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Microsoft Antitrust Judgement 1242

Posted by michael
from the it's-the-big-one dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Here are the links to the as-yet-unreleased judgement in the Microsoft case by CKK: Final Decree, Memorandum Opinion, Public Interest Order, Opinion on the State Settlement, State Settlement Order." In brief: Kollar-Kotelly accepts the settlement that the Federal Gov't and some states wanted, but she wants a minor change to it; and she has decided the case which was pursued by the other states as well, mostly ordering Microsoft to refrain from certain behaviors with regard to the user-visible desktop. Overall: a massive win for Microsoft, who can restrict the release of its APIs to major commercial companies only.
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Microsoft Antitrust Judgement

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  • by Blimey85 (609949) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:40PM (#4580364)
    Let us all be realistic for a moment. Will anything the Government does, change anything in the bigger picture for MS? I think not. If something was going to happen, it would have already happened. MS has too much power where it counts. And what would really happen if MS was broken into multiple companies? Would we be any better off? I think eventually superior products and services will be widely adopted and MS will lose it's stranglehold on the industry. But until that happens, I think the government is simply wasting a lot of our tax dollars that could be better spent on other things.
  • by johnbr (559529) <johnbr@gmail.com> on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:43PM (#4580394) Homepage
    It looks like they'll have to drastically open up their middleware for third party replacements. Very interesting.

    This is going to give them fits to change in only 3 months though.
  • by CoolVibe (11466) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:43PM (#4580398) Journal
    From the text:

    Microsoft shall not retaliate against or threaten against an OEM by altering Microsoft's commercial relations with that OEM, or by witholding newly introduced forms of non-monetary Consideration.

    Does that mean that they can't screw over OEM's that include alternative operating systems preinstalled anymore?

  • by McVeigh (145742) <sethNO@SPAMhollen.org> on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:49PM (#4580454) Homepage
    I just got doen reading it and after going through the legalese,

    1) it seemed mainly aimed at the OEM market. Saying that MS can't puinsh them for using other software with windows or even dual booting.

    2) the only other thing of interest was that they are supposed to open up any communication protocol that is needed in windows (SMB for instance).

    3) later on there is this though
    "J. No provision of this Final Judgment shall:
    1. Require Microsoft to document, disclose or license to third parties: (a) portions of
    APIs or Documentation or portions or layers of Communications Protocols the
    disclosure of which would compromise the security of a particular installation or
    group of installations of anti-piracy, anti-virus, software licensing, digital rights
    management, encryption or authentication systems, including without limitation,
    keys, authorization tokens or enforcement criteria; or (b) any API, interface or
    other information related to any Microsoft product if lawfully directed not to do
    so by a governmental agency of competent jurisdiction."

    so pretty much I think it's a slap on th wrist. maybe some more developers and lawyers can comment.
  • Re:hrm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rjstanford (69735) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:51PM (#4580466) Homepage Journal
    Sayeth mikeee:
    I'm not saying this is unethical - I think it clearly isn't - but mightn't it have been polite to sit on this until the stock market closed, or at least until just before it closed?
    So you're saying that the justice department should withold information based on when an unrelated private entity is open for business? No thanks. They should be as agnostic as possible to issues like this. Any other reaction, while it may be useful in the (Very) short term, will be harmful over time.

    Besides, haven't you ever heard of after-hours trading? Its not like Joe Average Consumer is the number one shareholder of MSFT after all...

    ---

  • Sigh. I'm particularly disturbed by this quote:

    "except that Microsoft may restrict the
    launching of Non-Microsoft Middleware which replaces or drastically alters the
    Windows Operating System Product user interface."

    Any first year law student could argue that any linux/BSD/otherOS replaces the Windows OS UI, thus no OEM can install an alternate OS.

    A little early Xmas present to MSFT from the Bush Administration. This is milder than the previous Decrees that MSFT violated, isn't it?
  • Great except... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aridhol (112307) <ka_lac@hotmail.com> on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:52PM (#4580479) Homepage Journal
    Looks like they've got it covered. Microsoft must allow vendors to change installed apps, unless significant modifications are made to the UI. OK. Microsoft must make public all APIs, except those that are listed in section J:
    • Anything that compromises security (anti-piracy, DRM, anti-virus, licensing, encryption, authentication).
    • Anything the US government allows them to keep hidden
    So how much can they get away with with the fairly loose requirements of the first point?
  • by photon317 (208409) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:54PM (#4580493)

    E. Starting three months after the entry of this Final Judgment to the Court, Microsoft shall
    make available for use by third parties, for the sole purpose of interoperating or
    communicating with a Windows Operating System Product, on reasonable and
    non-discriminatory terms (consistent with Section III.I), any Communications Protocol
    that is, on or after the date this Final Judgment is submitted to the Court, (i) implemented
    in a Windows Operating System Product installed on a client computer, and (ii) used to
    interoperate, or communicate, natively (i.e., without the addition of software code to the
    client operating system product) with a Microsoft server operating system product.

    I assume this to mean that the Samba guys will get legal access to the SMB protocol specs and other related stuff. Likely could include the native Exchange server protocols too, since Outlook Express talks that protocol and has shipped integrated with the OS.

  • by phsolide (584661) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:55PM (#4580502)
    I think eventually superior products and services will be widely adopted and MS will lose it's stranglehold on the industry. But until that happens, ...

    That's exactly the point of Judge Jackson ruling that MSFT performed illegal monopoly maintenance: MSFT squashes potential rivals and potentially superior products and services.

    Read a little basic microeconomics. All but the most ideologically radical economists acknowledge that a free market is a good thing but that free markets aren't really that great at keeping free markets free.

  • by aridhol (112307) <ka_lac@hotmail.com> on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:57PM (#4580529) Homepage Journal
    No, the decision specifically allows for other OS's. An OS is not middleware (defined at the end of the decision as non-OS software that comes with the OS or its updates).
  • Technicality? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Custard (587661) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:57PM (#4580534) Homepage Journal
    A. Microsoft shall not retaliate against or threaten retaliation against an OEM by altering Microsoft's commercial relations with that OEM, or by withholding newly introduced forms of non-monetary Consideration (including but not limited to new versions of existing forms of non-monetary Consideration) from that OEM, because it is known to Microsoft that the OEM is or is contemplating...exercising any of the options or alternatives provided for under this Final Judgment.

    Wow, how many times have we heard of companies complaining about just this thing happening to them? I hope this legislation does improve the computer market...

    However, I worry on one point. The judgement states "...known to Microsoft that the OEM..." What if it isn't known to Microsoft, but it is merely suspected by Microsoft? That technicality would give Microsoft pre-emptive monopolistic powers which wouldn't be restricted by this settlement.
  • While we wait! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bstadil (7110) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:59PM (#4580561) Homepage
    He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom -- Gandalf the Grey

    What if you have two things?

