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Judge Examines Microsoft Settlement Progress 374

Infonaut writes "The judge who presided over the settlement between Microsoft and the federal government may be starting to realize what a lot of people already know about Microsoft. The settlement was predicated on the belief that competitors would be able to license technology from Microsoft in order to get some relief from Microsoft's desktop OS monopoly. As Kollar-Kelly admitted, 'I think all of us had hoped for more agreements.' Now the judge is asking federal prosecutors to examine specifically why more licensing agreements have not been reached. I'm truly shocked that the settlement isn't turning out as planned, after the Justice Department so shrewdly rolled over when they had Microsoft over a barrel."
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Judge Examines Microsoft Settlement Progress

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I won't make any agreements to license this baby!
  • by sl0ppy ( 454532 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:03AM (#7306704)
    who will be on bush's pardon list (provided he gets booted from office)?

    i'm betting kenny-boy, and microsoft.
    • Thank You! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tuxtomas ( 559452 )
      My knee jerk reaction as well.

      The anti-trust case went to hell as soon as Big Business Bush got into office. Now that it seems we may actually have an election, things seem to be coming back to life.

      Ah hell, it's not who casts the ballots, it's who counts them, right? 51 billion in cash reserves, Micro$loth will probably end up being the one.

      Why do I get excited by viruses and tanking stocks? Long term freedom and prosperity.

    • I hope you're kidding because the thought of someone being so stupid that they don't understand that pardons only apply to criminals and that antitrust violations are not considered a criminal act is unfathomable to me.
      • not to mention that corporations can't be pardoned, only individuals :)

        it is too bad that the CEO of the company that's been found guilty of anti-trust violations isn't somehow on the hook. they would obviously have to know what they're doing, and even if they claim ignorance, it's still at least negligence.
        • it is too bad that the CEO of the company that's been found guilty of anti-trust violations isn't somehow on the hook. they would obviously have to know what they're doing, and even if they claim ignorance, it's still at least negligence.

          That's because antitrust violations are NOT considered criminal violations. Criminal violations include theft, fraud, assault, contempt of court, etc. If a company committed one of those violations, the CEO would be held personally responsible for it.

          The lawmakers expres
          • Since you seem to know what you're talking about, I've got a question: can their behaviour (as a company) be treated as an assault, then? To me that seems the best description of Microsoft's business practices.

            Not to mention assault on users by crapy software.

  • Microsoft? Not allowing agreements that would let 3rd party stuff onto the desktop?

    Well, paint me shocked!

    At least the judge is finally starting to see what the rest of us saw years ago.
  • by bstadil ( 7110 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:37AM (#7306724) Homepage
    Four of the "Major" companies that MS mentioned as proof the settlement is working is our favorite SCO.

    Other world players is Tandberg of Norway and Laplink.

    Go here for an assessment by a thoroughly pissed of Lawyer [lamlaw.com] that has covered this debacle from the get go.

    • by beacher ( 82033 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:50AM (#7306753) Homepage
      Microsoft scratched SCO's back - SCO is just scratching back. It's pretty odd that SCO would license Microsoft's protocols and them and then incorporate Samba3 [linuxtoday.com] into SCOServer. That whole "we respect IP" crap isn't flying
      I don't think it's fair that they're counting this puppet when trying to go after the puppet master.
    • Go here for an assessment by a thoroughly pissed of Lawyer that has covered this debacle from the get go.

      Note, that that's a thoroughly pissed off kook (he's a lawyer as a hobby), who has been banned from every bulletin board he tried to post on after pissing off the moderators, and eventually had to set up his own website to peddle his bullshit because no-one would put up with it any more.

      Lewis A. Mettler, Esq. (in Bullshit) please take a bow. What was the last one he was banned from? ZDNet? MSNBC? OSOp
      • Didn't know this,


        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 25, 2003 @02:50AM (#7306913)
          Back in the days of the antitrust trial, Lewis was actually rather instrumental in explaining the legal mumbo-jumbo underlying antitrust to the ZD-Net community. I personally checked many of his assertions and never found an inaccuracy.

