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EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes
Microsoft finally gives in to the EU's demands

Software juggernaut Microsoft has been involved in an ongoing legal battle with the European Union since a 2004 antitrust ruling was handed down. When DailyTech last looked into the European Union v. Microsoft case, Microsoft was rather reserved after learning that it lost its appeal.

"So, we look forward to continued efforts to implement and comply with today’s decision," said Microsoft senior vice president and general counsel Brad Smith in September. "We welcome the opportunity for continued discussion to adhere to our duties with the European Commission, and we look forward to hopefully continuing to move technology forward to create more jobs on this continent."

It appears now that Microsoft is finally giving up its fight with the European Commission. EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes personally spoke with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on the phone earlier this morning and reached a definitive agreement in regards to compliance with the ruling.

"I welcome that Microsoft has finally undertaken concrete steps to ensure full compliance with the 2004 decision," said Kroes. "It is regrettable that Microsoft has only complied after a considerable delay, two court decisions, and the imposition of daily penalty payments."

"As of today, the major issues concerning compliance have been resolved," Kroes added. "It is a victory day for the consumer... not the Commission."

According to the agreement, Microsoft will have to comply with three separate changes to its business.

  1. Software competitors must be given access to Microsoft interoperability information.
  2. Royalties for said information will be a one-time payment of €10,000 ($14,348 USD).
  3. Worldwide software license/patent royalties will be reduced from 5.95 percent to 0.4 percent.

Should Microsoft fail to comply with any of these changes, "the agreements will be enforceable before the High Court in London, and will provide for effective remedies, including damages, for third-party developers in the event that Microsoft breaches those agreements," according to the European ommission.

For its part, Microsoft simply stated that it will "work closely with the commission and the industry to ensure a flourishing and competitive environment for information technology."

In July 2006, Microsoft was fined €497 million ($710 million USD) for as a result of the 2004 antitrust ruling. The commission then raised the cap on Microsoft’s daily fines from $2.6 million USD to $3.8 million USD in July 2006. Two days later, Microsoft was fined an additional $375.4 million USD in July 2006 for failing to comply with the ruling. Microsoft lost its appeal on September 17, 2007 and the initial €497 million fine was upheld.

In addition to the fine, Microsoft must also pay 80 percent of the European Commission's legal expenses.



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WTH
By SunAngel on 10/22/2007 9:23:05 AM , Rating: 3
<!--[if !supportLists]--> Software competitors must be given access to Microsoft interoperability information.
Royalties for said information will be a one-time payment of €10,000 ($14,348 USD).
Worldwide software license/patent royalties will be reduced from 5.95 percent to 0.4 percent.

How in the world (EU) can they make MS accept 4 hundreds of a percent euro for something that is entirely negoitable by developers and MS? Seems really harsh.

Of course, many including myself, disagree with MS's business practices, but negotiating is what makes the world market "free".




RE: WTH
By mdogs444 on 10/22/2007 9:27:00 AM , Rating: 2
As we've seen, the EU is not about what is right, and a right to free market.

If i were MS, id pull all MS products off the shelves in europe and stop selling my OS completely there. Give them an all or nothing approach. They have proved they can require you to give other companies access to your information for making your OS available in the country, but they cannot force you to sell your product there.


RE: WTH
By zombiexl on 10/22/2007 9:30:47 AM , Rating: 5
Theres probably some law in the EU that wouldnt allow MS to pull their products. That or they'll invent such a law...


RE: WTH
By mdogs444 on 10/22/07, Rating: 0
RE: WTH
By SunAngel on 10/22/2007 9:51:14 AM , Rating: 1
Obviously, MS would never pull their products from the EU markets. Certainly with the lower royalties, MS will still make money.

My point was to say another freedom (negotiation) has been removed. This is not only going to affect MS but will set a precedent that other companies will have to follow. Otherwise there will be inconsistencies in the law if it is applied to some and not others.

Frontend charges for MS products are surely much less than the royalties they receive (over the product's lifetime). Any company's revenue (not only MS) will be severely resticted assuming they continue to charge current prices and not raise the acquistion price for their products.

Seems to me, and I am by no means an economist, this decision is going to stiffle R&D because the money is just not going to be their to allow engineers to get done what needs to be done.


RE: WTH
By defter on 10/22/2007 9:57:32 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
My point was to say another freedom (negotiation) has been removed. This is not only going to affect MS but will set a precedent that other companies will have to follow. Otherwise there will be inconsistencies in the law if it is applied to some and not others.


This has nothing to with removal of freedom and it isn't a precedent. The law (at least the law of the civilized countries) clearly says that a holder of a patent/rights that are essential for interoperability, must license them for a reasonable price to others. This requirement is essential to encourage competition.


RE: WTH
By SunAngel on 10/22/2007 10:10:40 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
must license them for a reasonable price to others. This requirement is essential to encourage competition.


Exactly!

Who determines the price as reasonable? Microsoft? The developer? A third party?

How and when did it become a crime to charge what the market is willing to pay? I want to buy a share of Google's stock, but at $600+/share it to rich for my blood. I might be able to persude someone to sell me a share for $1, but they may be losing $599+. Should I run to the EU commission and say, "Hey, I can't purchase a share of stock because the price is too high. Can you please help me out with this?"


RE: WTH
By Xavian on 10/22/2007 10:27:45 AM , Rating: 5
The point was, that Microsoft wouldn't licence interopolity with its software for any price.

Which went against the laws of the EU.


RE: WTH
By FITCamaro on 10/22/07, Rating: -1
RE: WTH
By Murst on 10/22/2007 11:12:23 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
Not selling a license for interoperability should not be illegal. It should be a business decision. The market will determine whether it is a wise one or not.

Your statement does not apply to companies that have been declared monopolies. They do not get the same treatment as companies that have competitors.

BTW, I think that out of all the EU's demands, this is the most reasonable one. Such is the price of being a monopoly, and people can cry and moan about how bad MS is being treated, yet I'd like to see a company that wouldn't want to be in MS's shoes (if MS could have shoes, that is).


RE: WTH
By FITCamaro on 10/22/07, Rating: -1
RE: WTH
By Murst on 10/22/2007 12:16:02 PM , Rating: 2
Here is the ruling. Its far too large to summarize here. Skip to section II ("Relevant Market") for an answer to your question.

http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f3800/msjudgex.htm#...


RE: WTH
By nofranchise on 10/22/2007 12:20:02 PM , Rating: 1
It might be considered "low", but I'm doing it anyway:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopoly

I mean come on Camaro... I found it more satisfying to read your posts bashing the EU.


RE: WTH
By FITCamaro on 10/22/07, Rating: -1
RE: WTH
By mars777 on 10/22/2007 1:39:36 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Software juggernaut Microsoft has been involved in an ongoing legal battle with the European Union since a 2004 antitrust ruling was handed down


Where do you read the word "monopoly" ?
I see only antitrust, which is a set of laws restricting monopolistic behavior (and you don't have to be a monopoly to behave in monopolistic manner, merely have a large chunk of market).

Basically these laws exist to stop MS and the like becoming a monopoly.

Technically having 90% market share is not a definition to monopoly, but is the closest you can get when you round to 1/10 :)


RE: WTH
By Oregonian2 on 10/22/2007 2:52:00 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft has a monopoly in the 100% Microsoft OS compatible OS market. For that reason, the EU can control Microsoft no matter what.


