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Regarding EU Microsoft ruling


I just read this quote over on Computerworld regarding the EU's ruling against Microsoft.

"Last month, when the decision against Microsoft was made, some observers feared that the remedies to restore competition to the media-player market wouldn't work. After seeing the ruling, some of those concerns have been lifted. There is a clause saying that if the remedies fail, the commission "retains the possibility to review the present decision and impose an alternative remedy that will put an end to the abuse.""

It goes on to quote from an IDC study that showed how competition in the media player market has dried up in the face of MS's media player.

Reading the above quote, I'm left to think this puts the burden on Microsoft to actually *create* the competition. So what is going to happen when people just continue to want Media Player because, quite frankly, they think Real Player is a POS?

Is the EU going to fine Microsoft again because people actually prefer their Media Player? If people have a choice and still choose Microsoft, their wording seems to indicate that they will interpret this to mean the "remedies have failed" because competition has not returned to the industry.

I'm actually in favor of making MS split apart it's Media Player. I think it provides an opportunity to let people choose. But it almost seems as if people don't choose a Microsoft competitor, then MS will be penalized. And that doesn't make any sense.

Not Me
Monday, April 26, 2004

"Reading the above quote, I'm left to think this puts the burden on Microsoft to actually *create* the competition."

Create competition?  All MS needed to do is just allow competition and they wouldn't be in the mess they're in.  MS feels the need to dictate to the hardware manufactures what software can be installed on every computer sold.  I'm very anti-MS, but I think the customer would be better served by having media players installed on their computer when they purchase them.  Just don't force the manufacturers to only have Windows Media Player (or any other competing applications) when the computer is shipped.

Brian Wood
Monday, April 26, 2004


" All MS needed to do is just allow competition and they wouldn't be in the mess they're in. "

Perhaps, but the EU seems to be saying that they might further penalize MS if people willingly choose Media Player over competitor's product.

If people have a choice and Real Networks continues to flounder because people prefer MS's product, is that MS's fault?

Not Me
Monday, April 26, 2004

Don't you think the common Joe User will have some problems working out why he has 4 different media players on his system when he only wants to listen to a cd or watch some movie clips? Everytime he starts a CD is he going to have to pick his media player - as if he selects to always use X media player then do you think he is going to know how to change this if he wants to try something else?

For normal users who just want a quick simple solution then media player is fine. If the user has a bit of savy and experience then they will find other ones to try instead. Making them choose right at the start is just asking for problems.

Fothy
Monday, April 26, 2004

Why pray tell, would the OEMs install 4 players just because they no longer have to bundle WMP?

Eric Debois
Monday, April 26, 2004

Not me > I think the answer might be in the branding. If real or quiktime or some smaller player allows compaq and dell etc to customize the player so that its "Dell Media Center" instead of  XYZPlayer I think they might do just that.

Eric Debois
Monday, April 26, 2004

There are big companies before and after Microsoft. Monopoly cannot explain Microsoft's success.

Why bundling is evil? When a consumer buys a Toyota, he buys an assembled, "bundled" product. He just cannot complain that Toyota forces him to buy a whole car from Toyota and cannot choose a brake from Chrysler,  combustion engine from Volvo, etc. (It's very possible that Volvo and Chrysler produce better parts than Toyota does just like iTune is perhaps better than Media Player).

Monopoly is perhaps evil but only the government is able to do so (by forcing consumers' purchasing pattern). It's a free market. Punishing a successful company always leads to bad consequences. If you believe in Adams Smith's invisible hand, you should not buy any Anti-Trust regulations.

S.C.
Monday, April 26, 2004

" If you believe in Adams Smith's invisible hand, you should not buy any Anti-Trust regulations."

I don't worship at the Adam Smith altar nor do I believe that anti-trust regulation is unnecessary.

History has shown us that if a company has a monopoly, it will abuse that power to stifle competition and keep prices artificially high. (Just ask any customer of SW Bell before de-regulation how arrogant and inefficient a monopoly can be.)

I'll go as far as to say that MS probably has done many things to kill competitors and attempt to gain a monopoly. I don't view them as innocent. They do need to be watched closely because they are no different than any other company: Given a chance to put the screws to people, they will.

That being said, I still hold to my original point. Even after the remedy, if people choose MS then it isn't Microsoft's fault and they shouldn't be viewed as an abusive monopoly if people willingly choose their products over a competitors.

Not Me
Monday, April 26, 2004

"That being said, I still hold to my original point. Even after the remedy, if people choose MS then it isn't Microsoft's fault and they shouldn't be viewed as an abusive monopoly if people willingly choose their products over a competitors."

I agree with yout point. However, we should keep one fact in mind - no one chose MS unwillingly. Everyone who whines about MS these days (myself included) would do well to remember their choices a few years ago.

Just a couple of days I was talking about the MFC vs. (Borland's) OWL duel. MFC won not because it was superior, but because it was less OO, and, thus, easier to understand. Then, a few years down the line, everybody was getting very vocal about MFC's limitations. Well, newsflash - those limitations had been there since day 1. In fact, it was those limitations that gave MFC its lower learning curve (when compared to OWL).

The fact is we chose (and keep choosing) MS *willingly*, mostly out of lazyness (the alternatives require a higher dose of effort). The lock-in usually comes later, and that's when we complain. A bit too late, perhaps...

For the record, I believe regulation is necessary. I'm not so sure if it's effective, but that's a different story.

Paulo Caetano
Monday, April 26, 2004

I think the scariest thing in that statement was that the EU cited an IDC study to base it's decision upon.

