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[P]
What A Sickening Reaction

By Fish in News
Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 07:49:59 PM EST
Tags: Software (all tags)
Software

The BBC's current talking point is Microsoft ruling: Was it a fair decision?. Now before you switch off saying, yet another boring Microsoft break-up story, look closer at the comments are there...


Here are a sample:

Bill Gates worked so hard to come this far. It's wrong to break up Microsoft just because the "Cry Babies" of Silicon have failed to beat Microsoft in the competition.

It is outrageous that Microsoft should be split up. It is by using its vast experience, expertise, knowledge and size that Microsoft has been able to provide such powerful and reliable products.

This is a foolish verdict. The competition hasn't been up to it, and Microsoft have done better than anyone else. Now they are being punished, with no benefit to the consumer.

Microsoft should fight this decision. The ruling is a big blow to free speech, enterprise and innovation. It reeks of vendetta.

Bill Gates is a genius without whom we probably wouldn't have the ability to enjoy the many Microsoft products that we do today.

Although there is the odd comment from software engineers cheering the decision, there seems to be an outcry about how bad the decision is.

It has been evident to us computer professionals for years that Microsoft have been unfairly using their monopoly to hijack open systems and turn them into closed ones. And since when did a browser belong in the Operating System?

But why, after all this evidence, do people still keep crowing about Microsoft's "freedom to innovate" and how the US government (despite being backed by 53 states) is the baddy in all this? And what can we do to change their attitudes?

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What A Sickening Reaction | 185 comments (185 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Microsoft is at the top of the heap... (3.70 / 3) (#15)
by warpeightbot on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 11:57:45 AM EST

warpeightbot voted 1 on this story.

Microsoft is at the top of the heap for the same reason McDonald's is. It's a mediocre product backed by the marketing budget from hell.

Microsoft is getting busted for behavior along these lines: Let's say in the old days before PepsiCo went thru its own divestiture, it went to Wal-Mart and K-Mart and Target and said, OK, we'll put a Pizza Hut or a Taco Bell or a KFC in every one of your stores.... but if we do, the only brand of soft drink you can sell in your aisles is Pepsi. No Coke, no RC, no store brand. This is exactly what they did to Dell and Compaq with respect to Internet Exploder and Netscape. This is what no one knows about. This is what the media has never made plain to the average glass-teat-sucking sheeple.

What can we do? Endeavour to get the truth out. Then it will attend to itself.

I hate it when people say "Thank Go... (1.00 / 1) (#10)
by Neuromancer on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 12:09:04 PM EST

Neuromancer voted 1 on this story.

I hate it when people say "Thank God Bill Gates wrote this shit." From what I understand, he doesn't write much of the source. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure he's a great guy... Can anybody enlighten me as to what % (if any) code in win 2000 is his? I am SOO SICK OF IT. What the heck? I'm a damn good coder. M$ products suck like mad. Is everybody just supposed to be Bill's bitch? I am so sick of people who think that I went to college, got a degree in CS, and now I'm qualified to point and click around in Outlook or something! What the heck? "So, you must have learned a lot about M$ and using windows and shit..." NO! I learned how to replace it. I'm sure that the guy who wrote this is a "tech reporter" who has about as much of a clue about CS as... Anyways </rant>

Bill's code contributions (or lack thereof) (none / 0) (#76)
by Erbo on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 02:16:31 AM EST

Can anybody enlighten me as to what % (if any) code in win 2000 is [Bill Gates']?

The percentage of Win2K source personally written by Bill Gates is, if not zero, so close to zero that it's not worth worrying about.

Bill hasn't written a whole heck of a lot of M$ product code since the early versions of Microsoft BASIC. (I believe he uses Visual Basic for any code he writes these days; he used QuickBasic in the era before Visual Basic came out.)

Eric
--
Electric Minds - virtual community since 1996. http://www.electricminds.org
[ Parent ]

Oy, non-news, it'll be a year prob ... (2.00 / 1) (#13)
by SgtPepper on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 12:17:14 PM EST

SgtPepper voted -1 on this story.

Oy, non-news, it'll be a year prob before any break up is actually done, and was this a suprise? and we ALL know that everyone else has no clue as to what is REALLY going on.

But why, after all this evidence, d... (2.00 / 1) (#25)
by maynard on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 12:20:34 PM EST

maynard voted -1 on this story.

But why, after all this evidence, do people still keep crowing about Microsoft's "freedom to innovate" and how the US government (despite being backed by 53 states) is the baddy in all this? And what can we do to change their attitudes?
Hell, why do people keep voting the same corrupt idiots into office when it's clearly not in their best interests? Why do people keep buying cheap crap designed to fail when for a few extra dollars one might purchase something that lasts? Why do people believe the mass media news outlets like television and print when they clearly present biased reporting? Why do people engage in unsafe sex and ingest dangerous drugs with needles?

People are STUPID. "There's a sucker born every minute" --P.T. Barnum

ps - sorry for the -1, but I'm really sick of reading about Microsoft.

Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.

Problem lies in the mainstream medi... (4.00 / 2) (#19)
by slycer on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 12:43:39 PM EST

slycer voted 1 on this story.

Problem lies in the mainstream media spin on this. The "evidence" that shows just how evil MS is ends up being glossed over.

Something that I had never seen mentioned before is in the Maximum Linux article on this, and that deals with the way that MS artificially inflates their earnings by their share prices. According to the article MS lost something like 10 billion last year, yet because of the pyramid schemes on their stock options posted an earnings of 9.8 billion. Kinda scary.
I don't know if the Max Linux article is online or not..

People crow about the "freedom to i... (3.00 / 1) (#6)
by fluffy grue on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 12:47:38 PM EST

fluffy grue voted 1 on this story.

People crow about the "freedom to innovate" because that's what Microsoft crows about, and most people are Stupid, and actually believe ads from companies who do stuff they don't understand, rather than the responses, no matter how well-reasoned, from their competitors.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

Microsoft's has a successful PR fro... (3.00 / 1) (#3)
by bmetzler on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 01:09:42 PM EST

bmetzler voted 1 on this story.

Microsoft's has a successful PR front-end. So successful in fact, that must people know that Microsoft is on trial, but don't understand what Microsoft is on trial for. Because of this, they can't understand why Microsoft is found guilty.
www.bmetzler.org - it's not just a personal weblog, it's so much more.

Completely out of context. We shoul... (3.50 / 2) (#30)
by typo on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 01:10:57 PM EST

typo voted -1 on this story.

Completely out of context. We should be looking at the breakup in terms of how it affets software development and technology as a whole. Kuro5hin isn't about microsoft's loving (and blind) customers it's about tech.

Those comments sound like they were... (3.00 / 1) (#14)
by josh on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 01:42:37 PM EST

josh voted 1 on this story.

Those comments sound like they were planted. =) 53 states? Last time I counted, I counted only 50.

Public perception of computing may ... (3.50 / 2) (#34)
by new500 on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 01:47:13 PM EST

new500 voted 1 on this story.

Public perception of computing may be the most important debate of the coming decade.

Microsoft's marketing focussed on the empowerment of normal employees to accomplish routine tasks - "Where do you want to go today" and through sheer volume of ads et.c. and its non- technical focus may be responsible for a future condition under breakup where recalictrant OS co' and sware co' refocus their external PR on difficulties of interoperability - even after the fact - we know - they themseles have made compatibility with other systems a nightmare.

I think that aspects of the judgement, particularly the fact that the split co's will be free to reintegrate after 10 years<i/> are too weak.

If M$ plays this right, they could be back to where they were inside 10 yrs - and have destroyed the rest of the industry in their wake. Just imagine the pressure other OS vendors might come under to support M$ centric APIs just to get office or outlook to work correctly, now that the non - M$ world have based a large part of their case on the distortion of application availability.

I think M$ should have been punished in a different way - with punitive fines e.g. because I also belive - maybe wrongly - that M$ is doomed to fail itscustomers under its present model. If that hapened, and M$ could not muscle the mindshare and its cabal of hardware licencees other companies would have more chance of success.

Since I trade buy and sell advertising for a living I think that the best remedy for a company who has wilfully and illegally distorted and mislead the marketplace is to ban them from advertising, or to strictly monitor their ads like with tobacco health disclaimers.


== Idle Random Thoughts. Usual disclaimers apply. ==
Re: Public perception of computing may ... (3.00 / 1) (#83)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 06:36:20 AM EST

I regret that I have only one close italic tag to give to this posting.

Looks like you have a small bug to take care of here Rusty. ;)

You might be strangling my chicken, but you don't want to know what I'm doing to your hampster.



[ Parent ]

OK, I read it and I still say "yet ... (2.00 / 1) (#22)
by dgay on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 01:48:10 PM EST

dgay voted -1 on this story.

OK, I read it and I still say "yet another boring Microsoft breakup story". Can we please stop trying to spin a dead topic. Who made the comments. If I worked at Microsoft I'm sure my mom would have something similar to say as well. please, please, please drop the MS crap.

Why is everyone reacting this way? ... (2.40 / 5) (#8)
by Ozymandias on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 01:56:25 PM EST

Ozymandias voted 1 on this story.

Why is everyone reacting this way? Because they're more right than they are wrong. Oh, sure, you don't like their products. You don't like their policies. You don't like the way they do business.

Fine. Don't buy their products. But do not tell me, or anyone else, that we can't. Try to convince us if you like - but we can ignore you, or laugh at you. And we will.
- Ozymandias

Re: Why is everyone reacting this way? ... (4.30 / 3) (#48)
by Perpetual Newbie on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 10:09:53 PM EST

Fine. Don't buy their products. But do not tell me, or anyone else, that we can't.

You are a large computer manufacturer in 1996. Microsoft will not license Windows to you unless you agree to a set of terms that, in a competitive marketplace, would be ridiculous. Unfortunately, there are no other consumer operating systems that will sell. You have the following choices:

  • Go with Linux or DRDOS and be out of business within a year.
  • Close down shop immediately.
  • Buy Microsoft's products.

You are a recent high school graduate on your way to college. Your college requires that you buy a computer. You don't know enough about computers to find the power switch. You don't trust small local shops to give you quality parts, and being on a budget their prices are too high. All OEM machines come with Windows. You have the following choices:

  • Don't go to college.
  • Find a lower-quality college that doesn't require computer literacy, and let your education suffer.
  • Buy Microsoft's products.

You are a brighter-than-average tech support person who has become what passes for a local systems administator of a large business or government institution. Apparently someone in upper management was paid off, and your boss informs you of the resulting edict: Microsoft Windows NT must be installed on all machines on the network, regardless of the costs of software, training, and reduced productivity, and regardless of whether the current network performs its duties adequately. You have the following choices:

  • Argue(politely) and be fired for insubordination.
  • Refuse and be fired for insubordination.
  • Quit and be unemployed for a very long time, as no one would be willing to hire an underskilled admin with no respect for authority.
  • Buy Microsoft's products.(On the company's budget, but still...)

You have been hired as the new manager of a small South American business. Your first day on the job, you find out that you walked into the recieving end of a lawsuit from the Business Software Alliance over your predecessor's allowance of copied Microsoft, Adobe, and Novell software on the network. The BSA offers a settlement: Replace all software on the network with Microsoft software, legally purchased at a cut rate. You have the following choices:

  • Pay full rate for all the software, plus legal costs, plus damages, and watch your business go bankrupt from the cost, not to mention possible prison sentences for yourself and your workmates.
  • Buy Microsoft's products.

You've heard a lot about this Internet thing, and you're thinking about getting into it. There are only a few ISPs in your locality, and none of them support customers running anything other than Microsoft Windows operating systems. Not just technical support; The ISPs will actually disconnect anyone found to be running a non-Microsoft operating system. You have the following choices:

  • Don't go on the Internet.
  • Buy Microsoft's products.

Yes, you do always have a choice to not buy Microsoft's products. If you consider the above situations fair, then there is no point in my arguing with you; Just let it be known that I do not agree.

[ Parent ]

Re: Why is everyone reacting this way? ... (2.00 / 1) (#94)
by Zach on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 09:07:14 AM EST

You are a large computer manufacturer in 1996. Microsoft will not license Windows to you unless you agree to a set of terms that, in a competitive marketplace, would be ridiculous. Unfortunately, there are no other consumer operating systems that will sell. You have the following choices:
Let customers have a choice on the OS they want. Ask them what OS they want installed when they buy the product.

You are a recent high school graduate on your way to college. Your college requires that you buy a computer. You don't know enough about computers to find the power switch. You don't trust small local shops to give you quality parts, and being on a budget their prices are too high. All OEM machines come with Windows. You have the following choices:
Look in the paper and buy an old Pentium 100 and run Linux, it would outprreform any Compaq running Windows. ;)

You are a brighter-than-average tech support person who has become what passes for a local systems administator of a large business or government institution. Apparently someone in upper management was paid off, and your boss informs you of the resulting edict: Microsoft Windows NT must be installed on all machines on the network, regardless of the costs of software, training, and reduced productivity, and regardless of whether the current network performs its duties adequately. You have the following choices:
As the gentleman mentioned, YOU have a choice, and so does your boss.

You have been hired as the new manager of a small South American business. Your first day on the job, you find out that you walked into the recieving end of a lawsuit from the Business Software Alliance over your predecessor's allowance of copied Microsoft, Adobe, and Novell software on the network. The BSA offers a settlement: Replace all software on the network with Microsoft software, legally purchased at a cut rate. You have the following choices:
Doh! Don't pirate software.

You've heard a lot about this Internet thing, and you're thinking about getting into it. There are only a few ISPs in your locality, and none of them support customers running anything other than Microsoft Windows operating systems. Not just technical support; The ISPs will actually disconnect anyone found to be running a non-Microsoft operating system. You have the following choices:
I don't even that that's possible. And if it was, then some linux hacker will have a work around for this. You could also form special interest groups that hold boycotts and protests the ISP, I know that may sound crazy, but this country used to do stuff like that.



[ Parent ]
Re: Why is everyone reacting this way? ... (3.00 / 1) (#144)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 05:12:19 PM EST

But the fact is that they limit my choices! Sure I can try to never buy or use MS products, but it is really not possible. People want resumes and other documents in Word format, people bundle Windows with the computers I buy, products license technologies from MS (software and hardware), money buys laws that support their operation, lawyers fight against use of trademarks like "bookshelf", magazines and news shows report stories about Windows products, web pages assume you use MSIE. It basically sucks.

You "the damn government should just stay out of our lives for better or for worse" people should realize that things like copyrights, corporations, and trademarks are not _natural_rights_. If we had no government to interfere we would not have those and there wouldn't be a software industry to interfere with either.

I don't think anyone wants to deny people the right to use Microsoft products, just to deny Microsoft the right to strongarm their "partners", competitors, and customers. You have every right to use crap if you want, just don't tell the rest of us we have to.



[ Parent ]

People crow about everything. You'... (2.00 / 1) (#33)
by wb on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 01:58:02 PM EST

wb voted -1 on this story.

People crow about everything. You're crowing about people crowing. Get over it. Also, the last time I checked, the USA was composed of only 50 states.

The way I see it people continue to... (3.80 / 4) (#4)
by Skippy on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 02:14:05 PM EST

Skippy voted 1 on this story.

The way I see it people continue to carry on about the good Microsoft has done for 2 reasons.

  1. They have done a lot of good. Without the standard base of Windows (however crappy a standard it has been) much of the developments we consider standard today wouldn't be. The attraction of a (semi-)standard platform as a development target can't be underestimated.
  2. All the general public has heard is that Microsoft has been in court for anti-competitive practices. Almost none of the coverage has said _what_ kind of anti-competitive practices. Additionally, even when such coverage is available, many people don't the technical explainations or understand why what was done was so bad.
In summation, they didn't really follow the _trial_, they followed the results which are NOT the same thing and they don't understand.
# I am now finished talking out my ass about things that I am not qualified to discuss. #
A lot of good my ass. (standards excuse) (5.00 / 1) (#87)
by marlowe on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 07:59:30 AM EST

Various Microsoft operating systems have the same interoperability problems as Unix (I know, I've tried most of them).

May anyone who brings up this particular bogus argument be comdemned to port software from NT 3.51 to Windows CE for an eternity.

--- I will insist on my right to question ---
-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
[ Parent ]
I don't understand why you're surpr... (3.00 / 1) (#17)
by ishbak on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 02:44:09 PM EST

ishbak voted 1 on this story.

I don't understand why you're surprised. Everyone I know that doesn't understand how the software industry works loves microsoft. Good public image in the minds of the uninformed is what a PR department will buy you.

The one thing I CAN give Microsoft ... (3.00 / 1) (#12)
by dvicci on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 02:50:46 PM EST

dvicci voted 1 on this story.

The one thing I CAN give Microsoft is their marketing expertise. They've so completely SNOWED the masses into believing them a veritable Second Coming, that no matter the evidence, no matter the logical argument, no matter the emotional plea, Microsoft will forever be the word for God in their hearts and ears. Just my $0.02.

Re: The one thing I CAN give Microsoft ... (2.00 / 1) (#37)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 08:07:53 PM EST

"The one thing I CAN give Microsoft is their marketing expertise."

Don't you think it'd be more accurate to appreciate their ability to brainwash dateline watching, amzn using, aol membered yuppies?

[ Parent ]

This could be an astroturf bombing.... (3.00 / 3) (#11)
by marlowe on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 02:54:21 PM EST

marlowe voted 1 on this story.

This could be an astroturf bombing. Is it too late to counterattack?
-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --

Astroturf (5.00 / 1) (#140)
by kmself on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 04:40:39 PM EST

For those who aren't familiar with the reference:

The original LA Times article is not freely available, if you have purchase rights at the LA Times or San Jose Mercury News, you may be able to read the article.

Microsoft is a company with a US$3b marketing budget, which has been characterized by a US Circuit judge as untrustworthy, and with a long track record of practices charitably described as sleazy.

I question those who rated the above post down -- I gave it a '5', it's currently rated '3', so someone didn't like it. The moderation system here works if you use it, so use it ;-)

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

I am voting "I don't care" because ... (1.50 / 2) (#1)
by rongen on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 02:59:27 PM EST

rongen voted 0 on this story.

