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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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  • Before the Bell? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jhunsake (81920) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:40PM (#4580373) Journal
    Should this have been released before the closing of the markets? I think not... someone's head is going to roll.
  • by RichMeatyTaste (519596) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:42PM (#4580389)
    I thought the first 2 items on that list went together?

    Seriously though... reading court decrees is about as exciting as a prostate exam. We need a legalese -> english converter asap.

  • the quickie version (Score:5, Interesting)

    by banky (9941) <gregg@neurobash[ ].com ['ing' in gap]> on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:45PM (#4580415) Homepage Journal
    It LOOKS like a wrist-slap to me. They have to allow "middleware" and have to disclose "Communications protocols and APIs", except where it would affect 3rd-party IP or "security".

    I think it is an attempt to provide some kind of flexibility but "restrain" them, but the Judge is obviously forgetting history: Microsoft is the Harry Houdini of legal agreements, they can wriggle out of anything.

  • hrm... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mikeee (137160) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:45PM (#4580421)
    Ooh, it's like that goofy Reuters 'hacking' thing.

    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?
  • by sulli (195030) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:50PM (#4580458) Journal
    This is a scoop. Nobody else has it yet - Yahoo, NYT, WP. Here's the WP's pre-announcement. [washingtonpost.com]
  • 5 Year Length (Score:3, Interesting)

    by no soup for you (607826) <jesse.wolgamott@gmail . c om> on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:52PM (#4580474) Homepage
    Unless this Court grants an extension, this Final Judgment will expire on the fifth anniversary of the date on which it takes effect.

    This lawsuit has taken four years. I think five years, even with the possiblity of an extension is way too short.

    And just because I thought it was interesting, here's the definition of an OS:
    "Operating System" means the software code that, inter alia, (i) controls the allocation and usage of hardware resources (such as the microprocessor and various peripheral devices) of a Personal Computer, (ii) provides a platform for developing applications by exposing functionality to ISVs through APIs, and (iii) supplies a user interface that enables users to access functionality of the operating system and in which they can run applications.
  • API's (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BWJones (18351) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:52PM (#4580478) Homepage Journal
    Starting at the earlier of the release of Service Pack 1 for Windows XP or three months
    after the entry of this Final Judgment, Microsoft shall disclose to ISVs, IHVs, IAPs,
    ICPs, and OEMs, for the sole purpose of interoperating with a Windows Operating
    System Product, via the Microsoft Developer Network ("MSDN") or similar
    mechanisms, the APIs and related Documentation that are used by Microsoft Middleware
    to interoperate with a Windows Operating System Product.


    This is actually a big deal.

  • Samba? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BasharTeg (71923) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:53PM (#4580487) Homepage

    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.


    The big question is, can Samba benefit from this, or are the conditions of the released information going to make it incompatible with the GPL? And can the information be dirty/clean intellectually transferred between one tainted person and one "clean" person even with whatever type of NDA they put on the agreement?

  • Re:Release of APIs? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Hamster Of Death (413544) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:55PM (#4580501)
    No, they don't have to open all the API's. In fact they get to keep anything related to anti-piracy, DRM and most other security related items. How much do you want to bet a lot of stuff is now going to have security tied into it sooner rather than later?

    And this is only effective for 5 years. What happens after that?
  • by TheRain (67313) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:56PM (#4580505) Homepage
    "Why bother even looking at the comments?"

    to find the 2% who actually read it and have something interesting to say, now please stop adding to the noise.
  • Sayanora, Palladium (Score:5, Interesting)

    by superdan2k (135614) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:56PM (#4580511) Homepage Journal
    ...competes with Microsoft Platform Software or any product or service that distributes or promotes any Non-Microsoft Middleware;
    2. shipping a Personal Computer that (a) includes both a Windows Operating System Product and a non-Microsoft Operating System, or (b) will boot with more than one Operating System; or


    So I think this is the first nail in Palladium's coffin. This legalese seems to imply that Microsoft is barred of collusion with OEMs that would block middleware or OSs that would compete with Microsoft. Which is, at the core, EXACTLY what Palladium would do.

    Nice to see that the DoJ can kill two birds with one stone. :-)
  • by gclef (96311) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:56PM (#4580513)
    Bull.

    They're going to argue that they already have complied with it in XP SP1, and the various releases of information that have trickled out so far. Whether the data they share is of any use at all (such as the worthless SMB documentation they released a bit ago) is something else entirely, and something that you'll have to take them back to court for.

    This changes nothing from the state of things today. Whether it changed something from 4 years ago is another argument.
  • by 1155 (538047) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:57PM (#4580527) Homepage
    UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
    Plaintiff,
    v.
    MICROSOFT CORPORATION,
    Defendant.
    UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
    FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
    Civil Action No. 98-1232 (CKK)
    ORDER
    Presently pending before the Court is a proposed consent decree submitted by the parties
    in the above-captioned case. Following application of the Tunney Act, 15 U.S.C. 16(b)-(h), and
    upon a finding pursuant 15 U.S.C. 16(e) that, with the exception of VII of the proposed final
    judgment ("SRPFJ"), entry of the SRPFJ as the final judgment in this action is in the public
    interest, as set forth in the accompanying Memorandum Opinion, it is this 1st day of November,
    2002, hereby
    ORDERED that the SRPFJ is conditionally approved as the final judgment in this case;
    and it is further
    ORDERED that, in order to obtain final approval of the SRPFJ, Plaintiff and Microsoft
    shall submit to the Court a proposed amendment to VII addressing the concerns described in the
    accompanying Memorandum Opinion; and it is further
    ORDERED that such proposed amendment shall be submitted to the Court not later than
    November 8, 2002.
    SO ORDERED.
    _____________________________
    COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY
    United States District Judge
  • Dangit! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kriticism (225999) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:57PM (#4580541)
    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.

