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Everything Microsoft 431

As you might expect, the whole freakin' internet is abuzz with news about Microsoft. Now personally I'm pretty sick of reading about it, so I've decided to combine a bunch of relevant stories and post 'em quickie style now: Yahoo is running a story about the Wave of Lawsuits following Jacksons ruling. The Drudge Report is saying the prosecution won't settle unless Microsoft is broken up. Byte has Jerry Pournelle's take (he's against it). The NY Times has story talking about a breakup, as well as a forced source code release.
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Everything Microsoft

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Where do I want to go today!
  • by rde ( 17364 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @08:20AM (#1545298)
    I, too, am heartily sick of all the pseudo-reportage and punditry that's abound over the last week.
    It all boils down to the same thing.

    The judge is {right|wrong}
    This isn't over.
    Nobody knows what microsoft or the DoJ will do next.

    Print this comment out, and the next time you're tempted to read some cogno-intellectual claptrap masquerading as insight, just glue it to the monitor.
  • A lot of people don't seem to get the point about how Microsoft is a monopoly that controls the computer market and how it is bad for them that it is so.

    Here it is. If Microsoft wasn't a monopoly and had a large amount of big competitors who could take customers away from them, their legacy OS would cost a mere fraction of what it does. MS only charges $180 for Windows 98 CDs because they can. Why? No competition. If MS took the price up to $500 for Windows 98, everyone would get madly screwed, because, where else would you turn for what Windows has to offer to home users? Nowhere! So that is why it is bad. They could charge $50 for a full Windows 98 CD, and that is way too much! But without competition, they can charge you however much they want, and that is how they like it.

    And that's that.
  • Our old friend Bill Gates was on 60 Minutes II last night. It wasn't really an overly technical piece, more like a PR piece in light of the whole DOJ mess. The interviewer almost got him to cry when they mentioned his wife. That and some bum asked him for change at a burger shop and he autographed a 1 dollar bill for someone.

    Favorite Quote:
    "Bill Gates has been called many things, but nobody has ever called him stupid."


  • to me, is how eager many people (particularly here on Slashdot) are to see the government seize the assets of private citizens (aka "breaking them up").

    The government's lawsuit is totally bogus. The only reason Microsoft has achieved dominance is through the incompetence of its competitors.

    IBM OS/2? Dead, the minute they decided not to support Win32. If their marketing slogan had been "absolutely, positively 100% Windows compatible, only better!", they would have won.

    Apple? The true monopoly. People dumped them because they tried to hold onto too much power.

    Netscape? They lost because their browser sucked. The only reason they survived as long as they did is momentum and anti-Microsoft sentiment.

  • Jerry spends a great deal of time (and space) ranting about how the Finding of Fact got the history of the failure Apple and IBM OS/2 wrong. The problem that Jerry missed is that Microsoft had every opportunity to presesent these facts to the judge. It's very apparent from reading the ongoing stories about the trial the Microsoft legal team shot themselves in the foot repeatedly, and ruined their credibility with the judge.
    If the failure of the Finding of Fact is it's inaccuracy, the failure is of Microsoft failing to have presented the proper fact to the judge and not make themselves look foolish by being arrogant.
  • Q: What's the government's theory in the Microsoft case? A: California has a lot more electoral votes than Washington state.
  • And just to try to preempt those who would argue about the Mac or Linux or another system...

    None of these could be easily and inexpensively switched to by the vast majority of MS' customers, both OEMs and individuals.

    Linux, unfortunately, is still quite difficult for newbies (not that Windows is a hell of a lot better when it has trouble), is lacking a number of applications and drivers which are only on Windows (and sometimes the Mac) and is really not ready for prime time *end users*. Yet. Given time, it may very well be.

    The Mac, much as I personally love it, requires investments in new hardware and software, and also does not posess many narrowly targeted programs which only exist on the Windows platform. Fortunately we've got a lot of the big names, but that's not quite enough, especially when coupled with the additional costs.

    Furthermore, Judge Jackson (JJ to his friends ;) specifically said that even if he had expanded the scope of what he found MS' monopoly to be, including the Mac, et al, it would not make a difference.

    MS has a monopoly in OSes for x86 systems. While many other OSes exist, none is even remotely as powerful in the market as Windows is. Please try to tell me that that's not the case, I need a good laugh.
  • I think that it'd be really neat to see MS be forced to release their source. It'd take some control from MS and give it to users, which is really what should be done - and is the point of this trial, is it not? I think that source code release and license loosening would really be the best solution - better than breaking the company up even.
  • Exactly. I work in an office where the people understand so little of what Micro$oft's monopoly means that when I complain about it, they tell me I am, basically, full of it. Of course, what really pisses me off is the attitude of willfull ignorance that they have, the feeling of, "well I don't want to know about anything better because I don't have the time." If M$ hadn't controlled the PC industry for so long, the excuse of "my software won't run on other platforms" wouldn't be valid, because developers would have been forced to develop for multiple platforms. Hell, we might even have had a better version of Java several years earlier.

    Dammit. Thank you, judge. Break up the new trust. I say they go after Disney, GE, and News Corp. next. Fsck Eisner and Murdoch.

  • MS only charges $180 for Windows 98 CDs because they can.

    Well, in a true capitalist society they can charge whatever the hell they want.

    If MS took the price up to $500 for Windows 98, everyone would get madly screwed, because, where else would you turn for what Windows has to offer to home users? Nowhere! So that is why it is bad.

    Then you redefine what it is you want to use at home.

    Your problem is that you've allowed yourself to be suckered into being completely dependent upon Microsoft. There's no reason you have to be, you just like the attachment. So if Microsoft goes along and in some way makes it more difficult for you to continue this attachment, you create an uproar, whining about how you have been harmed and that it's somehow your right to continue this attachment. Sort of like leeches in nature, except leeches don't whine to the government.


  • Does Linux become less important? Will developers flee Linux for OpenWindows? Or will everyone keep on going with Linux and *BSD. My personal bet is that a lot of developers will switch over and make OpenWindows better... --- "Progress is the God of the Machine"
  • Ok, I do agree that the media is talking to much. But this is one of the most important things to happen in our industry in a long time.

    And there is something that you can do to block out all the noise. Don't watch TV or read the paper. If it really bothers you that much you should at least be willing to do that. And yes this is what I do.

    My view is if you want something close to the truth then you are going to have to read the facts of everyone involved and make your own conclusions.

    If you do nothing about it then you lose the right to complain.
  • to me, is how eager many people (particularly here on Slashdot) are to see the government seize the assets of private citizens (aka "breaking them up").

    Breakup seizing assests. Did the TAKE from bell labs or say you work in this area and you work here? I believe it was the 2nd...i don't recall the gov't getting any of bell labs assests.

    IBM OS/2? Dead, the minute they decided not to support Win32. If their marketing slogan had been "absolutely, positively 100% Windows compatible, only better!", they would have won.

    MS would have "fixed" windows so that it apps wouldn't run on OS/2. Kinda like they did with MSDOS vs. DRDOS.

    Apple? The true monopoly. People dumped them because they tried to hold onto too much power


    Netscape? They lost because their browser sucked. The only reason they survived as long as they did is momentum and anti-Microsoft sentiment.

    Cool...keep using your IE5 browser then, and have fun with that virus that only works on win98 machines with IE5. I suppose netscape not being as popular anymore doesn't have anything to do w/the fact that MS integerates its own web browser whether you want it or not, or the fact you can't remove it. Netscape works fine; never crashes and it gets all the pages i want (if somone only codes for IE, well they wont' get my buisness).
  • Finally, a voice of reason.
    With the government getting it's nose into the computer business, it will set a dangerous precident that big time success is dangerous.
    Has anyone read the court's definition of the market? Intel-based PC operating systems. [] Which completely excludes MacOS or OpenVMS and the majority of Unix systems (not counting Linux).
    Since defining the market is a subjective endevour, one can define "ISPs" as a service provider with dialup access in every state in the Union. Isnt AOL a monopoly (by that definition)? How about "retirement plans"? Is Social Security not a monopoly? You can't opt out of it. It is there.

    Dont let your animosity (which may be understandable) cloud your judgement of the law.

    "You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered." -LBJ

  • Of course the trial was executed the way it was to make Microsoft appear to be the victims, to the appelate court.

    I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said "Information wants to be free".
  • Hardly anybody pays $180 for Windows98. Also, if the price was jacked up to $500, the barrier to entry into the market would be a lot lower for competing OS's.

    It is far more productive to criticize MS's dealings with pre-installed Windows. That's the part that stinks of unfair competition.

  • Doesn't entirely matter.

    Even if MS' competitors would have died out anyway, MS still engaged in illegal activities against them, and b/c of the negative effects this has on the public (which has been shown by other monopolies time and time again) illegal activities against us.

    If a poisioner slips someone poision, but the victim, before taking it dies of a heart attack, this is still AFAIK (IANAL) attempted murder. That would be hard to discover. MS isn't even so lucky or smart to successfully cover up what it's done.

    They have broken the law, it's established fact, now we get to see what happens. Objecting that they did not break the law, at least until an appeal, is irrelevant.
  • I thought this was pretty funny. I found the results of the MSNBC [] and CNN [] polls on the DoJ case.... Heh.

    The CNN poll: vot e [] or just the results []

    The MSNBC poll: click here [] to give MS some advertising dollars and see their poll for yourself, or take my word for it (results as of a yesterday):

    Who should prevail in the Microsoft case?
    * 23036 responses
    The government. Microsoft has abused its market power.
    Microsoft. The government is trying to block innovation.
    Split the difference. Each side can win certain points.
    I can't figure out who's right.

