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but mommy SAID i could!!!!!
March 23, 2004 9:10 AM   Subscribe

Microsoft Corp. accused the European Union on Tuesday of going too far in seeking a record fine of about $615 million against the software giant for alleged antitrust abuses, saying it was being penalized for behavior permitted in the United States.
posted by quonsar (111 comments total)

 
emphasis provided. i'm sure they meant "behavior purchased in the US".
posted by quonsar at 9:11 AM on March 23, 2004


Isn't that just pocket change for Gates? Is he worried about the precedent?
posted by amberglow at 9:13 AM on March 23, 2004


That's the best they could come up with?

Someone needs to give them an atlas and a whack with the clue stick.
posted by bshort at 9:14 AM on March 23, 2004


"We believe it's unprecedented and inappropriate for the Commission to impose a fine on a company's U.S. operations when those operations are already regulated by the U.S. government," Gutierrez said. "The conduct at issue has been permitted by both the U.S. Department of Justice and a U.S. court."

Nothing in the article makes it clear if this is true or not, but -- if true -- it would be an important distinction.
posted by probablysteve at 9:18 AM on March 23, 2004


It's about the precedent. It might be enough to make other governments grow a pair. It's also about operational efficiency. To avoid infringing they'd have to maintain multiple codebases.

I love this other defense: "The company also argued it could not have known its behavior would infringe EU law and thus it should not be fined at all."

I'll use that the next time I'm doing 70 mph in a 30 mph zone, I am sure it will go over well.
posted by substrate at 9:20 AM on March 23, 2004


Murray called on the Bush administration to "engage" the EU in settling the case.

"The EU has now directly attacked the authority of the United States and our economy in general," she said in a statement late Monday. "American jobs and economic interests are threatened."


*cough*
posted by quonsar at 9:24 AM on March 23, 2004


"But Mom, all the other kids' moms are letting them monopolize!"
posted by tommasz at 9:31 AM on March 23, 2004


that pimply faced kid who delivers your newspaper could be a linux using terrist. or a european. we at meepzorp.com urge our readers to contact DHS immediately.
posted by quonsar at 9:37 AM on March 23, 2004


i guess im an idiot...

would some one explain how everyone buying microsoft windows means that microsoft can't sell windows how they want?

our dependance on them gives us a right to control them?

Would this mean that if there were calculator software makers with enough money, they could sue microsoft to get them to stop selling their OS with calculator included?
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 9:38 AM on March 23, 2004


<angrymodem> EU ---> (_(_)=======D (_(_| <--- microsoft
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:38 AM on March 23, 2004


For those of you who haven't bee following the case, just follow this handy diagram.
EU ---> (_(_)=======D (_(_| < --- microsoft

posted by angry modem at 9:40 AM on March 23, 2004


oh, hi steve.
posted by angry modem at 9:40 AM on March 23, 2004


would some one explain to Tryptophan-5ht that Microsoft is calling for the Bush administration to "engage" the EU, which has suddenly, heartlessly, cruelly, and with malice aforethought attacked the authority of the united states and it's economy in general, and therefore, given recent precedent, no less than two (2) european countries must be invaded in the near future?
posted by quonsar at 9:43 AM on March 23, 2004


Oh No! The dreaded #mefi double post!
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:46 AM on March 23, 2004


CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those of the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Italian law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned....

Cry me a river oh yee arrogant (fellow) Americans at Microsoft. on preview: Maybe this can help you Tryptophan.
posted by romakimmy at 9:46 AM on March 23, 2004


Dammit hit post instead of preview again: Emphasis on above is mine.
posted by romakimmy at 9:47 AM on March 23, 2004


would some one explain how everyone buying microsoft windows means that microsoft can't sell windows how they want?

Sure. "Everyone" buying it makes it a monopoly. Monopolies, for good reason, are prohibited from some of the same actions which, taken by non-monopoly companies, would be perfectly legal. This is to prevent their using their market dominance to their unfair advantage. (Most people aren't arguing they shouldn't be allowed to be dominant, just that they shouldn't be able to leverage that dominence in order to unfairly crush competition. For example, designing future versions of Windows to purposely cripple software designed by other companies.)
posted by callmejay at 9:49 AM on March 23, 2004


probablysteve It would not. I think their claim is that, hey, the U.S. government is OK with them embedding (as in "writing the necessary code") different components while on US soil.

Which is of course pathetic.

If these are the kind of legal arguments they intend to use, I say better pay up now and not wait for the exchange rate to worsen further.

Tryptophan-5ht would some one explain how everyone buying microsoft windows means that microsoft can't sell windows how they want?

Among other things, because the fact that everyone licensess Microsoft Windows is directly related the very dodgy tactics of its manufacturer.
posted by magullo at 9:49 AM on March 23, 2004


Im pretty sure i understand the current situation.. the squabbling on all sides etc...

...but im unclear on the root of the problem...

how has microsoft violated anyone's rights?

I understand that bundling their os with other applications gives those applications an advantage, but how is that illegal or amoral?

I mean... why haven't notepad alternatives started suing? is it only a matter of time?

Their CD player is probably unfair too....

If you want to take this to the extremes.. there is no part of windows that isn't offered by a third party... registry editors, defragmentors, alternate shells, etc etc. Is microsoft going to have to pare down windows till its just file allocation tables and bios hooks for file access?

I guess i don't understand how any government has the right to say what they can and can't sell no one's rights are being violated....
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 9:49 AM on March 23, 2004


"We believe it's unprecedented and inappropriate for the Commission to impose a fine on a company's U.S. operations when those operations are already regulated by the U.S. government," Gutierrez said. "The conduct at issue has been permitted by both the U.S. Department of Justice and a U.S. court."

Nothing in the article makes it clear if this is true or not, but -- if true -- it would be an important distinction.

