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I think that MS developers (and Gates himself) believe that the browser engine "needs" to be a focal point because of the upcoming shift in OS's themselves. Think .NET. The more processes they can port to a browser engine, the sooner they can develop their next-stage OS. Will it be Internet2 based, where you run services on your remote computer? Will it be a home-server you put in the closet, and wireless networking to home-entertainment units (cable, A/V,stereo w/ MP3's), internet browsing tablets, etc.
Does Win2k/XP "need" to run the browser engine for integral parts? No. Do they save a ton of testing and learn a great deal by implementing them now, while not reducing any functionality in 2K/XP? Definitely. Forward-thinking is what got MS into the position they are in, and it is what will keep them their for the coming decades.
(edited by: Marcia at 11:27 pm (utc) on April 30, 2002)
We'll agree to disagree on that point, 'kay? ;) hehe... But yes, that .NET business would explain it.
Then again, if XP Embedded already meets many of the proposed OS/software separation requirements, they could tweak it into a bare-bones consumer OS, and release a second full-featured integrated monster OS as Windows.NET, eh? Tie the stripped down OS project onto the Embedded OS development, and leave .NET as it's own runaway behemoth project...
What comes out of these WILL depend on the "purchasing public."
If the general users are so incensed over MS then why do they keep buying Microsoft products in droves? Maybe it's because they just want something that everyone else has... Followers are seldom (if ever!) leaders... ;)
They make change difficult.
papa, the purchasing public consists to a great deal of companies that have MOST of their staff receptionists, customer service people, accounting clerks, secretarial and administrative help. They need products that are easy to learn for the non-tech HSG type people. Things that seem *simple* to tech-types are not for the majority of the work force, and companies need software that they can easily get an abundance of people to be able to know how to use with a minimum of training.
It's not cost-effective to start training people on anything new when there's an abundance of labor easily skilled in MS products, which are for the most part very user friendly to computer illiterates.
IMHO that's why it all took off in the first place. I remember in a DOS class 95% of the people being in a total fog - not dummies either. It was a boon to the clerical workforce when MS came on the scene, and a good part of the workforce is at a clerical level with computers. An attorney wants to hire a legal secretary with experience in MS Word - period. It's set a standard, just like LaCerte (by Intuit) is the industry standard for tax software for CPAs. It's skills that are portable and makes it easier to deal with the high turnover in those work categories.
Microsoft did look forward, and a lot of people didn't get left out in the cold with the advent of computerized offices, which didn't happen large scale until MS came along with applications that are easy to learn. There's a world of difference between programming and using an application - and most of the needed workforce is applications oriented.
FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) makes companies do nothing. The anti-trust suit is causing FUD and it freezing companies because they donít know which parts of the technology will be affected. It certainly has negatively impacted the economy. I know dozens and dozens of developers that are out of work. Microsoft with its 40 Billion or so cash reserves will weather this storm better than others.
Case in point, Sun is trading under 7 dollars a share and both their CFO and President / COO have been shown the door. Sun is facing extinction because it has been late to market with products like Jini and Sun ONE, but this has been made worse by the drop in spending.
Curtailing illegal behavior is a top priority in a capitalist marketplace. So the thrust of the anti-trust suit is right. Microsoft needs to be a good citizen just like everyone else. However, it isnít the governmentís responsibility to reorganize the marketplace.
I think the anti-trust suit has gone astray and the dissenting states are trying to manage competition. They are trying to take advantages and intellectual property to other major competitors. They are not focusing on the consumer or on the broader marketplace so that they can craft a solution that protects all businesses not just a few big ones.
I think they are in error but have a fair likelihood of getting concessions on middleware.
Middleware is the target because the network is the operating system and web services are the killer apps of the future.
If MS would quit acting like a donkey and reorganize itself the government wouldn't have to.
It is not the governments fault that MS is in this situation, the blame sits squarely with MS; they are not some random victim picked out by the attorney general.
Forget about the "good citizen" bit, they don't even make a good "corporate convict"...most folks would be moving through rehabilitation by now.
Take a look at how negatively Oracle has been effect as well as Sun. AOL-Time Warner has posted the largest write-down in history. Over 54 billion I seem to remember.
Calling Microsoft a donkey doesn't go to the heart of the issue. The government and Microsoft are trying to settle a civil case.
I am saying that the settlement is supposed to be in the broad general interest of all the citizens of the United States. In my opinion the dissenting States are trying to leverage this case to give special advantages to a few large companies at the expense of the consumer and smaller businesses.
So it isn't a matter of Microsoft reorganizing itself. It is a matter of how this civil case is resolved.
You don't have to like Microsoft to be against the deeding of intellectual property to a few large business rivals.
You don't have to like Microsoft to advocate the government settling in a manner that is good for the consumer and for all businesses not just the mega-businesses that will benefit from the dissenting States proposed settlement.
It is, IMO, the court's business to decide on corrective action, regardless of whether it is a gov't entity, corporate representative or ordinary citizen pressing the suit. Without some corrective action enforced to curtail the illegal behavior, simply saying to Microsoft, "You have been bad, now stop it," is a waste of time & money... It would make the original finding of fault a completely moot point.
If the dissenting states' arguments & suggestions in this suit were instead being presented by the CEO's of Microsoft's competitors, would that make the situation any more palatable? What if the plaintiffs in this case were a citizens' group and it were a class action suit seeking a remedy?
I don't think the *who* sitting at the plaintiffs' table in the court room is as important as the *what* eventually contained in the judge's decision.
A consent decree is not the end-all that you may think it is.
Here is a case that originated from the original IBM anti-trust decree from the 1950's!