RE: WTH
By Farfignewton on 10/23/2007 7:01:29 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
This is a mute point these days


Uh, "moot" point? ;)


RE: WTH
By rcc on 10/24/2007 6:20:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Uh, "moot" point? ;)


lol, it's the new non-reading do it by rote people. So few actually understand the language they speak/type these days.

they also think it's a "butt load", not a "boat load".

There are a number of similar issues, it's quite humorous at times, and frustrating at others.


RE: WTH
By sxr7171 on 10/22/2007 1:07:20 PM , Rating: 2
A (de facto) monopoly is a situation where there is a market breakdown. There is no market because there is pretty much one supplier only. They can charge any price they want including not selling or licensing their IP. This is just regulation of a monopoly. The terms are just harsh though.


RE: WTH
By defter on 10/22/2007 9:54:22 AM , Rating: 1
Microsoft was only fined because they didn't comply with the ruling, if they had complied from the start, EU wouldn't get any monetary profit from it.


RE: WTH
By FITCamaro on 10/22/07, Rating: -1
RE: WTH
By mdogs444 on 10/22/07, Rating: -1
RE: WTH
By Targon on 10/22/07, Rating: 0
RE: WTH
By FITCamaro on 10/22/2007 12:23:39 PM , Rating: 4
How do the wealthy get extra tax breaks here? They pay a higher percentage of their income to taxes than those who make less. Yes they are able to take advantage of more existing tax breaks because they have money in places other than just earning income. Things like stocks, real estate investments, etc. Yes there are loop holes that the wealthy take advantage of but the not so wealthy can also take advantage of them, you just have to know about them. My parents have used them and they are far from wealthy.

And you get a tax break on your home because it makes owning homes easier for all of us. You do not have to be wealthy to own a home. If you don't like the cost of homes in your area, get a job elsewhere and move there. Where I live a very nice home can be had for $200,000. I rent an apartment and at no time have I felt that those I work with and do own a home are getting something I don't.

Your mentality is one of "you have more than me so you must be getting a better deal".


RE: WTH
By Spivonious on 10/22/2007 12:32:17 PM , Rating: 3
Since the wealthy pay more taxes than "those who work for a living" they should get more back.

I just bought a house for $25,000 in total closing costs. How is this $300,000? I was renting previously and had to pay zero property/school taxes. Now I get to pay about $500 a month in taxes. Yep, that's a tax break. Or perhaps you're referring to the fact that I can write-off my interest payments? That rarely comes to much more than the standard deduction.

My wife and I make a combined $60,000 a year. Is that wealthy?


RE: WTH
By Locutus465 on 10/22/2007 3:26:12 PM , Rating: 3
Holy crap I wish I could find a house for that in my market!!!! $100,000 is the best I could possibly hope for, and we're talking town house :(


RE: WTH
By Spivonious on 10/23/2007 4:14:37 PM , Rating: 2
I think you misunderstood. Closing costs include down payment and all the fees and taxes involved in buying a house. The house itself listed for $199,900.


RE: WTH
By mdogs444 on 10/23/2007 4:20:03 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah i think he did. I wonder if he was looking up where to buy homes for $25k list price :-)


RE: WTH
By Locutus465 on 10/23/2007 9:40:27 PM , Rating: 2
Yes I did... I was thinking you must have bought in the ghetto or something (I've seen houses list for about that much, just not anywhere I would want to live).

I think when the OP referred the the (stupid) sale price he was refering to the total sale price of the home though, so your $25,000 figure isn't exactly what he's talking about (unless he some how assumes you need to come up with $300,000 up front). Perhaps he did, I do understand that we as americans do have better access to credit than just about anywhere else in the world, though I have no practical knowlege to back up what I've heard.

At anyrate, what the OP posted was still completely stupid and it is very obvious they don't understand real estate... I


RE: WTH
By mdogs444 on 10/23/2007 10:14:23 PM , Rating: 2
Thats correct Locutus...he was talking about 300k total on a home, if he was talking about up front, then he is saying that the cheapest house he can find is around 1.5 million dollars. Not likely.

When he states that he cannot buy a $300,000 home, he is probably not fully understanding the real estate business process. The total cost of a home may be $300,000, but as a first time home buyer (considering you do not want to pay mortgage insurance), you would need to provide 20% down, and take out 80% of the home price on a mortgage loan. Therefore, to buy a $300,000 home, you would need to provide $60,000 down, plus other fees associated with the closing of the property. The monthly payback - not using a calculator - would probably be in the vicinity of $1700-$2000/mo factoring in nominal property taxes in the monthly payment.

Most people rent not because they cannot afford the monthly mortgage price, but because they do not have the down payment. Its the same reason people lease cars. Its easier to lease the car and come up with $2000 down and a higher monthly payment, than it is to buy the car in your monthly payment range because the amount you would need to put down would be so high.

Also, the OP is probably in their mid 20's, just from observation on his posts - and i could be wrong. But there arent too many mid 20's people out there who have have enough for a down payment on a 300k house. Thats why many live at home for a few years after college, rent, or purchase a "starter home" for cheap. It allows them to build equity in the starter home for the next down payment, build up credit to get a lower percentage on your next loan, as well as keep saving for a bigger home.

Too many people think you get out of school, get a job for 35k/year, and can go out and buy a house. It just doesn't work like that.


RE: WTH
By Kuroyama on 10/24/2007 12:58:23 AM , Rating: 2
Most first time home buyers these days buy with very little down and pay mortgage insurance on the second mortgage. Don't know where this guy lives, but if it's a high cost state then a $300K purchase will qualify for an FHA mortgage which requires only ~3% down. Down payments are really not much of an issue these days, which is partly why so many speculators piled into the real estate market in recent years since they could speculate sometimes with $0 down.

As far as rent goes, many people such as myself rent because we think housing is overpriced. I pay $1100 a month for a very large two bedroom loft in a converted mill building with 14 ft ceilings, huge wood beams, a river view, free heat+A/C (heat is worth a lot in MA), and I can even walk to work. To buy a comparable apartment would cost me over $250,000 for which interest+taxes+the $300 monthly maintenance fee common for converted mills would run up to about $1600. And that's before even accounting for principle. Even taking into account tax deductions, it's hard to justify spending more money on non-principle amounts than my current rent payment, even though I do have the money to buy if I wanted to. Perhaps I'll buy in a year or so when the glut of recent mill conversions here drives the price down further.


RE: WTH
By Locutus465 on 10/24/2007 11:41:33 AM , Rating: 2
This guy clearly does not live in the USA at all, and is probably making wildly incorrect statements about the US realestate market based on what his buddy's tell him. I can understand making incorrect assumptions based on bad information, but there's no excuse to go around trying to state this bad info as absolute fact when you know you don't have first hand knowlege.

I, forinstance, like most other reasonble people usually go through great pains to try and qualify opinions I have that I'm making based on information I don't know first hand... Such as "I have heard americans have better access to credit than any where else in the world, though I don't have first hand information to back that up"...

If this guy had at least stated his opions as "I've heard from people that you can't find homes in the US for less than $300,000. If that is true then that is completely insane"... If he had said something like that he would have been corrected, but not thought of as a complete moron.


RE: WTH
By mdogs444 on 10/24/2007 2:19:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Most first time home buyers these days buy with very little down and pay mortgage insurance on the second mortgage. Don't know where this guy lives, but if it's a high cost state then a $300K purchase will qualify for an FHA mortgage which requires only ~3% down. Down payments are really not much of an issue these days, which is partly why so many speculators piled into the real estate market in recent years since they could speculate sometimes with $0 down.


