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Microsoft Chided Over Exclusive Music Idea 331

Posted by samzenpus
from the musical-monopoly dept.
grumpyman writes "The federal judge overseeing Microsoft Corp.'s business practices scolded the company Wednesday over a proposal to force manufacturers to tether iPod-like devices to Microsoft's own music player software. Microsoft blamed the proposal on a newly hired, "lower-level business person" who did not understand the company's obligations under the antitrust settlement."
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Microsoft Chided Over Exclusive Music Idea

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  • Suuuure (Score:4, Funny)

    by gbulmash (688770) * <semi_famous@yahoo . c om> on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @10:36PM (#13886598) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft blamed the proposal on a newly hired, "lower-level business person" who did not understand the company's obligations under the antitrust settlement.

    Possible responses from the judge:

    • The Surgeon General has determined it is hazardous to your health to blow smoke up my ass.
    • Pull my other leg, it has bells on it.
    • And after I accept that, you've got a bridge you want to sell me?
    • Ha ha ha ha! Stop it, you're killin' me!
    • Ahhh, the blame it on the new guy defense. Not gonna fly. Next excuse?
    • (to lead counsel) Okay. If you say so. Are we still on for golf in Bermuda next week?

    - Greg

  • Of course (Score:5, Funny)

    by dtfinch (661405) * on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @10:36PM (#13886601) Journal
    There's nothing Microsoft could have done. Those low level interns practically run the company.
    • Re:Of course (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MLopat (848735) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @10:49PM (#13886675) Homepage
      Yeah well that's closer to the truth than you think. 10% of the company is comprised of co-ops. They typically put in longer hours, do more work, and are the real boys and girls in the trenches.
      • Re:Of course (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rtb61 (674572) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @11:13PM (#13886783) Homepage
        Well perhaps they would get more senior people doing it if there were considerable fines and minor jail terms for continued attempts to thwart the princicples of the settlement as minimal as they are. This failure to apply genuine fiscal pressures upon microsoft, especially considering the cost to government of the continued overseeing of the monopolistic machinations of bog balls and wee willie, is very strange to say the least ;-).
  • by xgadflyx (828530) * <james@montgomery.gmail@com> on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @10:37PM (#13886612) Homepage Journal
    Somewhere deep in the heart of Redmond.... "Damn those new MBA graduate students! Don't know there head from their @#$hole. Looks like we need to re-evaluate our initial MS obscure wording 101 course"

    • See, we hired this guy using our (patented) hiring process which entails answering a bunch of clever puzzle questions and IQ tests and also tested how much system minutiae he could remember after being exposed to it for thirty seconds. Our typical "geek moron employment" process.

      But we didn't test his ability to reason or understand the law. That's not our policy. We don't want anyone working for us who has either scruples or common sense.

      We want coders and liars - that's it.
  • by Baricom (763970) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @10:39PM (#13886622)
    Can't get any lower than scapegoat, right?
    • Official Job Title: Jr. Manager of Marketing
      Actaull Job title: Scapegoat.

      Your jobs is to be blames for all "mistakes" that we make and get caught for. Depending on the size of the mistake you could get fired, but we will leave a good reference for you. Just as long as you don't work for and competition.
  • "Microsoft regrets (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ceoyoyo (59147) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @10:43PM (#13886642)
    the proposal ever was sent to music-player manufacturers..." Wow, they let the new coffee getter conference call with Sony by himself? Huh.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @10:51PM (#13886682)
      Obviously there long enough to understand how Micorsoft works though, just not that those inner workings should never be made so ...public. Hilarious that MS's retraction related to adherence to "the company's obligations under the antitrust settlement" and not to the fact it's a loathsome business practice. One more window into the Redmond giant.
      • Which makes you wonder what Microsoft will be doing once those clauses of their settlement expires in 2008. Perhaps what they're really regreting is the manager letting the cat out of the bag before they could legally do it.
        • by einhverfr (238914) <chris.travers@gmail . c om> on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @11:47PM (#13886928) Homepage Journal
          IANAL, but these are my thoughts.

          Which makes you wonder what Microsoft will be doing once those clauses of their settlement expires in 2008. Perhaps what they're really regreting is the manager letting the cat out of the bag before they could legally do it.