I am voting "I don't care" because while I agree with the overall tone of the post I am also bored to tears with this stuff... We all know microsoft is bad. Their products are mostly bad. Their BUSINESS PRACTICES are what's really bad. We also all know that there are lots of people who don't believe this, or who feel that microsoft's strategies are excellent demonstrations of the "survival of the fittest" principle. Some of these people are reporters. Even Bill Gates probably snickers when he reads stuff like that. "The other Bill" was actually doing quite a bit of snickering during Bill Gates' address yesterday immeadiately following the ruling (I was watching it on TV). Everyone knows what they did, and are doing. Sigh. Let's talk about other stuff now...
read/write http://www.prosebush.com

  (I'm going to start ran... (4.00 / 8) (#35)
by Denor on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 03:09:22 PM EST

Denor voted 1 on this story.

  (I'm going to start ranting - if any of you have to go to the bathroom, go now)
  I think a big part about why a lot of people are mad at the Microsoft breakup is simply because they don't know any better.
  Yes, there are instances where Microsoft works in a production environment. I'm not talking about those - I'm talking about Joe Average whose only experience with computers is the Windows machine he's got at home. To Joe, Windows (and possibly AOL) gave him the ability to write e-mail. Not SMTP, not TCP/IP, but Windows.
  So when Joe sees Microsoft being broken up, he's upset - they've only done good for him. Nevermind that his computer crashes three times a day - that's what he's come to expect. Nevermind that if he wants to write something, he's got no choice but to use Word - he might hate the way it puts words where he doesn't want them (I've seen people fiddle for hours in word-processors to get a word on a line when the program wants to word-wrap or hyphenate or otherwise move it - competitors might not solve the problem, but they didn't even get the chance to try.) and, after the first session or so, grow to detest the paperclip, but he has no choice - if he wants anyone to read what he's written, he's gotta write it in word. TXT, you say? What's that? Is it the newest microsoft format? HTML? No, I'm not making a web page....
  In short, Joe sees the government taking away the only computing resource he has without any justification. Joe doesn't know what MS did to deserve this. Netscape, DR-DOS, Java - none of it.
  I know that within a few days, I'm going to see dozens of letters to the editor on this topic. They'll be from Joe, likely, outraged at this government intrusion. I plan to write letters back to the editor, hopefully informing folks about what's wrong. Because Joe might not be computer-literate, but he's not stupid.
  I had a co-worker who was against the breakup. She didn't like the government meddling with so little (in her opinion) evidence. I told her about Java. I explained the Kerberos lockouts on W2K. I showed her the Haloween documents.
  She doesn't feel that way anymore.

-Denor


You know, I"m kind of confused, doe... (3.50 / 2) (#23)
by feline on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 03:09:32 PM EST

feline voted 1 on this story.

You know, I"m kind of confused, does anyone in the k5 community or the Linux community in general really care about this M$ thing?

I was just reading through C|Net when I saw that the final judgement was going to be made at 3:30 (CDT) that day, and I suddenly got all excited and I started jumping around the room in aprehension of what was to happen that day. But when I actually read what happened, I don't really seem to care, and I can't really come up with any useful commentary about this 'final-judgement,' I just don't care.

On one side, there're people saying this is just super for the Linux 'communicty,' these are usually just people on CNBC and CNNFn talking, and they know nothing about this Linux 'community' they seem so hyped up about. But when I'm talking to people that are actually 'on the inside,' so to speak, they don't really care, even though it seems as though they're making an effort to comprehend these insanly complicated legal documents.

I'm pretty sure I've morphed my point around quite a bit here, but I'm just curious, what does this whole m$ thing mean for us?
------------------------------------------

'Hello sir, you don't look like someone who satisfies his wife.'

Linux would have been next. (2.00 / 1) (#136)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 04:09:45 PM EST

I think Linux users should be glad this happened. Linux has only recently appeared on MS's radar, and MS has not yet geared up to target it.

If the MS gets off with a slap on the wrist like they did last time, they will be able to use their great wealth and massive leverage to crush Linux like they did Netscape. I don't want to see that happen.

True, Linux isn't economically vulnerable in the same way as Netscape, but MS can hurt us. If we can't get hardware specs, protocol specs, distribution channels, or commercial games and applications, we will become permanently and progressively marginalized.

The behavioral constraints in the judgement against MS outlaw many of the tactics MS could use against Linux. The breakup in the judgement drastically reduces the leverage MS has available to apply the tactics. We should all cheer this verdict, and hope it survives the appeal; otherwise Linux will be strangled in its cradle before it achieves half of what we hope it can.

[ Parent ]

I'm afraid that this is just a case... (3.50 / 2) (#29)
by Vygramul on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 03:36:29 PM EST

Vygramul voted 1 on this story.

I'm afraid that this is just a case of people not getting it, nor wanting to. When trying to explain this to a doctor with a private practice, I asked him how he'd like it if the large local hospital told pharmacies not to fill his prescriptions if they wanted thier business.

His answer? "They wouldn't do that - it's wrong."

People don't *want* anything to change. What they don't know hurts them but so long as they don't realize it's hurting them they'll fight to the death over the status quo. The next big tyranny will be a corporate-sponsored one, and I'm afraid that's what it'll take for people to realize there are worse things out there than government.

(Compare, for example, the government's right to restrict your speech with a corporation's.)
If Brute Force isn't working, you're not using enough.

Re: I'm afraid that this is just a case... (3.00 / 2) (#42)
by bladerunner on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 08:50:43 PM EST

I like that analogy. I tried it on my wife (who is the ultra non-geek of my family) and she understood. *bink* the light went on...
-Ex-slashdotter. I love cats, but hate Katz.
[ Parent ]
Uneducated users who can't differen... (2.00 / 1) (#36)
by Zack on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 04:40:57 PM EST

Zack voted -1 on this story.

Uneducated users who can't differentiate between an operating system and a computer? No, we really don't need to hear their opinion. The law is the law, and Microsoft broke it. Repeatedly. And they don't care. Choice is good, and destroying choice is bad. End of Story. --Zack

Re: Uneducated users who can't differen... (2.00 / 2) (#39)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 08:37:50 PM EST

three things:

- please keep in mind that the authors of those comments may not speak english as their first language.
- why should the user need to know even the difference between the OS and the computer itself? What if they just want to send email, and all they see is a keyboard, mouse and screen? what relevance do the different parts of a computer really have to such a person? Don't dismiss the idea, lest your elitism become apparent to all.
- the author of this story apparently can't tell the difference between an operating system and a shell (or application, depending on how it's run). You do know what a shell is, right?. Internet explorer is not built into the OS. So the author here is either "uneducated" or a hypocrite, further spreading a fallacy to serve his own ends (which apparently is a favorite tactic of Microsoft)


Cheers, slashd-- I mean, kuro5hiners.


[ Parent ]
Re: Uneducated users who can't differen... (none / 0) (#50)
by nekonoir on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 10:59:21 PM EST

What If a car driver couldn't tell the difference between
the steering wheel and the spare tyre?

Would _you_ let them drive?

People expect that you can sit a complete idiot in front
of one of the most complex machines invented by man, and
have them use it efficiently without training or knowing
anything about the way it works.

Sheesh! What fantasy land do _you_ live in?

Granted, Microsoft have set HCI back about 20 years with
the products (I *hate* toolbars with 20 zillion tiny
pictures with inscrutable meanings), but that doesn't mean
we can expect people to just 'majically' learn how to use
a computer.

Dan

[ Parent ]
Re: Uneducated users who can't differen... (none / 0) (#52)
by Fish on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 11:29:59 PM EST

The point is not whether English is the first language of the posters, it was the message they were getting across, i.e. Microsoft innovates, the rest of the competition can't take it and are being unfair to the champions of computing. I thought that came across very clearly.

Point 2: Microsoft monopoly is harmful to all, regardless of whether you want to send e-mail or write up documents, etc. It's a single point of failure, for a start. You want to talk about the average user? The average user doesn't know not to open suspicious e-mail attachments ... hey presto, viruses written in Visual Basic take over the world in hours. If Microsoft were designing the system for an average user, there would be safeguards against this sort of thing.

Point 3 - You can make calls to the Operating System from the browser (IE). That's good enough for me. It's also good enough for lots of potential virus writers.... think on that for a minute, eh?

Uneducated/hypocrite - that's just flamebait.

Point 4 - Microsoft's Windows 95 interface may be okay to use for some people, but having watched my father-in-law struggle to get to grips with the idea between left and right mouse buttons, I would say it's not great for people new to computing. Although I loathed them, the one-button Mac mice were much better for that.

[ Parent ]

Re: Uneducated users who can't differen... (5.00 / 1) (#66)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 01:22:19 AM EST

If they can't, within their own minds, find the division between hardware/operating system/applications/etc., exactly what business do they have making any kind of judgment about whether Microsoft has a monopoly in the desktop OS arena anyway? They have no basis upon which to judge at all, let alone even an understanding of what's what. So I can see why the previous poster would get down on uneducated users trying to make a judgment on sich things.

The judge's case was different - he may not've known before, but I think he has a pretty good idea wherre the splits lie now, after spending 2 years up to his eyeballs in it.

[ Parent ]
Good luck changing my attitude. :P ... (1.00 / 1) (#28)
by Logan on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 04:42:19 PM EST

Logan voted 1 on this story.

Good luck changing my attitude. :P

logan

Voting for the Original Fish. ... (2.00 / 1) (#2)
by hattig on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 04:45:53 PM EST

hattig voted 1 on this story.

Voting for the Original Fish.

Most people are lemmings, and they also don't like change, and they form opinions without knowing the facts. I think that the facts have to be told on TV in a clear non lawyer, not geeky way to people, so that they might understand.

The Hattig/Fish conspiracy! (none / 0) (#62)
by fluffy grue on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 12:36:43 AM EST

(Oops, shoulda hit preview the first time...)

Go to Fish's website, furryfish.com. Go on, you know you want to. It's just a frameset redirector to another website, pretty standard really...

But lop off the fish/index.html from the URL and you get a familiar site, the same one contained in the frameset of Hattig's homepage.

Coincidence? Of course not!

Nice, Hattig/Fish, but you were just a little bit sloppy. ;)
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Re: The Hattig/Fish conspiracy! (5.00 / 1) (#77)
by Fish on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 02:24:50 AM EST

Hattig is my husband.

[ Parent ]
Re: The Hattig/Fish conspiracy! (none / 0) (#134)
by fluffy grue on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 02:59:13 PM EST

Ah, okay... that makes sense. Sorry about that. :)
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Im tired if Micro$loth. just let th... (1.00 / 1) (#31)
by mrbob on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 05:03:21 PM EST

mrbob voted -1 on this story.

Im tired if Micro$loth. just let them die.

If this is something people want to... (2.00 / 1) (#18)
by DemiGodez on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 05:05:51 PM EST

DemiGodez voted 1 on this story.

If this is something people want to talk about, fine by me. Persoanlly, however, I agree with almost all the "outrageous" comments. I would really like somone to explain to me clearly how Microsoft is a monopoly. I really don't get it.

Re: If this is something people want to... (4.00 / 1) (#49)
by Rasputin on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 10:23:45 PM EST

The verdict wasn't about M$ being a monopoly. It was about M$ anti-competitive practices and violations of very specific laws covering what a business can or cannot do.

Please don't doubt that M$ did everything in their power to eliminate any possibility of competition, and trivialities like law didn't enter into the equation.

They imposed outrageous restrictions on channel partners and resellers, they filed nuisance suits to stifle smaller innovators, they intentially altered their underlying subsystems to cripple products that competed with theirs, etc.

My personal favorite is the current ploy to get people off *nix based DNS' and into the M$ equivalent through Win2000. It stuffs things called SRV records into the DNS (through dynamic updates) that intentially violate the RFC restrictions on valid host-name characters - the SRV records all start with an underscore. If you want, or need, dynamic DNS, your options are extremely limited. You can either join them in their broken world (use the Bind directive "check-names master ignore", which is a nasty can of worms to open) or have your DNS not be able to load any zone that contains a Win2K server. Or, the suggested alternative from Redmond, use theirs and not have to worry about such trivia as RFC's. I've been told (though I have not yet confirmed) if you call them and say your DNS is failing on a zone because of a Win2K server, they will tell you that you require a Win implementation for this to work, they won't even acknowledge the work-around.

As entertaining as it is to believe that the engineers at M$ don't know about RFC's (someone once said that if they ever discover RFC's there's no end to what they'll invent for the internet ;), I suspect it was either a really brain-dead choice (they needed a way to ensure the uniqueness of each service record, and illegal characters should certainly guarantee that) or an intentional attempt to break competing products.

I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of what they've done and continue to do, but hopefully you get the point. I have no doubt that there are any number of similar horror stories available from many other readers. Something needed to be done, and this was what the judge saw as the only reasonable option. I'm still deciding for myself if this is the best choice, but I really don't believe that the alternatives suggested to date would resolve this.
Even if you win the rat race, you're still a rat.
[ Parent ]

Re: If this is something people want to... (1.00 / 1) (#63)
by DemiGodez on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 12:58:52 AM EST

The verdict wasn't about M$ being a monopoly. It was about M$ anti-competitive practices and violations of very specific laws covering what a business can or cannot do.

You're right - they broke the law. And the laws are just plain awful. The government is the *ONLY* entity in the US capable of producing a monopoly. And they do. The laws are totally unjust.

Please don't doubt that M$ did everything in their power to eliminate any possibility of competition, and trivialities like law didn't enter into the equation.

Good for them. If I open a business I want as big a piece of marketshare as I can get. You don't do that by encouraging your competition. But you're right. They broke the laws.

They imposed outrageous restrictions on channel partners and resellers, they filed nuisance suits to stifle smaller innovators, they intentially altered their underlying subsystems to cripple products that competed with theirs, etc.

Good! I have every right to make deals with people to promote my product. If I sell a product, I have every right to make it incompatible with other people's products. The lawsuits do suck, I agree. But to say a company can't build their products to work with only their products is ridiculous. (You'd have to sue almost every major company in the US!

My personal favorite is the current ploy to get people off *nix based DNS' and into the M$ ...

Good for them! They have no obligation to support other products. Why should they have to have to make nice with other products. What you say? Because standards are critical in IT? If they are so critical, people wouldn't buy MS products. But they do.

I haven't even begun to scratch the surface...

I know what they do. Hell, I'm a Java programmer. But if there products are so bad and are so desructive, people and businesses wouldn't buy them. They might not be the best products, but they're good enough for the vast majority of people. If the market is so desperate for the awesome products you seem to yearn for that will be totally standards compliant, then someone will make them.

[ Parent ]

Re: If this is something people want to... (4.00 / 1) (#95)
by tzanger on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 09:09:25 AM EST

Good for them. If I open a business I want as big a piece of marketshare as I can get. You don't do that by encouraging your competition. But you're right. They broke the laws.

When you are a monopoly, the same rules don't apply because you can use your monopoly status to become anticompetitive. And by anticompetitive, I don't mean "we don't like to compete" but rather "we have the power to not have to compete."

Good! I have every right to make deals with people to promote my product. If I sell a product, I have every right to make it incompatible with other people's products. The lawsuits do suck, I agree. But to say a company can't build their products to work with only their products is ridiculous. (You'd have to sue almost every major company in the US!

I get the distinct feeling I biting a troll but so be it.

You can't do this when you're a monopoly. In other words, you are using your marketshare in order to stifle competition by threatening other companies (your customers, not your competitors) with heavily reduced sales and/or bancruptcy. People don't buy Microsoft products becuase they're overly good; they buy them because they have been told to. Monopolies tend to perpetuate themselves very well once established.

Oh yes, and I would have to say that most products today work together. Your TV and VCR, or your Microwave and your incoming power. Or any car and the road. What Microsoft is doing is using their monopoly in order to say "If you want to watch this movie, you need Microsoft VCR and Microsoft TV connected by Microsoft InterConnect 1.1," or "In order to eat this microwaveable food you need Microsoft ActivePower 3.0." That is being anticompetitive and that is why the DoJ decided to split them up.

Good for them! They have no obligation to support other products. Why should they have to have to make nice with other products. What you say? Because standards are critical in IT? If they are so critical, people wouldn't buy MS products. But they do.

I argued that last point a few paragraphs up. The Internet is not Microsoft's to control, but by using their marketshare (what is it, 91% by conservative estimates?) they can effectively control it by making their software work in a particular way. Let's say that PacBell is a monopoly and provides phone lines. Let's also say now that these phone lines worked pretty good, but when they were hooked up to a PacBell phone they gave super-clear quality and super-fast connections. If you hooked up a competitor's phone the line would sometimes be scratchy and buzz randomly, even though the competitor's phones work well on every other carrier's lines in the country. These competitors can't sell their phones because PacBell has done something to the lines so that their phones are always noisy and scratchy. Hell, the competitors can't even get their phones bundled into a new house because PacBell has threatened the construction companies that if they bundle a competitor's phone, they will not run their phoneline in, or maybe they will but they can't guarantee it won't be an intermittent connection. If PacBell weren't a monopoly they could go and make these deals and say these things all it wanted, but it wouldn't stifle competition because PacBell can't use its marketshare to crowd out the little guys. THIS is what Microsoft is doing and this is why they were hit.

Microsoft is not being attacked because they make (good) products. They are being attacked because they are using their power in order to control the market, which is a huge no-no. The rules are not the same for monopolies as they are for regular companies. Once you understand that and a little market theory, it'll all make sense. I'm not trying to be fecetious here, but your posts clearly indicate you don't understand how a monopoly can use tactics that, under non-monopoly conditions, would do no harm but cause severe damage to the market when used in a monopoly scenario.



[ Parent ]
Re: If this is something people want to... (1.00 / 1) (#114)
by DemiGodez on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 11:08:53 AM EST

Fundamentally, I believe in free market theory to an absolute. I believe there can be no naturally occuring monopoly. Basically, I believe the only time we have a monopoly is when the goverment artifically creates one. In order for me to have a monopoly, I'd have to convinve everyone (through whatever means) that my product is the only one they want. And that doesn't happen. Linux is very successful and has the potential to become a real threat. Apple has made a lot of progress. And on the server side there are a lot of Unix shops.

