Windows 7 Forums

Welcome to Windows 7 Forums. Our forum is dedicated to helping you find support and solutions for any problems regarding your Windows 7 PC be it Dell, HP, Acer, Asus or a custom build. We also provide an extensive Windows 7 tutorial section that covers a wide range of tips and tricks.


Windows 7: The eternal antitrust case: Microsoft versus the world


27 Sep 2010   #1
JMH

Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit. SP1.
 
 
The eternal antitrust case: Microsoft versus the world

Quote:

"The worst thing that could come of this is I could fall down the steps of the FTC building, hit my head and kill myself," quipped Microsoft Chairman William H. Gates in 1992, as the Federal Trade Commission launched an investigation of his company. But nobody joked on the third day of April, 2000, as Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson delivered his decision on what had morphed into the biggest software antitrust case in history: The United States of America vs. Microsoft.

"The court concludes that Microsoft maintained its monopoly power by anticompetitive means and attempted to monopolize the Web browser market," Jackson declared.

Ten years ago, on September 26, 2000, that trial took a crucial turn towards the settlement that would allow Microsoft to retain its vast control over the personal computer operating system market. Let's revisit the essentials of that case, and follow the aftermath—a legacy of endless negotiation and struggle with the entity that, to this day, is the OS on 91.32 percent of the world's PCs.

Drastic reduction


To Judge Jackson, Microsoft's behavior was a clear and present violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Early on, he warned, Microsoft came to see "middleware"—specifically the Netscape Navigator Web browser and Sun's Java technology—as a "Trojan horse," that could enable competing operating systems to prevail over the Intel-empowered PC market.

"When Netscape refused to abandon its efforts to develop Navigator into a substantial platform for applications development," Jackson continued, "Microsoft focused its efforts on minimizing the extent to which developers would avail themselves of interfaces exposed by that nascent platform." Microsoft did this primarily via by tethering its own Internet Explorer to every Windows PC system and simultaneously making it more difficult to install or pre-install Navigator.

This "increased the likelihood that preinstallation of Navigator onto Windows would cause user confusion and system degradation," leading to more support costs and lower sales for computer manufacturers, the court concluded. Thus these companies felt "compelled by Microsoft's actions to reduce drastically their distribution and promotion of Navigator."

Three weeks later, the Department of Justice and the Attorneys General of 17 states asked that same judge to cut Microsoft in half. Company one would make and sell Microsoft's operating system. Company two would produce and distribute applications. This is what Jackson ordered on June 7, 2000.

Here was a 1911 Standard Oil and 1984 AT&T break-up moment, noted The New York Times. "If the recommendation were enacted by the court and upheld on appeal, it would be one of the few times in the 110-year history of the Sherman Antitrust Act that the government had succeeded in breaking up a major multinational corporation."

But it never happened. Instead, on September 26, 2000, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case, which was then routed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Regular Ars readers are quite familiar with this venue, which recently rebuked the Federal Communications Commission's attempt to sanction Comcast for P2P throttling.

There, Jackson's conclusions met a similar fate. "I am not in the camp that says just because a district court lists something under 'findings of fact,' it's gospel," declared the court's Harry Edwards during oral arguments. "It has to be a fact, in fact."
More -
The eternal antitrust case: Microsoft versus the world


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

27 Sep 2010   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

As long as antitrust laws focusing on breaking up companies that gain an honest advantage over other companies, rather than focusing on companies using illegal tactics to cheat, this case and several others will always be "eternal" antitrust cases. All of these cases operate on the assumption that Windows' huge market share is MS's "fault" ... as if all those people were coerced or bribed to use Windows, which is a ridiculous notion. Windows is #1 not because MS made it so, but because the consumers have made it so. Mac OS X is more desirable to some, but Macs are much more expensive than PCs (Apple's fault if anyone's, not Microsoft's), and therefore PC's have a genuine pricing advantage. Linux has a much better pricing advantage, but stands at a usability disadvantage because of its relative complexity. Windows is the only one of the three with both a pricing advantage (relative to Mac) AND a usability or first-time user advantage (relative to Linux). These options combine to make them the most popular operating system in a "best of both worlds" concept.

Likewise, Google's search engine is #1 simply because more people use Google than anything else. These kind of antitrust investigations are pointless, all they try to do is give the "big bad corporation" an artificial disadvantage in a vain attempt to cancel out the wishes of the consumers.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Sep 2010   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

BCXtreme,

Microsoft is far from being an angel as far as business practices go. They have gone out of their way to ensure they build an effective monopoly.

While consumers have purchased systems with Windows installed....it's not that they really had that much other choice. They could get a MAC...but many cannot afford the hardware and such and thus end up with a PC with Windows on it.

From a hardware standpoint, a vast majority of the third party hardware vendors are in the game big time with Microsoft and often times driver support is simply non-existent for other operating systems....which can bring on that "usability disadvantage" that you mention.

Here is some food for thought;
http://www.kegel.com/corporate_ethics.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Microsoft
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


27 Sep 2010   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

I would challenge you to give me a single corporation that is "angelic" in terms of business practices. You certainly won't find that among any of MS's competitors!

I could bring up several objections to that so-called "corporate ethics" page, but it would be a pointless debate in the long run. Suffice it to say that businesses exist to make profits. Of course Microsoft's not going to do something that isn't particularly advantageous for them. Neither is any other company.

I would be curious as to why you think consumers have no other choice besides Windows?? You yourself use Linux, and a lot of netbooks have toyed around with Linux too. And as for Mac, are you implying that PC hardware and software makers are somehow being unethical by undercutting Apple's prices?

The third-party hardware vendors are "in the game big time with Microsoft" because Windows has 91.32% market share (according to the OP article). Linux's market share is like 1%, if that ... why would most vendors even bother publishing drivers for such a small consumer base? That's not going to benefit them in the least, and drivers cost money to make.

On another note, Linux's usability disadvantage has nothing to do with available software (although there is certainly a shortcoming there, again because Linux is a small enough market to be negligible). From my experience with Linux, the system itself is more complex that Windows and Mac, often requiring Terminal work for tasks that have standardized GUI components on other platforms. Linux is great IMO, but it's not really for "the faint of heart" when it comes to casual computer users.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Sep 2010   #5

Win 7 Ultimate 32bit
 
 

Quote:
While consumers have purchased systems with Windows installed....it's not that they really had that much other choice.
That is not MS's fault either really.

Only on the stand point of what might have been true, that they were making deals with all the OEM's to sell only MS products. But then again, This too would not be MS's fault alone, no one went after the OEM's about not selling OS/2 , at least not to my knowledge. Not that OS/2 was heavily advertised to the consumer market that I remember.

Competition alone, or lack there of, does not make one a monopoly.
If all I did was make a lighter, and that lighter was so good that it put all other lighter makers out, would I be guilty of Monopoly? No.

Or do we need a Handicapper General?

I am not saying that MS didn't do anything wrong, I am sure they might have in some instances. But, no one really had a truly competing product. Not really. OS/2 could have been, but that was IBM's fault for not marketing it better, or fighting for a market share. If they even wanted to.

So, while I think MS may have done somethings in the realm of bad ethics, that might also be seen as anti-competitive, I do not believe they were so bad as to warrant what was done. Or the stigma they have today.

Make a better OS and price it cheaper than MS and see what happens... So far, that has never been done.

Mac and Linux do not count. They are in their own categories, for obvious reasons to anyone with half a brain.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Sep 2010   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by BCXtreme View Post
I would be curious as to why you think consumers have no other choice besides Windows?? You yourself use Linux, and a lot of netbooks have toyed around with Linux too. And as for Mac, are you implying that PC hardware and software makers are somehow being unethical by undercutting Apple's prices?
I'm just saying that when people walk into a store and they look at a desktop or a laptop they often just see boxes with Windows. While they might look at a netbook, they are likely going to only get a Windows based netbook because it's all they really know. Heck, no doubt you have heard the person who asks if AMD processors can run their software...they don't know any better.

I was not implying anything about Apple hardware or pc makers being unethical. I was merely saying that a lot of people are very budget restricted and want to spend the least amount of money that they can for something...therefore it's very unlikely that they are going to wander into a store and wander out with a MAC because they are more expensive.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by BCXtreme View Post
From my experience with Linux, the system itself is more complex that Windows and Mac, often requiring Terminal work for tasks that have standardized GUI components on other platforms. Linux is great IMO, but it's not really for "the faint of heart" when it comes to casual computer users.
My experience with Linux is predominately in the server room....where I use far more Linux servers than I do Windows servers because it saves me tremendous amounts of time, it's stable and (for me), quite easy to maintain.

You find the command line difficult and obtuse...but for me...I prefer configuring a box through text files and configuration files far more than using a GUI. It's simple as hell to document, and other admins can simply cut and paste the commands exactly as they are into the terminal and they get it right every single time. If you have your data files, a handful of config files...you can rebuild a linux server including the OS load in about 10 minutes and it's fully functional and back in business. I've found no GUI that provides the same level of quick recovery. (aside from laying down an image). In fact, I run nearly 100 linux servers and not a single one of them even has a GUI installed because it's 100% absolutely unrequired. And if you watch closely, with Windows Server administration...tons of stuff is now moving to the PowerShell...where Windows admins can also configure all kinds of things on their Windows servers without having to bother with clicking around in the GUI and clicking Next, Next, next, Finish.

I agree that Linux isn't for the faint of heart. It does take time to learn...I don't challenge that statement at all. In fact, Windows didn't come to me overnight either. It took years of working with it to get to where I am today. Same thing applies to Linux. it was a learning curve, it took some time...but I'll be honest I'm so thankful that I can use it and have options when it comes to deploying a new server on our network. And I've found that employers too like somebody who has options and can deploy more than 1 solution.

Take as an example and FTP server. Let's say that you work for a company and you want to put up an FTP server for your customers to use. If you went with a Windows based solution on Server 2008 R2...you would have to buy the license to run Windows Server 2008 R2 as well as the Internet Connection license (Windows Server 2008 R2: External Connector Licensing) to allow the public to access your server (since they don't have CALS). From this MS page (http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/pricing.aspx) you will see that the license for Windows Server 2008 R2 is $1,029 and the External Connector license is $1,999. So, you are looking at a little over $3,000 to run this FTP server.

However, if you downloaded a copy of CentOS 5.5 Linux (free) and installed that, you could run 1 command (yum install vsftpd) and you have an ftp server installed. Then, you could issue a command to automatically start the server at boot time (chkconfig vsftpd on). Now, all that is left is to modify the configuration file (/etc/vsftpd/vsftpd.conf) with your preferences (banners, allow uploading, a hello message, max number of sessions, etc) and create your user accounts. Total cost on the Linux side, $0.

Let me just say, that employers love it when you can walk in the door and immediately save $3k. Not to mention, vsftpd and linux will likely run for weeks, months, years without having to be rebooted or restarted. In the last 5 years, most IT departments have began cutting costs and IT departments have far smaller budgets to work with...but the company still expects the tools necessary to keep business running. So I really think this knowledge and know how is more valuable than ever.

I'm not bothered in the least that Linux is not on the desktop. It's the server room where I make my living. And at the end of my day, I use Windows boxes at home and on my desktop at work. It's the matter of picking the right tool for the job. It doesn't have to be, or shouldn't have to be.....simply one or the other. Both work well together.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Sep 2010   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Tepid View Post
Quote:
While consumers have purchased systems with Windows installed....it's not that they really had that much other choice.
That is not MS's fault either really.

Only on the stand point of what might have been true, that they were making deals with all the OEM's to sell only MS products. But then again, This too would not be MS's fault alone, no one went after the OEM's about not selling OS/2 , at least not to my knowledge. Not that OS/2 was heavily advertised to the consumer market that I remember.

Competition alone, or lack there of, does not make one a monopoly.
If all I did was make a lighter, and that lighter was so good that it put all other lighter makers out, would I be guilty of Monopoly? No.

Or do we need a Handicapper General?

I am not saying that MS didn't do anything wrong, I am sure they might have in some instances. But, no one really had a truly competing product. Not really. OS/2 could have been, but that was IBM's fault for not marketing it better, or fighting for a market share. If they even wanted to.

So, while I think MS may have done somethings in the realm of bad ethics, that might also be seen as anti-competitive, I do not believe they were so bad as to warrant what was done. Or the stigma they have today.

Make a better OS and price it cheaper than MS and see what happens... So far, that has never been done.

Mac and Linux do not count. They are in their own categories, for obvious reasons to anyone with half a brain.
Couldn't have said it better!

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by BCXtreme View Post
I would be curious as to why you think consumers have no other choice besides Windows?? You yourself use Linux, and a lot of netbooks have toyed around with Linux too. And as for Mac, are you implying that PC hardware and software makers are somehow being unethical by undercutting Apple's prices?
I'm just saying that when people walk into a store and they look at a desktop or a laptop they often just see boxes with Windows. While they might look at a netbook, they are likely going to only get a Windows based netbook because it's all they really know. Heck, no doubt you have heard the person who asks if AMD processors can run their software...they don't know any better.

I was not implying anything about Apple hardware or pc makers being unethical. I was merely saying that a lot of people are very budget restricted and want to spend the least amount of money that they can for something...therefore it's very unlikely that they are going to wander into a store and wander out with a MAC because they are more expensive.
Which is very true, and just means that Windows has a genuine advantage over Mac due to both hardware and software makers' ability to price PC products lower. That's not even a little anti-competitive.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by BCXtreme View Post
From my experience with Linux, the system itself is more complex that Windows and Mac, often requiring Terminal work for tasks that have standardized GUI components on other platforms. Linux is great IMO, but it's not really for "the faint of heart" when it comes to casual computer users.
My experience with Linux is predominately in the server room....etc (truncated to save space)
I agree with you on this one, as far as I've ever heard, Linux definitely has genuine advantages of its own in the server market. The fact that Linux is so popular in the server market should prove beyond all doubt that Windows is not anti-competitive.

You know, understand, and use the benefits of Linux to your professional advantage. But yet you use Windows personally. This is exactly what I am talking about when I say the consumers are the ones who made Windows #1. Sure, a lot of them don't think that choice through as thoroughly as you have, but that's how a lot of people treat everything from computers to politics to philosophy and on down the road. Of course, part of the equation is that at first you must aggressively pursue the consumers, marketing your product to them; Microsoft did that very well among the middle class (due to their low prices), Apple did that very well among the upper-middle and upper classes (due to their higher prices), IBM did not do that very well with OS/2, and Linux makers don't really do it at all (in the home user market).

Henry Ford did not invent the automobile. Henry Ford invented assembly-line production for the automobile, which allowed him to make, and thus sell, automobiles at a much lower price than anyone else. Because his products were affordable to the common people, he gained market dominance. To this day, Ford is the second-largest auto maker in the U.S. That didn't come as a result of monopolistic practices, but rather good business strategy.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Sep 2010   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by BCXtreme View Post
I agree with you on this one, as far as I've ever heard, Linux definitely has genuine advantages of its own in the server market. The fact that Linux is so popular in the server market should prove beyond all doubt that Windows is not anti-competitive.
Of course, to be fair, servers are pretty much sold by default without any operating system installed. If you buy a server from Dell or HP and you want Windows, you check a box and you pay extra. (In the case of Dell, Windows Server 2008 R2 standard edition with 5 CALS is $799). I would say the overwhelming majority of server purchases are without an operating system. The IT department than installs whatever they need on the server on it's arrival.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by BCXtreme View Post
You know, understand, and use the benefits of Linux to your professional advantage. But yet you use Windows personally.
We also use Windows Server in the workplace. We run Active Directory, SQL servers, SharePoint, and Exchange.

Here is a fun one to think about. When a company decides to purchase an Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft, they are asked to provide a total count of all workstation computers in their entire organization. Notice i said "all" workstation computers...not just the ones intended to run Windows. So, if you would like to enter into an Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft to get pricing breaks...and you have say 300 Windows PC's, 25 macs running Photoshop and 35 Linux workstations...you actually have to pay for a Windows license for all of them...(mac's and Linux included). Microsoft will charge you for a Windows desktop license as well as an office license for the macs and the linux machines. Now, obviously nobody comes in and takes an actual count of your machines, so common sense would say that you omit these 60 machines from your count....but that's not what the rules of the program state.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Sep 2010   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
Here is a fun one to think about. When a company decides to purchase an Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft, they are asked to provide a total count of all workstation computers in their entire organization. Notice i said "all" workstation computers...not just the ones intended to run Windows. So, if you would like to enter into an Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft to get pricing breaks...and you have say 300 Windows PC's, 25 macs running Photoshop and 35 Linux workstations...you actually have to pay for a Windows license for all of them...(mac's and Linux included). Microsoft will charge you for a Windows desktop license as well as an office license for the macs and the linux machines. Now, obviously nobody comes in and takes an actual count of your machines, so common sense would say that you omit these 60 machines from your count....but that's not what the rules of the program state.
It is probably assumed that only a company that wants to run entirely on Windows would purchase such an agreement. In fact, you are probably going against the implied terms of that agreement by continuing to use other OSes on the other computers. Bulk discount pricing like that often comes with fine print to that effect.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Sep 2010   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by BCXtreme View Post
It is probably assumed that only a company that wants to run entirely on Windows would purchase such an agreement. In fact, you are probably going against the implied terms of that agreement by continuing to use other OSes on the other computers. Bulk discount pricing like that often comes with fine print to that effect.
Yes, Microsoft does assume that you want to run their OS on every computer you own. I mean in their eyes, "what else could you run"?

From an organization standpoint, the minimum # of workstations that you can get for an enterprise agreement is 250. However, if you have more than 250 computers in your organization...it's highly likely that you would be looking at an enterprise agreement just because your licensing costs are going to be far less if you want to try to stay semi-current on the latest releases. And I think that many businesses with more than 250 computers would have additional machines that aren't necessarily Windows. But I think it kind of stinks that Microsoft says, in order to get our discounted licensing for your other 2000+ machines...you also have to pay for licenses on 500 computer that will never run our products.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
Reply

 The eternal antitrust case: Microsoft versus the world




Thread Tools




Our Sites

Site Links

About Us

Find Us

Windows 7 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 7" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

Designer Media Ltd

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:04 PM.
Twitter Facebook Google+



Windows 7 Forums

Seven Forums Android App Seven Forums IOS App
  

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33