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Microsoft Adresses World 605

at0m writes "Microsoft has posted their side of the story on the website. They emphasize that this is not the final ruling and there will be many more trials in the future, etc, etc. It claims that "company will continue to defend the principle of innovation." In addition, Bill Gates has made a statement regarding the whole issue. He says that they "respectfully disagree" with the court's decision. Kinda makes me sick. "
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Microsoft Adresses World

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  • Microsoft is not on trial. They are being sued. By your own government.

    In the US civil penalties in the law are common. In order to enforce these laws the government must be able to bring civil actions.

    Common law countries like the US do not have the clear distinction between private and public law that civil law countries like France do. All in all I would rather live in a common law country because of the emphasis on precedence rather than having everything rigidly codified.

  • It's about crybaby's who have crap to offer as alternatives, are lousy in buisness and want the
    government to step in and make it easier to sell their crappy worthless products.

    Tell that to Stac. Microsoft had to pay a $100 Million fine for outright technology theft.

    Microsoft out performed everyone else. They won.

    Microsoft did win. However they have also shown that they did not play by the rules. There is a difference between winning at any cost, and winning within the legal boundaries of a society.

    But he is in fact responsible for the fact that the computer and internet industry as a whole is so vibrant and competitive.

    I think that the facts show otherwise. The computer industry is most vibrant and competitive in areas where Microsoft has no influence at all. Take a look at how competitive the box makers are. Contrast that to the Office suite market. Compare the price trends in the hardware segment vs. the Office suite segment. Now tell me that the influence of Microsoft has led to the Office suite market to be vibrant and competitive.

    The fact is that the computer industry is least vibrant and competitive where Microsoft is strongest.

    Microsoft had very little influence on the genesis of the Internet and it's rapid growth. Even Microsoft itself admits that they were very late to appeciate the importance of the internet.

  • I agree with Libertarian values, but their application to situations like this often leave much to be desired. I'm glad somebody is pointing out the lack of real-world predictions which can be made by neo-classical economics.

    MillMan is wrong when he suggests real-world economics NEVER tend toward stability. The assumption the neo-classical school makes is that all markets reach a point of diminishing returns. That actually happens in some areas -- gold mining, farming, or any area where making more and more becomes less efficient (usually because poorer land or mines have to be used as you expand).

    But he is absolutely right in suggesting such examples are very rare. And they are becoming more rare in the information economy. Metcalfe's Law ("The value of any network is proportional to the square of the number of nodes") also applies to networked economies, which are becoming more plentiful.

    Networked economies occur in any industry where the value of the product increases with the number sold. Consider the salesman who had to sell the first telephone, "Gee, you can call... Well, you can't call anyone now. But as soon as somebody else buys one, you can call them."

    More and more things are turning into networked economies: faxes (at first they were sold in pairs, so businesses could put them in two of their offices); package delivery (if you can't guarantee delivery to many places, you aren't worth much); the Internet; operating systems; videotape formats (the more people who buy your format, the more stores will want to stock your format, which means the more people will want to buy your format).

    In such environments, the neo-classical prediction that markets will tend to stabilize in support of the best, least-expensive product almost never come true. Still, neo-classical theorists still cling to this belief. In order to satisfy this will to believe, they have to believe that Windows must be the best product.

    Look at the predictions which this economic theory has made: Bangladesh will stop producing too many children and become a developed country in a few years after they adopted a free market economy. The Russian people will be better off economically when Communism falls. The percentage of the price of a new computer which goes to pay for the operating system will decline over time ($15 of $4,000 IBM PC in 1982; $65-$95 of an $800 computer today). Beta will beat out VHS. The list goes on and on.

    Why do these economists cling to such a useless theory? When the system is forced to equilibrium by decreasing returns, you get linear equations. When you admit we often have increasing returns, you get non-linear equations. Economists have long wanted to make their discipline more scientific. They can't do this when they can't solve the equations. We know how to solve the linear equations; we don't know how to solve the equations generated by increasing returns.

    Economists have long made the assumptions they needed to be able to solve their equations. Who cares if they're inaccurate assumptions? Well, the banks care -- the banks who loaned trillions to the Third World because their economists' predictions said the Third World nations would be able to pay them back.

    There's nothing wrong with Libertarian values, but Libertarians who assume that government is always an enemy of freedom and the corporations are always friends of freedom are betraying those values. They are also abdicating the responsibility of liberty-seekers: to evaluate all potential coercers fairly and accurately.

    Interestingly, neural nets and other recent developments are looking very promising in solving the equations we need to accurately model the real world and its economics.

    Not surprisingly the banks who have a lot of Third World loans are the ones who are paying for much of this research.
  • Wow. OK, I'll bite.

    Your main point above is :

    Capitalsim is a paradox. Unbounded it NEVER reaches any kind of competitive equilibrium! What evidence makes you think that it does? I'd sure like to see some.

    I don't really want to talk about "capitalism", but instead free markets and equilibrium prices. I agree that it is hard to come up with markets that work very close to purely effecient (maybe the US credit market would be a good example), but the reason for the innefficiencies are generally externalities granted through law (patents, trade barriers, favorable zoning law, etc.)

    Thats the core of the thinking at least. What you really want to do to validate your quest for proof isn't to find markets that clear at true equilibrium, but study instead the effect of externalities on markets, and see if they give secondary evidence of true efficiency being kept away by interventionary forces.

    For example, if we all start paying less for our clothing (here in the united states) after the Multi-Fibre Agreement expires, that would indicate that markets do in fact move towards equilibrium.

    Showing statistical proof has probably been done, but it is a lot easier for me to give you examples of externalities breaking markets or forming monopolies than it is for me to show you an industry that has remained untouched by politics. =)

    *shrug* Good luck in your research. I see enough evidence for myself of this every day . =)

  • If you apply this argument to Microsoft, you would be saying that Windows should be our National Operating system, and that it should be regulated in the name of fairness.

    I don't think I need to elaborate as to why that bugs the heck out of me. Bill Gates might even want that particular outcome!


  • The basic argument is that we have a choice, and generally government is the lead actor in taking it away.

    For instance, in the late 70s, the United States was grinding out crummy cars by the millions. The Japanese came in and made cars that were both higher quality and better suited to the economic conditions of the time.

    This gave us a choice we didn't have before: Between large, inefficient and bloated automakers and producers of sleek, small and well-made cars. Understandably, we voted with our dollars and made a Japanese guy named Honda pretty well off.

    The US government acted quickly, to deprive us of that choice. Acting on massive lobbying by US automakers, our government passed laws preventing more than a certain number of Japanese cars from entering our country.

    This gives you a good idea of the positions of the two entitites. What power Ford has stems exactly from how many cars it can sell. If nobody likes their cars, Ford will fail. That's the power we all have, and we can exercise it as individuals; I can choose to buy - or not to buy - a Ford car. Best of all, if I don't want a Ford at all, I can go down to my pals at Mercedes-Benz and pick up a nice shiny S500.

    The power our government has comes from how much money it can extract from its citizens. Unless we want to go to the extremely drastic step of leaving the country, which most of us would have an extremely hard time doing, we are stuck paying taxes. It doesn't matter if we disapprove of the government. It doesn't matter that we might want to pay government for some things but not others. We have to sit there and take the whole package, for good or for ill. We have to support both the governmental products we like and those we detest.

    So you can see our relationship with the government is very different from that of a corporation. Corporations are free to do as they please, because they have a clear purpose - to satisfy us well enough so we'll keep buying from them.

    We have to have checks on governmental power, because otherwise it can grow to unlimited proportions.

    Hope that helped.

    I was going to explain something of how this applies to Microsoft, but I fear my brain's too fuzzy to get it right, so I'll close. If you want more, reply to this message or email me.


  • Go ahead. Defend the principle of inovation. But before you do, try innovating for a change, instead of your usual Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.

    The point: MS has no right to speak of innovation when they haven't done anything truly innovative in the past twenty years.
  • I think I could've written that press release, based solely on MS's probable take on the issues.

    I can't help but to wonder, though, if the DoJ has issued a competing press release. If so, I wonder what their take on the matter would be? :)

  • ... perhaps because it legitimizes Microsoft's actions to some extent. But, if you take it to its logical end, wouldn't everyone benefit even more if MS GPLed that same software?
    The Court recognized in paragraph 408 of its findings that consumers have benefited from Microsoft's actions: "The debut of Internet Explorer and its rapid improvement gave Netscape an incentive to improve Navigator's quality at a competitive rate. The inclusion of Internet Explorer with Windows at no separate charge increased general familiarity with the Internet and reduced the cost to the public of gaining access to it, at least in part because it compelled Netscape to stop charging for Navigator. These actions thus contributed to improving the quality of Web browsing software, lowering its cost, and increasing its availability, thereby benefiting consumers."
    It also has an interesting resonance with the recent /. article about how we will LOSE the war if MS owns the internet; that browser compatibility is extremely important, and 'compatibility' means that Linux users can view all the same websites that Windows users can.
  • And after drinking the water, you can use it to douse the flames a few hours later. So you get the best of both worlds :-)
  • Doesn't anyone realize that the camel's nose is in the tent now?

    Aren't you forgetting the IBM anti-trust action and settlements? Or various actions of the FTC going after companies making false market practices? Or what has been going on with the FTC and data communications?

    This is not the first case where the government has gotten involved in the computer industry by a long shot.
  • Today's NY Times article [] says that releasing the finding of fact ahead of the verdict is unusual and clever move by Judge Jackson. It also says that an appeals process will occur after the next election, when the new president can appoint a new head of the Justice Department's antitrust division. So, which canidate is in Microsoft's corner? Do you think soft money will make the findings of fact irrelevant?
  • Borrow it from Cops.

    "Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they come for you..."

    To Mr. Gates: You lose!
  • by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Saturday November 06, 1999 @10:23AM (#1556475)
    The trial is about illegal anti-competitive practices. That means I can't 'vote with my dollar' if the competition has been illegaly squashed by MS before it makes it to the store. Or illegaly driven out by MS's monoplolistic practices.

    MS's popularity isn't some manifest destiny. Its market stronghold has a lot to do with the ignorace of end-users and its legal + illegal market practices. Both of which are responsible for each other.

    Most windows users agree, "OS? Huh? Computers run on Windows."

  • Focus on the bundling and quality, not price. Arguably, Netscape is not that much better of a browser than IE; hence, the inclusion of IE at no extra cost of effort for the Windows user means that there's little incentive to go for Netscape -- whereas the various Paint-type applets are vastly inferior to, say, FractalDesigner or PhotoShop, and Wordpad is nothing compared to Emacs.

    gcc and Emacs/vim are included in Linux distributions, but people still buy commercial IDEs, despite the additional cost.

    If Netscape really were a vastly superior browser compared to IE, then perhaps consumers would be willing to go the extra mile in both time and money, just as they are able and willing to replace numerous other free products; on Windows/x86, the former is NOT the case. In the case of many non-Windows/x86 platforms, it _is_ because IE is simply absent.
  • by Arandir ( 19206 ) on Saturday November 06, 1999 @10:29AM (#1556487) Homepage Journal
    I've got to say that I agree with you 99%. The other 1% is where Microsoft committed acts of fraud and extortion (in the libertarian sense of those words). I have no problem with a monopoly if it was achieved through the natural workings of the marketplace. The anti-trust laws agree. The next step for Judge Jackson is to determine if the Microsoft monopoly still allows competition in the marketplace, maintained its monopoly through coercion or fraud, or violated any of the anti-trust laws.

