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Microsoft Demands Freedom to Innovate 245

Christopher Bibbs writes "Microsoft is trying once again to rally the troops and let Congress know that the American people want them to back off. They also have a pretty funny letter to the shareholders over here." The shareholder letter says, "Regardless of your perspective, this tool will allow you to share your views, send a letter or email to your elected officials..." There's also an invitation to "call us at 1-888-642-4097." Remember, polite comments do more good than nasty ones, regardless of your perspective. ;-)
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Microsoft Demands Freedom to Innovate

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  • so should everyone else. In other words, they can write their software ANY way they want, who cares, as long as they dont reduce other's freedom by unethical marketing practises

    I think that's all that I need to say
  • by dylan_- ( 1661 ) on Thursday September 16, 1999 @08:09PM (#1677671) Homepage

    [DEEP BREATH] Ahhh...well. I think that people are being a bit harsh on Microsoft. I won't deny that I dislike their operating systems, and, to be honest, just about all their software apart from Age of Empires. :-) But there are too many folk here wanting to see Microsoft torn apart, and won't be happy till they see blood.

    Limitations on Microsoft's activities should be the same as would be applied to any company. They should not be a special case. Although they have had a few (ahem!) shady practises, their virtual monopoly isn't entirely their fault. Certainly, very few hardware companies had the balls to stand up to them, even though it's clear that if they'd banded together they could have limited MS influence. There's also the practise of companies buying MS goods to consider. There have always been alternatives to NT for instance; ones which have been proven reliable over time. If a company then chooses to switch, simply because MS says it's for the best (what do you expect them to say?!) then it's their own fault when they get caught up in the Upgrade Cycle of Death.

    One thing MS did do was make plenty software easily available to the masses. Windows (even NT) is pretty cheap compared to much of its competition. You might even argue that Linux (with GNU) is the next step in the Software for the People movement, providing affordable open software for anyone who wants it.

    I guess the point is, people do have a choice now. Linux is a viable alternative. Go a bit easier on MS.

    Phew. A post from me supporting MS. I'm away for a spot of skiing in Hell.



  • Microsoft hasn't really innovated in a long time.
    DirectX was probably thier only innovation, and most of thier other innovations have been attempts to crush companies that got a jump on them.

    If they were truely into innovation they would invest more into NT on Alpha, instead of cancelling it and removing the major clustering bits out of Win 2000.

    Thier freedom to innovate, really is a freedom to lobby for less competition and reduced advances in technology.
  • Word and all the other Office applications have improved so considerably that Microsloth has now created a new group to fix all the viruses created by "Office Developers" (geez, can you imagine having that for a job title) that are embedded in these wondrous applications.

    Yep, I sure love it when my application is inundated with needless "features" and is about as open as an CIA project meeting.

    I don't know about you, but I'll stick with the limiting applications like Star Office. What ever will I do without all those annoying evil macros and viruses now?

  • Another thing is that I have heard that they have their own API into Windows. So even if you program for Windows, you are already at a disadvantage because you are given an inferior set of rules to play by. This also is wrong.

    ROFL that's the single stupidified thing I've read this weak. They write Win32, then they write InternalWin32??
    Don't think so, it's so improbably in so many ways. There are some scarcly documented API calls. Microsoft knows Windows survives because of Applications and Developers - You think Windows would survive with just MS software alone?

    Lastly, have you noticed that the evil Bill Gates just gave one billion

    I never notice him giving anything before his PR committee told him that his public popularity was one step below the devil

    You're very isolated - The Gates foundation is worth like 17billion, which means he's managed to give away 16 other billions. Infact, Gates has been giving away his money steadily - it's been increasing tho - like he's promised.
  • Say, you know, maybe Gates was tromatized so baddly by that guy who pied him in the face, that the word FIN is starting to seep into everything he does. Maybe we'll next see Microsoft rename Windows 2000 to FIN 2000. It will be just like that Simpson's episode where Homer is so mad at Moe for stealing the "Flamming Homer", that all here hears anyone say when they talk is the word "Moe, moe moe moe, moe? Moe moe moe!"

    Actually my hopes are that FIN actually stands for Final Indecisive Movement ;p
  • or for that matter ruin the economy of a small country
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I don't mean to burt your bubble, but Microsoft has launched a massive campaign to buy Congress and special interest money. Just about every member of Congress who voted form Microsoft last year received at least $1000 directly and thousands more through Party donations. My recommendation is to vote against members of Congress who take bribes from Bill Gates.
  • I'm sad to say that most of the readers (and moderators from what I've seen) aren't open-minded enough to look at your argument without getting all emotional and fanatical about their beloved OS. Your words on this linux fan-site aren't going to change anyones "well-thought out" views of the world of Linux and Microsoft.

  • There have been some good innovations, graphical web browsing, the GUI. More recent innovations include things like MP3 compression.

    There isn't a lot of innovation on Linux because linux is still mostly a server product, and as such has to fit in with the established protocols.

    This is partly whats microsofts "innovation" is about - they define a "new standard" to grab market share. The innovation here isn't about whats good for computing, its about whats good for shareholds and thier pockets. By innovating with closed protocols and NDA'd documentation, they attempt to force a product into the market and close out the competitors that might actually release a bug free version that works faster.

    Microsoft aren't a fast company. Thier relase calendar is 3 years. The hardware release calendar is 18 months. Microsoft are always going to be behind the wagon no matter what.

    This is what microsoft are trying to protect 1) Thier money and 2) Thier products (see #1)

    The thing that came out of the various microsoft trials wasn't that microsoft were locking the market to innovate - they were locking the market to screw a few extra bucks out of people. Note for example, we are contantly buying PC's in. When win 95 first came preinstalled, we got a nice user booklet, and cd in a case. Today we get a license leaflet, 35 floppy disk labels and a pointer telling us to make our own install kit. Microsoft are probably saving an extra 2 dollars doing this.
  • Loook at the zealots and evangelists here - ready to burn bill gates at the stake.
    I bet they make annual pilgramiges to Transmeta everyear to worship Linus at his place of work.
  • No, no, you're all missing the point here. It's not the freedom to innovate in the world of software. That's too difficult; they just live by the happy maxim of "Buy or Stomp".

    It's been obvious that Gates' sphere of innovation is that of business cruelty. When have you even seen such inventive and creative ways to gut competition and smile at the mindless consumers? Their ability is so awe inspiring that, well, they are mostly untouchable.

    The whole "grassroots" effort here is a prime example of their innovation. It almost [ahem] makes you feel bad for them. Well, if you had no idea how completely evil they are.

    The really, really beautiful part of this whole thing is the "grassroots" aspect. I mean, according to their thesaurus, synonyms of "grassroots" are: waged people, proletariat, working class, workers, masses, the herd and plebs [sic]. Last time I checked, a multi-billion dollar corporation hardly constitutes as a grassroots organizer.

