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EU Releases Microsoft Antitrust Report 612

Posted by michael
from the would-have-been-dead-a-long-time-ago dept.
Hassman writes "Ever wondered the reasoning behind the EU fining Microsoft and ordering them to sell a Media Player free version of Windows? Well now you can stop wondering. If you aren't up for the full read (it is 302 pages), check out the Reuters summary. Want more? Check out a quote from the summary: 'There is a huge switching cost to using a different operating system [as in not Windows],' he [a MS exec] wrote Gates. 'It is this switching cost that has given customers the patience to stick with Windows through all our mistakes, our buggy drivers, our high TCO, our lack of a sexy version at times...' Mmm...sexy indeed." Reader BrerBear writes "News.com is reporting that the European Union has released its report on Microsoft's conduct, to which Microsoft has pre-emptively responded. Inside are more classic examples of what one should never write in an internal memo: 'In short, without this exclusive franchise called the Windows API, we would have been dead a long time ago,' from Microsoft Sr. VP Bob Muglia."
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EU Releases Microsoft Antitrust Report

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  • Common Sense ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ernest P Worrell (751050) * on Friday April 23, 2004 @09:31AM (#8948866)

    For those who won't RTF 7 page MS response, here's my "flaimbait" quote from Microsoft's response.

    All other contemporary operating systems, such as Apple's OS X, similarly tout their integrated media capabilities. The Decision expressly rejects (Para. 822) the principle that tying analysis for finished products should focus not on whether there exists a separate demand for a component but on whether there is any demand for the finished product with that component missing. For example, the fact that there is a market for shoelaces does not mean there is a market for shoes that have their laces missing. Common sense dictates that it would be misguided for regulators to require shoes to be sold in such a manner, even if this would create greater opportunities for companies that sell shoelaces. 1 The Decision goes on to dismiss the fact that all other operating systems also come with media playback software, ostensibly because some (but not all) of these finished products incorporate media players developed by other suppliers. (Para. 822.)

    Go ahead, mod me down for common sense ...

    • by smallfries (601545) on Friday April 23, 2004 @09:41AM (#8948969) Homepage
      Ok, so you read the microsoft response but did you fail to read the actual reuters summary? The commision found that barrier-to-entry for the operating system market were so high because people don't want to have to change to an incompatible product, and that this places *special* obligations on microsoft an a monopolist in such a market.

      A better analogy would be that there was a dominant shoe maker that refused to make the shoelace holes in a way that would allow other shoelace makers to create a product that worked with their shoes.

      But yes, nice "flaimbait" quote.
      • by Ernest P Worrell (751050) * on Friday April 23, 2004 @09:44AM (#8949011)

        I followed the whole damn rediculous case. Get them on their licencing practices, not on this baseless Media Player argument

        A better analogy would be that there was a dominant shoe maker that refused to make the shoelace holes in a way that would allow other shoelace makers to create a product that worked with their shoes.

        Good point. I forgot that Quick Time won't run on windows. I also forgot that when the Real Player programmers finally got it to work on Windows, Windows fought back and installed spyware, blaming it on Real Player. The whole "DirectX" thing is a sham -- only Microsoft gets to use it.
        • by b-baggins (610215) on Friday April 23, 2004 @10:51AM (#8949902) Journal
          I forgot that Quick Time won't run on windows.

          Cool. So I can play WMV files using Quicktime?

          Oh, wait. WMV is a locked MS format and they won't let anyone tap into it.

          The correct solution here is not to make MS bundle this or unbundble that. Simply require that ALL MS file formats, protocols, etc. be released IMMEDIATELY to the public domain. NO fees, no license restrictions.

          • 100% lie (Score:3, Informative)

            by bonch (38532)
            Oh, wait. WMV is a locked MS format and they won't let anyone tap into it.

            Wow, I guess Winamp uses magic powers to play WMV/WMA files.
          • Re:Common Sense ... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by AstroDrabb (534369) * on Friday April 23, 2004 @11:31AM (#8950401)
            I am playing devils advocate here since I do not care for MS the company.