No distinction at all; if you want to sell something in the EU, do it according to EU rules. If a dutch company sells ganja in the U.S., are they exempt from EU laws because selling dope is allowed in Holland?
posted by Pericles at 9:50 AM on March 23, 2004


man, did i ever fuck up the framing of this post. [sigh]
posted by quonsar at 9:50 AM on March 23, 2004


sorry quonsar - im sidetracking the discussion... I want to participate in the debate at hand, but im lacking context i suppose. Ill shut up.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 9:55 AM on March 23, 2004


$645,000,000 Worth Of Microsoft BOB Vouchers

muhahahaha...
posted by Dreamghost at 9:58 AM on March 23, 2004


does nobody else find that hysterical screed issuing from the democratic senator from oregon just nauseating?
posted by quonsar at 9:59 AM on March 23, 2004


But officer, I bought that hash in Amsterdam!
posted by luriete at 10:00 AM on March 23, 2004


Pericles: good analogy! Zeno taught you well.
posted by nicwolff at 10:02 AM on March 23, 2004


Tryptophan - What do you not understand about anti-trust law?

1. Microsoft is a monopoly
2. They are prohibited from certain actions.
3. They've been warned and told to change their code / policies / etc.
4. They ignored the warnings.
5. They're now ordered to pay up.
posted by bshort at 10:09 AM on March 23, 2004


trypto - don't feel bad. antitrust law has its roots in the industrial revolution, railroads, and banks, but it's really the same old story - in an unfettered, unregulated free marketplace, sooner or later, one or more entities will corner the entire marketplace, thus eliminating choice (lack of choice is an obstacle to the consumer) and focusing control in a small number of hands, (wolves end up regulating sheep consumption) thus completely negating the dubious benefits of a free, unfettered marketplace.
posted by quonsar at 10:11 AM on March 23, 2004


i still wish i'd titled this:

WASHINGTON SENATOR CALLS ON BUSH ADMINISTRATION TO WAGE WAR ON EUROPE
posted by quonsar at 10:14 AM on March 23, 2004


but... once you've got a monoply, its not free sailing... you have to maintain it...

as soon as your try to gouge consumers, someone will come along and try to take a bite out of your profit margins and you will have to slash prices to starve them off... soon as they are gone you try to gouge and it will happen again...

OR

you can ruthelessly persue R&D while streamlining your production process and maintain your monopoly vioa merit. (see ALCOA)

how are either of these scenarios bad or wrong? they both sound fair and legal to me.

aren't we granted liberty untill the rights of another are violated by our actions? Who's rights are being violated here?
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 10:20 AM on March 23, 2004


q: it's a 44K thank-you note (for this year at least)
posted by amberglow at 10:23 AM on March 23, 2004


I believe the problem was not in that they have a variety of software products that they include, but that they eliminated the ability of computer system companies from including competitive applications on their systems. For instance, they threatened Dell will sanctions if they offered to bundle Netscape with their products instead of IE. That's what was unfair and an abuse of their position in the market.
posted by kookywon at 10:23 AM on March 23, 2004


This is a good article about the US case.
posted by hyperizer at 10:25 AM on March 23, 2004


"For instance, they threatened Dell will sanctions if they offered to bundle Netscape with their products instead of IE"

but that sounds totally fair and legal. Its not very nice - i agree, but how have they violated anyone's rights?

dell is free to discontinue their partnership with MS at any time. If they REALLY want to include netscape, why not distribute with a different OS?
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 10:30 AM on March 23, 2004


ROLL
posted by clavdivs at 10:30 AM on March 23, 2004


why not distribute with a different OS?

Hotter, hotter, you are close now T5ht...

That's exactly what monopoly means. 95% of home computers use Windows. There are no alternatives if you want to have a market for your software (or harware in the case of Dell).

(Linux and Mac geeks, don't bother. I'm writing this on Safari.)
posted by hoskala at 10:55 AM on March 23, 2004


but that sounds totally fair and legal. Its not very nice - i agree, but how have they violated anyone's rights?

Perhaps by infringing on Dell's right to sell computers in a manner in which they desire? Or maybe by not allowing consumers to purchase systems pre-configured to their specifications?

A more personal example: I still find it incredibly irritating that I cannot purchase any computer from Dell et al without also purchasing a software license for $XXX when I can get an authorized license for $X through Microsoft's agreement with the university I attend.
posted by Fezboy! at 11:05 AM on March 23, 2004


"There are no alternatives if you want to have a market for your software "

but you aren't guaranteed a market. you don't have the right to a market. There are alternatives - they simply aren't viable for Dell if they wish to maintain their currect profit margins. You aren't guaranteed profit margins either.

How can you abridge the freedom of microsoft when no rights are being violated?
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 11:05 AM on March 23, 2004


Perhaps by infringing on Dell's right to sell computers in a manner in which they desire? Or maybe by not allowing consumers to purchase systems pre-configured to their specifications?

Dell doesn't have the right to sell their computers however they like. If i run a magazine and one competator says they will pull their ads if i run ads for their competator, I can't very well run both now can i?

as far as consumer configured machines.. that would be a cool idea and might get MS some extra business, but thats hardly one of the constitutionally granted rights of an individual.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 11:19 AM on March 23, 2004


Amusingly, Microsoft has used trademark laws in the EU to stop Lindows trading in certain EU countries. Despite the fact that they have been unable to achieve the same success in the USA.

Compare and contrast to:

"We believe it's unprecedented and inappropriate for the commission to impose a fine on a company's US operations when those operations are already regulated by the US government and the conduct at issue has been permitted by both the US Department of Justice and a US court."

Double standards anybody?
posted by salmacis at 11:19 AM on March 23, 2004


How can you abridge the freedom of microsoft when no rights are being violated?

now, roll your neat little thesis forward in time a little (or go google "railroad baron" to a time when there is nothing left but Horizontal & Vertical Monolith, Inc. Horizontal & Vertical Monolith Computers. Horizontal & Vertical Monolith Secure Savings Bank. Horizontal & Vertical Monolith Motors. where's your choice? where's your free market? and your children - who grow up not even conceiving something not being sourced by Horizontal & Vertical Monolith, Inc. Horizontal & Vertical Monolith, Inc controls what products are available, what they do, who can have them, what they cost. surely, you can further past your nose that you are in this discussion?
posted by quonsar at 11:28 AM on March 23, 2004


also, it's is somewhat idiosyncratic to speak of abridging the freedom of a legal abstraction.
posted by quonsar at 11:33 AM on March 23, 2004


the railroads are a bad example. Their buddy buddy relationship with the government is what allowed them to stifle competition. Purchasing legislation, and having access to a near endless supply of government money (subsidies/franchises) is entirely different than earning a majority market share. That should be illegal - Ill agree with that.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 11:35 AM on March 23, 2004


thats hardly one of the constitutionally granted rights of an individual

it has nothing to do with "constitutionally granted rights of the individual" -- it has to do with a standing federal statute (in this country), and similar legislation in the EU.