Not anymore my friend, why do you think the recent housing busts?????

People bought with zero down arm loans or interest only loans. Then when that period was up, they could no longer afford the mortgage price, were forced to sell, but since everyone is selling for this reason, the values have decreased to 10's of thousands of dollars less than what they paid for the house. Now they just walk away from the house - they dont sell, they dont pay. This way, the bank forecloses, takes back ownership, and cannot sell the house for as much as these people owe on the loans. Thats why the big fiasco today.

So in short - 3% down, no interest, or nothing down loans are stupid. Any lender who wants to sell you a 200k, 300k, etc home with you putting nothing to very little down is only hurting YOU!.


RE: WTH
By Kuroyama on 10/24/2007 2:48:00 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, I should have qualified with that by saying "most first time home buyers (until the past year) ...". However, my FHA comment was correct, and the limits are not income based (it's a federal program):

http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/ins/sfh203b.cfm

My little sister used one of these to buy her town house in Laguna Beach (LA area) last year (squeezed by at $330K, just under the $360K limit). Put in your state and county here

https://entp.hud.gov/idapp/html/hicostlook.cfm

to find the limits for your area.


RE: WTH
By mdogs444 on 10/24/2007 2:56:58 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks, ill look into that for my little sister who is actually trying to afford a new townhome. Not too familiar with FHA programs, as like i said - since most programs out there are "need based", i fall way out of that range and thus never look into them.


RE: WTH
By Locutus465 on 10/24/2007 11:26:50 AM , Rating: 2
True, though these days it's becoming very common for first time home buyers to actually take out a "second mortage" of sorts to cover the down payment, plus in every state there are programs to help first time home buyers in addition to federal programs run by HUD.

While I wouldn't say I'm an expert in the process, I've been studying it in detail as I'm in my late 20's now and am starting to get (very) interested in buying a home v. renting. Some of these programs even offer down payment assitance which in some cases actually completely remove your obligation to pay any sort of down payment (or at the very least significantly reduce it). Unforutnetly I make just enough not to quailify for this assitance in North Carolina :(

At any rate, the OP has no clue...


RE: WTH
By mdogs444 on 10/24/2007 2:23:47 PM , Rating: 2
Most of the programs are need based - meaning you make little money, and can only buy a dump. Perhaps not politically correct, but you get the jist.

Stay clear of those 80/20 loans - 80% mortgage, 20% personal to cover the down payment. Those are bad, bad news!

Your best bet is to save up for a down payment of at least 20% to avoid paying PMI (mortgage insurance) which can run up to several hundred dollars a month and is basically a scam because you have nothing to put down. If you have to , save 10% and ask family to help you out with 10% and you'll pay them back.

Buying a house with nothing down is very bad news once you start figuring out how much you pay in the long run. Remember - nothing is free, and if they are offering you somthing for nothing, then there is ALWAYS a catch.


RE: WTH
By Locutus465 on 10/24/2007 5:51:50 PM , Rating: 2
Not enterily, I do qualify for loan assitance... just not down payment, you'd be supprised how high up in the income level you can still keep getting some level of assitance ..


RE: WTH
By Spivonious on 10/25/2007 2:09:55 PM , Rating: 2
PMI isn't that bad. Plus it goes away once the value of the house goes up by the percentage below 20% you paid. Me for instance, PMI adds about $100 a month, but since we put 8% down, it will probably only be 2-3 years until the house appreciates that extra $24k. Even after 3 years, we've only paid an extra $3600.


RE: WTH
By mdogs444 on 10/25/2007 2:22:49 PM , Rating: 2
Appreciation isn't going to happen anytime soon though, not with todays housing markets. Homes are going down in value drastically because of the mortgage crisis. I wouldnt plan on NOT having that PMI payment in 2-3yrs.


RE: WTH
By mdogs444 on 10/22/2007 1:31:57 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
This compared to things in the USA where the wealthy get extra tax breaks while those who work for a living and don't own their own homes get screwed.


The wealthy actually pay a higher percentage income tax than middle class, who also pay a higher percentage income tax than low income...all while there are people on welfare & living on section 8 who pay NO income tax.

People who do not own homes do not get screwed - they do not pay property taxes. THere are large tax write offs on homes to allow people to afford a home. If you cannot afford a home in your area because of the cost of living, its completely easy to get a job in a different area with a lower cost of living. Not everyone can live in upper middle class suburbia. You need to EARN your way up - by working hard and being smart with your finances. Its not rocket science, it just means you have to get off your lazy ass if you want to be successful.

quote:
I don't agree with all programs provided to help those without money, but socialism isn't the problem, poorly designed programs are.


Many poorly designed programs do create a problem, that part i will agree. But to the middle class and upper class, yes socialism is the problem Its the "robin hood" take from the rich, give to the poor mentality. It offers no reward for being successful, and no penalty for being lazy.

quote:
If you own your own home in the USA, there are a lot of tax breaks, but if you rent and don't own, you are SCREWED. In a way, you can almost say that those who own their own homes(even if you pay mortgage payments) are the wealthy compared to those of us who have to rent because it costs over $300,000 to buy a house.


Again, if you rent, you are not screwed. You do not pay property tax. There is a different cost of living for all area's. No one makes you live in an area that costs 300k for a house, if you dont like it, then move somewhere else. If you dont want to move, then work harder, get a better job, get a second job, save money, invest money, etc and get to the point where you can afford to buy a house in that area. Complaining that everyone else makes more money than you is a stupid point if you are pinning them for not allowing you to buy a house.


RE: WTH
By Keeir on 10/22/2007 3:22:28 PM , Rating: 3
A generel response

#1. While the weathly pay a greater percentage of thier income in income taxes... that percentage has been on the decline while thier share of the income pie has become greater

#2. Something like 97% of income tax is paid from 50,000 on up... why do we even bother to tax the first 50,000?

#3. Some areas have experienced house price explosion without income explosion. One area I can think of in particular has home prices increasing at close to 2x in 5 years but only a 1.2x increase in average wage.

I think the original poster is most likely in his first few years from school.

Due to fast rising tutition costs (what like 7% a year every year?), rising home prices/rent prices, and relatively flat income rate increases in several key industries, today's graduates are facing a problem...

I remember my first year out of school, if my car had broken down, I would had to go into debt to fix it because I really did not have enough money and my good job (paying more than the area average) which I got after working hard both academically and working jobs to help pay for my Top-50 school just barely let ends meet. The easiest thing to blame (because it was the most visible) was the 30%+ of my income paid to the government. Now that I have moved geographically and career wise, I make enough money and get to keep enough, but I still remember how silly it seemed I could barely afford to eat more than ramen some months trying to balance my apartment, car, student loan, etc payments. I imagine it even worse for today's new graduates. I mean, I live in an area where a reasonable home (2000 sqf with .1 acre lot) costs in excess of 400,000 even far away from good employement

As a part solution to this problem (which is growing quickly), I recommend we completely drop all income tax below 50,000 (no one needs to pay any income tax on the first 50,000 dollars of income nor fill out tax forms to make it so) and we uptick the other brackets by .1% to pay for it. We can dispense with silly tax credits for healthcare etc etc


RE: WTH
By mdogs444 on 10/22/07, Rating: 0
RE: WTH
By Keeir on 10/29/2007 7:31:34 PM , Rating: 2
I don't disagree with the participation factor. I am not suggesting getting rid of Social Security or Medicare taxes (since social security if only up to around 90,000 obviously the first 50,000 is actually a meaniful contribution). But income taxes on the first 50,000 of income is pretty much meaningless in terms of the total pie.