    People vote with their dollars, and all too often they vote for conformity. Sad but true. I know all too many bright and intelligent people who use Windows for the sole reason that all of their neighbors do.

    If the government slaps down Microsoft for merely being big and wealthy, it will be a sad day. If, on the other hand, they are slapped down for genuinel acts of coercion, fraud or extortion, then it will be a happy, but delayed, day for justice.

  • by router ( 28432 ) <a.r@gmail.cAUDENom minus poet> on Saturday November 06, 1999 @10:34AM (#1556504) Homepage Journal
    Assume the Model T ran on a "secret" formula of gasoline. Further assume that Ford had 90% of the car market and witheld the secret formula from any gasoline seller who dared to make regular gasoline to fuel other makes (Olsmobile, Benz, etc.). Also, they changed formulas every three years or so to one that would barely power the old car but worked well in their newest model. Would there be any other car makers today? Would we have had the innovation of Cadillac, Cherolet, or any other domestic make? Is one lucky play (using mass production on a large scale) enough to justify Mr. Ford's dominance of the car business in the US?

    Does Mr. Gate's foresight to sell IBM an OS he didn't have entitle him to own your desktop forever? It isn't innovating when you fall into a monopoly and then use every tactic at your disposal to guard it. Had Microsoft faced an intransigent monopolist and beaten them in the market, they would have an appreciation for competition. As is, they have yet to be bloodied, they haven't cut their eye teeth on fair competition.

    Don't be too suprised to see their political contributions soar. They have the war chest to support it, and they obviously cannot stoop to fair competition. Their only out is to line the pockets of anyone who has power over DoJ appointments...
  • 408 gives them the possibility of arguing that consumers were not sufficiently harmed by their actions for the courts to deliver a draconian punishment (splitting up the company, multiple 'baby bills'). I assume that is why they are focusing on it.

    I think that Microsoft is focusing on this because it is the only positive statement in the conclusions. The rest of section VII is a horror show of how their abuses stifled competition and innovation in the computer industry - which of course makes a compelling case for severe penalties. For example, look at how section 409 starts:

    To the detriment of consumers, however, Microsoft has done much more than develop innovative browsing software of commendable quality and offer it bundled with Windows at no additional charge.

    Right there he is stating that the positive benefits to consumers of free software per section 408 are far outweighed by Microsoft's other negative activities.

  • When their buddies take over the administration, the suit will be dropped or settled to Microsoft's satisfaction

    Nah. Take a look at the first page of the case document. There are state's attorneys general and civil suits brought by individual states involved here as well. The Feds don't have the power to dismiss the state suits, and cannot settle without the approval of the states. In addition the Finding of Fact may provide the basis for lots of private tort actions.

    Once you open a can of worms, its all over.

  • Yes.

    I'm frankly bothered by the fact that the Government seemingly chose to focus on the inclusion of IE with Windows.

    Why? Because that's implicitly opening the door to regulation of software engineering; and that's a very dangerous Pandora's box, indeed. Is it legitimate to ever integrate software, or to give away your software for free? If your product subsequently takes off, will you have to undo the integration to avoid illegally mis-using your new-found power? If a product shipped with a shared library that other applications find useful, is that integration or no?

    I'd have absolutely no problem with the Government coming down hard on Microsoft if they find violations of a consent decree that don't lead to the above, or if they investigated and found that Windows did indeed have code that deliberately broke on competitor's products to prevent interoperability, or if they established pricing schemes that punished OEMs that refused to buy into their whole product line. Those are all clearly anti-competitive business practices that would probably be barred by the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. I'm just leery of the Government deciding what software can have what features...
  • It is pretty obvious that all you guys are poised at your swivel chairs, in anticipation of seeing MS lose the trial so you can say 'I told you so'.

    So what if we are? If we all believe Microsoft is wrong, and we are involved with computers, wouldn't you expect us to be happy? Should we be saying instead, "Oh, darn, Microsoft isn't going to get away with breaking the law."

    Rejoicing when right triumphs over wrong is normal.

    This whole thing is totally ridiculous. Would you ask Coca Cola to include a pepsi in every six pack?

    Perhaps yes, if Coca Cola controlled 90% of the world's supermarkets, and forced you to buy a six-pack of Coke every time you went through the checkout lane.

    More importantly; why the heck does this affect you guys?

    Whether it does or does not is immaterial; the fact of the matter is (as I see it), Microsoft broke the law and deserves to be punished.

    As it happens, this does affect me very much. Thanks to Microsoft, I am typically forced to buy a copy of Windows with a new PC, myself and my friends are continually stuck with an inferior product which we are coerced to use, and I find it hard to get support for non-Microsoft products because OEMs are afraid of Microsoft.

    you are really not really affected by this whole IE/Netscape fiasco anyways

    Wrong. If Microsoft uses their market dominance to turn the web into a Windows-only system, it affects me very much.

    if MS do lose out in the end, what will you personally gain?

    Me, personally? In the near future, almost nothing. But again, this isn't about me, it is about the people of the USA vs. Microsoft. (In the more distant future, a world that MS does not control looks much more appealing to me.)

    And we all know that whatever happens nothing is going to put a dent into Microsoft...

    You are wrong there, as well. The government is the one thing that can hurt Microsoft. It is within their power to, for example, force Microsoft to openly publish the {APIs|source} to Windows. No amount of money is going to save Microsoft from a court ruling. (If you are thinking of bribes, well, that was Al Capone's defense as well. He died in Alcatraz.)

    It is interesting to note that much of Bill Gates's wealth is tied to stock price. If MSFT tanks because everybody decides to abandon the sinking ship, Bill Gates will be significantly less rich then he is now.
  • Most of those people even paid for these programs but MS (illegally) added code to Windows 3.1 to make it claim incompatibility with anything other than MS DOS, forcing people to switch. Go buy a copy of Undocumented DOS if you don't believe me.

    As a former user of DesqView and DR-DOS, I would have to agree to some extent. DR-DOS did run, but was not 100% compatible with Windows 3.1.

    The Undocumented DOS bit does explain quite a few things. Basically, MS-DOS 5 and later actually know about Windows 3.1 and make accommodations when Windows 3.1 announced to it that it is loading. Other DOS operating systems, like DR-DOS, Compaq DOS, etc. didn't make these accomodations, so Windows 3.1 would present a BSOD warning message stating that it wasn't running on a compatible DOS operating system.

    Other DOSes are also not compatible with Windows 9x for obvious reasons. (no LFN support, no FAT32 support)

    Of course, this case doesn't cover these issues. It mostly revolves around Windows 9x and Internet Exploiter.

  • Analogy agreed. I think if there's one telling phrase in Gates' response, it's this:
    You can walk into any computer store and see the results.

    And therein lies the problem. You don't go down to your local Tiny or Wal-mart (I gather you Americans will understand the latter ;) and see a nice mix of alternative OSs, clueful staff, even clueful customers: you see One OS, No Brains.

    M$loth's efforts have not been in order to enhance the community's *computing* experience, merely their own wallets.
  • Remember, I'm looking for things that impact me more than once a month. Also, I pretty much implied that I'm looking for things that cause a negative impact - just being different doesn't count. So:

    1) Drive letters: not a problem. UNC pathnames.
    2) Backslash as a path separator: not a problem. Are you serious? How is this better or worse than a forward slash? Also, I do most source code editing in emacs 19.34, which allows me to use either interchangeably if I really want to.
    3) Bad shell: OK, I'll give you that one. I miss find and grep (which are available using other tools in NT) and sed (which isn't, at least not that I've seen).
    4) A single-user mentality: not a problem. I'm a single user (tee hee). Seriously, our company uses both NT and Solaris servers, and their performance is interchangeable.
    5) Disorganized directory structre: not a problem. Again, this isn't worse or better, just different. I'm free to organize my user files any way I want, and as far as C:\WINNT goes, well, that falls into the "less than once a month" category.
    6) System crashes: not a problem. Why is it that only Linux users constantly get Windows BSODs? The only NT server failure we've had in our company in the last 6 months was when I accidentally disconnected the UPS while moving it. My NT laptop has had 2 BSODs, but never during normal usage (both times were powering up from hibernation mode).
    7) API: not even an issue - remember, I'm looking for legacy DOS problems.

    So, I'll give you 1 out of 7. I'm still looking for more, if anyone else has some ideas...
  • Now's the time to take advantage of the current judicial systems lack of understanding of innovation and commerce, two things my company, Microsoft, understand better than anybody. Mortgage your home, sell your mother, wife and daughters to roaming bands of sex starved gang members and buy lots of Microsoft stock.

    Soon Microsoft will be breaking new ground with its innovative Microsoft branded judicial system and believe me, the present judicial systems rulings won't stand up in the new court. Soon after we will be entering the education market with Microsoft branded schools where the youngest consumers will be taught the value of Microsoft innovation.

    In the long term Microsoft is planning MS-Government for the 2004 timeframe. For a small yearly fee MS-Government will ensure that all men are treated equally(*) in accordance to the Bill (Gates) of Rights. In addition we will take measures at stamping out Communism under the guise of Richard Stallman, Linus Torvalds and all those other commie sympathisizers who would interfere with your right to pay for our bug free(**) software.

    (*) While Microsoft believes that it will sell a product fully free of any bugs in equality (in accordance to Microsofts definition of equality and bug free(**)) we respect the rights of people to offer differing opinions. Should your opinions differ please contact the nearest MS-Life Cessation officer for further advice.

    (**) It's not a bug, its a feature.
  • ...doesn't mean you get to make the rules.

    Try reading both the findings of fact and the MS statements with the idea that every word is completely sincerely meant, and then you'll get an idea of the real situation. MS is _not_ intentionally trying to be manipulative by making false statements- they 'drink their own kool-aid', believe their own lies, and are very dangerous right now because they believe they _must_ prevail over the government for the good of the world and innovation everywhere. It doesn't matter that this is howling nonsense, they believe it anyway. It's important to remember that they believe this and consider it overwhelmingly important. Don't ever think they are mere schemers. They are more dangerous than that, and now they are basically at war with the government and truly desperate (as I said in an earlier post, I would bet money that the MS people were _convinced_ the findings of fact would exonerate them completely. These are not sane people...)
  • That's all well and good in an ideal world. But an almost magical faith in market forces seems naive. As huge corporations grow more and more powerful, they pose an ever-increasing threat to individual freedom. If we're not careful, we'll end up with a sort of feudalism with our lives ruled by supermultinationals. We don't live in an ideal world, so in order to make things work as well as possible, we have to have laws to protect people from abuses of power.


  • I used one on an Apple II (I think the mouse was from Mouse Systems). Just a normal serial connection.

    While I don't doubt that you did, I would have to wonder about when this mouse came out. The Microsoft serial mouse was introduced around 1984.

