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Microsoft == Monopoly says Judge 963

Posted by Hemos
from the time-for-the-debate-to-begin dept.
Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson has released his initial finding of facts - which appears to be very favorable to the government. Judge Jackson agrees with the government's assertions that Microsoft holds monopoly power in operating systems in the Intel world. Now, note of course, that is just an initial finding - now the two sides debate the penalties against Microsoft. Check out the government web site for the Findings of Fact - though it's running pretty slow there's a mirror as well. The info is all over the news as well. Thing sound grim - click below for a quote from the Judge:

"Microsoft has demonstrated that it will use its prodigious market power and immense profits to harm any firm that insists on pursuing initiatives that could intensify competition against one of Microsoft's core products," Jackson wrote in his findings. "The ultimate result is that some innovations that would truly benefit consumers never occur for the sole reason that they do not coincide with Microsoft's self-interest."

Ouch. Pretty harsh words from the Judge. No one knows what the penalties will be, and the possibility for a settlement between the Government and DOJ are much more probable now, as Microsoft knows the way the judge feels about it. Things are gonna be different, though.

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Microsoft == Monopoly says Judge

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    November 5th, 1999 The Duh heard round the world
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Here's the most relevant OSS part:


    3. Open-Source Applications Development

    51. Since application developers working under an open-source model are not looking to recoup their investment and make a profit by selling copies of their finished products, they are free from the imperative that compels proprietary developers to concentrate their efforts on Windows.

    In theory, then, open-source developers are at least as likely to develop applications for a non-Microsoft operating system as they are to write Windows-compatible applications. In fact, they may be disposed ideologically to focus their efforts on open-source platforms like Linux. Fortunately for Microsoft, however, there are only so many developers in the world willing to devote their talents to writing, testing, and debugging software pro bono publico.

    A small corps may be willing to concentrate its efforts on popular applications, such as browsers and office productivity applications, that are of value to most users. It is unlikely, though, that a sufficient number of open-source developers will commit to developing and continually updating the large variety of applications that an operating system would need to attract in order to present a significant number of users with a viable alternative to Windows.

    In practice, then, the open-source model of applications development may increase the base of applications that run on non-Microsoft PC operating systems, but it cannot dissolve the barrier that prevents such operating systems from challenging Windows.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    of Bill at http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/p/nm/19991105/ts/mdf2 3119.html
  • MS wrote encrypted self-modifying code in Windows 3.1 that put up a vague error message if it detected that the underlying DOS was Digital Research's DR-DOS rather than MS-DOS. Andrew Schulman, author of Undocumented Windows, wrote some articles for Dr. Dobb's Journal. The description of the code [ddj.com] is fascinating reading.

    Later, Ray Noorda's Caldera Systems bought the skeleton of Digital Research and sued Microsoft. See Caldera's Web page on the resulting anti-trust lawsuit [207.179.39.7].

  • The article about WordPerfect being acceptable where MS-Word is not is available at The Register [theregister.co.uk]. Very Interesting. Poor Microsoft.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I posted the following post to ZDNET back on 10/14/98... over a year ago... I still cannot believe the case brought by the US has any merit.

    My new email address is ixxxixxxi@rapidcable.com

    Link to the following post: http://www.zdnet.com/talkback/321_16301_74317.html

    Inter@ctive Week TalkBack

    Name: Brett Weir

    Email: lesborn@msn.com

    Location: Miami, FL

    Occupation: Webmaster

    Dear Mr. Gates,

    I think what the US government is doing to you and your company is truly disgraceful. You have been here in the United States for 20 plus years guiding the world by its hand with your incredible software and hardware innovations! I'm a big supporter of truly innovative companies like yours and I feel the government has no right at all to interfere whatsoever with any innovative products, services, integration, R&D, emerging markets, etc.! PERIOD!

    Our family has purchased a many Microsoft product and judge, let me tell YOU something! Most all MS products were MADE to enhance, accompany and support other brand names, so what's your point judge?

    We have purchased MS Windows95 with a Sony Vaio PCV-120. We also use MS Office97 Pro, MS FrontPage98, MS Visual InterDev 6.0 Pro. We are also set to go to our first 3-day AppDev training seminar. We plan on future purchases too, such as a new Dell PowerEdge 6300 Server which will be bundled with WindowsNT 4.0 or 5.0 and our ultimate future purchase goal, MS SoftImage 3D, to bring our Web to incredible new life as the Internet gets faster and faster which will allow very graphic-intensive sessions for our customers within the next 5 years! We are nonetheless very excited folks! We are also using the MSN with it's new Web Portal which kicks serious butt!!! We also play MS MC Madness, MS MT Madness 2, MS Golf 98, MS Flight Simulator 98, and MS Urban Assault which are all very fun games. We also plan to purchase a Sega Dreamcast which runs on MS Windows CE in Dec/99. We also take advantage of MSNBC, MS HomeAdvisor and MS Expedia websites. As reference tools we use MS AutoMap Streets Plus and MS Bookshelf 97 CD-ROM's.

    We find ourselves smarter people from using MS products. We think all these products are "best of breed" and that fact alone is what made this industry so exciting and are proud to say it to whomever might listen. We also believe that others should now stand up and be supporting Microsoft in it's time of need with such incredible and outrageous charges. Microsoft has simply worked too hard for too long at building business!!!

    I have read just about all of the major headlines to date [10/14/98] and I am ashamed that our government will not allow your company AT LEAST another 2 weeks for your defense preparations to prepare your company for it's MOST important time in it's history! I would really like to see you have 3 MORE MONTHS for proper preparation. I would like you to know that you have my full support behind this matter. I also feel that the companies involved, from my research on them against MS, are companies that don't want to work as hard and/or be as successful or as innovative as Microsoft because they are simply too busy Microsoft whining and bashing.

    The many companies against MS simply have visible work ethic flaws and they have also forgotten that it is a "fair road to the end" when companies DON'T BREAK LAWS, just as MS hasn't! MS has arrived to the size and status that it is enjoying because of incredible dedication, very hard work, critical thinking, some of the best minds in computer science and the other fields, predictive and precisive selling into new markets, attention to fine details, etc. EVERYBODY in this industry has the ability to develop new technologies [both hardware and software] and it's not just MS doing all the work and innovating!

    I demand that the government now hold EVERY COMPANY accountable for their "supposedly unscrupulous" actions and we can spend all day, every day, for the rest of our natural lives in the courtrooms of America and suck EVERYONE'S tax money to pay for these technically challenged judges and lawyers to come up with better solutions to an incredibly complex industry. IT'S IMPOSSIBLE! It's up to the computer industry itself to abide by the laws of practical business, which is exactly what Microsoft does! Other companies look at MS as some monster but I'm more than sure that if they had developed the popular operating system that runs most PC's in the world that they too would just continue "business as usual." It's not Microsoft's fault - so stop blaming them! You see it really is "business as usual" at MS and that is what these companies seem to forget all too easily!

    "The game" is played every millisecond of every waking hour of each day in U.S. by tens of thousands of companies OF ALL KINDS Judge Jackson. If your going to try to prohibit, break apart or bring down MS, then I want you Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson to bring down the WHOLE COMPUTER INDUSTRY!!! Please go ahead now and try to call all the shots for the WHOLE hardware and software industry, because that is what it comes down to - EVERYTHING TECHNICAL. This antitrust case is so damn serious it deserves it's own set of rules to follow [just like the impeachment process]. Technology is such a "critical key issue" in all our lives right now, from the poorest nations on Earth to the most abundant and plentiful nations such as the U.S. From banking systems to monitoring a rat on the US Space Shuttle. But the U.S. Justice Department is turning two blind eyeballs towards Microsoft RIGHT NOW!!!

    From the sounds of the current story archives to date [10/14/98] it seems that Microsoft's fate has already been sealed in a hardened steel wrapper surrounded by jealous and unfair companies trying to pin a war against "The Evil Empire" [I believe thats what these companies refer MS to Mr. Gates]? If "The Evil Empire" is used as such a "loose phrase" in the daily lives by many of these companies' employees, then doesn't that further prove their jealousness towards Microsoft?

    That's what it really all boils down to is "work ethics." Creative brainpower IS HARD WORK and that is where many other companies don't shine as brightly as MS. In my recollections Mr. Gates, you started out on a dream and about 3 grand and you went from there, WOW!!! Where is Sun, Apple, RealNetworks, Oracle, and everyone else who has "gripes" about Microsoft starting out? On a dream to win in a court case in an antitrust suit against you? How pathetic... I'm sure most of these companies ARE embarrassed to try to win in a case such as this, which they SHOULD BE! What kind of dream is that when all you have left is to hope someone else [a judge in this matter] tries to hinder and lop the legs off a companies innovations and then regulates that company like a "government"?! What kind of innovation is that?! What kind of true fairness to MS is that?! Hiding behind the coattails of Supreme Court judges and trustbusters?! We need to stop this before it gets out of hand, because from what I can tell, MS should be creating one of the MOST powerful appeals to this antitrust case in U.S. history!

    Simply punish, punish, punish Microsoft, right judge?... There is a very easy way out of all this U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson! Drop ALL the charges against MS or you'll have a very very serious problem with EVERY innovative idea, product, business decision, work ethic, speech, internal business document, note and e-mail from every corner of every cubicle from EVERYONE UNDER THE UMBRELLA OF THE WHOLE COMPUTER INDUSTRY!!! IT IS JUST NOT FAIR TO MICROSOFT!!! If Bill Gates is guilty of anything it's probably not smiling enough and enjoying HIS success which he EARNED!!! E A R N E D!!!

    If you want to dig a deep hole to play in Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, then be prepared to get down and dirty for a legal fight to protect the rights of companies JUST LIKE MICROSOFT!!!

    You see judge, it may seem like a bunch of marketing hype when Mr. Gates testifies in front of you and tells you certain things about integration that need to be included in his products. Trust Bill, he doesn't need to run anyone else out of business, he has enough of his OWN business to run. He may be very competitive but isn't that a good thing and what business is all about? Competition? Well, isn't it? It's certainly NOTHING to be even remotely ashamed of!!! It's the FIRST thing out of the professor's mouth in Bus. Admin.!!! C O M P E T I T I O N makes YOU money and other people money, which in turn makes even MORE money. It just so happens that Bill Gates was born with business genius. It all gets easier to understand Judge Jackson, when you start looking at it all from this correct point of view. I AM going to use an Albert Einstein analogy here because it fits Bill Gates.

    I figure Microsoft should finally come out with an awarded settlement of upwards of $30,000,000,000 plus when all is said and done and the Microsoft name has been all but destroyed. No joke.

    Bill, you got my permission to give emm hell now, they have pushed one too many of your buttons, and it aint the Start button either!!!

