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Consumers get $180 million in Microsoft settlement, lawyers get $75 million

Microsoft has settled its long-running antitrust case in Iowa. The lawsuit, which was initially filed in 2000, claimed that Microsoft was involved in anticompetitive business practices which in turn resulted in higher prices for consumers.

The lead plaintiffs in the case, Des Moines lawyer Roxanne Conlin and Minneapolis lawyer Richard Hagstrom will receive $75 million in legal fee and expenses as a result of the settlement -- a record for the state of Iowa.

The $75 million in fees represent a bill rate of $575 an hour for each of the 150 lawyers, clerks and paralegals involved in the case. Over a seven year period, 117,000 hours were logged in relation to the case. The individual rate for Conlin and Hagstrom works out to $1,072 dollars per hour. The payout for the two lawyers also includes a 43 percent risk premium which was approved by a Polk County district judge.

While the lawyers will receive $75 million, Iowans will receive $179.95 million -- $330 million was originally requested. Microsoft will dish out $10, $16, $25 and $29 respectively for Word/Works/Home Essential, Windows/DOS, Excel and Office. Individual consumers can claim up to $200 without a proof of purchase, however, any amount exceeding $200 must be backed with supporting documentation.

Iowa consumers will receive their settlements in checks from Microsoft while businesses and government bodies will receive pay vouchers.

Some Iowans aren't happy with the settlements they are receiving in relation to the payout reserved for lawyer fees. "How in the name of all that is sacred can you even imagine that to be equitable?" inquired Parkersburg resident Betty Klingenbord. "I also do not like how this makes Iowa look. Where will these lawsuits end?"

The settlement covers Iowans who purchased Microsoft software between May 18, 1994 and June 30, 2006. Customers who wish to receive their reimbursements from Microsoft must do so before the December 14 deadline.

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By Master Kenobi on 9/4/2007 9:02:33 AM , Rating: 5
This kind of stuff just irritates me. Microsoft products are NOT overpriced. These lawyers need to be fined and jailed for predatory legal actions. If people will buy it, the price is right, if not, tough shit. We live in a FREE MARKET ECONOMY. Not one dictated by lawyers and pissed off consumers who think 150 bux is too much for something they will use for 5-8 years.

By rdeegvainl on 9/4/2007 9:10:48 AM , Rating: 2
Opinions about Microsoft not included, If I owned all or a vast majority of a commodity that was needed, or percieved to be needed by the general public, like for example water, and sold it for 10 dollars a liter? are you saying that is right, just because of a free market economy?
I do think that microsoft is fairly pricing what they sell.

By TomZ on 9/4/2007 9:15:31 AM , Rating: 2
That's a bogus argument, since there always have been, and continue to be, other operating systems out there. For example, Linux is viable and is free. If you think that Windows is overpriced, you can just use Linux instead.

By rdeegvainl on 9/4/2007 9:26:58 AM , Rating: 2
That argument has nothing to do with oporating systems, read the first sentence. I find your argument to now be bogus. I'm just saying, Free Market doesn't just make whatever price ok, also the last sentence says that I don't have problem with the prices.

By Strunf on 9/4/2007 9:36:15 AM , Rating: 2
The OS is not a tool by itself, and if your tools aren’t available in Linux them you can’t change…

And the OS is overpriced, I mean after a few months the development of the OS is already paid, basically MS set the price based on how much pain they can inflect us with out making us switch.
As far as I’m concerned I could very well stay at win 3.1 provided I could play all the recent games in it... I wonder when will the EC or someone else now bang MS for its DX10-Vista crap deal, I just hope the game publishers don’t buy into this crap and may now support better the OpenGL standard (even if I doubt of it).

By mindless1 on 9/4/07, Rating: 0
By TomZ on 9/4/2007 12:29:51 PM , Rating: 2
Then let's just dissolve MS.

You're talking nonsense. Antitrust regulators have been carefully watching Microsoft for many years, and so far they have not observed any reason to even consider doing this.
Fact is, the only thing keeping their monopoly alive is that the public perceives it in their best interests to do so.

I disagree - you are ignoring the benefits and efficiency in having a single de-facto standard operating system. Applications writers can focus their limited development resources on a single platform, and the same for device manufacturers creating device drivers. Quality and choice would suffer terribly if there were 10 different popular OSs that needed to be supported.
If these other OS were viable alternatives for the public at large, MS would no longer exist today as the OS figurehead they are.

Other OSs are certainly viable today, considering that maybe around 10% of computers and a much higher percentage of servers run an OS different than Windows. But of course not running Windows, you'll be losing the benefit of the zillions of apps and devices that are supported. But this doesn't mean it's not viable.

By Munkles on 9/4/2007 12:41:55 PM , Rating: 2
Those servers aren't running the popular Ubuntu distro, or Mac OSX either.

Those servers wouldn't ever use an OS designed around server usage.

By TomZ on 9/4/2007 12:52:18 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, I don't understand your point.

By Master Kenobi on 9/4/2007 9:15:57 AM , Rating: 2
It's not likely that would happen, another company would come around and destroy you selling water for 5 bux a liter. Free Market at work.

By rdeegvainl on 9/4/2007 9:22:46 AM , Rating: 2
I guess you missed the whole point of owning all or the vast majority.

By Master Kenobi on 9/4/2007 9:25:38 AM , Rating: 2
Vast majority because you have a worthwhile product. When you cease to have a worthwhile product, you start to lose. In the case of Microsoft they made good products, charged a reasonable price, and continue to do so. Thus they maintain a rediculous 93% marketshare. If they started charging insane prices you would see that number slide and fast.

By rdeegvainl on 9/4/2007 9:35:32 AM , Rating: 1
You also missed the part of it saying not about microsoft.

By Verran on 9/4/2007 10:40:38 AM , Rating: 2
The topic of this article is Microsoft. Generally, people assume that comments within a specific article will be of the same subject matter as the article.

A corporation that somehow manages to take control of the entire planet's water supply (70%+ of the Earth's surface) in order to price-gouge consumers makes for a neat story, but seems a bit off-track under this article.

By rdeegvainl on 9/4/2007 10:46:10 AM , Rating: 2
That is why you shouldn't assume, and should read the first sentence of a post you reply to. (along with the rest)
Though the post was to a comment already made about Free market. That is why I made it a reply and not a first post.

