Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 27th Jan 2006 20:59 UTC
Legal A representative of the European Commission faced down a Microsoft exec on the BBC Radio 4 programme this morning, accusing it of holding a press shindig in Brussels but not popping round the corner to tell it what was going on. Microsoft may have briefed hacks and others on the elements of source code it is prepared to give its competitors, said an EC representative, but as far as the organisation was concerned it has still not complied with the terms of the agreement.
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RE
by Kroc on Fri 27th Jan 2006 21:19 UTC
Kroc
Member since:
2005-11-10

Good. I hope the EC knows the importance of full unrestraint access to the specs (implementable in GPL) and enforces it. Exchange Server support for Thunderbird would be a big win.

Reply Score: 2

v Retards
by Smartpatrol on Fri 27th Jan 2006 21:39 UTC
RE: Retards
by Almindor on Fri 27th Jan 2006 21:46 UTC in reply to "Retards"
Almindor Member since:
2006-01-16

I see one retard in the post up above. You must've been skipped when they handed out brains. MS doesn't play by the rules it pays the price. If you forgive every f*up a company makes just because they're big and powerful then you are the retard.

EDIT: s/ahead/above/

Edited 2006-01-27 21:49

Reply Score: 1

RE: Retards
by JMcCarthy on Fri 27th Jan 2006 21:47 UTC in reply to "Retards"
JMcCarthy Member since:
2005-08-12

They'd much rather have EU corporations dominating EU citizens than America ones. Xenophobes.

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Retards
by Almindor on Fri 27th Jan 2006 21:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Retards"
Almindor Member since:
2006-01-16

Another retard.. and from US too. Nothing new I guess.

It's not like USofA loves all those companies from Japan. Not to mention that this has absolutly nothing to do with being from any country.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Retards
by Smartpatrol on Fri 27th Jan 2006 22:35 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Retards"
Smartpatrol Member since:
2005-07-06

It's not like USofA loves all those companies from Japan. Not to mention that this has absolutly nothing to do with being from any country.

Well you don't see us try to extort money from Toyota becasue they include Toyota only brand stereo systems!

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Retards
by h times nue equals e on Fri 27th Jan 2006 23:28 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Retards"
h times nue equals e Member since:
2006-01-21

This is only a small hint, but:
Does Toyota has a monopoly regarding the car market ?
And if so (which I doubt you'll be able to prove, but just for the sake of the argument): Do they try to use their market position to get an unfair grip at other markets ?

To do something illegal you must be both, an monopolist who is abusing it's market position

So, please, quit using flawed analogies.

Thank you very much

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Retards
by Tyr. on Fri 27th Jan 2006 23:33 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Retards"
Tyr. Member since:
2005-07-06

Step1 : Microsoft own 95% of the PC market. They then use this monopoly to distribute their bundled DRM technology (disguised as Windows Media Player). Then they stop distribution of said technology for other platforms (ie. Mac)

Step2 : Content providers like my internet provider wish to provide TV over the internet ( http://pctv.telenet.be ), they are coaxed into using the MS technology because they have a 95% deployment rate, way ahead of any competitors.

Step3 : ??? (this represents me wondering why the hell I can't watch content I paid for on my Mac anymore)

Step4 : Profit! (for Microsoft)

A company has just abused it's monoploy to gain an unfair advantage in another field. If only some government would take action (and follow through unlike some US institutions wthout cojones). Enter the EU.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Retards
by elsewhere on Sat 28th Jan 2006 01:49 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Retards"
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

Well you don't see us try to extort money from Toyota becasue they include Toyota only brand stereo systems!

I guess that's true. You extort money from Toyota through import tariffs regardless of the brand of stereo they include.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Retards
by Lettherebemorelight on Sat 28th Jan 2006 12:56 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Retards"
Lettherebemorelight Member since:
2005-07-11

Youre certain SmartPatrol is the one imposing the tariffs and not the government or something?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Retards
by pecisk on Fri 27th Jan 2006 22:14 UTC in reply to "Retards"
pecisk Member since:
2005-10-20

Ohhh, cut it. It is all about Microsoft. It is very concrete company, which have violated multiple anti-monopoly laws, period. And it haven't complied with law, period.

So what is discussion here? Thesedays criminal if it has much money and influence can say when it have served punishment?

It is very common to see that people overgeneralise all this. Just makes me feel very tired and sick of all this.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Retards
by Smartpatrol on Fri 27th Jan 2006 22:30 UTC in reply to "RE: Retards"
Smartpatrol Member since:
2005-07-06

Ohhh, cut it. It is all about Microsoft. It is very concrete company, which have violated multiple anti-monopoly laws, period. And it haven't complied with law, period.