          At one point though, Lewis just posted the same piece over and over and over again, with little variation. Users complained he was hogging bandwidth and as a result of those complaints he was booted on the pretext of having a URL in his signature. A few people cheered. A few people mourned. Most ignored his absence. When he was actually posting argument; he was well worth reading. When he was in diatribe mode; less so.

          Personally, I wouldn't categorize him as a kook, and certainly I've not found a record of his JD (though I admit not having looked very well) so he may well be a legal hobbyist. Still, at face value his less-belligerant rants make for a good editorial opinion - simply don't appeal to him as an authority. Far better to read the case law and decide for yourself. Your clickage may not be commensurate with Lewis'.

          • Minor note of interest: The grandparent poster spectecjr is one Simon Cooke, a former Microsoft employee, and full-time Microsoft defender on all sorts of online media.

            Oh, and him calling someone else a kook is too laughable to describe, as he has a rather kooky history too. Check out the Google USENET archives for some fun.


  • From the article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by donutello ( 88309 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:40AM (#7306729) Homepage
    The judge said it was unclear whether Microsoft's competitors were unhappy with terms of the offers or simply not interested, "and there's not much we can do about that."

    Doesn't sound like the judge is "starting to realize" anything. Next time try reading the article before posting a summary.
    • "Next time try reading the article" - you do realise this is /. right?
    • by DAldredge ( 2353 ) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Saturday October 25, 2003 @02:47AM (#7306903) Journal
      If you are getting blank pages in Firebird 0.7 it may be due to /. returning http 503 errors. It appears that Firebird and, maybe, other related browsers do not show 503 errors, they just silently fail.
    • by ndavidg ( 680217 )
      "...were unhappy with terms of the offers or simply not interested..."

      It does seem like a realization that a faulty assumption was made: that Microsoft is a great company because of its innovative technology, and that other companies would have a better chance of competing if they licensed this technology.

      The truth is, the quality of much of Microsoft's software is poor, especially considering the price you pay, and Microsoft's most innovative products -- such as Microsoft Project Web Access or the editin
      • Again, this misconception, that Microsoft bought Apple. No, they didn't - they bought 150 million worth of AAPL shares but even then, Apple had net worth of over 4 billion dollars. As you can see, they were not in danger of being bought out. Also, Microsoft has liquidated those shares (at a tidy profit mind you), so Apple is completely un-tainted by it now. In fact, in case you haven't been following Slashdot recently, they're competing with Microsoft again.
  • Ignorance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Knunov ( 158076 ) <eat@my.ass> on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:47AM (#7306747) Homepage
    "Never attribute to maliciousness that which can be explained by stupidity." - Twain

    The main problem is out judicial system is not setup to deal adequately with technology lawsuits. We have lawyers with barely a clue trying to explain to judges with practically no clue what the technology does nor what the ramifications are.

    The idea of 3 more years of school might turn you off, but for the out-of-work CompSci degree holders, law school might be a great choice. The world needs lawyers who intimately understand technology to be able to try these cases, and those lawyers need to go on to become the judges who preside over such cases. Without such people in the legal system, we will keep seeing ridiculous judgements.

    • It was no different than most of the issues involving standard oil which were very complex compared to anything most judges at the time had ever delt with and that was the 1st big one. At least when it was broken up, its parts were forced to compete with each other. Even most /.ers don't even support breaking up MS the same way Standard oil was chopped up. Remember IBM and NCR before them have been involved with this sort of thing.
    • Re:Ignorance (Score:3, Insightful)

      Juidges are generally very bright people, and I think some tech people hold themselves in too high regard. The basic concepts required to apply the law to something like the MS anti-trust case just are not that difficult to understand. Judges are quite use to both sides presenting "facts" that support their side and sorting out the truth.

      Most court cases with what seem to be wierd outcomes are not due to stupid judges, but to stupid laws.