    How's that for objective reporting? :) No ballot stuffing there...
  • even if I've never actually PAID for any of the M$FT products I use? I even have a Certificate of Authenticity for one version of Windoze.
  • I liked this quote: [re: Seastrom suit] ``But from what we hear it appears to be a groundless lawsuit, especially when the Windows operating system is priced less than our competitors,'' said the spokesman, Jim Cullinan. erm...according to a rather *important* document, you have no competitors in the PC OS space. I thought it was funny how he blatantly ignored that little tidbit from Mr. Jackson.
  • by Kismet ( 13199 ) <pmccombs&acm,org> on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @08:55AM (#1545324) Homepage
    I wouldn't break up MicroSoft. I wouldn't impose restrictions and stuff on the way they do business.

    I would just make MicroSoft change the name of the company. I would make them call it "The Monkey Pumping Software Prostitution Company." Then ban the use of "MS" or "MicroSoft."

  • He's one of the original M$FT lemmings. He is a master of the type of review that goes something like this:

    Micro$oft product XYZ crashed my machine (again), it is really a piece of shit, the competition is much better, but you'd better buy XYZ because, well, because it's from M$, and everyone else will buy it.

    I think he's missing an important revenue stream by not taking money from M$.
  • I'd actually like to see a judgement mandate that IE builds be released for *nix and Mac platforms no later than 6 weeks after the Win32 build for major versions and at the same price(free or not). No later than a week for minor versions/patches under a meaningful penalty.

    Wouldn't this do much to reverse their high-handed works against Netscape and let me, say, bank on the Web with my OS? Is this within the powers of the judiciary resolution?
  • It's very apparent from reading the ongoing stories about the trial the Microsoft legal team shot themselves in the foot repeatedly, and ruined their credibility with the judge.

    After stories like the notorious rigged demo (to "prove" that Windows wouldn't work properly without Internet Explorer), assertions that Microsoft management were among the last people on Earth to hear of the Internet, etc, I was thinking that Bill Gates ought to just walk in, flip off the judge, and get it over with.

    These idiotic boners are of course independent of the merits or demerits of their case, but they surely didn't do their side any good.

  • We'd probably see a lot of different projects start up _real_ quick. Initially, the biggest benefit would be to the various whine-like projects...

    Longer term, I don't know if the Windows source
    was dragged through the coals like Linux has been, it could be a system worth using....
    (Personally, I think I'd stick with Linux because
    the Unix world makes a little too much sense to me.... :) )
  • From the Yahoo! article:

    "`But from what we hear it appears to be a groundless lawsuit, especially when the Windows operating system is priced less than our competitors,' said the spokesman, Jim Cullinan."

    Which competitor is that? Linux? BSD? It can't be Macintosh since their OS doesn't run on Intel PCs and, therefore, does not compete. If this is their whole defense, they're gonna loose hard. The Findings of Fact has already found that they are a monopoly (i.e. they *don't have* competitors).
  • of course, that presupposes that he ever DID get the point..which he never has.
  • The govt is absolutely not seizing assets of private citizens. In fact, the assets will be worth more if MS is broken up (see Standard Oil and AT&T as two examples).

    The idea is not that MS' competitors had good or bad software. The idea is that MS consitently used its monopoly power to prevent startups from creating their own competitive software. If the whole "giving Windows95 to IBM 15 minutes before its launch" doesn't prove this point, nothing will. The startup in this case was Lotus, recently purchased by IBM.

    Jackson's Findings of Fact prove that the events described by IBM and Compaq are true and could only be accomplished by a company that wielded monopoly power (i.e. MS).
  • "... the Windows operating system is priced less than our competitors,'' said the [Microsoft] spokesman, Jim Cullinan."
    What? Which competitors are they talking about? They can't be refering to Linux so they're talking about what? MacOS?
  • Yup, you're right, lots of consumers have VMS clusters or high end alphas and sparcs in their homes. Duh, silly me. And even if you defined isp the way you did, there would still be no monopoly by aol. I could dial up long distance. I can't buy a pc without M$ products (well i couldn't until recently). Social Security a monopoly? Odd....taxes then must be too. Problem with this is Social Security is not a buiness, its a social service. Unless you want to say police have a monopoly, or something equally as stupid
  • by tokengeekgrrl ( 105602 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @09:01AM (#1545337)
    Or atleast that is what my experience has been. The people controlling the money, aka non-tech saavy management, fall for the marketing line, buy up Microsoft NT serves and various third-party applications that are buggy and completely incompatible with everything else, hand it off to the IT dept and say "make it work or else." When a tech tries to explain why it won't work, management can't relate because they don't really understand how any of it works in the first place and run back to the marketing people who tells management everything they want to hear so management comes down on the techie for not being competent.

    I wish this was a fairy tale but that is precisely what happened at my last job. A brilliant programmer was reprimanded by management because he couldn't make a NT/Access-based application work with the UNIX/Informix Sgi server. He quit. Then I had the pleasure of having to deal with management spending $50,000 on a BETA NT-based media search engine and was told to "make it work" with the UNIX/sgi web servers. The software was buggy and futile and was not designed to do what we wanted it to nevermind how inefficient it is to have a search engine outside of the database from which the web sites were driven. I told my manager that and he told me that wasn't acceptable and I had to make it work or he would look bad and get in trouble for pushing for the software purchase. I wasted more time on it as people continued to scream at me for a functional search engine that didn't crash. I ended up building a search engine into the Informix database on my own that worked great and then got reprimanded by my manager for not keeping him in the loop. Needless to say, I don't work there anymore, the NT-based search engine is no longer being used and my database search engine is still online.

    Moral: non-tech people should not be making tech purchasing decisions.

    - tokengeekgrrl

    The pedigree of honey
    Does not concern the bee;
    A clover, any time, to him
    Is aristocracy.

  • Netscape works fine; never crashes and it gets all the pages i want

    I really have to disagree with that statement...just read The Day the Browser Died []

  • IBM OS/2? Dead, the minute they decided not to support Win32. If their marketing slogan had been "absolutely, positively 100% Windows compatible, only better!", they would have won. OS/2 was not compatible because Microsoft would not let IBM get the code to include it in Warp. IBM and MS co-developed OS/2 1 and 2 so IBM had the rights to include win 3.1 support in Warp 3 and 4. Microsoft however did not give IBM any option to license even the API's for Win32. Warp does have rather limited support for Win32 API's through the Open32 subsystem of Warp but that mostly looks like a reverse engineering job that was hacked together at the last minute. I think that your statement that a fully compatible OS/2 would have won is very near the truth. MS would probably have the larger market share home use but many corporations probably would not have dropped Warp as quickly as they have.

  • And so are you!

    MS has gored my very own personal ox in more
    ways than one. Since I do not work for MS, nor
    do any of my friends and family, and my Van Kampen
    fund is only 3% into MS, my particular vote,
    as a taxpaying US citizen, is to hammer MS hard.

    As such, Barbara Boxer will be sure to hear my
    side of the story if necessary. She represents
    my interests, which, as I have just mentioned,
    MS takes little regard for.

    Governments grant joint stock companies the
    privilege to do business as they see fit, and
    protect individual businessmen by and largely
    from personal liability. The government gives,
    it takes away.

    So, friend, our two votes cancel out... but we
    aren't the only two voting, so the future remains
  • by Rabbins ( 70965 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @09:03AM (#1545341)
    Under current laws, MS certainly has a monopoly and has abused that monopoly power. I do not feel there is any argument left to that.

    Where there still is potential for argument is: Are these current laws fair and right?

    It is obvious that the Microsoft case is vastly different than the Standard Oil and AT&T anti-trust cases.

    The market is vastly different, and changing so rapidly. As someone worded earlier, the punishment has to be dealt soon, because in 5 years, Microsoft may no longer have a true monopoly. Well, isn't this a stronger case to leave this market alone... and that it will eventually situate itself for the better?
    Close to the same thing happened with IBM. The trial of IBM lasted for over a decade!! In the end, what they were fighting about was next to a moot point and the case was essentially thrown out by Reagan. Why was the case a moot point? Well, because of a pesky little company by the name of Microsoft to name a big reason.

    It can be argued that this is merely the cycle of business. IBM is still doing well, but they do not have the absolute control they were feared to have in the (then) future.

    I would argue that Microsoft actually has made a good case that competition has been rearing its ugly head in recent times. Do we need the government to essentially "bust the kneecaps" of Microsoft, or can we sit back and see what becomes of this competition without the government's intervention?

    Personally, I am in favor of breaking up the company. I think that this will benefit every party involved (except for the zealots that want to see the company ran out of business). But, I am not sure if the laws (and again, current laws certainly do) *should* mandate that Microsoft needs to be punished.
  • This is a big case, with at least the potential for some rather interesting techie tectonic shifting :)

    Anyway, The San Jose Merc also has a story [] on this. Interesting take on the gov't interference angle, tho:

    "Forcing the breakup of a company is a tactic that has fallen out of favor with the courts in recent years because of a reluctance to disturb free market forces. But the Justice Department is prepared to argue that a structural remedy is actually less intrusive than a conduct remedy, sources say.

    The Justice Department wants Jackson to consider alternatives to reconfiguring the market that do not require constant government oversight -- or intrusive interference -- in the free-wheeling high technology sector."

    Kind neat pre-emptive strike there re. ms and supporters claming unfair gov't intrusion into a highly volatile market.

  • AOL is not a monopoly, as it has not gone on a buying spree to gobble up smaller ISPs. Nor has it gone into agreements with the local telcos to make it harder for ISPs (local or national) to operate or get started. AOL has been seen fluxuating their policies and costs based on competition from local ISPs.