    Brett Weir

    PS: I also have to apologize to you Mr. Gates about my fellow Floridians' recent "hissing" at you at your Lake Buena Vista public stop, what lack of respect...

    PPS: I give Microsoft my full permission to use this E-mail to your full benefit in the courts.

  • The judge found that there was harm to consumers.

    This is key ! Remedy time !!

  • > Remember young Jedi Knight Windows leads
    > to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads
    > to Linux. :)

    Not to mention:

    It is by Linux alone I set my PC in motion.
    It is by the open source that patches acquire speed,
    the kernel acquires modules.
    The modules become a new release.
    It is by Linux alone I set my PC in motion.

    Mark Edwards [mailto]
    Proof of Sanity Forged Upon Request
  • Bugs do matter in that case. Sure, they don't matter as much, but complacency about bugs is a very dangerous thing.
  • Force them to release detailed, accurate, timely, advance specs to Office file formats

    I have strong suspicion that no such thing ever existed -- while syntax is standardized, the semantics of formats are most likely defined by how particular code renders them. The same will apply to their promised XML-ified version, except that XML standard explicitly states that no means for semantics definition are provided, and such things are left to implementations.

  • As much as I'm happy that this is finally out there, and I feel that this is a major step in bringing Microsoft into line with the rest of the computer industry, I want to make sure that people realize that this is BY NO MEANS A GUILTY VERDICT.

    It's just a "Finding of Fact" from the Judge - he's selected all the facts presented to him, and determined what he finds to be true, and supported by the arguments presented.

    I am not a lawyer, but I know enough to realize that this is not a final verdict, and that this trial could still go anywhere from this point on.

    It's a significant step, but before we get all slashdot-a-riffic about how Microsoft sucks, just realize that this is a formal step in what is still going to be a very long legal battle against Microsoft.

    If anything, however, this will effect a lot of peoples attitudes towards Microsoft, regardless of their understanding of the legal system and exactly what this FoF means... so we should probably be happy about that.

    People generally are no longer going to be viewing Microsoft as the warm fuzzy company that it is in the minds of many ignorant Americans, as a result of this Finding of Fact.

    And that's a good thing, because it was our (computer industry in generaly) complacency towards businesses like Microsoft, doing the things they've done, that led to this problem in the first place...

  • "People won't fund or help produce an innovation by some startup that will eventually compete with Microsoft. So nobody will try anymore."
  • And exactly WHAT percentage of the desktops in the PC world are running RedHat or Caldera? Sorry, but a fraction of one percent does not a SIGNIFICANT COMPETITION make.


    ...phil
  • No, you're right. There's nothing illegal about being a monopoly. However, there IS something illegal about using that monopoly position to squash possible competition (say, by creating hidden API calls into your operating system that only your application programmers know about, thereby putting the competition's applications at a disadvantage, to name but one practice), or to use that market dominance to try to control the market in the future (by proposing collusion with a software house to divide up the marketplace, then when that other software house doesn't agree to start giving away products below cost in order to hurt that other software house).

    Don't worry, there's LOTS of ways to illegally use a monopoly. I suspect we'll find out that Microsoft used most of them.


    ...phil

  • You haven't been paying attention, have you? WordPerfect is used in legal offices - about the only market they've got left.


    ...phil
  • When somebody has broken the law, you're damn right that the government has the right to tell them what to do. Like, go to jail. Or, pay some other penalty. If the findings of law show that Microsoft has broken the law (and assuming they stand up on appeal), then yes, the government DOES get to tell Microsoft what to do.


    ...phil
  • Yeah, go ahead. Take a look at The Hall of Innovations [vcnet.com], where the Microsoft innovations are described in detail. Including where they swiped them from.

    By the way, did you know that NT started out life as a port of DEC's VMS? Then it got all bloated.


    ...phil

  • ... they have also forgotten that it is a "fair road to the end" when companies DON'T BREAK LAWS, just as MS hasn't!

    Well, that part remains to be seen. This is a finding of FACT, not a finding of LAW.

    What would you say if Microsoft has been found to have indeed broken the law? What then?


    ...phil

  • Considering that Microsoft hasn't done either of the two "examples" you cite...

    I suggest you take a look beginning at paragraph 79, wherein Judge Jackson discusses Microsoft's attempt to get Netscape to stay away from the Windows platform, and paragraph 90, where we find that Microsoft withheld API information from Netscape.


    ...phil

  • This just shows that a judge bought by Netscape/Sun/Oracle etc can rule against Microsoft.

    Oh! You have evidence that Judge Jackson has been bought by one side in this case! This is great! All you have to do is provide the evidence, and the judge will be forced to recuse himself, and the finding will be thrown out, and Microsoft will be off the hook!

    So, where's the evidence? Come on! You OBVIOUSLY wouldn't have said it unless you had it, right?


    ...phil

  • Looking at the PDF document, I noticed this partway down:

    (This is from part II.A.1.19)

    A consumer intent on aquiring a server operating system would also have to buy a computer of substantially greater power and price than an Intel-compatable PC, because server operating systems generally cannot funciton properly on PC hardware.

    So even though the Judge is on our side on this one, that still doesn't mean he's not a little clueless in places still. (Does anyone know how to cut and paste out of a PDF in acroread? Typing that in was annoying.)

  • I rememeber this very well -- it was a "bonus pack" in warp 3 for internet support, and then you had to download a 3rd party driver for PPP support.

    MS stuck the knife in OS/2, but IBM twisted it many times.

    -Erik-
  • Get your terms right: I don't see many people on slashdot Fearing, Uncertain, Or Doubting the fact that these things exist. In fact, I find even that a lot of stereotypical elderly computer users (who are generally the lowest on the tech tree) feel the same thing about Microsoft once presented with the facts and left alone to put the pieces together.

    Photoshop, like SoftImage, IRIX, and 3DSMax, are fringe programs for fringe markets. There are freely availiable programs (BESIDES GIMP) that don't have the professionality of Photoshop but do the job. You get what you pay for, and I doubt that many 2d and 3d artists have much of a problem paying for these programs when they do what they want them to.

    I, and many others, however, do have a problem with having to run an operating system that does not live up to the promises of it's developers, *AND*, on top of that, require payment for it everytime you go through someone that sells a computer with a warranty attached.

    Personally, (don't hate me) I could really give a shit about Open Source as a just cause if OS developers were required to release the FULL SOURCE to just their Operating Systems' API, so that either emulators or direct binaries could be used on alternative Operating Systems to enhance feature competition, instead of feature lock based on the "bottom line".

    As for the reduction of price. Call your OEM and ask him how much that 2 year old copy of Win98 will cost you... and yes... You'll find that they still cost around $90 retail... Not much of a reduction if you ask me.

    >Strange how Linux drones only see what they want to see.

    s/Linux drones/Trolls/

    -Erik-
  • This is horribly offtopic, but your nick reminds me of what people used to call me because of my very reminiscent sounding last name. :)

    tweedley dum
    tweedley dee
    it's

    -Erik-
  • >half of the people in the world - if not more - probably wouldnt see a need in having a computer at all

    I'm sorry, I thought, and thought and thought, but I just couldn't see how this is a bad thing. Too many people who should be spending money on books to learn how to use their computers, well... they're spending it on Windows. :)

    -Erik-
  • Just wait till Linux is on 99% of desktops...

    Which Linux distribution? Oh...you must have thought we were dozing off and not paying attention. No, we're not as stupid as you think we are. We know the difference between Free Software and proprietary, closed software.

    If there were as many companies selling Windows as there are selling Linux, we wouldn't be in this mess right now.

    --
    Interested in XFMail? New XFMail home page [slappy.org]

  • Nonsense. Microsoft got where they are through exclusive contracts that guaranteed that they, and they alone, would have a steady income from OEM sales.

    The only areas where they truly dominate are Windows/IE and Office, both of which are the benificiaries of exclusive preload deals.

    Microsoft knows they write inferior software; otherwise, they would not focus so much of their energies on preventing anyone from competing with them.

    --
    Interested in XFMail? New XFMail home page [slappy.org]

  • I rememeber this very well -- it was a "bonus pack" in warp 3 for internet support, and then you had to download a 3rd party driver for PPP support.

    You have a poor memory. OS/2 Warp 3 (Red Box) initially shipped (in October 1994) with an unfinished "Dial Other Internet Providers" tool. You had to download the updated tool to get PPP. It came from IBM, not a third party. This was only the case for Red Box Warp. Blue Box Warp 3 (which included Win-OS/2) never had this problem, as it shipped later. Warp 4 (released 1996) came with the full TCP/IP stack, and Peer to Peer.

    OS/2 never stood a chance, regardless of anything IBM did. Microsoft had already blanketed the industry with illegal exclusive preload deals.

    --
    Interested in XFMail? New XFMail home page [slappy.org]

  • Next, lets go after McDonald's for making their burgers too tasty to be fair, and for bundling their fries with said burgers.

    The thing you miss here is that McDonald's, while it may not seem like it sometimes, has plenty of well-known competition (Burger King, Wendy's, KFC, Taco Bell, delivered pizzas, not to mention the regional chains, convenience stores, grocery stores, delis, the list goes on and on).

    Microsoft doesn't have much competition in the eyes of Joe Best-Buy...all the computers come loaded with WinDuSemaine, the majority of mass-market software is Windows-only, and Microsoft has gone to great pains to keep it that way. Whenever someone tries to make a dent (by preloading, say, OS/2 or Linux, or by trying to give a non-Microsoft product equal or better showing on the desktop), Microsoft starts threatening to jack up the prices on copies of Windows (which, like it or not, is most places' bread and butter), or even threatening to pull OEM licenses -- which would spell trouble (at best, a very nasty stab wound; at worst, bankuptcy and/or cessation of business) for a lot of manufacturers. This sort of practice is what the trial is concerning; Microsoft can (and does) bully OEMs into doing things their way, and since they have such a lock on the market, not following them would be disastrous.

    -lee


  • Microsoft is a *corporation*, not a human being. As such, it has no rights. Claiming enforcing laws passed long ago against a corporation as being wrong, then, is an insult to anyone who has really been wronged.

    As an aside, I tried to read the decision and Slashdot about this under WIndows 98, and it crashed on me three times. So now I'm posting this from Linux. If only Mozilla had as good a news reader as Agent, I could switch to Linux for everything but the occasional game. (C'mon Blizzard, it's Linux time!)
  • I don't understamd how people who can configure a fairly complex OS like Linux can't keep Windows 98 from crashing.