          Doesn't matter. Antitrust law doesn't expire in 2007, only close government supervision does. If anyone thinks that this expiration means the end of Microsoft's antitrust woes, they need to think again. The reason is something called collateral estoppel. Basically all those facts decided as a necessary part of that portion of the case not overturned on appeal is beyond relitigation. I.e. in any future antitrust suit, Microsoft cannot say "We were never a predatory monopoly." The best they can say is "We are not a monopoly any more" or maybe "what we are accused of doing is not predatory." I.e. the litigation changes from establishing facts to establishing *changes* of facts since they were established.

          What this means is that the whole point of the antitrust case against microsoft was the judgement that Microsoft both was a monopoly and had broken antitrust law in maintaining it. The exact details of the judgement are largely irrelevant. Indeed had Microsoft been broken up, it would have been *easy* to argue that facts had changed "Yes, Microsoft was a monopoly, your honor, but we were broken up and so the facts from the prior case no longer apply." THe fact that they are largely allowed to continue doing business as usual is *not* a good thing or a light punishment for Microsoft. Indeed it is largely a declaration that it is open season on Microsoft from an antitrust litigation point of view (in that the bar has been lowered to a rediculously low level for such claims, including continuing violations).

          Already there are over 100 antitrust suits against them winding their way though a multidistrict panel including Novell v. Microsoft, Go v. Microsoft and countless more. The antitrust settlement might be a minor cut to Microsoft, but it is a cut that occurs in waters populated by a large number of man-eating sharks. Sucks to be Microsoft. Which is one reason I no longer work there.
          • Excellent. Very interesting and very well written.
          • by steelfood (895457) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:16AM (#13887375)
            Antitrust law doesn't expire in 2007, only close government supervision does.

            You are right. Having a monopoly isn't something the government can regulate; being a monopoly is not against the law. Companies can't just sue another company for being successful. It is only when Microsoft engages in unfair business practices where they use the advantages of their monopoly status that it becomes an issue of antitrust. But whether to sue them under antitrust laws is up to the government, specifically the attorney general (antitrust is a civil matter, not a criminal one).

            That largely depends on the administration in office. Sure future antitrust violations will be dealt with more harshly. If they never get sued by the government, the only thing that'll happen is that they'll pay some large sum in fines to a bunch of small or already-dead companies and go about their merry way. And even if the DOJ does get involved, well Microsoft received a large fine the last time, setting the precedent to fine them even more (yes, it can be argued that fines aren't enough, but then again, that was argued for this case too and Microsoft was still largely fined). Anyhow, this administration is likely not going to act and we know little to nothing about the next one. Yet the settlement conveniently expires before then. By the time the next administration comes around to suing them again for unfair business practices, they'd have bought up all the so-called victims and the prosecution wouldn't have much of a leg to stand on except for Microsoft's history. And all Microsoft would need to ask then in defense is where the prosecution's witnesses are.

            Once they're out from under the microscope, it doesn't give them free reign to do as they please, but it does loosen their chains considerably.

            Already there are over 100 antitrust suits against them winding their way though a multidistrict panel

            And there have been countless antitrust suits and unfair business practices suits before that. What really is litigation to Microsoft? Just part of the cost of doing business. Microsoft has been engaged in this business model for a very long time. Everyone sues Microsoft. Microsoft either settles with them for some amount of money, or loses, and is fined some amount of money. To Microsoft, these fines and suits are looked at like their utility bills.

            Which is one reason I no longer work there.

            I would work for Google too if given the choice. They get free food. :p
    • by mattjb0010 (724744) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @11:19PM (#13886821) Homepage
      the proposal ever was sent to music-player

      Come on, get with the times. They're not music players or mp3 players any more, they're iPod-like devices. [slashdot.org]
  • Blame Management! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TauntingElf (926235) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @10:45PM (#13886658)
    How in the world can they blame the low level worker when it would have to be a management decision. Now are they saying their new management has been stuck under a rock for 5 years? How many people don't know about Microsoft and the monopoly case against them?
    • by Mr. Sketch (111112)
      How many people don't know about Microsoft and the monopoly case against them?

