Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 21st Mar 2007 16:49 UTC, submitted by flanque
Microsoft Microsoft is making key communications protocols available for license, so that third parties, including competitors, can link into the company's newest enterprise products. Some are available immediately. The list of available protocols, XML schemas and application programming interfaces include transport protocols for communications between Office Outlook 2007 and Exchange Server 2007.
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It's about time!
by SReilly on Wed 21st Mar 2007 17:35 UTC
SReilly
Member since:
2006-12-28

It has taken a long time but finally they are coughing up!

I know allot of people (including a certain editor ;-) have expressed they're displeasure at the EU for they're supposed anti MS crusade but frankly, if the US doesn't have the backbone to do it, somebody has too.

Now lets see MS compete on a more even playing field. I'm sure with real competition they have every reason to start releasing even better products.

Looks like the consumer can only gain from this.

Reply Score: 5

RE: It's about time!
by phoehne on Wed 21st Mar 2007 18:20 UTC in reply to "It's about time!"
phoehne Member since:
2006-08-26

That's the basic problem, isn't it? If you could fully-interoperate with Microsoft tools and services without threat of getting sued, then their monopoly of the desktop is less important. I don't fault the EU for taking MS to task, as our government has failed to act for whatever reason. What remains to be seen weather or not FOSS will be able to license these specs under reasonable terms.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: It's about time!
by SReilly on Wed 21st Mar 2007 18:44 UTC in reply to "RE: It's about time!"
SReilly Member since:
2006-12-28

Well put!

I might be wrong but I believe that, in the long run, FLOSS doesn't need to license any of MS's 'stuff'. All the consumer really needs, IMO, is more proprietary choice. With more proprietary choice comes the realization that the PC is not Windows/MS Office.

Anyway, if you look at the gains being made by projects like Wine, OpenOffice.org and NTFS-3G without the help of MS APIs, the FLOSS movement seems to be doing fine on it's own ;-)

Reply Score: 2

RE: It's about time!
by twenex on Wed 21st Mar 2007 19:15 UTC in reply to "It's about time!"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

It has taken a long time but finally they are coughing up!

I know allot of people (including a certain editor ;-) have expressed they're displeasure at the EU for they're supposed anti MS crusade but frankly, if the US doesn't have the backbone to do it, somebody has too.

Now lets see MS compete on a more even playing field. I'm sure with real competition they have every reason to start releasing even better products.

Looks like the consumer can only gain from this.


Don't get your hopes up. Now that they've published the specs they already use, they are free to change them again.

Reply Score: 4

Micosoft: License warehouse?
by Almafeta on Wed 21st Mar 2007 17:38 UTC
Almafeta
Member since:
2007-02-22

You have to wonder, with as many technologies as they are licensing out, what technologies they will be retaining as core trade secrets in order to stay in business...

Reply Score: 1

RE: Micosoft: License warehouse?
by stestagg on Wed 21st Mar 2007 17:44 UTC in reply to "Micosoft: License warehouse?"
stestagg Member since:
2006-06-03

Source Code for Windows/Office.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Micosoft: License warehouse?
by alucinor on Wed 21st Mar 2007 18:27 UTC in reply to "Micosoft: License warehouse?"
alucinor Member since:
2006-01-06

There's no reason why their obsfugated version of the SMB protocol, an OPEN protocol developed originally by IBM, should be considered a trade secret. The EU saw through this ruse, and the technical expert that MS appointed analyzed their extension of the protocol and found so significant innovation there.

This should make the work of the Samba team magnitudes easier.

Reply Score: 5

Wait and See ...
by PLan on Wed 21st Mar 2007 17:51 UTC
PLan
Member since:
2006-01-10

Microsoft is bound to insert a poison pill for competitors somewhere. It has shown bad faith with the EU demands so far so I don't expect this to be the end of the story.

Reply Score: 5

But I don't see a change
by eantoranz on Wed 21st Mar 2007 18:01 UTC
eantoranz
Member since:
2005-12-18

Microsoft had already provided specifications under license (not free) long time ago to the EU. The EU had refused those terms because it wasn't open enough. Am I missing something here? Cause it doesn't sound like new news to me.

Edited 2007-03-21 18:02

Reply Score: 2

RE: But I don't see a change
by TBPrince on Wed 21st Mar 2007 18:09 UTC in reply to "But I don't see a change"
TBPrince Member since:
2005-07-06

Microsoft still offers access to source code of their major products to qualified customers (Goverments for example). However, you can check the source code for information purposes.

