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Microsoft fined $616m

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3559371.stm

not sure whom to do a #6 on first, the RealNetworks (with their stupid player), the EU judges, or the lawyers.

Tapiwa
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

I'm having a hard time understanding why there's so much whining about this.

Paulo Caetano
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

stockholm syndrome :)  all those people who have been abused and oppressed by MS for all these years have become emotionally involved with their abuser.

stupid people, its a company with a 9 billion dollar turnover
Wednesday, March 24, 2004


"Microsoft has a cash pile of more than $50bn"

50bn cash... not assets... cash... that there's a whole lot of money.

What would you do with that money? Buy a small island country (Australia?) and start your own tax haven with President Gates residing...

Jack of all
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Start a venture capital fund perhaps.  Or a bank.

Ben
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

I was kind of hoping that they would give it to me.


Wednesday, March 24, 2004

A few years ago I would have been jumping for joy at this, but now I think it's counter-productive for governments to interfere with business.

Dan Maas
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

I think Bill Gates will find the money to pay to fine under his  couch cushion.

Gary
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Microsoft gets fined.  People go to jail.

One thing involves a truly limited resource, whereas the other is some cash.  I know which Martha Stewart would prefer giving.

Tayssir John Gabbour
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Who are they trying to protect? How many people use windows media player to play mp3's and how many use winamp? Let them bundle what they want - you can always un-install it or use something different anyway

Fothy
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

This is essentially legalized extortion.  Socialist enterprises need to support themselves somehow, and taxing profitable American companies that do business there no doubt seems like a logical way to get money to the socialists in the E.U.S.S.R.

Ultimately, these practices will only suppress innovation and drive all entrepreneurs out of Europe.  Sad.

EU Schmemoo
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

While it is legalized extortion, it is not directed at US companies. It is directed at all companies.

Tapiwa
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

In the event that they actually have to write a cheque in the end, it will hurt.  It won't do real damage however given their bank balance.

Now, if this thread goes the way of the other two can we at least have a good clean fight with a level of argument slightly above "my dads bigger than your dad" and no mention of  hitler, war(s) or mayonaise related condiments

a cynic writes...
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Now, I dislike Microsoft as much as the rest of the Slashdot/Linux/Java Zealots (of which I am one), but this fine sets an important precedent: it sends a strong signal to software companies to seriously consider the risks of doing business in th EU.  It doesn't matter how much cash MS is sitting on.  No, the important issue here is that the EU will force design and engineering decisions upon Microsoft.  MS is in the business selling software.  The EU is telling them they can't do that.  When MS finally gets hardware manufacturers to actively disallow Linux (and friends) on that hardware, then sure, the regulators can step in.  But that's not what's happening here.

joev
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

EU Schmemoo,

There's nothing like complete ignorance of everything to base your opinions on, is there?

Microsoft has been fined for breeching competition law, just as many EU companies have been before. Although MS has attracted the largest fine yet it is not a whole load larger than the next highest (which was directed at a Swiss company) and MS is the larger and richer company.

Also, since MS has also previously got into trouble with the US authorities for its dubious business practices, how exactly can this be viewed as anti-american?

Mr Jack
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Joev,

Yes, it says that if you, as a company, break the law of the jurisdictions you sell to, you should expect to face the consequences specified for breaking that law.  That's a *great* precedent.

JP
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

So let me guess this straight...

I make a wickedly cool Terminal Emulator for Windows and it sells fairly well.  Then Microsoft upgrades its Windows platform and HyperTerm is bundled with it.  I can now sue Microsoft for abusing its monopoly because they are competing in my market?

But I'm sure that if Microsoft would have purchased and bundled *my* Terminal Emulator instead of HyperTerm, then I would simply be in ectasy as a rich pig.  But since I'm not, I just need to make sure that my competing product is better.

What about their other apps like Paint and Calculator?

Then again, at the same time, why is a *platform* company competing with me in the *products* space all of a sudden.  And it becomes difficult to compete with such marketing power as 'supplied by the platform already'.  Nevertheless, free will is a bitch, and choice for consumers is still available.

When Borland releases new C++ Builder editions, it includes many other SDK's, controls, and tools that have been third party sourced as it would take too long for Borland to write it themselves.  I don't see them getting sued from its competition for 'bundling'.

If I make a platform that people build on; and by chance want to improve it with the bundling of additional improvements, then I should be.  It doesn't stop the others from continuing to create their apps.  And I don't *force* them to use any specific app.  They can install any preference of options that they wish.

