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[P]
Microsoft Exec: OEMs Must Not Install Linux Besides Windows

By Eloquence in News
Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 03:51:25 PM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)
Technology

Over the last decades, Microsoft has successfully established a monopoly in the desktop operating system market. Key to the company's success were deals with PC manufacturers to have its software preinstalled on computers. Microsoft keeps its contracts with top "Original Equipment Manufacturers" like HP and Gateway secret. These corporations get very cheap Windows licenses in return for certain favors. Among other things, OEMs may not install a competing operating system on PCs that also run Windows. (This is explained in detail in my previous article Microsoft's Dirty OEM Secret.) Now, according to an article in the New York Times, a Microsoft executive has openly defended this practice, with specific reference to Linux, before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.


On Thursday, Christopher Jones, a Microsoft vice president in charge of Windows development, was cross-examined by Kevin Hodges, the attorney representing the nine states dissenting with the settlement proposal by the Department of Justice and Microsoft. Under the alternative settlement proposed by the states (see Comparison of MS settlement, state plan by Reuters), Microsoft would not be allowed to "enter into exclusive dealing arrangements or retaliate against companies for supporting products that compete with Microsoft". This would effectively make Microsoft's practice of not allowing PC manufacturers to create dual-boot machines that might, for example, come with both Windows and Linux, illegal.

According to the New York Times:

In his written testimony, Mr. Jones said the states' proposals would confuse consumers, enabling competitors to cover up icons like the "Start" button on the Windows desktop screen that consumers use to navigate and even allowing a competing operating system like Linux to start up instead of Windows.

Furthermore, Jones also insisted that Microsoft may continue to ban computer makers from installing Netscape or another browser as an alternative to Microsoft's Internet Explorer, since Internet Explorer was not a software component like Windows Media player but an integral part of the operating system.

Commentary

Ever since an Appeals Court reversed Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's decision to split up Microsoft, the corporation has had a never-ending run of good fortune. It was in full knowledge of his company's status that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer stated (with regard to leveraging its monopoly by bundling products with the operating system): "We should have the right to integrate a ham sandwich into Windows if we so choose."

The settlement agreed on by the DOJ and Microsoft would do nothing to stop Microsoft from locking out competitors through the OEM channel that it only can leverage because of its market share. This comes at a time where there is almost no competition left for Windows as a desktop OS: Apple's Mac OS X is the Rolls Royce operating system, completely at the mercy of Microsoft, which still provides ports of its Office and Internet Explorer packages to Apple; Linux is almost undetectable on the desktop market, BeOS is out of existence (Be Inc. CEO Jean-Louis Gassee directly blamed it on Microsoft's OEM contracts) and even IBM's OS/2 lost its relevance as a mainstream desktop competitor long ago.

It is only Linux' ever-expanding freely shared codebase that has ensured the operating system's survival and growth over the last 10 years and will likely continue to do so in the future. Even if Linux' own deficiencies in the desktop area can be overcome, it will be hard or even impossible to get the alternative operating system deployed on a large scale if Microsoft's OEM contracts remain in place. It is up to those who want to see the desktop alternatives succeed to educate the public so that Microsoft's behavior is exposed, explained and punished.

Further coverage:

Microsoft Exec Warns Court of Computer Frustration (Reuters)
MS Exec Testifies In Favor of OS Manipulation (Slashdot discussion)
Microsoft Pals Call Antitrust Penalty Too Harsh (Computerworld)
States Follow Up on Gates' XP Concession (eWeek)
District Court of Columbia Microsoft Trial Homepage
United States v. Microsoft Page by the Department of Justice

Public domain content, Erik Möller 2002

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Poll
Should Microsoft be allowed to force OEMs not to install Linux besides Windows?
o Yes, everything else would be socialism 10%
o Yes, but some punishment is necessary 0%
o Undecided 2%
o No, because otherwise there can be no fair competition 38%
o Microsoft should be forced to listen to Vogon poetry 49%

Votes: 250
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Slashdot
o Microsoft' s Dirty OEM Secret
o article
o Comparison of MS settlement, state plan
o Microsoft Exec Warns Court of Computer Frustration
o MS Exec Testifies In Favor of OS Manipulation
o Microsoft Pals Call Antitrust Penalty Too Harsh
o States Follow Up on Gates' XP Concession
o District Court of Columbia Microsoft Trial Homepage
o United States v. Microsoft Page by the Department of Justice
o Also by Eloquence


Display: Sort:
Microsoft Exec: OEMs Must Not Install Linux Besides Windows | 143 comments (126 topical, 17 editorial, 0 hidden)
as a devoted Mac OS X user... (4.20 / 10) (#10)
by dukethug on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 01:55:03 AM EST

...I take issue with your statement that "Apple is completely at the mercy of Microsoft."

(Come on, you didn't really think the mac heads around here would let you get away with that.)

Microsoft's "freedom to innovate" is really it's freedom to copy Apple. I don't take issue with this, I'm not angry or bitter because MS just does what Apple did a couple of months before. Rather, I think it's a necessary part of the "PC ecosystem" that Gates talked about so much this week- the PC industry needs a company that has the freedom and resources to do R&D, to take the risks that the x86 manufacturers simply can't.

MS and Apple don't "need" each other, in any strict sense- Apple Works is a perfectly acceptable office suite, and there are plenty of web browsers available for OS X. But they have both realized that the relationship is mutually beneficial, and the Mac Business Unit at Microsoft makes some of the highest quality Mac software I have ever seen.

That said, the main part of your contention is accurate, and I'm voting this story up because it is so disturbing how violently MS's interpretation of the Justice dept. settlement differs from my own, confirming many of my worst fears. I'm surprised and concerned that we're not seeing more coverage of Mr. Jones testimony in the mainstream press.

Re: as a devoted Mac OS X user... (4.25 / 8) (#21)
by sjmurdoch on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 08:41:53 AM EST

MS and Apple don't "need" each other, in any strict sense- Apple Works is a perfectly acceptable office suite, and there are plenty of web browsers available for OS X.

Apple Works may be a perfectly acceptable office suite, maybe even better than Microsoft Office, however this fact is irrelevant to business. MacOS computers have several advantages over Wintel PCs, but if Microsft Office is not available for a platform then it will not be bought by business, apart from exceptional circumstances.

This view is based on flawed logic, but for the moment there is nothing that can be done. If Microsoft stopped producing Microsoft Office the number of Macs in business will drop and soon after the number in homes and school will drop as a reaction. Even if Apple produced an identical software package the same would happen since like I said the views of business are irrational.
--
Steven Murdoch.
web: My Home Page
[ Parent ]

Hmmm, let's think about that, shall we? (2.50 / 6) (#31)
by PhadeRunner on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 12:37:20 PM EST

MS and Apple don't "need" each other

Let's examine this shall we?

The only reason Microsoft even allow Apple to still exist is the fact that they can use them in these exact "competition" arguments. They are a piece of Microsoft evidence. When the courts says to M$ "You've stifled competition in the desktop PC market." M$ then says "But look at Apple, they're doing great and still innovating! We're obviously not killing the market at all..."

The only reason Apple still sell boxes to more than just one or two graphic designers in the backrooms of some art studios and to a few "funky" museum displays is the availability of M$ Office and IE. Period.

I put it to you, Sir, that as a Mac user, you are seriously deluded!



[ Parent ]
Horseshit (3.14 / 7) (#34)
by Skippy on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 01:06:53 PM EST

Microsoft doesn't "allow Apple to exist".
  • You give Microsoft credit for more power than they have.
  • You discount the size of the publishing market where Apple is entrenched. Even if that was their only niche its a BIG FUCKING NICHE and they could easily survive serving it. I've tried publishing on Wintel and it's PAINFUL.
  • Apple's market share is GROWING. Hardly sounds like they're being kept in check by Microsoft. Maybe it's because they have a better OS and better hardware
I honestly think that if Apple released an x86 version of OSX they could steal a LOT more people from Windows. The thing is, Apple's smarter than that. It would kill their hardware line which is where they make their money. No one wants to be where Microsoft is right now. They are getting squeezed from several directions and their software margins are going to start dropping soon. Even MS is aware of this which is why they are branching out into services and home entertainment hardware.

If you are going to play market analyst it's best to pull your head out of your ass and look around before calling others deluded

# I am now finished talking out my ass about things that I am not qualified to discuss. #
[ Parent ]

And more horeshit (4.20 / 5) (#44)
by TON on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 06:36:14 PM EST

You're bullet points are all just fine, but the company most likely wouldn't be around today if it weren't for some timely M$ cash. 150M USD was a lot of cash for Apple back in '97. The commitment to provide Office was absolutely critical. People wait for apps to get OSes (i.e. Photoshop OSX) How long could Apple have kept it's doors open (at least independently) if all those iMac OS9 buyers had had to wait for Office versions?

Post submitted from an old iMac running YDL.

"First, I am born. Then, the trouble begins." -- Schizopolis

Ted


[ Parent ]

and even more horseshit (2.80 / 5) (#46)
by dukethug on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 07:54:00 PM EST

I agree with your point that the $150 million dollars and continued IE and Office support were great for Apple back in '97. But this article was written in the present tense, and so was my post- MS and Apple are beneficial to each other, but there is no dependency on Microsoft by Apple. MS sold its stake in Apple long ago, Apple has 4 billion dollars in cash, and reliable alternative browsers and office suites. The "MS allows Apple to exist" argument simply isn't relevant anymore.

PS- I'm a fan of Debian on the iBook, personally.

[ Parent ]

yet more (none / 0) (#120)
by Jevesus on Wed May 01, 2002 at 05:38:33 PM EST

C'mon now, he's exactly right, Apple needs Office. Microsoft knows it, Apple knows it, we know it, and you should know better.

- Jevesus
[ Parent ]
me, oh my (3.36 / 11) (#13)
by momocrome on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 02:37:15 AM EST

Dear Eloquence,

Please explain why the deep discount + no multi boot agreement is evil. I read your story here, the previous story you link to and the Scot Hacker story that provides the original impetus to your entire topic, and I've yet to see how MSFT could actually be expected to offer both deep discounts and non-exclusiveness at the boot loader level. This is, after all, the point of contention- the exclusivity vs. the discount.

As somewhat of an aside. it is never mentioned whether or not OEMs are free to set up their systems with a multiple OS configuration as long as they are willing to pay full wholesale/retail price for the MS Windows license involved.

If I didn't know better, I might suspect you were distorting your presentaion on a purpose. I think the assumption that these OEMs should be entitled to the discounted license cost and the freedom to install multiple OSs competing directly with MSFT is being implied here. Is this in fact your position? Can you elaborate on just what it is you are so against wth regards to this contractural arrangement in the first place? Do you want the exclusiveness stopped? The discounts? both? neither? I cannot figure out what it is that you are getting at.

Yours Truly,
Momocrome

"Give a wide berth to all that foam and spray." - - Lucian, The Way to Write History

Stupid argument (3.83 / 12) (#14)
by marx on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 03:57:20 AM EST

If MS is free to have two prices; price A with no additional restrictions and price B with the restriction that no other OSes can be loaded, then that is the same as allowing MS to have only one price with restrictions. The prices can be set arbitrarily, so price A can be set infinitely high, or at least so high so that it becomes economically unviable for the OEMs.

If you are a monopolist, forcing people to accept anti-competitive conditions previous to buying from you is illegal, so what you're describing is illegal anyway.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Remember (2.75 / 4) (#19)
by damiam on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 07:21:06 AM EST

Price A has to be reasonable in order to get consumers to buy it off store shelves (both the upgrade and the main version).

[ Parent ]
See comment (3.66 / 3) (#20)
by marx on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 07:27:09 AM EST

or at least so high so that it becomes economically unviable for the OEMs

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Problematic (3.80 / 5) (#24)
by Matrix on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 09:45:54 AM EST

Are we assuming EULAs are legally enforcable or not? If so, then this is a moot point. Microsoft can do something like this:

(a) A retail version of Windows available for X hundred dollars. This version is sold directly to consumers. In the EULA, it expressly prohibits the use of this software by OEMs. (Just like the current OEM license, but in the other direction) If necessary, it can prohibit purchase by corporations resulting in a (d) license for sale to corporations for internal use only

(b) An OEM-usable version of Windows, with no restrictions. X million dollars per copy.

(c) An OEM-usable version of Windows, with the 'no dual boot', 'must use IE', 'no competing operating systems on any machines you sell', and 'no desktop customization' restrictions. X tens of dollars per copy.


Matrix
"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

true (2.50 / 2) (#36)
by damiam on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 02:01:20 PM EST

But I doubt the DOJ would appreciate that.

