Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 26th Mar 2014 14:48 UTC
Legal

In early March, 2007, as Google was expanding fast and furiously, one of its recruiters from the "Google.com Engineering" group made a career-ending mistake: She cold-contacted an Apple engineer by email, violating the secret and illegal non-solicitation compact that her boss, Eric Schmidt, had agreed with Apple's Steve Jobs.

What happened next is just one of many specific examples of how people's lives were impacted by the Techtopus wage-theft cartel that was taken down by the Department of Justice antitrust division, and is currently being litigated in a landmark class action lawsuit.

This story sent shivers down my spine. What a bunch of horrible, unethical scumbags. Sadly, their criminal behaviour won't really have any meaningful consequences. These people reside above the law.

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Sabon
Member since:
2005-07-06

And I'll add in what Microsoft did during the 80's through the early 2000s where they forced OEMs to ONLY install MS OSs on their machines. They are still shy about letting you buy a computer from the big companies with Linux or anything else on them. Microsoft is just as dirty as everyone else.

Reply Parent Score: 3

bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

I'm sorry but I have a REAL problem with this because it comes very close to saying "the government is allowed to set prices" which if your government is anything like we have in the states is a BAD idea.

I mean did you read the actual court papers? or did you just go by what others wrote? Because I read the court papers and while they should have gotten busted (I argue should have been broken up) over the "Windows isn't done until Lotus won't run" and the rigging of Windows to throw bogus errors when DR-DOS was detected the OEM deal should not have even been an issue and the reason why should be obvious...if I have a bucket of bolts and I sell them to you for $10 and Joe for $5 the government shouldn't be able to penalize me for that because ITS MY PRODUCT and I should be able to sell it to whomever I want for whatever price I want!

At the end of the day the OEM deals were VERY simple...if you agree to sell my product exclusively I cut you a discount....that's it, that is all the OEM deals ended up being. Note that this is completely different than Intel providing kickbacks(and according to Toshiba execs outright bribes) to OEMs that didn't buy AMD , and is no different than the deals companies like Gamestop get from publishers where they get exclusive DLC and money for marketing to push a release over the competition.

So while I agree MSFT should have been busted frankly the OEM deals were NOT the smoking gun, and companies that wanted to sell other systems could still buy all the Windows licenses they wanted, they just didn't get the discount the exclusive dealers got....I really don't see how anybody can argue that is unfair.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

bassbeast,

...the OEM deal should not have even been an issue and the reason why should be obvious...if I have a bucket of bolts and I sell them to you for $10 and Joe for $5 the government shouldn't be able to penalize me for that because ITS MY PRODUCT and I should be able to sell it to whomever I want for whatever price I want!


You may hold this opinion, but in microsoft's case the problem was that they were doing it as a monopoly against antitrust law. This places restrictions on what they can do that they'd otherwise be able to do. As a regular business entity, you can still sell your bucket of bolts to whoever you like for however much you think they'll pay. In a healthy market, if you don't charge a fair price, consumers will simply go elsewhere. Remember that antitrust law came about to break up the exclusive deals that made it impossible not to deal with the monopolies on whatever terms they set, regardless of harm caused to competitors. I think a historical backdrop is invaluable in understanding the issue. I know the following is a long quote, but it's important in understanding the two sides of this issue.


http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/publication/2008/04/2008...


Although few companies actually adopted the form of a "trust," the term rapidly became the catchword in public debate over the government's role in a time of such industrial concentration. Some saw increasing industrial concentration as natural and beneficial. Steel baron Andrew Carnegie said that "this overpowering irresistible tendency toward aggregation of capital and increase of size ... cannot be arrested." Even the progressive-minded journalist Lincoln Steffens remarked: "Trusts are natural, inevitable growths out of our social and economic conditions. ... You cannot stop them by force, with laws."

Others saw it differently. They believed that only legal reform could assure a modicum of free competition and a fair distribution of wealth and power among larger and smaller firms. As pressure for reform mounted, some states took legal action against trusts, as they became universally known. But efforts by progressives to break up trusts failed because, like Standard Oil at the time, they could simply move to less reform-minded states with more permissive commercial laws.

As it became clear that states could not or would not curtail the growth of trusts of all types, Congress held hearings on how it might address the issue. In 1888, Senator John Sherman of Ohio introduced his anti-trust bill and declared:

The popular mind is agitated with problems that may disturb social order, and among them all none is more threatening than ... the concentration of capital into vast combinations. ... Congress alone can deal with them and if we are unwilling or unable there will soon be a trust for every product and a master to fix the price for every necessity of life.
...

In particular, the two men from Ohio – Sherman and Rockefeller – disagreed sharply over the prospect and the wisdom of turning the tide of increasing industrial concentration. Rhetorically, they were both speaking in favor of "free competition." But free competition held different meanings for them. For Senator Sherman, it signified competition free from domination by private economic power. It meant that free markets require limits on monopolies, cartels, and similar economic restraints. Rockefeller believed in competition free from government regulation and called for an absolute freedom of contract.

Reply Parent Score: 4