Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 10th May 2012 18:06 UTC
Windows Both Mozilla and Google have expressed concern over Windows 8. Microsoft's next big operating system release restricts access to certain APIs and technologies browsers need - only making them available to Internet Explorer. Looking at the facts, it would seem Mozilla and Google have a solid case - coincidentally, the responses on the web are proof of the slippery slope we're on regarding ownership over our own machines.
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RE[7]: Comment by shmerl
by Alfman on Sat 12th May 2012 14:29 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by shmerl"
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

MollyC,

I've noticed you have a couple inaccuracies in your posts. In one, you mentioned that microsoft wouldn't have been deemed a monopoly if macs had been using x86.

http://www.osnews.com/thread?517726

I know different places define "monopoly" differently, but in the US a monopoly doesn't have to be absolute in order to be subject to anti-trust, having 50% market share is the line we use. Apple's processor selection would not have made a difference.


"I don't think anyone could argue that WinRT is a 'monopoly' operating system. It can't run any of the x86 Win32 apps in existence, so the idea that it is a monopoly OS just because x86 Windows was deemed as such is absurd. How can it be a monopoly OS when it can't run any of the apps currently in existence?"


Well, the thing is if microsoft is found to be abusing it's *existing* monopoly power to break into new markets, then antitrust law can still be applied for predatory practices. In the browser case, it wasn't IE's market share which got microsoft in trouble, it was the exploitation of their windows monopoly to crush netscape in a different market, which is an antitrust no-no.

Again this is just in the US, I don't know about elsewhere.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[8]: Comment by shmerl
by MollyC on Sat 12th May 2012 20:14 in reply to "RE[7]: Comment by shmerl"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

MollyC,

I've noticed you have a couple inaccuracies in your posts. In one, you mentioned that microsoft wouldn't have been deemed a monopoly if macs had been using x86.

http://www.osnews.com/thread?517726

I know different places define "monopoly" differently, but in the US a monopoly doesn't have to be absolute in order to be subject to anti-trust, having 50% market share is the line we use. Apple's processor selection would not have made a difference.


I'm not a legal expert, but I've read other analysis saying that the DOJ intentionally chose a market definition that would rule out Macs. Just as they narrowed the market to rule out server operating systems too. As I said, one of the reasons Microsoft bailed out Apple was to keep it alive as competition so that it would be harder to argue that Microsoft had a monopoly. The DOJ got around that by narrowing the market to exclude Macs (which ran on PPC rather than x86 at the time). I can't prove that had Macs been considered a competitor to Windows that the ruling would've been different, but there's been lots of speculation to that effect, Microsoft believed it to be so (since they kept Apple alive for that purpose (among others)), and the DOJ believed it so (since they intentionally narrowed the market defintion to exclude Macs).


"I don't think anyone could argue that WinRT is a 'monopoly' operating system. It can't run any of the x86 Win32 apps in existence, so the idea that it is a monopoly OS just because x86 Windows was deemed as such is absurd. How can it be a monopoly OS when it can't run any of the apps currently in existence?"


Well, the thing is if microsoft is found to be abusing it's *existing* monopoly power to break into new markets, then antitrust law can still be applied for predatory practices. In the browser case, it wasn't IE's market share which got microsoft in trouble, it was the exploitation of their windows monopoly to crush netscape in a different market, which is an antitrust no-no.

Again this is just in the US, I don't know about elsewhere.


What "existing monopoly" is Microsoft using? WinRT cannot run any Windows x86 app. It is not compatible with the Windows x86 OS. What, is it just hte name "windows" that is the issue? Lots of help that has given to WP7 (I'd argue the name "Windows" hurts WP7 if anything).

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[9]: Comment by shmerl
by MollyC on Sat 12th May 2012 20:28 in reply to "RE[8]: Comment by shmerl"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

Let me repeat: If things go as they are right now, there will be two kinds of tablets that will be able to run Firefox/Chrome: Android tablets and Windows 8 x86 tablets (the latter will run both desktop and Metro versions of Firefox/Chrome). There will be two kinds of tablets that will NOT run Firefox/Chrome, and those are WinRT tablets and iPads.

So, if a user wants to run Firefox or Chrome on a tablet device, there is absolutely nothing preventing that user from buying an Android tablet or a Windows 8 x86 tablet over a WinRT tablet and over an iPad. WinRT does not have market power such that the user would feel forced to get a WinRT tablet over both an Android tablet and a Windows 8 x86 tablet. Thus the user is not going to be forced by WinRT's market power into going without Chrome/Firefox on a tablet device.

Specifically, if a user wants to run FireFox/Chrome on a tablet, she can choose an Android tablet. If the user wants to run Chrome/Firefox on a tablet AND needs Windows apps too, then the user can get a Windows 8 x86 tablet. WinRT's market power is too weak (by far) to compel the user to choose it over BOTH Android and WIndows 8 x86, so WinRT's market power is too weak to force a user to do without Firefox/Chrome on tablets. That's why there is no issue here. Now, maybe the EU will make an issue of it out of pure vindictiveness, but that's another matter.

P.S.
Note that unlike WinRT, iPad's market power just might BE great enough to compel a user to get an iPad over other tablets, and thus compel the user to have to go without Chrome/Firefox on tablets, but since Apple is the golden chid of the tech media world, nobody raises a fuss over that.)

P.P.S.
There will be other forms of tablets too, that I left out to simplify the discussion, such as Blackberry tablets and ChromeOS tablets. I don't know if Blackberry tablets run Firefox or Chrome. ChromeOS tablets will run Chrome (by definition), but I assume ChromeOS will not run Firefox, since Firefox isn't a web app.

Edited 2012-05-12 20:39 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[9]: Comment by shmerl
by Alfman on Sun 13th May 2012 00:15 in reply to "RE[8]: Comment by shmerl"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

MollyC,

"As I said, one of the reasons Microsoft bailed out Apple was to keep it alive as competition so that it would be harder to argue that Microsoft had a monopoly. The DOJ got around that by narrowing the market to exclude Macs (which ran on PPC rather than x86 at the time)."

I'll believe you on the first part, the fall of apple could have made things worse for microsoft. But I don't think the second part has merit since even including linux & apple desktops wouldn't have changed microsoft's standing as a monopoly in the US.

"What 'existing monopoly' is Microsoft using? WinRT cannot run any Windows x86 app. It is not compatible with the Windows x86 OS. What, is it just hte name 'windows' that is the issue?"

Don't you think microsoft's monopoly has given it unique abilities to influence the ARM market? Focusing on just one instance...the EUFI secure boot fiasco is pretty clear cut in my opinion, and I predict the DOJ will get involved, but the trouble is they're a reactive body and won't step in until long after the damage is already done. Also, if it's anything like the last antitrust trial, it'll just be a slap on the hand.

Technically secure boot was very cleverly designed such that it's next to impossible to distribute keys to owners without also distributing them to hackers. Such flaws could have easily been fixed in the spec, and any engineer worth his salt could have done better, but I think it was a brilliant move by MS to make owner control over EUFI on a wide scale unpalatable. Now, even if the DOJ intervenes, it won't be able to force secure boot keys to be returned to the owners without suddenly compromising it.

I think it's plausible that microsoft has analyzed the cost/benefit ratios and could be knowingly violating antitrust law as a calculated risk. Hopefully for them this time the executives are wise enough not to leave trails to trace their guilt. Yep it's a serious allegation but I don't think MS is trustworthy enough to rule it out.

Reply Parent Score: 3