EU asked them to release full specs for their communication protocols so that anyone can write interoperable software. It's a completely different matter.

Reply Score: 4

RE: But I don't see a change
by Hiev on Wed 21st Mar 2007 18:18 UTC in reply to "But I don't see a change"
Hiev Member since:
2005-09-27

Did you read the article?

Reply Score: 2

Good news...
by TBPrince on Wed 21st Mar 2007 18:06 UTC
TBPrince
Member since:
2005-07-06

Now it's time for those who claimed they were damaged by Microsoft policy to show what they can do.

If in a year from when it will happen, Outlook will still be the best e-mail client and Exchange the most used ent server... well.. it's better that those people dig their own hole ;-)

Reply Score: 4

RE: Good news...
by twenex on Wed 21st Mar 2007 19:20 UTC in reply to "Good news..."
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

Now it's time for those who claimed they were damaged by Microsoft policy to show what they can do.

If in a year from when it will happen, Outlook will still be the best e-mail client and Exchange the most used ent server... well.. it's better that those people dig their own hole ;-)


Were they ever the best email clients? Best for interfacing with Outlook and Exchange, maybe: But that's hardly surprising. One might just as well state that the best Parisian French dialect...is Parisian French.

Nevertheless, it'll be surprising if anything outstrips Outlook in Exchange connectivity. As I wrote above, now that they have published the specs to the protocols they are using, they can change them again.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Good news...
by TBPrince on Wed 21st Mar 2007 21:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Good news..."
TBPrince Member since:
2005-07-06

Were they ever the best email clients? Best for interfacing with Outlook and Exchange, maybe: But that's hardly surprising. One might just as well state that the best Parisian French dialect...is Parisian French.
Definitely they ARE. And in a market where one cannot claim there is no competition. Not only they are the best, but they are cheaper than most other solutions.

Nevertheless, it'll be surprising if anything outstrips Outlook in Exchange connectivity. As I wrote above, now that they have published the specs to the protocols they are using, they can change them again.
Sure, but first: once you have the protocols public, others can write servers / clients compatible with them and that's an huge advantage. (BTW, I wonder if IBM publicly released specs for their messaging solution... anyone knows that?)

second: changing your protocols IS NOT a trivial task not something one could do just because. Of course they could change them but not in a night and they should release modifications anyway.

Also notice that keeping your protocols closed IS NOT illegal nor wrong. Microsoft has been forced to release them only because of their near-monopoly status.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Good news...
by twenex on Wed 21st Mar 2007 21:50 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Good news..."
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

Definitely they ARE. And in a market where one cannot claim there is no competition.

Really? Then how is it that only Microsoft know how to fully interoperate with Exchange?

Not only they are the best, but they are cheaper than most other solutions.

Can you back that up with cold, hard facts?

Sure, but first: once you have the protocols public, others can write servers / clients compatible with them and that's an huge advantage.

Which will disappear the minute Microsoft change the specs again. One can't predict the future, but it's hardly unlikely that, having done it time and again in the past, they won't do it again.

(BTW, I wonder if IBM publicly released specs for their messaging solution... anyone knows that?)

I don't know either. However, I'm not going to excuse Microsoft's bad behaviour on the basis that IBM may be no better.

second: changing your protocols IS NOT a trivial task not something one could do just because.

They do it "just because" they want to gain/maintain a monopoly. Just ask the SAMBA folks.

Of course they could change them but not in a night and they should release modifications anyway.

"should" != "will". Indeed where Microsoft is concerned "should" often == "not on your nelly".

Also notice that keeping your protocols closed IS NOT illegal nor wrong. Microsoft has been forced to release them only because of their near-monopoly status.

Given that no-one wants to have to deal with umpteen different protocols (witness the death of every other LAN protocol since the growth of the Internet), the only way to deal with closed protocols is to give one company a monopoly. So it's kind of a vicious circle.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Good news...
by Hands on Thu 22nd Mar 2007 14:33 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Good news..."
Hands Member since:
2005-06-30

"...changing your protocols IS NOT a trivial task not something one could do just because..."

Microsoft has enough resources that changing the protocols should be completely a trivial task. The only possible issue might be in getting everyone to update their servers and clients at the same time for a seamless experience, but that hasn't stopped them from rolling out protocol updates in the past.