    If you want pure innovation, try using the MSDN help for Java. They go through great and inventive lengths to keep you from finding help on the standard class library. They just keep pushing you into the MS classes hierarchy... now that's the kind of innovation that made this country great!

    I hope they all die, all of them.

    P.S. [naive mode] Hey, I thought the MICROS~1 8.3 MS-DOS name conversions were pretty innovative. Anyone else?

  • And I believe that freedom means my right to own slaves. I mean, this is the economy we're talkin about! Damn socialists.
  • No, I didn't actually write it myself, just stole it from a Dutch website [xs4all.nl] that probably stole it somewhere else. There is no mention of a source there, that's why I didn't quote it (that and I'm lazy).
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Actually, there have been, in the earlier stages of the company.

    Microsoft's BASIC was one of the earliest language products for the infant PC market.

    That's the only one I can think of.

    The problem with other products that MS claims as being innovative is that it's innovative only in the very limited area of the MS universe, eg., COM+, Visual Basic, etc. This would be similar to AOL claiming its proprietary hypertext language (Rainman?) is innovative.

    I wouldn't be surprised if they'd created innovative products when MS was a small company fighting IBM and Apple. Does anyone recall?

    Also, now that they have a major research lab, they may come up with breakthroughs, simply due to the sheer number of researchers working there. Their biggest problem has been backward compatibility, which tends to stunt innovation.
  • was it 'Error 98, you are not using MS Internet Explorer'?

    I'd be more inclined to suspect the slashdot effect combined with crappy servers than MS writing an AI that works.
  • by JoostT ( 88174 ) on Thursday September 16, 1999 @08:17PM (#1677696)
    The only thing that has to be done is break Microsoft up in to parts:

    - one part that makes OS-es
    - one part that makes applications

    If there was Microsoft Office for Linux and Beos and (fill in youre favourite os) then the part that of Microsoft that makes OS-es would really have to innovate and compete on the basis of features for the OS.

    It's the combination of making an OS and the applications that makes the "monopoly".

  • Its a shame really, because Bill Gates WAS, despite what you may say, once innovative. He seems to have become caught in a hitlerite web of power and greed over the decades - WAKE UP AND SMELL THE FUTURE Bill, otherwise your going to lose out bigtime. Where do i want to go today? Forward.
  • Does the FIN logo count as defacing the flag? "In 1989 when the flag-burning controversy arose, I joined with the American Legion in taking steps to react. I signed legislation outlawing flag burning or defacing the flag, but I also wanted to stop flag burning before it starts." --Bill Clinton, speech to the American Legion, 8/25/92
  • I went, I saw and I was not conquered.

    There was no feedback button where I could have asked if *I* could innovate. Without that possibility, its just BS wrapped up in a flag.

    Microsoft is acting like a PAC (politician action committee) or worse like politicians. Well, they should suffer the fate of politicians. There are at least TWO parties in any democracy. They share in the general apathy of the populace and their fortunes are as variable as the last election.

    Also their leadership is forced to roll-over.

    Would YOU like to be King'O Redmond for a term? What Catbert-ish damage I could inflict! :-)

  • != is synonomous with "not equal to"

    ( x != y ) is most certainly an assertion. I can clearly assert that 1 != 2.

    The question comes in when you say "if".

    Only a non C-programmer would get that confused.

  • The flag is completly out of line. Sure I feel they can do whatever they like with it, burn it, wipe thier bum with it, make love to it, whatever. But after serving in the worlds most powerfull military (and if you doubt that just try us) I do take notice of people doing something like this to something I care about and was willing to die for....and my father was willing to die for...and his father was willing to die for. Maybe if we had kept "Don't tread on me!" they would have gotten the point. Sure it is just a symbol...but what is it a symbol for....well when you are over seas its a symbol for everything you have, your family, yourhome, your church, your friends, your ISP.

    Point? Yeah I have a point, just picture a big fella pointing a finger at you saying " I wouldn't touch that if I were you!" before you attempt to mess with the flag again.

  • We (the company where I work) use Microsoft products too. We often use the MS knowledge base. It can be good - it can also be a pain. But how is this innovation?
    I also spent an hour this morning installing all the clip art for Office 2k on someone's PC. Their wonderful "innovative" install on demand system is not all it's cut out to be.
    Sure, let them innovate. But please, don't let them continually claim their products to be much, much, more than what they are (in doing so stifling the competition), and please, let's stop this proliferation of Windows NT CDs that we get with every PC, regardless of how many licences we have. This is NOT innovation, it's dubious marketing and sales strategies. What they have innovated I will gladly give them credit for. I use MS VC++. I like it. The class viewer is useful, as are the other tools. This is innovation. The office assistant and install-on-demand may be innovation, but IMHO they are a load of cack and don't work correctly. The lawsuit by the DOJ is less to do with their programming ability than their ability to buy out / out-maneuver their rivals using dubious business practices.
    If MS had just used market capability to reach to reach their current status I would feel differently. However, on the back of their DOS licensing (which made them a lot of money) and their continual sale of software that costs a lot and doesn't do much more for the average user, I feel that it's time that their bluff was called.
    Freedom to innovate should mean just that.
    Freedom to innovate without the latest version of Outlook (beta, of course) saying that your e-postcards could contain a virus.
    Freedom to innovate without Windows (again, beta) saying that your version of DOS is incompatible and you should use MS-DOS.
    BTW, I'm using an MS keyboard to type this. And those are good. ;-)
  • Most Smalltalk environments allow you to do this. They have had this sort of functionality for years.
  • Hmm, I wonder... If you restrict someones freedom, do you still have freedom yourself?

    An attack on anyone's freedom is an attack on everyone's freedom. I think freedom gains value the more people have of it. By taking it away from anyone, you're reducing the freedom of everyone else. Too many people don't get that.

    Of course, there is a point where there is "too much" freedom, and as a result the worth of freedom goes downhill. If you give someone the freedom to kill, then you watch as plenty of people lose their freedom to live.

    The goal should be to find the point where everyone has as much invidual freedom as possible but without reaching the point where one person's freedoms start infringing on another's.
  • Can anyone think of any innovative product to come from Linux?

    If you're posing this question to suggest that Linux is no better than M$, then you're missing the point. Linux doesn't have a "Freedon to Innovate" site up in which they are asking you to write your Congressman, nor is anyone involved in Linux invoking the word "innovate" in some kind of PR campaign.

    There may be any number of original ideas implemented in the Linux kernel, but the whole idea of developing a Unix kernel in open source is not to create something "innovative". On the contrary, the idea is to build upon the successful concepts underlying an OS that has proven itself over the past thirty years. What you need most from a kernel is stability, and Linux provides it, by employing technologies whose reliability is well established.

    In contrast we have M$, trumpeting something about "innovation". And as others have pointed out, this is outrageous dounblethink, because M$ has never innovated any significant technology. However commercially successful some of their products may have been, they were, with no exception I know of, bought, copied or "embraced and extended".