    Please, enlighten me, what the hell can I do with 98? It boots. Now what do I do to find out what's leaking resources? (I don't think it's memory, I've had Norton's monitors up and they don't show memory leaking.) After at most a couple of hours, things will start failing due to lack of memory. I can close all active applications, and it doesn't help -- it'll even crash during shutdown. Now, I admit it's quite possible the problem file is a non-Microsoft driver, but what does Microsoft provide me to track down this problem? Or must I just reinstall?

    I don't use Linux all that much -- although I'm starting to use it more now -- but Netscape has only crashed on me once in Linux. It's crashed more often under NT on me. (Note: I find NT an acceptably stable OS.)
  • I tried both the System File Verification and the built-in resource monitor (forget what it's called, but it has three horizontal meters, one for memory, one for GDI resources, and one other) with nothing particularly notable being reported. One definite characteristic is that Netscape crashing on a complex page pretty much hoses the entire system, but (a) an application shouldn't be able to do that, a real OS recovers the resources used by a crashing application, and (b) I can have Netscape work perfectly and the problem still occurs, it just takes longer.
  • by crayz (1056) on Friday November 05, 1999 @02:46PM (#1558656) Homepage
    This just totally disgusts me, I can't believe what I'm reading. But when I see the judge saying things like this, I think it's about 100% certain he'll break them up into veryMicrosofts:

    ----------------------------------
    6. Foreclosing Apple as a Distribution Channel for Navigator

    341. In the summer of 1995, Microsoft had been willing to cede to Netscape the development of browsing software for the Mac OS, provided that Netscape would stop competing with the platform-level browsing technologies that Microsoft was developing for its 32-bit Windows products. The genesis of this offer had been Microsoft's belief that Netscape could never become the leading platform for network-centric software development if it did not distribute a middleware layer for the soon-to-be dominant 32-bit Windows platform. But once Netscape confirmed its determination to offer a middleware layer that would expose the same set of APIs on Windows, the Mac OS, and other platforms, Microsoft recognized that it needed to stifle the attention that developers would be inclined to devote to those APIs, even when the they rested on top of a non-Windows platform like the Mac OS. After all, if Navigator became so popular on the Mac OS that developers made extensive use of the APIs exposed by that version of Navigator, those developers would be disposed to take advantage of identical APIs exposed by the version of Navigator written for the dominant platform, Windows. Microsoft therefore set out to convince developers that applications relying on APIs exposed by Navigator would not reach as many Mac OS users as applications that invoked platform technologies found exclusively in Windows. Therefore, Microsoft set out to recruit Mac OS users to Internet Explorer, and to minimize Navigator's usage share among Mac OS users.

    342. Just as pre-installation and promotion by OEMs is one of the most effective means of raising the usage share of browsing software among users of Intel-compatible PC systems, pre-installation and promotion by Apple is one of the most effective means of raising the usage share of browsing software among the users of Apple PC systems. Recognizing this, Bill Gates consistently urged Microsoft executives to persuade Apple to pre-install the Mac OS version of Internet Explorer on its PC systems and to feature it more prominently than the Mac OS version of Navigator.

    343. By the summer of 1996, Apple was already shipping Internet Explorer with the Mac OS, but it was pre-installing Navigator as the default browsing software. After a meeting with Apple in June 1996, Gates wrote to some of his top executives: "I have 2 key goals in investing in the Apple relationship - 1) Maintain our applications share on the platform and 2) See if we can get them to embrace Internet Explorer in some way." Later in the same message, Gates expressed his desire that Apple "agree to immediately ship IE on all their systems as the standard browser."

    344. One point of leverage that Microsoft held over Apple was the fact that ninety percent of Mac OS users running a suite of office productivity applications had adopted Microsoft's Mac Office. In 1997, Apple's business was in steep decline, and many doubted that the company would survive much longer. Observing Apple's poor performance in the marketplace and its dismal prospects for the future, many ISVs questioned the wisdom of continuing to spend time and money developing applications for the Mac OS. Had Microsoft announced in the midst of this atmosphere that it was ceasing to develop new versions of Mac Office, a great number of ISVs, customers, developers, and investors would have interpreted the announcement as Apple's death notice.

    345. Recognizing the importance of Mac Office to Apple's survival, Microsoft threatened to cancel the product unless Apple compromised on a number of outstanding issues between the companies. One of these issues was the extent to which Apple distributed and promoted Internet Explorer, as opposed to Navigator, with the Mac OS.

    346. At the end of June 1997, the Microsoft executive in charge of Mac Office, Ben Waldman, sent a message to Gates and Microsoft's Chief Financial Officer, Greg Maffei. The message reflected Waldman's understanding that Microsoft was threatening to cancel Mac Office:

    The pace of our discussions with Apple as well as their recent unsatisfactory response have certainly frustrated a lot of people at Microsoft. The threat to cancel Mac Office 97 is certainly the strongest bargaining point we have, as doing so will do a great deal of harm to Apple immediately. I also believe that Apple is taking this threat pretty seriously . . . . 347. Waldman was actually an advocate for releasing Mac Office 97 promptly, and he pressed for that outcome in his message to Gates and Maffei. Although they applauded Waldman's devotion to the product, Gates and Maffei made clear that the threat of canceling Mac Office was too valuable a source of leverage to give up before Microsoft had extracted acceptable concessions from Apple. Maffei wrote Waldman, "Ben - great mail, but [we] need a way to push these guys and this is the only one that seems to make them move." In his response to Waldman, Gates asked whether Microsoft could conceal from Apple in the coming month the fact that Microsoft was almost finished developing of Mac Office 97.

    348. In order to assure his superiors that he was pursuing corporate policy despite his personal convictions, Waldman reported to Maffei in his June 1997 message that he had recently told his counterpart at Apple that Maffei "would be recommending to Bill [Gates] that we cancel Mac Office 97." Waldman believed that his counterpart "got the message that we would, in fact, cancel." Waldman went on to write that when his counterpart had asked what specific problems Microsoft had with Apple's recent response to Microsoft's proposals, Waldman had replied by mentioning four issues, including "IE equal access." By that, Waldman meant Microsoft's demand that the Mac OS make Internet Explorer just as available to its users as it made Navigator. According to Waldman, the Apple employee had responded that Apple would not be able to change the Mac OS's default browser from Navigator until it released the next version of the operating system product in the summer of 1998.

    349. A few days after the exchange with Waldman, Gates informed those Microsoft executives most closely involved in the negotiations with Apple that the discussions "have not been going well at all." One of the several reasons for this, Gates wrote, was that "Apple let us down on the browser by making Netscape the standard install." Gates then reported that he had already called Apple's CEO (who at the time was Gil Amelio) to ask "how we should announce the cancellation of Mac Office . . . ."

    350. Within a month of Gates' call to Amelio, Steve Jobs was once again Apple's CEO, and the two companies had settled all outstanding issues between them in three agreements, all of which were signed on August 7, 1997. Under the agreement titled "Technology Agreement," which remains in force today, Microsoft's primary obligation is to continue releasing up-to-date versions of Mac Office for at least five years. Among the obligations that the Technology Agreement places on Apple are several relating to browsing software.

    351. First, Apple has agreed, for as long as Microsoft remains in compliance with its obligation to support Mac Office, to "bundle the most current version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer for Macintosh . . . with all system software releases for Macintosh Computers (`MacOS') sold by Apple." The Technology Agreement also provides: "While Apple may bundle browsers other than Internet Explorer with such Mac OS system software releases, Apple will make Internet Explorer for Macintosh the default selection in the choice of all included internet browsers (i.e., when the user invokes the "Browse the Internet" or equivalent icon, the Mac OS will launch Internet Explorer for Macintosh)." In fulfillment of this requirement, Apple did not include Navigator in the default installation of the Mac OS 8.5 upgrade product. In other words, Navigator is not installed on the computer hard drive during the default installation, which is the type of installation most users elect to employ. Therefore, most users who upgraded their Macintosh systems to Mac OS 8.5 were unable to access Navigator without doing a customized installation. Having already installed an altogether adequate browser (Internet Explorer) when the Mac OS 8.5 upgrade completed its default installation process, however, most users are unlikely to trouble to install Navigator as well.

    352. The Technology Agreement further provides that "[a]ny other internet browsers bundled in the Mac OS system software sold by Apple shall be placed in folders in the software as released." In other words, Apple may not position icons for non-Microsoft browsing software on the desktop of new Macintosh PC systems or Mac OS upgrades. Moreover, the agreement states that "Apple will not be proactive or initiate actions to encourage users to swap out Internet Explorer for Macintosh." Both Apple and Microsoft read this term to prohibit Apple from promoting non-Microsoft browsing software. The agreement even states that Apple will "encourage its employees to use Microsoft Internet Explorer for Macintosh for all Apple-sponsored events and will not promote another browser to its employees." Pursuant to this provision, Apple's management has instructed the firm's employees to not use Navigator in demonstrations at trade shows and other public events. Also with regard to the promotion of browser technology, the agreement requires Apple to display the Internet Explorer logo on "all Apple-controlled web pages where any browser logo is displayed." Finally, the agreement grants Microsoft the right of first refusal to supply the default browsing software for any new operating system product that Apple develops during the term of the agreement.

    353. At the same time that it entered the Technology Agreement, Microsoft concluded a "Preferred Stock Purchase Agreement" and a "Patent Cross License Agreement" with Apple. These latter two agreements place obligations on Microsoft that are unrelated to Mac Office, and they bind Apple in areas other than browsing software. The fact that Microsoft and Apple entered two other agreements at the same time that they entered the Technology Agreement does not change the fact that Microsoft's commitment to continue developing Mac Office was at least partial consideration for Apple's commitment to distribute and promote Internet Explorer more favorably than Navigator. Indeed, the language of the agreements themselves demonstrates that Microsoft and Apple saw the Mac Office and Internet Explorer obligations as more closely linked to each other than to any other obligations the parties simultaneously undertook: Whereas the provision in the Technology Agreement setting forth Apple's obligations relating to browsing software explicitly states that those obligations will last as long as Microsoft complies with its obligation to continue supporting Mac Office, the provisions in the other two agreements describing the patent cross-license and Microsoft's purchase of Apple stock mention neither browsing software nor Mac Office.

    354. That the Mac Office and browsing software obligations are tied to each other is highlighted by the fact that the Microsoft executives who negotiated the agreement believe that Microsoft's remedy, were Apple to fail to meet its obligations with respect to browsing software, would be to discontinue Mac Office. When, in February 1998, a Microsoft employee proposed giving Apple an HTML control in exchange for Apple's agreement to use Internet Explorer as its standard browser internally, Waldman informed the employee that Apple was already obligated to use Internet Explorer as its standard browser internally and that Microsoft would revive the threat to discontinue Mac Office if Apple failed to comply with its obligation. In Waldman's words:

    Sounds like we give them the HTML control for nothing except making IE the "standard browser for Apple?" I think they should be doing this anyway. Though the language of the agreement uses the word "encourage," I think that the spirit is that Apple should be using it everywhere and if they don't do it, then we can use Office as a club.