Yes they broke the laws. But I already said I think the laws are flawed. I'm talking theory. And I am most definately not trolling. There are a lot of people who believe the same way I do. Fundamentally, at the end of the day consumers vote with their money. And an awful lot of consumers have decided MS is good enough for them. You don't agree? Fine, run linux, buy a mac. A lot of people do - look how successful iMac has been. If the bundling were as awful for the consumer as you describe, people wouldn't buy it. But people want it. You might say they have been conditioned to believe MS=good, but I fundamentally believe that individuals should have the right to make their own consumer choices, even if some of them make a "bad" (from a particualr point of view) decision.

I've studied a lot of market theory. I just happen to have a fairly extreme viewpoint. Of course lots of people disagree. But fundamentally, consumers have the power in a free market system and whether I like it or you like it, they've chosen MS. The government shouldn't have the power to override the decisions of consumers.

[ Parent ]

Re: If this is something people want to... (4.00 / 1) (#123)
by tzanger on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 12:28:58 PM EST

In order for me to have a monopoly, I'd have to convinve everyone (through whatever means) that my product is the only one they want.

I believe that Microsoft is a natural monopoly. How did this happen naturally?

  • Microsoft makes some smart deals (yes they were very smart)
  • Microsoft is declared a standard at some major businesses*
  • Little businesses need to work with these big ones but Microsoft programs don't save data well in open formats
  • Little businesses then must get software which reads Microsoft format or use Microsoft themselves
  • Microsoft changes filespec on a whim to break 3rd party apps and force upgrades across the board
  • Consumers get tired of using their favourite programs because they won't open microsoft file formats so they use Microsoft themselves, only to find it eases the pain only slightly
* - not because they're the best, but because of the sweetheart deal. Give it away early and make it back over time, then flip-flop when you're entrenched and blast the user for upgrades, bugfixes and new features.

Now this was fine and good until Microsoft gained so much marketshare that the whole "change the spec to break everything else" tactic started causing a the majority market a lot of grief. In essence, their own file formats became the standard through their (at first legal) dealings but because the formats are closed it hurt the end user who is now caught in an endless cycle of pay to upgrade. Note that it's not just the 3rd party user who's caught, it's the Microsoft user too. Because they are so entrenched, because they have such marketshare, they are a monopoly. And they are using their monopoly status in order to keep their profits high. Not through sweet deals, not through better product, but through bullying, which you really can only do when you own the majority marketshare.

Now that Microsoft has a huge share of the market, they continue to strongarm the distribution channels by saying they can't promise great prices unless everything they sell is Microsoft. This is the bad part. Legal or not, it's not fair and is anti-competitive. If they had a roughly-equal marketshare to everyone else nobody'd care. Because they threaten the distribution channels to not sell competitive products and because they have the marketshare to actually follow through with the threat, they are anti-competitive and can't be allowed to do so.

It's not the better product that wins out, it's the product backed by the best salesman. I think that's where your "The public must have wanted Microsoft if it's everywhere" argument falls down.



[ Parent ]
Re: If this is something people want to... (2.00 / 1) (#133)
by DemiGodez on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 02:26:47 PM EST

Couple of comments:
1) They are not a monooply in any arena. A monopoly by definition violates choice. There is no product set in which I cannot choose to buy something else. I'm not talking about the gov't/legal definition of a monopoly (which is something like 60% market share I think). I'm talking about the economic definition. You can buy Linux or mac os, you can run netscape, etc..

2)You call them "anti-competitive." They are most definately against their competition. *Every* business wants to be more successful than their competitiors and would like their competitors to be less successful. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be better than your competition.

3) You said, "If they had a roughly-equal marketshare to everyone else nobody'd care.." That's exactly why people belive that it is a vendetta. I don't know that I think that totally, but the point is for all the things your listed that they did (and they're probably all true), the majority of consumers still decided that was okay and they wanted the products.

Do you really belive it is okay for the consumers to vote one way with their money and then the government to overturn that? There is very little market demand for an OS that plays well with others and is standards based. Hell, I wish there were too. But there is not much there. If the majority of people were desperate for it, the demand would be there or would be very easy to create with some marketing.

What you're really saying if you say that MS shouldn't have as big of a market share and should be broken up, is that the consumers are dumb, and you (or a group of people like you - "you" being retorical rather than accusatory) know better than the majority of Americans. And since you know better, you are removing the choice from people and artifically trying to foster a product they don't want (standards, open OS). I don't like the idea of the government or a small group of people removing my freedom of choice as a consumer because of a "big brother knows better than you" kind of mentality.

[ Parent ]
Re: If this is something people want to... (4.00 / 1) (#137)
by tzanger on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 04:11:33 PM EST

2)You call them "anti-competitive." They are most definately against their competition. *Every* business wants to be more successful than their competitiors and would like their competitors to be less successful. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be better than your competition.

No, hating your competition and striving to be better than them is competitive. Anti-competitive is when you, hating your competitor, do something to remove them from the marketplace or otherwise remove the element of competition. There is a big difference between being competitive and being anti-competitive.

Competition is good; it makes things better for the consumer. Anti-competitive practise is bad; it removes choice from the customer and removes the desire to make things better from the manufacturer since there's no worry about someone rising up and stealing your marketshare.

3) You said, "If they had a roughly-equal marketshare to everyone else nobody'd care.." That's exactly why people belive that it is a vendetta. I don't know that I think that totally, but the point is for all the things your listed that they did (and they're probably all true), the majority of consumers still decided that was okay and they wanted the products.

Just because you don't know you have a choice doesn't mean you were informed about your decision to go with something. Why didn't people know they had a choice? Because they didn't. They didn't get a choice of OS with their PC, it was Windows because of the strongarm tactics by Microsoft. The IT manager brought in Windows NT Workstation because they were given a financial incentive over Operating System Z, not because it was a better product.

In the first case, the customer didn't have a choice. In the second case, the customer had a choice but it was the company with the most money who won, not necessarily the company who could have done the best job.

With the case of the rest of the people (the minority after you take out the first two mentioned), we choose. Unfortunately those who write the software and those who change the standards to keep those who write the software on their toes are on two different levels. Working to overcome the market giant who has a majority market share and perpetuates that by strongarming the distribution channels and buying up and either integrating or shutting down the competition through money wars is a losing battle and cannot be won without government intervention once a critical mass is achieved. Unfortunate but true. I'll say it again: Technical ability never wins when pitted against a competitor with endless financial resources. Ever.

What you're really saying if you say that MS shouldn't have as big of a market share and should be broken up, is that the consumers are dumb, and you (or a group of people like you - "you" being retorical rather than accusatory) know better than the majority of Americans. And since you know better, you are removing the choice from people and artifically trying to foster a product they don't want (standards, open OS).

In essence, yes. However I don't consider the general public dumb so much as woefully uninformed and uninterested. And the marketplace isn't the only place this happens. Although I'm not old enough to remember firsthand, I would be willing to wager that neither Vietnam nor Desert Storm were wanted by the populace but yet the choice to push ahead was done. Was it also this way for the breakup of AT&T? I know that was a government-sponsored monopoly (and still is?) but were the general public's opinions split in that case as they are here too?

I would also be willing to bet that, if properly explained, the majority of the market would indeed want open standards to drive their software. I don't think that for an instant anyone "not in the know" really knows what's going on and why it is vitally important to have open standards. Perhaps what we need is a "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?"-style TV blitz. The general public doesn't care and that's the main problem I think.

I am really enjoying this discussion with you. I'm not the world's best debator but I am enjoying it. :-)



[ Parent ]
Re: If this is something people want to... (1.00 / 1) (#143)
by DemiGodez on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 05:06:19 PM EST

No, hating your competition and striving to be better than them is competitive. Anti-competitive is when you, hating your competitor, do something to remove them from the marketplace or otherwise remove the element of competition.

If I sell clothes and I have a really, really good sale. Like 75% off. Is that competition or anti-competitive practices? I'm guessing you'll say competition. What if I notice that the current style is to buy a scarf with a dress. So, I decide to give a free scarf with every dress purchase. Probably still competition, right? What if i can come up with so many good ideas, and my competitors aren't very creative. So the combination of all my good ideas, puts them all out of business. Well, by your definition, that's anti-competivie since it removes choice from the consumer and I am now a monopoly. So individual practices are good, but if I am too good at it and come up with too many good things, it is bad. That's odd. Well, if I kept going with the sales after I had no more competition, the consumer would be happy. They still like my stuff and are getting a good deal. And that's kind of where MS is now. If I raised my prices high enough or started making a worse product, there is a threshold at which people would be unhappy. This unhappiness creates market support for a new clothing store to spring up. That hasn't happened because people are happy with MS products. The market regulates itself, its just that people aren't unhappy so the market isn't ready for new blood.

They didn't get a choice of OS with their PC..

Sure they did, MacOS or Windows.

The IT manager brought in Windows NT Workstation because they were given a financial incentive over Operating System Z, not because it was a better product.

Notice in the clothing example, i never said my clothes were better. It's just that they were a *better value* as perceived by consumers. It doesn't matter if it is a better product. Its what you're willing to pay for the quality you get.

...is a losing battle and cannot be won without government intervention once a critical mass is achieved. Unfortunate but true. I'll say it again: Technical ability never wins when pitted against a competitor with endless financial resources. Ever.

Why is it a "losing battle"? MS doesn't do anything to force people to buy anything. It's just that people value convenience (zipping over to Best Buy) over the technology you or I might value. Someone just has to come up with a product that is a better value (in terms of money, convenience and technical prowess, etc) and people will buy it. That's why a lot of people do buy Linux and MacOs.

However I don't consider the general public dumb so much as woefully uninformed and uninterested.

Yes. And they have the right to be. You can't legislate motivation. It's a free country and if I choose to be uniformed and uninterested, that's my right.

[neither]Vietnam nor Desert Storm were wanted by the populace

That's true, but the way a country governs is totally seperate from the free market system.

I would also be willing to bet that, if properly explained, the majority of the market would indeed want open standards to drive their software. I don't think that for an instant anyone "not in the know" really knows what's going on and why it is vitally important to have open standards. Perhaps what we need is a "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?"-style TV blitz. The general public doesn't care and that's the main problem I think.

Well put. You're right. They don't care. And if they did care, maybe they would decide open standards rock. But they care more about other things and they have total right to do that. People who do care don't have the right to inflict our opinions on them. Markets respond to the majority.

I am really enjoying this discussion with you.

Me too.

[ Parent ]

Re: If this is something people want to... (4.00 / 1) (#153)
by tzanger on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 06:08:33 PM EST

What if i can come up with so many good ideas, and my competitors aren't very creative. So the combination of all my good ideas, puts them all out of business. Well, by your definition, that's anti-competivie since it removes choice from the consumer and I am now a monopoly.

Correct and incorrect. :-)

Correct that you are now a monopoly. This is not a problem. Incorrect that you were anti-competitive. You did not sell your clothes such that the scarf is only fashionable with your dress, or that scarves in general are only fashionable with your dresses. You couldn't, or you'd be squashed by your competition because you are fighting more or less equally. While you didn't have a monopoly at first, you are now one and still playing fair.

Now take your monopoly and start opening up your distribution to Wal-Mart, K-Mart and a dozen other huge clothing retailers. Tell them you'll give them a great deal on your clothing if they will only sell your clothing and not your competitor's.

Not only that, but now set out and develop a way such that once your customers wear your dresses it is difficult, if not impossible, to wear anyone else's scarves. Throw extensive resources into figuring out a way to make your clothes somehow make the wearer's body look/feel horrible when they wear anyone else's clothes. Now you're starting to use your monopoly status illegaly. You're using your vast resources and distribution channels to close out your competition.

Sure they did, MacOS or Windows.

Personally I don't consider MacOS a viable alternative at this time. You can't play 75% of the games out there, you can't read the documents your friends send you, etc., etc. Why? Because Microsoft has used their monopoly position to strongarm this Wintel-only development. Not directly, but through controlling the distribution channels. You can't strongarm distribution channels unless you're a monopoly because you either don't have the money nor the sales to do so.

It's just that people value convenience (zipping over to Best Buy) over the technology you or I might value.

And I'm certain that Microsoft has some kind of sweetheart deal with Best Buy, as it does (did?) with Dell and Gateway and all the other guys... Maybe something like $100 back for every PC with Windows installed or something to that effect. Mac either can't or won't do that and they get a smaller display.

Someone just has to come up with a product that is a better value (in terms of money, convenience and technical prowess, etc) and people will buy it. That's why a lot of people do buy Linux and MacOs.

It's not possible because of the marketshare that Microsoft has. You can't make your Office program read their formats because they change more often than I change my daughter's diaper. You can't make your stuff interoperable to get your foot in the market because Microsoft's standards aren't open and you can't work with them without a lot of reverse-engineering and time. You can't make your programs run as fast or as slick as Microsoft's because the APIs are full of hidden functions which, if not used, make your app either too different or too slow to work well. It's been shown time and time again that UndocumentedAPICall() resulted in the program running properly or faster or at all. No startup has the time or resources to do this so Microsoft stays on top through the illegal use of its monopoly position.

It's a free country and if I choose to be uniformed and uninterested, that's my right.

True. Very true. However do you not also lose the right to complain when the government does something for you because you were too lazy/uninterested to take interest and make your informed opinion known or have its impact in the marketplace? I'm not sure if I know the answer to that, either.

People who do care don't have the right to inflict our opinions on them.

I would put it "People who don't care don't have the right to complain after the fact." but your statement does have truth to it as well.

Markets respond to the majority.

Yes, but I see the market (and pretty much everything) as a control loop. You have your inputs and your output and your feedback mechanisms. Markets are usually pretty good about controlling themselves but with the laws and business practices as they are I believe there are ways to swing the market into a positive feedback mode, wherein bad input results in bad output, which results in more bad input, which.... You get the idea.

Perhaps in a proper economic setup these kinds of things just couldn't happen: the loop would be tuned correctly. Unfortunately I don't believe this to be the case.



[ Parent ]
53 States? Is that counting Mexico... (2.00 / 1) (#24)
by J0hn on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 05:21:47 PM EST

J0hn voted 1 on this story.

53 States? Is that counting Mexico, Canada, and Guam?

Re: 53 States? Is that counting Mexico... (3.00 / 1) (#53)
by Fish on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 11:33:09 PM EST

sorry, never studied American geography before. And I didn't check the figure beforehand (obviously)

[ Parent ]
Perhaps Britain is tring (like Cana... (1.00 / 1) (#5)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 05:37:01 PM EST

lee_malatesta voted -1 on this story.

Perhaps Britain is tring (like Canada) to woo Microsoft away from the US. I actually hope they one of them succeed. I'd like to see how long MS lasts in a country run by Labour. Anyway, this dead horse has been flogged elsewhere. Granted, MS is big news, but c'mon. There is other news.

i thought there were only 50 states... (1.50 / 2) (#26)
by iCEBaLM on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 05:53:24 PM EST

iCEBaLM voted -1 on this story.

i thought there were only 50 states in the US? Damn, wheres my map...

is is just another breakup story. ... (2.00 / 1) (#27)
by eMBee on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 05:57:33 PM EST

eMBee voted -1 on this story.

is is just another breakup story.
the listed arguments are nothing new!

greetings, eMBee.
--
Gnu is Not Unix / Linux Is Not UniX

I've got several friends who're ups... (3.00 / 2) (#21)
by h2odragon on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 06:08:26 PM EST

h2odragon voted 1 on this story.

I've got several friends who're upset about the government's actions towards MicroSloth, and ideologically (sp?) I have to agree with them. As a practical matter, however, there may not be anyone else big enough to take MS down, and I want to see them taken down bad enough that I'll hold my tounge about the implications for the rest of the software industry.

I'd really like to see an article that details the numerous abuses of law, customers, and developers that have mad MS so hated by geeks at large nowadays. Something I could give to my fellow lazy fairy capitalists to make 'em think...

For me, the break point was about 1991 or so, when MS bought and buried the PDQ add-on library for QuickBasic. QB4 and 4.5 were excellent compilers, it was just the standard libraries that sucked... With PDQ and a little knowledge of assembler, there wasn't a hell of a lot you couldn't do in QuickBasic.

Gang up on the big boy. (none / 0) (#161)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 09:09:34 PM EST

If you have big bad country A threatening lots of smaller countries, they can join together to fight country A.

From what I have read in the past, smaller companies would not legally be allowed to get together and agree on tactics to combat microsoft.

There are also laws against wnat MS did.

How can you let some ignore the law and not all?

[ Parent ]

ach. ptooey. that is indeed depress... (3.00 / 2) (#9)
by sayke on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 06:10:31 PM EST

sayke voted -1 on this story.

ach. ptooey. that is indeed depressing. but... "talking point" is an opinion place, where anyone can go to post their opinion. what didja expect? there are opinions differing from the ones you describe there, too... so, in short, there are people disagreeing with you in a public forum. shrug.
sayke, v2.3.1 /* i am the middle finger of the invisible hand */

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!! ... (2.00 / 1) (#20)
by Marcin on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 06:38:12 PM EST

Marcin voted 1 on this story.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!

I think Microsoft have been secretly sneaking subliminal messages into their software. Brainwashing users. Must.. love.. Microsoft.. must.. burn.. down.. Judge Jackson's.. house... euhdhhghhgh,..

At the train station I get off at in the mornings (St James, Sydney, Australia) this morning the fancy new computerised timetable boards had crashed and there was a big dialog box spread across two monitors that said "DHCP was unable to obtain an IP address [...]". Reliable my arse.


M.

I have been saturated with discussi... (2.00 / 1) (#32)
by extrasolar on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 07:12:55 PM EST

extrasolar voted -1 on this story.

I have been saturated with discussion about the good an evil of Microsoft. I don't want to read such a discussion again. But it was an interesting write up---sorry.

What if the article is right? Aaah.... (3.50 / 2) (#7)
by Velian on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 07:28:53 PM EST

Velian voted 0 on this story.

What if the article is right? Aaah. So much childishness!

Re: What if the article is right? Aaah.... (2.00 / 1) (#38)
by fluffy grue on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 08:19:36 PM EST

Yeah, like this.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Large public backlashes like this d... (3.00 / 1) (#16)
by Dangermouse on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 07:30:31 PM EST

Dangermouse voted 1 on this story.