    Better to understand one Thing than clueless about two. -- Anonymous Coward

  • by Cranky_92109 (414726) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:00PM (#4580569)
    The readers of slashdot were not the _only_ people anticipating the judgement. Every news organization + people in the financial industry + millions of shareholders are also following the story.
    Oh, and maybe the people working at Microsoft cared a little too.
  • by friendofafriend (602350) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:00PM (#4580571)
    Looks to me (IANAL) that MS have a simple get out of trouble free card with this exemption:
    J. No provision of this Final Judgment shall: 1. Require Microsoft to document, disclose or license to third parties: (a) portions of APIs or Documentation or portions or layers of Communications Protocols the disclosure of which would compromise the security of a particular installation or group of installations of anti-piracy, anti-virus, software licensing, digital rights management, encryption or authentication systems, including without limitation, keys, authorization tokens or enforcement criteria;

    They could slap that on just about anything!

  • by 4of12 (97621) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:04PM (#4580620) Homepage Journal

    ....looks like they'll have to drastically open up their middleware

    "Excuse me?"

    "That's not middleware."

    "You're pointing to an integral part of the Windows operating system."

    "It's part of our big bung^Hdle of innovative and patented technology and it would be unfair of the burdensome government bureaucracy to make us give it away to competitors in this very competitive business we're in."

    "Opening up that part of Windows would allow pedophiles, terrorists and hackers to hurt you."

    "Nope. That's not the middleware we were thinking about and we're sure an unbiased judge three years from now will agree with our reasonable and expert assessment."

  • by sterno (16320) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:06PM (#4580636) Homepage
    Ultimately the only serious competition Microsoft faces at this time is from Linux. Thus anything in this settlement that helps or hinders Linux is what's going to make a real difference in competition. Reading through the settlement, Linux cannot take advantage of any of this.

    To summarize, there are several clauses about opening up the API's and protocols. This openess must be provided to OEM's, etc, on a "reasonable and non-discriminatory basis". This "reasonable and non-discrimantor" rule allows for charging of royalties and restricting distribution and sub-licensing of the intellectual property. So even if they provide this information at no cost or minimal cost they can make it impossible for any such information to every make it into GPL software.

    So folks, I hope you enjoyed have your tax dollars flushed down a toilet.
  • Game, set, match (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drew_kime (303965) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:09PM (#4580671) Homepage Journal
    I've hilighted the part Microsoft will care about:
    J.
    No provision of this Final Judgment shall:
    1. Require Microsoft to document, disclose or license to third parties: (a) portions of APIs or Documentation or portions or layers of Communications Protocols the disclosure of which would compromise the security of a particular installation or group of installations of anti-piracy, anti-virus, software licensing, digital rights management, encryption or authentication systems, including without limitation, keys, authorization tokens or enforcement criteria; or (b) any API, interface or other information related to any Microsoft product if lawfully directed not to do so by a governmental agency of competent jurisdiction.

    Fuck.

  • Microsoft could just unilaterally declare that the contract doesn't apply to them because God doesn't like it, but that doesn't mean the argument is going to fly.

    Even Microsoft can't willy-nilly redefine language so that dogs are really cats. In this case, no one is going to argue that middleware is an entire operating system.

  • by Blimey85 (609949) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:10PM (#4580682)
    There is a big difference between wanting to rip and burn your cd collection and what MS is doing to it's competition.

    Groups are actively lobbying to get laws passed that reduce or eliminate our rights as to what we can do with music once we have purchased it. That is much different than allowing MS to continue it's practices while other superior products mature enough to dominate the market.

    Sure it would be nice if something could be done now, but what do you suggest? It seems to me that the leading opinion is to take a hatchet to the bastards and cut MS into either two or three companies. And then what? Will splitting Windows from the herd make a difference? Of course not. The new Windows company can still decide to only realease intimate details of how their OS works to New Company #1 and New Company #1 will still have a distinct advantage and will only write New Company #1 Word 2010 for Windows 2010.

    The only solution as far as I can see is to contribute to the products that I like and use as well as writing members of Congress as well as the DOJ and telling them that I would prefer if my tax dollars were spent on items that can be benneficial to the nation as a whole.

    If I believed that anything positive could ever come out of all of this, I would feel differently about the matter but since this has been going on for years, and not a damn thing has come of it yet, I'm assuming that nothing ever will. If one half of the energy that has went into trying to defeat MS from a legal standpoint had went into trying to make Linux mature faster, we would be a lot farther along than we are.

    But that's just my $.02

  • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:10PM (#4580684)
    "Nothing in this Final Judgement is intended to confer upon any other persons any rights or remedies of any nature whatsoever hereunder or by reason of this Final Judgement."

    Meaning...we, the average citizens, still don't get squat.
  • by stand (126023) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {kcyd.nats}> on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:11PM (#4580689) Homepage Journal

    How do you know? I find it highly unlikely that Slashdot is the only entity that knew the judgement URLs. After all, Slashdot got it from someone else to begin with.

  • by Demon-Xanth (100910) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:11PM (#4580695)
    Remember, they CAN withold information pertaining to antivirus, DRM, and anti-piracy measures. And a lawyer can easily argue this covers 100% of Palladium's "ideas"

    I wish it did mean goodbye though.

  • by The Wookie (31006) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:13PM (#4580716)
    IANAL, but I don't think so. I believe that this provision allows them to still go through with Palladium, because it doesn't force them to document, disclose or license DRM code:

    J. No provision of this Final Judgment shall:
    1. Require Microsoft to document, disclose or license to third parties: (a) portions of
    APIs or Documentation or portions or layers of Communications Protocols the
    disclosure of which would compromise the security of a particular installation or
    group of installations of anti-piracy, anti-virus, software licensing, digital rights
    management, encryption or authentication systems, including without limitation,
    keys, authorization tokens or enforcement criteria; or (b) any API, interface or
    other information related to any Microsoft product if lawfully directed not to do
    so by a governmental agency of competent jurisdiction.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:18PM (#4580755)
    I use both M$ and linux (mandrake to be exact) and I have found myself using linux more and more and Windows less and less. Linux is just as easy to learn. It's just that people are trained to use M$ products in school. Someday, schools might begin to wisen up (some already have).
  • by BCGlorfindel (256775) <klassenk AT brandonu DOT ca> on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:19PM (#4580760) Journal
    But the judgement precludes ANY apis,communication protocols, etc. that would in any way affect the security of any part of windows. They'll be able to smoke screen pretty much all of their currently un released api's under this provision. Proving an API does not affect security without having access to it is a bit difficult. This last provision turns the entire judgement into a joke. MS is found guilty and that decision is upheld. What punishment is given? A wording to not do it anymore that allows them to continue as they always have.
  • by mAIsE (548) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:19PM (#4580761) Homepage
    Mac OSX !!
  • by nelsonal (549144) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:20PM (#4580770) Journal
    You're right there were probably some small outlets that found this as well, but I have been watching the news all afternoon, and neither Bloomberg, Reuters, Google, or CNBC mentioned the release. They would all have trumped that the SRPFJ was approved, with two small conditions. And more or less Microsoft won the case. Their stock should jump after the public relase of the data, I'll bet some /.er made some money on this.
  • by justsomebody (525308) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:21PM (#4580791) Journal
    Wrong, look at the term "middleware", they specified what middleware is.

