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Windows 7 Eyed For Antitrust Violations 290

Posted by Zonk
from the keep-it-on-the-up-and-up dept.
Preedit writes "The committee that oversees Microsoft's compliance with the 2002 antitrust settlement now has its hands on Windows 7. The Technical Committee is checking to see if the software meets the settlement's terms. Among other things, it's looking at whether Windows 7 favors Microsoft apps over third party programs, according to InformationWeek. The story also notes that Vista SP1 includes a number of changes that were added to satisfy the committee. For instance, it eliminates several browser overrides where Vista ignored users' default preferences and automatically launched Explorer. Windows 7 is due sometime around 2010."
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Windows 7 Eyed For Antitrust Violations

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  • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) * on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:11PM (#22704898) Homepage Journal
    It's really too bad they didn't add enough features in Vista, and need another version to do this.

    I look forward to the 1,500 new options that will be available in group policies. I think I will understand most of these before Windows 8 is delivered.

    Meanwhile, what do I do with this Glass Turd?
    • by gstoddart (321705) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:13PM (#22704948) Homepage

      Meanwhile, what do I do with this Glass Turd?

      Polish it, of course. :-P

      Cheers
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I think that there should be a Software Industry "Glass Turd" award - for the most over promised, under delivered, and basically mis-applied software product of the year.

      I know it's a tall order - like ID-ing the ugliest warthog.

      The name "Glass Turd" is, of course, a loving reference to Windows Vista. Polished to gleaming, transparent perfection! "It's so pretty, I feel bad about hating it..."

      The runner-up could get a copy of Windows Vista Ultimate Edition, installed on the computer of his choice. The Wi
  • Who cares (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Brian Gordon (987471) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:12PM (#22704922)
    We're just going to hack it anyway to run whatever 3rd party apps we want.. the EU is really going overboard IMO with forcing microsoft to make their OS how the EU wants it made. If microsoft wants to make Internet Explorer the only app that can access the internet, that's their prerogative.. nobody has to buy Windows. Even if there was no excellent free alternative, which there is.
    • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Insightful)

      by downix (84795) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:20PM (#22705074) Homepage
      Actually, that is the whole crux of the EU arguement, Microsoft DID force people to buy Windows... in particular PC manufacturers. If you wanted ANY machines with Windows, ALL of your machines had to be Windows. You wanted any Office software, it had to be MS Office or else no Windows which means no PC's.

      Amazing how people blatantly ignore this.
    • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:27PM (#22705226)

      If microsoft wants to make Internet Explorer the only app that can access the internet, that's their prerogative..

      False. Governments have the right and the duty to protect the relatively free market from abusive monopolies.

      • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Speare (84249) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:51PM (#22705664) Homepage Journal

        Governments have the right and the duty to protect the relatively free market from abusive monopolies.
        Governments don't have rights. They have powers.
      • by Touvan (868256)

        Governments have the right and the duty to protect the relatively free market from abusive monopolies.

        That's exactly right. If we want freedom in the market, we need rules and oversight to make sure freedom remains, and companies and cartels don't dominate. Of course that means the end of Freeman's "free-lunch for the already dominant players market" which is what he seems to have meant by that term. Humans are such symbol shifters, and it's great to see the meaning of that particular symbol shift.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wizardforce (1005805)

      nobody has to buy Windows. Even if there was no excellent free alternative, which there is.

      then why is it that you need to go out of your way to get anything else than a windows pre-loaded machine? why is it that 95% of the software that is made only works in windows leaving any other OS to use WINE + the performance penalty? why is it that IE makes up over 70% of the browser market even though 1) it is the least standards compliant 2) only after IE7 did it finally have tabs/popup blocker both having bee

    • by Fuzzums (250400)
      YES! You hit the nail right on it's head. For the average company there are so many alternatives for Windows...
      Rrrright. Until the moment that I can run MS Office on an other operating system we're stuck with Windows.

      Personally I think it's a good thing that MS is not allowed to force you (1) to use Explorer if you buy Windows. or Mediaplayer or Outlook or ........

      (1) or "encourage" you to use it because they can use special undocumented features in the OS than make their applications faster.
      • by EggyToast (858951)
        Until the moment that I can run MS Office on an other operating system we're stuck with Windows.

