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EU Court Throws Out Microsoft's Antitrust Appeal
The court upheld a record $689 million fine imposed on Microsoft
engine




msg:3452639
 11:08 am on Sep 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

A European Union court upheld a landmark 2004 European Commission antitrust decision against Microsoft on Monday in a crucial victory for the European competition regulator over the U.S. software giant.

The court dismissed Microsoft's appeal on all substantive points, throwing a small bone to the U.S. company by reversing the Commission on the creation and funding of a monitoring trustee to ensure implementation of one of the remedies.

"The Court of First Instance essentially upholds the Commission's decision finding that Microsoft abused its dominant position," a court statement said.

The court upheld a record $689 million fine imposed on Microsoft as part of the original decision.

EU Court Throws Out Microsoft's Antitrust Appeal [news.com]

 

swa66




msg:3453248
 9:14 pm on Sep 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

A pity the landmark fine has had no impact on how Microsoft bundles other products into their OS (sure you can buy XP without media player, at the same price - if you ever manage to find it in a store).

I'm still -in vain for sure- hoping it will eventually break the choking monopoly MSFT has on PC OSes. But until consumers start to say "no", nothing will change if the legal system continues to be slower than the technology it is trying to guide.

zafile




msg:3453470
 4:12 am on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm glad I DON'T live in Europe.

I'll be pretty upset if my government and a legion of zealots forced me to use a non Microsoft media player, a non Microsoft antivirus and a non Microsoft firewall.

I'm quite happy to have access to A FULL featured Microsoft operating system.

So Europeans, please stay home!

the_nerd




msg:3453582
 8:17 am on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm glad I DON'T live in Europe.

So am I.
It's such a nice place here ;-)


I'll be pretty upset if my government and a legion of zealots forced me to use a non Microsoft media player, a non Microsoft antivirus and a non Microsoft firewall.

They don't force you - they just want to give you the chance to choose.

Angelis




msg:3453620
 9:22 am on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Quite frankly 95% of the worlds population couldn't give a rat's a$$.

My mother, father, sister, aunt's and uncle's would never in a million years use anything other than Microsoft products, they work for them, never had a problem with them and most likely never will.

Just because technical people (including me) like using Linux etc doesn't mean everyone else does. If I want a PC without MS software on it I will build it myself or get it from Dell. Or God forbid I would buy a Mac!

People need to start realizing that most people couldn't give a damn and stop imposing their opinions on other people.

kaled




msg:3453663
 10:55 am on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

The EU correctly recognized the problem, but implemented entirely the wrong solution (with respect to bundled software)...

Microsoft should be required to include software like Firefox, Thunderbird, Opera, ZoneAlarm, Winzip, Realplayer (I hate it) etc. on the installation CD and offer to install it when Windows is installed.

Essentially, any major software vendor that produces alternatives to packages included within Windows should be able to apply to have them included with Windows. Precisely how you administer this I'm not sure, but it shouldn't be that difficult. Already, the licensing system for signing software can carry out checks on companies and software to ensure that spyware and viruses are not included in signed code, so it's not a huge leap.

At installation time, the standard Windows application (such as Outlook Express\Windows Mail) should be installed, and then the user should be offered a list of alternatives (such as Thunderbird) of which one (or more if there are no conflicts) may be selected. Obviously, there's only so much space on a CD/DVD so larger packages would require internet downloads.

Kaled.

webdoctor




msg:3453792
 1:38 pm on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Essentially, any major software vendor that produces alternatives to packages included within Windows should be able to apply to have them included with Windows.

Right... errr... and how much would MSFT charge for this service? Or do they have to do it for free?

Precisely how you administer this I'm not sure, but it shouldn't be that difficult.

Ever thought of running for public office? :-)

webdoctor




msg:3453800
 1:48 pm on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

My mother, father, sister, aunt's and uncle's would never in a million years use anything other than Microsoft products, they work for them, never had a problem with them and most likely never will.

So let them keep buying Microsoft's products (the EU aren't planning on stopping them doing so). AFAICT the EU is hoping to protect the interests of the consumers who DON'T want to be forced into buying Microsoft's products.

Just because technical people (including me) like using Linux etc doesn't mean everyone else does. If I want a PC without MS software on it I will build it myself or get it from Dell. Or God forbid I would buy a Mac!