    The first Microsoft mouse was a joke with a large metal "pinball" for the roller (no good traction). Also it required an ISA card.

    The first Microsoft mouse did require an ISA (bus) card, but the second was a serial mouse, and it was the first such mouse, according to Stephen Manes and Paul Andrews' excellent unauthorized biography on Bill Gates.

  • You're right about that. I've seen footage of Bill talking about business stuff, and also footage of Bill talking about computer or technical stuff that Microsoft is researching. There is a big difference. He seems to enjoy talking about the new technology more than the boring business stuff. How ironic that Microsoft is better known for the business stuff, but not known to innovate in technology!
  • Excel also used Microsoft routines/system calls which the competition could not use because they were not documented. Definitely taking advantage of writing the OS and the application. Did Lotus sue or merely complain? There was quite a fuss about that.

    Excel on Windows did, yes. But Excel was first introduced on the Macintosh.
  • You obviously did not read the report. Judge Jackson's main findings were about how Microsoft stifled free capitalism. IBM promoted Lotus Smartsuite with their PCs and hence Microsoft wouldn't grant them a Windows 95 license until just minutes before they released it, thus causing IBM to not be able to be ready for the Chrismas buying season. Microsoft basically told Netscape to get out of their territory or else and then cut off Netscape's air supply. As for comparing this to the breakup of AT&T, this is the best thing that could have happened. Each of the baby bells and AT&T spinoffs has been much more successful than they would had they still been a huge monolithic corporation. In addition, long distance rates have fallen dramatically due to the competition of the other carriers. I guess you don't remember when you couldn't even own your own phone. You had to lease it from AT&T.

    Likewise, look at Standard Oil or the railroads who controlled everything. There is no such thing as a free market economy. An economy without checks and balances would be like a government without checks and balances. What would happen to our government if, say, the President wrote all the laws, enforced all the laws, and interpreted and executed all the laws? Can you say dictatorship? Capitalism leads to greed. Not that there's anything wrong with capitalism, but checks and balances are required such that one individual or corporation doesn't dominate huge aspects of the industry or our lives.

    Can you imagine a world where MS used their capital to gobble up other companies left and right without any stopping of it? If MS had their way, no computer manufacturer would be able to sell or distribute any other operating system. Also, all of Microsoft's distributors (i.e. computer stores) would be prohibited from selling alternatives. MS would then require all ISPs to use some proprietary protocol for Internet connectivity (like AOL) and prohibit non-Microsoft platforms from accessing the Internet.

    If you think Linux is a serious competitor, perhapse in a few years, but at this point it still has a long ways to go. The applications are still missing. I hate to say it, but supporting MS Office is essential in the corporate space. Even if nobody likes it, because everyone else uses it you are forced to use it just to read other people's documents. Star Office isn't enough (I know this from experience).

    In the corporate space, Linux has barely made a dent. Go down to any business and look at their computers. I imagine that you'll find few Linux boxes in use. Let's face it, for a vast majority of users Linux has too much of a percieved learning curve. Someone can sit down to a Windows box and click start and start running apps. Installing apps is trivial due to their Install Wizard. Many people put up with the frequent crashes and lock-ups because they don't know any better. Give them a Linux box and there will be just as many crashes because they won't know how to properly configure it.
  • Open cd, insert freshly burnt cd, don't wait for the cdrom to spinup but access the cd straight away with explorer. Enjoy the view (BSOD). Works consistently on my dell optiplex gx1 and nt workstation 4.0, service pack 5.

    Otherwise I have not much trouble running NT. I've learned to work around this by waiting a few seconds before attempting to access the cd but it sure is annoying to have to hard reset your workstation while all you wanted is access some files on a stupid cdr.
  • by Wah ( 30840 )
    Each of those clips has a big "Live" in the upper left corner. Albright and Gates must be getting tired of repeating themselves by now.

    "Recorded-LIVE!" hehe
  • can you say NT workstation?
  • That's the way things are supposed work in a free market economy!


    Not true. A free market economy needs controls to ensure fair competition and a level playing field. Just like boxing has established rules to ensure a fair fight. Tyson violated one of those rules and I didn't see anybody saying "hey let the guy be - he is just trying to be successful".

    There are rules in conducting business. For instance, price fixing can be very successful, however, its illegal and an abuse of power.

    You cannot restrict your competitions ability to get to the market unfairly like MS has done with computer OEM's. You are suppose to compete on price, features and quality.

    MS has used the free market system to get their products at the top

    MS abused the free market to get on top and stay there. That is the point. This is like defending the Mafia by saying they are using free market to make a living.
  • In my opinion, Microsoft has probably launched and executed one of the most ruthless, yet also one of the most successful marketing plans of all time. After conducting interviews in shopping malls, local businesses, retailers, and corner PC shops, I bring to the Slashdot community some interesting finds.

    1: The general public is unaware of alternative OSs:

    This doesn't surprise me at all, but it raises some interesting questions. Few knew what an operating system actually was, nevermind give me an alternative to Windows. And those that did mostly said MacOS. A few OS/2, some Linux, one or two cited *BSD, BeOS, and a few others, but the vast majority had a scope of only Windows.

    This shows how much damage Microsoft has done to the industry. Only 1:6 interviewed could name an OS other than Windows, and 9:10 times it was MacOS.

    Windows is right for some, but not all. For instance, the public seems to consider crashes as a regular occurance and tolerates it. Being a psuedo-sysadmin I've learned that crashes lead to lack of job security, and if you tell the guys at eBay that crashes are alright, I guarantee you'll be chased out of there with angry techs wielding baseball bats and billyclubs.

    And that's only the tip of the iceberg. Its a Windows world out there.

    2: Brand name and reputation is powerful:

    This I can relate to. If I need to replace a drive on my workstation I usually narrow the selection to a handful of companies (IBM, Quantum, Seagate), though I usually stick with a product or manufacturer I've been pleased with (Seagate for me). The same goes for toasters (Oster), cars (BMW), telephones and whatnot. For the average consumer PCs are no exception.

    Here's an interesting scenario that occured only just recent. Our instructor decided to have us type our test rather than write them so he could get them corrected faster, so we went to one of the many computer labs. We sat down and almost instantly classmates complained they couldn't type their papers. Why not? After all, Word Perfect 8 was on every machine in the lab.

    Apparently no one wanted to use Word Perfect 8. They wanted MS Word. After much bickering one pointed out that Wordpad was on every machine as well. All essays were completed in Wordpad (with myself as the sole exception; mine was HTML formatted). What's the catch?

    People like things they're comfortable or familiar with. Everyone was used to MS Word and Wordpad and preferred to use those applications over Corel's WP8. Why? Simply because they were comfortable with the software and partly because of the brand name. I asked one classmate and got the reply, "I've never heard of it before".

    3: Looks are everything:

    This is all too true. I was test driving an AlphaServer ES40 just the other day. Four 500MHz 21264 CPUs, coupla G of RAM, tons of quick storage. I was having so much fun I almost shat myself. A student walked by while I was enjoying my telnet session and inquired what I was doing. I told him I was mucking around with a ripping server worth tens of thousands of dollars. His exact reply:

    "Why is it worth so much? There's no pictures or anything."

    Even though I was reduced to console since it was a telnet session anyways, he does prove a good point. People like GUIs. Command lines are just too time-consuming for those who can't type well, and isn't as appealing as Windows. Even if I told him how absolutely insane that hardware was, he wouldn't give it a second though unless I went into X and had a purty WM and the Gnome or KDE desktop.

    Not that Linux, BeOS, and all those wonderful other OSs don't have great GUIs, Desktops, WMs and whatnot, but people don't like dealing with console. They like simple interfaces to get things done. Course, we(geeks) all do at times, but when you need to do crazy things you hafta switch to a console or at least open an xterm.

    4. The general public is lazy, and is often slow to change:

    We live in a consumer economy, where manufacturers often make products for civilians to make life easier. 99% of those interviewed wouldn't buy another computer if they had to deal with a console on ocassion. And someone whose VCR still flashes "12:00" probably won't take the time to learn some of the basics and intracacies of a new operating sysem or software application. The first time was enough of a chore for them.

    People are also slow to change. Once they get used to something, they are often relucatant to try something different. Switching to Linux from Windows to my mother would be like switching religions. To her Linux is weird and just plain different. My parents used to say that it was a bunch of $#!*, and that I was wasting my time. They don't say that anymore given my paychecks, but they still wouldn't use it themselves. Why? They remember the old Commie64 and how archaic it was for them, they use Windows now, and they don't want to switch to anything else unless its easier than Windows.

    I mean, we're all like this in certain situations. And for the general public, operating systems is just one of those things. They're usedta Windows and for the most part, don't want anything else.


    In essence, the public isn't aware of what alternatives exist, and don't care that there are. They have Windows, and they don't want anything else.

    Now, am I talking about everybody? Certainly not. Some use other operating systems whether for personal or business use, and some are looking for alternatives. But the majority of people want their Windows.

    Although I frown on how it was done, Microsoft has done one helluva marketing job. That cannot be denied. They dominate the PC Operating System market without question. Of course, what can we do about it?

    Some of us would just love to see MS sued into the ground. Sounds nice but that would only create chaos. We however are fortunate that Judge Jackson has seriously looked into the issue and we can only hope that the government takes the appropriate action to not disturb the general public yet give Microsoft what it deserves. Yet regardless of what happens, change probably won't be rapid, and things will take time to change, if at all. Our job is to continue supporting our beliefs and to continue to educate the public about the personal computer industry, and the computer indsutry in general.

    We are computer geeks and sometimes we forget that we are and expect people to know all these things. I drive a nice car, but if it breaks down in my driveway I can do a few things, but more than likely I'd be calling a tow truck. On the other hand, there are some people out there that would have it fixed up in less than an hour. Some people though would call a tow truck from the start. As much as we'd like to see fair competition, happy consumers, or our favorite such and such being used by so and so, it'll be a while before it happens, if it happens at all.

    However I must admit that deep down Microsoft has a noble goal, despite the road to it being tainted and corrupt. One platform. Imagine the perfect platform in which everyone can get everything done? No more porting source code, or retooling yourself. Unfortunately it will probably never happen.

    I could continue on and on but I fear I'm starting to be compared to the likeness of Jon Katz a bit, so I best step down from my soapbox while I'm still able. And I feel confident that the Slashdot community will provide some constructive criticism, discussions, and -- of course -- flamebait. =)

  • but didn't Kildall found DEC

    No, he founded Digital Research. Ken Olsen founded DEC.

    And then turned away IBM when they were looking for an OS?

    Well, that is sorta the subject of some speculation. One of the other stories was just that he was out of town and couldn't be reached, and Bill Gates was able to persuade IBM not to wait for CP/M (he was already going to be supplying them with a BASIC interpreter for their ROM image), and that he could deliver a workalike (so he bought QD-DOS from Seattle Computing).

  • Yes. Mouse Systems did a lot of cool stuff. Just the other day, I happened to look at the bottom of an optical mouse hooked to our SPARC Classic, and the name on it: Mouse System. I had no idea they made those optical mice. Cool stuff.

