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|The World After Windows|
What If Microsoft Loses?
Let's say that Microsoft loses to the 9 dissenting States in the anti-trust case.
What are the implications to the desktop if Microsoft must strip out the middleware or really stops selling Windows?
1 AOL-Time Warner can begin to take back market share with its Netscape browser. Is this good for the consumer? We are talking AOL now. How much will the Netscape and IE browers cost?
2 Some computers will ship with Real, some QuickTime and others with MS Windows Media Player. Is this good for businesses that want to deploy video?
3 Some computers will ship with AOL's IM, others with Yahoo's and others with MSN's IM. As each competes for market share will inter-operatablity die?
4 Microsoft makes all Office products available to Free Unix or Linux systems. What will be the upgrade price that Microsoft charges?
When a middleware product doesn't work, whom do you contact to get the problem resolved? Do you call Dell or Gateway or HP because they are the integrators? You can't call MS if they have been barred from this area or stop selling Windows.
Now if the value of Windows Operating System drops, how does Microsoft pickup the slack?
1 Do they raise the prices of the Office Products?
2 Do they become a competitor to RedHat and sell Linux?
3 Do they push FreeBSD and its Business oriented licensing? (Remember they have a FreeBSD version of .NET and C# already shipping.)
I think Microsoft has 38 to 40 Billion in cash (probably wrong amount but whatever the number is, it is huge.) How will they spend it to get the company to recover from the Windows anti-trust loses?
Why are the States trying to get prior restraint against Microsoft in technology not involved in the suit except to stop this kind of major technology shift?
How much less will you be paying in the future once the economy of scale is removed from the Operating Systems market? Remember no evidence has been submitted to show how consumers will benefit from the prior restraints the States want.
"Do you honestly think MS would drop support for either the Mac or Dell if they supported another browser?"
The Dell/browser thing was an extreme hypothetical example. But M$ did manage to "persuade" Dell to stop shipping boxes with Linux. It's hard to say if it's just M$ bluffing, because pretty much everyone that they threaten just gives up because the stakes are so high.
Okay Cyril..the cats out of the bag.
>>Now, a large number of businesses that rely on performing services for clients that use Microsoft products will be impacted if the States prevail. <<
This is not a good reason to support a monopoly. It is akin to saying "everybody should be driving Yugos, because we make so much money repairing the cute little things."
The amount of money businesses spend to keep MS products running smoothly is ridiculous, I see it as a DRAIN on the economy and not a plus.
If you network 5 PC's you need a network engineer...what a total waste of resources. That money could be spent on actually producing something of value.
Not only could MS not stop Dell, but Dell could sue for unfair business practices (extortion?) if MS tried to raise prices or not sell because of Dell's decision to add Linux, or Opera, etc.
As to the argument that IE is buggy/bad and therefore shouldn't be required. So what? Just because something is bad (which I disagree with), that doesn't make it illegal. If so, we could sue Sega for the Dreamcast. All it takes is a visit to Opera/Netscape (which you couldn't do w/o your free IE browser) and d/l either program *for free*. There's no charge. MS doesn't cripple Windows if you install a new browser. All it needs is *A* browser, and of course they are going to ship their own w/ Windows instead of a competitor's.
Now, if MS would have tried to force you to sign up for their MSN internet service in order to use the internet on Windows, then there would be something to litigate about.
No that would just be the sort of lack of openness about an operating which caused people to drop Apple/Xerox/VMS etc. in favour of microsoft in the first place.
Microsoft business model is now being followed by dozens of other web businesses - give it away cheap/free to start off with and introduce charges subtly later - (e.g. Yahoo mail)
"Dell could sue for unfair business practices (extortion?) if MS tried to raise prices or not sell because of Dell's decision to add Linux, or Opera, etc."