[ Parent ]
The DOJ? (4.00 / 2) (#40)
by Matrix on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 04:58:57 PM EST

What do they have to do with it? They've had much more compelling evidence of abuse of monopoly practices than that and ignored it. They had the same evidence in trial ten-plus years ago, and imposed slap-on-the-wrist penalties. Microsoft has nothing to fear from them. Anyone they can't pay off, they can confuse with vague economic predictions of doom or baseless claims of technological chaos.


Matrix
"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

What could be, vs. what actually _is_ (3.50 / 8) (#32)
by momocrome on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 12:43:24 PM EST

Talk about silly arguments, your 'hypothetical' product A is for sale right now, everywhere, at an affordable retail price of $199 US. wholesale is under $100. This is remarkably under $infinitely high, as you can plainly see, and really isn't so high as to make the OEM business 'unfeasable'. No, rather, since the overwhelming majority of people want windows on their x86 hardware, it tends to become an attractive business plan to agree to deep discount + exclusivity, rather than a requirement.

It should hardly bare mentioning but for the fact that commentors hereabouts seem oblivious- If the alternatives were in any way viable, OEMs would spring up around them and ignore MSFT. x86 is commodity hardware, after all. Nobody is actually stopping OEMs from pursuing this. MSFT may be aggressively enticing, but there is no law or rule denying a non MSFT OEM...

Look to VA Linux for your example of how much demand there is for an alternative OS OEM. They couldn't keep that OEM/Linux ball rolling even in the heyday of such things.

Maybe this dynamic will change when my Grandmother can finally use Linux.

"Give a wide berth to all that foam and spray." - - Lucian, The Way to Write History
[ Parent ]

Monopoly (2.66 / 6) (#35)
by marx on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 01:09:40 PM EST

Look to VA Linux for your example of how much demand there is for an alternative OS OEM.
Duh, that's the definition of an illegal monopoly. If a company could start competing with MS then it wouldn't be one. Don't contradict the assumptions.

The court has already found MS to be an illegal monopoly. What we're talking about now is how to remedy that situation.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

huh? (2.66 / 3) (#37)
by momocrome on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 02:23:06 PM EST

Don't contradict the assumptions? What the hell is that supposed to mean?

Are you sure you meant to say that?

BTW, MS is not an illegal monopoly because of the OEM agreement. They may be a monopoly as a result, but not necessarilly an illegal monopoly.

Maybe you should take a moment and re-examine your assumptions.

"Give a wide berth to all that foam and spray." - - Lucian, The Way to Write History
[ Parent ]

Fine. I'll Be Blunt (none / 0) (#72)
by virg on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 12:25:40 PM EST

I've been watching you argue these points, and I've addressed a few of them in a different post (search on my user name if you want to read them), but suffice it to say that Microsoft is indeed an illegal monopoly because of the the OEM agreements they've used (the proof of which is in their settlement here), so Marx's assumption is valid.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
indeed (none / 0) (#76)
by momocrome on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 01:11:30 PM EST

I'm sorry, but using the word 'indeed' hardly qualifies a statement... Rather than being blunt, you are in fact relying on bluster. Show me. Show me where it says anything about the OEM contract being inherently illegal. I think when you go to look for this data, you will instead find there are in fact a host of other reasons MSFT is up against the wall, but this OEM arrangement is merely the cornerstone of the monopoly, not an illegal boon or something.

Need I remind you people it is not illegal to have a monopoly? It is only illegal to improperly leverage that monopoly into additional markets, e.g., Internet Explorer.

I think there is a lot of vitriol and frustration over MSFT that is completely predicated on absolute ignorance of the actual situation, if these threads be any indication...

"Give a wide berth to all that foam and spray." - - Lucian, The Way to Write History
[ Parent ]

Maybe I Misunderstand (4.00 / 1) (#80)
by virg on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 03:08:12 PM EST

...but if Microsoft didn't think they were doing anything illegal, why did they hand over all that money for a settlement for the damage their contracts did to DR-DOS? Call it bluster if you like, but I've provided a link to 155 million reasons why they themselves thought a court would label their practices to be in violation of civil law.

Time and time again I've heard people say that having a monopoly is not inherently illegal, and it's true. However, in the light of the DR-DOS settlement and the verdict against them in the ongoing case, there is ample proof that calling Microsoft's particular monopoly illegal is completely accurate, because they've demonstrably abused it. While there are arguments ongoing as to how to deal with that, the verdict itself was never in question.

> ...but this OEM arrangement is merely the cornerstone of the monopoly, not an illegal boon or something.

You seem to imply that it can't be both. Again, as proven by their settlement, the contract was an illegal boon.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
Breaking out of the libertarian mindset (4.83 / 6) (#49)
by greenrd on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 08:54:11 PM EST

Talk about silly arguments, your 'hypothetical' product A is for sale right now, everywhere, at an affordable retail price of $199 US. wholesale is under $100. This is remarkably under $infinitely high, as you can plainly see, and really isn't so high as to make the OEM business 'unfeasable'.

It is infeasible for OEMs to source Windows from the retail line because of competition, and the evidence is all around us.

No, rather, since the overwhelming majority of people want windows on their x86 hardware, it tends to become an attractive business plan to agree to deep discount + exclusivity, rather than a requirement.

We're just arguing round in circles. You say, libertarian-like, that fixing the prices so that no sane OEM would go with the unrestricted version is not restricting OEMs. We say it is. In particular, it's something that Microsoft has been prohibited by law from doing ever since they became a monopoly in the legal sense - well before Judge Jackson's FoF.

OK let me try something to help you break out from your libertarian dream-world. Here is the real acid test: Do you really think that Bill Gates and co think, village-idiot-like, that they are not leveraging their monopoly to keep out Linux from OEM systems? No, of course not - they know full well what they are doing and why. That is the number one primary reason for this kind of contract. It has little to do with support costs.

It should hardly bare mentioning but for the fact that commentors hereabouts seem oblivious- If the alternatives were in any way viable, OEMs would spring up around them and ignore MSFT. x86 is commodity hardware, after all. Nobody is actually stopping OEMs from pursuing this. MSFT may be aggressively enticing, but there is no law or rule denying a non MSFT OEM...

The viability of Linux alone should not be confused with the viability of a dual-boot Windows+Linux system. The latter would probably satisfy far more customers than the former - and would provide a useful migration path for non-technical users.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

You are a presumptuous one, Mr greenrd. (none / 0) (#115)
by momocrome on Wed May 01, 2002 at 01:38:00 AM EST

Personally, I think the topic should be more along the lines of breaking out of the overwhelmingly zealous anarcho-socialist mindset that you seem afflicted with.

Why would anyone even think about breaking out of the Libertarian mindset? In fact- I am considering orthodox AynRandianism, as I believe most of the k5 population is...

:)

"Give a wide berth to all that foam and spray." - - Lucian, The Way to Write History
[ Parent ]

Halleluiah! (1.00 / 2) (#16)
by Lord Snott on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 04:24:01 AM EST

Amen, brother!
Praise the lord!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This sig in violation of U.S. trademark
registration number 2,347,676.
Bummer :-(

[ Parent ]
How to look competitive while removing choice (4.14 / 14) (#25)
by pslam on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 10:07:56 AM EST

Please explain why the deep discount + no multi boot agreement is evil.

Forget the discount - Microsoft really should have no right at all to dictate how OEMs organise their systems. The discount is just a red herring which throws us all off the basic point.

First off, Microsoft cannot prevent OEMs from installing other people's software. I don't know if that's legally true, but if it's not there must be some really twisted logic in use. For example, it would be crazy for Microsoft to state "An OEM may not install Photoshop on top of Windows". So, by extension of this argument, there should be nothing wrong with also installing Linux. Let's put it this way - once an OEM installs Windows, does Microsoft in any way own that PC? Of course not. So it has no right to dictate what you install. They could write preventative measures into a EULA but that would instantly be found anti-competitive.

There's the question of "altering" the "OS" - multi-boot involves changing a few sectors of the boot block and adding a partition or two. Do Microsoft own the boot block and partition tables? No.

So, getting out of the way that installing a multi-boot is within an OEM's rights - what about this discount thing? Lower prices does not equal competition in all cases. Obvious example: leveraging the huge revenues of a corporation in one field to undercut the competition in another field in order to drive them out of business, usually by selling at a massive loss. But this one is slightly more subtle:

  • Microsoft repackage product as products A and B.
  • Product A is the product Microsoft really wants to sell. It has all the restrictions they really want people to buy into. It's priced cheaper than B.
  • Product B is free of restrictions. But it's more expensive. Microsoft don't want people to actually buy this, but it's made available so it looks like there's a choice.
  • The vast majority of OEMs buy product A because it's cheaper.
  • The minority of OEMs who really want product B can't afford to buy it because it puts them at a competitive disadvantage to other OEMs - and none of their customers will pay the unrepresentatively higher price. So they end up only selling product A.
The result? Hardly anyone buys product B, even though a) OEMs wanted to sell it if they could, b) customers would buy it if they could, and c) there isn't any physical reason for the difference in price. Hence, the illusion of choice, and the illusion of competitive pricing.

[ Parent ]
Microsoft does own the boot sector (2.25 / 4) (#77)
by pin0cchio on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 02:26:54 PM EST

Do Microsoft own the boot block and partition tables? No.

Wrong. Microsoft owns the copyright on the bootloader. Because the bootloader is part of the Windows operating system, replacing the bootloader can be considered creating a derivative work of the Windows operating system software. U.S. Federal law, 17 USC 106(2), states that the copyright owner has the exclusive right to prepare derivative works.


lj65
[ Parent ]
No. (5.00 / 2) (#94)
by vectro on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 09:24:01 PM EST

It may be that modifying the Microsoft bootloader in some way would create a derivative work. But overwriting the Microsoft bootloader with LILO would certainly not be a derivative work.

If I delete an e-book on my hard disk, and then save some other file to the same space, does that create a derivative work? Of course not.

Furthermore, even if it did create a derivative work, 17 USC 106(2) wouldn't apply. "Prepare" in that context refers to distribution -- even if it's not in a fixed medium. You would know this, if you had read the notes on the very page you linked.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

It's contractually forbidden (4.00 / 1) (#96)
by Eloquence on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 10:18:41 PM EST

The OEM contracts explicitly prohibit the modification of the "initial boot sequence", i.e. everything until the Windows desktop with the icons is loaded. Even after that, all modifications are strongly restricted. I doubt an OEM would get away with using something like loadlin, for example -- as long as MS has ways to retaliate and pressure OEMs, it will use them, regardless of whether the clauses explicitly cover the undesired circumstance in question.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]
Yes. (none / 0) (#100)
by vectro on Tue Apr 30, 2002 at 02:20:02 AM EST

Which is of course the point of this article. But the former poster was claiming that it was prohibited under copyright law, which is clearly not the case.

The most important difference, I think, is that the previous poster's claim would make it illegal for /anyone/ to set up a dual-boot system, while the contractual obligations apply only to those who sign a contract.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

Duh! (3.33 / 6) (#38)
by CarryTheZero on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 02:37:40 PM EST

Microsoft is a monopoly. This has been legally established. Things which are fine for company X to do (say, offer discounts in exchange for certain behavior from OEMs) are not okay for Microsoft to do, because they are abusing their monopoly position to prevent competitors from entering the field. This is so obvious that one would have to be terminally stupid or wilfully ignorant to overlook it.

--
You said I'd wake up dead drunk / alone in the park / I called you a liar / but how right you were
iTunes users: want to download album artwork automatically? Now you can.
[ Parent ]
Communism? (2.40 / 5) (#26)
by holdfast on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 10:09:01 AM EST

Your poll has it a bit mixed up. Having only one choice is not even Socialism. It is Communism.
Having multiple choices sounds suspiciously like free marketry to me. Does this mean that all you USians can have a go at M$ for being a bunch of dirty commies?


"Holy war is an oxymoron."
Lazarus Long
Oh, no! (2.50 / 12) (#28)
by Detritus on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 11:55:25 AM EST

...and even allowing a competing operating system like Linux to start up instead of Windows.
They make this sound like a bad thing. Oh yeah, I'm sure users will be distressed about Linux's stability and its being better than Windows in almost every respect.


Kings and lords come and go and leave nothing but statues in a desert, while a couple of young men tinkering in a workshop change the way the world works — Havelock Vetinari
"better in every respect" (3.50 / 2) (#87)
by Jevesus on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 04:04:14 PM EST

"I'm sure users will be distressed about Linux's stability and its being better than Windows in almost every respect."

Please, present your personal views as such and not as some sort of pseudo truth..

- Jevesus
[ Parent ]
It's trendy to be anti-Microsoft. (3.25 / 8) (#29)
by FatHed on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 11:59:21 AM EST

MS was declared a monopoly on the Intel(x86) platform. Linux and FreeBSD do not count in a monopoly case because they are non-commercial (free). Apple doesn't count either, different platform.

This makes MS just like Apple. They are both proprietary systems. Apple is allowed to put what ever they want into their PCs. Did any Mac Clones get sold with MKLinux on them, were the OEMs allowed? If so MS should be allowed the same gratitude.

