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Discussion in 'Current Events' started by bartelby, Sep 17, 2007.
So, will M$ pay up?
Apologies if this has ben posted before...
So, is it possible that an iTunes/DRM/something-related legal action is in the works?
The EU have already investigated iTunes. I can't remember the outcome of it though.
Will their business model change?
I think their business model has already changed, some. They can no longer strong-arm the Windows OEMs anything like they way they did just a few years back, and they are under court orders to provide accurate information to third-party software developers.
If I understand correctly, they are being punished for using their own closed standards (active x in IE, and wmv and wma for video and audio for example) without giving anyone a chance to use them. You have/had to use their browser or media player and so the competition is blocked out.
They have to give proper documentation so other software can use those technologies. If this gets changed I could finally be able to use this one stupid site that won't let me do my homebanking on anything but IE, and let me chat through iChat to MSN friends.
But I shouldn't get my hopes up any time soon. They are trying the same thing all over with openxml instead of odf, and I thought I read something about a new own pictures format.
thing is, i've seen a few sites stating basically MS should pull out of europe, or do 'something' like shut down WGA in europe for a week to make a point.
yes they could, frankly i'll not be downloading updates for a while (i use a mac, windows is in a virtual machine so a roll back tis easy, but thats not the point)
however if they do this once, they break the 'trust' companies have in MS, at which point looking for alternatives becomes a higher priority.
if say Luxembourg (to pick a small country) decided sod it and went 100% for linux/OS X or whatever that creates a huge market for software you just can't get now.
yes OSX etc has open office.. wow.. its not even close to excel (VBA anyone? macro compatability?) but stuff like SAP and the other rubbish big companies love?
if the market is present, probably government backed, the software will be developed. at which point MS suffers a lot.
paying the fine is small cheese.
if they want an 'easy' way out, supply windows on two discs, the first is the core OS and maybe notepad & a file manager, its very basic. but has driver support etc and the control panel. but on its own does nothing.
the second disc is the 'utilities' which has a single install program that presents a menu of what you can have, most people will hit the 'select all' button, especially if they offer choice of individual components, but not 'groups'
seems an easy way to get round this.
it means decoupling MSIE from the core OS, or simply including the control .dll files but not the front end, which is on the second disc.
this makes it very simple to install a stripped down version, but also makes it childs play to install extras you want.
I actually liked the way 3.1 installed, it asked what you wanted, 95 was similar, from 98 onwards theres been more of "this is what you are getting" as opposed to this is what you want.
the point being someone else could make a 'utilities' disc, yes most people won't bother t use it, but you could.
Anything is possible, but Microsoft is just trying to get attention from their own conviction for anti-trust violations to someone else who perhaps maybe could eventually be a target as well.
However, Microsoft always likes to point to the supposed iPod monopoly of Apple. There are a few things to be said there: One is, that Apple needs to build iPods in a way that they can be connected to computers running an operating system created by a repeatedly convicted monopolist. It is obvious that Apple has to do what is best for them and not give the convicted monopolist any chance to interfere with their business, especially since the convicted monopolist has been trying to enter the same market and apparently is already involved in dumping activities (similar to the XBox 360, the Zune is actually sold at a loss).
Apple uses "Fairplay" for copy prevention. The convicted monopolist has developed two equivalent systems; one named "PlayForSure" that Apple could theoretically have licensed, but under terms that are clearly unacceptable, like having to inform the convicted monopolist of any new products that Apple is creating. The other system is used exclusively on the "Zune" player and not available for licensing at all. Maybe Microsoft would like to license FairPlay, but Apple quite rightly will never give them a license, because we all know: Microsoft doesn't play fair.
Much is made of the fact that music from the iTunes store only plays on iPods. But that is changing, and if more record companies played ball, all music from the iTunes store could be played anywhere. But there is a Microsoft store that sells music only playable on the Zune, and other stores sell music only playable on players using PlayForSure. Any store _can_ sell music that plays on the iPod and everywhere else if they wish to do so, and there are stores that do this. But what about owners of a player that doesn't work with the iTunes store now? They have no problem. They can buy somewhere else, and other stores have exactly the same music available.
In the end, what Microsoft is trying to do is to remove the attention of the public from their own anti-competitive behaviour to companies that are successful, but not anti-competitive, and that are involved in a fight with the biggest bully-boy around.
They have been under court orders for several years now, and that is what the EU fine is all about: They have been fined for not providing the documentation they were supposed to provide. What they did provide was only readable with a special application that didn't allow printing and searching, so they gave people 120,000 pages of random stuff called "documentation" and asked them to figure it out for themselves.
Then Microsoft had a clever idea: Instead of documentation, they claimed that they should provide their code that implements things, but then argued that this was unfair because that was their valuable intellectual property. One massive straw man: The court never asked the source code, nobody ever wanted source code because source code is useless as documentation, and lots of people felt sorry for Microsoft which was exactly what they wanted.
So Microsoft will try to continue their game as long as they can.
Foot-dragging has been Microsoft's response to antitrust inquiry from the very beginning. They know that the outcomes of the suits aren't as important as the length of time they're able to continue conducting their business in a prohibited manner. They have never yet been required to give back any market gains won illegally.