    For at least a year after the Technology Agreement went into effect, Waldman and other Microsoft employees continued to use the threat of reduced commitment to Mac Office in holding Apple to its commitments to support Internet Explorer.

    355. Apple increased its distribution and promotion of Internet Explorer not because of a conviction that the quality of Microsoft's product was superior to Navigator's, or that consumer demand for it was greater, but rather because of the in terrorem effect of the prospect of the loss of Mac Office. To be blunt, Microsoft threatened to refuse to sell a profitable product to Apple, a product in whose development Microsoft had invested substantial resources, and which was virtually ready for shipment. Not only would this ploy have wasted sunk costs and sacrificed substantial profit, it also would have damaged Microsoft's goodwill among Apple's customers, whom Microsoft had led to expect a new version of Mac Office. The predominant reason Microsoft was prepared to make this sacrifice, and the sole reason that it required Apple to make Internet Explorer its default browser and restricted Apple's freedom to feature and promote non-Microsoft browsing software, was to protect the applications barrier to entry. More specifically, the requirements and restrictions relating to browsing software were intended to raise Internet Explorer's usage share, to lower Navigator's share, and more broadly to demonstrate to important observers (including consumer, developers, industry participants, and investors) that Navigator's success had crested. Had Microsoft's only interest in developing the Mac OS version of Internet Explorer been to enable organizational customers using multiple PC operating-system products to standardize on one user interface for Web browsing, Microsoft would not have extracted from Apple the commitment to make Internet Explorer the default browser or imposed restrictions on its use and promotion of Navigator.

    356. Microsoft understands that PC users tend to use the browsing software that comes pre-installed on their machines, particularly when conspicuous means of easy access appear on the PC desktop. By guaranteeing that Internet Explorer is the default browsing software on the Mac OS, by relegating Navigator to less favorable placement, by requiring Navigator's exclusion from the default installation for the Mac OS 8.5 upgrade, and by otherwise limiting Apple's promotion of Navigator, Microsoft has ensured that most users of the Mac OS will use Internet Explorer and not Navigator. Although the number of Mac OS users is very small compared to the Windows installed base, the Mac OS is nevertheless the most important consumer-oriented operating system product next to Windows. Navigator needed high usage share among Mac OS users if it was ever to enable the development of a substantial body of cross-platform software not dependent on Windows. By extracting from Apple terms that significantly diminished the usage of Navigator on the Mac OS, Microsoft severely sabotaged Navigator's potential to weaken the applications barrier to entry.
    ----------------------

    Use Office "as a club"? You piece of shit.
  • Actually, if you compile from a signed source, it's safer even if you don't audit the code, as long as sombody you trust has done the audit. There's also the fact that malicious code is unlikely to be signed (NOTE: I said unlikely, not never).

  • Let's see, wanna surf, right click on desktop, applications->netscape. Read mail, right click on desktop, applications->mail. 'Turn $50 into $50000', left click on delete.....

    Linux can be a gooey as you want it to be. The only difference is, it can also be as CLI as you want it to be. Personally, my favorite use of X is to have several xterms open at once on the same screen.

  • #18 is correct. A place like the school where I work, changing from Win95 to Linux would cost millions in retraining from the current win32 only applications, to the Linux equivalents. Also, it would be difficult for us to cooperate with other institutions, which expects files in MS proprietary formats.

    #19 sounds weird, even discounting Linux there are plenty of server operating systems that works well on PC hardware. Like Netware, SCO or Solaris.
  • No, Linux is not going to replace MS Windows as long as Microsoft can continue to abuse their monopoly situation. The judge didn't say what would happen in a fair marketplace.

  • Linux, which I use mind you, is certainly a fringe operating system. That is not to say that it is an inferior or irrelavent OS, just that it has very small market share in the Intel desktop market, which Judge Jackson focused on.

    It would be harder to call Linux a fringe OS in the low end server market, but it would also be hard to say that MS has a monopoly in the server market, as much as they might want one.
    --
  • I think #18 is talking about the substantial cost of moving to a platform where one's apps don't run and you either have to buy the ported app or an equivalent. This takes a substantial amount of time at least, even if there are free equivalents of your apps, and you may not be left with 100% functionality or file compatibility.

    #19 is a little more questionable, and is only true if you are talking about commercial server OSes in a commercial environment, since you can get Solaris x86 for cheap for personal use and obviously Linux and *BSD will run quite nicely on low end hardware.
    --
  • Note the context -- he is specifically talking about desktop PC operating systems. Linux is currently a strong server platform (although still certainly in the minority) but just beginning to make inroads in the desktop PC market. Hence, "fringe".

    --

  • What I want to see now is for Microsoft to try and rebut this document (which is quite an interesting, if long, read). It's going to be great fun watching them squirm out of the fact that yes, they have in fact acted dishonorably, so much so that something needs to be done to bring them back into line.
  • Perhaps also of interest here:

    50. The experience of the Linux operating system, a version of which runs on Intel-compatible PCs, similarly fails to refute the existence of an applications barrier to entry. Linux is an "open source" operating system that was created, and is continuously updated, by a global network of software developers who contribute their labor for free. Although Linux has between ten and fifteen million users, the majority of them use the operating system to run servers, not PCs. Several ISVs have announced their development of (or plans to develop) Linux versions of their applications. To date, though, legions of ISVs have not followed the lead of these first movers. Similarly, consumers have by and large shown little inclination to abandon Windows, with its reliable developer support, in favor of an operating system whose future in the PC realm is unclear. By itself, Linux's open-source development model shows no signs of liberating that operating system from the cycle of consumer preferences and developer incentives that, when fueled by Windows' enormous reservoir of applications, prevents non-Microsoft operating systems from competing.

    3. Open-Source Applications Development

    51. Since application developers working under an open-source model are not looking
    to recoup their investment and make a profit by selling copies of their finished products, they are free from the imperative that compels proprietary developers to concentrate their efforts on Windows. In theory, then, open-source developers are at least as likely to develop applications for a non-Microsoft operating system as they are to write Windows-compatible applications. In fact, they may be disposed ideologically to focus their efforts on open-source platforms like Linux. Fortunately for Microsoft, however, there are only so many developers in the world willing to devote their talents to writing, testing, and debugging software pro bono publico. A small corps may be willing to concentrate its efforts on popular applications, such as browsers and office productivity applications, that are of value to most users. It is unlikely, though, that a sufficient number of open-source developers will commit to developing and continually updating
    the large variety of applications that an operating system would need to attract in order to present a significant number of users with a viable alternative to Windows. In practice, then, the open-source model of applications development may increase the base of applications that run on non-Microsoft
    PC operating systems, but it cannot dissolve the barrier that prevents such operating
    systems from challenging Windows.

  • Mirror here [mediaone.net]

    --
  • Also, AT&T went through the same thing, got split into the Baby Bells and individually in their own markets they are still a powerful force. There is even talk about some of them merging back together again.
    "Talk"? An example: There was once Southern Bell, Western Bell and Pacific Bell. Southern Bell and Western Bell merged a while ago, forming Southwestern Bell. Not all that long ago, they acquired Pacific Bell, so all three "Baby Bells" are now part of one larger company.

    (In other words: it's already happened)
  • Re:Stay calm folks. This is Just a Finding Of Fact..

    Agreed. But let's face it: the writing's on the wall. I haven't read the findings myself, but not one reporter (I'm watching CNN) has been able to locate a significant finding that favors Microsoft's position. It's halftime, and the government is up by about ten touchdowns. It's looking very bad for Microsoft.

    --JT
  • If you examine all of the things that Microsoft is able to do with its monopoly, you will notice that none of them really affect free software developers.

    Microsoft is a very effective hierarchy--it is able to wage war against other hierarchies and win. Free software developers are not hierarchies, we are networks of co-operating individuals. We are largely immune to Microsoft's tactics. I will explain this further as I go.

    Microsoft uses its monopoly power in a variety of ways to harm its competitors, and prevent them from bringing interesting new products to the market, or at least prevents them from profiting by doing so.

    First, it uses its large cash base to buy out people who threaten to create important new businesses. Rather than let a small company grow into a big competitor, Microsoft buys the small company. But this tactic fails against free software: You can buy the cow, but the milk is licensed to the public for free for all time.

    Second, it uses its marketing power to force competitors out of business: exclusive license deals which deny competitors access to important distribution channels, and making software available for free to deny competitors access to much needed revenue. But again this doesn't apply to free software developers: The problem is there is nobody to target. The developer of the software doesn't pay for distribution--they stick their code up on some public servers and other people do the work of putting it on a CDROM. You could target one of those distributors, and force them out of business, but someone else would just take over. The problem for Microsoft is that the distribution expense is spread out over a huge network of people, each paying a little bit of the cost. There is really nobody to force into bankrupcy by these tactics--the free software project continues anyway.

    Third, Microsoft uses its huge legal resources and patent claims to harass and sue competitors into submission. Again this doesn't work against free software developers: who do you sue? You could force me to abandon my project, but no doubt tommorow someone else would pick it up. So you sue them, but then they would drop it too, and someone else would pick it up. Free software developers, as networks of co-operating individuals, can just back away whenever someone threatens them. Though some important individuals may leave, the project survives since anyone in the world has the right to pick it up and continue.

    Fourth, Microsoft uses its distributed base of code to create unfair advantages for its products on its own platform. In the past, Microsoft has made use of secret API calls to give Word a speed boost over WordPerfect, and so forth. While this is an effective tactic, it only works against commercial developers. Since a commercial developer relies on revenue from product sales, it is important for them to gain market share on the Win32 architecture--where the money is. Free software developers, however, don't rely on revenue. They just write code, usually because they need it, or someone who did need it paid for the development, or perhaps because they think it would be cool. In any case, free software developers are content to create killer applications for less popular platforms--the lack of revenue doesn't kill their project, as it does with a commercial developer.

    So in all cases we see that the kinds of devious things Microsoft has done with its monopoly are not really effective against free software developers.

    We are networks of co-operating people, not strict hierarchical organizations. Microsoft can attack a hierarchy--break it down, causing it to collapse into bankrupcy and ruin. But as networks of people, we are not such easy targets--the kinds of predatory tactics Microsoft has been using don't work against us.