    Interested in XFMail? New XFMail home page []
  • Lying means you tell a falsehood that you know is a falsehood. I have no doubt in my mind that Gates believes in his heart that everything he wrote is the undistorted truth, and that he has been fundamentally Cheated and Wronged (tm) by the DOJ.

    I concede that MS did accelerate the growth of the internet (though they had nothing to do with its development or beginnings) and they did drive hardware prices down (by making faster hardware a constant necessity). Other than that though, they were not good for the industry or consumer.

    I bet he believes that he has been Chosen as the One to bring computing to the world, and that anything he did to drive people out of business is justified because it was a means to his said goal.

  • by DragonHawk ( 21256 ) on Saturday November 06, 1999 @12:13PM (#1556611) Homepage Journal
    (1) Drive letters: not a problem. UNC pathnames.

    It doesn't really matter how you get to those drive letters, the fact that new storage must be mounted with a new root, and cannot be added to an existing filesystem, is a serious design flaw.

    (If you had symbolic links at the file system level, you could fix it, but NT doesn't have those, either.)

    Backslash as a path separator: not a problem. Are you serious? How is this better or worse than a forward slash?

    Because POSIX, C, and half of everything else in the world use the backslash as an escape character, and the forward slash as a file name seperator.

    Please note that Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder and original programmer, agrees that he blew it on this one. The reason they used the backslash is that they had already taken the forward slash for a switch character in MS-DOS 1.0, which didn't even have subdirectories.

    A single-user mentality: not a problem. I'm a single user (tee hee). Seriously, our company uses
    both NT and Solaris servers, and their performance is interchangeable.

    I like how you counter the problem I point out with a different answer (i.e, moving from singler-user-mentality to performance). Have you been taking Bill Gates lessons?

    The singler-user mentality is a problem because it means NT is designed to be operated by one person at a time, sitting at the local system console. File and print sharing are nice, but true multi-user applications (i.e., more then one user running an application on the same machine at once). Windows Terminal Server tries to do this, but there are many implementation problems traced to the fact that the NT kernel assumes that only person at a time is using the system and they are sitting at the console. (This also leads to security problems.)

    Disorganized directory structre: not a problem.

    You cannot make a problem go away just by saying it is not a problem. Your main answer seems to be "I don't care", or maybe "It doesn't effect me often enough". Well, I am happy you are willing to settle for crap -- some of us are not.

    System crashes: not a problem.

    Again, you try to wish the problem away by using an example only tangentally related. The problem is that in the NT mentality, occasional system failures and forced reboots are acceptable.

    Now, since you seem to want to get into anecdotal stories: I once had to use NT server to check implementation of some cross-platform Perl scripts. NT crashed with a BSOD twice in as many weeks, under light use. I was not impressed. Meanwhile, NT 4 still requires a reboot to enable your modem!

    API: not even an issue - remember, I'm looking for legacy DOS problems.

    Huh? This is a problem that comes directly from DOS. A lot of the NT brain damage is still tied to the ancient DOS API. FindFirst, FindNext, anyone? Okay, sure, there is plenty of new brain damage, too. How does that help?

    You're not looking for real answers, you're looking for an opportunity to try and defuse known defects in your favored OS with bogus arguments. Are you a Microsoft astroturfer, or are you simply trolling for flames? In any event, if that is all you can do, don't waste my time.
  • Because you just died.

    While the judge's opinion is good news, it is too early to celebrate and become complacent. We haven't seen the judge's recommendations for remedy yet, let alone gone thruogh all of the inevitable appeals.

    We must remain vigilamt, we must not let down our guards. We must keep opposing Microsoft and their unethical tactics, or they will be back and worse than ever.

  • The rules are set out ahead of time, and they're not that vague. You might be able to argue that Microsoft didn't know for sure that what they were doing was in violation of the anti-trust laws, but they must have known that, if not violating the laws, they were stretching them.

    Microsoft acted unethically in the way that they dealt with their customers and competitors. Whether they knew they had violated the letter of the law or not, the spirit of the law is clear and Microsoft knew they were violating that. They just thought they could get away with it.


  • Hell. They INVENTED the concept of Vaporware.

    Technically, no. The term was originally coined in response to Vision. Vision was from the same people who made VisiCalc, the first spread sheet program. Vision was supposed to be a complete office suite, complete with a multi-tasking, windowing GUI. (Sound familar? MS Windows was as much in response to Vision as it was to the Mac.)

    The company (I forget their name) showed a very impressive demo with multiple windows all running at once. Only one problem -- the product never actually existed. The demo had no functionality, it was just eye candy, not the real thing. The product was never delivered, despite the company having built up a huge expectation for it. It would be like if Microsoft announced next week that they were canceling Windows 2000 and getting out of the OS market. In response, the term "vaporware" was created.

    Microsoft didn't even invent that much.
  • Now lets think what would happen if MS was reorganized into a smaller browser company, a OS company, a server company, a whatever else company. Kinda scary huh? They might be able to produce some good, stable, small company products which would be better for the non-computer literate masses, but would put more pressure on linux.

    This trial isn't about helping Linux out. If MS becomes more competitive as a result of the trial, and produces better software, great!

    The judge stating MS has a monopoly. We all know the definition, no compitition. Does this mean that linux isn't worthy of competing with windows?

    It wasn't a viable competitor four years ago. This trial isn't about the state of the industry today. It's about MS' behaviour four years ago.

    Nobody would do anything illegal like break kneecaps, but I know I would try to develop better products and keep current customers in any way possible.

    But breaking kneecaps is (metaphorically) what MS did. You suggest making better products. But that's hard. It's easier to tell your competitor's distributors not to sell the product or you'll double the price they pay for yours.

    This trial is not about MS being a big, rich company. It's about them being a big, rich thug.


  • by Manuka ( 4415 ) on Saturday November 06, 1999 @09:17AM (#1556647)
    Here's Sun's equally predictable response []
  • Why do you assume there are only two choices?
  • No, Linux invented that. The developers have been promising a MS killer. Funny, MS is still doing just fine. This little ruling will do nothing to hold them back.

    Instead of babbering non-sense, let's see some facts to back up what you claim above. Just show me one quote by just one of the kernel developers and I'll believe you.

    Also, the case has nothing to do with Linux getting more marketshare then Windows. It has to do with Microsoft's anti-competitive practices which harmed customers. For instance, preventing Intel for innovating by making a much better chip that results a non-Windows API. If it wren't for Microsoft, we'd have much better processors by now. Also, their actions, purposely harming consumers when it benefited them, in the areas of streaming media, web browsers, and OEM licensing.

    No, the case isn't about marketshare. Linux can take over the market on it's own strength. We don't need a court case for that.

  • by darva ( 96593 ) on Saturday November 06, 1999 @09:17AM (#1556652) Homepage

    As far as I remember, MS's public image has already been heavily damaged already by their bullying, condescending attitude toward the trial and the government--and now they're trying to be good sports? I find it hard to believe the "respectfully" in disagree. MS has a history of bending and outright breaking the laws they agreed to abide to in previous rulings . . .

    On the other hand, I don't really like the outright self-righteousness and glee that many Silicon Valley anti-MS proponents are fostering. As much as MS is receiving their comuppence, I'm quite ambivalent about whether the future really holds a more competitive playing field . . . let's face it, Bill Gates is a genius marketer and businessman. It won't be so easy to seperate hhim from his profit incentive; he'll find a way to squeeze as much money out of his enterprise. The time is not quite ripe to declare victory. This is an important step, but not the end of the war. Any further thoughts?
    Michael Huang
    "A spirit with a vision
    Is a dream with a mission." -Rush
  • every large company acts like this. it's called BUSINESS

    The old 'everyone does it, it must be O.K. argument. Well, sorry, it doesn't wash. Not only is it not true that every large company uses the same unethical practices as Microsoft does (especially few consistantly use all of them at once the way Microsoft does), but it is far more damaging when a company with monopolistic market share levels does it. The company I work for is one of the three largest in its business and one of the 100 largest companies in the world. We control only about 7 or 8 percent of our market. The top five companies in our industry control only about 30 percent of the market. Their is NO WAY we could do, let alone get away with the kind of things that Microsoft has been up to. Our company makes a big point about acting ethically because we need to be a company that our business partners and customers can trust. If you are a business partner of Microsoft, you can look to history to say it is highly likely they will double cross you sooner or later. If you are a Microsoft customer, you are even worse off.

    Microsoft is large enough they DON'T NEED to be relentlessly ruthless all of the time, yet they keep doing it. They haven't needed to resort to unethical and/or illegal practices for years, but it seems like they just can't break out of their old habits.

  • I run Windows NT. Specifically, what are the "restrictive aspects ubiquitous in DOS" that I may suffer from?

    Off the top of my head...
    • Drive letters
    • The backslash (\) as a path seperator
    • A poor command line shell (CMD.EXE)
    • A single-user mentality
    • Disorganized directory structure
    • The belief that system crashes are acceptable
    • An inconsistent, gratuitously incompatible API (arguable)

    I am sure there are more.
  • I pulled Linux in because a large amount of the community (sure, zealots, but they make big amount, or at least a large amount making noise), claim Linux is innovative. Its hypocritical to call your "enemy" a lier for being innovative and turn around and say "use Linux. Its innovative!"

    Turn on tv, check your mbox (snail and elect), walk outside and see the billboards, walk into a deli and see the lcd screens - almost everyone makes claims that they cannot backup and are pure lies. Sure, I'd love it if MS would shut up already, but then I get enough crap as it is. So I take it with a (heavy) grain of salt.

    We've seen innovative companies in the past. Its even becomes hard to say what exactly is innovative. We say Netscape.. but that was an offshoot of Mosiac (which was just a graphical lynx). I'd have to say the Xerox PA Labs were innovative (mouse, GUI, etc). Perhaps Apple for the "home computer" concept (or at least making it feasable).

    The good aspect of Microsoft was taking the innovative ideas, embracing them, and making a better product for the consumer. The bad thing was destroying the innovator.
  • I'm sorry but Microsoft does innovate. Their products are better than the competition.

    I am sorry, but I disagree with the first part of your statement. Why?

    1. Innovation in it's highest form is breaking new ground, delivering a new type of product. Not incremental improvement. Where is Microsoft's Visicalc?

    2. Look at the following web site. 'Innovations' often attributed to MS are easily debunked. shtml

    3. Many people never see anything but Microsoft products, so they think that features like 'Intellisense' are Microsoft innovations. Well, sorry, but I have seen similar software functionality for years. C programming environemnts with syntax completetion date back to the mid 80's. Pandora, a Mac database had auto completion since 1988 or so. So did Apple's Filemaker. There is nothing innovative about Intellisense. Ditto mouse/key cording. Apple has been doing mouse-key cording since 1984 - it is how they got by with a single mouse button. It just is not a Microsoft idea at all. The fact is that what passes for innovations by Microsoft are generally features stolen or purchased from somebody else.

    Regardless of the source of the ideas, Microsoft does have products that are often best of their type. How they got there is perhaps something that should not be looked at too carefully. Like sausage, you don't want to know how it is made.