Whatever, the EU fined MS over the embedded media player. What happened? People have the choice of buying XP without Media Player for the same amount of money LOL. I my opinion it was just a way for the EU to extort money from the richest comapany in the world just like its trying to do again.

So what is discussion here? Thesedays criminal if it has much money and influence can say when it have served punishment?

It is very common to see that people overgeneralise all this. Just makes me feel very tired and sick of all this.


So quit drinking your Microsoft Haterade! Blind hatred for Microsoft becasue the are rich serves no purpose.

Edited 2006-01-27 22:30

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Retards
by ma_d on Fri 27th Jan 2006 22:51 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Retards"
ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

In this case the EU said:
Make documentation of your network specs available to competitors.
Microsoft said:
We'll license the source code for limited times and low costs.

Have you ever tried to write a spec based off the code implementing it? Going from code->spec->new code is not easy... Especially without getting accused, later, of ripping off their code.
Now, if they suddenly BSD licensed this code I think that'd make using it to implement the spec quite easy (you just use their code).

I think they're right to tell them that source isn't what was asked for; technical documentation is. The difference is about 50% more work and 5% of your company later when you get sued.

Source code is _not_ the best form of documentation. It _is_ the easiest road to implementation; if you're allowed to use it.

But hey, let's pretend Microsoft is right. Then the best documented systems around are all Open Source. Thanks for admitting you can't compete Microsoft ;) .

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Retards
by elsewhere on Sat 28th Jan 2006 01:57 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Retards"
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

Especially without getting accused, later, of ripping off their code.

I think you hit the nail on the head there. Make proprietary code public but closed, and you suddenly have the spectre of tainted code hanging over projects like Samba. Allows them to kill two birds with one stone: get the EU off their backs, and handicap linux.

OSS developers would have no choice but to keep relying on reverse-engineering and staying a step behind.

Reply Score: 2

Good
by moleskine on Fri 27th Jan 2006 21:47 UTC
moleskine
Member since:
2005-11-05

It looks as if Microsoft has made a rather crude attempt to force the EU's hand by trying to railroad things through the press and general publicity under the entirely misleading heading "Microsoft opens up Windows source code". Maybe they were hoping that the roar of 1001 articles and press reports just before the next meeting with the EU would drown out the fact that Microsoft is still not complying with the EU's directives.

If the EU decides it is being dissed and responds with even tougher penalties, MS will have only themselves to blame.

Reply Score: 3

Caught in the Middle
by Googlesaurus on Fri 27th Jan 2006 22:01 UTC
Googlesaurus
Member since:
2005-10-19

I'm a bit caught in the middle on this entire issue.
The EU is demanding access to something they don't own, and didn't create. There is absolutely nothing open about the proprietary code within Windows, and they don't have a right to it.

What's next? The recipe for Coca-Cola?

Reply Score: 0

RE: Caught in the Middle
by pecisk on Fri 27th Jan 2006 22:17 UTC in reply to "Caught in the Middle"
pecisk Member since:
2005-10-20

Do you actually read what is asked?

Microsoft has abused antimonopoly laws. There is a punishment - for that, to get a relief to market, get a competition going on again, they should give a specifications for communication protocols, so competetive products could communicate with _Microsoft_ products. So it is actually gives them back - I won't be forced to change entire network with Apple and Linux workstations because I can't really trust Windows 2000 domain server for authentification.

Ohhh, they just wanted to leave lock-in? Their bad.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Caught in the Middle
by Googlesaurus on Fri 27th Jan 2006 22:25 UTC in reply to "RE: Caught in the Middle"
Googlesaurus Member since:
2005-10-19

"Do you actually read what is asked?"

Yes, I do....... It still doesn't make sense for MS to provide them with source code.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Caught in the Middle
by moleskine on Fri 27th Jan 2006 22:59 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Caught in the Middle"
moleskine Member since:
2005-11-05

Microsoft have not been asked to provide source code. They have offered to provide source code as a way of trying to get out of what the EU has directed them to do, which is to provide specifications that will enable third-party software to interoperate better with MS software. Why? Because the EU feels that Microsoft is exploiting its monopoly unfairly and needs reigning in. This is hardly controversial in view of court rulings over the years in the United States and, probably, elsewhere.

If Microsoft are allowed to go down the source code route, then they will make it so hard to make use of their "open code" that no one will be able to use it, whereas once specifications are made public it's game over on that front. Look on it as like releasing the specs for a plug that can fit into an electrical socket. No one needs to know how the wiring works, only how to plug into a socket.

