Microsoft will release new versions of its Windows operating system in South Korea on Thursday to comply with an antitrust ruling, a company source said Wednesday. South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission fined Microsoft USD 34 million in December, saying the world’s biggest software company breached antitrust laws by selling a version of Windows that incorporated its media player and instant messaging services. My take: This will join the ranks as another Windows version nobody bought.
Bare-Bones Windows To Arrive in South Korea
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2006-08-23 6:37 pmMollyC
In other words, Korea is imposing a policy that screws over their users. Given a choice, the consumers would not choose the “bare bones” version of Windows over the full version, so big government forces the bare-bones version down the public’s throat, forcing consumers to pay more for the version of Windows that they really want, or at least go through the hassle of downloading WMP and Windows Messenger.
(Actually, nobody uses Windows Messenger anyway; everyone downloads MSN Messegner, so a government policy banning bundling of Windows Messenger is irrelevant and shows how clueless big government is.)
And why is it that every other OS can bundle media players and messaging clients? This ruling is idiotic, but I don’t live in SK; if they want to screw their consumers, I guess that’s their business.
2006-08-23 6:54 pmanda_skoa
In other words, Korea is imposing a policy that screws over their users
I’d say it doesn’t, unless it is required not install any media player or messenger.
And why is it that every other OS can bundle media players and messaging clients?
You mean Apple? Or is there any other operating system vendor that also sells codecs and streaming technology?
This ruling is idiotic
I agree on this one, it would have been a lot better to require that either no codecs or all codecs are pre-installed, and in the first case that all codecs can be installed through the same user interaction.
My guess is that the solution to strip the media player is the one favored by Microsoft, because it will make the idea of the ruling look stupid, despite that it serves a good purpose.
2006-08-24 12:22 pmAlleister
Suse and any “Boxed” sold Linux Distro comes with MediaPlayers and instant Massengers. One even comes with PowerDVD… if they had a bigger marketshare, i bet WinDVD would sue them for that.
There is no critic about installed codecs, it *realy* is critic because of the mediaplayer application. Hey, i bet we all would have bought the crappy real-spyware-player instead of installing winamp if it wasen’t for that darn WMP.
Come on guys, i expect at least a Mediaplayer and Webbrowser to come with my OS.
2006-08-23 8:04 pmtwenex
And why is it that every other OS can bundle media players and messaging clients?
Every other OS is either marginal, and/or out of the box includes several media players and messaging clients, and/or includes several media players and messaging clients, none of which is authored by the OS vendor/distributor.
2006-08-23 8:40 pmFord Prefect
It’s not Korea that screws over the users, it’s Microsoft in first place. Because if you buy a Windows OS, you have to buy the media player with it. In theory, Windows without media player would have to be cheaper, as Windows without IE, too.
Windows prizes got higher and higher, as IE, media player, messenger are free.
You can clearly see that Microsoft is utilizing his monopoly to sell software people don’t necessary want but are forced to buy. Doing something against that is always good for the users. If it had been done in first place, or if Microsoft wouldn’t have the monopoly, Windows would be far cheaper, apps like browsers and media players would still be free.
2006-08-24 7:39 amrajan r
“In theory, Windows without media player would have to be cheaper, as Windows without IE, too.”
In other words, what you are suggesting is that the courts force every company to charge for every product it produces, instead of absorbing its cost into other products.
An extension of such logic is that cafes offering free WiFi should charge for it, and thus, make all their food and beverage offering cheaper, because not everyone uses WiFi. Likewise, clinics and dentists should charge a rent for magazines provided for their clients while waiting, and thus, reduce their rates.
In every market, business bundle freebies to products. Would Starbucks be considered anti-competitive if its free WiFi is considered to be an antitrust relation, an unfair advantage over business offering WiFi services standalone.
2006-08-24 9:57 amFord Prefect
You forgot to mention the world monopoly, which I clearly wrote about several times, didn’t you?
I’m free to choose to go to the cafe I want, whichever prices and additional services it has or not.
But nearly every one is forced into Windows and thus forced to buy every bundle, too. So Microsoft is exploiting its monopoly and in the long term gets new monopolys with it. And every user has to pay for it.
If the user would really be free in the choice of the OS, bundling additional software would be about competing in the market and it would be a real “freeby”. But because he can’t, it’s quite the opposite.