    They are also bound to make a different BOOT MANAGER, to privide option for other systems to be used.

    What it's more concerning is.

    1. M$ must provide API's for any middleware or protocol that's been used to communicate with M$ system or server.

    (later below)
    2. M$ can restrict access to any API that is concerning nature or restricted with any other party (I think they meant mainly government)

    (even more below)
    3. M$ can patent and charge for any API they want.

    So, taken this to consideration: "What does this mean for Samba?"

    They can get charged for specs, or charged for patented protocol if M$ would patent it (on the other hand in one paragraph it says they can't be, because M$ must provide specs without enforcing any liabilities). (If I'm wrong, please, do correct me)

    Well, at first I think it's fair judgement, but I'm feeling it's not over.
  • by Anonvmous Coward (589068) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:26PM (#4580844)
    'MS has too much power where it counts...'

    It's not just that, I don't think the retailers are interested in messing with MS's momentum. MS's success is IBM's success which is Dell's success which is Gateway's success which is Best Buy's success which is...

    I mean seriously, when the economy's in a slump, disrupting PC's biggest moneymaker isn't in anybody's interests except those getting squashed by MS.
  • by greygent (523713) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:26PM (#4580848) Homepage
    Yeah, the Bill of Rights was supposed to quash things like the DMCA...

    That didn't happen (yet).
  • by bbc22405 (576022) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:27PM (#4580857)
    And what would really happen if MS was broken into multiple companies? Would we be any better off?

    I think that if Microsoft applications were sold by a different company than Microsoft operating systems, we wouldn't have all these cutesy remarks hinting that "maybe we won't make Office for MacOS anymore nyah, nyah" and "people didn't buy enough copies of the new version of Office for the new version of MacOS, so maybe we should stop working on any newer versions of that", trying to FUD Apple out of the marketplace.

    And maybe the new Microsoft App company would decide to port Office to Linux. (Whether that is actually good or not is another question, but you'll never see this with the current Office-Windows linkage.)

    So, yeah, I think Apple would be better off if Microsoft were split. I think Sun might be, too. And BeOS. And Palm. And ...

  • Re:hrm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SirSlud (67381) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:30PM (#4580891) Homepage
    Hh yeah, you definately dont want to make information available that might affect a company's stock while the stock is still being traded. That'd be terrible!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:34PM (#4580919)
    Yes, how nice of her to bitch as us for getting angrily indignant about Microsoft continuing to misbehave while they were on trial for their original misbehavior.
  • Got a reference for this?
  • by fanatic (86657) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:38PM (#4580951)
    Will anything the Government does, change anything in the bigger picture for MS?...And what would really happen if MS was broken into multiple companies?

    The breakup is not what's urgently needed. What's most needed is full disclosure of protocols, file formats and APIs so that competitors can interoperate. Right now, it is apparent that MS will do all it can to deny this to Open Source (particularly GPL) projects and the post on this decision indicates that nothing will be done to impede this.
  • by valdis (160799) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:44PM (#4580996)
    . Microsoft shall not retaliate against OEM, ... because it is known to Microsoft that the OEM is or is contemplating:

    1. developing, distributing, promoting, using, selling, or licensing any software that competes with Microsoft Platform Software or any product or service that distributes or promotes any Non-Microsoft Middleware;

    Seems to me that this covers a company Y that wants to ship a RedHat-based system, since they are distributing software (RedHat) that competes with Microsoft Platform Software (Windows).
  • by BrianWCarver (569070) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:44PM (#4581003) Homepage
    A few comments seem excited by the restrictions this places on Microsoft's relationships with OEMs. This is not news. That was part of the settlement MS reached with the Justice Dept. The 9 states were unsatisified with that settlement and were arguing for further penalties like making the code to IE open source, forcing MS to sell a company the rights to port Office to Linux, separating out IE from the Windows OS, and many other things.

    The point is that the 9 states seem to have got NONE of the things they wanted. Microsoft Wins and wins BIG.

    I'm not sure many of you would be as happy about those OEM restrictions the order talks about if you were more familiar with the history of this case. Those things were a baseline given.

    We should now start taking bets on the demise of RealNetworks. Windows Media Player will be further incorporated into the OS now and just as they did with IE, they'll gain monopoly power in another software niche.

    BWCarver
  • by TheWanderingHermit (513872) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:46PM (#4581017)
    M$ is extremely arrogant. The only time this has been repressed at all is when M$ was trying to say, "See, aren't we a good company?" Even then, they have shown an arrogance that is unbelievable and shows that they truly don't understand that anybody has any rights other M$ and that M$ is always right. Now that they've only been slapped on the hand, we can, of course, expect the arrogant behavior to get worse.

    More and more companies are switching to Open Source Software because they're fed up with M$. If M$ were reigned in, that would reduce the frustration other companies have with them. On the other hand, since they have essentially no consequences that hurt them, as their attitude gets worse, so will frustration.

    It's like being a kid in school and being beat up by the bully. As the bully's arrogance increases, he thinks he's more and more immune to what anyone can do. Eventually he tries to take on the whole class, everyone sees what he's really like, and suddenly the bully is left standing there, like the Emperor in his new clothes.

    M$ attitude is a good reason for people to switch from them. The worse it gets, the more will switch. The Judge has just given them permission to show their worst behavior. Just how much of that will the market bear?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:46PM (#4581022)
    Yahoo link [yahoo.com]

    "The decision eliminates the establishment of a technical committee to assess Microsoft's compliance with the agreement. In its place, a corporate compliance committee -- consisting of Microsoft board members -- will make sure Microsoft lives up to the deal, the judge said. "

    Oh Good. We have nothing to worry about.

    Next in the news: Criminals will now be their own probation officers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:49PM (#4581038)

    Does that mean that they can't screw over OEM's that include alternative operating systems preinstalled anymore?

    No, it just means that if they do screw over an OEM, then that OEM can, what, take Microsoft to court? Or the Justice Dept. can for violating the agreement? Yeah, we've seen how well that works.

    Four years after they screw over the OEM, there will be another settlement in which Microsoft promises not to do it again.

  • by bhsx (458600) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:51PM (#4581048)
    J. No provision of this Final Judgment shall:
    1. Require Microsoft to document, disclose or license to third parties: (a) portions of
    APIs or Documentation or portions or layers of Communications Protocols the
    disclosure of which would compromise the security of a particular installation or
    group of installations of anti-piracy, anti-virus, software licensing, digital rights
    management, encryption or authentication systems, including without limitation,
    keys, authorization tokens or enforcement criteria; or (b) any API, interface or
    other information related to any Microsoft product if lawfully directed not to do
    so by a governmental agency of competent jurisdiction.
    2. Prevent Microsoft from conditioning any license of any API, Documentation or
    Communications Protocol related to anti-piracy systems, anti-virus technologies,
    license enforcement mechanisms, authentication/authorization security, or third
    party intellectual property protection mechanisms of any Microsoft product to any
    person or entity on the requirement that the licensee: (a) has no history of
    software counterfeiting or piracy or willful violation of intellectual property
    rights, (b) has a reasonable business need for the API, Documentation or
    Communications Protocol for a planned or shipping product, (c) meets
    reasonable, objective standards established by Microsoft for certifying the
    authenticity and viability of its business,
    (d) agrees to submit, at its own expense,
    any computer program using such APIs, Documentation or Communication
    Protocols to third-party verification, approved by Microsoft, to test for and ensure
    verification and compliance with Microsoft specifications for use of the API or
    interface, which specifications shall be related to proper operation and integrity of
    the systems and mechanisms identified in this paragraph.

