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Microsoft Government The Courts News

States and DoJ Divided On Microsoft Antitrust Success 123

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-better-now dept.
Rob writes "Computer Business Review is reporting that the US Department of Justice and five States have declared themselves satisfied with the antitrust enforcement efforts taken against Microsoft despite a further seven States maintaining they have had 'little or no discernible impact in the marketplace.' While the US DoJ and five States — New York, Louisiana, Maryland, Ohio, and Wisconsin (The New York Group) — reported that the final judgments have succeeded in increasing competition to the benefit of consumers, seven States making up the California Group are not convinced."
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States and DoJ Divided On Microsoft Antitrust Success

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  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:49AM (#20463003)
    Are you more able today to buy a computer without a Microsoft OS than you were 4 years ago?
    • by gatzke (2977) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:56AM (#20463057) Homepage Journal

      Your questions is ridiculous.

      You always have had choices. Mac has always been there. There have always been linux shops that sell hardware. More expensive and less support, but you could do it.

      How do you define "more able" to buy something? Price? Availability? Support? Number of vendors?

      MS bundles products, closes interfaces, and forces new version upgrades. This is an abuse of monopoly power.

      IANAL, but MS was declared a monopoly back around 2000. I don't think a judge ever declared them to no longer be a monopoly, so I assume that ruling stands.

      http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/2479.html [ecommercetimes.com]
      • by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @09:18AM (#20463229) Homepage
        He didn't ask whether it is possible to buy a non-Microsoft PC. Of course it has always been possible. He asked how easy it is. This is a quite legitimate question, even if as you point out it includes several different factors such as price and number of vendors.

        It's documented that Microsoft has entered into restrictive contracts with OEMs so they pay per PC sold, whether or not it includes Windows. Also that Microsoft has threatened vendors (e.g. IBM) with an increase in the price they pay for Windows and used this as a tool to stop vendors from including competitors' software they don't like. Some of these restrictive deals were replaced with similar ones that look better on paper but are much the same in practice (e.g. paying a Microsoft tax on each PC of a certain 'model' that was sold, so if a vendor wants to exclude Windows they must print new name badges and manuals). A simple injunctive remedy IHMO would be to require that Microsoft sell Windows licences at the same price to all vendors, and that the licence be paid for only if Windows is included with the PC.

        You are quite right about the bundling of products etc. That is another example of monopoly power. It doesn't make the complaint about Microsoft preventing OEMs from offering Windows-free PCs any less valid.
        • The injunctive remedy is interesting and appropriate. Yes, it is interfering with business - but monopolies get to be interfered with, at least if we want a functioning market. And pricing Windows as a commodity would be good, overall.

          Eivind.

        • Let's make it even simpler:
          • Can you go into a computer store and compare a PC running Windows, with a PC running Linux, or a PC running Solaris, or even a PC Running OS/X with the same ease as you can go into a video store and compare a VCR from RCA, Sony, Magnavox, and Phillips?
          • Can you go into a computer store and compare a PC loaded with OpenOffice to a PC loaded with MS-Office 2007?
          • Can you go into a computer store and see from the descriptions on or near the display which PCs are READY to run Linux?
          • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Ok, but what's a VCR?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by The Spoonman (634311)
          He didn't ask whether it is possible to buy a non-Microsoft PC. Of course it has always been possible. He asked how easy it is. This is a quite legitimate question, even if as you point out it includes several different factors such as price and number of vendors.

          But, the question implies that the "average user" is shopping around to get a Linux PC. As the major vendors have shown, when they offer it as an option, it rarely sells. The price benefit certainly isn't there (an average cost drop of about $5
          • by Ed Avis (5917)
            As I understand it, since the ruling that stopped Microsoft from charging OEMs per PC sold, they switched to a different contract that charges OEMs per PC sold of a given 'model', but again the OEM pays whether or not the PC was shipped with Windows. This is within the letter of the agreement but not really the spirit.

            When I suggested that Microsoft should be required to sell Windows at the same price for all vendors, I didn't say that the price should be chosen by the courts. Microsoft could choose whate
            • As I understand it, since the ruling that stopped Microsoft from charging OEMs per PC sold, they switched to a different contract that charges OEMs per PC sold of a given 'model', but again the OEM pays whether or not the PC was shipped with Windows.