By Oregonian2 on 9/4/2007 2:03:25 PM , Rating: 3
It wouldn't be a matter of having 70% of the world's supply. It would be a matter of supplying 70% of the water. Very different thing. In the case of Microsoft, they don't own all the 1's and 0's, there is nothing stopping alternatives to compete should the market show a need for a competitive alternative at a lower price point. It's the reasonable price that keeps others from sprouting and flourishing.

By Munkles on 9/4/2007 9:24:36 AM , Rating: 3
There are many flaws in your logic sir.

First, MS Office is not an essential component of life. Second, MS has in no way prevented anyone from producing a competitive product, and others have sprung up (open office anyone?). Third, there ARE water companies that charge that much or at least shockingly similar amounts for water. Finally we come tothe final reason your argument is flawed. The idea of a free market economy is that you can sell your goods and services at ANY rate that the market can and will bare.

In the end each consumer gets a check that will cover a couple lattes at Starbucks at a sick cost to MS. When all they have done is require retailers to price their product at its worth.

American legal system at its finest. Little wonder lawyers are always looked at as crooks, thieves, and leaches. IMHO this case should have been thrown out before it ever began very few people will ever bother to mail in for the rebate and an extremely select few will have the proof of sale.

By rdeegvainl on 9/4/2007 9:33:47 AM , Rating: 2
The first flaw in your logic is that the coment was in anyway about microsoft.
So your first two points are moot.
Third point, do these companies hold the vast majority of a product? or are they sold as a LUXURY, or Social class kind of water? If it is the first, then that is wrong.
Last point, as the given situation in my argument was that someone with the control over a needed supply is gouging the price, then free market doesn't even exist, just a monopoly, under the guise of calling itself free market.

By masher2 on 9/4/2007 10:03:36 AM , Rating: 2
> "someone with the control over a needed supply is gouging the price..."

Your argument breaks down because the only commodities that are truly needed are food, water, and air-- none of which are under the control of a single source.

By rdeegvainl on 9/4/2007 10:43:35 AM , Rating: 1
good point
Counter point,
Cure for a deadly virus.

By Munkles on 9/4/2007 10:21:41 AM , Rating: 2
The first two points are accurate as you are comparing MS to a "water" company that is price gouging an essential component to life.

Those companies that charge so much for their water ARE indeed social or luxury branded water vendors but thats besides the point you, you simply said that what MS had done was the equivalent. It is ill advised to compare and contrast two sources which are vastly different and have no real correlation.

A monopoly is by definition: exclusive control of a commodity or service in a particular market, or a control that makes possible the manipulation of prices. Compare duopoly, oligopoly.

Microsoft in no way has a monopoly as competitors do exist, and the only reason they do not gain traction is because by comparison they are a substandard package.

Guise of a free market? Now you just sound nuts, whatever dream world you live in America IS a free market economy; Iowa IS a free market. Further no Microsoft product is NEEDED. There is not one of their products listed in the lawsuit that does not have a proper alternative, and one that is generally free. The ones that aren't, usually land at the same price-point as the Microsoft product.

By rdeegvainl on 9/4/2007 10:41:29 AM , Rating: 2
No I am not comparing microsoft to a water company.
and the rest of your entire argument rests on that.
I will redirect you to the first statement of my original post. Read it. Make sure you understand that I am in no way talking about Microsoft. If you want to argue with things I've never said, by all means do, do so with someone else.

By Master Kenobi on 9/4/2007 11:04:22 AM , Rating: 2
Your water company would be beaten into the ground by competing water companies. Unless you cut a deal with all of the other water companies, in which case you would be guilty of price fixing and would land yourself in jail.

I fail to see the validity of your water company. It wouldn't last very long unless your marketing department somehow spun a PR campaign making people think it was liquid gold. In which case, gouge at will.

By Master Kenobi on 9/4/2007 11:06:36 AM , Rating: 2
Oh and just an FYI, your fictional water company has nothing in common with the article at hand and I will go out on a limb and say it was completely off base to even post such an example. The topic is on a software company, your post deals with a fictional water company that could never exist in a Free Market.

By rdeegvainl on 9/4/2007 11:23:25 AM , Rating: 2
Wow i guess you still failed to see the part where there is little to no supply for these competitors to compete with, and yes that would land someone in jail. Which was my point the hole time, that sometimes the free market shouldn't have free reign over everything and needs to be regulated. It was in regards to you comment that it is a free market and dictation by lawyers and pissed off consumers. But what about when they are right? I am not saying they are in this case, but there still have to be limits.
I will end off on the same note my original reply did,
I do not believe Microsoft products are overpriced.

By Master Kenobi on 9/4/2007 11:26:48 AM , Rating: 2
Opinions about Microsoft not included

Yes, but we are talking about your water company now werent we?

By Munkles on 9/4/2007 11:05:13 AM , Rating: 2
My apologies rdeegvainl, I did not see the last line in your post even though I read it half a dozen times previously.

I do think that Microsoft is fairly pricing what they sell.

I would wager I wasn't the only one who didn't catch that line either.

Free market how ever doesn't necessitate right or wrong. MS however is not a monopoly, and as a general rule any time they attempt to be competitive it gets labeled an anti-competitive business practice so in general I get quite riled up when I see people railing on MS with no justification other than that they either dont know the intended use of a MS application, or dont know how to use it themselves and then just get pissed off at the only thing they can find I.E. that MS is a freaking huge and extremely profitable company.

Again i'm sorry for attacking you after I myself misread your post and its intentions.

By rdeegvainl on 9/4/2007 11:08:57 AM , Rating: 2
I also agree with you.
"Free market how ever doesn't necessitate right or wrong."
I think though it is a great tool to inspire competition and growth, that it can be unfairly abused and needs some regulation.
And thank you for actually rereading my comment, I'm glad I have replay value LOL.

By Munkles on 9/4/2007 11:12:41 AM , Rating: 3
I will admit, I had a nice long rebuttal all typed out and then I previewed to check for typo's and realized what you WERE saying as opposed to what I had understood, and I felt like a total douche.

Nice to know not everyone on the internet is just gunning for a fight, some are just looking for intelligent discourse.

By kmmatney on 9/4/2007 2:33:11 PM , Rating: 2
If you want cheap office software, you can buy MS Works.

It's only $9.99! OPenOffice is even chepaer, of course. You can fuly share Word and Excel documents with either app.

By Christopher1 on 9/4/07, Rating: 0
By rqle on 9/4/2007 10:30:38 AM , Rating: 2
openoffice, and other word processing are freely available.
We still buy MS office cause it works for us.

Even wordperfect has been around forever.
We still buy MS office, its not like they force us to buy it, its a superior product in my opinion.

Software games are price $50-$60 for 12 hour gameplay. You log years on office and windows.

Windows OS development cost billions.

By masher2 on 9/4/2007 10:36:04 AM , Rating: 5
Your mistake comes in not realizing the OP's definition of overpriced. When you define it as "any price above what I want to pay", you realize that MS products are indeed overpriced.

By Master Kenobi on 9/4/2007 10:53:44 AM , Rating: 2
You get a ~100 copy of Windows with any new PC. Secondly, OEM copies are cheaper. 129 for Home Premium. Thirdly, just because you don't WANT to pay 249 or buy a new PC (Or lack enough education about your choices and get OEM) then you can sit down and be quiet. Just because you don't want to pay for it, doesn't give you the right to A) Pirate it. B) Steal it (See A) or C) dictate that its overpriced.

If it's outside of your price range then so be it, go download a copy of Linux with Wine and have at it. Grab a copy of Star Office or Open Office while your at it. If you gotta have Windows, then pay for it and stop being a thief. I'm sure your budget could handle it if you cut back on eating out so much or curtail spending on the other non-essentials.

By FITCamaro on 9/4/2007 10:56:56 AM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately, we do live in an economy dictated by lawyers and ignorant consumers.

If you don't like Windows, use a Mac or Linux. You know, I think I'll sue Macintosh. I want to put OSX on my own hardware. I should be able to and not have to buy their overpriced PCs. Given that people can win this kind of case against Microsoft, I think my argument is perfectly valid and winnable in court.

Oh wait, only Microsoft is evil for "overcharging" for their products. I keep forgetting that.

By A5un on 9/4/2007 10:59:55 AM , Rating: 1
Do you know why Best Buy now only carry Vista machines? Same with Fry's? or Circuit City? That's because MS has stopped providing technical support on Windows XP products to them. That's right, MS wants your average consumer to buy in to all the crap in Vista and lock them in. If they're able to do this, what else can they do?

RE: Hrm....
By Master Kenobi on 9/4/2007 11:19:13 AM , Rating: 2
Why should my company be responsible for supporting retailers that push an old version of my product that I am trying to replace with a newer and better version of my product?

You don't see Best Buy pushing last years TV's, or slow ass computers, or Casette Players now do ya? No thats right, they were replaced with New TV's, New Fast Computers, and CD/High-Def Players.

The answer is simple. Best Buy, etc... carry HP, Sony, Toshiba, Acer, etc... Those companies are pushing their LATEST computers to the Retailers. Those PC Vendors are selling only Microsoft based machines. Microsoft has stated XP is no longer being sold to OEM's and the OEM's have responded accordingly and switched to Vista. (Just like what happened with 98SE/ME to XP 7 years ago OMG DEJA VU!!!)

In short... Deal with it.

RE: Hrm....
By Screwballl on 9/4/2007 12:33:58 PM , Rating: 1
So if you buying a car you want brand new from the dealer and you want a manual stick shift but they only carry it in automatic, should you be forced to buy it with the automatic? People should have the choice to buy what they feel comfortable with, not be forced to get the "only" thing available. Sure the stick shift may be older technology but I still have a choice.

In my case I choose dual boot XP and Linux (FC7) and the stick shift vehicles.

RE: Hrm....
By TomZ on 9/4/2007 12:51:29 PM , Rating: 2
No, you have no right to force a business to offer you exactly the options you want. If a dealership or manufacturer doesn't offer the options you want, you always have to choice to take your business elsewhere. That is how a free, open market works.

If you don't understand this pretty simple concept, think about it this way. Suppose you owned the dealership. Don't you think you'd want the "freedom" and the "choice" to decide what kinds of cars and options to offer to your customers, since you owned the business? Don't you think you should have that right? How would you like it if you were forced to carry options that you didn't want to, expecially if those options caused you to make less money than you should, or worse, lose money?

RE: Hrm....
By Blight AC on 9/4/2007 1:20:50 PM , Rating: 2
Well, comparing it to Air Conditioning in a car would be more appropriate. Try to buy a new car without AC, yet, AC is still listed as an "option". Whether I use it or not, I still have to pay for it.

That's why Microsoft is on the losing side of this lawsuit and has to pay back Iowa the millions from the lawsuit. Microsoft coerced OEM's to provide MS Office, and thereby forced customers to buy MS Office whether they were going to use it or not.

RE: Hrm....
By acer905 on 9/4/2007 1:45:09 PM , Rating: 2
There is this nifty thing you can do. Customize, and special order. Then, you get the options you want, and you don't get the ones you don't want. Amazing concept, don't you think?

RE: Hrm....
By Blight AC on 9/4/2007 1:59:28 PM , Rating: 2
Meh.. takes too long till I get my car.. I want it now! :D Admittedly, a part of it is the consumers fault, because they did pay for this agreed upon price.

However, sometimes, the consumer feels that is their only option, for instance, the dealer told me flat out, that I couldn't get a car without the "optional" A/C.

RE: Hrm....
By TomZ on 9/4/2007 2:20:22 PM , Rating: 2
If you want to change the system, you have to work within the system. By buying a car from another company that offers a non-A/C variant, or by special-ordering a car without A/C, then you are sending your vote to the market to have that "non-option" more readily available. If a significant number of like-minded customers do the same thing, then change will happen.

From a practical standpoint, at least in the U.S., I think most people believe that AC is a worthwhile investment, which is why most dealerships order most of thier cars with it. I live in Michigan, and I would never have a car without it, and I can't imagine the climate in any of the lower 48 is such that AC wouldn't add a lot of value, not to mention resale value.

RE: Hrm....
By Blight AC on 9/6/2007 1:56:15 PM , Rating: 2
Or, you know, I could just sue them later on, in a State vs Vehicle Manufacture/Dealer case... even though I've been using the A/C anyhow. Isn't that the American way. :P

RE: Hrm....
By Spivonious on 9/4/2007 1:30:43 PM , Rating: 2
Let me fix your analogy.

You read in the newspaper that GM has stopped making parts for their manual transmissions (support for XP). Because of this, GM cars (new computers) now only come with automatic transmissions (Vista). You go to the dealer and find only automatic cars (Vista-loaded computers).

Can I go to the dealer and buy a new car that has a crank-start? No, that went the way of the dodo when key-ignitions came around. Same thing here: MS doesn't want to waste time and money supporting an old version of their OS so they stop selling it.

RE: Hrm....
By acer905 on 9/4/2007 1:42:25 PM , Rating: 2
AS Henry Ford once said "Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black"

RE: Hrm....
By Verran on 9/4/2007 2:00:04 PM , Rating: 2
This manual/automatic analogy is weak, at best. If they don't offer a manual, don't buy a car. No one is forcing you to do anything. Go to another dealer, or buy used.

Now, dropping all the lame, shallow analogies...

Companies offer the products that they want. Just because you've decided that you want something doesn't mean that they have to give it to you. Companies make new products and discontinue old ones. This happens every single day. A lot of times, users perceive the "new" product as worse, but this does not give them the right to demand that the old one be reinstated.

There are incredibly few products that anyone can truly say they "must have". For everything else, vote with your wallet. If you buy it, you do so willingly. No one is forcing you to do anything.

RE: Hrm....
By Screwballl on 9/4/2007 3:44:40 PM , Rating: 1
This is a PERFECT analogy for the topic.
Since I can't buy my manual transmission, I have to get used to my failing current car until it dies at which point I am forced to buy the automatic. This is MS's idea of the OS market. I could keep buying used cars with manual transmissions but it will get to a point when it is no longer available and I will be forced to use the automatic. Its not like I can buy this new car and put in my own manual transmission (much like most new OEM computers are locked into Vista and it will not run any other OS including XP). So with this in mind, no matter which dealer I went to looking for new cars, they will all only sell the automatic transmission.
This is not a "FREE" market, this is forced coercion into a product I do not want. After so long people forget of the great freedom they had with XP and become content with their current system. Luckily with a PC we do have the option of Linux based distros which will provide us with 95% functionality with the other 5% being games and specific other tasks that are MS-only.

This is NOT a proper and "free" market.

RE: Hrm....
By acer905 on 9/4/2007 3:56:18 PM , Rating: 2
It would be a true free market if the government would keep its hands out of the business world. Every time a new law comes out, people lose options. Every time there is a lawsuit, the company hit with it will do something to make it up. Breaking up a company does not work. AT&T is stronger than ever before.

And, i would like to know how it is possible to lock a computer into a certain operating system.

Oh, and here's one for ya. Build your own computer. its really not that hard. And most times you can get the parts cheaper that way too. And guess what, you get to pick and chose what options you want. Including the OS. GASP!!!!

RE: Hrm....
By Screwballl on 9/4/2007 4:46:21 PM , Rating: 2
As a computer tech, I have been building my own since the 486 days...

RE: Hrm....
By Screwballl on 9/4/2007 4:52:29 PM , Rating: 2
Try buying a Lenovo (IBM), HP, Compaq or almost any other OEM computer nowadays... they have locked their systems to only work with Vista. I have returned at least 3 from each company (Lenovo, HP, Compaq and Acer) to the store where it was bought because of this. A majority of OEM computers are locked into Vista via some hardware or hidden software lock that cannot be bypassed by the end user. No XP, no Linux, when you try to install them it says "cannot find hard drive" regardless of if it is a PATA or SATA hard drive.

This is why I build my own, use my old 2002 version of XP on a small 20GB partition and everything else is partitioned for Linux (currently FedoraCore7)

RE: Hrm....
By TomZ on 9/4/2007 6:14:42 PM , Rating: 2
How have they "locked their systems to only work with Vista"? How is that physically even possible?

Please tell us about Linux, or something else you actually know something about. You obviously know nothing about Vista.

RE: Hrm....
By Verran on 9/4/2007 4:17:43 PM , Rating: 2
OK, so follow your "PERFECT" analogy through. What's the solution? Do we force the car company to make the car the way YOU want it? And what if everyone wants something different? Do they have to appease everyone?

If I go to my local Ford dealership, slam my fist on the desk at the service department and say "I want a carburated engine in my Focus!", should they have to comply? I assert that it's easier to maintain for the end user, and therefore I'm enraged at their lack of carburated engine options. How dare they force me to buy something I don't want?!

No. That's dumb. They sell what they want. You can't force them to offer a product they don't want to offer. The fact that Best Buy won't sell me a LaserDisc player does not make it anti-"free market".

Perhaps you're mistaking the phrases "free market" and "market where companies do whatever -I- want always"...

RE: Hrm....
By TomZ on 9/4/2007 4:24:24 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, Windows XP = freedom - now I think I've heard it all.

Damn companies always wanting to develop new improved stuff! They should stop developing, because XP is the most ultimate operating system ever written. NOT.

Get real, and get over it. Change happens, you can't stop it, you have to adapt to it.

RE: Hrm....
By Munkles on 9/4/2007 11:55:54 AM , Rating: 2
I never paid for a MS product before Vista and I bought Vista Ultimate full edition, and to this minute I would say the OS is well worth the money spent.

Its functional, fast, secure, has some nice eye candy, and has great compatibility if you know how to operate the OS and don't try to make it be something its not.

Personally I find nothing crappy about Vista. UAC is a little ungainly but disabling that is easy enough.

RE: Hrm....
By A5un on 9/4/2007 2:30:43 PM , Rating: 2
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

I think we all agree (maybe except for a few) that Windows XP right now is still better than Windows Vista. The issue with Vista is it's compatibility. Now you may argue that's not the OS' fault, but a car that's incompatible with any tire can hardly be a car. MS is limiting consumer's choice, and not only that, but forcing us to buy an currently inferior product. Legality aside, I think this is a completely irresponsible act.

And please stop with the computers aren't essenstial crap. You know it as well as I do that computers today are entirely essential. And that is that. You try using a type writer or hand-write a report and still remain competitive to fellow co-workers. Sure computers aren't essential to our survival in the sense that water and food are essential to our survival, but they are extrememly essential to our maintaining our competitiveness in this society.

Good thing we still have companies like Lenovo or Acer that still offer Windows XP machines.

RE: Hrm....
By TomZ on 9/4/2007 2:37:21 PM , Rating: 1
I think we all agree (maybe except for a few) that Windows XP right now is still better than Windows Vista. The issue with Vista is it's compatibility.

Sorry, that's not true. Vista can run XP apps and drivers. Some apps have to be run in admin mode because they do naughty things that violate newer security initiatives in Vista.
And please stop with the computers aren't essenstial crap. You know it as well as I do that computers today are entirely essential.

Wrong, computers might be essential, but Windows-based PCs are not. Any "essential" task can be done on a Windows-based PC, a Mac, a Linux-based machine, or any one of a number of other less popular types of computers.

I'm personally glad that XP is still offered by some for those of you who prefer that "retro" look, LOL. I'm on Vista 100% for over a year, and I would hate to go back. After you've got used to the improvements in Vista, XP completely sucks by comparison.

RE: Hrm....
By Munkles on 9/4/2007 3:12:07 PM , Rating: 2
This is very true.

Some things do take a little adjusting to but I would never go back to xp as my primary OS. I think you will find the majority of users who have Vista, and the appropriate hardware for the experience to say the same.

Not EVERY xp based program will work in Vista even with running in xp mode, and running as the admin. That said, those titles are very few and far between. Vista has excellent legacy support and if you don't think so you would fall under the "doesn't know how to use the OS" category.

Tomz does have a point, if you ARE one of those companies that uses software that WILL NOT WORK for vista no matter what, you will probably also have a volume license for xp and can keep it installed for as long as you wish, on just about any machine you wish.

Just please don't try to make vista into something it isn't. Vista isn't made for 16teraflop super computers, nor is it meant for server farms. Its meant for end users like you and me to use at home, or in the office for maximum usability, security, functionality, and to be pretty to boot.

RE: Hrm....
By Nekrik on 9/4/2007 7:50:29 PM , Rating: 2
With Vista Enterprise you can also run XP in a virtual machine, so you don't actually have to keep a physical machine around to keep any LOB apps you might need.

RE: Hrm....
By Pythias on 9/13/2007 7:27:26 AM , Rating: 2
And please stop with the computers aren't essenstial crap.

Computers aren't essential. neither are automobiles, cellphones, or mass tort lawyers.

By Hacp on 9/4/2007 11:18:13 AM , Rating: 2
Microsoft is a monopoly. I love how people argue that just because a market is free, companies can't turn into monopolies. I also love how people argue that if something isn't essential, a basic need, then the product can't ever be subject to a monopoly.

Get a grip guys. Microsoft is a monopoly. It owns 90% of the OS market. A majority of hardware made only has drivers for the MS operating systems; try to find a printer or wireless adapter for a linux system, you'll have to go out of your way to find one, and it may not even have the functionality you want.

Because Microsoft has this position, it can demand a higher price than market, because a majority of hardware and software is made for MS only.

RE: Lol
By acer905 on 9/4/2007 11:41:27 AM , Rating: 2
You just contradicted yourself. "Microsoft is a monopoly. It owns 90% of the OS market" A monopoly is a situation where there is one producer of any product. With absolutely no competition.

If Microsoft were a monopoly, then no other operating systems would exist. If there is another product, no matter how little market share it has, there is no monopoly by definition

RE: Lol
By Screwballl on 9/4/2007 12:27:25 PM , Rating: 2
Websters definition:
1. exclusive control of a commodity or service in a particular market, or a control that makes possible the manipulation of prices.

The point is "a control that makes possible the manipulation of prices".

/start sarcasm/
88% of Vista users hate Vista... the other 12% are lying.
/end sarcasm/

I have always thought that even OEM pricing (Newegg, ZipZoomFly, of their software is severely overpriced. MS is in with the OEM manufacturers to help sell their products. You have the choice of a $200 OS on a $400 PC, the hardware obviously did not only cost them $200.
The problem is that 80%+ of users do not know of any alternative which makes this a monopoly to them. Of course there is Linux and Open Office and Firefox and alternatives but very few know of these items. Most of us here know of them and likely use them on a limited to everyday basis.
I work for a small national ISP and you would be surprised at the high percentage of customers that have never heard of a free anti-virus or Firefox or thought Linux still used punch cards. This represents a good slice of every day people. When the people are not aware of an alternative then MS may as well be a monopoly with exclusivity. This is the point of many of the lawsuits. MS knows about the consumer lack of knowledge on the subject and charges accordingly. They know that the "tech" crowd is such a small portion of the purchasing consumer that there is nothing we can do other than go with Firefox or Linux or whatever...

I am waiting for the day when the first question OEMs and retailers ask when selling a PC is "Windows or Linux?"

RE: Lol
By Munkles on 9/4/2007 12:38:27 PM , Rating: 2
Ive used a LOT of OS's, three variations of Mac OS (mostly newer ones) 4 distro's of linux with and tried different interface options. Ive also used every version of Windows to date.

So why did I choose to drop $500 on a REATAIL copy of Vista Ultimate? I did so because IMHO its worth every penny. Ive seen he competition, and I don't like it. Ive USED the competition. Ive dealt with their issues and their constraints. Whatever stories you like to tell yourself to fall asleep at night are just that, stories. Microsoft is on top of their competition for a reason sheer usability. Its not the ability to get free software, or compatibility... although it does help.

The system is just better.

I have yet to meet someone who can tell me why they don't like Vista and have it be reason that cannot be fixed with proper understanding of the OS. Some business suites cannot run on Vista but that is not a reason to dislike the OS, but an "I just wish it worked". Vista is NOT perfect but ill take its shortcomings over the competition any day.

Ohh and take it from someone who's spoken to hundreds of consumers on this very issue. People don't like Vista because they think their supposed to not like it. Not because they have ANY experience with it.

Please qualify your arguments against Vista or check your personal feelings at the door. The only thing MS manipulates is trying to keep the price of their product at a level that its worth, and their software engineers to keep making good products.

RE: Lol
By Screwballl on 9/4/2007 4:11:56 PM , Rating: 2
How about a larger percentage of software that will not work with it. From free anti-virus to firewall to games and more, there is more software than ever that simply will not run in Vista even if their SCL (Software compatibility list) says it will. Half the time it runs... for a day or two then dies, and the only fix is a reinstall every few days.
Or how about a larger number of hardware items that do not have proper drivers because of MS outrageous requirements to get a driver WHQL'd?
Or how about the gutting of the very base of the video and sound subsystems? Forcing the video and sound to be processed by the OS (software) instead of at the kernel level to output to the sound or video device which gets a small fraction of the info needed causing the emulation slowdown. Games and high end apps run slower because of both the sound and video emulation.
There is little to no exclusive coding even with a dedicated sound or video card. It all acts like software-based onboard sound and video solutions on previous OS's.
Eye candy; a majority of the eye candy is nothing but using needed system resources. Sure they look neat but it is not required to run the OS. Much like power steering, power brakes, anti-lock brakes, A/C and more is all not required to run a vehicle, but it is included. In the case of the A/C, we sacrifice performance and gas mileage for cooling off the body. I prefer having control over where my resources go.
Administrative options; you can lock down the system but then it becomes as useless as a 6th toe.
DRM; If I buy it or use it within my legal rights, I will use it how I wish within my possession. I will not upload or share via P2P, I want the option to manage my digital media as I wish without being locked into some asinine handcuffs on my rights. Its good that it verifies the digital signal from the video card to the monitor but other schemes are just to strict for my rights and freedoms.

There is more but I only have so much time and space to type. As a long time computer tech, I see this new OS as total junk, more or less Windows ME2. Why else you think they announced the next OS to be released or at least beta tested in 2009? This is just a stop gap to make MS more money in their pockets.

RE: Lol
By TomZ on 9/4/2007 4:29:07 PM , Rating: 1
Where are you getting all your Vista information? Are you actually using it, or just reading the blogs of Linux fanbois ranting about Vista?

I would break down and refute your entire post line-by-line, because it's complete bullshit, but to be honest, I don't think it would make any difference and it's not worth my time. Suffice it to say you're deluding yourself with all this misinformation. You must enjoy your head in the sand.

RE: Lol
By Screwballl on 9/4/2007 4:44:21 PM , Rating: 2
I use it daily (2-12 hours per day) as a tech support specialist for a small national ISP. The more I use it, the more I dislike it personally and from a Tech standpoint.
Had more programs crash on me in the first week of using it (starting about 3 months ago) than I ever did using XP. Still have several daily crashes or random software (one example is X-Lite VoIP software telephone).
This is not one single occurrence, this is happening on every single computer that uses Vista, even if I have never touched it.

Anandtech is on Part 3 of their "Messy transition" stories about problems with Vista.

RE: Lol
By Nekrik on 9/4/2007 5:46:22 PM , Rating: 2
I just went to look at the X-Lite VoIP software you mentioned:

They don't even support Vista, they only indicate support for XP/2000. As a tech support specialist you should be well aware that running software on an unsupported OS pretty much means you're using at your own risk and it very well may not work.

You really can't blame Microsoft for user errors such as this.

RE: Lol
By TomZ on 9/4/2007 10:48:50 PM , Rating: 2
Well, let's compare notes. I run an engineering company, and all our workstations are running Vista. We run e-CAD applications, simulation apps, software development IDEs (lots of them, for Windows and embedded systems programming for various processors), UML modeling tools, MATLAB/Simulink, graphic design apps, and a whole list of scientific/engineering apps used for automotive ECU development (most you never heard of).

Not to mention accounting, time tracking, and project management apps. On top of all that, we also do a lot of USB device driver development, and so we plug/unplug devices a lot, and generally hammer the development machines. All this runs on Vista. No problems - just as I said, a couple of older apps that have to be run as adminstrator.

Sure, Vista is not perfect - but it is at least as good as XP, and probably better. Furthermore, when you compare the "starting point" for Vista (i.e., the first release) compared to the initial release of XP, there is really no comparison at all.

RE: Lol
By Munkles on 9/4/2007 4:58:38 PM , Rating: 2
Great so obviously your using linux right? Slackware? I mean if you want FULL control? Wait you don't really want full control do you, you want the illusion of full control.

Im not sure what SCL you're referring to but on a daily basis I install ~8-12 new programs and remove a few each day as well as my line of work requires me to know about many programs, at least to know how they function and what they do. To date the biggest issue of software compatibility Ive had was that adobe acrobat wouldn't install until I turned UAC back on. <- not a big deal. I have no performance issues even with vista's eye candy purportedly hogging my resources. I don't care whether or not my OS touches my sound and video just so long as its clean and clear.

The DRM isn't all MS doing. Many companies express the desire for this. I'm no fan of DRM but thats why you can still get and use DRM free music, and they work JUST THE SAME on a xp based machine as they do in Vista.

You maybe a long time computer tech, but you certainly have some funny ideas about technology. As a tech you should know that its always going to change, its always going to progress and often times your software, or your old hardware just wont fit the bill anymore. Maybe your tired of playing the game but that doesnt mean technology will stop progressing. The ability for Vista to multi thread or to handle more memory, having dx10, this is all VERY important to the progression of the system. FURTHERMORE; the biggest issue with ME was stability. So far in using vista across 4 beta releases and the finished product and for almost 2 years now, my computer has not EVER crashed. Its restarted twice on me, both due to improper ventilation (no fault of the os) and in spite of my best efforts (even with no AV) I have not, and can not seem to contract a virus.

Most of what you say just sounds like the bitter rant of a Linux fanboy. Go ahead, use Linux no ones stopping you. No ones telling you that you HAVE to switch to Vista or use it. All people like myself are saying is to stop spreading mis truth about and OS you do not seem to be eminently qualified to do so with.

You seem to be upset with Vista as a stepping stone, well guess what so far ALL technology ALL OS's are stepping stones to the next one. I would rather MS release their software close together IMHO people got to used to XP too complacent and XP imposed limitations on hardware manufacturers to produce new and exciting products because hey would be lost on the OS, and its inability to utilize them.

Get used to change, even the mighty Linux changes daily.

RE: Lol
By TomZ on 9/4/2007 12:39:40 PM , Rating: 2
I think it is certainly true that Microsoft has some pricing control, but not complete control. Consider, for example, a hypothetical situation where Microsoft decided to raise the cost of Windows to $1000/machine. What would be the effect of that? That's easy - Linux and OSX use would skyrocket overnight. If you agree about this, then it should be clear that Microsoft does not have a pure monopoly in the same sense that AT&T used to have with phone service in the U.S.

Next, I would also remind you that it is not illegal to have a monopoly. It is only illegal if you abuse a monopoly in any one of a number of ways. Actually, monopolies are a good thing in some cases. For example, in most parts of the U.S., utilities are granted monopolies for electric, water, gas, cable TV, and local phone service. These monopolies are thought by many to be beneficial (though I'm not personally convinced of this).

I would also argue that Microsoft having a near-monopoly in operating systems is a good thing, since it allows nearly all software development resources to be applied to a single platform. The situation would be far worse if there were a number of popular OSs that each needed to be supported. Choice and quality would suffer.

RE: Lol
By Master Kenobi on 9/4/2007 1:41:40 PM , Rating: 1
If we had multiple OSes to support we would end up with something akin to the Console Wars. Games only work on one console, not the others. Gotta buy the right version (Disk) for your particular console, and there are variations between them because of the limitations/advantages of the platforms themselves.....

Yea forget that shit, Console competition is annoying as hell already, I prefer to keep the PC market similar.

RE: Lol
By TomZ on 9/4/2007 2:26:09 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly right, the situation is the same. In the console world, you have a choice of hardware, which led to splintering of the software, which makes it harder to run any software of your choice.

With the PC market, all the hardware is converged to a common platform (very little choice) and a common OS (very little choice), but this yields a lot of choice where it is important - the application software. After all, the reason for having a computer is for running application software. The operating system and hardware are more of a "don't care" as long as they support the requirements of the applications you want to run. So with the near-monopoly, you have the choice where it is most useful to have it. That is a good situation.

RE: Lol
By Verran on 9/4/2007 2:11:23 PM , Rating: 2
So, to summarize...

It is your belief that Microsoft is a monopoly because 80%+ of its users are unaware of its competitors (of which there are many)?

So clearly, an uneducated consumer base is Microsoft's problem? Should MS be required to run ad campaigns for its competitors? Should MS be required to stop development until the others catch up?


Linux and Apple are out there. One can use a PC to its fullest with 100% free software if they so choose. Sure, it'll be harder and it will require more research and patience, but doesn't that just further justify the premium for the simplicity of the Windows experience?

If people don't know about Linux and Apple, that's their problem, not Microsoft's.

RE: Lol
By TomZ on 9/4/2007 2:31:34 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, the argument that Microsoft is at fault because most people don't know there are alternatives makes no sense at all.

RE: Lol
By Hacp on 9/4/2007 9:32:43 PM , Rating: 2
There really aren't many alternatives. A majority of hardware and software is for windows. It will be hard to find things for mac, and forget finding linux software at your local CC.

Microsoft fuels this by making it hard for people to open Word Documents with alternative Office Suites, and also by making it hard for people running different OSes to run DirectX games. In the end, I'm sure more people will be more open to Microsoft once it decides, if it ever does, to open up.

RE: Lol
By TomZ on 9/4/2007 11:01:37 PM , Rating: 1
There really aren't many alternatives. A majority of hardware and software is for windows. It will be hard to find things for mac, and forget finding linux software at your local CC.

Now you're really pushing the argument. Are you suggesting there have to be "many alternatives" in order for Microsoft to not be considered evil? Come on, that makes no sense. Linux and Mac are available alternatives, not hard to get, not especially hard to use. Sure, not as many devices supported or apps available, but that's the problem with having just a tiny market share.
Microsoft fuels this by making it hard for people to open Word Documents with alternative Office Suites

Are you sure about that? Microsoft's latest round of Office tools is based on ZIP+XML, both pretty open and easy formats. They also openly published the specifications for the file formats, and submitted them for ECMA and ISO standardization for all to use. In addition, they are also publishing code libraries (including source code) that makes it easier for developers to work with the file format.
also by making it hard for people running different OSes to run DirectX games

What did Microsoft do to "make it hard" for other OSs to run DX games? I think what you really meant is that "Microsoft didn't make it easy for others to implement their design and APIs." In other words, they didn't give code to Apple and Linux devs, at least not so far. Probably they didn't do that because there's not business case for it. That's not the same as "making it hard" for others to use it.
In the end, I'm sure more people will be more open to Microsoft once it decides, if it ever does, to open up.

I don't think so - many people hate others that are successful, especially those who have not achieved the same level of success. It seems to be part of human nature - people either identify with that success themselves, or else they are repelled by it.

RE: Lol
By Strunf on 9/5/2007 3:26:46 AM , Rating: 2
“Microsoft's latest round of Office tools is based on ZIP+XML, both pretty open and easy formats.”
OpenXML is not really open… MS is the one that has the last word and a load of its code is MS programs dependent. Also there’s already an open XML and MS can pretty much join them and contribute to this format, why they don’t do it is beyond my comprehension…
BTW MS failed to get the ISO standard and probably will never get it as it is.

MS didn’t make it hard to others if they wanted DX they made it virtually impossible, other API like OpenGL can work on any OS provided anyone wants it. And you can’t deny that MS not only linked the DX to it’s OS but also to its versions, for instance DX10 only works on Vista when there’s no reason at all for not being used with XP…

“people either identify with that success themselves, or else they are repelled by it.”
That or people have just the feeling of playing a rigged game and get frustrated cause of it…

RE: Lol
By TomZ on 9/5/2007 8:07:33 AM , Rating: 2
LOL, how does Microsoft have the last word with OpenXML? Seems to me that would be at the hands of the ISO workgroup and the people voting on it. In fact, the recent vote for ISO standardization failed, which means some more changes are needed.

I'll respond to the rest later - I'm out of time.

RE: Lol
By Hacp on 9/4/2007 9:45:19 PM , Rating: 2
Thats fairly naive to say. There is no practical substitute for Microsoft. Most software is written for MS and MS only. Most hardware drivers are MS and MS only. Yes, there is software for the mac, but it is peanuts compared to Windows.

The day Microsoft stops becoming a monopoly is the day I can play the newest DirectX game on Mac or Linux without hassle, and the day I can pick up a random printer from the store and be 99% sure that it will run on a Mac or Linux machine.

And no, I'm not some Mac or Linux wacko. I don't own a Mac, nor am I proficient in Linux.;I use windows because it comes with Dell PCs, which I prefer to use over building because they are cheaper. I just say it like I see it.

RE: Lol
By TomZ on 9/4/2007 11:02:49 PM , Rating: 2
Please see my post above on this subject.

By acer905 on 9/4/2007 10:50:47 AM , Rating: 2
All arguments about their sketchy buisness practices, or potential monopy aside, i really only have one major complaint right now. On saturday, i was out to get a lan cable for one of my friends. And while i was out, i saw the spot where the MS OS's were at. At first i saw Vist, in its fancy shiny case. Then i saw right next to it XP, both home and Pro. Then i noticed that the pricing was almost identical. XP home and Vista home were almost the exact same, As were XP pro and Vista Business...

When i first saw the pricing for vista, when it was released, i didn't think it was all too horribly priced. However i would think that after being replaced, XP would go down in cost at least somewhat...

RE: Pricing
By Master Kenobi on 9/4/2007 10:57:58 AM , Rating: 2
No. In most cases XP is removed from shelves. Microsoft doesnt push old products, it simply phases them out in favor of the new. Most places you will NOT find a copy of XP on the shelves, its all Vista.

RE: Pricing
By acer905 on 9/4/2007 11:13:19 AM , Rating: 2
Really now. And most places would include??? Best buy? circuit city? Office Depot? WAL MART? TARGET? cause you can still get brand spankin new copies of XP both home and Pro at all of them. All with SP2. Same thing as being able to still buy new copies of 98 Second Edition when XP came out.

RE: Pricing
By Munkles on 9/4/2007 11:20:15 AM , Rating: 2
Not quite,

BBY doesn't have copies of XP anymore, but I cant speak for the others. Besides which, if MS is the publisher of their own software they, in the end have complete say in which of their products are produced and thus if they wish to only produce Vista, it is their right to do so regardless on anyones personal feelings on the mater.

RE: Pricing
By Master Kenobi on 9/4/2007 11:20:48 AM , Rating: 2
Old stock. Those retailers are just clearing whatever they had on hand. Given that its still sitting there after all these months I have to assume few if any are buying.

1334 5k1||5
By rdeegvainl on 9/4/2007 9:04:16 AM , Rating: 2
I wish I was skilled enough to earn over 500 dollars and hour.

RE: 1334 5k1||5
By Misty Dingos on 9/4/2007 10:05:31 AM , Rating: 2
And not have to lay on your back?

RE: 1334 5k1||5
By 16nm on 9/4/2007 10:27:31 AM , Rating: 2
LOL. But are you sure that even that is worth 500 dollars and hour?! I think you have to be a professional athlete to see pay like that. Does David Beckham come to mind for anyone?

By Blight AC on 9/4/2007 11:17:17 AM , Rating: 2
Everyone arguing about how "overpriced" MS Office products are, that's not what this article is about. It's about anticompetitive business practices .. it's about Microsoft pushing OEM's, like Dell and HP, to install MS Office on their PC's, and basically forcing the consumers to buy those products.

This is why Iowa users are getting a rebate. They bought computers from these OEM's and had no option but to buy them with MS Office products installed, or even given the option to choose a competitors product, like Star Office, Open Office or the Corel products (like WordPerfect).

An Anti-competitive Business Practice is definitely not jacking up the price on a product, as you make it very easy for a competitor to come in and undercut your prices.

By Blight AC on 9/4/2007 1:46:16 PM , Rating: 2
Meh.. alright, read a bit more. Microsoft made sure OEM's didn't offer alternative OS's, and then charged the consumers a premium. Either way, Microsoft is definitely at fault for taking advantage of it's situation.

While I love Microsoft products, sometimes their business practices are shady, and they take advantage of their market position. Lawsuits like this are just protecting consumer interests. When Microsoft gets their hand slapped by the government, causes them to rethink their strategies, as these anti-competitive practices become less profitable.

By Munkles on 9/4/2007 3:25:36 PM , Rating: 2
You know,

I'm going to sue ____ theme park for gouging me on the price of Coke from their vending machines. Having to pay 4x the market value for their product makes their practices anti competitive, and they have a monopoly on that theme park. I think we should sue for 200 million dollars offering a $16 rebate to anyone that can show proof of purchase, or a bill of sale until 11/7/7. Its just silly.

Shame on MS for wanting to deceptively charge more for an office package. Shame on the computer manufacturer for carrying out the offense. Most of all shame on the consumer for being so willfully ignorant and then playing the part of the victim. The only real victim here are the employee's at MS who now have to make up that deficit before their next quarters earning report or their will be a whiplash from their stockholders.

Life isnt fair. If you paid an extra $20 for MS office because you bought it from dell or hp directly instead of from a brick and mortar retailer, thinking your pulling a fast one and getting a deal.... you should be protected from the consequences.

What Practices?
By Spacecomber on 9/4/2007 9:54:29 AM , Rating: 2
While everyone is focused on the money awarded in the settlement, I'd like to know more about the anti-competitive practices that were the basis for the suit. Apparently, these lawyers were able to build a compelling case to support their claim. What were their arguments? What was their evidence?

RE: What Practices?
By Christopher1 on 9/4/2007 10:11:56 AM , Rating: 2
I would like to know that as well. There has been some evidence of Microsoft threatening OEM's with the loss of their cheap Microsoft OS buying privileges if they didn't go Microsoft only.
There has also been evidence of Microsoft threatening companies with DMCA takedown notices in order to get their products off the internet, because Microsoft has some extremely wide-ranging, illegal patents.

Yeah good call
By rudy on 9/4/2007 1:07:57 PM , Rating: 1
Every so often someone becomes the target of get rich quick fraud and now it is microsoft, seems to be all the rage to fund your government or organization off of law suits against M$. I wonder how it is the court was able to reason that M$ was over charging for an os yet a couple of lawers are not overcharging when the bill you for over $1000 per hour. Sometimes people just have absolutely no common sense. If you let people get away with this there will be no end to the low lifes trying to make a buck off of sueing large corps.

RE: Yeah good call
By TomZ on 9/4/2007 2:29:25 PM , Rating: 2
Good point, it is ironic that the court found that Microsoft overcharged Iowa customers, but then approved the $500-1000 per hour attorney feeds. I guess the Iowa court figured that the attorney fees were being paid by a "big, rich, greedy corporation," so that was okay with them.

Show me the money!!!
By edge929 on 9/4/2007 9:51:51 AM , Rating: 2
As an Iowan who works in the tech industry and used countless Microsoft products I say, thank you Bill.

By kmmatney on 9/4/2007 2:34:49 PM , Rating: 2
One way to get Office for a cheaper price is to first by Works 8.5:

This qualifies as a starting product to get the "upgrade" version of MS Office.

Lawyers win again
By INeedCache on 9/4/2007 4:33:56 PM , Rating: 2
This is yet another useless persecution of Microsoft, this time under the guise of "aiding those poor Iowans that were scammed by Microsoft". Microsoft pays up but most of the money ends up making lawyers' wallets fat. As for Vista, we are using Ultimate and Business, all 64-bit, with virtually no problems, including compatability. Perhaps some folks who complain about it have never used it, or simply don't know as much about computers as they think. I'm tired of those lame "I'm forced into buying MS products". No you are not. You are free to buy, or download for free, any other software you want. You have freedom of choice - end of story. Save those lame excuses for people either naive enough, or stupid enough, to believe them.

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

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