Unfortunately that hasn't been the case. The proposed remedy specifically addresses this issue and will try to stop M$ from retaliating in the future..
|Ban on Retaliation - Microsoft will be prohibited from retaliating against computer manufacturers or software developers for supporting or developing certain competing software. This provision will ensure that computer manufacturers and software developers are able to take full advantage of the options granted to them under the proposed Final Judgment without fear of reprisal. |
An example of M$'s past retalitory practices
|Norris said he was told by Microsoft, "As long as you're shipping competitive products ... you will suffer," in pricing terms, conditions and support programs. |
|Microsoft quintupled royalties for IBM to $220 million after the company surprised Microsoft chairman Bill Gates by refusing to drop a rival operating system |
Then MS should be fined for strongarming, but obviously they don't have a monopoly power when IBM went ahead and used Linux anyways.
What about Intel? As I mentioned above, they have been doing the same thing to AMD chipset/MB providers. I don't see any anit-trust lawsuits against them.
If Microsoft is a Yugo, what does that make Apple?
To the original position,
life would be different, and the people who had'nt got on the various other band wagons, either open or other OS's would be seriously cabbaged.
I can see it happening in a few years.
"If Microsoft is a Yugo, what does that make Apple?"
horse and buggy :)
"horse and buggy"
Plug 20 macs together and turn on apple talk. Done deal.
Plug 20 Windoze machines together...ahhh ..hmmm...call in a few engineers and maybe we should put someone on the payroll to call the engineers, and maybe we need to upgrade this whole thing again...and by the way..how much is this really costing us?
okay...okay...sorry, this was originally about the illegal MS monopoly being broken up, not a MAC vs. Windoze thing. Sorry
Actually, if we could break up the Yugo monopoly, we might see some formula one stuff out there, and maybe some of you MS remoras' might learn something innovative.
Hmmm...remora? Must be a big "Apple" word. Where is that Atomica icon? Ahh...remora. "Any of several marine fishes of the family Echeneidae, having on the head a sucking disk with which they attach themselves to sharks, whales, sea turtles, or the hulls of ships. Also called shark sucker, suckerfish; Also called suckfish."
I'm SHOCKED!! SHOCKED!! And I represent that assertion! :-)
Hooking MS computers together is not hard to do, but Suzy Spreadsheet probably can't (thank god.) Mac users are typically more computer inclined, because the low-income family won't shell out $2000 for a lamp. Any person with help-desk level computer knowledge could network 20 XP or 2000 machines together.
Sidenote - from the creators of the Yugo comes the ZMW (no lie!) They expect to sell around 60,000 cars in the US next year, and it will be the lowest priced car on the market.
Even if MS was punished for their success, Apple wouldn't get more than 2% extra of the market share. Why? Everyone's programs are made for windows, not Apple/Unix. Plus, people will balk at the Mac's pricetag. And I for one will never use a Mac because they only support one mouse button. How medieval is that?
You need to respond to the whole thread. If the States prevail and take Microsoft's intellicetual property then I and other businesses are impacted.
It is neither illegal or morally wrong to be a monopoly. The suit is about the misuse of the power the monopoly has.
No one is arguing that Microsoft should not be made to act properly. But the states are going beyond that.
Big business constantly needs to be restrained so that they do the right things. That's why we have fair labor practices and safety laws.
At the same time Governments need to be curtailed to. That is why we have the Bill of Rights and the Supreme Court. Illinois stopped executions because the last 25 that were to be executed had 13 of the defendant proven innocent.
So Business and Government need to be limited in how they do things. Each have extrodinary powers that get exercised by imperfect people.
Now if you step back and look abstractly, do you want whole basis of copyright protection and the rights to intellectual property sacraficed by the States prevailing.
I don't and by the way I feel that it will so unsettle the economy that I will be negatively impacted.
"the cats out of the bag", is anyone that commented not involved in the outcome of this case?
"It is neither illegal or morally wrong to be a monopoly."
Gee...I'm not a lawyer; so are you saying that it is legal to be a monopoly as long as you are a nice monopoly?
That's a great turn of phrase... mind if I borrow it?
Mac users are typically more computer inclined, because the low-income family won't shell out $2000 for a lamp.
Members of my rather low-income family solve that little problem by purchasing used or recently discontinued Macs. And would you mind telling me what income level has to do with whether or not one is capable of networking a computer in the first place?