              As I understand it, that was contested again and added to the original decision. There, see how I just did that? I made up a fact and added "as I understand it" to it and it bears the enough of the taint of truth that people might just listen to it. It's
      • by mazarin5 (309432)
        It's my interpretation that the GP was spoofing the rhetoric used during the Bush-Kerry election:

        "Just ask yourself this: Are you safer now that you were four years ago?" in regards to the terrrists [sic], delivered with an implicit "Duh, of course!"
        • by gatzke (2977)

          Thanks for explaining the joke to me. LOL.

          For some reason, I just assumed the antitrust ruling was about four years ago, so it was an idiotic question. Now that you point out that it can be interpreted in jest, it is actually funny.

          Sometimes you argue with an idiot, sometimes you are the idiot.

          What a maroon!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jorghis (1000092)
      You always could. Apple has been selling PCs since before most slashdotters were born. Noone is forcing you to buy a windows pc. The issue isnt whether or not non-windows computers are avaiable. The issue is whether or not MS is unfairly using its dominant consumer OS position to gain market share in other applications.
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      Actually, most definitely, yes. Apple has captured a much greater market share (particularly in laptops) than they had before the anti-trust stuff. And Linux has captured a level of popularity that I never would have expected (never would have expected to see a company like Dell selling it as an option on their systems).
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        Is that a measure of how much more easily you can by a non-Windows PC, or a measure of how much more mightily strongly people want a non-Windows PC?

        Between MS stagnation, price hikes, security and other high-profile bugs, and the growing (if still low) sophistication/informedness of PC buyers, plus Apple's tremendously popular brand (mostly boosted by iPods and iTunes), is MS any less a monopoly abuser? Or are they just keeping down an overwhelming percentage of a much larger demand, so the non-MS growth wo
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      So does this also make Apple the same as Microsoft? Can you use iTunes with another portable media player? You can with Media Player though.

      I am neither Pro M$ or Pro Linux. I live in a world where these are both needed and used. Does anyone complain about Adobe? Apple? No, because they are small compaired to M$. Intel has been doing this crap for years, sure they only have 90% of the Processors world wide, not just your CPU mind you, but Flash Memory, chips in your Phones, etc. Of Course this is the
      • I complain about Adobe occasionally. I complain about companies whose products I think are bloated whether they are a large or small company. I couldn't give a toss if a company has a monopoly as long as they are providing a worthwhile service/product at a reasonable price. Nobody would care about MS being on top if they didn't bring out bollocks like Vista. Honestly I thought they had finally started sorting things out with XP, it's hilarious how bad the reception of Vista has been. I was worried that ever
      • by NMerriam (15122)

        Does anyone complain about Adobe?


        Plenty of people in the graphics industry complain about Adobe. While they have been a remarkably benevolent dictator, they have certainly used their power to reduce competition. They've bought out or destroyed almost every major competitor to their products for almost two decades now.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537)

      That's not the question, though. The question is, is Microsoft still engaging in anti-competitive practices? Are they continuing to leverage their monopoly with Windows and their monopoly with Office to reinforce each other? Are they leveraging those monopolies to force users to adopt other Microsoft products? Do they have APIs in Windows/Office/Exchange that they aren't really making public in order to stifle competition? Are they continuing to use their own proprietary standards, protocols, and file-f

  • Ah ha! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:53AM (#20463035) Homepage Journal
    Well, now we know which states Microsoft has the most paid lobbyists in.

    Seriously, I don't see how the antitrust suit has had much bearing on Microsoft's behavior. They continue to act like a monopolist. Prices for Microsoft operating systems have actually gone UP, not down (despite prices for virtually everything else in their industry dropping) and their market share hasn't changed significantly in anyway -- when it has changed, it's been due to superior and/or cheaper products, such as all-in-one file servers with embedded OS, Linux, or improvements in Apple's Mac OS X.

    • Oddly enough I was talking to some Microsoft folks yesterday and we talked about the old days and the new days. And the Microsoft of 1995 is not the Microsoft of 2007. Yes they still do certain things, but many things have changed. Microsoft is different company these days, and I think it is because they had their hands slapped.