    When M$ speaks of "innovation", what they really mean is the ability to bundle software, such as the Explorer, with their operating system, and to do so without any legal penalties. Their argument in court and in public has been that this bundling was "innovation". In truth, it was a violation of a standing consent decree and of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, specifically designed to drive Netscape out of the market. So now they have to color their illegal act as "innovation" and beg Congress and the public for sympathy.

    No one involved in Linux needs this ploy.
  • I would like to know exactly how "overwhelming" the response has been to their campaign. I told them exactly what I thought of their "Freedom to Innovate" campaign, but had no response whatsoever. Obviously they'll wish to keep negative responses quiet, but I'd like to know how many they got compared with positive ones. I'd especially like to know how many negative responses they get after someone's tried to find an article in their knowledge base... ;-)
  • Okay guys, I hate to say this, but...

    The issues are not all that clear cut.

    Microsoft IS being anti-competitive. No Question. However, I think that the more important issue here is freedom of software.

    ANY company should be able to develop ANY damn piece of software they want. If it undercuts another piece of software, hey, that sucks, get a net.

    I am forced to use NT4 at work, due to the fact that the system I'm programming is forced to run on it (long story). And, I hate to say this, but Internet Explorer is much, much, much better than Netscape on this platform. WAY better. It has more security problems, true. A lot of "features" turned out to be bugs in the long run. But it works better, doesn't crash nearly as often, and is one hell of a lot faster than Netscape is.

    Netscape could have beaten IE. Anti-competitive practice aside, there was a point, when IE was being integrated into the OS, that Netscape could have utterly destroyed IE forever. All they had to do was usurp the integration away from IE. IE became the windows default shell (it's not anymore, BTW.. IE5 doesn't even give you that option anymore). If Netscape had given you that option, back in Netscape 3, IE would have been toast. OEM's would have integrated the thing before anyone else had the chance.

    And let's face it. Netscape had one hell of a monopoly on the market. They had almost total market coverage. For a long time, Netscape was the ONLY browser ANYONE used. They assured this by:
    a) giving it away for free
    b) using netscape propietary extensions (CENTER anyone?)
    c) always supporting the latest HTML specs
    d) making it into an overall system. (e-mail, ftp, gopher, everything but telnet)

    Then, they made a lot of money by selling licenses to businesses, for the same free product they gave to individuals, at unreasonably huge rates. We're talking upwards of $1000 a copy here. (I know this is true, since I worked for a company that had to buy these damn things. The paperwork was immense.) And the businesses, at that time, had no other choices, since nothing else was on the market.

    Let's face it. Netscape had it, they lost it. Microsoft may have been a bit anti-competitive, but Netscape sure as hell had a monopoly. Don't nail one without the other too.

    Otto puts his flame-retardant-suit on...

  • by gmezero ( 4448 )
    Is that a computer replacing the stars? I didn't know we were now the United States of Computer?!? Man, this site screams a need for parody.
  • Although they have had a few (ahem!) shady practises, their virtual monopoly isn't entirely their fault.

    That they have a monopoly is not the illegal issue of the lawsuit. The problem is when the use predatory pricing, price fixing, product tying, or other anti-competitive actions. To prove their case, the government has to prove they have a monopoly status before they can prove the case of anti-competitive actions. So I agree with you that the monopoly is not entirely their fault. But predatory practices are their fault. What one does with a monopoly once one has it is the issue here.

    Certainly, very few hardware companies had the balls to stand up to them, even though it's clear that if they'd banded together they could have limited MS influence.

    The problem with this argument is that its true -- IF all the hardware vendors had allied themselves to help limit MS's power. The problem is that any company that turned its back on such an alliance would stand to benefit greatly by reduced pricing from MS. This would allow them a competitive advantage, by being able to offer reduced prices to consumers. So in a perfect world, they would band together on principal to limit MS. But in the real one, its obvious what they did.

    There have always been alternatives to NT for instance; ones which have been proven reliable over time.

    You are absolutely correct. The problem is that you can have some competition and still be a monopoly. The fact that, in general, these alternatives have a very small market share, and in the arena of the consumer desktops, competition had been on the decline. This is changing thanks to GNU/Linux and the Open Source movement. But as to whether Linux will ever pose a serious market threat in consumer desktops really remains to be seen.

    The important thing to note is the idea that the main thrust of this lawsuit applies to the consumer desktop and not the backoffice server side of the market.

    Windows (even NT) is pretty cheap compared to much of its competition.

    What operating systems are you speaking of? If we separate workstation class operating systems from the other desktops, a quick search on buy.com reveals that NT Workstation is the most expensive (around $270). For the regular Windows 95/98 (priced around $160 -- priced as a stand alone edition. You can get better prices by buying it with hardware or upgrade copy, but for comparison purposes I chose the version that would put it on equal footing), only OS/2 is more expensive (around $175). However, I would classify OS/2 in a category with Workstation or Server because of its robustness. BeOS is around $70. GNU/Linus is $1,454 (just kidding - seeing if you are still awake). So it looks like for the Intel consumer desktop platform, NT is by far the most expensive choice around. Remember predatory pricing is one of the abuses of a monopoly structure. NT's only real competition is other microsoft products.

    People do have a choice now. They always have. That doesn't negate the fact that at the time of the trial, Microsoft has a virtual monopoly on the desktop market and was using that monopoly in anti-competitive practices.

    Sheesh. I'm done.


  • by Anonymous Coward
    >Let's hope they will provide us with specs.

    Hmm? hehe.heeeheheeheee.heeheeHEEHAAWWHHAWWWHAWW HAWWHAWWHAWW-*choke*gasp*erp*...heeheehee...

    eswan - a mozilla ate my cookie.

  • Should we? Would it really be good for the community?

    Microsoft have essentially had the freedom to 'innovate' up until now, and just look at what they've come up with - proprietory systems that redefine the word "unstable"

    In any case, what community are you refering to? The 'Open Source' community? The Linux Community? The UN*X Community? or the online/computing community as a whole?

    We should all have the freedom to innovate, it's organisations like M$ that seek to restrict that freedom by squashing opposition and their good ol' propoganda.

    I say break 'em up, or force them to make Windows Open Source (or at the very least free). The second option is attractive, I would feel less disinclined to pay 200 or whatever it is for Office if I hadn't had to pay about for Windows!

    If Microsoft really want to encourage innovation, the way to go about it is *not* to start lobbying Congress to leave them alone - it's to start developing good products in a fair way.

  • I know someone who codes for MS.

    MS is not just one big company. They outsource a large percentage of the development to smaller companies. Only the major MS apps such as Office and Windows are written in house. Have a look on the boxes of other Microsoft products. They'll have more than one software house on it... Microsoft are becoming a PUBLISHER.
  • Exactly what do they mean with "Freedom to innovate"?

