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Apple Slams Microsoft Settlement 31

Versaj writes "In a move that may further escalate the growing rift between Apple and Microsoft, Apple openly condemned Microsoft's $1.1bn settlement to in the recent class action lawsuit. Apple interprets the settlement as Microsoft's attempt to thwart competition in the California education market. "Remember: this is a settlement imposed against Microsoft for breaking the law. It should not allow Microsoft to unfairly compete in education, one of the few remaining markets where it doesn't have monopoly power.""
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Apple Slams Microsoft Settlement

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  • Makes sense.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fault0 ( 514452 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @02:54PM (#5089165) Homepage Journal
    A year ago, Apple would not have been so outspoken against Microsoft. They needed Microsoft to continue their applications for MacOSX. They needed IE and Office, for example. Now, with Apple trying to develop their own strong line of applications (starting with the iSeries of applications), and culminating most recently with their own webbrowser (or, Internet Explorer replacement), Safari.

    The next logical step, would, of course, be to have an Apple branded office suite to compete with Microsoft Office (perhaps a mega-AppleWorks). Perhaps they are already porting OpenOffice or KOffice (or Gobe).
    • Re:Makes sense.. (Score:3, Informative)

      by jmu1 ( 183541 )
      Most folks needed a PowerPoint replacement... Appleworks was already a good Office replacement. So, they came out with Keynote. From what I've seen of it... it's going to be good. As a matter of fact, it's sitting at home waiting to be installed.
      • Re:Makes sense.. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MalleusEBHC ( 597600 )
        Appleworks is a good word processing replacement. For 99% of the people, it will provide the word processing features they need. However, the biggest problem with it is that it does not handle converting M$ Word documents well. And let's face it, pretty much no matter where you go, you will need to interact with M$ Word documents.

        From the people I know who use Excel extensively, Appleworks does not cut it as a spreadsheet app. Excel apparently far outdoes it in features. I don't know about how well it handles conversions, but if it is anything like the word processing side of Appleworks, I don't think it will be pretty.

        I think Apple realizes the niche that Appleworks fills. It is a nice, cheap office suite for students and some non-advanced consumers. I use Appleworks to type all my papers for college, and it fits that need very well. When I need something a little more powerful, I bust out OpenOffice.

        I think Apple realizes that rather than possibly trying futilely to expand Appleworks beyond what it is, they can support different projects or create new ones to fill the needs of office suite users. Keynote looks like one hell of a Powerpoint killer from everything I have seen and heard. Also, I don't think it is coincidence at all that Apple released their version of X11 a day or two before OpenOffice released a new beta. Those releases combined with Safari makes it very clear that Apple is weening itself off its dependence on the beast from Redmond.
    • Perhaps they are already porting OpenOffice or KOffice

      yup []

      • yup []

        Yes, but is Apple helping the effort? Has there been a recent influx of new developers? Has there een a recent focus on code separation that might help make an Aqua version easier to write?
  • Lets keep in mind... (Score:2, Informative)

    by unDiWahn ( 599102 )
    ...what this is really about. Apple is upset that Microsoft can reclaim a third of any unclaimed vouchers. These vouchers were handed out as a settlement, allowing people to purchase software from anyone including non-microsoft and microsoft-rival companies. 2/3s of the vouchers go to state schools, just to be nice.

    All in all, it seems like a pretty weak case to be 'upset' -- although yes, I agree that Microsoft should 'pay the fine' even if citizens don't claim it for their own. Then again, IIRC, it was a settlement, rather than a fine imposed by a court.
    • Why vouchers? What is the EXACT wording of the settlement with regards to how those vouchers can be used?

      I think those questions alone make Apples comlaints legitimate. MS will do everyhting in their power to make sure this settlement works out to their advantage, so I think it's important that the dissenting voices be as loud as possible.

      As for me, I'm not prepared to accept this settlement as a good thing until I can read the fine print and determine if I can use these vouchers to help a certain ailing Linux distro. If I can't do that, then this settlement is nothing more than MS trying to further extend their monopoly.

      • by pb ( 1020 )
        Alas, all of that pertinent voucher information is hidden in a "link", in the "article", where you might never think to look. ...and unless Microsoft is actually a bad spelling of "Mandrakesoft", no, I don't think you'll be able to use those vouchers for that purpose.

        So continue with your regularly scheduled MS bashing, but do think about reading the article now, ok?
  • by MacAndrew ( 463832 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @03:11PM (#5089261) Homepage
    Say it ain't so!

    Actually, it makes me nervous when there (supposedly) isn't a rift between them. That weird pretend alliance a few years ago, where Microsoft got a slot on the Apple desktop and Apple got a $100 million "investment" (Bill spend more than that on real estate taxes) was too strange for words.

    Someone suggested to me a while ago that despite Apple's desperate need for continued Office for Mac support, Microsoft maybe needed them even more. If Apple were to die, hey presto! incontrovertible monopoly that, with a few missteps, could lead to Microsoft's splitting up in antitrust action. Now that Linux is becoming a more credible alternative, Microsoft might be tempted to abandon Macintosh and cause Apple's fall into oblivion even if it means losing a lucrative niche. Cutting into the education market is a lot like cutting Apple out of the business market.

    The key thing is that people need to be weaned off of Office.

    On its attempt to bulldoze into education, I'm glad Microsoft got tagged, though it immediately trying to learn loss into victory with VOUCHERS and discounts in a naked attempt to steer those same purchasers back to the MS fold. The cyncicism of it is astounding, and I had assumed the settlement offer was dead on arrival. Please tell me California is smarter than this.