      Exactly. Especially if this person is responsible for these kinds of deals, shouldn't an understanding of the anti-trust settlement restrictions be a requirement for this position?
    • IT was a misquote , it was meant to read "lower-level Ballmer person"
  • by MLopat (848735) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @10:46PM (#13886663) Homepage
    I miss the good old days at Microsoft. When we used to just do whatever the hell we wanted, and would write a cheque for the consequences later. :)
  • My girlfriend got an iRiver for her birthday. She's been happily ripping her 2000+ CD collection (all original, bought and paid for) and putting the songs on it. I asked her the other day if she had to install any special drivers or if the Mp3 player was just a normal USB storage device. Apparently it is "kinda" standard. You can drag an Mp3 off the iRiver onto a machine that has not had special iRiver drivers installed and you'll be able to play it.. but you can't drag any old Mp3 file off the computer
    • by jrockway (229604) * <jon-nospam@jrock.us> on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @10:56PM (#13886707) Homepage Journal
      The iPod is exactly the same. It does rename its music files, though, ... but they'll still play fine.
      • It does rename its music files, though

        I just noticed this today and it pissed me off. It didn't used to rename the files (they might have been truncated a bit, but you could still see what they were). Now they all have meaningless (to me) filenames when on the ipod. I went to take an mp3 off my ipod today to put on my Linux box, but was upset to find that I wasn't able to find the song I wanted because I couldn't differentiate one from another. Good ol' Limewire came to the rescue though.

        Frustrating.
        • If you're using a mac, just copy Sentui [ambitiouslemon.com] on to your iPod. Then when you go to another computer, you can just open Sentui and copy all the music (or a few tracks) on your iPod to the host computer's iTunes library. It's brilliant for moving your music to work or giving your friends a few tracks. (Oh that's illegal. umm... not for that then. riiiight.)

        • I had the same problem. bunch of random files in random folders from my ipod. I used "Ex falso" to mass rename and move the files according to the id3 tag. Took about 10 seconds after figuring out how to use "ex falso" and setting the move pattern to Artist/album/XX -songname.mp3

          I highly recomend the program. Uses a GUI and has a pretty easy to use (and fast!) rename system.
    • by Dionysus (12737) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @11:00PM (#13886722) Homepage
      Because these devices are small with limited amount of memory? And when the memory is limited and the storage capacity is huge, then there is a question of where do you store all that id3 tags. File access would be dirt slow (when you push play, you don't want to wait 5 seconds for the system to find the file. Heck, if you browse your system, you don't want to wait for each update). Even something like amaroK index the files. Try loading all your the mp3s into xmms and see how long it takes.
      • Even so, you can't stash something in the menu of the MP3 player that tells it to update its own index? Sure, it may take a moment, or even several minutes if you dump oodles of songs all at once, but it would be really convenient. I keep two copies of some stuff on my iPod so that I can listen to it either on the iPod, or copy it onto a computer I plug the iPod into. It's a waste of space, and it is annoying.
      • Uhh, no. You scan the directory for any file which is not in the index and you display the filename to the user. If the user selects that filename you read the ID3 tags and update the index.
      • Uh, my Lyra works just like a USB memory stick and requires no extra drivers. That this player requires drivers to "update its index" smacks of laziness on the part of the developers.
    • by Tony (765)
      The deal is this: if you had 2000+ albums on your hard drive, it'd take you forever to index them so you had a cool interface with which to access your music.

      Now.

      Take your desktop computer, with all its resources, and scrunch it down into a device that'll fit into your pocket.

      The deal is, it's easier to "cache" the ID3 tags into a "database" (sorry if I'm using technical terms here) and have a small "embedded device" use the database for song information. And, since you need a computer to move those songs
      • Then add to the user interface of the mp3 player the option to play files that have not been indexed. It's no more expensive to show a directory listing than it is to show a song/artist listing. And for God's sake, use a flat text file to store the index so anyone can write a program to update it (or you can just use a text editor and do it manually).
        • And for God's sake, use a flat text file to store the index so anyone can write a program to update it

          ,p>Why is that a proirity? You lose the advantage of faster searching for no real gain. Granted, 10k files isn't really huge, but with indexes, you can lower your memory usage signifigantly.
    • Quit whining and try ASKING someone. You know, like iRiver's tech support? You can flash the unit with a ROM update that'll make it a USB Mass Storage (UMS) device. Go search their downloads for "UMS" and drag to your heart's content.