The 'Bundling' is a marketing tactic to get your stuff out further in front of more people.  Some get lucky, others do not.

Early versions of Internet Explorer sucked so bad that nobody was using it.  A perfect opportunity for people to get their browser in there.  But we all know what happended there.

As long as there is still 'choice', then it stays within socially accepted levels.  And the rest, is just business.

sedwo
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Shouldn't that be Schmeemoo, with 2 e's?

hoser
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Do you also have a monopoly on that market, which you illegally use to leverage your products?
Do you keep details of your APIs secret so that your apps work better than your competitor's?
Do you threaten PC vendors with higher prices or alienation if they want to push your competitor's products?

Adriano Varoli Piazza
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Should all the indie audio firms sue the auto manufacturers for bundling audio equipment with their cars??

Tapiwa
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Only if said car manufacturers (1) Impose terms which means dealers cannot at their discretion change the audio equipment and (2) have a near- monopoly in a class of car (family saloons for example). 

Following this precedent the EU would require the monopoly car maker to ship cars without audio (on request) and publish details of the mountings.  Plus the wrist slapping fine of course. 

Then again, I don't think a car maker would try to get away with saying that if you take the stereo out the wheels fall off. 

a cynic writes...
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Microsoft never had a monopoly, and never will.  The fact that they lost in court means nothing.  The verdict was reached long before they arrived in (either) court.

They didn't abuse their power.  They took logical steps in a world where networking, web browsers and media players should be ubiquitous and free.

Netscape, Novell, and Real are just pissed off that the evolution of computer systems left them behind.

Moreover, users haven't been cheated.  They get a great product for an affordable price ($200-$300, often less).  Microsoft offers basic tools to appeal to a ubiquitous world.  They then create, and let others create, the specialty tools that you end up paying for.

Waaa, Office is too expensive! It's not a basic tool!  It's an advanced tool!  If you need basic word processing, WordPad is more than capable.  If it's not enough, you need to pay for it.  But heck, now you can get StarOffice/OpenOffice, and all you pay for it is the number of times it crashes.

The US and software dinosaurs wanted a cash cow, and got it through litigation and influencing the media.

The EU just wants the same thing.

Conspiracy Anti-Theorist
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

"I can now sue Microsoft for abusing its monopoly because they are competing in my market?"

You are, at least, allowed to be a little pissed off when they say "Oh, my, but we can't possibly consider removing our ActiveTerminal from the OS without crippling it horribly, because its *part of* the OS" :)

"Should all the indie audio firms sue the auto manufacturers for bundling audio equipment with their cars??"

Same here. How many manufacturers do you know that say "No siree, we sure can't remove that there radio because it's *part of* the car. Why, if we remove the radio, the car won't even start"?

If it sound ridiculous, it's because it is. It started with "the browser is part of the OS, and we can't remove it without crippling the OS". Unfortunately, instead of laughing our heads off, we said "Yeah, it makes some sense... I think... Kinda... Well... Don'it?" :)

Paulo Caetano
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

We're not talking about legos that can be removed.  A car radio isn't used by other systems in a car.  The Windows calculator could be easily removed, because other things don't use it.

When they have to remove it, they have to either remove all supporting DLLs, or rewrite them.  How do you like to maintain multiple code bases for the same DLLs?

If you remove the DLLs of IE, then Help and Support stops working, not to mention all the third party apps that depend on MSHTML.

If you remove Media Player, you remove more than mplayer2.exe.  You have to take out the supporting DLL, how about all those third party apps that call MCI playables?  How about other windows features that utilize code in those DLLs?

It's called component architecture and reusable code.  Those components are not separate from an OS, they are now part of it.  If you take it out, you cripple the OS.

Don't think of it as a car, think of it as a human body.  You don't need those darn kidneys, do you?

Conspiracy Anti-Theorist
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

My Acura RSX-S has a proprietary Bose system installed in it.  It's absolutely terrible.  It has this custom 6 disc changer in dash, so if I ever want to replace the radio, I have to go buy all these extra parts so I can retrofit a standard DIN into the dash.  Then as far as replacing the underpowered amp in the car, it's wired to the airbag.  So, if you pull the amp out of the car to replace it with something else, now your passenger side airbag doesn't work.  Did Acura inform anyone how to solve these problems, or give me an option to get the standard radio that comes in the non type-s edition? No.  A bunch of enthusiasts played around with the system and eventually solved all of these problems.  Does Acura provided detailed mechanical drawings for how to remove the entire front dash to replace the awful in dash tweeters?  No.  Instead you have companies like Chilton's and Haynes that provide you with detailed books for how to take apart and interface with your car.  Granted Acura doesn't have a monopoly as far as cars go in any way, but do the acura parts work better than the competitons parts, yes.  Does Acura provide you with the information on how to design/build your own parts to interface with their vehicles?  Once again no, they expect you to figure it out yourself.  Does anyone expect any different?  No.  Why do they in the software industry?

