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US Antitrust Judge Examining Windows 7 Documents 225

Posted by samzenpus
from the fine-toothed-comb dept.
Anonymous writes "After more than 11 years, the US antitrust case involving Microsoft is still alive, with a federal judge overseeing enforcement of provisions under which the software giant must operate. And now, Judge Kollar-Kotelly says she'll take a close look at new technical documents involving Windows 7. This case began during the Windows 95 era."
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US Antitrust Judge Examining Windows 7 Documents

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  • Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by microbee (682094) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @11:15PM (#26993409)

    Can someone summarize exactly what we have achieved in this case?

    • Re:Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dunbal (464142) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @11:22PM (#26993481)

      Can someone summarize exactly what we have achieved in this case?

            We paid a judge and some court staff their salaries for a few years? Oh, and let's not forget the lawyers...

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by scamper_22 (1073470)

        Yeah. Pretty amazing how a website for engineer and computer scientists don't like to pay their own salaries.

        Do you remember the 'good ole' days of software. Do you remember how much of it was funded? It was funded by the old telephone monopolies which used their guaranteed monopoly over phone lines to fund such ventures as the invention of C++ at ATT/Bell labs. Wait a minute... do you remember what happened to these great labs once they were forced to breakup from their monopoly? Oh yeah... they sucke

        • by WaZiX (766733)

          So on slashdot someone advocating monopolies to drive technological innovation gets modded +4 Insightful?

          (Pssst: Competition is the main driver of innovation in a market system, you should be thankful we have _any_ innovation coming from Microsoft instead of cheering for them)

        • by Tweenk (1274968)

          Microsoft is not a natural monopoly (like cable, electricity, water) where there is only going to be one infrastructure going to your house.

          Electricity is not a natural monopoly when it is regulated to separate distribution from generation.

        • Until that time, let us people who produce goods that we need to sell in the brutally competitive free market have a few tools to have a steady income. If that means proprietary file formats, exclusive deals with distributors, making funny protocols... so be it. The free market will determine when that is too annoying to bother dealing it and get with the competition.

          If all that shit was eliminated, you'd have a level playing field to work on, and be able to compete based on merit.

          What are you afraid of?

          I'm not living in a world where my neighbor who makes windows break my window every morning, so I have to pay him to fix the window.

          I personally have never had a problem with it, but that sounds like WGA to me.

          For that matter, it sounds like the Windows update schedule (or OSX, I'm not prejudiced.) Either way, a new OS comes out every so often with new APIs that developers are convinced or cajoled into using so that we have to buy a new operating system. Sometimes it's made sense, because computers h

      • by AVryhof (142320)

        Oh, and let's not forget the lawyers...

        But what about the children? Why can't anybody think of the Children?

        The children lose the most from monopolies.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Swift2001 (874553)

      We forestalled the compete domination of Microsoft in the computer industry. They behaved like better computer citizens than they otherwise would have. And they should have gone along with the breakup. It would have made for a much more nimble company, with independent units that made the OS, the applications and the hardware.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Repossessed (1117929)

      They secured the big OEMs the right to sell more than just windows, eventually paving the way for netbooks.

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        Which is where I think antitrust REALLY ought to be looking at, as I smell something fishy. I mean, look at how fast OEMs dropped Linux onto the back page when they were "given" XP for Netbooks. You'd think that as cutthroat as the margins are in that sector they would be pushing the one that gives them better profits, especially considering most folks treat Netbooks as a "browser in a box" and don't expect everything to work like a full size. Yet the Linux options are suddenly buried away from the front pa

    • Re:Summary (Score:5, Informative)

      by Galois2 (1481427) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @12:05AM (#26993805)

      Can someone summarize exactly what we have achieved in this case?

      Briefly, in the 1990's MS was found to have a monopoly in its OS, which is not illegal in and of itself, but that it also illegally used its monopoly OS to create barriers to entry in other competitive areas. Particularly, it illegaly tied its browser to the OS, making other browsers not function as well (e.g., for help file viewing) and more difficult to install. At trial, they were shown to be either liars or, if you are very generous, incompetent.

      Detailed findings of fact found illegal anti-competitive behavior in multiple areas, and their punishment was to be broken up into several companies. On appeal, MS successfully got that ruling overturned, on the basis that the judge in the case had made some negative comments about MS prior to issuing his ruling. In the meantime, 15 separate cases against MS brought by state attorneys general were merged, and MS settled with them for something so trivial no one remembers what it was. California, New York, and maybe one or two other states held out and separately obtained billion dollar settlements.

      Shortly after the break-up order was rescinded, George W. Bush came into office and all efforts to obtain a reasonable remedy were dropped. MS essentially got off scott-free, in the sense that they illegally transformed their OS monopoly into a browser monopoly, with all the due profit that entailed, and weren't punished at all except for what they had to pay their lawyers and a billion to California.

      To summarize and answer your question: Not Much.

      • Shortly after the break-up order was rescinded, George W. Bush came into office and all efforts to obtain a reasonable remedy were dropped

        And don't forget that this happened right after Microsoft heavily "funded GWB's election campaign".