      For those that say, nothing has changed, well then you don't remember what Microsoft was like in 1994! Back then Microsoft was rabid and not a company you wanted in your cross-sights
      • Re:Oddly enough... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by speaker of the truth (1112181) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @09:08AM (#20463135)

        Yes they still do certain things, but many things have changed.
        And yet you haven't mentioned what they do differently.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by elrous0 (869638) *
      Not exactly shocking to hear that California (where Apple is based) is not satisfied with the Washington-based MS's anti-trust efforts. Sad to be that cynical, but these things almost always boil down to politics over substance.
    • by westlake (615356)
      Prices for Microsoft operating systems have actually gone UP, not down (despite prices for virtually everything else in their industry dropping)

      The suggested retail price for Windows 3.1 in 1992 was $149.95

      Microsoft Announces Worldwide Availability of Windows 3.1 [google.com]

      Vista Home Basic Full Version [amazon.com] is $183 at Amazon.com and $139 at Royal Discount Technologies [royaldiscount.com]

      Windows is approaching one billion users on the desktop - one Windows PC for every 6.5 people on the planet. Microsoft Antitrust Settlement Is a Success [eweek.com]

      • I'm not sure if you're disagreeing with me or what. Even if you compare the SRP of Windows 3.1 (149.95) with a discounted price (139) today, which is an unfair comparison anyway, $150 vs. $140 isn't a price drop, it's effectively a price increase based on those massive economies of scale you just mentioned. Compare that to the Dell Inspiron Vista Premium Laptop, at $800 today, a Dell similar Dell notebook [pqarchiver.com], featuring a 25 MHz 386SL processor with a 60 MB HDD (no, that's not a typo, that's 'megabyte'), was
    • by drsmithy (35869)

      Prices for Microsoft operating systems have actually gone UP, not down [...]

      False.

      Retail US$ prices at release (and adjusted for inflation to 2006):
      Windows 3.1 + DOS 6.2: $150 + $50 = $200 ($214 + $71 = $285)
      Windows 95: $209 ($274)
      Windows 98: $209 ($255)
      Windows XP Home: $199 ($226)
      Windows Vista Home Basic: $199
      Windows Vista Home Premium: $239

      Windows *is* getting cheaper. Further, it has also vastly improved its functionality and reliability over the same timeframe, so you're getting more.

      (Of cou

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @09:02AM (#20463103)
    For Microsoft it's just a business decision. If the fines for not complying are smaller than the loss they would face by complying, then they won't change anything and just pay the fine. This has happened in Europe, where they had to pay hundreds of million of dollars and elsewhere.

    This is just another example how much power they wield and how _corrupt_ some states in the US (and ofc elsewhere) are.
  • by clang_jangle (975789) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @09:04AM (#20463117) Journal
    The nature of our current government makes a mockery of the FTC and anti-trust regulations. How can we reasonably expect anti-trust regulation from a federal government which is almost entirely composed of corporate henchmen?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by faloi (738831)
      You're between a rock and hard place. If you believe that Firefox usage is up, and that other players have significant say in the media player business, then you're buying that the world is more competitive than it was 8 or 9 years ago. And you agree with the "corporate henchman" at the DoJ.

      If you believe market share should be the only indicator of whether injunctions have worked, and you won't be satisfied until Microsoft has some percentage (let's say less than 50%), then it really won't matter what h
      • by click2005 (921437)
        I firmly believe the only reason that Microsoft still has dominance in the desktop OS market is because people are comfortable with the software that runs on their OS, and they stick with it.

        Microsoft still forces PC makers to only selling Windows PCs. If they try to sell PCs with non-Windows OS they are denied any discounts on MS products. This lowers the profit margins on a PC by a lot.

        Unless you're up for government mandating that all citizens stop using MS Office, or playing games on their computers,
        • by faloi (738831)
          Steps should be taken to break the monopoly and give customers more choice.

          How, exactly, does the government preventing people from using a line of products from a manufacturer give the customers more choice? I'm all for, potentially, forcing Microsoft to pay for some advertising for some other options to their ubiquitous office and media applications, but forcing people to stop using them...
        • Microsoft still forces PC makers to only selling Windows PCs. If they try to sell PCs with non-Windows OS they are denied any discounts on MS products. This lowers the profit margins on a PC by a lot.

          Linky? I'm sure you have evidence for this?

          That is exactly what the government should do. If a company is abusing a monopoly, they should be made to suffer financially until their behaviour changes. Steps should be taken to break the monopoly and give customers more choice. If MS doesn't like it they shou

      • by Danse (1026)

        I firmly believe the only reason that Microsoft still has dominance in the desktop OS market is because people are comfortable with the software that runs on their OS, and they stick with it.