    Sheesh....there had to be catch...

    Any bets on how long it'll take microsoft to declare the whole OS a rights protection management system so they don't have to give up any of the API?
  • by AtariDatacenter (31657) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:58PM (#4580545)
    Oh. That sounds like a good one. All Microsoft has to do is hide their IP under shill companies, and they've got instant protection. ...and don't think they won't do it if it is an issue.
  • by MAXOMENOS (9802) <[maxomai] [at] [gmail.com]> on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:59PM (#4580557) Homepage
    Any first year law student could also argue that this clause only applies to middleware that affects the user interface. GNU/Linux in particular isn't middleware, it's an operating system.

    That same first year law student would also argue that the clause was not intended to allow Microsoft to retaliate against OEMs for offering computers with two operating systems, such as Windows XP and Red Hat Linux (so called "Dual-Boot" systems.)

    I agree it's problematic, but it's not as bad as you think.

  • by egg troll (515396) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:00PM (#4580570) Homepage Journal
    I find it humorous to see Slashdot constantly bashing Microsoft. Some of it is deserved but just as much is juvenile ranting. However, I'm deeply entertained to see a Microsoft ad regularly popping up on Slashdot and other OSDN sites. It used to be a rare thing to see that but now I see it on every third or fourth page.

    Has Slashdot reached a point where the only way they can afford to continually rant against Microsoft is by accepting money from them?
  • by nooboob (553955) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:00PM (#4580574)
    Now THAT'S a good way to retain investor confidence. 10 minutes before markets closed too. Not a good pr move, if anything. It makes it seem like they're really scared.
  • by I_redwolf (51890) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:02PM (#4580601) Homepage Journal
    That is really a silly statement; considering your attitude and stance Monopolies would exist everywhere. The "eventually superior products and services will be widely adopted" piece is a joke. How exactly do you get those superior products and services? Do they just materialize? Having a monopoly is one thing, abusing a monopoly is another. I'm glad that my tax dollars are being spent fighting such monopolies and other companies who would prevent competition in the marketplace. The only thing that saddens me really is the fact that because of the early neglect this monopoly has abused the marketplace and will probably have enough capital to continue the abuse. If the Free Software movement was just a dream and not reality, you wouldn't have as much choice as you do to even post that comment. Simply and for the most part because Slashdot wouldn't exist.

  • Re:I like Microsoft (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:03PM (#4580610)
    I respect your opinion for saying so, but I detest Microsoft for almost the same reasons you like them.

    Microsoft has done absolutely NOTHING to make my life easier; in fact, they've done just the opposite. I'm FORCED into working with their products at work; in fact in ANY work place I would go to. There is no choice, I can't simply "avoid" them. At home, I'm -almost- forced to endure the Microsoft legacy--klunky PC hardware (although Mac OSX gives me reason for joy). For a DECADE or more any real alternatives have been squelched and killed by Microsoft.

    If I could avoid them, I would. But I can't. It's pretty much impossible. That's why I despise them. When I got into computing, it was a world full of possibility and wonder. In 10 short years it has been reduced to a smoking ruin, ruled over by a despot. Computing is NOT fun anymore, and Microsoft is the reason.

  • by nelsonal (549144) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:03PM (#4580615) Journal
    Yeah but /. was the only one who found it before it was released.
  • Re:Fascinating (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Xerithane (13482) <(xerithane) (at) (nerdfarm.org)> on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:04PM (#4580627) Homepage Journal
    Stop cheerleading for michael. I mean, all of your posts on this thread are saying how great /. is doing, and how great michael is by posting a substanceless link summary.

    Maybe you need to go learn what journalism is, I'll give you a hint, it's not sending out a few links to a few hundred thousand people. It's, get ready for this, reporting. Reporting the events of history pertinent to your viewer base, which /. is not doing. They are reporting links to events.

    So please, and I mean this as nice as possible, but stop mindlessly cheerleading and learn what journalism and reporting means.
  • by jimm (5532) <jimm&io,com> on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:05PM (#4580633) Homepage

    Microsoft shall disclose to ISVs, IHVs, IAPs, ICPs, and OEMs, for the sole purpose of interoperating with a Windows Operating System Product, via the Microsoft Developer Network ("MSDN") or similar mechanisms, the APIs and related Documentation that are used by Microsoft Middleware

    As I read this, that means that you or I (or the Samba team) will not get to see those APIs.

  • Loopholes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fava (513118) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:07PM (#4580642)
    The original proposed settlement on the surface seemed to be a solution but it has so many loopholes to be almost worthless. This settlement seems to be or be based on the original proposed settlement. Are any of the loopholes originally present still there or have they been eliminated?

    I noticed that the security exception is still there, what about the others?
  • by Kr3m3Puff (413047) <me@kitsonkelly.c3.14om minus pi> on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:07PM (#4580643) Homepage Journal
    2. To determine and enforce compliance with this Final Judgment, duly authorized
    representatives of the plaintiff States, on reasonable notice to Microsoft and
    subject to any lawful privilege, shall be permitted the following:
    a. Access during normal office hours to inspect any and all source code,
    books, ledgers, accounts, correspondence, memoranda and other
    documents and records in the possession, custody, or control of Microsoft,
    which may have counsel present, regarding any matters contained in this
    Final Judgment.