you may certainly disagree with the law, but it's hard to argue that it's unconstitutional (i'm sure many have tried).
posted by mrgrimm at 11:43 AM on March 23, 2004


the railroads are a bad example. Their buddy buddy relationship with the government is what allowed them to stifle competition. Purchasing legislation, and having access to a near endless supply of government money (subsidies/franchises) is entirely different than earning a majority market share. That should be illegal - Ill agree with that.

you seem to forget the antitrust case they lost and that amazingly the justice department lost its hard-on the minute shrub and his corpo-cronies took office. the buddy buddy relationship with the bush administration is what today allows them to continue stifle competition. they simply made the ruling against them moot by releasing "new" OS versions. IE was integrated the new OS's. now it's bundling media player. after a major circle jerk with the entertainment industry, they've decided to embed media playing in the OS, along with DRM. soon you won't even control the box you own (or better yet, rent). purchasing legislation? microsoft has purchased everything it ever sold. government money? noticed the flood of microsoft into the government lately? no? google is your friend. did you know our armed services invaded iraq in attacks coordinated by a network of microsoft chat, complete with silly icons?
posted by quonsar at 11:50 AM on March 23, 2004


tryptophan - you're either trolling, being willfully obtuse, or are just tragically incompetent.

We have anti-trust laws. Get over it.
posted by bshort at 11:55 AM on March 23, 2004


mrgrimm -

my argument for 'unconstitutional': People should be free to act however they please untill the rights of someone else are violated. CLEARLY - no rights are being violated by microsoft (and i would challanege someone to show me otherwise) and thus should not be restrained.

current understandings don't agree with me anymore.. people are deprived of rights and freedoms cut short all the time... and i think that blows... what am i going to do about it? ...bitch to strangers on a website.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 11:57 AM on March 23, 2004


most likely 'just tragically incompetent'

quonsar - im not so silly as to believe MS is infallible. I distrust any business with close ties to the gov't. Enron is a good example. They have certainly done some shitty things. The first MS Paint was almost pixel for pixel Mac Paint. They are working closely with gov't of China to set up an internet infrastructure that can be easily controlled and censored. fuck that.

However, i believe they should be able to sell their product however they like... if consumers/manufacturers don't like it - they remain free to not purchase it.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 12:01 PM on March 23, 2004


People should be free to act however they please untill the rights of someone else are violated.

Microsoft is not a person. but i'm basically with you on the above statement. more public nudity!
posted by mrgrimm at 12:12 PM on March 23, 2004


microsoft is made up of people.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 12:14 PM on March 23, 2004


I'll never understand how people confuse human beings with corporations. Where in the world did this idea come from?
posted by Voivod at 12:17 PM on March 23, 2004


T5ht, as I understand it, behaviour requirement on monopolists are not for the monopolists benefit, but for the "market's" and ultimately consumers'. First, monopolists are historically less efficient than free markets (monopolist prices are higher). Further, monopolists historically do not innovate as fast as free markets. Finally, when the market eventually craters, because nothing is forever, the theory is that fallout is worse for an unrestrained monopolist, rather than a regulated one.

This situation is even more urgent when a monopolist is looking to use their monopoly to move into new market segments, as Microsoft appears to be doing. WMP is part of Microsoft's entree into consumer electronics. The fear is that Microsoft, if allowed to act unfettered could extend it's monopoly in OS's into, say, consumer electronics, will raise prices, slow innovation and that the eventual market disruption will affect two sectors rather than just the one they currently occupy.
posted by bonehead at 12:21 PM on March 23, 2004


the distinction isn't necessary as i see it. substitute references to microsoft in all my posts with 'the people who make up the company known as microsoft'.

However, i believe 'the people who make up the company known as microsoft' should be able to sell their product however they like... if consumers/manufacturers don't like it - they remain free to not purchase it.

explain my error in reasoning? Why should 'the people who make up the company known as microsoft' be limited in their freedoms if they are not violating anyone's rights?
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 12:23 PM on March 23, 2004


goddamnit, tryptophan.

look here.
Among the restrictions, Microsoft:
the order to break up the company was overturned, but these restrictions were kept in place, because this was what was considered "illegal behavior". the EU is pissed at MS because they're abusing point 4. should they be allowed? maybe, but that's the issue at hand, and the EU says "not in the way microsoft's doing it".
posted by taumeson at 12:26 PM on March 23, 2004


I'll never understand how people confuse human beings with corporations. Where in the world did this idea come from?

from corporations, silly.

and the supreme court, of course.
posted by quonsar at 12:27 PM on March 23, 2004


man...a single person can't do what microsoft's done. it takes a whole team of people to get that powerful, and so they have to be dealt with (and punished) as a unit.

these aren't individuals acting alone. they're acting as a unit under corporate governance rules.
posted by taumeson at 12:28 PM on March 23, 2004


unless a monopoly is getting a piece of gub'ment cheese (rail road barons), they HAVE to be more efficient, charge a lower price, or offer a higher quality product in order to maintain their monopoly.

look at monopolies like ALCOA... i dunno if they are still the 800 pound gorilla they once were but they used to own 70%+ of the aluminum market. They weren't real chummy with government. They simply offered a better product. A HUGE chunk of their profits were directly routed back into R&D. They were able to pioneer new ways of produceing aluminum with fewer impurities, faster and cheaper. This was good for consumers. And if they are doing it better than the competition, don't they deserve that market share?

There are exceptions - a monopoly can strangle competators by operating at a loss for a period of time, but as soon as they go back into 'growth and profit' mode, some one will come along to take a bite out of their profit margins. Strangling competators isn't very nice, but its not illegal, nor should it be - and its also very good for consumers.

taumeson - If we're only allowed to argue what the law is, ill give up now. 200 years of sherman anti-trust precedent are against me. Im just saying it shouldn't be this way.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 12:30 PM on March 23, 2004


I'm no defender of MS, especially since I'm about to have to fdisk and rebuild my entire system as soon as my Knoppix cd finishes downloading, but I have to wonder...what happens if MS just thumbs their collective noses at the EU and refuses to pay? I mean, what could the EU really do? Does anyone know?