    So... this is yet another reason why we shouldn't care about this ruling. At best it will prevent Microsoft from doing things that don't hurt US anyway.
  • *** crosses self & intones IANAL

    There's little doubt the findings of fact in this case will influence the parallel case against Microsoft for embrace/pollute of the Java platform. There's been lots of precedent for this kind of cross-pollination between court cases in the last couple of years, in these big high-tech actions. What Jackson has to say about Microsoft's behaviour on the Java front is pretty damning - ok, everybody knew it anyway, but now it's "found as fact":

    Far from being the unintended consequence of an attempt to help Java developers more easily develop high-performing applications, incompatibility was the intended result of Microsoft s efforts.

    Caveat: IANAJZ (I Am Not A Java Zealot). I just think that people should obey the law, even rich people. Looks like we're kinda heading in the right direction at this point... And, so, personally my mind was made up long ago in this matter, it's nice to see the judge agrees :-)

    Rambling. Tired. Satisfied. :-)
  • Now that the court has stated the obvious (that Microsoft is a monopoly and has abused their power and harmed consumers), I'd like to know what everyone thinks comes next.

    OK, I'll bite. Bill Gates still thinks he's invincible and Bill Neukom still thinks he knows how to run the case better than the law firm he hired - and the rest of the corporation is too frightened of these guys to tell them the truth which is: they're both waaaaaaaay out of touch. So I predict that, after the judgement comes down and remedies are agreed upon, this will be pushed through to appeal. Unfortunately for Bill & Bill, this won't go to the Circuit appeal next - where they've already won a couple of verrrrrry favorable rulings - but instead to directly to the supreme court, courtesy of a provision of the the, um, Sherman act I think it is that allows the appeal court to be bypassed in cases where the enforcement of antitrust laws would be better served that way. In other words, to save time.

    This turn of events will suddenly make things seem a whole lot less comfortable in terms of time frame for Bill & Bill, and the two of them would do well to reflect on the possible bad effects of negative shareholder sentiment should they come to be seen as having steered the corporation off the edge of a figurative legal cliff.

    It could be that the "microsoft shareholder suit" turns out to be the finest spectator sport of the new millenium.
  • Pearl Harbor Day, 1995 -- Shortly after the successful launch of Windows 95, Microsoft announced that it was going to integrate Internet Explorer directly into the Windows operating systems.

    At the time I worked at a heavily pro-MS shop (all NT even back in that day), and my co-workers and I were pretty stunned and confused by the announcment.

    First of all, IE was unusable at that point, and it was hard to imagine that it ever could becoming a good product. (I was wrong there, I admit.)

    Second, the immediate reaction was - "Who would want a web browers as a file shell/UI front end? It's slow, hogs memory, and crashes all the time." Well true to form, Microsoft took the fairly well done COM/Explorer Windows shell and turned it into something that was slow, hogs memory, and crashes all the time.

    For fucking up the most basic interface a users has to deal with alone they should be sentenced to purgatory. Anyway hearing a non-technical federal judge issue the following words is like music to these ears:

    ... at the cost of increased confusion, degraded system performance, and restricted memory ...

    ... Microsoft created confusion and frustration for consumers, and increased technical support costs for business customers ...

    ... with a PC system that ran slower and provided less available memory than if the newest version of Windows came without browsing software.

    ... pay a substantial price (in the forms of downloading, installation, confusion, degraded system performance, and diminished memory capacity) ...


    Amen!
    --
  • There are alot of interested people downloading acrobat and wordperfect documents right now...

    BTW - I just got another FTI (Freedom to innovated) FUDletter - seems they are speechless.
    (kinda like the mailing I got when the GK vs world chess match was found to be vote stuffing.)

    *** Drinks are on me! ***
  • has always tried to be a monopoly. "One World, one web, one program"; if that doesn't raise someone's eyebrows I have no idea what will. Microsoft scares me in many ways, I may not have nightmares of waves of Winborg drones chasing me (all the time) but the thought of what M$ represents frightens me at times. Microsoft used to be a software company way back in the day, now Bill G. has his willy in more places than Bill C. does. At some point in time Microsoft became a media communication company where software was just one of its many divisions. Cable companies, news networks, telephony technologies, satillite internet, set-top internet, ad nauseum. That list could go on for a very long time, it is a list of the proverbial cookie jars M$ hs a hand stuck in. It also seems strange to me they all ways of distributing information to people. Shucks Bill it sorta sounds like you want to have your little logo in the corner of everyone's screens. The monopoly on the desktop is just the tip of what seems to be a quickly growing iceberg.
    I've read a slew of different comments so far, some people defend Microsoft, some people are dancing in the streets because of this case. I'm concerned this is case is important but its scope is a little bit too narrow to keep this kind of thing from happening. Microsoft has a vertical monopoly on many portions of the software market and a nearly complete horizontal monopoly on the OS market.
    A horizontal monopoly is where a single company owns a vast majority of resources (like if say one company owned all the oil production in the world, all businesses that rely on petroleum would be at the veritable mercy of this company) that everyone in that market needs. Software developers are dependent on the OS to run their software, when Win 95/98 comes pre-loaded on almost every home system sold in America and around the world software developers accept it as the de facto "standard" and are forced to write software on it or not write software at all (Intel has a similar monopoly but thats an entirely different story). Go down to Best Buy and look for a Linux software section, it doesn't exist, you can find a few distros but that's it. Commercial development companies don't usually write programs for Linux because the cost/return ratio has been extremely small in the past.
    Microsoft's vertical monopoly comes in the form of their software packages and API platforms. Since they have the OS which is on the bottom rung of the ladder they have ALL of the ins and outs of their system and can release their home brew programming suites that are built around the knowlege of their OS. After programming suites come software packages. Through the years M$ has bought up scores of ideas and technologies that they either hadn't the talent to create or just lacked the initiative. These technologies are released in the form of applications and software suites. Office 97 is a perfect example of this, dozens of purchased technologies all incorporated into the programs along with greater streamlining because the suite programmers have more intimate knowlege of the OS than third party developers do. After these suites come communication packages, in the form of Microsoft Networking (SMB, NetBIOS, NetBEUI, Microsoft DLC, ect.) which come packaged as "features" of the OS. On the other side of these protocols are Windows based servers that have all the same advantages as the clients because everything can be integrated at the OS core level rather than third party add-ons and plug-ins.
    I would describe Microsoft's economic standpoint as an L-monopoly, they have a strong vertical monopoly and a strong horizontal monopoly. The reason I say this case is too narrow is that the case merely serves to separate the horzontal from the vertical without really breaking up either one. If Microsoft was split up into an OS company and an application company, Visual C++ amd Visual Basic would still exist and be the programming suite of choice for many developers. Office would still exist with it's special API calls that make it faster in just the right ways to keep third party suites from being too impressive. More than just cutting off one of the Hydra's heads this still does nothing for the huge portion of communication media that M$ is buying/partnering with. Disney and AOL are also working on building giant megacorp communication blocs. A redefinition of what a monopoly is and what a trust is would be a more effective way to solve these potentially disterous problems, using Microsoft as an example. If Microsoft is broken up but is allowed to continue (with everyone else) to turn inself into a giant media mogul then no one will be safe.
    "You can have your car in your favourite colour as long as your favourite colour is black." --Henery Ford
    As a sidenote to my tediously long rant, some of you may have heard of an operating system called Unix. Some crazy fellas at AT&T's Bell labs invented this way back in the 1970's but the US government reminded AT&T that it was a telecommunications company, not a computer company. When AT&T wasn't allowed to commercially distribute this Unix thing it was given away to colleges around the country. See any inverse correlations here?
  • by Graymalkin (13732) on Friday November 05, 1999 @11:18PM (#1558810)
    What payroll are you on dude? If there was EVER an example of a monopoly it's Microsoft. It's a known fact that any OEM that uses x86 processors is leveraged by M$ to use Windows or else. M$ gives major discounts on Windows 98 for OEMs unless they decide to offer alternative OSes on their prebuilt systems as the primary OS. While Compaq and IBM can toy with Linux all they want, there are hundreds of small companies that can't just absorb the undiscounted price on Windows if they want to offer Linux, Be, ad infinitum as the primary OS. That 80$ can make a big difference in the quality of the system offered. Not only does M$ leverage OEMs to use their product but they also transfer the responsibilities of tech support to the OEMs, which means the companies now need to add in the cost of a 24x7 tech support to their overhead.
    You are an idiot to even claim that use of Microsoft products is voluntary. If I were to buy a pre-built computer from any company and ask for a refund on Win 98 because I installed Linux on the system without ever booting into Windows I would probably never get it. This is because Windows is considered by the OEM as a component of the computer like a modem or video card would be considered. If Windows weren't mandatory on a vast majority of systems it would be seen as an option rather than an integral component.
    Besides a lack of options on whether the OS should be installed on a system there is a very good display of M$'s tactics as a vertical monopoly. Sometime around 1987 Microsoft and Intel defined a network scheme called Sever Message Block (SMB) which M$ bundled with every version of Windows. Microsoft decided instead of TCP/IP or IPX they would make their trusty SMB protocol the standard for their networks. This is fun when you have an all Windows network environment but is ugly when you have several different OSes on a network. Without Andrew Tridgell and Samba most Linux/FreeBSD users would be left behind in Windows dominated networks, even Solaris 7 comes packaged with Samba. This neat little networking scheme was a nice little tool to convince IT managers to just go 100% Microsoft in offices since SMB was well integrated into Windows already.
    The "moral right of man" to go after a "free" economy is a misnomer. Since Bill Gates and his megacorporation own a huge vertical monopoly in the computer market that prevents anyone else with a good idea, love of computers, and start-up capital to experience what you think of as a free economy. The business practices M$ has inspired are leading our current economic boom to a steep crash. In the effort to compete with M$ companies now have to market, program, FUD, leverage, and play exactly like M$. You're Joe Computeruser and for years you've been using a great program that helps you create megawidgets in the widget division in your company. The maker of the program decides in the next version they will add a ton of new features but change their EULA to say only so many megawidgets can be created in a month unless you get the professional version of MegaWidget Creator. You need to create at least 20 megawidgets a month but if you upgrade to the standard edition of MegaWidget Creator you can only create 10 per month, professional costs almost a thousand dollars more. Poor megawidget creator dude, he sounds like he's in a similar situation to people who used Windows NT 3.5 and wanted to upgrade to NT 4. Microsoft uses it's muscle power to produce NT Workstation with a limited number of TCP/IP socket connections while NT Server has an unlimited number. Workstation runs about 350$ IIRC, Server costs about 1800 for 10 users. But that doesn't mean much to someone on M$'s payroll, you're getting part of that wasted 1800$.
  • The judge isn't what's important -- a new administration could tell the DoJ to quit pursuing the case or to reach a settlement that doesn't hurt Microsoft, because if Microsoft continues to appeal the judge's ultimate verdict, this case won't be done before 2001 when a new administration takes office.