    Wow, wouldn't we want to be on a States duly authorized represantative for our state? Call you congressman and then call Microsoft and say "Show me the code!!!!"
  • Yahoo! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Erich (151) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:08PM (#4580659) Homepage Journal
    1. the schedule may specify different royalties for different language versions; 3

    2. the schedule may specify reasonable volume discounts based upon the actual volume of licenses of any Windows Operating System Product or any group of such products; and
    3. the schedule may include market development allowances, programs, or other discounts in connection with Windows Operating System Products, provided that:
    a. such discounts are offered and available uniformly to all Covered OEMs, except that Microsoft may establish one uniform discount schedule for the ten largest Covered OEMs and a second uniform discount schedule for the eleventh through twentieth largest Covered OEMs, where the size of the OEM is measured by volume of licenses;
    b. such discounts are based on objective, verifiable criteria that shall be applied and enforced on a uniform basis for all Covered OEMs; and
    c. such discounts or their award shall not be based on or impose any criterion or requirement that is otherwise inconsistent with any portion of this Final Judgment.

    This is the best part. There's a standard schedule for costs for everyone. You can't brown-nose Microsoft and get special deals, and Microsoft can't punish you by raising your costs for licenses.

    You buy licenses at the same rate as everyone else (who buys in the same quantities for the same languages as you do).

    This means that if Dell is the largest buyer of MS Licenses, it doesn't matter what they do, they get the cheapest rate. Likewise, any company that buys 2,000 Windows licenses gets the same rate, whether they are MS Fanboys or Sun Microsystems.

    Of course, a big "in theory" is added to all this.

  • by brokeninside (34168) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:09PM (#4580672)
    Actually, IIRC, Microsoft has been forbidden to do that since 1995 when they settled with the DOJ over exactly that issue. After the settlement, Microsoft managed to implement effectively the same policy by using OEM contracts that lowered the the price on Windows if Windows was the only OS installed by the OEM. OEMs that shipped machines without Windows were threatened with prices hikes.

    The language in the new ruling states that Microsoft must publish a standard schedule of fees for all OEMs. The former loophole should be effectively eliminated.

  • Perhaps (Score:2, Interesting)

    by brokeninside (34168) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:16PM (#4580739)
    As I read this, that means that you or I (or the Samba team) will not get to see those APIs.


    Perhaps, but any ISV that works on Samba will have access. Further, it should be quite easy for the Samba team to organize as a not-for-profit corporation to qualify as an ISV if they do not already.

    More worrisome is the RAND licensing provision.

  • Re:I like Microsoft (Score:4, Interesting)

    by morgajel (568462) <slashreaderNO@SPAMmorgajel.com> on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:21PM (#4580792) Homepage
    I actually just finished an article [draccus.net] on my website about why I will not support microsoft by purchasing or stealing copies of their software. I stand strongly behind my morals. I don't give a serial killer a 4th chance to prove himself reformed.

    "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool my twice, shame on me."

    Please, read what I wrote and tell me if you would still support Microsoft.

    and I apologize for any spelling errors. I haven't had a chance to proofread yet.
  • bill is selling out. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kwj8fty1 (225360) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:22PM (#4580805) Homepage
    In the past three days, Billy has sold over 3 million shares @ about 50bucks a pop. Do the math.

    See here for proof [msn.com]

    That's great. I bet he saw the writting on the wall on this one. The great wall of MS is coming down!

  • Re:API's (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sprytel (242051) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:25PM (#4580838)
    Err... Service Pack 1 for Windows XP is already released [microsoft.com].

    So does this mean that they must IMMEDIATELY disclose all this API information?
  • Interesting Portion (Score:3, Interesting)

    by limekiller4 (451497) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:25PM (#4580839) Homepage
    Does this mean what I think it means?

    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.
  • by scottme (584888) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:26PM (#4580840)
    It looks like the noise from the anti-MS contingent has helped to get MS off perhaps more lightly than they might have done: Kollar-Kotelly takes the plaintiffs to task for exaggerating the significance of Microsoft's wrongdoings, and for proposing remedies which would be inappropriate -- "Plaintiffs have shown little respect for the parameters of liability that were so precisely delineated by the appellate court." (Opinion P200).
  • by JohnG (93975) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:26PM (#4580845)
    Look further down the list and you'll see he also recently sold 20 million shares of stock.
  • by elmegil (12001) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:27PM (#4580858) Homepage Journal
    and you are sure of this how?
  • by Ted Cabeen (4119) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:29PM (#4580875) Homepage
    From what it looks like, Slashdot posted these links before they were officially released by the Judge.

    If one had purchased MSFT stock based on the early release of these documents, would that have been insider trading? Do hidden links referenced in a slashdot post count as public information?

    Disclaimer: I didn't read this story until after the markets closed at 4pm, and I have no position in Microsoft stock.
  • Re:Before the Bell? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ninewands (105734) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:31PM (#4580900)
    IIRC, the markets (NYSE and NASDAQ) close at 3:00 pm EST. The documents were not made available until 4:40 pm EST. Late enough that the markets are closed, early enough to make the 6:00 o'clock News. Sounds like it was timed about right to me.
  • by ddbsa (526686) <<moc.mehcisr> <ta> <ropyhp>> on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:34PM (#4580923)
    To determine and enforce compliance with this Final Judgment, duly authorized representatives of the plaintiff States, on reasonable notice to Microsoft and subject to any lawful privilege, shall be permitted the following: a. Access during normal office hours to
    inspect any and all source code, books, ledgers, accounts, correspondence, memoranda and other documents and records in the possession, custody, or control of Microsoft, which may have counsel present, regarding any matters contained in this Final Judgment.
    This kind of perpetual discovery will have MS screaming...

    I like it.
  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:37PM (#4580945) Homepage
    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.


    Assumption is the mother of all screw-ups.

    "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."

    Any thoughts on whether MS will publish MAPI (the Exchange API)? I'm thinking they'll say it's a security issue. What's the worst that can happen to MS? Another 5 year trial with another wrist slap at the end? They'd be retarded *not* to keep fucking us.
  • by jcoleman (139158) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:40PM (#4580968)
    Has anyone else noticed this? Not one single thing has been done punishing Microsoft for their actions.