As to the software bundled on systems, that is my biggest pet peeve of all time. I see that as a huge, huge problem. It was a deal breaker point for me with almost every system manufacturer, because none but the custom shops will build you a system without windows. Since I own multiple licenses for WOS, I saw no reason to buy another one. (Yes, I could have built the system myself...but really, I'm the Tim Taylor of electronics...it's just safer for me to pay someone.)

I understand where Trypt is coming from...there are some points at which anti-trust laws become overly regulatory and actually choke innovation. However, Microsoft has admitted predatory practices, which is why they agreed to settle with the Justice Department and various states that were suing them.

When "Destroy all those who oppose me" is written into the business plan, you're going to eventually spend some time talking to people in the Justice Department.
posted by dejah420 at 12:34 PM on March 23, 2004


T5ht:

If we're only allowed to argue what the law is, ill give up now. 200 years of sherman anti-trust precedent are against me. Im just saying it shouldn't be this way.

i see. that's fair.

so really you're just arguing that monopolies are good for consumers, because eventually somebody will challenge them?

i don't know of many people who would willingly go up against a monopoly knowing that their business won't last because the monopoly will soon crush them.
posted by taumeson at 12:38 PM on March 23, 2004


if MS just thumbs their collective noses at the EU and refuses to pay? I mean, what could the EU really do? Does anyone know?

sieze the inbound product and impound it. hey! "the London XP Party"
posted by quonsar at 12:43 PM on March 23, 2004


I'll never understand how people confuse human beings with corporations.

People don't confuse the two, the law does.
posted by anathema at 12:45 PM on March 23, 2004


aren't we granted liberty untill the rights of another are violated by our actions?

Not necessarily, no. Here in the states, we've set up a system in which we allow the government to limit individual liberty in certain fairly well-defined ways, including the regulation of commerce--you can see the details here. The situation is somewhat similar (in this respect) with the EU, where this case is taking place. If your question is about the theory behind allowing the government such powers, that's a bigger issue, and I doubt we could really get into it properly here. (You can email me if you like--at the very least, I might could suggest some interesting things to read on the topic).

Murray called on the Bush administration to "engage" the EU in settling the case.

"The EU has now directly attacked the authority of the United States and our economy in general," she said in a statement late Monday. "American jobs and economic interests are threatened."


Wait a minute, did that senator just suggest that we should be threatening war with Europe over this? That's some scary shit right there!
posted by moss at 12:51 PM on March 23, 2004


"monopolies are good for consumers"

i wouldn't say that. I would say that if the preamble to the constitution carries any weight, they have a right to exist despite anyone's misgivings.

However, the preabmle (all that bullshit about the right to life, liberty, persuit of happiness) is just fluff that no one really believes anymore.......
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 12:53 PM on March 23, 2004


Lemme edit this a minute:

PeopleCompanies should be free to act however they please until the rightslaws of someone elsea country are violated.

Microsoft has lost their anti-trust case in the US. They received a slap on the wrist. Another anti-trust case has now been lost in the European Union. And Microsoft is trying to argue that, because the US gave them a slap on the wrist, their actions should be A-OK in the EU.

That's sort of like "accidentally on purpose" slipping Chick A a hot salami injection up the Hershey trail even though she specifically told you not to; lucky you, she just giggles and says "That's Ok." Then when you try the same stunt with Chick B, she gets pissed off and your line of reasoning and defense is "Well, Chick A said it was ok. Here lemme call her and she can tell you it's ok..."
posted by romakimmy at 12:57 PM on March 23, 2004


unless a monopoly is getting a piece of gub'ment cheese (rail road barons), they HAVE to be more efficient, charge a lower price, or offer a higher quality product in order to maintain their monopoly.

Patently, absurdly, and obscenely wrong. What said monopoly can do is use intellectual property law (software patents, anyone?) to prevent their competitors from even being formed in the first place by patenting technologies fundamental to their industry. By the time those patents expire, the industry has usually shifted enough that they've had 20 years to redefine what is fundamental to the industry and patent THAT. The cycle continues . . .

A perfectly free market in which Microsoft's actions are ethical is also one in which a) there really isn't any intellectual property law and b) there are little to no barriers to entry. There is no industry on Earth, for obvious reasons, where these two coincide.

In this perfectly free market, Linux destroys Microsoft's server marketshare even WORSE because the BS SCO suit never happened. In this perfectly free market it doesn't matter that there are only two chip manufacturers both of whom are deeply in bed with MS on the DRM issue because - hey, there are no barriers to entry and anybody can make computer chips. Meanwhile back in reality there are barriers to entry that prevent your perfectly ideal market from manifesting itself - thus your notions that MS must produce are better product are misguided. No, they don't have to seriously compete - they can litigate, legislate through influencing Congress, and take advantage of the barriers to entry to prevent themselves from ever having one *real* challenger in their industry.

Beyond this, you're assuming that because corporations are made up of people, they will act in the best interests of people - this is absurd. Corporations are by nature intensely heirarchal beasts and all it takes is one person at each level looking the other way at just one different facet of an unethical action for it to be performed. This is why oil and foresting companies pay off of Congress to get laws changed in ways that are directly harmful to the human components they consist of - not only are corporations human-conglomerates freed of the ethics of a human in the name of profit, they are also tragically short-sighted in the name of profit and it will be us individual humans who end up paying for it (dying when our planet can no longer sustain life) in the end.
posted by Ryvar at 1:00 PM on March 23, 2004


"unless a monopoly is getting a piece of gub'ment cheese (rail road barons), they HAVE to be more efficient, charge a lower price, or offer a higher quality product in order to maintain their monopoly." - ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ...


The whole point is that a monopoly is able to use its monopolist position to stifle competition and maintain its monopoly. After a few new entrants have been stomped on by the monopolist and have lost all of their investment capital why is anyone else going to try and compete?

On preview: what Ryvar said

P.S. This has to be a troll - doesn't it ?
posted by daveg at 1:03 PM on March 23, 2004


romakimmy - no no... i have no contention with that.

microsoft broke the law. hands down.. no argument here.

I just don't think the law is just.


Ryvar - you are difusing quite a few arguments i never made.

argue this with me - its my central point - microsoft should be free to offer a product however they like, bundled with barbed wire, or wrapped in gold - consumers and manufacturers remain free to purchase it or not.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 1:05 PM on March 23, 2004


unless a monopoly is getting a piece of gub'ment cheese (rail road barons), they HAVE to be more efficient, charge a lower price, or offer a higher quality product in order to maintain their monopoly.