            Just where can I go and get the open specs for Sorenson used in just about all of Apple's QuickTime files?

            It is real easy to see that Apple is doing most of the stuff that MS is doing, with the only difference being that Apple has an extremely small market share. I personally think this EU ruling is silly and will only strengthen MS's position. The EU had the chance to make some real progress in stopping the MS monopoly and they blew it. The EU should have ruled that MS can include what they will, however since they are a monopoly, thus MUST INSURE interoperability by opening up specs to audio/video formats, office formats, API's and protocols. Otherwise, MS's products have an unfair advantage in the marketplace since they have access to the OSes hidden "stuff" whereas the competition does not. And actually some of the leaked MS source showed just this. There were tweaks/fixes made in the OS code for non-OS products such as MS Office. I would not have a problem with that if any competitor were allowed to have tweaks and fixes put into Microsoft's OS code for their products. Since no competitor can get tweaks/fixes into MS's OS, it gives MS an extreme advantage in the market place.

            If the EU made a ruling along these lines, I would stand behind that. The EU's current ruling is just silly and will have no effect.

            • by b-baggins (610215)
              Sorenson and Apple are not monopolies. I'm getting really tired of having to continually repeat this completely obvious point.
            • by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Friday April 23, 2004 @12:30PM (#8951189) Homepage
              It is real easy to see that Apple is doing most of the stuff that MS is doing, with the only difference being that Apple has an extremely small market share.

              The other difference is that Microsoft is a monopolist, and has been convicted of this in a court of law in the U.S. This is a sufficient difference, because the law applies differently to monopolies than it does to other companies. That's how antitrust laws work.
            • by Rutulian (171771)
              It is real easy to see that Apple is doing most of the stuff that MS is doing,

              I think there are two major differences, aside from the monopoly issue that others have already posted about. 1) Quicktime is bundled with the OS, but it isn't integrated (it can be removed if the user doesn't want it). 2) Apple doesn't force retailers to bundle Quicktime. If they choose to offer a customized solution (w/o Quicktime) they don't suffer the price penalties or license revocations.

              Now that I think of it, there is a
              • by EddWo (180780)
                Is that quicktime the program or quicktime the media framework that can be removed? AFAIK any sort of media playback in any application on a Mac uses the quicktime subsystem for rendering.

                See:
                http://developer.apple.com/documentation/ M acOSX/Co nceptual/SystemOverview/SystemArchitecture/chapter _43_section_2.html#//apple_ref/doc/uid/20000980/CH DBJCFH

                It would be just as hard to remove that as it would be to remove DirectShow/DirectPlay from windows.

                Apple doesn't force retailers to bundle Quicktime?
                Huh?
        • by bonch (38532)
          Windows fought back and installed spyware

          What spyware? Care to cite a single example?

          The whole "DirectX" thing is a sham -- only Microsoft gets to use it.

          Nobody is forcing you to program for DirectX. Use SDL if you want. Or OpenGL. Or the myriad of other libraries out there that just wrap to DirectX or Win32. Cocoa is only for OS X, as well...where's the bitching?

          Oh, that's right, everyone just hates "M$" and so mindlessly bashes. I find the low comment count (for an anti-Microsoft article) to
        • by AstroDrabb (534369) * on Friday April 23, 2004 @11:36AM (#8950473)
          The whole "DirectX" thing is a sham -- only Microsoft gets to use it.
          Does MS release DirectX for Apple, Linux, FreeBSD or Solaris? No. DirectX is a tie-in to MS platoforms and sadly, like 90% of commercial games use it and thus are MS Windows only games. In contrast, OpenGL is available for all of these platforms.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 23, 2004 @09:44AM (#8949008)
      From the article:

      Microsoft contends it should not have to do so, saying: "When is it unlawful for a dominant firm to incorporate new components or features that demonstrably improve its finished product?"

      I'll take "Illegal monopolies" for $590 million, Alex.

