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Microsoft Government The Courts News

Microsoft and EU Talks End 1028

Paul Longford writes "Microsoft talks with the EC have collapsed. The competition commisioner Mario Monti just made this statement in which he said: 'I'd just like to inform you that a settlement on the Microsoft case has not been possible. I therefore intend to propose to my colleagues in the Commission next Wednesday to adopt a decision, which has already received the unanimous backing of Member States.' This is bad news for Microsoft - it looking at a considerable fine and possibly being forced to open up Windows. It looks like it will be a harsh decision too. Monti says: 'In the end, I had to decide what was best for competition and consumers in Europe. I believe they will be better served with a decision that creates a strong precedent.'"
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Microsoft and EU Talks End

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  • Re:It's about time. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rigor Morty ( 149783 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:20AM (#8597999) Journal
    Oddly, I think that forcing Microsoft into the open source, (open whatever) world might actually be a better business decision for the company.

    Time will tell.

    Rigor Morty
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:22AM (#8598016)
    You realize, of course, that this is more about punishing an American company than it is about punishing Microsoft.
  • by robslimo ( 587196 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:23AM (#8598028) Homepage Journal
    I'm not what sort of settlement terms they were discussing, but for Microsoft to allow it to end with no real conclusion sounds like a bad move for them... however, they must have some kind of backup plan. I have no idea what it might be, because this isn't like the situation here in the US where they can keep things tied up in court forever.

    Maybe fines and new versions of OS's is OK with them. Hm.
  • Good job EU! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wicker_pk ( 628579 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:23AM (#8598031)
    The EU did what the US courts did not have the balls to do. Hmmm, maybe China, India, Russia, Brasil and Indonesia may follow suit, hmmm.
  • Reignite Competition (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thenextpresident ( 559469 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:25AM (#8598044) Homepage Journal
    Hopefully this will allow for a more competitive marketplace, where standards are adopted across the board. Open source could really do well because of this. Only a small portion of the world lives in the US, and with the EU nations taking a firm hand in putting down Microsoft.

    For those not sure if this will help the US adoption of alternate products, it will. Businesses aren't just local, they import products, export products, and deal in Europe all the time. When Europeans move to other products, the US will make the move, or force Microsoft to adopt the standards the EU companies do.

    This doesn't spell the end for Microsoft, but rather, it helps to open up a standards based computing environment. One where if your product is closed and completely proprietary, and threatens vendor lock-in, it won't be well appreciated, nor will it really be possible.
  • Appeals? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Crazy Man on Fire ( 153457 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:25AM (#8598051) Homepage
    Great. They are going to fine and impose these restrictions on Microsoft. How long before it actually happens? Will Microsoft just be able to tie this up with endless appeals and draw it out for another five years?
  • by way2trivial ( 601132 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:26AM (#8598067) Homepage Journal
    or stop selling..
    tell me, what6's the solution if a monopoly takes on a government, by closing up shop? closes all offices in EU member countries, and no longer licenses it's products for use in those countries..

    Hmm, people will import it, and microsoft won't have to support it... hmmm...

  • by SmackCrackandPot ( 641205 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:32AM (#8598137)
    however, they must have some kind of backup plan.

    Go running to Washington, and ask for a trade embargo to be imposed on European software?
  • by WaterTroll ( 761727 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:34AM (#8598160)
    I am reading from here []:

    The commission, as well as rival software makers, have argued that bundling programs such as Media Player into Windows is anticompetitive, because it puts rival music and video players such as Real Networks' RealOne Player and Apple's QuickTime at a disadvantage.