    Also, Hemos was wrong about this case being more likely to be settled now. The DoJ will be emboldened by Jackson's finding to make any settlement very favorable to the DoJ, so that it's more likely that Microsoft won't agree to their terms, deciding to take their chances with the appeals process, where they have a very good chance of prevailing.

    Cheers,
    ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

  • Guys, stop talking about laptops. They are really the tip of the iceberg here and they have nothing to do with this trial. Have you actually bothered reading the Findings of Fact? It's a big document but worth reading.

    This document is not an anti-MS rant. It's a detailed documentation of what Microsoft did to kill Netscape and Sun. They didn't spare any money doing it and they certainly played dirty. But don't take my word for it. Go and read the whole document yourself.

  • .we'll get the chance to vote this administration out of federal office next year.

    Well, gee, except you can't vote a federal judge out of office. They're appointed for life.

    Oh, and Regan appointed Judge Jackson to the bench.

    -jon

  • Break MS into companies that sell: (examples are not all-inclusive):
    - Consumer OS products (DOS, Win 9x, IE)
    - Server OS products (NT, IIS, SMS
    - Consumer apps (Encarta, Works, games)
    - Business apps (Office)
    - App development tools (VB, VC++, VJ++)

    Require MS to do all the following before releasing ANY new product:
    - Create an IE-free version of Windows 9x and offer all currently-licensed users of Win 9x a NO-COST (not even shipping or handling charges) upgrade to this software.
    - Publish all APIs. Require six months advance notice of changes to the API.
    - Make Windows source code available to all who request it. I don't mean "freeing" Windows, or making it open source. I just want to be sure that MS can't fudge the info they release on APIs. Also, it'd be kind of fun to recompile the kernel on the fly and see what happens. :)
    - Make all information related each MS software product freely available to registered users of that product. (No more charging for TechNet or MSDN.)
    - Renegotiate all current agreements with OEMs to preload MS software.

    And while they're at it, the following would be nice:
    - Require that MS support its own software - no more forcing this support on OEMs and outsourcers.
    - Make paranoid security settings the default, out-of-box behavior for all MS products.
    - Charge Bill Gates with perjury. Charge Microsoft with perjury.
  • I'll bet that you and the govt are working out of different dictionaries. The meaning of the word "monopoly" (at least in my mind) means total control over an industry - in this case, the operating system industry. However, in legal circles (as in every field of endeavour, from mathematics to science to economics), words often take on precise, technical definitions which do not always coincide with their "popular" definitions. I believe that this is the case of "monopoly." I once read (ie, IANAL) that a company is legally considered to have a monopoly if they can raise the price of their product without substantially altering the demand for it. By this definition, MS DEFINITELY has a monopoly.
  • I found this right after my previous post; it's the paragraph where Judge J says MS has a monopoly; it appears to support what I thought

    33. Microsoft enjoys so much power in the market for Intel-compatible PC operating systems that if it wished to exercise this power solely in terms of price, it could charge a price for Windows substantially above that which could be charged in a competitive market. Moreover, it could do so for a significant period of time without losing an unacceptable amount of business to competitors. In other words, Microsoft enjoys monopoly power in the relevant market.
    (emphasis added)
  • Note the Judge only said Microsoft has a monopoly in the Intel-compatible operating system space.

    That's a pretty big space. Big enough for a monopoly. If I may borrow somebody else's analogy, that's like saying Major League Baseball only has a monopoly in the baseball-compatible sports space. There are other sports available - therefore MLB doesn't have a monopoly? I don't think so.

    Since it's been clear from the beginning that he's out to get Microsoft, this is hardly surprising.

    It has not been clear from the beginning that the judge has been out to get Microsoft. If he had been, this finding of fact would not have been so long in coming.

  • The one thing that bothers me though, is that free entreprise and Capitalism are supposed to be a system where anybody can make as much money as they want, if their product is superior.

    This suit is not about Microsoft making too much money, or having a monopoly per se. There is no legal restriction on either in the US.

    This suit is about Microsoft leveraging its monopoly and money to restrain competition in other areas, in other words to prevent better products from reaching the market. This has been, for good reason, illegal in the US for the last 100 years. It's a policy founded by Teddy Roosevelt when JP Morgan had built a banking, oil and steel monopoly that was so large and powerful that it threatened to supplant the very government. During TR's term in office JP Morgan actually invited TR to discuss how his cartel and the government should share the control of the country. TR fortunately would have none of it, and led a long and bloody fight to protect the free market system from cartels.

    Testimony from people like Steve Jobs and Avie Tenavian stating that Microsoft asked Apple to cease developement of Quicktime for Windows on the threat of delaying development of Office for the Mac has nothing to do with Microsoft having a better product, and everything to do with Microsoft using their market position to in fact keep competing and often better products off the market. Who here on /. can forget the Halloween memos? Was there anything in those memos about competing by offering a better product? Not hardly. Microsoft already lost suit regarding their efforts to embrace and extend Java (where was their better product here?). Today another judge ruled against moves for summary judgement in the Caldera DR-DOS case as well. Was Microsoft competing with DR-DOS by offering a better product? Or were they using their monopoly position to force DR DOS out of the market? I think the facts are obvious.

    People who are familiar with the Microsoft's rleationship with other technology companies realize that Microsoft has systematically and repeatedly used it's monopoly position in the market to force their customers into all sorts of extremely detrimental business dealings that would have never occurred without a monopoly.

    Personally I am greatly in favor of this. I think that Microsoft's position is detrimental to the consumer by keeping innovation out of the market, by promulgating of Microsoft specific standards that choke off open standards and by keeping prices way too high.

    I am sure Microsoft is going to fight this tooth and nail - and they should, because it is the way our legal system works best. But in the long run there will be restraints on the way Microsoft manages their monopoly power, regardless of the legal outcome. And those restraints -either government mandated or self-imposed are going to encourage investors to fund a myriad of new ventures, some of which will blossom out of where Microsoft formerly cast its long shadow.

    And that will be to the benefit of all of us.

  • "It is unlikely, though, that a sufficient number of open-source developers will commit to developing and continually updating the large variety of applications that an operating system would need to attract in order to present a significant number of users with a viable alternative to Windows."

    It seems to me that the utter lack of Open Source business applications makes this fact self-evident.
  • I don't know the details of what you are talking about, but if it is like the ATM stuff I see elsewhere, it seems to me that there is price fixing going on. However I think that long term ATMs will get straightened out.

    I know the credit unions are trying to do something about it, and eventually I think that Internet Banks will work out a solution. A number of Internet Banks already offer rebates for ATM fees up to a certain number of uses per month.

  • Let's face it: MS does not have and never had a monopoly on operating systems. The very idea of such a monopoly is ridiculous. They don't have a monopoly on operating systems for Intel computers. They don't even have a monopoly on Windows binary-compatible operating systems (OS/2 ran old windows stuff just fine, and with OS/2-win32 (Odin) has been running win32 stuff usably for a while; never mind WINE).

    What they have is just a very popular OS. An unstable, fragmented, crappy OS that has risen to popularity at least in part due to aggressive bundling strategies, but still merely very successfully sold.

    I hate MS as much as anyone. I think they use unfair business practices that hurt the consumer and the industry. But there is no monopoly.

    You have to ask yourself, do you really want a justice system that is willing to ignore the truth to get the results it wants? Is it okay as long as it's to destroy someone you hate?
  • Windows leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to Linux.

    It's funny because it's true! *rotflmao*

  • Section III, Paragraph 33.: 'In other words, Microsoft enjoys monopoly power in the relevant market.'


    p.121: 'Just a few days later, Microsoft began
    to retaliate in earnest against the IBM PC Company.'


    p.241: 'In sum, Microsoft successfully secured for Internet Explorer --
    and foreclosed to Navigator -- one of the two distribution channels
    that leads most efficiently to the usage of browsing software.'


    p.412: 'Most harmful of all is the message that Microsoft's actions have
    conveyed to every enterprise with the potential to innovate in the
    computer industry.'


    Thomas Penfield Jackson signature

    Hats off Judge Jackson, this ruling shows an unprecedentedly deep and analytic understanding of the inner workings of the high-tech world. A must read for everyone!

  • Which is correct. The ruling first separates desktop computers (referred to as PCs), and servers. Linux is clearly a 90% server system, despite its recent gains it still holds less than 1% of the desktop market. Since the judge has to issue _facts_, not guesses, Linux in this context is indeed a 'fringe OS'. It's not a fringe server OS at all, but that is not in the same market. (US antitrust law is a strange beast)
  • by victim (30647) on Friday November 05, 1999 @02:02PM (#1558889)
    I note that you can get the findings in HTML, PDF, and WordPerfect 6 formats. Some popular format seems to be missing, now what could that be...
  • ..

    "Liar, liar. Pants on fire."

    Freedom to innovate, my ass. I can't stop smiling. Now let's see how well the courts take it. I know one place you'll see it immediately...Wall Street. From all those "M$ accounting faux paus" comments I gleaned that each point of M$ stock is ~$6,000,000,000. Watch it drop 20 points...

    (I'm watching CNBC, and they're just now reading it. I think /. will have the best commentary on this around, so try to keep the biases as home.)

    JudgeJ also mentioned that M$ made it a "jolting" experience to change browsers, a very big deal to him.

    Should be fun to watch, just try not to panic, it's the downfall of the sentient, M$ was down 1-3/4 when I started writing this post, it's down 3-1/6 now. That's in after hours trading. Now they have a guy from caldera talking about Linux, so I'll post this.

    I'm partying about this tonite, be safe.

    (First "real" Post?)

  • by Wah (30840)
    II. THE RELEVANT MARKET

    18. Currently there are no products, nor are there likely to be any in the near future, that a significant percentage of consumers world-wide could substitute for Intel-compatible PC operating systems without incurring substantial costs.


    Maybe we should lay low for a while....

  • ..hard at work protecting stock options.

    Specifically, it has increased the likelihood that a browser crash will cause the entire system to crash and made it easier for malicious viruses that penetrate the system via Internet Explorer to infect non-browsing parts of the system."

    this is dead-on. outlook express, melissa, ie5 holes, etc..

    Way to stop innovation Judge Jacko.

    sorry but that's what JudgeJ said about your boss.

    (check this guys user info for a laugh)

  • 18. Currently there are no products, nor are there likely to be any in the near future, that a significant percentage of consumers world-wide could substitute for Intel-compatible PC operating systems without incurring substantial costs.

    and

    19. Consumers could not turn from Intel-compatible PC operating systems to Intel- compatible server operating systems without incurring substantial costs, since the latter type of system is sold at a significantly higher price than the former. A consumer intent on acquiring a server operating system would also have to buy a computer of substantially greater power and price than an Intel-compatible PC, because server operating systems generally cannot function properly on PC hardware.

    hmmmm. I guess my media-gx150 web server [wahcentral.net] doesn't exist.