That's about the dumbest fucking thing I've ever heard.

Ever heard of barriers to entry? Admit it, you're just trolling, aren't you?
posted by bshort at 1:10 PM on March 23, 2004


no... i *honestly* believe everything im saying...

"unless a monopoly is getting a piece of gub'ment cheese (rail road barons), they HAVE to be more efficient, charge a lower price, or offer a higher quality product in order to maintain their monopoly.

That's about the dumbest fucking thing I've ever heard."

please cite examples illustrating why that is a dumb fucking thing to say.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 1:19 PM on March 23, 2004


Typtophan-5ht,

There are laws that are passed not because they are inalienable or moral or just, but because they best serve the interest of a society as a whole.

For example, Burger King is not allowed to start adding cyanide to their Whopper (even if they label it as such) then said, "Well, don't buy it if you don't like it!"

Public interest is the reason why suicide is illegal, cops can bug your home, and smoking pot is a crime. We as a society have decided that some things are more important than our own ability to do what we like. In almost every instance, it's because at some point in history, some ass-wipe thought he'd be clever and abuse the system and toleration of the masses. Slowly, steadily, the public tires of their shit.

Thus in the early part of the last century, it was decided that monopolies, whether formed by completely legal means or no, cannot be allowed to exist in areas we deem important to the public interest unless they are heavily regulated.

Understand?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:21 PM on March 23, 2004


That's about the dumbest fucking thing I've ever heard because barriers to entry, created by having a monopolist in a certain market, keep new competitors from entering the market.

Therefore a monopoly does not have to be more efficient, charge a lower price or offer a higher quality product.

Example: Microsoft.
posted by bshort at 1:22 PM on March 23, 2004


I just don't think the law is just.

And that's my point. Which law? The US? The EU? Any other country where Microsoft sells their wares?

You cannot enter into a foreign country/market, break laws (knowingly or unknowingly) and then point to your home country saying "But they said it's alright!" Which is the crux of the article quonsar linked; Microsoft whinging at getting more than their wrists slapped.

On preview: Bravo Civil_Disobedient.
posted by romakimmy at 1:24 PM on March 23, 2004


microsoft has got plenty of ties to the government. doesn't pass the test. Try again?

i think your are talking out the ass of 'common conception' and you yourself (like those who forged the common conception) have very little familiarity or understanding of monopolies... but thats just a guess.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 1:24 PM on March 23, 2004


Excuse me, it was this statement:

they HAVE to be more efficient, charge a lower price, or offer a higher quality product in order to maintain their monopoly

and this one:

Strangling competators isn't very nice, but its not illegal, nor should it be - and its also very good for consumers.

that I was addressing. I hope I countered both of those effectively, because moreso than your central thesis I have a gigantic problem with those two viewpoints - taken to their extreme they WILL lead to the mass extinction of humanity.

As for Microsoft having the right to sell their product however they wish - yes within certain limits. There is a point at which a monopoly goes from being just horizontal to horizontal and vertical - and it is at that point where they switch from simply potentially slowing down the pace of one industry (and charging an arm and a leg to anybody who has need of it) to outright harming the entire human race with their actions. That is the point at which Microsoft - or any company - should lose the right to behave as it wishes.

I'd like to say something passionate here on the subject of proposing the (corporate) death penalty for corporations donating to any politician's reelection bid, but I realize that's completely unenforcable as there are too many ways around it.
posted by Ryvar at 1:25 PM on March 23, 2004


"they best serve the interest of a society as a whole."

like the Patriot act! or socialism. or defending society against homos. good call.

because its ok to sacrifice inalienable rights on the altar of 'society'.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 1:26 PM on March 23, 2004


"Ryvar - you are difusing quite a few arguments i never made.

argue this with me - its my central point - microsoft should be free to offer a product however they like, bundled with barbed wire, or wrapped in gold - consumers and manufacturers remain free to purchase it or not."


Tryptophan, Ryvar did attack your main point. Your main point is that Microsoft should be able to do what it wants. Ryvar's point is that IF Microsoft should be able to do whatever it wants, so should its competitors. That means no intellectual property laws because those are also restraints of free trade.

If companies could offer better products than a monopoly without having to worry about said monopoly suing them for trademark/copyright/patent infringement, then it would be much less likely that a monopoly could form or survive.

So, the 'gubment cheese' you're referring to - Microsoft (and other corporations) DO GET gubmint cheese - its called Intellectual Property protections.
posted by PigAlien at 1:27 PM on March 23, 2004


Tryptophan:

"unless a monopoly is getting a piece of gub'ment cheese (rail road barons), they HAVE to be more efficient, charge a lower price, or offer a higher quality product in order to maintain their monopoly.

That's about the dumbest fucking thing I've ever heard."

please cite examples illustrating why that is a dumb fucking thing to say.


My entire post was a clear-cut illustration of why that is a 'dumb fucking thing to say.' No monopoly properly utiliized EVER has to compete at all.
posted by Ryvar at 1:29 PM on March 23, 2004


Well, Trypt, this is a class-one case of why monopolies suck for consumers.

Microsoft has held a hand-down monopoly on computer operating systems for about ten years now. They bought 49% of Apple's share and spent a lot of money to keep them afloat in order to give the illusion of competition. Because of their overwhelming market dominance, there has been very, very little 'competitive' OS development, and similarly little software development for alternative OSes. Thus, competitive OSes (like Linux) have no shot at all on the home market, due to a lack of commercial interest in Linux software development. Which is too bad, because Linux is, in many, many ways, far superior to Windows. Meanwhile, Windows doesn't feel obligated to meet the Linux technical challenge because they aren't a commercial threat. Thus, the improved technology never reaches the home market.

Now, Linux has been successful on the server market because it is a) free, and b) extremely good at acting as a server. It's like the competition between Coke and water. One is free and good for you, the other is expensive and will rot out your teeth. Coke does its damndest to get people to drink more soft-drink and less water, but they don't have the ability to really win on that market. But notice what Linux had to be to win this market decisively: It used thousands and thousands of unpaid man-hours to overthrow the elephant in the living room. The only way to beat the corporate behemoth was to completely stop playing on its terms and throw out the capital model entirely.