    Does anyone know if this is can be compared to the whole Internet Explorer uninstall battle? I've never had any problems with WMP interfering. Realoneplayer and quicktime all provide free versions, what competition is there? Quicktime by default doesn't even play most video codecs. I don't understand exactly how this will change the way general people use WMP, realplayer, or quicktime. And does the EU enforcing their rules even effect the US at all?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:36AM (#8598180)
    If I go to the Ford dealership to buy a new car, should the dealership be forced to offer me competing models of CD players over their own pre-stocked model? Common sense would tell me that I can always rip it out and put another one in its place, but the dealership is not required to facilitate that choice for me.
  • by msired ( 666203 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:40AM (#8598220)
    What would happen if M$ revoked their Eurpean licenses and stopped supporting all European software? What if they took it a step further and required the uninstallation of all M$ software? Effectively, M$ would be saying, "Do it our way or our way. You have no other option." The open source migrations to date have not been tremendously successful. So would the Eurpean govermnents and industry be forced to use M$ products because there really isn't an alternative? They have such a tremendous investment in Windoze and PC hardware that they may be stuck...
  • Re:It's about time. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:42AM (#8598243) Homepage Journal
    I'm glad to see that at least Europe still has some functioning antitrust laws, unlike the US where antitrust laws were effectively gutted by the judiciary.

    IIRC the judiciary pursues what the head of law enforcement wants it to. The head of law enforcement is the cheif executive. The president.

    If the president doesn't want to enforce a law or wants to enforce it only with a wink and a nod, that's their discretion.

    Now, it's nice to see that, once again Europe is showing some balls. I really expect there's some phone calling between Washington DC and Europe trying to weasel some leniency in this matter. You and I won't be privy to these calls, but in the wake of the Spanish Election, this is another instance of that disorganized herd of sheep standing up for their own beliefs. Another blow, really, for the current administration (which went all limp-wristed on Microsoft.)

    By this time we should be getting used to the rest of the world questioning the US goverment stands and going their own way. As the economies of Europe and China approach their full potential, so grow their clout. Too bad we've been wasting some checks over the years, now they're going to be in shorter supply.

  • by Przepla ( 637674 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:46AM (#8598287)
    The linked Techworld article says something insightfull, but yet overlooked by posters:
    To waive the ruling, Monti asked Microsoft to commit not to distort competition by bundling peripheral software programs to Windows in the future. Microsoft, it would appear, declined.
    It seems that real problem was not about including WMP in Windows, but Microsoft refusing to stop doing similar things in the future.
  • Political... (Score:0, Interesting)

    by BJZQ8 ( 644168 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:46AM (#8598292) Homepage Journal
    I think most of this decision, while certainly positive for the world in general, was based on anti-American politics. Microsoft is in clear violation and I agree with the end results, but I detect a large amount of stick-it-to-the-Americans-ism in their rhetoric...No matter, though...perhaps Microsoft will abandon the European market rather than open its Windows Secrets?
  • Re:I want to know... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by molarmass192 ( 608071 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:47AM (#8598303) Homepage Journal
    The answer are two things called "seizure of assets" and "incarceration", governments, contrary to popular belief, have the authority to seize assets in order to cover fines, and beyond that, they can toss those in charge's asses in jail. That means any money and securities in european banks, properties in europe, etc. Beyond that, next time Billy or Stevie land on the continent, they can look forward to spending some time visiting with Milosevic. Microsoft may act like they're above the law but they most certainly aren't.
  • by PetoskeyGuy ( 648788 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:52AM (#8598357)
    It is nice to see laws being applied as if they were real laws. Here in the US being found guilty of being a monopoly seems to be an academic exercise. That still scared Microsoft enough to put their own man on the Bar Association's Antitrust group [] that decides how Antitrust lawsuits should be handled.

    I wonder if it's just easier for the EU to do this type of thing to an outsider to Europe as opposed to an already entrenched monopoly that started in Europe. Is this just protectionism, or will the EU actually stand up to all Monopolies, foreign and domestic?

  • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:56AM (#8598407) Journal
    Windows has included at least some form of media player since 3.11 at least, and I suspect long before that. So do all Linux distributions, and so did BeOS. A media player of some sort is a part of a modern OS distibution.

    Who are we to say what they can and can't add to their OS? If I released a third party calculator application, could I demand they remove calc.exe from Windows? How about telnet and ftp? Both of these have commercially available equivalents. So do disk utitilies, that are pretty much equivalent to disk defragmenter. Should Windows come with no applications at all? Can they even justify allowing them to bundle windows explorer (Not IE - I mean the file system browser)? It would be easy enough to write an alternative.

