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Microsoft Government The Courts United States

Microsoft Antitrust Oversight Ends 289

Posted by samzenpus
from the you're-free-to-assimilate dept.
dcblogs writes "The US Department of Justice remedies supervision in the Microsoft antitrust case ends Thursday, closing the landmark case, which began in 1998. But the questions posed by trial federal Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's attempted remedy remain: Did tech innovation suffer over the last 10 years because Microsoft wasn't broken up? 'Not really,' said Vinton Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist, 'It has to do with the fact that open source has become such a strong force in the software world.'"
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Microsoft Antitrust Oversight Ends

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  • by gearloos (816828) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @08:30PM (#36101278)
    It never actually started.
  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by atomicbutterfly (1979388) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @08:30PM (#36101284)

    This means Microsoft can finally start bundling useful things like Microsoft Security Essentials in Windows 8 without being hounded by the feds.

    • by drb226 (1938360)
      My sarcasm detector is indecisive on this one.
      • My sarcasm detector is indecisive on this one

        How about expressing it differently:

        "Microsoft now has a choice between making a secure OS, or bundling Security Essentials with their insecure OS."

    • Re:Good (Score:5, Informative)

      by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @08:56PM (#36101550)

      This means Microsoft can finally start doing the illegal things they've been doing behind closed doors out in the open, like strong arming suppliers without being hounded by the feds.

      There, fixed that for you.

      • by westlake (615356)

        This means Microsoft can finally start doing the illegal things they've been doing behind closed doors out in the open, like strong arming suppliers without being hounded by the feds.

        Microsoft's "suppliers" - bu which I assume you mean its OEM and retail partners - have been crying all the way to the bank since Day 1.

        • Are you saying it's okay that they're strong-armed because they've made money? Are you suggesting that those who have indeed made money did so because of strong arming by Microsoft?

          To simplify: What are you talking about?
          • Re:Good (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Penguinoflight (517245) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @12:30AM (#36102960) Homepage Journal

            He's probably referring to the relationship of an OEM who is granted an illegal discount.

            On the one hand this company now has fewer market options; in today's market this is a minor inconvenience and often a blessing in disguise; global markets don't favor companies that have a hundred mediocre solutions.

            The OEM's advantage to receiving illegal discounts regards how this effects potential competition - if Microsoft or Intel offer the big players half-off for their exclusivity agreements the barrier to entry climbs for small businesses. This can create a situation where an individual will spend more on the components of a computer than the complete product with support agreements from one of these laughing OEMs.

            The lucrative situation doesn't make this any less wrong, it still hurts consumers and small businesses alike.

    • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

      by rolfwind (528248) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @10:29PM (#36102204)

      This means Microsoft can finally start bundling useful things like Microsoft Security Essentials in Windows 8 without being hounded by the feds.

      Yeah, because marrying Internet Explorer to Windows was a real winner in the security arena.

      There are many reasons why stopping MS from bundling their solutions to all things the last decade was actually good for consumers.

      • Yeah, because marrying Internet Explorer to Windows was a real winner in the security arena.

        That is not a valid comparison. Internet Explorer (with its addition of Active-X controls) was an obvious security nightmare by design. On the other hand, Microsoft Security Essentials has been well received as a good, lightweight AV solution. Unlike IE, its inclusion in Windows would definitely increased security of the OS.

        • Including any AV product in Windows would have increased the security of the OS. If Microsoft does bundle an AV package in Windows, it gets a ridiculously huge market advantage. If it successfully snowballs and takes out the competition, it doesn't have to be such a great solution anymore so they get lazy with it. A lot like just about every other Microsoft product bundled with Windows, of which Internet Explorer has, most times, been a very good example.

          That's the point of antitrust cases.
          • The first time I ever came across complaints about an operating system ruining somebody's market by bundling the functionality in an update was back on the Amiga. Whenever an OS gets more features then you are bound to negatively impact someone. But is that a good reason not to do it?