Elephant
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

"It's called component architecture and reusable code.  Those components are not separate from an OS, they are now part of it. If you take it out, you cripple the OS."

This is where we'll never agree.

I realize what you're saying is the reality. I just find it stupid design, that's all. Of course, this is just my opinion. I have an idea of what I consider to be "un-removable" parts of the OS, and a browser (or HTML parser, or whatever) and a media player are definitely not in the list. Feel free to disagree ;)

So, what I'm saying is that you shouldn't have to remove MSHTML, because it shouldn't be *there* (as part of the OS) in the first place. If H&S needs MSHTML, then make it part of H&S - if I never install it, neither will I install MSHTML. Third party apps that need MSHTML should include it, too. E.g., Myst and Riven need QuickTime (I don't remember about Myst III), so they included it in the CDs. Same thing goes for DirectX. If you need it, include it. Sounds like a good rule of thumb, don't you think?

The human body analogy is a bit stretched, because, AFAIK, there have been no new versions of Homo Stupidens (yes, I know, some call it Sapiens Sapiens... go figure) featuring the promotion of body parts - something like "Yes, we used to be able to chop off the nose, but not anymore, because now it's part of the body".

Paulo Caetano
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

naaa...you can leave the dll's there - let's face it most uninstall routines seem too :-)

Elephant- it *is* the monopoly that's the issue I'm afraid.

The daft thing with all of this is I don't think that if MS did ship versions without the bundled bits that they'd get much take up.  Most firms wouldn't bother. 

Though it pains me to say it, they've reached their current dominance more or less on merit.  Unfortunately, they've made a lot of enemies along the way, in some quarters bordering on the pathological.  It's just sometimes, given some of the strokes that MS have pulled over the years, I feel that the senior management hasn't realised they're not a startup anymore.

a cynic writes...
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

You're right, we'll never agree.  And that's fine.

But think about this:  How many times should you reinvent the wheel in your code?  If MSHTML is available to you and you are writing a new help system, should you use it, just use API's that don't offer such a rich environment, or create a new rendering engine?  Reuse is good and necessary.  The same argument applies to any other integral component.

Also, some would say such things should never have been integral components.  Take that to the extreme.  We'd still all be on DOS.  It rests in the hands of what end-users believe are integral portions of the OS.  When the GUI became essential, it became part of the OS.  When networking became essential, it became part.  The same with browsers and media players.  Next came instant messenging.  What's next?  Probably voice input or something else where the technology becomes so good and commonly used, people expect it to just be there.

As a side note, the body argument is excellent.  If you subscribe to evolution, you didn't always have arms, legs, and noses.

Conspiracy Anti-Theorist
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

"How many times should you reinvent the wheel in your code?"

I'm not saying "don't use MSHTML". I'm saying "if you use it, include it in your software". On installation, look for it. If it's there, fine; if not, notify the user you'll need to install it, because it's essential to your app - not necessarily to the OS.

I'm not arguing over the usefulness of it being there - I just don't agree it's essential, therefore it should be able to be removed without problem. E.g., the GUI. If you look at linux, you don't have "one WinMgr to rule them all" ;) So, with the proper design, even essential components can be changed for others.



"As a side note, the body argument is excellent.  If you subscribe to evolution, you didn't always have arms, legs, and noses."

Yes, the body analogy makes more sense this way, but I'll still need to think about it to get used to it :) I can't think of anything we can remove without some sort of potential problem.

Paulo Caetano
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

I've heard people express profound joy that the "European peoples" will be able to recoup their money that the anti-competitive Micrsoft stole from them.

I guess that's a good thing, since these same people will know have to shell out more money for a decent media player, whereas they used to have one for free.

So, Europeans now have to pay money for a media player and get one that is likely lower quality. (Real Player? LOL!) The same crappy player that they could have downloaded at any time if they wanted to.

All in the name of providing more choices to users. Yeah, that makes sense.

I don't get it.
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

"So, Europeans now have to pay money for a media player and get one that is likely lower quality."