    If I release an application for a platform that already contains the equivalent, I have no justification to complain that they're not playing fair. I can either make it better than the one that comes with the OS, try to sell it to the OS vendor, or try making my money some other way.
  • by blane.bramble ( 133160 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @10:59AM (#8598444) Homepage
    Considering the population of the UK is 60 million, or at least 10 million households, the number of active computers in the UK has got to be at least 10 million (total of home PC's and work PC's). Now $1,000,000,000 is $100 per PC. Or about 60 - less than a copy of Windows each, so I would say Microsoft's profits in the UK are in the order of serveral billion dollars.
  • Re:It's about time. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JohnFluxx ( 413620 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @11:00AM (#8598452)
    So you can only be an OS fanatic if you hack on linux kernel? What about kde and so on.

  • Sounds like the perfect opportunity for the EU Court, which appears to have a bit of common sense, unlike the US Court system, to officially invalidate those things the average Joe considers meaningless... "shrinkwrap EULA's". i.e. You paid for it, it's yours.
  • by coastwalker ( 307620 ) <[moc.liamtoh] [ta] [reklawtsaoca]> on Thursday March 18, 2004 @11:02AM (#8598488) Homepage
    Anti-American sentiment is putting it too strongly, its more a competetive spirit for ideas amongst team players. The anti sentiment only comes into play when it is felt that European ideas are being rejected by ideological fiat.

    It is not clear whether or not the effective monopoly of Microsoft has benefited the world. Quite possibly the standards setting effect of the monopoly has done more good than bad in the long term. However perpetual market distortion cannot be tolerated indefinitely.

    Part of the problem is determining exactly what should be done to remove distortions from the market whilst not throwing away global standards. It is not clear that the proposed fines and unbundling will do anything more than split the market up into different competing standards - all owned by American companies incidentally.
  • by absurdist ( 758409 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @11:03AM (#8598497)
    M$ decided to pull out of Europe, stop selling its products there, and invalidate all existing licenses? Hmmm... how about not merely seizure of physical assets, but also seizure and invalidation of European copyrights on ALL M$ software on national security grounds, and release of said code into the public domain? Yeah, that'd be a REAL good business decision on Bill's part.
  • Yes Please! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18, 2004 @11:06AM (#8598554)
    Who needs Microsoft? The software that is installed would continue working, until replaced by alternatives, like Linux and

    Please, Microsoft! Stop supporting us!

    - Just another Old European

  • by perly-king-69 ( 580000 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @11:11AM (#8598629)
    Come on, over 90% of Spaniards were opposed to the war, one of the reasons being that they would be more of a priority target if they supported military action (explicitly stated by Osama bin Laden). Seems like they were right.
  • by radish ( 98371 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @11:27AM (#8598793) Homepage
    But it's not striking against outside competition - there is no internal competition. In other words, name me a major european software house producing a consumer/desktop operating system. Apple, RedHat, IBM etc al are also all american.
  • by cozziewozzie ( 344246 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @11:53AM (#8599078)
    Despite all the horror that DeBeers causes in third-world countries, from a European anti-trust perspective they only hurt diamond buyers: rich, bland, unimaginative money wasting types. I mean, they are getting ripped off for buying a glorified piece of coal they don't need and which serves no purpose at all. It means more taxes, great!

    Microsoft, on the other hand, hurts all computer users, which is pretty much everyone in the EU.
  • by DanBrusca ( 197887 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @12:09PM (#8599300) Homepage
    "I mean, if I go out to a Honda dealership, while I'm looking at an Accord, they don't tell me the specs of a Camry. They sell me a Honda product with Honda accessories."

    You are, however, making the choice to buy Honda. It wouldn't even occur to 95% of people to choose anything other than a Windows PC such is their effective and pervasive monopoly on consumer computing.