Now, probably I'm shouting at the wind like so many others here, but this really is a clear illustration that microsoft's OS monopoly is bad for commerce. Without even bringing in the endless accusations of Microsoft strongarming smaller companies and willfully squishing competition. If you want to accept some sanitized view of the corporate world, at least notice that even the rose-colored version is pretty fucked.
posted by kaibutsu at 1:30 PM on March 23, 2004


"Ryvar's point is that IF Microsoft should be able to do whatever it wants, so should its competitors. That means no intellectual property laws because those are also restraints of free trade."

you have a disconnect there. you jump from microsoft being able to package its own product anyway it likes to its competators being able to steal windows. I take issue with that.

please explain why microsoft can't irrevocably tie IE to windows? Its their product. If you don't like it, don't buy windows. You remain free.

Notepad is the default program that txt documents are opened with. Should MS be barred from including notepad as well? What about the competing firms that write plain text editing software?
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 1:33 PM on March 23, 2004


I wouldn't pretend to defend MS's behavior. THEY DO A LOT OF REALLY SHITTY THINGS.

Im just saying they should be free to sell their product how they like - and enter into mutually consenting agreements with whoever they like - and ive not seen a single argument as to why they should be restricted from doings so. 'because its the law' doesn't fly.

OEM dependence on microsoft gives them every right to exploit it for however much gain they can drum up. I think treating your partners like shit will bite you in the ass later, but it shouldn't be illegal.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 1:43 PM on March 23, 2004


Ok. I'm calling it.

Stop feeding the troll.
posted by bshort at 1:45 PM on March 23, 2004


like the Patriot act! or socialism. or defending society against homos. good call.

because its ok to sacrifice inalienable rights on the altar of 'society'.


And corporations, say manufacturers of important drugs, can sell their product however they want, inlcuding jacking up the price. After all, consumers don't have to buy, right? Because health care doesn't fall under the categories of 'inalienable rights, correct?
posted by romakimmy at 1:48 PM on March 23, 2004


roma - jacked up prices is a problem that solves itself.

any time you are charging too much, a competator will offer a rival product and take a bite out of your profit margins.

if you've developed a product that CANT be rivaled, then i say you deserve to charge what you like.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 1:52 PM on March 23, 2004


If you lie, cheat and steal to gain a monopoly on the market, you haven't developed a product that can't be rivaled. It is only fair to 'steal' microsoft's property. After all, they stole everyone else's property AND the market share.
posted by PigAlien at 1:56 PM on March 23, 2004


Jebus, Tryptophan, look:

I agree with you. I am not trolling. You're tilting at windmills and wasting your time on this one. If you really want to get into these arguments here, you'll want to learn to argue your points from both a pragmatic philosophy as well as a natural rights philosophy. Read these books. (more from Armentano)
and yes, I know, Bork sold out in a big way

On preview, PigAlien, you ought to be arguing for intellectual property rights, not anti-trust.
posted by trharlan at 2:01 PM on March 23, 2004


essentially: you are correct.

in the case of important drugs - your dependence on a drug manufacturer means you can control them? what?

How can you say that because you *need* you get to dictate?

PigAlien - "If you lie, cheat and steal to gain a monopoly on the market"

I agree. That is a charge microsoft *is* guilty of in my not so humble opinion. However, we have a due process to demonstrate the fact and then penalize accordingly.

ideally, legislation and government policy wouldn't be up for sale and microsoft would get the shaft for that sort of thing... but we don't.

how about this... ill concede that while legislators are up for sale, anti-trust laws are good and necessary to keep those who would buy parts of our government in check. is that good for you?

While a company has honestly earned their market share (ALCOA, Walmart etc) via ruthless efficiency and innovation, the government shouldn't fuck with them.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 2:01 PM on March 23, 2004


if you've developed a product that CANT be rivaled, then i say you deserve to charge what you like.

How can you say that because you *need* you get to dictate?


How can you hold the keys to people's wellbeing clenched tightly in your hand because you own the patent on the most viable treatment? Wellbeing: not an unalienable right. Right to Sell Your Product however you please: Unalienable right.

Ok. Cool. Just so we have our priorities straight. 'Nuff OT feeding. Buona notte

posted by romakimmy at 2:08 PM on March 23, 2004


"How can you hold the keys to people's wellbeing clenched tightly in your hand because you own the patent on the most viable treatment?"

because its my property. I created it. Its mine. do you understand that?

"How can you eat all that food when starving people in china are dying?"

"how can you wear all those clothes when people are freezing to death?"

"How can you live in your house when there are millions of homeless?"
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 2:17 PM on March 23, 2004


"You're tilting at windmills and wasting your time on this one"

agreed. im done.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 2:18 PM on March 23, 2004


Tryptophan-5ht:
Nobody is free not to buy Windows if they wish to do business in today's society. That is what being a monopoly is all about.
It is also near impossible not to buy Windows, even if I wished to make that choice, since the price is built in to every computer, whether it has Windows loaded or not. Microsoft licensing terms insure that by charging manufacturer's based on the number of PCs they sell, regardless of OS actually installed. The only way to buy a computer without paying for windows is to buy from a company that doesn't have a license to resell Windows. Off the top of your head, can you name any company selling windows-compatible machines, without selling windows? This infringes upon my right not to pay for what I don't want - because they are artificially restricting the market available to me.
posted by bashos_frog at 2:19 PM on March 23, 2004


Also, there is a difference between a product that cannot be rivalled because of its inherent qualities, and one that cannot be rivalled because of the monopoly status it has on the market. The law seeks to protect us from the latter case.
The reason that no one can compete effectively with Microsoft has everything to do with their market share and nothing to do with their product.
Even if you made a better product, and gave it away for free you could not hope to get more than 3-4% market share.
posted by bashos_frog at 2:26 PM on March 23, 2004


because its ok to sacrifice inalienable rights on the altar of 'society'

No. Just alienable ones, actually. Like the right to make an obscene profit, which is usually toned down to the right to make an insane one while watched very closely.
posted by namespan at 2:46 PM on March 23, 2004


Let's imagine there was no monopoly on OSes. There was a myriad of OSes a business could choose as a platform. What about cross-platform software compatibility? With 100 OSes all with their own unique systems and software, the job adverts in the papers might start to look damn complicated if you're in IT.