            Vista introduced a much improved firewall that previously required the purchase of a third party solution. Sucks for the likes of ZoneAlarm, but shouldn't a good OS have a firewall as standard? It is the same for anti-virus tec

        • by shermo (1284310)

          You see, MSE had to be a good lightweight AV solution because people had to out of their way to download it. If it was bundled, why make it good?

          I don't really believe that btw. I'm just trying to find a plausible explanation for a piece of Microsoft software being simple and useful.

        • I'm not against Microsoft including anti-virus software with their OS; to me there's a difference between features (like IE) and protection (like, well not microsoft security essentials).

          MSE doesn't currently have a positive impact on OS security, and it won't even if it's built in. Currently popular viruses aren't even detected by MSE and the ones that are usually aren't removable. Sure, it's better than McCafe but given the ready availability to users it's the first AV targeted by virii, and it isn't ve

        • by rolfwind (528248)

          That is not a valid comparison. Internet Explorer (with its addition of Active-X controls) was an obvious security nightmare by design. On the other hand, Microsoft Security Essentials has been well received as a good, lightweight AV solution. Unlike IE, its inclusion in Windows would definitely increased security of the OS.

          Of course it's a valid comparison. What happened to IE when it reached 90%+ marketshare? It stagnated like crazy. You don't think that will happen to an A/V package that's automatical

  • by spaceplanesfan (2120596) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @08:36PM (#36101344)

    "Did tech innovation suffer over the last 10 years because Microsoft wasn't broken up? 'Not really,' said Vinton Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist, 'It has to do with the fact that open source has become such a strong force in the software world.'""

    Sure, open source is strong, but you claim that Microsoft didn't make tech innovation suffer?
    And what about all these small OSes that died?
    What about all these small firms that made competing programs and were crushed by Microsoft?
    Really, I am not a Google hater by any means, but I don't like that.
    (And I don't like that they didn't release Honeycomb source regardless of excuses they provide.)

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      Google stated yesterday that it will not release the source code for Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) until after the release of the next version of Android (Ice Cream Sandwich).

      Emphasis mine.

    • You left one out:

      What about all those architectures other than x86 that died or are irrelevant on the desktop because of the monoculture?
    • by westlake (615356)

      And what about all these small OSes that died?

      What about them?

      MSDOS and Windows were sold at a mass market price - orginally, 1/5 that of CPM/86.

      The Microsoft OS worked well on consumer-grade commodity hardware that was mid-line at the time of release and entry level a year or so later.

      The Microsoft OS promised backwards compatibility and long-term support.

      This is a damn good strategy when you are selling the PC as a big ticket home applicance or workhorse office machine.

      All these forces combined with a non-exclusive OS license encouraged the p

  • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @08:37PM (#36101348) Homepage Journal

    said Vinton Cerf, one of the fundamental architects of the technology that has shaped human experience in the past thirty years and also Google's chief Internet evangelist.

    I guess Computer World doesn't do much background checking on the people they interview for robot-like micro-snippets?

  • by decora (1710862) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @08:40PM (#36101384) Journal

    if it hadn't been for this anti-trust case, Microsoft would have crushed Apple like a bug, just like it did all it's other competitors before it. Anyone remember Wordperfect? Do you remember the guys who invented the spreadsheet? Anyone remember the company who invented visual programming? Anyone remember the company that put out the first commercial web browser? Anyone remember GEOS? BeOS??

    Instead, Microsoft had to actively support Apple, including the massive investment in porting Office to Mac, release after release, even through Apple's transition to a BSD-like subsystem. Why? Because Microsoft didn't want to get sued again. That's the only reason it has allowed Linux to live; SCO was just a test fire to see if Linux would blink. Now comes the Patent Wars, which will crush Linux into the dirt.