Ot they, I mean, we :) , can just do some research and use winamp w/ plugins, or Media Player Classic, or bsplayer, or Real Alternative, or whatever.

A search on Google groups should be more than enough to find free alternatives. Whether they're better, that's up to each person's judgement.

Actually, now that I think about it... Non-europeans can do this, too! Ah, the joy of freedom ;)

Paulo Caetano
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Right, but now the users are denied the opportunity to use the same media player that ships to other customers for free.

And I'm sure grandma in Germany is gonna spend the time researching media player options when her son emails her a video of her grandson's first steps.

So as a yank, I get to enjoy a free media player that comes bundled with my OS without the hassles of finding and downloading one.
European users have been freed from such tyranny by the EU. Europeans now get to enjoy the freedom of finding, downloading, installed and testing a media player. I'm sure that they will feel quite liberated.

I don't get it.
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

"So as a yank, I get to enjoy a free media player that comes bundled with my OS without the hassles of finding and downloading one."

I could be wrong, but I think the EU decision says only that MS has to offer one version of Windows without WMP. There's nothing that says MS can't sell their "regular" Windows (i.e., with WMP) in the Euro-zone to anyone who wants to buy it.

Paulo Caetano
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Actually, the terms of the settlement are that Microsoft *are* allowed to sell a version of Windows with a bundled media player, but they also have to sell a version of Windows without disincentives (selling it for exactly the same price would be considered a disincentive).

What this will amount to in practice, given that most copies of Windows sold to consumers are sold via OEM deals, is that different manufacturers will supply Windows setups with different (and perhaps even a variety) of media players.  And that businesses will be able to buy a slightly cheaper version of Windows minus one of the features they would actually rather most of their staff didn't have access to.

Kind of like how it was before Microsoft started to abuse its monopoly position in the consumer OS market to extend into this new product area with the express intention of cutting out their companies already in that market area.  Neat, huh?

JP
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Somebody wrote:

"We're not talking about legos that can be removed.  A car radio isn't used by other systems in a car.  The Windows calculator could be easily removed, because other things don't use it."

What are you talking about? Other application have to do arithmetic!

Isaac Morland
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

I too, "still don't get it".

Even if you leave WMP in the OS, the Euro's *STILL HAVE A CHOICE* in opting for any other frickin player they can find.
And the Euro's are smarter then to stick with the crappy Real Audio stuff.  They mostly support winamp et al.

I think we're missing some main point here; because this is turning pretty silly and we're smarter then that.

As a tax payer, I'd be pissed if I had to support dumb-ass government lawyers bitching about software components.

Now the issues of lies, deceit, and unfair advantage (using your own undocumented API's unfairly) is a bigger issue and definately calls for some slapping.  But nobody said business was clean.

As it was 'the people' who made MS a monopoly, it is also up to us to keep them inline.  Ofcourse its easier said for those who have no monetary involvement with them.  One way or another, if your pay cheque is generated through the MS food chain, then this clearly steps into ethics (and that's never easy).

But it sure makes for good entertainment!  ;]

sedwo
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

"Kind of like how it was before Microsoft started to abuse its monopoly position in the consumer OS market to extend into this new product area with the express intention of cutting out their companies already in that market area."

What is this abuse you speak of?  People *wanted* media players with the OS so they wouldn't have to go elsewhere.  They *requested* it.  And MS responded.  They guys that get hurt are dinosaurs.  Their niches were destroyed by popular demand, not MS marketing.

Don't look for things that aren't there because you're not a general end-user.  MS makes their decisions on the opinions of normal Joe Knowsnothing.  We (the computer savvy) can do whatever we dang well please installing whatever we want.  If they were abusing their power, they wouldn't allow other media players to be installed!

There is evolution in software.  Things split, but more often combine.  Everybody things that MS is trying to rule the world when they want to evolve Windows to what end-users want.

Conspiracy Anti-Theorist
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

What about bundling Windows with all this drivers? Who on Earth needs this complex drivers for video cards that prevents manufacturers to sell their own versions of them? 640x480x16 mode is perfect for everyone! :)

"include DirectX and MSHTML into your install" - tell it to Joel so he will not complay about not having .Net on the machines :)

WildTiger
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

" tell it to Joel so he will not complay about not having .Net on the machines :)"

Granted. My argument is a PITA when you're downloading sw, instead of getting it on a nice CD or DVD :)

Paulo Caetano
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Where are all those people who wanted to hogtie that teenage hacker?

what was the phrase?  you did the crime, now do the time...