2006-08-25 1:07 amrajan r
As antitrust remedies in the United States and Europe have shown, Microsoft supposedly unchallegable monopolistic power is, well, non-existant. Microsoft is prohibited from punishing OEMs from bundling rival software like Real Player or AIM with their computers. OEMs are also allowed to disable whatever bundled Microsoft applications they want. In Europe, Microsoft is currently *required* to sell a version of Windows without Windows Media Player and a few other bits.
Yet, oddly enough, Windows Media Player keeps increasing in marketshare, mostly at the expense of Real.
My example earlier was to show bundling something extra into the whole deal is a common business practice *anywhere*.
And here’s another problem for your argument. There is, or at least, was free versions of Internet Explorer, Media Player and MSN Messenger for the Mac – therefore it can be assumed that the cost of all these products was absorbed by Office:mac – should Office users demand they get a lower price if they don’t use those products? What about the old version of IE that once was available for Solaris – where was the cost absorbed?
Nobody is sticking a gun to your head and forcing you to buy Windows – if you don’t like paying for something you don’t want, just don’t pay for it. Don’t buy Windows. Don’t buy a Windows-preloaded PC.
2006-08-24 6:30 amorfanum
Kunyang!! Uri han Hanguk manse!!!!
as soon as MS realeses a product that i dont have to spend HOURS ripping crap out of to make it reasonably secure i MIGHT start recomending peeple upgrade to that MS OS. now if they released a COMPLETLY stripped version of say, XP PRO here in the states, and it had a reasoanable price since it was a un-feture-full version, i would consider buying a copy an dual booting it for games. as is windows takes too much work to make into something i want to use. even 2k is a waste of my time.
2006-08-24 2:49 amhelf
blah blah blah, learn to spell, blah blah blah, spend 15 minutes with nLite.
In Korea now Windows Media Player will be on the same footing as QT or Real. If people still want to get it they can download it, just as with the competition. If they do choose to use it, it will be on the basis of features (or overabundance of .wmv, whatever) and not just because it happened to come with their computer.
In other words, it is forced to compete for their downloading interest rather than getting an unfair boost on 95% of desktops. If that leads to improvement, great. In that vein, who thinks Internet Explorer development would have stopped entirely for several years if it was just another option to be downloaded? We can see what great effect bundling it had: stagnation. Potential improvements to the no longer bundled apps will benefit consumers, and perhaps offset the inconvenience of having to download something, an inconvenience competing apps have always had anyway.
And why is it that every other OS can bundle media players and messaging clients?
This can’t really be that hard to understand. Microsoft has ~95% of the desktop market. When they bundle something, the competition dies/is severely diminished.
MS bundling IE led to the marginalization of Netscape and the long time browser monoculture. KDE bundling Konqueror or Apple bundling Safari wouldn’t have a similar effect due to their comparatively small shares.
The reason people object to MS bundling things is that they have a practical monopoly on the desktop OS market and can use that monopoly to push their way into/to the top of new markets.
That is of course leaving out all the arguments about how it is easy to remove Konqueror or Safari but for artificial reasons it has been impossible to remove IE. Another difference that must surely be obvious.
2006-08-24 12:37 amMollyC
So you think it’s fair to Real that Apple bundles QT with OSX and doesn’t bundle or even offer links to Real?
As for removing Safari, if you remove *all* of Safari (i.e. including WebKit), you’d screw other parts of the OS that relied on WebKit as well as third party apps that rely on it. This is NO different than IE on Windows.
Oh, and if you remove QT from OSX, you end up with a crippled OS, as many parts of OSX and apps rely on QT. This is NO different than WM support in Windows.
2006-08-24 3:05 pmhobgoblin
there is one small diffrence in that area, only apple sells machines that run the mac os.
now if only microsoft sold the machines that came bundled with wmp and ie, there would be no problem what so ever…
2006-08-24 12:47 amrajan r
“MS bundling IE led to the marginalization of Netscape and the long time browser monoculture. KDE bundling Konqueror or Apple bundling Safari wouldn’t have a similar effect due to their comparatively small shares.”
MS bundling of IE only quicken the demise of Netscape; if Netscape was a good product to begin with, it wouldn’t have sunk that quickly. The last I checked, Windows *still* bundles Internet Explorer – yet why does Firefox seem to go from strength to strength in the market?