    "IMHO, if Microsoft is forced to open their source to the European market, they should just pull the plug. Don't sell it anymore, revoke all European lisences, and tell them to install Linux. You know for a fact that the general populus would flip. Most of them would flip at the idea."

    Well, they wouldn't go for Linux, they would go for Apple instead because Apple have the muscle to market themselves as a Windows alternative in such a situation, the Linux distros do not. This has obvious consequences for major US tech companies such as Dell and Intel who would see a market of 400 million people disappear over the course of a year.

    "OK, last thing. I also don't understand what jurisdiction the European market has over MS. If they are an American based company, how can they order MS to open their source and include other versions of Web Browsers and Media Players."

    If I went and murdered some poor sap in Wisconsin, could I claim that the US courts didn't have authority because I'm a European based human?
  • by Ride-My-Rocket ( 96935 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @12:14PM (#8599350) Homepage
    I hope the EU has the strength of will to really stick it to MS, in terms of both fining them and forcing them to change their business practices. Not because "MS is the evil empire" -- I'm an MS developer, I love their tools and such -- but because a precedent needs to be set that will force Microsoft to address its monopolist strategies. Competition is good for consumers, encourages innovation and lowers prices -- and this is something that Microsoft has been railing against for over a decade.

    Anywho, I hope the EU hits Microsoft with the maximum $3 billion fine and forces them to separate their Media Player from the OS. In doing so, the EU will not only make a dent in MS's much-vaunted cash reserves, but they'll also hammer home the point that their strategy of tying apps to their OS to invade new markets won't fly. And if hitting them in the coffers won't significantly prevent them from subsidizing these strategies, it will definitely raise a hue-and-cry amongst their shareholders, to whom Microsoft is ostensibly beholden.

    Too bad we don't have a government that will take this kind of action here in the US, tho.
  • Re:It's about time. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by goatan ( 673464 ) <> on Thursday March 18, 2004 @12:16PM (#8599371) Journal
    As much as MS offends me, I am more offended by the idea that governments can confiscate somebodys property rights so easily.

    please provide and example of where the EU has confiscated someones property rights

  • by the_mad_poster ( 640772 ) <> on Thursday March 18, 2004 @12:51PM (#8599815) Homepage Journal

    What exactly do YOU "get" that the Europeans don't? How, exactly, are you so special? I assume you're American. Nobody else would be so pathetically crass to make such an ignorant statement.

    The country you live in is one of the safest in the world from terrorist attacks. Europeans have been suffering them for centuries. What, exactly, is it that makes them not see this special vision that you have? Where does this special understanding of yours come from?

    Were you a rescuer on 9/11? Were you a victim? Did someone in your family or one of your friends suffer? What gives you this special understanding of terroism that these people who have dealt with it since before your great great granddaddy got his nuts in a twist don't have?

    NOTHING. You're just a loudmouth moron. You just have a superiority complex and "god help these dirty, stupid Europeans who are tired of fighting all the time. They just aren't CHOSEN like I am, they don't see the beautiful path that is set forth like I do!"

    If you really are American, I'm sorry to have to share that nationality with you and I hope your incredible ignorance doesn't reflect on all of us as badly as it may. Do us all a HUGE favor and just keep your mouth shut before you make the world think we're all as stupid as you.

    You want to piss around with people who aren't afraid to call bullshit on you for being the idiot that you are? Go ahead, asswipe. Take me on once. We'll see just who here is a little coward because I'm NOT hiding behind the AC name. Although, frankly, I don't blame the AC you've been sparring with for not even wasting the time on you to show the courtesy of posting with a face.