      - Tony
    • by molnarcs (675885) <molnarcs@gmaiPASCALl.com minus language> on Friday April 23, 2004 @09:45AM (#8949024) Homepage Journal
      You should be modded down for two reasons:
      • because you blatantly ignore the fact that different rules apply for companies in a monopoly position (they have special obligations) - thus forcing ./ readers to explain again and again and again the obvious - very tiresome.
      • IMHO, "Go ahead, mod me down for common sense...." type of disclaimers to avoid bad moderation are very cheap
      • bonus reason: Nice cut&paste job to have a comment at the top as fast as possible, with no substantial (except for your wish to be modded down) content.
    • by polyp2000 (444682)
      Good flame !

      Naturally one wouldnt expect to buy shoes without the laces however; shoe laces are easy to remove and there isn't one single shoe manufacturer that (excuse the pun) ties shoe wearers into wearing a particular type of shoe. Also shoe laces from different manufacturers (including manufacturers that dont even make shoes) will work on any pair of shoes without requiring any modification to the leather e.t.c.

      Its common sense really!

      I'ts not the fact that there is or isn't a market for the built i
    • by mwood (25379) on Friday April 23, 2004 @10:03AM (#8949251)
      There is, however, a *universal* market for shoes whose laces can be removed and replaced. Nobody would buy shoes with nonremovable laces, even if it were possible to force another set of laces in alongside.

      Since history shows that Microsoft is capable of building only nonreplaceable parts, what other recourse is there but to demand that they not install those parts in the first place?

      (Quick poll: how many of you have figured out how to completely remove Media Player, for instance from a server (where one has no conceivable use for it), so that Windows Update doesn't plague you with offers to patch or upgrade it?)
      • by Jon Peterson (1443)
        What? Sure people would. Think of all those trainers (US: sneakers) that have velcro fastenings. Like laces you can't replace. Only better than laces because they don't snap and are easier to fasten.

        Fact is, lots of people would happily sacrifice the ability to replace or upgrade a component in return for a cheaper initial solution, or some other benefit. Indeed, that's the entire trend of the last century or so.

        It used to be a a shoe could be re-soled or re-heeled four or five times over its lifespan. No
  • by osullish (586626) <osullish.gmail@com> on Friday April 23, 2004 @09:33AM (#8948881)
    ..about these internal memos, sometimes they're too funny to be true, its like they feel compelled to give us even more ammo!
      1. ..about these internal memos, sometimes they're too funny to be true, its like they feel compelled to give us even more ammo!

      Fortunately, Microsoft has instituted a new policy called "True Words". Now, all internal memos are available to anyone who is interested, including the general public -- no legal mucking around needed!

      Here is a sample from a memo sent yesterday;

      1. Doug said, banter is gravy but not on a Tuesday. Fogotten beaverskins, soaked, will affirm our continued reliability.
    • by mdielmann (514750) on Friday April 23, 2004 @11:41AM (#8950547) Homepage Journal
      I always thought it was so cheesy when the villian in some movie would capture the hero and say, "I want you to die knowing my evil plot. This will be my last punishment." Then you just know the hero is going to escape, and use this newfound knowledge to thwart the villian. This has been so overdone that you'd think everyone would have seen it at least once and gone "mental note..."
  • Ha! (Score:3, Funny)

    by YanceyAI (192279) * <yanceyai@yahoo.com> on Friday April 23, 2004 @09:35AM (#8948900)
    The decision draws on memos, testimony, U.S. court records and much more. It finds Microsoft can "behave to a very large extent independently of its competitors, its customers and ultimately of consumers."

    This is news to whom?

  • by millahtime (710421) on Friday April 23, 2004 @09:35AM (#8948905) Homepage Journal
    So, the memos point out things we already knew. At least they are smart enough to admit that they don't have a great product. If only they were smart enough to fix it and do right in the future.
  • Well It's About bloody time! I feel like it might be the best thing the EU has done for us, what with the Patents and all.
    I can't wipe my ass without Micro$oft patenting the technique!
  • Pricing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by protonman (411526) on Friday April 23, 2004 @09:37AM (#8948917) Homepage
    Then why don't make the one without WMP as expensive (or more expensive even) as the one with and let the market sort it out?