    Linux makes these two "findings of fact" incorrect. How bad would it be if Linux helped overturn a ruling?

  • that is the part that struck me. If 3 years is the "near future" than this statement is wrong. What's the legal definition of "near future"? Does it move at the speed of e-business!!?!?!*chuckle*

  • ...when the Federal Government interferes with private enterprise. Down with big brother government! Support free enterprise!


    Yes, the government should not interfere with the workings of the market.

    Like when they made the Louisiana Purchase.

    Or when they offered huge land deals to spur the development of the railroads.

    Or funded the development of the stored program electronic computer.

    Or bankrolled the creation of the Internet.

    Government isn't needed for these things because capital is always willing to sacrifice near term gain on the chance that that sacrifice will enhance the welfare of the people ten from now or even longer.


  • It depends on what market you are talking about.

    NT doesn't have anything like a monopoly in the server and very high end workstation market. They are trying to use their desktop dominance as a beachhead from which to extend their power into the server market. They've done so successfully in the workgroup level arena, but have been stymied by the fact they don't have a very good product for enterprise level work. Likewise their dominance in the workgroup level market is seriously threatened by free OSs.

    However, economically, they clearly have a lock on the desktop. I'd like to develop my software for Linux, but reality says that I can't make a living selling desktop clients on Linux yet (although I will probably migrate the back end to Postgres in the near future), because every place I go in the business world has Windows 95/98.

    I think that MS is losing a critical battle today, though. Mindshare.

    Two years ago, if you talked to some straight laced corporate MIS type, he would not consider anything but Microsoft except for certain large server applications where he _might_ consider Unix. He probably also had a legacy Novell network but was expecting MS to steamroller Novell any day. The basic feeling was that it was only a matter of time before MS owned everything. People would tell me that Novell was faster and easier to manage, but they wanted to get off before MS crushed Novell.

    A year ago, MS lost critical mindshare to Linux in the small server arena. Free software solves many licensing and management headaches. The MIS types weren't going to Linux in droves, but they were aware of Linux and how its licensing solved many problems they had. They weren't prepared to go with Linux because of training costs, but it did destroy the idea that MS would crush all in the server world. This also benefits Novell, because MS looks a lot less invincible.

    Today, when I talk to the MIS types, there is a growing awareness that Linux could perform a lot of missions. People aren't embracing it yet because of training costs, but it has credibility. There's a feeling that while it is not there yet, it will evolve as a serious alternative to MS products which will benefit even people who standardize on MS products because of competition.
  • Actually I think that the general public will not care as much.

    Being a monoploy is not "evil" or "wrong" in it self.

    Note that he did not merely find that Microsoft was a monopoly, but that Microsoft is a monopoly that is using it's monopoly power to harm competition. That's significantly worse than just being a monopoly.

  • The judge restricted the area that Microsoft was to be judged as a monopoly to "Intel Desktop Boxes".

    Mac OS doesn't run on Intel.

    Linux is mostly run on servers (according to Judge J)

    So, according to what he was judging, he was correct.

  • Given how little the government and legal system seem to understand information technology (e.g. export restrictions on encryption, patents on algorithms, etc.), I am quite worried that if anything is done to MS at all, that it will be counterproductive to everyone.

    Read the finding of facts, it appears that Judge J is actually supprisingly clueful as far as O/S tech goes. He manages to correctly discribe three or four things that I would have expected him to screw up.

  • 18. Currently there are no products, nor are there likely to be any in the near future, that a significant percentage of consumers world-wide could substitute for Intel-compatible PC operating systems without incurring substantial costs.

    This is correct... Linux *is* an Intel-compatible PC operating system.

    What this is saying is that there is no new catigory of software that's going to pop up some time soon that will replace Operating Systems.

  • Some posters seem to assume, as if it were some kind of law of nature, that anything the government does is inherently incompetent and unethical; and that whatever happens in the market is by definition exactly what's best for everyone. So they infer from this that the DOJ, the judge and the legislatures that wrote the anti-trust laws are just wrong, wrong, wrong, no matter what they've done or how they've done it; and that any remedy they seek againt Microsoft, whatever it may be, will be a certain and automatic disaster.

    But that's just as ideological and extreme as the assumption that the government is always right and big business is always bad. To be sure, government has blundered in astonishing ways many times, and markets do indeed tend to serve consumers very efficiently. But nothing in this universe, except perhaps the deity, is perfect, and so neither are markets. And especially in a democracy, a government is obliged to do what's best for its citizens, and undoubtedly most people working in government take that obligation very seriously. At least some of them are likely to be good at it, too.

    This is a time when the government has done exactly what is must do to serve the interests of its citizens. The anti-trust laws are there to address one of the flaws in that imperfect thing called the market -- namely that monopolies can arise, who can stifle the competition that is exactly what ought to make markets so beneficial to everyone. Microsoft could hardly have been a more brazen violator of those laws. If they were never prosecuted, then we might just as well have taken the Sherman act off the books and given Bill Gates a cabinet seat as Secretary of Software. If anything, the government's error lied in waiting so long to bring the suit -- they should have done it ten years ago.

    The DoJ, in particular the Anti-Trust Division and especially Joel Klein and David Boies, deserve great praise for what they've accomplished. If they can end the fear and intimidation created by Microsoft, they may have helped bring along a huge boom in competition in the software industry. (People keep saying it's booming already. Which is true, but I think you ain't seen nothin' yet.) Let's leave the ideological prejudices behind and give credit whare it's due.
  • So now can we sue the United States for having a monopoly on world politics, international affairs, and the world's economy? I bet we could make a sustantial case...
  • Life is sweet out here on the fringes - the trees are green, the birds are singing, crime is low, beer is cheaper... breathe it in, boys, breathe it in.
  • Its good news, but in the end probably not more important than the 'sealed envelope' and the 'DNA experts' in the O.J. trial.

    Say M$ does lose, anyone want to suggest what should be done to them? I'm pushing for a break up, different companies for different products. M$ can keep Windowsx/IIS, but IE and Office go somewhere else. As the problem is their ability to push their products with OS marketshare muscle.

  • Actually, they aren't; and, it looks like that most of the AC posts are actually inane folks with nothing to do except post F*P* drivel. I'm tempted to threshold to 1, or argue that ACs should only be able to post with certain restrictions (perhaps no top-level posts, and no AC response to an AC post...).

    There's the obligatory disclosure that I've worked for MSFT, as an intern, a bit more than a year ago. I also happen to use both Linux and Windows, for different purposes.

    It's a tad disturbing, actually, in that Judge Jackson appears to think little of the free software development model. Reading his findings, one might think that nobody would ever write Emacs, or gcc, or Linux.

    A loosely-knit community *can* produce operating systems and, to a degree, applications, if profit is not a requirement. Development cost appears to be an important issue in the findings; what this fails to take into account is that unpaid developers who donate their time need not be as constrained in this regard as a corporation bound by responsibility to shareholders, and whose employees have this development as their primary vocation rather than a hobby. Given that certain major corporations such as Dell and Intel have apparently embraced Linux as an operating system worth an investment in resources, it is hard to argue that this can reasonably be ignored. That boxed editions appear on store shelves, along with entertainment software for the same operating system -- arguably among the most desktop-oriented application sectors possible -- suggests that it is not a completely unviable option. I've seen Linux distributions appear in the Top Ten lists at Chumbo, as well; and one can buy computers with Linux pre-installed. The existence of WordPerfect, StarOffice and ApplixWare for Linux is also quite suggestive, as these all compete directly with Microsoft Office.

    True. It is unlikely to conquer the desktop anytime soon, and Windows is largely entrenched in that market. To say that there are no significant competitors, however, seems a tad disingenuous; major companies are not known for frittering away capital without at least a perception of possible profit.
  • "Free" for Linux does not mean free as in beer; it means free as in source-code availability and associated rights.

    Or, perhaps, you'd like to persuade RHAT and Applix that you deserve free copies of their software, with free installation support, manuals and media? They're both commercial entities, *selling* Linux and applications for it, respectively.

    Sheesh.
  • It *might* help, because it might now be in the MS Office group's interest to port to other operating systems; and it's in the OS group's interests to open up APIs and facilitate development of software -- and not just MS Office.

    An agreement to prevent collusion (such as fair licensing terms that are consistent with those presented third parties), complete with stiff penalties that adjust for inflation... might do the trick if Jackson's inclined to divide the company, and if Justice defeats MSFT appeals.
  • Microsoft have been stepping up their political contributions to both parties over the past few years. Any judgement against Microsoft will result in them lobbying Congress to nullify the courts decision "in the interests of the American People". A quick glance at the history books shows that AT&T managed very successfully to have several of the more painful decisions overturned in much the same way.

    It looks like things will go against Microsoft, but nobody is so sure that Congress will have the guts to go through with any serious enough measures to open up the markets. Remember, you're dealing with a company that is an accomplished wielder of FUD... it's been doing it from DR-DOS through to Linux (though thankfully with little success in the latter case). They're more than capable of FUD'ing an economy without a full-strength Microsoft to Congress.

    In fact, given the speeches I've heard in recent weeks from Republicans (during the debate on giving tax breaks to developing countries exporting their goods) about how America "isn't really in that strong a position globally" and suchlike it seems quite likely MS could get most of the nastier looking teeth extracted between and any actual consequences.
    NP

  • Linux absolutely is a fringe operating system.

    I don't know anybody who has every bought a system that had Linux pre-installed on it, and I know some pretty hardcore Linux fans.

    If it ever becomes totally mainstream, there'll probably be a whole lot of "hardcore" Linux users that will jump ship to *BSD or Plan9, or something less mainstream.
  • This is not intended to be flamebait. I am the last person to make a stand for MS and i strongly believe, as most in the know would agree, that MS is guilty of the majority of the antitrust findings that came out today (if not all), and is about time for someone with some power so step up and sort of end the Big Brother (1984?) policy that MS has employed through the years-- but what about the effect this might have on the other realms that software and technology have a hue effect on near the turn of the century, specically the economy? Is anyone else out there worried that this might spark a dramatic turn around to the rise of tech. stocks ? Will it scare off consumers who really dont know what it is CNN is telling them? I know I am far from being an expert on Stock Trading (pretty far from that really), but as of 4:25pm (based on CNN), their stock had already come down 3 points, and where will it go next week? How about the rest of the market? I, and certainly no one else here in America, would like to see our boom come to an end, even at the cost of ending MS's stronghold on the desktop world... is this a valid worry?
  • I hope the case is settled. I don't think it's to anyone's benefit to slap Microsoft down hard. I do think that it would be good as part of a settlement to have their practices continually reviewed for the next 5-10 years.