I mean come one...Microsoft _broke the law_ in Europe (and in the USA).

They _had_ to receive a punishment.

Or doesn't the law apply to companies?

FullNameRequired
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Microsoft weren't punished primarily for their dealings with MediaPlayer - it's a side issue (and one the EU is wrong on, IMO) - but for their abuses of monopoly power when dealing with genuine competitors like DR-DOS, and their abusive way of dealing with suppliers who don't bundle windows with all their PCs.

Oh, and the idea the EU is using MS as a cash cow is absurd £333m is a trivial amount of money compared to the EU budget.

Mr Jack
Thursday, March 25, 2004

Why not make all the windows components removeable, then everybody could choose which calculator, term emulator, serial port driver, clock, disk defrag, etc etc. The work for support people would keep us all employed until the next century.

Bored With All This
Thursday, March 25, 2004

"Oh, and the idea the EU is using MS as a cash cow is absurd £333m is a trivial amount of money compared to the EU budget."

Is that trivial compared to how much they would have to tax consumers to raise that much cash?  European taxes are high enough.

Any cash cow is apparently welcome.

Offering incentives for being exclusive Windows shops is not abuse.  It's called an "incentive program", and no one was twisted into it.

"But they were found guilty!"  So what?  Does that mean they actually are?  Have there not been people on death row proven to be completely innocent?  The fact is that all the trials against MS were formalities.  The verdict was there before it began.  There was no possible way for them to get a fair trial.  That's what happens when you pull in more money than many world nations.

This whole "MS abuses the world" argument is flawed and wrong.  All they're trying to do is sell software.  Others who haven't been able to compete in the market are doing it in the court system and news media.

You don't have 95% of the market share when those people hate your product and are being abused by it.  Nobody holds a gun to their head if they switch.

Conspiracy Anti-Theorist
Thursday, March 25, 2004

Let's see one estimate has the EU population at 379,790,700
(rising to 454,018,500 when Poland et.al. join in May).  So that makes the fine equal to 88p each - say a quid each with costs.

Let's bring it down to a personal level - I've got ~£3K in the bank.  So 1% of my cash reserves =£30.  If I got a £30 parking ticket would it be the end of the world? No.  So is the fine the end of the world for our Redmond friends? No.

I think there are more important things in the world, even in our little world truth be told.  Time to move on...

a cynic writes...
Thursday, March 25, 2004

[This whole "MS abuses the world" argument is flawed and wrong.  All they're trying to do is sell software.  Others who haven't been able to compete in the market are doing it in the court system and news media.]

I wonder what makes you so defensive. You're not Bill Gates incognito are you?

[You don't have 95% of the market share when those people hate your product and are being abused by it.  Nobody holds a gun to their head if they switch.]

Would that be the criterium then? Whether or not a real gun was involved?
And why do you feel people know best? People used to think the earth was flat too, you know, and nobody was holding a gun to their heads then either.
People also prefer everything to be free and in abundance, without ever having to pay taxes. Not very realistic me thinks...

Erik
Thursday, March 25, 2004

If the money is so insignificant to the EU, why a fine at all?  The European issue at hand doesn't deal with monetary damages.  Neither Real nor Microsoft is based in Europe.  Real just wants to penalize Microsoft's distribution channels for having a better player, which Microsoft gives away because consumers don't believe they should pay for it anyway.

Am I Bill Gates?  No, but none of us would refuse his bankroll I think.

Tell me how should we define this abuse spoken of?  Is Windows XP Home @ $200 (at the most) too much to ask for, given you can network, browse, listen to multimedia, write documents, and still install whatever compatible software exists in the world without any additional license?  Is giving away a browser or media player for free overwhelming and hurting consumers?  Is simplifying the distribution channel by offering it on the same install as Windows itself hurting consumers?  Is offering a version without such bundled things going to help consumers in any way?

"It's the competition that's abused!"  Waa.  Companies are born and die every day.  It's natural to the free market society.

The only thing of relevance is consumers.  The reason MS has 95% market share is that consumers *want* them to have it.  They give it to them.

In no period of the free market society, has a company risen from the dust into an established market, and achieved a high market share without having high customer satisfaction.  Anybody who says Standard Oil is wrong, because they created a market, not just enter it like Microsoft did.  Or do you believe that MS made Windows before Unix or MacOS?

If you refuse to believe that, you must also believe that consumers are stupid, mindless drones that hand over money to anyone that asks, and probably drool a lot.