And, maintaining a competitive advantage is not a trivial reason for a common commercial business, much less a convicted monopolist.

Reply Score: 3

Glossing over the original point...
by glarepate on Thu 22nd Mar 2007 19:35 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Good news..."
glarepate Member since:
2006-01-04

Microsoft has been forced to release them only because of their near-monopoly status.

Have you not been paying attention to this lawsuit? Or are you presuming that no one else has been?

Microsoft has had this legal remedy forced on them because of their abuse of market power and because the remedies they were willing to implement weren't satisfactory. Even if they weren't a monopoly (or near-monopoly as you nearly described it) this remedy would be appropriate because of what MS has done.

It would also appear that "best", as you use the word, means the one that can't be avoided without taking special efforts. Alternatively "best" may mean the one that makes standard software fail to conect to 'Doze. It certainly doesn't refer to high quality, ease of use and reliability/security.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Good news...
by bailey86 on Thu 22nd Mar 2007 10:02 UTC in reply to "Good news..."
bailey86 Member since:
2005-10-14

OUtlook the best email client? What for? Viruses or wasting time.

When we've switched people to Thunderbird they have been really pleased with how easy it is to use.

And Exchange as the most used server?!?!

On what planet? Most email on Earth moves via unix email servers such as Sendmail, qmail, Postfix, Courier, etc etc.

Yet again - someone who only has a PC and SBS thinks they can write about IT. Remember the internet is a unix network - PC's and servers running Windows are only at the edge of the internet.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Good news...
by ector on Thu 22nd Mar 2007 13:39 UTC in reply to "RE: Good news..."
ector Member since:
2006-06-05

More like a Cisco or VXWorks network... do you think all the switches and routers are running unix?

Reply Score: 1

Joe Buck
by JoeBuck on Wed 21st Mar 2007 18:22 UTC
JoeBuck
Member since:
2006-01-11

All that matters is whether the license is usable by the only real competitor: free/open source software.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Joe Buck
by twenex on Wed 21st Mar 2007 22:06 UTC in reply to "Joe Buck"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

True enough in the present. However, I'm sure other competitors of days gone by are wishing steps had been taken to increase competition in the days they had a fighting chance.

Reply Score: 3

not free
by alucinor on Wed 21st Mar 2007 18:36 UTC
alucinor
Member since:
2006-01-06

"Of course, the licenses are not free."

Oh, well, forget Samba then. Hopefully a better arrangement can be made, or else the only practical competitor to MS will be left out.

Reply Score: 2

v The EU government should apologize and...
by ronaldst on Wed 21st Mar 2007 19:42 UTC
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

refund every cent for it's abuse of MS' rights.

No government has the right to limit MS' success. Nor decide what MS can do.

What MS does with it's software is only MS' business. And no one else's business. If the EU government want their own in-house copy of the source code to handle certain Office formats, they can enter negociations with MS. They'll be more than happy to share their productivity at a price.


Since the EU is, like, the EU's government, it has the right to set the rules, as long as those rules are arrived at by the chosen process - i.e. in the EU's case, elected representatives voting on matters approved by civil servants. Your arguments propose carte blanche to companies, including the right to, say, rape babies as long as doing so increases profits.

It's not much less distasteful to say that Microsoft should have the right to hold the EU (and presumably any other government) to ransom, than it is to say what I said in the above paragraph.

Nothing produces quite so much manure quite so well as a fan of Microsoft and closed-source software.

Reply Score: 3

ronaldst Member since:
2005-06-29

Since the EU is, like, the EU's government, it has the right to set the rules, as long as those rules are arrived at by the chosen process - i.e. in the EU's case, elected representatives voting on matters approved by civil servants. Your arguments propose carte blanche to companies, including the right to, say, rape babies as long as doing so increases profits.

As long what MS does respects other's freedoms, it's all good. Making contracts isn't raping babies. Because when you rape babies, you violate another's freedom. You're still confused between rights and choices.

What my arguments propose is the way of doing business: laisser-faire market. The way everybody on Earth did before the state started to intervene everytime someone were sobbing for their failures.

Stop punishing people for their successes.

It's not much less distasteful to say that Microsoft should have the right to hold the EU (and presumably any other government) to ransom, than it is to say what I said in the above paragraph.

More fear based argument.

Nothing produces quite so much manure quite so well as a fan of Microsoft and closed-source software.