What happens when it costs you and the government more time and money to file taxes then the actual value of the taxes? Its actually the case on around the first 50k of income and income taxes.

Between the hundreds of tax breaks for a myriad of things we hand out so people making less than 50k can make ends meet... it requires hours (or like $150+ dollars at HRBlobk etc) to fill out tax forms and larger IRS to collect, document, keep track of, etc....

I suggested a tax bracket of 0% for the 0-50,000 dollars of income and then adding a .1% to all existing tax brackets. Giving more money to the wealthy is a good idea to stimulate the economy... but so is giving money to the cosumers of the world to purchase goods and services. The difference is the .1% of income probably won't mean alot of a wealthy business owner (especially if he has potentially larger sales figures) but the extra 2,000-3,000 in income tax reduction might mean ALOT to someone making only 40,000 a year. And the 4,000 dollar tax break (IE not paying taxes on the first 50,000 anymore) from those households making between 50,000-100,000 would be very helpful.


RE: WTH
By Ringold on 10/22/2007 9:48:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
. While the weathly pay a greater percentage of thier income in income taxes... that percentage has been on the decline while thier share of the income pie has become greater


http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2007/10/09/tax-shar...

Truth is stranger than fiction. Taxes for all groups, thanks partly to the Bush Tax cuts (which I suspect would be only 1/10th as controversial if not referred to with the word Bush) directly and largely to the resulting economic boom, has been falling as a percentage of income. You didn't say otherwise, but omitting that the rich weren't alone is a mild form of propaganda.

<qoute>d relatively flat income rate increases in several key industries, today's graduates are facing a problem...</qoute>

Starting salaries for all the top 10 or so most popular degrees have been rising fast for years. If you bothered to listen to the national news at all last May it was the news for about a week that college recruiters were saying it was the best job market they had seen in their entire lives. People I knew personally were getting multiple counter-offers from employers, with the interview process at times seemingly reversed.. and this has been the general case for several years. We are talking about America, right?

That said, to be fair with your example, graduates just years apart but one graduating in a boom and another in a bust can see a 10% difference in lifetime income.. Also, you could of gone to Harvard and if you got a degree in an out-of-demand field, like History, you'll be boned no matter what the economy is doing.

As for eliminating taxes, I suggest the FairTax. :)


RE: WTH
By Keeir on 10/29/2007 7:49:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Starting salaries for all the top 10 or so most popular degrees have been rising fast for years. If you bothered to listen to the national news at all last May it was the news for about a week that college recruiters were saying it was the best job market they had seen in their entire lives. People I knew personally were getting multiple counter-offers from employers, with the interview process at times seemingly reversed.. and this has been the general case for several years. We are talking about America, right?


The Mayflower data I have seen suggests a very healthy 4%+ rise in Starting Salary excluding One-Time Bonus/Special Incentives

Thats actually really really good! (Usually you see this figure barely matching inflation) But housing is increasing 10%+ in some regions (exluding the last year) and tutition is increasing 7%.

Oh, and my point was that the Top 1% are paying a smaller percentage of the total income tax net by the government while recieving a greater share of total earned income. Yes, all groups are recieving lower tax rates on income.

Oh, and by your own link, the bottom 50% is what like 31,000 and less? and they paid 432.5 per person on average? (Not counting earned income tax credit)


RE: WTH
By sinful on 10/22/2007 8:21:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The wealthy actually pay a higher percentage income tax than middle class, who also pay a higher percentage income tax than low income...all while there are people on welfare & living on section 8 who pay NO income tax.


Ummm, no. Not quite. The wealthy actually pay a lower percentage of their income in taxes. They may pay more, but it's a MUCH smaller percentage of their income.

Look up Warren Buffet's quote about this:
quote:
Last year, Buffett said, he was taxed at 17.7 percent on his taxable income of more than $46 million. His receptionist was taxed at about 30 percent.


It is the middle class that pays the most, by far, in taxes in terms of percentage of their income.

This is one reason why it is said the middle class in America is disappearing. You either become wealthy (and stay that way) or you become poor (and stay that way).

People seem to think "how it should work" is that the wealthy would pay the greatest percentage, but that's not the way it is.


RE: WTH
By mdogs444 on 10/22/2007 8:39:13 PM , Rating: 1
You are not stating the entire truth on this matter.

There are income tax brackets for federal taxes that range from 10% (for $0-$78xx) up to 35%($350,000+).

You are failing to state the entire truth of the matter, which effects all people paying taxes. Much of Buffets income came from Capital Gains (investments) which are taxed at 15%. That goes for everyone - and the most notable way for this is selling stock at a profit. If the secretary had invested in stocks, or other capital gains, then her percentage in comparison to Buffets would have decreased as well.

Warren Buffet makes most of his money from investments, aka capital gains, and not from salary like most people's paychecks.

Also, if you are citing 30% federal income tax, you also need to know that you are in a tax bracket that is consistent with the secretary (filing as single status) making roughly $100,000/yr - not bad for a secretary.

So in short, Buffet is comparing apples to oranges. He is not citing a federal income tax due to a paycheck, he is comparing how much tax he paid on his investments versus how much a secretary pays from a salaried paycheck. He would be paying 35% if his paycheck was over $350,000, and she would be paying 15% on her investments if she had any.

Here is some proof if you need it.
http://marylandconservatarian.blogspot.com/2007/06...


RE: WTH
By Kuroyama on 10/25/2007 1:07:01 AM , Rating: 2
You've explained why his tax rate is lower, but you haven't explained why Buffett's dollar of investment profit should be taxed less than my dollar of income from working hard. Obviously he knows why his taxes are lower, he just doesn't think it's appropriate.

If your family makes the US median household income of $48K a year and has the average of say 2 children then you're not going to have much more than peanuts to invest at the low investment tax rate, but if you have $1 billion then you can invest all but peanuts of your money, so "everyone can do it" hardly expresses the reality. Double taxation, "stimulating the economy by investment", etc are largely red herrings. All income is multiple taxed (income tax when you earn it, then sales, property, etc when you spend it, for instance) and spending my money buying a shiny new car will stimulate the economy by encouraging the auto factory to invest in new equipment to meet higher demand, so why don't I get a tax break when I buy a car? Ever heard of "supply and demand"? Supply will not go up without demand, and when demand goes up then companies will invest and increase supply, so I am in fact causing investment to occur by spending my money.


RE: WTH
By mdogs444 on 10/25/2007 7:12:16 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
You've explained why his tax rate is lower, but you haven't explained why Buffett's dollar of investment profit should be taxed less than my dollar of income from working hard. Obviously he knows why his taxes are lower, he just doesn't think it's appropriate.


One reason they are taxed less is because as an investment, it takes much time to earn your money. They factor in items like inflation to offset the captial gain when you cash out. Also, when you purchase capital gains, your original purchase has to come from somewhere - yes, the money you purchase the capital gain with is coming from your taxed income! This isn't rocket science.

quote:
If your family makes the US median household income of $48K a year and has the average of say 2 children then you're not going to have much more than peanuts to invest at the low investment tax rate, but if you have $1 billion then you can invest all but peanuts of your money, so "everyone can do it" hardly expresses the reality.