    No hedge fund shareholder of Microsoft is going to put up with this open source hippie bullshit. They are, instead, going to scream out and pound the podium: "Law and fucking order!". And that is who controls Microsoft and other public IT companies - shareholders, banks, hedge funds, funds of funds, etc. None of them understand open source, they barely understand copyright law. What they do understand is the law of the jungle. Kill or be killed. And all of this Linux shit is getting in the way of their profit margins.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @08:48PM (#36101474)

      Do you remember the guys who invented the spreadsheet?

      Yes. And they'd be the first people to say that Lotus was the company that killed them. And when MS pretty much crushed Lotus (till IBM took them over), it was karma coming back to them.

      BeOS failed because there were no apps and it ws over-hyped as this "modern" OS. It was cool, for sure..

      Wordperfect?!? Pft. It sucked. MS jumped on the GUI bandwagon first while WP was still pushing their very expensive backward product. Wordperfect killed Wordperfect

    • Directly the antitrust trial didn't do anything to MS. Indirectly MS had to tread lightly to avoid punishments for the next decade. Their competitors no longer fear them as they once did. Also the trial brought to light some of MS' dirty tricks. I think MS still wants to pull the same dirty tricks as before but few in the industry take them as seriously as they recognize them. There was a time when a competing product could be killed just because MS announced they were thinking about making the same pr
      • Perhaps you young folks don't remember the late 90s (:-), but the primary business models for Silicon Valley startups in those days were to make something popular and

        • Maybe IPO, or
        • Sell your company to Cisco if you made hardware, or
        • Sell your company to Microsoft if it was software or services.

        Microsoft's bought Hotmail for $400M, and it transformed the previously IPO-centric business focus.

        The Anti-Trust suit meant you could no longer sell your company to Microsoft, so it was much harder to get venture

    • the massive investment in porting Office to Mac, release after release, even through Apple's transition to a BSD-like subsystem.

      Yeah, about that...Office for Mac was never a port.

      It's existed as a separate, independent codebase ever since the 80's. The MBU shares file format specs with the Office team proper, but there's virtually no code overlap.

      • Yeah, about that...Office for Mac was never a port.

        Just considering that Excel came out on the Mac 2 years before the Windows version (the first Windows version being 2.05 to align with the Mac version) I would have to agree with you.

      • by yuhong (1378501)

        The early versions was indeed never a port, but with Office 4.x they decides to merge the teams and share a lot of code, which caused a lot of backlash. This caused MS to create the MacBU which developed Office 98 for Mac and later.

        • Right, Word 6 for Mac was a train wreck. It was said at the time that Microsoft wrote a WinAPI compatibility layer for MacOS.

          And they were trying to sell to Mac users on Word 5.1, which was, frankly, a really great Mac application. There, I've said it, but that was back when Microsoft wasn't a company you wanted to hate.

    • by man_of_mr_e (217855) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @09:26PM (#36101778)

      Please. You really have no idea how the industry works, and why some companies thrive and some die. I'll give you a hint, there's one reason, and one reason only that tech companies die. And it has little to do with Microsoft (though certainly, they have their hand in it).

      That reason, is that they fail to provide a product that consumers want. Microsoft is really good at making consumers want it's products, thus it gives people what they want, and people buy it. Let's look at your examples.

      Wordperfect? They sat on their laurels after Windows was released, were late with a Windows product, and that product sucked and their existing userbase did not like it. They failed, time and again, to produce a product that their customers wanted in the GUI world. They ruled DOS, but they miscalculated how quickly DOS would die, and how people would quickly jump ship to a better product. In other words, Wordperfect created suicide. Later owners of the technology didn't do a lot to differentiate it from the by then dominant Word. Then, the companies that owned the technology did not put enough money behind it, and they would sell it off again and again before it could gain traction.

      The guy that invented the spreadsheet is Dan Bricklin, and Visicalc was killed by Lotus. Microsoft didn't even have a decent spreadsheet until years after Visicalc was dead.

      visual programming? I don't think that term means what you think it means. I'd be interested to know what company you're talking about.

