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Antitrust Regulators To Monitor Windows 7, But Not Later Releases 105

Posted by Soulskill
from the got-my-eye-on-you-pal dept.
CWmike writes "Gregg Keizer reports that federal and state regulators have struck a deal with Microsoft under which any version of Windows released after May 2011 will not be subject to the scrutiny mandated by a 2002 antitrust settlement. As previously promised, however, Windows 7 will be put under the microscope. Yesterday, the DOJ filed documents (PDF) with US District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly asking that she extend her oversight by at least 18 months, until May 12, 2011. Although Microsoft has consented to the extension — and acknowledged that the regulators can later ask for another 18 months — Kollar-Kotelly must approve the request."
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Antitrust Regulators To Monitor Windows 7, But Not Later Releases

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  • Present admistration (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JackieBrown (987087) <dbroome@gmail.com> on Friday April 17, 2009 @07:13PM (#27621563)

    I guess the present admistration has the same relationship as the last one.

    At least it's non-partism

    • Given that this is a 'deal' and not a gift, what exactly does Microsoft give up/pay in return for no longer being monitored by regulators?

      • by DragonWriter (970822) on Friday April 17, 2009 @08:04PM (#27622081)

        Given that this is a 'deal' and not a gift, what exactly does Microsoft give up/pay in return for no longer being monitored by regulators?

        They give up their right to oppose any extension of the Final Judgement due to expire this year which would leave them without being monitored by regulators on November 12, 2009, when the previous two-year extension of the judgement is due to expire. Under this agreement, the Final Judgement would be extended by another 18 months from the currently scheduled expiration, with another 18 month extension possible.

        • Wow, unless the regulators can initiate a NEW antitrust settlement pretty quick, the just got ripped off...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by erroneus (253617)

      If by "non-partisan" you mean that both sides are equally bought and paid for, then yes...

      When our government can't follow it's own laws, rules and procedures, we can't expect them to change anything without motivation because NO ONE changes without motivation especially when what they are doing seems to be working so very well for them. (And to be clear, the problem isn't the corruptible people in office it's opportunity and lack of consequences. You or I would probably do exactly the same crap in the sa

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)

      What the hell are you talking about? did you expect then to take a microscopic look at all MS OSs forever?
      seriously, that would be completly asinine.
       

      • by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday April 17, 2009 @07:48PM (#27621901) Journal

        What was asinine was not breaking the company up when it was convicted.

        • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

          by joocemann (1273720)

          What was asinine is the recent overuse of the word 'asinine'.

        • by bonch (38532)

          Breaking up the company would have been an insanely ridiculous overreaction that only out-of-touch Slashdotters would have cheered.

      • by omi5cron (1455851)
        doesn't that happen all the time here on Slashdot? just sayin'!
      • by bit01 (644603) on Friday April 17, 2009 @11:17PM (#27623357)

        What the hell are you talking about? did you expect then to take a microscopic look at all MS OSs forever?

        Yes. All monopolies must be regulated because market forces do not apply. At the very least they should be monitored and there should be price controls.

        seriously, that would be completly asinine.

        So you think we should trust M$ and other companies do the right thing when they have a strong business imperative not to and no checks and balances? How asinine.

        ---

        Monopolies = Industrial feudalism

        • by bonch (38532)

          Yes. All monopolies must be regulated because market forces do not apply. At the very least they should be monitored and there should be price controls.

          Microsoft has been monitored for almost a decade now. There's a thing called innocent until proven guilty, and eventually the government will let up, only returning if there's a reason to.

          By the way, did you actually use the term "M$" in 2009? You're completely biased and thus your opinion isn't worth paying attention to.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I guess that means there will be a new mandatory version update of windows7 out in June 2011 then.

  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Friday April 17, 2009 @07:33PM (#27621765)

    It might be tough going through life with a name that sounds like a feminine hygiene product.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Citing astounding technological advances (Clippy now mostly works), Microsoft expects to release Windows 8 just one week after the release of Windows 7. "We made a lot of significant and fundamental changes that support this new release" said Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates.

    • by ameyer17 (935373)

      Except Windows 8 would then be subject to the antitrust judgement since it was released before May 2011.

  • If Microsoft went to the US govt a few years back to offer the DOJ / FBI / CIA etc a blind eye in spyware to help "catch terrorists" in return for an easy ride in any anti-trust investigations. If the govt have a vested interest in most people running Windows so they can infect and spy on it's users, the last thing they want is Microsoft losing it's user base to something they can't infect easily. If the concept of open source takes off, slipping an application like that in will be even harder. It's easier
  • If IBM had not been subject to antitrust rulings, would it have developed its own OS for the PC? If ATT had not been subject to antitrust rulings, would it have developed/marketed UNIX differently?

    • by earlymon (1116185) on Friday April 17, 2009 @08:48PM (#27622473) Homepage Journal

      If IBM had not been subject to antitrust rulings, would it have developed its own OS for the PC?