Conspiracy Anti-Theorist
Thursday, March 25, 2004

Free market economy is not as free as you suggest. There are rules. Don't like them? Lobby for change, but expect to be held to them as long as they're there.

Unix was never a desktop or PC OS, so that is a different market altogether. Apple did not compete much if at all in the PC arena either.

And as for consumers, they may not be stupid mindless drones and use of hyperbole does not help your image.
In fact, do do indeed not hand over money eagerly, which is precisely what you might exploit if you want to force yourself into a market. There are rules against that too.

Erik
Thursday, March 25, 2004

I love the free market.  I like the fact that I can create a superior product and smash competitors.  What makes it not free is that my competitor can cry foul, and say "We can't compete because people like them better" and I get penalized.  You shouldn't be penalized for being the best at what you do, especially when you were placed there by consumers.

Apple loves to remind everyone that they beat everyone to the GUI back in the 80's.  Windows wasn't even a true GUI OS until 1995, but even Windows 3.0 didn't take off until the 90's.  Plenty of people were on DOS though.  I had a 8088.  Apple's market share wasn't the dismal less than 5% it is today.  They were probably closer to 40%.

As Joel has said, you can't have it both ways.  Either MS fell from the sky as a superpower, or they rose to that status.  Since we know for a fact they didn't fall from the sky, they must have rose to that status.  They couldn't do that with billions they didn't have yet.  So the only way that they could have achieved that is through sales.  You can't make that many sales without having a good product.

Consumers are not stupid, mindless drooling drones.  They placed Microsoft where it is because they like it.  Governments and competitors should not be allowed to tear it down.

Conspiracy Anti-Theorist
Thursday, March 25, 2004

"You shouldn't be penalized for being the best at what you do, especially when you were placed there by consumers."

good point :)  hey, where do you stand on the whle outsourcing thing?  In a free market thats all good, right?

FullNameRequired
Thursday, March 25, 2004

[I love the free market.  I like the fact that I can create a superior product and smash competitors.  What makes it not free is that my competitor can cry foul, and say "We can't compete because people like them better" and I get penalized.  You shouldn't be penalized for being the best at what you do, especially when you were placed there by consumers.]

You're right, you shouldn't. But do you really think that is what has been going on? Competitors claiming that they can't compete because people like Microsoft better? And that governments would take that seriously?
I am sorry, if this illustrates your knowledge and reasoning, you might want to be more quiet.


[As Joel has said, you can't have it both ways.  Either MS fell from the sky as a superpower, or they rose to that status.  Since we know for a fact they didn't fall from the sky, they must have rose to that status.  They couldn't do that with billions they didn't have yet.  So the only way that they could have achieved that is through sales.  You can't make that many sales without having a good product.]

Microsoft did indeed not fall from the sky, but that does not logically imply that they must have had a good product. Neither does it prove the opposite, by the way.
Go ahead, believe that you can only make money through selling a good product. The world would be a better place if everyone would believe that and act accordingly.

[Consumers are not stupid, mindless drooling drones.  They placed Microsoft where it is because they like it.  Governments and competitors should not be allowed to tear it down. ]

Even if many people like Microsofts products, which is not by any means a logical conclusion of your reasoning, that does not mean they like Microsoft.
But all of that is besides the point. Whether people like you or not does not place you above the law. If laws get broken, enforcing bodies should act.
So stop argueing about the quality or likeability of the products, stop guessing about peoples motives, and argue how they did not break the law, or why they should not be punished if they did.

Erik
Thursday, March 25, 2004

Let's sue Coca-Cola!  They have a contract with McDonald's so that they'll sell Coke products and not their competitors.  They even get incentive pricing for that contract.  But Pepsi says they want McD's to offer the 50/50 mix, because Pepsi doesn't have the market share Coke has.  Coke says doing that is against their contract. 

That's illegal!  Coke can't offer incentives to places that only offer Coke!  They can't say if McD's offers the 50/50, it will break their contract!

Sound familiar?  Did Coke break the law?  Is that anti-competitive pricing?

The courts found a law that would allow them to convict MS.  The one they chose was anti-competitive pricing, and the act was the same as above.

Now this intrigues me.  Please elaborate on how someone can introduce a product into an existing market, gross billions of dollars over 10 years, and achieve 95% market share when consumers aren't satisfied with the product?  If you can explain that, I'm sure thousands of marketing firms would like to hire you.  How can you not see the correlation between sales/market share and customer satisfaction?  How can you argue that consumers are abused when they report high satisfaction with the product?