Large public backlashes like this don't happen without reason. We need to investigate and discuss the reasons for this, and decide how best to educate the public.


-----
No one has "Rights", neither machines nor flesh-and-blood. Persons...have opportunities, not rights, which they do or do not use. - Lazarus Long

Re: Large public backlashes like this d... (none / 0) (#45)
by KindBud on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 09:08:20 PM EST

Educate the public? That's very presumptuous, don't you think, to insinuate that the public is too ignorant to understand what has happened, but you - we - can set them right?

Joe Blow office worker just wants to get his spreadsheet done and go home to his family (or leave work and get loaded - whatever). Mom just wants to send her grown offspring some email, and maybe get a picture of her grandkids, if her daughter would ever think to send one. Little Johnny wants to blow things up in Quake, or be the king of Xegony on Everquest.

Most people don't care about the geeky details. Most people don't even own a computer.

--
just roll a fatty

[ Parent ]

Re: Large public backlashes like this d... (none / 0) (#54)
by Fish on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 11:36:58 PM EST

Spreadsheet? My mum found it impossible to use Excel, and gave up. As for me, I can't use it either - just because I can program, doesn't mean I'm any better at using programs than your next user. And I'm not really interested in spending the time learning. Lotus Smartsuite is much more usable, but what's happened to that? Nobody buys it because you only ever receive .doc's in your e-mail - when have you ever seen a .lwp?

[ Parent ]
I want my BETA, dammit! (none / 0) (#72)
by skim123 on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 01:49:16 AM EST

BETA is such high quality, much better than VHS. I want my BETA! When's the last time you saw a BETA tape in a video store?

I know..................... let's sue Sony! (or whomever "won" by developing VHS and working to make it the standard)

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Re: I want my BETA, dammit! (none / 0) (#74)
by rusty on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 01:56:33 AM EST

You know why BETA lost? Pr0n! Seriously, whoever was in charge of licensing BETA for videos refused to license it to porn makers. Hence, porn went on VHS, and basically created the home-video market, and allowed VHS to beat a superior technology.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: I want my BETA, dammit! (5.00 / 1) (#85)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 07:00:18 AM EST

*Grin*. Nice story. It reminds me of the old 'Stanley Steamer', a stream powered car from early in the 20th Century.

Back in the days when Henry Ford's Model-T could only average 20 mph, the Stanley Steamer could easily cruise at 85 mph.

Because of this, the company had very strict guidlines as to who could buy one of their products, and insisted that you have suitable refferals from respectable members of the public, including a leader of your religious faith ( parish priest, minister or rabbi ).

In comparison, Henry Ford just wanted to sell cars, and didn't care what you were going to use them for. It's easy to see how that one turned out. Same as Beta versus VHS.

You might be strangling my chicken, but you don't want to know what I'm doing to your hampster.



[ Parent ]

Yeah, the public is dumb. But even so... (none / 0) (#172)
by marlowe on Sat Jun 10, 2000 at 10:36:29 AM EST

we should at least try.

--- I will insist on my right to question ---
-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
[ Parent ]
I took a closer look at the comments and was rewar (4.70 / 3) (#40)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 08:48:53 PM EST

The irony!
Why don't Microsoft move their corporate headquarters to a less restrictive country, say Communist China? Surly, that way they would simply sell a product in the US and not be tied by US imposed restrictive practices.
Craig Sanderson, Singapore


Monopolies are legal in Britain (2.00 / 1) (#41)
by daninja on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 08:49:59 PM EST

So it doesn't surprise me that public reaction as reported by British media is less disdainful of breaking antimonopoly laws.

Monopolies are legal in the US (none / 0) (#44)
by kmself on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 08:55:17 PM EST

Monopolistic abuses, however, are not.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Re: Monopolies are legal in the US (none / 0) (#57)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 11:55:20 PM EST

Exactly... the way it is usually said is that monopolies may be ok but monopolization is not.

The act of building or maintaining a monopoly is considered an affront for the free market but being a monoply because of chance, innovation, being in a new market, etc. is fine.



[ Parent ]

My spin (3.30 / 3) (#43)
by KindBud on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 08:52:27 PM EST

I've made my peace with Microsoft. There are many things about their products I like, and many things I don't. The same thing applies to Linux and Solaris, the two OS I deal with for most of my work day. I have a large list of things I don't like at all about Irix, and a very short list of things I like. If only SGI boxes could run Solaris... :)

Anyway, back to the spin. The trial focused too much on the browser. The browser as we know it is not long for this world. So what if Netscape is dead - they deserve to be dead, they began the balkanization of the web after all (<blink> and <center>, without so much as a by-your-leave or kiss-my-ass to the W3C). Their mistake was in taking on the master of balkanization - Microsoft - and they paid dearly for the mistake. Microsoft out-did them in pushing proprietary extensions onto the web, and we're all worse off because of the war Netscape started and couldn't finish.

Nevertheless, IE conforms to W3C standards better than any other browser out there. No other product I know of supports CSS better than IE, and this is the way Netscape should have gone, but didn't. The result is that HTML is now so fucked up that wireless content producers had to come up with a new markup language, WAP. XML is what Netscape wanted HTML to be, but they were to unimaginative to invent it themselves, and too hell-bent on the IPO to wait for it to become a reality.

But as I said, the browser as we know it is not long for this world. The PC is also heading for obsolescence. What will replace them is not certain, but it's going to be a constellation of mobile devices and set-top boxes (eventually integrated into the TV set) that can be operated with a remote control from your couch, like WebTV, but much more sophisticated. Those are the platforms that will bring the Internet to the masses. Even with Microsoft's and Apple's friendly GUIs, PCs still intimidate most people. They have a long way to go before becoming as friendly as the telephone and the TV set, which is where I believe they need to go before they'll be adopted by everyone, everywhere.

In the big scheme of things, the browser is about as important as a hood ornament on a Model A Ford. That's what I see as an analog to the state-of-the-art in computing today.

I also think that Microsoft's market share should be evaluated in the context of the entire computing industry, all vendors, all platforms - both server and client. Because after all, when browsing the web, you are more likely than not to be interacting with an Apache or Netscape web server running on some Unix platform. When you call me at work, and my voicemail picks up, you're interacting with yet another Unix system. Our lives are touched by computing at almost every turn, but the trial did not look at the big picture. It looked at one transient segment of a constantly evolving market, a segment that hasn't even been in existence for more than a handful of years. Way to early for the government to act. It's as if they went after HoodWink, Inc for having a monopoly on those Model A hood ornaments...

By the time the dust settles, the decision will be irrelevant. And I also believe that Microsoft will go the way of Lotus, Borland, Quarterdeck within the decade. Maybe the final judgment will have taken effect by then, but it's certain to be irrelevant when all is said and done.

My spin. My two cents.

--
just roll a fatty

Re: My spin (3.00 / 1) (#51)
by Inoshiro on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 11:23:36 PM EST

PC dead? No. That's like saying the car is dead because we have bikes and mass transit. People want their own power, and they want flexibility. Think why SUVs sell so well when most of their capabilities are never, ever going to be used.

The reason the trial focused on the browser was because people wanted choice. Microsoft, despite having a product which may or may not be better, took that away that choice. Most intelligent people don't like the loss of choice. That's why things happened the way they did.



--
[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
PC's are six feet under... (none / 0) (#71)
by skim123 on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 01:42:56 AM EST

PC dead? No

Their getting there. Think of how much you need to know and master just to use a PC. Gobs of information and useless facts. While it might seem easy for us, those who work with them daily, those new to computers still find them overbearing. Imagine if using a car or telephone or microwave or television were as difficult as using a PC. They wouldn't have nearly the marketshare they do today. 90 million people in North America are online today (what is that, about 20%?). Something like 90% have a TV.

Information appliances will replace PCs in the not too distant future and will gain wider marketshare than PCs ever will or could.

(Don't worry, you will still be able to buy a PC, but it will be more for hobbyists and engineers and not for the average person.)

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Re: PC's are six feet under... (4.00 / 1) (#78)
by Inoshiro on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 02:27:56 AM EST

Let's see.. TVs originally came out in craptacular form in the 1930s. PCs did the same in the 1980s (previous were *really* weird and not useful for much beyond a toy).

Twenty years later people were just starting to buy TVs en-masse. 20% of homes in the year 1950 probably had a TV. Are TVs dead? No.

You have to learn something to do anything. There are hundreds of thousands of people willing to spend 6 minutes of their lives grasping the concept of windows and icons and mouse and pointers. Give them that, and they have an advantage. Social darwinism removes the rest from the equation. Plus, the "new" generation (most people under 18) are mostly fluent in PC concepts. Their parents aren't. So while the PC thing might seem dim to you, I see only the possibilities.



--
[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Re: PC's are six feet under... (none / 0) (#126)
by skim123 on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 12:36:28 PM EST

TVs are much easier to use than current PCs. How many buttons are on a TV? Five or so (on/off, volume up, volume down, channel up, channel down). Compare that to a computer. How many ways are there of doing the same thing? Too many.

Anytime you have to be consciously aware of using a device, it is not an information appliance and will never be as mainstream as a simpler version could be. Imagine if driving a car or using a telephone were as difficult as using a PC.

A good example... my folks have an older computer of mine that they use primarily for solitare and to keep in touch with folks via email. They don't know much about computers, enough to do the tasks they need, but still "mistakes" happen. My mom would tie up the phone line for an hour while reading email and responding... she didn't realize that once all those email messages were downloaded into Outlook she could read and reply to them while being disconnected... While that may not seem like a big thing, it still is something she shouldn't have to know, it should be easier, perhaps she would never connect herself and, once a night, the computer would connect on its own and resync, or something like that... oh well, enough babbling for now...

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Re: My spin (none / 0) (#68)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 01:34:21 AM EST

Mozilla's Gecko has been stable for a long time now and there is a Win32 app (for the name, unfortunately) that embeds it in a simple browser window. Gecko is more standards compliant than IE.

As far as breaking HTML, IE and Netscape4 are as bad as each other. Netscape did BLINK. IE did Marquee. Netscape did their silly implementation of the ALT tag. IE implemented a strange DOM, Netscape implemented a stranger DOM.

Remember kids, IE doesn't do the box test.

[ Parent ]

Re: My spin (none / 0) (#174)
by darukaru on Sat Jun 10, 2000 at 07:10:21 PM EST

Unless it's Mac IE5, which has the box test as its secret about box. (about:tasman)
Of course, the Mac IE team got thrown to the four winds. *sigh*

[ Parent ]
The Other Side (3.00 / 4) (#46)
by Logan on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 09:38:59 PM EST

I am one of those that are sickened by this judgment, and I am a computer professional. Before you dismiss me as some sort of astroturfer or some sort of victim of brainwashing, you should know that the only Microsoft product I have ever purchased is an optical mouse. I've always had the choice over what hardware and software I use, and I've exercised such choice.

My reasons for objecting to the decision stem from my fundamental disagreement with antitrust legislation itself. It is the punishment of success. As much as some of you are sickened by those of us that have the gall to support Microsoft in this particular scenario, we are just as sickened by those of you who wish to bring down doom upon a company and the employees that make it up purely out of jealousy. Many of you throw about terms such as "anticompetitive" -- what does that mean? To compete means to strive towards a goal or profit. You're actually punishing Microsoft for being competitive.

Oh well, I doubt someone as inarticulate as I am could ever convince you of your hypocrisy, but bring on the flames.

logan

Re: The Other Side (1.50 / 2) (#47)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 09:52:23 PM EST

You are a brainwashed victim of hype. Only the government can save us from the exploitation of Microsoft, just like the exploitation of AT&T. Microsoft is crap that I don't like, so I applaud whatever can be done to rectify a situation that I, personally, find intolerable.

All these people talking about free markets and rule of law are just looking for stupid excuses. This industry moves forward only when smart people tell dumb people what to do, otherwise we're just moving backward. As a self-appointed smart person I'm telling you dumb people how it's going to be, and I'm pleased that the government is on my side.

Of course, I don't want the government violating my privacy, but it doesn't bother me when they violate other people. The most important thing is what I want, and as long as the electorate is on my side I always get my way. Long live Democracy! Long live bureaucracy! Long live Technocracy!

[ Parent ]
Re: The Other Side (4.00 / 2) (#59)
by fluffy grue on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 12:19:44 AM EST

What was that, astroturf through ambiguous sarcasm? :)
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Re: The Other Side (3.00 / 1) (#82)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 06:32:24 AM EST

You know, AT&T gained its enormous power because for many years it was a government granted monopoly. This is obviously not what has happened with Microsoft.

[ Parent ]
AT&T & antitrust (none / 0) (#142)
by kmself on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 05:02:37 PM EST

Antitrust proceedings against AT&T begain very early this century, in 1913. The solution initially was to run the company as a regulated monopoly. The 1982 breakup was a realization of the fact that this strategy did not in fact work.

Fact: AT&T became a monopoly before it became a government regulated business.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Re: The Other Side (4.00 / 2) (#55)
by Fish on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 11:42:54 PM EST

It's not jealousy - they have abused their power - the facts are there plain to see - the court case merely proved this - and Microsoft have no intentions of ever stopping - and it's going to be damn hard to stop them.

For example:

Microsoft told the OEMs who wanted to include Netscape on the machines they sold that if they did this, then they would lose support contracts from Microsoft, or the cost of Windows would go up, or they wouldn't be able to licence Windows.

That is anticompetitive behaviour.

There is nothing wrong with having a monopoly, only when you use that monopoly to shut out your competitors.

[ Parent ]

Re: The Other Side (none / 0) (#73)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 01:50:02 AM EST

That word -- 'anticompetitive' -- is so ludicrous in the hands of DoJ supporters. Businesses are inherently 'anticompetitive'. Microsoft made deals with OEMs that were intended to give it an advantage over its competitors. You find this unusual? Are they passing out awards for naivete?

What do you think 'non-compete' agreements between employers and employees are for? What do you think exclusivity contracts are for? Are these practices 'anticompetitive'? Of course they are; that's the name of the proverbial game, as any reasonably intelligent observer can tell you.

The remarkably twisted logic of this case is manifest in the way that Microsoft is being pilloried for giving away software. What, you think it act less like a monopoly if it *raised* prices, instead? It would be funny if it weren't a true story.

Ubu

[ Parent ]
Re: The Other Side (none / 0) (#75)
by rusty on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 02:14:13 AM EST

Businesses are inherently 'anticompetitive'

I can't agree with that. Businesses are inherently competitive (in a capitalist system). Monopolies are inherently anticompetitive. The key difference is, when you're competitive, you're "battling" other companies for sales, and this is how the system is supposed to work. When you're anti-competitive, you're undercutting the very system itself, by battling the competitive marketplace. You're removing the possibility of competition, not competing with others. Take a sports metaphor-- it's like trying to win a football game by rewriting the rulebook so it says that only your touchdowns count.

As for non-compete clauses in contracts, that is irrelevant because for one thing, those are supposed to be there to ensure that you don't take technology or skills you learn at one business and start a competing business (hey, a competitive market doesn't mean you have to fund your competitors!), and for another thing, most of the current ones have been found invalid when tested in court, because they're anti-competitive to an extreme.

Basically, we're supposed to be competing against the other companies, not against competition itself.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: The Other Side (none / 0) (#98)
by ubu on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 09:27:14 AM EST

Frankly, that's nonsense. The only entity with the power to undercut the "very system itself" is the government because it has legislative and regulatory powers, enforced by the executive. No other entity in the United States has that power, period. You cannot argue otherwise. Every other entity, from the individual to the corporation, operates inside the legal framework -- rule of law -- provided by the Constitution.

To argue that Microsoft somehow has the ability to subvert the system solely from within is to argue that the system, itself, is explicitly unbalanced because it is self-amending.

That may be true, after all: Marx argued that the real danger of capitalism is when capitalists manipulate the power of the government to disadvantage their competition. But the irony of this case is that of all the concerned parties, the one *least* guilty of manipulating government power for private gain is Microsoft.

That fact would be clear to an impartial observer, but it's sickening to find that K5's official position is so perverted by ABM bigotry that its management can't think straight about such an important issue.

Ubu
--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
Re: The Other Side (none / 0) (#129)
by rusty on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 01:20:26 PM EST

...but it's sickening to find that K5's official position is so perverted by ABM bigotry that its management can't think straight about such an important issue.

K5 has no official positition. All opinions expressed by me are my own, and do not reflect any kind of "pronouncement" by the site, whatever that is. Kuro5hin is an aggregate of it's users, so if you want the official position of the site, read all the comments and come up with some kind of averaging scheme. I don't expect you'll get any kind of consensus. :-)

My point, I think, still stands. Microsoft did and does have the power to subvert the system from within, just like Standard Oil did, just like Bell Telephone did. That's what monopolies do. Yes, the system is imbalanced-- unlike the pleasant "invisible hand" theories, there comes a point in a capitalist economy where one company has enough power and influence to be able to tilt the scale arbitrarily. Think of the economy as an unstable function-- mostly it will self-correct within certain limits, but sometimes it gets outside of the stable zone, and then the power of one entity quickly goes to infinity. That's when the government does it's job, steps in, and realigns the playing field.

And Marx had the right idea, but it's not about manipulating government power-- it's about manipulating market forces. Government power is there specifically to ensure that the system remains stablized (ideally-- in practice, governments do a whole lot of other stuff too, which is not so positive).

But aside from all of this, and back to paragraph one, please please please, don't think that what I say carries any more weight here than anyone else. I happen to own the site, I can tweak certain things that others don't have access to (the "top of page" box, for example), but seriously, content-wise, my contribution is dwarfed by that of everyone else. I'm not even the most prolific single author or commentor, by a long shot. It really bothers me that I could be seen as "speaking for the site". That's what story moderation is all about-- I don't even excersize editorial control over the content. I hope this isn't a widely held perception...

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: The Other Side (none / 0) (#147)
by ubu on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 05:38:57 PM EST

There is no evidence whatsoever to indicate that any of the theory you described, regarding "uneven playing fields", is true. I think that the burden of proof is upon antitrust activists, since this type of theory is wildly speculative and goes against every tenet of the free market.