The OEM market is just as dumb. If I was selling a product to an OEM, I would make deals just like MS. Here is a sample. Windows ME is available for anyone (including OEMs) for purchase at a set price. Now, if you want a discount on that price, this is what you have to do. If you don't want to do it, no discount.

Now I understand that the OEM market is tight, so you need to cut as many price corners as you can. Which effectively means most if not all OEMs will do what MS said to receive the discount. As it is a proprietary system, and Linux/FreeBSD do not compete in the market, who is complaining?

Now comes in the abuse of that monopoly. Adding technologies that compete with other markets for free in the desktop OS, IE killing Netscape is an example of this.

In my Opinion, the Netscape issue should be looked at like this. AOL bought Netscape to be able to join the lawsuit. Netscape failed as a business before IE became the prevalent browser. Their business focus was servers, not the client browser. The browser was given away to non-commercial users. Companies didn't really buy it either, just download it and install. Shareware usually gets that unfair treatment by corporations. They failed in the server market because of a reliable free alterative, Apache, which over took Netscape's Server share in 94 or before.

Look closely at the behavior of all the companies involved, MS is the least of my concerns, AOL is far more evil in my opinion. As far as stocks are concerned, AOL would seem like a failure. It was worth 300 billion dollars when it bought Time/Warner, well, that was the combined value, today it is around 100 billion combined. A 200 billion dollar loss in 2 years, not good.

"It is up to those who want to see the desktop alternatives succeed to educate the public so that Microsoft's behavior is exposed, explained and punished."
I completely agree, but don't forget to look closely at the boys crying wolf.

It's trendy to be anti-Microsoft.



Intelligence is a matter of opinion.
Not the same (5.00 / 4) (#30)
by enry on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 12:32:32 PM EST

Apple sells both the OS and the hardware. There's a big difference there. It's like saying Sony has a monopoly on the PS2 and the OS it runs or Nintendo has a monopoly on the Game Cube. MS doesn't make x86 systems aside from the XBox.

Now I understand that the OEM market is tight, so you need to cut as many price corners as you can. Which effectively means most if not all OEMs will do what MS said to receive the discount. As it is a proprietary system, and Linux/FreeBSD do not compete in the market, who is complaining?

Huh? Look, if it costs $199 retail to get WinME, but $20 to an OEM, which will you choose? At the time these agreements started ('95), Linux was barely around and DOS was dead. IBM tried to get OS/2 installed on some machines at the time, but Microsoft said "sure, go install OS/2, you can pay full price for Windows". This silliness went on until just a few hours before Win95 shipped. Had IBM wanted to stick to their guns and have OS/2 as an option, they would have had to pay an extra $170+/machine. For the time, this was probably now 10-15% of the cost of the machine! Nowadays with $699 PCs, you're talking about 25%! With margins on PCs being well below 10%, paying full price for Windows means being anywhere from 5-15% higher cost than your competitors. If you want to stay in business these days, you have to sell Windows. If you want to sell Windows, you have to give up your OEM rights. Even parts vendors are being pressured by MS if a customer purchases a naked PC. Soon the argument of "if you don't want Windows, build it" will be gone.

[ Parent ]

Konqueror? (1.00 / 2) (#47)
by darthaya on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 08:10:08 PM EST

I wonder what KDE will become stripping of Konqueror.

Something that nobody uses?



[ Parent ]
Uhhh... (5.00 / 3) (#51)
by arthurpsmith on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 10:26:41 PM EST

1. KDE isn't a monopoly in any sense

2. RedHat 7.2 ships with Konqueror, Mozilla, Galeon, and Netscape 4.x

The only reason the request was made to strip the browser out of Windows was because MS refused to allow any OEM to ship a PC with another browser (Netscape) installed. This was (presumably) a way of allowing that. You wouldn't even get near that logical position in the Linux world...

Energy - our most critical problem; the solution may be in space.


[ Parent ]
When was the last time you bought a PC? (4.00 / 1) (#68)
by darthaya on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 10:41:54 AM EST

All the computers I bought that came in one package(Dell, Sony Vaio laptop) included Netscape Navigator 4.7. I also heard some newer one even comes with Mozilla bundled.

And people are still advocating for stripping IE off the installation? Why dont you strip konqueror off KDE and see what piece of crap KDE will become? That is precisely Microsoft's valid point.

The browser(web, file, etc.) is an essential part of their GUI interface to their operating system. Asking them to strip off IE is like asking them to strip of the GUI interface and ship you a Win2K kernel naked.


[ Parent ]
Explorer (4.00 / 1) (#70)
by Matrix on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 11:47:25 AM EST

I think you're very confused. Microsoft's reuse of the name "Explorer" doesn't help.

Here's the three separate pieces of software that they've named "Explorer":

(a) Explorer. This is the Windows GUI shell.

(b) Explorer. This is the Windows file manager, a replacement for the old Windows 3.1 file manager. Around Win98/Me, some of its interfaces had parts from Internet Explorer grafted on.

(c) Internet Explorer. Formerly Mosaic. This is a web browser, consisting of a HTTP client, a HTML renderer, etc.

Now, the HTML renderer, which is seperate from the Internet Explorer program, is used by other programs. This includes both Explorers ("view as web page" folders and "Active Desktop"), Office (though god alone knows why), and other third-party programs. As you can see, as long as IE's HTML renderer is left, Internet Explorer itself can be tossed away without any loss of functionality. The issue is simplified even more by the fact that its really just a program that joins together and provides an interface to a bunch of components. Toss it, leave the components, let OEMs install Mozilla or Opera instead. What damage has been done? Nothing

(This is glossing over things a bit, as Microsoft has chosen to string parts of IE all through the system libraries as part of their pre-loading thing. I'm also ignoring the fact that Microsoft, as a monopoly, cannot legally do some of the things the KDE project can do.)

As for Konqueror, I could indeed strip it off KDE. I could Midnight Commander or a raw shell for file management, Mozilla or Netscape for web browsing, etc. It'd require some tinkering around with MIME-types to get things like entering a URL into the alt-F2 "run programs" box, but it could be done. However, like IE, you couldn't remove all of the libraries that Konqueror used because they're used by other parts of KDE. (Or, in some cases, other pieces of software entirely - see libstdc++)


Matrix
"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

Did you make IE? (none / 0) (#86)
by Jevesus on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 03:58:18 PM EST

For an outsider, you seem to have quite a bit of knowledge about the inner workings of IE, Explorer and the shell. Personally I don't know what methods and classes inside the respective programs does what where..

- Jevesus
[ Parent ]
You don't have to. (none / 0) (#95)
by vectro on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 09:29:51 PM EST

IE is componentized. It's various facilities are available as DCOM objects for embedding in various applications. This means you can, in fact, create a program that uses the IE renderer without knowing anything about the internal implementation.

As an interesting aside, Mozilla is componentized in the same way, and it is possible to replace the IE rendering component with Gecko, yielding a program that looks & behaves like IE but is actually rendered with the Mozilla engine.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

That proves nothing (none / 0) (#103)
by Jevesus on Tue Apr 30, 2002 at 09:37:18 AM EST

Sure I'm aware of DCOM, et al. But you still know nothing about how and where classes and functionality reside inside the aforementioned applications. You assume they are three completely different applications that can be ripped apart as easy as a ham sandwich, but you do not know.

- Jevesus
[ Parent ]
I don't KNOW (none / 0) (#109)
by Matrix on Tue Apr 30, 2002 at 02:24:24 PM EST

I don't know, and that's one reason why I'm wary of having a Microsoft OS on my system. After all, I don't KNOW that they aren't tracking every program I install and run, either. And I don't KNOW that there aren't "Netscape coders are weenies" backdoors all through my system. In fact, I can't KNOW anything about my system at all, except that it usually executes the commands I give it.

I do know that there aren't bits of the explorer GUI shell in iexplore.exe, and there aren't bits of IE in explorer.exe. (Internet explorer and the file manager, respectively) Any shared code would be in external libraries (DLLs, for the knowledge-impaired), which all three programs use as necessary. If explorer.exe requires code from iexplore.exe to work right, or the GUI shell needs to be able to call things in one or both files, someone at Microsoft needs to be fired for writing crappy code.


Matrix
"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

So why are you assuming? (none / 0) (#117)
by Jevesus on Wed May 01, 2002 at 09:04:26 AM EST

Oh, you don't know now?
Let's iterate your claims, shall we?
  • The HTML renderer is seperate from the Internet Explorer program
  • As long as IE's HTML renderer is left, Internet Explorer itself can be tossed away without any loss of functionality.
  • It's really just a program that joins together and provides an interface to a bunch of components.
Now correct me if I'm wrong but your claims didn't exactly look like guesses, assumptions, of yours, more like as if you actually knew this to be the case.
Can you back these claims/assumptions up with facts, preferably from Microsoft who actually are the only ones that do know?

We all know what IE, Explorer and Explorer, respectively, are, but nobody here knows what pieces of code inside of each do what, where or how they internally work together and so on.

Remember when people tried to remove Internet Explorer from some version of Windows 98? They succeeded allright, what they had left was Windows 95.

What is left to do is to assume, which you did a good job of, the problem is that you dressed your assumptions in a pseudo truth suit.

- Jevesus
[ Parent ]

Win98/95? (none / 0) (#127)
by Matrix on Thu May 02, 2002 at 08:38:41 AM EST

FYI, that group that tried to remove IE from Win98 wanted to remove everything IE-related. This includes the HTML renderer. Now, if you can provide a link to something that proves that deleting iexplore.exe and removing the various links to its configuration system from the thousand and one places Microsoft has stuffed them results in an unusable Windows, I'll conceed the point. And be even more convinced that Microsoft uses its marketing department to produce code.


Matrix
"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

Win98/95 (none / 0) (#128)
by Jevesus on Thu May 02, 2002 at 09:49:50 AM EST

Can you provide a link to backup your claim that they wanted to remove the html-renderer aswell?

From what I remember of the "Win98 no IE" version, the start-menu could no longer be sorted in an arbitrary fashion, could not be right-clicked what-so-ever, among other shell-related issues not related to the html-renderer by any stretch of the imagination.

I however don't have links that expose any information about the code within explorer, IE or the shell, I don't think anyone have or we wouldn't have this argument in the first place.
Like I said, all we can do is assume, and, preferably present our assumptions as such and not as fact.

- Jevesus
[ Parent ]

Have you tried to install IE 6 on Win95? (none / 0) (#139)
by bufalo73 on Mon May 06, 2002 at 06:43:36 AM EST

Doesn't it looks like 98SE/ME? So, many "98SE/ME only features" are only "IE5/6 features".

M$ tries to convince people that all this features are from Windows (as if it was only one product) when they are from another product that they CAN put off Windows.

Ups, didn't they do a Windows XP "XBox edition" that doesn't have IE, Explorer, MSN Messenger, ... ?Don't say (M$) that you CAN'T do this on a regular PC.

[ Parent ]

Let's repeat ourselves (none / 0) (#142)
by Jevesus on Mon May 06, 2002 at 08:38:29 AM EST

Let's for the sake of repeating ourselves, repeat ourselves. If for no better reason, beat this horse to death, again.
Microsoft does not, I repeat, does not, claim that it is physically impossible to remove the lines of code which correlate to Internet Explorer. Microsoft does not claim this. Repeat: This is something Microsoft has not claimed.

Microsoft do however claim that removing Internet Explorer from Windows would cripple the Windows experience. They claim that Internet Explorer is an integral part of Windows. Nothing else.

- Jevesus
[ Parent ]

Components? (none / 0) (#143)
by loucura on Tue May 07, 2002 at 04:06:08 AM EST

This from a locate dll &> foo && cat foo | less | grep html

/vfat-c/windows/system/mshtml.dll
/vfat-c/windows/system/mshtmled.dll
/vfat-c/windows/system/mshtmler.dll

Now, if I remove mshtml.dll, I'll lose IE, Windows Explorer, and Active Desktop. Since Windows is modular, and these are in the /system subdirectory of the Windows directory, it is safe to assume that you wouldn't want to remove these...

Now, removing iexplore.exe would be fine and wouldn't cause detriment to the other programs that 'need' it.

[ Parent ]

KDE (none / 0) (#73)
by Cro Magnon on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 12:28:56 PM EST

When KDE uses its monopoly position to keep RedHat from shipping with Gnome, I'd agree with stripping out Konqueror. Until then, it's a non-issue.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Apple "Makes" Hardware (1.00 / 1) (#54)
by FatHed on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 01:40:00 AM EST

Apple doens't actually make the hardware, just as MS doesn't actually make the X-Box. They get components from all over the place. Just as Dell does not "make" hardware.

The other issue to remember, Linux does not compete in the commercial market. Sure, people install it, and use it in the commercial market, but it does not compete.

