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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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  • Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by CySurflex (564206) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:38PM (#4580344)
    Microsoft Corp. anounces MS Lawyer 2k - This exciting new product translates any sentence or paragraph into pages upon pages of unintelligable lawyer speak. Vanessa Roberts, VP of Public Relations at Microsoft was quoted as saying "we have been using this product for years for our EULA's and to intimidate small competitors, we just figured it's about time we shared the wealth".
    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

      by IPFreely (47576) <mark@mwiley.org> on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:28PM (#4580871) Homepage Journal
      "An infinite number of Monkeys with typewriters will eventually get the document out correctly, but For version 1.0, we only have 37 Monkeys, and they are limited to 3 hours run time. Expect later version to include more Monkeys"
    • 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.
      • 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.

        • 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 Zelet (515452) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:39PM (#4580356) Journal
    I downloaded the initial order quickly. The opinion... took a little longer... now... can't get to anything.

    Congratulations people... you just slashdoted the United States of America Judicial System.
  • 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 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 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 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 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*
    • 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.

    • 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 Evil Pete (73279) on Friday November 01, 2002 @08:27PM (#4581928) Homepage

      People should really read some of "The Prince" by Machiavelli to get an appreciation about what the Government vs Monopoly thing is about. In a democracy the people are in theory in possession of a significant amount of power, though only intermittently. In a capitalist society, not necessarily a democracy, some companies will grow until they reach a point that they can take over their entire market. If they grow till they then take a large chunk of the economy or exercise great influence by virtue of their financial assets then that government has a problem. Because now it has a rival.

      Traditionally there are a number of solutions. Pre-empt the takeover by nationalising the company (eventually leads to other problems), or by making the company executives politicians (worked in England with the House of Lords but not in US Senate style house which requires periodic elections) , or of course breaking up the company, in other words treating it as a rival state.

      The United States is not in that position yet, but it should be kept in mind. We should remember that in the past some companies actually controlled and ran whole countries e.g. the East India Company [ucla.edu]

      Anti monopoly action by a democracy should be regarded as no more controversial than getting rid of bloody lantana [abc.net.au] from your garden before it chokes everything. Monopolies are to capitalism as cancer is to an organism.

      Anyway my 2 cents ... maybe I should've added a rant mode tag ... nah ... this is Slashdot the rant tag is redundant.

  • by L. VeGas (580015) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:40PM (#4580369) Homepage Journal
    I'll put some kind of summary text here once I've had a chance to read it.