    Or would the EUC be so bold as to tell some company how their products should be priced?
    • Re:Pricing (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Sique (173459) on Friday April 23, 2004 @09:53AM (#8949130) Homepage
      "Microsoft must not give OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) or users a discount conditional on their obtaining Windows together with WMP (Windows Media Player)...or otherwise, remove or restrict OEMs' or users' freedom to choose the version of Windows without (Media Player),"

      That's why. Having MS Windows bundled with WMP offered cheaper than MS Windows alone is considered a discount and such not allowed under the indiction.
  • Customer Loyalty? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 23, 2004 @09:37AM (#8948924)
    'It is this switching cost that has given customers the patience to stick with Windows through all our mistakes, our buggy drivers, our high TCO, our lack of a sexy version at times...'

    I wouldn't exactly say patience is the right word, how about ignorance? It was very difficult for most computer users to leave the more comfortable Windows enviroment, but then again I learned DOS when I was 6 yrs old to play Montezuma's Revenge. So it cant be that hard.
    • I learned DOS when I was 6 yrs old to play Montezuma's Revenge. So it cant be that hard.

      Yes, but in most parts of Europe it is illegal to use underage labor force.
    • Re:Customer Loyalty? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 2nd Post! (213333)
      Right. Mac users have customer loyalty; they suffer through bad software because they love the hardware, or bad hardware because they love the software.

      Windows users, more often than not, do it out of ignorance that there are alternatives, even *better*, or at least sufficient, than their existing solution.
  • by mfh (56) on Friday April 23, 2004 @09:37AM (#8948931) Journal
    > 'It is this switching cost that has given customers the patience to stick with Windows through all our mistakes, our buggy drivers, our high TCO, our lack of a sexy version at times...' Mmm...sexy indeed.

    Let me just say, there is no switching cost: you have been fooled. It's not your fault; Microsoft has been fooling billions of people the same way you have been fooled. Offset training and allocation of new resources in your company for purging out Microsoft as being standard operating costs (upgrade costs), not "switching" costs; it's a farce to think otherwise.

    Long term benefit in using a reliable system makes any switching price worth every penny. Short term benefits are that you can simply ignore the next bout of viruses, your staff will love you and you can also take credit for the increased profits from operating a tight ship.
    • by NineNine (235196) on Friday April 23, 2004 @09:42AM (#8948978)
      Sure, there's no switching cost as long as you get your ass over here and show my company how to use this damn Linux thing, and you find, install, and train us on business apps that are as good as the ones we have now. And of course, you should be able to train all of us instantly after you do our conversion, since any time spent learnign a new system IS A SWITCHING COST.
  • Don't forget that in the US MS was convicted as well.

    The fact that they are convicted twice won't change a thing until they actually *PAY* the fine.

  • by lavalyn (649886) on Friday April 23, 2004 @09:39AM (#8948946) Homepage Journal
    The United States has declared the enforcement of a sovereign nation's own laws to be weapons of monopoly destruction.
  • by vijayiyer (728590) on Friday April 23, 2004 @09:42AM (#8948981)
    I've always figured that MS execs were smart enough to know that their products are garbage. This just confirms that.
  • Run for your life! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lovebyte (81275) * <lovebyte2000&gmail,com> on Friday April 23, 2004 @09:43AM (#8948988) Homepage
    President Ed Black wrote letters to Secretary of State Colin Powell and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, telling them he knew they had been asked to "take extraordinary actions" because of the European decision.

    Black urged them not to intervene. He said Microsoft was pressuring the U.S. government to pressure the European Union to ease off Microsoft.


    Am I the only European here scared by this snipet from the Reuters article? Are we going to be bombed? Colin Powell is involved, next will it be Rumsfeld? What kind of excuse will he find this time?
    • by sir_cello (634395) on Friday April 23, 2004 @09:59AM (#8949204)

      There have been a number of high profile spats over competition law recently, notably the GE v Honeywell merger - accepted in the US, and then rejected by EU competition authorities (but later allowed after GE gave specific undertakings to divest certain business units and so on). Not to mention the banana wars :-).