MS is almost forced to make the descion to not allow OEMs to install Linux. Linux is Free, MS cannot compete with that.

This entire lawsuit is about competition, and comptetion alone.

Other OEMS like Penguin Computing sell only Linux boxes, so is it so wrong for MS to want people to only sell Windows boxes?


Intelligence is a matter of opinion.
[ Parent ]
Way to pick nits. (5.00 / 2) (#74)
by Count Zero on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 12:42:03 PM EST

Apple doens't actually make the hardware, just as MS doesn't actually make the X-Box. They get components from all over the place. Just as Dell does not "make" hardware.

Ok, fine. Apple does, however, purchase, trade for, aquire via winning the lottery, or manufacture various pieces of hardware through a variety of legal methods. They then assemble this hardware into an "Apple" branded computer, at which time they own. They then sell this computer to others, at which time the purchaser owns it. While Apple owns the computer, they can put whatever they want on it. Once the computer is sold, the purchaser can put whatever they want on it.

MS does NOT do this. MS owns no PC manufacturers. MS does not sell a "Microsoft" branded PC. They have no PCs they own (and thus control) for sale. They sell a product (Windows) to companies like Dell, Compaq, and Gateway. These companies assemble systems which they own. These comapanies, much like Apple is, should be allowed to put whatever they want on their hardware before they sell it. But they can't, thanks to MS.

If you can't see the difference between these two situations, you really need to pay more attention. Apple is essentially a Dell, Gateway, etc, who happens to make their own OS instead of purchasing it from an outside source. Apple makes their money on hardware, like a Dell, not software, like MS. You are truly comparing apples to oranges here. (Pardon the pun.)

Not to mention, this is all irrelevant anyway. MS was found to be a monopoly under US law. This means that they can (and should) lose the right to do things that are fine for other companies. Even if your MS/Apple analogy wasn't already horribly flawed, it doesn't matter. Apple has never been found by a US court of law to be an illegal monopoly, MS has.

If you are so sure Apple is a monopoly like MS, I suggest calling your state's AG's office and suggesting they bring antitrust charges against them. I'm sure it will give them a good laugh on an otherwise dull Monday.

Other OEMS like Penguin Computing sell only Linux boxes, so is it so wrong for MS to want people to only sell Windows boxes?

MS can want whatever they feel like. Hell, I want 1 billion dollars. Doesn't mean either of us have a legal right to it. And again, you present a flawed analogy. I don't see the evil Linux consoritum telling Penguin Computing they *must* only sell Linux boxes.




[ Parent ]
Allowed? (none / 0) (#111)
by FatHed on Tue Apr 30, 2002 at 03:06:09 PM EST

I agree that every company should have the right to do what ever it wants with it's products. I also believe that companies can enter agreements such as the one MS wants to give the OEMs. How many of the large media companies get napster? One. How many different distros of Linux does Peguin Computing Install?

It is up to the OEM to make that desicion, not us, and not the government.

Intelligence is a matter of opinion.
[ Parent ]
It's trendy to be pro-Microsoft. (3.54 / 11) (#33)
by regeya on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 12:59:48 PM EST

So, rather than bash your points as being a little cheerleader-like, I'll take the middle road.

You're exactly right that MS's business practices are little different from Apple's. It's not okay to install MacOS on anything other than a real Mac, etc. However, you must keep in mind the following:

1.) Microsoft's policy doesn't just affect itself. In the case of having Macs ship with MkLinux, that's Apple's decision. They're the only game in town as far as MacOS is concerned (and that's why I refuse to buy a Mac: I don't like having my eggs in one basket, and to whom do I turn if they go under in a year?) Microsoft's business practices affect several companies.

2.) AFAIK, MacOS won't foul up the ability to boot MkLinux if one runs First Aid.

3.) Internet Explorer is not an integral part of the operating system, and the essential functionality (such as software updating) performed by the browser is, arguably, easily removed.

The real issue here isn't so much that their internal business practices are similar to other companies (shame on you!) but that, through coersion, schoolyard bully tactics, and, now, perjury in court, MS hopes to remain #1. Further, they're getting nasty about things because their business model stinks and they need to continue to grow to remain profitable. I'd have no objections to them sticking around simply due to them having competitive products (and they do have some good products) but they have 32-bit dinosaur OSes, a raftload of the best apps they could buy from other people, and a marketing-department-driven business plan. Unless they change, it's time for the dinosaur to die. Now. Please. Thanks.


[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

Apple = MS (none / 0) (#57)
by FatHed on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 01:57:08 AM EST

They're the only game in town as far as MacOS is concerned
Microsoft is the only "game" in town on the Intel platform. That is what they were ruled a monopoly on. Nothing else. And since free/non-commercial software does not compete with commercial software, this makes them exactly like Apple.

I agree that IE is not an integral part of the OS, I hated IE until version 5.5 sp1. But they should not have to remove it. Does Apple have to install Windows Media Player, no, they use QuickTime, what's next, you have to offer all competing products if you offer any?

Ahh, legacy support, I love our 30 year old computers and our 110 year old cars. The computer industry is not the only ones affected by this unfortunate downside of capitalism.

Intelligence is a matter of opinion.
[ Parent ]
You may not have noticed... (4.00 / 1) (#67)
by Bnonn on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 07:29:25 AM EST

...but you're comparing apples and oranges (pun shamelessly intended) in your very flawed comparison.

Apple is not a manopoly. Yes, they have a manopoly over their own operating system in a way similar to Microsoft, but they aren't exactly stifling competition in the computer industry through their huge market share. Yes, they can stifle competition on their own platform...but there are other OSes available for Macs that Apple does not support, but does not attempt to crush either.

If Apple did attempt to crush competition on their hardware, I believe they would be within their rights to do so (though I'd think them right pricks), because they own the hardware. But Microsoft does not own the patents to the hardware that Windows runs on. They don't even make any of their own hardware. If they did, they could sell Windows on their own boxes and do what they liked, and probably no one could do anything unless their boxes started to form a manopoly over the entire PC industry (which would be possible).

This is about Microsoft using their OS market share to dominate an independent platform. Please, rather than respondingagain, try reading up and actually understanding the issue.

Does anyone else feel there are a couple of Microsoft-employed trolls posting to this thread with great abandon?

Postscript...not to cloud the issue, but what's to like about IE? I don't understand why someone would use it when they know of alternatives like Mozilla and Opera. It doesn't seem to make any sense, for a whole number of reasons.

[ Parent ]

There are. (none / 0) (#89)
by regeya on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 05:14:05 PM EST

It's not your imagination. Why, I bet there'll be an MS employee coming along to get all righteous and defend himself/herself against these attacks against their parent company, the kingly-wages-paying Microsoft.

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

Stifling what Competition? (none / 0) (#110)
by FatHed on Tue Apr 30, 2002 at 03:01:49 PM EST

stifling competition in the computer industry
Java? What slow performance doesn't have anything to do with failing? (weather it is true or not is irrelevant, that's the public perception, which according to the DeCSS case counts for a lot)

Netscape, let's concentrate our business on servers, when we can't sell enough of those because a free alternative, Apache, but then say our business focus was on the client, and sue, yeah it's the American way.

They were wrongfully found guilty of abusing their monopoly powers. My comparing Apple to MS is for the people complaining about OEM agreements. Nothing in the agreements is what hurt Sun, or Netscape, although that is what they would like you to believe.
I am not a lawyer, and probably do not have the best anwsers, I just want a rational look at the entire situation.
Intelligence is a matter of opinion.
[ Parent ]
I sort of disagree (4.00 / 3) (#43)
by xtremex on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 06:27:33 PM EST

Mainly being that Apple sells hardware, and they use MAC OS to sell THEIR hardware. MS doesn't sell hardware. They sell an OS. The OEM should be able to sell what they want on THEIR hardware in order to sell it. Tell you what. If I saw a Compaq sitting in the middle of OfficeMax with Linux on it preinstalled, my opinion of Compaq will rise greatly. (As it stands now, my opinion of Compaq is Less than Zero.). Just like you can't tell Apple what to install on THEIR hardware, you can't tell Dell what to sell on theirs.

[ Parent ]
What Microsoft was found guilty of (2.33 / 3) (#75)
by epepke on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 12:46:51 PM EST

They were not found guilty of being a monopoly. It is perfectly legal to be a monopoly. They were found guilty of abusing their monopoly status. Twice.

U.S. Foods is a monopoly. Practically everything you eat in a restaurant or hotel comes from U.S. Foods or its subsidiaries, such as Alliant. They have not been declared an illegal monopoly, in part, because their food is very good. Their quality standards are very high. Furthermore, their food is compatible with other food. There is nothing stopping a chef from going down to the dock at 5:00 and hand-picking some fish, mixing it with U.S. Foods products in a recipe, and serving the result.

If U.S. Foods started delivering wormy lamb, or if they started contractually obligating restaurants, who are roughly comparable to OEM's, not to offer any non-U.S. Foods in their hotels, then they would get into trouble. If they made a cost-benefit analysis that said that, well, if 0.5% of the lamb is wormy, it's OK because it will only affect a few users, then they'd get into trouble.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
The quality of Windows is not in question (3.00 / 1) (#84)
by Jevesus on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 03:48:00 PM EST

First off, third party software for the Windows platform is, guess what, Windows compatible.

Second, the quality of Windows is not, hasn't been, and isn't likely to be the question in any court.
I'm sure a lot of people can argue that the quality of Windows is short, while equally many, or more, can argue the opposite.

- Jevesus
[ Parent ]
Yes it is (none / 0) (#106)
by epepke on Tue Apr 30, 2002 at 11:30:24 AM EST

The quality of Windows is important because it is a defense against being convicted of monopolistic practices. If the monopoly is maintained base on the superiority of the product, then it isn't an illegal monopoly. It can only be declared an illegal monopoly if the monopoly was maintained by means other than the quality of the product.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Important yes, the issue no (none / 0) (#116)
by Jevesus on Wed May 01, 2002 at 08:52:35 AM EST

The quality is ofcourse important, but it is far from the issue. That Windows, of any somewhat new version, is of poor quality would serve little more than as a joke in court. A giggle, at best.

- Jevesus
[ Parent ]
It is central to monopoly law (none / 0) (#118)
by epepke on Wed May 01, 2002 at 05:00:45 PM EST

The basic concept of an illegal monopoly is one which maintains its monopoly status other than by means of the merit of the product. Show that the merit of the product is responsible for the monopoly status, and it's an iron-clad defence. It is the most basic idea. If OEM's had always bundled Explorer and never bundled Netscape because Explorer was better, there would scarcely have been enough evidence for an indictment, let alone a conviction.

U.S. Foods doesn't strongarm their way into a monopoly because it is unnecessary. Their products compete on their own merits.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
one doesn't have to exclude the other (none / 0) (#119)
by Jevesus on Wed May 01, 2002 at 05:28:33 PM EST

Microsoft has been convicted of using anti-competitive business methods, that don't in any way, at all, mean that their browser, or any other software of theirs, is of poor quality.
By your reasoning, "If OEM's had always bundled Explorer and never bundled Netscape because Explorer was better, there would scarcely have been enough evidence for an indictment, let alone a conviction", a company with a good product is allowed to use any business methods, regardless how anti-competitive, et al, they are.

The quality of IE was never on trial, Microsoft's anti-competitive business methods were, try to keep those apart.

- Jevesus
[ Parent ]

Reasonable remedy (so far as Linux is concerned) (3.50 / 4) (#39)
by maroberts on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 03:10:25 PM EST

I think part of a reasonable future conduct remedy would be to:

a) force Microsoft to publish OEM rates and not be allowed to deviate from those rates or a favoured customer. [N.B. I do not say MS has to fix its rates or to not offer volume discounts, just make the same rates available to all at any one time]

b) Require all software licenses used by MS not to prevent use of GPL software. (regardless of whether EULAs are enforceable or not.)

c) require all MS tools to be modified so as not to compromise any alternative operating systems which may be present on a PC.