  • by jwsd ( 718491 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @12:52PM (#8599837)
    Most slashdotters are fiercely anti-Microsoft so it's understandable they were elated by the EU news.
    But is anti-trust law really good for most people in the long run? I'm no economist but I have first-hand experience about the side-effects of the anti-trust law.
    I can say from my experience that if Microsoft were forced to its knees, most slashdotters would suffer in the long run.
    When AT&T was a monopoly, scientists, engineers, and technicians had a great time in the telecom industry. There were a lot of talents working in the then lucrative telecom industry and a lot of innovations funded by AT&T's phone bill income, including UNIX (I am not saying AT&T is the sole creator of UNIX but a very significant contributor), the father of LINUX.
    After AT&T was broken up, the phone call price dropped significantly, a big short term benefit to most consumers. But the drop in revenue forced out a lot of talents from the industry because there were no more money to hire them. I know a lot of talented engineers who spent years in the telecom industry but had to throw away all the domain expertise to switch career to wall street.
    I think in a sense Microsoft's high profit margin is good news for LINUX vendors. That means they can charge a lower price than Windows and still make a decent profit to fund long term R&D. If Microsoft were forced to compete in a market where prices go down the toilet, like what happened to the telecom industry, then LINUX vendors will suffer as well. When the money flowing into the software industry dwindles, most slashdotters will lose their career just like what happened to the engineers in the telecom industry. Right now it is a business strategy to give some open source software away for free in the hope that customers will buy the enterprise version, by that time you will be forced to give away a lot more than even the open source people want. The entire software industry can no longer sustain all the R&D going on right now. Is that really a good thing for consumers in the long run?
    Is it really a good idea for government to decide what is good for consumers? You have to think about the answer without bias. Just because the government sided with you this time doesn't mean it is a good thing for you in the long run.
  • by Deviate_X ( 578495 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @01:00PM (#8599933)
    I have QuickTime, RealPlayer, Windows MediaPlayer 9, MediaPlayer Classic and Winamp installed. Can you name the competition which has been stifled competition?
  • by lspd ( 566786 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @01:09PM (#8600053) Homepage Journal
    I'm not an MS fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm curious as to what people here think is "fair" in a realistic sense.

    Splitting up their products and selling them separately would be "fair". Bundling add-ons with a monopoly product is not fair.

    Think back to the days when AT&T was the monopoly phone provider. AT&T sees the growing popularity of overnight delivery and says, "hey, we're a communication company, and overnight delivery is a type of communication. Let's get into that business as well."

    At this point though FedEx is well established as the industry leader in overnight delivery. AT&T can't compete in this market without some help so it decides that free overnight delivery will be included with all phone subscriptions. At the same time it raises the price of phone service from $20/month to $100/month. In AT&T's version of events the new service is "free" and the price increase is unrelated, but obviously that service has a cost and that cost is being passed to consumers.

    Microsoft would have you believe that Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player are integral parts of the OS and are given to consumers totally free of charge. They refuse to unbundle these components and reduce the price of the product appropriately. That's simply not fair. The line has to be drawn somewhere so that other companies can produce products for the Windows platform without the threat of Microsoft bundling in anything that proves comercially successful.

    The problem is that every time they get called on this nonsence, the punishment is laughable. If they are allowed to continue selling the bundled version while being forced to sell an unbundle version at a slightly reduced price no-one will go for it. They have to be forced to unbundle conpletely and spin-off the portions of the company that produce the bundled items.

    In the AT&T example I gave it would be like AT&T offering phone service w/o overnight delivery for $99.50. Obviously consumers are going to pay the 50 cents and get the overnight delivery service. The only way to avoid the problem is to tell AT&T that they simply can't get into the overnight delivery business.
  • by praedor ( 218403 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @01:24PM (#8600267) Homepage

    I am all for the EU decision vis a vis M$. Hooray! Kill the bastards, etc. As for De Beers and diamonds...don't get me started. Diamonds are plentiful. They are NOT worth what is paid for them as they come a dime a dozen. What De Beers and the rest of the cartel do is create an artificial scarcity of diamonds totally at odds with reality so they can charge loads of money for a frickin rock. To do this, they also setup a monstrous situation in Africa for those who live around, or work in, the diamond mines.

    How's about the EU (and USA) get together and eliminate the diamond monopoly which is artificially and improperly limiting the amount of otherwise plentiful diamonds and creating, as a direct result, a very bad humanitarian problem for those in Africa who live around the mines?