And a well finished post by ranting and an insult.

Reply Score: 0

ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

"Because when you rape babies, you violate another's freedom. You're still confused between rights and choices. "

When you assault other markets using your dominance in the OS area, you're infringing other's freedom: competing in a level field.

Reply Score: 5

twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

Nope. See the game console business.

Who said the game console business was a level field?

Reply Score: 4

twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

Who said the game console business was a level field?

It's always been one since ATARI fought against Coleco and Mattel.


Funny, I didn't know that Atari, Coleco, and Mattel used the same game cartridges. I KNOW the SNES and Sega Megasystem didn't.

Reply Score: 3

stestagg Member since:
2006-06-03

That seems like the main political difference between the US and the EU.
Simplified:
The US protects corporate freedom as long as it doesn't break any civil laws.
The EU protects personal freedoms as long as they don't break copyright.

Reply Score: 5

stestagg Member since:
2006-06-03

Corporate and personal freedoms are the same


I think you missed the subtlety of what I was saying

Reply Score: 4

Wintermute Member since:
2005-07-30

"Corporate and personal freedoms are the same."

Bullshit. Corporation are simple tools created for economic development. They have no inherent rights, they only have rights because society decided to provide them with rights in hope that such a decision will benefit society overall. They are a tool and they can be abolished just as fast as they were created.

Take your head of the sand and stop treating corporations as if they are the holy grail of human existence and development.

Human (or civil) rights are an essential aspect of our existence, largely they are what makes us human.

It's sad that you seem to value the ability of corporations to make profits on par with things like civil rights.

P.S. I don't advocate banning corporations or anything stupid like that, just unlike you I don't worship corporations and I find human rights to be more important than profit.

Reply Score: 3

ronaldst Member since:
2005-06-29

Bullshit. Corporation are simple tools created for economic development. They have no inherent rights, they only have rights because society decided to provide them with rights in hope that such a decision will benefit society overall. They are a tool and they can be abolished just as fast as they were created.

Companies aren't beamed down on Earth from motherships in outer space. Companies are owned by people like me and you. And those people have rights. Beating up on those people won't make things like the economy grow.

Take your head of the sand and stop treating corporations as if they are the holy grail of human existence and development.

I wouldn't go as far as saying that they're the holy grail of human existence and development.

I like the fact if I can't get decent service somewhere, I can just go to their competitors. ;)

Human (or civil) rights are an essential aspect of our existence, largely they are what makes us human.

I agree. We should protect everyone. And avoid abusing/extending these rights each time someone's having a fit. One must remember that each time we extend someone rights, someone else give up a little of his/her own rights.

It's sad that you seem to value the ability of corporations to make profits on par with things like civil rights.

Awww. You're trying to intimidate me with your morale. Oh wait, it's not morale. It's fear. You're doing just like my good buddy Twenex tried and failed to do.

I laughed hard when he mentionned companies that rape babies for profit. Talk about desperate. lol

P.S. I don't advocate banning corporations or anything stupid like that, just unlike you I don't worship corporations and I find human rights to be more important than profit.

Awww more morale based intimidation. Fear, fear and more fear. The usual when one has no solid argument.

I don't worship corporation. I worship freedom. Didn't you know that you can have both human rights and profit? Maybe I should go to my dentist and tell him about my rights and over his profits. lol

I bet the 1000+ of pages consisting the basis of the anti-trust trial against MS is based on one thing: unfounded fear.

Reply Score: 1

phoudoin Member since:
2006-06-09

> I like the fact if I can't get decent service
> somewhere, I can just go to their competitors. ;)

By definition, in monopole situation there is no competitors you can go to.

Where could I get an email server *fully* compatible with latest Outlook? Who offer a file and print server *fully* compatible with my windows workstations park?

What? I should get both client *and* server from the same provider? Why? Do you have a different phones for every phone services? Do you have a different gas station network for every car?

Interoperability. Is. Mandatory.

Or MS should stop selling Windows client software without the corresponding server software.
They choose to sell them as separate product, and in the EU the rules says forced sales (you must bye MS server side for full interoperability) are illegal.

EU market access is not free. Comply with its rules or back off.

Period.

Reply Score: 2

phoudoin Member since:
2006-06-09

> I don't worship corporation. I worship freedom.

Except, obviously, europeans freedom to set their market rules at their own will.
You can't have it both way, sorry.