    WTF? Ok, I'll put some kind of response here after you've posted it.
  • 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 1155 (538047) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:42PM (#4580383) Homepage
    STATE OF NEW YORK, et al.,
    Plaintiffs
    v.
    MICROSOFT CORPORATION,
    Defendant.
    UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
    FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
    Civil Action No. 98-1233 (CKK)
    FINAL JUDGMENT
    The Plaintiff States of California, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Utah,
    and West Virginia, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia, having
    filed their complaints in this action on May 18, 1998;
    Defendant Microsoft Corporation ("Microsoft") having appeared and filed its answer;
    The Court having entered Findings of Fact on November 5, 1999 and Conclusions of
    Law on April 3, 2000;
    The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit having affirmed
    the District Court's finding of liability against Microsoft for violation of 2 of the Sherman Act
    and the state law counterparts to 2 of the Sherman Act in the states of California, Connecticut,
    Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Utah, and West Virginia, the Commonwealth of
    Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia, and having remanded to this Court for an order of
    remedy; and
    Upon the record of trial and all prior and subsequent proceedings herein, it is this 1st day
    of November, 2002, hereby
    ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED as follows:
    I. Jurisdiction
    This Court has jurisdiction of the subject matter of this action and of the person of
    Microsoft.
    2
    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.
    III. Prohibited Conduct
    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:
    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;
    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
    3. exercising any of the options or alternatives provided for under this Final
    Judgment.
    Nothing in this provision shall prohibit Microsoft from enforcing any provision of any license
    with any OEM or any intellectual property right that is not inconsistent with this Final Judgment.
    Microsoft shall not terminate a Covered OEM's license for a Windows Operating System
    Product without having first given the Covered OEM written notice of the reasons for the
    proposed termination and not less than thirty days' opportunity to cure. Notwithstanding the
    foregoing, Microsoft shall have no obligation to provide such a termination notice and
    opportunity to cure to any Covered OEM that has received two or more such notices during the
    term of its Windows Operating System Product license.
    Nothing in this provision shall prohibit Microsoft from providing Consideration to any OEM
    with respect to any Microsoft product or service where that Consideration is commensurate with
    the absolute level or amount of that OEM's development, distribution, promotion, or licensing of
    that Microsoft product or service.
    B. Microsoft's provision of Windows Operating System Products to Covered OEMs shall be
    pursuant to uniform license agreements with uniform terms and conditions. Without
    limiting the foregoing, Microsoft shall charge each Covered OEM the applicable royalty
    for Windows Operating System Products as set forth on a schedule, to be established by
    Microsoft and published on a web site accessible to the Plaintiffs and all Covered OEMs,
    that provides for uniform royalties for Windows Operating System Products, except that:
    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.
    C. Microsoft shall not restrict by agreement any OEM licensee from exercising any of the
    following options or alternatives:
    1. Installing, and displaying icons, shortcuts, or menu entries for, any Non-Microsoft
    Middleware or any product or service (including but not limited to IAP products
    or services) that distributes, uses, promotes, or supports any Non-Microsoft
    Middleware, on the desktop or Start menu, or anywhere else in a Windows
    Operating System Product where a list of icons, shortcuts, or menu entries for
    applications are generally displayed, except that Microsoft may restrict an OEM
    from displaying icons, shortcuts and menu entries for any product in any list of
    such icons, shortcuts, or menu entries specified in the Windows documentation as
    being limited to products that provide particular types of functionality, provided
    that the restrictions are non-discriminatory with respect to non-Microsoft and
    Microsoft products.
    2. Distributing or promoting Non-Microsoft Middleware by installing and
    displaying
    on the desktop shortcuts of any size or shape so long as such shortcuts do not
    impair the functionality of the user interface.
    3. Launching automatically, at the conclusion of the initial boot sequence or
    subsequent boot sequences, or upon connections to or disconnections from the
    Internet, any Non-Microsoft Middleware, except that Microsoft may restrict the
    launching of Non-Microsoft Middleware which replaces or drastically alters the
    Windows Operating System Product user interface.
    4. Offering users the option of launching other Operating Systems from the Basic
    Input/Output System or a non-Microsoft boot-loader or similar program that
    launches prior to the start of the Windows Operating System Product.
    5. Presenting during the initial boot sequence its own IAP offer.
    6. Exercising any of the options provided in Section III.H of this Final Judgment.
    4
    D. 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. For purposes of this Section
    III.D, the term APIs means the interfaces, including any associated callback interfaces,
    that Microsoft Middleware running on a Windows Operating System Product uses to call
    upon that Windows Operating System Product in order to obtain any services from that
    Windows Operating System Product. In the case of a new major version of Microsoft
    Middleware, the disclosures required by this Section III.D shall occur no later than the
    last major beta test release of that Microsoft Middleware. In the case of a new version of
    a Windows Operating System Product, the obligations imposed by this Section III.D shall
    occur in a Timely Manner.