      You know, they might have. They might have even started by contracting Microsoft to write it for them. They might have even developed a special PC and collaboratively called the operating system OS2. They might have even discovered that Microsoft burned them with an excruciating POS. They might have watched in horror while Microsoft used OS2 as a launch point for an OS that had none of OS2's bugs. And they have gone berserk when Microsoft called their new product Windows.

      And they might have decided to completely re-write the operating system on their own. And they might have succeeded. And they might have called it OS2 Warp. And they might have gotten lots of press FUD while their OS completely blew Windows 95 out of the water.

      We only know that IBM was the target of an antitrust action and that they developed a great (in its day) PC OS. We don't know if they wouldn't have were it not for the antitrust action.

      But they were on board with the idea of moving away from the command line - Apple's sales in those days were nothing to sneeze at. And we know that in those days, IBM was feeling the sting of being victimized by their own greed in the MS contract that allowed MS-DOS to support clones when they'd thought that had the market sewn up with PC-DOS and their machines.

      So, they tried it again with the PS2/OS2 lock in. The PS2 gave us some great tech for its day. But the combo, frankly, sucked. OS2 Warp was fab - ran on clones - but you only get to screw the market so much before it moves on.

      The market believed that it was IBM alone screwing them, Microsoft slipped in under the radar. Remember, in those days, Microsoft was quite the darling of the CP/M and Apple (pre-Mac and early Mac) communities. Apple and CP/M good, IBM bad. Looked like Microsoft would save us with MS-DOS.

      See where that got us.

      So the answer to your question seems to be what we all already know - antitrust rulings don't stifle technology, monopolies do.

      (PS - Nothing personal about the sarcasm - I just get that way on this subject in general.)

      • by drsmithy (35869)

        Stupid Slashcode AC'ed me.

        They might have even discovered that Microsoft burned them with an excruciating POS.

        OS/2 was as much IBM's work as Microsoft's.

        They might have watched in horror while Microsoft used OS2 as a launch point for an OS that had none of OS2's bugs. And they have gone berserk when Microsoft called their new product Windows.

        In no way was OS/2 a "launch point" for Windows (either DOS-based or NT).

        And they might have decided to completely re-write the operating system on their own. A

        • by earlymon (1116185)

          In no way was OS/2 a "launch point" for Windows (either DOS-based or NT).

          You and history disagree on this point - I have only (sadly) wikipedia at this point: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OS/2 [wikipedia.org]

          Initially, the companies agreed that IBM would take over maintenance of OS/2 1.0 and development of OS/2 2.0, while Microsoft would continue development of OS/2 3.0. In the end, Microsoft decided to recast NT OS/2 3.0 as Windows NT, leaving all future OS/2 development to IBM.

          Unless by launch point I mean - renamed a rev of OS/2 to WinNT.

          As for OS/2 Warp not being a complete re-write, your objection to my language use may be correct - the re-write was complete and features such as true preemptive multi-tasking appeared in Warp. So, my comment stands - the hallmark of the completed re-write corresponded to the name change. BTW, the multi-tasking improvement in

          • by drsmithy (35869)

            Unless by launch point I mean - renamed a rev of OS/2 to WinNT.

            The OS that was released and marketed as OS/2, is in no way similar, derivative, a "launch point", or anything else with regards to Windows NT. They are completely different OSes and code bases, who share nothing except a deprecated API and - for an early alpha of Windows NT - a product name.

            I remember the history quite well. In the early-mid '90s I was a (younger and more foolish) fervent OS/2 user.

            As for OS/2 Warp not being a complete r

            • by earlymon (1116185)

              I remember the history quite well. In the early-mid '90s I was a (younger and more foolish) fervent OS/2 user.

              Well - I *thought* I remembered the history quite well. If you're right and I'm wrong, I'm not going to argue, I'm going to learn - I wasn't talking completely out of my ass.

              My impetus was that the whole antitrust issue, as quoted from TFA in the summary, TFA itself, and in many statements in this topic (and elsewhere) - are all rife with revisionist history.

              The last thing I want to introduce a different revisionist history.

              So long as you're using arbitrary phrases...

              Three things - 1 )I was trying to make a point by shortcut of a single example, an

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Daengbo (523424)

      If IBM had not been subject to antitrust rulings, would it have developed its own OS for the PC?

      Under no circumstances. The PC project was fast and needed as much outsourcing as they could get in order to get to market within a year. IBM had no chance to develop its own OS because the project didn't have the time for that.[1] [wikipedia.org]

      None of this had anything to do with an anti-trust ruling. It's more like Gates' hurried adoption of the BSD TCP stack in NT. "Would MS have developed its own if it hadn't been under scrutiny by the DoJ?" Absurd!

      • Exactly. IBM wrote the BIOS code and developed the board layout and case design, but the PC was built entirely from off-the-shelf components (apart from the BIOS) and was intentionally crippled so it didn't eat into the minicomputer market. IBM saw operating systems as a commodity, and thought that they could easily replace DOS with CP/M or something else in a later version if they needed to, because backwards compatibility for software was something only mainframe customers cared about (and if anyone did

  • Gregg Keizer reports that federal and state regulators have struck a deal with Microsoft under which any version of Windows released after May 2011 will not be subject to the scrutiny mandated by a 2002 antitrust settlement. As previously promised, however, Windows 7 will be put under the microscope.