    It would be apropriate for movements like "Down with sofware patents" or "Free the code" but not for a "Help us keep our monopoly" movement.
  • However, it would propably help if they actually wanted to innovate. I remember my fealings of disgust on seeing their ripoff of speedisk (sp?) and discdoctor (sp?) (both Nortons/Symantics) in DOS 6.0. That was when I first became aware of their `innovation'. Before that, I actually thought they were innovative (being totally naive in these things at that time). It took getting a taste of real os power (Linux) to make me realise just how lousy windows was/is (dos is actually ok as something to launch real things like DJGPP). Hmm, I don't think I ever thanked DJ Delorie, I'll have to do something about that.
  • I think very-small-and-soft should be break down into two parts:

    part that make OS, Office, Servers,...
    part that make working software

    then somebody should burn the first part.

    Play with LEGO!
  • once again, the true muscle behind the company appears to be its marketing/propoganda divisions


    "The electric light is pure information"
  • Microsoft has ALWAYS had the freedom to innovate. It's really rather insulting that they would attempt to sell such baseless propaganda to us. What Microsoft really wants is the freedom to have undue influence over the software industry. The freedom to dictate to consumers what software they will use by limiting their choices. The freedom to essentially stamp out any competition or true innovation that doesn't come out of their own R&D department. I see no reason to give them this freedom. In fact I see a lot of reasons why we should line the top execs at Microsoft up in front of a firing squad.
  • REDMOND, Wash. - Sept. 16, 1999. - SONY and Microsoft Corp. today announced their cooperation program to support new revolutionary media in Microsoft's new flagship product Windows 2000. The revolutionary Industry Standard OS will contain new startup sounds made by Michael Jackson.

    "We are thrilled of this possibility to have professional quality startup sounds in Windows 2000," said Microsoft's Chairman Bill Gates. The new sound files will be a special edition of soundtrack "Leave me alone", written by Michael Jackson while he was being prosecuted of child abuse. Microsoft is also planning a video starring Bill and Melinda Gates around the new startup sounds.

    Microsoft will also start a new division for teaching Windows to children. Attendees will get a free Furby and a trip to Michael's amusement park for more personal training.

  • > I didn't know that you were the United States of Stars ;)

    Why do you think all those alien superheroes live in the US?

  • "The FIN is a non-partisan, grassroots network of citizens and businesses who have a stake in the success of Microsoft and the high-tech industry.

    Microsoft have somehow manage to 'embrace and extend' the definition of non-partisan to include people that 'have a stake in the success of microsoft'

    How can anyone have a problem with innovation like that!

    The Great Chunder Page - Alcohol Induced Fun!
  • IF they had it, would they innovate? I'd be willing to grant Microsoft the freedom to innovate if they promised to actually use it.

    And for the record, I agree with those folks here who have noted that Microsoft actually has had freedom to innovate all along, but that as a result of their actions, their competitors have in many cases been deprived of that freedom.

    Freedom to innovate, indeed. Pah!

  • The FIN is a non-partisan, grassroots network of citizens and businesses who have a stake in the success Microsoft

    For this, please read "shareholders". Non-partisan shareholders at that, apparently.
    And this leaves me wondering whether MS will now start looking to slap the patent on "Grassroots networking technology for Citizens", as it certainly looks as though they've "Embraced and Extended" the meaning ever so slightly.

    Anyway, they've thoughtfully provided a link to congress reps. How nice of them. And apprently they want to hear the views of "real consumers".


    Ok, Slashdot, what are you waiting for? I feel we have a nice collection of "real consumers" right here, so, please be nice to poor Microsoft, and let your congress rep. hear what you think. But PLEASE be pleasant and polite about it. The kind of message you'd let your mum read. If someone has a little more time than I have right now, maybe they'd be kind enough to provide a letter template to base the response on.

    Anyhow, that's enough from me, back to work I guess.

  • I don't know but this whole thing just puts Animal Farm in the front of my mind. M$ as the pigs.
    It must be me just seeing a preview of it somewhere.
  • Somehow I think MS will get away with their use of Old Glory with a claim that innovation is a 'great American Tradition' or some such. I can just picture billg standing proud in court defending his right to use the flag with a stirring speech while the massed microsoft minions(tm) hum "mine eyes have seen the glory and the coming of the lord" behind him.

    dave "mmm, mmm, mmmmmm, mmmmm"
  • Sure, they've made some good software. And we have the freedom to buy it (or not to buy it).
    But their business ethics are less that 100% wholesome. They say they fight "hard but fair". Exactly how can you do that when you have millions, if not billions in the bank? I'm sure we all love having free browsers. But if Toyota (for example) had given small cars away free then no doubt the unions would have screamed to the US government about "dumping". How exactly does this differ from giving your internet browser away for free in order to cripple the software in opposition to you?
  • Well, I'm sorry sir, but I have to disagree strongly. Freedom is not "free". When you move out of your parents house, you have your freedom, but all of a sudden you are on your own. Freedom brings responabilaty, for your self, at least. (hmm.. bad example) :)

    Maybe I'm just Neo-romantic utopian, freedom does not give you (you, as in anybody) rights to violate other people freedom. (sounds a bit catch22 problem)

  • Freedom of Choice which MS somehow seems to limit every time it takes on a competitor.
  • ...but then again, it's only for Java. What languages does VS support this for?
  • Actually, it's not only government monopolies that are unnoticed.

    Here in the UK, if you buy a product that has any chemical in it, chances are, it was produced by ICI. But, as ICI don't deal witht he public, nobody knows about them, and they have complete market domination (moreso than MS). People only dislike MS because they know they exist, and are jealous.
  • Splitting it into two group would not automaticly make MS Office available on another platform. The Windows platform is so unique that applications written to the spec are hard to port to other platforms.

    The epitome of this is MS Access. It is so tightly bound to to Intel Windows that it isn't even available on Alpha Windows NT.

    Now, imagine you are the Harvard MBA alumnus/alumna running the MS Application Division. You are only accountable to shareholders who want a steady stream of dividends every quater. No one in that position would authorize the expenditure of remediating years of legacy code to anything with less that twenty percent market share.

    I think there should also be a third group: the tools group. If you have ever tried to port any MFC based application to any other platform, it is not pretty. The tools group needs to create a portable toolset for platforms other than Windows. This would minimize the expenditure for that MS Office executive.

    Now, how to we the Tools Division bean counter to build the tools?

  • What about Flight Simulator? Did they write it or buy it?

    Bought it. At least that's what I read -- and since I saw it on the web, it must be true, right?

    Unfortunately, I don't remember where I saw it, so I don't have a link.

  • >This whole innovative spiel has always baffled me. Everyone in here is right on the button to
    >proclaim the "lack of innovation" of Microsoft while simultaneously implicitly implying others,
    >such as Linux, are chock full of innovation. This is quite an interesting claim.

    I have yet to hear anyone say or imply that anything else is "innovating" either (I don't think many people even know what that means anymore). Instead people are saying MS which _claims_ to innovate, does not. There is a very big difference.

