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August 31, 2001
8:18 AM   Subscribe

In the midst of being indignant over the death of the BeOS, Scot Hacker talks about Microsoft's OEM license with hardware vendors. Although Microsoft claims the terms of the agreement are a "trade secret," preventing it from making appearnce in the DOJ circus, apparently it prevents OEMs from installing any non-Microsoft OS along side a Microsoft OS... If true, the "browser integration" thing's just a minor annoyance - this would be monopolistic and anti-competitive... via rc3.org
posted by m.polo (9 comments total)

 
BeOS is a wonderful product. I've tried them all - MacOS, Amiga, Windows, Linux, BeOS - and BeOS is by far the coolest of the bunch. It's too bad if they don't continue on. I had it running for a while but uninstalled it due to the lack of hardware support and lack of software. The article basically explains my gripes with BeOS tho - if more people had it, more people would develop for it and it would be a better OS.

Slightly OT: Final Scratch, the last I heard, uses BeOS because of the *very* low latency in sound processes. Cool product, I hope that the new situation doesn't spell disaster for them.
posted by Fat Elvis at 8:44 AM on August 31, 2001


how can a vendor agreement be a trade secret? That is utter bs. When the IRS asks about my income, can I claim that is a trade secret?
posted by jbelshaw at 9:15 AM on August 31, 2001


oh, and I'm pretty sure something is only a trade secret until its found out. Since Scott Hacker discusses the terms of the license in his article, i'm guessing its no longer a trade secret.
posted by jbelshaw at 9:19 AM on August 31, 2001


First off, it really irks me to hear people claim that bundling software with an OS is monopolistic - that's just silly. They are giving you a pretty good brower (compared to the competition) for a slight markup on the cost of the OS itself. Big fat hairy deal. If they didn't, people would still user IE a lot more than netscape/opera/etc because when it works, it works beautifully. People seem to think that just because a company does it's job of being a successful business, they have to sit back idly and let the competition throw out their source code (netscape), start from scratch, and catch up. That's childish BS.

And what should be illegal about windows only allowing other instances of windows on the same machine? Sure, as a unix fan it would be a darn shame and a little annoying, but I ALWAYS have the option to user a competing OS, and I can ALWAYS get a free copy of Linux and the like.

Windows is sub-par in many a way, but it's the "average joe" standard. Same thing goes for VHS - the powers that be just marketed it well. We can't sue the VCR industry for making machines that won't play cassette tapes too...
posted by paddy at 10:17 AM on August 31, 2001


I beleive on of the main issues (and someone, please correct me if I'm wrong) is that with most vendors, even if you don't get WinWhatever installed, you are still paying for the license- it's built into the cost of the machine when you order it.
posted by tj at 10:26 AM on August 31, 2001


paddy: why should they be able to dictate to hardware manufacturers what gets loaded on the hardware. They are only creating an operating system. Not the entire machine. I don't really have a problem with IE in Windows. Since it is their operating system. But, this is a different situation.
posted by jbelshaw at 10:39 AM on August 31, 2001


tj, it wasn't just the cost of the license - it was the actual threat that Microsoft wouldn't allow the OEM to use Windows on any machines if they co-installed a competing product. To address paddy's point, that's is why it's monopolistic - it prohibits not only consumer choice but vendor choice as well.
posted by m.polo at 12:50 PM on August 31, 2001


I have no problem with bundling a browser with your operating system. The only real problem with the bundling is that it is done in such a way as to disallow the browser's removal from the OS, and to limit the capabilities of other browsers. And even that is not the biggest deal in the world. But this is a totally different story. They are clearly in this case using their monopoly position to unfairly maintain their market dominance and restrict their competitors. If they had made Windows so that it simply would not cooperate with other OSs being on the drive, that would be one. It probably wouldn't be illegal, although it would be quite rotten of them. However, they are instead using their position to coerce compliance from other companies simply because it is better for them. Rather than encouraging innovation, this practice stifles it tremendously, as the fate of Be demonstrates.
posted by donkeymon at 12:57 PM on August 31, 2001


"...And what should be illegal about windows only allowing other instances of windows on the same machine? Sure, as a unix fan it would be a darn shame and a little annoying, but I ALWAYS have the option to user a competing OS, and I can ALWAYS get a free copy of Linux and the like....Windows is sub-par in many a way, but it's the "average joe" standard. Same thing goes for VHS - the powers that be just marketed it well. We can't sue the VCR industry for making machines that won't play cassette tapes too..."

-paddy

well, let's see if i can use the VHS analogy effectively.
Let's pretend for a second that the VCR itself needed a separate operating system...wait , that won't work. nope the analogy isn't useable. you see , the difference between , lets say VHS and beta, is not comparable to BeOS (or 40 other OSs) and Windows. it is more comparable to power pc vs i386 architecture.

I don't know, here try this analogy.
let's say the lite-brite company (whoever they are) decides that no one can produce the templates that you put pegs through for their product, because of a patent. Not too unreasonable. However, what MS is doing , is like one manufacturer of these sheets telling the multitude of companies that assemble these lite-brite units that only MS brand picture sheets can be used, and if you ship the lite brite with any other, you can't use ours..

ok..that analogy sucked too. there is no good analogy (that I can come up with). try looking at the article again. It makes it pretty clear.
posted by das_2099 at 1:55 PM on August 31, 2001


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