      The first commercial web browser? That was Spry. They sold a product called "Internet in a box", derived from NCSA Mosaic. This product existed and died before Microsoft even entered the market. So i have to wonder exactly how it was that Microsoft killed them. Spyglass was the next, and though they licensed the name Mosaic and technology from NCSA, they never used any of the code and wrote everything from scratch. It's true that Microsoft was the cause of their destruction, but it was because Microsoft out-developed them. They had 1000 Developers on the IE team, and spyglass had 20. None of this had anything to do with anti-competitive behavior, other than that Microsoft could use it's massive war chest to out-develop everyone else, and frankly there is no law against that.

      You should really read http://www.ericsink.com/Browser_Wars.html [ericsink.com] as that covers it pretty well.

      GEOS? Are you freaking kidding me? That was an 8086 based task switching system, no memory management, etc.. it did a lot, sure.. but they didn't have the resources to make that into any kind of major product.

      Finally, we get to BeOS. BeOS was killed by Apple, not Microsoft. Ok, Microsoft may have leveled the killing blow, but apple crippled them to the point that a toddler could have killed them. Why? Because BeOS was positioning itself to be the next MacOS. They thought it was a done deal, until apple went behind their back and bought NeXT instead (just noticed, both of those have 3 capital letters and one lowercase, an e in both cases). Be had put all it's eggs in the Apple basket, and apple crushed them. In a last ditch effort, they decided to port to x86, but they were already a dead man walking and only had a handful of developers doing all the work. They couldn't support a commercial OS with that.

      • None of this had anything to do with anti-competitive behavior, other than that Microsoft could use it's massive war chest to out-develop everyone else, and frankly there is no law against that.

        To a point. When you use your massive war chest to create a product that you give away for free just to cut revenue of a competitor (to put them out of business) then antitrust violation of the law is up to judges to interpret. If you own 90%+ of a market and you refuse to sell (at wholesale prices) to any distributor that offers competing options then once again it's left to judges to interpret. The barrier to entry for software is naturally minimal. Microsoft consistently used their OS dominance to ma

        • It should be noted that Netscape already gave the product away for free. If you read my link to Eric Sink's page, he says that this tactic on Netscapes part is part of what put them out of business.

          Yes, it's illegal to use your war chest to drive a competitor out of buisness by giving away a free or below market cost product, *AND THEN RAISE THE PRICE AFTER THE COMPETITOR IS DEAD*. Microsoft only produced a product that they gave away at no additional cost, something Netscape was already doing before Micr

          • I won't pretend my memory is perfect but I do seem to recall that Netscape was free for students but not for business. I want to say it's retail price for business was $49.99. This [stanford.edu] seems to support my memory as well as this one [cnet.com] from 1998, 3 years after Internet Explorer 1.0.
            • arghh.. it's = its
            • Technically, yes. But you could download Netscape for free, from Netscapes Web or FTP site, and never pay a fee. Even if you were a business. There was nobody checking up on this. What's more, there was the "beta" clause, even businesses could run beta versions free, and there was always a beta version available.

      • GEOS? Are you freaking kidding me? That was an 8086 based task switching system, no memory management,

        You and your fancy 16-bit 8086. I waited 15 minutes for the damn thing to load on my 64K 6510-based system! Frankly, in an age where Firefox needs 200MB of RAM to turn on, I'm astounded it worked at all, even though it was pretty painful to operate.

      • by dhammabum (190105) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @03:16AM (#36103602)

        Your point about Word Perfect is false and misleading. Word Perfect died because Microsoft targeted it. MS viewed Word Perfect as a big threat and abused their monopoly position to end that threat. They purposefully changed specifications and withdrew APIs in Windows 95 a month before it was due to be released. Word Perfect/Novell had to recode much of the program, hence it was late and bug ridden. All this came out in the Comes vs MS trial and is about to resurface if Novell continues their case against MS. Before you say prove it, read for yourself:

        http://www.groklaw.net/staticpages/index.php?page=2007021720190018 [groklaw.net]

        I note your plugging a Microsoft shop in your sig - aren't astroturfers normally less obvious?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by man_of_mr_e (217855)

          I'm talking about Windows 3.1, not Windows 95. Try 5 years earlier. Before Novell bought Wordperfect.