The point is that if you buy a Dell PC with Vista, Microsoft get paid for the Vista licence. In the interests of transparency, this should be itemised on your Dell invoice, and if you don't want Vista (or already have Linux [or Windows XP] which you'd prefer to use instead) you should be able to opt-out of this.

IMHO you shouldn't have to choose any particular "Linux-compatible" system in order to opt-out of purchasing (another copy of) Windows, you should get a tick-box presented to you as part of your order process - something like:

"Windows Vista Ultimate [x] ... $149 extra"

which you can simply uncheck to avoid paying Microsoft for the licence and if you uncheck the box you get a blank hard disc. There are many other OS vendors who'd happily ship a copy of their OS on DVD with the PC if the consumer doesn't want Windows...

Surely we're in favour of protecting consumer rights, aren't we?

webdoctor




msg:3453816
 2:09 pm on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

...further to this, I've just checked out Dell's US website:

As far as I can tell, Dell's cheapest PC is from the Inspiron range, starting at $349 (excluding monitor).

If you select this system and click "Build Yours" you get a series of options, after clicking through on-site service and processer options you get to choose the operating system. You get a choice of:

Windows Vista Home Basic [x] Included in price
Windows Vista Home Premium [ ] Add $30

US consumers (apparently) aren't able to opt-out of buying a copy of Windows Vista with this system.

Why not?

We should note that Microsoft's suggested retail price [microsoft.com] for Windows Vista Home Basic is $199

Well, let's take that out... hell, that sounds like a good deal - a new Dell without Vista for only $150?

<silence>

OH WAIT...

Do we think that Dell is actually paying Microsoft less than the RRP for their OEM copies of Vista Home Basic?

How little is Dell actually paying for Vista Home Basic?

How about some price transparency for consumers?

zafile




msg:3453897
 3:19 pm on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Take a look and listen to Microsoft Corp. General Counsel Brad Smith first response to the decision: [microsoft.com...]

I'm glad I DON'T live in Europe!

shigamoto




msg:3454062
 5:39 pm on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Oh joy now I can finally get a Windows version without Media Player! Seriously though; it is difficult to see how this verdict will be of benefit for for end-users.

Personally I can't see why Microsoft has to do this, it would be like telling Toyota; "You are too big and dominant compared to EU-companies, please deliver your cars without any stereos in them and oh we will also fine you for being innovative and staying ahead of the pack, $700 million please".

kaled




msg:3454408
 12:26 am on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

I believe the majority of the fine is related to Microsoft refusing to publish documentation on API calls that its own software uses. This puts competitors at a distinct disadvantage - to that extent the EU is correct.

Let's not forget that some years ago, a US court ordered Microsoft to be split into two (OS and software) however, Microsoft successfully appealed that one.

Let's not forget also that in the early days of Internet Explorer, Microsoft testified in court that it could not unbundle the browser because it was too heavily integrated into the operating system - unfortunately, the judge was able to find instructions on how to uninstall IE completely (and did so in a few minutes) in other words, Microsoft were guilty of perjury.

This has been rumbling on for nearly ten years and it all started in the US (with the DOJ I think but I could be mistaken).

Kaled.

flack47




msg:3457311
 4:23 pm on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's not just about what consumers get. It's about market share. When Microsoft imposes their programs on the consumers upon purchase of the computer/OS, they make it more difficult for other program providers to offer themselves to that consumer.
Maybe a lot of consumers don't want to have to make that choice, but it's only fair that they know the choice exists.

hutcheson




msg:3457616
 10:09 pm on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

There's a very good interview with the Samba team, the plaintiffs who stayed with the suit all the way, when bigger entities (like RealNetworks) were bought off by Microsoft. See [groklaw.net...] for a transcript. They do a good job of explaining to the interviewer how and why Brad Smith is being so deceptive.

Come to think of it, they basically spent the last few years explaining the same thing to the European courts and commissions. And obviously did a good job there also.

There's another message there also. The biggest collection of legal and fiscal goons on the planet couldn't refute four people with minds and ideals.

Fortunately for Microsoft, that combination isn't _all_ that common.

zafile




msg:3457687
 12:10 am on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

"Maybe a lot of consumers don't want to have to make that choice, but it's only fair that they know the choice exists."