  • >I do not see anyone here ranting about the US Postal Service or other government institutions that have monopoly power.

    "Er, that's because they are owned by the people. If they start acting like an abusive monopoly, the public can easily get involved and fix it."

    Really? I don't remember getting to vote on increases in postal rates. The only voting I can remember is "Fat Elvis" vs. "Skinny Elvis" and other such stamp image issues, certainly not about the monetary values of these stamps.

  • Sorry, but even their keyboards aren't worth what they cost. I don't like that ergonomic thing.

    I wish IBM's keyboards still used mechanichal switches. Now THAT was a sign of quality!
  • Looks a LOT like Laura Croft, doesn't she?

    (cue ominous music)

    Be afraid. Be VERY afraid...

  • What about Flight Simulator? Did they write it or buy it? I know I have (or had) a really old version of it for the old Atari Computer (think it was ver 1 something) and I believe it had the MS label on it back then. I need to look and see if I still have it around (at grandparents house far away) and have another look at it. I used to think that was one of the few pieces of software they actually did write. If I'm wrong I would be interested to know.
  • Although I support Microsoft, that's the funniest thing I've read today.

  • I mean, come on folks !!

    Before the DOJ case, Microsoft single handedly invented Operating Systems, Graphical User Interfaces, Word Processing and the Internet !!
    The DOJ is holding back this immensely innovative company from inventing Virtual Reality, Embedded systems and on-demand streaming media. If they don't lay off soon somebody else might think of it first !!

    music [xoom.com]
  • by pocari ( 32456 ) on Thursday September 16, 1999 @09:00PM (#1677762)
    It's open-source...feel free to borrow...

    Dear Senator or Representative (personalized for each recipient):

    I am writing at the invitation of Microsoft to express my opinion on their anti-trust trial.

    I most certainly expect the anti-trust laws and other regulations that apply across the economy to all industries would be applied to an industry as large and important as the software industry. As a software professional, I found Microsoft's arguments insulting--to my intelligence and to Judge Jackson's.

    Clearly, they tied their browser into the operating system to make it impossible for Netscape and others to compete. If it were not a separate component, how could they produce the identical product for the Macintosh, where they have no control over the operating system?

    Clearly, they have monopoly power over the manufacturers of Intel-based PCs. It is only because of the previous consent decree and the publicity generated by this trial that PC manufacturers have been able to start distributing new PC's with other operating systems like Linux. The government's pursuit of this trial has allowed Microsoft's customers and competitors to go after new businesses and technologies free from the threat of reprisal.

    Microsoft wants freedom to innovate. Copying a competitor's software product and using your monopoly over the operating system to ensure free distribution of the copy is not innovation. It's anti-competitive and unfair. True innovation comes about when the basic rules of fair commerce are respected and enforced. Microsoft's lack of respect for the law and its officers is an embarassment to the entire industry.

  • Mmm, MS didn't write Age of Empires, they simply commissioned, published, marketed it. And yes, it is a good bit of software, as is Excel (which they did write), and FAIK, MS Flight Simulator, which a pilot friend of mine praises highly.

    MS should be punished/restrained becuase they have done wrong, not because they are bad.

    People are welcome to write very bad software, and companies are welcome to buy it. The fact that bad stuff succeeds in the marketplace and good stuff fails is not unique to either Microsoft or the software industry. It's a pity when it happens, but there's nothing inherently wrong with it.

  • at least they didn't put the windows logo there (yet)
  • Either way, since when do laws have anything to do with the majority's opinion? I didn't even realise it had to do with anyone's opinion.

    Well, the laws are made by the government which are voted in by the majority. I see that as having something to do with it; don't you?

  • I think we should REQUIRE them to innovate, for once. They should lose the freedom to buy and steal existing technology, and have to invent their own for once in their corporate existance.
  • by s390 ( 33540 ) on Thursday September 16, 1999 @09:19PM (#1677768) Homepage
    MS isn't part of "the community" of Open Source.

    In fact, they are the opposition to everything that Open Source stands for and tries to do. They don't care about quality or open standards, but just want to increase the value of their stock options! They're a parasite on computing.

    I sent M$ a polite but stiff note. However, here's what I sent all the links for my reps (in my case, Clinton, Feinstein, Boxer, and Cox), and I'd encourage everyone who replies to Microsoft to also write their Senators and Representives with similar messages. Don't let them prevail!

    "I'm using a website Microsoft put up to provide their faithful easy access to their legislators.

    However, I'm using it to oppose any attempt to let Microsoft off the hook for their criminal past of lies, outright theft, and other patently illegal practices. Resist their MS apologists!

    In my opinion, Microsoft should be tarred and feathered and run out of this country on a rail.

    Best regards,"

    As they say in Chicago, vote early and often. ;-)

  • No.

    In C the '!=' is a question (it's an operator. Meaning it will return someting). If it's correct it returns a 'true' value and if not it returns a 'false' value.

    THAT makes '!=' to technically a question and not (as it would be in mathematics) an assertion (where it would state in an equation that these too values is NOT the same).

    So there you have it. Hope that clears it up.

    Personally I think I would let the matematically count. Since I have little use of C operators outside of a source file ;)
  • Aren't we all getting tired of Microsoft's plaintive cry about having the freedom TO innovate? To give MS the freedom to inovate, as they define it, is to throttle innovation's freedom. Because MS works by hiding API calls, incorrectly implementing standards, gloss bloat, they're threatening innovation.

    Free innovation!
  • Personally I am torn. I think that MS has done some great things over the years. They have also hurt a lot of companies and done a lot of things that I feel are wrong. However I have trouble having too much sympathy for the PC industry. Many people have known about these things for years, yet they continue to support MS products.

    There are other products out on the market. Give them a look. Everyone complains about how horrible MS is, and then goes and says how there is nothing else, so they have to use it. Give some of these other products a chance. If they aren't perfect work with the vendors. Heck, the earliest versions of Windows really sucked, but it has gotten better.

    While I admit Microsoft is big and ugly right now, they weren't always. And it really is hard to stay on the top. I think MS saw this fact, and did everything possible to stay on top. Personally I understand this, who wouldn't want to stay #1. However to think that you did all this for the good of the industry takes some pretty big self deluding.

    ok 'nuff ramblings,
  • Reminds me of the time that I was filling out some stupid form just so that I could get to a knowledge base article. There was a checkbox that basicly gave them permission to spam me if I selected it. The problem was that the form would crap out if I submitted it without the check box selected. Once I selected it, it worked. :/
  • -----Quote

    Can anyone think of any innovative product to come from microsoft?
    -----End Quote
    The only product that comes to mind is DOS 3.1. Until I started supporting MS products, I never realized just how much better all the other software options are (especially Open Source projects).
  • This would be better flamebait if linux were actually a company trying to create innovative products but:

    A. its not a company, and

    2. refer to A
  • You can find the actual e-mail addy's through that page and send the note direct. If you do that (which I did) be sure to mention that you tried to send mail through the form and it appears to never have been sent.