    It certainly was not by innovation.

    No one is shoving MS (Office) down people's throats

    Nonsense. My company shoved it down my throat. MS cut them a deal - to get a discount they had to agree to install Windows and Office on every PC in the company. I had to buy SoftWindows for my Mac to comply with the resulting company policy. MS forced IE onto every computer that had Windows preinstalled. MS forced computer vendors to pay a windows license for every machine they shipped, regardless if the user wanted it or not. MS forced Apple to drop Netscape and set up IE as their primary browser. It's all there in Judge Jackson's finding of fact.

    And I do believe he has good intentions.

    If you believe that you have not read Judge Jackson's Finding of Fact. Bill Gates is a preditor with no concept of business ethics.

    If you don't believe me after the FOF, go and look up what has been published about the DR DOS case.

  • Instead of babbering non-sense, let's see some facts to back up what you claim above. Just show me one quote by just one of the kernel developers and I'll believe you.
    How about all the ones that inclue the phrase "a certain small Redmond based OS"? Geeze...there's thousands of those...Face it, all this Linux zealot are out there screaming about how cool they are, and they *still* can't back it up.

    Sorry to burst your bubble but not everyone who has some hot air and speacks of Linux is a Linux developer. There are lot's of idiots continually blowing a lot of hot air around too. But I don't take that as Microsoft's official position.

    If you want to claim that one of the Linux developers actually made that claim, you'll have to show me a quote from a developer listed in the CREDITS file or other valid source. Anyone else is just being a nuisence.

    If it wren't for Microsoft, we'd have much better processors by now.
    Right...I bet you believe in Santa Claus, too...

    We now have the FOF to go by. It's no longer rumor and hearsay. I recommend downloading the FOF and reading it yourself. Nothing else really matters.

    And yes, the Judge found that Microsoft had wrongfully inhibited Intels freedoms to develop better processers. We have all been damaged in the processor market by lower quality/preforming chips, because Microsoft deemed the innovations a threat to their dominance.

    purposely harming consumers
    Funny, I don't see anyone with broken kneecaps due to a MS OS...

    I hope that's a figure of speech, or something. It is really far out to define harm as just broken kneecaps. Then we'd have this in a murder trial, "No, your honour, I did not harm the murdered victim. Both his kneecaps are still intact."

    But the Judge has determined that Microsoft's actions have harmed consumers. In not just one way, but many numerous ways. Consumers were hurt when they had to have a browser integrated with Windows when they didn't want one. They were hurt when OEM's weren't able to make PC's easier to use then Microsoft allowed. And many others. They are all documented in the FOF. And Judge Jackson determined that they were able to successfully due this only because they had no competitors.

    Note that it is not wrong to not have competition. It is wrong however, to use your position to harm comsumers and deny others the freedom to innovate.

    when it benefited them
    As any other company would do! All you Linux people seem to forget that if we did a s/Sun/Microsoft/g on the past few years, we'd all be griping about how evil Sun was...quit picking on MS just because they got lucky.

    I think this is the first point in this post that you actually said something good. You are right, if it were Sun, or AOL, or Red Hat, or any other company that violated the law in the way Microsoft has, then they would be in Microsoft's place in court. No one is above the law, not even Microsoft.

    The only thing that matters here is cold, hard facts. Judge Jackson gave them to use. If you disagree with them, then I ask you, along with Microsoft, "Show me the facts." Opinion doesn't matter here. Hypothetical situations are of no concern. Theories and ideas play no part of this. It is solely about facts, and facts alone.

    I'd be more then willing to concede with you any single point that you can back up with a fact. So far, I've seen no one on Microsoft's side, not even Microsoft themselves, be able to use one single fact to prove their case. Every single fact is against Microsoft. Every single one. I dare you, prove me wrong.

  • People at Microsoft don't get hired, they generally get contracted through someone such as Volt or likewise. Not to mention they work many hours and often have
    substandard pay for a 50+ hour work week.

    We're not flaming them, we are genuinely concerned about Microsoft being able to control the marketplace in such a way that that many businesses have no other
    choice but to follow their word to the letter. And when it encompasses the all of their business -- well you can see where this goes.

    Many people on Slashdot are disgruntled geek store owners or x-storeowners that were or are influenced or controlled by Microsoft's market dominance.

    Another problem is that Microsoft says it innovates, by definition it integrates and improves. Innovation introduces new ideas - allowing outside influence.
    Improvement and integration are typical of a proprietary architecture. The only possible way that Microsoft 'innovates' is through massive mergers and acquisitions,
    possibly introducing new ideas or products to their collective, but this is a shady and anti competitive practice.

    Hence Microsoft is a monopoly - read the finding of facts and you may just find out what people are saying.
  • You've forgotten that Microsoft isn't the only company that gives them. I'm sitting on a fairly substantial amount of them in the company I work for as well.

    Even considering stock options, I still don't think that people who do similar work to what I do at Microsoft are really paid all that much better than I am.

  • It means that Microsoft hasn't succeeded in dumbing down the market enough for 'Bob' to be a success. It means that 'Bob' will be back if Bill gets his way.

    Sadly, the biggest disservice that Microsoft has done for the computer industry is that they have set expectations at such an abysmally low level. People expect to be able to get away with being totally mindless and not learning anything. People don't expect a quality product.

  • I think you're right; indeed, I use a similar expression to describe the problem ("reduce us to economic serfdom").

    The funny think about the Libertarian stance is that they want to limit government's powers, but object strenuously to limiting corporations' powers. Where's the big difference? At least there's a slight chance that the people can influence the government's behavior.

    I suspect Libertarians are motivated by a very shallow notion of government is bad, without any underlying position on why it is bad. Otherwise, wouldn't the same logic apply to the power of corporations?

    Libertarians, feel free to explain; I'm really curious as to what makes you tick.

    It's October 6th. Where's W2K? Over the horizon again, eh?
  • by MillMan ( 85400 ) on Saturday November 06, 1999 @02:08PM (#1556717)
    I never quite understood libertarian ideas. Libetarians' grasp of economics leaves a bit to be desired.

    You assume that capitalism is good. The problem is that unchecked capitalism leads to monopoly situations. Your company fights until you are killed, your competition is killed, or you reach some sort of an "agreement" with competitors that usually includes price fixing. Look at any industry there is and you will see this. There are a few exceptions, of course.

    Microsoft did exactly what they were supposed to do in a pure capitalist economy. Our government intervened because that is it's job, it has never beleived in a pure free market. But that is starting to change. Corporations today have more power than they've ever had. Just look at all the corporate mergers in the past 5 years. It's absolutely incredible.

    The average CEO today makes 450 times that of an average factory worker, up from about 70 times 15 years ago. Are these the wonderful market forces you are talking about?

    You mention the baby bells and how this hasn't helped competition. This is absolutely true. However, keeping it intact wouldn't have helped either, which you support.

    You also mention "voting with your dollars." This is an important concept for capitalism to work as theorist's would say. But when a monopoly exists, you no longer have this option, your dollars can only go to one place! Can't you see this? I could start my own company I suppose, but can I make inroads into ATT, MCI, or any other companies territory? Unlikely. They'll buy me out, spread FUD, and just plain outmarket me. Just look at microsoft, that is almost an exact definition of their business operation!!

    Capitalsim is a paradox. Unbounded it NEVER reaches any kind of competitive equilibrium! What evidence makes you think that it does? I'd sure like to see some. The fact that your ecenomics 101 professor said so doesn't make it correct.

    Yesterday was NOT a sad day for freedom and liberty and personal choice. It was just another day of going down this road. I'm so sick of crap like this, and I'm not just saying that because I support linux. This has nothing to do with microsoft. Corporations AND the government have equal responsibility for these erosions. It's been going on for years.

    Lets face it. Corporations care about one thing only: money. This is the botom line. They don't care about you, your family, or the planet. Unless you tell them otherwise. I don't like our government much, either. But I'd rather be led by them than a faceless corporation.

    Corporations and our government have never done a thing for our country. They only do things symbolically when the people demand it. We have to fight for our rights, we have to stand up for our freedom, because god damn, the corporations only want your money and your soul.

    I'm sorry if this sounds like flamebait, but I get really passionate over this subject.
  • If only they had changed the CP/M convention of using the slash '/' for a command line parameter marker into dash '-' like UNIX instead of reversing the directory seperator character to backslash '\'. It just squicks the hell out of me every time I see backslashes in a path.

  • No, but they did make some pretty sizeable contributions to the DNC (Democratic Party) over the past few years.

  • If you take actual take home pay per hour worked and take into account regional cost of living differences, I would guess that I make as much if not more per hour as most Microsoft employees who do the same sort of work as I do. I personally don't harbor any real ill will towards the average working joe at Microsoft, its the way their management does business that is the problem.

  • They drink their own Kool-Aid. That's a metaphor for being deceived by their own obvious lies. By now their corporate worldview is downright psychotic, bearing no resemblance to the realities of business or the law.
    Speculating on possible smart reasons for them to act this crazily is an error, the reality is that they are that crazy and believe every damned word they have to say, so you can't fault them for sincerity, and being done for perjury would shock them- these are people who can, literally, make up video evidence and edit it cutting in faked stuff believing that what they are doing is TRUE and HONEST. I mean it- that wasn't so much a crass attempt to cheat, it revealed the depths of insanity in MS and their legal team and the people making the tape.
    "Oh dear, the tape does not show us being as RIGHT as we ARE! Quick, change it so it is more honest and illustrates how RIGHT we really are! We wouldn't want to present the judge with BAD EVIDENCE, would we? Do something to make the evidence more truthful!"
    It's important to realise where these people are coming from, otherwise you'll constantly be tripped up trying to guess what they'll do next.
    Prediction: Microsoft will not give an inch. They will step up the astroturf, the attempts to get the DoJ defunded- they may try to get Judge Jackson removed by some form of pressure, or even by injuring him in some way if they're _really_ out there. If I was him I'd hire bodyguards. Within the limits of the legal struggle, they will continue to the absolute bitter end maintaining the position of wounded innocence, _ignoring_ the findings of fact that now contradict their whole case. They are arguing from a position of total brainwashed certainty that they are not only right but fighting a war for the freedom of the whole computer industry. To them, this justifies absolutely anything, and they will take the exact same actions against the government that they took against so many companies. We don't know just how far that went yet. The only thing we can be sure of is that now MS is effectively declaring war on the government, and is crazier than an emu and finally truly desperate: I would bet money that the MS people were convinced Jackson's findings of fact would _exonerate_ them completely, and that he was just trying to get them to make some concessions first...
  • Hardly. Sun have always supported standard technologies and documented interfaces. The MS tactics wouldn't fit their culture.

    If MS hadn't been around, DR might have had a similar position (having licensed CP/M to IBM for the PC). Allthough it is unlikely, they didn't have the same kind of business leaders as MS. The most likely effect would be that IBM would still dominate the computer market.