    We're sorry, we don't consider giving binaries and source code away for free a viable business model. Go away Samba team. What? What's that about interoperating with Exchange? Yeah, right! Go away stupid free groupware project.
  • by Malcontent (40834) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:53PM (#4581075)
    " Let us all be realistic for a moment."

    Yes. Please gather all your kids into a room and patiently explain to them that crime pays big.
  • by 1010011010 (53039) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:54PM (#4581078) Homepage
    Well, the difference between the "free market" people and the "capitalism" people is that capitalism requires a government to regulate the market, enforce contracts and provide a level playing field. Otherwise, the economy is subject to anarchy, monopolies, and other less desirable modes of operation.

    "Free Market" is more "you're not the boss of me" kind of stuff.

    "Command Economy" (e.g., socialist economy) is a third thing, where the government picks who gets what. It's not a "free market", and it's not "capitalism."
  • by Planesdragon (210349) <slashdot@castles ... .us minus author> on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:54PM (#4581082) Homepage Journal

    Windows' monopoly will not, should not, and shall not be compromised by this judgement alone. However, the monopoly that IE, Outlook, and Office have is now, rightfully, possible to challenge within the next five years.

    However, I think a myriad of good things can come from this. Off the top of my head:

    • Mozilla can get the specs to properly replace the IE/Outlook debacle
    • OpenOffice, AbiWord, and all the rest can get at every trick and cheat that MS Office uses
    • The new AIM/ICQ client can be made to kick MSN off, and reside as quietly and seamlessly as before

    Look at this as smacking MS for abusing their monopoly, not the courts doing by fiat what Red Hat, Apple, and IBM have failed to do so far. You've got five years to out-do the "most bloated system in the world". I look foward to the results of this, even as I dread the /. bitching.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bobdotorg (598873) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:55PM (#4581090)
    Microsoft Corp. anounces MS Lawyer 2k -

    The trial was a direct result of MS Election 2000. Had Bush not been elected, the MS case would have had a completely different outcome.
  • by sconeu (64226) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:56PM (#4581093) Homepage Journal
    So, taken this to consideration: "What does this mean for Samba?"

    They can get charged for specs, or charged for patented protocol if M$ would patent it (on the other hand in one paragraph it says they can't be, because M$ must provide specs without enforcing any liabilities). (If I'm wrong, please, do correct me)


    I'm not sure, but I think you're wrong. She kept the really obnoxious paragraph III.J.2, wherein Microsoft doesn't need to disclose protocols if Microsoft doesn't approve of an ISV's "business model".

    Since we all know what Microsoft thinks of Open Source [slashdot.org], I suspect that Samba is screwed.
  • by nolife (233813) on Friday November 01, 2002 @06:00PM (#4581118) Homepage Journal
    michael, given your well known hatred of microsoft,

    I know this is offtopic, it is a reply..

    More often than not I do not agree with his MS bashing style either. If it bothered me THAT bad I would not worry about getting others to jump on my bandwagon, I would simply block him out with the slashdot user options [slashdot.org]. It is really that easy... Of course you cant be an AC for that option.
  • by Rich0 (548339) on Friday November 01, 2002 @06:01PM (#4581124) Homepage
    I tend to agree - though IANAL... My guess is that reasonable could mean that it requires the developer to assess a 5 cent charge from every end user of the software they develop. This would obviously kill open source use. And if they spread their IP far enough, then there will be few open source developers who have not been tainted by seeing the source code in some other project they are working on (possibly for a regular software house).
  • by Mahrin Skel (543633) on Friday November 01, 2002 @06:02PM (#4581134)
    We've got nothin'. The "security, anti-virus, and authentication" loophole is wide enough to hide the entire OS in all by itself, and the DOJ can add anything to that list they are told to. You don't need to be a lawyer to see that this is so weak a set of restrictions as to amount to a liscense for continued abuse.

    What it comes down to is this:

    Is Microsoft a monopoly? Yes.

    Did they abuse their powers as a monopoly? Yes.

    Were competitors harmed by this abuse? Yes.

    Were consumers harmed by this abuse? Yes.

    Is this abuse part of Microsoft's continuing strategy? Yes.

    Is the federal government going to do a damned thing about it? No.

    This isn't even a slap on the wrist, it's a wink and a nod.

    --Dave

  • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Friday November 01, 2002 @06:04PM (#4581144) Journal
    Not quite:

    "II. Applicability
    This Final Judgment applies to Microsoft and to each of its officers, directors, agents,
    employees, subsidiaries, successors and assigns; and to all other persons in active concert or
    participation with any of them who shall have received actual notice of this Final Judgment by
    personal service or otherwise."

    Any kind of shill company would have to be controlled by one of the listed entities in order to keep control of the the IP. And the, company may be considered a " subsidiaries, successors and assigns". They might try, but would probably fail.

  • by DaveWood (101146) on Friday November 01, 2002 @06:21PM (#4581269) Homepage
    This is about as bad as I expected it could be.

    Microsoft's dominance in the operating system and applications market will continue basically unchecked. Because of it, Microsoft will find it all the easier to deploy Paladium, which will help cement their dominance by using "security" as an excuse for locking out the interoperability efforts of Linux and others. This will help balkanize the Linux and Windows worlds, which will slow migration away from Windows. It will also be a useful tool for silencing a few activists who defy the restrictions with court and prison. Let's also not forget, without the trial hanging over its collective head, Microsoft will be much freer to use the bludgeon of Office withdrawal against Apple, should it not tow the line.

    Paladium is the beginning of efforts towards centralized surveillance and control of all electronic media. Once it is deployed and semi-usable, the "gentle coercion" of fees, compatility, and network-effect fear will help Microsoft as they phase out and then attempt to suppress older, more open versions of their operating system (Win2k, XP, etc). Perhaps Windows Update will back-port the "content revolution." Or perhaps the death blow to Microsoft's open legacy will be a virulent worm which preys on a security hole they refuse to fix.

    People will ask incredulously, "who would abuse Paladium, and how?" and the answer is, "anyone who can, in any way they can get away with."

    The evolution of the operating system will keep its super-slow-mo pace. It was bad enough before; who would invest a nickle in any new technology that could compete with Microsoft now? They have the King's indulgence. In addition to the enormous "natural" benefits of their momentum and size, they are effectively untouchable. Progress in the computer sciences, and then progress in all the fields computers touch (and could touch, in a more innovative world), is hurt tremendously by this.