    Not to mention the security API. There is nothing keeping them from writing one big lump of .dll that includes OS security and the copy/paste function all in one. Then of course there is the absence of provisions for OEMs to sell computers sans Windows.

    What a waste of taxpayers' money.
  • Re:Game, set, match (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:43PM (#4580985)
    Fuck, indeed.

    Now that they've laid the groundwork for hiding a whole new legally-protected operating system inside their now-semi-open operating system... in essence they've successfully dodged the remedy.

    Also, they won't get hauled into another (massive) court case for at least another 5 years because of this. MS has emerged unscathed. It's open season now.

    Call me a troll, I don't fucking care. I'm pissed about this. The US justice system is broken, and the corporations are offically running amok, and it's fucking obvious. It depresses me.

  • by fw3 (523647) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:43PM (#4580993) Homepage Journal
    SuaSponte: Latin for "of one's own accord; voluntarily." Used when the court addresses an issue without the litigants having presented the issue for consideration. Most frequently used when the court determines that jurisdiction is not proper even though both parties have agreed to appear in the court.
    "Jurisdiction is retaine by this Court such that the Court may act sua sponte to issue further orders or directions, includint but not limited to orders or directions relating to the construction or carrying out of this Final Judgement ..."

    Basically this says to me the judge has observed that MS has a record of working very hard to leverage ambiguity in prior judgements, coupled with the known slow pace of DOJ to evade restrictions.

    Kollar-Kotelly as I read it has said here: "This court will be seeing that this history does not repeat itself. And all parties have 1 week to sign on.

    go Judge!

  • Appeals? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jhughes (85890) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:46PM (#4581021) Homepage
    At this point...do the states appeal the decision? Microsoft stated that it would appeal a decision going against them, why can't the states?

    And what about the numerous other lawsuits (such as from Sun or AOL or what not)?

    Just because the judge said the settlement is ok, I wouldn't expect it to end here. Numerous other lawsuits are still out there and Microsoft will undoubtly be back in court as a competitor sues them for breaking details in this settlement (espically that withholding information for security purposes).

  • Re:Before the Bell? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nelsonal (549144) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:56PM (#4581094) Journal
    They actually close at 4:00 Eastern. And this was available on /. about 25 minutes earlier, however it was not generally available nor supposed to be available until 4:30 Eastern after the markets close. Some one at the court who put the files on the web server's head will probably roll. It's sorta ironic that slashdot was, at least indirectly, responsible for an increase in Microsoft's stock price [yahoo.com]. Look at the chart notice the big up swing after 3:20 EST or so, then go look at the time stamp on the story.
  • by Steve Hamlin (29353) on Friday November 01, 2002 @06:07PM (#4581168) Homepage

    If you will scan down the recent listings [yahoo.com], you'll see that Gates sells blocks of shares in round millions all of the time.

    Todays sale is not particularly relevant. He owns 616 million shares, selling a few million means nothing to him - probably program trades, cash for quarterly tax payments, a new yacht, etc.

    (Officer Barbrady voice) :
    Nothing to see here, folks. Move along now.

  • by Chris Johnson (580) on Friday November 01, 2002 @06:07PM (#4581170) Homepage Journal
    They can't do that- if they release information at all, it's 'reasonable and non-discrimatory'. "No soup for you!" is not among their options.

    I was initially disappointed in this decision- still am, in an emotional sense, I'd love to see MS thwacked soundly- but on reflection, I'm impressed with how cagey Colleen really was. I think this whole thing is about roping them into unwittingly going along with a settlement- thinking it is a total wristslap- except that the judgement very carefully scotches certain SPECIFIC behaviors that get in the way of anyone offering competition and unseating them. That can't be an accident...

    Think about it. The judgement addresses their behavior with OEMs, and specifically blocks them from playing politics- something that they did BIGTIME and which helped kill Netscape. The judgement addresses APIs and specifically blocks them from discriminatory behavior there as well. And all the time, it doesn't do a thing to upset Microsoft apart from that.

    Call it a MS victory if you want to. A breakup and Gates wailing and gnashing his teeth would have been way more fun. But to me it looks like Kollar-Kotelly thought very hard about the problem, "What can I slip past these people, who have total contempt for the law and enough money to be almost impossible to defeat in court, which they will accept, but which will damage their ability to continue their worst abuses?"

    Her answer seems to be, "Certain specific and very carefully placed restrictions on how they deal with OEMs and how they publicise their APIs". I can't really argue with that- if it is true that they cannot be punished and are more powerful than the US government or the justice system, the practical question is clearly 'so what do we do?'. And we all know quite well that playing politics with vendors, developers etc. is how they managed the worst of their abuses.

    Don't be too quick to call this a total MS victory. In an ideal world where Microsoft was just a nice hardworking business, it would be. In the real world, the judge has just singled out some of their most effective (and illegal under antitrust law) weapons, and forced them to deal with the world they way they claim to.

    It would be difficult for them to bitch at this point and object (on the grounds that they need to be able to discriminate with APIs and pressure OEMs). They almost have to claim in turn that it's a big victory for them. But, again, that's only if they usually play fair. Frankly, they prefer to carry on like mafiosi- and that is almost ALL that has changed, for them.

    Welcome to the real world, Microsoft. Announce your victory. And bite your tongue!

  • Java (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dnoyeb (547705) on Friday November 01, 2002 @06:15PM (#4581234) Homepage Journal
    I disagree with the courts finding with respect to Java.