        MS Office has been available for Mac OS X for many, many years...
        • by Fuzzums (250400)
          Ah, cool :)

          And how about.... Photoshop? ;)

          Still, I know not enough about the mac to change to it, and it's not like you're buying a mac to try it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ChrisA90278 (905188)
      The rules change when you become a monopoly.

      Let's use a example. I'm selling water in containers on the street corner. Some one wants to buy a bottle from me but I say No, if you want to buy my water you have to also buy a set of water glasses from me and this bag o ready mix cement too. You walk away laughing.

      Now lets say I'm selling water but lets say the no one else has water for sale. I'm a mono[oly water seller. Now I bet you would buy that set of glasses and the cement.

      The above is very clear cu
    • This is the main method of the application. This is the ultra-secret API call which calls the secret x86 instruction set we held Intel at gunpoint for which makes our applications run in awesome mode. This is our logger.

      2 weeks later...

      Approved!
    • If microsoft wants to make Internet Explorer the only app that can access the internet, that's their prerogative.
      I don't think you want to play chicken with Microsoft, lest you find out just how powerful their monopoly is.
    • by Risen888 (306092)
      nobody has to buy Windows

      WTF? Where do you shop?
  • They'll do nothing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:13PM (#22704952)
    The watchdogs have rubber teeth. So far they've done nothing and MS ignores them.
  • Lost causes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pembo13 (770295) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:14PM (#22704962) Homepage
    Microsoft Outlook needs (and loads) MS Word. MS Visual Studio requires MS Office for some of the data aware components to work at all. Windows Media player often "reactivates" all on its lonesome
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gstoddart (321705)

      Microsoft Outlook needs (and loads) MS Word. MS Visual Studio requires MS Office for some of the data aware components to work at all. Windows Media player often "reactivates" all on its lonesome

      And, a surprising amount of the time after an update My Firefox and Thunderbird clients have to tell me that they're no longer the default applications and do I want to re-enable them.

      For some reason, I find that rather annoying. It was my setting yesterday, just because you patched a vulnerability on Outlook, why

    • by initialE (758110)
      Nowadays Outlook and Word, they're sold together anyway. You're not being forced to buy one product because you bought the other.
    • Re:Lost causes (Score:4, Insightful)

      by plague3106 (71849) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:32PM (#22705312)
      Microsoft Outlook needs (and loads) MS Word.

      No, it doesn't.

      MS Visual Studio requires MS Office for some of the data aware components to work at all.

      You mean the components that are designed to get data from MS Office? The horror!

      Windows Media player often "reactivates" all on its lonesome

      Funny, it's never done that for me.
      • by pembo13 (770295)
        Look, if you don't know, don't reply. But don't say it doesn't.
        • Re:Lost causes (Score:5, Informative)

          by plague3106 (71849) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:50PM (#22705654)
          Well, let's see, I know 100% that Outlook in no way requires Word. It only would if you set Outlook to use Word as the email editor... but then that's an option you choose, and it's only available if Word is installed at all.

          If I'm wrong about the VS "data aware" controls, tell me exactly to which controls you're refering.

          Finally, I've had plenty of media players other than WMP that I had set as default, and I never had XP or so far Vista randomly "reset" them. So you're either making it up, or maybe there's something else going on, like group policy making the change.
          • Re:Lost causes (Score:4, Informative)

            by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice AT gmail DOT com> on Monday March 10, 2008 @02:43PM (#22706600)
            Just to add to your comment -

            I run several XP systems, all with Firefox set as the default - none have ever had their default setting removed, and they are all kept up to date with patches.

            Installing Office does add extra functionality to Visual Studio (or at least certain versions) - it adds the Office data components, which are not shipped with Visual Studio. Or you could just download the Office SDK which includes them.

            Outlook uses the Word HTML engine to display messages, but it comes with it included - you can install Outlook standalone with no issues (and you can even buy it standalone).

            I can't see one thing the GP has said which I couldn't classify as FUD from experience with the products involved.
          • by pembo13 (770295)

            Now we can come to some fair talk. Your first dismal of my comment wasn't at all inviting. I fully admit that I shouldn't have used the word "require". But I will tell you that Outlook specially asked (I didn't offer) to use MS Word. If I remember correctly, it apparently couldn't (or wouldn't) display a particular email. But no it doesn't require Word, I assume it would have found some way to display the email in question without word.