    The threat of loss, from competition or regulation, is what drives progress. Think of it - Windows' closest competitor is written by hobbyists! And even then, it is because of Linux, and this trial (and to a far lesser extent, Apple) that Windows 2000 is more stable than Windows 98 and NT. But with the antitrust case gone, the content trusts having paved the way with the DMCA, and Microsoft already preparing new "solutions" to problems of interoperability and easy migration, there will no longer be a threat.

    We are on some kind of roll. As a nation, we seem to make a new decision that betrays our standards and squanders our legacy every day. But, though people will call me a geek or claim I have an exaggerated idea of the computer's importance, I say that today's failure is particularly egregious. What all the parties have done here, the DoJ, their counterparts in the various States, the judge (CKK), and not least Microsoft itself, has left our children a disgusting legacy, and they will curse us for it. Rightly so.
  • Re:API's (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SN74S181 (581549) on Friday November 01, 2002 @06:25PM (#4581299)
    How is Wine used to 'interoperate with a Windows Operating System Product'?? Without that 'sole purpose' they're still shut out in the dark.

    Wine is generally used to interoperate with Microsoft's Non-Operating System Products, and with third party applications.

    The language clearly locks out competing operating systems, and opens the door for apps to further integrate.

  • by OwnedByTwoCats (124103) on Friday November 01, 2002 @06:26PM (#4581306)
    I see. Microsoft breaks the law, gets caught and convicted. Buys a new Justice Department. Then pleads for a punishment that is not punative.

    So they end up promising not to do some of the bad stuff ever again. And, they even get to decide whether they are doing the bad stuff!

    "Officer, I promise not to speed ever again. To be sure of it, I will watch how fast I'm driving, and report back if I ever drive too fast."

    Sheesh.
  • Actually, this is probably the best thing that could have happened for Linux/GNU/Open Source.

    Since M$ won't be forced to change their obnoxious tactics, compete fairly, etc., they won't learn any new techniques, so it'll be the same ole same ole ...

    Meanwhile, Linux / GNU ? Open Source will continue to grow, adapt, etc., without having to worry about the "Baby Microsofts" that a breakup would have created.

    Now if M$ was smart, they would have broken the company up into 3 diferent parts years ago.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 01, 2002 @06:54PM (#4581461)
    I love this part : (AP)...The decision eliminates the establishment of a technical committee to assess Microsoft's compliance with the agreement. In its place, a corporate compliance committee -- consisting of Microsoft board members -- will make sure Microsoft lives up to the deal, the judge said.

    Whew, and you were worried!
  • by GrouchoMarx (153170) on Friday November 01, 2002 @06:59PM (#4581492) Homepage
    Read a little basic microeconomics. All but the most ideologically radical economists acknowledge that a free market is a good thing but that free markets aren't really that great at keeping free markets free.

    Precisely! That is what a government in a capitalistic economy is for; maintaining a free market by hack-and-slash methods on companies that get too big and become monopolies (Microsoft) or form oligopolic cartels (MPAA, RIAA, etc.). By definition, the US government is not interested in a free market, they're interested in corpoprate protectionism. That includes Congress, the President, and judges such as this.

    The pro-capitalist conclusion to this case would have been to chop MS up into about 20 companies of 300 or fewer employees, prevent them from teaming up, and then let the wiles of the market figure it out. So much for having faith in the market.

  • by Moritz Moeller - Her (3704) <mmh@nosPam.gmx.net> on Friday November 01, 2002 @07:02PM (#4581504)
    OK, here is a prime example of what you get when you have a corrupted legal system. MS does not have to do any thing. The only things they are not allowed to do are prohibited BY LAW anyways. As a monopoly, you can not discriminate against competitors. There are NO and I repeat NO sanctions if MS does not follow this code of conduct. The only thing that will happen is that the code of conduct can be extended by two (2!) years. Hardly deterring, if you don't follow it in the first place. The loopholes are so big that only the largest companies can even think about using anything from MS.

    My only hope is that the European Commission will fine MS and punish them hard enough for their behaviour to get an effect.

    The Honorable Mrs. K-K should retire. She did not even have a small grasp of the matters at hand or she was pressured to her decision. This is a shame for the American Legal system.
  • by daytrip00 (473461) on Friday November 01, 2002 @07:07PM (#4581534)
    "Read a little basic microeconomics"

    I have actually read a lot of advanced microeconomics:

    First, monopolies exist in free markets. A free market is one where buyers and sellers determine output and demand. A monopoly reduces its output to maximize profit, but make no mistake, the market is still free.

    Second, what i think you actually meant is that competive markets are a good thing. Of course, the classic (basic) microeconomics that you refer to has a set of assumptions, prime among them that the market has no externalities. This is actually not the case with the market for operating systems (or browsers for that matter). The externality is introduced by the fact that both provide a development platform, and companies must then produce software for multiple platforms, which increases cost. So while a competitive market might be ultimately good for consumers in the market for OS's, it would induce higher costs in other software industries.
    This concern, could be mitigated by a forced API standard, but then new OS comapnies would be prevented from adding new features into their operating system (Imagine a uniform Windows/Linux/MacOS API; that doesn't seem like the best option either).

    As you learn in economics, basic economics paints a picture, but it seldom paints the entire picture. Microsoft's monopoly might ultimately be bad for consumers, but the proof of that is far beyond basic micro.

    martin
  • by mad_cow (152516) on Friday November 01, 2002 @07:08PM (#4581539)

    M$ is extremely arrogant. The only time this has been repressed at all is when M$ was trying to say, "See, aren't we a good company?" Even then, they have shown an arrogance that is unbelievable and shows that they truly don't understand that anybody has any rights other M$ and that M$ is always right. Now that they've only been slapped on the hand, we can, of course, expect the arrogant behavior to get worse.


    How is this behaviour different from that of any other large North American company? When organizations get to be a certain size, they become used to a certain degree of ass kissing from the people that they do business with. Microsoft is no different. You're absolutely right: all through the legal procedings leading up to this, they tried very much to play the part of the victim, being unduly harrassed for the simple fact that they've been successful. Any other company in that situation would have done the same thing.



    More and more companies are switching to Open Source Software because they're fed up with M$. If M$ were reigned in, that would reduce the frustration other companies have with them. On the other hand, since they have essentially no consequences that hurt them, as their attitude gets worse, so will frustration.


    Don't fool yourself. More and more companies are switching to Open Source software because it's free and because you can get the source. Microsoft's business practices have little to do with an organization's decision to move to Open Source, rather it's the bottom line that's that motivator. You're right in saying that this may be a positive for the Open Source movement in the long run, not because Microsoft will piss more people off, but because if Microsoft were forced to open up their API's a bit it would enable companies to do more with Windows, and would thus remove some motivation to switch to Open Source alternatives.



    It's like being a kid in school and being beat up by the bully. As the bully's arrogance increases, he thinks he's more and more immune to what anyone can do. Eventually he tries to take on the whole class, everyone sees what he's really like, and suddenly the bully is left standing there, like the Emperor in his new clothes.