Microsoft have also offered to provide source code as a way of trying to manipulate public opinion. Look at the barrage of articles in the press over the past few days. It seems their ploy has worked in your case.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Caught in the Middle
by Googlesaurus on Sat 28th Jan 2006 00:22 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Caught in the Middle"
Googlesaurus Member since:
2005-10-19

"Microsoft have also offered to provide source code as a way of trying to manipulate public opinion. Look at the barrage of articles in the press over the past few days. It seems their ploy has worked in your case."

It didn't work in my case..... But if I were calling the shot from MS's position....
I would tell the entire EC to go pound sand.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Sand compacting instructions
by glarepate on Sat 28th Jan 2006 08:05 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Caught in the Middle"
glarepate Member since:
2006-01-04

Let's hope they do. I know I'd like to see the results.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Caught in the Middle
by chemical_scum on Sat 28th Jan 2006 03:56 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Caught in the Middle"
chemical_scum Member since:
2005-11-02

... It still doesn't make sense for MS to provide them with source code.

You are falling for the whole MS obfuscation on this isuue. The EU does not want source code it is the MS lawyers that keep wittering on about MS being forced to release source code and know pulling this publicity stunt about allowing limited access to the code.

What the EU wants is for MS to release specifications to its computer communication interfaces together with full documentation. Ideally such a release would be freely reditributable, GPL compatible and consequently fully open. Unfortunately the EU does not appear to be going this far as they seem to accept some form of licence and fees that would preclude FOSS access to the protocols. Either way the EU is not asking for the release of a single line of code.

For those US paranoids that think this is aimed at US companies - they have got the wrong end of the stick. The EU is trying to correct MS's anti-competitive behaviour. This is something the US courts have tried to achieve but have effectively failed to deliver. If the EU proves successful here, the benefits would be available to US companies and it would help level the competitive playing field against MS in the US as well as Europe. It would be a good thing globally for IT companies and organizations.

Edited 2006-01-28 04:04

Reply Score: 3

RE: Caught in the Middle
by asabjorn on Fri 27th Jan 2006 22:36 UTC in reply to "Caught in the Middle"
asabjorn Member since:
2006-01-27

Even if I was a proponent of software patents I would not agree with you on the bacis that according to the Free Software Foundation of Europe Microsofts implementation of the *standard* server SMB protocol: " a number of incompatibilities deliberately introduced in pre-existing protocols and then altering them with the aim of prohibiting interoperability." To extend a standard protocol is not inventive, it is evolutionary. The protocol is not secret, http://ubiqx.org/cifs/SMB.html, the non-standard Microsoft implemenation is. The EU simply says this is an obvious abuse of monopoly hurting competition and must stop. And no, seeing one specific implemenatation does not easily get you far in understanding how Microsoft specifically has extended the protocol itself. And by the way, 12000 pages of documenation? How can the Microsoft specification be that much longer than the original specification?

Also it may be useful to look at the wikipedia reference on the SMB protocol:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Server_message_block
IBM, not Microsoft, specified the SMB protocol. What Microsoft did, inheretnly to stay incompatible with competitors server products and illegaly use their desktop monopoly, was to extend the SMB protocol. Andrew Tridgell which leads the Samba team has on several occasions noted that it seems like the changes made often has no other purpose than to make the Microsoft SMB implemenation incompatible with other implemenations.

Edited 2006-01-27 22:38

Reply Score: 4

RE: Caught in the Middle
by howard on Fri 27th Jan 2006 22:39 UTC in reply to "Caught in the Middle"
howard Member since:
2006-01-08

The EU is NOT asking for source code. The EU asked for documentation for the interfaces, and only the interfaces. The only party that has raised the issue of source code is Microsoft.

Microsoft has been found to have control over desktop operating systems equivalent to a monopoly. That is completely legal. But it is not legal to use that monopoly as a lever to gain control over other markets.

So they are not allowed to use control over Windows to tilt the competition for multimedia servers and codecs towards Microsoft's offerings and away from those of others. Windows must provide a level playing field for competing applications. That means publishing protocols, file formats, and interfaces. Something that is usually provided by any company that ISN'T a monopoly.

If others can deliver products that interoperate with Windows, then the monopoly status of Windows becomes moot. If your servers can interoperate with Windows desktops the same way that Microsoft's servers can, then Windows isn't being used to tilt the competition for servers. The same is true for multimedia formats, applications, and web browsing/servers. If the interfaces to Windows are documented and anyone can make competing products, then Microsoft's control over Windows doesn't prevent competition.

Microsoft has failed to provide the specs needed for interoperability. With those specs, others, including FOSS developers, could write their own software that would work with Windows. Without infringing on Microsoft's copyrights. Instead of the specs, which might lead to real competition, Microsoft has offered to license source code INSTEAD of specs. License source with restrictions, not provide specs without strings.

