Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 17th Sep 2007 15:17 UTC, submitted by Rahul
Legal Microsoft suffered a stunning defeat on Monday when a European Union court backed a European Commission ruling that the US software giant illegally abused its market power to crush competitors. The European Union's second-highest court dismissed the company's appeal on all substantive points of the 2004 antitrustruling. The court said Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, was unjustified in tying new applications to its Windows operating system in a way that harmed consumer choice. The verdict, which may be appealed only on points of law and not of fact, could force Microsoft to change its business practices.
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RE: Microsoft suffered a stunning defeat
by gonzo on Mon 17th Sep 2007 15:39 UTC
gonzo
Member since:
2005-11-10

Stunning defeat? Like we all didn't know the outcome already.. Seriously.

1. "WMP should not be part of Windows" is just lame. I want Windows Media Player to be part of Windows. I don't want Windows to become "do-it-yourself-every-little-thing-and-then-some-Linux-like".

2.Server protocols are another thing and EU should force MS to open then for minimal fee, if any.

Reply Score: 6

dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

You misunderstand the meaning of "should not be a part of".

It means that WMP should not be a required dependency in Windows, but be optional. It should be completely removable. The same goes for IE.

It doesn't mean that Microsoft cannot deliver a media player, they just cannot make it a hardwired dependency.

Reply Parent Score: 17

gonzo Member since:
2005-11-10

You misunderstand the meaning of "should not be a part of".

It means that WMP should not be a required dependency in Windows, but be optional. It should be completely removable. The same goes for IE.

It doesn't mean that Microsoft cannot deliver a media player, they just cannot make it a hardwired dependency.


Why not? I do not have problems with that and I am a customer.

If you take a closer look, EU did not force Microsoft to make those changes you talk about. They told them to make another Windows (XP N, Vista N) but the "full" version is still there. And nobody wants it - doesn't that tell you something?

The thing is, Microsoft will do that on their own - for security reasons, they already are doing it (Core server, etc).

Reply Parent Score: 1

Morin Member since:
2005-12-31

> It means that WMP should not be a required dependency in Windows,
> but be optional. It should be completely removable. The same goes for
> IE.
>
> It doesn't mean that Microsoft cannot deliver a media player, they just
> cannot make it a hardwired dependency.

Unfortunately, the distinction is not that clear from a technical point of view. I'll take IE as a better example than WMP. If you remove IE, then of course everything that depends on it will break. Depending on the amount of breakage, this may already be regarded as "IE cannot be removed", and will therefore force a technically nonsensical decision upon MS (namely to make other components independent of IE, thus forking the IE code instead of keeping IE a re-usable system component).

The usual counter-argument is that IE should be removable and replaceable by a sufficiently similar component (e.g. a replacement that was written by a competitor) such that users can choose the better implementation. The necessary move by MS would be to release the complete interface specification. This is not going to work in practice, as the oft-argued clean separatoin of interface and implementation does not exist in most real software. This is much less a trick to crush competitors, than poor engineering happening when software is developed - although it comes quite handy as an argument for MS not to release a specification.

I am all for tackling a problem at its root. In this case the tight integration of system components, and the inability to remove and replace a component, is not the root of the prolem. MS's monopoly is. There are plenty of examples where similar practices have not lead to antitrust rulings nor to an uproar among the consumers simply because the offending company did not have a monopoly, and the consumer had to choice to move to another vendor in case the situtation escalated.

Therefore, the natural and IMO correct solution to the whole problem is to crush MS's monopoly. There are plenty of ways to move that way, none of which is currently pursued by the governments in general (although there are some exceptions). It seems to me as if we rather rest assured that we can hit MS with the big "antitrust" hammer whenever it freaks out, denying the fact that MS has a position of power which we are too scared or to whiny to attack.

Reply Parent Score: 6

Tyr. Member since:
2005-07-06

1. "WMP should not be part of Windows" is just lame. I want Windows Media Player to be part of Windows. I don't want Windows to become "do-it-yourself-every-little-thing-and-then-some-Linux-like"

MS is using its monopoly position to push "Windows Media" on consumers. They purposely link their media product (their DRM technology) to their established monopoly and exclude all other platforms.
From the Flip4Mac (bought by MS) faq page :

"Can third parties build Windows Media DRM capable clients for the Mac?
Microsoft makes Windows Media DRM technology available for Windows operating systems and many device platforms. At this time, Microsoft has no plans to offer Windows Media DRM support on the Macintosh."

This kind of tying together of products to gain an advantage in a new market is illegal in the EU. This is why WMP, or more correctly the technology behind it, should be unlinked and be interchangeable with technology from other vendors (eg. quicktime or real media, both multiplatform.) Then resellers can bundle the non-ms technology if they so wish.

Reply Parent Score: 7

gonzo Member since:
2005-11-10

Then resellers can bundle the non-ms technology if they so wish.

And since when they can't? Are you serious?

Look at any preconfigured installation from Dell, HP, etc. Those come with tons of preinstalled (non-MS) software.

Reply Parent Score: 2

dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

Well. I don't. Especially I wouldn't like to have to pay for ms codecs and spread them just too have a runtime for my win32 apps.
Now I don't have much choice (as windows N isn't any cheaper).

Reply Parent Score: 1

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Would it be so "do it all yourself" hard to open your browser, go to Windows Update and download Media Player as an available add-on instead of having it prebundled? That's all they really have to do on the WMP thing and everyone suddenly gets the choice to use it or not. (repository managed OS really are that easy)

Server products should end at the network card. MS does all they can to impose the server os down the network medium to the client? If my server is running Windows, why should it care that my workstation runs something else. If industry standards are used or MS protocols properly documented and not changed to force an ongoing game of catchup then what's the problem?

In the DOS days, I could dial a BBs by modem and connection without this sort of BS. Your BBs runs on a Mac, a *nix or a Windows box; don't care.. your BBs and my workstation both end at the modem leaving the transmission medium neutral. I use Terminate for dialing but you use Wildcat BBs; don't care, they both talk to each other just fine. So why should it be any different now with Windows if you use Exchange Server and I don't use Outlook?

Keeping the MS secret sauce protocols hidden and changing them purely to keep competition a step behind does not benefit the customers. It's just another dirty trick to keep from having to address the quality of there products in an actually competitive market.

Reply Parent Score: 3

gonzo Member since:
2005-11-10

Would it be so "do it all yourself" hard to open your browser, go to Windows Update and download Media Player as an available add-on instead of having it prebundled?

Browser? What browser? Browser should not be there either.

And then you can say the same for, let's see.. Notepad, TrueType Fonts, DirectX, icons, NTFS --- well, everything.

Reply Parent Score: 1

gustl Member since:
2006-01-19

Your argument is completely beside the point.

Microsoft had a monopoly in the home operating system market. In the EU (as well as in the USA), a monopoly company is not allowed to use it's monopoly in one market (here: operating system) to gain a monopoly in an other market (here: media player market).

And that was exactly what Microsoft did.

I do not know, why the EU did not order MS to completely remove WMP from Windows.
Then Microsoft would have had to compete with the other media player companies on a fair basis - offering a download, placing the stuff on the shelf, whatever.

The EU commission was much too mild with their actions and requirements.

Reply Parent Score: 2