        MS Office is the main reason people continue to use Windows. That's why Microsoft is so desperate to get OOXML made standard by ISO. They need to maintain their office document lock-in in order to maintain their desktop OS marketshare. If ODF takes over, then people would have choices about what office software to use, and they would all be able to read and write documents created with other office suites and applications. Then people could choose other platforms to run those applications on. That wou

  • by wombatmobile (623057) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @09:28AM (#20463341)

    Microsoft's continued abuse of its monopoly for operating systems is clearly apparent in its failure to implement web standards in IE.

    Smaller browser vendors with vastly less funding have made giant strides in their implementations of CSS, SVG, mathml and DOM. Microsoft has done as little as possible to implement those standards, but somehow has found the resources and the rationalization to implement SilVerliGht, which is a stolen, bastardized clone of SVG.

    Unlike 10 years ago, the world has moved past its reliance on Microsoft to embrace other vendors products willingly. No wonder IE's market share continues to fall precipitously.

    • by JoelKatz (46478)
      First you complain that Microsoft ignores standards. Then you complain that they steal standards. What's the option you'd like them to take?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        The option is obvious of course. To adhere to standards they haven't stolen. Or are you trying to claim that Microsoft hasn't been tampering with the standard approval process?
        • by JoelKatz (46478)
          I guess you're just too subtle for me. Maybe you could explain what your actual complaint is rather than just saying "Microsoft = bad" and just assuming everyone knows why. Seriously, I'd love to know what your issue is, but you have to make at least some effort to explain it.
          • JoelKatz, I guess you're just too subtle for me. Maybe you could explain what your actual confusion is rather than just saying "you're just too subtle for me" and just assuming everyone knows why. Seriously, I'd love to know what your issue is, but you have to make an infinite amount of effort to explain it.
            • by JoelKatz (46478)
              My issue is that the post I'm responding to criticizes Microsoft for two things. First, it criticizes Microsoft for ignoring or failing to implement standards. Then, it criticizes Microsoft for participating in the standards process and implementing standards.

              There might be a legitimate complaint in there. Perhaps he feels there is some particular reason Microsoft should implement those particular standards. Perhaps he has a beef with the way Microsoft participated in the standards process. But he doesn't s
              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by MikkoIkonen (1151817)

                "First, it criticizes Microsoft for ignoring or failing to implement standards. Then, it criticizes Microsoft for participating in the standards process and implementing standards."

                Nowhere does anyone criticize Microsoft for implementing standards because they simply haven't implemented standards .

                The OP criticizes Microsoft for implementing a "bastardized clone" of a standard, which is not the same thing as a standard. It is the obverse of a standard.

                When browser vendors all implement the s

                • by JoelKatz (46478)
                  I just don't think you can have it both ways. You can either have everyone using the same browser or you can have a world where you have to test and tweak your web pages for every browser.

                  As for Vista, I agree that it's quite a screwed up OS right now. It will, I think, get better in the next few months as the most horrible bugs will get fixed.

                  Still, I am deeply saddened that all of the core enhancements that I expected to see in Vista failed to materialize. I don't think that's going to change. I was expec
                  • by NMerriam (15122)

                    So there is no reason not to sell OSX as a product. Does Apple have no interest in really taking on Microsoft?

                    The reason is that they don't view OS X as a product. It is a feature of the product they sell, which is the Mac hardware (or more esoterically, the "Mac experience").

                    And no, they have no interest in taking on Microsoft. Microsoft is the Wal*Mart of computing as far as Apple is concerned. Apple doesn't want customers who are looking to buy software by the pound. (this is Apple's corporate attitude

          • I prefer companies to not steal standards and to actually adhere to published, well documented and open standards. Microsoft is trying to steal the OOXML standard with their tampering of the approval process. What's so confusing?
            • by JoelKatz (46478)
              I've had the "pleasure" of implementing other standards that were created in this way (such as CIFS). And while the standards that result are truly horrible, at least there is some documentation rather than none.

              If Microsoft pushes through a truly horrible standard, that doesn't compel anyone else to implement it. It doesn't prevent anyone else from implementing a different/better standard. It does mean that anyone who has to implement it has decent documentation to follow.