You don't worship freedom but, like so many, worship *your* freedom. There is a (big) difference.

Reply Score: 2

kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Incorrect; in the EU, as your business grows, so do your responsibilities until you become a dominant player, and as a result, have a duty to ensure that those 'standards' set by your organisation for the industry, as being the dominant player, do not stifle the ability for competitors to compete and interoperate with your product.

I see you come from a conservative angle, so there for you would accept the argument that a cornerstone to freedom of choice is personal responsibility for you and the resulting spin offs of those actions.

All the EU laws to is ensure that once you do become a dominant player in a particular market you maintain your market dominance, not through the use of 'secret formula's' but through product improvement, branding, marketing, product quality - there are many ways to be a leader, just as there are many ways to implement a specification; the way one company implements the specification will not be identical to how another organisation does, and each will compete based on how well the specification is measures - performance, reliability, scalability - tangible metrics rather than using the cloak of 'secret formula' coupled with a hit and miss of trying and maintaining compatibility with something of which you know little via the way of documentation.

Reply Score: 5

twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

As long what MS does respects other's freedoms, it's all good. Making contracts isn't raping babies. Because when you rape babies, you violate another's freedom. You're still confused between rights and choices.

Microsoft? Respect others' freedoms? Split-my-sides-laughing funny.

What my arguments propose is the way of doing business: laisser-faire market. The way everybody on Earth did before the state started to intervene everytime someone were sobbing for their failures.

Ah, so you're in favour of child labour, slavery, people dying in childbirth, no compensation for workers who lose limbs in factory machinery, people dying on the streets, inadequate sanitation, and smog. Because that's what used to happen "before the state started to interfere". I'm glad we're clear on what you're in favour of.

Stop punishing people for their successes.

Conning people is not a "success". It is an admission you can't succeed by acting honestly.

Reply Score: 5

twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

They do things business wise to get to their goals.

No, they have already been convicted of doing things that are illegal. Even if they hadn't, they are still doing things that are immoral. You can argue whether they should be allowed to, but you can't argue that they aren't.


Let's turn that around.

So you're telling me that you are favour of world wide slavery using socialist type governments that denies any form of competition so that everyone can be equal. Where the average wife spends her days waiting 2-3 hours to get a loaf of bread and tofu (government said meat is bad) to feed her family. And when little johnny gets sick, the poor kid waits in a government hospital in the alleyway dying alone frightened because he's the 300th on the list to have a simple operation to end his pain. He's been waiting for 3 months.


Well, you don't need to go from one to the other (there is a wide-ranging happy medium in between, but if they were and everyone were kept alive, then yes. However, in the real world: no. I know some corporate types like to pretend that any and every concession to treating people like...people will result in either anarchy or Stalinism, but fortunately I've found most people are intelligent enough to see through that.

MS doesn't "con" anyone. It does business. If they steal something then they'll get punished for it. It's as simple as that. ;)

MS sold me "the world's best operating system". Both Linux and the OS I used to use on a Commodore toy were better. So Microsoft conned me. They have also been convicted of illegal tactics in court. I'm glad you put that smiley at the end, because when you said "if they steal something they'll get punished for it", for a minute I thought you were serious.

Reply Score: 5

mallard Member since:
2006-01-06

So you're telling me that you are favour of world wide slavery using socialist type governments that denies any form of competition so that everyone can be equal. Where the average wife spends her days waiting 2-3 hours to get a loaf of bread and tofu (government said meat is bad) to feed her family. And when little johnny gets sick, the poor kid waits in a government hospital in the alleyway dying alone frightened because he's the 300th on the list to have a simple operation to end his pain. He's been waiting for 3 months.

So where in the world is that actually happening? Because the description of the world before governments "interfered" is a pretty good description of the plight of the masses in western countries during the industrial revolution.

Of course, neither of those examples are desirable. However one of them is historical fact, the other is scaremongering about an unlikely future.
One of them shows what happens when corporations have near absolute power, the other is "wouldn't it be bad if nobody was allowed to make a profit".

You seem to be in favour of giving corporations absolute "freedom" (aka power). The people who disagree with you (myself included) are not saying corporations should have no "freedom", they are simply saying that there should be limits on what a corporation can do in the name of profit.

Reply Score: 2

twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

It's not much less distasteful to say that Microsoft should have the right to hold the EU (and presumably any other government) to ransom, than it is to say what I said in the above paragraph.

