Print 66 comment(s) - last by Kishkumen.. on Jul 21 at 7:24 PM

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 TomZ on 7/20/2006 10:52:29 PM , Rating: 2
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.
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.
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.
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.
.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: Granted, they don't have WinForms, but they do have a C# compiler and a lot of the .NET Framework covered.
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.
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.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
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