I've had email conversations with quite wealthy people who needed step-by-step instructions to use a simple online shopping cart, much less do anything complex like networking... and some fairly low income people who can, through networking and creative system design, get some really old computers to do things most home users couldn't do with the latest and greatest.
Really, if this is going to be turned into a Mac vs. PC thread (which is perhaps the ONLY way it could possibly become more of a total energy-sink), at least limit your arguments to those that do not resort to stereotyping people as though personal income level had anything to do with intelligence or computer aptitude.
...and, I happen to be using a two button mouse with a scroll wheel on my Mac at this very moment. Funny, it seems to be working just fine.
I don't think whatever remedies the Courts come up with will challenges M$'s place in the market. They will still have firepower enough to skirt whatever remedies they are given, and will still dominate the entire computing world.
Macs will always be boutique machines for the graphics folks, and toys for the kids and seniors.
I guess consider myself lucky enough to be bi-lingual. I was raised on DOS, trained on PC, went to Mac, and back to PC because of the negative effect that M$ "non-monopoly" had on my clients. If I wanted to HAVE clients, I needed M$ products, and windoze. Emulation software just did not cut it. To me, thats the effect of an effectual if not complete monopoly.
I still use my Macs for graphics, and games, but I am forced to use PC's with WIndoze becaause thats what businesses do <no, I am NOT going to learn to run *nix, I am a marketing dude, not going to waste anymore time learning systems>
Well, it seems that this thread has divided into two topics: Mac v. PC and the MS monopoly. Since I have 4¢, and an opinion, I will give my 2¢ on each...
Mac v PC:
Mivox: Well, I'm using a Logitech Wireless Optical mouse with my Mac, and it has THREE buttons and a scroll wheel, so I'm better than you! :-P
AlbinoRhyno: Re: "Any person with help-desk level computer knowledge could network 20 XP or 2000 machines together." Anybody with ANY computer experience can network Macs together. (I knew people who were on a help desk and couldn't network 2k machines. Had something to do with some protocol not being "routable" and not having access to some other info.) Re: "$2000 lamp" I assume you mean the $1500 iMac, which is very comparably priced to a similarly equipped Dell PC. Re: "What about Intel?" Intel has had anti-trust lawsuits against them; they chose not to fight and have changed their behavior.
bigjohnt: "Macs will always be boutique machines...." Macs will most likely always be in a niche market for the forseeable future. But, I think they will gain some marketshare by winning SOME *nix users.
john316: Right, a company can be a monopoly (as defined as having a significant marketshare), but it is not illegal until they do something to abuse that monopoly (which is the legal definition of monopoly). Amtrack is an example of a "nice" monopoly in the US. They are the only ones that are in the passenger train biz. They are not abusing that monopoly to gain other marketshare, so everyone is cool with them (as far as their monopoly is concerned; money problems/train derailments aside).
MS is a monopoly. The courts have determined that. The crux of the matter is, as cyril kearney said, is what is it going to take to make MS behave? The proposed sanctions against MS are supposed to prevent MS from entering into another market (e.g., game consoles, handhelds, or even online money transactions, an extension of the .net thing) by abusing their current OS marketshare. They have already taken significant share from (or killed) Corel, Netscape, Sun, Novel, AOL, Apple, Real, and many smaller companies. I'm not saying that those companies necessarily made the best product. I am saying that, for instance, MSN QUICKLY became the #2 ISP because MS could use their OS to market their product instead of AOL's. The goal of the sanctions is to prevent MS from doing this over and over in other markets.
Will the proposed federal government sanctions prevent that behavior? Will the proposed states' sanctions do that? Who knows? I think breaking them up and setting up different companies is the only real solution, and that went away when the "liberal buddies" left office and the pro-big business conservatives were court appointed. Anything anyone proposes short of that is kidding themselves. The Netscape issues are dead; IE will always be part of Windows. Corel is basically dead. The only thing we can do is save the other companies.
But, to answer the original questions by cyril kearney: As far as who will be impacted by this: everyone. Some positive. Some negative. I think it will benefit everyone in the long run. Past anti-trust cases have proven that.