          Also, no. Microsoft did NOT withdraw any API's from Windows 95 a month before it shipped. Windows 95 was RTM'd on July 11, 1995 and shipped August 25th 2005. That means it was finalized 6 weeks before it shipped. What's more, Windows 95 was basically static since December 2004, and went through extensive beta testing with only minor bug fixes and no feature changes.

          That's simply not true. I'd thank yo

          • by dhammabum (190105)

            Nice strawman you created. No, I was primarily referring to the Microsoft emails and document exhibits in the Comes vs Microsoft trial. Here's a quote from Mr Gates himself (exhibit 2151):

            "I have decided that we should not publish these extensions. We should wait until we have a way to do a high level of integration that will be harder for the likes of Notes, Wordperfect to achieve, and which will give Office a real advantage. This means that Capone and Marvel can still live in the top level of the Explorer

  • by pecosdave (536896) * on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @08:46PM (#36101458) Homepage Journal

    Apple is big. Arguably the biggest player right now, but it's arguable and that's a good thing.

    Microsoft is the has been that isn't forgotten and still wields power.

    The previous two are big enough to keep Google from really taking over, and is the only player that has truly embraced what the public wants (though minus the draconian parts Apple does a good job of that too).

    Linux is huge, what the public really wants even though the masses aren't smart enough to realize it's what they want. They're happy as long as we spoon feed it to them with Android phones and in embedded devices they use and love while calling Linux that freaking weird hard to use thing their nephew likes.

    The technology world is at a happy place. I don't know if smacking Microsoft down with the court system enabled this or not, really I can't guess how things would have worked out without the regulation they got. One of the few things mafia tactics worked on after the break up was making sure mobile music players, especially those in cars, didn't support OGG/Vorbis, but the only reason they succeeded was because Apple was the biggest player and was on the same page without actually having to conspire with Microsoft to do it. I'm certain other software companies were still bullied, but they did keep it on the down low, the PC vendor bullying was put into the spotlight, not fixed, but at least suppressed and lessened.

    I think we're finally in a happy place were OS and hardware vendors are concerned.

    Now we need to move on to communications companies, deregulation is good, but we need to deregulate enough to allow new competitors to breach the market and we have to stop the big players form bullying local co-ops and count/local level players from building networks where the big guys won't.

    • by tnk1 (899206)

      Apple is big. Arguably the biggest player right now, but it's arguable and that's a good thing.

      Microsoft is the has been that isn't forgotten and still wields power.

      Now, there is a set of statements that would have caused a reader's head to explode if they had been written in 1998.

      • by pecosdave (536896) *

        Funny how that door revolved.....

      • Apple is big. Arguably the biggest player right now, but it's arguable and that's a good thing.

        Microsoft is the has been that isn't forgotten and still wields power.

        Now, there is a set of statements that would have caused a reader's head to explode if they had been written in 1998.

        I'm not so sure... It seems he really has been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like.

      • by Kitkoan (1719118)
        Not as simple as you seem to be implying. Thing is while Apple has gotten large, it is by no means a major player in Microsofts fields. Apple has gained it fortune in portable devices, while Microsoft gained its fortune from its OS on computers (and is still the biggest player there by far), and Microsoft also is the biggest player in the home console market. These are 2 different companies that aren't really competing in the same market. Sure they've tried to overlap into the others field but they would co
  • Skype Monopoly (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @08:50PM (#36101488) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft's dominance over the desktop, especially office desktops, still gives it too much monopoly power for Microsoft to compete fairly when combined with Skype's net phone dominance.

    • Speaking of which, the Skype buyout still has to be approved by the feds...

      • Speaking of which, the Skype buyout still has to be approved by the feds...