Conspiracy Anti-Theorist
Thursday, March 25, 2004

good point Conspiracy Anti-Theorist
:)  hey, where do you stand on the whole outsourcing thing?  In a free market thats all good, right?

FullNameRequired
Thursday, March 25, 2004

I believe in the free market, but I am an idealist.  After watching much Star Trek in my days, I long for the time when all our squabbling countries lay aside our petty differences, borders, and all wear the same outfit like other planets.  I'm joking about the outfit, but I really mean the rest.

Conspiracy Anti-Theorist
Thursday, March 25, 2004

[The courts found a law that would allow them to convict MS.  The one they chose was anti-competitive pricing, and the act was the same as above.]

Do you honestly feel courts opperate that way?
Is that what you believe Microsoft was investigated and found quilty of?
Are you a legal expert? How else do you conclude these acts are the same?


[Now this intrigues me.  Please elaborate on how someone can introduce a product into an existing market, gross billions of dollars over 10 years, and achieve 95% market share when consumers aren't satisfied with the product?]

Which existing market would that be? And which product?

[How can you not see the correlation between sales/market share and customer satisfaction?]

Customer satisfaction is not necessarily a requirement for high sales. In the absence of dissatisfaction, pricing will get you a long way.
But again, besides the point. Even if a product is excelent, you are not allowed to break laws. Of course, if a product is excelent, you don't have to. So following your line of thinking, since there products are not excellent, they must have broken the law. Of course this argument is just as broken as yours.

Courts determine when and how laws were broken. Not consumers, not you, not me. Those decisions are based on actions taken, not product quality, not consumer satisfaction.

[How can you argue that consumers are abused when they report high satisfaction with the product?]

Who is arguing abuse? How does customer satisfaction invalidate laws? Why are you still going on about customer satisfaction?
And before you continue, find the original verdicts. Explain what the alledged offense was, and why it did not happen, or why it was not an offense.
No other line of reasoning will get you anywhere.

Erik
Thursday, March 25, 2004

Some may wonder why I am vehemently arguing this thread.  This are my beliefs:

1) Microsoft is given an unfair reputation by the media and competitors.  They make good products, and consumers have benefitted from them.
2) There is a software for every purpose under Heaven.  Linux excels at some things, Windows at others, and Mac at others.  They should not be compared at the expense of one another.
3) People should not polarize and believe that one platform is the devil, Empire, Borg, etc.
4) Users/consumers are the ultimate guage of your software success.  If you have them, kudos to you.  If you don't, then that's your problem and not someone else's.

Conspiracy Anti-Theorist
Thursday, March 25, 2004

[1) Microsoft is given an unfair reputation by the media and competitors.  They make good products, and consumers have benefitted from them.]

They do make some good products and consumers have benefitted from them. No argument their. They also make some crappy products. Same goes for their competitors.
As for the reputation, why do you feel that they deserve their place in the market, but not in the media? And leave out the competitors, they are biased. That still leaves the media. Do you think they are being forced? Or could they be voicing consumer opinion after all? If not, why?

[3) People should not polarize and believe that one platform is the devil, Empire, Borg, etc.]

Correct. Apply the same moderation to your own opinion and you may actually come across more reasonable.

[4) Users/consumers are the ultimate guage of your software success.  If you have them, kudos to you.  If you don't, then that's your problem and not someone else's.]

And how you get them does not matter?
Anyway, I am off to bed.

Erik
Thursday, March 25, 2004

And at least one typo too late I'm afraid.

Erik
Thursday, March 25, 2004

I believe we do not live in an era of highly moral people.  I see politicians bend the truth to their favor in the news every day.  I see corporate scandals in the news every day.  I see government scandals in the news every day.  I see crime, greed, murder, hatred, and everything else disgusting about humanity in the news every day.  Do I believe that a government will strain a law to the extreme to get the verdict they want?  Yes I do.

What I have fought about in this thread is the continual referring to: Microsoft is abusive; Microsoft knowingly broke the law; because the court found them guilty, they must be so; Microsoft should pay millions for their crimes.  The use of circular logic to say that because a court said they are guilty, they must be guilty is flawed.

Why do I speak of customer satisfaction and market share?  Those are facts.  Is Microsoft's market share in doubt?  Are their sales figures in doubt?  Over the many years of the market economies, inductive reasoning will show that if people don't like you, they don't buy you.  Market share and satisfaction are correlated.  I know of no case (outside of government sponsored monopolies, which MS isn't) where that isn't true.  Thus, satisfaction is a reflection of both the company and the product.