    The judge seems to be of the impression that since Java worked on M$ OSes and M$ actively distributed its own JVM in which java applications "worked" then M$ was not really trying to kill java. Thus she accepts M$ claim (I assume this is what they claimed) that their modifications were improvements to enhance Java on their OSes.

    But this neglects the mission and design of Java. If java were simply a programming language this this would be true, but Java is an environment.

    The failure is with SUN and the plantifs. Though I disagree I believe she is right.

    If you take the case of the windows logo in which people had to make programs run on winNT before they would get the logo for 95. Sun should have had a Java logo. M$ could never say development towards win95 only is an attempt to destroy NT.
  • by Anonvmous Coward (589068) on Friday November 01, 2002 @06:18PM (#4581259)
    "Monopolies are not good for anything, expect
    for Microsoft..."


    If we were talking about phone companies or power companies, I'd agree with you. In MS's case, I would disagree. MS's scenario is unique because it provides a standard (de facto that is) for developers to make their apps run. For example: If a game company wants to make their game for the PC, they only have to worry about Windows. If Linux were a strong competitor to Windows (in terms of users) then it would spread the game company thin. This has been observed in the console market.

    "Now, if Microsoft is able to
    convince you that it is in your interest for
    them to continue as a monopoly, then the problem
    is you beeing so impressible."


    I came to that observation on my own. I have no particular love for MS, but when I think about IBM giving up on providing Linux with their systems I can't help but think it was because they were happy to only worry about one OS. MS has done a lot of shitty things, no doubt about that, but you cannot argue that when PC's are less confusing they're more attractive for customers to buy.
  • Re:API's (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Flower (31351) on Friday November 01, 2002 @06:25PM (#4581303) Homepage
    From CNN's site:
    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.

    You're right. It is a big deal.
  • Felony (Score:4, Interesting)

    by m0rph3us0 (549631) on Friday November 01, 2002 @06:29PM (#4581322)
    Since the CEO is responsible for the actions of the company, does this mean that Balmer and/or Gates are now felons under violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act? I'm not a lawyer, but with all the laws against CEO misconduct that Bush is passing would this be the case?
  • Re:Felony (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ClosedSource (238333) on Friday November 01, 2002 @06:40PM (#4581393)
    No, this was a civil case.
  • by GigsVT (208848) on Friday November 01, 2002 @06:41PM (#4581394) Journal
    I assume you mean free speech in regard to presenting information that amounts to a copyright control circumvention device.

    I think that's a weak case since the supreme court set the precedent years and years ago that the first amendment is limited... a bad precedent, but a precedent.

    The DMCA is likely constitutional. It's going to be hard to make a constitutional argument against it, in light of a hundred years of case law that uphold the idea that the 1st is limited, combined with the 2600 case also supporting it.

    Maybe you meant a different part of the bill of rights. If so, let me know.
  • by writertype (541679) on Friday November 01, 2002 @06:48PM (#4581425)
    Judge Robert H. Bork, former Appellate Judge and Antitrust Expert

    The decision accepts the deeply flawed settlement between Microsoft and the Department of Justice, which does nothing to restore competition to the marketplace or to prevent Microsoft from repeating acts explicitly held by the Court of Appeals to have been illegal.

    The net result is that until this decision is overturned on appeal, as I believe it will be, competition will not be restored.

    The Court of Appeals clearly prohibited Microsoft's practice of commingling the code of Windows with that of other critical software when there is no
    benefit, but rather a clear harm, to consumers. This decision fails to
    remedy this violation of the law, and its reversal seems likely on this point alone.

    Never before has there been a case where liability was so thoroughly established, and never before has there been a case where the Justice Department agreed to a remedy that did almost nothing of what the law and the Court of Appeals required. Today's decision represent a substantial abandonment of antitrust law as it applies to one of the most important industries in America. The Department of Justice won at every step of the trial, and then surrendered in the settlement process. To justify this surrender, the Department resorted to disingenuous arguments that it could not be statistically proven that Microsoft's illegal conduct directly caused harm to Netscape. Their post hoc rationale for a flawed settlement has been absurd. We have the corpse of Netscape on the floor, and a whole host of other technologies whose development was stopped because it did not coincide with Microsoft's business plans.

    The most disturbing message of all is that sent to nascent technologies and
    innovators: the Department of Justice will not protect you from predatory monopolists. That is a grave error in economic policy and will have disastrous effects for competition in this and other industries.

    Judge Kenneth W. Starr, former U.S. Solicitor General and Appellate Judge

    This settlement gives the green light to Microsoft to continue its monopoly practices, a disastrous result for the high-tech industry, which has lived under effective Microsoft control for too many years.

    In its unanimous ruling last summer that Microsoft had violated antitrust law, the Court of Appeals stated that the remedy must "terminate the monopoly, deny to Microsoft the fruits of its past statutory violations, and prevent any future anticompetitive activity." This weak settlement clearly fails to meet that standard, and it is my belief that the Judge simply gave too much deference to the Department of Justice, deference that was not warranted given the fact that the remedy proceedings were held after a full and complete trial.

    The nine states that refused to accept the Microsoft settlement proved during the remedy hearings that Microsoft's monopoly is stronger than ever and that real remedies are needed. The Attorneys General of these states are to be commended for their courageous defense of consumers, antitrust laws and free-market economy. These AGs fought on because they understood that Microsoft is poised to monopolize the Internet itself, a result made more likely by today's decision.

    It is my hope those Attorneys General will continue to fight to seek immediate review of this flawed decision.

    Mike Pettit, ProComp President

    ProComp is extremely disappointed. This represents a systemic failure of the legal system, a failure to protect consumers, competition, and companies like Netscape whose innovations literally changed the world.