        Is anybody going to explain to them that within five years Microsoft will only support Skype on Windows-branded OS's (other than the 3-year-old Mac version they barely keep on life support?)

        • I'm sure the EFF will submit a notice to that effect. There's no shortage of advocacy organizations promoting such views right now.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        Which they likely will because it's passe to prevent mergers from going through. It would be less problematic if the DoJ would make companies stick to the promises they made in order to get regulatory approval for the transaction. It might happen, but in practice it doesn't seem to be very common.

    • Skype is just a product away from being worthless.

      Android/Google are already poised to take over the market offered by Skype, with their Google Talk/Voice/Email/Cell Phone system they already have cobbled together. Microsoft has Skype and Windows (Phone 7), and maybe XBox Kinect (or whatever it is called).

      At this point, if I were at Google, I'd lay it out exactly this way. "We need a unified voice/video/email/chat/sms/sip product. Now!" They have the pieces, they just need to tie it all together nice and pr

      • For that matter, Apple has a nice toy in Facetime. It needs some work and a few non-iDevice clients, but it could be a contender without breaking the bank (especially not Apple's bank). I could see them releasing Mac and Windows clients, though Linux and Android might be a bridge too far for them... So that could seriously cripple the whole deal. Apple's "control every aspect" fixation would be at war with the fact that social networks (and let's face it, that's basically what we're talking about here) b

        • by dch24 (904899)

          Apple ... Facetime ... a few non-iDevice clients

          hahahahahaha!

          releasing Mac and Windows clients

          hahahahahah!!!

          I think you start to get it there, but let's face it: Apple will never release Facetime for Linux and Android. Windows? Now that's funny:

          Which will come first? The death of Windows or Apple elevating it to a tier-1 supported platform for their communication software? hahahahaha! *snicker*

    • As a network admin, trying to get every OS to work together in one heterogeneous environment is a huge PITA with regards to both security and functionality. I say that because all devices end up meeting ends at the lowest common denominator to maintain cross-compatibility. A few example include, but not limited to...

      1. MS Windows domain with file server.
      2. Linux webserver and file server.
      3. Plethora of droids needing Exchange e-mail access.
      4. Blackberry's needing to tie back to Exchange for e-mail access.
      5.

      • Immediate issues are resolved by falling back to SMB by weakening security on MS file servers.

        Ah, there's your problem. Set up a Linux fileserver. Make the Windows boxes talk to Samba, the Macs talk to netatalk, and the Linux boxes can speak NFS directly.

        Use the superset on the server side to handle the subsets on the client side - don't look for intersections of the subsets!

        • Thanks for the suggestions.

          My background is Windows simply because of the need for Active Directory. While the concept sounds dirty, is there a way to manage a Linux file server's permission delegation through an AD domain? I'd imagine I would have to join it to the domain masking it as a Windows box. I'd like to keep security administration centralized as much as possible.

  • by khr (708262)

    Did tech innovation suffer over the last 10 years because Microsoft wasn't broken up? 'Not really,' said Vinton Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist, 'It has to do with the fact that open source has become such a strong force in the software world.'"

    I find that actually ambiguous... Is Vinton Cerf saying that tech innovation suffered because of open source instead of because Microsoft wasn't broken up? I'm sure that's not what he meant....

    • Re:Ambiguous (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @09:13PM (#36101692) Homepage Journal
      ComputerWorld may not be stating that Vinton Cerf (leader of the project to design TCP, Internet god of one of the world's largest open source companies, and staunch defender of net neutrality) said that open source makes tech innovation suffer, but they sure are insinuating it.

      Kind of like how Old Spice insinuates that their products will make you smell like a millionaire jet fighter pilot, but don't actually say so. They do, however, state that they're insinuating it—which, all things considered, is more honest than ComputerWorld.

      What exactly is the world coming to, anyway?
  • Controversial issue (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gad_zuki! (70830) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @09:09PM (#36101650)

    I find it interesting that because of the ruling MS could no longer dictate that OEMs not put any crapware and couldnt force its own free AV onto them. So end users now get these machines with a fairly decent version of windows, but bogged down in crapware and with multiple AV products screaming for subscriptions which most people ignore.

