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Microsoft Government The Courts News

Court Rejects msfreepc.com Settlement Claims 226

Posted by michael
from the denied dept.
mr_tommy writes "Neowin has posted a link to a court ruling (pdf) on the controversial MSfreepc.com website. The court ruled that claims in the Microsoft antitrust settlement made via the site were not legitimate, and as such all submissions made through it would be rejected. The website, operated by Lindows.com, attempted to use the Californian settlement against Microsoft to its own benefit by getting users to signup and make a claim. Lindows saw an opportunity to capitalise on the ruling by getting Microsoft to pay for users to have Lindows software and hardware; undoubtedly too bitter a pill for Microsoft to take. Microsoft filed suit against the website Michael Robertson, owner of Lindows and a strong anti-Microsoft voice, will undoubtedly be disappointed with the ruling. The 'legitimate' site for claims is still available."
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Court Rejects msfreepc.com Settlement Claims

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  • ...heh:
    $ lynx --dump --head http://www.microsoftcalsettlement.com
    HTTP/1.0 200 OK
    Date: Fri, 09 Jan 2004 22:15:39 GMT
    Server: ConcentricHost-Ashurbanipal/2.0 (XO(TM) Web Site Hosting)
    Last-Modified: Wed, 31 Dec 2003 19:35:30 GMT
    ETag: "3c7f2b-2487-3ff32502"
    Accept-Ranges: bytes
    Content-Length: 9351
    Content-Type: text/html
    At least, "ConcentricHost-Ashurbanipal" is rumored to be a proprietary HTTP daemon based on Apache.
  • by gantrep (627089) on Friday January 09, 2004 @06:27PM (#7933693)
    Umm, I tried googling around for "ConcentricHost-Ashurbanipal" and couldn't find evidence that it was actually an http daemon but more like it was jsut a service offered by concentric networks. Can you clarify?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 09, 2004 @06:29PM (#7933706)
    Lindows doesn't really care much about this. Sure, they would have taken the money, but what they really wanted was to give MS a black eye by publicizing the court ruling, and also to expand the Lindows user base.

    They accomplished a fair bit of each, and what they gave away were just copies of software that hardly cost them anything in the first place. This was another smart marketing move by their CEO, and inline with his other moves: not very classy, but shrewd nonetheless.
  • by Slowtreme (701746) <slowtreme@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Friday January 09, 2004 @06:29PM (#7933711) Homepage
    Was this just a shell game?

    I really don't care for either of these two companies, but it seemed clear that the Lindows site was not collecting complete information required from users. MS should have been able to just ignore Lindows, but they were forced into a suit.

    Lawyers 1 - Corperations 0

  • by Rupert (28001) on Friday January 09, 2004 @06:37PM (#7933784) Homepage Journal
    The market stopped being fair once Microsoft got into it. This is Microsofts *punishment*. They should not be allowed to weasel out of it by claiming they'll only give away the hardware if it is accompanied by $big-X (retail) of their own software that actually costs them small-x cents.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 09, 2004 @06:37PM (#7933787)
    Lindows is out a few linux distros which are really just debian distros prettied up a bit so they are out of no real money here.

    Microsoft looks bad for shutting down a site to help consumers take advantage of the settlement, so they can be spun in the press to be trying to get out of their obligations.

    To be honest you can't really blaim Robertson or Lindows.com for putting up the site becuase they win either way.

    Now Microsoft... They eitehr Lose or have a Neutral outcome from shutting down this site. To be honest I don't know why they did it... unless they are still trying to claim that they won/were not found to have violated the law in the antitrust case.
  • But WHY? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 09, 2004 @06:43PM (#7933829)
    Frankly it was an underhanded act ...

    Fine, but "underhanded" isn't a legal term, so I'm curious by what reasoning the thing was disallowed. The linked ruling didn't give any reasons at all, merely saying that the website and process did not comply with the terms of the settlement, but not saying how or why they did not comply.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 09, 2004 @06:43PM (#7933832)
    Companies like this don't share crack - they're run by people who consistently got "does not play well with others" on their report cards in elementary school. No, MSFreePC has their own crack - it makes them greedier and less stupid than SCO's crack - different impurities, I guess.
  • by John Seminal (698722) on Friday January 09, 2004 @06:45PM (#7933838) Journal
    Many companies do this. H&R block will give you a "loan" check when you fill out your taxes, based on what you will get back from the government. How is what this website does different? They are giving people products based on how much money Microsoft will owe them. What is the big deal? Nobody is forcing people to use that service.
  • by geekee (591277) on Friday January 09, 2004 @06:54PM (#7933914)
    I'm insulted that the govt. thinks I'm incapable of making an informed purchase. I bought Windows at a price both MS and I agreed was fair. What the hell is the govt. doing saying that I paid too much. If I don't claim the money, it doesn't stay with Microsoft, but gets donated to schools (minus lawyer fees). I don't think it's right for the govt. to interfere in either my freedom or MS's freedom to trade. So, how do I give my share, including lawyer fees, for lawyers I did not hire, back to MS.
  • Re:Serves them right (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MisterFancypants (615129) on Friday January 09, 2004 @07:26PM (#7934140)
    Do you really want to hand it right back to them, or would you like to use it to get the hell away from their crappy products?".