    The existence of the MS monopoly has encouraged a lot of good things to happen lately. Sun with Java, IBM with their eBusiness initiatives, Oracle and Linux have risen to the challenge. Of course, who knows how these companies and technologies would have fared in an environment where MS didn't have to be concerned with their business practices?

    The increased scrutiny that MS is getting seems to be encouraging even more good things. MS seems committed to doing a lot of their future work using XML, which would be good. It's a good thing when anyone commits to an open standard. I'm satisfied that if MS implements a lot of technology based in XML, that others will be able to easily develop compatible products. XML file formats for Office documents would be a boon to those who wish to import and interoperate, for example. An object protocol based on XML (such as SOAP) would allow competitors to interoperate well.

    I'm fairly comfortable with the marketplace today. I think you can, now, compete with MS broadly without too much fear of reprisal. As I said, I do feel that MS needs close scrutiny.

    What makes this all so difficult is that Microsoft signed a consent decree having to do with bundling and OEM contracts back in 1995 and then proceeded to continue with business as usual. The law, and respect for the law, are incredibly important and no company should be allowed to continue to ignore their responsibilities without consequence.

    I agree with Scott McNealy, no breakup of MS is necessary. I think the ideas that Sun is publishing here [sun.com] are good.

    Of course, if MS gets a slap on the wrist (again) and they just continue with their unfair practices, then it's time they get serious consequences. I guess I'm surprised a little that the Judge didn't hold the MS lawyers in contempt for the rigged video demonstration. If MS ignored court orders in the future, there could and perhaps should be criminal penalties to MS executives.

    I have reason to believe that MS "gets it" now. MS is making conciliatory sounding statements that would lead you to believe that they are ready for a settlement. Ballmer castigated his people in highly publicized meetings earlier this year for becoming out of touch and not focused on value. We'll have to see if there are real changes in MS corporate behavior now. They need to focus on value and away from how to leverage their money and power into even greater market dominance.

  • for the Spin Doctor attorneys at M$... perhaps they would benefit from a giftwrapped case of Penguin Mints, compliments of /.?
  • by scumdamn (82357) on Friday November 05, 1999 @02:01PM (#1559100)
    Is it just me or did the world just gain color? I feel like dancing around singing "Ding Dong the witch is dead!" This means good things for Caldera and any company that's suing Microsoft. They just have to say "Judge Jackson says Microsoft is a monopoly" rather than trying to prove it. MS is and will always be considered a monopoly. At least until they've gained considerable market share.
  • by Jack William Bell (84469) on Friday November 05, 1999 @02:10PM (#1559104) Homepage Journal

    IBM was found to be a monopoly that acted in illegal restraint of trade back in the 1970's. Fifteen years of appeals later they got it thrown out of court...

    Don't expect anything right away from this. Other than the stock tanking that is :-)

    But one important point: While IBM was fighting the Justice Dept. they took their eye off the ball for just a little bit. It wouldn't be important, except that little bit was more than long enough for Microsoft to pull a fast one and end up owning the PC OS market. What happened before can happen again.

    My take? Don't count on the slow, grinding wheel of the courts to achieve any particular end. Look for an opportunity and do it yourself!

    Jack

  • After the Findings of fact were released on Friday, the world seems a little brighter, the truth has a chance, and Computer Science has a new outlook.

    This preliminary Finding Of Fact is an interesting devolopment, and has micros~1 crying in it's beer. [netscape.net]I, for one, am happy to see Bill gates and micros~1 be exposed for what they trully are. Sneeky, snivling, childish thieves.

    Acording to many analysts [netscape.com]the DOJ has MS cornered and will push on with the case. While IANAL, I blieve that this case (including apeals) will drag on for years and will keep MSs' hands tied behind there back. They will be forced to sit back and watch as other companies move in on the desktop space. Look for OEMs to start customizing desktops. Look for venture capitol to consider companies "going for the desktop".

    My hope is that the DOJ makes this a very very long and painfull process for micros~1. I hope they don't settle for a consent decree that will only end up (when MS violates that agreement) with everybody back in this same place 2 years from now.

  • It'll be interesting to see how many lawsuits are filed now. I bet Caldera's DR DOS is only the tip of the iceberg. Remember "It (DOS 3.3) ain't done 'til Lotus won't run!" I'm sure MS has stepped on a few companies who will now try to make a case for MS's actions being illegal because they were a Monopoly at the time.

    Cool.

    I wonder if a class action suit demanding redress for the damages done to the computer industry would be in order. I bet we'd all be on 64 or 128 bit machines right now if we hadn't been dragged down by Wintel's need to stay backward compatable.

  • ... and given no meaningful respect. I guess that shows how out of touch the judge was and how potentially harmful his ruling is.

    It has now been ruled by a federal judge that LINUX IS A FRINGE OPERATING SYSTEM.

  • Given how little the government and legal system seem to understand information technology (e.g. export restrictions on encryption, patents on algorithms, etc.), I am quite worried that if anything is done to MS at all, that it will be counterproductive to everyone.

    For instance, the giant Ma Bell was broken up into a bunch of Baby Bells, each of which was a monopoly and still is. That really helps me a lot as a consumer. (Note: long distance prices are now determined by how much the local companies charge long distance carriers per minute to complete the connection.)

    Suppose MS is broken up into OS, Office, and "other" components and is forced to port software to other OSes. This means that there will be really, really lousy versions of Word97 for Linux and BeOS. Is this a good thing for quality operating systems? I don't really think so. It is nice to have MS Office available for the Mac, until you realize that it isn't really quite PC compatible, is horribly slow, and has a couple of irritating bugs that don't exist in the Windows version. If Office is your main software of use, it's enough to make you dump the Mac for a PC. (I know of two people who have.)

    So, forced ports aren't a good idea. How about just a breakup? Then the question is, why would MS/OfficeWare do anything but write software the way it is doing it now? Well, maybe it wouldn't. What would happen if a competitor to Office came along? MS/OfficeWare alone would have plenty of financial power to play all the current M$ tricks.

    So maybe a breakup isn't a good idea. How about stern warnings telling M$ that it has to be "good". What is good? There are a few anticompetitive practices that are fairly obvious targets (such as volume discounts in exchange for an exclusive relationship). But even with those injunctions, M$ still has plenty of advantages. And even without those, vendors will jump ship if M$ prices their product too outrageously. (Especially since there are free alternatives now.)

    About the only real change I can see happening is the DOJ telling M$ to do something, M$ losing a lot of money, and the situation proceeding as it would have before. Since Bill Gates claims to be intending to give most of his wealth to charity, that sounds like a net negative to me. (The lost money will go to lawyers and evaporate in reshufflings.)

  • Let's face it folk - for average Joe user, the Judge is right. Linux is not serious competition. Like my mom is going to start compiling programs because the binaries aren't available on glibc2_0. About the general attitude I see - the government is wrong to interfere in these matters, etc... c'mon folks - capatalism is not perfect. If Microsoft is flexing their muscle to block out all competitors - their success has more to do with the fact that they are a powerful company, and less with the fact that they are so great at producing software. There's reasons why certain business practices are illegal, and Microsoft certainly seems to have done some illegal things, and it's time they paid for it. They are not above the law.
  • Amidst the jubilation of the Microsoft haters, there lies an ugly truth... Today was a defeat for liberty and Capitalism in America: the very things that make this country great. Today, the court announced its intention to punish the most successful and influential software company of our time precisely because it is capable, competitive, and successful. Today, those who love liberty should weep.

    Before you send me ten thousand fiery hate letters, let me explain my position:
    I don't like windows.... I think IE, Word, and Excel are good products, but the OS itself is quite flawed. Its constant stream of inexplicable errors and crashes is almost more than I can bear. And it's true that Microsoft has used strong-arm tactics in business. It has demanded that computer manufacturers bundle software or risk losing licenses. It has secretly attempted to divide the browser. It has purposely shipped bug-ridden, mediocre products to consumers. These things I don't deny.

    Yet, all of this lies within the moral right of a man to compete freely in a free economy. You see, Bill Gates was once a guy like you and I. He was a young college student with few assets besides his intelligence and his love for computers. He saw an opportunity to market technology, and he seized it. Many others could have done the same, but did not. In the ensuing years, Gates changed the face of the computing industry. Though his company did not originally produce most of the innovations in computing, he successfully marketed many of them. He created a software platform that, despite its many flaws, made computing technology easy enough and powerful enough for the masses to use. The "robber baron" charged high prices for his software and made exorbitant profits. But in doing so, he also created a massive amount of wealth for his stockholders, his employees, the computer industry, and the nation as a whole.

    Many at Slashdot and elsewhere have decried Microsoft as a "destructive monopoly" and blamed it for any number of problems within the computer industry. Yet Microsoft has never used actual force to sustain its market power. The decisions of the computer manufactures to bundle its products, and of the end-users to buy them were voluntary. No one has ever been forced to buy or run windows. If consumers were actually dissatisfied with the quality of Microsoft products, its business practices, or anything else perhaps they wouldn't use them. Others argue that Microsoft dominates because it lacks competition. However, this is obviously untrue. At present, computer users are free to choose from three major operating systems: Windows, Apple OS, and Linux. Furthermore, even if these alternatives didn't exist, I would still maintain that Microsoft has a right to any market share it can capture. Let the consumers exercise their right to choose (even if they don't chose well).

    Here lies the most important issue at stake: coercive monopolies do not exist! In a free capitalist economy, small companies constantly outdo companies many times their size, stealing markets overnight or creating new markets where none previously existed. When Bill Gates and Microsoft created MS-DOS, they did this to IBM. Michael Dell entered the crowded market for PC's and proceeded to rapidly seize the market by his greater efficiency, quality, and organization. How about AOL's success amid thousands of BBS services, IP's, and several highly competitive national online services like itself? In each of the cases, hordes of consumers voluntarily agreed to purchase goods and services at given prices, helping small companies to grow rapidly and capture their respective markets.

    In light of all this, I cannot help feeling disgust at the Slashdot community's reaction to the court ruling. Some talk about the glorious new "freedom" in the computer industry. Others whine, that even if Microsoft is split up into an OS company and an application company, it will still be too competitive. Yet, another suggested that Microsoft be forced to publish its source code. These commentators hate and envy Microsoft because they are they are impotent to compete against it. Instead of honestly challenging Microsoft, they want the government to destroy it for them! Don't be one of these pitiful moochers... don't aid them in them in securing what they have not earned, at the expense of those who have earned it. Do not help them to betray the best of America to its worst.

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