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[3]: APIs
by stestagg on Tue 18th Sep 2007 09:27 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: APIs"
stestagg
Member since:
2006-06-03

Well, that's pretty much th case already for Linux, so thanks. Ok, the scheduler debate recently has highlighted some resistance to pluggable schedulers, but there are known ways to replace, and bundle for sale, a different scheduler. The GUI layer (HWND API??) can be replaced, albeit not so easily, but GTK/Gnome can be compiled for DirectFB instead of X, just by specifying a simple ./configure switch. As for filesystems, take your pick. I think they've even got Linux booting from NTFS nowadays, so even MS get a piece of the action. There's plenty of choice of window manager. It seems that Linux wins on consumer choice every time.

But all that is meaningless, It's not about 'big governments' conspiriting to topple this great example of good American capitalism, it's about making sure that people have choice, and if MS have manoeuvred themselved into a position where they are stifling free maket and consumer choice, even accidentally, then this must be rectified.

Remember, America isn't really the land of the free (in its strictest sense), there are laws to prevent certain behaviours, you aren't allowed to go out and shoot random people in the street, because it's accepted that freedom must be protected by law. The same is true of a free-market.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: APIs
by MollyC on Tue 18th Sep 2007 10:03 in reply to "RE[3]: APIs"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

It's fine that Linux allows interchangeable API for everything (seems it would drastically increase the size of the testing matrix for developers, but whatever). But do you say that government should mandate that all OSes behave like that?

As for your "It seems that Linux wins on consumer choice every time" statement, I think it's understood that consumers generally don't want choice, not on "complex" issues; they don't want to have to make a bunch of choices like "what file system should I use", "what memory manager should I use", etc.


"But all that is meaningless, It's not about 'big governments' conspiriting to topple this great example of good American capitalism, it's about making sure that people have choice, and if MS have manoeuvred themselved into a position where they are stifling free maket and consumer choice, even accidentally, then this must be rectified."

See http://www.osnews.com/permalink.php?news_id=18627&comment_id=272220 and learn that the EC commissioner disagrees with you. His goal isn't to provide more choice, it's to bring about a particular marketshare for a particular company, and until that happens, he will punish that particular company. In a scenario where everyone is able to compete equally (which is an impossibility; companies will always have advantages over others), but the vast majority chose Microsoft for whatever reason, the EC guy would consider that to be a failure on his part or to be abuse by Microsoft (almost by definition), and would enact further policies to bring about the marketshare that "we would like to see". In fact, the way he talks, if the EC mandated that 50% of consumers chose something besides Microsoft, then he would consider that a "good", even though that "good" came about by limiting choice rather than expanding it. Read carefully what he says in the link I provide above; it's truly scary stuff if you care about capatalism at all.

Edited 2007-09-18 10:05

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: APIs
by stestagg on Tue 18th Sep 2007 10:16 in reply to "RE[4]: APIs"
stestagg Member since:
2006-06-03

You're right, I was misusing terms.

By consumer choice, I was probably meaning market competition. You can't have an open, competing market with a >90% monopoly, especially when the >90% shareholder is acting anticompetitively. So my main closing argumen still stands, it's not about picking on Microsoft, but about opening up the marketplace.

We have a situation in the UK where a telecoms provider has a monopoly over broadband provision in a particular county because it uses non-standard cabling, and anti-competitive practices to maintain a stranglehold over the local market. Customers in that area pay over double the average prices, and god only knows what kind of service they get. No one saying that this company shouldn't be investigated by OFCOM.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: APIs
by SReilly on Tue 18th Sep 2007 11:59 in reply to "RE[4]: APIs"
SReilly Member since:
2006-12-28

I don't know if it's on purpose or not but it seems to me that you are taking what one EU anti trust commissioner says, quoting it out of context, putting your own spin on it and equating that with the rest of the EU. You also seem to be ignoring how MS attained 95% market share in the first place.

This case is not about 'Big Government' versus capitalism, it's about punishing a known abuser of illegally obtained market muscle, something that has everything to do with consumer choice.

I have several developer friends that develop for Windows exclusively and even they agree that, due to MS's illegal use of it's near monopoly position, the IT industry has lost ten years of innovation. Ten years! If that's not worth a slap down then I don't know what is.

I would be more inclined to agree with your analysis of the situation if this where an isolated ruling, but it really isn't. MS bought they're way out of having to deal with major concessions in the US, remember? To defend a company that is this guilty, for no reason but that you seem to like them, is completely absurd.

Reply Parent Score: 4