              Microsoft has basically documented
              • Microsoft has basically documented its specification
                It seems our definitions of basically differ quite radically. I don't call a 6,000 page specification which still has stuff left out, making it impossible to implement, as basically.
      • Following standards without messing with the standardization process (though participating in it as an ethical member), of course.

        Or, barring that, sitting down and dying. If they can't be a responsible corporate citizen - which I'd prefer - they should die. Even if that requires that they just get shut down by the government.

        Eivind.

    • "Unlike 10 years ago, the world has moved past its reliance on Microsoft to embrace other vendors products willingly. No wonder IE's market share continues to fall precipitously."

      So then you agree with the DoJ and the 5 states that the thing they did vis-a-vis Microsoft worked? Good, glad to have that settled.

      All of you whiney fan-bois and grrls should take a step back and realize what it is you are admitting when you say the stupid things that you say. If the things MS makes are 'defectivebydesign', th
      • by Danse (1026)

        If MS can't innovate, can't implement standards, can't make stable systems, then some other system will win. If closed source is such a bad model, then some other system will win.

        The problem is that for the longest time, Microsoft has been the standard. Now that there are other possible standards out there that are becoming available, Microsoft is doing all it can to corrupt the process and prevent countries, states and other organizations from adopting and implementing those standards, using any means at its disposal, legal or illegal, ethical or unethical.

      • "So then you agree with the DoJ and the 5 states that the thing they did vis-a-vis Microsoft worked?"

        Nobody is saying the antitrust decree worked. Do you understand the basis of the court's ruling? A monopolist is not allowed to use a monopoly in one market (operating systems) to skew market share in another market (browsers).

        Microsoft continues to use its o/s monopoly to skew the browser market by bundling IE with every copy of Windows. The fact that IE's market share is falling only proves h

        • "Microsoft continues to use its o/s monopoly to skew the browser market by bundling IE with every copy of Windows. The fact that IE's market share is falling only proves how unsatisfactory consumers find Microsoft's offering."

          So then, the whole DoJ thing vis-a-vis microsoft is either working or unneccesary? Or you want it both ways?

          Anywhile, what killed Netscape was trying to move into the browser/email/swiss-army-knife market. What a pig! Every modern OS distro comes with a browser. Phones have the
        • by drsmithy (35869)

          Microsoft continues to use its o/s monopoly to skew the browser market by bundling IE with every copy of Windows.

          You mean like every other OS vendor ?

          Are you saying Microsoft should be denied including industry standard functionality in their products ? Doesn't seem like that would be particularly fair to their customers...

          In that case, why stop with the browser ? Why should they be allowed to bundle a GUI ? Or a network stack ? Or even an API ? Why are you not insisting Microsoft only be allowed t

      • by lwriemen (763666)
        > If the things MS makes are 'defectivebydesign', then monopoly or not, some
        > other system will win. If MS can't innovate, can't implement standards, can't
        > make stable systems, then some other system will win.

        If this was true, then Windows would have disappeared by the year 2000. OS/2, Amiga, Apple, and some *nix variant(s) would be splitting up the market. Standards would be in place to ensure file compatibilities.

        Microsoft has set computing back by about 20 years.
      • by mgblst (80109)

        If the things MS makes are 'defectivebydesign', then monopoly or not, some other system will win.

        What? This is the whole point of our argument - there are clearly better solutions to Microsoft, but the majority still use Microsoft, so you are clearly mistaken

        Maybe you can help us all out by explaining this magical force of nature that ensures that what is right with the world happens? If you somehow believe that the best product eventually comes out on top, then you should really do some research, there are

  • by tbannist (230135) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @09:37AM (#20463421)
    Really the Department of Justice deliberately bungled the law suit, and now they have no choice but to claim it's a success till the bitter end. The last thing they want is yet another investigation into official mismanagement and White House interference in a anti-trust case. Immediately after Bush was elected they pulled all senior DoJ staff off of the case and left only a few inexperienced lawyers (from that Bible School they're so fond of hiring from) on the case.

    They had Microsoft up against a wall, and then suddenly they were best buddies with Microsoft and nothing had ever really been wrong in the first place. It was sickening and another black eye for the United States, but if at any point the DoJ admits that it's unsastisfied with the results, it opens up an old can worms for the house or the senate to investigate.
    • I disagree that the DOJ bungled the prosecution. Republican administration pressure from above assured Judge Jackson, who would have slid the knife into MS, was removed from the case. It's politics pure and simple.