    Were AOL a monopoly, all of the above would not be the case.

    in regards to Social Security, it is a monopoly. So is the postal service, and so (until 1996) was your cable company, and possibly your electric service. They're all (for lack of a better word) "govt approved" monopolies. However, in the case of at least cable companies, there was only a multi-year agreement between the local town and the cable company. There was nothing preventing a competitive cable company to come in and pick up the next contract by offering better service/prices.
  • RTFFoF! It doesn't matter that the competitors harmed themselves, what matters is that a company with Monopoly power used undue influence to squash competition.

    I'm getting so sick of this arguement, I've
    been paying close attention to this industry since 1984. All that M$ has done since then is 1) use unfair licenscing(sp?) to keep competitors from getting a foothold (DR-DOS, Navigator, OS/2), spread massive amounts of FUD about competitors technology (Apple, Novel, Unix, Linux), use pre-announcements to quell the competitions momentum (Cairo anyone?) and purchase their competitors(RealNetworks (kinda), and a whole slew of others).

    Think about it this way, closest thing to a competitor to come along in the last 5 years is FREE!!! This only way that non-MS programmers have been able to innovate is to DONATE OUR SERVICES.

    Doesn't that indicate that there is something wrong in Redmond?????

    Do your homework before you put your foot in your mouth, microserf.
  • No, that really isn't the point of this trial.

    There is nothing illegal about closed source. Closed source is a smart business idea in many cases. However, the big beef I have with Microsoft is how they put out these "quasi-standards" they force everyone to follow... then not release the specs on those standards... requiring us Linux folks to reverse-engineer everything. Interoperability is not in Microsoft's vocabulary unless it is interoperabilty with another MS product.

    If anything, that is one thing the DOJ should do... not force them to open all their code, but at least force them to open their standards.
  • The pages he refers to seems to work fine for me...netscape 4.7. I also note that he said it only happens to netscape users with 98 or NT, he didn't meantion 95 (which i have). Perhaps this is due to some malisious coding in M$'s operation system? I dunno...
  • Software makers do program for other OSes. You just aren't using those programs because you aren't open enough to other options to even consider using these other OSes and the applications that go with them. Thus you go with the flock and continue using Windows, and thus the majority of software developers cater to said flock. Yet there still is a lucrative business in programming non-Windows applications. Look at Apple. Look at IBM. Look practically anywhere around you. Look at Microsoft! Even Microsoft makes money supporting other OSes. And Microsoft does not (and cannot) "make sure you will program for their os."


  • by Hard_Code ( 49548 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @09:10AM (#1545349)
    I think break up isn't such a great idea, or perhaps I should say break up along product lines. Microsoft is guilty of preventing other people from developing products or technologies that hurt their products. If we break MS by product lines, NOTHING will change. Each will still use predetory practices with it's OWN little slice of monopoly (Office App monopoly, OS monopoly, etc.). Breaking MS up by product lines is just breaking a monopoly into its composite monopolies. That won't work.

    I think source code release isn't such a great idea either. Who the hell wants their crappy source? The only reason anybody /wants/ it because to succeed, one has to integrate and assimilate into the OS monopoly MS has. When the monopoly goes, nobody will give a damn about MS code.

    Somehow Microsoft needs to be forced from conducting itself in a predatory way...from using its monopolies to force OEMS to do things, from unfairly entering other markets, etc. It's the /behavior/ that needs to be remedied. I'm not sure how to do about this though.
  • Scary? It's been done before (AT&T, Standard Oil), and it has not brought about the end of our society. You forget that the government (i.e. the people of the United States through their duly-elected representatives) created Microsoft through the granting of a corporate charter. If Microsoft goes and breaks that charter (i.e. working against the public good), they bring such legal action upon themselves.
  • Jerry did have some good points there. As an ex-OS2 fan I have to admit it. He missed some points as well:

    1. Merlin had "as released" networking far superior to Win95. It did have some problems working in peer only networks (without a dedicated server around) but these were not as bad as described. It was much faster in all network transfers, it had a very good TCP stack and had support for all network file systems including NFS.

    2. What killed OS2 were stupid vendor agreements. A typical example is the NE2000 cards (most popular OEM network card at the time) working only with Novell support. So as a result an otherwise good system was intentionally crippled to fit something signed by somebody.

    3. And Merlin as I recall did run non-microsoft Win32 apps very well. If you new how to install them you could happily run them. It actually even run most apps from Office 6. It did have some problems with MS apps but I would prefer to leave the why and how to the reader of the judge's findings.

    But overall the points are on 2 paragraphs out of forgot how many.
  • >>Hardly anybody pays $180 for Windows98.

    Go to your local BestBuy® and find a non-upgrade copy of Win98. You'll see that $180 is a rather accurate assessment of it's cost.

    >>Also, if the price was jacked up to $500, the barrier to entry into the market would be a lot lower for competing OS's.

    Like WHO?????? M$ has done everything in it's power to eliminate fair competition at every turn.

    They had restrictive license agreements so that if you use Windows as an OEM mfgr. You COULDN'T use other OSes. Why do you think that Compaq and others are now bundling Linux with their machines? Because with the US DoJ watching M$ wouldn't dare enforce those policies lest their monopoly be more obvious.

  • This is my take on it...

    IBM OS/2? Dead, the minute they decided not to support Win32. If their marketing slogan had been "absolutely, positively 100% Windows compatible, only better!", they would have won.

    Charged for SDK, no full driver support. Couldn't market/monopolize/innovate like MS because of DOJ investigation into IBM monopoly.

    Apple? The true monopoly. People dumped them because they tried to hold onto too much power

    I would say *all* companies operated with Microsoft-like intentions in mind. Apple was just too dumb, hiding in a glass house when other companies started throwing rocks. The last real straw though was MS withholding development of Mac Office 95. Business has a requirement of up-to-date Office compatability; Apple didn't have it so no more Macs in the workplace. Office98: too little too late. If Apple was smart right now they'd acquire Adobe, Photoshop/Illustrator being their last real bastion.

    Netscape? They lost because their browser sucked. The only reason they survived as long as they did is momentum and anti-Microsoft sentiment.

    I think that Microsoft totally screwed Netscape by taking away their revenue stream when the browsers became free. Think about it, this free thing totally screws the other corporation; Linux/BSD will do to Microsoft in OSes what Microsoft did to Netscape in Browsers. It's just taking longer in the OS case because Microsoft had more money (to hire full timers) to accelerate the browser war.
  • by walnut ( 78312 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @09:19AM (#1545365)
    Lets define a few things...

    FACT n 1: a piece of information about circumstances that exist or events that have occurred; "first you must collect all the facts of the case" 2: a statement or assertion of verified information about something that is the case or has happened; "he supported his argument with an impressive array of facts" 3: an event known to have happened or something known to have existed; "your fears have no basis in fact" "how much of the story is fact and how much fiction is hard to tell" 4: a concept whose truth can be proved; "scientific hypotheses are not facts"
    (from tar.gz)

    The term "Finding of Fact" (FoF) means that what is stated is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth (so help it....).

    This means a few things.
    #1. Microsoft can not argue the facts (i.e. continue to plead the case). They have been stated and found. These facts are admissable in higher courts of law. Any judgements will be based off of the facts given and maybe some additional facts if a higher judge is feeling nice. Microsoft may only appeal the decision the judge makes (calling it unfair), they cannot change the facts.

    the FoF is to the Ken Star report as (I predict) the ruling will be to the impeachment decision. The appeals will act just like the Senate. If the appeal is worthy, then Microsoft will be known as the monopoly that got away, just like Clinton is known as the guy who got impeached but got away with it. If Microsoft does not escape the appeals process, then whatever...

    So what does this ramble say?

    If you disagree with the verdict, you are wrong. There has been no verdict! You can speculate now, you can dream, but there are no more arguements to make until a verdict is rendered. Period.

    So, hypothosize as to whether Microsoft will be broken up, think about whether they should be fined or slaped or chained in a basement. Regardless - these are the facts, these cannot be disagreed with.

  • Actually, I thought it was conventional wisdom that the "Better Windows Than Windows" aspect of OS/2 are one of the things that limited developer support.

    Look at Windows NT in the early years - the WOW subsystem is certainly better than standard Win3.1 (if your app would run, that is), but that didn't promote much adoption, and nor were there many NT applications. For both NT and OS/2 (and Linux with Wine), downward compatibility is a nice feature, but it doesn't sell the OS.

    The only thing that saved NT as a desktop platform is that MS ported the Win32 API down to mainstream DOS/Windows. This 'upward' compatibility has given NT plenty of applications, but most of them are not NT applications in the sense that they recognize user security or unique OS features. (Even very few Microsoft applications respect NT security.)
  • Some cute stuff in the CNN poll too:

    1. Do you agree with the judge's findings of fact in the Microsoft case? 25.64% disagree

    2. Does Microsoft, in your opinion, have illegal monopoly power in the software operating systems for personal computers? 28.78% disagree

    3. What action should the judge take to punish Microsoft? 19.39% No Action

    Interpretation: almost 1/3 of the people who still think Microsoft was legal and right in their actions want blood anyway. Probably more, since I'm sure there were people who agree with Judge Jackson that Microsoft has done wrong, but don't want to see action taken for other reasons.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Does the DOJ really want to create competition? It seems to me that the problem is not really the policies of a corporation but rather one (in)famous individual.

    Well, they could force Mr. Gates to sell all his shares in the company and submit his resignation. His task would then be to create a new startup that would write a new operating system to compete with Windows. Given all the experience he has, and being no dummy, I'm sure he could come up with something much better. And his startup would certainly have plenty of capital. Microsoft, sans Bill, would be allowed to continue conducting business as it has in the past, and may the best OS prevail!

  • I personally believe, only an opinion mind you, that preventing MS from getting into new markers would be the best solution.
    Make them stay only on the desktop, and possibly server. Don't let them on Palms, WebTVs, or anything else like that.