    In Microsoft's case, it's not a matter of thinking they are immune, it is a matter that they are immune. Windows is too ubiquitous.



    M$ attitude is a good reason for people to switch from them. The worse it gets, the more will switch. The Judge has just given them permission to show their worst behavior. Just how much of that will the market bear?


    No, Microsoft's attitude is a good reason for an individual to dislike them. It's not a good reason for a company or your average Joe Computer User to switch to Open Source. The real reasons for people to switch from Microsoft products are purely fiscal. The cost of software licenses adds up, and it's not just Microsoft licenses... Oracle, Novell, etc. all add up. There's a correlation between an Open Source project's success at permeating the marketplace and the cost of licenses from their corresponding closed source commercial products.

  • by thelen (208445) on Friday November 01, 2002 @07:49PM (#4581758) Homepage

    when the economy's in a slump, disrupting PC's biggest moneymaker isn't in anybody's interests except those getting squashed by MS.

    This is probably true in the short term; longer term, we'd be better off. But what I find so troubling is that even a relatively minor recession like the one we're in now will cause our judicial system to ignore its own principles.

  • by Pengo (28814) on Friday November 01, 2002 @07:58PM (#4581802) Journal

    I have thought a lot about it.. the US has everything to gain from having a US based software company in a GLOBAL monopoly situation. The GNP is high as ever , like printing money into other countries really. US government isn't going to do anything to stop that , even at the cost of small US business.

    Sucks, and unfortuantely it's not going to change until the WORLD learns to kick it's MS addiction. Until that happens, unfortunately, I don't think anything is going to change. Now, when it's more a domestic issue than a global issue, maybe we will see some justice.. but I doubt it.

  • by alizard (107678) <alizard&ecis,com> on Friday November 01, 2002 @08:00PM (#4581813) Homepage
    For MS, I think. They've just been reinforced in an in-house perception that they're more important than the Federal Government... and incidentally, than any of their customers.

    If they'd gotten their asses handed to them, their new perceptions might have given MS a chance for long-term survival based on listening to their customers and trying to build better products than anybody else. By and large, they now can legally conduct business as usual.

    The judge isn't wholly at fault here, DOJ (would large MS campaign contributions to Bush have had anything to do with it) wasn't fighting to win anymore. That's clear even from the public summary. She can only rule on what the opposing sides use for arguments, objective reality has nothing much to do with court decisions.

    The future?

    Brussels to spend 250k on Linux migration study [theregister.co.uk]

    More governments and businesses refusing to put up with MS licensing terms, bad security, or the constant hardware/software upgrade cycle, and quietly converting to Open Source. They are investigating desktop as well as server, and the consultancy doing this is already rolling out "secure" Linux desktops and server systems in police stations in part of the UK.

    I've been working in high-tech journalism for the last few years. Well, the bottom has fallen out of the market and won't be coming back anytime soon, so I'm changing tracks to system administration. I'm convinced enough that MS is part of the past that I won't be bothering with learning W2000/XP or IIS.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by squiggleslash (241428) on Friday November 01, 2002 @09:40PM (#4582105) Homepage Journal
    You're right. The other person who responded to you and the moderator who modded you down may prefer not to admit it, but it's pretty well known that the Bush/Ashcroft DoJ were embarrassed by the Appeal Court ruling (which upheld Jackson's verdict) and negotiated something that wouldn't cause much harm to Microsoft.

    This is a depressing resolution. Someone is convicted of harming competition and told that they will barely get punished because the judge doesn't want to risk aiding Microsoft's "competition" (or rather, potential competition - there is no sodding competition right now.)

    The message has gone out - illegally monopolise, and we'll drag you through a trial, but we will not do anything at all that might actually remove you from that monopoly. Keep your prices high enough to pay for the trial, and you'll be fine.

  • by JudgeFurious (455868) on Friday November 01, 2002 @09:56PM (#4582150)
    Hey just making an observation here but....

    1. Windows programs work fine for me out of the box 95% of the time too. I can only speak to the programs I've dealt with and I know lots of people report having trouble with Windows programs but overall I haven't seen much trouble out of them. Of course I don't install every single thing I see that might have some potential to entertain or interest me. A lot of the Windows users I know click everything that says "Ok" even if the text underneath that "Ok" reads something like "May we now please eat your brain" and they get in trouble that way. That I think speaks more to the availability of bad programs for Windows versus same for Linux and the overall intelligence of Windows users than anything else.

    2. Generally speaking I've had more problems getting Linux to work with my hardware than Windows. I'll be the first to admit this has everything to do with what particular hardware you're trying to use and what version of Linux or Windows you are trying to put on it but I don't think this is a monster advantage for Linux by any stretch of the imagination. It's just the simple facts that most of the PC hardware out there is aimed at Windows and if they want to make it work with anything at all it's Windows first. Frustrating though. I run into this with my Macs too.

    3. You go to Download.com if you want to but it's two different worlds for WIndows and Linux when it comes to "free" software you can download. Maybe you can go grab anything you please for Linux online with a reasonable expectation of getting a good program but it's been my experience that Windows software offered for free is crap. You want Windows software that's not broken or hard to get working then you need to pay for it. It's as simple as that. This seems like comparing apples and oranges to me. The available free software for Windows is mostly cheap crap thrown together to separate rubes from their money. Free software for Linux is the equivilant of paid for product in the Windows world.

    4. Sometimes software does require tweaking but the two operating systems are pointed at two totally different audiences. Windows users, or the majority of them don't tweak squat and look at you like you're one of those weird "computer people" if you try. They buy it and use it as is and they're apparently fine with that. Maybe they don't know better, maybe they don't want to know better. Maybe ignorance is bliss but most of the time they don't need to "tweak it" and don't care if they can anyway.

    5. If you think Windows software is "no documentation software" then I suggest you go open one of the boxes for once and see for yourself. It's got plenty of documentation and it's easy enough to find out more online thanks to the sheer amount of it someone has almost always been down the road you are on before. They don't have the "uber network" of geeks ready to get you a driver pumped out from Denmark in a half hour but there is enough information out there to survive. Gimmie a break here.

    Just a short note to point you back to how life is in this particular world. Get out more man. Look around.

    Having said that I don't particularly care for Microsoft products for the most basic of reasons. I can't condone their business practices and think they are a grossly predatory company that needs to have their balls knocked in. That's reason enough, no need to go all propaganda on them and start talking about stuff that doesn't exist or blowing problems out of proportion.
  • by einhverfr (238914) <chris.traversNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday November 01, 2002 @10:29PM (#4582260) Homepage Journal
    think of it this way-- it will take an army of lawyers to regulate Microsoft. The DOJ doesn't have that army of lawyers....

    BUT there is an army out there opposing Microsoft-- as evidenced by the 100 or so lawsuits waiting for this to become official. That army consists of lots of little companies, and several big ones.

    Basically, this ruling leaves Microsoft legally vulnerable. And that may be more effective than a harsher punishment.
  • by kien (571074) <kien.member@fsf@org> on Friday November 01, 2002 @11:41PM (#4582421) Journal
    I'm disappointed by the decision but I'm even more disappointed by the inability of my fellow slashdotters to make a difference.