Historically speaking, it's been possible to ascribe every conceivable motive to antitrust activists, on behalf of their speculative theory, *except* real scholarship in the matter of economic theory and free market principle.

Ubu
--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
Re: The Other Side (none / 0) (#167)
by rusty on Sat Jun 10, 2000 at 01:10:48 AM EST

Actually, the burden of proof was on the government to prove their case in court, and the court says they did (so far). A lot of us seem to forget that no matter how passionately we hold our opinions, we are not deciding this, and we do not have all the evidence. I definitely include myself in that "we" by the way. Anyway, I'm not much of an antitrust activist, just someone who wanted to point out the difference between "competitive" and "anti-competitive". A lot of other comments to this story missed that little semantic item too, you just happened to catch my eye first.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: The Other Side (none / 0) (#91)
by nictamer on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 08:53:32 AM EST

You, sir, are either really dumb, or a troll.
In a free market, companies *have* to be competitive. That's why we want a free market -- so that there is competition, which encites companies to do better, cheaper, innovate, etc ... A monopoly is *anti* competitive because it removes those factors. That's what happened in communist countries: peole had absolutely no desire to work better/harder, and had no reason to do it since they got the same whatever they did, and all this led to famine, poverty etc ...

--
Religion is for sheep.
[ Parent ]
Re: The Other Side (none / 0) (#122)
by ubu on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 12:23:01 PM EST

Companies don't *have* to compete, they are *free* to compete. It may be likely that companies which do not compete will fail, but there is nothing in the Constitution which guarantees the government's duty to force competition. If you disagree, I'd love to see the Constitution Article which backs your argument.

Claiming that a monopoly is equivalent to Communism demonstrates severe lack of comprehension with regard to economics and political science. Only a State monopoly can be considered Communistic because it represents capital held in public trust; privately-held and -controlled wealth is antithetical to Communist dogma.

Most of your post is filled with similar deep confusion of terms and concepts, making it useless to debate.

Ubu
--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
Re: The Other Side (none / 0) (#154)
by Fish on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 06:11:11 PM EST

Anti-competitive isn't about stifling competition, it's about using unfair means to maintain your monopoly on a market.

Competitive is where there is competition (i.e. more than one serious player in the market) and you get a free choice between 2 or more products.

The deal with giving away software was that it was bundled with products from a different market to leverage their position in another market. When you have a monopoly in the different market, this is being anti-competitive - and it becomes even more anti-competitive when you forbid people who sell your products from including your competitor's products (from the first market). The evidence has shown that Microsoft were exactly out to do this. What more can I say?

[ Parent ]

Re: The Other Side (4.30 / 3) (#56)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu Jun 08, 2000 at 11:49:10 PM EST

It is not about punishing success! The whole point to the free market is to be _efficient_. No single entity like the government should make pricing and buying decisions. Instead, the "greed" of all the participants in the market-place make sure that the right products get produced and are sold for fair prices.

If you don't think that monopolies are a threat to the free market, you might as well support the pseudo-communism that was seen in the USSR. A single entiy owns and controls everything -- very inefficiently. According to your definition of competition, that goverentment would be "very competitive" because it was so successful at taking over everything. What is the difference between a single massive powerfull corporation and an opressive government? (Ok, obviously that was a low blow... but I think it outlines the problem with that line of though.)

The anti-trust legislation is here to make sure the free market stays free. Basically, you don't want any one participant to have overwhelming power. When they do they may be tempted to force others out of business through exclusive dealing, through dumping, though hassment, takeovers, etc., they will be tempted to make profits far and beyond that fair market price. The people that get hurt aren't just the competitors, they are the consumers.

When you say Microsoft is competitive, can you really say that about the market as a whole? In your own words "'anticompetitive' -- what does that mean?" Well, obviously it means to be counter to competition. It might be _profitable_ for Microsoft to put Netscape out of business but can you really say that it helped competition? Not to mention that MS knew that is was illegal... even if you do not support these laws you must admit they broke them.

In the case of MS we see they have market power over their customers. For example the whole new mess with bundled copies of Windows not including install media. They push their own protocols into new standards, force web browsers and operating systems onto venders, and look at the prices for their stuff! Sure you have a choice not to buy it, but it still affects you because they can eliminate companies and technologies that would have otherwise been choices for you to make.

As for jealousy playing a part... in the press and to observers definately that has some truth. The opposite is true too... people see Bill Gates as a role model. I don't know how many times people (generally elderly people) try and tell me about "The Road Ahead" and how insightful Bill is. And how he worked his way up and is such a nice rich person. Hmm. I don't really believe that but lots of people do. I don't think the judge was influenced by such things so claims that "this is why they are being broken up" don't make much sense. I do think the judge was pissed off because he felt he was being lied to and the fact he didn't have much technical knowledge was being taken advantage of.

Now add to that the fact what they did was not only monopolistic but underhanded and shady, and I don't see what is so unreasonable about breaking them up. I'm not sure it is the right idea either, but it isn't hypocritical or absurd.



[ Parent ]

Re: The Other Side (none / 0) (#58)
by Logan on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 12:10:11 AM EST

When you say Microsoft is competitive, can you really say that about the market as a whole? In your own words "'anticompetitive' -- what does that mean?" Well, obviously it means to be counter to competition. It might be _profitable_ for Microsoft to put Netscape out of business but can you really say that it helped competition? Not to mention that MS knew that is was illegal... even if you do not support these laws you must admit they broke them.

This is what I mean when I scoff at the term "anticompetitive." People such as you define the term as behavior that stifles competition. This is hypocrisy at its finest. Why should Microsoft "help competition"? Isn't this the very antithesis of competition? I suppose I must agree with the judge's ruling, in the sense that such legislation exists and it is the judge's duty to determine whether or not laws were broken and what a just punishment would be. But I also see it as the judicial branch's duty to fight against unconstitutional legislation. Apparently we only have a right to be secure in our effects as long as we don't accumulate "too much" power.

logan

[ Parent ]

Re: The Other Side (none / 0) (#65)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 01:19:37 AM EST

Actually I doubt anyone who would be against a monopoly, per se. More a monopoly that due to it's popularity was able to force things that they wouldn't normally be doable. This is illegal for a good reason.

This is the abuse of monopoly part.

Imagine this silly situation. Beer1 was popular, most people liked it, and due to it's popularity Beer1 could say to pubs that they wouldn't sell them Beer1 unless they didn't sell Beer2. That's not good for the consumer, and it's what Microsoft did (well, not with Beer. Obviously. Or something).

It's not about Microsoft helping competitors. The Judge hasn't expected Microsoft to go out of their way to publish their standards. But when they go out of their way to break things for competitors that is illegal for a good reason. It does the consumer no good and isn't a healthy market place.

Microsoft taking things like the Kerebos spec. Or in the old days breaking Caldera DOS/Win3.11 interoperability because of a trivial call to the system. These are illegal and should be punished.

Microsoft, despite their ever present stance, haven't been marching onward creating software - they have been writing their OS to break competitors implemenations of replacements. This is the anti-consumer bit.

Microsoft aren't dead too. They will still go on writing software. It is a deft blow, it's great. I use MS software quite a bit and i'm very pleased with this decision.

[ Parent ]

Re: The Other Side (none / 0) (#70)
by Logan on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 01:38:20 AM EST

Microsoft taking things like the Kerebos spec. Or in the old days breaking Caldera DOS/Win3.11 interoperability because of a trivial call to the system. These are illegal and should be punished.

You should be aware that, if the day ever comes where not strictly following a standard (and who dictates the standards?) really is illegal, as you claim it is now, then you will have truly stifled innovation. This has nothing to do with whether or not what Microsoft does now is innovation, but if we don't have the freedom to ignore standards when it becomes more profitable or sensible then we can no longer innovate.

logan

[ Parent ]

Re: The Other Side (none / 0) (#80)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 03:18:52 AM EST

"the freedom to ignore standards when it becomes more profitable or sensible then we can no longer innovate"...

Firstly I didn't say anything near what you're claiming in your entire post. I wasn't saying that companies should follow standards under threat of law.

If there's standard X, which is taken by Microsoft, changed, and released as standard X then that would be misleading.

By all means, use what ever standard you want, ignore them all, make your own, whatever. We'll (hopefully) agree there that this is a basic right that should never be trampled on. But don't hijack an open standard, make your own. Taking someone elses standard and changing it is just wrong.

The only way they can get away with actions like this is due to their popularity. Using their monopoly position to push through broken standards as The Standard and unfortunately it may become the defacto standard. This is abusing their monopoly position, and they are guilty of it.

[ Parent ]

Re: The Other Side (none / 0) (#67)
by Imperator on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 01:26:24 AM EST

Not quite the antithesis of competition, but not in Microsoft's best interests either. However, Microsoft is not a person. It does not have a right to be secure in its effects. It does not have a right to exist. It has a charter (probably in Delaware, but I'm too lazy to check) that allows it to exist. That charter was granted by a state government in the name of the people. In the name of the people, that government has the right to revoke the charter, and suddenly Microsoft doesn't exist. (I'm not sure about its international offices, but presumably those would die quickly without Redmond.)

Governments don't want to be left with no option other than revoking corporate charters whenever a company stands in the way of competition, so they enact antitrust legislation. Government exists to do things like that for the benefit of the greatest number of people. If a company is abusing its position as a monopoly (note that if they don't abuse it, they can keep that position), they're hurting the prospects for competition, and though it might be in their best interests, it's not in the best interests of the majority of the people.

People have rights which deserve protection. Corporations are not people; they are creations of people organized to help those people. When they become unhelpful, those people, acting through their government, have a right to eliminate the corporations.

[ Parent ]

Re: The Other Side (none / 0) (#102)
by ubu on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 09:40:03 AM EST

That's a good one. Corporations exist for the public good; I suppose we revoked the free market years ago. For your next trick, will you please demonstrate how free speech exists for the public good, as well, and how the government should be empowered to revoke it? And what about privacy, personal property, and religion? You've got a great thing going, don't just stop with Microsoft and the private corporation.

Ubu
--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
Re: The Other Side (none / 0) (#149)
by mwa on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 05:53:17 PM EST

I didn't see anyone write "Corporations exist for the public good", I saw "Corporations ... are creations of people organized to help those people. As to the other rights you point out, those are individual rights. Corporations do not have those rights. Corporations are a legal fiction. Laws (at least those we still have that are constitutional) exist for the protection of individual rights.

[ Parent ]
Re: The Other Side (none / 0) (#156)
by ubu on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 07:30:25 PM EST

There is no such thing as a body of law which separates "individual humans" from "corporations", at least not in the United States of America. I challenge you to produce it. Until you do, you cannot justify special treatment for corporations, whether or not you consider them "legal fictions". Ask Microsoft's collective employees and shareholders whether they consider the fruits of their very real collaboration a "legal fiction".

The cold, hard facts of Constitutional Law are not going to be wished away by juvenile argument.

Ubu
--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
Re: The Other Side (none / 0) (#160)
by mwa on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 08:50:20 PM EST

Reference 'Lectric Law Library' Legal Lexicon (emphasis mine)

    CORPORATION - A fictitious legal entity/person which has rights and duties independent of the rights and duties of real persons and which is legally authorized to act in its own name through duly appointed agents. It is owned by shareholders. Usually created under the authority of state law.

    An aggregate corporation is an ideal body, created by law, composed of individuals united under a common name, the members of which succeed each other, so that the body continues the same notwithstanding the changes of the individuals who compose it, and which for certain(as in NOT ALL) purposes is considered as a natural person.

    A corporation, or body politic, or body incorporate, is a collection of many; individuals united in one body, under a special denomination, having perpetual succession under an artificial form, and vested by the policy of the law with a capacity of acting in several respects(as in NOT all) as an individual, particularly of taking and granting property, contracting obligations and of suing and being sued; of enjoying privileges and immunities in common and of exercising a variety of political rights, more or less extensive, according to the design of its institution or the powers conferred upon it, either at the time of its creation or at any subsequent period of its existence.

Corporations are not all created equal. Corporations do NOT have certain "unalienable rights". They do NOT have the right to "life, liberty, and the search for happiness". They cannot vote. They cannot be drafted. They cannot be elected to public office. They cannot serve prison terms. They cannot have or adopt children. They are not protected from double jeopardy. They have no right to free speech. Do you see the absurdity of your claim?

I do not ask for "special treatment" for corporations, I demand special treatment for human beings. If you do not recognize the difference in rights, and therefor law, between human beings and corporations then I suggest you do a little research yourself before commenting on legal matters. IANALBIAACAITMRS: I am not a lawyer but I am a CITIZEN and I take my rights seriously!

[ Parent ]

Re: The Other Side (none / 0) (#162)
by ubu on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 09:25:27 PM EST

Absurdity? The absurdity is that you claim your own de facto rights over the legal rights of others. Microsoft's employees and shareholders have the right to conduct their business as they see fit under the auspices of law.

Human rights guaranteed by law are yours to claim, but they do not include the destruction of competing businesses (corporations, if you will), whether or not you happen to like their "business practices".

Rights do not guarantee your right to infringe, they protect you against infringement by others. Demonstrate that your inalienable rights have been violated and you win the "rights" argument. Otherwise, you lose.

Ubu
--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
Re: The Other Side (none / 0) (#165)
by mwa on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 10:46:10 PM EST

claim your own de facto rights over the legal rights of others

I claim no rights over others; I claim human rights over corporate rights.

destruction of competing businesses

To my knowledge, Microsoft has ot been destroyed, merely reorganized. You can't say the same about Microsoft's competitors. Netscape was sold, when it could have been doing the buying. What about other companies whose "innovations" Microsoft usurped? Did their employees and stockholders have rights? Did the people working on OS/2 have rights? Microsoft illegally forced IBM to market Windows over their own OS product.

Demonstrate that your inalienable rights have been violated and you win

For years, I could not buy a PC (which I wanted) without also buying Windows (which I did not). In contrast, I could buy a GE lamp, but non-GE light bulbs. Now, I cannot even buy Windows, which I would for some family members, without IE. I cannot in good conscience impose that type of security exposure on family. Microsoft would have the court believe that it can't even be de-installed. And it can't using any sanctioned Microsoft method. But the judge did it himself, and I finally did as well with 98-lite. So I was forced to buy products that that I did not want or need. You have no right to make me buy Coke, if I want Pepsi. Microsoft has no right to make me buy Windows, if I want OS/2.

By your own rules, I win.

[ Parent ]

Re: The Other Side (none / 0) (#164)
by cpt kangarooski on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 10:42:50 PM EST

We don't have a free market. We have a market which is regulated by law. A completely free market would be very very bad. Too many laws, or the wrong kinds of laws are also bad.

Getting back to corporations, yes, they exist for the public good. Personally I don't like the idea. I am repulsed by the notion that a fictional entity is permitted to exercise the rights that you and I get from God.

This is not to say that I am against capitalism or businesses. For the former, I think that capitalism has demonstrated itself to be the best economic system we presently have. I think that there are likely better ones which are not yet discovered and that we should not adhere to capitalism in the event that one appears, but this situation hasn't come up yet. (though there have been attempts) However, it must be regulated.

Remember, we aren't functioning in our economy because human beings are supposed to follow the dictates of economics. Economics derives from human behavior; when the two no longer agree, it is the economic model we use which must be rectified. Communism was the opposite, and never worked out well anyway. Not that it was practiced on a large scale. Monopolies are like the cancer or kudzu of capitalism. They're so successful that they prevent the system from functioning either normally or in alignment with how it best serves people. At best they can be benign. More frequently they're harmful to the continued good health of our economy.

MS is an excellent example in that they rarely do things better than anyone else, yet prevent others from being able to achieve success by legal business practices and actual innovation.

Generally I prefer small businesses - either sole proprieterships (where one person does business himself, owns his own goods/performs his own services and reaps the profits) or partnerships. (roughly the same with different people cooperating and collecting their rewards to some mutually agreeable ratio)

Corporations didn't exist in the way you're thinking of until comparatively recently. Before then they were quite rare, usually were only able to exist for a limited amount of time before their charters had to run out and ALWAYS had to come into existance by the fiat of the government. This is important.

If Alice is in business she owns her goods. If Alice and Bob are in business together, they own their goods together. (perhaps 50-50) But if Alice and Bob claim to be employees of something other than a person (legitimate governments are derived from people; non-corporate entities are also people as shown above) who can possibly own the business? No one, that's who. If not Alice or Bob, then it must be free for the taking.

Unless of course the government, which is only capable of acting on behalf of the people (or else it's illegitimate, it's actions null and void and in immediate need of being overthrown) agrees that there is some otherwise non-real entity which employess Alice and Bob and owns the businesses' property, collects the profits, pays the debts, etc.

The inability of a corporation to exist without the agreement of a government is how the chain is established that requires corporations to exist for the public good. Governments certainly aren't allowed to act against the public good - they lose their consent. And I can't think of anything non-trivial that's not either for or against the public good. Perhaps you can.

As for freedom of speech, religion and privacy they don't need to exist for the public good although they do as a matter of course (how can the lack of any of them be good?) because they're inherent in the human condition. When you're born you automatically get these things. A government may guarantee them but it cannot grant them. An illegitimate government may infringe upon them, but that is a terrible offense, and it still is incapable of actually revoking them. Only treading upon them.

Property is actually weird. In practice it tends to be good. However, unless you accept a might makes right philosophy, it doesn't really exist naturally. Most people are willing to accept it, as well as other infringements on their freedom, provided that they are minimal, in order to preserve the greater body of freedoms. Much like how monopolies, arguably the most successful at the capitalism game must be excised in order to preserve the rest of a working economy and society.

Anyway, getting back to corporations again, they're subject to all sorts of strange rules simply because their right to exist requires that they submit to any law that the government wishes to apply to them. This is a good deal for corporations; they get to exist and get some de jure rights. This is entirely a gain for them, wheras humans, with de facto rights tend to lose rights by government action. Those rights that we also acquire de jure are similarly revokable. Fortunately they're not the whole breadth of our rights.

