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).
Thread beginning with comment 527314
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE: How to restore competition
by kaiwai on Thu 19th Jul 2012 08:25 UTC 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

kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

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?


Enterprise customers right now can purchase directly and not have an operating system installed.

Regarding consumers - it has always been a problem and I really can't see much being done to resolve it until there is a way to force vendors to offer a BTO of not having an operating system installed. I know back when i purchased my Dell desktop I requested Windows 98SE not to be installed because I already had a copy of Microsoft Windows 2000 and I was hoping to save a few bucks - sorry, I wasn't allowed to ask for a computer with no operating system. IMHO things won't really improve in that area until there is more transparency also in the pricing of Windows but like the above I doubt it'll happen anytime soon.

Reply Parent Score: 3

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Because believe it or not, it actually probably costs more money to do that, than offer it without.

They have to be stored separately, warehouse room made for them, the inventory system has to be made separately ... etc. etc. etc.

It constantly frustrates me that those who want to run an alternative operating system, won't make the effort to buy from those manufacturers that cater for them.

Reply Parent Score: 2

bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

Uhhh...you can? And have been able to for several years now? Go to the HP enterprise website and see for yourself, you can order with Windows, with Red Hat or with no OS at all if you desire. this covers desktops, laptops and servers and last I checked Dell did so as well and I believe so too does Lenovo.

And as for downgrades that is "software assurance" and not only is it 100% legal (since no law says MSFT has to continue supporting products they no longer sell) but any company is free not to buy it if they so choose, they can simply run Win 7 or Linux or whatever they want, they simply can't demand free licenses to old software. BTW I don't like the new Adobe Photoshop, where is the outrage that I can't run the older version that I don't have a license for for free?

As for why they do it that is simple, as someone who has supported those kinds of businesses it is because they developed a mission critical relationship with software that frankly is either poorly supported or in some cases not supported at all anymore. Again that is their choice and MSFT doesn't have to give them a way to run Windows XP at all. In fact last I checked (its been a few years) you could go back as far as Win9X with a SA or MSDN license. I know that I had to keep building new old stock Win2K systems for a company whose graphic designers had tons of in house scripts for Macomedia XRes which took ages to convert over to Coral and Adobe.

So I'm sorry but these complaints are simply crazy. Apple doesn't sell you a license for OSX 10.1 anymore and nobody complains, yet MSFT offers to sell you licenses to old software they haven't sold in years and that is bad? Nobody forces anyone to stick with the old version, nobody forces them to buy Windows over Linux or no OS, it is their choice to do so.

Reply Parent Score: 3

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

kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

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?


What an interesting quote given you ignored what I was replying to - lets quote it and put in bold so your brain can process it more clearly:

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).


The reply was in regards to Windows on the the desktop/laptop (their traditional markets) and why an alternative hasn't emerged.

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.


Or it could be simpler than that - Microsoft has a disjointed stop-and-start history when it comes to phones and tablets. For hardware companies the margins are razor thin at the best of times so I hardly blame any of them from being sceptical when it comes to ideas coming out of a company that has a reputation for not always sticking with something for the long term. Then there is the issue regarding the incredibly limited range of hardware that Windows Phone 7 supported with vendors asking why even spend money on designing devices that are going to be stuck with 4 year old components and unable to compete with Android and iPhone especially when it comes to the consumer market with games growing in popularity.

Regarding your point 2) regarding the discount given to those who went exclusive, how is that any different to any other organisation that is on the market? I know right now there are large food processing companies who pay supermarkets for prominent positions on the shelf (eye level is buy level as the old saying goes). I remember in Australia there were surf shops who were paid a bonus if the kept a competitor out of their retail store and exclusively stocked their particular brand - again, it is hardly an unheard of practice. When it comes to what Microsoft did - nothing stopped the OEM from absorbing the higher cost at the time because I know white box vendors at least where I was offered dual boot configurations etc. but the differences is they gave you the non-supercheap OEM copy since the small whitebox vendors couldn't apply for the discount since it was only for the big players.

Reply Parent Score: 3

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

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:
[...]
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.

That is still myth-forming, no matter how hard you want to believe it now. Sure, MS often also played dirty (who didn't or wouldn't try, given the opportunity?) - but when Windows took over, it was simply by far the most viable option, others were a mess: http://www.osnews.com/thread?522221

And FFS, there is nothing in the whole UEFI thing that would stop OEMs from shipping the exact same hardware with some other OS.

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?
[...]
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.

Yes, seriously. Your confusion here comes from missing the most important party - mobile carriers.

Truth is, carriers very much dislike how Apple managed to strongarm large part of control from them (and BTW, Apple forces a device locked to one OS, too... as do, really, Android vendors). They don't want to repeat that mistake with MS, Android is about them, the carriers being in control (not the OS maker, manufacturer, or consumer) ...just like in the good old days of mobile phones.

Reply Parent Score: 2