      In general though, the US has been getting a little techy about the growing independence of the supra-EU state. The next biggest issue is the EU's design to create its own defence forces, the US sees this as a worry because it weakens the need for NATO and creates two large divisive superpowers (witness the continentals vs. US wrt. iraq).

      There are other good examples (Airbus vs. Boeing a good one for indication of how EU has succeeded in generating huge manufactures; EU space programs another one).

      • by Kjella (173770)
        In general though, the US has been getting a little techy about the growing independence of the supra-EU state. The next biggest issue is the EU's design to create its own defence forces, the US sees this as a worry because it weakens the need for NATO and creates two large divisive superpowers (witness the continentals vs. US wrt. iraq).

        Or to sum it up briefly, the US would like to continue to be the world's only superpower. While the European Union is quite different from Soviet Russia, it's a lot easie
        • by pubjames (468013) on Friday April 23, 2004 @11:25AM (#8950330)
          I talk to quite a few US people and few of them seem to "get" the EU.

          Same with the Brits unfortunately!

          Different people, but working together for the good of all of us.

          You try telling that to the Brits!

          The american way is "are you with us, or are you against us?".

          Come on that's not fair. It's the Bush way, not the American way.
        • by sir_cello (634395)

          You have a key point there.

          While the US is a federation of states, its citizens largely see themselves (in front of the rest of the world) as being US in identity - whatever state they come from is less important.

          On the other hand, the EU is also a federation of states (in a slightly weaker way), but its citizens see themselves distinctly as having national identities and would represent themselves by their nationality rather than being of the EU.

          Anyway, this is just tangential :-).
    • by pubjames (468013) on Friday April 23, 2004 @10:03AM (#8949252)
      President Ed Black wrote letters to Secretary of State Colin Powell and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, telling them he knew they had been asked to "take extraordinary actions" because of the European decision.

      When I read stuff like this it makes me think "get stuffed USA". No disrespect to the nice Americans reading this, but your current administration is too big for it's boots. Don't tell us how the USA is all about freedom and then try to bully us into doing what you want us to do.
      • by ultramk (470198) <ultramk AT pacbell DOT net> on Friday April 23, 2004 @03:51PM (#8953383)
        but your current administration is too big for it's boots.

        No disrespect taken. I don't think you really understand the situation. A lot of us don't like him and his, either. Heck, most of us voted for the other guy, last time around.

        Now, if you go picking on the country as a whole, that's kind of a different animal. We tend to get a bit nationalistic when insulted, as do a lot of other places.

        Don't tell us how the USA is all about freedom and then try to bully us into doing what you want us to do.

        Oh, another cultural misunderstanding. When we say "freedom", we mean OUR freedom, not YOUR freedom. As far as most of us are concerned, as long as we're happy, the rest of the world can "get stuffed", to borrow your phrase.

        We've a pretty insular culture, for better or worse.

        m-
  • by dj245 (732906) on Friday April 23, 2004 @09:49AM (#8949063) Homepage
    'There is a huge switching cost to using a different operating system [as in not Windows],' he [a MS exec] wrote Gates.

    This exec spreads fear and dissent. But it is all lies. He lies. Alternatives to Windows for individuals (Customers, if you will) are often obtained for the cost of 720MB of bandwidth, which is often "unlimited" or "unmetered" over the course of a month and already paid for. The only cost involved for an individual to switch is the time and effort to learn the other operating system. The cost for a company will be high since they are expected to compensate their employees for their time. But the cost for individuals to switch is low. If they are a homeless greasy bum with nothing else to do, naturally this cost will be very low.

    We will surround their pricey vendor lock-in, and then it will be they who will be surrounded. We will continue to give away our free alternative operating systems for the price of what it costs you to download it, and a shoe.