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          And don't forget that this happened right after Microsoft heavily "funded GWB's election campaign".

          That's how American politics work these days. We have the best laws, legislators, and governments money can buy.

    • Re:Summary (Score:4, Informative)

      by jonwil (467024) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @12:34AM (#26994007)

      Microsoft DID document a number of otherwise undocumented APIs. And they have internal processes to ensure that Microsoft programs like Office, FoxPro, Visual C++ etc dont call anything thats undocumented, see this:
      http://blogs.msdn.com/calvin_hsia/archive/2005/01/26/361033.aspx [msdn.com]

      They did later document lots of network protocols but that was the EU and not the US that got them to do it.

      • by V!NCENT (1105021)

        Documentation my ass. I read the Wine mailing list a lot and the first thing newbie programmers hear on that list is to take the MSDN documentation with a grain of salt since it is A) not written at the time of programming and B) not written by the programmers itself.

        Furthermore; the small, leaked part of the source code for Windows contains comments such as "Changing X seems to fuck up the goddamn C compiler" and "Removing this seems to break Office 98" which implies that not a lot of people at Microsoft s

    • Very little, because the DoJ shut down the case before it went to the most recent punitive stage. The findings of fact was useful in that it resulted in many civil suits against Microsoft being won without having to argue the merits of those specific facts.

      Instead of actually doing something about the facts of the case, the government decided to turn around and walk away, so that Microsoft ended up in a form of legal limbo where they were guilty of doing something wrong without being punished for it yet, b

    • Re:Summary (Score:4, Funny)

      by Intron (870560) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @09:56AM (#26998005)

      Can someone summarize exactly what we have achieved in this case?

      The outcome was a complete success. Windows 95 no longer dominates the desktop.

  • Seriously? Microsoft obviously is capable of gaming the system and doing and end run around it. This is just embarrassing. OTOH I guess it's one heck of a way to get job security if you're in the judicial system.
  • by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @11:17PM (#26993429) Homepage Journal
    Still alive? Wow! The Bush administration made it known they weren't interested in pursuing this case, and as far as I was aware, there was little movement in 8 years.
    • by Fluffeh (1273756)

      as far as I was aware, there was little movement in 8 years.

      If a lot happened quickly, it wouldn't be taking 7 or so years would it, therefore by definition, not a lot of movement is going on.

    • Considering that this is the same judge who agreed Microsoft was abiding by the terms of its reward for losing in court, when it clearly wasn't, I don't hold out a lot of hope that anything will change from the last 8 years of U.S. court-endorsed monopoly abuse.

  • Red Tape (Score:3, Interesting)

    by flyingfsck (986395) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @01:43AM (#26994441)
    Essentially, Microsoft has been burdened with red tape to make them less competitive and slowly reduce their market lead. Preventing them from forcing unfair business practices onto their vendors also helped a lot. Dell and others can now sell Linux machines without fear of reprisal by Microsoft.
  • Name an OS consumers use that is browserless. Fact is, an OS without a browser in this day and age is utterly useless. Less than useless. It's a paperweight.

    In general, Microsoft has made great strides to make its OS more transparent and more 'fair' than ever. A lot of people (who are technically aware enough to agree) will probably attribute this to the court, but I think the reason is a lot simpler: good engineering is winning out over corporate greed. Case in point? UAC. A lot of people give Microso

    • if you're a standard user, your life has never been better

      That's like the frog in the cooking pot saying, "oh good, the water only got one degree warmer, it's not boiling." A user's life might be better, but as someone who knows what decent privilege escalation and user controls actually look like, I would say that UAC is still a joke, but that joke would not be funny. Do yourself a favor and use a different operating system for awhile, it'll open your mind I promise. You may still continue to use Wind

      • by Dogun (7502)

        I have been running linux exclusively at home since 1995.

        Think of it this way: can you imagine anyone thinking UAC was going to be a big selling point? They did it because they needed to to.

        As far as IE; try setting a different default browser and try to find instances where IE still gets launched. I imagine people do take dependencies on IE's rendering engine, so I wouldn't be surprised if you're going to have a hard time getting rid of ieframe.dll.

  • Ok why the hell is slashdot running an ad for "report piracy" by the BSA?

    And in the YRO section of all places?

    The irony...

    ob Microsoft Antitrust: Reminds me of why the BSA's power needs to be trimmed in some way.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Ok why the hell is slashdot running an ad for "report piracy" by the BSA?

      slashdot doesn't love you, it just wants your money.

  • Microsoft reached it's peak power around 2000. Since then it has been in a slow decline. It's nowhere the dominant powerhouse it was ten years ago. Maybe the antitrust action was part of it, but I think it was because PCs became only part of the computing equation in people's live. There are tons of non-MS products out there; cell phones, PDAs, netbooks, etc, markets MS either missed or simply was incapable of moving fast enough to exploit.

    Don't get me wrong, MS isn't going anywhere but their glory days a

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