    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.
    F. 1. Microsoft shall not retaliate against or threaten retaliation against any ISV or IHV
    because of that ISV's or
    IHV's:
    a. developing, using, distributing, promoting or supporting any software that
    competes with Microsoft Platform Software or any software that runs on
    any software that competes with Microsoft Platform Software, or
    b. exercising any of the options or alternatives provided for under this Final
    Judgment.
    2. Microsoft shall not enter into any agreement relating to a Windows Operating
    System Product that conditions the grant of any Consideration on an ISV's
    refraining from developing, using, distributing, or promoting any software that
    competes with Microsoft Platform Software or any software that runs on any
    software that competes with Microsoft Platform Software, except that Microsoft
    may enter into agreements that place limitations on an ISV's development, use,
    distribution or promotion of any such software if those limitations are reasonably
    necessary to and of reasonable scope and duration in relation to a bona fide
    contractual obligation of the ISV to use, distribute or promote any Microsoft
    software or to develop software for, or in conjunction with, Microsoft.
    3. Nothing in this section shall prohibit Microsoft from enforcing any provision of
    any agreement with any ISV or IHV, or any intellectual property right, that is not
    5
    inconsistent with this Final Judgment.
    G. Microsoft shall not enter into any agreement with:
    1. any IAP, ICP, ISV, IHV or OEM that grants Consideration on the condition that
    such entity distributes, promotes, uses, or supports, exclusively or in a fixed
    percentage, any Microsoft Platform Software, except that Microsoft may enter
    into agreements in which such an entity agrees to distribute, promote, use or
    support Microsoft Platform Software in a fixed percentage whenever Microsoft in
    good faith obtains a representation that it is commercially practicable for the
    entity to provide equal or greater distribution, promotion, use or support for
    software that competes with Microsoft Platform Software, or
    2. any IAP or ICP that grants placement on the desktop or elsewhere in any
    Windows Operating System Product to that IAP or ICP on the condition that the
    IAP or ICP refrain from distributing, promoting or using any software that
    competes with Microsoft Middleware.
    Nothing in this section shall prohibit Microsoft from entering into (a) any bona fide joint venture
    or (b) any joint development or joint services arrangement with any ISV, IHV, IAP, ICP, or
    OEM for a new product, technology or service, or any material value-add to an existing product,
    technology or service, in which both Microsoft and the ISV, IHV, IAP, ICP, or OEM contribute
    significant developer or other resources, that prohibits such entity from competing with the
    object of the joint venture or other arrangement for a reasonable period of time.
    This Section does not apply to any agreements in which Microsoft licenses intellectual property
    from a third party and such intellectual property license is the principal purpose of the
    agreement.
    H. 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:
    1. Allow end users (via a mechanism readily accessible from the desktop or Start
    menu such as an Add/Remove icon) and OEMs (via standard preinstallation kits)
    to enable or remove access to each Microsoft Middleware Product or
    Non-Microsoft Middleware Product by (a) displaying or removing icons,
    shortcuts, or menu entries on the desktop or Start menu, or anywhere else in a
    Windows Operating System Product where a list of icons, shortcuts, or menu
    entries for applications are generally displayed, except that Microsoft may restrict
    the display of icons, shortcuts, or menu entries for any product in any list of such
    icons, shortcuts, or menu entries specified in the Windows documentation as
    being limited to products that provide particular types of functionality, provided
    that the restrictions are non-discriminatory with respect to non-Microsoft and
    Microsoft products; and (b) enabling or disabling automatic invocations pursuant
    to Section III.C.3 of this Final Judgment that are used to launch Non-Microsoft
    Middleware Products or Microsoft Middleware Products. The mechanism shall
    offer the end user a separate and unbiased choice with respect to enabling or
    6
    removing access (as described in this subsection III.H.1) and altering default
    invocations (as described in the following subsection III.H.2) with regard to each
    such Microsoft Middleware Product or Non-Microsoft Middleware Product and
    may offer the end-user a separate and unbiased choice of enabling or removing
    access and altering default configurations as to all Microsoft Middleware
    Products as a group or all Non-Microsoft Middleware Products as a group.
    2. Allow end users (via an unbiased mechanism readily available from the desktop
    or Start menu), OEMs (via standard OEM preinstallation kits), and
    Non-Microsoft Middleware Products (via a mechanism which may, at Microsoft's
    option, require confirmation from the end user in an unbiased manner) to
    designate a Non-Microsoft Middleware Product to be invoked in place of that
    Microsoft Middleware Product (or vice versa) in any case where the Windows
    Operating System Product would otherwise launch the Microsoft Middleware
    Product in a separate Top-Level Window and display either (i) all of the user
    interface elements or (ii) the Trademark of the Microsoft Middleware Product.
    Notwithstanding the foregoing Section III.H.2, the Windows Operating System Product may
    invoke a Microsoft Middleware Product in any instance in which:
    (a) that Microsoft Middleware Product would be invoked solely for use in
    interoperating with a server maintained by Microsoft (outside the context
    of general Web browsing), or
    (b) that designated Non-Microsoft Middleware Product fails to implement a
    reasonable technical requirement (e.g., a requirement to be able to host a
    particular ActiveX control) that is necessary for valid technical reasons to
    supply the end user with functionality consistent with a Windows
    Operating System Product, provided that the technical reasons are