    • "Alternatives to Windows for individuals (Customers, if you will) are often obtained for the cost of 720MB of bandwidth ..."

      Too sad, that is not true ... their is cost for consumers ... they loose their favourite games, educational programms for their kids, some pieces of hardware where drivers are missing ...

      We have still to do a lot work on alternatives, or to be more precise ... on the only alternative Linux.
      Linux is ready for a more widespread deployment on corporate desktops now, but it is not ready
  • Win32 API (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RailGunner (554645) on Friday April 23, 2004 @09:51AM (#8949090) Journal
    I really hate to do this, but I have to give the devil his due on this one - I think Muglia's right about the Win32 API. Sure, it has it's quirks, and can get downright clunky at times, but to be honest - as far as API's go, I've seen a lot worse. But, to their credit, they could have done a lot worse, especially when they went from Win16 to Win32. Projects I had to port weren't all that bad, in fact, it was actually a pretty clean process to port Win16 to Win32, and a lot of functions are indentically named. So, they did a good job overall of making your apps port from Win16 to Win32, and since then, Win32 has added more functions (TransparentBlt()), but not typically at the expense of current ones.

    And really, MFC gets a bit of a bad rap. Sure, Document/View is horrible, but other parts of MFC are pretty well done. That, and one thing MS has done pretty well is release a good IDE. It's mostly consistent, and yeah, .NET IDE is drastically different at first, but it took me about 5 minutes to get it to behave like VC 6.

    Now please just don't get me started on the clusterf*ck known as COM/DCOM or the abomination that is .NET... both of which make me glad I switched to Linux 3 years ago at home.

    • Re:Win32 API (Score:5, Informative)

      by kahei (466208) on Friday April 23, 2004 @10:16AM (#8949417) Homepage
      And really, MFC gets a bit of a bad rap. Sure, Document/View is horrible, but other parts of MFC are pretty well done

      As someone who spent many years with MFC and has (or had) a huge skill investment in it -- you're wrong. Almost every single class is riddled with special cases, exceptions, bizarre hacks put in to maintain compatibility with earlier bugs... it's a classic example of an underengineered design that has required the most brutal and tortuous maintenance to keep going. Why, surely only someone with no ability to judge the elegance and utility of a system could say what you said!

      the abomination that is .NET...

      I was right!

  • That's why (Score:4, Insightful)

    by eclectro (227083) on Friday April 23, 2004 @09:55AM (#8949147)

    I have been thinking all week why the NIST [nist.gov] should standardize the windows API.

    I think that NIST would be better than ISO/ANSI/IEEE, and they have a working agreement with ANSI. Also the specification would cost less (if at all) than an ANSI/ISO version.

    By standardizing the API, you immediately have the government buy the software that uses this standard. It would make our country secure not to be dependent upon one single supplier of an OS (as much as Microsoft thinks otherwise).

    It also means that Windows stops being the moving target that it is.

    Before you troll me with free enterprise/right to innovate/unnecessary/linux blah blah blah, anything that lessens the cost for everybody is a good idea. The OS is the only thing that has increased in cost as compared to other parts to the computer.

    I know linux is free, but the fact remains that the vast majority of computer users use a Microsoft product, and wants to keep their software investment minimal (even though all the software companies want us to continually upgrade).
    • Re:That's why (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Wateshay (122749) <bill.nagel@NOSpAM.gmail.com> on Friday April 23, 2004 @10:14AM (#8949381) Homepage Journal
      Ugh. That would be a horrible idea, and it would accomplish nothing. For one, the Win32 API is already pretty stable in the sense that the parts of the API that currently exist are unlikely to change in the next version. If the current version were made a standard, Microsoft would happily maintain compliance with it, while continuing right along their path of adding new undocumented features with every version. At the same time, every other operating system would be devestated by the sudden need to start supporting the Win32 API in order to remain in use by government agencies. All in all, this would be the best possible thing that could happen to Microsoft, and one of the worst things that could happen to everyone else.
  • by mwood (25379) on Friday April 23, 2004 @09:56AM (#8949154)
    "Inside are more classic examples of what one should never write in an internal memo...."