        -Charles
    • My iRiver works with no drivers (other than default USB stuff). I just plug it into to my GNU/Linux box, and drag the icon from one ROX-Filer window to the other to copy music on or off. Then, I go to the folder on the iRiver and play. It just worked the day I bought it, and it still just works today. In fact, this was one of my prereqs when buying it---iPods were completely out of the question for this (and other) reasons.

      I understand the American versions have some differences, but I woudn't know what the
      • Cool. That's the way it should be. I'm told a firmware upgrade will make a lot of players work this way.. sounds like iRiver and Creative are starting to get it. Where's that leave Apple? As far as I'm aware you still need special software with an iPod, and you can't drag playable items from the iPod to the desktop.
        • I bought my iRiver last year; it looks like the model is superceded, or at least there's newer equivalents by iRiver out now. I based my decision to buy it on my sister's then-boyfriend's, which was a model earlier and he'd had it for a while. I think iRiver got it from the beginning—but then, they support Ogg Vorbis, so it's no real surprise.

          As for Apple, they'll never change, and it won't hurt them a bit. Apple's that good at marketing and making sure the masses want what they have. "Kick me harder!
  • by sapgau (413511) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @10:48PM (#13886670) Journal
    It was one of those lower level, chair throwing, teeth grinding employees!!
    • Ha ha. Yeah, I figured it had to be Ballmer myself. "Lower level business person" my ass.

      Perhaps Ballmer's been demoted to portable music Wunderkind.

  • I swear, you can't make this shit up. Show of hands: who here believes a single thing MS says anymore?
    • I may hate MSFT (slashdot crowd cheers) them or love them (slashdot crowd boos), but either way, I give them money every year.

      This is not a moral judgement anymore... on a technical basis, do they have something I want? yes.

      BTW, I reboot my Windows boxes every month or so, whether they need it or not. Just Because.

      • How you spend your money is the most important moral decision you will ever make. Every time you reach in your wallet you can make the decision to make the world better or worse. Hundreds of moral decisions every day multiplied by billions of people, the most powerful force for change in the world is in your pocket. Use it.
    • It seems to work for Bush.
  • by the-build-chicken (644253) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @11:10PM (#13886771)
    lower-level business person" who did not understand the company's obligations under the antitrust settlement...and apparently been living the past 5 years without a tv.....or a newspaper.....or interpersonal contact.......in a box....wearing earmuffs......buried in a 12 foot crater on the other side of mars.
  • by aepervius (535155) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @11:14PM (#13886787)
    They are "testing the water" to see how far they can go expanding their grasp without anyone reacting. Next time they will go a little less far and nobody will react etc...
  • Culpability (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @11:42PM (#13886907) Journal
    FTA: "Microsoft abandoned the idea after a competitor protested."

    How many questionable actions have slipped through because the competitors have been strong-armed (due to business relations with MS) or bought off?

    This happens to be an area where MS has valid competition who have a large interest in making sure MS doesn't leverage their OS dominance... what happens in areas where the competition doesn't have the legal resources to monitor MS & to file complaints?

    Not to bash MS, but really now... Gates & co are making a good case for the idea that they need to be monitored past 2007, and that perhaps the previous settlement wasn't enough.

    The fact of the matter is that whether it was Gates or Ballmer or some new lackey, they were acting in official capacity as an employee of MS. It is the responsibility of those in charge to make sure no one in the organization could take illegal action. And should the court take action (which the judge said she won't), the execs at MS should be held liable by their shareholders.

  • MRD (Score:4, Insightful)

    by starling (26204) <strayling20@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @11:45PM (#13886915)
    Microsoft blamed the proposal on a newly hired, "lower-level business person" who did not understand the company's obligations under the antitrust settlement.


    Well, they would say that, woudn't they?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandy_Rice-Davies [wikipedia.org]

  • In defense of MS (Score:5, Informative)

    by weavermatic (868696) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @11:52PM (#13886949)
    I am a service tech with Siemens on the Redmond Microsoft campus. We do all of their desktop support so I see A LOT of the normal day to day happenings that go on around this place. Ever since I've been here, all I've seen are people doing everything they can to make the most feature-filled, least buggy, most compatible software they can. I know for certain that the team working on Microsoft Operations Manager has in the last week broken several barriers that they were working on.