    Is that a microsoft page? Its kind of hard to tell, kinda looks like its external, not really sure about that?

  • by Dilbert_ ( 17488 ) on Thursday September 16, 1999 @09:22PM (#1677791) Homepage
    News just in of Microsoft's latest venture

    Contraceptive99 by Microsoft

    Microsoft Corporation has taken another step toward dominating every aspect of
    American life with the introduction of Contraceptive98, a suite of applications
    designed for users who engage in sex. Microsoft has been a pioneer in
    peer-to-peer connectivity and plug and play.

    It believes these technologies will give it substantial leverage in penetrating the
    copulation enhancement market. The product addresses two important user
    concerns: the need for virus protection and the need for a firewall to ensure the
    non-propagation of human beings.

    The Contraceptive99 suite consists of three products:

    DeFetus 1.0 (from Sementec)
    AIDScan 2.1 (from Norton Utilities)

    A free copy of Intercourse Explorer 4.0 is bundled in the package. The suite also
    comes in two expanded versions. Contraceptive99 Professional is the Client/Server
    edition, for professionals in the sexual services sector. Contraceptive99 Small
    Business Edition is a package for startups, aimed at the housewife and gigolo

    While Contraceptive99 does not address nontraditional copulatory channels, future
    plug-ins are planned for next year.

    OPERATION: Only one node in a peer-to-peer connection needs to install the

    At installation, the Condom99 software checks for minimum hardware. If the user
    meets the requirements, the product installs and is sufficiently scaleable to meet
    most requirements. After installation, operation commences. One caution is that the
    user must have sufficient RAM to complete the session. When the session is
    complete, a disconnect is initiated, and the user gets the message, it is now safe to
    turn off your partner.

    DRAWBACKS: Usability testers report that frequent failures were a major
    concern during beta testing. General Protection Fault was the most serious error
    encountered. Early versions had numerous bugs, but most of these have been
    eliminated. The product needs to be installed each time its used.

    CONCLUSION: Contraceptive99 is a robust product. Despite its drawbacks, it
    is reasonably good value for its $49.95 price tag, and is far superior to its
    shareware version. Hopefully, future releases (of the software, that is) will add
    missing functionality, such as Backout and Restore, uninterruptible Power Supply,
    and Onboard Camera.

    Microsoft flounder Bill Gates is optimistic about this venture, saying "Our
    contraceptive products will help users do to each other what we've been doing to
    our customers for years."
  • A quick ripoff, wrong font and everything:

    http://kato.iki.fi/kato/free-monopolize .gif [kato.iki.fi]

    The site has limits on international traffic,
    so if you like it, post a(n US) mirror.
  • *laughs* Well... I'm glad you felt disgust at Norton / Symantec being "ripped off" in DOS 6.0 by the inclusion of "Speeddisk" AND a "DiskDoctor" clone... because those tools were actually Norton/Symantec's SpeedDisk AND DiskDoctor. They were licensed by Microsoft for inclusion in DOS 6.0 (which you can tell if you look at the COPYRIGHT on the bottom of the apps).

    Deary deary me... why not try observing instead of just looking some time?

  • Oh, and did anyone notice that Bill G and wife *JUST* recently, donated a billion dollars (yes, with a b) to scholarships. (The story is here [cnn.com]). Anyone else think Bill G.'s hand was caught in the cookie jar, and he's now trying to distract as much attention before the Judge Jackson decision is made?
  • by CybSirius ( 13966 ) on Thursday September 16, 1999 @10:38PM (#1677806)
    Has anyone noticed that "FIN" is French for "end"?
  • by jilles ( 20976 ) on Thursday September 16, 1999 @09:41PM (#1677819) Homepage
    Who's denying it to them anyway? They claim a right that they deny others with their strategy of crushing smaller competitors. Non of their current products has technical advantages over its competitors. Some of these products are of high quality some aren't ('innovations' in this area are welcome as far as I'm concerned).

    The things they claim are innovations are not. The two most important ones are:
    - browser integration
    - java API modifications

    The first is a very obvious and rather succesful attempt to outcompete other browsers.
    The second is violating SUN's license. In other words they stole somebodies idea and are now trying to push the real innovator (SUN) out of the market.

    For all you MS haters/lovers, I have this nice ZDNet link [zdnet.com]
  • Many "Freedom" advocates don't get it.
    With freedom comes responsibility. They just cry "Freedom, Freedom" and just go ahead and abuse their freedom. Freedom to senslessly spam/junk mail their fellow man, freedom to tout guns all over the place, freedom to misuse capital to squash the little guy/competitor.
    Freedom does not mean that you can just do whatever you like! Freedom means that you are responsible enough to know yourself what you can or may do.
    These people make freedom just another f-word, imho. It's a sad, sad, thing. Jón
  • This article [nytimes.com] details recently uncovered email evidence, which provides a rare inside look at how Microsoft uses it's PR department. Back in October when the AOL/Netscape deal came out, they immediately decided to start a PR campaign to show that the AOL deal "undermines the core of the case." Top Microsoft officials ordered PR people to orchestrated a seemingly independent and spontaneous campaign, using it's "friends in politics" (Microsoft is by far is the biggest 'contributor' to various politicians election campaigns - Microsoft-sympathetic comittee members recently even tried to nuke the DOJ antitrust division's financing - talk about interference with criminal justice), "sympathetic columnists" (paid articles?) to pointedly manipulate the public opinion. Once again.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Now this is going to stir you up a bit, however, before reacting emotionally please think this out. First, I am not a MS fan. I have to use NT for accounting purposes but that is it. Other than that I run Linux or Solaris. The 'code' belongs to MS. Their money was used to produce it. Not yours, not mine. If they want to keep it locked in a safe on the moon, that is their right (we are talking about true freedom here). Under the logic of free the code, Coke should publish their recipe for their soda. True freedom consists of choosing your own destiny, not letting others choose it for you. Enough on philosophy. It is easy to pick on MS from a technical standpoint, however, it is a bit tiring to see the rantings of monopoly power. I do not see anyone here ranting about the US Postal Service or other government institutions that have monopoly power. Enough there. Lastly, have you noticed that the evil Bill Gates just gave one billion (yep, that's a lot of zeros) to a scholarship fund? That means some more students get to produce sights like slashdot. Stop and think before you say 'he can afford it'. After all, it is his money. Having said this, I will again tell you I am not a MS fan. I just believe in true freedom. If you do not like MS, do not use their products. I am posting this as anonymous because I know the emotional response it will draw. I would gladly give my email to anyone who would like to have a logical discussion.
  • It seems clear that Microsoft's vision of the software industry is one where Microsoft owns all the land and the other software companies are the serfs, magnitudes smaller in size, working on their niche products (all with Microsoft's operating systems, server tools and development tools) and indirectly supporting Microsoft's monopoly.