    That's not what the document says, however. It says that a "Windows client operating system" commercially released after the final judgement expires (whether that is May 11, 2011 or 18 months later given the pr

  • From TFA:

    At that time, however, she left the door open to continued monitoring, and Microsoft agreed that she could extend it for up to three more years, to Nov. 12, 2012.

    and

    Although Microsoft has consented to the extension -- and acknowledged that the regulators can later ask for another 18 months -- Kollar-Kotelly must approve the request.

    Microsoft agreed and Microsoft consented - my ass.

    Good summary alert! This link is in the summary, kids - http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/11/01/2034207&tid=123 [slashdot.org]

    And I found this post - http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=43989&cid=4582608 [slashdot.org] - by VivianC, who read and quoted the full text of the AP and news.com relevant articles:

    She also eliminated a technical committee that would have enforced the settlement terms. In its place, a corporate committee - consisting of board members who aren't Microsoft employees - will make sure the company lives up to the deal. The judge also gave herself more oversight authority.

    Kollar-Kotelly also modified the oversight of Microsoft's compliance with the settlement. Originally, the proposal included a technical committee and an internal compliance officer, both potentially influenced by Microsoft. In Friday's ruling, the judge combined the two into a compliance committee made up of Microsoft board members. In turn, the committee must hire a compliance officer, to report to the committee and to Microsoft's CEO. As corporate officers and non-Microsoft employees, the compliance committee in theory would be more likely to appropriately enforce the settlement in this era of renewed corporate responsibility.

    How could the language in the computerworld.com article shill any harder? Answer - not much - not much at all.

    • in this era of renewed corporate responsibility.

      when i read that i laughed so hard i shit myself...

  • by Zaphod-AVA (471116) on Friday April 17, 2009 @08:05PM (#27622085)

    It's good to hear that Microsoft is now a trustworthy company, and will now be making products with the features we need, and fairly competing with other companies.

    Have they announced a built-in spellchecker in Windows 7 yet?

    • I would love a spell checker.

      But you have to admit. Porting over the Microsoft OFFICE spell checker to Microsoft WINDOWS would be a pretty ironic request from someone commending Microsoft's new found non-monopolistic efforts. Including Microsoft Office product features would seem to me be a return to 'old Microsoft'--which I was perfectly happy with. (Hated Netscape's POS browser).

      • The point is that Microsoft has no problem developing features like DVD playback, and recording television and inserting them into the OS, crushing competition and innovation in those markets, but a simple, basic, ubiquitous feature like a spelling checker might devalue their mighty Office suite, therefore it will never happen.

        No one complains about Microsoft wrecking competition in the mouse driver business. Some software just doesn't need to be rewritten every time. The spelling checker is that kind of fe

  • by jkrise (535370) on Friday April 17, 2009 @09:13PM (#27622635) Journal

    Seriously! When the EEE PC came on the scene, Microsoft was forced to dump Vista and go back to the old Windows XP and release a Service Pack to make it work. And likewise Downgrade Rights from Vista to XP.... which is now continuing with Windows 7 to XP as well.

    And now, Windows 7 actually consumes lesser resources and is faster on the same hardware, compared to the previous version Vista. This has happened not because of the regulators, but the market realities. And likewise, the success of Firefox has made the different releases of IE and artificial restrictions of OS versions and IE versions meaningless in the market.

    Honestly I cannot imagine a single useful thing achieved by these regulators. Better wind the whole organisation up and move on.

    • I love how every example you gave came about under the auspices of the same regulators so decried.
    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      The irony is that Linux has helped MS in more than one way: it's provided a plausible scrapegoat for problems (damn Linux hackers fucking up the internet!), provided an example of "competition", and provided an example of "bundling" that, in the future, MS will be able to use to say "see, everyone does it now!" (referring to all distros + MacOS).

  • As much as I hate MS, WTF are they pursued for anti-trust so much of the time? If anyone needs to be sued/slammed for antitrust, it's Time Warner who is clearly, blatantly making antitrust moves with their bandwidth tiered pricing. So what if MS doesn't bundle other browsers, it's all free anyway. The consumer is free to do whatever the hell they want after they purchase a product - install any browser, software, etc. It's one thing if MS codes their OS so other software not produced by MS will not run - T
    • by Daengbo (523424)

      Talk to the bodies littering the road MS has trod on -- business "partners" who were later leveraged into an obituary column inch reciting their demise.

  • I would like to have the ability to consent to the details of my punishment. "Yes, you may search my apartment, but this is the last time".

    • by Daengbo (523424)

      Since the original punishment was negotiated between the DoJ and MS, I guess the extesion should be, too. O_o I mean, it wasn't a plea bargain -- they'd already been found guilty.

  • If you are big enough to stall long enough, the government loses interest.

    Seems Both Microsoft and the terrorists have learned this.

  • May 13, 2011.

    Though it might slip up to 18 months for "technical reasons".

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