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[6]: APIs
by MollyC on Tue 18th Sep 2007 17:15 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: APIs"
Member since:

"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 recall differently.
I recall that the Unix wars are what stagnated the IT industry, during which Microsoft came from behind and passed Unix by while Unix vendors were fighting among themselves. I also recall that when Unix vendors were pricing their C-compilers at $1000 (I specifically remember Sun's compiler from back in the day.) Just a compiler, not an IDE. The Unix guys were fighting with each other and milking their customers at high prices, not innovating or advancing the IT industry at all until they realized that they had to compete with Microsoft (by then, Microsoft had passed them by). Apple, of course, was content to sell high-margin computers to their selective clientelle, so they weren't doing much to force the Unix guys to innovate either.

I recall in the late 80s, talking with a Sun employee that mocked my Mac, calling it a toy and whatnot. He was concerned with fighting with other Unixes and big iron mainframes and crushing what was left of the Lisp machine market, and assumed that Unix workstations would rule the roost simply "because". But ten years later, the Unix workstation market was largely where it was when I was talking with that Sun employee 10 years before; they had faster CPUs and bigger harddrives, but that's about it. The big difference between the late 80's and late 90's was that Microsoft came from behind, began to outcompete the Unixes on their own turf, and only then, did the Unixes get off their rear and start trying to move forward. At that point, Linux began destroying the Unixes, not through innovation, but throug "free", and that was all she wrote.

Blaming Microsoft for stagnating the industry is absurd when you consider what its competitors were doing in the 80's and 90's.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[7]: APIs
by SReilly on Tue 18th Sep 2007 22:49 in reply to "RE[6]: APIs"
SReilly Member since:

Blaming Microsoft for stagnating the industry is absurd when you consider what its competitors were doing in the 80's and 90's.

Sure, the big Unix vendors where shooting themselves in the foot, I'm not going to argue against that point.

Does it make MS's actions right? No, it doesn't.

So, yet again, you are avoiding the point.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[8]: APIs
by MollyC on Wed 19th Sep 2007 21:12 in reply to "RE[7]: APIs"
MollyC Member since:

How am I "avoiding the point"? You said that Microsoft's illegal activities put the industry back by 10 years, and that in itself deserved a "slapdown". But you provided no supporting evidence other than, "That's what my friends said". Since you provided no points for me to refute, I argued against what I could. That the Unix guys stagnated IT industry to a far greater extent than Microsoft ever did. If Microsoft deserves a "slapdown" for holding the industry back ten years (which I don't buy for a second; in fact the opposite could be argued), then what do the Unix vendors deserve? ;)

If you present explicit evidence of Microsoft holding the industry back by 10 years through illegal action, then we can talk about it. But don't just say, "My friends said so-and-so", then claim that I'm avoiding the point.

Edited 2007-09-19 21:17

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[8]: APIs
by MollyC on Wed 19th Sep 2007 21:35 in reply to "RE[7]: APIs"
MollyC Member since:

A follow-up to my previous response:

That reminds me, I want to address something that you said, "To defend a company that is this guilty, for no reason but that you seem to like them, is completely absurd."

First, you act like this is a criminal case, where guilt is proved "beyond a reasonable doubt" by a unanimous jury. These are civil matters, where the burden of proof is the much lesser "preponderance of evidence", which is 50% + 1 of the evidence. So I don't buy into your "a company this guilty" rhetoric, when the evidence can so easily go either way.

Second, as I said in my previous post, I don't consider a company "guilty" when they did things that any other company would do, only to be told years later that the rules had changed at some unspecified time in the past.

Third, you act like these cases are about good vs evil. Civil antitrust law has NOTHING to do with morality. It only has to do with trying to maintain a vibrant economy for competitors and consumers, and it has been deemed that a dominant player must play under special rules to maintain that vibrant system. Running afoul of those special rules is deemed bad for the economy but not "evil". I tire of the "evil" rhetoric and the "a company this guilty" rhetoric. (In the US, the term "guilty" doesn't even apply to civil cases, BTW.)

Fourth, I don't consider courts infallible, and take issue with debating tactics that are based on "the court said so". You're not American, so maybe you don't know of cases such as "Plessy vs Ferguson" and "The Dred Scott Decision" and other truly horrible miscarriages of justice that have occured through the judicial process.

The DOJ case, IMO was bull and Jackson was an idiot, and the appeals court said as much. They said they didn't have the authority to rule on the validity of the "Findings of Fact" but they did have the ability to rule on his "remedies" and his conduct, and he was slapped down on both of those counts, not only having his remedies thrown out, but removing Jackson from the case altogether to have the remedy phase retried before a more impartial and more competent judge, with much narrower guidelines than Jackson used (which is why the DOJ settled, because they knew they couldn't get harsh remedies under the new guidelines).

The EC case is all the more absurd (mandating the creation of XP-N? Are you serious??), and is an example of government abuse more than anything else. MS and Real had settled their differences, so why is WMP even still an issue? Why is XP-N still mandated? The server protocol issue is coming very close to what is known as a "taking" whereby the government simply declares that they have the right to take something from a party. In the EC case, the government wants to "take" ActiveDirectory and give it to Microsoft's competitors. In the US, such takings are required to be accompanied by just compensation, but not only is the EU not going to compenstate Microsoft for the the taking of ActiveDirectory IP, they are not allowing Microsoft to charge a fair licensing fee for the tech in question.

I am not defending a company because I like them, I am arguing that the company, despite being found liable of violating antitrust laws, is not "evil", and I am arguing that the entire antitrust system is fundamentally broken what with the retroactive declarations of "monopoly" and the un-explicitness of the rules of conduct for monopolies. Reminds me of Kafka's "The Trial".

Edited 2007-09-19 21:43

Reply Parent Score: 2