    My point is that Microsoft is not the immense evil company that they are made out to be. The people that work here are not trying to rip you off. They are not sabotaging their software. They take pride in thier work. We have copies of different linux builds lying around and some people even use Macs here. Seeing the way things work here, when Balmer says he has not thrown a chair, I believe him. Every last employee and most vendors here have IMMENSE amounts of freedom in their jobs. Microsoft hires people that present an air of trustworthyness. They want to be able to hire people, assign them a task, and be confident that the person they hired will be able to complete the task in the most efficient and responsible way possible.

    In reference to this article that obviously did not happen. Somebody was entrusted with a certain amount of authority and they misused it. Please realize that Microsoft as a company is not some huge evil organization out to rape your wallets. They are regular people who want to, like anyone else, do the best job they can.
    • by Chirs (87576)

      The majority of the individual employees probably are as you say.

      That still doesn't change the fact that Microsoft as a company *is* a huge organization out to rape our wallets. In the current business/legal climate it almost has to be, in order to not be sued by the shareholders.
    • by einhverfr (238914) <chris.travers@gmail . c om> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:36AM (#13887101) Homepage Journal
      I used to work at Microsoft. I started out as a temp and was eventually hired full time. I have worked in PSS, and apprenticed in other departments such as testing. I as also deeply involved in many competitive discussions regarding Linux, etc. Indeed, over two years after I quit, I am still seeing the effects of suggestions I made to high-level competitive managers while I worked there.

      Pretty much every thing you say is true. To a point. It is true that Microsoft is a place where one can generally have a lot of freedom on how you do your job and you only find out once a year that the management thinks several of your most important contributions were wastes of time (a more common complaint than you might think), and that in general, it was a fairly satisfying place to work. It is true that people take a lot of pride in their work, and that most of the people there, especially those in product development, are primarily interested in making quality software, though whether they succeed or not is another question.

      The problem, however, is that there is also an odd sense of mean-spiritedness which exists as a hidden undercurrent at the company. It does not come out in every employee, and I think that the GM of my department through most of the time I was there was probably the least mean-spirited guy I have enver seen in any company, but it is a part of the corporate culture. You would not believe how many Microsoft employees might ordinarily vode democrat but voted to elect Sen. Gordon simply because Cantwell was coming from a competing company (Real Networks). Never mind the fact that she might actually understand the industry. One guy even told me that he could not in good conscience vote to elect an executive from a competitor to public office. And you would not beleive the flack I got because before I was hired, I had migrated my parents to a Linux desktop and did not want to bring them back into the fold of Microsoft software (yes they still run Linux, and no they are not nerds or techies).

      Similarly, the level of mean-spiritedness I watched seemed to go up as one ascended the management chain though there were plenty of exceptions. I knew several people who ended up in GM positions who really were great people to work for and with, and were entirely procompetitive. Sadly I also saw many more people who were fundamentally meanspirited (even if they did not at first appear this way) who were promoted as well.

      Now, I was not ill-informed as to the nature of this aspect of Microsoft corporate culture when I was hired. I had read essentially all of the court documents both regarding Caldera v. Microsoft and USDoJ v. Microsoft. And I largely accepted the employement at first due to the fact that I did not have another job lined up when my term came to an end. In other words, it was clear to me that a large percentage of senior execs (including Gates and Ballmer) were of this category of employees, and that this was a large part of what catylized this attitude in the company.

      During my time at Microsoft, I worked tirelessly to improve Microsoft software and business practices. My contributions were nearly all procompetitive. Among ideas first floated by me:
      1) One has to stop thinking of Exchange and Sendmail as competitors (as a result of this email, a POP3 server was added to Windows Server 2003).
      2) If you are going to Linuxworld, at least take the one product (SFU) that Linux guys might find interesting.
      3) SFU should ship with the operating system.
      4) If you can't provide SSH, at least provide a telnet server which uses Kerberos to encrypt the session (don't know the status on this one, but I believe it may be forthcoming)

      I don't know where my other suggestions so I will not mention them here. However, I will say that I had suggested a very aggressive competitive approach aimed at materially reducing the number of safe markets for Linux and FreeBSD. I would not be surprised if Microsoft continues to impliment other suggestions I made.
      • Why can't they provide OpenSSH? It's BSD licensed. Everyone uses it now (no one uses Kerberos+Telnet), it works well, it has good features. The best we can get at the moment Windows-wise is the OpenSSH installer which contains just enough cygwin to make it work - it's OK, but things like tab and the command history don't work with the Windows CLI, which is a minor annoyance. I'd love to see OpenSSH properly integrated into Windows (and not in an embrace/extend/extinguish manner - just integrated so it does
        • 1) It's mildly embaressing, also they want to push their own management tools

          2) It's monopolistic, extending their control and basically snuffing out ssh.com and other commercial SSH providers. They got in trouble for this type of behavior remember?