            I stand by what I said about the Visual Studio components. They had no

            • by plague3106 (71849)
              But I will tell you that Outlook specially asked (I didn't offer) to use MS Word. If I remember correctly, it apparently couldn't (or wouldn't) display a particular email. But no it doesn't require Word, I assume it would have found some way to display the email in question without word.

              That same setting in Outlook may affect viewing emails. Also, if you're talking about outlook 2007, it has a built in previewer for attached files. If someone attaches a word document, you can preview the document itself b
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by maeltor (679257)
          He's right. It doesnt REQUIRE it at all, it just happens to be installed with WORD as the default editor when Outlook is installed with Office, For example, look at SBS 2003. You get Outlook 2003 w/ Exchange when you buy SBS. It doesn't include Office and doesn't need it when installed.
        • Re:Lost causes (Score:4, Interesting)

          by zachdms (265636) on Monday March 10, 2008 @04:53PM (#22708660) Homepage
          I'll stick my neck out here.


          I wrote most of that code. There's no mechanism by which it could reactivate. Hit me up at zachdms at hotmail dotty com and I'll walk through whatever you think you're seeing.


          Most third party players have tended to be a little lackadaisical when it comes to file association implementations. This is one of the big reasons why the new (easy) Vista file association interfaces (Set Default Programs) are so great. Ask your favorite application to support it if they don't already. I've supplied the basics to a number of third party vendors (WinAMP, VLC, MPC-via-CCCP) to get them up and running on this.

  • Due date (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dr. Eggman (932300) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:15PM (#22704976)

    Windows 7 is due sometime around 2010.
    Which means it will be released around 2012, and may or may not have any relationship to the coming of the Apocalypse and/or the end of 13th b'ak'tun cycle.

    Proceed with modding down; it was worth it!
  • by starglider29a (719559) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:17PM (#22705012)
    Wake me when it hits version 6.61x!!! That would only leave us a month of monthly builds until The Prophecy is fulfilled!~
  • Ubuntu is coming on strong at long last. I myself made the leap halfway recently to a dual-boot system. Anyone have any forecast about the state of the OS market come 2010?
    • I know.... (Score:5, Funny)

      by iknownuttin (1099999) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:23PM (#22705138)
      Anyone have any forecast about the state of the OS market come 2010?

      It'll be the Year of the Linux Desktop (tm).

    • I think there's a few things that need to happen for linux to take things to the next level:
      1. There needs to be a much tighter integration between LDAP, and Active Directory. We should be able to drop a linux box into a windows network and have it be able to administer it like a Windows 2003 server.
      2. The package configuration on a linux box should be saveable and verifiable. What I mean is that if person A gets a new computer, it should be dead simple to install up to date versions of all of the software t
      • Most of the bookkeeping software I've seen for PCs is absolute junk, whatever the operating system. Quicken, Quickbooks, Simply, they're all trash. One of the other hats I've often worn is a bookkeeper, and probably the best software I've ever used is an ancient old Cobol-based accounting program that Radio Shack sold with their Xenix/Model 6000 multiuser system, which had useful departmental accounting and proper separation and data flow from the journals to the General Ledger (I'll wager over half the p
  • by roadkill_cr (1155149) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:24PM (#22705160)
    "it's looking at whether Windows 7 favors Microsoft apps over third party programs"

    Doesn't Apple very heavily lean towards Apple software?

    (This isn't starting flaming, this is a legitimate question - what separates Apple from Microsoft in these regards?)
    • Apple's greatest virtue is that it's not microsoft. It doesn't have any other ethical merit I'm aware of, but for many people that's enough.
      • by snoyberg (787126)
        There's more to it than that. Microsoft is a convicted monopolist, so legally they are in different categories.
    • Apple is separated from Microsoft in that they have a small market share, and are not using these tactics to maintain their dominance. It is fair to point out that open source OSes generally favor open source software (that is, systems like Fedora only put open source programs in the repositories).
      • by Shados (741919)
        "In thst thry have a small market share". Thats it. They ARE using strongarm tactics to maintain their dominance, especially with their satellite products (iTune, iPods, etc). But by law, it IS fine as long as their market share is small (and are having issues in certain countries already over iPods and whatsnot).