    If you want to deal with a commodity that is truly valuable due to a very real scarcity, then you should deal with metals like platinum, titanium, gold, and the like. Get out of the frickin' rock collecting business.

  • Re:It's about time. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by operagost ( 62405 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @01:24PM (#8600269) Homepage Journal
    I'd also like to point out that the President's a little too busy to micromanage every federal office. Why do you think Bill Clinton had to get his blowjobs from under his desk while making conference calls? Your beef could possibly be with Ashcroft, and then in turn with Bush for appointing him; but to propose that GWB sits on a golden throne like a dictator and gives thumbs up/thumbs down on every issue is absurd.
  • Re: It's about time. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hereticmessiah ( 416132 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @01:29PM (#8600329) Homepage
    The thing is, society is the guarantor of property rights, and government is the implementing mechanism--passing laws, policing, etc. Of course governments are able to take them away!

    'Intellectual Property' is only guaranteed on condition that it is for a limited period, and that the holder doesn't do anything detrimental to society with them. On those grounds alone, the EU has a right to confiscate MS's property rights on Windows. They didn't come to an agreement that would have made both sides happy, so MS may lose them.

    Thing is, without a society, a framework for property to exist in, there is no property because there's nothing to enforce it. Sad, but that's the way it is.
  • Re:It's about time. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Trolling4Dollars ( 627073 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @01:35PM (#8600408) Journal
    If the law were set up properly, you could sue a corporation and still deny it the rights of a person. Next.
  • Re:It's about time. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sepluv ( 641107 ) <[blakesley] [at] []> on Thursday March 18, 2004 @01:49PM (#8600598)

    you could sue a corporation
    Ah, yes, but who does it harm if you sue a corporation? So what if an abstract entity goes banckrupt? It doesn't affect the people who were responsible. You can't put a company in jail.

    and still deny it the rights of a person
    Which rights? Which country? US constituional rights? -- I don't think companies have them? Laws do not normally give rights -- they take them away.

    It seems to me that the easiest thing to do here would be to get rid of the concept of companies (see my aunt post []).

  • Re:It's about time. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by walt-sjc ( 145127 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @01:58PM (#8600760)
    The problem is that MS has been acting like an axe murderer and killing off the competition by unfair means according to the law. A fine is not enough. Name a fine that would be big enough to make a difference. 10 billion? 20? They will just raise their prices a few bucks to make up for it.

    What is needed is something that will actually repair the damage caused by MS's illegal behavior. Microsoft needs to be held responsible for the damage they caused, which means that they need to pay the price. The damage is so significant to Thousands of companies worldwide, it needs to be a very large price - one that will reinstate true competition.

    Personally, I could care less about the code which we all know sucks - I want the file formats, protocols, and API's opened. May need to force a few patents open too (at least RAND licensing with an open source exemption.)

    Going back to the axe murderer land owner (poor) analogy, think of it as a life sentance of restitution.
  • Re:It's about time. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DickBreath ( 207180 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @02:00PM (#8600799) Homepage
    So, in your mind, programming in a language you don't like is akin to giving blowjobs for money?

    Are you saying that I could actually get money for giving blowjobs? But this is like programming in a language I like, and getting money!
  • Re:It's about time. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by goatan ( 673464 ) <> on Thursday March 18, 2004 @02:04PM (#8600864) Journal
    Do you know why corporations have rights, and are (effectively) treated as people? Because if they weren't, you couldn't SUE them

    More so you can't sue the actual people responsible but instead have to sue the company

  • Re:It's about time. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by johnnyb ( 4816 ) <> on Thursday March 18, 2004 @02:09PM (#8600924) Homepage

    I had the same sentiment myself - oblemsOfCorporations.xml

    and also te dSystemicEvil.xml

    I think you said it better, though.
  • Re:It's about time. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Urkki ( 668283 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @02:40PM (#8601313)
    Just one problem.


    Capitalism is about allowing capital to be gathered from many persons to accomplish things that are more expensive than one person could ever hope to be able to afford. If everything had to be accomplished by one person, not a lot would be accomplished... As soon as you have just two people doing something together, you have a company, wether it has a legal status or not. As soon as you have something jointly owned by more than one person, you have some kind of a company. You're not planning to make owning things together illegal, are you?