  • by powera ( 644300 )
    It is Kollar-Kotelly, not Kollar-Kelly.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:54AM (#7306762)
    It can be just that alot of people have realized that it's not worth it. Microsoft will either make it difficult for your software to operate properly; especially if it directly competes with something from them or they'll simply try to screw you in some other area. IE, higher mark up fee for X software. It's simply not worth the headache and trouble for any business especially a startup business. Sure, Microsoft is a convicted monopoly with zero punishment, so they continue to act like a monopoly. If there is no punishment, even if a crime is committed; a monopoly will continue to do so.. heh you'd think a Federal Judge would understand that. For all those that are going to respond with a monopoly isn't illegal. Be sure you understand that a natural monopoly isn't illegal, a monopoly gained from unfair practices is, however illegal. I just don't understand how one company can be convicted of illegal monopolistic practices in an industry that garners them billions upon billions and are let go with; heh, please don't do it again, and oh yeah you can be on the board of persons who makes sure you operate justly and fairly.

    This country, America is a bunch of bullshit.
    • by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @06:17AM (#7307354) Homepage
      I just don't understand how one company can be convicted of illegal monopolistic practices in an industry that garners them billions upon billions and are let go with; heh, please don't do it again, and oh yeah you can be on the board of persons who makes sure you operate justly and fairly.

      This really cuts to the core of the problem. The anti-trust law remediation policy says (roughly) "the cure should be the minimum necessary to restore competitiveness - there should be no punishment for past acts, only corrective measures." The courts take this to mean (at the behest of defending council) that the violation should be spelled out, and the company should be instructed not to do so again.

      We long ago realized that this does not work with people who break the law. People who break the law are punished, because we recognize that there must be a deterrent to bad behaviour. Not because people want to be bad, or because we want vengeance, but because if there is no downside to being bad, they won't think in terms of the consequences of their actions. And this despite the genetic imperative to be moral that exists in people (social groups are more likely to survive to breeding age than anti-social groups, thus social people are more likely to exist).

      There is no such genetic imperative in business. Business schools actively promote amorality - not because it is "good", but because a business should not be in the business of deciding what is moral, it should be in the business of deciding what is profitable. It is assumed that what customers choose to purchase is a reflection of what society wants.

      This is in direct contradiction to the anti-trust standards. If customers cannot make a free choice of what to buy, then they cannot enforce the will of society through the power of the pocketbook.

      In summary then:

      The courts will not punish abusive monopolies (it is not in their mandate - they are only supposed to take corrective steps).

      Society can not punish abusive monopolies (without free choice to purchase competing products, there is no power of the pocketbook).

      Business profits by being an abusive monopoly (self explanatory).

      What behaviour, in light of this, are we expecting?

      • by Antaeus Feldspar ( 118374 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @09:43AM (#7307841) Homepage
        You mention that there are genetic pressures towards pro-social behavior (or, to satisfy the purists, genetic pressures towards biological features that in turn encourage pro-social behavior).

        However, you neglect the other side of that coin: a society (or genetic population) where pro-social behavior is the norm is itself an environment with genetic pressures towards anti-social behavior. A big network of bonds of trust is a network of opportunity for one willing to abuse those bonds.

        It's just as inevitable as evolution itself, I'm afraid: if genetic pressures can and do push for cooperation, they can push back for defection. As Jack Handey said: "I can imagine a world without war, a world without fighting, a world without weapons. Then I can imagine us attacking that world, cause they'd never see it coming."
  • by rock_climbing_guy ( 630276 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @02:16AM (#7306808) Journal
    I know that many of you are of the opinion that nothing is being done about this because the current administration is somehow "anti-consumer."

    Please allow me to remind you that the DMCA passed through the Senate unapposed - No one in the Senate voted against it. There were 99 votes for it and 0 against. We have patents on simple software algorithms that last 20 years with no end in sight. Remember, even if you understand that software patents are bad, if you're in the business, you've got to play the game the way it's set up, or your competitors will not hesitate to screw you over. Remember the Amazon.com one-click patent?

    The problem is that politicians clearly don't understand technology, plain and simple.