The problem with you guys is that you want a free ride. You want Microsoft to promote other non-Microsoft choices and give communication protocols free of charge!

Too bad you guys didn't have Bill Gates' vision in the early 80s:

"Microsoft started out looking at 16-bit operating systems at the high end. About two years ago we went to Western Electric and licensed their Unix Operating System—which we have commercialized to a form known as Xenix." "So what we've got now is a family of operating systems with MSDOS at the low end and Xenix at the high end—really there's such a broad range of systems. From a single-user floppy system up to essentially a time sharing 16-bit system. We feel it is absolutely critical to have more than one operating system, although you have to have complete compatibility to move up along the line and add additional capability." [ PC Magazine February 1982 page 21, paragraph 1, [pcmag.com...] ]

So Microsoft made most of the important work and now you want a free ride!

hutcheson




msg:3457705
 12:55 am on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Ah, our "Microsoft Historian" is back, and as accurate as ever.

The SMB protocol comes from IBM, not Microsoft. It has been widely adapted (e.g., by DEC) and is best known today through the tireless work of the SMB people.

Who make a PRACTICE of giving a free ride to everyone--including Microsoft. And who are the best source of information on current variants of SMB.

I was in computers in the early 80's. In fact, in the mid-70's I was writing monitor-level machine language for the DDP-516 (for zafile and others who may be memory-challenged: the DDP-516 was the original internet node processor.) My employers in that timeframe had internet access: Sun workstations running ethernet LANS were the standard internet terminals.

I was present for a demo of MS-Windows 1.0. Hint for zafile and other terminally clueless people: it had no network connectivity of any kind. Windows-98 was the first version of MS-Windows to have an internet browser.)

I would rather have a poke in the eye with a sharp stick than have a glimpse of Bill Gates' vision. _I_ dream of software that _works_. _I_ dream of the world having unhindered access to the history of world culture. Bill Gates buys a book and locks it away with imaginative abuse of copyright laws. _I_ buy a book and give it away to the world.

zafile




msg:3457731
 1:47 am on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

About the SMB protocol...

[groups.google.com...]

> 1. Did you not have a spec because no-one would give you one or because
> you couldn't find one easy enough? (ie, if someone wanted to make sure
> it really was legal to put on say, a Decnet network, would it be possible
> to say "yes, because it conforms to XYZ.")

In Andrew Tridgell's words:

"The real problem was that I didn't know there was a spec! I had assumed
that it was a proprietry DEC protocol and only after I released it did
someone say "hey! you've implemented netbios!". I dealt only with the
bytes I saw in the dec server, not knowing it was copying a microsoft
spec.

"I have checked with dec and they said what I did was legal - because
there was a published spec (even if I didn't have it)."

zafile




msg:3457754
 3:07 am on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

About MS-Windows...

Visit [archive.org...] and download the video file that best fits your Internet connection. HiRes MPEG4 (245 MB) has excellent picture quality.

After the download, skip the first 18 minutes and take a look at the segment 'PCs in the friendly skies'.

I like to see MS-Windows in 1987 running on United Airlines' Apollo reservations system. It's pretty cool to see an old character based mode terminal vs a PC running Windows.

vincevincevince




msg:3457761
 3:22 am on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

The only alternative to forcing Microsoft not to exploit their monopoly is for the EU to balance the playing field by providing funding to Microsoft's competitors. Which method would you prefer? This isn't some kind of crazy EU idea to attack Microsoft - it's just enforcing globally recognised and agreed upon restrictions on the operation of monopolies.

The big danger of the Microsoft Monopoly is that it is self-perpetuating - because of the high market share, it is a reasonable economic decision for software to be released only for the Microsoft OS. This makes the other options even less attractive and makes it even harder for a competitor to gain or even keep market share.

zafile




msg:3457764
 3:31 am on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

"EU to balance the playing field by providing funding to Microsoft's competitors." = Another free ride

By the way, I made copies of all Andrew Tridgell's messages related to SMB on the Usenet in case someone needs them.

I don't want remarks such as "The real problem was that I didn't know there was a spec! I had assumed that it was a proprietry DEC protocol and only after I released it did someone say 'hey! you've implemented netbios!'. I dealt only with the bytes I saw in the dec server, not knowing it was copying a microsoft spec." to simply disappear from Google's database.

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