Why is Microsoft afraid to compete?

Reply Score: 5

RE: Caught in the Middle
by microshag on Fri 27th Jan 2006 22:49 UTC in reply to "Caught in the Middle"
microshag Member since:
2005-11-30

Ha, they can have the recipe for Coca cola. It ain't worth squat.

Edited 2006-01-27 22:50

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Caught in the Middle
by r2d2d3d4d5 on Sat 28th Jan 2006 16:17 UTC in reply to "Caught in the Middle"
r2d2d3d4d5 Member since:
2005-12-31

If MS won't to carry on doing business in the EU (and making billions in the process) then they need to play by EU rules. If they don't like that then I'm sure they know where the exits are.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Caught in the Middle
by Googlesaurus on Sun 29th Jan 2006 03:59 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Caught in the Middle"
Googlesaurus Member since:
2005-10-19

"If MS won't to carry on doing business in the EU (and making billions in the process) then they need to play by EU rules. If they don't like that then I'm sure they know where the exits are."

It might be less expensive in the long run to ditch the EU.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Caught in the Middle
by r2d2d3d4d5 on Sun 29th Jan 2006 10:20 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Caught in the Middle"
r2d2d3d4d5 Member since:
2005-12-31

If they ditch one of the biggest/most technologically advanced trading blocks in the world then they can forget about their monopoly anyway. EU citizens aren't that bad at making their own software alternatives, even if their US cousins had a bit of a head start. They could bank on China playing along in the long term and making up for any lost sales but what are the odds of that?

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Caught in the Middle
by morbidenator on Sun 29th Jan 2006 21:15 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Caught in the Middle"
morbidenator Member since:
2006-01-10

"It might be less expensive in the long run to ditch the EU."

I pray to God they do.

Reply Score: 1

PR stunt
by h times nue equals e on Sat 28th Jan 2006 00:05 UTC
h times nue equals e
Member since:
2006-01-21

Beside the fact, that Microsoft tries to "sell" (err, I meant license, sorry) source code to their diminished competitors instead of providing the documentation they were sentenced to produce, this was a rather clever PR stunt by MS.

I'm not sure about other countries, but here in Austria, the only coverage the whole anti-competition trial against Microsoft got by the mainstream press/media was limited to the news item about Microsoft sharing it's source code with it's competitiors.

Neither did the news messages contained the fact, that MS wasn't even sentenced to provide the source code (quite the opposite, one radio station touted, that MS had been forced to do this by the EU) nor, that the documentation they provided before was both poor in quality and lacking. Nobody reported, why MS was fined to provide the documentation and no media content provider outside the hardcore IT community explained the restrictions in actually using this source code.

The "funny" thing is, that most non-geekish people I talked with about this topic thought, that with this step, all problems were resolved (and that MS was indeed very generous to provide the code)

Reply Score: 3

Different markets!
by Chamaeleon on Sat 28th Jan 2006 01:03 UTC
Chamaeleon
Member since:
2006-01-17

Well you don't see us try to extort money from Toyota becasue they include Toyota only brand stereo systems!

I don't think Toyota enforces you to use only their stereos, do they?

And they dont use a weird sort of "media" player, so that you can only hear music with their system, do they?

Plus, that "media" player is not patented preventing anyone from using it or develop to it, is it?

Do I have to continue with the examples or do you already got the picture?

Cheers
Chamaeleon

Reply Score: 2

RE: Different markets!
by Sphinx on Sat 28th Jan 2006 02:18 UTC in reply to "Different markets!"
Sphinx Member since:
2005-07-09

My girlfriends 2006 came with a pioneer.

Reply Score: 1

A bunch of politicians
by PlatformAgnostic on Sat 28th Jan 2006 05:18 UTC
PlatformAgnostic
Member since:
2006-01-02

My sense from this, without actually having read any of the court documents, is that the EC people in charge of this lawsuit are basically politicians who want to win popularity by sticking it to an American company. This might also be an instance of the European penchant for "Managed Competition".

The Microsoft penchant for backwards compatibility can help reverse engineers in this case because they don't really have to hit a moving target. If they pretend to be W2k or NT4, they will still work with more modern clients. If they want to make improvements to the protocol they could add client-side code (maybe not kernel code for x64 ;) ).

Reply Score: 1

Time to read thye EU "Case COMP/C-3/37.792"
by LarsB on Sat 28th Jan 2006 11:17 UTC
LarsB
Member since:
2006-01-28

Google for the EU "Case COMP/C-3/37.792"
Download the pdf.
It is a long and well written text about "why and what" the EU demands from Microsoft.
It could and should have been written in the US.

Reply Score: 1