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The company developed 12 internal principles to abide by

Still feeling the pinch of the EU's decision to fine $357 million, Microsoft this week released a formal pledge, a list of 12 rules that the company said it will abide by, in order to facility healthy competition in the software market. Microsoft said that it will comply by the self-imposed rules, as well as comply with industry and government regulations.

During a conference, Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith indicated to an audience made up of industry professionals that his company would be focusing on user freedom, choices and that companies can expect this trend to continue well after Vista. "In the broadest sense, I am here to pledge Microsoft's continued commitment to vigorous competition and vital innovation in the software marketplace -- and to explain how this commitment is guiding our development of the next-generation Windows operating system, Windows Vista," said Smith.

Microsoft outlined the following 12 self-imposed commitments:
  • Installation of any software
  • Easy access for software makers
  • Defaults for non-Microsoft programs
  • Exclusive promotion of non-Microsoft programs
  • Business terms (no retaliation against PC makers that support non-Microsoft software)
  • Disclosure of APIs
  • Freedom of choice in Internet services
  • Open Internet access in Windows
  • No exclusivity in middleware contracts
  • Availability of communications protocols
  • Availability of Microsoft patents
  • Support for industry standards
Microsoft also addressed the issue of net neutrality. Smith said that Microsoft would "design and license Windows so that it does not block access to any lawful Web or impose any fee for reaching any non-Microsoft Web site or using a non-Microsoft Web service." However, Smith admitted that the 12 principles were not entirely comprehensive and that there were a lot of answers still left unanswered.

Meanwhile, the EU has not backed off. According to regulations, Microsoft has until the end of this month to comply with EU regulations or face an increase in fines. The EU stated in a report that it would fine Microsoft double the amount -- roughly $634 million -- it received last week if it failed again on July 31st.


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RE: Eh
By Sharky974 on 7/20/2006 6:44:50 PM , Rating: 2
Where is Apples list of 12 rules to play fair?

Oh that's right they dont have any, because they can do what they want pretty much, because sites like dalytech dont criticize Apple, and regulators like the EU allow them free reign.

Lets see, Apple is about unapologetically not allowing competition with Itunes, when the EU gets mad, they tell the EU to screw off and laugh at them, the EU then cowers like the liberal weenies they are. Imagine if MS behaved like Apple, and told the EU to shove it like Apple did. It would never be allowed, because there is one set of rules for Apple and another set for MS.

Yet another MS bashing headline by dailytech too. Where is your headline about Apple's decision to stop monopolizing with Ipod's freezing out competitors by not allowing music from other services to play on them? Oh yeah, that'll never happen, because dailytech hasn't got the balls.


RE: Eh
By MonkeyPaw on 7/20/2006 7:01:00 PM , Rating: 2
I pretty much agree. If you want to talk monopolistic, it's Apple. They make their own hardware. They make software that will only run on their own hardware. You can't really upgrade or modify most of their systems on your own either. About the only thing you can do to a Mac is upgrade the RAM and hard drive. Of course this changes with Intel's CPUs a little, but there are still more limitations. Apple also makes iPods with non-replacable batteries that last a year, and tell people to just buy a new one when it dies. They have their own music service, with their own rules and absolutely NO support for playing ITMS purchased music on non-ipods. They make notebooks now that get hot, so they just tell people to not put them on thier laps anymore. They have flat-out lied about the performance of thier machines several times. To top it off, they charge a premium for everything, and even show smug, over-simplified commercials implying non-quantifiable superiority over windows.

Believe it or not, I've owned more than one Mac over time, but I can at least acknowledge that Apple doesn't come close to playing fair, and they usually get a free pass. Why? Maybe because Apple is viewed as a successful "small" business, but more than likely it's because they have so little market share that it's hard to prove that the above practices give them an actual business advantage. iPod sales aside, their market share doesn't really suggest that it does.


RE: Eh
By Pirks on 7/20/06, Rating: 0
RE: Eh
By abhaxus on 7/20/2006 10:32:17 PM , Rating: 1
Ferrari has plenty of haters in europe, where they are disliked for their racing tactics :)

I still hate that people picture all apple buyers as noobs. Their OS is innovative, the ipod is ubiquitous, and their actual case designs are always well thought out and tasteful. Plus there is a ton of software that is simply better on a mac: consumer level video and photo editting and graphic design to name a few.


RE: Eh
By bob661 on 7/21/2006 12:16:57 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Their OS is innovative, the ipod is ubiquitous, and their actual case designs are always well thought out and tasteful. Plus there is a ton of software that is simply better on a mac: consumer level video and photo editting and graphic design to name a few.
All things that only noobs care about. :)


RE: Eh
By Pirks on 7/21/2006 2:41:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
All things that only noobs care about
Exactly, bob, EXACTLY. Techie like most AT/DT readers mostly cares about freedom, freedom to do what they want with their PC. Noob does not care about freedom, coz he/she doesn't even KNOW what it is. What do you know about freedom of piloting spaceship if you DON'T KNOW DAMN THING ABOUT IT, you can't even OPEN FREAKIN COCKPIT DOOR!

So you're noob, keep it easy that's not bad or anything - it's just spaceships and complex computer things are not for you - go buy pinky friendly Mac, it's a marvel of friendliness, just like your mall shopping cart is - no need to study anything or know anything - it's plyg'n'go thing. Well, you want freedom as in your own tuned PC that can do 200% what Mac can do for 50% of its price? You gotta LEARN, sonny!

Sorry, it's life, nasty as it is ;-)


RE: Eh
By Xavian on 7/21/2006 6:32:28 AM , Rating: 2
" pretty much agree. If you want to talk monopolistic, it's Apple. They make their own hardware. They make software that will only run on their own hardware. You can't really upgrade or modify most of their systems on your own either. About the only thing you can do to a Mac is upgrade the RAM and hard drive. Of course this changes with Intel's CPUs a little, but there are still more limitations. "

You do know what a monopoly means right? what you described is merely lack of consumer choice on components but nothing resembling a monopoly.

I agree with the fact that usually Apple gets a free pass on a lot of things, but thats probably because they are not a monopoly in any sector (not even Mp3 Players, which is currently around 40%), but microsoft is a clear monopoly in atleast 3 market sectors and that is why the rules of the game change for microsoft, because monopolies are bad for the market.

An example of an monopoly would be this:

Lets say Apple holds the monopoly, they do all the stuff they have done before however they have a 90+% marketshare in PC's and a small company (lets say microsoft) is there providing a tiny peice of competition. Now you can go to this competition but you'll miss out on the killer apps for the OS with 90+% marketshare, you are basically tied into the OS because it has features you cannot find anywhere else in the market, Apple would also using its monopoly attempt to crush any small competition that could develop into something larger.

Now, lets look at the iPod and iTunes situation. If you dont like the iTunes and iPod combination, you can go to other companies which will provide almost exactly the same thing via either URGE or Napster or somesuch. There is no real killer feature for the iPod, it is merely the result of excellent marketing. Apple in this case doesn't have a monopoly because firstly it doesn't have a 90+% marketshare and secondly you can get the same features on its competitors.


RE: Eh
By Xavian on 7/21/2006 6:34:12 AM , Rating: 2
adding: i hate to defend Apple (i dont like them at all), please dont make me do it again :(


RE: Eh
By rrsurfer1 on 7/20/2006 7:05:29 PM , Rating: 2
Dude. Calm down. "Microsoft Promises to Compete Fairly" is not a negative headline. It's exactly what they did. What would you prefer the headline to be?

Also regarding Apple and DailyTech's supposed "non-coverage":

http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=2781
http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=3301
http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=3153
http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=3036



RE: Eh
By masher2 (blog) on 7/21/2006 10:11:58 AM , Rating: 2
> "It's exactly what they did. What would you prefer the headline to be? "

A more correct headline would be "Microsoft pledges to encourage competition".


RE: Eh
By Scrogneugneu on 7/20/2006 7:41:30 PM , Rating: 2
Did you ever realize that Microsoft is in a monopoly position, and thus the fact that they have their own set of laws is normal?


Under normal conditions, the free market should do its job and if a company makes some proprietary stuff, then people might just not buy it since it can't be used anywhere. Microsoft is not in this position, they are the only major OS provider, and they've been in that position for years. The proprietary stuff is then seen differently : instead of restricting users and not letting them use their stuff anywhere, it restricts them to buy a new alternative, since nothing will be compatible with it. The new technologies are not public, they are kept hidden.

Just look at Sony. They're killing themselves with proprietary formats. Now look at Microsoft. If something only works on Windows, who cares? It only works on 95% of the computers.


RE: Eh
By TomZ on 7/20/2006 7:55:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Did you ever realize that Microsoft is in a monopoly position, and thus the fact that they have their own set of laws is normal?

Not sure what you mean by "laws." Microsoft has to obey the same laws as any other company.
quote:
Under normal conditions, the free market should do its job and if a company makes some proprietary stuff, then people might just not buy it since it can't be used anywhere.

I think you've been listening to those open-source folks too much. In the commercial world, where people buy things, proprietary standards are the norm, and not the exception. Just look at Apple as an example - proprietary, and successful, all through the years.
quote:
Microsoft is not in this position, they are the only major OS provider, and they've been in that position for years.

Maybe you never heard of other OSs, so I'll list some examples: Linux, Unix, Solaris, OS X, OS/2 (past), AmigaDos, and probably lots more I can't think of at the moment.
quote:
The proprietary stuff is then seen differently : instead of restricting users and not letting them use their stuff anywhere, it restricts them to buy a new alternative, since nothing will be compatible with it. The new technologies are not public, they are kept hidden.

This is one effect of a proprietary standard, but not the real reason that most companies create proprietary standards. The real reason is the simplicity and cost effectiveness, as well as to be able to control their standard in order to meet changing customer needs. Look at Microsoft's lesson learned with the "open standard" Java. From Microsoft's view, they wanted to be able to make changes to that platform ("embrace and extend" by critics). Clearly that didn't work out in a positive way, and so .NET and C# were created. This allowed Microsoft to move forward quite a bit and deliver better functionality to its customers. I'm not saying this is the "only" view of this situation, but it is at least "another" view.


RE: Eh
By Scrogneugneu on 7/20/2006 9:38:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Not sure what you mean by "laws." Microsoft has to obey the same laws as any other company.


Some practices are acceptable when in a competition environment, but not in a monopoly situation. Greatly undercuting the prices almost to the point where you make no profit is acceptable with competition : you drive competition. When you're in a monopolistic situation, it is not : you're killing it.

quote:
I think you've been listening to those open-source folks too much. In the commercial world, where people buy things, proprietary standards are the norm, and not the exception. Just look at Apple as an example - proprietary, and successful, all through the years.


What about everything Sony produces? Apple went with proprietary stuff and it worked not because it was proprietary, but because people saw an invention in the iPod. They knew what an iPod was long before they learned what an mp3 player is. The point is, proprietary formats are not disturbing when there's competition going on, but when it's monopolistic, it's driving any competition out of the market even before they get in.

quote:
Maybe you never heard of other OSs, so I'll list some examples: Linux, Unix, Solaris, OS X, OS/2 (past), AmigaDos, and probably lots more I can't think of at the moment.


You know what I meant... when an OS accounts for 90%+ of the market, and something like 10 alternatives take up the remaining 10%, I call it the only solution. In the same fashion, the only solutions in the graphic processor market are either ATI or NVidia. Sure, there are other solutions, but... do they really count? Plus, the OS you name are nowhere near ready to be launched for Mr. Joe Schmoe (except the Apple ones, but they are... let's say exceptions).


.NET is a proprietary programming platform. It will only works on Windows with the .NET framework installed. It doesn't really matter, though, since (almost) everyone is using Windows. The side effect of this? Since everyone has Windows, the programmers of this world are switching to .NET to use the latest technologies because the disadvantage of only running on Windows is minimal. Then, what will happen when your company will have a software made on .NET for an astronomical amount of money? They'll keep it. To keep it, they must keep Windows. Therefore, any other OS trying to get in won't meet success with anyone having a .NET software it just can't dump. In effect, it is killing competition since it's a monopoly.


RE: Eh
By TomZ on 7/20/2006 10:52:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Greatly undercuting the prices almost to the point where you make no profit is acceptable with competition : you drive competition. When you're in a monopolistic situation, it is not : you're killing it.

In what situation did Microsoft do this? They always priced their OS at fair market value. They never gouged, and they never undercut, AFAIK. I never remember hearing any such accusations.
quote:
The point is, proprietary formats are not disturbing when there's competition going on, but when it's monopolistic, it's driving any competition out of the market even before they get in.

You draw a fine line. For example, Windows included a lot of proprietary interfaces when it was first launched and had zero market share, e.g., its APIs. Since then, Windows has gained most of the market, and now by your argument such a proprietary interface is wrong? Clearly the reason for a proprietary API was not lock-in; it was efficiency. That pattern repeats itself over and over. Another example: .NET (your example, actually). Do you think they designed that out of the desire to innovate, or to lock in? Remember, .NET had zero acceptance at the beginning, and was not being forced upon anybody. It is no more a lock in than any other interface, either proprietary or open.

As I said before, proprietary interfaces can be used for lock-in, but it is hard to distinguish these cases from plain-vanilla "not invented here" kind of engineering.
quote:
You know what I meant... when an OS accounts for 90%+ of the market, and something like 10 alternatives take up the remaining 10%

My point really is that all through the years, Windows did not have a monopoly - there were always competitors. In fact, Windows was thought by some to be an underdog compared to OS/2. I worked on a very large project for Ford that was based on OS/2 instead of Windows because many industry experts at the time (circa 1988 or so) thought that OS/2 had a better future than Windows.
quote:
Plus, the OS you name are nowhere near ready to be launched for Mr. Joe Schmoe (except the Apple ones, but they are... let's say exceptions).

I hear from Linux advocates all the time on this forum that Linux is ready for prime time, and of course I hear the same about OS X. Anyway, lack of usability is not proof that alternatives do not exist, and clearly they do. Nobody forces anyone to buy Windows - it is always a choice.
quote:
.NET is a proprietary programming platform. It will only works on Windows with the .NET framework installed.

Not really true - here is .NET running on Unix and Linux: http://www.mono-project.com/Main_Page. Granted, they don't have WinForms, but they do have a C# compiler and a lot of the .NET Framework covered.
quote:
It doesn't really matter, though, since (almost) everyone is using Windows. The side effect of this? Since everyone has Windows, the programmers of this world are switching to .NET to use the latest technologies because the disadvantage of only running on Windows is minimal.

First, when you look at server OSs, Microsoft has far from a monopoly, and the risk of choosing .NET for a server application is much higher. That is why Java has been very successful in that space, because of its cross-platform capabilities. So there would, in general, be disadvantages to choosing .NET over Java in this case. Therefore, I don't think you can conclude that programmers are somehow "forced" into adopting .NET due to a lack of alternative.
quote:
Therefore, any other OS trying to get in won't meet success with anyone having a .NET software it just can't dump. In effect, it is killing competition since it's a monopoly.

Again, wrong conclusion because .NET can be ported to other OSs, and Microsoft doesn't have a monopoly in server OSs.


RE: Scrogneugneu
By Sharky974 on 7/21/2006 12:22:56 AM , Rating: 2
What you ignore is that Itunes is probably already pretty close to a monopoly. What other mainstream music purchasing alternatives are there that have wide mainstream appeal?

What Apple did is they have the most popular by far digital music player. Since then they have aggressively leveraged that into the whole content pipeline. That is why they made ipod ONLY work with Itunes DRM. No matter what they tell you they did it for one reason only: To leverage the Ipod to try and create uncompetitive situations in music downloading. If they lock all Ipod users into Itunes under some bogus DRM interoperability BS, why, that works out pretty peachy for Apple eh? They took one monopoly and leveraged it upwards to try to create another, and the two feed off each other and create a bigger monopoly than each could have seperatly. But not their competitors who are now frozen out.

The whole reason MS is now coming out with Zune etc etc, is because no doubt they saw how dangerous this cycle Apple is creating is. By owning the player, Apple wants to lock you in to their content as well, and they aggressively persue that. It would be one thing if they made cute little MP3's players that play anything you throw at them, instead of locking out competitors pay content. That would truly not harm competition. But that's not what Apple is doing, is it.

Oh, btw I see MS doing the same thing. I recently switched, for the most part, to Firefox. But I still have MSN as my home page by habit. They frequently have teasers for various news or pop culture related video clips on that page. However when you click the link, they tell you you MUST be using IE to access the content, they act as if it is some sort of technological issue, but the only issue is they want people to use IE, by freezing FF out of their content whenever they can, more or less.

That's my point, Apple and MS behave the exact same. They both try to lock you in to THEM. I haven't seen either company display much in the way of ethics in that regard. Hell, honestly, I'm not sure if I was running these companies I wouldn't do the same thing. It's a tough question. Is Sony any different? Sony wants to control the Hi-Def market through Blu-Ray.







RE: Eh
By smitty3268 on 7/20/2006 8:38:07 PM , Rating: 2
You sound like a very angry person. Maybe you should go out and relax, see a movie, read about recent world events, and get some perspective.


RE: Eh
By Merry on 7/21/2006 7:06:25 AM , Rating: 2
God I hate the American definition of liberal


RE: Eh
By TomZ on 7/21/2006 11:51:01 AM , Rating: 2
The term "liberal" means basically nothing these days. In any case, the OP's assertion that the EU is taking orders from American Liberals is pretty far-fetched, to say the least.


RE: Eh
By Merry on 7/21/2006 1:00:29 PM , Rating: 2
You're right. I just hate it when some Americans use it to describe someone who is a bit left wing.


RE: Eh
By TomZ on 7/21/2006 2:50:23 PM , Rating: 2
I agree - and having a fixed political view is about as useful, IMO, to having a car that is stuck in reverse.


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