Do bear in mind though that not all rights are created equal ;) YOU have the right to free speech because that's how reality works. Microsoft has the right to free speech because the government permits them to. (and permits them to exist in the first place) Rights granted by God cannot be revoked by man, though we're good, unfortunately, at ignoring them. Rights granted by man are revokable by man. If the US doesn't like Microsoft's business practices they can dissolve them without infringing on the rights of the employees of MS. They have no right to work, MS has no right to exist and the shareholders would likely get the assets in proportion to how much of the former company they owned.

You will find, if you actually look it up, that corporations really do exist only at the whim of the government (and therefore the people) and that they can be and have been in the past revoked when an especially offensive corporation incured the wrath of the government or it's master, the people. It would make so many things easier though if the Supreme Court would reverse it's decision that corporations are 'people.' But then these are the same guys that supported slavery and took nearly a hundred years to get around to striking down Jim Crow laws. They're fallible and they're pretty slow to get things done.

--
All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
[ Parent ]
Re: The Other Side (none / 0) (#84)
by Fish on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 06:41:43 AM EST

Anti-competitive isn't about stifling competition, it's about using unfair means to maintain your monopoly on a market.

Competitive is where there is competition (i.e. more than one serious player in the market) and you get a free choice between 2 or more products.

[ Parent ]

Re: The Other Side (2.00 / 2) (#60)
by ibm704 on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 12:24:37 AM EST

Punishing Success? Success at what?

The only success for MS is getting in the door first, superior marketing, (hype), and superior
lawyering.

DOS and Basic were not innovative. Gates was lucky to have and create the connections he did to
allow DOS to be adopted by IBM.

IBM was the innovator that made Microsoft, (with the help of Apple's decision to close their
architecture). Too damn bad IBM chose Intel instead of Motorola, (but thats another story).

Afterwords MS made smart, unethical, and monopolistic business plays to keep their corner on the
OS market, and leverage it into domination of the Office SW market.

Now MS is meeting it's match by showing up late to the Inernet party and confronting a
groundswell of GPL / Open Standards technology.

I for one am hopeful that superior technology will some day define success, rather than superior
legal and marketing bullshit.

- ibm704

[ Parent ]
You're a communist! (1.00 / 2) (#89)
by nictamer on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 08:46:23 AM EST

Or at least you're not pro-free market. A real free market proponent would know that *freedom of choice* is necessary for a free market to work properly. That's Economics 101. Freedom of choice might be limited by a government, but an unrestricted monopoly limits it as well. Monopoly => no competition. It's simple. The only political current defending monopolies is COMMUNISM. That's how it's called. They claim the same stuff as Microsoft, that they will do good, etc ... and we know what it really gets down to.
--
Religion is for sheep.
[ Parent ]
Re: You're a communist! (none / 0) (#100)
by Logan on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 09:39:41 AM EST

You gave me a good laugh this morning. To equate free market capitalism with communism is quite a reach.

logan

[ Parent ]

Re: You're a communist! (none / 0) (#105)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 09:48:22 AM EST

To equate capitalism with the free market is quite a reach. Capitalism is a specific kind of non-free market where property owners have an advantage in dealings with non-owners, compared to their equality in a free market.

[ Parent ]
Re: You're a communist! (none / 0) (#124)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 12:31:49 PM EST

Is everyone on K5 completely unschooled in economics and political science? Or is it the entire geek community?

[ Parent ]
Re: You're a communist! (none / 0) (#152)
by Fish on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 06:05:25 PM EST

There's only so many subjects you can study at school, and if you're doing techy subjects (physics, computer science, chemistry, maths, etc) then you're probably excluding humanities, arts and "social sciences".

I for one know nothing about economics and politics (esp. American economics/politics - why would I?)

[ Parent ]

Re: You're a communist! (none / 0) (#155)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 07:26:00 PM EST

Then forgive me for being blunt, but why should I care about your opinion? I refer you to Randy Waterhouse's conversation regarding one's opinion of the Internet in Stephenson's _Cryptonomicon_.

All that aside, it doesn't take much study to comprehend the basics of politics and economy. Jurisprudence. Free markets. Supply-side vs. demand-side. Rule of law. These are basic topics that every high-schooler should understand, whether you live in the United States or Zimbabwe. These are the topics that inform judgment in the Microsoft case, and they are topics that could make you qualified to comment on public policy decisions.

Since so much of K5's material seems focused around policy, in one form or another, it would be such a relief if I could believe that the geeks knew the first thing about it.

[I am a geeky professional UNIX programmer who understands economics and politics. I never graduated from college. Go figure.]

[ Parent ]
Re: You're a communist! (none / 0) (#186)
by Fish on Tue Jun 13, 2000 at 11:17:02 PM EST

Then forgive me for being blunt, but why should I care about your opinion?

The point of this article was that it discussed other people's opinions. The fact I don't know about statistics for inflation, or what the liberal democrat's manifesto is doesn't mean that my opinions are worthless.

I *do* however understand about what is defined as anticompetitive, monopoly, illegal, etc, as I have worked for a large company where we are required to know and respect such things. I would say that these issues are pertinent here.

I refer you to Randy Waterhouse's conversation regarding one's opinion of the Internet in Stephenson's _Cryptonomicon_.

That's not particularly helpful.

Since so much of K5's material seems focused around policy, in one form or another, it would be such a relief if I could believe that the geeks knew the first thing about it.

Can you provide us with some reference material then? I'm not going to the library just to satisfy your quest, but I'm willing to read up about it on the Internet.



[ Parent ]

Re: You're a communist! (none / 0) (#116)
by Perpetual Newbie on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 11:19:09 AM EST

You gave me a good laugh this morning. To equate free market capitalism with communism is quite a reach.

When you have a monopoly, you do not have a free market. What you have is essentially a large, powerful force that can dictate rules and regulations, levy charges beyond the purchase price for its product, and on a whim ruin any person or business under its power.

Laws, taxes, and control of your economic destiny by a powerful centralized entity; What does that sound like? Hmm, could it be, a GOVERNMENT?

[ Parent ]

Punishing success (2.00 / 1) (#112)
by error 404 on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 10:51:05 AM EST

It isn't the success, it's what you do with it.

I am sucessful enough that I own a car.

Now, if I go down to the bar and have a quick dozen beers, and then, on my way home, bump into some pedestrians, I'm in big trouble with The Law. But if I were less successfull, I would have no car, and would be walking home from the bar. In which case, bumping into a few pedestrians might get me punched, but The Law would almost certainly stay out of it. Is The Law punishing me for the success that allows me to own a car?

Antitrust law picks up where market forces fail. The actions that are prohibited when a company is a monopoly are, for the most part, impractical when the company is not one. If I refuse to sell you my software unless you buy a copy for every computer you sell, and I'm not Microsoft, you'll laugh in my face and go to my competitor. I'll lose business, and rightly so. The govornment won't have to break me up, my own would-have-been-customers will do it.

..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]
Re: The Other Side (4.00 / 1) (#115)
by LetterJ on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 11:11:55 AM EST

"You're actually punishing Microsoft for being competitive."

No, they're punishing Microsoft for being so competitive that they broke the rules.

Imagine a high school American football star. He takes the game very seriously. In game after game, he plays as hard as possible to score points for his team. Unfortunately, he has a bad habit. When a flag is thrown because the play is over, he can't stop being competitive. He tackles other players and sends a great many of them to the hospital. Do we defend the kid who is competitive after the flag is thrown? Well, his parents and other friends might just say he has an overly-competitive spirit. But the kids he put in the hospital will rightfully scream, "He broke the rules and put me in the hospital. He should be punished."

In the U.S. the rules for business have been codified into law. Because of the game that Microsoft is in and its status, a monopoly, it has to follow the specific set of rules for monopolies.


"If you can't explain it to an 8 year old, you don't understand it." - Albert Einstein
[ Parent ]

Re: The Other Side (none / 0) (#158)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 08:14:46 PM EST

The important fact in your analogy is that the football player delivered hits after the flag was thrown.

Who throws the flag down in business? You? What makes you think that real life is some kind of game?

[ Parent ]
Re: The Other Side (none / 0) (#185)
by LetterJ on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 09:01:45 AM EST

The flag is thrown when a specific percentage of a given market is controlled by a specific company. In this case, desktop operating systems, 92%(IIRC). The flag is somewhere around 80%. If a company controls over that percentage of a given market, they are a monopoly. That isn't illegal, but it is a flag thrown. Then the rules change. Things which were legal/within the rules before the flag was thrown are illegal/against the rules after.

I have no right as a person to determine when the flag is thrown. However, the Sherman anti-trust laws due.
"If you can't explain it to an 8 year old, you don't understand it." - Albert Einstein
[ Parent ]

Adolph Hitler was punished for being competitive (none / 0) (#171)
by marlowe on Sat Jun 10, 2000 at 10:33:18 AM EST

(They only found out about that death camp stuff after the fact.)

So is the thread over now?

--- I will insist on my right to question ---
-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
[ Parent ]
Microsoft breakup parody - laugh a little (more th (2.50 / 2) (#64)
by Oscarfish on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 01:13:04 AM EST

At my site I've done a couple of short pieces on the Microsoft breakup - just small parodies in recent news updates. Visitors there seem to find it funny. Check it out if you need a break from the serious nature of the MS split discussion.

---------

Some people think I'm a sellout for placing ads on my site. Fsck them.

Is Microsoft a monopoly? (2.50 / 2) (#69)
by skim123 on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 01:36:16 AM EST

I discussed this "breakup" topic with a guy I met at a conference. I have no beef against Microsoft (I interned there for a summer, I use both Windows and Linux (more Windows than Linux), I love IE/Word), and consider myself pretty easy going on the subject (near apathetic). This guy I met, however, was very vehemenent in his argument that the breakup on MS was hogwash.

His argument stemmed from the fact that Microsoft can't be changed for anticompetitive behavior if they are not a monopoly. He said he had read the Sherman Act and that it does not specifically defines a monopoly; rather it leaves it open to interpretation by the courts. He argued that the courts chose to focus on the Desktop PC, in which Microsoft has a domination. He wondered why all "systems" were not concerned (embedded systems, mainframes, etc.). If this more liberal view at computing had been taken into effect by the courts then MS wouldn't have been deemed a monopoly.

This guy had some interesting arguments but he was so pro-Microsoft that it really was sickening. In any case, is Microsoft a monopoly? I argued that they were, saying that, if they so desired, they could take down any small to medium-sized business and seriously hamper any big business. He argued that while they could, it would not be in their best interests and they have done quite the opposite, providing for tons of companies to form. Seemed kind of funny, though, to trust Microsoft not to weild their great economic and influential power to harm other companies...

OK, that's enough from me...

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


Yes, per FoF (none / 0) (#141)
by kmself on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 04:50:18 PM EST

The findings of fact constitute a legal finding that Microsoft is a monopoly and has abused this position.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Re: Yes, per FoF (none / 0) (#168)
by skim123 on Sat Jun 10, 2000 at 02:03:23 AM EST

The findings of fact constitute a legal finding that Microsoft is a monopoly and has abused this position

I, as well as the gentleman I discussed this with, agreed with that statement. But the guy's arguement was should they have been declared a monopoly? Anyone has the right to call me a yellow-breasted chicken, but that doesn't mean that I am one.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Re: Yes, per FoF (none / 0) (#170)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jun 10, 2000 at 08:49:24 AM EST

Well they had enough of the market to enforce<sup>*1</sup> silly contracts on Gateway, Dell, etc... I'd call that a monopoly.

Either way they have about 85% of 'the market' (what does that mean? desktop or server or computers in general?)

*1 yeah, enforce.

[ Parent ]

Re: Yes, per FoF (none / 0) (#181)
by skim123 on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 05:30:59 PM EST

Either way they have about 85% of 'the market'

It's gotta mean desktop operating systems.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Losers. (2.00 / 3) (#79)
by SalsaDoom on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 02:56:07 AM EST

I'm not even going to try to be nice about this. Every time MS pisses us off, and let me remind you damn ingrates that it happens all the damn time, weekly, if not daily, that we bitch and ask, "How can they let this happen!?!" well, shit fellas, here is them finally not letting it happen. Those punks who are whining probably had MS stock and are sore. Next time, why don't you try supporting a company that you know isn't breaking the law. Like.... oh say, ANYONE for christ sakes.

Ugh.... (1.80 / 5) (#81)
by Cryptnotic on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 04:18:07 AM EST

These comments are just more evidence that people (in general) are stupid.



Oh Please... (4.00 / 1) (#93)
by PrettyBoyTim on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 09:06:48 AM EST

Simply because you don't agree with someone is no reason to brand them as 'stupid'...

This is exactly the kind of Slashdot-like attitude I've been trying to get away from with K5.... *sigh*

[ Parent ]
an interesting reply... (4.57 / 14) (#86)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 07:46:42 AM EST

quoted from a forum.
You can find the full thread here: http://pub1.ezboard.com/ftopazdesignsmisc.showMessage?topicID=2558.topic

Here's the text of the reply (not written by me)

--- Text begins here ---
Well, I was going to start this topic, but I'll be glad to add in my opinion right here. :)

I've been reading a lot about the public reaction of this action online, in the newspapers, and watching it on TV and listening to it on the radio. The thing that completely disturbs me is the complete lack of understanding about this subject in the public arena.

It seems that anytime the government tries to step into a business case, people complain that the government is doing no good sticking it's nose where it doesn't belong. The impression is that Microsoft works hard, makes money, achieves the American dream, and then gets slapped in chains for it. The general impression of all these attitudes seems best summed up in the words "Just leave him alone, will you?"

Well, no. And here is why:

If you're on the supporting side of Microsoft, you really do not understand one bit about what really was going on. Let me give you the legal low-down and then you might understand a little bit better. But, hold on to your pants: this might be a shocker.

<i>Microsoft broke the law.</i>

This isn't a case about the government "getting involved", trying to weigh down the software industry with tons of bureaucratic papers. This is a legal case against Microsoft for good reason. And it isn't "the government" getting involved - it's the judicial branch that we call "the courts". These are not senators debating this on the floor of the senate, but judges in a court room that have determined that the monopolistic policies of this nation have been sorely misused, and even ignored.

This is a criminal case.

It is no different than if somebody is caught stealing money by not paying his taxes, or embezzling money from his company, or even stealing from another store. It is a case for the courts, regardless of what Microsoft would have you believe.

This case started many, many, years ago, and underwent the process of 3 administrations. It was first looked at in 1990. These sort of timelines do not persist through 3 presidential administrations and countless congressional reshuffles unless there is good reason for it. Only the Judicial branch of our government in the U.S. is that slow with anything, and for very good reason: they wanted to find the facts.

And they have.

The facts are this: Microsoft is a monopoly. This is not something that can be argued. Under the law, they fit the definition of a monopoly in every sense of the word. There is no room for argument here. Microsoft tried to change the argument by saying that they are not a monopoly in the new market, but that still does not change the legal definition. The legal definition is that they own more than 85% of the market share and, hence, they are a monopoly. Since Microsoft owns over 92% of the market share (according to <i>conservative</i> estimates), they fit this definition perfectly and can not make the argument otherwise.

Now, let's clear up another misconception that most people have - something I have been hearing over and over again: It is not, in fact, illegal to be a monopoly. The government is not prosecuting Microsoft because it is a monopoly. There are other monopolies out there that are untouched by the government. The mere fact that one is a monopoly has nothing to do whatsoever with going to court for being as such. Anyone who claims this is ignorant of the facts, and the law.

However, the law states that, as a monopoly, one has to follow certain guidelines established long ago so that competition may not be stifled. If one has a company that is defined as a monopoly, one has to accept playing by different rules. If one does not wish to play by those rules, one can easily sell of parts of the company to remain below monopoly standard, and keep playing by the "normal" rules.

It really is that simple.

Now, what did Microsoft do?

Well, Microsoft used it's power to threaten compliance with it's agenda, or it would retire it's services from those that did not wish to follow it's lead.

I.E.: It threatened, like any common mafia thug, for allegiances, or it could no longer guarantee "protection".

That means that when Dell, Gateway, and other companies wanted to include competitor software - regardless of whether it was better or worse - in their system configurations, Microsoft told them that if they did this, they would no longer have a licensing agreement for selling Microsoft Windows on their products.

Seeing as the market is 92% Microsoft, and seeing as about 98% of people who buy a PC from those companies (and others who testified) order Microsoft with their product, this means that Microsoft threatened the complete bankruptcy of those companies if they "didn't play ball".

This is illegal.

A monopoly, Microsoft has to make it's services available to anyone who wishes it, for the same price <i>and without exception</i>, or they are breaking the law. They cannot, for instance, give preference to Gateway, and not to Dell.

Again, this is breaking the law.

The idea that this was a suit brought on by Netscape and Sun and a few other companies because "they failed to market their products well enough" is a complete and utter falsehood. Yes, of course they were trying to bring their own competitor down, like any other company, but they were only going so far as the justice department because they knew that the law had been violated - many, many times. And there was nothing else they could do.

Now we come to the real interesting part: Microsoft doesn't live in the real world.

Microsoft seems to be unable to accept the fact that real laws and circumstances apply to it. For example, when Senator Orin Hatch, one of the most senior and respected senators of the government and head of the Judiciary committee, calls you to a public hearing on a subject which is <i>very</i> prominent in the news, you do not just send a secretarial reply saying that you are too busy to attend and that the government should not interfere with your business.

This is called "being obtuse".

When the judge in the case orders tapes to be made of interviews for the record of the court, you do not edit them in a studio to "shed a better light" on them before submitting them as evidence - twice.

This is called "fraud", and "tampering with evidence".

When the judge asks you if it is possible to take the Explorer browser out of the system without damaging it's operation, you do not lie to him and say that it is impossible. Because when that judge turns out not to be the complete technophobe that you might have hoped for, and does it himself in his chambers with all parties watching, in less than 5 minutes, you can end up looking very silly indeed.

There are many other examples, and people seem to think that it is merely a case where Microsoft did not see fit to grease the palms of a few politicians who were jealous and angry at it's conduct in giving them no preferential treatment.

Again, this is a falsehood.