      Strike that; politics is neither pure nor simple.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DragonWriter (970822)

      They had Microsoft up against a wall, and then suddenly they were best buddies with Microsoft


      Elections have consequences.
  • Well. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Renraku (518261) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @10:06AM (#20463695) Homepage
    Who do you turn to when the courts and states themselves are playing corporate favoritism? Can you sue the state, or is it time to bring out the soap box/ballot box/ammo box?
  • by jkrise (535370) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @10:26AM (#20463889) Journal
    I think extreme situations require extreme measures, and it is clear that the anti-trust control measures are not only ineffective; they are actually a suit of armour for Microsoft to further abuse their monopoly power. The world has close to a billion PCs now; that's a huge number given there's about 6 billion people. If the US will not act, and the EU will not be allowed to act... bodies like the ECMA and ISO will be subverted; then someone else has to take up the fight to bring justice.

    More worrying than the monopoly is the fact that the PC burns much more power and is inferior as a platform compared to even small devices like cellphones, game devices and appliances. The failure of the OOXML fast track process shows that there is still hope, if only the whole world can act in concert. I suggest some measures to bring speedy correction in the PC industry:

    1. Any component of the PC that does not conform to published, patent unencumbered standards must be taxed - this includes processors, video cards, winprinters, winmodems, audio devices, DRM chips, TCPA engines, kernels, hypervisors, operating systems, word processors etc. etc. The tax must be high enough to deter unscrupulous mfrs. to dictate their 'default' standards and abuse their positions to the detriment of the platform, the consumer and the market. A 30% tax should be levied for starters, and the corpus must be used to fund devleopment of 'free' alternatives in each segment above.

    The recent network 'penalty' while playing system sounds in Vista is a case in point. Could Microsoft have got away with a 'published' audio device and driver architecture under a transparent benchmarking system? Who will compensate for the 'defective' protected media path architecture? Will the h/w mfrs freely replace their buggy cards with better performing ones? Countries other than the US must force them to do so.

    2. Patents must be abolished in the PC industry - it is clear from the unholy MS - Novell alliance that even the biggest firms cannot enforce their patents, and they actually hinder innovation; and encourage cartels. The EU and several other nations do not still recognise s/w patents; the 15 year lifespan for a patent is absurd even in the h/w industry where monopolies can be built up in undre 5 years.

    3. International standards need to be evolved that govern the use of the internet - it is too big and valuable to be subject to the machincations of a toothless US commerce agency. Companies that actively or passively contribute to the abuse of the internet must be punished and / or taxed. For instance, is a particular OS is the platform of choice for botnets, then the mfr. of the OS must fix the problem within a reasonable timeframe, or else open the source so the community will fix it themselves.

    The proceedings in some of the standards bodies on the OOXML vote shows that they can govern the IT industry better than the anti-trust agencies. I tihnk they must be allowed to have a say, now that the US bodies have failed.
  • 1) Microsoft has kept on supplying Windows to computer makers who offer a non-Windows option.

    2) Microsoft has allowed hardware vendors to live who offer non-Windows drivers for their hardware.

    3) Microsoft has not forced hardware and software vendors to exclusively use Microsoft protocols and standards.

    4) Microsoft lets the user install software on their Windows sytems such as Open Office and Firefox that competes with Microsoft software.

    5) Windows users don't have to pay a 'per minute' charge to use their s
    • ...and then Apple will just switch to AMD processors. Sounds like a terrific idea to help AMD get a leg up on market share.
  • by Dark Fire (14267) <clasmc AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @10:30AM (#20463925)
    Is it possible that the reason that Dell, HP, and Lenovo are now offering desktop PCs with Linux has little to do with Linux and it's merits and more to do with the fact that the antitrust enforcement against Microsoft is about to expire and is up for review/renewal. OEM bullying to lockout competitors was one of the biggest complaints against Microsoft. But since the big 3 desktop PC vendors are selling Linux, the measures slapped on Microsoft have obviously worked and are no longer needed.
  • OEM Madness (Score:3, Insightful)

    by organgtool (966989) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @10:33AM (#20463959)
    What annoys me is how most organizations focus on the inclusion of Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer in Windows despite the bigger antitrust violations that Microsoft has been commiting for years. Probably the worst antitrust offense Microsoft is commiting lies in its OEM license terms for Windows. Companies large and small rely on the huge discount that comes from selling OEM versions of Windows on their hardware, but the license terms prevent those vendors from selling PC's with no operating systems installed on them as well as PC's set up to dual boot Windows along with any other operating system. Yes, I know that FreeDOS has been used to work around the former of those problems, but regardless of the effectiveness of these tactics is the fact that Microsoft attempts to use such anti-competitive practices and the fact that they are always overlooked.