    Microsoft has terrorized the industry for more than a decade. Victims of Microsoft's predatory conduct are legion. This was the moment in time when competition could have been restored; that task will be much more difficult in the future. The right case was brought and won resoundingly. Eight
    federal judges ruled unanimously against Microsoft. And then what
    happened can only be explained this way: the Bush Justice Department surrendered to Microsoft.

    The word has gone forth from the Bush Administration to countless would-be dreamers and tinkerers: we will not protect you when monopolists like Microsoft set out to crush you. It may take a decade to understand just how shortsighted today's decision is.

    Microsoft has ostensibly been on its best behavior the past few months while pretending to comply with the DOJ settlement. Even during this time, the degree and nature of their predatory conduct has accelerated. I shudder to think of what this portends for the industry, which is now almost totally regulated by the most powerful monopolist in history.
  • by Compulawyer (318018) on Friday November 01, 2002 @07:06PM (#4581530)
    What about those of us who are lawyers and will just cry for the end of any ability to get meaningful remedies under the antitrust laws instead of posting a shoddy legal analysis?
  • by neitzsche (520188) on Friday November 01, 2002 @07:15PM (#4581574) Journal
    The monopoly in this case was not found to have been illegally acquired, but only
    to have been illegally maintained. Therefore, rather than termination of the
    monopoly, the proper objective of the remedy in this case is termination of the
    exclusionary acts and practices related thereto which served to illegally maintain
    the monopoly.


    How on earth did she come to that conclusion?!
  • by scoove (71173) on Friday November 01, 2002 @07:53PM (#4581780)
    KarlMarx writes:
    That is what a government in a capitalistic economy is for; maintaining a free market by hack-and-slash methods

    Really? Avoiding the overused (but accurate) argument that you can't blame a capitalist economy when there isn't one, you've got to look at this behavior for what it is: graft/kickback/payoloa/etc.

    Do governments in non-capitalist systems squeeze companies until they get the financial "recognition" they seek? The proper respect? Certainly the US isn't the only nation to treat the private sector as the government's ATM machine?

    Having dealt with PTT's (monopoly phone companies) in many middle eastern and south american countries for several years, I was always mildly amused at how the deal never cared about bringing good products to people, having better rates, competition, etc. In some banana republics (specifically recalling one off the coast of Venezuela), the first words out of our PTT hosts' mouthes was "What stuff did you bring for us? Any electronics? Computers? Jewelry? Cash? Let's show what you've got." (Yea, they weren't looking for a fruit basket)

    It was always about the money that'd be given to the respective PTT, its government, and the parties at the table (plus everyone they had to pay off).

    Microsoft's antitrust was caused by its failure to properly recognize authority, and its successful resolution to the matter an indication that the authorities finally felt satisfied that the payola was mostly sufficient (for now).

    Please, don't ever confuse this with capitalism. This is the behavior of a controlled economy.

    and per:
    who can restrict the release of its APIs to major commercial companies only.

    Yes, the other shoe dropping in corrupt, controlled economies. Other larger corporations got into the deal-fest too. Their congresscritters remembered their obligations to bring back some goodies for them too.

    To you hopeless fools who can't figure this out, it'll never change as long as you don't blame the right source. This system was here before capitalism was ever conceived and will probably outlast it as well.

    *scoove*
  • a sad day (Score:3, Interesting)

    by neowintermute (81982) <<poet> <at> <hyperpoem.net>> on Friday November 01, 2002 @07:57PM (#4581798) Homepage
    Here are two relevant quotes from the article:

    " Kollar-Kotelly also modified the oversight of Microsoft's compliance with the settlement. Originally, the proposal included a technical committee and an internal compliance officer. In Friday's ruling, the judge combined the two into a compliance committee made up of Microsoft board members. In turn, the committee must hire a compliance officer, to report to the committee and Microsoft's CEO. ...
    Attorney General John Ashcroft also praised the ruling. "The court's decision is a major victory for consumers and businesses, who can immediately take advantage of the final judgment's provisions," Ashcroft said in a statement released Friday afternoon. "

    I guess those huge campaign contributions MS made to Bush's and Ashcroft's campaigns really paid off!

    http://www.opensecrets.org/alerts/v6/alertv6_26. as p

    "Microsoft also was a major contributor to the Bush-Cheney Inaugural Fund, donating $100,000 to the gala last January."

    Please people, vote!!!

  • by iskander (9699) on Friday November 01, 2002 @07:57PM (#4581800)

    If I'm not mistaken, you're Steve McGeady of Intel, who did Set Top Boxes with Gosling at SIGGRAPH '95 [acm.org].[1] Why didn't Intel put up the $40k to cover your expenses as a witness in the government's case [com.com], especially in light of what Microsoft did to them?

    __

    [1] FWIW, mad props for keen vision etcetera; and isn't it interesting how that prospect was also killed off by Microsoft?

  • Now what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alethes (533985) on Friday November 01, 2002 @08:05PM (#4581842)
    OK. So now we know for sure what we've mostly assumed all along -- Microsoft has a monopoly and the government isn't going to do much, if anything, about it. Are all of the competitors ready to get off their sweaty asses and do something revolutionary finally, or are they and we going to continue to whine about how unfair Microsoft is? We already know a lot of Free Software is superior to the garbage Microsoft spews out, so why don't we develop some sort of strategy to push Linux and other Free Software to the level that it actually threatens Microsoft's monopoly instead of relying the government that we don't trust anyway to somehow help us?

    Yes, a lot of companies are doing this already, but let's stand behind them 100% instead of whining about their lack of spine for not including flag graphics or for looking too much like Windows or any number of other cheesy gripes.