  • Pournelle's argument is, basically, 'MS competitors made mistakes, so MS isn't a monopoly, they lost through their own stupidity.' Along
    with claims the MS has always forseen the market better, basically. Does not address threatened revokations of licenses, does not address the loss of NSP technology, makes the assumption that we get IE 'free' when, clearly, MS revenues paid for the development of IE, revenues mostly from Windows and Office. Very one-sided argument, mildly interesting points about the early history of OS/2.

    The Drudge Report: Sensationalism at it's worst. 'DoJ demands breakup of MS'

    NY Times: More complete version of the DR story. DoJ demands breakup -or- restrictions preventing MS from exercising monopoly power. Well, no kidding, what else would they demand, jail time for Bill Gates? This isn't a criminal court.

    Yahoo/Wave of Lawsuits: One (1) class action suit filed in NY state. Bit premature, I would think, but okay, it was expected. No details.

    Arguments under this story: Pro-MS arguments from people who clearly haven't read the FoF through; anti-MS flames from people who clearly haven't read the FoF through. If you're going to troll me on this article, address the issues, don't give me an unsubstantiated anti-gov't rant.

  • problem is, microsoft doesn't respond to competition by making a better responds to competition by FUD, buyouts, shading deals, backstabbing, intimidation, etc.

    I think if MS responded to competition by simply making their stuff BETTER, instead of trying to trip up or break other people's stuff, this trial wouldn't be happening.
  • by zantispam ( 78764 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @09:34AM (#1545386)
    "It is obvious that the Microsoft case is vastly different than the Standard Oil and AT&T anti-trust cases."

    To a point, I agree. However, when you look at how much businesses rely on MS products in the US alone, and compare the cases on purely econimical terms, you would notice that they really aren't that different from each other. If any one of these companies were to fall off of the face of the planet at the height of their power, I believe that there would be a severe econimic problem (for a while, anyway).

    "Well, isn't this a stronger case to leave this market alone... and that it will eventually situate itself for the better? Close to the same thing happened with IBM. The trial of IBM lasted for over a decade!! In the end, what they were fighting about was next to a moot point and the case was essentially thrown out by Reagan."

    Maybe. But as someone else pointed out, one of the reasons Compaq has been allowing an alternate OS onto some of their machines is because MS cannot afford to enfore predatory business practices while they are under such scrutiny. I think that if the Government just keeps the Microsoft case in the open for five years, that will be enough to break the monopoly and restore a sembalance of competition. In that respect, the government wouldn't actually do anything and the market would correct itself. Too bad it takes Uncle Sam playing nanny...

    "It can be argued that this is merely the cycle of business. IBM is still doing well, but they do not have the absolute control they were feared to have in the (then) future."

    IBM is also a completely different company now. This is what I would like to see happen to MS (that, and forcing them to open up their `standards'). In five years' time, the company would be a leaner, better company releasing better products that compete well in the market on their technical merits.

    Just something to keep in mind...
  • Freeing the Microsoft source would be an extremely dangerous precedent. Essentially, that would be a government 'takings' of Microsoft's property. Suppose in the Standard Oil case, the government had seized the company's oil rights and drilling equipment and put them up for auction. That would be the same as seizing Microsoft's source.
    Scott Ferguson
  • The market is vastly different, and changing so rapidly. As someone worded earlier,
    the punishment has to be dealt soon, because in 5 years, Microsoft may no longer have a true monopoly. Well, isn't this a stronger case to leave this market alone... and that it will eventually situate itself for the better?

    I think this is shortsighted. Microsoft is buying their way into every market they can. Cable systems, long distance, online music, etc. etc. etc.

    They already have a lock on the office app market (witness the exorbitant prices they're charging, the 90+% market share, and the fact that you simply can't buy most of the apps unbundled from Office), which hasn't even been mentioned in most of this coverage. They've won the so-called browser war. (Netscape/Mozilla are in stasis - they won't die, but are unlikely to increase their market share significantly, unless AOL ditches IE.)

    And online music - just read today about the RioPort/MS joint venture. Best quote in the article []:

    "To content providers it means that they don't want to be locked into one specific format, and if you look at the RioPort's Web site, there is a wide selection available in Windows Media Audio," said Lorraine Comstock, RioPort's director of corporate marketing.

    Make no mistake about it - Microsoft is doing everything they can to ensure that they become the toll-collector of the digital age. They want a piece of everything; its executives have made public statements to this effect. 5 years down the road, Microsoft's Windows monopoly will be nearly irrelevant (but will probably still exist, barring an implemented remedy) because they will have already established themselves as the gatekeeper in a dozen other markets. THAT, I believe, is the reason why swift action is imperative.

  • Microsoft is a monopoly, and they have abused their power. The author doesn't seem to refute this. He seems to think the status quo is optimal because he can't personally identify specific harm to the consumer. That does not mean it doesn't happen. He completely neglects the fact that, amongst other things, given the economics of MS's position and rate their rate of innovation, prices and stability should IMPROVE. Not remain the same. MS doesn't enjoy any real competition in Win95/98, and they have a virtual monopoly on applications. They use these two footholds to gain leverage into one another, which allows them to play them to set whatever pace they wish on the aggregate. Competition would keep them honest. Their applications, operating systems, and services should compete on their own merits; not on the fact that they're tied together.

    Thus a three way breakup(e.g., Apps, OS, Services) of MS is optimal to the consumer, and in the short run for the MS shareholder (long term value would be hurt by losing of a monopoly position). That being said, I don't advocate regulation of prices and other such similar actions. They are fundamentally different propostions.
  • Ok I believe that for the "average" person it is perhaps a bad thing to not use windows. But consider that following:

    1. How many times have you had to use faulty programs and or drivers? (ex. the computer just froze! the solution every time something bad goes wrong with a windows program is to just reboot the system. Since this process is basically flawless in regard to restoring the initial state of the program/OS no one complains. The culture has also been altered so that lost work is an excusable excuse in most areas of education and or work so that everyone expects that windows will fail).
    2. Extreme cost. Again the culture of today sees nothing wrong with paying several thousand dollars for something that has a limited value. What usually happens with programs is that since people have spend the big $$$s they do not want to (usually) spend more so they use programs for functions that they shouldn't have been used for in the first place. (ex. Office Suites ala Office 2000 for everything because you can't afford a new application after paying $369 dollars for the professional edition with your current pay check)
    3. Lowered functionality: Because the system requires you to buy everything many programs try to do everything at once and not a little at a time the way linux/solaris/BSD/even pure dos used to do. A 386 with linux on it can often do taks more efficiently than a PII 400MHz NT4.0 machine can.
  • by the red pen ( 3138 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @09:48AM (#1545403) being on the recieving end of Microsoft mafioso tactics. I worked at a company that I will not name. I will give you the hint that it released the first Windows application ever. This app hit store shelves a week before Windows 1.0, due to now-legendary MS schedule slips.

    This company proceeded to "enjoy" a tight working relationship with Microsoft for nearly half a decade. During this time, Microsoft stole source code (and settled out of court), threatened to withdraw support, threatened lawsuits (they said they were going to sue us for a trademark their own lawyers had helped us get a year earlier) and in one amusing incident, Bill Gates himself screamed at our CEO and COO like a 12-year-old having a tantrum.

    Better products? Yeah, right. To wit:

    • If [OS/2] had been "absolutely, positively 100% Windows compatible, only better!", [IBM] would have won.
    Uh huh. It must be Linux's "absolutely, positively 100% Windows" compatability that's driving its current popularity. Right?

    Microsoft have been found to be felons in a court of law. I don't have any pity when the government "seize[s] the assets" of criminals.

  • by sethg ( 15187 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @09:50AM (#1545407) Homepage
    Hoo, boy, did he miss the point. The FoF was not complaining about how Microsoft got its OS monopoly. It was complaining about how Microsoft used it. Pournelle hardly touches on the latter point in his column; I wonder if, at the time he wrote the column, he had even read past paragraph 61.
  • by speek ( 53416 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @09:52AM (#1545408)
    Pournelle wrote:
    Many commentators loudly mourn the innovations that might
    have happened had Microsoft not suppressed them, but they are
    shy of naming them. None seem to see the innovations Microsoft
    has made to Windows, which now incorporates dozens of items
    we used to buy from third parties. These include calculators, text
    and programming editors, search functions, games, file viewers,
    audio recorders and players, networking, and, dare I say it, Web
    browsers. None of these are necessarily the best of their class,
    but most are adequate, and their inclusion does not harm
    consumers -- although it may well harm competitors.

    Pournelle argues MS became a monopoly by being making better business decision than IBM and Apple. Well, duh - that's not the point. The point is, NOW they are a monopoly, and there're are laws governing how monopolies operate. Question - did they break those laws?

    None seem to see the innovations Microsoft
    has made to Windows, which now incorporates dozens of items
    we used to buy from third parties

    Incorporating software that mimics what third party software does into the OS is NOT innovative. innovation is what we call it when someone develops something new. Making it easier for a consumer to have a calculator on the system is not new, it's a marketing strategy and a way of shutting out a competitor. It's a fine tactic, even legal, unless you're a monopoly.

    And it does hurt consumers in the long run, because no competition is possible in these areas, thus little reason to improve these systems. Do remember the browser wars? Do you remember how FAST the browsers were improving? How fast are they improving now? Oh, and BTW, how do you like that crappy little calculator that does come with windows? I use it all the time, but I sure wish there was an exponential function, etc, etc.

    This is not innovation, and it is clearly using their monopoly in one area to dominate another area (a clear violation of the anti-trust laws if I understand them correctly).

    To summarize, I think Pournelle's full of crap.
  • emailed to him, presented here for you

    Innovation seems to be the tricky word in use in both your column, and the FoF as a whole. Is "Innovation" adding something new to the market? Or just adding something "new" to Windows, which isn't new to the world.