    It seems that Microsoft has to control the ENTIRE would-be commodity market, the software that everyone needs (OS's, office automation, browsers). Of course, since people want "integration", if anyone was able to take over the market on any of those things, they'd have a huge success on being successful with the other two. That's why they have to do anything they can to protect themselves.

    Microsoft is, however, willing to stay out of the small domain-specific markets (in their terms "supporting a competitive environment). In a truly competitive market, however, anyone can build and sell the commodity and they're incredibly cheap. Having to spend $100 for an upgrade on just an OS (which really should be invisible and free, just a part of the computer) every two to three years is just wrong.

  • by Gumpu ( 16052 ) on Thursday September 16, 1999 @07:30PM (#1677841) Homepage
    "The FIN is a non-partisan,grassroots network of citizens and businesses "

    Can something be grassroot and still be organized by a company with enough money to run the economy of a small country?

  • Killing people is obviously a bit extreme, but forcing them to be more open and placing greater controls on the companies they are allowed to buy and destroy would be good.

    Also they don't only want to have undue influence over the software market, but the hardware market as well. I'm not really talking about the devices they make, but the standards that they force on OEM's to get their coveted MS Windows stickers, and the various directives they have issued, such as instant on.

  • I believe them when they say they've been overwhelmed with responses--and I'm not being sarcastic. The Open Source community may view Microsoft as the incarnation of Evil, but all the programmers I know generally like Microsoft. Some of us, including me, are Microsoft fans. I think the DOJ lawsuit is a put-up job led by Microsoft opponents who got blown out of the water due to their own market problems, not Microsoft hegemony. Unless you consider charging lower prices to be hegemony.

    I find SlashDot (and UserFriendly) to be very interesting for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the a priori assumption that Microsoft is Evil. It seems, and I may not be correct, that the people who really hate Microsoft tend to be system admins. Programmers I work with generally want to work on projects with Microsoft tools, because you can do cooler stuff, and for the most part the cool new features actually work.

    So, frankly, I signed up. I'm the president of a small development house, and we've consistently found that Microsoft's development tools work, while other tools generally don't work as well.

    Funny thing? We love the Knowledge Base. I have wondered before if Microsoft is better focused on meeting the needs of developers than they are at meeting the needs of system admins. Could this be an indication?
  • by robinjo ( 15698 ) on Thursday September 16, 1999 @07:32PM (#1677846)

    Freedom, freedom, freedom. For some twisted reason the freedom-card is most often pulled by an abuser. Spammers rage about freedom of (sic)speach, fundamentals about freedom of religion, nationalists about freedom in general, US government about free world and now Microsoft about freedom to innovate.

    What's common with these all? Only they have the freedom but if you disagree with them, they go crazy and demand you to drop all your own freedom and personal choice.

    Let's have a look at Microsoft. They are rich, powerful and big. There shouldn't be any problems for them to innovate. Just use enough money and brain power and come up with new revolutionary products. It shouldn't be a problem for them to make a browser and compete fairly in the free market.

    But for Microsoft freedom is bad. Freedom to choose is bad because customers may choose the wrong product. So the competitor has to be crushed and what's a better way to do it than waving the flag of freedom?

  • by ethereal ( 13958 ) on Friday September 17, 1999 @12:20AM (#1677856) Journal

    Dear Senator or Representative (personalized for each recipient):

    I'm writing you as a consequence of a web page (http://www.microsoft.com/freedomtoinnovate/) set up by Microsoft corporation to encourage innovation in the software industry. This is a laudable goal, although I'm surprised to see it supported by Microsoft. Microsoft is not widely regarded as an innovative force in the software industry. Rather than designing, implementing, and releasing innovative products at a competitive price, Microsoft has instead chosen to consolidate its position in the industry by threatening, colluding against, and sometimes outright buying its competitors while providing substandard products in terms of security, usability, and compatibility with accepted technical standards. By doing so, they have captured 90% of the market for desktop computer software in this country, and 25-33% of the market for server software.

    If a car company acted in this manner, or perhaps the telephone company, you can bet that they would be under investigation by Federal and state anti-trust regulators. And as it turns out, Microsoft _is_ under investigation as well by the US Department of Justice (DOJ). Although it appears that Microsoft set up their "Freedom to Innovate" site in order to marshal grass-roots support for their position in the DOJ's case against them, I am using the site to send you the opposite message: please ensure freedom to innovate in the software industry for _all companies_ by supporting the DOJ case against Microsoft. Only when the software industry is free from fear of reprisals by Microsoft can true innovation occur.

    Innovation is already starting to happen - for example, many computer makers such as IBM, Dell, and Compaq have begun to offer Linux as an option on their machines as their customers have demanded. Do you think that they would have been allowed to do this by Microsoft if the trial were not occurring? In the past Microsoft has threatened computer makers with being blacklisted from selling Microsoft windows on their machines if they also sold products from Microsoft's competition, such as Netscape. Please encourage this recent trickle of innovation to become the torrent that our nation needs - support the DOJ in their efforts to get a just verdict and reasonable remedies for the harm Microsoft has done the software industry.

    Thank you for your time,

    etc., etc.

  • by BrianH ( 13460 ) on Thursday September 16, 1999 @10:22PM (#1677864)
    I wholeheartedly agree. Microsoft should have a freedom to innovate. But remember that freedom to innovate != freedom to dominate. I remember a time in the early and mid 80's when I actually respected Microsoft for innovating. Sure, their products may not have been completely original but they were trying to open computing to the masses...and that was still a new idea.

    The problem is that MS has gone from innovator to dominator, and they are slowly strangling the computer industry. MS essentially sees all other software companies as competition, and rather than compete, MS would rather buy or crush them. If you look closely at Microsofts history, you'll find dozens of software companies that have been bought out, and hundreds of products or ideas that have either been "borrowed" or blatantly stolen. MS doesn't compete, it destroys.

    The hipocrisy of Microsofts statement is that they want to keep their dominance of the computer industry, but the lack of competition stifles innovation. Microsoft knows this, and they want this. Innovation is Microsofts worst enemy. The Internet was a major innovation in computer communication. The OSS movement is a huge innovation in software distribution. Java was a big innovation in the war against platorm dependence. Fact is, every time another "innovation" occurs MS is forced to fight even harder to maintain it's position. MS isn't interested in innovation, this is just a desperate shot by a company that has finally realized that it's days are numbered.
  • Hehehe... just when you thnk it can't get any better. Oh boy... I just love the flag ... the appeal to the share holders to petition for the freedom of MS..oh boy... I'm surprised they don't have a midi file of God Bless America playing. Poor poor MS... you are just soooo opressed (sp)

    So what's next... are we going to see Bill Gates marching in parades and waving the flag... or maybe an ad blitz of Bill kissing babies and opening doors for little old ladies. Oh yeah..GOD BLESS AMERICA..sheesh... if MS has any freedoms taken away they will only have themselves to blame.
  • In a time when Microsoft is greatly unpopular with the people, they are trying to get them to rally against the DOJ?