    It's easy to bash Microsoft and praise Linux here. But what are you doing IRL? Are you leveraging your knowledge at your company to advocate OSS platforms....or do you just weigh in here and mod posts?

    When a product is truly better (as I believe GNU/Linux to be) and when some really big companies are willing to back it (like IBM and Sun), all it takes is the backing of us "computer geeks" to affect the market.

    Example: The last time a coworker came to me complaining about a Windows 98 problem that kept them from being able to boot to anything but safe mode, I didn't even try to explain that one of their virtual device drivers was corrupted. I fixed the driver problem, while telling them that the problem would probably never have occurred if they were running a different OS. That person happened to be one of the VPs of my company and they are now curious about GNU/Linux.

    Unless you're actively affecting change, all your bitching is just noise.

    --K.
  • by waltc (546961) on Saturday November 02, 2002 @12:43AM (#4582552)
    It's indeed invigorating to finally see that anti-competitive corporations like SUN and Netscape, after spending millions of dollars lobbying in Washington and hiring out the likes of Bob Dole and Judge Bork as paid, professional lobbyists--are in the end completely unsuccessful in using the government as a tool and a dupe to remove Microsoft as a competitor (as these companies were unable to do in the marketplace.)

    It's gratifying to see that saner, cooler heads do, in the end, prevail. A lot of bad effects, not the least of which is the loss of public confidence in the technology sector, have come out of this decade-long drive by SUN and Netscape to run Microsoft out of business by slander, innuendo and accusation. It was always extremely naive of these companies to think that any negative effects from these actions would be neatly curtailed to Microsoft and would not spill out into the industry as a whole. Nothing good has come out of this suit for anybody, as far as I can see, and the best thing that has happened so far is that we are approaching the end of this embarrassing debacle (which saw grown men in front of Congress in televised hearings in which the topic of debate was not nuclear or biological disarmament, as the mood and emphasis would suggest, but rather THE EVILS OF THE INTERNET BROWSER INTERNET EXPLORER AND ITS THREAT TO ALL OF MANKIND.) Embarrassing is definitely the word.

    In the recent years a few important things have been decided by our government which have actually helped me to start respecting it again--this is one of them. While the technology sector, of which I am undeniably a part, may wish to rend and tear itself to shreds in spasms of jealousy and envy, at least some of our government officials have their heads screwed on straight and are not nitwits to be manipulated by some highly paid snake-oil salesmen who served as lobbyists for companies like Netscape and SUN. Unfortunately, and predictibly, some of our government people were skillfully manipulated by appeals to their vanity achieved with an appreciation for their ignorance in technological matters, but in the end the ones with the real clout made the final decisions and have proven thmeselves to be anything but nitwits.

    It's the first time in a long time I can say, "Three cheers for the government," and mean it. I *wish* I could say the same for the technology sector as a whole, but I can't.

  • by Lochin Rabbar (577821) on Saturday November 02, 2002 @12:44AM (#4582554)

    How on earth did she come to that conclusion?!

    She's referring to Microsoft's monopoly of target platforms for developers. That is the reason Microsoft sought to undermine Java and Netscape was to prevent developers being able to target API's other than the Windows API. Both she and the government have chosen to adopt an unreasonably narrow interpretation of the findings of fact.

    They were able to do this because though Judge Jackson, in the original findings of fact [usdoj.gov], described in great detail how Microsoft extended their monopoly from the operting system market to the browser market he failed to say explicitly that they had used one monopoly to obtain another.

    Basically it's the sort of schoolboy sophistry that lawyers are duty bound to indulge in when presenting a case, and that politicians use to justify their lies. It's the sort of thing that honest and courageous judges shun, but that craven and corrupt judges will indulge in to avoid their decisions being overturned.

    Consider this finding of Judge Jackson:

    384. Although the suspicion lingers, the evidence is insufficient to find that Microsoft's ambition is a future in which most or all of the content available on the Web would be accessible only through its own browsing software. The evidence does, however, reveal an intent to ensure that if and when full-featured, server-based applications begin appearing in large numbers on the Web, the number of them relying solely on middleware APIs (such as those exposed by Navigator) will be too few to attenuate the applications barrier to entry.

    Now consider Kollar-Kotelly's stipulation that any API's relating to DRM can be kept hidden. In other words developers will be hindered in the development of applications that can read files intended to be rendered by Windows Media Player or Microsoft Reader. Kollar-Kotelly has given them carte-blanche to further extend their monopoly into the playback of copy protected media. Thus not only does the settlement fail to tackle the originally abusive API monopoly, nor to remedy the extension of that monopoly to web browsers, but it specifically invites Microsoft to further extend their monopoly.

    Damn that woman!

  • by cheezedawg (413482) on Saturday November 02, 2002 @01:07AM (#4582616) Journal
    I think the point of a Palladium based architecture is to eventually require you to use a Palladium-friendly O/S (windows) whenever you use any public network.

    I don't agree with that, and I think you are not giving the power of capitalism enough credit. People always have a choice. If the costs of using a product or service outweigh the benefits, then nobody will use it. That also means that businesses will only provide services that people want. If a company can make money selling non-palladium systems, then they will sell non-palladium systems (I am obviously against any legislation that would limit this- that goes against capitalism in every way). If a website requires me to use IE, and I don't want to use IE, then I will find another website.

    I also don't buy the argument that people will be forced to use it because it is a de facto standard. You always have a choice.

    Everything Microsoft does is designed to destroy some form of competition.

    Everything that any company does is designed to give it an edge over the competition. I don't see how Microsoft is any different here. Microsoft would be neglecting their responsibility to the shareholders if they did otherwise.

    Consider: the main point of Palladium is that the combination of a Palladium hardware device and a Palladium O/S will refuse to run "unsafe code"

    NO! As I said before, Palladium does not limit any software from running. What it does do is keep "unsafe" code from seeing or modifying protected data. From a programmers perspective, Palladium amounts to a new API to setup a secure context and protect data. Any program can use the API without any certification, and Palladium NEVER imposes itself on a process that does not request its services.

    Basically, I see Palladium as a defensive move for Microsoft for several reasons:
    #1- There is a huge demand for digital content (see Napster or KaZaA)
    #2- The supply of (legal) digital content is lacking because many of the producers of the content fear rampant piracy, so they don't release their stuff electronically (the validity of this fear is another topic entirely)
    #3- It is only a matter of time before somebody figures out a way for the producers to distribute their content without this fear of piracy, and that person/group/company is going to make a lot of money
    #4- Like any business should do, Microsoft is attempting to fill this void in market so they can make more money

    So basically, like every other business in the world, Microsoft is trying to make more money. This obviously includes trying to gain market share and expand into new business areas, but they will always have to offer a product that people want in order to stay alive. And there will always be an alternative for the people that do not like the product that they offer.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 02, 2002 @01:37AM (#4582705)
    Your argument would, of course, be much more compelling if Apple offered to sell Appleworks for Linux. As it is, Apple uses exactly the same arguments you attribute to MS (no $$$ to be made there, so we won't write for that OS).
  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by schlach (228441) on Saturday November 02, 2002 @03:27AM (#4582915) Journal
    I'm with squigglesqlash on this one, but I think you'd leave the argument incomplete if you didn't mention that this was Microsoft's plan from the start!