    MS's "innovations" to Windows or its applications have almost always (especially with each product's 3.0 and higher versions) been clones of software that is already out there, or purchased from the companies that really did the development and research. Yes, the "Browser" was an "innovation" to "Windows", as was peer to peer networking, secure server to client file/print services , PPP dialing software, but they were all hardly "innovations" to the market as a whole. Some things are things perhaps the OS should handle, some not.

    I personally can't think of anything that is in Windows or any other MS product that someone else didn't come up with the idea for in the first place. Only the "innovation" of integration so tight you have to buy them all to get just one thing is MS's style (and they even stole _THAT_ from IBM's mainframe world).

    Now does this harm "customers"? perhaps not. It does harm ME because I generally don't use MS products because they are often just plain bad (my opinion, of course). I use Linux not because its better NOW (in many cases, Linux tools aren't), but because they can and will improve, and I have the ability through the source codes to improve them myself. I trust linux because I can find out what went wrong. Albeit i'm the exception. It harms me when services that people provide can only be utilized by software that only runs on Windows platforms, especially if that software is made by Microsoft (meaning a port to my choice of OS is completely out of the question).

    E.g., the MS streaming media software. Many music groups I like have chosen MS's products for their streaming media (concerts, or studio demos, etc). I will never hear or see what they are like. MS will NEVER develop clients for non-windows systems, with exception to the Mac. Even if they do build a mac version, it will always be a generation behind in quality and robustness (compare Office 98's lack of improvement for the Mac, compared to the progress in Office 2000 for Wintel).

    So I have to make the choice. Do without things I would really like to have (although, admittedly, i don't _need_ them), or buy an MS operating system so that I can run the MS applications (which I may also have to buy) because MS has the (root of it all) monopoly on so many oft-used file formats and network streams?

    Right now, I sadly choose to live without; I make my complaints known to each company that chooses to disregard my opinions as a member of their buying public and restrict me from enjoying their product because I choose to exercise a little more control over what software I trust on my system. That's a big thing to me -- I don't TRUST MS products to do what they should and not what they shouldn't.

    In the future, I may have to choose the (non-)alternative. I may have to use a product I don't trust, and face the consequences when it does the wrong thing.

  • by Blakes 7 ( 1957 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @10:08AM (#1545418)
    You obviously haven't read the FOF.

    IBM OS/2 tried VERY HARD to support Win32. It simply couldn't support all of the thousands of APIs (some of them undocumented) which are in Windows (see the WINE project's ever Alpha product for more info on this).

    Apple does not have a monopoly. Period.

    Netscape's browser was infinitely better than Windows' browser (IE 1.0, 2.0, 3.0) was at the time. MS specifically refused to give Netscape key APIs so that Netscape could run efficiently on Windows since Netscape gave a potentially platform-independent way of developing software.

    MS IE succeeded mostly because MS forced OEMs to install IE with Windows, sometimes exclusively. It was carefully devised to keep people from needing to download another browser. MS eventually made it very difficult and, later, impossible to remove the browser completely from Windows.

    Seizing the assets of private citizens? Since when did corporations become citizens? How exactly will breaking up MS put money into the hands of the government?

    Your comment is the most disturbing thing...
  • Jerry Pournelle confuses feature creep with innovation. Then he concludes that the findings of fact contradict themselves: How can Microsoft suppress innovation, yet innovate it's own products too aggressively? Because that conclusion is wrong, Jerry. Piling features into a product is not equivalent to creating innovation.

    Innovation implies the creation of something new or some technological advance in a product. Microsoft has simply crammed in everyone else's products and innovations and then claimed that "it's part of the Operating System." I suppose you could claim this is an innovative method for killing off your competition.

    Time and again companies have created good products for Windows only to be purchased by MS or find their products duplicated and included in the OS. This is exactly what is meant by the surpressing innovation. Releasing bug fixes and calling them a new Operating System release has nothing whatsoever to do with innovation.

  • by sethg ( 15187 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @10:08AM (#1545420) Homepage
    the assets will be worth more if MS is broken up (see Standard Oil and AT&T as two examples)
    I wonder if this is true.

    AT&T, during the time that it was a monopoly, was trying to wire all of the US into a common telephone system. Once they achieved that, they were itching to branch out into other services, but they didn't want to get into antitrust trouble for doing so. By the time they settled with the DOJ, they practically wanted to be broken up, because every Baby Bell could sell products and services that a monopolistic AT&T couldn't get away with.

    I don't know about Standard Oil. In the long run, certainly, the post-split companies have done very well, but how well would Standard Oil have done, by comparison (in terms of cumulative stock growth and dividends), if it had never been split up?

  • Breaking them up is in no way equivalent to "seizing the assets of private citizens". If you hold MS stock equivalent to 10^-9 x the value of Microsoft, you'll end up holding stock equivalent to 10^-9 x of several companies.

    A lot of what Microsoft does simply doesn't pass the sniff test. They don't want your customers to have easy access to your application suite, so they cut of your access to Windows, without which you can't sell spit. They say you can't make any deals with third parties like Netscape to bundle their products if it doesn't please them.

    This is not rocket science. Basically, common sense says its none of your damn business what I sell my customers, so long as what I get from you is properly licensed. You should paste this in your hat: You're allowed to be a monopoly and enjoy monopoly profits. You're not allowed to use your monopoly power to limit competition.

    It's a crime to use that monopoly power to punish others for selling or buying competing products. If the electric company decided it wanted to sell cable services, and shut off your electricity if you bought a competitive cable service, it would be obvious to you this in unfair.

    In any case, the government can and does seize assets that are used in the commision of a crime. The simplest form of this is a fine, but it also can include seizing of property (e.g. in drug offences). However, nobody is talking about this. I personally think that a fine large enough to limit MS's ability to excercise monopoly power in the near term wouldn't be a bad solution.

    MSFT currently has about 1.8 x 10^10 dollars in current assets against 6.4 x 10^9 current liabilities. So, an eleven billion dollar fine wouldn't cripple them. Why not a fine them that much and put it into grants that would really increase the pace of innovation? Then, consumers would get the benefit of the innovations they were denied by Microsoft's illegal practices, and Microsoft remains in business, suitably chastened, to continue to enjoy monopoly profits until innovation overtakes them.
  • Wasn't "Merlin" the code name for OS/2 Warp 4, circa 1995-6?

    Not to berate OS/2 or it's users, but I think it's important to understand that by then, the "OS Wars" of the early 90s were already over, with Windows coming out on top. The key make-or-break period for OS/2 (and MacOS's) corporate adoption was actually in the 1989-1992 period. By the time OS/2 was marketed to consumers in a huge ad campaign (bring rise to TeamOS2 and big flamewars on usenet), most corporations had already completely evaluated OS/2 and either adopted it or not adopted it. It was pretty much all over but the shouting when Warp 4 shipped.

    (BTW, I believe the NE* actually stands for "Novell Eagle", and the NE series of cards were originally manufactured by Novell. That might explain the exclusivity agreement.)
  • I'd agree with you, if I felt there was any likelihood that Windows could be repaired.

    Look at the history of Windows. It was born when Microsoft realized, correctly, that consumers were not ready for systems with the hardware requirements of OS/2. As a result, the mandate was to keep them down to a bare minimum.

    What is the biggest problem with Windows? In my opinion, it's the difficulty of dealing with naming conflicts. Create a file called GRAPH.DLL and you can write an installation program that will overwrite a file used by many other programs in the system. Save a Microsoft-provided OLE DLL as part of your installation program, and it can overwrite and crush a newer or older version needed by some other program.

    Now, you might ask, why was this done? Why are DLLs and such in the WINDOWS\SYSTEM directory? Because MS didn't want to store more than 8+3 character file names in the internal listings. For instance, if my program in \PROG1 had a file called GRAPH.DLL in the prog1 directory, and another program in the \PROG2 directory had a different file called GRAPH.DLL, Windows would load and retain in memory the first one loaded. Run prog1, things work great. Run prog2, it finds the old graph.dll already loaded and collapses because it's the wrong file. This problem could have been easily solved by including the path in the in-memory file description, but nobody thought of that on time.

    Unix avoids conflicts like that by including the version number in the file name, so you have and . Your program can then specifically request graph.1.1 or graph.2.0.

    Eventually, Microsoft added a new mechanism called the Registry, but they made it so complex and convoluted that many stuck with the old ways. And, of course, with the same\windows\system directory still existing, DLLs continue to be loaded into it and the original problem is not solved. Instead of actually fixing the problem by insisting on use of conventions (such as beginning the name of your DLL with the manufacturer's name), they created an insane pastiche of unique but impossible to remember or type IDs. Despite this, the core OLE system still uses the old way, so OLE modules are constantly interfering with each other. I suspect lack of core operating system support for long file names is a good part of the reason for this.

    It is my contention that these problems with Windows simply cannot be fixed. You can attempt to paper over them, but at base, they are unsolvable without breaking all existing code and starting with a clean sweep. I don't need to tell you how likely that would be to happen - the clean sweep would wipe out the only advantage Windows has over other platforms.

    Generally, most programmers don't find fixing a fundementally broken system to be much fun. In my experience, you have to pay them big money to go out fixing broken systems.

    Because of this, I think any open sourcing of Microsoft code would echo the Mozilla experience - loads of people would download, few would dig in in any detail and even fewer would help.