    described in writing in a reasonably prompt manner to any ISV that
    requests them.
    3. Ensure that a Windows Operating System Product does not (a) automatically alter
    an OEM's configuration of icons, shortcuts or menu entries installed or displayed
    by the OEM pursuant to Section III.C of this Final Judgment without first seeking
    confirmation from the user and (b) seek such confirmation from the end user for
    an automatic (as opposed to user-initiated) alteration of the OEM's configuration
    until 14 days after the initial boot up of a new Personal Computer. Any such
    automatic alteration and confirmation shall be unbiased with respect to Microsoft
    Middleware Products and Non-Microsoft Middleware. Microsoft shall not alter
    the manner in which a Windows Operating System Product automatically alters
    an OEM's configuration of icons, shortcuts or menu entries other than in a new
    version of a Windows Operating System Product.
    Microsoft's obligations under this Section III.H as to any new Windows Operating System
    Product shall be determined based on the Microsoft Middleware Products which exist seven
    7
    months prior to the last beta test version (i.e., the one immediately preceding the first release
    candidate) of that Windows Operating System Product.
    I. Microsoft shall offer to license to ISVs, IHVs, IAPs, ICPs, and OEMs any intellectual
    property rights owned or licensable by Microsoft that are required to exercise any of the
    options or alternatives expressly provided to them under this Final Judgment, provided
    that
    1. all terms, including royalties or other payment of monetary consideration, are
    reasonable and non-discriminatory;
    2. the scope of any such license (and the intellectual property rights licensed
    thereunder) need be no broader than is necessary to ensure that an ISV, IHV, IAP,
    ICP or OEM is able to exercise the options or alternatives expressly provided
    under this Final Judgment (e.g., an ISV's, IHV's, IAP's, ICP's and OEM's option
    to promote Non-Microsoft Middleware shall not confer any rights to any
    Microsoft intellectual property rights infringed by that Non-Microsoft
    Middleware);
    3. an ISV's, IHV's, IAP's, ICP's, or OEM's rights may be conditioned on its not
    assigning, transferring or sublicensing its rights under any license granted under
    this provision; and
    4. the terms of any license granted under this section are in all respects consistent
    with the express terms of this Final Judgment.
    Beyond the express terms of any license granted by Microsoft pursuant to this section, this Final
    Judgment does not, directly or by implication, estoppel or otherwise, confer any rights, licenses,
    covenants or immunities with regard to any Microsoft intellectual property to anyone.
    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
    8
    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.
    IV. Compliance and Enforcement Procedures
    A. Enforcement Authority
    1. The Plaintiffs shall have exclusive responsibility for enforcing this Final
    Judgment. Without in any way limiting the sovereign enforcement authority of
    each of the plaintiff States, the plaintiff States shall form a committee to
    coordinate their enforcement of this Final Judgment. A plaintiff State shall take
    no action to enforce this Final Judgment without first consulting the plaintiff
    States' enforcement committee.
    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.
    b. Subject to the reasonable convenience of Microsoft and without restraint
    or interference from it, to interview, informally or on the record, officers,
    employees, or agents of Microsoft, who may have counsel present,
    regarding any matters contained in this Final Judgment.
    c. Upon written request of a duly designated representative of a plaintiff
    State, on reasonable notice given to Microsoft, Microsoft shall submit
    such written reports under oath as requested regarding any matters
    contained in this Final Judgment.
    Individual plaintiff States will consult with the plaintiff States' enforcement committee to
    minimize the duplication and burden of the exercise of the foregoing powers, where practicable.
    3. The Plaintiffs shall not disclose any information or documents obtained from
    Microsoft under this Final Judgment except for the purpose of securing
    compliance with this Final Judgment, in a legal proceeding to which one or more
    of the Plaintiffs is a party, or as otherwise required by law; provided that the
    relevant Plaintiff(s) must provide ten days' advance notice to Microsoft before
    disclosing in any legal proceeding (other than a grand jury proceeding) to which
    Microsoft is not a party any information or documents provided by Microsoft
    pursuant to this Final Judgment which Microsoft has identified in writing as
    9
    material as to which a claim of protection may be asserted under Rule 26(c)(7) of
    the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
    4. The Plaintiffs shall have the authority to seek such orders as are necessary from
    the Court to enforce this Final Judgment, provided, however, that the Plaintiffs
    shall afford Microsoft a reasonable opportunity to cure alleged violations of
    Sections III.C, III.D, III.E and III.H, provided further that any action by Microsoft
    to cure any such violation shall not be a defense to enforcement with respect to
    any knowing, willful or systematic violations.
    B. 1. Compliance Committee. Within 30 days of entry of this Final Judgment,
    Microsoft shall establish a compliance committee (the "Compliance Committee")
    of its Board of Directors, consisting of at least three members of the Board of
    Directors who are not present or former employees of Microsoft.
    2. Compliance Officer. The Compliance Committee shall hire a Compliance Officer,
    who shall report directly to the Compliance Committee and to the Chief
    Executive Officer of Microsoft. The Compliance Officer shall be responsible for
    development and supervision of Microsoft's internal programs to ensure
    compliance with the antitrust laws and this Final Judgment. Microsoft shall give
    the Compliance Officer all necessary authority and resources to discharge the
    responsibilities listed herein.
    3. Duties of Compliance Officer. The Compliance Officer shall:
    a. within 60 days after entry of this Final Judgment, arrange for delivery to
    all officers and directors of Microsoft a copy of this Final Judgment
    together with additional informational materials describing the conduct
    prohibited and required by this Final Judgment;
    b. arrange for delivery in a timely manner of a copy of this Final Judgment
    and such additional informational materials to any person who succeeds to
    a position described in Section IV.B.3.a above;
    c. ensure that those persons described in subsection c.i above are annually
    briefed on the meaning and requirements of this Final Judgment and the
    United States antitrust laws and advising them that Microsoft's legal
    advisors are available to confer with them regarding any question
    concerning compliance with this Final Judgment or under the United
    States antitrust laws;
    d. obtain from each person described in Section IV.B.3.a within 60 days of
    entry of this Final Judgment and annually thereafter, and for each person
    thereafter succeeding to such a position within 10 days of such succession
    and annually thereafter, a written certification that he or she: (i) has read,
    understands, and agrees to abide by the terms of, and has to their
    knowledge not violated, this Final Judgment; and (ii) has been advised and
    understands that his or her failure to comply with this Final Judgment may
    result in a finding of contempt of court;
    e. maintain a record of persons to whom this Final Judgment has been
    distributed and from whom, pursuant to Section V.B.3.d above has been
    10
    obtained;
    f. on an annual basis, certify to the Plaintiffs that Microsoft is fully
    compliant with this Final Judgment;
    g. maintain a record of all complaints received and action taken by Microsoft
    with respect to each such complaint; and
    g. report promptly to the Plaintiffs any credible evidence of violation of this
    Final Judgment.
    4. The Compliance Officer may be removed only by the Chief Executive Officer
    with the concurrence of the Compliance Committee.
    V. Termination
    A. Unless this Court grants an extension, this Final Judgment will expire on the fifth
    anniversary of the date on which it takes effect.
    B. In any enforcement proceeding in which the Court has found that Microsoft has engaged
    in a pattern of willful and systematic violations, the Plaintiffs may apply to the Court for
    a one-time extension of this Final Judgment of up to two years, together with such other
    relief as the Court may deem appropriate.
    VI. Definitions
    A. "API" means application programming interface, including any interface that Microsoft
    is obligated to disclose pursuant to III.D.
    B. "Communications Protocol" means the set of rules for information exchange to
    accomplish predefined tasks between a Windows Operating System Product and a server
    operating system product connected via a network, including, but not limited to, a local
    area network, a wide area network or the Internet. These rules govern the format,
    semantics, timing, sequencing, and error control of messages exchanged over a network.
    C. "Consideration" means any monetary payment or the provision of preferential licensing
    terms; technical, marketing, and sales support; enabling programs; product information;
    information about future plans; developer support; hardware or software certification or
    approval; or permission to display trademarks, icons or logos.
    D. "Covered OEMs" means the 20 OEMs with the highest worldwide volume of licenses of
    Windows Operating System Products reported to Microsoft in Microsoft's fiscal year
    preceding the effective date of the Final Judgment. The OEMs that fall within this
    definition of Covered OEMs shall be recomputed by Microsoft as soon as practicable
    after the close of each of Microsoft's fiscal years.
    E. "Documentation" means all information regarding the identification and means of using
    APIs that a person of ordinary skill in the art requires to make effective use of those
    11
    APIs. Such information shall be of the sort and to the level of specificity, precision and
    detail that Microsoft customarily provides for APIs it documents in the Microsoft
    Developer Network ("MSDN").
    F. "IAP" means an Internet access provider that provides consumers with a connection to
    the Internet, with or without its own proprietary content.
    G. "ICP" means an Internet content provider that provides content to users of the Internet by
    maintaining Web sites.
    H. "IHV" means an independent hardware vendor that develops hardware to be included in
    or used with a Personal Computer running a Windows Operating System Product.
    I. "ISV" means an entity other than Microsoft that is engaged in the development or
    marketing of software products.
    J. "Microsoft Middleware" means software code that
    1. Microsoft distributes separately from a Windows Operating System Product to
    update that Windows Operating System Product;
    2. is Trademarked or is marketed by Microsoft as a major version of any Microsoft
    Middleware Product defined in section VI.K.1; and
    3. provides the same or substantially similar functionality as a Microsoft
    Middleware Product.
    Microsoft Middleware shall include at least the software code that controls most or all
    of the user interface elements of that Microsoft Middleware. Software code described as part of,
    and distributed separately to update, a Microsoft Middleware Product shall not be deemed
    Microsoft Middleware unless identified as a new major version of that Microsoft Middleware
    Product. A major version shall be identified by a whole number or by a number with just a single
    digit to the right of the decimal point.
    K. "Microsoft Middleware Product" means
    1. the functionality provided by Internet Explorer, Microsoft's Java Virtual
    Machine, Windows Media Player, Windows Messenger, Outlook Express and
    their successors in a Windows Operating System Product, and
    2. for any functionality that is first licensed, distributed or sold by Microsoft after
    the entry of this Final Judgment and that is part of any Windows Operating
    System Product
    a. Internet browsers, email client software, networked audio/video client
    software, instant messaging software or
    b. functionality provided by Microsoft software that --