[All right, I know this was more than 4¢ worth, and a lot of what I said has already been said, but I didn't feel like doing any real work and was bored with TV. So now, it's bedtime!]
>>But, to answer the original questions by cyril kearney: As far as who will be impacted by this: everyone. Some positive. Some negative. I think it will benefit everyone in the long run. Past anti-trust cases have proven that.
Here's the official record of comments from the public that the Dept. of Justice received regarding the case:
I believe the bottom line is that decision should benefit the public in the long run.
I think everyone agrees with the generalization that restoring competition is for the best over the long haul.
The Justice Department's proposed settlement does just that and. Perhaps it needs some tweaking. That's what the comments period was about, to give the Judge some insight on how the consumer saw it.
There was no ground swell by the consumer calling for the transference of Microsoft's intellectual property to its main competitors.
Now as a developer and writer, I have a stake in the preservation of copyright and trade secrets. I see this misguided attempt by the States as diminishing my copyrights and threatening my trade secrets rights.
The consumers didn't ask for the dismantling of middleware. What consumers are advocating the dismantling of browers, email and messaging from Windows?
As a small business with limited resources I am not in a position to deliver systems that must take into account the idiosyncrasies of dozens of variations in the Windows platform. I can't handle the expense or the learning curve.
The States settlement will put me and thousand of developers out of business. Only much larger consulting companies would be able to deal with this tower of babel. I am a sole practioner that uses sub-contractors and I see the States position as unfair to me.
Lastly, who benefits beyond the biggest corporations in the US. The consumer only gets a steep leaning curve, but AOL Time Warner, Sun and Oracle get accesses to millions of dollars worth of Microsoft software.
I run a small business myself, and I support three different unix systems as well as several Windows versions with my software. The interesting thing is, that staying compatible with unix systems from three different manufacturers turns out to be much easier than staying compatible with three different Windows systems from the same manufacturer. And that's a fact that anyone who has ever tried both will gladly confirm.
In short, if Windows went away (which it won't do just because Microsoft should get split up), then that would make my work a lot easier.
I think cyril has mentioned something very important. There was no groundswell of public demand for the government to cut Microsoft off at the knees. Sure the tech community has argued about Microsoft for years, but they are only a very tiny group in the big picture.
The government pushed this attack on Microsoft, then the media picked it up and ran with it. Even today the public could care less about this controversy, and overall seem quite satisfied with the status quo.
This is not about protecting the public's interest - it is about fleecing a suceesful company. If these politicians had the public's interest in mind, they would have taken into account the immense damage to the tech industry and everyone's 401k's before driving down Microsoft stock and the rest of the stock market with it.
Who will be there to cheer if Microsoft's stock drags the stock market down again?
Or a better question might be who will then admit that this lawsuit was never in the public's interest?
I'm not sure if I'd really want to equate "public interest" with "popular demand" here. Most often, those two have nothing at all to do with each other.
not sure if I'd really want to equate "public interest" with "popular demand"
Not to mention the often large gap between the public's best interest (product choice, quality and value) and a corporation's best interest (profit, profit and profit).
I don't buy the argument that Microsoft carries the health of the US stock market on its shoulders, although if they did, a serious market "correction" on that count would probably be well in order. It's not in anyone's best interests to have all of the US economy's eggs in one basket.
I also don't buy the idea that curbing agressively anti-competitive practices on the part of the current desktop software market leader is going to irreparably harm either the stock market or the computer industry. If Microsoft were such an indisputably superior, high-quality company, wouldn't market forces have ensured their success without them having to resort to threats and coercion to ward off competition?
They've already been found guilty of illegal anti-competitive practices, so that issue is no longer in dispute...
I don't think the public has ever cared. I can't even think of the thought process that a person would go through where they would be upset that IE is installed on their computer. Joe user is sometimes lucky enough to know how to check his email, let alone know of any differences between browsers.