    Most of all, I'm glad to see Apple acting like a normal bitter competitor again, too. I wonder what Jobs, who we know already has a bit of a vicious streak, says about Microsoft in private? Hmm. :)
    • by Twirlip of the Mists ( 615030 ) <> on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @03:38PM (#5089458)
      I wonder what Jobs, who we know already has a bit of a vicious streak, says about Microsoft in private?

      In private? Hell! What he says in public makes for pretty good reading. Remember this gem?
      The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste... I don't mean that in a small way-- I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don't think of original ideas, and they don't bring much culture into their product. So I guess I am saddened, not by Microsoft's success-- I have no problem with their success; they've earned their success for the most part-- I have a problem with the fact that they just make really third-rate products.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Yeah, and as somebody later said, Apple ONLY has taste.

        That's the problem. Microsoft puts out products that are "good enough". Apple puts out products that are "great". This means Apple will always be a niche player.

        I'm not sure why this is a "big deal" to a lot of people, since every other (competitive) industry has plenty of niche players (think, stereos, cars, etc). I guess in the computer industry you have to strive for every desktop for interoperability reasons and "network effects".

        Reminds me of college: I was in engineering, and I knew this guy who didn't give a shit about lab reports and stuff like that. He'd always say "just put down some bullshit and turn it in, you'll probably get an A". Well, that's what he did, and I always put effort into my reports as if someone was going to read every page. Well, we both would get A's, but I spent nights working on it, and he just cut and paste and filled the space.
        • Microsoft puts out products that are "good enough". Apple puts out products that are "great". This means Apple will always be a niche player.

          You say "niche player." I say "most influential computer company in history, and one of the most influential companies in any industry."
    • this made me think that apple is such a tight crew becasue it has been the only competitor for MS. i hate to come down to "Joe User" but in the desktop computer area joe hasnt had choices. it was go with a PC and windows or pay more for an apple. now, people can have the ease of PC hardware without having to pay for a mac. i think as linux develops it will cause problems for apple more than MS. it seems linux is ready for the desktop, now Joe just has to realize that there are comparable software solutions outside of MS and apple
    • Could it be that as far as MS is concerned, Apple has served its purpose as a demonstration of the market not being a monopoly? In thise case, it may be better for Apple to appear to be in control of the relationship rather than have MS pull the rug out from under them.

      An alternative is that Apple just don't need MS Office anymore. Open Office et al. have shown that MS do not have any particular edge in office suites anymore, and that Apple should be able to integrate with Windows users without installing MS Office.


    • That whole settlement and investment was a cover-- MS invested $100M publically, but has been paying apple around a $1B a year since then to cover th patents the infringed on and all the source code to quicktime that some how appeared inside of MS's media player.

      MS got caught stealing apples technology so much they just settled for MS paying Apple hundreds of millions (if not multiple billions) each year and cross licensing the technology.

      At least, that's what some foresnic accountants told me after the deal happened-- apple's balance sheet suddenly looked a lot better without that big an increase in sales.

      And $100M is one of those figures that your average idiot thinks is a lot of money ,but anyone familiar with the companies recognizes is like me giving my sister a fifty cent piece to "Bail her out of her financial trouble."

  • What's Apple going to do? They will keep losing .edu Desktop market share to both MS and OpenSource, for various reasons.

    There doesn't seem to be much they actually can do, unless they drastically change their business model/strategy. But in what way? Buying out MandrakeSoft may open some interesting options for them. Just a thought...

    • There doesn't seem to be much they actually can do, unless they drastically change their business model/strategy. But in what way? Buying out MandrakeSoft may open some interesting options for them. Just a thought...

      Oh, great idea!

      1) Buy a bankrupt Linux distro maker
      2) Pay off distro maker's debts
      3) Proclaim how cool they are now that they own a Linux distro
      4) ???
      5) Profit!

      You think schools are going to pay a bunch of money to run Mandrake on their PCs? Why would they pay Apple, if they aren't paying Mandrake now?

      You think schools are going to buy Macs so they can run Linux instead of OSX? Why would they run Linux, if it has no major advantages over OSX? If they wanted to run Linux on Macs, they've been able to do that for a long time. However, AFAIK there are almost no closed-source applications available for PPC Linux, and most open-source applications run on OSX, so switching to Linux would really be a step backwards in terms of what a school can do with the machine.

      You think Apple's going to push a linux distro that can be downloaded for free and run on non-Apple hardware, instead of pushing their own hardware and software that they actually make money on?

      You think Apple's going to hire developers from Mandrake to improve OSX? I don't think so. When Apple needs developers, Apple hires deveoplers, they don't just buy companies, with the exception of NeXT. They've hired people from FreeBSD and Mozilla, and probably other projects.

      Linux isn't as cool as you think it is.
      • No, I don't think most of that. It was just a (aparently successful) troll. However, I still think that Linux is very cool, even more than I think it is. And I do think that Apple is in a pretty deep shit as far as education desktop market is concerned. They've got two tough competitors - monopolyst and very cool free (as in everything 'free' implies) OS.
  • this week's Pulpit, after MacWorld:
    I, Cringely []
  • Apple already has AppleWorks, which will knock out most of what MSO is used for (from a strictly utilitarian standpoint). Go check out their software [] section. Some recently unvieled software includes Keynote, a presentation software competing directly with MSPP, and Safari, a Konquerer based web browser to compete directly against IE.

    Although I use Linux (because of cheap hardware and even cheaper software) I'd buy Apple over MS any day of the week and twice on Sundays. The only thing that Apple doesn't have is a low end offering. But I guess that can be taken care of with the used mac market, which is huge.
  • How incredible that a competitor of Microsoft would be upset at an outcome which does not help them in the market at all. Yes this is a Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious.

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"