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The Courts Microsoft Upgrades Windows Technology

Microsoft Wins Windows XP Downgrade Lawsuit 203

Posted by timothy
from the that's-just-like-your-judgment-man dept.
CWmike writes "A federal judge has dismissed a year-old lawsuit against Microsoft over alleged antitrust violations for the 'downgrade' rules it set for Windows Vista and XP. The order put an end to the lawsuit filed by Emma Alvarado in February 2009. In her original complaint, she accused Microsoft of coercing computer makers into forcing consumers who wanted to run Windows XP to first buy Windows Vista, or later, Windows 7, before they were allowed to downgrade to XP. The judge rejected Alvarado's accusations, saying that the plaintiff had not proved Microsoft benefited from the downgrade practices that it created and that OEMs implemented."
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Microsoft Wins Windows XP Downgrade Lawsuit

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  • by schwit1 (797399) on Friday February 26, 2010 @11:39PM (#31294328)
    Why can't the system have a panel of retired judges look at civil cases before a full trial to ensure it is warranted? If the plaintiff wants to move anyway when told there is not case, so be it. But the loser and the loser's lawyer should have to pay something to the winner. There has to be some meaningful consequence for the losers.
  • by harvey the nerd (582806) on Friday February 26, 2010 @11:39PM (#31294330)
    It is always refreshing to watch a master criminal at work. Microsoft, the company that has made billions by locking users with false promises on knowingly sold defective malware, stolen technology, selling crap EULAs to sell 2, 3, even 4 licenses just get a machine running and compatible, trampling implied warranty into the ground, evading antitrust prosecutions with perjured testimonies and harried, baited judges, and multiples more on jobbed stock.
  • Re:How? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HermMunster (972336) on Saturday February 27, 2010 @12:03AM (#31294450)

    There are a lot of ways they benefit. One by having mechanisms built into Vista that patrol the user that weren't there in XP that were rejected by XP users when they released WGA. The next is that they actually denied consumers the choice even though consumers asked for it and in the end the only way to get it was to pay for the OS twice (once for Vista and once for XP). OEMs aren't just the big boys such as the royal OEMs.

    This person's failure was obviously her failure of knowing the law or getting adequate legal council. Or Microsoft has deep pockets that get judges all hot and wet.

    The OEMs were forced to sell Vista and were told not to allow XP. Microsoft's approach to forcing Vista was systematic. It isn't hard to see what they had done over the past two years. Those actions could only be taken by a monopoly in the manner they were, and then again only by a monopoly with something to gain. Microsoft had been directing Royal OEMs to remove support for XP in the BIOS tables and as well had been telling hardware vendors not to provide drivers for XP (sound, wireless, etc). They didn't direct this in this manner without some plan and thus benefit to themselves.

    Really, it isn't hard to understand that users wanted X product but were forced to buy V product and then buy X product afterwords. When resellers said they were not able to comply and that Microsoft had discontinued their right to purchase the X product and then systematically denied support, and then lied about the availability of product keys. That's coercion of all parties--to say the least. When you consider Microsoft came up with more product keys after the netbook craze began you can see they were manipulating and coercing OEMs and thus consumers.

    If I were this person I'd refile (as I'm sure the case didn't go to trial) and then subpoena all the OEMs and their communications in preparation of the Vista release. I'd be willing to bet there's some real telling details in those correspondences.

  • by n6kuy (172098) on Saturday February 27, 2010 @12:20AM (#31294546)

    No, you're good if the plaintiff doesn't prove you did it.

  • Re:How? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Saturday February 27, 2010 @12:26AM (#31294586) Journal

    I have a hard time wrapping idea around the concept of forcing someone to sell something they don't want to sell. The idea is absurd. It's very mafia-ish at the very least.

    A computer should be separate from the software; as such a customer should never be compelled to buy a computer conditional on also buying the software on the device. Of course this is already covered under US antitrust law as illegal tying even if it is rarely if ever enforced.

  • Re:How? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RobertM1968 (951074) on Saturday February 27, 2010 @12:39AM (#31294638) Homepage Journal

    How did they benefit? It's a lot easier to make the case that the end user benefits for actually recieving two (non-concurrent) licenses for the price of a single license, given that the old software has been discontinued. I don't think the OEM price for Vista or Win7 is any different from XP, and the new versions are the replacements for the old - frankly they weren't required to offer an XP option at all (except by the oft-derided free market pressure that was upon them, of course - nothing bad to say about free markets when they help you out eh?), or any form of downgrade. You don't see Apple offering a free downgrade option from Leopard to Tiger, do you? Of course not, ordinarily the idea is absurd. The only difference is that this upgrade was not well-received, and it was offer a downgrade or lose customers.

    Since they weren't even required to continue selling XP at all, how the hell can you argue that selling a license that includes a free license for XP is anything but a value-add for the customer?

    I have a hard time wrapping idea around the concept of forcing someone to sell something they don't want to sell. The idea is absurd. It's very mafia-ish at the very least.

    That's weird... I just realized something... and maybe this is the problem:

    "Back in the day" many OEMs were selling the XP Downgrade at an additional cost. Nowadays, it seems one can buy a machine with Vista/Win7 or XP (with a Vista or Win7 license included) at the same price.

    Perhaps that is the problem with this suit (or part of it) - nowadays there is no extra charge. When the lawsuit was initiated, virtually everyone (due to Microsoft per their claims) was charging an extra fee for the downgrade license.

    Just two months ago, I purchased 4 XP machines for a client. They were the same price as the identical hardware with Vista or Win 7. They came with Vista restore disks but XP pre-installed. And a free upgrade coupon for Win7 (which was honored, btw)... meaning, for the price of one OS, it's come with XP pre-installed, Vista restore disks, and Win 7 upgrade on it's way in the mail (for the cost of S/H). (These were for Lenovo ThinkCentres)

    A year and a few months ago, the machine would have been an extra $40-80 for the "downgrade" to preinstalled XP.

    Perhaps they had a hard time proving it because there isn't anything available online to help them prove it now. Or they were checking the wrong manufacturers and didnt find any that still may be charging extra.

  • by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Saturday February 27, 2010 @01:34AM (#31294900)

    Most of the world's non-embedded computers run Windows. When a company reaches that level of influence, it ceases to be just another firm and instead becomes a part of our societal infrastructure. It's certainly reasonable to hold such organizations to a higher standard than we hold smaller organizations. The power company can't "do as they want" either.

    As long as Microsoft wants to enjoy the lucrative benefits of being a singular part of society's information infrastructure, society ought to have a say in how Microsoft is run.

    You might argue that imposing such restrictions is "punishing success". That's hardly true. The people responsible for Microsoft's growth have been rewarded many times over. If Microsoft finds regulations unbearable, it can split itself in two smaller companies, or shrink some other way. Then, it would no longer be subject to the same scrutiny.

    But as long as Microsoft

  • by jisatsusha (755173) <<sadako> <at> <gmail.com>> on Saturday February 27, 2010 @12:26PM (#31297160) Homepage
    In theory, you're correct. In practice, however, things don't really work that way. What is the content size of a terminal window? Even Apple can't decide. since the "zoom" button in Terminal.app simply fills the screen. Then there's web browsers. Safari seems to implement that zoom style behaviour, but Firefox does not. It's application specific behaviour on a control that appears on every window, and that's what's confusing.

    Contrast this with Windows, where the maximise button always either makes the window fill the entire screen, or returns it to its original size. As other commenters stated, the button does indeed change its icon to indicate that this is the case, and it may not be entirely intuitive (two overlapped boxes?) but neither is an x, a - or a + sign with traffic light colours, it's all something the user has to learn.

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