More fear based argument.


I'd seriously like to know how the argument that if the government has to encode information in proprietary document formats which only one company has control over, that company can easily hold the government to ransom, is "fear-based".

Reply Score: 5

ronaldst Member since:
2005-06-29

I'd seriously like to know how the argument that if the government has to encode information in proprietary document formats which only one company has control over, that company can easily hold the government to ransom, is "fear-based".

I'd like to know why can't governments set their own internal policies and avoid IT problems. Governments can negociate with MS to deal with this situation. Can they?

There you go. Your argument was based on nothing but fear using words like ransom, control and hold.

Reply Score: 0

twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

I'd like to know why can't governments set their own internal policies and avoid IT problems.

That is what they were doing. (By mandating open source document formats, etc.) I thought you were against that?

Governments can negociate with MS to deal with this situation. Can they?

Since Microsoft are the only ones who set the .doc standard, if the governments stick to that, then the answer is "no".

Reply Score: 5

twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

I thought you said there was no way out but to be hold hostage by MS.

Except by use of open source software.

Some governments have access to source from MS. Because, in reality, governments aren't "held for ransom."

These agreements do not just cover the EU Commission. They cover "third parties, including competitors".

If proprietary software companies always used open protocols, that would be one less thing open-source software could say was an advantage over them. But all too often software is proprietary in order to conceal protocols and formats; indeed I don't know of any advantage proprietary software would have, if all the formats and protocols it used were open.

Reply Score: 2

elmimmo Member since:
2005-09-17

> You're still confused between rights and choices.

It is much easier than that. Rights (and duties) are derived from the law. Hence, moral aside, if it you are not breaking any law you have the right, if you are breaking it you don't have the right.

The US (where I presume you write from) also has anti monopoly laws, and has other times stopped big companies to merge just because. So nothing weird going on here.

Reply Score: 2

phoudoin Member since:
2006-06-09

> What my arguments propose is the way of doing
> business: laisser-faire market. The way everybody
> on Earth did before the state started to intervene
> everytime someone were sobbing for their failures.

The way everybody on earth did before (state's) laws was robbery and murder(s), aka unlawfully.
There is no free market, only regulated one.
Get used to it.

> Stop punishing people for their successes.

Let's punish people for breaking law(s). Being successfull or not is a moot point.

Reply Score: 2

phoudoin Member since:
2006-06-09

> What MS does with it's software is only MS' business.
> And no one else's business.

What EU does with it's market rules is only EU's business. And no one else's business. If MS want their own market rules to access certain EU markets, they can enter negociation with EU. They'll be more than happy to share their rulemaking at a price.

Reply Score: 1

EU
by siki_miki on Wed 21st Mar 2007 22:05 UTC
siki_miki
Member since:
2006-01-17

As an operating system vendor which holds monopoly on dekstopm keeping such information secret puts them at the unfair advantage over competitors: ability to tie in features to the OS in a way competitors can't. This was already an issue in US anti-trust trials: MS was accused of tying IE
, while keeping that impossible for Netscape (and Opera). Now EU wants them to publish AD, Exchange etc. protocols so competitors (including other OSes) can communicate with MS-based servers and authentificate, send/receive email etc.

MS does have to bend to rules of market defined in Europe. They are also free to pick up their stuff and leave European continent, it's their freedom. If EU requires by a law that vendor of business applications must open protocols, they simply must comply. Not that banks and other businesses don't have similar restrictions on data they have to share (though it is certainly less important for their business model).

i don't understand, though, why they re charging for it (and how much?). If MSDN information is free, I don't see any reason to pay for this, especially as they might sell it for arbitratily high value. Maybe again MS is buying time (or trying to enforce a license/contract with the documentation), until EU starts requiring that they publish it freely and openly.

Reply Score: 5

RE: EU
by MollyC on Wed 21st Mar 2007 22:46 UTC in reply to "EU"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

Why should Microsoft be force to turn over tech that they spent millions to develop to their competitors for free? And their competitors (i.e. OSS) are just going to clone it and give it away for free themselves. What incentive is there for anyone to develop anything, if Big Government can force them to give it away with zero compensation?

MSDN is free because Microsoft *chose* to make it free. If they *chose* to make the protocols in question free, than that's their choice. But you want Big Government to force the issue? In the US, that is know as a "taking", whereby if the government forces a private entity to give something away, then the government itself must provide compensation.

