Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 18th Jul 2012 21:12 UTC
Windows The moment Microsoft announced it would lock other browsers out of being installed on Windows RT, we all knew regulatory bodies the world over were wringing their hands. Today, this has been confirmed: in the wake of an investigation into Microsoft not complying with the existing antitrust rulings regarding browser choice, the EU has also announced it's investigating Windows 8 x86 and Windows 8 RT (ARM).
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How to restore competition
by benali72 on Wed 18th Jul 2012 22:11 UTC
benali72
Member since:
2008-05-03

I don't know about the EU, but in the US the courts have consistently missed the real problem in regards to Microsoft. MS has a monopoly in laptop/desktop operating systems due to their undue leverage over OEMs. They've used this leverage to threaten OEMs that don't support Windows 100% (for example, by levying the "MS Tax" on every computer sold rather than every Windows copy sold, by threatening to cut off suppliers that don't follow MS's dictates, etc).

Until the courts solve this problem, the underlying reason for Microsoft's Windows monopoly, everything else is a sideshow.

Reply Score: 9

RE: How to restore competition
by shmerl on Thu 19th Jul 2012 00:26 in reply to "How to restore competition"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Very true.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: How to restore competition
by kaiwai on Thu 19th Jul 2012 08:25 in reply to "How to restore competition"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't know about the EU, but in the US the courts have consistently missed the real problem in regards to Microsoft. MS has a monopoly in laptop/desktop operating systems due to their undue leverage over OEMs. They've used this leverage to threaten OEMs that don't support Windows 100% (for example, by levying the "MS Tax" on every computer sold rather than every Windows copy sold, by threatening to cut off suppliers that don't follow MS's dictates, etc).

Until the courts solve this problem, the underlying reason for Microsoft's Windows monopoly, everything else is a sideshow.


In all due respects the dominance of Windows remains because there is a lack of an alternative operating system with the same depth and breadth of hardware and software support that the Windows ecosystem has. Until there is a viable alternative things won' change and all the court punishments in the world is merely punishing a company in a dominant position because the alternatives are either too expensive, too constrictive or just plain crap.

Reply Parent Score: 2

adkilla Member since:
2005-07-07

Whether Windows is the only thing viable or not, why can't any consumer or business buy a desktop or laptop without paying for Windows from any major supplier? What if I already have a copy of Windows or need to downgrade to something else? Do you know that there are many enterprises spending money on unused Windows 7 licenses because they can no longer purchase an XP downgrade with each new system they buy?

Reply Parent Score: 5

Johnny Member since:
2009-08-15

"In all due respects the dominance of Windows remains because there is a lack of an alternative operating system with the same depth and breadth of hardware and software support that the Windows ecosystem has."

What is fascinating to me about your quote is how when it comes to the smart phone market, it's Microsoft that can't seem to be get any market share. Does anyone seriously believe that Microsoft doesn't have the same depth and breadth of hardware and software support that the Android ecosystem has? Seriously? Doesn't Microsoft at least have more depth and breadth of hardware support that Apple's iphone?

I think what Microsoft's terrible performance in the smart phone market in spite of being a gigantic software company does is to validate 2 statements:

1) (Almost) Nobody wants to do business with Microsoft in the phone market, both maker and consumer. A good question is to ask why this is so.

2) If it wasn't for their anti-competitive Microsoft tax on every CPU shipped by hardware OEMs, discounts to OEMs who didn't install other OSes, and ensuring during the 90's that no OEM bootloader was pre-installed for other OSes, Microsoft wouldn't have gotten their PC monopoly.

I'm satisfied by their own performance in the phone market that the only way they could have succeeded was by their at least unsavory business practices. This whole thing with UEFI for Arm based tablets is just their 90's strategy of excluding other operating systems forcibly rehashed again.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: How to restore competition
by ronaldst on Thu 19th Jul 2012 18:49 in reply to "How to restore competition"
ronaldst Member since:
2005-06-29

Let the people fix the competition "problem". The government needs to stay out of people's way. What government needs to do is lower barriers to entry by eliminating/fixing the bogus patent system, decreasing the paperwork and lowering taxes.

Silly things like ballot boxes, sharing APIs, N versions, "predatory" pricing arguments only exist to waste people's precious time/money, further career politician and grow wasteful bureaucracies.

Reply Parent Score: -1

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

ronaldst,


"Let the people fix the competition "problem". The government needs to stay out of people's way. What government needs to do is lower barriers to entry by eliminating/fixing the bogus patent system, decreasing the paperwork and lowering taxes."

Minimal government is nice, but without some kind of regulation you end up with corporations who are willing and able to abuse the lack of corporate oversight to the detriment of everyone else and even competition itself will suffer. The trick is to find the right balance, and not to overshoot.

"Silly things like ballot boxes, sharing APIs, N versions, 'predatory' pricing arguments only exist to waste people's precious time/money, further career politician and grow wasteful bureaucracies."

It may seem silly to you, but the very existence of many small/medium tech companies may ride on things like fair market access and APIs. Large corps are willing and able to lock up the entire industry. They'd strongarm OEMs and hijack standards to control what OEMS may sell. They'd add hardware restrictions to extend their control over end users as well. They'd render competing products ineffective and incompatible. History has shown time and time again that without regulation large corporations become abusive bullies who will use sheer size to dominate the markets rather than innovation or merit.

Capitalism is great, I love it...but it needs to be played on a level playing field.

Reply Parent Score: 3