If your family of four - two people working - makes the median of $48k per year, then no you wont be investing. But just as you have the right to invest, you also had the right to make different life decisions in the past so that you would make more than a total of 48k/yr. Dont blame successfull people for unsuccessful peoples inability to make better decisions or for the fact that they have less motivation.

quote:
Ever heard of "supply and demand"? Supply will not go up without demand, and when demand goes up then companies will invest and increase supply, so I am in fact causing investment to occur by spending my money.

Yes I have heard of supply and demand. And your example is a dumb one. You are not investing in the auto company, in fact you are paying them for the money they already spent to produce your car (materials, R&D, wages, etc), as well as giving THEM the money to invest. You are not making an investment, you are making a purchase. An investment into a company like that is when you buy stocks and give them money to use without taking anything in return.

You must first understand the system before you go out and make comments and examples that do not correctly portray whatever point it is that you're trying to make.


RE: WTH
By Kuroyama on 10/25/2007 12:12:38 PM , Rating: 2
I can understand a tax benefit for starting a company, and perhaps corporate deductions for investments and R&D. However, my buying stock in IBM is not an investment that will increase employment in the US, and so there is no reason why my profit off stock increasing in value should be taxed less than someone else's income from a regular job.


RE: WTH
By Kuroyama on 10/25/2007 12:16:05 PM , Rating: 2
To clarify things, in keeping with the language of your post, let's restrict my stock comments to post-IPO, since buying stock at the IPO or during later share issuance does directly result in corporate investment.


RE: WTH
By rcc on 10/24/2007 7:00:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
People seem to think "how it should work" is that the wealthy would pay the greatest percentage, but that's not the way it is.


And why is this? Do they get more out of the system/government than someone that makes less? Even a flat rate tax isn't fair, but they'd be happy to have it. Bottom line, if you make $30,000 and I make $60,000, why should I pay more tax? What do I get out of it? If we had a 10% flat tax you'd be paying 3000, I'd be paying 6000, what do I get for my extra $3000?

Yes, there are some questionable loopholes in tax law that the wealthy are in a position to take advantage of, but they still end up paying more in taxes overall.

Now, 'splain why?


RE: WTH
By Kuroyama on 10/25/2007 12:50:37 AM , Rating: 2
The US government this year is spending $9300 for every human being alive in America. How do you expect to raise that money if the rich don't pay more than the poor?

And in answer to your question, yes the rich benefit the most because without a stable country they would never be able to make such huge sums of money. Paying more of the tax burden helps keep the masses from getting too upset and doing something drastic, whether through peaceful action like changing the laws to soak the rich for all they're worth, or violent action like rioting or attempting to overthrow the government.

There's an interesting study on the human notion of fairness:

http://economist.com/science/displaystory.cfm?stor...

They find that when you split the cake too unfairly then humans are willing to give up everything rather than accept peanuts, whereas animals will take whatever you give them. Even in countries with huge inequality like Brazil, the rich rarely try to rub it in poor people's faces by trying to collect much taxes from them, because eventually they'll decide they're not willing to take peanuts and will ruin the party for everyone.

Anyways, to put it in language you probably approve of when directed in the other direction, "If the rich don't like America then they're free to move to Europe."


RE: WTH
By mdogs444 on 10/25/2007 7:17:09 AM , Rating: 2
Please show me anywhere in the Constition or Declaration of Indenpendence that states all people living in the country should be given a fair life to live through means of Redistribution of Wealth.

It promises things like liberty, justice, and OPPORTUNITY. What you do with the opportunity is up to you.

The point is not to be against the rich or the poor, the point is that if you are not pulling your own weight, then you are in fact "dead weight" and a burden on the rest of the society. Therefore, if you are not going to put into the system to make it work, then you should to Europe where you are benefitted from being a lazy ass.


RE: WTH
By Kuroyama on 10/25/2007 12:00:32 PM , Rating: 2
Recall my response was regarding why the rich need to pay more taxes than the poor or even median household. An easy calculation makes this quite clear. The feds spend over $9K per capita, and the median family has income under $50K and 3-4 family members, so the feds spend effectively $27-36K for them.
quote:
the point is that if you are not pulling your own weight, then you are in fact "dead weight" and a burden on the rest of the society.

In other words, 50% of American households are dead weight? Or do you propose that our median family should spend 50-75% of their income on federal taxes, plus ???% on state and local taxes, leaving probably only a few thousand for food and housing per year?

FYI, I never referred to any sort of rights, but only said that for a stable society it is necessary that noone feel like that are getting such a small piece of the pie that they have little to lose by upsetting the party. Look around Latin America to see what kind of governments you'll get if you don't make a decent effort to keep the lower classes from feeling like they're getting shafted.


RE: WTH
By mdogs444 on 10/25/2007 1:44:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Recall my response was regarding why the rich need to pay more taxes than the poor or even median household. An easy calculation makes this quite clear. The feds spend over $9K per capita, and the median family has income under $50K and 3-4 family members, so the feds spend effectively $27-36K for them.

Actually there is much more to it than that. And no, the $9 is an average, not what they spend on each person. Persons on welfare, foodstamps, medicare, medicaid, etc get much more benefits than the average middle class family. In fact, the average middle class family gets none of that. THe low income families are responsible for getting almost all of the money from social services.

quote:
In other words, 50% of American households are dead weight? Or do you propose that our median family should spend 50-75% of their income on federal taxes, plus ???% on state and local taxes, leaving probably only a few thousand for food and housing per year?

No that is not what i said. What i am saying is that people who do not pay taxes - due to low income - yet get much money from goverment assistance (out of the taxpayers dollar) are dead weight. And they are not only getting this money in the forms of welfare. There is also goverment funded education help - like grants and scholarships which come out of the taxpayers dollar and are only available to "need based" persons, aka low income. Therefore i am also paying for these people to go to college, yet i have to take out loans and pay interest on those loans. So i am in turn not only paying for my own education, but for these low income people to get a high school education as well as a college education.

What I propose is that there is a national sales tax to take the place of income (aka FairTax). For example, 15% - i buy $100,000 worth of goods, i pay 15,000 in taxes. The low income person spends 1000 on goods, and he pays 15. This way, everyone contributes to the goverment based on how much you spend - because you should be able to control your own money, and it makes the low income contribute - at least a little.

quote:
FYI, I never referred to any sort of rights, but only said that for a stable society it is necessary that noone feel like that are getting such a small piece of the pie that they have little to lose by upsetting the party.

Well, we already are, and have been a stable society. By taking more and more from the successful and giving it to the unsuccessful, all you are doing is "harboring" laziness. What is the incentive for them to change and start bettering themselves if they can sit back and reap the benefits of me working?

quote:
Look around Latin America to see what kind of governments you'll get if you don't make a decent effort to keep the lower classes from feeling like they're getting shafted.

They lower class is not getting shafted. They are shafting themselves by being lazy and making bad decision, and then punishing the wealthy who are successful by having to pick up the slack. A well oiled machine is where everyone works together - and in this society, the low income is not working together with the rest of society, they are sitting back and watching everyone else do the group work while still get the A grade for it. Survival of the fittest is what i like to use - light a fire under these peoples asses to do something. No more of this "the more kids you have, the more the government will give you" kind of crap.

Remember there are two ways to look at this:

Democrat: Give everyone a fish per day (and make them depend on your for everything)
Republican: Teach everyone how to fish (and teach them independance)


RE: WTH
By Locutus465 on 10/22/2007 3:28:57 PM , Rating: 2
Please refrain from making comments about the priceing of homes when you obviously don't understand the realestate industry... There are different markets, you will pay different averages amounts depending on your desired market (there are many markets with in a single geographic region)... If you read through the posts you'll notice that one poster bought their house for $25,000... My market is more expensive than that, but I'm also in a rapidly growing suburban market, different conditions will apply for the other poster...