One problem with this is it would not recompense certain people who have suffered through the monopoly position of Microsoft e.g Netscape., but if alternative Operating systems are not being hit on dual boot systems, users may be tempted to try the alternative


~~~
The greatest trick the Devil pulled was to convince the world he didn't exist -- Verbil Kint, The Usual Suspects
It's not a Microsoft thing (2.50 / 2) (#41)
by Jevesus on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 06:04:14 PM EST

What we have here is a case of common business practice. It's not Microsoft specific, or even computer or software specific.
Concerning OEM's, I'm sure you can think of quite a few companies who are possibly utilizing the same kind of practice. The Intel & Rambus thing comes to mind, sound card and graphics card manufacturers, misc software companies, etcetera.

Please, don't think this is a Microsoft "thing".. (?)

- Jevesus
Defending Microsoft (in part) (3.22 / 9) (#42)
by Skapare on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 06:08:48 PM EST

I'll have to come down on the side of defending Microsoft, at least partially, in this case. The part where I will defend them is in the agreement to exclude other operating systems from the same PC co-existing with Windows. The reason for this is simply that support is a nightmare when two or more operating systems co-exist, even if both are well designed for it. I have one machine which runs Linux, FreeBSD, and OpenBSD, chosen at boot time. I have no trouble with running it, because I set it up very carefully, including a rather elaborate scheme of partitions. But even explaining how I set it up in detail would be quite a horror story, even for people very familiar with all three of those systems. While I have no trouble keeping it working, I'd never sell such a beastly setup to anyone, because the tech support for it would be horrible.

As long as Microsoft will be doing software support, either directly, or through the OEM, for the Windows software, they do have a right to keep down the complexity (not that they actually do so within the context of their own software) in order to keep down support costs. It is this cost reduction that they are passing along, in part, to the OEM, through the discounts offered when the OEM agrees to KISS style installs. If Microsoft says they won't give any support at all for a system installed where Windows co-exists with another OS, then I can fully understand; I'd do exactly the same thing.

The other part where I would not defend Microsoft is when they require the OEM vendor to sell NO machines at all with a different OS (e.g. without Windows at all, but say, only Linux). That falls under a restraint of trade or something like that, where a monopoly is trying to control something beyond what they should be controlling. Now, if the OEM sells fewer Windows units because they are able to sell some Linux units, then certainly their Windows volume is lower, and they would not qualify for as deep a discount due to not meeting the volume requirements. That much would be fair.

Still, part of what Microsoft does is provide marketing support to the OEM as well. The OEM gets listed and promoted by Microsoft at Microsoft's expense. I can understand that Microsoft would not want to encourage a consumer to walk into a store, or visit a web site, where a choice includes to go with Linux instead of Windows. Why should they pay for promoting an OEM that might end up promoting Linux to the customer. Still, I can walk into the Kroger's grocery store and for almost all product lines, have a choice of major brands, and even a generic brand or two. OTOH, the business models in the grocery business are quite different, having been established well before monopoly marketing practices got to it. Understanding why Microsoft wants to do that, though, doesn't make it right.

If I want to run a computer vendor business that will sell machines with Windows, Linux, or BSD installed, I should be able to. It would be reasonable to not get full marketing support from Microsoft as a result. But I should be able to get the same marketing information sent to me, and the same level of tech support for all Windows-only systems, and the same volume discount as anyone else for the number of Windows-only units I sell. I should not have to literally own two separate corporations in order to have a contract with Microsoft to be an OEM seller of computers with Windows installed while being able to also sell computers with Linux or BSD installed.



What? (3.25 / 4) (#48)
by greenrd on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 08:33:22 PM EST

The reason for this is simply that support is a nightmare when two or more operating systems co-exist, even if both are well designed for it.

I don't agree. Put Windows on /dev/hda1 and leave 10Gb free space for other partitions. No problems. Now install Linux on /dev/hda2 with a swap partition on /dev/hda3.

What's the problem?

I mean, in terms of Microsoft support. Having customers complaining that they can't read from ext3 from within Windows is essentially no different to having customers complaining that they can't read Acme Obscure File Format in Microsoft Word. Just say "sorry that is not currently supported" or something. Where is this support nightmare of which you speak?


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

What is Easy? (3.66 / 3) (#56)
by FatHed on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 01:46:49 AM EST

I don't agree. Put Windows on /dev/hda1 and leave 10Gb free space for other partitions. No problems. Now install Linux on /dev/hda2 with a swap partition on /dev/hda3.
Does you grandmother understand that?

My point is, as computer geeks, we have to remember the average computer users knowledge. Don't over-estimate it.

Intelligence is a matter of opinion.
[ Parent ]
So what? (5.00 / 2) (#69)
by greenrd on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 10:44:38 AM EST

Does you grandmother understand that?

No, but keep up - we were talking about OEM preinstallation here.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Does she have to? (5.00 / 1) (#79)
by aluminumaloi on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 03:05:27 PM EST

First of all, my grandmother isn't likely to be buying a dual booting system. And, even if she did, SHE wouldn't be the one who has to understand all that - the OEM does. We're not talking about a box coming unconfigured, packaged with CDs for a couple OSes, and the user having to figure it all out. We're talking about a box coming with all of this crap already taken care of by the OEM, and all the user has to do is decide which OS to boot to at startup time. My grandmother doesn't have to know or even care about these details.

[ Parent ]
Sure it works. But support is still a problem. (3.00 / 3) (#61)
by Skapare on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 05:16:06 AM EST

Of course you can install Windows, leave space, then add on Linux, and it works. But when we do that, we support it ourselves. I have seen small problems occaisionally happen with one OS due to another being present, so I know absolutely that the possibility of conflicts is non-zero. I also happen to know how to deal with it when it happens.

Support includes a LOT of issues. If Windows is having a problem, they may need to have you re-install. You and I may have been diligent in backing up, but an arbitrary user who bought a combo-OS box from an OEM vendor may not. As they report that they have data to be saved before re-installing, Microsoft support cannot be expected to tell them how to save the Linux data, or even the Linux install. The problem may be a mangled partition table (it happens) and they may be forced to do fdisk during re-install. So now they have to instruct the user (remember, they didn't put the combo together, the vendor did) how to install Windows leaving space for Linux. Microsoft isn't offering a product that includes support for that. They could if they wanted to, but I see no legal obligation for them to do that.

If someone does buy a machine with both Windows and Linux on it, and the owner calls up Microsoft and says "I got this machine with Linux on it, and Linux sucks ... how can I wipe this whole thing off and re-install Windows on the whole thing all by itself?", then I am sure Microsoft support would find a way to help this customer in that case, despite it being sold "out of contract". But they wouldn't be legally obligated to even do that because the responsibility comes from the vendor, not Microsoft, for the original machine configuration.



[ Parent ]
More balderdash? (4.00 / 2) (#66)
by Bnonn on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 07:12:21 AM EST

    ...remember, [Microsoft] didn't put the combo together, the vendor did...

Which is, perhaps, why the vendor provides tech support, and you generally pay for it if you go to Microsoft?

What, you thought Microsoft supported every vendor's unknown configuration, in every country that sells Windows?

[ Parent ]

Did you miss the point? (5.00 / 2) (#53)
by andrewm on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 01:36:43 AM EST

If I want to run a computer vendor business that will sell machines with Windows, Linux, or BSD installed, I should be able to. It would be reasonable to not get full marketing support from Microsoft as a result.
Nonsense. It is entirely reasonable for Microsoft to support Microsoft products, and no others. It is not reasonable for Microsoft to charge you or your PC vendor extra fees for the 'crime' of using a second operating system.

Microsoft is a company based in a supposedly capitalist society. This means they don't have to like competition, they just have to deal with it. If their OS is so terrible that it can't compete with Linux, that's too bad. If it is the best OS out, then supposedly it will win. Either way, they need to learn about this thing known as the 'free market'. Not that i expect my rantings to make any difference to anyone :)

(Note: If, for example, you use lilo to write over the boot sector on your hard drive, any resulting problems are your own. But that's because lilo isn't a Microsoft product. It should be legal to write your own boot loader to do whatever you want, including selecting an arbitrary operating system to run. It's not Microsoft's job to support any OS other than their own, unless they really feel like it, though. See the difference? Microsoft 'banning' lilo is very different to Microsoft not being interesting in writing or supporting lilo.)

[ Parent ]

Did you understand the term "marketing suppor (2.00 / 2) (#60)
by Skapare on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 05:02:29 AM EST

Did you understand the term "marketing support"? What that means is stuff like being referred to your business when a potential customer asks who in the area sells Microsoft products. This isn't about adding extra fees. They pay for the promotion of Microsoft Windows and other products. They add in the names of their partners where appropriate. They won't consider you to be a full-fledged partner unless you are committed to promoting Microsoft over everything else. This is NOT about "tech support" issues.

This is a capitalist and free society. Just as much as I have the right to decline to promote anything about Microsoft whatsoever, they have the right to decline to promote anything about Linux. You certainly expect them to make that choice. Well, they do, and they do it by emphasizing their vendor partners who are committed to 100% Microsoft over those who are not so committed. We certainly can choose to promote a vendor who sells Linux exclusively over those who sell Linux plus other operating systems. We might not choose that, but we can if we want to. If Microsoft does not have the freedom to promote their products, no one has.

Microsoft does have the right to NOT choose to provide TECH support for for LILO. And they can attribute any problems the user has on a computer to the other OS present, or the boot loader that loads it. They have no idea (unless they look at source, but they probably won't due to legal issues) that LILO didn't set up some strange alteration to the BIOS state that confuses some piece of data that later causes some DLL to crash (perhaps because it wasn't well written to handle all cases). Basically, they have the right to decline to provide any support whatsoever for a machine which is installed with 2 operating systems by a vendor. It is now that vendor's responsibility to support the combination, because they combined it. They might ask Microsoft about technical issues with Windows, but most certainly Microsoft will (and can) say "If it fails on a pure Window-only machine, call us back."

They do have the right to decline to support an OS product in a multi-OS environment when they didn't intend it to be operated in that environment. Certainly they didn't intend Windows to run on SPARC computers, and we won't think of calling Microsoft and asking why it fails to install on a Sun SPARC computer.



[ Parent ]
By this logic... (4.00 / 1) (#65)
by Bnonn on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 07:08:44 AM EST

...Microsoft should also refuse to provide support for any Windows OS that has third party applications installed on it. For all they know, one of these applications could have done something screwy to the registry, or replaced a critical .dll file. In fact, this happens all the time. The chances of another operating system causing some component of Windows to fail is remote compared to this current issue.

Faulty logic aside, I don't understand any of your argument. It's completely beside the point. Microsoft doesn't provide most of the tech support for its products--the OEM does. And this isn't about being "partners" with Microsoft. Suggesting that it is, or that OEMs can't be "full-fledged" partners without committing completely to Microsoft, is about as relevant and truthful as replacing "Windows" and "Linux" with "Pentium 4" and "AthlonXP". It's a free market as you point out yourself.

This has nothing to do with "promoting" Windows. It has everything to do with Microsoft using its manopoly on the market to prevent OEMs from installing other OSes on the boxes they sell if they still want to install Windows. Sure, lots of OEMs wouldn't install Linux or BSD or whatever anyway. But others would, if they could do so and remain competitive. Which, at the moment, they can't.

Your argument is disengenuous and, frankly, not even a particularly classy troll. I replied because I see you posting your nonsense all over this thread, and I'd rather other less informed people not be deceived by it.

A good lie, as they say, is indistinguishable from truth.

[ Parent ]

This is a free market (2.00 / 1) (#102)
by Skapare on Tue Apr 30, 2002 at 05:02:12 AM EST

If you install a competing office suite product, then the Microsoft Office support department can, and most likely will, refuse to support using Microsoft Office on that machine. And even the Windows support will readily point fingers at it and drop the ball for the very reasons you mention. And in most cases, OEM customers do get their support through the OEM vendor, but Microsoft is still playing a part in it, from training (no mention how to deal with Linux, except maybe to remove it, I'm sure) to outright specific incident support with a customer machine. They will just close the incident as soon as it is learned that Linux is on the machine. Then the OEM techie is on his own (some of us could handle that, and without even having to open an incident with Microsoft, anyway).

Put yourself in the position of a salesman for Foobar Widget company. Your job is to sell Foobar brand Widgets, only. If you choose to sell Ziggy Widgets on the side, even on your own time, you can lose your job. And the reason this can be defended in court is because you are privy to information about Foobar Widgets. You might use contact leads from Foobar to sell for Ziggy. You might describe confidential future product plans of Foobar to customers to encourage them to buy Ziggy Widgets instead. So when you are employed as a salesman to promot Foobar and only Foobar, you are expected to do exactly that. If you want to take up extra work on the side because widget sales are slow, then sell something else that doesn't compete against Foobar products.