  • by sethg ( 15187 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @10:27AM (#1545444) Homepage
    As someone worded earlier, the punishment has to be dealt soon, because in 5 years, Microsoft may no longer have a true monopoly. Well, isn't this a stronger case to leave this market alone... and that it will eventually situate itself for the better?
    "Your Honor, maybe the prosecution is correct; maybe my client did steal a thousand dollars from Mr. Jones. But Mr. Jones is 95 years old, he has no heirs, and now that he has Alzheimer's disease, he can't make a will. In a few years, it will become completely irrelevant to Mr. Jones whether or not he gets his thousand dollars back. By the time I finish using all the techniques I have at my disposal for delaying this case, Mr. Jones could be dead ... my client could be dead ... heck, someone could drop anthrax on this city and we'd all be dead. Therefore, why don't you just dismiss this case?"
  • If any one of these companies were to fall off of the face of the planet at the height of their power, I believe that there would be a severe econimic problem (for a while, anyway).

    No way man, we would just pirate the hell outta it. If I can't buy it anymore... would it really be stealing to copy?
  • The market is vastly different, and changing so rapidly. As someone worded earlier, the punishment has to be dealt soon, because in 5 years, Microsoft may no longer have a true monopoly. Well, isn't this a stronger case to leave this market alone... and that it will eventually situate itself for the better?

    Some people argue that this is ancient history now, but I think that the current state of affairs has nothing to do with whether one should be punished or not. That's like murdering somebody for the money and saying, I spent the money and there's no such person anymore, so nobody is currently harmed or benefited by my actions.

    In a scenario five years hence in which MS no longer enjoys a monopoly, there is simply no public interest in breaking them up. At that point, fines make more sense than the corporate death penalty. However, that would represent a lost opportunity. In order for the law to act as a detterant, it has to act within the planning horizons of present investors. I believe that's the relevant time scale, rather than the pace of technological change which would demand execution perhaps a year to eighteen months.

  • Yes, the most disturbing thing would be the government seizing the assets of private citizens... but that is not inherent in this case, as others have pointed out.

    However, it is patr of the Clinton plan to invest Social Security into the stock market. My God, what a nightmare it would be to know that the government actually DID have a nice chunk of a company like Microsoft. You wanna talk about scary!
  • ...that people post their opinions of the case without doing their home work. That results in posts where writers make fools of themselves. For example:

    The government's lawsuit is totally bogus. The only reason Microsoft has achieved dominance is through the incompetence of its competitors.

    If Tim would have read the FoF-document, he would have found tens of pages of ugly monopolistic actions by Microsoft.

    Netscape? They lost because their browser sucked. The only reason they survived as long as they did is momentum and anti-Microsoft sentiment.

    Well here Tim got 50% right. They really survived thanks to it's momentum and anti-Microsoft sentiment. But if Tim would have read the FoF, he would have learned how Microsoft did everything short of manslaughter to kill Netscape. After that document nobody should say that Netscape lost because of worse quality. Even Microsoft admitted it in their numerous internal e-mails.

    People, please read the document. It's worth the time.

  • Drudge has no idea what he's talking about. David Boies said very clearly and very credibly on the Charlie Rose show last night that the remedy team is still in the very early stages of discussion.

    And Pournelle's credibility is little better. His pseudo-Libertarian prejudices have caused him to embarrass the entire clan of nerds by making even more mistakes than the judge. The judge at least has an excuse (he never used a computer before the trial and was supposed to limit his findings to the evidence presented him). Pournelle has none, but this is not the first time he has betrayed the cause of freedom in serving his own little brand of Libertarianism.

    There is much I disagree with in the judge's decision, but we need an geek evaluation which is more accurate than what Pournelle offers.

    Pournelle claims the history of OS/2 is misrepresented by the judge. But Jerry's rant is much further from the mark than the judge's. Pournelle claims that OS/2 was done in when developers wouldn't pay the fee for the kit. This is a gross misreading of history. Maybe developers should have refused to pay, but they didn't. They all assumed IBM would lead the way and paid for their developer's kits.

    Just look at the major vendors of DOS/Windows apps from the year before OS/2 was released. Name me one who didn't release their next upgrade for OS/2 before they came out with a Windows release.

    Indeed, Microsoft told all the members of its MSDN that they should go for OS/2. They even suggested that that was the direction MS itself was pursuing. Of course, we know today that this was a lie. But, whether it was illegal monopolistic practice or not, it was crucial to their current dominance in the word processing space at the very least -- and probably much more.

    The original OS/2 failed not because developers failed to adopt it, but because it was limited to the PS/2, which corporate America refused to buy, especially when Intel, Compaq and others resisted the march toward a proprietary hardware standard. For Pournelle to claim otherwise is to ignore all those developers who were left standing there with unsold OS/2 program disks in their hands as Microsoft claimed their former markets.

    Of course, the judge was never talking about the original release of OS/2 at all. And he was absolutely clear that he was discussing the release of OS/2 for the open Intel standard which came later -- Warp. Throughout the decision he repeated makes it clear exactly what platform he was talking. And it was the one which OS/2 didn't run on until Warp.

    The judge is very careful about his findings of harm to consumers -- the one area in which I agree with him almost completely. For Pournelle to deride the judge, suggesting the only damage found was the $30 overcharge for each copy of Windows, can only be characterized as the kind of dishonesty that got Bill Gates in trouble. The judge was very specific and found a number of damages which went beyond the loss of consumer choice.

    And another one just popped up today in the form of BubbleBoy.

    Remember that Microsoft built its empire by charging $15 for each copy of DOS on a $3,000 IBM machine. Now, they get $65-$95 for each copy on an $800 machine. Monopolistic pricing is always considered crucial in an antitrust case.

    The neo-classical economics Jerry uses to justify his pseudo-Libertarian arguments against government "price-setting" all predict that the price of operating systems would have dropped to $2 by now. But, like many Libertarians, Pournelle is so afraid of government chains that he willingly puts his hands to the chains of outrageously more despotic corporations.

    All threats to freedom are dangerous -- public or private.

    Jim Allchin admitted 19 times in his testimony that his previous claims about IE being bundled into Win98 were lies. The judge correctly found the "integration" was done for MS's benefit, not the consumers. And he documented numerous disadvantages to the bundling.

    It is truly embarrassing when a neophyte like Judge Jackson puts a pundit like Jerry Pournelle to shame.

    All of this is not to say that I don't believe some of what Jackson says is wrong. But, remember, he is constrained by the evidence put before him. And that evidence showed -- over and over again -- that Microsoft was lying through its teeth (and often being very arrogant about it when caught).

    My prediction is that he will lean as far toward Microsoft in his findings of law as he did towards the government in his findings of fact. The result will be a balanced decision which will be unassailable at appeal.

    Incidentally, this will provide a strong Libertarian precedent, which will set a very high factual standard for the remedies he eventually prescribes. The handwringing of Pournelle and others over the precedent being set here ignores the fact that findings of fact set no precedent. Precedents are set by findings of law. Oops, another big error for Pournelle, but at least this one's not on his home turf.

    This judge's Libertarian credentials far outweigh Pournelle's. He was the first appointment at this level by Ronald Reagan. In the end we will see that he serves freedom to the same degree that pseudo-Libertarians like Pournelle betray it.
  • by cje ( 33931 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @10:51AM (#1545461) Homepage
    [The most disturbing thing] to me, is how eager many people (particularly here on Slashdot) are to see the government seize the assets of private citizens (aka "breaking them up").

    Yes, this would be the first time in the history of the United States that the government has ever seized the assets of a private citizen.

    The only reason Microsoft has achieved dominance is through the incompetence of its competitors.

    To a certain extent, this is true, but it really isn't the point, is it? The question here is not how Microsoft achieved dominance, it's what they've done with that dominance.

    Bill Gates has sworn up and down that the consumer has never been hurt by Microsoft. Yet when somebody like Intel comes up with a cool project that Microsoft views as a threat to its bottom line, Microsoft holds a financial gun to Intel's head and leverages its desktop monopoly to threaten them into submission. How is this good for the consumer?

    Since its assumption as the King of Desktops, Microsoft has launched numerous systematic campaigns to either buy out or eliminate altogether any technologies that it felt threatened by. Now you listen to the polls, and you hear people say "Leave 'em alone, DOJ! I'm fat and happy and content with my Microsoft software, and plus I got some of their stock in my portfolio, so stop going after them!"

    But it's hard to judge consumer harm when the technologies that we're talking about are really nothing more than potential technologies that were denied entry into the market by a ruthless monopolist. These technologies were not "voted down" by the market for being inferior. Microsoft simply threatened them out of existence, and that's wrong. Sure, people may be happy with their computers and their software. But the point is, if Microsoft had placed the welfare of the industry ahead of their own welfare, we might be even happier. We don't know. We just don't know.

    Look, don't get me wrong; I'm not all that fired up about seeing government intervention in the technology sector either. But if there was ever a case where it was warranted, this is it.
  • Though some potential for abuse remains it is still relatively small. I believe it is difficult to really control the technology industry unless you control two elements(e.g., hardware and OS; OS and apps; etc). MS-OS would be prompted to open their APIs up greatly if they had to compete strictly on the merits of their OS. It would only make sense, baring a pact between the two, for MS-Apps to port their applications to other OSes--where there is a profit to be had, they have an obligation to go.

    MS-OS may still be able to vocalize threats to, say, an OEM--but it would be a shallow threat. They would make enemies quickly. MS-OS would be marganalized by the increased availability of applications on other OSes.

    It comes down to numbers and intution, but I sincerely believe that a horizontal split would be highly effective. On the other hand, I think a vertical split would create too much market confusion too quickly. If there are 5 MS-OS companies, who do you support? What happens when all 5 try to develop independently? Porting would be a mess, each would be pressing its own hardware-software-interlock with new propietary modifications. I believe, that MS/IBM did one very important thing for the industry, that is, they created a standard overnight; a vertical split would effectively knock it back just as quickly--no standards.

    Perhaps, the markets would rally around the company with Bill Gates at the helm...but then that would result in similar problems again I suspect...

