap licenses, right?

    In a "pure capitalism" world, a Microsoft CD would only be worth the polycarbonate it's stamped on.

  • You use many fancy words but say little.
  • IE 3 was pretty bad, it didn't support tables, witch really sucked, I don't think anyone really used it. 4.0 was better then anything netscape as ever done, period. infact I only upgraded to 5.0 about a week ago. (I don't notice much of a diffrence between 4 and five, exsept for offline browsing).

    The only reason IE is ahead is beacuse of AOL, if they swaped IE for netscape, netscape would have over 50% of the market share.

    I still use both IE and netscape (4.0 and 5 as well as netsape 4.06, I hear netscape 4.6 really sucks)
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • Or taxed or regulated someone? They never have. They're not a government. Not even close.

    why do you think it's called the windows tax? compaq pays them $700,000,000 a year, probably more then they do the government...
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • Sierra Leone is a small contry in africa, founded in the 1800' by freed slaves from the United States.

    it currently has no working government, a while ago, a general's army stormed the main city freetown, and took over. there leader was killed, now tenagers, usualy high on holucenogenics run rampant. they routenly kill and mutilate people

    it's not a happy place, but it is an example of what can happen when the most powerfull get to rule
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • Microsoft, a corporation, has rights? I don't believe it. I also do not totally agree with the case, but on the whole I think DOJ is right, and that the case is important for a number of reasons, including hanging out some dirty laundry that needs to be seen by the public.

  • In an exclusive interview with The New Yorker's Ken Auletta, Gates said, "We've always wanted to settle this thing.
    But, Gates added, the settlement had to be of a type that would allow Microsoft to continue to be an innovative technology leader.

    ... 1406.htm []
    Why pay for drugs when you can get Linux for free ?
  • Man.. that's too man damn cool.. ROTFL.
  • Except the fact that no-one else is offering to open a nation wide television station and if they did ABC/NBC/CBS couldn't give a hoot.
  • I know I'm late into the post so I'll keep it short. This is an issue of IP rights. Microsoft has manipulated a generally BAD system into millions of dollars but done nothing legally wrong. IP laws used to be solely about copyright. An artist's right to control the distribution of their creation. This stemmed mainly from the beleif that all people are not creative. That there are a talented few who have a right to control how we appreciate them. I debate this (as any good anarchist will) but that's not what I'm here to say. Copyright was introduced because of its economic benifits. That is: It supplies the creator with food and a monopoly. The monopoly part is what the founders of Copyright law had in mind. In a monopoly economy you try to sell to everyone. You set your price high and sell to those who beleive it is worth that much until they stop buying. Then you lower your price and sell to the next consumer bracket. Eventually you get down to the people who will pay very little for it and finally you give it away (like putting it in a library). The result is that everyone gets a look at your latest creation and you can move on to creating new stuff. It gives you the incentive and the public gets the benefit of your artistic creation.

    It doesn't work. It used to work, with books, but some funny fellow came to the conclusion that computer programs are art. A lot of us coders would agree.. our code does have some artistic merit, but the appreciation of that art is at the sourcecode level. To compile it is to destroy that art. Maybe the user interface has some sort of artistic quality to it.. but no-one seems to mind if you copy the look and feel of an application. It's difficult to classify Windows 98 as art.

    So what is copyright now? It's a monopoly without a social good. The "artists" it "feeds" have more than anyone else on the planet and not everyone can get ahold of it. In fact, most of the time, no-one can. As more and more things become covered under copyright (genetically engineered food is copyright.. that's right.. it's illegal to grow certain hydroponic tomatoes that you get from the store) we may see this pattern more and more.
  • a way to limit the number of lines (like counting the <br&gt tags)...


  • In a "pure capitalism" world, the GPL would only be worth the paper it was printed on. And there would be 1200 or so forks to the source. Novell, Apple, Microsoft and IBM would all be pushing their own flavors of Linux.

    If you're gonna take down 'the system,' remember that your stuff is open game too.
  • uh, OS/2 is an IBM product. It used to be the biggest competition to Win31 for mainstream users.

    Note that "biggest competition" doesn't mean that more than a handful of people used it. (It was also the only competition, AFAIK.)


  • I expect appeals, etc. to drag on for years. That's OK--the main thing is, the DOJ is now providing "air cover" for competition, Linux included. Assuming Microsoft is found guilty, they will be like the prisoner on probation..."yes, Bill, you can continue to run your business, but you'll need to check in every Tuesday, and we'll have to shut you down for 2 days at a time if you violate your parole." Windows will have to compete primarily on inertia (people don't like to change) and its own merits (ouch). That's all Linux needs to bust out of the established beachhead and start rolling back the MS Empire :)
  • OS/2 1.x was developed jointly by IBM and Microsoft. It was to be the "next big thing" back in the late 80s/early 90s, and could preemptively multitask. Microsoft contributed things like HPFS, a not-half-bad filesystem that resists fragmentation pretty well, and has a MacOS-like implementation of custom resources in the filesystem ("Extended Attributes").