    Are you people ready NOW or do you want to wait for another few rounds in court before we actually give Microsoft the competition the marketplace needs? The only thing that Microsoft has that the Free Software Movement needs is a clear direction. Yes, free men pull in all sorts of directions, but right now, we're mostly we're running into eachother.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 01, 2002 @08:16PM (#4581888)
    I think that the situation is actually reversed...i.e IBM/Dell/Gateway/succes = MS success. People want office suites, games, etc., and not OS'es.

    I think that if you gave Joe Sixpack a Linux PC, that could use all of the software that Windows does, in the same fashion, that he wouldn't care that it was Linux running it. Windows at this point is nothing more than a brand name taking a chunk out of everyone's pie because no-one wishes to rock the boat.

    Of course, we have no way to test, so it's just MHO.
  • by Zoarre (1487) on Friday November 01, 2002 @08:40PM (#4581978)
    So much for having faith in the market.

    Do you really think Microsoft can declare war on it's customers and come out on top? History has repeatedly shown that when an affluent company starts focusing on defending itself from its customers it looses them in time. I think we are all just being impatient; some justice isn't dramatic or swift. This applies to the RIAA, the MPAA, and anyone else that treats customers like livestock.

    By definition, the US government is not interested in a free market, they're interested in corpoprate protectionism.

    You can't just blame the govenrnment because the government is just a reflection of who we are as a nation. If you see the government as a bunch of corporate whores, it's probably because we're a nation of corporate whores.

  • by reallocate (142797) on Friday November 01, 2002 @09:09PM (#4582052)
    ...I wonder if so many amateur economists would be posting here now?

    In truth, the remedies sought by the anti-settlement states would have had little, if any, impact on the market share enjoyed by Microsoft products. Telling Microsoft not to bully vendors who hide a few icons is not the way to foster competitive products.

    Lost in all this smoke and hot air is the intimate link between Microsoft and the x86 PC architecture. Other architectures were, and are, possible. Vendors selling alternative OS's for the x86 platform may eventually carve out a stable and profitable niche, but their impact on MS will be minimal. (A decision today in favor of the anti-settlement states would not have changed that fact.)

    The way to check Microsoft's influence is to create and market a personal computing platform based on a new, non-x86 platform that offers compelling capabilities that the x86 can't. This would represent a paradigm shift as significant as the original PC industry in the late '70's and early '80's.
  • by CrazyDuke (529195) on Friday November 01, 2002 @09:22PM (#4582070)
    Only in the US:
    Can a defendant be proven guilty...
    Be disrespectful to the court...
    Flat out refuse to comply with court orders without legal grounds...
    Not even follow their own version and interpretation of the settlement agreement...
    and..
    Be granted even more power than they had before. (Yeah, its illegal, but its ok for MS to do it!)

    If any of us had tried to pull this kind of shit in court, we'd be like the guy on goatse.cx by now. But because its "Big Money, Corp." they can do it all day long and not even flinch. No polititions calling for reform. No legal experts throwing a fit. No public outcry. Welcome to the US o fuckin A. (smells the karma burn)

    I wish I could get away with bankrupting company after company and ripping off billions with a settlement that basically said, "I promise to not do it again as long as I don't think I need to." The settlement rank and file full of contradiction after contradiction, loophole after loophole. I can honestly say, that in my life, I have never seen this large a pile of outright horseshit, and in all places, the country that is supposed to value the rights of the little guy over that of the groups. God help me, where is the United States I was told about growing up? Where is the land of tolerance and Free thought and the chance for the little guy to succeed. I'm not calling for anarchy or comunism, so to those who would reflexively accuse me so, keep that in mind. This is supposed to be the land of the Free, not the land where you are free to fuck someone over, so long as you don't piss off someone with more power than you.

    I'll admit, I have been wrong before; I will be wrong again; and I may be wrong now. But right now it sure seems to be the truth to me. This is a sham. This is a shame. This is reality.
  • Three things. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Max Threshold (540114) on Friday November 01, 2002 @11:13PM (#4582371)
    1. Open Source still delivers the best product at the best price. That speaks for itself in any language. Full speed ahead. 2. When Microsoft goes bankrupt in five years and Open Source takes over the market, nobody will be able to whine that it was because of sanctions imposed by the government. 3. When the law doesn't protect The People, then The People are not bound by the law. With this ruling, the court has abdicated its authority with regards to the enforcement of antitrust law. We The People have thus been granted the absolute moral right to hack, pirate, and reverse engineer any Microsoft product or protocol to ensure competition and compatibility.
  • by sterno (16320) on Friday November 01, 2002 @11:58PM (#4582459) Homepage
    People once dumped their inexpensive Apple II's, Commodores and TRS-80's for the more expensive IBM PC. The possiblity certainly exists that Mac OSX could take off in a big way, particularly since it is both easier to use than Windows, and more powerful.

    People dumped their inexpensive Apple II's and Commodores and TRS-80's because they all used IBM PC's at work and it made more sense to have the same machine at home as they had at work. Eventually the market share of these machines lead to the vast majority of software being developed for them and so they came to take over the market.


    Linux distros are merely repackagers of software, slapping a user "friendly" veneers over it. There's nothing stopping a third party from slapping a better veneer over FreeBSD or NetBSD. This is what Apple did, and they're doing great because of it.

    Doing great? In Q1 of 2002, Apple's market share for new computer sales was less than 3% of the market. That has been the case since at least 1999, regardless of OS X. They are hanging on to what they've got, but there's little evidence that they are going to be making any serious head way anytime soon.

    I learned the painful lesson of the network effect back in the days of Atari. I an Atari 1040ST computer, and it was superior in every way to an IBM PC except for one REALLY important way. There were more IBM PC's out there. So, support for software dwindled, and my computer became worthless before it's time.

    Linux becomes a viable option because it has a strong community of people around it developing for it. So even though there's not as much support amongst commercial vendors, one can accomplish a lot on Linux without them. So Linux isn't as hurt by the network effect as Apple is (especially because Linux runs on the same hardware as Windows).