Or am I worrying too much about this? Would there be standards worked out so that Word for OS-A would work for OS-Z? Would OS developers play ball together or cause chaos?
posted by SpaceCadet at 2:51 PM on March 23, 2004


Or am I worrying too much about this? Would there be standards worked out so that Word for OS-A would work for OS-Z? Would OS developers play ball together or cause chaos?

I think standards would arise. That's what the whole cross-platform programming idea was all about, back in the day, before hardware-specific coding really took off. I mean, look at the web. It's overflowing with stuff that's supposed to play nice across all kinds of operating systems. I don't think it's all too far-fetched.
posted by kaibutsu at 3:02 PM on March 23, 2004


I think standards would arise. That's what the whole cross-platform programming idea was all about, back in the day, before hardware-specific coding really took off. I mean, look at the web. It's overflowing with stuff that's supposed to play nice across all kinds of operating systems. I don't think it's all too far-fetched.

That's what I thought....that it would benefit all OS developers to have standards. Their selling points would be reliability and compatibility - anyway, software developers could only survive if they had large markets, not fragmented ones.
posted by SpaceCadet at 3:08 PM on March 23, 2004


I'll never understand how people confuse human beings with corporations. Where in the world did this idea come from?
As I understand it, corporations and other legal entities usually have all the rights of a natural person built into their articles of association (or whichever document is relevant to their establishment), giving them all the same protections (and responsibilities) as any person. Effectively, a corporation is a person in the eyes of the law. No?
posted by dg at 3:17 PM on March 23, 2004


like the Patriot act! or socialism. or defending society against homos. good call. because its ok to sacrifice inalienable rights on the altar of 'society'.

As they say...

You take the good, you take the bad,
you take them both and there you have
The Facts of Life, the Facts of Life.

posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:52 PM on March 23, 2004


I'll respond to two things Tryptophan-5ht has said:

1. "How can you abridge the freedom of microsoft when no rights are being violated?"

Microsoft is not a person, Microsoft is property, owned by its shareholders, managed on their behalf by the board of directors, with abilities and liabilities defined by the state in which it was incorporated (read: made legally real). The sovereign, whether it be state (usually Delaware) or Federal, has the right to limit the behavior of what it created, usually limited only by the constitutional protections afforded to property (read: government must pay you only fair value if they take or impair the use of your property)--the sovereign has the right to define what freedom for a corporation means--it doesn't have to point to a specific violation of someone else's rights. Unlike a person, a corporation can be reduced to a specific value and liquidated.

2. "There are exceptions - a monopoly can strangle competators [sic] by operating at a loss for a period of time, but as soon as they go back into 'growth and profit' mode, some one will come along to take a bite out of their profit margins. Strangling competators [sic] isn't very nice, but its not illegal, nor should it be - and its also very good for consumers."

How is lack of competition good for consumers? If you want to know something about monopoly, read a history of AT&T up to and through the point it was broken up (late 70s). They did things that were simply amazing, as well as being highly profitable. Once broken up, prices did go down, competition did increase, variety of services widened, and the U.S. was a better place to live.

The problem with your "return of competition" theory is that it simply doesn't work, mainly because it is simply too expensive for a competitor to produce a product capable of competing with Windows (this is the "barrier to entry" theory you might have heard about). Because an operating system has come to be expected to have so many different features, anyone wanting to compete in this market must spend hundreds of millions of dollars (or millions of man-hours) needed in order to code a working operating system that has any level of commercially-relevant feature parity with Windows. Because there is such high risk, it is nearly impossible to find anyone willing to finance or invest in this kind of effort.

On a second level, consider Windows as merely a platform for applications. The entire software needs of a vast majority of users are satisfied by Office on Windows. It's not nearly as large as an entire operating system, but owning everything makes it tough on developers to compete in this core area. In reality, this is a second monopoly for Microsoft that is made easier by owning the first--and is probably the reason splitting the company is such an often-mentioned remedy.
posted by bafflegab at 3:58 PM on March 23, 2004


Good points, bafflegab.

And, in addition: Windows is not a commodity product. It's not like steel or refrigerators or chairs, where somebody could just come along and sell a better version cheaper. Everybody in an office can have a different chair and it makes no difference to the functioning of the office.

But an operating system has to interoperate. The analogy with steel would only work if somebody could come along and make a better, cheaper version -- not of an operating system, but of the Windows operating system. This is where the "network effect" comes in. And it's not just a single office that Microsoft has locked up, but most of the world.

It would be like trying to compete with a better, cheaper refrigerator, while 95% of the food sold in grocery stores could only be refrigerated by a Microsoft refrigerator.
posted by macrone at 4:39 PM on March 23, 2004


The problem with your "return of competition" theory is that it simply doesn't work, mainly because it is simply too expensive for a competitor to produce a product capable of competing with Windows (this is the "barrier to entry" theory you might have heard about).

This is only even possibly true if you mean "capable of competing with Windows" in every possible niche, and require a competing manufacturer be rich enough to provide market incentives persuasive enough to get PC manufactureers to drop window. But even so...

Because an operating system has come to be expected to have so many different features, anyone wanting to compete in this market must spend hundreds of millions of dollars (or millions of man-hours) needed in order to code a working operating system that has any level of commercially-relevant feature parity with Windows.

Somewhere, Jean-Louis Gasse is smilying wryly. One, because he knows he created a company that got the funding you're speaking of and did the job of creating a viable competitor. Two, because it wasn't enough. Microsoft locked them out.
posted by namespan at 5:13 PM on March 23, 2004


Everything Tryptophan-5ht says makes perfect sense within the context of his neo-libertarian philosophy (property rights above all else...the market will sort it out...socialism is the devil), so I don't really think anyone can confront his arguments without first converting him to a godless commie like the rest of us.

because its my property. I created it. Its mine. do you understand that?

Have you ever considered that your belief in the the absollute right of property doesn't exactly gel with your belief in complete individual freedom? As an individual with total rights to do what I want, surely I have the right to move across the earth as I wish, going where I will, without anyone having the right it stop me? Oh no! But I've wandered onto what an arbitrary market (assisted by a publically paid for police force) has defined as being "your property" - immediately all those libertarian rights go out the window. The concepts of complete individual freedom and complete rights of property cannot exist simultaneously without exposing hypocracy.

jacked up prices is a problem that solves itself. any time you are charging too much, a competator will offer a rival product and take a bite out of your profit margins.