I assume the EU has similar provisions, the only governments that haven't had such provisions have been banana republics that "nationalized" the business of foreign companies for themselves.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: EU
by Johann Chua on Wed 21st Mar 2007 22:56 UTC in reply to "RE: EU"
Johann Chua Member since:
2005-07-22

Why should MS have a near monopoly not because of the quality of their products, but because they use lock-in tactics?

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: EU
by lemur2 on Thu 22nd Mar 2007 10:48 UTC in reply to "RE: EU"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

{ Why should Microsoft be force to turn over tech that they spent millions to develop to their competitors for free? And their competitors (i.e. OSS) are just going to clone it and give it away for free themselves. What incentive is there for anyone to develop anything, if Big Government can force them to give it away with zero compensation? }

Why should the Bell telephone company be forced to turn over tech that they spent millions to develop to their competitors for free? Why should other companies apart from Bell just be allowed to make phones that work with Bell's telephone wires or exchanges? What incentive is there for anyone to develop anything, if Big Government can force them to allow just anyone to come along and try to make a better phone than Bell's phone, or for that matter a better PABX or a better exchange?

Goodness, it wouldn't be long before a better product than Bell's came along, and then Bell would also have to compete in a free market, for heaven's sake!

</sarcasm>

Hint: Many of Microsoft's "secret" protocols are just obscured versions of earlier protocols invented by parties other than Microsoft. They are not inventive at all, and Microsoft most decidedly did NOT spend vast sums to "develop" those protocols, but rather spent only modest sums to obscure protocols invented by someone else.

Edited 2007-03-22 10:54

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: EU
by phoudoin on Thu 22nd Mar 2007 16:39 UTC in reply to "RE: EU"
phoudoin Member since:
2006-06-09

> if the government forces a private entity to give
> something away, then the government itself must
> provide compensation.

Indeed. EU fill allow MS to access its market. That's the compensation.
And I'll bet MS knows it means money, otherwise they'll have move away from it, right?

Reply Score: 2

Monopoly
by ubit on Thu 22nd Mar 2007 01:33 UTC
ubit
Member since:
2006-09-08

"
Why should Microsoft be force to turn over tech that they spent millions to develop to their competitors for free? And their competitors (i.e. OSS) are just going to clone it and give it away for free themselves. What incentive is there for anyone to develop anything, if Big Government can force them to give it away with zero compensation?

MSDN is free because Microsoft *chose* to make it free. If they *chose* to make the protocols in question free, than that's their choice. But you want Big Government to force the issue? In the US, that is know as a "taking", whereby if the government forces a private entity to give something away, then the government itself must provide compensation.

I assume the EU has similar provisions, the only governments that haven't had such provisions have been banana republics that "nationalized" the business of foreign companies for themselves.
"

Monopoly, not innovative protocols (eg., the Kerberos embrace and extend), chokes out competition so MS is the only option, etc. Or maybe they just don't want to keep paying millions of dollars in fines anymore (funny how that starts to have an effect..)

Edited 2007-03-22 01:33

Reply Score: 4

strange thing this level playing field
by markoweb on Thu 22nd Mar 2007 06:36 UTC
markoweb
Member since:
2006-11-30

If I build a client app and a server type app, create my own proprietary protocol between those two, for some reason become a "near monopoly" in the industry, then why should I open up my protocol??
So that others could create their own client app to connect to my server?? What the f*ck for?!?

Say my apps deal with e-mail.
If you don't like my apps, then you are absolutely free to make your own server and client app and use them. Or use some other companies products.

Now "if" I were to use my monoply and change/modify the way an e-mail itself is built, then that sh*t be illegal. Or if I was to force OEM-s to put my apps on their computers inorder for them to get my apps cheaper, then that would be illegal.

But beeing forced to opening up my protocols for free is bullsh*t!!!

Reply Score: 3

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

{If I build a client app and a server type app, create my own proprietary protocol between those two, for some reason become a "near monopoly" in the industry, then why should I open up my protocol?? }

Because it is a communications protocol.

Every other communications product on the planet must flawlessly inter-operate with similar products made by other manufacturers, this is a requirement mandated by standards. If your radio or your telephone handset didn't comply with open standards and hence work with other communications equipment made by other telecommunications companies, then you would not be allowed to sell your product.