Netscape could very well survive, even thrive, if it weren’t so incompetent. (For one, deciding on a 5-year rewrite of your main product in the heat of competition isn’t the brightest move. Making your next major release a slow and buggy Netscape 6 only hammer in more nails into the coffin).
This whole anti-trust thing is idiotic to me as average consumer. MS can bundle whatever they want with their OS, as long as they give option to uninstall it. Why govts make fuss about bundled IE, MP or other things? How come bundled IE, MP or WM prevents compitition, I never get it. People are free to install Realplayer, Yahoo messenger etc etc. and uninstall any of MS services..
On the other hand, most of modern linux distros(including ubuntu) comes with tons of bundled programs. And is there any easy way to uninstall OO in Ubuntu or similar distros? For that matter uninstalling any linux app is pain. apt-get remove doesnot solve problem. Does it not compormise antitrust laws? try to uninstall knoqureor ONLY and you are left with broken KDE. In fact many distros are in trouble over bundling propraitory multimedia linux drivers.
Does anyone sells brand new car, without radio or AC nowdays?? maybe Hundai will start
Edited 2006-08-23 19:13
2006-08-23 7:30 pmanda_skoa
How come bundled IE, MP or WM prevents compitition, I never get it
It’s not so difficult.
Media distribution has two involved parties, the one that distributes the content (provider) and the one who receives it (customer).
Any new provider has to decide on technology for distribution, e.g. streaming server, media formats, codec.
One of the deciding factors is how much effort a customer will have to install their side of the distribution channel.
If the effort is equal or almost equal for all available technologies, a provider can decide on things like price, performance, requirements, etc.
However, the current situation is that one technology (the one from Microsoft) is getting unfair help by the same companies operating system department, since that other department decided to pre-install the media technology and, through the large market share of the respective operating system, has it at “no effort” level available on a large part of a media provider’s customer base.
Since this makes it very difficult for other technologies to compete at all, market regulators try to find options to re-establish a fair market, where competitors have equal chances.
This should also answer your question why Linux distributions can bundle any number of media players: because the respective Linux distributor is neither also selling media distribution technology nor controlling most of the market.
Obvioulsy, in the unlikely event of for example Red Hat acquiring RealNetworks and getting to a similar market share at end user computers, similar regulations would be applied as well.
try to uninstall knoqureor ONLY and you are left with broken KDE
Highly unlikely on any Debian base system such as the mentioned Ubuntu, since konqueror is a package with only a small number of other packages depend on, usually just Konqueror plugin packages.
2006-08-23 7:53 pmjziegler
As for cars sold with radios… A good friend of mine recently bought a new car. His old one came with that standard sized slot, where you can put in and connect any car radio you liked. He had one, which played AM/FM radio stations, audio CDs, CDs with mp3 files _and_ mp3 files from a USB mass storage device.
His new car came with a built-in radio (no standard slot), which only plays audio CDs. Clearly a downgrade in features.
Having something built in / shipped by default is not always good.
Anti-trust and anti-monopoly laws, generally speaking, apply only to monopolies. Linux has no monopoly currently, so no legal way to invoke these laws. MS has a monopoly on desktop OSes. They reached it from zero, starting 25 years ago, IMHO they can rightly have it. The problem is, they are now using this OS monopoly to reach monopoly status in other parts of the market – codecs, streaming servers, instant messaging, web browsers. That is usually illegal, according to anti-monopoly laws.
It’s not illegal to build a monopoly from zero. What is illegal is using monopoly in one market segment to gain monopoly in a different market segment. And that’s what MS is doing with the bundled software. (At least this is how I understand anti-monopoly laws and the situation with MS).
Yes, knowledgable people will install other codecs, other media players, other IM programs. The majority of MS’s users, sadly, will not bother and only use what already is installed. If they _had_ to download _some_ media player, then Real or Apple (with QuickTime) would have some chance of getting noticed by these people.
2006-08-24 12:32 pmAnonymo
that is because you are using ubuntu. Use any slackware based distro and removing is as easy as eating yummy cake. mmm cake.
it’s difficult to buy that os becorse pc stores doesn’t sell it
This will join the ranks as another Windows version nobody bought.
IF “I really need a version of Windows” AND “This Windows XP-N is cheaper then regular XP”, I would buy that.