  • by Jonas Öberg ( 19456 ) <> on Saturday November 06, 1999 @09:26AM (#1556756) Homepage
    I'd like to remind everyone of the article that Richard Stallman wrote about possible demands [] that could be made of Microsoft if they would lose.
  • From dear Bill's letter:
    In addition to Microsoft's long-standing commitment to innovation and competition, we are guided by the most basic American values: serving customers, quality, integrity, partnering and giving to our communities. We will continue to strive to live up to these values, while we focus our efforts on building great software for consumers.
    MS is indeed known for their customer service. ("Hmm. Try re-installing Windows. That'll be $99. Thank you for calling Microsoft.")

    For their unparalleled product quality. ("To avoid the problem, Microsoft suggests turning off JavaScript, ActiveX, Macros, and your computer.")

    For integrity. ("Well your honor, the viedotape isn't so much falsified evidence as it is an artist's conception of what we wish the truth was.")

    For partnering. ("We love you Intel/Apple/Compaq/Real/IBM, and as long as you do what we say, no one will get hurt.")

    And most of all for giving to their community. ("Senator Gorton, another truckload of cash just pulled up. Where should we put it?")

  • by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Saturday November 06, 1999 @12:52PM (#1556765)
    Some of these innovations may just be my win98 system, as the longer you use windows the more personal and quirky it becomes. Hey lets make that innovation number 1.

    2. Auto-rebooter. My win98 system needs to be rebooted at least once a day. If I don't, it does it for me! And always when I'm using it, so I know its done its duty.

    3. Application freshness. Windows knows that after you've installed a program on your drive that it'll go stale after a while, like bread. So it makes sure applications won't run after a few months and it needs a re-install. Keepin' it fresh!

    4. The talking paperclip. Need I say more?

    5. Those new windows keys. Why should we let years and years of typing habit go unchanged? Now those expecting CRTL to be next to ALT can enjoy this innovation.

    6. Lack of documentation. Everyone knows only nerds read manuals.

    7. ActiveX controls. I'm just too busy to download something and double-click to install it.

    Thanks for the innovations, Bill. Keep up the good work.

  • that implies that there is an accused and defending party. This is a simple statement "linux has more marketshare on the desktop then NT". I find it a little hard to believe just like that.
  • I think linux is the OS that needs to prove itself now.
  • "I think apple got paid to set IE as the default browser".

    Here is what it says about this issue in the FOF:

    Apple increased its distribution and promotion of Internet Explorer not because of a conviction that the quality of Microsoft s product was superior to Navigator s, or that consumer demand for it was greater, but rather because of the in terrorem effect of the prospect of the loss of Mac Office. To be blunt, Microsoft threatened to refuse to sell a profitable product to Apple, a product in whose development Microsoft had invested
    substantial resources, and which was virtually ready for shipment. Not only would this ploy
    have wasted sunk costs and sacrificed substantial profit, it also would have damaged Microsoft s goodwill among Apples customers, whom Microsoft had led to expect a new version of Mac Office. The predominant reason Microsoft was prepared to make this sacrifice, and the sole reason that it required Apple to make Internet Explorer its default browser and restricted Apples freedom to feature and promote non-Microsoft browsing
    software, was to protect the applications barrier to entry.

    Apple had IE crammed down it's throat The facts are there.
  • Can you back that claim up please. I find it a little hard to believe that linux outnumbers NT on the desktop.
  • > not a single consumer interest was called to the stand

    Yeah, it's too bad they didn't call me to the stand. Then they would have really got an earfull about Micorsoft.

    It's October 6th. Where's W2K? Over the horizon again, eh?
  • but they brought to the world cryptic filenames, single tasking OS's,

    Actually not only were those things in QD-DOS which Microsoft bought, QD-DOS was a clone of CP/M, from which it borrowed the 8+3 filename convention and general structure (including its single tasking nature). CP/M (written by Gary Kildall who was a former DEC employee) in turn was largely a subset clone of DEC PDP-11 minicomputer operating systems for the S-100 based 8008/8080/Z80 microcomputers of the mid 70's.

    Microsoft is free to start innovating any time they want. History shows they haven't done much of it.

  • Bill Gates is a geek.

    Oh please. Bill Gates is a lot of things, but I wouldn't say he is a geek. Personally, I'd say he is a megalomanical @$$hole.

    If current or past poster-boys Linux Torvalds or Mark Andreesen acted that way in front of a camera, they would be praised for being authentic.

    I don't know about that. They would certainly be skewered by the mainstream press, which seems to fawn over Gates primarily just because he is incredibly rich and powerful.

    This forum is, needless to say, full of hypocritical jerks looking for any way to pry a knife into Microsoft

    As opposed to other forums which are full of hypocritical jerks looking for a way to apologize for Microsoft. If it seems like a lot of people don't like Microsoft, you should wonder why. Microsoft only have themselves to blame.

  • In political tyranny (dictatorship) if you decide to start your own government you will be killed.

    In market tyranny (monopoly) if you decide to start your own company and compete you will be put out of business.

    The example holds even factoring in Linux to the OS market, simply because Linux is a totally different beast, a community not a company. It takes political tyranny to stop a community from competing (to pull the analogy into a tight little bow)

  • Microsoft has been a great success story. I am not criticizing them for their success. The problem I have with Microsoft is that they are using their success as a weapon to stifle the free market system and crush those who would compete against them. Microsoft is not unique or the first in US history to achieve this level of control. Many such companies have. In many cases companies have used their market power to try to raise barriers against competiton and thus harm consumers. This is what Microsoft did. This sort of behaviour is illegal, and should be so. It is not the free market in action.

    Microsoft is not being punished for their success. They are being punished for their abuse of the power that their success has given them.

    Yesterday. It wasn't just yesterday but some time ago, the government gained access to our civil courts as plaintiffs. The result is manifest as rapacious tragedy.

    Let me ask you how laws can be enforced if the government does not have access to the judicial system as a plaintiff? Without such access there is no way the government can enforce the laws of the nation. Do you propose that only individual citizens be able to bring suits? What would happen in the case of a murder? Who would bring the complaint? How could traffic laws be enforced?

    The standing of the state in court is a lot older than the history of our Republic, my friend. Take a look at the Magna Carta (dated 1215 AD) for some interesting history on the topic. This was when the concept and right of trial by jury first became fully a part of English Common Law, which the legal system of the US evolved from.

  • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Saturday November 06, 1999 @09:36AM (#1556833)
    Microsoft of course will try to do whatever than can in terms of damage control. Including saying that they disagree with the judge's findings. That however does not change the fact that:

    1.) These findings of facts are in general not possible to appeal. This means that the document that was released yesterday is firmly implanted in the law as a basis for futher action. Much like an axe right between the eyes. Microsoft can disagree all they want, but that is worth about as much as a can of barbeque starter in Hell.

    2.) Judge Jackson is now moving on to examine the facts in view of the law in the US. If he rules against Microsoft in any substantial way I am sure Microsoft will appeal etc. etc. At this point it is almost irrelevant. Microsoft's butt is in the crack, and every attorney general, tort specialist, ambulance chaser and half-assed trial lawyer in North America is staying up nights trying to think of ways he can get his hands on the $500 Billion Dollars that represents Microsoft's market capitalization. It will be just as bad in every country in the world that Microsoft does business.

    3. The part I like - The FOF will encourage many many competitors to take on Microsoft's market domination. No longer will people be afraid that they will be crushed when the elephant goes for a walk. Dell has already stated publically that the reason they offer Linux pre-installed is that they are no longer afraid that Microsoft will saw them off at the knees for offering choice and innovation.

    A thousand flowers will bloom where there was once only desert.

    4.) As a side note, Microsoft is in big doo-doo for ignoring court orders associated with the 1995 browser case. Sun is going after their butt for further Java atrocities. Microsoft in going to trial for the defensetration of DR DOS.

  • Why does Bill Gates refuting what he believes to be false have to be sickening?
    I'm sorry but Microsoft does innovate. Their products are better than the competition. Noone is shoving MS Office down people's throats, but people still buy it. Hell, my boss at work just went and bought several copies of Office 2000 over free copies Star Office. It's easier for the employees to use without having to really learn it. And it's fast and reliable.

    Microsoft innovations aren't in the form of major leaps like coming up with the idea for spread sheets etc etc, but their innovations come in the form of how they utlize other people's innovations and extend them with their own small ideas. Small ideas add up.
    For example, Intellisense technology, which originated from VB & Office and has extended it's way throughout much of MS's major software. It's not a b ig thing, but it makes a big difference. And their software has all these small things which are there and they've obviously thought carefully about what they do.
    Eg. Ctrl and Shift are heavily used for 'power' users. If you drag and drop with the left mouse button, the mouse icon shows what action will be taken (move/copy etc)...and holding down ctrl or shift will modify that action without havint to use the right button.
    Just very small things they put into their products make them very powerful.

    Microsoft _HAS_ led the PC industry for quite a while now, and I'm glad for that. Who cares if someone else would have done it anyway? Microsoft had. I'm glad that Bill Gates is the CEO of the world's largest software company. He's a geek businessman. He drinks coke and eats cheese during he trial etc. And I do believe he has good intentions.

    Imagine the alternatives. Scott McNealy. Larry Ellison. See what i mean?

    Many people have said things like "Now bill will have to play by the same rules yadayada".
    Well, Bill plays by the same rules everyone else does. Only his company is the biggest and playing by the same rules he used to do 10 years ago is no longer acceptable. There's a point where you have to change your practices because you're too big and considered a bully when you do the same things you and everyone else have been doing since that start.
  • But how do they _grow_ that what makes a difference.

    Well, the options I got in 1996 doubled and I cashed them in a little over a year later. Since then I've gotten two more batches of options, and the company's stock is up over $10 a share over the option price on the 1998 batch and more than that on the 1997 batch.

    So I really can't say I have anything to complain about when it comes to the growth rate of my options, and it's not like I work for a startup company. Frankly I'm kinda tired of hearing all of the smugness from the Microdrones. If they think they are getting some kind of great deal there then fine, but I haven't seen anything to change my mind.

  • imagine how much his lawyers make!

    IANAL, but what boggles my mind is what a horrible job Microsoft's legal counsel did in the case considering the amount of money that Microsoft has to spend on lawyers. Even though I believe that Microsoft was obviously guilty, I don't think their legal team did a very good job of representing them.

    If I was a conspiracy theorist, I might wonder if Microsoft is using an appeal based on inadequate legal representation as a stalling tactic. Of course that would get laughed out given their pocketbook (that defense generally only works for people who can't afford a good lawyer).

    Not being a conspiracy theorist, I don't think that Microsoft going into the trial grossly underestimated the quality of the DOJ's staff (and given the performance we normally see from the government, I can't totally say they didn't have reason to be a little complacent).

    Another probability is that Microsoft just doesn't think that even losing this case can stop them, and if people continue to follow them like sheep they might be right, at least in the short run.

    What I am saying is that those of us who oppose Microsoft have to step up even more vigilantly now, because Microsoft isn't down yet, and they could be back and madder than ever, so we can't let our guard down.

  • by Wee ( 17189 ) on Saturday November 06, 1999 @09:48AM (#1556886)
    I know that's a Bad Thing to say, but I want to first mention that I'm saying it from a Linux machine with zero Intel/MS components. I'm a firm believer in Linux and OSS. I am also a firm believer in free trade and capitalism. And I'm a card-carrying Libertarian.