    But in order for linux to have real success going against Microsoft going forward, one of two things must happen. Either the nature of the computer marketplace has to change drastically or Linux has to be able to act as a drop-in replacement for Windows in existing networks. The first option is a possibility, no argument, but increasingly the second path is becoming very difficult.

    What do the Samba people do when they can't implement Microsoft protocols? Do they start offering a closed source royalty laden version? I mean who would buy it when they can get that "free" from Microsoft. What happens when the people start writing .Net software figuring they can run it on mono and then discover that a new Microsoft API is available that's only available under windows because the new API's got a number of patents and royalty fees associated with it?

    I'm not saying that somebody overthrowing Microsoft is impossible, but Linux is the best threat now. I think that this court case, had it ended in a better way, had a chance of helping out that cause. Linux may still do it on its own, but it's going to be a lot harder.
  • by woogieoogieboogie (598162) on Saturday November 02, 2002 @12:42AM (#4582546)
    Is anyone even remotely aware of what would have happened if Microsoft would have been forced to open their API's to everyone? Everyone would then be programming with the windows API and ultimately cause windows to be the defacto standard. With windows as a defacto standard, every other OS would die off very quickly. What would be in more demand, an OS which was open source, secure and had binary compatibility with windows or Linux? Forced opening of the Windows API would FURTHER entrench Microsoft's monopoly in the long term

    Over time, Microsoft will destroy itslef. It is the nature of the corporation to grow to a point where it is no longer nimble enough to compete with smaller quicker acting companies. Breakign Microsoft up, would create dozens of small nimble companeis all with the Microsoft culture. Nobody would be able to compete. The breakup of Standard Oil and AT&T shoudl serve as a grat lesson to all about corporate breakups; all they do is create companues which treat their customers worse and are more greedy than the original monopoly. Sears, Woolworth and all the othe large companies which grew huge, got arrogant and fell should serve as an indication of where Microsoft will eventually land.

    Remember when Intel was forced to open the x86 architecture, because of that clones appeared and further entrnched the x86 architecture into the pc world. Had that not happened, the superior 68k architecture just might have supplanted the inferior x86 architecture.

    At least the government has learned from the past

  • by VivianC (206472) <internet_update&yahoo,com> on Saturday November 02, 2002 @01:03AM (#4582608) Homepage Journal
    I think you are missing the full quotes.

    From the AP:


    She also eliminated a technical committee that would have enforced the settlement terms. In its place, a corporate committee - consisting of board members who aren't Microsoft employees - will make sure the company lives up to the deal. The judge also gave herself more oversight authority.


    From NEWS.COM: [news.com]


    Kollar-Kotelly also modified the oversight of Microsoft's compliance with the settlement. Originally, the proposal included a technical committee and an internal compliance officer, both potentially influenced by Microsoft. In Friday's ruling, the judge combined the two into a compliance committee made up of Microsoft board members. In turn, the committee must hire a compliance officer, to report to the committee and to Microsoft's CEO. As corporate officers and non-Microsoft employees, the compliance committee in theory would be more likely to appropriately enforce the settlement in this era of renewed corporate responsibility.


    It seems to make some sense since the board members (including Mr. Gates) can be held personally and financialy responsable for conduct that violates the settlement.

    It ain't the best, but it's still better than ICANN.
  • Re:No silver lining (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chris Johnson (580) on Saturday November 02, 2002 @01:34AM (#4582695) Homepage Journal
    Wrong: the committee you mention is meaningless. The watchdogs aren't the committee. The watchdogs are State representatives, who are given license to go into Microsoft at any time, go anywhere and get access to anything. The term is 'any and all' code, memos, reports, backs of old envelopes- the representative gets to see absolutely anything.

    That's the watchdog. Not the committee. The committee is a figurehead- or a directive as to how to comply, and who is to be hands-on with complying with the judgement. She's having members of the board of directors get their hands dirty with it- possibly as a set-up in case they do continue to misbehave, so they can't claim ignorance.

    I think Judge Kollar-Kotelly is pretty damned smart, really. Instead of doing squat to them now, she's setting up a situation in which IF they immediately reform, they get off scot free. And if they persist in misbehaving, it can backfire on them in more ways than you could imagine. She seems to have set it up that way- perhaps in the belief that, if she had acted more directly, the appeals court would overturn her remedy too? Note how she sucks up to the appeals court.

  • by Pierre-Arnaud (453848) on Saturday November 02, 2002 @06:44AM (#4583265)
    Writing from France, excuse my english...

    You are probably right, at least under a US right winged government.

    Cross the ocean, watch Europe. The antitrust department here was waiting for the US justice final decision before issuing its own... In Europe, Microsoft has near *zero* political (financial) influence. You can't buy politics here (well, not as blatantly as in US..).

    Europe is also commissionning a U.K. enterprise (I can't remember its name) to evaluate technical and financial solutions to get rid of MS "solutions" in favor of free or open source ones...

    This is happening in lot of countries, as Microsoft is effectively abusing its monopoly, wether US justice admits it or not...

    Two major points are motivating this migration patern : the cost progression of MS software, and the control over sensible data formats...

    The way I see it : MS is at a peek in OS+Office software monopoly control. From here, there is no other way left than down.
  • Re:Dangit! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by surprise_audit (575743) on Saturday November 02, 2002 @07:42AM (#4583345)
    ...they can only refuse if releasing it would compromise security...

    MS is already covered on that one. It wasn't so long ago that they told a judge "our code is so buggy that making any part of it public would compromise national security" or some such twaddle.

    Looks almost like they were expecting that provision in the Final Judgement.

"Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." -- Hannah Arendt.

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