  • by Kintanon ( 65528 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @11:00AM (#1545473) Homepage Journal
    I have to say, even if the target is M$, I find stupid lawsuits really galling. The ad agency probably bought, what, a dozen licenses? Which means M$'s monopolistic practices cost them about $500. It's barely worth going to small claims court, and they are probably suing for several million. *sigh*

    Ok, win95/NT/Office97 licenses cost the company I work for around 5000$, Win95 regularly crashes on our accounting and human resources people destroying critical data or requiring us to restore it from a backup. This takes up their time and my time. The total cost of ownership to this company from Microsoft products is probably around 10K a year. Not including licensing. I'd say that a lawsuit is perfectly in order.

    PS. Anyone interesting in joining my class action against MS contact

  • Nope. Our PM is a Liberal (which means something different than when you Americans call someone a liberal :) ). The seperatists are the folks up in Quebec who want to break off into a sovereign state.

  • Remember how Jerry kept beating the s100/Compupro horse long after it was dead? How he absolutely hated the IBM PC? Well - he changed his tune, just 4-5 years late, that's all. Jerry often takes a long time to "get it". This could of course be damaging to whatever happens to be cutting edge at the time - like Linux, for example - except that there aren't really that many folks who pay a lot of attention to Jerry any more. At least to his computer writings. (I'll always be a fan of his SF.) The reason for this is that the industry moved on, and his favorite soapbox, Byte mag, didn't. Or it moved, but it went in the wrong direction. Remember when Byte was chock full of good technical info? Then they tried to emulate the success of PC Mag, by getting more product reviews, surveys, etc. It didn't work. Because people were reading the mag for the tech info and not for product roundups. If it had worked, Jerry would still have a lot of influence, but as it is we mainly listen to what he has to say out of nostalgia. Or whatever.

    Anyway, let's not get too excited about what Jerry has to say, he just didn't do his research, obviously. And his opinion doesn't matter much more than yours or mine, and probably reaches about the same number of people.
  • by RichMan ( 8097 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @11:22AM (#1545505)
    Possible solution:

    The desktop PC needs a standard API, both into and
    out of the operating system. Hardware vendors should be on the OS to hardware level and software vendores on the OS to application level.

    With a standard OS interface anyone is free to develop the OS. Anyone is free to develop the applications and anyone is free to develop the hardware.

    Establish a desktop PC API standard. Any Microsoft OS must conform to the API. All inter-application communication must be through the OS API or through open file or data formats.

    Microsoft must get their OS and applications certified by the independent PC API standard body.

    Microsoft is free to "innovate" applications but must publish all their file and data formats. Publication does not hurt innovation.

    Microsoft is free to "innovate" with the OS but is required to be certified to the OS API standard. Thus any "innovations" must be made part of the OS API standard before they can be incorporated into the OS. (Come on Microsoft lets see your superior programming skills provide superior implementations of open standards.)

    What made the PC so popular was the open hardware standard. Making the OS an open standard should lead to another boom in software (like before Microsoft started down the Windows one true way monopoly path).

    In addition there can be no sales tying of hardware to OS or OS to application.
    Bundling of applications is allowed but any individually available part of a bundle must communicate with the rest using open standards.

    What this does not fix is the possibility of a bare bones OS and a super desktop application incorporating everything from Windows, VB, Office, IE with nothing available separatly.

    Anyone got ideas on how to fix it or is this ok.
  • Yes, I agree that M$ (and the software industry in general) should be more liable for poor product quality.

    But...the lawsuit mentioned in the article was about M$ charging too much for software, which is entirely different. If you win a lawsuit against a software manufacturer over a buggy product, then more power to you. It would be about time the industry was forced to be accountable.

    Suing someone because their product is more expensive than you want it to be, though, is ridiculous. I hate paying money for things, but I'm not going to sue someone everytime I have to pull out my wallet. If I think a product isn't worth what is being charged for it...I just don't purchase it!

  • ...we go on for years about how badly Microsoft sucks...and then when we finally get a judge who agrees with us, we're hesitant or even fearful about what he might do to the company/industry as restitution.

    This is a momentous moment in history. As one of my college instructors said today, it will probably have repercussions that our children and our children's children have to live with. It could affect the industry, politics, life as we know it in utterly unguessable ways, especially now that we're on the cusp of a new electronic/Internet revolution.

    Of all the possible outcomes, the one I most hope for is that Microsoft has to open their source. That could finally mean the end of some of those annoying proprietary formats they use, let the WINE people make their product even better, and just generally help things all over. I'm not terribly sanguine about the prospect of splitting the company up, as that would probably only mean instead of one monopolistic Microsoft, we'd soon be dealing with several of them.

    What will happen? We'll just have to wait and see...
  • Who, for the love of Jesus, would write a Direct3D app in Visual Basic????? (which is the only reason for the COM-based architechture...)

    Boy, and I thought you knew what you were talking about up to that point. I mean, its not like you can use COM objects from say, C++, or Java, or PERL, or any other language...

  • Hmm...the webpages I've visited all spell it seperatist. It may be one of our silly Canadian ways of spelling things.

    (We pronounce Z differently, too)

  • Actually yes...starting with, like, DOS 4.0 or something.

    There is nothing in Word9x that I use now but couldn't in Word 5 or 6, or WordPerfect 5+ for that matter.

    Program manager has mutated into a taskbar, and file manager explorer. Besides cruft and glitzy uselessness, I haven't found anything really /innovative/ between many versions of many of their products (say, like the last 3 or 4 revs of the office suite)...except of course if you count the FPS and Flight Simulater easter eggs.

    I do not think that MS would be where it is today, purely on technical/usability merits, if it hadn't tirelessly sought to undercut, and stomp on everybody else.
  • You seem to have forgotten that Microsoft is private property.
    No. Microsoft is a corporation, an artificial creation of a state government. (Washington? Or did they do the sleazy incorporate-where-the-laws-are-lax thing?)

    Part of me would like to see the state in question just revoke MS's corporate charter [], because it would overnight end the corporate plutocracy in the US. (It would also cause all hell to break loose, which is fun to watch so long as you're not in the middle of it.) Unfortunately, this "corporate death penalty" has been almost unused for the past hundred years.

  • Jerry points out, rightly enough, the IBM and Apple screwed themselves royally. This does not logically preclude Microsoft from taking illegal monopolistic action against them -- in fact the contrary is the case. It's better to use underhanded techniques against a weak opponent than a strong one.

    In the end, though, I think Microsoft too will be judged as its own worst enemy. It probably would still have won the OS wars, maybe a OS/2 would have hung on for a few more years before it expired. Like the ambitious nephew who is written into the will an pushes his elderly aunt down a flight of stairs, they resorted to crime where they could have let nature take its course.

    In literature this kind of behavior is attributed to a "tragic flaw", a trait which in small quantities may even be beneficial, but when it becomes a driving force is ultimately destructive. In Microsoft's case, they let competitiveness reach a point where it became paranoia, or perhaps a morbid fear that somebody else might succeed at something that they themselves could have done.

  • Then how do you explain Opera?

    Well, for one, the APIs have been released by now. In reading the FoF, MS DID eventually give the APIs Netscape needed to run efficiently, however, it did so WAY too late for Netscape to release their browser within an effective amount of time.

    Since they have been owned be private citizens.

    A public corporation is, by definition, not a private citizen. And, because there is an implicit, and perfectly legally binding social contract between private citizens and the government under which they live/work, that is how the government gets the right to do what it is doing to Microsoft. Microsoft BROKE THE LAW and now must pay.

    Seems rather clear.
  • I don't have any problem with monopolies or monopolistic profits.

    But what I sell to my customers is none of anyone else's business. Microsoft should just butt out and sell to me at prices based on the volume I sell. Likewise they shouldnt' come between me and some other business partner who might want to sell my software. It's just none of their damned business.

    The point I was making with my "silly rhetoric" is that the fact that people have learned to get on with their lives and live within the ground rules that Microsoft sets for the industry doesn't mean we weren't harmed. Nore should MS should get off scott free at some future date based on the fact that they aren't able to do it ANY MORE. We don't accept that kind of excuse for any other crime, why the exception for Microsoft?

    The whole claimed threat of the "Microsoft Monopoly" was that no one could compete with them because their holding such a large portion of the market share made it impossible for competitors to move in on niches that Microsoft dominated.

    I think you're really missing the point here. The point isn't that people can't compete with Microsoft in desktop OSs, its that Microsoft is using this fact to prevent innovators from creating lucrative new products and markets.

  • It would appear that I didn't make myself very clear. My bad ;-)

    I was actually thinking more along the lines of support, as opposed to merely getting copies of programs.

    As an example, let's say that MS dropps off of the face of the Earth over the weekend. Come Monday morning, there is no campus in Redmond. Who are the people who use Microsoft products going to call for support? I do understand that there are a lot of other companies out there who do third party support, but Microsoft still does the lion's share.

    Back to the SOL companies, what would they do? They have a crappy of options avaliable.

    They can:
    • Keep using MS products until these products no longer meet the needs of the business. By that time, IT and management have done their research and come to a sensible solution. They then change platforms and experience the growing pains associated with this kind of major corporate change. This, IMHO, would be the best soloution, though neither a perfect one nor a terribly likely one.
    • Panick, switch immediately to Linux, *BSD, MacOS, or Amiga, pass all associated costs to the consumer, and promtly go out of business. Not a good thing when one business does this; devastating when half of Corporate America does this. While I doubt the `half of Corporate America' bit, it is possible and one cannot guage the effects of such a trauma. I also feel that this is the most unlikely scenario.
    • Begin migrating some systems over to an alternate OS (probably at the behest of the admins ;-). Keep MS around for the Office Suite. Have a difficult time communicating with clients who only use Star Office. Adapt in a very non-linear way. Though there would be much confusion and loss of [business|money|face], businesses would survive. Microsoft products would start to be shunned, then go the way of the dinosaurs. This is the most likely option. It is one that would be very costly, but probably would not bring the economy to it's knees. Sooner or later, someone (or several someones) would fill the void and after ten years or so, Microsoft would be nothing more than a bad dream.