I'll bet that if anyone went back and reviewed IDC's (or Gartner's) past predictions that the hit rate would be very low.

yet another anon
Monday, April 26, 2004

Millions of people paid for MS software against their will. Ever tried to buy a laptop 5 years ago without an MS OS?  Even if you didn't use it, you still had to pay for it.

NoName
Monday, April 26, 2004

Every single laptop vendor *forced* you to:
1) Buy their product
2) Buy Windows

What world do you live in?

MR
Monday, April 26, 2004

NoName:

Against their will? Give me a break.

If you don't like the software the laptop comes with...don't buy the laptop.

Mike Treit
Monday, April 26, 2004

"Millions of people paid for MS software against their will. Ever tried to buy a laptop 5 years ago without an MS OS?  Even if you didn't use it, you still had to pay for it."

Perhaps, but what exactly were these people doing when OS/2 was trying to get a piece of the market. Where were these people when BeOS gave it a try?

They were buying MS. Of their own choice.

I'm not standing up for MS, and I have no doubt they took advantage of their dominant position. All I'm saying is that MS didn't spring up from the ground as #1 - we (the consumers) put them there, even when there were alternatives, and *even* when the alternatives were technically better. Perhaps we should spend some time thinking about why he did it.

Paulo Caetano
Monday, April 26, 2004

"Perhaps we should spend some time thinking about why he did it."

Damn! That should be "why *we* did it" :)

Paulo Caetano
Monday, April 26, 2004

"Where were these people when BeOS gave it a try?"

OEMs were prohibited by Microsoft from installing BeOS alongside or instead of MS Windows.

NoName
Monday, April 26, 2004

"If you don't like the software the laptop comes with...don't buy the laptop."

That's like saying if you don't want to pay income tax, don't make any income.

NoName
Monday, April 26, 2004

That's a stupid reply. There are plenty of other vendors unencumbered with "Death-to-Other-OS" Microsoft agreements.

MR
Monday, April 26, 2004

Now there are.  But not 5 years ago.

NoName
Monday, April 26, 2004

The kind of people that do not want Windows on their PCs are often times the same people that can either do:
1) Build the PCs themselves
2) Look around in their cities for smaller, local shops to build the PCs for them

The people that only know of Dell and Gateway are the kinds of people that *want* Windows XP (or in the least don't care what an OS is).

This is a non-issue, I really can't believe we're discussing it.

MR
Monday, April 26, 2004

MR > perhaps you missed that he was talking about laptops. Noname laptops are still very hard to find.

Eric Debois
Monday, April 26, 2004

"The people that only know of Dell and Gateway are the kinds of people that *want* Windows XP (or in the least don't care what an OS is)."

Where does this assertion come from?  What evidence do you have to assert it?

Jim Rankin
Monday, April 26, 2004


To be fair, NoName does have a point. 5 years ago it was tough to buy a laptop that didn't have Windows installed. The major PC manufacturers were effectively forced to install Windows in order to obtain OEM pricing. Remember, margins are pretty thin in that industry and the cost of the OS could be the difference between profit or loss.

However...I'd disagree that there was much of a market for laptops without Windows installed; Apple notwithstanding. Sure, there were techies that wanted it just to run Linux, but I hardly think MS build their empire on the pockets of this small crowd. They made their fortune selling something that people were wanting to buy.

Mark Hoffman
Monday, April 26, 2004

The only reason you can get big name computers without Windows preinstalled is because of legal actions in the States and elsewhere. Until recently companies couldn't even partition the Hard disk and leave the D partition blank or put My Documents on it without having to pay more for Windows.

Today the "Arab News" had a full page advert for HP desktops, all with Linux installed. This would have been impossible until recently.

Now the competition to Windows media player is so vile (Real Player and Quick Time must vie for the title of most obnoxious piece of software ever) that no one is going to applaud their winning, but the fact is that MS is extending its monopoly by bundling, and that is bad for the consumer in anyting but the short term.

The original US anti-trust legislation was imposed against Standard Oil some twenty-five years too late. But in the early 1870's when price fixing became the norm Rockefeller sincerely believed he was doing everyone a favour by introducing stability into the oil market instead of the chaotic price fluctuations caused by the free market.

Stephen Jones
Monday, April 26, 2004

MR, I've never seen laptop cases or motherboards for sale to build my own. Are they available?


Tuesday, April 27, 2004

I found this qoute from Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen in a recent PC Magazine interview  http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1572051,00.asp ) very revealing:
"The real question becomes on Linux desktop, and I think it can happen. I haven't seen it yet other than [in] developing countries or governments of developing countries. In lot of these countries, it's just a very inexpensive way of getting a box without Windows, and then they pirate Windows after the fact. So you kind of have to look at that in the process."

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

"it's just a very inexpensive way of getting a box without Windows, and then they pirate Windows after the fact."

This shows, once again, that it's our responsibility ("our" meaning "the market's") that MS got where they are today. Even when faced with alternatives, we still prefer to take the easier way.

I have no doubt it was difficult to get a laptop without Windows 5 years ago. However, at some point in time, there were alternatives. At some point in time, the large majority of people, when confronted with a choice, decided for MS, of their own free will. That's how MS got the top spot. Once there, they abused it, and they should get punished for that. But the simple truth, and I'm sounding like a parrot now :), is that we put them there.

Today we have alternatives again. However, if there are people buying Linux boxes, and installing Windows, then it's the same story all over again - people still prefer MS. Not because of a lack of alternatives, or because they are being forced into it - it's a conscient decision.

Paulo Caetano
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

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