RE: WTH
By nofranchise on 10/22/2007 11:32:09 AM , Rating: 2
That's priceless.

Go fifth graders! Go!

Suggestion: Read something
2nd suggestion: Read something not posted online

I can only guess that your daddies must be working for poor MS. *Snivel* Awwww. Less billions to go around... better keep 'em safe before the EUuuuuUUuuuu STEALS it all!


RE: WTH
By Eckstein on 10/22/2007 11:50:53 AM , Rating: 1
quote:

AMEN!

laziness + U.S. of A. + monopolism = screw people with money
FIXED!


RE: WTH
By mdogs444 on 10/22/07, Rating: 0
RE: WTH
By mars777 on 10/22/2007 1:47:39 PM , Rating: 2
I think you didn't understood him.
He was trying to say that MS screws people WITH money since the poor countries have a high percentage of pirate copies of its products or use other free/cheaper software :)


RE: WTH
By mdogs444 on 10/22/2007 1:49:59 PM , Rating: 1
I dont read it that way. He was speaking against the USA and claiming that we support monopolies, while EU does not.

It had nothing to do with Microsoft, but more of an outlast against Capitalism vs. Socialism.


RE: WTH
By Murst on 10/22/2007 11:14:46 AM , Rating: 1
Thank god most people (and businesses) aren't as spiteful as you are.


RE: WTH
By FITCamaro on 10/22/2007 12:31:38 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I know man. More people might have to work for a living and shit right? And businesses wouldn't cry foul anytime someone else's product was better than theirs. Or try to obtain patents on generic, vague ideas that they only plan to use to sue other companies who might develop something that falls underneath it.

It would be horrible.


RE: WTH
By Talcite on 10/22/2007 10:02:21 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The EU is just a bunch of scam artists out to create laws, screw companies from free market, and make a profit while doing so.

You seem to think free market just means a market devoid of government influence.

If that were the case, we'd all be screwed. You should be happy we have institutions like the treasury or the bank of Canada. This ruling isn't about stifling free market activity, it's about breaking monopoly power of large corporations, and they're doing it very well.

If you had taken economics you should know that monopoly power actually is worse for the free market than certain government controls. The EU definitely knows what they're doing by putting restrictions on Microsoft. Besides, you should be happy. As a consumer, any anti-trust action benefits your side of the supply/demand curve.


RE: WTH
By SunAngel on 10/22/2007 10:38:53 AM , Rating: 2
Alright sir!

How is Microsoft going to recoup their lost (missing revenue/profits) from this ruling? They can't charge developers because those rates are now set in stone. They can't just print money because that is not the business their in. So, given these facts, where do you suppose Microsoft is going to increase their revenue? The governments of the world? Businesses that license their software/hardware products? Home users that purchase a copy of the OS and other applications? T-shirts sales (just kidding, had to throw that in there)?

I'm not against government, but some things in life can't be corrected by government intervenion alone. A man wants a child, a woman wants an abortion. The law states there needs to be consent from both parties if an abortion is to take place. Thus, in order for them to agree, either way, they will have to communicate their sides harder to each other until one wins (or the baby is born).


RE: WTH
By Murst on 10/22/2007 11:19:35 AM , Rating: 1
You do realize that MS doesn't need to "recoup" their losses here. They've more than paid for their "losses" during the course of the trial.

Although I do think the EU fines are rather severe, MS is a business. They realize that by not complying with the initial ruling and appealing until the appeals are exhausted, they'll make more money.

The EU loss is just another expense. Its the price of doing business, and judging from MS's profits, they seem to have it figured out pretty well.


RE: WTH
By Ringold on 10/22/2007 9:58:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you had taken economics you should know that monopoly power actually is worse for the free market than certain government controls. The EU definitely knows what they're doing by putting restrictions on Microsoft. Besides, you should be happy. As a consumer, any anti-trust action benefits your side of the supply/demand curve.


You make the (fatal) assumption that the natural free market outcome is not, in fact, monopoly power.

One simply has to look at the costs involved in developing an OS and it's environment (drivers, making sure its as backward compatible with apps as possible, etc) and it becomes clear that a highly competitive agricultural-sector like outcome is even remotely possible.

I'll echo Milton Friendman and simply say that the free market gives people what they desire, not what we think people desire or what we want people to desire.

At any rate, therefore, if the natural outcome is monopoly or as is the present case a slowly shrinking oligopoly then busting it up would drive up costs for replicating work done at individual resulting spin-off corporations with economies of scale being destroyed. If the outcome is punishment by market manipulation (as is occuring here) then the outcome is still similar; MS makes less money, less to invest in the long run.. ambiguous impact on prices but lower quantity of "utils" being supplied in the long run seems likely.


RE: WTH
By Mitch101 on 10/22/2007 10:03:19 AM , Rating: 2
All this means is Higher Prices for the EU consumers.


RE: WTH
By PitViper007 on 10/22/2007 4:18:28 PM , Rating: 2
And probably not just for EU consumer either, but EVERYONE that uses MS products. Come to think of it, I wonder if that isn't why Vista is so expensive? MS knew they were going to lose (or just decided to hedge their bets) so boosted the price of their latest and "greatest" OS. If you don't think the consumer is going to pay off this fine in the end, you should think again.


RE: WTH
By Orpheus333 on 10/22/2007 10:07:49 AM , Rating: 2
Well, I'm sure Europe will enjoy paying more for their Microsoft products. It only hurts the consumers in the end.


RE: WTH
By zzebi on 10/22/2007 10:48:10 AM , Rating: 1
I'm sure there isn't a law that would force MS to sell their products in the EU. Actually there are several companies and products that are sold only in specific parts of the world.

Anyway, the reason why the commission is so harsh with MS is that Microsoft is a monopoly. EU and US federal judges have ruled that MS is indeed a monopoly and in certain occasions it used it's market share (>90%) to explicitly force competitors out of business by slashing prices, buying up and hoarding supplies, and intimidating other players on the market.

When the EU commission rules that MS has to let others develop for it's operating system, it simply tries to force Microsoft not to take advantage of it's monopoly.
It is obvious that monopolies are not good for the free market so these actions against MS are justified.

One can argue that for example Apple has similar exclusive business practices with it's OS X so the same judges and commissions should act against Apple as well. However Apple is not a monopoly on the OS market, so it cannot for example force companies out of business by not allowing them to develop for it's OS.

On the other hand Apple is very close to be a monopoly on the MP3 player market so the EU commission has already started bugging them for it.


RE: WTH
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/22/2007 11:17:02 AM , Rating: 2
I've been developing for Windows since Windows for Workgroups, never had any problem. I think your misinterpreting the case. They are complaining because they can't make it "as good" as the windows stuff, stating that Microsoft uses "secret" API's to make their products better than their competitors. I will trump this bullshit idea by pointing out that Firefox works just fine on Windows and competes with IE quite well. I don't hear the Mozilla team complaining about Windows API's or anything.


RE: WTH
By Murst on 10/22/2007 11:29:29 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
They are complaining because they can't make it "as good" as the windows stuff, stating that Microsoft uses "secret" API's

Well, I don't care how long you've been developing, cause you obviously weren't programming with the things in question.