    Unfortunately for IBM, what they didn't know was that Microsoft was working *heavily* on Windows in the meantime, and was using OS/2 as a decoy, to throw everyone off, so that they could use their preload power to dominate the OS *and* applications markets.

    Some more OS/2 info (subject to the limitations of my memory): OS/2 1.0 was CLI-only, and was released in 1987. OS/2 1.x, released in 1989(?), introduced the Presentation Manager GUI, which was similar to the Windows 3.x interface. Early versions of OS/2 had a 16-bit architecture, and were released in two versions: one specifically for PS/2-based machines, and one for standard PC-compatibles.

    OS/2 2.0, introduced in 1992, was partially 32-bit, and was the first IBM-only release of OS/2. It introduced the Workplace Shell, the object-oriented GUI you often hear old OS/2 users (like me) rave about. It also introduced the Win-OS/2 subsystem, which allowed the use of 16-bit Windows programs under OS/2.

    Interested in XFMail? New XFMail home page []

  • OS/2 was a joint project between IBM and Microsoft. Microsoft was deeply involved in the development of OS/2 1.X and OS/2 2.X before they abandoned it and started pushing Windows NT. The HPFS file system was written by Gordon Letwin at Microsoft.

    A friend of mine spent several thousand dollars for the Microsoft OS/2 2.X Software Development Kit. Shortly thereafter they ditched their plans to release Microsoft OS/2 2.X. They also kept the money from the sale of the SDKs.

  • As much as I hate Microsoft and would like to see it destroyed, I don't think the government should be involved.

    They pobably won't have to be involved.

    Any ordinary fad in the computer industry would have subsided by now, but Linux isn't an ordinary fad -- it just keeps rolling along. Last year everyone went wild when Oracle, Informix, Sybase, and IBM announced ports of their relational database systems to Linux. This was big news, and it got a lot of coverage in the mainstream computer press. This is when all the PHBs started hearing about Linux.

    Now almost a year later, we have Intel, HP, and SGI working on getting a 64-bit version of Linux running on the Merced processor. It wouldn't suprise me to see IBM eventually throw in the towel on their Monterey project and use Linux instead. Meanwhile, back at Redmond, MS is still struggling to bring their next 32-bit version of Windows to market.

    That's on the commercial side of things. Upcoming products from Corel, Amiga, and Loki will probably go a long way toward erroding Window's share of the home market as well.

    So even if the government does find MS guilty, it really won't matter. By the time they decide what to do about it, MS will just be a shadow of it's former self. Last year this would have seemed an overly optimistic view by a /. poster, but now even the mainstream media is beinging to entertain the possibility.


  • From what I read months ago, Jackson can bring this right to the US Supreme Court and bypass Micros~1 from bringing it to the Appellate Courts. Jackson was burned a couple of times when Micros~1 questioned Jacksons judgements through appeals. The Supreme Court can decide not to rule and assign it to an Appellate Court if they wish. This is what I've read and I am NOT a lawyer or even close. Thank goodness. In a nutshell, the case could end pretty quick should the Supreme courts get the case and decide to hear the case.
  • "All empires colapse at some point, either because they get to big for those in power to maintain control, or because they are too big and slow to deal with a rapidilly changing situation. This is exactly what will happen to MS."

    Yes, they really do. But never before a collapse of an empire led to happiness, prosperity and peace. Every such crash leads to chaos, civil war and complete deteroriation of the heritage of previous generations.

    Believe me, I know what it's all about. In 1917 Zarist Russia, 'jail for nations', was wiped off the map by hordes of semi-literate workers guided by the group of very smart people.

    Recently SU, 'evil empire', cracked into 15 banana republics, some of them governed by people who had never attended a colledge, and one even having a foreign citizen as president (sic!)

    The way M$ operates is really far from perfect. But IMHO this not the point, however. I even don't care whether DOJ finds them guilty- actually this won't change anything because everyone understands that crushing M$ today will cause a big worldwide collapse: OEMs will loose their Wintel customers, users and businesses will wake up and find their IT investments turned into sand, exchanges trying to hold the fever, agonizing dollar. Demonstrations, anarchy, suicides. No sane judge will make any hard decision on M$ now.

    The one and only reason is that there's no power able not only to crush M$ and enjoy its market position but to support everyone that relies upon M$ now. There are foundations, commercial and non-profit, that have good enough potential to make a competition to M$, but noone has enough power to _take M$ place_ (as opposed to just kill the beast)

    All of my kingdoms turned to silence
    And fall into the sea
    I'm mad about you
    I'm lost without you


  • by Anonymous Coward

    On the "..gonna cut off their air supply.." quote:

    Maritz denied making the comment, and on Sunday, The New Yorker reported, in its edition on newsstands Monday, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates' reaction to the alleged quotation:

    ``A great lie! An unbelievable lie. Did anyone utter those words? Our e-mail, every piece of it, has been searched.