    I think that a good starting point would be to impose strict term limits on our Representatives and Senators. Our country can do without the people who make it their career to be politicians and contribute nothing else. Furthermore, those career politicians live in a world of their own; they have no idea what it's like to have your ideas taken away from you because of some stupid patent law. Look at Gray Davis; he's pissed off because he's been recalled from office by angry voters. Gray Davis passed stupid laws from which he was detached from the consequences. He had a big political machine that crushed the opposition in the last election cycle. He didn't care that he raised car taxes through the roof. He didn't care that foolish policies crippled California's power system. It's great to see that someone finally made him face the music.

    My point is, politicians don't understand anything but politics these days because that's all they do.

    • You're right in some ways. Unfortunately, it's not just career politicians. Look at Bush. He's not your typical career politician, more like your spoiled rich kid [rotten.com], but he's just as much a problem as the career politicians.
    • Mmm, great idea. Impose, say, a re-election every 2 or 1 year and they'll never get anything done, it'll just be campaign campaign campaign. They'll be out for even more corperate money to fight their battles. Sure, I will admit, making them go up more often will help the competition such as the green party to do their work, and people won't be so forgetful when they pass something they don't like, but by and large we need campaign finance reform first and once we have that, then we can discuss further m
    • You make a very good point but I believe that polititians go where the money is...I mean if the get canned from office it's not Joe voter who will hire them?
  • by ratfynk ( 456467 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @02:17AM (#7306814) Journal
    This all comes down to one thing. What is Microsofts business plan? They way I interpret their intentions is simple.

    To control digital communication world wide.

    To remove all competitors and hardware platform competition.

    To invest in technologies that can become a monoply, and only make heavy investments in tech that they can completely control.

    Legally steal software tech with coding virgins if they cannot Legally own it.

    Protect their code base so that it cannot be cloned by altering the coding languages and making them proprietary.

    They are completely within their rights in doing these things. It is the consumer and communication industry that needs to fight this monolyth not the courts. They harm the industry with their software patents and security policies, and the sooner the consumer realises this the better.

    • To control digital communication world wide.

      To remove all competitors and hardware platform competition.

      They are completely within their rights in doing these things.

      Wrong. Being a monopoly, Microsoft is not permitted to do either of the first two items on your list, as it would run coumter to anti-trust regulations [cei.org].

      These laws were written in the late nineteenth century to counter the increasing control over comerce that the railroad industry was having over trade and the damaging effects of th
  • 9 Samurai (Score:5, Interesting)

    by morelife ( 213920 ) <f00fbug@postRECH ... man.at minus cat> on Saturday October 25, 2003 @02:18AM (#7306816)
    At least the DOJ continues to check on Microsoft compliance on a regular basis.

    Let's not forget that 9 states are objecting to the flimsy DOJ ruling and may overturn it locally. Additionally, the market may readjust in the coming 24 months or so, and rearrange Microsoft's dominance without the DOJ's assistance.

    Today, the combined state of RedHat/Enterprise, SuSE/IBM, and OpenOffice, have started a huge push which will steamroll, garnering support (and dollars) from both small business and corporate end users. Steve Ballmer has become publicly shrill and irrational. Samba v3 tested faster than Win2k/AD.

    Progress on this is like the minute hand- you can't really see it moving, but it's moving.

  • by Shoeboy ( 16224 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @02:19AM (#7306817) Homepage
    But has anyone considered that maybe other companies don't consider Microsoft's technology to be worth licensing? I don't even think it's worth pirating, myself.

  • by eidechse ( 472174 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @02:28AM (#7306844)
    For nearly all of my time as a professional dev guy I've cut Redmond some some slack for a few reasons:
    • It's convenient for ISV's to concern themselves with a single platform. Way before my (professional) time, it'd have been tough for a smaller outfit to target all the popular platforms: atari, commodore, amiga, PC, Apple/Mac, various DOS flavors, etc. They pretty much picked one, maybe more, and gambled that they'd still exist and/or remain popular.
    • Books, third party dev tools, publications, and training (formal and informal) have long been plentiful.
    • Many software companies (ok...not as many now) target MS platforms.
    • And a few more...
    But as of late I'm having a change of heart. For the following reasons (and others):
    • nefarious upgrade practices
    • restrictive licensing practices
    • the lessening of system level tools/techniques available to third party developers
    • still more incursions into third party developer space (search engines, email, possibly anti-virus)
    I've about had it with Redmond. I don't even really want to create software for their platforms anymore. Still, I'm not in the RMS camp; I like the idea of making money on software, possibly by restricting the availability of the source code.