I have ran into an issue with Active Directory before where we just could not figure out how MS does something, yet we knew AD had to do it. Nothing online showed up. We even submitted one of those ticket items where we paid MS something like $1200 to get an example of how to do something... nothing (I think we did get the money back).

Fortunetaly, a person at work knew someone at MS and we ended up getting the example from them. But we couldn't even get it from MS by paying them. (after receiving the code, I searched google for some of the methods... 0 results for each one. It was never released by MS)

You should never claim a problem does not exist because you've never had to deal with it. It just makes you look foolish.


RE: WTH
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/22/2007 11:40:09 AM , Rating: 2
I've done plenty of work with AD, still no problems. I would ask for specifics rather than broad accusations on your part. Now given your example I can make the argument that my dev teams were better than yours and we were able to figure it out without this "secret" method.

There's programming, and then there is "skilled programming". Not all developers are equal.


RE: WTH
By Murst on 10/22/2007 11:47:29 AM , Rating: 2
It was an application that remotely managed active directory and windows messenger integration. It was like 5 years ago, so I just don't remember exactly what the code was. Yes, perhaps if you have a great dev team that is very lucky at guessing crazy method names, their parameters, and results, you may have been able to figure it out. If you call that skilled programming, you're a much more skilled programmer than I am.

I don't waste my time with crap like guessing method names. I have many better ways to waste my time, like replying to stupid posts like this.


RE: WTH
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/22/2007 11:56:06 AM , Rating: 2
It's called reverse engineering actually, and its more of a black art than a science. Programming is STILL a black art. There is the textbook way, and there is the "voodoo magic way", the best developers tend to use the "voodoo magic" style of programming. Most of those developers also work for the big names. Microsoft, Oracle, Remedy, Apple, *Insert favorite DOD company*, and others.


RE: WTH
By Murst on 10/22/2007 12:05:10 PM , Rating: 2
Do you think MS developers have to reverse-engineer windows to make things work? Cause that is about the only way your argument makes sense here.

If MS does not have to reverse-engineer their OWN code (yeah, I know it sounds stupid, but you seem to be arguing that), but they force other developers to do so, even though they were ordered by the court to provide the API, then MS is doing something that violates the court order. I just don't see how you do not understand that.


RE: WTH
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/22/2007 12:32:40 PM , Rating: 2
I'm questioning the legality of the court order. Who says I have to give you all the information to a product I make? These "undocumented" code plugins are likely the result of it being added and never documented, then one of the guys on the software end calls his friend in AD and asks how the hell he plugs A into B, and the AD guy emails him a block of code on how it should work.

I think your giving credit to Microsoft that they know more than they do. Their application programmers likely have little work with their OS programmers. The company is too large for that kind of close collaboration.


RE: WTH
By Murst on 10/22/2007 12:08:57 PM , Rating: 2
BTW, what business do you work in that gives you enough time on a project to reverse-engineer an application like Active Directory?

I doubt the government is that inefficient outside of the DoD.


RE: WTH
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/22/2007 12:29:29 PM , Rating: 2
Well, yes my contracts are typically for the DoD or the Intelligence Agencies. Thats where all the money is, provided you can get a security clearance.


RE: WTH
By Murst on 10/22/2007 12:49:14 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, now I see.

You also must understand that most other businesses, much unlike the DoD, are concerned about making a profit. All my previous employers were small/mid sized businesses. If I gave them an estimate to reverse engineer AD, it'd be a rather silly situation.


RE: WTH
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/22/2007 1:13:30 PM , Rating: 2
Hmmmm, yea I could see that. Guess I'm used to the large operations and the millions of dollars we throw around.


RE: WTH
By FITCamaro on 10/22/2007 12:55:04 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I wish I had one. Unfortunately, since 9/11 the process is much longer and companies can't afford to take the time to get you one. They're eventually going to have to start though since a large amount of people with them are nearing retirement age. I'm hoping with my job now I might be able to get one eventually.


RE: WTH
By zzebi on 10/22/2007 11:38:27 AM , Rating: 2
In fact developers uncovered several undocumented Windows API features by reverse engineering MS softwares. Of course most developers will never need these features but there are some applications where low level access is required for the OS resources.


RE: WTH
By Murst on 10/22/2007 11:52:06 AM , Rating: 2
Every windows developer knows MS has APIs for doing things that they're not releasing. Windows just couldn't function any other way. This guy seems to think windows has some magic way to get things done, and the magic is based on some kind of skill that can be attributed to developers.


RE: WTH
By TomZ on 10/22/2007 12:23:34 PM , Rating: 2
I've studied the "undocumented API's" quite a bit, and I've yet to see anything in there that cannot be more efficiently/effectively handled using documented API's. The reason they are undocumented is because they are not that great. Nobody seems to talk about that. And I also fail to see any great reliance that Microsoft apps have on undocumented APIs. All I read about is idle speculation.


RE: WTH
By Murst on 10/22/2007 1:12:17 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I'll stop this now since I just cannot remember the functionaly we tried to recreate in our own app. The fact is we were unable to do it until we got some code from a MS developer. We also could not get an answer from MS's technical staff on how to do it either, even though we had a ticket open with them for quite some time.

Maybe there was another way to do it, even though MS couldn't provide us with the method to do so. Doesn't matter right now anyways. The project was completed and the client was happy.


RE: WTH
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/22/2007 1:16:17 PM , Rating: 2
Could be the OS Developers never told the technical staff. I can't count how many times something like that has happened on projects I've been involved with >.<


RE: WTH
By zzebi on 10/22/2007 11:09:37 AM , Rating: 4
Just one example how Microsoft hurts the free market:

The fact that MS has built Media Player or Internet Explorer in the operating system might look convenient and good for the customer, but in fact it is not.
The reason is that by having these features built in the OS pushes other companies out of business even if they have superior products.
One might argue that it's not a big problem because MS provides Media Player and Internet Explorer for free with Windows, but in reality it is not true because MS builds the development cost into the price of Windows so the customer has no other choice but to buy the whole package in one.

If customers had a choice to buy Windows without IE and MP for LOWER PRICE and chose freely which video player and web browser to use, the popularity of IE and MP would fall rapidly and other software companies would finally have a real opportunity to compete.

Based on these principles MS was forced to sell Windows without MP in Europe but ironically, they decided to sell the MP-free version for the SAME PRICE as the full version.
This is the way MS spits in the eye of the commission. This is the MS way...


RE: WTH
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/22/2007 11:20:11 AM , Rating: 3
Their complaint about Media Player was based on acusations made by Realplayer and given who is making the claim that Media Player is pushing them out of the market I can only laugh. I don't see DivX, or WinAmp crying about how their marketshare is getting sucked up. Infact DivX has quite the following.....


RE: WTH
By SunAngel on 10/22/2007 11:28:17 AM , Rating: 2
Your actually saying MS should charge separately for WMP and IE. Because, it is just as easy for them to unbundle it and offer it as a free download.

Same as they are doing now with the free PDF plug-in at their download site. It more of an inconvenience to consumer to have to download it, but I am certain you'd agree if it works well enough, it costs nothing, and users have previous experience with the product even a superior product would have a hard time convincing users to pay for it.

If the noobs had to pay for firefox or mozilla, I will guarantee the non-existence of dailytech the majority will jump ship and return to IE claiming, "Aw, IE isn't that bad. I can deal with the flaws. Firefox was great but they're charging to much."