    I'd rather the court just break them up into OS, office, and enterprise software solutions than this kind of odd hand-holding that in the end didn't do much good.

    Open Source was going to take over the horrible overly expensive commercial unix market regardless. Apple would still be around and even kept alive by MS to avoid regulators, etc.

    Outside of the Netscape issue, I dont think this was justified. I'd rather the court better handle this as its own issue. I'd also would rather have legislation in place that controls whether a large corporation can produce free/bundled software against a small competitor on a case by case basis. We already have undercutting and dumping laws for other industries.

    I honestly think that even without this ruling Firefox, Linux, and Apple would have done just as well. The lack of a breakup really just turned this into a useless compromise. Shame the government had the balls to take them to court, but not to actually win anything.

  • Release the Kraken!

  • by davevr (29843) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @09:35PM (#36101844) Homepage
    Then only one company (at most) would have had Balmer as a CEO....

    - a Microsoft shareholder


    PS: and none of the mini-microsofts would have paid 8 BILLION for F'ing Skype!
    • by hedwards (940851)

      Honestly, I think it was a good move for them, which is why I'm opposed to the acquisition. I just see this as way too easy for them to abuse to make it a head ache for folks that want to run other OSes.

  • In other news ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PPH (736903) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @09:36PM (#36101852)

    ... Google staff evangelist speaks out against strict DOJ antitrust enforcement emphasis.

  • I still remember the day when Microsoft updated one of their Windows versions(I think Win98?) and Netscape would not run because they removed a .dll.
    Also Embrace, Extend, Extinguish was put on cool down for 10 years. That stuff got really old. Why try to make something useful when Microsoft would just catch wind of it and redo it?

    I have no problem with OS bundling though. I bet people have some nice bundles of software ready with Linux. Once multiplatform aps become the rule instead of exception, peo
    • by man_of_mr_e (217855) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @12:09AM (#36102826)

      You still remember that day huh? That's interesting, because it never happened. No google results. Nothing in the conspiracy theory archives. Strange that.

      More than likely, you're conflating multiple different events and mixing them up and putting a netscape tag on it. Certainly, updates to Windows have broken apps, but never because they removed a dll. Most apps break when a new OS is released because the apps were relying on some undocumented functionality that changes in an update. It happens on Macs, it happens on Linux, and it happens on Windows.

      Microsoft goes out of their way to make broken apps work in Windows, even competitors. Microsoft actually had to put bugs back in the OS to make various apps function properly on some versions of Windows. On Windows 9x systems, there was a file that contained "hack bits" that were used to enable certain processes to turn on compatibility features for them, so they wouldn't break.

  • 'It has to do with the fact that open source has become such a strong force in the software world.'"

    I wouldn't call less than 2% of the PC market "a strong force". The guy's been smoking too much of his own press releases if he doesn't realize that even with the antitrust oversight (such as it was) Microsoft plainly won the war.

    • 2% of the /desktop/ market perhaps(probably more like 5% actually), but more like 50%+ of the server market(especially web servers), and at least 50% of the smartphone market(thanks to Android), 80% of the home router, webTV, etc market...
      How many smartphones run WP7 vs Android? Not many.
      How many routers run Win CE or something? None?
      Etc.

      Don't claim windows won the war when all they have is a tenative grip on the Desktop x86 PC market instead.

  • by krizoitz (1856864) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @10:32PM (#36102224)
    Yup, Open Source is the reason things changed.
    Like how Linux became such a strong force in the desktop OS market. Um, wait, let me try that again.
    Like how Google's open source search engine revolutionized the way we find things on the web. Nope, that one didn't happen either.
    Like how Apple's open source iPhone reinvented mobile phones. Hmm, I'm starting to see a pattern here.
    Like how Adope's open source Flash platform brought video and interactive content to the internet. Damn, I know I'll get one.
    Like how open source Mp3 technology revolutionized digital music. Fine, I give up.

    Look there have obviously been open source projects over the last decade that have had an impact. Linux on the server side (especially coupled with Apache, MySQL, and PHP) for example. But commerical server offerings are still a major part of that landscape. And Android has had strong success in mobile, but before the iPhone changed the landscape it was just a Blackberry look alike. Windows (and too a lesser extent OS X) are still what most people use for their daily computing needs, and frankly it wasn't the open source that led the way on new tablets. Open source has contributed, and its a good thing to have around. WebKit and Mozilla/Firefox on the browser side are the biggest factors in re-igniting the web and HTML 5 looks to do away with the decrepit old Flash hopefully sooner rather than later. But Open Source was NOT the driving force behind inovation the past decade, sorry but it just wasn't.

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      Yup, Open Source is the reason things changed.
      ...
      But Open Source was NOT the driving force behind inovation the past decade, sorry but it just wasn't.

      Nicely constructed, but still just a strawman. Let's get back to the source:

      'Not really,' said Vinton Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist, 'It has to do with the fact that open source has become such a strong force in the software world.'"

      Now, tell me where it does say open source was the driving force of inovation?

      Because I can imagine that even if your competitor doesn't invent, it's very presence may drive you to innovate.
      How else can you stay relevant if your competitor creates a "clone" (not a "pirated copy" but a replica of the functionality) of what you are offering?
      Moreover, how can you stay in business if the work of your competitor is totally open and enab

  • we'll never know (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Locutus (9039) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @10:33PM (#36102232)
    we'll never know because the companies not created because of fear of entering the market because of Microsoft's power over the PC market can't be asked. And yes there is fear within the PC desktop, laptop, server market surrounding Microsoft. It was only a few years ago when the head of the Taiwanese Manufacturing Association stated publicly that the association members fear Microsoft on the netbook and PC hardware but not on the phone device side. There are probably thousands of companies who would not enter the PC software market just because their product might compete with a Microsoft based product and they might 'get Netscaped'.

    so we'll never know. What I think we do know is that Nokia would not be turned into a Windows shop and Skype would not become a Windows company.

    LoB
  • The question isn't whether or not tech innovation suffered, but whether or not the software market has suffered. Indeed, I would say the software market has suffered immensely, and the only reason why we can say "tech innovation" continued is because, as Vinny points out, the success of open source. Open source worked because it functioned outside the market, so it was impervious to Microsoft's monopoly.

    • Are you seriously trying to say that Open Source innovates anything? Like what? I can't think of a single technology that Open Source has done first and been copied by commercial versions, but I can think of tons of cases of the reverse.

      Can you think of any?

      • You're an MS troll.
      • by Tim99 (984437)

        Are you seriously trying to say that Open Source innovates anything? Like what? I can't think of a single technology that Open Source has done first and been copied by commercial versions, but I can think of tons of cases of the reverse.

        Can you think of any?

        Er, I wondered whether to mark your post as Flamebait, but replied instead:

        TCP/IP - From DARPA, through BSD and Spider Systems to Windows NT.

      • by dch24 (904899)
        This is tired old FUD that you Microsoft shills trot out all the time.

        Can you name one technology that Microsoft innovated? And by the way, it doesn't count if they bought it from someone else.

        Ok, now to your original question:
        1. Alchemy [infoworld.com]
        2. Bespin
        3. Bitcoin
        4. eyeOS [infoworld.com]
        5. KDE Social Desktop [infoworld.com]
        6. Ksplice [ksplice.com]
        7. Unity [ubuntu.com]
        8. HTTP, the Web, TCP/IP, and ARPAnet [opensource.org]
        9. X Windows
        10. Perl [opensource.org]
        11. Slashdot [slashdot.org]
        12. Google keeps playing with open source, but can't make up their minds. Here are some
        13. Microsoft plays wit

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