That being said, while the public at large has never cared, it doesn't make it right. I think that computer software is a large minefield for anti-trust lawsuits. How can you say someone is price gouging when there is no product costs, beyond labor and cds/packing material? It is not the same as Mobil lowering their gas prices $.50/gallon in an effort to drive out mom-and-pop gas stations.
What about bundling software with other products that have a monopoly hold on the market? Why would MS be bundling IE with Windows for any other reason than increased functionality? Could it be in order to drive other broswers out of the market and then charge for IE? As soon as a pricetag was ever speculated, there would be an open source browser that people could download. Heck, I bet that MS could never get rid of open source competition due to the fact that some people hate MS.
What would be MS's alternative? Pay AOL or Opera a licensing fee to use Netscape/Opera as their de facto browser for Windows? That's a ridiculous thought. See the GM/PDA examples above for further explanation.
Ok, well maybe MS could be required to ship with no browser, and the computer manufacturer's could decide what goes on the pc. You could kiss stability goodbye (insert MS joke here). If MS has so many problems with a product that they designed and know every line of code for, can you imagine how unstable it would be if it had to accomodate at a minimum of three different browser engines? Even if they could pull it off, the code bloat would diminish productivity, security holes would exponentially increase, and what happens when a new, popular browser engine comes out? Just about everyone here has struggled with making a web site look similar (usually impossible to look exactly the same) in different browsers. Imagine if you had to do this with a whole operating system.
If MS has so many problems with a product that they designed and know every line of code for, can you imagine how unstable it would be if it had to accomodate at a minimum of three different browser engines?
I use three different browsers on my NT machine here at the office. Netscape and Opera run just fine alongside IE, so supporting "different browser engines" is obviously an issue that was resolved some time ago.
security holes would exponentially increase, and...
I don't think I'm introducing any major security holes by installing NN or Opera on the machine, considering most Windows-centered security problems seem to be intimately tied to IE's ActiveX "features," or (also conveniently "bundled" with Windows) Outlook Express...
Well of course not, because right now Windows is programmed to use the IE engine to do its dirty work. Even running the desktop or launching Windows Explorer invokes the Iexplore.exe engine. Think if Windows didn't know which engine would actually be being used to do system functions. This is where the security holes would be introduced, and this is why MS has said that Windows and IE are inseperable.
>>>This is where the security holes would be introduced, and this is why MS has said that Windows and IE are inseperable.
Ever seen this?
It doesn't work for Windows 2000, XP, or NT.
>I don't buy the argument that Microsoft carries the health of the US stock market on its shoulders, although if they did, a serious market "correction" on that count would probably be well in order. It's not in anyone's best interests to have all of the US economy's eggs in one basket.<
Of course Microsoft does not carry the stock market on its shoulders - if it had been GE or GM or any number of other companies the results would have been identical. Imagine if Walmart had been the target... Millions of people lost billions of dollars when Microsoft hit the skids a couple of years ago. This is not just about whose browser works with whose OS.
Millions of people lost billions of dollars when Microsoft hit the skids a couple of years ago.
Hence the reason stocks are considered a fairly high-risk investment. If someone unwisely invests money they cannot afford to lose in any given publicly traded company, should that company then be allowed to engage in illegal anti-competitive practices just to prop up its stock value & prevent investors from losing their pants? I don't think so. Investing in the stock market? Be prepared to roll with the punches.
right now Windows is programmed to use the IE engine to do its dirty work
That could be changed. AFAIK, the Mac OS does not use an embedded internet browser engine for its basic functionality, and it doesn't seem to suffer any massive additional security risks because of it.... Ironically, the only security risks to my Mac that I had to install patches for involved MS Office and IE.
So what you are saying is that it is more important for the government to punish large companies for perceived injustices toward a few smaller companies, thus causing a meltdown in the stock market that affects millions of peoples life savings (where do you think everybody's pension plans are invested? And not just in Microsoft!). "To hell with the people, we have a big bad monopoly that has made too many people rich - we have to take them down no matter what the consequences!" Your anti-Microsoft hate is more important than peoples' pensions and savings?
I am sorry - I just cannot fathom thinking like this. I hope you will be very happy with the savings you have stuffed under your mattress...
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