A marketing partnership agreement may be no different. You may be given confidential information in exchange for exclusivity in what you promote. You may be given more money to be exclusive. You may be given more referrals (e.g. Foobar sends widget inquires to your business under terms of the agreement). Now replace Widgets with Windows, and replace Foobar with Microsoft. If that's wrong because Microsoft has a monopoly, then so be it, but this much is not in the anti-trust laws (maybe it should be).

We both want Linux to be successful in the market. We both want Microsoft to be toppled from the top position. You may even want to see Microsoft disappear altogether (but I don't). We both want to make sure Linux has a chance to succeed on its own merits (at least I think you do). But you are being delusional if you believe that Microsoft has no right whatsoever to reward those who choose to promote Microsoft products over any others (and exclusivity includes this).



[ Parent ]
What!?! I call bullshit. (none / 0) (#113)
by DanTheCat on Tue Apr 30, 2002 at 07:33:19 PM EST

If you install a competing office suite product, then the Microsoft Office support department can, and most likely will, refuse to support using Microsoft Office on that machine.

What kind of crap is this? Is this part of the Office EULA? I admit I wouldn't know, never having purchased the Office suite. Think about this for a second, though: If there were two competing software products (A and B), each with approximately similar portions of the market, do you think A's support department would refuse to help you if you had B's software? No, because then you would say 'screw this, i'm using B!' They would help you out in the hopes that you would then decide to use A instead of B. Why then would microsoft refuse to support you if you had a competing office suite installed? Because they know that eventually (95% probability) you are going to need to use their product, and they can force you to remove the competing product by withholding support until you de-install it. That's why their monopoly is illegal, see?

And what the hell does all that widget talk with salesmen have to do with an end-user installing two competing products? It's not like they're asking microsoft to help them out with a problem in the competing product, they're asking about a problem in microsofts product.

But you are being delusional if you believe that Microsoft has no right whatsoever to reward those who choose to promote Microsoft products over any others (and exclusivity includes this).

In a competitive market, microsoft does indeed have the right to do such things as write exclusive contracts. But when you are declared a monopoly, those rights go away and you have to compete on the merits of your own product. You can not then sit back and bask in the profits that your exclusive contracts bring in while shutting out the competition from ever getting started.

Ok, I'm done now.

Dan :)

<--->
I was in need of help
Heading to black out
'Til someone told me 'run on in honey
Before someone blows your god damn brains out'<
[ Parent ]

Not really (5.00 / 1) (#123)
by Skapare on Wed May 01, 2002 at 08:58:04 PM EST

If there were two competing software products (A and B), each with approximately similar portions of the market, do you think A's support department would refuse to help you if you had B's software? No, because then you would say 'screw this, i'm using B!'

If product A and product B is interacting in any way, then the support issues get more complicated. If A is an office suite and B is an architecture modeling system, then they probably have no interaction at all. But if both are office suites, they certainly can interact. For example, if you call Microsoft (if you bought the office suite in the retail box) to ask for support on why Microsoft Excel crashes when it tries to open a spreadsheet created by that other product, they are within their rights to decline to provide any support. Even in cases where it might not be obvious to you, sometimes these interactions are more subtle, but just as real, and just as problematic.

Just because Microsoft is a declared monopoly (still subject to appeal) does not mean they don't have the right to pay others to exclusively promote their products. The distinction here is exclusive promotion vs. restraint of trade.



[ Parent ]
Well, yes and no. (none / 0) (#130)
by DanTheCat on Fri May 03, 2002 at 04:14:15 AM EST

If product A and product B is interacting in any way, then the support issues get more complicated.

True, definitely. I agree that Microsoft has no obligation to support you if their product crashes when trying to open a file created by a competing product. But you are forgetting that, in an evenly divided market, it is to microsofts benefit to ensure their product is compatible with their competitor so people don't go buy their competitors software. This is, in my opinion, the main reason that word is so dominant in the market today: It is virtually impossible to keep up with all the new word file formats and correctly translate them, so there is no chance for a competitor to gain any foothold whatsoever.

The distinction here is exclusive promotion vs. restraint of trade.

You're missing my point though. When you are a monopoly, exclusive promotion becomes a form of restraint of trade, and therefore illegal. When you are, for all intents and purposes, the only game in town, exclusive contracts no longer give you a competitive advantage, they stifle competition.

Dan :)

<--->
I was in need of help
Heading to black out
'Til someone told me 'run on in honey
Before someone blows your god damn brains out'<
[ Parent ]

Misunderstanding (5.00 / 2) (#71)
by virg on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 12:06:15 PM EST

> They do have the right to decline to support an OS product in a multi-OS environment when they didn't intend it to be operated in that environment.

I think you're misunderstanding the contracts that Microsoft is using, and the reason why the courts are coming down so hard on them. There are two very nasty clauses that are the main causes for concern.

1.) Per-processor licensing: this term meant that the OEM pays Microsoft for each machine they sell, regardless of whether a Microsoft OS is installed or not. This is the crux of the complaint that Digital Research (the makers of DR-DOS) had. When Microsoft contracted with OEMs, the OEMs would have to pay for MS-DOS on each machine, and if a customer wanted DR-DOS, the OEM had to buy a DR-DOS license and an MS-DOS license, even though DR-DOS was the only OS. That meant that getting DR-DOS made the machine more expensive than one with MS-DOS.

2.) License exclusivity: this term, which started appearing after Microsoft developed a large OS base with the term above, meant that OEMs were forbidden to sell other OS options at all. The contract stated that if a company sold any OS that wasn't made by Microsoft, their Microsoft OS reseller license would be voided. This put OEMs in the unsupportable position of selling only Microsoft OSes or selling no Microsoft OSes, which was even at that time not possible, since Microsoft still held more than half of the OS market.

Both of these terms are far beyond "declining to support an OS product in a multi-OS environment" and this is why Microsoft is doing battle with the state attorneys general.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
That's not my point (none / 0) (#101)
by Skapare on Tue Apr 30, 2002 at 04:40:44 AM EST

I have not been defending Microsoft on points #1 and #2 you speak of. Those are problems with the contact, and I do assert they are not appropriate, and probably not legal. However, this is not the whole picture. There are more clauses than these, and #2 has already disappeared, at least in most contracts and/or small OEM contracts, in favor of promotional discounts rewarding vendors who sell exclusively Microsoft. It may be the case that very secret negotiations with very large vendors, whom Microsoft trusts enough to keep a secret, may well still have caluse #2. While I haven't seen such a contract, I do know that a local small OEM vendor who has a contract with Microsoft is NOT bound by any clause like #2 that prevents them from selling a system with Linux. What I believe the terms to be are marketing agreements. That is, they get a specific payment for being a Microsoft promoter, and that payment comes in the form of a additional discount on their wholesale OEM software purchases. Being a "Microsoft Promoter" means they will feature only Microsoft software for all software categories in which Microsoft is selling them software, in their showroom, and during sales calls. It doesn't exclude them from having retail boxed Redhat Linux, and it doesn't exclude them from selling a machine with Linux pre-installed and without paying Microsoft anything for that machine. Now there may be other OEM vendors who have agreed to more restrictive terms and gotten even more value from Microsoft. Obviously Microsoft is trying to push Linux out, but it is certainly not "No Linux or No Microsoft" arrangement for everyone.



[ Parent ]
Further Considerations (5.00 / 1) (#104)
by virg on Tue Apr 30, 2002 at 10:13:52 AM EST

I think you're now dicovering why these clauses are so nasty. See, now that Microsoft has almost 90 percent market penetration, they don't need to have contract exclusivity any longer. Now, they can offer everybody a discount for using and promoting only Microsoft, because Microsoft products are such a large margin of their expenditures. If your example OEM decided to start advertising Red Hat preinstalls, as opposed to doing it only when someone asks, they'll lose their discount. Since that discount applies to nine out of every ten systems, the loss of discount represents a huge financial hit. Since that hit would eliminate their ability to compete with other small OEMs, they can't afford to advertise Red Hat (or any other non-Microsoft product, for that matter).

Now, can you tell me what functional difference there is between this and actually having an exclusivity clause? The answer is that there is none, in real terms, and that's what Redmond intended. They used the draconian contracts to establish a market in which they no longer needed the draconian contracts, but still had the leverage to force OEMs to use them and only them. This is why the DOJ and attorneys general need to beat the wily crap out of them.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
I know all about this (5.00 / 1) (#122)
by Skapare on Wed May 01, 2002 at 07:55:19 PM EST

I know all about this. My point is that things have changed. When Microsoft prohibited selling competitive software, that was an anti-trust violation. However, hiring/contracting sales partners to be exclusive isn't just fully, legal, it is a very common practice, both for companies with huge monopolies, and for those without as well. Take a look at all the companies out there who are selling only Redhat for their Linux distribution. Now I don't believe Redhat is doing the kinds of things Microsoft is doing, but they are certainly encouraging sales partners to believe, and promote, the notion that Redhat is all that anyone needs to be running Linux. And when we finally get a clue into the head of some PHB, it ends up being a Redhat-only clue, which is not really all that good a thing.

The point is, this is just normal sales practice. What Microsoft was doing (the actual prohibition of competition) was illegal, but now what they are doing (with some isolated exceptions probably still around) is legal and common practice. Should it be changed so they are prevented from doing so. Perhaps. The first thing you'll need to do in order to go this route is to realize this is where you need to go. Don't ask the Justice Department to enforce something that isn't law, because you'll just be wasting your time, and risking that they will ignore you in the future. Instead, pursue this through Congress to make it law. Still, I think there will be a lot of problems making this work, because it's not even clear how to specify such a law. But if you have ideas, please let us know. I don't want to see laws that inhibit other businesses, so I want it to be very carefully crafted.



[ Parent ]
Think about this. (2.33 / 6) (#45)
by Farq Q. Fenderson on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 06:59:25 PM EST

Among other things, OEMs may not install a competing operating system on PCs that also run Windows.

What's wrong with that? I'll argue for the freedom of the companies. It's not their responsibility if it harms the consumer. They ought to have the right to make contracts and agreements.

Exclusive licensing is a very powerful way for companies to make more money than they otherwise would. I really don't see what's wrong with this. I don't like the result of Microsoft's agreements, but it's not up to me to like it, they're not actually infringing on my rights.

Let them have it.

farq will not be coming back
Except.. (4.50 / 2) (#52)
by Kwil on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 12:08:15 AM EST

..that Microsoft has been judged a monopoly.

Monopolies have to work within stricter standards - for one, they can't use their monopoly position to leverage out competitive products.

[ Parent ]
MS Monopoly (2.00 / 2) (#55)
by FatHed on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 01:43:12 AM EST

MS is only a monopoly on the Intel plaform, their stricter standards should be the same as the Apple monopoly on the Motorolla platform.

They are a monopoly, and they have no competition. Linux and FreeBSD are Free, and do not compete in the commercial market.


Intelligence is a matter of opinion.
[ Parent ]
Apple Monopoly (none / 0) (#99)
by Maserati on Tue Apr 30, 2002 at 01:42:13 AM EST

Apple has supported Linux projects on their hardware before. And I paid for my copy of LinuxPPC. Be made an OS for Apple hardware up until the G3 came out (long story, but the Linux folks managed the task).

Sounds like Apple isn't playing monopolist.

Maybe Apple has an agreement with their retail chain that prevents them from selling a Mac reconfigured to dual boot another OS, if they do it's possibly illegal - but on such a small scale the DOJ would probably let it slide. If they don't then there's no problem.

I think Apple is unlikely to be convicted under antitrust statutes anytime soon.

--

For the wise a hint, for the fool a stick.
[ Parent ]

It's still business. (2.33 / 3) (#58)
by Farq Q. Fenderson on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 02:18:47 AM EST

I personally think that monopoly laws are pretty retarded. I don't use MS products, and I wish the company would die... but I do think they should be allowed to do what they're doing.

farq will not be coming back
[ Parent ]
Contractual bindings... (3.50 / 2) (#62)
by Kindaian on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 06:06:07 AM EST

Among other things, OEMs may not install a competing operating system on PCs that also run Windows. What's wrong with that? What's wrong is just two details: a) OEMs are assumed (by the contracts) to sell windows in EVERY machine they ship (independently of shiping it or not) - not 100% sure of this but... that is the only justification i find for the OEM be so reticent to OS refunds. b) If they can's ship a competitive OS along side windows they can't because as it is assumed that they have one installed they would be installing 2 OS in the machine and that is forbiden... c) Of course they aren't forbiden of anything... they just won't get good prices for the windows anymore... d) Go to the OEM sites and try to buy a Linux box... if you can... Just my 2 cents Kindaian

[ Parent ]
Jones' Testimony (5.00 / 7) (#50)
by Eloquence on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 09:13:04 PM EST