    Allow me to explain whay the Fed should stay out of MS's business practices. Basically, it boils down to market forces. When Ma Bell broke up, everyone thought it was going to be low prices and better services for everyone. But now look what's happened: A bunch of little companies have sprung up and become successful. And have then been bought out. The break up took the big fish and made many little fish. Now the biggest of those little fish are eating the small ones, getting bigger. And we're coming back to one big fish again. How much of your voice/data traffic travles over lines owned my MCI/Worldcom/Sprint? Yeah.

    The bottom line is that the market has spoken: We like the stuff MS makes. It's sad but true. No matter what, it comes down to MS has used the free market to get their stuff on top and the Gov't has no business second-guessing those market dynamics. People have voted with their dollars, and MS has won. Setting aside possible illegalities like surreptiously licensing software and then squashing the author's company (and cases like that should be handled like any other case where a company breaks the law), MS has used the free market system to get their products at the top. And they might even be inferior products, but it doesn't matter! Nobody says that the best thing has to be the most widely sold thing!

    Do I think MS is a monopoly? Three years ago, I would have said yes. But now I use Linux on the desktop more than MS, so I'm not so sure. I'm probably a statistical anomaly, but even stll we have plenty of choice these days. MS is getting to be less and les a monopoly, because people are voting with their dollars, like they should! We don't need the DoJ to tell us what the market should be like. We need to do it ourselves. That's the way things are supposed work in a free market economy! When the Fed steps in like they did, the market becomes less and less free. The Gov't is making choices for you, and that is never a good thing.

    Anyway, there's the rant. I'm going to keep influencing the market the way it should be influenced. I'm going to keep writing letters to software companies telling them I would love to buy a Linux port of their products. I'm going to continue to buy Red Hat CDs. I'm going to continue to pay for commercial Linux software, and continue to tell game companies that Loki is going to eat their lunch if they don't get on the bandwagon. I don't trust the Gov't to do the thinking for me, so I'm going to keep on thinking for myself and voting with my dollars and you all should do the same.

    Yesterday was a sad day for freedom and liberty and personal choice.


  • Other DOSes are also not compatible with Windows 9x for obvious reasons. (no LFN support, no FAT32 support)

    Caldera have demonstrated that Win95 can run under DR-DOS when they load a TSR that tricks Win95 into thinking it's MSDOS 7. It's part of their evidence against MS.

    DR-DOS also happens to have long file name support.

    Actually, if you think about it, MS-DOS 7 (I'm referring to the version shipped with 95, of course) *doesn't* have LFN support. LFN is implemented in Windows itself, not the underlying DOS. Try looking at LFNs after booting into "console mode."

    Caldera have implemented LFNs in DR-DOS without the help of a GUI.

    As for FAT32, It's not necessary for a running system.
  • While this "feature" really is a horrible travesty and doesn't actually make sense

    I've actually thought about this, and I think Microsoft made an acceptable decision here. *gasp* You see, having to drag'and'drop (in a single motion) files can be very inconvenient at times. Some sort of method to select files, remember that selection, and carry out an operation with that selection on a different target, is very useful.

    Now, I can think of one metaphor that would work well, for me. "Pick Up" selects files, or adds them to the selection. "Drop" cancels the selection. "Move Here" and "Copy Here" complete the picture.

    However, this whole thing also bears a strong resemblance to the existing Cut/Copy/Paste metaphor that users are used to. Using a familar metaphor is often good. And personally, I haven't seen anyone confuse the clipboard with the file manager, yet, although I am sure it happens.

    So perhaps this isn't such a stupid idea after all. Microsoft Windows has some good UI design features. Not a lot, but a few. Given their crummy implementation, though, I'll take Linux any day.
  • Ok, from what I remember:

    Vision had a partially working product and everyone was in awe at Comdex.

    Bill Gates saw it, contacted some programmers and asked to make a demo of their .... Windows, yeah, software.

    It looked prettier.

    Bill then went around talking about hw it was coming Real Soon Now, and managed to get a lot of major companies to sign agreement to the effect that they will put Windows on thei computers exclusively.

    Windows 1 was (I think) 2-3 years late (many of the programmers hated doing it because they thought the 808x was a "shitbox"). When VisiOn was released all the major companies were already in agreements with MS, and VisiOn failed.

    That's what I remember, anyway.
  • I'm frankly bothered by the fact that the Government seemingly chose to focus on the inclusion of IE with Windows.

    Two answers:

    (1) The Internet -- that is, the web -- is becoming the information medium of the modern age. Microsoft was using their market dominance to control the web, to ensure that only their software could be used to serve up web pages, edit web pages, and view web pages. Would you want one company controlling the printing press? I sure don't. I believe the US DoJ is right to go after Microsoft's illegal product bundling.

    (2) The Windows+IE thing was really just the excuse the DoJ needed to get the ball rolling for broad anti-trust action against Microsoft. You cannot sue someone just for being an abusive monopoly; you have to pick something to fight over. #1 makes this as good a thing as any.

    Just my 1/4 of a byte. ;-)
  • The hidden message in all of this has very little to do with Microsoft, in my opinion. I don't think anyone else has mentioned this on Slashdot (hey, they might have, but there are like 700 postings in various threads now!), but:

    Doesn't anyone realize that the camel's nose is in the tent now? There is PRECEDENT for the Government to come and meddle in the computer industry. Until now, this industry has been LEFT ALONE. I don't know if McNealy, Barksdale, et al realize it, but they've made a deal with the devil. How will Sun act when SGI is bankrupt, H-P and IBM are out of the unix workstation market, and the justice department comes after them? How would any of us react?

    The thing that set the hairs on the back of my neck to crawling was not Jackson's findings that MS has engaged in questionable business practices, but the findings that said "clearly a browser is a separate product", and other statements that are matters of either opinion or engineering, NOT LAW! The government has decided that they can step in, re-arrange our industry, and even re-arrange a company's products.

    Don't think that they won't do it again. And again. And again. Which one of us will be next? I can tell you, Microsoft is NOT going to be the last.

  • You write: I have no problem with a monopoly if it was achieved through the natural workings of the marketplace.

    Alas, you can't have a fair, competition-driven marketplace when the O/S and the applications come from the same party and are tied together in an exclusive arrangement. In such a situation, migrating from the O/S entails abandoning all the apps, since their producer has a conflict of interest which prevents him from making his apps work well on any platform other than his own. As a result the customer is forced to abandon all her favourite apps if she wishes to migrate to another O/S, ie. a huge disincentive. It's primarily this negative feedback that has created the monopoly, and not Microsoft's rather questionable but possibly still "competitive" business practices. The O/S-applications tie is essentially anti-competitive.

    I don't see how this link can be broken now though, not in an effective way: it's far too late for that, as the tie is carved in stone in people's minds. It would require Microsoft to be forced to port its apps to a number of competing O/S's (and possibly forced also to abandon its Windows ports or sell them off), which really isn't going to happen even if the O/S divisionn is sold off.

    I'll be very interested to see what solution they can conjur up.
  • Uh - the term monopoly under the Sherman Anti-Trust act has a very specific legal meaning.

    Clue: It isn't about whether or not there are no choices - it's whether the company has a dominant market share, which Microsoft clearly does.

  • A lot could be done for Windows' speed and stability if 3rd parties were able to put their DOS's underneath it ... but who's going to pay for a new 'DOS' when you "Don't need DOS to run Windows 9x" as all the idiot techs I worked with in 1995 quoted happily.

    Sure you need a DOS, its just bundled with Windows now. And that's why they're in court with Caldera ... there are others that could get a piece out of them for that one too (Norton).

    - Michael T. Babcock <homepage []>
  • You mean if they gave you a free six-pack when you bought some of their other products.

    TANSTAAFL. Trust me, you're paying for all of Microsoft's "free" products.

    You can ask for any software to be removed from a new computer at the store. I think this may be even supported by law. In any case the price you pay is negligible.

    First of all, practical trials have shown that computer vendors are very reluctant to tamper with their OEM software package. In some cases, Microsoft actually made them sign contracts to prohibit this. Those contracts have since been ruled void, but the pressure is still there.

    Second of all, the retail price for Windows98 is over two hundred dollars. I do not call that "negligible".

    You say you are foced to use it, but what exactly is stopping you using Linux?

    Sorry. I was speaking from the perspective of the "average" computer buyer, who is fairly clueless about things such as OSes. I should have made that more clear.

    (RE: MS controlling the browser future)
    Why would they do that anyways? And how?

    Why? To ensure their market share. Just look at all the people who buy PCs over Macs because more software runs on the PC.

    How? Read Judge Jackson's Findings of Fact report. It has over two hundred pages of "how", thank you very much. :)

    I dont think you realise were we would be today without microsoft. They have done quite a bit to revolutionise the computer world, and to populate the internet!

    Thank you, Bill Gates. The is pure marketing drivel. Microsoft did none of the above. All they did was leverage their OS monopoly position to further their market share, riding on the success of the personal computer, which would have been popular anyway.

    (RE: Forcing MS to open up their source or APIs)
    how the heck are they going to do that?

    If Microsoft has been found to be an illegal monopoly. This makes their gains (i.e., Windows) illegal goods, and forfeit. At least, that is one (perfectly valid) way to interpret the law. It is not impossible.

    The rest of your reply is pretty inflammatory and rather poorly worded at that. I'll ignore it.
  • And I think its quite clear I agree. My mere statement is that its ok to be annoyed at MS, because I am. I don't like false advertising, I don't like big companies manipulating others and killing the innovators. I just also don't like the same people bashing one group preaching to the same audience on how they're different - better - honest. Maybe its just annoyance because MS is to highly covered and to intertwined in all of this stuff.
  • You're right; KTOP did rip off the Windows NT task manager, which was about the only think I liked about Windows NT. :-) KTOP does have an interesting problem, though - its window size seems to be a big big. I'd love to have a version you could shrink and expand at will (which the NT manager doesn't do gracefully either).

    However, I don't know if we want an Add New Hardware Wizard, at least not as MS did it. It struck me as a kludgey loss whenever I've used it.

    Other than that, it strikes me that people are working on better equivalents of the other stuff on your list, and I suspect Windows source code is so tied into their API as to be basically useless anywhere else. The KDE folks have shown that worthwhile parts of Windows are clonable. Hey, I could probably do most of it in GTK myself (I'm more a C than a C++ hacker).

    At any rate, I really doubt that a Linux-like community could be built out of open source Windows, so I suspect Gates has a lot to lose and nothing to gain from a Windows open source project.

    What the antitrust findings of fact really tell me is what I'd suspected before: Microsoft knows it makes inferior products and is scared to death of anything that might threaten them. If this wasn't so, I really doubt that they would have dumped almost half a billion dollars into Internet Explorer.