Luckily, already the first condition evaluates as “false”. Even if it evaluated “true”, I would probably run those Windows in an virtualized environment, do only the necessary minimum in Windows and do my media and IM and web browsing tasks on my primary OS, which is not Windows. And even if I had to run them as the main / only OS for some reason, I’d use GAIM, Firefox and VLC.
Of course I would not bother, if some other version of Windows was cheaper.
2006-08-24 12:26 ammiscz
AFAIK the second condition also evaluates false. It was pretty silly mistake that EU did :/
Nobody here knows the situation in Korea and talking blah blah blah.
It isn’t common among Koreans to use WMP for playing multimedia files anyway. They have choices than WMP like Adrenalin and GOM player. I haven’t seen any Korean with either one of those players installed because they are superior to WMP by bundling codecs and other features. I myself, a BSD-fanboy as well use Adrenalin on Windows to play all mulitimedia files.
Also almost no one these days use Windows Messenger. It’s just taking space, you know. There’s MSN Messenger Live. However, Koreans frequently use another messenger other than Microsoft’s messenger like BudyBudy(normally school kids use) or NATEOn Messenger which can be integrated with Cyworld, the most popular social engineering site in Korea.(there’s US version too, but Cyworld itself is too much for only Asians’ tastes, I rekon.)
Therefore I think this is no problem at all..
This morning I read in the newspaper that this Friday Microsoft will be Windows XP in the Quechua (or is it Quichua? Not sure) language in Bolivia. This is pretty ironic, since the parts of the population that actually speak this language either live whithout electricity way out in the field and can’t read or write or have never even seen the US$ 249 that MS is charging for a boxed set of XP or the US$ 149 they charge for XP OEM (both Home versions). This will absolutely have no future whatsoever, but at least MS can say that they’re trying to target everyone.
“They reached it from zero, starting 25 years ago, IMHO they can rightly have it.”
Well I’d say not without its dirty tricks. But I wasn’t going to go into that.]
What we have here is a government that is critical of monopolies. South-Korea knows a lot about that because it has produced a few huge corporations (Samsung, Hyundai, LG) that together form a rather monopolistic economy.
Then, Korea is to my knowledge the most advanced country as far as broadband internet, computer gaming, etc. is concerned. So people know what software is about.
Furthermore, many Koreans dislike American attempts to achieve economic supremacy in Korea. There are many Linux users and companies, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it would be the first country to toss MS out altogether.
Unlike here in Holland where our PM thinks Bill Gates is a very cool guy, Korea actually did something about MS OEM policy. A small, not ground shaking, but significant thing. I hope their next step is promoting OS software in schools.
If you read the article, it says that MS will be able to sell both bundled and unbundled versions of Windows; however, the bundled version will bring up a webpage with links to rival products. That seems reasonable to me because, ultimately, the consumer can make the choice about what is best for him/her. If the Korean government had simply banned the bundled versions of Windows outright, that would have been pretty bad for consumers because, at least in my experience, few consumers are inclined to download alternatives. They simply use whatever comes with their OS. They don’t download a ton of additional cr*p. Granted, Koreans aren’t Americans, so that may not hold true for their country; however, if that dynamic were true, then what is the point of this antitrust case?
2006-08-24 12:34 amMollyC
OK, that sounds more reasonable.
Do a poll amongst your country’s heavy media player and instant messenging crowd: How many, exactly, are using Windows Media Player 7.x (which comes with Windows XP) or Windows Messenger? Because downloading and installing a newer version of WMP as well as MSN/Live Messenger probably takes slightly, almost insignificantly less effort as downloading and installing competing software.
Also, do a poll amongst your IM population: how many using MSN/Live/Windows Messenger do so largely because it came with their PCs?
It’s not as if that Microsoft tilt the market so much to its favour that competitors have no hope to compete fairly; because if so, I must wonder quite earnestly – why is it that Quicktime/iTunes seem to be rising in market share?
hmmm i was at the office (and was in hurry) to write previous comment and there were several mistakes on writing! but i don’t know how to edit. so please bear that in mind who have read it. is it only me that do not know how to edit? lol
… because Microsoft is not allowed to sell OEM versions with bundled Media Player and Messenger.
Who wants the bundled version will have to buy a boxed edition of Windows.