Customers cannot be satisfied with a product that abuses them.  Logic infers that since Windows has a high customer satisfaction rate (shown by market share and research), they cannot be abusing the customer.

So what law did they break?

Conspiracy Anti-Theorist
Thursday, March 25, 2004

[And how you get them does not matter?]

Microsoft got their customers by offering a good product.

Why is the media biased against Microsoft?  Because negative media sells better.  The hottest episodes of your favorite talk shows and news specials have controversy.  And there are so many people competitors and have spoken loudly against them.

The political engine against them all began when Novell was put on the dinosaur list and they spent big bucks in political lobbying.  Since then every new dinosaur has done the same thing, getting powerful entities like Sun to keep at it until the suit was brought against them.  If you don't think politicians don't respond to lobbying bucks, I can't help you there.

Conspiracy Anti-Theorist
Thursday, March 25, 2004

As with Erik, I'm tired of this.  Besides, this still hasn't made it on Slashdot yet, and it's halfway down the topic list so nobody new is going to come in.

I guess the final question is:  Should we go with a purple/silver number for our planetary outfit, or another color scheme?

Conspiracy Anti-Theorist
Thursday, March 25, 2004

[Should we go with a purple/silver number for our planetary outfit, or another color scheme?]

I KNOW, HOW ABOUT THE WINDOWS DEFAULT COLOR SCHEME?!

Not Saying
Thursday, March 25, 2004

My last contribution this morning...

[What I have fought about in this thread is the continual referring to: Microsoft is abusive; Microsoft knowingly broke the law; because the court found them guilty, they must be so; Microsoft should pay millions for their crimes.  The use of circular logic to say that because a court said they are guilty, they must be guilty is flawed.]

Is Microsoft abusive? Not to me personally or anyone I know of. Motherboard and systems vendors, mind you not competitors but vendors, have made a good case that they have been to them. Even as recent as a few months ago in Asia.
If the court found them quilty, the must be held accountable, that is how the system works. It may not be a perfect system, it may even be abuse, although I doubt to the extent that you find likely, but as long as the system is there...

There is no circular logic in the guilty question, because you are only guilty (in the sense I thought we were discussing) if a court finds you guilty. So if you mean, even though a court found them quilty, they did not do what they were accused of, I for one would not presume to have superior knowledge that might prove that one way or another. I doubt you can.


[Why do I speak of customer satisfaction and market share?  Those are facts.  Is Microsoft's market share in doubt?  Are their sales figures in doubt?  Over the many years of the market economies, inductive reasoning will show that if people don't like you, they don't buy you.]

The market share is no doubt, but customer satisfaction certainly is. At least the way you present it, because your logic seems to be that since they have a market share, there must be satisfaction, and they have markets share because there is satisfaction. How is that not circular.
And your inductive reasoning only applies to a free market.
Which is exactly what is in question with regard to Microsoft's operating system and supported products.
But even in a free market, your argument does not hold. Given 10 similar products, yours does not have to be exceptionally good to get market share. The only thing you have to do is make sure it is not complete crap, and sell it way below market price. People will happily buy your product, even if it is inferior to others, as long as it is cheap enough.
Now, I am not saying this is what Microsoft was accused of and found quilty of, it merely invalidates your argument.


[Market share and satisfaction are correlated.  I know of no case (outside of government sponsored monopolies, which MS isn't) where that isn't true.  Thus, satisfaction is a reflection of both the company and the product.]

Correlated yes, but as I have said before, not simply in the way you put it. There is no direct causal relation between satisfaction and market share. The equation is supplemented at least by pricing and availability.

[Customers cannot be satisfied with a product that abuses them.  Logic infers that since Windows has a high customer satisfaction rate (shown by market share and research), they cannot be abusing the customer.

So what law did they break?]

That is what I asked you before. You keep arguing that they did not break a law, I keep saying that if they did, it was not customer abuse, so leave it.


[Microsoft got their customers by offering a good product.]

Repeated assertion is not proof. Microsoft was/is suspected of getting their customers in a different way. If they did, it does not matter how good their product was or is.


Anyway, my last contribution on the subject.
I have not tried to argued that Microsoft is guilty, merely that your arguments why they can't be guilty are at best just as arbitrary as you find the arguments for them to be guilty.

Erik
Friday, March 26, 2004

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