I don't know your feelings on intellectual property rights as they stand - after all you're arguing from the point of view of your beliefs, rather than the law as it stands. But current patents on drugs are one reason why this, quite simply, doesn't happen. No-one has the right to offer a rival product to take a bite out of their profit margin.
posted by Jimbob at 6:49 PM on March 23, 2004


it is simply too expensive for a competitor to produce a product capable of competing with Windows

One word: Linux.

More words: It cost Linus nothing to "enter" the marketplace. But when Microsoft, at almost every concievable turn, and with uncharacteristic zeal, tries to stifle the OSS platform, it shows clearly why anti-trust laws are a good thing.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:31 PM on March 23, 2004


namespan: "This is only even possibly true if you mean "capable of competing with Windows" in every possible niche, and require a competing manufacturer be rich enough to provide market incentives persuasive enough to get PC manufactureers to drop window. But even so..."

Just to elaborate--barrier to entry is caused by a combination of many factors. Coming up with a code base sufficient to make a viable operating system is a necessary but not sufficient condition--it's just one factor. As macrone said, another is the conditional and proprietary interconnectedness that Microsoft constantly pushes that helps perpetuates those network effects--what Microsoft is protecting here is the monolithic nature of Windows, its ability to control. The factor Microsoft perhaps benefits from the most right now is inertia--the inability (or fear) of many of its customers to want to spend the effort to figure out how to move to anything else.

In reality, the average version of Windows has way more stuff included in it than just about any employee needs to fulfill their business function. Once businesses such as Ernie Ball realize that not every machine, if any, needs to have Windows on it, then Windows starts to become a commodity. Without that recognition across broad sections of the market, the monopoly persists, and the market is not a free market.

"Somewhere, Jean-Louis Gasse is smilying wryly."

Exactly. Be never got enough momentum beyond its impassioned base to crack the network effect (arguably) or intertia factors (definitely). Digression: Who was supposed to buy Be machines? I'm not so sure Be was sure themselves...
posted by bafflegab at 7:31 PM on March 23, 2004


Missed this...

jacked up prices is a problem that solves itself. any time you are charging too much, a competator will offer a rival product and take a bite out of your profit margins.

When you're the "standard", it's often-times very difficult to convince, say, your boss to adopt the competitor's products, even when they are cheaper. Or free (Linux, again).

The real problem isn't that a monopoly will raise their prices. The "real" problem is that a monopoly usually has the financial resources to lower their prices to such a degree that competitors are simply unable to compete. This is how the Japanese took over the television industry -- they "dumped" lower-price sets on the American market, taking a huge revenue hit in the process, but had the capital due to lax anti-trust laws to simply wait us out. Large Keiretsu's like Masushita had more cash to blow than, say, RCA, because they had income coming in from different markets, while RCA just made TV's. A few years of this, and the "little guy" goes out of business. Sure, you might be out a few million, but now you've got the entire playing field to yourself. You could say Microsoft did a similar thing with Internet Explorer.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:39 PM on March 23, 2004


Civil_Disobedient--you got in there after my last preview:

"One word: Linux.

Don't get me wrong--I believe in and love the OSS movement. The problem is, I am a geek (as are many in this discussion). As an OS, Linux has all the functions needed to be widely adopted. Why isn't it breaking into vast new markets, subverting the dominant paradigm, blah, blah, blah? It hasn't yet developed its own inertia beyond geeks, which is its impassioned core audience. There are lots of societal forces that are slowly helping it grow beyond that original audience, but for now they're not significantly affecting the price of Microsoft shares.

I believe Microsoft should probably be broken up, but i also believe their monopoly might be broken by many of the governmental and non-governmental forces that are already in play. China, for one, will probably just do its own thing because Microsoft pisses it off. As some of the Linux window manager packages get better and better (read: easy/intuitive for non-geeks), free should start to become popular.
posted by bafflegab at 7:54 PM on March 23, 2004


What crap. Bullshit posturing- they are right now, at this very moment, suing Lindows in a variety of local-national courts. What i'm reading here.. is just amazing.

These assholes need to go down, and down hard.
posted by shadow45 at 10:22 PM on March 23, 2004


Not all monopolies are the same. Perhaps we need to remind ourselves of the distinction between monopolies which are contestable, and those which are not.
Some monopolies can be good in that they are the most efficient providers of a societal benefit, provided they are properly regulated.
Contestable monopolies will see competition arise to take their market share away. Monopolies which have market power can act to prevent competition, this can be achieved through a number of mechanisms, patent law being one. The key to the microsoft issue is whether the company's monopoly is contestable or not.
Where a market is dominated, the welfare of the consumer is reduced. It should perhaps be borne in mind that one justification for capitalism is that it provides the most efficient method for resource allocation within society. The presence of a monopoly which enjoys market dominance and which can control price and/or supply in that market acts against efficient resource allocation.
posted by biffa at 2:28 AM on March 24, 2004


hooray ! now i can choose to have realplayer on my system !
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:40 AM on March 24, 2004


do you really want it? it's got spyware
posted by shadow45 at 4:17 AM on March 24, 2004


...they HAVE to be more efficient, charge a lower price, or offer a higher quality product in order to maintain their monopoly.

The point is they don't. For example, one thing Microsoft was accused of doing was forcing hardware companies like Dell to sign Draconian license agreements where they had to pay MS for every computer sold, whether it had Windows on it or not. That way Dell wouldn't want to put Linux on their machines, because they'd have to pay Microsoft anyway.

Another thing MS would do is change their OS to break competitor's products. Or threaten computer manufacturers who tried to included competitor's products pre-installed. Rumor has it they also threatened to stop developing MS Office for the Mac unless Apple used IE as its default browser.

Think of all the companies Microsoft has driven out of business, from Netscape to Be. Think of the products that have gone by the wayside like WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3. Microsoft isn't just ruthless, it has actually been convicted of illegal practices.

If you do a little more research, you'll find a lot more examples. Unfortunately, MS is such a big, threatening company, the Justice Department couldn't get other company's CEOs to testify against it.
posted by hyperizer at 8:13 AM on March 24, 2004


do you really want it? it's got spyware

Ever notice how Media Player phones home every time you play something?
posted by inpHilltr8r at 2:15 PM on March 24, 2004


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