    I do recognize the benefit of open/free platforms and frameworks. My question is this: is there a place for proprietary (read 'closed') applications on said open/free platforms and frameworks?
    • But without a FAIR field to play on, Your mini-software can't survive. MS [and the other mega corps] is rapidly absorbing or extinguishing everything they can into THEIR homogney. So you may have a really cool app, but if it's on windows your days are already numbered [and the MS big check option is rapidly winding down!] ...that's more certian than even having OSS copy you!

      In short, you need OSS to have a level field for you to play on...one that nobody can take away. The only way to KEEP it level is

    • But as of late I'm having a change of heart. For the following reasons (and others):

      The thing that causes me to get a major case of the hips is when they release a new version of a language.

      Poof! 30% (or more!) of the code has to be re-written for the "new" version. As far as I can see, they only shuffled around some APIs, and maybe added a "feature" or two.

    • You're on the right track, but you need to do some more thinking before you make your decision. The big question isn't wether there's a place for closed source, the big question is how *you* make your money. Is it by selling the lines of code you write, or is it by the service you deliver to your customers? If your customers pay you for customizations of your code, tuned for them in a very special way, what do you care what happens to the code? You don't get paid for that, you get paid for what's between yo
    • My question is this: is there a place for proprietary (read 'closed') applications on said open/free platforms and frameworks?


      WebLogic [bea.com]

      Acrobat Reader [adobe.com]

      StarTeam, Together Control Center [borland.com]

      StarOffice [sun.com]

      WebSphere [ibm.com]

      That's just off the top of my head.
  • by rhysweatherley ( 193588 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @02:32AM (#7306850)
    Microsoft agreed to make their specifications available for people making interoperable software. But the government forgot to say "available at no cost to the licensees", and Microsoft is exploiting that loophole. Big surprise.

    I visited the "licensing" site a few weeks back, and the whole thing is "fill in this form and we'll get back to you about your payment". Sorry, that's not what they were supposed to do.

    Let's hope the judge realises that for competition to occur, the main player cannot levy a fee against its competitors.

    • This is so obvious is nuts.
      The info should be on a free website.
      Remember this is a punishment not an income stream.
    • In many markets, the only viable true competitor to Microsoft is Open Source Software / Free Software (OSS/FS). Microsoft knows this. So, Microsoft cleverly proposed a settlement - and the gullible government accepted - a settlement that is fundamentally discriminatory, designed so that the only viable competitor CANNOT compete.

      So, with a "fix" that is specifically designed to forbid use by the only competitor, why would anyone think that the fix would ever work?

      The APIs and file formats for Windows a

  • by Brandybuck ( 704397 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @02:46AM (#7306899) Homepage Journal
    Did the DoJ "roll over"? Did Bush order a lenient judgement? Is Microsoft really government-proof? The truth is, the answers don't matter one whit. No amount of finger pointing is going to help anyone.

    Let me repeat that. No amount of finger pointing is going to help anyone. Shocking but true. Bitching doesn't solve problems. So what do we do now that it's clear that the government isn't going to come to our "rescue" and slay the Evil Microsoft?

    First, we need to throw away all our myths about being powerless. Microsoft is a natural market monopoly. They don't have any laws preventing competition with them (like the USPO does). Nor do they own the infrastructure (like the telco monopolies). As big as they are, they are still at the whim of the marketplace.

    So use the market against them. Sell off any Microsoft stock you own. Don't buy any Microsoft products. Don't buy systems that have a Microsoft "tax". That's step one. It might not be easy, but it can be done. Stop buying your systems at BestBuy or CompUSA, and start buying them at the small mom-and-pop shops who will build you a custom system. Or build them yourself. Or buy a Mac. Then when you do, write to Dell, HP, Gateway, etc., and tell them why you didn't choose them.