A consent decree is like the energizer bunny...it just keeps going...and
If I were you, I wouldn't worry about this issue, MS will continue to churn out crappy software for you to fix for a long time to come.
That is my whole point. Consumers and the public do have recourse through the courts, but it is the government, not the public, pushing this lawsuit. If this was consumer driven, I would not have a quarrel with it. The fact is that this lawsuit was politically motivated from the start, (and still is), and is far more damaging to the free market than whether Microsoft is a monopoly or not.
The message to corporate America is to watch out for big brother, making sure he always gets his share. Bill Gates did not pony up, and now he's paying for it. Unfortuanately a lot of bystanders are as well.
>How long will it be until some industry types contact some political types about Google "monopolizing" the SE industry? If Google increases its domination in the market look for accusations of "unfair business practices" soon to follow. Google better open its wallet to the right politicians now...<
Today we find out Google is in the process of becoming a "monopoly". Everybody on the board seems pretty happy right now - some are even cheering on MSN to join the crowd and get on with Google.
I am sure John Ashcroft's phone must be ringing off the wall now...
Two years ago the stockmarket was very different than today. Here's some stats on share prices:
Microsoft 71 now 53
Sun 42 now 7
Oracle 40 now 9.50
AOL 58 now 19
These companies are owned by shareholders and a tremendous amount of liquidity has been lost. Your pension fund has suffered as much as the people at Microsoft's has.
There is only one boat, when you sink Microsoft, you sink everyone else too.
The interest of the consumer and of business in general is a sound economy. We must also have legal and fair competition.
However, the competition amoung the top-tier companies should be played out in the marketplace and not in the courtroom.
The big difference between M$ and Google is that Google has gained market share ethically and legally (which should cause no problems with the goverment)... While M$ did the exact opposite...
So if someone is convicted of a crime, unless the public decides they need to be punished, the justice system should just let them go? Should we put sentencing for violent criminals up for a vote before they're locked up? ;)
Antitrust cases aren't all neat and tidy like regular criminal cases. There is no automatic sentencing hearing like you see at the end of a criminal trial. What we're watching now is the equivalent of a hearing on an appealed criminal sentence... The argument you give above sounds more like nitpicking on the semantics of antitrust law function than any actual weak points in the MS/DOJ case.
Besides, the situation is a little more complex than gov't vs. the people... The Federal gov't would be happy to let it drop with the more lenient agreement they worked out with MS, and how do you know that the state Atty. Generals of the 9 dissenting states didn't get a flood of letters urging them not to accept the Feds' proposed settlement?
The message to corporate America is to watch out for big brother, making sure he always gets his share. Bill Gates did not pony up, and now he's paying for it.
Who didn't he pony up to? The Clinton administration? The nine dissenting states? What makes you say this? Do you have records of relevant campaign contributions for MS & their major competitors backing this theory up?
The US justice system is supposed to send out a message that if you break the law you stand a good chance of being put through the wringer for it... that's all I see happening here.
More than once it was pointed out that Gates did not contribute anywhere near the amounts that other mega corps did.
It was also in the news that the heads of both Apple and Sun are personal friends of Bill Clinton and contributed significantly to his campaigns and the DNC. (There were other tech company chiefs mentioned also, but I do not recall which companies.)
Rush Limbaugh has an audience of 22 million listeners per week. He is also a big Apple fan and uses everything Apple that is possible.
Now, the demographic of Rush's fans tends toward people with large purchasing power, and are extremely loyal. And when something is advertised on his program they buy it. And if he personally endorses it sales jump.
Rush tells of how he has been open for years to advertise and personally promote Apple products, but Apple won't even consider it, because of his politics. Apple could be signicantly more competitive if they could get past their own politics.
The anti trust case is not putting the economy in the toilet, 2 years ago, yahoo was trading above 120 and CMGI (remember those guys) was trading in the 80 range...the demise of the market had NOTHING to do with MS legal problems.
Comparitively, it looks like MS has gotten off lightly:
Probably due to the less than enthusiastic acceptance of XP...not the DOJ
A world in which MS had that much power over things would be a scary world indeed... reminds me of a nightmare version of the Onion article "Gates Gets Half" (or whatever the title was).
IMO, the ridiculous inflation of internet stocks set the stock market up for a tumble, and other tech/computer related stocks got sucked down when the bubble burst because computer-ignorant investors lumped all tech stocks into the (rightfully) plummeting dotcom basket.
OTOH, the stock market would never crash if panicked investors didn't start screaming "SELL," regardless of the validity of their provocation... so the whole economic blame-game becomes an almost humorously circular situation whenever one looks for a reason for Wallstreet behavior.
Somewhere in the equation is always a bunch of investor-lemmings racing to the seawall to throw their stocks over the edge like everyone else... "EEK! This company has something to do with something vaguely microchip/computer/inter-web-net-thingie related.... SELLSELLSELLSELL!!! EEEEEKKK!" *splash* ::blub-blub:: "Oh wait, Microsoft isn't a dotcom. Oops."
Apple's shareholders might not appreciate being penalized because of one person's politics. It's not like he's doing it for some altruistic reason.
The point is that not all of these decisions are being made based on computers, OS's, etc. There is a lot of politics involved.
If a company shareholder is unhappy with the way the company is spending their money, they have a very quick and simple remedy: sell the stock and invest elsewhere. It's not like Apple shareholders are chained to their stocks 'till death.
OTOH, there are the wacky groups of "ethical investors" who only invest in companies who's ethics and business practices agree with their own. On that count, I'd be more likely to invest in Apple than MS. Heck, there are whole mutual funds based around environmental concerns, moral issues, religious law, etc., etc.,... For some people, investment is about more than raw $$$ figures.