    I'd have to check the books to figure out when they decided it, but it was probably back in 1996 when Clinton got re-elected. Delay until the next election. Makes sense, doesn't it? Nothing to lose and everything to gain. Another election gives you another roll of the dice. Clinton picked this fight - anyone else would be better.

    The second tactic was a little more shrewd. Get Jackson out. The MS lawyers deliberately baited him, trying to get evidence (ie statements) that could be used to get him thrown off the case. Jackson's an idiot. He should have seen it coming and kept his dumb mouth shut. If he wanted to punish MS that bad (and it was obvious, from his statements, that he did), he should have known he'd have to be less of a glory-hound until after the trial.

    After seeing Bill's videotaped deposition in '94, I thought MS lawyers were as bad as their PR and Advertising people. But they've definitely reinvented themselves...

    What it reminds me of is the SNL sketch of Bill Clinton after the impeachment aquittal. He trots out to the podium, leans forward, and intones, "I...am...bulletproof." Walks away, stops, turns back around and adds, "Next time, y'all best bring kryptonite."

    Personally, I think it should have been the States' strategy to, like MS for so long, delay until the next election. I am not convinced the Republicans will be in power in two weeks, let alone two years. Stupid to always give MS the initiative...

    It's about as painful to watch as someone playing chess badly.
  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mpe (36238) on Saturday November 02, 2002 @05:43AM (#4583157)
    You're right. The other person who responded to you and the moderator who modded you down may prefer not to admit it, but it's pretty well known that the Bush/Ashcroft DoJ were embarrassed by the Appeal Court ruling (which upheld Jackson's verdict) and negotiated something that wouldn't cause much harm to Microsoft.

    It also indicates that the much trumpeted separation of powers within the US government is more an illusion than actual.

    This is a depressing resolution. Someone is convicted of harming competition and told that they will barely get punished because the judge doesn't want to risk aiding Microsoft's "competition" (or rather, potential competition - there is no sodding competition right now.)

    Also this trial resulted because Microsoft didn't abide by a previous court case. Usually if someone is dragged back to court because the first case didn't work they are apt to get the book thrown at them.
  • by Hope Thelps (322083) on Saturday November 02, 2002 @07:26AM (#4583326)
    Companies that can't compete in a free market using the force of govt. to aid them sounds a bit like tyranny to me. MS never used force, they only negotiated contracts.

    This is untrue. The same sort of force used against Microsft has been and is being used by them.

    Copyrights are an invention of government supported by the force of the state in exactly the same way that anti-trust laws are. The intention in copyright laws is to create market conditions considered desirable by government, just like anti-trust laws. Microsoft makes use of these laws, and the force of the state behind them, just like anti-trust laws are being used against them.

    If you like one set of laws and dislike the other then by all means make your arguments, you may even be right :) but to claim that force is being used against Microsoft and hasn't been used by them is dishonest.

  • This seems to be a case of over-reaction. The section, Windows XP provides no local security of the article says, "Windows XP has two fundamental security limitations. One is true of all operating systems. The other is true only of all Microsoft Windows operating systems, and is not a problem with BSD or Linux, for example."

    Earlier versions of the article were worded in such a way that they might be mis-interpreted. Is it possible that you did not re-load the article, and you are reading a version in your browser cache? There is a warning about this at the beginning of the article.

    The current version was last updated October 28, 2002.

    There is controversy about the problem listed. Windows XP, and all versions of Windows, have the vulnerability listed. The Windows OS opens many, many hidden system-level windows. Theoretically, it is possible to exploit any of these to gain full system access. However, Chris Paget has not produced a demonstration of this.

    The point of the section is clearly stated, "A lot of managers are being allowed to believe that Windows XP is secure under conditions in which it isn't secure. Since it is necessary to supply a password, the impression is created that there is no other way of gaining access."
  • Linux does benefit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lewis Mettler, Esq. (553022) <lmettler_persona ... m minus caffeine> on Saturday November 02, 2002 @01:55PM (#4584406) Homepage
    I know it may seem strange but Linux is about the only product to benefit from this flawed decision.

    The reason is simple but not easy to see.

    Microsoft has been given the go-ahead to continue to force the sale of many key Microsoft branded applications just by simple packaging (or commingling). Allowing icons to be moved around is meaningless. But, how does this benefit Linux?

    Linux will always include a lot more software than any Microsoft product. That is true today and it will be even more true tomorrow and on into the future. What this decision does is almost make certain that Microsoft will continue to bundle a whole slew of applications with it's operating system keeping the price high and out of site. That benefits Linux tremendously.

    If Microsoft were forced to split off some of these applications, they would also be offering a barebones OS which would cost a lot less. Without that obligation on their part it is unlikely they will make that choice on their own leaving Microsoft stuff always overpriced, insecure (due to all the crap with bugs) and in appropriate for just about all markets.

    The one advantage that Linux has over Microsoft is the ability to offer multiple distributions for many key markets. Just look at Xandros (and now SuSE) offering CrossOverOffice along with the OS but Mandrake leaving that out. Other distros could include StarOffice but leave out CrossOver, etc. The result will be a wide selection of Linux choices all of which cost less than Microsoft but do not all include everything. If any distro wants to include everything (including those packages that do cost money), it would likely be just as expensive as Microsoft now.

    But, the Linux market can specialize its distributions. Those companies that want the CrossOver capability can get it with the distro they pick. Those companies that prefer the Xandros File Manager and CrossOver can pick it. Those that only want true Linux applications including OpenOffice (no premium added on) can pick from lessor cost distros.

    Microsoft could bring out 6 different versions of their XP product. But, they will not until such time as they think competition requires it. But, then it will be too late.

    By then all serious software companies will focus upon Linux simply because their ability to grow and expand will not be illegally cut short by Microsoft. There is a reason why all non-Microsoft browsers are cross platform. And, there is a very good reason why all new browsers will also be cross platform. Microsoft has and will preclude any such market on Microsoft systems.

    The problem is that even though Linux will benefit, consumers for the moment remain screwed. And, the industry also remains suspended. Not the Linux part of the industry. But, the Microsoft part. And, that in the long term is going to cut Microsoft out of the industry itself. It is only a matter of time until all software developes choose Linux (or some other platform) to operate free of illegal Microsoft activity.

    This all assumes that OEMs can market non-Microsoft systems. And, while this is somewhat questionable today, there is no way that HP, IBM, DELL, GateWay and others are going to allow SUN to have that market all to itself. As indeed, some of them already try to approach particular market segments with Linux products. But, that will expand as the SUN and WalMart type companies begin to make some real money selling Linux desktops.

    In the long run this decision is fine. In the short run it is meaningless.

Aren't you glad you're not getting all the government you pay for now?

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