    And on a slightly different note, could the fact that Windows is the only operating system that doesn't have a boot loader with the capability to load other operating systems be considered anti-competitive? Linux has had this feature for many years and even OS X supports dual-booting Windows, but Windows simply overwrites the MBR and renders all other installed operating systems to be unbootable until a recovery disk is used to repair the boot loader.

    And finally, my biggest complaint about the EU and the US DOJ is that they fined Microsoft for including WMP and IE in Windows, but they have made little to no effort to "vote with their wallets" and use other operating systems. If they really found Microsoft's tactics to be anti-competitive, they could back up their statements by at least considering the use one of the many viable alternatives to Windows. Instead, they issue a fine while continuing to use Windows (hypocrites?) and make themselves look like a bunch of greedy grab-asses out to get a piece of the Microsoft pie. EU and US DOJ: actions speak louder than cheap (relative to Microsoft) fines.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And on a slightly different note, could the fact that Windows is the only operating system that doesn't have a boot loader with the capability to load other operating systems be considered anti-competitive?

      You can actually boot other operating systems with NTLDR, although it's not as easy as most Linux distros make it.

      It involves dumping the boot sector of the partition (with say, dd if=/dev/whatever of=bootsector bs=512 count=1), getting it to your NTFS partition, and specifying it in your boot.ini file.

      Al

      • Use EasyBCD [neosmart.net]; my home system currently triple-boots using the Vista bootloader into Vista, XP and Ubuntu. Frankly, it was a piece of piss to set up (just remember not to install GRUB on your MBR).
    • by westlake (615356)
      Companies large and small rely on the huge discount that comes from selling OEM versions of Windows on their hardware, but the license terms prevent those vendors from selling PC's with no operating systems installed on them as well as PC's set up to dual boot Windows along with any other operating system

      The market for the "naked" PC is essentially that of the purchase order in units of 100 to 1000.

      In the home and SOHO markets the OEM system install has been the gold standard in retail for over twenty-fi

      • by Danse (1026)

        It is essentially an admission that your primary OS doesn't support all the software you need to do your job.
        Unless you use Linux to do your job, and Windows just for games and other less essential stuff. If you're spending the money for a PC, then you're going to want it to be able to do all the things that you want to do with it. Microsoft makes that difficult at best.
  • Microsoft's monopoly is perhaps the best exemplar of the evil of antitrust.

    It is the result of the US DoJ's antitrust persecution of IBM. http://www.hagley.lib.de.us/1980.htm [lib.de.us]

    Think about it. Why did the mountain come to Mohamed? Why did IBM go shopping for a floppy DOS?

    A floppy DOS is a weekend project for IBM. They could have made a better PC-DOS than Microsoft ever has, at a lower price for themselves and their customers.

    There is only one entity that could have forced IBM to make such a stupid decision
    • by westlake (615356)
      Why did the mountain come to Mohamed? Why did IBM go shopping for a floppy DOS? A floppy DOS is a weekend project for IBM. They could have made a better PC-DOS than Microsoft ever has, at a lower price for themselves and their customers.

      In 1975, IBM's 5100 "Suitcase" PC [wikipedia.org] sold for $9-$20,000.

      The IBM PC was designed by a small team operating outside the normal corporate schedule and with a mandate to get an affordable product to market quickly. The IBM PC Concept [wikipedia.org].

      The team - quite sensibly - began looking at

  • .... they are hoisting the "Mission Accomplished" banner as we speak (post).
  • How much could California really care about a Microsoft monopoly if they force all state employees to use Windows? So much for the theory about the state going after MS because Apple's headquarters are in Cupertino.
  • From the blurb:

    The US Department of Justice and five States have declared themselves satisfied with the antitrust enforcement efforts taken against Microsoft despite a further seven States maintaining they have had 'little or no discernible impact in the marketplace.


    No discernible impact on the market place. So why aren't they satisfied? Wasn't that the point?

  • The feds are sorry they ever bothered Microsoft.

    The states are sorry they stopped.

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