The legal document was quite clear: Microsoft broke the laws that governed it as being a Monopoly, and it must pay the price. The judge was willing to hear another solution provided by Microsoft for it's own penalty, but Microsoft continues to admit to doing no wrong when, in fact, the laws clearly state otherwise. Microsoft is in complete denial. Bill Gate's tune about "innovation" is like that of a broken record which does his company no service. It sounds like a broken message that is so afraid to sway from it's little intonation for fear that anything else it might suggest would immediately point to the realization that it did, in fact, break the law. And, folks, we're not talking about lying to cover up a sex scandal. We're talking about breaking the law that cost the industry billions of dollars in revenue, and took the food out of the mouths of hundreds of thousands of people, just because Microsoft was afraid that a better product would come along.

Now I know every company plays this hard, but they aren't necessarily a monopoly, so they don't have certain limitations. If Microsoft wanted to keep playing that hard, it could have easily done away with part of it's market share and remained in the same ball park as the rest of those companies. It chose not to do this. It chose to be a monopoly and still play by the rules that other businesses are limited to, because it wanted the convenience of both worlds. This is not how the law works, and it is not how business works. And the reason that Microsoft received such a harsh judgment is because it refused to accept the law and tried to argue that the law did not apply to it.

If one goes into a courtroom, guilty of embezzling, and then states that yes, one did embezzle funds but that the laws of embezzlement do not apply in one's case, the courtroom will justly be outraged at that claim. And remember: we aren't talking about jaywalking here. We're talking about billions of dollars and some companies threatened with bankruptcy.

Microsoft has to learn that it is subject to laws, just like anyone else in this country. It also has to learn that it cannot remain oblivious to it's actions just because it has so much money and power. The judicial branch does not care if people are rich and powerful: judges tend (with only a few minor screwups) to care only about legal argument. Microsoft was obdurate enough not to want to accept this fact, and they lost.

Now, I don't know if splitting up the company is the right idea, but there seems to be very little other recourse offered by Microsoft. It's own version of Penitenziagite was woefully lacking in any apology or recourse that could have saved this situation. The judge was right in accusing it of being untrustworthy. And what fine could the Judiciary impose upon it? What fine could possibly even make a dent in it's operations enough for it to realize that it had lost something big due to a tremendous miscalculation that it had made? A billion dollars? Ten Billion? Microsoft could easily pay that sum and not even blink.

Frankly, I think that breaking up Microsoft will kill the Windows market entirely because the OS will no longer support internet functions, and that just will not be able to compete with other OSes that will. The applications side will flourish but the OS side will eventually die. And I'm not sure that is such a good idea. But Microsoft seems unwilling to accept any sort of responsibility or punishment and, therefore, will probably end up enduring the harshest ones. The judge has said again and again that if Microsoft apologizes and tries to come up with a reasonable ulterior solution, acceptable to the Justice Department, he would rather impose that measure instead of a breakup. But Microsoft did not. Again and again, they live in a world that isn't real and think themselves immune against the arm of the law. Obviously, this is not the case, and they will suffer for it.

Now, you can dispute the punishment and try to come up with your own solutions, and maybe you could email Bill Gates and implore him to listen to reason, but there is very little else you can say about the main fact: Microsoft broke the law, and it was caught red handed. It was found guilty of doing so after a trial that lasted over two years with over seventy days of testimony in court. This was not the hurried "political railroading" that people seem to think it was. These are lies put out by the propaganda spin masters of Microsoft, and their hope is to try to sway public opinion so that the courts may be swayed. This obviously did not work, and it will not work. They are deliberately trying to misinform you to try to make you look outraged at the government, when in fact, it is them that should bear the pointing of the finger with the words "J'accuse!" on your own lips.

That is the real case so far, and I hope you understand that if you think you know better, you can easily read the documents of the case which have been made public, to realize the error of your ways.

Sincerely,

Nat.
--- End

I think it summarises it all pretty much.

Daniel

Re: an interesting reply... (4.00 / 1) (#90)
by tommasz on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 08:50:18 AM EST

My take is, in general, the anti-MS faction has not succeeded in explaining the dangers of the new market type of monopoly that MS has. What is obvious to some often is completely hidden to others. Certainly the multiple outbreaks of attacks on the MS Outlook program have done little to open the eyes of the masses and (until recently) very little to motivate MS to change anything. Given this, we are in a position where "only time will tell" if we are right. The Internet and ubiquitous computing will do more to strip power from MS than the US government ever could.

[ Parent ]
An excellent reply! (4.00 / 1) (#110)
by BlueFox on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 10:37:31 AM EST

Finally a reply that outlines what the real issues are, and more importantly, are not. The fact that Microsoft is a monopoly is not what they are being dragged through the courts for. The law fully permits monopolies.

What the law does not allow is anti-trust and anti-competitive actions. Companies are not allowed to engage in such things as predatory pricing (below cost selling with the intention of driving a competitor out of business), tied selling (you must buy my product X if you want to buy my product Y), or use a monopolistic advantage in one market to leverage an advantage in another market.

It was these rules that were violated, and are the basis of the DOJ case against Microsoft. Insisting on the installation of MS IE on machines that were to have Windows installed in order to gain advantage in the browser market was tied selling, and was abuse of the monoplostic advantage MS had with Windows. Allowing their Office developers access to code that Office competitors did not have access to was an abuse as well, as it made their product run better with Windows than a competitor's could, giving their Office application an advantage over others.

When this case first started I thought it was simply a case of the American Way gone wrong : come to the land of prosperity, and build your dreams - just don't become too successful. Only after I learned about the anti-trust aspects did I begin to see what the case was really about.

Monopolies are fine. Competition is fine. Beating your competitors in a free market is fine. The law simply disallows using an advantage in one market to crush competition in another, because it isn't competition and doesn't allow market forces to decide which products it wants.



[ Parent ]
I hate MS as much as everyone else... (1.00 / 1) (#88)
by Zach on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 08:40:24 AM EST

But I feel insulted that the government feels that I'm too stupid to choose my OS of choice by my self! It's ridiculous that in order to give us "more choice" on our OS that they have to strike down a company like that. When the hell did we lose our choice to buy products freely?? I know that for all my life I've never had to buy a MS product that I didn't want to. I hope they move to Canada. That will teach those commies a lesson...I know the average person isn't that smart, but do we have to assume such stupidity as to not trust him to spend HIS money freely?!

Next you'll be pulling to split up Slashdot because none of us can think for ourselves enough to decide where we want news...



Hold on there Cowboy (none / 0) (#96)
by jabber on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 09:15:40 AM EST

This ruling isn't in the slightest way going to limit your OS choices.
On the contrary, it's going to give you a choice of OS on which to run Office - that's the intention. You can still keep your box 'all-Microsoft' if you want, it's just that now you won't have to suffer mysterious crashes IF you deviate from the "Road Ahead (tm)".

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Re: Hold on there Cowboy (none / 0) (#103)
by Zach on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 09:42:24 AM EST

It's not about running office. There are also alternatives for office that could be used. So, I not only had a choice on what OS I want, but I also have a choice of the office suite. Nothing changes...


[ Parent ]
Re: Hold on there Cowboy (none / 0) (#113)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 11:00:01 AM EST

> It's not about running office. There are also alternatives for office that could be used.
> So, I not only had a choice on what OS I want, but I also have a choice of the office
> suite. Nothing changes...

Of course, if your alternative office suite isn't 100% compatible with MS Office, you're shit out of luck when somebody sends you an important document that is in an Office format. And how did Office become the "standard" for business documents? Because Microsoft leveraged their control of the OS market to make Office the "standard". And since the Office file formats are moving standards, alternative office suites are at a disadvantage for producing useful file translators.

[ Parent ]
Re: Hold on there Cowboy (none / 0) (#120)
by Zach on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 12:19:36 PM EST

You say it like MS forced everyone to use office. This is what I hate. No one has to buy office, no one has to use office. There are other file formats that are "standard". HTML, Postscript, PDF, and probably many others. Maybe I'm just too idealistic...



[ Parent ]
Re: Hold on there Cowboy (none / 0) (#121)
by Vygramul on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 12:22:31 PM EST

M$ *does* try to force you to use office by crippling competitor's software.

Imagine you want to buy a FRAM oil filter for your car, but GM made it so that if the car detects a FRAM filter, your gas mileage drops 5mpg. No technical reason for this other than they want you to use GM oil filters. Would you stand for that even for a minute?
If Brute Force isn't working, you're not using enough.
[ Parent ]

Re: Hold on there Cowboy (none / 0) (#125)
by Zach on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 12:33:11 PM EST

Take your money somewhere else...don't buy from MS or GM...



[ Parent ]
Re: Hold on there Cowboy (none / 0) (#176)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jun 10, 2000 at 07:53:00 PM EST

*chomp* I'll bite.
Now, let's say that 96 percent of gas stations in the U.S. are also owned by GM. And GM Gas(tm) will not power a non-GM car. If you then decide to 'vote with your feet' and buy a non-GM car, your options are:
Refine your own gasoline from crude oil (great for the .01 percent who happen to own a home refinery),
Buy SpecialtyGas, which powers your car, but costs ten times as much as GM Gas(tm) and is hard to find, or
Walk everywhere you go. (Kinda hard to carry the groceries home when the nearest store is 10 miles away, isn't it?)

On top of this, GM has also been slowly but surely buying up all the roads. They're also quietly installing sensors which check to see if you're in a GM-made car, and set off land mines if you're not.
Still want to buy That Other Brand?

[ Parent ]

Re: Hold on there Cowboy (none / 0) (#150)
by Fish on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 06:00:14 PM EST

Yeah there's these other file formats - but you can't save to them using Office. Now for something that has 95% of the desktop market, you're not going to get people using other formats. It's a status quo thing.

You get sent .docs, you have to run Word. What other choice is there? Nobody sends you .pdf's because they don't have the facilities to create them - this is because it's not in Microsoft's interests to include useful functionality that would potentially reduce their sales in their software.

As far as Microsoft and countless millions of people are concerned, Microsoft is the one, true way.

What about those of us who want them to just be a way.



[ Parent ]

Re: I hate MS as much as everyone else... (none / 0) (#97)
by Vygramul on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 09:23:38 AM EST

<sigh>

You COULDN'T buy any OS you wanted to... only you didn't know that. Before this court thing, it was impossible to get a Dell with Linux. Why? Because MS told Dell they couldn't sell Windows unless they ONLY sold Windows. Microsoft was keeping me from getting the OS I wanted on the computer I wanted. I was FORCED to spend the money to buy the MS license when I didn't want it.
If Brute Force isn't working, you're not using enough.
[ Parent ]

Re: I hate MS as much as everyone else... (none / 0) (#101)
by Zach on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 09:39:53 AM EST

So there wasn't ANY vendors that sold computers that didn't have MS on them?

I doubt it..


[ Parent ]
Re: I hate MS as much as everyone else... (none / 0) (#107)
by error 404 on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 10:03:24 AM EST

No major vendors. Not one.

I could have bought one from my buddy Phil over at his store where he builds computers. But no Dell, HP, Best Buy, or whatever.

Doubt it if you want, but that is the way it was.

..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]
Re: I hate MS as much as everyone else... (none / 0) (#108)
by Zach on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 10:05:44 AM EST

Why must you buy from a major vendor? I'm sure that everyone has a local computer shop that sells "custom pcs" that would sell you one with no OS on it.



[ Parent ]
Re: I hate MS as much as everyone else... (none / 0) (#118)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 12:00:52 PM EST

> Why must you buy from a major vendor? I'm sure that everyone has a local computer
> shop that sells "custom pcs" that would sell you one with no OS on it.

i've done enough clean installs of OS's to know that with few exceptions, I'd much rather have it pre-installed. I have far better things to deal with than worrying about whether the pc I just bought from the shop around the corner works, has stolen gear in it, or has hardware conflicts. I've had enough bad experiences with little corner shops that I'd much rather buy a pre-built box, or build it myself (assuming I have the time).

[ Parent ]
Why must you buy from a major vendor? (none / 0) (#119)
by error 404 on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 12:10:00 PM EST

Well, there are sometimes reasons.

Last time I bought a computer, I used my employer's computer purchase program, which requires a major vendor.

My next computer will probably be from a smaller vendor, maybe Phil.

Joe User wants a brand name computer, or at least one from a big store like Best Buy or Office Max.

Most computers are bought by large companies, which have policies that require a major vendor. Sometimes those policies are stupid, but there is a reasonable argument that a company may want to buy all its computers from the same vendor, and Phil just can't crank out ten thousand machines this week.

..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]
Re: I hate MS as much as everyone else... (none / 0) (#109)
by Zack on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 10:16:38 AM EST

Here's the deal. It is nearly impossible to buy a computer without paying the "Microsoft Tax". Regardless of the rest of their anti-competitive behaviors, I find it obscene that when I buy an OEM computer that I have no choice but to pay for windows, regardless of if I'll use it or not.

I can't get a refund, or a blank hard drive. It's _nearly_ impossible. Not entirely, but nearly. So close that it might as well be impossible. Simply by forcing the consumers to give them money even when they don't want the product and won't use it, Microsoft has been abusive.

I could rant for a while longer, but I'll stop it here.

--Zack

[ Parent ]
Re: I hate MS as much as everyone else... (none / 0) (#127)
by Zach on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 12:39:10 PM EST

Maybe that's true, just hard for me to understand...

I've never bought a computer in one peice...


[ Parent ]
Re: I hate MS as much as everyone else... (none / 0) (#132)
by Zack on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 01:54:13 PM EST

I haven't bought an OEM computer in a while either, but the point is that people shouldn't be forced to buy Windows when they want to buy a PC. If I want a laptop, I can't build it myself. (Okay, it'd be more trouble than it's worth) So I'd buy one OEM. This means I'm paying for Windows.

Try this sometime, go to Best Buy or CompUSA and try to talk the staff there into taking $100 off the price of the computer if you remove windows. It won't happen. you're paying for it anyway. And why? Because microsoft says "you'll install it on everything, or you won't sell it at all." What coice do they have? More people will want Windows that not, so they've make everyone buy it.

I always thought it was an illegal binding of two products in the first place, but no one ever asks for my opinon. ;)

--Zack



[ Parent ]
Re: I hate MS as much as everyone else... (none / 0) (#151)
by bozak911 on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 06:02:08 PM EST

Try this sometime, go to Best Buy or CompUSA and try to talk the staff there into taking $100 off the price of the computer if you remove windows. It won't happen. you're paying for it anyway. And why?

I feel the need to challenge this assumption.

You can go to Best Buy, look at Computers, and buy one without the OS. (Example being, A computer returned without the software, which stores always have plenty of)

Okay. In the merchandise guidelines, for these major computer stores, it states specifically, to DROP $200 off of the list price for that model if it has no OS.

Sure this is an extreme example, but and example in almost every best buy/compusa type store out there.

The question is this. The majority of the public consumers would run shrieking in terror if you told them that the computer did not have an OS.
The market for OEM computers without an OS has been filled by small computer shops, and certain computers brands available online.

The market for these items increase, so will the supply.
Demand affects supply.

"Show me a man with 'No Fear' and I will show you a fool." --Anonymous
[ Parent ]
Re: I hate MS as much as everyone else... (none / 0) (#138)
by DemiGodez on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 04:11:55 PM EST

I hate ketchup. It is ridiculous that when I buy a hamburger, I have to pay for the ketchup. I can't get a refund. I can get the ketchup left off, but I still pay for it.

The ketchup industry is abusive. They are forcing me to pay for ketchup that I don't want and won't eat. Not everyone knows how to cook, so they just lure us in.

I am trying to make a point. Hamburger sellers cater to the common denominator. Obviously, more people want ketchup than don't. More people also want Windows than don't.

And you absolutely 100% can buy a computer without windows. Buy a mac.

[ Parent ]
Re: I hate MS as much as everyone else... (none / 0) (#173)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jun 10, 2000 at 06:18:24 PM EST

the difference between ketchup at windows is that you're paying a few pence at most for ketchup and around £100 for windows

[ Parent ]
Re: I hate MS as much as everyone else... (none / 0) (#175)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jun 10, 2000 at 07:51:34 PM EST

You're right.. you do have a choice. And so does everyone else... but the fact is: MS claims to make an OS, and that there are competing OS. Follow me here.. It is generally accepted that an OS is a platform for the deployment of applications; a system to interface between applications and the computer itself. Windows is an OS. If Windows is an OS, why is it that nobody but microsoft knows the API's to write certain applications for windows? Why is it that nobody else can write applications as cleanly integrated? The real answer? they *can*, but then MSbreaks that integration, on purpose, with a new release. This is *NOT* how an OS developer in a competitive market behaves. Also.. MS is an applications developer. Why is it that they refuse to write applications for other platforms.. in fact, they generally go out of their way to make SURE nobody can even manage to emulate them. This is not what an application developer does.

[ Parent ]
FUD (4.00 / 1) (#92)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 08:54:02 AM EST

I'm having a hard time believing these pro-MS comments. MS is such a huge company, they own cable news stations, they own all sorts of stuff. How hard would it be for them to plant pretty much any opinion they want just about anywhere. I mean what's it to a company that size to hire a person full time to do nothing but read and post to K5, Slashdot, etc. I am sure from reading some of the comments posted here that many of the pro MS one's are planted. I have strong reason to believe that many of the "editorials" we read condemning Judge Jackson's decision were bought and paid for by MS. They have the money and the resources to plant FUD in the mainstream media as well as the free online forums. I understand that Joe user doesn't understand that MS is rotten to the core, but this is a technical forum, people reading this should know better. It's just too easy to do. If anyone thinks that MS doesn't pay attention to these sites and doesn't slide the odd comment in here and there, is just fooling themselves.

Re: FUD (2.00 / 1) (#135)
by DemiGodez on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 04:01:58 PM EST

Let me just say I am totally against the lawsuit and I agree with most of the "outrageous" comments above. You can read my comments below. I am not a plant for MS or anybody. Just because opinions seem very differnt from yours doesn't mean they come from MS.

It's amazing - I have a degree in computer science. I've programmed for 17 years. And I also know a lot about free markets! Yes they're shitty products. I know that. But it is possible to know that and still be totally against the lawsuit. Don't think everything is a MS conspiracy.

[ Parent ]
Re: FUD (none / 0) (#146)
by mwa on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 05:30:52 PM EST

Then may I seriously ask you to explain the findings of the court in a manner that makes the judgement seem unreasonable to you. I hear alot of people echoing your sentiments, but I simple can't understand them in light od the facts brought out in the trial.