    • by DrJimbo (594231) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @01:04AM (#13887182)
      Please realize that Microsoft as a company is not some huge evil organization out to rape your wallets. They are regular people who want to, like anyone else, do the best job they can.

      Unfortunately that job they are working so hard at is to rape our wallets, for the benefit of their stockholders.

      The fact that the company is comprised of people doing the best they can is not really a valid argument against the idea that Microsoft is a huge evil organization. In fact, I would imagine that most, if not all, huge evil organizations are filled with regular people doing the best they can.

    • not some huge evil organization out to rape your wallets

      Wake up, dude. That's the sole purpose of a corporation. From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:
      In Anglo-American jurisdictions, business corporations are generally required to serve the best interests of the shareholders, a rule that courts have generally interpreted to mean the maximization of share value, and thus profits. Corporate directors are prohibited by corporate law from sacrificing profits to serve some other interest, such as environmental protection, or the imp
    • Re:In defense of MS (Score:4, Interesting)

      by killjoe (766577) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @04:08AM (#13887608)
      MIcrosoft is full of kind and nice people who work hard every day. That's why they steal technology, refuse to follow standards, stab their partners in the back, call people communists and cancer and a hundred other sleazy and unethical things.

      Nice people do that all the time, they really do!
  • by bombadier_beetle (871107) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @01:28AM (#13887245)
    The judge said Microsoft's music-player proposal -- even though it was abandoned 10 days later -- "maybe indicates a chink in the compliance process."

    Well, now we know the ethnicity of the low-level intern.
  • Corporate tool (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sloppy (14984) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:16AM (#13887376) Homepage Journal
    "iPod-like devices"? Grumpyman, is it so hard to call them "music players"?

    I still haven't seen anyone with an iPod, but I've had a Neuros and I know someone with an Archos. Unless you're being paid to publicize that one company's antiquated product (fuckin' A, it can't even play modern codecs like Vorbis), then there's no reason to shill for it.

  • Scary... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by iCoach (658588)
    So if the anti-trust suit had never happend this would have been perfectly acceptable to "higher-level business persons"?

    The quote says more than I think they intended.

    -Coach
  • Corporate culture (Score:3, Interesting)

    by QuestorTapes (663783) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @07:40AM (#13888134)
    > The federal judge overseeing Microsoft Corp.'s business
    > practices scolded the company Wednesday over a proposal
    > to force manufacturers to tether iPod-like devices to
    > Microsoft's own music player software. Microsoft blamed
    > the proposal on a newly hired, "lower-level business person"
    > who did not understand the company's obligations under
    > the antitrust settlement.

    This points out well why Microsoft can't be trusted in these anti-trust settlements. Microsoft's view is that proposals like this are only a problem in that they violate the anti-trust settlement terms. In reality, they are a problem in that they violate the intent of the anti-trust laws.

    MS expects its employees to work tirelessly to skirt the edge of the anti-trust laws, and build up its defacto monopoly. They can't accept into the corporate culture that attempting to force use of MS software through restrictive licensing agreements is not an acceptable business practice, -even if- you can do it without contravening the strict letter of the law.

    Frm the referenced article: 'The judge said Microsoft's music-player proposal -- even though it was abandoned 10 days later -- "maybe indicates a chink in the compliance process."'

    I would not describe it as a "chink"; I would describe it as a gap in which Microsoft is unwilling to comply with any settlement agreement to any greater degree than they can be compelled to by threat of force.

    '"This is an issue that Microsoft is concerned showed up," Rule said. He added that Microsoft regrets the proposal ever was sent to music-player manufacturers and that the company was "looking at it to make sure this is a lesson learned."'

    Unfortunately, from Microsoft's point of view, the lesson they seem to want to impress on the employees is, "thou shalt not get caught", where the court wants them to learn to alter their business practices to prohibit these kinds of restrictive agreements.

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