    I clearly remember sitting in a company meeting around the IE 2.0 days where either Ballmer or Gates himself spoke those very words. The crowd went nuts - "We're gonna KILL Netscape!!"

    It's sad really - few of the Microsoft apologists remember moments like these... Of course, I was never called to testify. Nor were any of the other ~500 folks there, to my knowledge...

    - AC for a reason.

  • I'm adamant about government by government, as opposed to government by large powerful companies and dictators

    What's that supposed to mean? Are you seriously saying that Macrosoft is on the verge of becoming a government? That your freedoms are in jeopardy because they make crappy products and use aggressive tactics to market those products? When's the last time Microsoft arresyed someone? Or taxed or regulated someone? They never have. They're not a government. Not even close.

    A government by definition is an agency with the power to force people to obey its edicts. If you break the law, men with guns come to your house and arrest you. That's what governments do. Private corporations cannot do that.

    So unless you can point to examples of Microsoft arresting Mac users or Linux users, or throwing people in jail or otherwise behaving like a government, stop making overreaching and innacrurate generalizations. No matter what Microsoft does, it will never be anywhere near as threatening to our freedoms as the government.
  • The distraction idea is interesting, but let's be clear: Commerce saying "no" allowed the competition. Thus, it in spite of Gates.
  • I never advocated the "pure capitalism" scenario. I just wanted to point out that Microsoft Corporation probably wouldn't exist in such an environment. And, if a government structure is necessary for Microsoft to do business, I don't think it's asking too much for them to be subject to a few government controls on HOW they do that business. After all, what are they selling? They sell licenses, not software.
  • Well tell me then, why giving 30,000+ people their livelyhood, making a quarter of them millionaries is bad?

    I'm sure I.G. Farben also employed huge numbers of people and made many people rich. That doesn't change the fact that it was a morally degenerate and evil cartel.

  • It's the conditions that made their monopoly possible. Right now there's a slavering pack of Ellisons, McNealey's, Jobses, and the like who would love nothing more than being the next Bill Gates. If we remove Bill's mponopoly without preventing another just like his, the whole point of antitrust is lost.

    Please, don't babble about Linux rolling back the Microsoft monopoly. I would rather hope there will be an open world of open standards for comm protocols, APIs, and the digital infrastructure. Allow any and al OSes to compete on their own merits in this world of open interfaces. In that case it would matter not: Linux, *BSD, BeOS, GNU/Hurd, whatever you choose.

    If choice wins we all win. If another product becomes a dominant and exclusive standard, then it's all pointless and why even bother.


  • No, every companies goal is not to "eliminate the competition!" In a healthy market, a company would try to capture a percentage of a market.

    Monopolies don't do anybody any good, except for the monopolizer, unless you figure in karma of course.

  • The IBM antitrust investigation dragged on for years. During those years, IBM became very careful due to the level of Government scrutiny. In effect, they behaved because they were watched. By time the DoJ called off its dogs, it was al moot anyway.

    It's obvious from several posts here that some wish the same basic result result. I can't entirely disagree.

  • Would you say that after being mugged on a street? That guy just tried to make money, you know..
  • Time to short MS stock yet? Maybe that E*Trade
    account will be good for something after all.
  • The problem I see with MS Windows' presence is that it's the only way to execute Win32 apps, and that falls back to Microsoft's presence: Without Microsoft Windows, you WILL NOT be able to run the most popular applications sold on the market. That is a monopoly.

    Essentially, I'd like to see the judge force Microsoft to release the Win32 API (source code and all) for free to the general public. No, I don't want to see Microsoft have to release the source code for ALL of Windows, just the API. The developing public could port Win32 to other platforms. This would cause Windows to become a simple "front-end" for the API -- which would have to compete with all the other front-ends (window-managers / windowing systems?) that would pop up..

    And then -- Hey look! Microsoft has to compete! Isn't that what we want MS to do, compete? (But knowing them, they might find a way around that as well..)
  • Releasing the API won't be enough. They keep changing it. The API should be released and frozen, for a fixed period of time.

    If Microsoft find they can't do X, Y or Z with the API, as it stands, tough. If they can't be bothered designing the API properly, that's just too bad.

    Having a fixed, defined, published API gives the competition something they can reliably use. Publishing alone isn't enough, if the API changes every time the competition get close, or clone the product.

    (Anyone remember the Infamous Windows Changes that Microsoft made, to break OS/2?)

    They should also publish all other pertinent details, regarding the API. I know that some Microsoft networking products will delete themselves off the hard disk, if they detect a non-Microsoft TCP/IP stack.

  • They've already got 90% of the desktop, and most likely can't pull the 10% their way; Instead, they advertize to KEEP theiy monopoly

    This is true - psychologiest have pointed out that seeing an ad for a product you have already purchased validates and reinforces that decision, helps keeps people loyal to the brand and from jumping ship. People also put up with a certain amount of defects, hide and cover them up as they wouldn't want to admit that the purchasing decision was a mistake - "I decided to go with Microsoft® products because they're a great value proposition [opps, ignore that error message]", and they start using political dodge's like blaming crashes in the SOFTWARE PRODUCT on lightning, static, hackers, etc.

