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Windows 7 Eyed For Antitrust Violations 290

Preedit writes "The committee that oversees Microsoft's compliance with the 2002 antitrust settlement now has its hands on Windows 7. The Technical Committee is checking to see if the software meets the settlement's terms. Among other things, it's looking at whether Windows 7 favors Microsoft apps over third party programs, according to InformationWeek. The story also notes that Vista SP1 includes a number of changes that were added to satisfy the committee. For instance, it eliminates several browser overrides where Vista ignored users' default preferences and automatically launched Explorer. Windows 7 is due sometime around 2010."
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Windows 7 Eyed For Antitrust Violations

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  • Re:Who cares (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10, 2008 @02:27PM (#22705208)
    Difference being that Apple isn't a convicted monopolist.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10, 2008 @02:32PM (#22705316)
    > what separates Apple from Microsoft in these regards?

    Apple aren't a convicted monopolist! I agree that some of Apples business practices are less than stellar, but the only thing that even came close to being an anti-trust issue was the runaway success of iTunes.
  • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Informative)

    by liquidpele ( 663430 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @02:35PM (#22705370) Journal
    To add to the other reply, MS also kept a lot of the internal windows API documentation under lock and key (via NDA), obfuscated, or very expensive to license. This makes it very hard for other companies to get their applications using Windows effectively, while MS' own offerings of course don't have that problem. More openness in their standards and API's were one of the big things the EU required of them.
  • Re:Lost causes (Score:5, Informative)

    by plague3106 ( 71849 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @02:50PM (#22705654)
    Well, let's see, I know 100% that Outlook in no way requires Word. It only would if you set Outlook to use Word as the email editor... but then that's an option you choose, and it's only available if Word is installed at all.

    If I'm wrong about the VS "data aware" controls, tell me exactly to which controls you're refering.

    Finally, I've had plenty of media players other than WMP that I had set as default, and I never had XP or so far Vista randomly "reset" them. So you're either making it up, or maybe there's something else going on, like group policy making the change.
  • by 644bd346996 ( 1012333 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @03:03PM (#22705894)
    Apple sells and bundles a lot of applications, but it is really easy to switch to a third party app, and your preferences are honored. For example, if you set a mozilla-based browser as the default, you will never end up with Safari opening up, and the only time Webkit will get used is in the help system or generating a preview in the Finder. (Granted, on windows, it's pretty much the same, except that it is not uncommon for apps to launch IE even when Firefox is the default.)

    In some cases, it seems that Apple has made it too easy for third party apps to become the default. Stuffit in particular is almost viral in the way it claims all compressed files as it's own. I'd prefer the OS to ask me for confirmation before letting Stuffit rape my prefs just because I want to use a piece of legacy software in a .sit archive.

    Perhaps one of the benefits of Apple's approach is that the underlying frameworks are far more separated from the front-end applications. Services like Quicktime and Webkit are usable by all apps, with relatively few undocumented APIs. Those frameworks are also more extendable, which makes for better interoperability. (eg. there are free Quicktime components that add oog support to all applications that use QT, even iTunes.) Webkit is open-source, so if you fix a rendering bug or download a nightly with a new feature, all applications can take advantage of that (even the proprietary apps).
  • Re:Lost causes (Score:2, Informative)

    by maeltor ( 679257 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @03:23PM (#22706194)
    He's right. It doesnt REQUIRE it at all, it just happens to be installed with WORD as the default editor when Outlook is installed with Office, For example, look at SBS 2003. You get Outlook 2003 w/ Exchange when you buy SBS. It doesn't include Office and doesn't need it when installed.
  • Re:Lost causes (Score:4, Informative)

    by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardpriceNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday March 10, 2008 @03:43PM (#22706600)
    Just to add to your comment -

    I run several XP systems, all with Firefox set as the default - none have ever had their default setting removed, and they are all kept up to date with patches.

    Installing Office does add extra functionality to Visual Studio (or at least certain versions) - it adds the Office data components, which are not shipped with Visual Studio. Or you could just download the Office SDK which includes them.

    Outlook uses the Word HTML engine to display messages, but it comes with it included - you can install Outlook standalone with no issues (and you can even buy it standalone).

    I can't see one thing the GP has said which I couldn't classify as FUD from experience with the products involved.
  • Re:Who cares (Score:2, Informative)

    by YaroMan86 ( 1180585 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @03:46PM (#22706652) Journal

    I will never understand why open source enthusiasts get so angry when Microsoft starts giving things away for free. Has anyone ever stopped to think that this antitrust thing is the reason windows is such an underpowered POS? Maybe this is why they aren't able to give away decent developer tools, standardized antivirus, or a decent package management system.

    Most FOSSies aren't pissed about giving stuff away for free, even from Microsoft. What they are pissed off about is when Microsoft virtually forces them to use it by way of shell integration. The difference between say, Windows and IE and KDE and Konquerer's integration is the fact that, in my experience, removing Konquerer is still an option, whereas there's no easy method of removing Internet Explorer. Though I still don't care for KDE. I'm probably one of the few who likes GNOME. Windows has always been a POS, even before all this anti-trust action came up. The reason they haven't released decent tools is less to do with anti-trust and less because they don't give a crap about these things. Developers Tools? They practically dominate the Windows development market with Visual Studio. It has degenrated into a nasty vendor lock-in mess I could care less for. .Net made this worse. They implemented Windows Defender for antivirus, and it is no secret that Defender can't stop viruses worth a shit. And the MS lapdog Symantec produces worse. And Microsoft has absolutely no interest in package management, unless you count MSI as such. Why? Because too many software vendors are more than happy enough to kiss Microsoft's ass and produce physical media for the vast majority of its software, making package management redundant and pointless.