    How does this relate to something like Standard Oil? Well, everyone uses oil. People need it distributed. There would be chaos for a while until everyone decided who owned which pipe and what-not. Someone else would come in to fill the void. The economy would take a hit, but it would not die (IMHO).

    Sorry for the lack of clarity on my part.

    Disclaimer:IANAFA (I Am Not A Financial Analyst)
  • There are definitely no alternative [Apple]OS's, but then again,
    its also unique architecture...

    One reason there's a dearth of alternative software for Apple is that some years ago they launched the "look and feel" suit, trying to stretch copyright to cover their user interface by equating it to a "performance", like a play.

    This threatened software developers in general, and mightily tweaked off some of the people behind GNU. (I recall Gilmore passing out protest buttons with the apple as the home of an ugly toothed worm. Legend: "Keep your lawyers off my computer!")

    So the Gnuthians dropped support for Apple. For a long time, even GCC releases for apple were done by independents, and came out (if at all) months after the release for other platforms. It was even worse for GNU make. And a lot of independent software developers bit the bullet and hacked on the horribly-asymmetric Wintel architecture rather than the Motorola 68xxx-based Apples.

  • What has Linux "Innovated"? (I am a Linux user primarily, but use WINxx for some apps that have no Linux alternative - so put the flamethrower back on "safe")

    The issue here is that Microsoft is going around yapping about 'freedom to innovate' when in fact they have innovated nothing, and have in fact acted in a manner to reduce innovation in the industry. The complaints about Microsoft in this regard have to do with their blatant manipulation and hypocrisy surronding their repetitive use of the term innovation.

    I don't think anybody in the Linux community has stated the Linux is particularly innovative. It's basically a UNIX clone, after all.

    Do all of you really want multiple "baby bills"?

    No. We don't want Bill in any form. Unfortunately this appears unrealistic at the moment, so we will apparently have to settle for a lesser remedy. Requiring that Microsoft publish their API's other necessary technical information available to permit Win Clones would be a good step. Imagine - not having to boot into Win anymore - Wine could run all Windows applications perfectly.

    Uh, excuse me I can't stop laughing...... Hello? Hypocrisy alert! They are evil for charging too much for WINxx, and evil for charging too little for IE? Linux is free, apache is free, php is free, bind is free... are they evil because no-one can charge for a DNS/OS/ScriptLang now?

    Did you read the finding of fact? Judge Jackson's ONE positive statement about Microsoft had to do with the effects of Microsoft giving IE away for free. Also, don't confuse the motives with the actions. Microsoft made IE free in order to 'cut off Netscape's oxygen supply' (direct quotation from internal Microsoft memo). Linux and other similar software is free because this is part of method used to attract contributers to the open source development process. One is motivated by sheer greed and a desire to maintain a monopoly, the other is motivated by a desire to develop a high quality OS that is free (in multiple meanings of the word free, too).

    You didn't touch on the vast bulk of Microsoft's anti-competitive actions - extorting vendors to drop software (Intel and Apple), imposing price differentials depending on how 'cooperative' a vendor was, threatening to cancel a Windows license because somebody wanted to include non-Windows software on a shipping machine, and so on and so on.

  • It was Netscape that killed off the browser market. HTML was a nice, simple standard that Netscape Embraced and Extended to death. Netscape made no attempt to conform to standards; once they got out front they smothered competition because the lavaflow functionality of Netscape is nearly impossible to reproduce and the web designers were lazy enough to just make things work with the most popular browser. Only MS was sufficiently powerful and evil to outdo them at their own game.

    You still can only view some websites properly with Netscape.

    Have no sympathy for a lesser demon even if Satan himself stomped him.
  • along with this guy

    Both Dvorak and I pointed out in the early 80s that copy protection was a quick way to sure death in the mass market.

    Citing Dvorak as a like minded thinker is not good for credibility, IMHO.

    Everything he takes exception to is based on the Rise of M$, not once it was in control. They used to be a good company, in that they didn't abuse their power, but at that point they didn't have that power. Later, when they did, they acted like any other corporation should act and capitalized on that dominance. How they got thier Monopoly is immaterial to the fact that they used it to harm the public, which leads us to my next exception for this rebuttall.

    The real joke in this decision is the section on harm to consumers.

    I'm sorry but there is no question that what I have experienced using M$ software has caused me EXTENSIVE MENTAL ANGUISH. And this is AFTER I learned how to use it. Were it not for the shackling EULA that I have clicked through sooo many times, they could be held liable (and no doubt some lawyer somewhere is thinking the same thing).

    Last friday was a good day for everyone who ever has, but more importantly for everone who EVER WILL, use a Personal Computer.

    (yes my grammer sucks, but then, I don't have an editor..)
  • Let me stipulate, for the sake of this discussion, that I know next to nothing about the way Windows actually works. I just know what I've been told and what I've read about the product. And, sadly, I've been to the school of hard knocks: I've written a sizable VB application and spent all too much time dealing with these installation issues.

    As you so rightly say:

    The problem is that lazy programmers or buggy installers either don't set the version number, or don't test it, and the OS let's you overwrite critical system files.

    The secondary problem is this: A VB program is very often put together using software written by numerous third-party companies. A third-party will sell you a DLL or OCX control. Your installation program has to put that in the right place. Generally, the vendors of the DLLs and OCXs have recommended installation into the infamous \windows\system directory.

    As a result, due to Microsoft's negligent design - which was my point in the first place - system files are being constantly written and overwritten. Yes, they have tried to bandage the problem. No, I haven't seen these problems go away, even in brand spanking new versions of Windows and Office.

    I don't doubt that you know more about Windows then I do. Doesn't matter; you shouldn't have to know about Windows internals to write a Windows application. I can write an enormous GTK+ application under Unix with database connectivity and such, and it never gives me the kind of grief I had under Windows. My GTK programming has never even crashed the system, let alone render it inoperable.

    At any rate, none of this really matters in the end. As you admitted yourself, these problems happen. They may be due to design. They may be due to terrifying incompetence. But they happen, and that's not going away any time soon.

    And that was my only point in the first place.


  • Jean Chretien is still the Prime Minister, and he is the leader of the Liberal party, and is still Prime Minister. He is not a member of the Bloc Quebecois or the Parti Quebecois (the national & provincial seperatist parties respectively).

    If the Seperatists had been in power on national level, Canada would have been split up long ago and my province would probably belong to the States right now (no offence to the Americans out there, but...ugh!)

  • Jerry is to Byte as Katz is to Slashdot.

    Unfortunately, he's a Microsoft fan, too.

    For example, notice how he never stopped to wonder *why* Word didn't run under OS/2 when Wordperfect worked fine... Hmm, well, OS/2 implements a Windows compatibility layer taken from Windows source code. After IBM and Microsoft split, and especially once that source license ran out (another reason why Win '95 got delayed and the API's got changed) you can bet Microsoft employees were frantically hacking Word code to make sure it broke under OS/2. They're currently accused of doing the same thing, intentionally, for DR-DOS and Windows.

    And the other stuff he mentioned, they also crushed Stac, and numerous other vendors by bundling products supposedly "good-enough" into Windows. The same "innovative" products that existed under X, GEOS, MacOS, and easily two other GUIs before Windows ever thought of them. (I have a copy of Windows 1.03, it looks remarkably like GEOS did on my Commodore 64, except that it was released much later and it's easily 5-10 times bigger.)

    I think I'll agree with the Judge for a fair and impartial opinion after reading the admissible evidence in court than side with a journalist who has an obvious Microsoft bias. (Read his columns, see what I mean, wonder why Byte isn't on the news stands now, and where the advertising money is coming from, and who owns almost all the other trade rags now.....)
    pb Reply rather than vaguely moderate me.
  • Can anyone here name the anticompetitive tactics that IBM was being sued for? (Well, this is slashdot, so probably yes. But rhetorically speaking...) Of course not, because that's all in the past. If the person on the street has even heard of the IBM antitrust action, they know maybe three things: The government sued IBM, the trial took a long time, the government lost. Ergo, it was a waste of money. If that happens twice, it's a pattern, and it'll take a braver attorney general than we're likely to get to start gunning for the next Microsoft. No one will care that the increased scrutiny of the lawsuit made room for Linux or whatever.

    Of course, the case, and the remedy, should be decided on merits, not on what sends the right political message. But I hope that the justice system can remember that this is a case about actions situated in a historical time. If the case drags on past Microsoft's actual monopoly, I'd still want to see them get the punishment they deserved when they took those actions.
  • I think this M$ shit has gone a little too far when people are demanding source code be released. If Coca-cola were deemed a monopoly would they have to give up the recipe to Coke? No they wouldn't, a company is allowed to own as personal property anything it creates or buys. If it were any other company in any other market no one would give a crap but because it's Microsoft in the computer industry they are trying to take things way too far. I might support a breakup of Microsoft if it was done intelligently and didn't require a bending of rules. Microsoft has a two forms of monopolies currently, both vertical and horizontal which gives them tremendous power in the industry and preventing them from revoking OEM price discounts if an OEM wanted to preintall a different operation system would lessen the horizontal monopoly. The vertical monopoly could only be broken if the company was broken into several different parts but because not all software in produced by Microsoft it isn't a complete monopoly and can't be broken legally. Lets just work on the OEM part and the rest will eventually take care of itself. If Microsoft keeps the OEM discount and can't threaten them with it, more will use linux/freebsd/be. If they just get rid of the OEM discount then the OEMs will start using the alternative OSes that cost much less.

Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this-- no dog exchanges bones with another. -- Adam Smith