  • Just pointing that out.

    Move along, nothing more to see here.
  • Sierra Leone is a small contry in africa, founded in the 1800' by freed slaves from the United States.
    Umm ... actually, Liberia, which is right next door to Sierra Leone, is the country that was "founded" (or "received from the colonial powers") by US ex-slaves. The capital, Monrovia, was named after then-President Monroe.

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled flames.

  • I think reaction to Microsoft is in part responsible for the current influnce of the Open Source movement (of course, we should all remember that VisiCalc, which made PCs useful for many business applications, was open source. I don't know if we'd be where we are today without VisiCalc, and jump starting an entire industry sure "fed a lot of mouths.") Why? Well, in my case I resent having to use Microsoft products! I preferred the idea that there was a company that did one thing (like Netscape, when they were an independant company, or Wordperfect) but did it well as opposed to one massive polyglot monster that does many things to the absolute minimum level of adequacy possible. (I also don't care for Windows, but that's beside the point.) The other thing about Open Source is that to learn from code you have to be able to see it! If it's kept under wraps you end up creating the same thing over and over and over again.

    I think, though, if people hadn't been convinced by Microsofts actions that they were never going to be allowed to make any money using the proprietary model because M$ would either buy them out (not why I want to be in this business, to be a glorified Wallstreet paper pusher) or make an exact dplicate of their product and run them out of business. Microsoft needs to quit whining, they did a bunch of horribly self-absorbed things out of greed (including breaking the law, I believe) and now they are going to suffer for it. I'm sorry that they brought the government into the computer industry (though the government would've come in in other ways and for other reasons, anyway), but they did it by being ruthless and by pushing the law as much as they could get away with.
  • I decided I wasn't sure if VisiCalc actually fell into the modern definition of Open Source but it was close enough, I think. I decided to put up this article and let people judge for themselves:

    VisiCalc []

    Quote: "Yet for all its brilliance and simplicity, the spreadsheet wasn't an idea that Bricklin attempted to own. In fact, he made far less money from the spreadsheet industry than any of those who successfully built on what Bricklin had pioneered."

    Gee, it's sure not the M$ model, eh?

  • Deciding what features may or may not be included in any software product (whether an OS or an app) is not the rightful domain of the government.

    No, it is not their rightful domain. However, they aren't in court to decide what features should be part of a browser or OS. They are in court to determine whether MS integrated their Browser to destroy the market for a competitor. If they can prove that that was the intent behind the integration, then they have a valid case.

    Throughout the history of this country, competitors have driven one another out of business. It's intrinsic in the capitalist model, and no company has the "right" to be in business.

    Driving another company out of business by creating a better product is one thing. Driving another company out of business by making customers buy the same product as a condition of getting another product is something else altogether. Make no mistake, we pay for IE. It's just another one of those "value added features" that ensures that the price of Windows never falls the way all other prices in the industry do. Our government set up the rules for business. Anti-trust laws were determined to be a necessary part of maintaining a balance between the interests of corporations and the interests of the people who give the corporations their power in the first place.

    Staying in business depends (or should depend) on delivering a needed product at an attractive price, with an acceptable level of quality.

    Sure, but what if you sold widgets. Everyone wanted to have a widget around the house. Then some huge corp comes along and declares that you must buy their widget if you want to buy their thingamajig, which is virtually a necessity for 90% of the country. Since nobody else is allowed to make thingamajigs, what choice do you have but to buy the widget from them?

    People can rationalize what Microsoft has done 'til they're blue in the face. It doesn't change the fact that they have lied, cheated, and stolen from all of us. These are known facts that many people don't seem to care about. For some reason, companies are thought to be exempt from ethics and, in many cases, the law itself. When will people get tired of companies attempting to deceive them? Btw, the "but everybody does it" argument doesn't work here.

  • Hold you horses, Micros~1 is paying companies to use WinCE on systems that would be using another OS. They are buying their way in and putting the alternatives out of business by anticompetition. Paying someone to use your proprietary OS is bad for the industry and prevents the best product from winning.
    If you invented a technology today which would revolutionize the way we used computers for the next 10 years, you would have a snowballs chance in hell of getting it to market. Micros~1 would bash your product in all the news rags. They would then preannouce their whiz-bang product and stall your sales. Their whiz-bang product will be a Windows product even though it would make no sense for it being so. The public ends up with another 10 years of ho-hum Windows computing.
    They are a cancer! IMHO
  • What if they gave an Open Party and nobody came?

    Seriously, Linux and other OSS OSes are serious contenders because people care enough to work on them in their own spare time. Would we see the same level of public enthusiasm with an MPL'ed Windows?

    Besides, an MPL'ed Windows would ahve all its source goodies hanging out long enough to be photographed and have it's best bits reverse engineered W/O and MS code. BSD is Unix but it's System V free, but it hapened because enough people looked at the AT&T code. Similar developments could happen if the MS cat got out of the MS bag. Maybe they would RE the whole thing, but maybe they would RE enough to turn some heads.