    I disagree. It is sometimes one's duty to point out that one's employer has weaknesses. These are exactly the sort of things one *should* write in internal memos to people who can and should do things about them. *Good* leadership wants to hear about the company's weak spots so that they may be addressed.

    Yes, sometimes bearing bad news gets you fired. In the short run that's really bad, but in the long run I'd rather not be working for weaklings and cowards anyway.
  • by JLyle (267134) on Friday April 23, 2004 @10:02AM (#8949237) Homepage
    "... our lack of a sexy version at times..." Mmm...sexy indeed.
    Actually, Contorer's memo cited Microsoft's lack of a sexy vision, not lack of a sexy version. Although that is a funny slip-up for Reuters to make. The News.com [com.com] story got the quote right.
  • bad analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 23, 2004 @10:08AM (#8949300)
    This is a common tactic that is used to confuse people into thinking that Microsoft is just trying to do normal business and not using monopolistic tactics to keep people from switching OS's. Almost everything Microsoft does is designed around keeping people from switching. That includes, extending standards, proprietary file formats, licensing agreements ect. You can never stop Microsoft until you break their tactics. Of course, they camouflage their real tactics with simple analogies that they expect everyone to believe.
  • Not to mention... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by johnkoer (163434) <johnkoer@nOspAM.yahoo.com> on Friday April 23, 2004 @10:11AM (#8949348) Homepage Journal
    There is a huge switching cost to using a different operating system

    The switching cost definately is a reason for large companies not to switch to Linux, but there is a totally different reason for small companies. I have been working with, for, and around small companies (25 employees) for years and almost all of them are running some flavor of windows/windows server because Bob from accounting knows about computers and knows how to fix issues if they come up. These companies do not have the budget for a full time system administrator, so they make do with what they've got. Since most people are running windows at home, Windows is going to be the easiest thing for these companies to use at work.
  • A worth reading (Score:5, Informative)

    by Oscaro (153645) on Friday April 23, 2004 @11:20AM (#8950255) Homepage
    Contains some sweet snippets like this:

    Microsoft states that more than 100 million copies of WMP 9 were downloaded in the ten months the software was available to the general public and specifies that these copies were downloaded by people who already had a version of Windows Media Player installed on their PCs. Microsoft concludes that these statistics rebuts the notion that consumers are unwilling to download a media player from the Internet if they already have one on their PC. But Microsoft states that the media player these users already [have] on their PC was WMP. This is important to note because Microsoft has implemented a mechanism in WMP by which WMP regularly looks for WMP upgrades on Microsoft's Web site (it 'phones home'), and in case it finds such an upgrade, prompts the user to download it. The users Microsoft refers to are thus likely to have been prompted to download WMP 9 (and repeatedly so if they chose not to do so at the first prompt).


    Downloading a WMP upgrade in a situation where Microsoft recommends to do so via a recurring screen prompt is different from a situation where third party media player vendors whose players are not automatically present on each newly bought Windows PC have no possibility to prompt users to download their media player onto the PC for the first time. Only once the initial obstacle of the first download has been overcome will they also be able to rely on mechanisms which allow them to use screen prompts to offer the user downloads of upgrades.

  • by Zhe Mappel (607548) on Friday April 23, 2004 @04:15PM (#8953719)
    ...the rule of law not being made to kneel before the rule of corporations, but here it is: Europe has demonstrated how antitrust can and should work.

    Americans of the late 19th century would have understood. Having been beaten into economic submission by the railroad and oil trusts, they howled for reform. That's how we got the laws that occasionally have been used to protect us: citizen action. Unfortunately, the sorry history of US antitrust law since is one of big money obstructing progress and undoing results at nearly every step.

    If we're ever to get out from under the yoke of our Microsofts and Wal-Marts, which depress innovation, cripple competition, batter markets and saddle society with a host of costs and social ills, we'll need to resurrect that lost spirit of the engaged American--the citizen who knows his interests and how to fight for them.

16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Serling

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