    Next step is to support the non-Windows operating systems, even the proprietary ones. You don't have to run them all, but you can certainly stop denigrating them. Stop bitching at the price of Macs and Sparcs. Even if they're too expensive for you personally, you don't want to discourage the people for whom they aren't too expensive.

    Funny thing is, despite the Microsoft monopoly, there are others out there. Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris, OSX, etc. Since this is Slashdot, odds are you probably use one of these already. Let your friends know you don't use Windows. Help your friends use another OS. Contribute to the Open Source project of your choice, even if it's writing docs or testing alpha and beta releases.

    We gave Microsoft their monopoly. That's right, "we" did it. Despite their shady business tactics, it was ultimately we the consumer who chose to purchase Windows. Now it's time for us to take that monopoly away from them.
    • This is probably the most lucid argument I've read. It's really up to us to find or build open source alternatives to proprietary software. "But X doesn't run on Linux," should be seen as a challenge to (first) get X to run on Linux and develop Y to compete with X. There's a lot of great stuff out there, and there's a lot left to do. But moaning about Microsoft doesn't do much good when you re-up your licensing time and again.

      I develop on Windows - its the platform of choice in my industry. However,

    • Nor do they own the infrastructure

      I'm afraid you are mistaken, they do own the infrastructure. The infrastructure of modern business is information protocols. Microsoft most certainly does own the MS Office document formats, their inter-tier APIs, and their non-standard network protocols. That was the entire point of this case, that they are using their lateral monopoly on information infrastructure to leverage expansion of their monopoly and to prevent competition. ISVs were told, "if you do not help
    • Or buy a Mac. ... Stop bitching at the price of Macs and Sparcs.

      I appreciate what you're saying, but please don't kid yourself into thinking that if Apple or Sun had the marketshare MS currently has that they'd be some sort of benevelent dictator or something. I suspect that the only reason MacOSX is the way it is today is because Apple saw itself on the way out and had to do something drastic to stay alive. They were able to come through, and they'll probably still have a future because of it.

      But make
      • is that there must be a monopoly. Personally, I believe that if M$ had not become a monopoly, no one would have! Why should Apple have become one?

        There were a whole bunch of different operating systems, on different hardware platforms, poised to take off between the mid-80s and the mid-90s. What was it that crushed them--was it merely the presence of a bigger fish? Or was it the fact that the big fish was systematically going around eating and killing the little fish?

        Apple's philosophy has always

      • Actually, way back when Macs had 20% of marketshare (vs. today's 4% and still dropping) you heard a LOT of bitching from Mac users, particularly about Apple's hardware monopoly. Eventually some Mac users realised that you can buy the exact same Sony monitor labeled for a PC at $300 (plus a $3 adapter plug), instead of the Apple-branded Sony monitor at $900, but it goes to show the *way* Apple would have liked to lock down the marketplace. As you say, this would have been worse than the M$ monopoly, which a
  • by abertoll ( 460221 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @02:49AM (#7306910) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft's monopoly came largely in part due to agreements with computer manufacturers to ship their operating system pre-installed (even today most computers come with windows).

    So the question is, if Microsoft DIDN'T have this agreement would they be able to charge aprox $200 for the "home" edition of their software? Can you imagine buying a computer first, then going out and choosing the excellence of Windows for just a low $200?

    Basically, is Windows true market value $200?
    • No, the true market value of the home edition of windows xp isn't $200, hence the reason you can buy it for under $100 [newegg.com].

      If you'd like something to compare it with, feel free to wander on over to the apple store and buy OS X for $130 [apple.com].
      • You're trolling. Here's another comparison that uses the same dishonest tactics:

        You can only buy Windows XP for under $100 if you buy it with hardware.

        If you buy Apple's hardware, OS X comes free.
        • If you buy Apple's hardware, OS X comes free

          By that argument, when I buy Dell's hardware, MS Windows comes free.