  • monopoly \Mo*nop"o*ly\, n.; pl. Monopolies []. [L. monopolium, Gr. ?, ?; mo`nos alone + ? to sell.]
    1. The exclusive power, or privilege of selling a commodity; the exclusive power, right, or privilege of dealing in some article, or of trading in some market; sole command of the traffic in anything, however obtained; as, the proprietor of a patented article is given a monopoly of its sale for a limited time; chartered trading companies have sometimes had a monopoly of trade with remote regions; a combination of traders may get a monopoly of a particular product.

      Raleigh held a monopoly of cards, Essex a monopoly of sweet wines. --Macaulay.

    2. Extortion \Ex*tor"tion\, n. [F. extorsion.]
      1. The act of extorting; the act or practice of wresting anything from a person by force, by threats, or by any undue exercise of power; undue exaction; overcharge.

      2. (Law) The offense committed by an officer who corruptly claims and takes, as his fee, money, or other thing of value, that is not due, or more than is due, or before it is due. --Abbott.

      3. That which is extorted or exacted by force.

        Syn: Oppression; rapacity; exaction; overcharge.

      WASHINGTON (AP) -- A businessman has agreed to pay an $845,000 fine to settle charges his company mailed millions of households a $15 offer for services that the Social Security Administration provides for free.

      ATLANTA (AP) -- The judge in the government's lawsuit against Microsoft Corp. said Monday one of his goals was to avoid the ``Vietnam morasses'' of previous long-running antitrust cases.

      FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- American Airlines has asked to meet with U.S. Justice Department lawyers this month about the government's claim that the nation's second-largest air carrier tried to drive small, startup airlines out of business.

      WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Justice Department is getting some outside help in preparing a federal tobacco lawsuit from a Minneapolis law firm that helped Minnesota obtain a $6.6 billion settlement from the industry last year.

      WASHINGTON (AP) -- Visa and MasterCard, the nation's biggest credit card networks, are limiting customer choice and inhibiting competition by preventing banks from offering other cards, the government alleged Wednesday in an antitrust lawsuit.

      Freedom be damned Today, might possibly be the beginning of the end. The end of the sane masses who wish to be left alone to pursue happiness. Today, people you would consider intelligent, honest citizens, are cheering the demise of America's greatest success story. And many can't even explain why they cheer.

      Yesterday. It wasn't justyesterday but some time ago, the government gained access to our civil courts as plaintiffs. The result is manifest as rapacious tragedy. Americans all over the continent are being held hostage by their own government. Extorted, wheedled, cajoled and preyed upon by greedy, poor excuses for men (and women). Sadly, no one foretold the tragic results. The bill of goods that our forefathers read and subsequently accepted, included a litany of bad behaviors meted out by an evil gaggle of robber barons intent on world domination. Of course, what was not included in that list of insult, was the revelation that such behavior was only made possible by the very government which proposed a solution.

      How very clever. Create the problem, terrorize the victims, and then turn them into willing slaves. "Save us from this pestilence!"

      Why, the mere mention of these former boogy men sends chills down the spine of all: Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Philip Morris...

      Giving the federal government, nay giving any government, access to the civil court system, was in effect, creating a new form of slavery. There is now no place that one can consider safe from government intrusion. In fact, it is perhaps the most insidious and insane usurpation of power ever willingly granted in America. Your own government can use your money, to enslave you. You will never win and can only lose. Every dollar you spend on your defense, will be met with a thousand more. And the very money you spend mounting a defense will be taxed again and used against you. There is no amount of money that can be raised that will save you. Why? Because it is in effect feeding the very animal you are wishing to kill. Your battle with the animal actually makes it stronger as you become weaker.

      Humans have a very sick sense of justice. We always wish to see the "evil" character punished. The government tort, is a beautiful fantasy fulfilled on prime time airwaves. And the government, with it's limitless resources (borrowed money, the repayment of which will be produced by the slaves) is portrayed as the David to the "evil corporation's" Goliath.

      If there is just one thing to be accomplished in my lifetime which would promote the cause of freedom and restore the constitution, it would be the banishment of any government agency from setting foot inside a civil court unless they were named defendants. The person or persons who plotted this enslavement, will never receive the justice they deserve.

      This isn't simply a matter of anti-trust law. Consider the fact that our government can now initiate lawsuits against individual property owners for "environmental" reasons. It is in fact, how the tax code is enforced by and large. And in case you're not aware, civil court rules for judgement are a far cry from "beyond a reasonable doubt." In some cases, a mere preponderance of evidence will do. Hearsay is allowed, and in many states a unanimous decision isn't even required by the jury. That is, if you get a jury. You could end up with a government appointed judge. Still think the deck isn't stacked? In civil courts, it is more often than not, the sheer volume of spending which determines the outcome. Whoever can spend the most money, and confuse the jury, wins. Most of these cases are settled however, because a good lawyer will do the best he can to minimize the damage. But going to trial against a plaintiff with the kind of resources that is the governments, is sheer insanity unless you have videotape (recorded in four different spectrums and angles) proving your innocence. In a civil case, you are guilty until proven innocent.

      Our founders knew this. It is why they kept the government under strict rule that they would never be able to enslave their citizens in this manner. We must stop this practice at all costs. Some people think that they are not slaves. They are wrong. You are indeed slaves. And if it isn't you who is victimized, you can be sure that the fruits of your labor are being used to victimize your fellow citizen. We are all unwittingly responsible for the slavery. We have simply gotten so used to these chains they no longer bother. Callous upon callous has helped us to forget. I would urge you to make this issue a priority in your life. The government should have no standing in civil courts unless they are the defendant.

  • I'm fairly certain its available elsewhere, but, Fox News has Gates' statement in Windows Media Player and Real Video formats. The URL is: 99/microsoft.sml []

    Look for the video clip that is labeled "Fighting Back" on the right hand side of the window. The video clip misses the first 3 sentences of his statement, but it's still almost 4 minutes long.

    Sorry, I would provide the URL for the video stream itself, but they are supporting multiple media formats and multiple connection speeds, and the link would not have been right for a lot of people.

  • If they competed like that on everything, I wouldn't have a problem with it

    This is exactly my point. One of my other home PCs has a microsoft mouse that has been in action for the last seven years. I've since bought plenty of MS mice because they work very well. MS mice are not my only choice, though. I own a few different brands of mice, and I tend to favor (and buy) Logitech.

    The thing is, MS is going to have to compete real soon. That's why I don't like the Gov't meddling in the marketplace. Linux and MacOS and FreeBSD are all viable alternatives. People (like me and you) are starting to use those alternatives. So pretty soon, you'll see a selection on the OS shelf that looks a lot like the selection on the keyboard shelf. And if you want MS -- for whatever reason - then buy it. If not, buy the other one. Vote with your dollars and buy what you want.

    The funny part is that with no Gov't intervention at all, we seem to have a large range of choices in things like mice and keyboards. Nobody bitches, and the system works very well. People buy a keyboard they like. That's what I want to see happen to the OS market.

    And it won't take a judge to tell Compaq to unbundle Windows to do it. It'll take consumers like you and me to tell them that we want Prolineas without Windows on them. We want to be able to say "I'm buying your best server. Put Linux on it, because that's what I need and that's what I'm willing to pay for." And that's what you'll get. Without a judge making rules about how many servers Compaq can sell with Windows vs. Linux, or whatever.

    If you sell things, then you listen to what buyers say. Some judge tells you what buyers say, and you think that helps? No. Buyers have to say it -- people like you and me. I'm going to buy an MS product if that's what I need. And I don't want the Gov't getting in the way of that. And I'm going to buy a Linux or AMD or whatever product if that's what I need. And I don't want any guff from the DoJ about it. They don't understand my needs, and they can't think for me.

    I want to think for myself, without any arbitrary rules imposed on the marketplace. Government's job is to make a level playing field -- sink or swim, we don't care. The finding of fact pre-empts that notion. Linux seems to be doing pretty well without any Gov't rulings. The playing field is plenty level, and there can be more than one winner. MS just has to get used to this fact.


  • C'mon, lets be fair. As much as I dislike Microsoft Windows, as much as I dislike MS's predatory practices, as much as I dislike some of the really crappy things Microsoft has done, Microsoft did indeed have a few innovations, but not many.

    When Microsoft introduced Excel, it was lightyears ahead of other spreadsheet programs of the time, including Lotus 1-2-3. Excel had things like WYSIWYG, background recalc, and other things that made the spreadsheet concept usable to people who never would have used Lotus 123, VisiCalc, etc.

    The serial mouse was also invented at Microsoft. The serial mouse introduced a way of having an inexpensive mouse on the PC platform. Before the serial mouse, mice were far too expensive for the average user. Now you can pick one up for about $10. (Granted, this was done to sell more copies of Windoze, but still... :)

    That's about I can think of, really. Microsoft's operating systems have always been pretty crappy, most of the new technologies that they develop are acquired through purchases, and much of what Microsoft does just generally sucks.

  • I'd have to agree, but ask one question. Is it innovative to prove a concept, or is it innovative to create a concept? Or.. is it both? Richard Stallman deserves cedit for the licensing and distribution, for the idea of free software, and (hopefully) envisioning the distribution model as it is. Linux took Stallman's idea, embraced it, and showed that it worked.

    Oh, and considering that the GNU project's goal was to create an OS based on the GPL, that's not Linux's idea, it just got the team together before FSF did. The GNU project created the tools - working backwards. Linus came and got the glory by beating FSF to the kernel.

    And make sure to get overtime.. there's no fun in working weekends.
  • In the mid 80's I was trying to warn libertarian friends of the dangers represented by proprietary de facto standards. In the late 70s, I had been working on an OS for the 8086 before the first silicon was etched by emulating the instruction set on the University of Illinois PLATO [] Cyber 6600. I went to this extreme precisely because the thought of an OS like MS-DOS dominating the potential of Moore's Law [] scared me as much as the opportunity of getting filthy rich attracted me. (I was seduced away from this effort by CDC's PLATO project, and then by AT&T/Knight-Ridder's videotex project [], either of which would have made Gate's monopoly moot if their potential had been allowed to make it out to the marketplace.)

    Now, a career later, I find an annoyingly high frequency of supposedly "libertarian" friends and acquaintances ditching their principles when it comes to exactly one man: Bill Gates. These are the same people who have been trying, unsuccessfully, to get me to read Ayn Rand [] for years. What would Her-Enlightened-Self-Interestedness have thought of Bill Gates and the "principles" of her followers?

  • Excel was released in 1985 for the Apple Macintosh
  • Your dictionary is bad. Look up innovate. Innovate is not equivalent to incremental improvement.

  • Besides which, you have no idea how pissed off I am that you even _breathe_ the name Madison in this context. This is the man who wrote Federalist #10, and your support of Microsoft _spits_ on his memory. It's disgusting to hear you attempt to use this man's name to prop up the most corrupt and destructive faction we might ever see.
    A few words from Madison against you and what you stand for:
    "When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government, on the other hand, enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens. To secure the public good and private rights against the danger of such a faction, and at the same time to preserve the spirit and the form of popular government, is then the great object to which our inquiries are directed. Let me add that it is the great desidiratum by which alone this form of government can be rescued from the opprobrium under which it has so long labored and be recommended to the esteem and adoption of mankind.

Help! I'm trapped in a PDP 11/70!