Thanks to Raena, here's Jones' written testimony. I trust Microsoft not to modify these case documents hosted on their server, but I don't trust them not to move them around randomly, so here's my mirror just in case.

The NYT's summary is accurate. In the testimony, Jones directly admits the use of OEM-contracts to prevent dual-boot systems. The relevant portion is:

The States' Remedy Proposal contains no requirement that OEMs allow the Windows user interface to display at all at the conclusion of the initial boot sequence or upon a connection or disconnection from the Internet. Indeed, Sections 2.c.iii and 2.c.iv of the States' Remedy Proposal would allow an OEM or "Third-Party Licensee" to automatically launch any non-Microsoft software product from within Windows without regard to whether such software completely covered over the Windows Start menu, the Recycle Bin or any other part of the Windows user interface. In fact, those provisions would permit OEMs to use Windows XP as a so-called "boot loader" that launched Linux or some other operating system. That would be extremely confusing to users who expected to see the Windows desktop at the conclusion of the initial boot sequence and found themselves in an unfamiliar operating system instead.

This concern about users getting "confused" is Microsoft's core argument against any modifications of Windows installations. The argument is often idiotic (as when Microsoft argues that OEMs could render Windows unfunctional if MS is not allowed to restrict them -- sounds like a great way to sell PCs). Of course, Microsoft is well aware of the power it gains by being able to package and sell one, and only one, end user PC experience, a power that it only has because OEMs cannot compete without licensing Windows cheaply.

This is, to my knowledge, the first time Microsoft's use of the OEM weapon against competitors (and, specifically, against Linux) has been defended so bluntly. I will refrain from arguing against the obvious fallacies of the "confusion" argument specifically in the OEM context. Those who do not oppose this practice by Microsoft will likely never oppose any action by Microsoft that would be legal if committed by a non-monopoly. But I believe a strong majority would not support Microsoft's right to enter these secret and restrictive contracts that cement its monopoly for years to come. It's time to act.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!

I'd hate to support.. (3.00 / 1) (#59)
by Jevesus on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 03:34:56 AM EST

..an operative system that would be allowed to look like, well, anything at all.
Naturally Microsoft needs Windows to look and feel, and boot, like Windows in order to support it.


- Jevesus
[ Parent ]
Not really (4.66 / 3) (#63)
by CaptainZapp on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 06:14:45 AM EST

Naturally Microsoft needs Windows to look and feel, and boot, like Windows in order to support it.

This reasoning is pure hogwash. Have you ever seen an OEM disk? It specifically states that Support has to be obtained with the hardware vendor. So in essence Microsoft will never have to support the OEM software version.

[ Parent ]

I guess that throws out that argument :D [n/t] (5.00 / 1) (#83)
by Jevesus on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 03:38:51 PM EST



- Jevesus
[ Parent ]
MS Does Not Support OEM Windows!!!!!! (4.50 / 4) (#64)
by hughk on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 06:48:17 AM EST

My OEM licensed copy of Windows says that I must call my OEM if I have problems not Microsoft. The OEM can get support from MS, but not me. Therefore it isn't an issue.

If Dell, for example, sell me a multiboot system setup by them, they are responsible for everything the moment I switch on. It is up to them as to how much support to give for a Windows or Linux OS. Actually, this is a real issue for the OEM because it is quite difficult to sell a system with some software that is unsupported sitting there.

Multiboot systems that mix Unix and Win are not easy to set up, but when they are set up - they work with very few problems (especially with Grub). My own system is setup to boot by default into Grub and then offers an NT-style multiboot prompt. In case the original MBR is lost, I have set things up on the NT-style menu to get me back to Grub if I want.

This is ideal for an OEM to preconfigure and quite failsafe. I don't see any valid MS objection to such a configuration.

It's disturbing... (4.66 / 3) (#78)
by Juan Rojo on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 02:56:37 PM EST

...that most K5 readers post comments about the microsoft settlement/bussines practices as "legal or not", and not about "moraly good or bad". I can feel a certain bias on these subjects. Maybe from people that wants to feel that K5 is different than slashdot? Let's face it, in about any other topic you guys post messages about moral of subjects, but when something microsoft related comes to front page you go into the "What's the matter, it's a legal bussines practice! leave microsoft alone!". I think we all know that already, but frankly, if you think about it, when Microsft only did DOS and Windows 3.1 and offered them in raw form, we used to see hundreds of programs that we could use to expand functionality, many of them really cool and innovative, produced by countless companies that are now defunct. The same went for the first versions of win95, which being raw, it wasnt hard to adapt the old software to it, and besides the OS, there wasnt much microsoft stuff in there. Now, the real question about microsoft, is it morally right that they continue bundling all kind of stuff with their OS so companies that used to make the original products have to bite the dust? Is it morally right that they keep file formats and protocols closed so there is no way that competition or opensource community can make information exchange easier? Is it morally right that they go into such agressive attacks that consist on lies and deformed information about a community that is not meant to "fight" in the same way and/or doesnt have the weapons to do it? Is it morally right that they buy other companies only because they represent competition or to integrate what they do to the OS? Is it morally right to say that if they get hurt, the consumers get hurt too? or saying that if they get are forced to make a stripped version of the OS, they instantly threat that they'll stop developing it? Is it morally good to try to make deals with the DOJ such as donating computers with windows installed to schools and then refuse the idea when others offer to have those computers bundled with another OS? is it morally right that windows doesnt even detect a bsd/linux partition when installing, wont ask you to repartition your disk to fit both OSs, and will overwrite the master boot record (killing lilo or whathever is in there) without even asking? I think i could continue with that, but you get my point. One thing is blaming microsoft for doing illegal stuff, this is clearly not what this article and most microsoft related articles claim. Another thing is blaming them for doing immoral stuff and shitting over everyone else and condemn it that way. Of course, that's where the monopoly issue comes into play. Claiming that US is a free country so it's fine for microsoft to fuck with everyone is something i find digusting. But if you think about it, what avoids companies from doing this kind of shitty bussines practices is COMPETITION. Microsoft has no real competition because they tried to screw it from the start, they think that in the OS market, there can be only one. (if that claim is true.. why are there so many versions of unix compatible between them?) Anti monopolic actions means that they should be forced to compete in an even field. Seriously, just think about it, if microsoft had their apis and protocols open from the start many of us would probably be still using win32 apps in OS/2 or using them in linux since long ago. It would have been a matter of choosing an api to develop, and the more open/standard one would be the most popular. All in all, I think microsoft does an extremely immoral thing by trying to take advantage of a market and a technology which is really new and unknown to most people, and contrilling it to their own will.

And besides.. (5.00 / 3) (#81)
by Juan Rojo on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 03:08:23 PM EST

i think it's attitudes like that from your part, defending economy and companies because what they do is "legal" instead of "moral" what end up allowing the creation of laws such as the DMCA. If you side with a company because they are legal, and dont care about the moral part, then you are giving them more and more room to pass laws or get veredicts that will keep favoring them, and limiting your freedom. Just look at the world! Is it "legal" to international organizations that millions of kids in africa or middle orient die every day in hunger? YES! is it moral? NO! And every attempt to discuss this goes into the typical lame communism vs capitalism discussions instead of just thinking how to "re-insert" such people to the world as soon as possible, whathever the economic/social system is.

[ Parent ]
I'm not reading that. Linefeeds, please? [n/t] (3.33 / 3) (#82)
by Jevesus on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 03:35:57 PM EST



- Jevesus
[ Parent ]
ok i'm sorry. i'll do it next time. (3.00 / 1) (#88)
by Juan Rojo on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 04:36:12 PM EST

so dont be sissy today.

[ Parent ]
If it's one thing I've learned (none / 0) (#90)
by Fon2d2 on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 05:15:37 PM EST

When messing with Linux in any form at all you keep a copy of your partition table on a backup disk. That way nothing, from a flaky LILO setup to a Windows re-installation, can ruin it.

[ Parent ]
Moral (none / 0) (#121)
by epepke on Wed May 01, 2002 at 06:46:30 PM EST

I don't know if you've noticed, but telling people something is moral generally has no effect.

Also, many people argue that Microsoft is doing a fine thing because big corporations are inherently moral and Ayn Rand and all that jazz. This is an opinion. However, if I point out that Microsoft was convicted and lost their appeal, this is simply a fact.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Uh... (1.66 / 3) (#85)
by trhurler on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 03:51:32 PM EST

Well, granted that the real problem is the absolutely shitty boot method employed on x86 machines, the Microsoft flunkie has a point; most experienced computer types don't like dual boot because it is so fragile and requires so much thought to modify, so why on earth should anyone expect it to work for ordinary mortals?

Personally, I'd rather spend another grand on a second machine than dual boot, because it just isn't worth the hassle to set up, maintain, and so on. Not even remotely.

Could this affect Windows in a way that would cost Microsoft money? Of course it could. And really, anyone who has any business having a setup so complex and fragile ought to be capable of installing it himself. I can think of no reason an OEM should do such a thing, and I'm one of those "Windows sucks" guys, so clearly you can't just say there's nothing but Microsoft profit motive involved here.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

my Lilo never crashed... (none / 0) (#126)
by KiTaSuMbA on Thu May 02, 2002 at 05:57:02 AM EST

It has only got overwritten every time I had to get Windows back from their latest suicide (registry-based, driver-based, whatever). And all you need to do is:
1)put in the drive the linux boot floppy
2)login as root
3)execute the command:
#lilo
4)remove the floppy
5)reboot to your likings
Now, the users finding the above confusing are the kind of users that would not or should not reinstall windows on their own and are definately NOT the guys wanting to use a unix-like OS, they should have asked for a windows-only PC from their OEM. But I don't see why should the OEMs offer products ONLY for these guys and not for me and people like me. And if you are wondering what there is to gain from such an offer: I would not have to search all kinds of mailing lists to decide what hardware would fit me most undel linux, the OEM would offer me a PC with this trouble already solved.
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]
My 2¢ (4.00 / 2) (#91)
by Fon2d2 on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 06:02:58 PM EST

I see lots of theories going back and forth here so I think it's time to finally put down my thoughts on the whole issue.

A lot of the anti Microsoft arguments revolve around the idea that Microsoft is a monopoly and thus must play by a different set of rules. I don't like these types of arguments however since distinctions become arbitrary. Besides that, restricting one company more than another is non-capitalistic and thus, in my opinion, not conducive to a free society. I don't see any problem with Microsoft offering two completely different prices to two completely different companies. Personally I would rather have that power than see other people not have it in some socialist attempt to institute fairness.

Where the problem lies, in my view, is entirely with patent and copyright law. Copyright and patent laws are an attempt to fit intangible ideas into the world of tangible market goods and needless to say it will never be a seamless fit. I do believe however that a well balanced copyright system will contribute to the public good. The question is then, is our system well balanced?

That is a very tough and subjective question to answer which I think is partly why so many of these arguments, both for and against Microsoft, tend to break down. Personally, I don't think it's well balanced because I don't think copyright law has kept pace with technological advancement. Perhaps protocols should be open but implementation copyrighted. That seems to be the most common answer. Of course even then there are lines which need to be arbitrarily drawn. Now I do believe the FTC recently formed a panel to discuss these very issues. Also the Supreme Court anounced it would hear Eldred vs. Ashcroft so there are all forms of government considering the issue. My stance at this point is simply to wait and see where it all goes.

Re: My 2¢ (5.00 / 2) (#97)
by sal5ero on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 10:49:16 PM EST

A lot of the anti Microsoft arguments revolve around the idea that Microsoft is a monopoly and thus must play by a different set of rules.

That is what the law says - if a company is determined to be a monopoly then it MUST abide by a different set of rules.

Besides that, restricting one company more than another is non-capitalistic and thus, in my opinion, not conducive to a free society.

You think allowing monopolies is conducive to a free society? The point here is that what Microsoft is doing is not good for the consumer - no private monopoly ever is. Therefore, "free society" is harmed also. A monopoly can do what it wants, which is what benefits the owners of that monopoly, not what benefits free society. If you believe in true capitalism, then you should be for competition. Unfortunately, fully free competition eventually breeds monopolies and therefore some regulation is needed at that point to restore true competition.

Could you please elaborate on your ideas about patent and copyright law with respect to this issue? I am interested in seeing your view on how they relate to monopolies, but I am not sure I see the relationship myself.

cheers



[ Parent ]
Put it this way... (5.00 / 3) (#98)
by losthalo on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 11:34:26 PM EST