    Another purpose of a company is shared risk. If people would have to risk everything for anything they do, not a lot would get accomplished.

    And there's a reason why you might want to have a lot accomplished. For example ancient American Indians probably didn't really have the concept of a company as we know it, and their society probably worked quite nicely too, until the Europeans came and slaughtered them in the process of the birth of the USA...
  • by Mustang Matt ( 133426 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @02:50PM (#8601448)
    Here goes my Karma, and maybe I just don't understand how the anit-trust laws work, but the way Microsoft used it's brute force to slowly build an empire and weed everyone out. Isn't that what ALL companies are trying to do? Be number 1? Weed out the competition? Make mass quantities of $$$?

    As a business owner it's hard for me to comprehend. In my line of work there is way more work than there is developers to do projects, so I don't worry about all the other developers out there.

    However, ultimately if I could handle the load, I would absolutely love to be number one and weed out competition? Is that wrong? Maybe I need an attitude adjustment.

    Not so much for the money but for the glory of being number 1 and having the best products and services and having everyone come to me because they know I'm the best.

    I guess I'm looking at a company like Wal-Mart who kind of falls in the gorilla shoes when it comes to generic merchandise and even groceries. It seems like they've done a lot of pushing and knocked out a lot of local businesses here and there, but at the same time they've shown some restraint. Is this soley to avoid being nailed with anti-trust laws?

    The only thing in my eyes that goes against Microsoft is that it's not like it was one man's baby that led them to the top. If Bill G. had developed the original software and been active in development all the way to now and it wasn't a corporation would it still be wrong?

    Or a better question... If they hadn't done all the gorilla tactics of forcing other companies out of business and they had gotten where they are just by having a superior product (i'm not saying they do, I'm saying what if...) would they still be a monopoly?

    I guess all these monopoly like tactics are things I take for granted as just agressive moves to win business. I'd be interested in reading over the actual law to see what it says you can and can't do.
  • by rcharbon ( 123915 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @02:51PM (#8601462) Homepage
    If Microsoft were based in one of the EU countries instead of the US, the process would have been significantly different.

    I wonder how much the adventure in Iraq has affected the EU's position towards MS?
  • Re:It's about time. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TrancePhreak ( 576593 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @03:10PM (#8601694)
    I honestly don't think opening the code up to the public will help. The only thing we would get then is a million MS product rip-offs and some free alternatives. This would mean that MS would have to compete with software that is not for sale but given away. By having to compete with this, you will only be able to make money off services and support. This is hardly the same amount of money that they use to fund their products currently.
  • by Odin's Raven ( 145278 ) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @09:22PM (#8605425)
    ...please show how DE Beers misuses their monopoly...

    Geez, that's easy! Just the other day, I went to buy a ruby ring. The store would only sell me a ring with a diamond. I reiterated my desire for ring with a ruby, not a diamond. The store said they couldn't sell the ring with a ruby -- if they did so, De Beers would vastly increase the price on any future diamonds the store purchased for their rings. I asked for a plain ring, without a gemstone of any kind, thinking I could try and install a ruby on my own. Again, the store refused, although they pointed out that I could buy the diamond ring, remove the diamond after I brought the ring home, toss it in the trash, and then install the ruby if that's what I really wanted.

    The store was obviously more concerned about the economic penalties of disobeying De Beers' policies than gaining the business of people who preferred a choice of gemstones, like rubies instead of diamonds. It's truly frightening how much influence De Beers has in the ring-selling industry!

    Oh, wait -- I seem to have made a few typos...

    • "ring" should have been "computer"
    • "diamond" should have been "Windows"
    • "ruby" should have been "Red Hat"
    • "De Beers" should have been "Microsoft"
    • "gemstone" should have been "operating system"

    Whoops -- I guess I don't actually have a story that applies to De Beers after all. My apologies for straying so far off the parent poster's topic...

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