    I can't see BG letting that happen unless forced. If forced then they'd have to keep it open. Then there'd be nothing stopping the copyiers and Reverse Engineers. Maybe this would be a good thing?

    Just an opinion.

  • >That's what governments do. Private corporations cannot do that.

    Private corporations use the taxpayer-funded government to do exactly that. Let's say I borrow a Windows NT server CD from a friend (with his consent), and install it on 100 machines at work plus my home machine and my mother's. I then return the CD to my friend in its original condition.

    Do I go to jail? Yes. Whose jail is it? The government's. Whose LAW did I break? A corporation's.

    For reasons both good and bad, private corporations have been granted the power to write laws, which the government will then enforce on behalf of, and at no cost[1] to, that corporation. Thus, corporations like Microsoft do have power traditionally associated with the legislative branch of government.

    If I did exactly the same thing with a Debian CD, I would not go to jail. This is because there is no corporate law saying I can't do this with Debian's software. The government does not say that it's a crime to copy software, but they do say it's a crime to disobey any licenses attached to that software (with surprisingly little restriction on what can be contained in those licenses).

    [1] not including bribes or campaign contributions
  • You think so? Sorry for belaboring the cracking contest again, but visit [] and [] (if the latter is up at the moment) and tell me which you'd rather have running your e-commerce site.

    Windows 2000 may no longer be readily crackable, but that's not much help if you can't keep the darn thing running. (sigh)
  • and I am NOT a lawyer or even close. Thank goodness

    ..her at SlashDot? Law is the most Open Source
    industry of them all, including even natural science. Every rule, ruling, piece of evidence is available for your review. You get paid for your commitment to study and work and for your talent. And you get paid a lot for that, not for your posseion of some patented knowledge that you counterpart in court does not have.
    That would a good model for the software industry, do not you think?
  • I wish they hadn't focused so heavily on the browser-bundling issue, which is really just a sideshow -- and one which, as you point out, isn't necessarily even a big problem.

    The truth of the matter is that Microsoft does wield its desktop OS monopoly as a means of destroying competition. We all know that.

    Now, it's possible that Java or Linux or The Browser Platform will defeat Microsoft despite this. I certainly hope so -- but as a software user, I don't think it'd hurt to have a more level playing field.


  • Yes, there are definitely companies much worse that Microsoft~1. One thing that I can't get at all is why the government should be defending one of two big bloated all-encompassing WWW browser companies (Netscape) against the other. It seems to me like two giants fighting. And the rest of us getting stomped.
  • You don't have a clue about how business is conducted, do you?

    You'd be laughed right out of any corporate boardroom in America with an attitude like that.

  • Your argument is akin to stating that the government shouldn't prevent embezzlement because it has no business in the private contracts of individuals. It's not that the government should be in the product design business. Rather, it's that Microsoft did many many things for the purpose of destroying another company which posed a threat to its monopoly. Some of those things that Microsoft did included product designs. Thus, to lay out its case, the government has to talk about product design. But the government also talked about squeezing OEMs, keeping API's secret, illegal proposals to divide up market segments and a whole bunch more.
  • 1. A typical software license restricts more than copying. There are also restrictions on how it may be used, such as the # of concurrent sessions coming into a server. There may also be restrictions on customizing or modifying the software, benchmarking it, or even reading it (by "decompiling"). Last I heard, the government will enforce a license containing such items. "Law", "license", or "contract", Microsoft is able to decide which actions will or will not get you thrown in jail. The baker who sells me a loaf of bread is not similarly empowered; there's no "per slice" toasting license pack, or restriction on making sandwiches made with that bread.

    2. "Just don't use MS products". I don't where I can possibly avoid it. However, I still have plenty to worry about (I'll omit that discussion here; search for 'monopoly' elsewhere).

    3. "A can do B" does not equal "only A can do B". I didn't say that _only_ large corporations can have their copyrights protected, though it sometimes happens that way for financial reasons aka the "golden rule".

    4. I don't remember saying that licenses were evil, just that their strength originates with the government. As I recall, the original idea of the US patent office was that they'd grant a limited monopoly on an invention in exchange for the public disclosure of that invention. "Intellectual Property" by itself is an oxymoron; it is only through *government* that it acquires any substance. With I.P. laws come antitrust laws, and I don't see why a corporation should be able to pick and choose between them.

    5. What's that silliness about RH taking over the world? Of course they can't. How did you deduce that from my posting? The only reason I used the example of Debian was to show that the restrictions on the use of software originate with the author rather than the government, even though the government is the enforcer. Maybe I should have said FreeBSD instead. I'm not saying that we can do without these laws, though that may happen some time in the future.
  • Hmmm... You seem to prefer Unix terminology. I don't recall you calling the subject: "the moderators ScanDisk up again."

    "I already have all the latest software."
  • That's fine and dandy in an ideal world, however other operating systems cannot compete with microsoft on a large scale currently. This isn't because Microsoft has such a large hold over the market, but because of the way they weild that power. If you read the Halloween documents [] you find not only a company that controls the majority of the market share but a company that uses this to kill off competition. Case and point Internet Explorer. One of my friends who used to work for Microsoft was at the the annual company meeting, and Bill was giving the keynote. I don't have an exact quote but here is the jist of it
    We will win the browser war. Even if we have to give away Internet Explorer we will crush Netscape.
    If you look back into American history you will find the same monopolistic tactics used by the monopolies of yesteryear. They consist of undercutting the competition in a certain area (usually a region, but now in this case a product) because they can afford to. When they have killed of the other company in that area (who had no income from anywhere else other than that area), they raised the rates, and continued to exploit their monopoly. There is NO question in my mind that Microsoft is a monopoly, and while I would love to see Linux rise to the challenge, they have little chance in the current state. If Microsoft truly sees Linux as a threat they could open up their source code (under a more restrictive MPL perhaps that allows them to retract it at any time), and beat Linux at its own game. Maybe Linux would win this challenge, however most companies would probably go with the "reliable" Microsoft.
    These are indeed very interesting times, and it will be interesting to see how history tells it's tale.
  • take forever to get anything done. Remember, this case came about because of Win98.
    It's expected that by the time the appeals
    are done with, we'll know the fate of MS in
    2001. That's *3* years, and in the computing
    industry, 3 years is several generations
    of product development, and by then, the
    whole point of this case "browser integration"
    might be well accepted (as it is, there's no
    prove yet that the browserOS combo is
    viable for users. .. the next trick will be
    IM, as previously taked about here), and
    any punishment on MS will be null and void.

    Someone else mentioned education and advocacy as
    a way to fight the juggernaut. The problem
    is, MS has about as much money to send in
    those same areas as nearly all competitors
    combined. Why does MS continue to publish ads
    about Win98 and Office and NT and whatnot?
    They've already got 90% of the desktop, and
    most likely can't pull the 10% their way;
    Instead, they advertize to KEEP theiy monopoly,
    mindwashing the users that MS products are superior, and as long as they can put the
    money where their mouth is, things like Linux
    and MacOS and other programs can only dent the
    MS shell, and certainly not breach it.

    The US needs a court that would be strictly for
    handling monopoly cases like this, only because
    the speed of business is several times faster
    than the speed of the judical system. A system
    where you have a month to prepare your case,
    and a week of court time, maximum, and that's it.
    If an appeal is to be made, it should go to the Suprieme Court, with no other layers in between.
    I know that it sounds strict, but the fact is that
    many businesses already wiggle their way under
    the law, so why not make them more accountable
    and with more haste?

    If this happend with MS and DOJ, we'd already have a Supreme Court decision (whether a decision
    of the case, or not hearing the case at all and
    letting the lower court judgement stand), and
    that's it.

  • by wmeyer ( 17620 ) on Sunday August 08, 1999 @09:36AM (#1758445)
    Although I feel that Microsoft has long engaged in unfair practices, and that they continue to do so, I have mixed feelings about this case. Twice before, the DOJ approached an attack on Microsoft, and both of those had, IMHO, merit. Twice before the DOJ dropped the ball.

    This time, it seemes that the DOJ is likely to be successful but I fail to see the merit in their case. Much as it pains me to say it, BG is right on the browser issue: government has no place in matters of product design, or even bundling.

    We in the US live in a schizoid mindset. We applaud success, and deride big success. As most of us would like to be rich, and are not, we are underdogs, and must cheer other underdogs. But we perceive the king of the hill as the enemy; the reason we are underdogs.

    I don't object to governemt intervention, but it has to make sense in the context of a capitalist democracy, and this one does not.

    Microsoft should have been punished severely for predatory practices. It seems the only folk unaware of the reality of their execrable history in that regard are the lawyers in DOJ.

    If the precedent is established that the government has a role in adjudicating appropriate features and bundling, we all lose. I cannot think of any group less well equipped to evaluate business decisions than a government.
  • I disagree, M$ must be stopped and as soon as possible. Sure if it were just operating systems and applications, the market could potentially correct the situation. The big problem is that M$ is now aggressively expanding their borders. They are in the position where they can and are trying to buy up whole new markets. A perfect example is the cable industry. If you haven't noticed M$ wants to own your set top, in the hope that that will be the main interface to both the Internet and the phone system. Once they have that locked down they will user their combined monopolies to insure that no one is ever in a position to challenge them.

    Think about the scary evil corporations of bad sci-fi books. Thats what M$ wants to be, and the have a good shot at it.
  • I wasn't really paying attention to computers when IBM got into trouble with the government. Whatever happened with that? Didn't that cause serious problems, despite never reaching a verdict? I'm just asking because a lot of people say that this doesn't mean anything since it will be appealed, but didn't in mean something for IBM? Someone enlighten me!
  • You make some good points. There are plenty of problems with the government that are largely ignored and covered up whenever possible. That does not, however, mean that the software industry should be immune from the laws or regulation if certain companies are running amok and taking out smaller companies left and right. This isn't Wild Kingdom. It's not a no-holds-barred fight between these companies. There are rules. If MS broke those rules, they should be slapped down... hard.

    The way I look at it is that Microsoft is like a killer who has gotten off on technicalities in the past. The evidence is overwhelming, but some stupid screwup let the killer get off scott free. Now, there is a new trial and the prosecution is going after whatever they can to put the killer behind bars. I realize the problem with precedents. Unfortunately, the legal system is littered with stupid precedents. This one might do more good than harm, or it might not. We won't know until it's been set. We do know that if Microsoft gets off again, they'll probably systematically start stomping everyone who had anything to do with helping the DOJ. It'll be payback time. Then nobody will dare challenge Microsoft, for we will all have seen the power they wield. If their lawyers (even when performing as poorly as they have) can get them off on any charge, they will be unstoppable.

  • News for nerds? Over the past serveral month, I really started to wonder rather this is a news site, or is it just a site for the serveral people who runs this site's agendas.

    You bash for bashing's sake. You say that Microsoft is evil. And you say that they are guilty.

    Well tell me then, why giving 30,000+ people their livelyhood, making a quarter of them millionaries is bad?

    People live to earn in the current system. Tell me how many mouth had the open source community feed?
  • There's also Windows CE (aka wince) and "Imbedded NT".


  • It means that I oppose corporations deciding which laws they will obey and which they will not.

    Well, the government should of course enforce the laws on the books, but I don't think that anti-trust law should be on the books. It is vague, overreaching, and intrusive. It gives anti-trust lawyers to harrass literally any successful business.

    By the terms of the per-processor clause MS would have had a prima facie case against any OEM that did not fork over a license fee for every PC sold, whether it actually had Windows on it or not.

    And any PC manufacturer is free to forego selling Windows and thereby avoid this liscence. They can't survive without Windows, you say? Well, that's their choice. If Libux is so great, they can start an all-Linux company, and then they don't have to pay the MS tax.

    Since you morons think you can live without that, I suggest you check yourself in where "laws" are whatever the powerful say they are, and corporations are hard to distinguish from the state, and do indeed sometimes come to people's houses with guns.

    OK, that doesn't make a lot of sense, but you seem to be saying that the alternative to anti-trust law is corporate fascism. That's not what I'm advocating and it's not clear where you got that idea.
  • Um... no, the law you broke was the government's law. The government has a law that says you cannot make unliscenced copies of someone's software without his/her permission. It's pretty strange to argue the corporation is given "legislative power" since the only "law" they have the power to make is "you will be punished if you copy our product. That's hardly a threat to abyone's liberty. Just don't use MS products, and you don't have to worry about it.

    And it is simply not true that only large corporations can have their copyrights protected. The reason you are allowed to copy Debian is that its authors have (I assume) GPL'ed it, thereby giving others the right to use it. In fact, if you were to take Debian, make some changes, and then sell a closed-source version, you *could* be prosecuted for violation of the GPL. It cuts both ways. The evil microsoft can make software licsences, but so can the Open Source movement. Are you afraid that Red Hat is going to take over the world?
  • Microsoft's profits depend on government enforcement of its "intellectual property rights." Modern capitalism in general depends on a strong government defense of property.

    True enough. And that's a good thing. Microsoft deserves every penny people voluntarily pay for its products.

    On a separate point, does the writer really "fear" a democratic government that offers constitutional protections to liberty and dissent? More than he fears living in anarchy? He might try living in some place without a working government, like Sierra Leone, before deciding that government is so bad.

    Perhaps "fear" is too strong a word, but I certainly think that most of the things the government does are bad. I am not an advocate of anarchy. A strictly limited government is necessary. I'm not familiar with Sierra Leone, but I doubt it has anything resembling my ideal social system, or i would have heard of it and gone there.
  • I'm a trial attorney with the DOJ (tax, not antitrust), and as such, I cannot comment on ongoing litigation (but guess whom I'm rooting for) ;-)

    I don't think we need specialized courts for antitrust. In fact, Judge TPJ has essentially made his court into a specialized microsoft court -- he only has 2 or 3 other cases going on at the same time, the majority of which are rather small (including one case I had). Judge TPJ is one of the most experienced judges in the DC District, which is one of the highest regarded judicial districts in the country. Having watched some of the trial, and followed the reports and transcripts, it is clear the Judge TPJ has read everything, and is always on top of all the arguments, evidence, and witnesses.

    Do we need a specialized court? Based on TPJ's example, no. The number of antitrust cases (brought by the US anyway) that actually go to trial is rather low. Most go through discovery and eventually settle.

    The Eastern District of Virginia, one of the districts that I handle cases in, is currently experimenting with a streamlined system that brings the average length of a civil trial from 3 years to 18 months. Although this is still a long time, most everyone refers to it as the "rocket docket." Civil litigation is not like criminal litigation -- there is no right to a speedy trial, and civil cases often get put on the back burner when a criminal matter takes precedence on the court's docket. Also discovery make take months or years. Read "A Civil Action" for some more insight into the process of discovery.