[ Parent ]
Re: FUD (none / 0) (#177)
by bigdogs on Sat Jun 10, 2000 at 08:08:25 PM EST

Just because opinions seem very differnt from yours doesn't mean they come from MS.

That's true. However, Microsoft has a history of organizing letter-writing campaigns to make them appear as "grassroots" efforts. The LA Times ran an article shortly after the trial began which exposed this.

It may not have happened in this case, but it's not out of the question either.

[ Parent ]
Re: FUD (none / 0) (#169)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jun 10, 2000 at 08:20:43 AM EST

I completely agree that webforums have people employed by companies posting and not disclosing their company roots.

This isn't paranoid. It would be stupid of a company not to respond to negative posts - this would fall under the current duties of company Public Relations.

(note: these are all possibilities. They might be paranoid/whatever)

[ Parent ]

Laissez faire!!! (2.00 / 1) (#99)
by rerun on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 09:28:17 AM EST

When is everyone gonna wake up and smell the coffee. Microsoft may have the majority market share but there's a reason behind that. If Joe Public wants to have an OS that s/he can install and then be productive without learning *about* that OS, then Windows is the obvious choice. It's all very well to spout the benefits or open source ethos that surrounds Linux, but at the end of the day unless you're interested, Windows is yer only man. And lets face it, the "browser wars" started this. Fact: Netscape don't have a product anymore, at least not one that can compare to IE. Fact: Who owns Netscape? AOL / Time Warner. If you gonna sling mud, take a look at the competition. I understand this happened after the fact, but it shouldn't be ignored.

"If Joe Public wants to have an OS that s/he (4.00 / 1) (#106)
by error 404 on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 09:58:54 AM EST

You ever try to install Windows? If it weren't pre-installed Joe Public wouldn't have a chance.

Attempting to reinstall Windows95 was what got me started in Linux. RedHat 5.0 was much easier to install than Win95.

..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]
Re: "If Joe Public wants to have an OS that s (none / 0) (#178)
by Novalis on Sat Jun 10, 2000 at 09:07:02 PM EST

Try MacOS. It's easier to install than windows, and about as easy for the average user to use.

Disclaimer: I'm a hacker-type, and I don't use macos or (usually) windows.


-Dave Turner
[ Parent ]
Re: Laissez faire!!! (4.00 / 1) (#157)
by deanc on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 08:09:01 PM EST

You know, noone cared about Windows when its only issue was that it was the dominant desktop operating system. Microsoft only _really_ ran into trouble when it began to interfere with the market by threatening to revoke the licenses of Compaq and Dell if they didn't install windows in just the way that Microsoft insisted (ie, what icons they were and were not allowed to display). If Microsoft had backed down on that issue all those years ago, none of this would have happened.

-Dean


[ Parent ]
Re: Laissez faire!!! (5.00 / 1) (#163)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 09:45:18 PM EST

actually if you want an easy to use system that lets you be productive without knowing much about the system you get a macintosh.

[ Parent ]
What I'm having a sickening reaction to... (2.50 / 2) (#104)
by SgtPepper on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 09:44:52 AM EST

Is the fact that this story is going to top 100 comments.

I mean really, comeon people...

This has being going on for a long time now, it'll continue to go one for at least a year.

We've all said these things before, again and again, why are we wasting the bandwith and
time discussing them again?

Yes, Microsoft Sucks, Yes the "General Consumer" does not know this.

The more important questions are how is this going to really AFFECT any of us? Honestly,
it probably won't. Now, I'm not saying I disagree with what happened, I belive MS got
what they deserved. However I believe we are focusing on the wrong things here. I mean,
really, does this mean Windows is dead? Of course not, what's really scary is Windows might
get BETTER because of this.

Imagine MS-OS coming out with a GUI Win98 work-a-like for Linux, that is API compatible
with our current Win98? Hell, what about a desktop manager with a window manager?

This could be very intresting times up ahead. Then again, part of me ( okay most of me )
believes that MS is too stagnate to really do anything innovative anymore. They've
become too drunk with their sucess to see clearly and rather then slapping them into
clarity this ruling will probably make them go psychotic.

Oh well, the real irony is I've just contributed to that of which i was bitching, i'm going
back to #kuro5hin now :)

Re: What I'm having a sickening reaction to... (none / 0) (#128)
by rusty on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 12:42:30 PM EST

Is the fact that this story is going to top 100 comments.

Come on, now, this had "flamebait" plastered all over it. :-) Hopefully all the comments here mean we won't have to deal with this story in the abstract anymore, and if it comes up again, it'll come up in a focused "How does this affect [thing we care about]?" way.

I knew this story was going to show up, in one form or another, and I hope all the sides have more or less gotten their venom out here. Now, someone contribute something new! It's been hours, and no new stories. I'm starting to feel neglected.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: What I'm having a sickening reaction to... (none / 0) (#130)
by SgtPepper on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 01:26:42 PM EST

Come on, now, this had "flamebait" plastered all over it. :-)

Well....yeah...it did :) I guess i've just been following this "story" for too long...

Hopefully all the comments here mean we won't have to deal with this story in the abstract anymore, and if it comes up again, it'll come up in a focused "How does this affect [thing we care about]?" way.

See, I would think that the community/industry would have been mature enough to have gotten to this point by now. It's probably just me looking through rose-coloured glasses, but I still can hope right? :)

I knew this story was going to show up, in one form or another, and I hope all the sides have more or less gotten their venom out here.

Again, exactly the point I was trying to make. I guess in my youth ( hey there Granpa Rusty! ) I just thought the venom would have been out by now, ya know?

Now, someone contribute something new! It's been hours, and no new stories. I'm starting to feel neglected.

*reloads his AP tech feed repeatedly*

[ Parent ]
the public up in arms (2.00 / 2) (#111)
by anonymous cowerd on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 10:45:12 AM EST

"Bill Gates is a genius..." That's so sweet. Perssonally I think Paul Westerberg is a genius.

All the news media are one hundred percent owned and operated by the investing class. This investing class owns some number of hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Microsoft stock, at today's price. The investing class believe, for some reason or another, that the share price of Microsoft stock will probably decline if Microsoft is divided in two by the Department of Justice. So it's no surprise to see a.) the mass news media generally avoid discussing the smoking-gun details of Microsoft's blatant, repeated violations of anti-trust laws for general public consumption, and b.) an agency of the mass news media here (as elsewhere) quotes a number of "citizens" who are spontaneously emitting an "outcry" against this judicial decision.

Yet it's my impression that the guy on the street (at least if he is not himself in the computer trades) is more than anything else bored and indifferent to this MS-vs.-DOJ battle. It seems to me that in the main the opinions on this issue flow from the media to the public rather than the other way around. If he cares at all, where Joe Sixpack has got his opinion in this case is from the political editorialists in newspapers, magazines and the radio, each with his own trademark brand of spin. At least here in the U.S.A. most editorialists's position in this case (and in many others) is evidently wholly based on whether they are pro-Democrat, in which case anything undertaken by the DOJ is OK per axiom, or pro-Republican, in which case each act of the Executive branch for the last seven years, no matter what, is automatically an abomination and an attack against Western Civ and all the rights of Free Men.

So unfortunately I think trying to propagandize Joe Sixpack is going to be a waste of time. You're competing with Cokie Roberts and Rush Limbaugh. There are political principles here (our team's the best! better than the rest! rah rah Jones Junior High) that outweigh mere technical details such as "is whatever Microsoft accused of against the law?" and "what is that law, anyway?" and "did Microsoft actually commit the crimes for which they've been indicted?" Q: As a matter of fact, was it Captain Dreyfus or someone else who sold those French fortress plans to the Prussians? A: Who cares? Vive l'armee, a bas les juifs!

Yours WDK - Wkiernan@concentric.net

"This calm way of flying will suit Japan well," said Zeppelin's granddaughter, Elisabeth Veil.

A sickening reaction indeed (4.70 / 7) (#117)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 11:26:07 AM EST

*sigh*

Kids, no matter how much you may dislike Microsoft, it is perfectly all right for people to disagree with you. I know it may seem hard to believe, but there millions of people out there who are content to use Miicrosoft stuff, because it gets them the results they want. Might they use something else if they knew of it? Perhaps (and not knowing about Linux does not constitute ignorance, just a lack of information - no one knows everything.) Do they deserve to be called "sickening" because they express a contrary opinion? NO. Can you see the rest of the world from that high horse you're on? I didn't think so.

The only thing I find "sickening" about this article is the apparent implication that the posters to the BBC site are ignorant, brainwashed sheep who have been programmed into thinking GNU/Lignux is not the One True Way and that only Chairman Bill brings redemption. I apologize if that was not the picture you wanted to paint, but I call them the way I see them. But if that is what you meant to say, and that is the nature of your "GNU Generation", then stop the free software train, because I want to get off. I want no part of any "movement" that belittles those who choose not to join it.

Re: A sickening reaction indeed (3.00 / 1) (#131)
by Rand Race on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 01:53:23 PM EST

I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiment, but lack of information is ignorance. It's not (necesarily) stupidity but, semantic inflections aside, ignorance has nothing to do with inate intellegence, just awareness.

As for wanting off of the train, that's a good call. The shrillness and dogmatism that has crept into the OSS movement is quickly aproaching what I call the 'kawasaki point'. That being the point I ceased being able to stomach the Mac/PC debates. I'll still use OpenBSD for my firewalls just as I currently use (gasp) closed source BeOS for my desktop systems.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Re: A sickening reaction indeed (none / 0) (#145)
by mwa on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 05:27:55 PM EST

From http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary
               Main Entry: ig∑no∑rant
               Pronunciation: 'ig-n(&-)r&nt
               Function: adjective
               Date: 14th century
               1 a : destitute of knowledge or education <an ignorant
               society>; also : lacking knowledge or comprehension of
               the thing specified <parents ignorant of modern
               mathematics> b : resulting from or showing lack of
               knowledge or intelligence <ignorant errors>
               2 : UNAWARE, UNINFORMED
               - ig∑no∑rant∑ly adverb
               - ig∑no∑rant∑ness noun
So yes, they are ignorant, but that in itself is not a problem. A bigger problem is not so much that they disagree with my opinion, but that the disagree with a court's opinion that it's clearly apparent they have not read. If someone post a pro-Microsoft opnion that debates the details in either the Findings of Fact, or the Findings of Law then I will be delighted to hear them out. In the mean time, I will stay on the train not to belittle anyone, but to continue to educate those willing to learn, whether it be technical details or business realities.

[ Parent ]
Re: A sickening reaction indeed (none / 0) (#148)
by Fish on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 05:52:16 PM EST

Just to confirm that I have naught to do with the so-called GNU-generation. I don't use Linux and I don't really care about the GPL. Ironically enough, I suppose, I use Windows 90% of the time (XFree86 doesn't support our graphics card, and frankly now, I don't care).

But that doesn't stop the fact that Microsoft have been anti-competitive but now it's not just their PR people who are Microsoft champions, it's the end user who has no knowledge of the issues being discussed here.

When I get people e-mailing me saying "What server do you use, is it NT or something else?" that also strikes a blow - I reply saying "FreeBSD, which is also used by Yahoo! and hotmail.com" - not that they'd ever believe me on the last issue.... so many users these days expect FrontPage Extensions, ASP, ColdFusion, etc and that any other service is inferior. I personally don't believe in incorporating such a security risk into my own business, and the fact that it would cost 1000s of pounds more for less functionality. But I digress.

[ Parent ]

Ignorance (none / 0) (#159)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 08:21:26 PM EST

(and not knowing about Linux does not constitute ignorance, just a lack of information - no one knows everything.)

From an small Webster's:

ignorant: a. uninstructed; uninformed; unlearned... [L. ignorare, not to know].

'Ignorant' and 'ignorance' are not the bad words we think they are. It seems to me that if someone is lacking in information, then they are uninformed and therefore ignorant.

You state that no one knows everything and you are right in that. Therefore, everyone is ignorant. It is a matter of what they are ignorant of.

Are they ignorant of things no reasonable person should be ignorant of? (Who decides this?) Are they willfully ignorant? Something else?

BTW - I have only been reading the comments here and what I have to say is only a minor point anyway.



[ Parent ]

My reaction (4.00 / 1) (#139)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 04:14:26 PM EST

http://www.the-collective.net/~gideon/content/microsoft.php3
Enough of the comments in the BBC article were clue-lacking that it forced me to respond on my website. Mmmmm, empowerlicious.

I find your lack of faith disturbing... (4.00 / 1) (#166)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jun 10, 2000 at 12:53:56 AM EST

Anyone seen MicroSith.com lately? Genius!

Business vs. Tech (none / 0) (#179)
by effugas on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 03:49:24 AM EST

<i>It has been evident to us computer professionals for years that Microsoft have been unfairly using their monopoly to hijack open systems and turn them into closed ones.</i>

Very true. Extremely annoying.

<i>And since when did a browser belong in the Operating System?</i>

Well, lets see now. In pure packaging terms, what year was it that OS/2 Warp *3* shipped with a browser? How 'bout Cyberdog within the Apple Macintosh? Or Lynx / Netscape in every Linux distribution? Obviously we can't be talking about mere packaging or bundling, since Microsoft <i>was</i> one of the <i>last</i> companies to do it.

But then, maybe you're referring to the tight technical integration, the kind that gives me a new IE window in under a few seconds while Netscape is still taking a good 15 to 20 to startup. An unfair comparison, because the latter has no chance to be integrated into Explorer? Give me a break--we know from user interface studies that decreasing the amount of time in between command issuance and feedback increases the usability of a system. That two second boot is provably superior in a UI sense, and could have pretty easily been matched by Netscape originally had they placed in the Startup menu an app which approximated their "No Windows Open But Process Still Alive" mode which they've implemented now. They never did this, arguably because their Netscape 4 codebase was never stable enough. (I know about that "no windows open mode because, when Netscape fails, I have to remember to kill the hidden process.)

Lets not forget the ultimate endorsement of this modality is the fact that KDE itself has a high quality web browser embedded in the exact same manner that IE is. I will raise a holy terror if anybody tries to get Konquerer extracted--and that's because, bottom line, <i>base operating systems need the capability to view, though not necessarily create, base file formats.</i>

No Unix system ships with vi. ASCII Text is a base format, and the inability to manipulate it would leave the system unusable. Man files as well require parsers. Windows itself has shipped with the ability to view, and even create in a crippled sense(no double space) Word Documents, RTF documents, and so in with Wordpad. .DOC is a base file format. As the web came into being, the bottom line is that JPG, GIF, and HTML have all become base file formats. Working on Solaris 2.5.1, there is no small amount of annoyance that Lynx(or anything else particularly useful, for that matter) isn't available for me to do something as simple as retrieve patchsets. On Solaris 2.5.1, and on old versions of Windows 95, the only way to upgrade the system over a network is to use the erstwhile but not particularly user friendly ftp tool.

Let me tell you, I'd rather install the lastest Netscape from a web browser than by navigating ftp.netscape.com by hand any day of the week. So would you.

Now, lets see what I've established here. Microsoft wasn't the first to ship with a browser. Microsoft was technically justified to integrate the browser with their window manager, and this move has been copied since. But Microsoft horrifically bungled this move and earned many enemies who would end up parroting the unanalyzed but seemingly accurate thought that, for some reason, "The Browser Doesn't Belong In The Operating System". How?

I've said it before, I'll say it again: Linux people say Microsoft can't code; Microsoft believes them. So their business staff enforces the distribution of software that, particularly in the browser case, never needed such enforcement. It was obvious with IE3 that Netscape would need to pull off some major magic if they wanted to survive. They never really did, though I'm sure Microsoft's antics contributed to the vigor behind the Mozilla project(which still hasn't put out a really usable browser, *sigh*).

And that's what I find tragic--good technical work being polluted by jack-booted underhanded anticompetitive extortion and harassment. If Microsoft should be split into anything, I'd like to see the coders sent off to a Lucent style laboratory farm while the business side gets to sell cow manure to farms across the world until they die a ignomious and bankrupt death. But that's just me ;-)

First K5 post...nice place you guys have here. Looks like you'll need to mentally convert my <i></i> tags though ;-)

Yours Truly,

Dan Kaminsky
DoxPara Research
http://www.doxpara.com


Re: Business vs. Tech (3.00 / 1) (#180)
by rusty on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 05:03:10 PM EST

Psst, Don-- down at the bottom of the text box, when you're writing comments, select "HTML Formatted" from the select box. It'll save your setting from then on, at least within the session.

Nice to see you here. :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: Business vs. Tech (3.00 / 1) (#182)
by effugas on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 06:06:12 PM EST

If I select HTML formatted, I need to remember to add <p>'s all over the place.



[ Parent ]
Re: Business vs. Tech (none / 0) (#184)
by rusty on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 11:51:37 PM EST

True. I'm not at all fond of "mixed" modes, where they interpret line breaks as <P>'s and whatnot. They always manage to trick me into either adding too many breaks, or not enough. Maybe I should add a mixed mode for those who do prefer it though.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Function vs. exclusivity (none / 0) (#183)
by kmself on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 11:25:40 PM EST

There's a long stretch in my book between integration of functionality, and going to great lengths to clobber anyone else who tries to provide the same functionality -- whether in a commercial manner (Netscape) or a free one (Kerberos).

Unix and Linux systems are defined, in part, by the inclusion in userspace of tools such as vi and man. However, this fact hasn't kept alternatives such as nvi and vim from being created (and becoming quite common), or for the GNU project from creating and promoting its info system (as much as a PITA it may be to those of us for whom man is the One True Manual).

I suspect that the software world will be evolving in directions which make proprietary, hard-cash software an unlikely success path. However, the free software community is grounded on choice, often far too many for anyone's good. But also interoperability. vi doesn't preclude vim, emacs, AbiWord, or WordPerfect. GNOME doesn't preclude KDE, gtk doesn't preclude Qt (though licensing may be easier to swallow).

And what are you using ftp for anyway? Civilized, 21st century netizens far prefer wget ;-)

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

What A Sickening Reaction | 185 comments (185 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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