        • I wouldn't call the 50% market share of the iPod and iTunes to be "dominance." They are a market leader, but dominance is a bit of a stretch; certainly, they are on a different order of magnitude than Microsoft when it comes to Windows.
    • by 644bd346996 (1012333) on Monday March 10, 2008 @02:03PM (#22705894)
      Apple sells and bundles a lot of applications, but it is really easy to switch to a third party app, and your preferences are honored. For example, if you set a mozilla-based browser as the default, you will never end up with Safari opening up, and the only time Webkit will get used is in the help system or generating a preview in the Finder. (Granted, on windows, it's pretty much the same, except that it is not uncommon for apps to launch IE even when Firefox is the default.)

      In some cases, it seems that Apple has made it too easy for third party apps to become the default. Stuffit in particular is almost viral in the way it claims all compressed files as it's own. I'd prefer the OS to ask me for confirmation before letting Stuffit rape my prefs just because I want to use a piece of legacy software in a .sit archive.

      Perhaps one of the benefits of Apple's approach is that the underlying frameworks are far more separated from the front-end applications. Services like Quicktime and Webkit are usable by all apps, with relatively few undocumented APIs. Those frameworks are also more extendable, which makes for better interoperability. (eg. there are free Quicktime components that add oog support to all applications that use QT, even iTunes.) Webkit is open-source, so if you fix a rendering bug or download a nightly with a new feature, all applications can take advantage of that (even the proprietary apps).
    • What is 90+% of market share Alex?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by maxume (22995)
      It looks to me that the biggest difference is that they are treated like a hardware vendor, whereas Microsoft is treated as an operating system vendor. So Apple is competing with Dell, and just happens to write lots of the software that they include with their systems.

      If(when?) things reach the point where Apple hardware comprises a significant portion of the overall installed base, you will see people claiming that any OS upgrades that they sell separately from hardware need to be subjected to antitrust re
    • Not only because Apple doesn't have a monopoly, but Microsoft has been *convicted* of abusing it's monopoly.
  • Forcing IE (Score:5, Interesting)

    by diodeus (96408) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:24PM (#22705172) Journal
    "For instance, it eliminates several browser overrides where Vista ignored users' default preferences and automatically launched Explorer."

    Yup, just try clicking on a link in a Messenger conversation with or without Vista. You get IE, like it or not.
    • FYI: In any .NET application, you click an URL, IE is used. This is regardless if you have FF (or what have you) set as the default browser.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by SEMW (967629)

        FYI: In any .NET application, you click an URL, IE is used. This is regardless if you have FF (or what have you) set as the default browser.

        Bollocks. Counterexample: I've just tried opening a URL from the About box in Paint.NET (the only obviously .NET program I have that I can think of at the moment), and it opened in my default browser (Opera, FYI).

        Did you actually mean "One particular application I have does this, and it happens to be .NET, so I'm going to assume with little justification that it's a general feature of the programming framework rather than the particular program"?

    • by WalterGR (106787)

      Yup, just try clicking on a link in a Messenger conversation with or without Vista. You get IE, like it or not.

      Likely this is just because a lazy programmer hardcoded it to run IE, rather than going through the proper API to figure out the user's browser preference and launch that.

      Not a very nice thing to do? Sure. Intentionally malicious? Probably not.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Thaelon (250687)

        Likely this is just because a lazy programmer hardcoded it to run IE, rather than going through the proper API to figure out the user's browser preference and launch that.

        Not a very nice thing to do? Sure. Intentionally malicious? Probably not.

        You'd be right if the software didn't get delivered that way.

        For that to happen it means it has to get written that way by a lazy programmer. Then it has to (presumably) pass QA like that.

        So not only is it getting written, but it's getting QA'd. Sure there's still w

    • Whenever I download updates through Windows Update (Vista) - at least ones that patch IE7 I think - Microsoft installs the IE7 icon in my quickstart menu - despite me having deleted everything Internet Explorer off my desktop (purposefully and with malice :) ).
  • First I read an article about Google thinking spammers and and other bad guys will use new tricks to target people and now an article about an overseer actually overseeing.

    Can't wait for "Birdwatcher caught watching birds!"

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