This rule makes it possible to have a free market in telecommunications equipment, with several suppliers of equipment all competing with each other and all equally allowed to offer products for consumers to choose, all guaranteed to work with each other whichever one the consumer chooses.

Why should software be the one exception to this rule, just because it happens to be Microsoft's product?

Reply Score: 1

markoweb Member since:
2006-11-30

Because it is a communications protocol.
Every other communications product on the planet must flawlessly inter-operate with similar products made by other manufacturers, this is a requirement mandated by standards.


Your point would be perfectly valid IF the protocol between my client and server was a standard.

As far as I know, there is no standard which dictates, that if I create an e-mail server then all communications between e-mail clients need to use standard X...

If your radio or your telephone handset didn't comply with open standards and hence work with other communications equipment made by other telecommunications companies, then you would not be allowed to sell your product.


So what you are trying to say is, that if I were to create a proprietary html type format which can be hosted on any web server and also create a properietary "Web Browser" to display that file format, then I wouldn't be allowed to sell my Web Browser?!?

Reply Score: 1

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

{ So what you are trying to say is, that if I were to create a proprietary html type format which can be hosted on any web server and also create a properietary "Web Browser" to display that file format, then I wouldn't be allowed to sell my Web Browser?!? }

Not quite.

What I am trying to say is that if you did an equivalent trick in almost any other industry (particularly more normal communications industires), you would be held in violation of anti-trust and anti-monopoly provisions.

It is like a car maker (say Ford) trying to make a car that can only drive on Ford-built roads, or run only on Ford gas. Most other industries do not tolerate this type of thing happening, and yes in most other industries you are not allowed to sell products that attempt to build a monopoly by locking out competition.

Read about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antitrust
and here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vendor_lock-in#Lock-in_in_electronics_...

{ Your point would be perfectly valid IF the protocol between my client and server was a standard. }

Not at all. Anti-trust provisions can apply even when there are no sensible standards. My point is perfectly valid in most markets and most situations.

Normally, you don't need to mandate standards, as most manufactuers are happy to have a product that works with stuff from other manufacturers. Take VCRs for example ... there was an intense war at the start between the Beta and VHS standards, and basically VHS won because only one company made Beta VCRs. But even there, lots of companies were allowed to make tapes for both VHS and for Beta ... the were actually encouraged to, and freely available specs were published. In terms of interoperability, you could use either Beta or VHS with any TV station broadcast, and with any TV set, and you could use tapes from a number of different suppliers.

The whole basis of free trade and having a free market economy (aka as "capitalism") is that you have a number of suppliers all making competing products, and consumers can choose which ones they purchase.

Edited 2007-03-23 02:54

Reply Score: 1

phoudoin Member since:
2006-06-09

> If I build a client app and a server type app,
> create my own proprietary protocol between those
> two, for some reason become a "near monopoly"
> in the industry, then why should I open up
> my protocol??

Because you sell client app and server app as separate products. Sell both client and server a a single product, and nobody will care.

Until, by splitting your proprietary solution into two products, you're breaking EU's market rule about forced sale.

Simple point.

Reply Score: 1

Competition
by mat69 on Thu 22nd Mar 2007 08:58 UTC
mat69
Member since:
2006-03-29

Competition that's the buzzword.

Those measures are intended to make competition easier. If you might remember Adam Smith was a big fan of competition, he even thought that without competition the system won't work and people will be exploited. Only now people try to attribute such measures to communist mindests while it is the reverse.

In communism you had one (!) company (ELEKTRONIKA) manufactoring watches in the Soviet Union. A monopoly enforced by the state.
The EU is taking the exact opposite direction.

Reply Score: 2

Protocols are not intellectual property
by angryrobot on Thu 22nd Mar 2007 14:03 UTC
angryrobot
Member since:
2006-04-26

The thing that makes me the most mad about this whole affair is the idea that protocols are somehow part of your "intellectual property". This is especially absurd when you are talking about things such as Samba and Kerberos, and all the other protocols MS took and extended. MS extends protocols and keeps the changes secret not because they spent loads of R+D on developing them, but for the sole reason of locking out competition.

The fact that they use the intellectual property argument as a defense of releasing them is just standard MS PR bull-you-know-what. They will "release" the protocols, but only under a license that makes it impossible for FOSS software to use it, because at this time, that's the competition that is most threatening to them. The fact that this is in the news as a positive thing is just more MS spin. It means absolutely nothing to anyone that matters.

Reply Score: 4