    Mircosoft does a lot of bad things, but giving away software is not one of them. Their competitors (various open source projects) give away much higher quality code for free. Every time Microsoft tries to add a new feature, they get their asses sued off by every company that hacked in that new feature before, and are now charging ridiculous amounts of money for it.

    I agree, giving away their software isn't bad. But making it so that the software they give away becomes the only real solution is. This is why Silverlight bothers me so much. What happens if Flash becomes defunct and Silverlight takes over? I don't want any Microsoft software on *my* machine. But what if Microsoft crushes Flash with Silverlight the way they crushed Netscape with Internet Explorer. Sure, there are "alternatives" but will the average user be aware of it or even care?

    I dislike Microsoft because they do not play well with standards bodies. I think that's lame, and they need to learn their place. On the other hand, if they actually started shipping a fully featured OS where I didn't have to pay a ton of money for all the additional bell and whistles, I would seriously consider switching to windows.

    No, they don't play very well. Whenever they see a standard that threatens their monopoly position, they do the familiar embrace, extend, extinguish. I've seen them break way too many standards, in IE, in Visual Studio, etc. And Windows *is* fully featured except in markets where they have to abide by the anti-trust decisions. That's most of the world, unfortunately. But that's the problem is because the features integrate, from a technical perspective, where they really shouldn't. Internet Explorer, Explorer, IIS, DRM, etc. UNIX may not be perfect, but I find it wins in the kernel department thanks to the philosophy of doing only what it is *supposed* to do that's relevant to what it is. A kernel shouldn't have anything to do with the GUI, web browser, DRM, or web servers. All a kernel *should* do is manage memory and hardware and act as a messenger for the software and drivers. Though this differs from UNIX to UNIX and UNIX-like to UNIX-like. I like a monolithic kernel simply so that sen

  • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Informative)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) <akaimbatman&gmail,com> on Monday March 10, 2008 @05:59PM (#22708752) Homepage Journal

    Except that WMP was included in windows many years before Real was ever founded.

    Congratulations, you've been suckered by Microsoft's intentionally confusing naming scheme. To give you an idea of the grave error you have just committed, a good comparison would be to point at FileMan from Windows 3.1 and say that Microsoft has had a web browser FOREVER. Just as Windows Explorer != Internet Explorer, Media Player [wikipedia.org] != Windows Media Player. In fact, WMP was predated by ActiveMovie [wikipedia.org], Microsoft's first real attempt at streaming video playback.

    Netscape was the first to give away their browser.

    What is it with Slashdotters and bad history today? Is this "make up history as we go" day and someone forgot to tell me? Or is it national unencyclopedia month?

    Netscape gave away their browser to non-profit entities like students. Corporations had to pay to use the browser as late as 1998. In fact, I happen to have the press release [netscape.com] right here that made Navigator a free product:

    MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (January 22, 1998) -- In addition, the company is making its currently available Netscape Navigator and Communicator Standard Edition 4.0 software products immediately free for all users. With this action, Netscape makes it easier than ever for individuals at home, at school or at work to choose the world's most popular Internet client software as their preferred interface to the Internet.

    Real's offerings just SUCKED

    And if you had actually read my post, you'd know that it doesn't actually matter. But I will add this: Netscape, Real, Eudora, WinSock, etc. were all pioneers of the Internet age. No one had given them roadmaps to follow, so they pretty much had to make it up as they went along. (And keep in mind that these companies were born in the fires of Unix, not Windows.) Microsoft was able to swoop in and provide a better experience by way of bundling their product. They were able to learn from all the mistakes of their predecessors, then use their market power to CRUSH them.

    Even worse? Microsoft didn't write Internet Explorer. They obtained the source code to a competitor of Netscape's called "Spyglass". Their deal with Spyglass was that Spyglass would get a tiny sum up front in exchange for long-term royalties. Of course, Microsoft gave Internet Explorer away, so they refused to pay Spyglass any royalties. How's that for anti-competitive behavior?
  • Re:Forcing IE (Score:3, Informative)

    by SEMW ( 967629 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:05PM (#22710710)

    FYI: In any .NET application, you click an URL, IE is used. This is regardless if you have FF (or what have you) set as the default browser.
    Bollocks. Counterexample: I've just tried opening a URL from the About box in Paint.NET (the only obviously .NET program I have that I can think of at the moment), and it opened in my default browser (Opera, FYI).

    Did you actually mean "One particular application I have does this, and it happens to be .NET, so I'm going to assume with little justification that it's a general feature of the programming framework rather than the particular program"?
  • Re:Who cares (Score:2, Informative)

    by redxxx ( 1194349 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @08:19AM (#22714250)
    start>run cmd ok ftp ftp-mozilla.netscape.com anonymous binary get "/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/3.0b4/win32/en-US/Firefox Setup 3.0 Beta 4.exe" bye "Firefox Setup 3.0 Beta 4.exe" it's not quite as easy as in linux, but totally doable in widows.

Today is the first day of the rest of your lossage.