    Either way, since when do laws have anything to do with the majority's opinion? I didn't even realise it had to do with anyone's opinion. The law is the law, and if the DOJ establishes that Microsoft had (not has) a monopoly in the judges eyes, then Microsoft is going to be punished.

    However, what the ruling may be may be affected by public opinion. How much, is something that Microsoft is hoping for.

    Of course, anyone who has been hurt by Microsoft realises that they are stifling the competition's right to innovate by creating proprietary standards. Although it doesn't get posted to slashdot, there are some pro Micro-innovation sites around on the Internet. Some of them articulate MS-truth (ActiveTruth?) quite vividly.
  • One innovative product was spotted in Microsoft HQ's toilets. Apparently Bill had produced a faeces in the shape of a small penguin, and forgot to flush. Does this novel turd represent, in some ways, Bills current worries for the future?
  • Freedom to imitate
    Freedom to irritate
    Freedom to immolate
    Freedom to infiltrate
    Freedom to impregnate
    Freedom to indoctrinate
    Freedom to inculcate
    Freedom to incorporate
    Freedom to isolate
    Freedom to inflate
    Freedom to infuriate
    Freedom to intimidate
    Freedom to inundate

    and my fave:

    Freedom to inseminate

    Any more?
  • "Freedom to enjoy the monopoly profits of innovation", I think.

    You can actually construct a twisted argument for the use of the word "freedom" here if:
    a) you are a libertarian, so you believe that freedom is essentially a matter of property rights.
    b) you believe in intellectual property rights.

    Needless to say, I think it's a pretty weak argument. My personal belief is that a) is not what libertarianism should be about and that b) is downright inconsistent, but there are a lot of people (probably the mainstream of libertarianism) who would believe in a) and b).

    Of course, there are some who believe that Microsoft are just asserting their democratic rights. Like the democratic right to organise a political lobbying campaign against the decision of an independent court ... how democratic ...

  • Bill Gates has learned a lesson that Bill Clinton came very close to learning:

    Never, EVER, admit ANY guilt. Period. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence to your guilt, still endeavor to find ways to bring the methods and motives of your accusers into question.

    Bill Gates didn't put up that "Freedom to Innovate" page for us, although we're giving him a lot of free press by talking about it. (As P.T. Barnum once said, "Any publicity is good publicity -- as long as they spell my name right.") No, he put it up there for people who *will* be swayed by it, and for people in whom it *might* cast a reasonable doubt. These are voters who might be ticked off if their elected officials allow the government to take strong action against Microsoft -- and so Microsoft wins itself some safety.

    Here's the most interesting thing to note, however: Notice that the Microsoft "Freedom to Innovate" page says that it was last updated on September 13. Do you honestly think that Microsoft would change anything if they honestly thought they were going to win the court case? Doesn't this thing sound like an effort to "rally the troops" and prepare for some expected damage control?

  • by Sxooter ( 29722 ) on Friday September 17, 1999 @12:27AM (#1677889)
    You should really read "The Microsoft File" by Wendy Goldman. You would find out that:

    They invite companies to their campus with the lure that they want to buy them and their technology. They get the company to sign "sharing" agreements where they show MS all their secrets and source code. MS then says, sorry, we aren't interested, steals the ideas and builds their own product. Most of these companies are too small to mount a legal challened in court and disappear within a year or two of their MS meeting.

    They openly forced most large computer sellers like Compaq and Dell to pay for windows for each and every computer they sold, even if the customer wanted a "blank" machine with no OS.

    They forced most large computer sellers to bundle MS Office with Windows 95, actually charging more for just widnows 95 than for windows 95 and MS office. Ever wonder why Office is the dominant suite in the market? MS gave it away long enough to establish a lead, then hopped up the price once the competition was mostly dead.

    When people were first signing up for early development kits, they had to sign forms stating they would not develop applications for other "drag and drop" interfaces with the Microsoft tools. At the time there were several alternative OLE like options, most of which were far nicer than the on in WIN32 (what a cranky, buggy interface to program).

    Microsoft got where it is today by strong arming the cometition and abusing its monopoly power, whether you can see it or not.

    If a Japanese firm acted like Microsoft, we'd have stopped them long ago, but because they are an American company, they have gotten away with this too long. Please stop them now before it's too late.
  • I think I've just been outed as a commie.

    If we are all commies , then Microsoft is the dictator .

    No, freely distributable software is democracy at its finest. We get to choose, change, share or charge for it and services, but we can never restrict freedom of another. Its a wonderful concept, but a threat to a dominating company that wishes to buy up all the patents and restrict our freedom and freedom to innovate. We are not communists, but there is an evil company trying to pound us into submission.
  • What Microsoft forgets that it has in many ways, some ethical and some unethical killed off its competition. The company I work for has been in the past a target of veiled threats from MS... "Release product A and we might just be forced to release a free version of product B which will cost you so many millions of dollars in sales". Innovation goes both ways. This is the sad thing that Microsoft forgets all about. MS product managers are trained to assimililate and eliminate threats made to their product line.
  • I'd like to know too, but doubt we ever will.

    This article is likely to slashdot them with negative responses. I replied, caustically but politely. I hope they get a lot of well written negative comments. It's too bad the people in Washington aren't likely to see them.

    This site is really an affront. First the "big lie" premise that the trial is about Microsoft's "freedom to innovate", as if they ever had, or ever respected anyone else's freedom. The kicker though is the caricature of the American flag -- uh, yeah, thanks for not using the Microsoft logo in the little monitor at least! Supporting Microsoft is patriotic, I'm sure, remember how Microsoft said any delay in Win98 from the bundling trial might have serious effects on the economy?
  • by Lucius Lucanius ( 61758 ) on Thursday September 16, 1999 @08:00PM (#1677912)
    REDMOND (Reuters).

    In a surprise announcement today, Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) threatened to create innovative products. "Our customers have said they want innovation," said a Microsoft spokesperson. "We will now make innovative products."

    According to analysts, this could send shock waves through the PC industry. "We rely on them to follow our code of honor," said a disgruntled industry leader, who preferred to remain anonymous. "We've been making the same hardware for 20 years. What will we do now?" According to an analyst, there is no skepticism in an industry used to a flood of vaporware announcements. "We have had many false alarms from Microsoft before," said the Anonymous Analyst. "However, this time they are REALLY serious."

    A key distinguishing feature this time around is a stunning move by Microsoft to create a 'Freedom to Innovate Network', known as FIN.

    Many industry observers pointed out the resemblence to a previous Microsoft initiative. "Earlier, they had formed a top secret organization called 'Freedom to Innovate Bugs', and guess how that turned out," said another insider. "Naturally, we can't dismiss this as vaporware. The coincidence is practically spooky." Especially the acronym, he added.

    Microsoft spokesmen declined to comment on backward compatibility problems with the new trend towards innovation.


"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain