Microsoft Promises to Compete Fairly
July 20, 2006 3:37 PM
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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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7/21/2006 12:22:56 AM
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.
"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch
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