    More like "Do you really want to hand it right back to them, or would you like to use it to get the hell away from their crappy products and use OUR crappy products INSTEAD!?"

    I'm not talking about Linux here -- just Lindows.... which is, in fact, crap and despite being based on a Linux kernel is in many ways as bad as Windows when it comes to security, etc.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 09, 2004 @07:50PM (#7934329)
    Michael Robertson has a history of aggressive yet haphazard business models and this is not the first legal smackdown one of his companies has received.

    When he was at MP3.com his "strategy" was to confront the music industry head-on, effectively trying to take the banana from the 800 pound gorilla. It wasn't until he launched the infamous myMP3.com service and the copyright violation lawsuits started pouring in that he attempted any sort of amicable agreement with the industry. Surely we haven't forgotten the massive legal smackdown MP3.com incurred as a result.

    Robertson's strategy with the Microsoft rebate smacks of the same confrontational and haphazard business decisions that doomed his earlier business.

  • by shaitand (626655) on Friday January 09, 2004 @08:09PM (#7934481) Journal
    Claims from users who submit to msfreepc.com will be rejected according to the court. You can bet microsoft will use this to their advantage and crossreference. Anyone who files there WON'T get their claim anywhere else period.
  • by MeanMF (631837) * on Friday January 09, 2004 @08:46PM (#7934673) Homepage
    Claims from users who submit to msfreepc.com will be rejected according to the court. You can bet microsoft will use this to their advantage and crossreference. Anyone who files there WON'T get their claim anywhere else period.

    The court ruling specifically orders that people who filed through MSFreePC.com be mailed an official claim form, so if MS tries anything like that I think they'll get slapped down. Besides, if they really wanted to screw people on this they would have waited until after the deadline had passed to challenge the claims.
  • by nolife (233813) on Friday January 09, 2004 @10:27PM (#7935176) Homepage Journal
    Even though your AC, I'll still respond because these are valid points for anyone considering Linux.

    Games, I can not dispute that. My kids love the Sim type games and various others. I have 2 other computers in the house that can run W2K for games, and they have a PS1, PS2 and a Dreamcast that they use for games. The Linux desktops are in thier rooms and heavily used, they play games elsewhere.

    No usable software - I'll take that as a troll comment. Other then the lack of games, they have everything they need. Browsing the web, listening to mp3's or watching divx movies from my Samba server, an office package, GAIM and even plugging in their MP3 players and memory cards from the digital camera. It works and it works fine for this. I get the added benefit of not having to constantly remove spyware and adding software, updates and changing configurations from a remote SSH connection.

    Unfamiliar interface - Compared to what? The change from 98 or W2K --> XP is not much different then moving over to a Linux desktop. I truely believe this is the biggest non issue when switching to something other then MS. They've used Knoppix, Fedora, Lindows, Lycoris, Mandrake, Win98, W2K and XP and have never had a problem finding out how any of them worked. I believe that whole "unfamiliar" concept is blown way out of proportion.

    A Linux desktop is not Windows. I am not MS free and I don't plan to be, I use them both. I am not going to use or pay for MS on every machine when I do not need it on every machine.
  • Respect is due. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by polyp2000 (444682) on Friday January 09, 2004 @10:30PM (#7935190) Homepage Journal
    Id have to agree, despite having a crappy name and questionable linux distribution. What they are doing, or trying to do is a good thing. Its not my choice of Distro, but in terms of getting linux out there on hardware and software bundles. Its a sterling job.

    I respect them for what they are trying to do , even if there are a number of things about the distro im not keen on.
  • by Thomas Shaddack (709926) on Friday January 09, 2004 @10:42PM (#7935252)
    nmap -O should answer this question. OS fingerprint.
  • by geekee (591277) on Friday January 09, 2004 @11:53PM (#7935603)
    "Because of their anti-competitive tactics, consumers have paid billions of dollars more than they would have been likely to had Microsoft played fair."

    How do you come to this conclusion? Microsoft Windows costs $99, $30 cheaper than MacOS. The so-called law MS broke is so vague, they didn't even know they broke it until they were convicted. There are no strict definitions of what constitutes a monopoly in the Sherman antitrust act. Given the existence of products such as MacOS, Linux, various flavors of unix, OS/2, etc., why should MS be called a monopoly? Anti-trust laws are unfairly written and give the govt. too much power to destroy companies they don't like. Just look at Standard Oil as an example of a so-called harmful monopoly that managed to decrease the price of oil by 70% to consumers. There was no evidence of predatory pricing, which was the standard up until then to prosecute monopolies, but they were attacked anyway, because of other comapnies who couldn't compete, not through any goal to improve things for consumers.
  • by TrancePhreak (576593) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @12:17AM (#7935714)
    DirectX does a lot more than OpenGL, and started before OpenGL accelerators were common. DirectX covers things other than 2D/3D, such as sound, music, video playback decoding, input, networking, installation, etc.

    The first version of DirectX did little more than help make a common interface to getting fast drawing in Windows, much like VESA did for DOS.
  • by stephanruby (542433) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @03:19AM (#7936327)
    They have SCO, we have Michael Robertson.

"Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward" -- William E. Davidsen

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