    If you think that litigation takes too long, it is likely because there is a large number of vacant judicial positions that have been unfilled for several years.

    FYI: no matter the verdict, MSFT did get one victory. we're upgrading to new software and replacing Netscape and Novell with WinNT, IE, and Outlook. Ick.

    The above views are my own, and do not reflect the opinion of the Department of Justice.
  • I wouldn't be surprised if the free software community feeds more than 30.000 mouths.
    On the other hand, there isn't any war between the free software community and Microsoft, or any company for that matter.
    What we're opposing is the practice that many companies use that takes away the users freedom to do what they want with software that they buy.
    It's not a natural scenario to be called a pirate, to be compared to a murderer and robber, just because you want to share what you have with your friends and neighbors.
  • If Microsoft controls the market, why are so many companies suddendly jumping on the Linux bandwagon? And if Linux is an open source project maintained by volunteers, then how is Microsoft going to "beat" it? Concerning IE vs. Netscape, IE is simply a better browser. It's faster, much more standards compliant, far more stable. If you don't think it's illegal to crush companies by writing better code, I don't want to live in a world where you have any power. If you think it immoral for them to give it away, then I hope you don't run Linux or any other free software (software given away to crush Microsoft is no different than software given away to crush netscape).
  • I have only one remark; people who think that Linux, GNU and all other free software is about bringing down Microsoft is short-sighted and would be better off with a new pair of glases.
  • Well tell me then, why giving 30,000+ people their livelyhood, making a quarter of them millionaries is bad?

    Actually, MS has only made a handful of it's employees millionaires.

    THE STOCK MARKET has made the rest, NOT MS..

    Relative to what it makes, MS doesn't pay it's employees very well at all (look at the fight of the "temp" workers.) Looks like you've been taken in by the "MS Millionaire Myth."
  • But that's not a country without a government. That's a country with a government of drug-impaired teenagers. Surely you don't believe that all advocates of smaller government will lead to this sort of society, do you?
  • Okay, so this is really off-topic, but ..

    When I was in college, I had a dream that my roommates and I were watching Speed in our living room (it had just come out on video.) We were really getting into the movie, when suddenly there was an abrupt knock on the door. One of my roommates answered the door, and lo and behold, it was Dennis Hopper, right there in our apartment.

    Well, needless to say, we were very excited to have one of the stars of Speed right there in our living room. We got him a beer, and we sat down and started watching the rest of the movie. Pretty soon we all got around to asking him for his autograph. He graciously said "Sure! Why don't you guys go back into your rooms and get something for me to sign?" And so we did. Then we came back ..

    The fucker had ripped us off.

    Everything was gone. The TV, the VCR, the stereo, my PlayStation, all of our CDs .. nothing was left. Dennis Hopper had completely cleaned us out. The front door was still wide open.

    To this day I have no idea what that dream meant.

    But I want my fucking TV back, Dennis.
  • government has no place in matters of product design, or even bundling.
    However the governments contention was that the bundling was not done for technical reasons, but to leverage Microsoft's monopoly power to hurt a competitor's business.

    If that is what Microsoft did, it's illegal. And that makes it the governments business.

    If the precedent is established that the government has a role in adjudicating appropriate features and bundling, we all lose.
    This precedent has been long set. Look at the local telephone companies, they are not allowed to require the use of their telephone (the physical thing) to use their service. In general a monopolist tying a second product, to one in which they hold a monopoly is illegal. So whether Microsoft committed a crime depends on whether the browser was integrated with the operating system for purely "technical" reasons or in order to compete with Netscape. You (and Microsoft) seem to think the former, while the DOJ believes the latter. So it's gone to court, where arguments for both sides have been made.
    I cannot think of any group less well equipped to evaluate business decisions than a government.
    Driving a competitor out of business is a business decision... I can't think of anyone else besides the government who equipped to rein in a monopolist, and certainly see tying as a awy for a monopolist to profit at the public's expense.
  • I love Micros~1 as much as the next slashdotter, but they have many good points here. Yes, the competition DID go running to the DOJ for help against mean old MS. Yes, they SHOULD have the right to sell anything they like, at whatever price they like, and if they want to include a web browser why shouldn't they?

    However, there are a great many reasons they should be prosecuted. Unfortunately, the DOJ did not focus enough on legitimate issues such as their restrictive agreements with hardware vendors designed to make it literally impossible to make money selling an alternative OS to OEMs.

    And then there are the other reasons to hate them which, while technically legal, are obviously slimy. For instance, their marketing practices of raising a huge fanfare for a new collection of bits, then charging outrageous amounts for them. Then pushing the release back a long time and releasing a still buggy product. Then actually charging the public for a package of fixes. And the practice of denying that bugs exist, either saying they can't duplicate them so they're not there, or calling them 'features'.

APL hackers do it in the quad.