    i. is, or in the year preceding the commercial release of any new
    Windows Operating System Product was, distributed separately by
    Microsoft (or by an entity acquired by Microsoft) from a Windows
    Operating System Product;
    12
    ii. is similar to the functionality provided by a Non-Microsoft
    Middleware Product; and
    iii. is Trademarked.
    Functionality that Microsoft describes or markets as being part of a Microsoft Middleware
    Product (such as a service pack, upgrade, or bug fix for Internet Explorer), or that is a version of
    a Microsoft Middleware Product (such as Internet Explorer 5.5), shall be considered to be part of
    that Microsoft Middleware Product.
    L. "Microsoft Platform Software" means (i) a Windows Operating System Product and/or
    (ii) a Microsoft Middleware Product.
    M. "Non-Microsoft Middleware" means a non-Microsoft software product running on a
    Windows Operating System Product that exposes a range of functionality to ISVs
    through published APIs, and that could, if ported to or made interoperable with, a non-
    Microsoft Operating System, thereby make it easier for applications that rely in whole or
    in part on the functionality supplied by that software product to be ported to or run on
    that non-Microsoft Operating System.
    N. "Non-Microsoft Middleware Product" means a non-Microsoft software product running
    on a Windows Operating System Product (i) that exposes a range of functionality to ISVs
    through published APIs, and that could, if ported to or made interoperable with, a
    non-Microsoft Operating System, thereby make it easier for applications that rely in
    whole or in part on the functionality supplied by that software product to be ported to or
    run on that non-Microsoft Operating System, and (ii) of which at least one million copies
    were distributed in the United States within the previous year.
    O. "OEM" means an original equipment manufacturer of Personal Computers that is a
    licensee of a Windows Operating System Product.
    P. "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.
    Q. "Personal Computer" means any computer configured so that its primary purpose is for
    use by one person at a time, that uses a video display and keyboard (whether or not that
    video display and keyboard is included) and that contains an Intel x86 compatible (or
    successor) microprocessor. Servers, television set top boxes, handheld computers, game
    consoles, telephones, pagers, and personal digital assistants are examples of products that
    are not Personal Computers within the meaning of this definition.
    R. "Timely Manner" means at the time Microsoft first releases a beta test version of a
    Windows Operating System Product that is made available via an MSDN subscription
    13
    offering or of which 150,000 or more beta copies are distributed.
    S. "Top-Level Window" means a window displayed by a Windows Operating System
    Product that (a) has its own window controls, such as move, resize, close, minimize, and
    maximize, (b) can contain sub-windows, and (c) contains user interface elements under
    the control of at least one independent process.
    T. "Trademarked" means distributed in commerce and identified as distributed by a name
    other than Microsoft® or Windows® that Microsoft has claimed as a trademark or
    service mark by (i) marking the name with trademark notices, such as ® or (TM), in
    connection with a product distributed in the United States; (ii) filing an application for
    trademark protection for the name in the United States Patent and Trademark Office; or
    (iii) asserting the name as a trademark in the United States in a demand letter or lawsuit.
    Any product distributed under descriptive or generic terms or a name comprised of the
    Microsoft® or Windows® trademarks together with descriptive or generic terms shall not
    be Trademarked as that term is used in this Final Judgment. Microsoft hereby disclaims
    any trademark rights in such descriptive or generic terms apart from the Microsoft® or
    Windows® trademarks, and hereby abandons any such rights that it may acquire in the
    future.
    U. "Windows Operating System Product" means the software code (as opposed to source
    code) distributed commercially by Microsoft for use with Personal Computers as
    Windows 2000 Professional, Windows XP Home, Windows XP Professional, and
    successors to the foregoing, including the Personal Computer versions of the products
    currently code named "Longhorn" and "Blackcomb" and their successors, including
    upgrades, bug fixes, service packs, etc. The software code that comprises a Windows
    Operating System Product shall be determined by Microsoft in its sole discretion.
    VII. Further Elements
    Jurisdiction is retained by this Court over this action such that the Court may act sua sponte to
    issue further orders or directions, including but not limited to orders or directions relating to the
    construction or carrying out of this Final Judgment, the enforcement of compliance therewith,
    the modification thereof, and the punishment of any violation thereof.
    Jurisdiction is retained by this Court over this action and the parties thereto for the purpose of
    enabling the parties to this action to apply to this Court at any time for further orders and
    directions as may be necessary or appropriate to carry out or construe this Final Judgment, to
    modify or terminate any of its provisions, to enforce compliance, and to punish violations of its
    provisions.
    Unless otherwise indicated, the provisions of this Final Judgment shall take effect 30 days after
    the date on which it is entered.
    In accordance with the imposition and affirmance of liability, the Plaintiff States shall submit a
    14
    motion for the award of costs and fees, with supporting documents as necessary, not later than 45
    days after the entry of this Final Judgment.
    VIII. Third Party Rights
    Nothing in this Final Judgment is intended to confer upon any other persons any rights or
    remedies of any nature whatsoever hereunder or by reason of this Final Judgment.
    SO ORDERED.
    _____________________________
    COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY
    United States District Judge
    • by American AC in Paris (230456) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:47PM (#4580435) Homepage
      Gah -- that reads worse than a EULA!

      Click "I agree" below to accept the terms of this Final Decree.

      [I Agree] [I Do Not Agree]

    • by Gudlyf (544445) <.gudlyf. .at. .realistek.com.> on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:26PM (#4580849) Homepage Journal
      IAP, ICP, ISV, IHV or OEM

      I can't tell if they announced the final decree in the Microsoft case, or if they're trying to say the employees of Microsoft caught some kind of new STD.

    • A massive win? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dannon (142147) on Friday November 01, 2002 @06:21PM (#4581270) Journal
      A massive win for Microsoft? I'm not so sure. IANAL, and this is a lot to read, but a few things have struck out at me here....

      Microsoft shall not retaliate against or threaten retaliation against an OEM... because it is known to Microsoft that the OEM is or is contemplating... 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

      Good news for anyone who wants another chance at ordering a Linux-loaded Dell.

      Microsoft shall not enter into any agreement relating to a Windows Operating System Product that conditions the grant of any Consideration on an ISV's refraining from developing, using, distributing, or promoting any software that competes with Microsoft Platform Software or any software that runs on any software that competes with Microsoft Platform Software, except that Microsoft may enter into agreements that place limitations on an ISV's development, use, distribution or promotion of any such software if those limitations are reasonably necessary to and of reasonable scope and duration in relation to a bona fide contractual obligation of the ISV to use, distribute or promote any Microsoft software or to develop software for, or in conjunction with, Microsoft.

      Translation (as I read it): Microsoft can't stop selling Windows to my company, or stop my company from selling Windows-compatible programs, just because that my company wants to make and sell Mac or Linux versions.

      Section III.H is really, -really- long to quote, but from what I read, it says that Microsoft will always offer a 'uniform and unbiased mechanism' for such things as changing file associations and setting up third-party programs to do anything "Microsoft Middleware" does. They can't ever make it so that you -can't- substitute WinAmp for Windows Media Player. As a matter of fact, they need to make it idiot-level easy. They also have to make it idiot-level easy to remove all traces of IE, Outlook Express, or MSN Messenger.

      And, from what I see in III.I.3, Microsoft can't make their licenses non-transferrable. I can sell you my XP license, and no one will have any room to complain.

      They're required to make all APIs used by their Middleware through MSDN or some similar mechanism. Granted, MSDN access is by subscription, so the information won't be free-as-in-beer, but Microsoft can't altogether stop that information from being public.

      The enforcement seems to be in the hands of a multi-state committee. Notorious as committees are for not getting things done, still, the states have shown a strong interest in bearing down on MS.

      Have to see how it goes, I guess.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:42PM (#4580387)
    "... based upon the detailed analysis set forth in the record of United States v. Microsoft Corp., No. 98-1232, the Court finds that, with the exception of the reservation of jurisdiction, the SRPFJ is fair, reasonable, and in the public interest."

    "...The Court suggests that the public interest would be served if Microsoft and the parties to the settlement would agree to amend the proposed final judgment to reserve for the Court, in addition to the powers presently specified in the proposed final judgment, the power sua sponte to issue orders or directions for the construction or carrying out of the final judgment, for the enforcement of compliance therewith, and for the punishment of any violation thereof. Such an amendment would not appear to work a fundamental change to the parties' agreement and would ensure that the Court retains the power intended by Plaintiffs and which the Court considers necessary to ensure effective implementation of the final judgment in this case."

    "Based on the foregoing, the Court conditionally approves the SRPFJ as the final judgment as to the claims of the Plaintiff Settling States in the above-captioned case. The Court will enter final judgment upon receipt of a proposed decree which reflects the amendment described above. Such amendment shall be filed in writing with the Court not later than November 8, 2002. An appropriate Order accompanies this Memorandum Opinion."
    • 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!

  • by Waab (620192) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:43PM (#4580397) Homepage
    Is /. allowed to post a story before even Matt Drudge [drudgereport.com] gets his grubby little hands on it?
  • 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?

  • the quickie version (Score:5, Interesting)

    by banky (9941) <.moc.gnihsaboruen. .ta. .ggerg.> 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 ashitaka (27544) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:47PM (#4580433) Homepage
    Microsft is guilty.

    Microsoft must play fair under set conditions.

    Microsoft can still restrict access, hide APIs and set up questionable business practices under the guise of protecting "security, anti-virus, licensing, authentication and Digital Rights"

  • 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.
  • by Zathrus (232140) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:50PM (#4580456) Homepage
    A quick glance at the State Settlement and Final Judgement makes it appear that CKK has accepted the proposed settlement between the Federal government, the 9 states, and MS.

    IANAL, and I only scanned the top few pages for information. If I'm wrong, someone please correct me.
  • 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.

    • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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?

  • 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 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 gleffler (540281) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:55PM (#4580498) Journal
    MS cannot retaliate or threaten to retaliate against an OEM because the OEM is thinking about 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.

    They also cannot retaliate against them for including a computer with 2 OSes (notably missing is the provision against retaliating due to not installing an MS OS)

    MS must provide a uniform license agreement and fee schedule for all it's OEMs, with only a few exceptions.

    MS will not restrict in the license agreement installing any other icons or programs on the desktop, distrbuting or promoting non-MS browsers/e-mail readers/media players &c. They also cannot restrict the automatic launching of any 'middleware' (browsers, e-mail readers, media players.)

    OEMs may offer users multiple OSes on one machine without retaliation from MS.

    Open APIs for any 'middleware' to fully interface with the OS like MS' own 'middleware' does. (This is a big one)

    MS must also release any communication protocol necessary to communicate with a MS server OS.

    MS cannot retaliate or threaten retaliation against any vendor for developing or selling things that compete with them.

    "Set Program Access and Defaults" is required.
    In addition, the users must be able to enable or disable any automatic launching of MS 'middleware'.

    End-users and non-MS 'middleware' products must be able to transparently replace the MS 'middleware'.

    An MS OS cannot modify or alter anything that an OEM does to the desktop without first getting confirmation from the user.

    HOWEVER:

    No provision of the agreement forces MS to disclose anything that might hurt the OS security. (This is very vague and I predict will be the biggest loophole.)

    --

    I haven't read the rest of the decree, I just wanted to get this up. And IANAL, but I think the interpretations I've provided are reasonable.
  • 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 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 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.
  • 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?
  • 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.

  • by Flamesplash (469287) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:09PM (#4580675) Homepage Journal
    Her directory [uscourts.gov] is wide open. Hope she doesn't feel bad about leaking the info.
  • by 2MuchC0ffeeMan (201987) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:20PM (#4580771) Homepage
    they wanted to test out the new /. servers, this big story is the way to do it.
  • 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!

  • by Traicovn (226034) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:27PM (#4580860) Homepage
    Well, since the links were not publicly accessible yet, and had not yet been officially released, this may constitute hacking according to some individuals (see thread about reuters [slashdot.org]).
    Thanks to slashdot for making us all criminals.... i feel l33t now...
  • Very Unfortunate (Score:5, Informative)

    by gnetwerker (526997) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:33PM (#4580917) Journal

    As several other respondants have noted, this is largely a win for Microsoft and a loss for the States. What is surprising is the Judge K-K took so long to issue it.

    The big deals the States asked for were removal of the "Security carve-out" (noted by several folks), and the appointment of a Special Master to create a streamlined enforcement process. Neither of these survived, and that is regrettable.

    The security carve-out will make things difficult for third-party protocol implementors, and the enforcement provisions are lengthy, expensive, and easy for Microsoft to manipulate.

    I spent a good deal of my recent life on this, and I'm upset. I need to read the full decisions in more detail, but other than a very generic win for States' Rights as a principle, this is essentially a no-op.

    gnetwerker - $40k poorer, no wiser

  • by ddbsa (526686) <phypor.rsichem@com> 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 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.
  • 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 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 Planesdragon (210349) <slashdot@castl e s t e e l s t o ne.us> 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.

  • by Ian Bicking (980) <ianb AT colorstudy DOT com> on Friday November 01, 2002 @06:00PM (#4581116) Homepage
    If you feel outraged about the conclusion to the Microsoft case, I would encourage you to direct that rage in the ballot box -- certainly not sufficient redress, but everyone here should be able to pay attention that long.

    Here in Illinois a candidate for governor, Jim Ryan, agreed to the settlement. I wasn't planning to vote for him anyway, but I was reluctant to vote for his opponent as well -- I think this has changed my mind on that.

    And of course this all happened because of the Executive's leadership in dealing with corporate crime -- the radical change in direction that the Justice Department took should be be clear to all. Bush isn't up for reelection, but his allies are. This is just one more instance where that party has shown itself an ally of corporate criminals.

  • Priceless. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 01, 2002 @06:04PM (#4581149)
    The amount of money you threw at your lawyers. ($80,000,000)

    "Gifts" to key government officials. ($20,000,000)

    Propaganda designed to lure the public into complacity. ($20,000,000)

    Getting off basically free of any real restrictions that will let you continue in basically the same manner as before, and any attempt to bring you to trial again will take another 5-10 years. Priceless.

    (I'm itching to know the real numbers)
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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 alizard (107678) <alizard@ecis . c om> 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.

  • 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 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.
  • by gnarly (133072) on Friday November 01, 2002 @09:29PM (#4582085) Homepage
    WASHINGTON (DC) Nov. 1. Judge Kollar-Kotelly, asserting a rarely used Federal Appellant Court authority, issued a second legal ruling today, this one concerning the case of two suspects charged with going on a shooting rampage in the Washington DC area. The suspects will be released immediately, but ONLY after agreeing under oath not to shoot any more innocent victims. The guns found in the alleged snipers' possesion will not be returned for a period of 5 years, and then ONLY if the two are found in compliance with this decree. Compliance will be determined by a 2 person committee made up of the snipers themselves.
  • 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

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