          We can quantize the cost of MS Windows because it is made by a third party. OSX, on the other hand, cannot be so easily quantized, because the hardware and software vendors are the same. This does not mean it's "free".

    • Personally, I think the best justice for Microsoft would have been to force them to sell all their products at the same price. No OEM version, no upgrade version, no special-Windows-just-for-Dell version. If Microsoft wants to sell the boxed Windows XP for $100, then the price of XP on new computers is $100. And the price for Windows for OEMs that also sell Linux preinstalled computers is also $100. Preventing the price discrimination alone would have gone a long way to helping competition.
  • ...put that campaign contribution in the mail Monday, Steve.

  • I know I'm not. Let's face it. Nothing with Microsoft ever goes as planned. Not for Microsoft competitors, not for Microsoft partners, not for Microsoft fans, not for Microsoft at all.
  • Because the bloody system is corrupt. How else can you explain a clearly criminal act (exasperated by the repeated further missteps of MS violating any trust they might have built up) going not just unpunished, but almost blessed by the courts when that court just said 'We can fine you millions...we can (and should) do to you what we did to Bell...but we'll do nothing of the kind; just don't do it again'.

    That is nothing if not corrupt. Or criminally negligent.
  • by mm0mm ( 687212 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @06:10AM (#7307326)
    Maybe redundant, but some may find this [opensecrets.org] background interesting.

    From the page:
    " ....Prior to 1998, the company and its employees gave virtually nothing in terms of political contributions. But when the Justice Department launched an antitrust investigation into the company's marketing of its popular Windows software, things changed. The company opened a Washington lobbying office, founded a political action committee and soon became one of the most generous political givers [opensecrets.org] in the country."

    During 2000 - 2002 election cycle, Bill and Co. gave about $5M to Rep., nearly $4M to Dem., which are nothing significant for their bank account. Under the current administration, no one will ever come to harm Microsoft's monopoly. Period.
    • During 2000 - 2002 election cycle, Bill and Co. gave about $5M to Rep., nearly $4M to Dem., which are nothing significant for their bank account. Under the current administration, no one will ever come to harm Microsoft's monopoly. Period.

      This is what is called a Shake Down.

      The politicians weren't making enough money from Microsoft, but were making a lot of money from KPCB-venture group companies including Oracle, Sun, Apple, etc.

      As such, the California guys paid for an antitrust trial with their campai
  • by Elektroschock ( 659467 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @06:27AM (#7307386)
    There is still a case existing: EU commissioner (competition) Mario Monti against Microsoft. Perhaps it would be better to focus on this case.

    There is an article on EU Business: Microsoft faces 'final chance' in EU anti-trust probe [eubusiness.com] from August. And Newsfactor thinks Don ' t bet on it [com.com].

    The response of Microsoft is already very strong. They want to take the case to the US [cnn.com], where the justice system is probably more corrupt (home advantage). See Hindustan Times's Reuters article [hindustantimes.com] for more information on this issue. They present the same accusation in an more polite manner: "Microsoft Corp has been trying to drum up support among US lawmakers as part of its effort to fend off antitrust sanctions being considered by European regulators, congressional sources say.

    With the European Commission weighing a fine and behavioral changes that could go beyond its US antitrust settlement, Microsoft lobbyists have taken their case to key members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sources said.

    While Microsft is under investigation because of its abuse of power, Microsoft propaganda requests stronger IPR law, criminal prosecution [nwfusion.com] . They claim the proposed EURO DMCA++ (IP Enforcement directive) was not strong enough. Examine the horribleEU directive proposal paper [wiki.ael.be] by AEL Wiki (page of Association Electronic Libre, Belgium).

  • There was ample evidence on record that MS is an incorrigible scofflaw, with numerous violations of court orders, and yet Kollar-Kelly let them go with a behavioral remedy. She finished off her decision about the punishment with a couple of paragraphs about "You better do what I said, or else I'll be really, really mad, and you'll be really, really sorry." I guess we get to find out now if she has any balls. It was going to happen sooner or later.

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly