back to article Microsoft remedies failed to create competition

Microsoft will crush competitors when antitrust measures expire in the US in November in a marketplace that has not been made more competitive by the US Government's actions, according to a group of state attorneys general. The US Department of Justice reached a settlement with Microsoft in 2002 over its unlawful use of its …


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  1. julian

    Is Google serious

    Is Google serious with it's comments for "a free choice of search products that was not influenced by Microsoft operating systems".

    How much of the search market do Google have? How much do they care about personal data and treating customers reasonably? A little competition would be great.

  2. Raheim Sherbedgia

    Poor Title

    MS will crush competitors when restrictions expire? How strange....

    A more accurate title would have been: "Tech companies unable to compete with MS, even with Govt enforcers on their side".

  3. Ned Fowden


    so what

    let Microsoft eliminate the competition...i'll be happy with 1 universal standard.

    i mean come on, it's only geeks and apple fan boys who use anything else anyway.

    i've tried using the competition and the simple fact is that their programs are more suited to each other than crappy (even more so) buggy 3rd party applications.

    let MS monopolise applications for their own systems, let the rest of them play catch up promoting their own OS's...oh wait they won't because their crappy too

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'remedies'...? hah!

    Hardly surprising that the so-called remedies have been ineffective, given that part-way through the settlement negotiations a corrupt government was elected which immediately tore up the separation of powers and told the convicted criminals that they were effectively going to be granted impunity for their crimes.

    Impeach Bush. Imprison Gates. It's the only real remedy.

  5. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Ah, the mating call of the lonely Dummicrat

    "Impeach Bush!" Is that really your answer to everything? And "Imprison Gates"? Oh, come on, is success now a crime for all self-loathing Dems? But then I forgot - Democrat Presidents only pardon drug-dealing relatives! Yes, Gates and co have alledgedly done their share of naughties, but nothing that warrants prison. Remember, M$ got to be big by selling what the public decided it wanted, even if it wasn't really the best option. Simply getting Bush out of office will not solve all the world's problems, and M$ will make money whether it's Dems or Reps in the Whitehouse because the public (corporate and private) will still carry on buying the products, despite what the Apple fanboys and Linux hax0rs wish.

  6. Simon Westerby

    @ Matt Bryant

    "..because the public (corporate and private) will still carry on buying the products.."

    In reallity the only reason people will continue buying M$ is becaus etehre is NO readilly available alternative. Have you ever seen a Linux box in PC World? Have You ever tired to buy an Apple machine from there? (with the ignorant sales-kiddy trying desperately to get you to buy a PC instead...)

    And can it with all the fanboys and hax0rs crap...

    I know a lot of people who use Apples because they are better for the job they do.

    We use LINUX servers @ work because its better then windows and cheaper then the other big unix flavours... but we aren't hax0rs...

    In fact i think you'll find most "hax0rs" are using Windows these days for better market penetration ;p

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reality... that folks who use windows pretty much get what they deserve!

  8. Chad P

    In Fairness...

    "...the only reason people will continye buying MS is because there is NO readily available alternative..."

    "I know a lot of people who use Apples..." "We use LINUX servers at work..."

    So what you're saying is that there ARE readily available alternatives, right? If you know a lot of people using Apple's software / hardware, and you use Linux servers at work, then you've just reinforced the DoJ's position. Though Microsoft is the dominant force in the industry, there are readily available alternatives for those who wish to explore alternatives.

    People continue to buy Microsoft products because they are familar, they are convenient, and... despite the "cool kid" hate that is so prevalent on the internet... they happen to create a product that is good enough to keep most people from trying the somewhat confusing interface of Linux or the overpriced, undercompatible (when compared to Windows) Apple OS.*

    There's nothing wrong with those two products (if Linux could be considered one product), mind. Linux is good for those who have a) not invested a lot of money in Windows software, b) do not mind the time required to become proficient in administration and c) are willing to educate users on the differences between Windows and Liinux. Apple is similar... though with a significantly lessened learning curve for users, and a much smaller base of supported hardware.**

    * - It just works in Mac OS X unless it... you know... doesn't.

    ** - The Canon small business multifunction I own comes to mind as incompatible hardware. A standard PCI dial up modem in an older G3 is also a great example... $45 for a 36.6 modem 4 years after it came out? Talk about abuse of power!

  9. Brian Miller

    Microsoft shackled, competitors sit on butts

    I see people complaining about Microsoft Windows all the time. But where the heck *are* the competitors? SCO decided to go lawsuit-happy. Novell didn't have anything, so they decided to buy Suse. Redhat has been plugging along.

    Where is Sun's Solaris? They're pretty mum about it. They mainly blab about Java, but do they actually make a dime on it? (And Java isn't an OS anyways.) I just installed a bunch of patches in single-user mode. You expect Granny, et alia, to do that? No way.

    I just looked up statistics for desktop OSes, based on browser hits ( Microsoft has about 90.4%, Mac has 6.2%, and Other has 3.4%. One year ago Microsoft was at 90.7%, Mac at 4.7%, and Other at 4.6%.

    I don't see a mass exodus from Windows. A 0.3% drop is not exactly significant. Other had a 1.2% drop, and that's a 26% loss from the previous year.

    I just looked up market share for server OSes, and Microsoft is getting the edge there, too. Apache is beginning to lose ground to IIS, according to Netcraft. Businesses are making these decisions, based on cold hard cash. Linux/Unix takes smart people to run the machines. These people cost more money than Windows admins. Look at the Microsoft success stories, about how one guy was paying four developers $100/hr, and then he switched to IIS. Or the one about how the Linux 2.4 kernel blows in comparison to Windows, and no major vendor offered the 2.6 kernel. One company I interviewed with wrote their site in Visual Basic because they wanted non-computer people to work on it. Yuck.

    At some point, "free" doesn't cut it. The OS has to be usable by the ignorant masses. And believe me, businesses are hiring some ignorant people. The place where I currently work hired a "developer" who can't type, doesn't know anything about the command prompt, very little about Windows OS, and doesn't exhibit any professional qualifications or qualities that are evident to me. But of course this person is an "ideal candidate."

    Companies complain about not being able to find good people. Sorry, but as far as I'm concerned, they aren't bothering to look. They sit on their butts with their products and people. No complaining! Get out and *do*!

  10. Don Mitchell


    People have a number of choices now, and obviously OUT-LAW is not happy that the great proletarian revolution has not happened. People chose Windows because it is the standard and has the most application software available. Developers write application software for Windows because it has the largest user base.

    If you could accomplish the goal of radicals, to destroy Microsoft, there would be one of two outcomes. Another OS would become a monopoly, because of the feed-back process described above. Or the openly programmable platform would disappear and be replaced by closed appliances, centralized servers and thin clients, which would be the end of the modern creative software industry.

    I'm disappointed that we don't have better operating systems. I wish Microsoft had done better with Vista, I wish Apple had a better kernel under its beautiful UI, I wish open source would produce new ideas instead of ersatz copies of commercial concepts. But applications are much more important and the OS has become something of an irrational turf war, especially for people who are frustrated that they don't own the turf. Users care about games, applications and getting their work done, they don't care about the politics of Richard Stallman. You're never going to have more than a couple percent of people who will run Linux on the desktop, just for the zen experience of turning their PC into little more than a thin client for email and web surfing.

    It is not just about supporting the "ignorant masses". I am so tired of that arrogant hacker attitude. I remember when hackers called any kind of GUI interface "point and drool" and end users were called "lusers". Hackers and academics are out of touch with real computer users and always have been.

    The idea that Linux is more sophisticated than Windows, or that a user is being sophisticated by running Linux is ridiculous. UNIX has been playing catch-up with Windows NT since 1990, and it still is not as powerful. Buy Visual Studio, get a copy of Hart's book on system programming, and actually learn something about computers and programming. Then stop bitching about operating systems and create a new piece of application software or a new game, because that's what people want.

  11. Robert Lougher

    Microsoft Propoganda

    "UNIX has been playing catch-up with Windows NT since 1990, and it still is not as powerful. Buy Visual Studio, get a copy of Hart's book on system programming, and actually learn something about computers and programming."

    I see somebody who actually believes Microsoft's propoganda. Where is your evidence? OK, what about the book you mention. Is it this one?

    Windows System Programming (The Addison-Wesley Microsoft Technology Series) by Johnson M. Hart (Author)

    I won't learn about computers from that. I'll learn about Windows.

    This is exactly what the OOXML and ISO debate is all about. Microsoft and their supporters pushing closed and proprietary technology, versus those who care about openness, and making the best technology/standards for everbody.

    The fact that users don't care doesn't make it right.

  12. Robin Mosse

    Nobody is ready to take their place

    M$'s position is pretty safe for some time to come. At work, at least for us, its not Office or exchange or hardware compatibility that everyone seems to think is the problem ties us to Windows. Instead it's all the other more specialist software, you can't really knock up a quick Advert for next weeks Farmers Weekly in anything I've seen on sourceforge. You sure as hell can't replace Protel/Orcad with anything on *nix or run it very well under wine, and now that we have it we're not wasting the £5k it cost looking at other platforms! Likewise our Accounting/Stock package-windows only as are all the others we get offered. Considering its such an engineer friendly platform, seen any PIC/MCU programmers/IDE's for Linux recently -- no didn't think so.

    And why is it Windows that has all these programs (apart from everyone has it)? Easy, pickup a copy of Visual Studio or Delphi or WinDev and you can write some apps mostly using the mouse. Anywhere else you'd be coding everything in some glorified version of notepad from 'i want a popup box' to 'connect to this database using this protocol zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz' from where I stand as a begginer with limited time this is not just daunting it's mad.

    Whihc begs the question who is going from Delphi to Eclipse? I just don't see it - Eclipse=some mad framework with lots of barely functional subprojects Delphi = functional nice RAD IDE, and the RAD bit is important, at least to me.

    Now if someone wrote a RAD IDE with all the functions of delphi/Visual studio that used wxwidgets or something similar I for one would develop for platforms other than 'doze. Oh and please don't point out pieces of software like Lazarus/DialogBlocks, not even close!

  13. JohnG

    It's not about programming and IDEs...

    ...It's about writing letters to suppliers, adding up a few columns of numbers and putting them into a pretty presentation for management. This is all done by people who have no interest in programming and for whom the computer is a multi-purpose tool. This is what company desktop systems are purchased for and it is what companies are prepared to spend money on.

    Microsoft was not always in the dominant position they enjoy now: Wordperfect was the word processor of choice for years - Word was laughed at. Lotus123 was the top spreadsheet package for years (I knew many accounts people who would even write their CVs with it) - Excel was nowhere to be seen. Desktop publishing was the exclusive domain of Apple. Microsoft just plugged away until they were producing what companies would buy.

    If I have to choose what to buy in for a company today, what choice do I have? The nearest thing to competiton for MS Office is StarOffice/OpenOffice and it's just not there yet. The look and feel is not close enough to give to non-expert users.

  14. David

    Too late

    It almost didn't matter if Microsoft complied, the damage was already done. Their dodgy dealings gave them the momentum that will roll forward for some time to come. Who says crime doesn't pay?

    But Microsoft do need to be checked in the future so that they don't force customers to their Internet offerings. The future is not the OS, but Internet services. Google is right that Microsoft needs to be policed. If not, Microsoft will strongly suggest that their 1 billion installed base bypass the likes of Google and then the problems could start again.

  15. Tim Bates


    I find it odd that people say anything in Windows is standard. They rarely stick to any defined standards... And usually break their own.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There was only one possible solution

    And that would have been if the DoJ had not allowed MS to sell "preloaded" windows for the same number of years that MS forced OEM's to pay a license fee to MS even when the box they sold didn't have windows preloaded. After all, that practice is what made MS the monopoly they became.

  17. James Butler

    What if ...

    What if Microsoft HADN'T sealed the deal to foist MS-DOS (CP/M-revisited) on IBM?

    What if Apple and Posix had been allowed to penetrate the market in the early days, without interference?

    If Windows Vista were offered as a NEW operating system in a world where Apple and Posix were dominant, and open standards (sorry, Apple) were also dominant?

    My bet is that Vista (pick your Windows favorite) would be laughed off the planet.

    The reasons MS products are dominant now have nothing to do with their quality or their ease of use or their prices ... it's because their corporate practices were so successful.

    You might as well say that MacDonald's makes the finest food in the world because they have the most restaurants.

    Bush's DoJ stripped the original lawsuit of any meaning, and now they're saying it was the right thing to do for American business. That's crap. If the original lawsuit had been allowed to proceed, Microsoft would not have been able to force distribution elements to restrict their offerings, and other players would have had much more of a chance at making some inroads. As it is, they had to do precious little, and there is precious little to show for it.

    You're seeing the "power of the purse", not the choice of the people.

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