How would you feel if there were only one brand of orange juice available?  At one time, there was an advantage for one OJ company; it was bigger than the others.  Since it was bigger, it had more customers, you couldn't really just use its competitors' OJ and sell enough OJ for it to be worthwhile (freezer space costs).  Big OJ used their position to remove the competition and establish a monopoly thus: they refused to sell at a decent price to anyone who was selling their competitors' OJ as well.  So you can only get Big OJ's juice, and they have no reason to make it cheap, or good.  There are no competitors, because no one can get into the business, and even if they did, Big OJ would either buy them, or undercut them until they went away.

Does this benefit anyone except Big OJ?  If you think so, show me how.  They have no competition to speak of to make them innovate, or even fix the problems they have (too much pulp, no variety, not sweet enough...).

Losthalo

Guildenstern: Is that what people want?
Player: It's what we do.

[ Parent ]

You've convinced me! (none / 0) (#105)
by epepke on Tue Apr 30, 2002 at 11:26:04 AM EST

Yup, restricting convicted criminals is not conducive to a free society. Yup, yup, yup.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
My issue with MS (5.00 / 1) (#92)
by dvNull on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 07:57:17 PM EST

Isnt that they should be forced to seperate IE and Windows. They have done R&D on both and how to make both work together.

What needs to be done is that all OEMs must be allowed to install other OSs alongside Windows and set an alternate browser as default when they ship the systems.

After all Microsoft doesnt provide tech support to the buyers of these OEM system, but the OEM manufacturer does. Microsofts arguments about being confusing about the user is null and void since the user always takes it back the the place he/she bought it from. The OEM must also have the right to setup any other OS for dual boot if the customer requires it. And Microsoft cannot preferentially price OEMs who do not install other OSs over OEMs who do install other OSs. In fact the prices should only reflect on the number of licenses an OEM purchases not on anything else

dvNuLL



If you can see this, then the .sig fell off.

what I never understood... (4.00 / 1) (#125)
by KiTaSuMbA on Thu May 02, 2002 at 05:43:41 AM EST

is MS "caring" for "confused" users. Should the users be pleased to be considered as complete idiots, not able to select in a graphical lilo prompt to use Linux OR Windows? WTF is this supposed to mean? The issue here is *allowing* OEMs to provide dual-boot or single-other-OS PCs: if a user thinks unix stuff ain't for him he could ask the OEM to provide a windows-only PC and the OEM would happily serve him. But why, oh why, I have to pay the bastards for windows when all I need is a box to put in linux? (the solution being clearly bying the computer as peices and assembling it yourself, but not many users feel comfortable with this option).  
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]
Yes you are absolutely right (none / 0) (#131)
by dvNull on Sat May 04, 2002 at 08:35:50 PM EST

The only way right now to get a Windows-free computer is to either (a) Build it yourself or (b) go to the local mom'n'pop computer store and order one. I know a few local stores that will sell you a 'naked' PC.

What Microsoft wants to make you believe is that all 'naked' PCs are used for pirating Microsoft products. That is not true. Lets say you want to get a second PC to run/learn ATheos. You find a $450 machine at Best buy which fits all the requirements for Atheos but you are forced to purchase Windows with it because Microsoft believes that if you dont pay for the license, you will pirate it. Its a fine for a crime they decided that you will commit in the near future.

Like I said in my previous post, Seperating IE and Windows isnt gonna be the solution, but giving the OEM reseller and the customer more choices is. Let the OEMS be free to sell the customer what the customer asks for, and we will see a better growth in both MS and non MS products. Ohh and keep file formats a standard too.

dvNuLL


If you can see this, then the .sig fell off.
[ Parent ]

Weird claim (none / 0) (#132)
by Jevesus on Sun May 05, 2002 at 11:44:54 AM EST

What Microsoft wants to make you believe is that all 'naked' PCs are used for pirating Microsoft products.

Is this an assumption of yours or do you have any kind of link or something to back this claim up?
The reason I'm asking is because I've never heard even Linux Zealots claim such a thing..

- Jevesus
[ Parent ]

There you go (none / 0) (#133)
by Eloquence on Sun May 05, 2002 at 04:57:57 PM EST

Microsoft's Naked PC page (now defunct, from the Wayback Machine)
Turn your customers over to the Microsoft license police for fun and nifty prizes.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]
Are you serious? (none / 0) (#134)
by Jevesus on Sun May 05, 2002 at 05:53:47 PM EST

In the archived webpage you linked to, Microsoft claims that acquiring the PC "naked" exposes them to the possibility of unwittingly purchasing pirated software, not that all 'naked' PCs are used for pirating Microsoft products. The fact that I have to point this out to you is equally hilarious and frightening.

Please, tell me that you understand the fundamental difference between these two claims, please, tell me so.

- Jevesus
[ Parent ]

Frightening, not hilarious (4.00 / 1) (#135)
by Eloquence on Sun May 05, 2002 at 08:40:38 PM EST

Of course Microsoft doesn't say "All naked PCs are bought by people who will pirate Windows" -- because such a claim could easily be proven wrong. Like with their PR campaign against the GPL, they do not usually lie (although Ballmer did lie about the GPL [1]), they just omit facts. In the case of the Naked PC campaign, they carefully omit the fact that there are other operating systems besides Windows -- thereby deliberately creating the impression that all naked PCs will end up being used with pirate copies of Windows, and justifying their campaign against them. Their program to expose naked PC buyers works under the same assumption. (Note that neither I nor the poster you replied to said anything else.) But their campaign is not primarily targeted at the public, but mostly works in secret through the OEM channel.

That you would swallow Microsoft's PR hook, line and sinker is indeed frightening, although I do not find it hilarious.

[1] " The way the license is written, if you use any open-source software, you have to make the rest of your software open source." Source
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

That impression is beyond me (none / 0) (#137)
by Jevesus on Mon May 06, 2002 at 04:00:05 AM EST

I don't believe Microsoft's PR and I have no idea why you assume I do.
I'm able to tell the difference between one claim and another without confusing my thoughts as part of either claim. Try that for a change.

- Jevesus
[ Parent ]
No, you're not (none / 0) (#140)
by Eloquence on Mon May 06, 2002 at 07:01:47 AM EST

You attributed a claim to the previous poster that he never made. You misinterpreted and insulted. Try maturity for a change.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]
Am? (none / 0) (#141)
by Jevesus on Mon May 06, 2002 at 08:33:20 AM EST

What claim was that?

- Jevesus
[ Parent ]
Read my post too (none / 0) (#136)
by dvNull on Mon May 06, 2002 at 12:57:58 AM EST

I never said Microsoft stated that all Naked PCs are used for piracy. I said they would like to make you believe the same.

Quite a difference between the two


If you can see this, then the .sig fell off.
[ Parent ]

Examplify (none / 0) (#138)
by Jevesus on Mon May 06, 2002 at 04:28:19 AM EST

So tell me what makes you believe they would like to make you believe that. Are you confusing your own thoughts with statements from Microsoft or is this just a heavy assumption?

- Jevesus
[ Parent ]
Innovation, integration and bundling (4.00 / 2) (#93)
by Pseudonym on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 08:55:34 PM EST

Scenario 1: Microsoft wants to integrates a ham sandwich with Windows.

Scenario 2: OEMs want to integrate a turkey sandwich with their hardware alongside Microsoft's ham sandwich.

One of these is apparently good, and one of these is apparently bad.

I'm confused.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
Re: Innovation, integration and bundling (5.00 / 2) (#112)
by azool on Tue Apr 30, 2002 at 06:28:09 PM EST

It's more like:
Microsoft would like to integrate a ham sandwich with windows.
But, if they do, they don't want the OEM supplying
chips, or a tasty bowl of soup to go with it.

That the OEMs might want to supply the user
with a different dining experience altogether,
say filet mignon, or chicken cordon bleu is
(to MS) unthinkable.

[ Parent ]
And then, suddenly (4.50 / 2) (#129)
by epepke on Thu May 02, 2002 at 12:31:03 PM EST

Stuart Madnick, testifying for Microsoft, is unable to name a religion the members of which don't eat ham sandwiches.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Speaking of vogons... (2.00 / 1) (#107)
by fortytwo on Tue Apr 30, 2002 at 11:57:09 AM EST

 "Oh frettled gruntbuggly ... thy micturations are to me
As plurdled gabbleblotchits  on a lurgid bee.

 Groop I  implore  thee, my foonting turlingdromes.
And    hooptiously   drangle   me   with   crinkly bindlewurdles,

 Or I will rend thee in the
gobberwarts  with  my blurglecruncheon, see if I don't!"

A feud from the deepest vaults of computerdom (3.83 / 6) (#108)
by mjs on Tue Apr 30, 2002 at 12:39:06 PM EST

In some ways I see this as a continuation of the old, old conflict between centralized and decentralized computing. Back in The Day (late 70's, early 80's) the rage was all about using microcomputers to get out from under IT's thumb. In the typical mainframe or minicomputer shop of the day, users got whatever software IT (or 'Data Processing') felt like providing -- usually after long delays and extraordinary expense. Anyone who's ever used a large scale word processor based on this paradigm, such as DisplayWrite or MultiMate, thoroughly understands the frustration of trying to use a tool designed and implemented by IT people who'd never condescend to using such a tool themselves.

IT lost that round, of course: microcomputers are just too useful to keep out of people's hands. But the war isn't over, just as WWII didn't end with the defeat of France in 1940. To my ears what Microsoft is saying is that they want to have control over the software you and I use on our computers. You must use Internet Explorer, for example, and anyone who tries to put an alternative onto your computer is bad, bad, bad! All in the interests of commonality, of course: reliable applications, security, etc.

Personally, I'm not buying into that scenario. I may have been in IT back in The Day, but I was a microcomputer insurgent all the same, helping the accounting folks sneak Apple II's and III's with VisiCalc into their departments, secretaries with Electric Pencil, and so forth. I lived through the minicomputer era and the end of the mainframe age and I'm not about to go back to a time when one illiterate technophobe can squash useful change simply because he's two years from retirement and just doesn't want to learn anything new.

That's really what Microsoft wants: they want to control all of the software on your computer. They want you to buy (or rent) it from them, accept whatever changes they decide to download to you whenever they decide to send them, and they want to make it as close to impossible as they can for you to use someone else's software, even if Microsoft doesn't have a competing product. Microsoft wants your PC to become a smart terminal, with their server farm as your mainframe and an accounting computer adding up pennies and fractions of pennies for everything you do. Most of you are probably too young to remember the early days of bulletin boards and the pre-web internet, when using a computer and modem meant keeping a running tally of how many minutes you'd spent online that month, how much those minutes were adding up to, and a big attraction of working for a university or leading-eddge company was having someone else pay the bills. That's what Bill Gates sees in the Internet and that's the entire point behind Microsoft's .Net program.

I'm opting out, regardless of how the suit against Microsoft ends. I don't hate Microsoft, I don't even particularly dislike them outside of some intellectual bad karma way. If 99% of the rest of the world wants what they're selling, I don't care: I don't feel the need to save the world today, even from themselves. But I won't go. I refuse. I opt out. My computer is my computer. Perhaps it's just the white western male drive to dominate, I don't know. Maybe my testosterone is a bit high lately. Don't know, don't care. I'm perfectly happy as a minority of one, if that's what it comes to.

you ain't alone (5.00 / 1) (#124)
by KiTaSuMbA on Thu May 02, 2002 at 05:26:47 AM EST

I was a kid at the early 80's so didn't *live* the mainframe era. I did live the pre-web net though (ever networked a C128 with a 9200 modem? :-).
I see your parallelisms but IMO Microsoft is going even further: In the mainframe era, terminals were yes, inflexible, but still had the opportunity to use features 8-bit early microcomputers could not even dream of.  Nowdays, a PC can happily do most (if not all) of the jobs everyday people need (unless you consider a 1hr long 3D anim. rendering "everyday job"). Why turn them into hopeless terminals through the .Net interface and perhaps get rid of even our storage appliances when a top notch PC costs far less than those "services"?
I'm sorry sirs, but if *my* data get cracked I'd like that to be *my* responsability through *my* not secure policies on *my* goddamn computer!
Furthermore, I don't think that IT people would fine you or otherwise intimidate you for not using their mainframes, MS does exactly that! In the early days you could write a doc (in plain, beautiful ASCII) with a microcomputer and the mainframe people could read it and viceversa. In the early days, you could even access a mail service with completely different technologies and nobody pissed you. Now I have to fake my Links or Opera browser to be IE5.x to get into my spam-target mail account (I will not give a serious mail address to dubious sites requiring registration! - K5 got my serious one though :-).
Now I find impossible to browse some non-western language sites because a half-assed webmaster used MS fonts instead of standard iso ones. Nice, cute project .Net, huh?!? If their strategies get to be standards nobody could access the net without paying their taxes (the windows tax, the .Net tax, the Office tax, etc.). But since it is my impression that there is some "serious" minority not accepting being bullied around by one software giant, the most logical thing to happen in such a case would be a fork of the internet. If that happens, immagine who would win... What are the most powerful motors of the net (especially for broadband)? I'll tell you: pr0n, warez, illegaly copied artwork (mp3, divx and the like). Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but if I had a warez ftp server I would never put it into the .Net network, I kinda dislike the jail stuff...  
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]
OEM's Unite (none / 0) (#114)
by r00t on Wed May 01, 2002 at 01:00:54 AM EST

If an OEM offers another product, MS hits them with price raises and legal crap....

If this was a concern to the Large OEM's, they *could* unite and ALL agree to sell other operating systems. Then regardless of what Microsoft does, it would effect them all in the same way. No one OEM Provider would gain an advantage. I don't see this happening, but it is the only way I can see Microsoft being beaten down. This would keep everything equal and fair across the board between the large OEMS, and of course, Microsoft is powerless to stop.

The only other alternative is for the government to become involved and order MS not to punish the OEMS for offering alternatives.

-It's not so much what you have to learn if you accept weird theories, it's what you have to unlearn. - Isaac Asimov

Microsoft Exec: OEMs Must Not Install Linux Besides Windows | 143 comments (126 topical, 17 editorial, 0 hidden)
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