RE: WTH
By omnicronx on 10/22/2007 11:31:39 AM , Rating: 2
You assume everyone is a power user. NewsFlash!!! Most people do not care about what software comes with their computer as long as it works. If you are saying the average user would rather go out and install the same software that came with their computer themselves, just to save a few dollars you are kidding yourself. In fact if you were to remove internet explorer from windows and offer users a choice right now, most would go back to IE just because that's what they are comfortable with.

I would even go out on a limb here and say that removing software like IE and WMP would piss more people off that it would do any good.

1% of the world cares about your so called 'right to choose' the rest just want something that works, without hassles.


RE: WTH
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/22/2007 11:48:14 AM , Rating: 2
Well if you remove IE, they have no browser. How would they get to the internet to download another one? You going to force Firefox, and Opera to sell their software on the shelf at the local computer store? You just raised their costs by having to sell physical media for their browsers...

The people that complain the loudest about unbundling and "freedom of choice" are indeed in the minority. Now, I would actually say this is a veiled attempt to undermine Microsoft's market position.

By forcing Microsoft to remove IE, Media Player, and whatever else. Their competitors (OSX, Linux) can include them, and say they have it when Microsoft doesn't. They would essentially be stacking the deck to give them an unfair advantage and Microsoft would be unable to compete because they would be prohibited from including basic features that Users have come to expect out of the box. They buy a copy of Windows, than are told they have to buy "extras" to make it work, but OSX or Linux just works out of the box, no extras needed. This has been a solid marketing strategy in countless consumer markets and would prevent Microsoft from competing.

This is my concern, and I'm pretty sure I'm not far off the mark either.


RE: WTH
By nofranchise on 10/22/2007 11:52:48 AM , Rating: 2
It was never about the Mediaplayer IE thing anyway - that was a minor - and arguably stupid - point of the lawsuit. The point was, that users should have the choice to be able to buy a version of windows without IE and WMP. Which MS complied with - only setting the price tag at the same level as the versions including WMP and IE.
AFAI they would still be able to sell versions with WMP and IE included - but not JUST that version.



RE: WTH
By FITCamaro on 10/22/2007 12:47:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
only setting the price tag at the same level as the versions including WMP and IE.


Maybe because of the cost of removing those features took. Changing your product, even if its removing things, isn't free.

And to sue because Microsoft is ADDING value is absurd. You don't want it? Don't use it. Should I sue my cable provider because I pay for a ton of channels I never watch? Don't get me wrong, I hate my cable provider, but I'm not going to sue them for bundling channels I don't want.


RE: WTH
By Moohbear on 10/22/2007 2:13:51 PM , Rating: 2
I think that's actually a contentious point and there are complaints from customers that don't want to be charged for channels they never watch. You want HBO, you must purchase 55 other channels you don't give a damn about. No bundle, no HBO. The truth is that most of the channels offered are crap that pretty much no one would pay for. However, since they come with the 5 worthwhile channels, there's no choice. Why are cable companies not letting their customers choose what they want to pay for? Certainly not because it benefits their customers...


RE: WTH
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/22/2007 12:51:57 PM , Rating: 2
Why? How hard is it for you to install Firefox and DivX? I'm sorry but your a minority in the consumer market and you need to recognize that the software makers can not cater to every minority and their specific wants. You have the ability to Install any aftermarket software you want (provided it works on Windows) and go on your merry way. It's not like having any of that software on your system is killing you is it?


RE: WTH
By SmokeRngs on 10/23/2007 12:23:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You have the ability to Install any aftermarket software you want (provided it works on Windows) and go on your merry way. It's not like having any of that software on your system is killing you is it?


While I agree with this for the most part, there is something I think you missed. No, it's not killing me to have IE, Outlook or WMP on my system. However, I don't use them at all and would prefer to have the option of not even installing them from the beginning. For me, this goes for any non-essential part of the OS.

I don't care if MS packages extra programs with the OS. As far as I'm concerned, they can package anything with the OS that they want. I just want the option of not installing it from the OS setup. I also want an easy way to uninstall anything not critical to the OS in the case of a pre-installed OS on a system from Dell, HP, etc.

Before you or anyone else asks, I have been slowly moving away from MS as my OS of choice at home. This includes my main system and my file server. Only one out of my three machines is still running Windows and soon it will be one out of four.

However, I do not think the EU has done the correct thing. MS has written the APIs as well as SDKs and this costs money. They have the right to charge what they want for these things. I may not like the price but it's MS's decision to charge what they want. If people don't like it, they can go elsewhere for their needs. If this means finding a way to abandon MS software for something else, that's MS's problem to deal with.

There are other choices out there for people. Other operating systems may not be as popular, well known or easy to use for some tasks but they are still out there. It's the same with any other software MS provides. There are alternatives out there for all of it. Just because some of the other software is not as familiar to you or may not have the same features or implementation is not a reason to attack MS. This goes for individuals, countries or commissions.


RE: WTH
By Eckstein on 10/22/2007 11:23:13 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Theres probably some law in the EU that wouldnt allow MS to pull their products. That or they'll invent such a law...
quote:
Theres probably some law in the U.S. of A. that prevents to pull MS's monopoly abusing products. That or they'll invent such an anti-capitalistic law...


RE: WTH
By MonkeyPaw on 10/22/2007 9:45:42 AM , Rating: 1
Maybe they should just go back to selling the original Win95 (Pre-OSR2). Let's see how long people can stand having 500GB drives divided into 250 2GB partitions.


RE: WTH
By Talcite on 10/22/2007 9:54:35 AM , Rating: 1
They'd last very long actually... by going to Linux or Mac. These alternative OSes are viable options. Several governments have already switched over and they weren't forced to.


RE: WTH
By zombiexl on 10/22/2007 9:58:55 AM , Rating: 2
If they were forced to switch to MAC, then they would most likely sue apple. Remember OSX doesnt run on anything besides a MAC, even though technically it could. This seems more anti-competative to me than adding value to your OS by including extra tools for free.


RE: WTH
By FITCamaro on 10/22/2007 10:26:12 AM , Rating: 2
Wait don't Macs come with the same kind of software and tools that Microsoft was getting sued for supplying with Windows?

The answer is yes. But hey, its OK because Apple doesn't make as much money as Microsoft so the EU can't steal as much from them.


RE: WTH
By Xavian on 10/22/2007 10:30:02 AM , Rating: 2
Wait... Apple has a monopoly on Operating Systems and Office-baased software?

Until they do, stop your crying.


RE: WTH
By zombiexl on 10/22/2007 10:34:09 AM , Rating: 2
The fact that they make an OS proves tham MS doesnt have a monopoly. Also Open Office is stil out there. I think you can even still get Word Perfect if you want.

Just becuase they(MS) make the most widely used products, doesnt mean they have a TRUE monoloply.


RE: WTH
By mWMA on 10/23/2007 12:20:37 AM , Rating: 2
Please don't use Open office in your example. Microsoft hold a very tight control over Word and other document format which people had to put a lot of work in reverse engineering to get it work with open office.

Why did Open office had to do this reverse engineering is because in order for open office to complete or even be viable in the market it needs to able to work with documents from different vendors.

If all vendors were to open the file format or provide simple open licensing (PDF) we will have more and more product that can work on those format allowing better editing tools. PDF today can be edited using a bloated Adobe Acrobat or a lean & mean & sometime free third party application.

If Adobe had closed the PDF format we would not be able to so many different application be able to create/read/edit/view PDF today. Heck even adobe is now turning into Microsoft as they realize that Microsoft can easily include PDF create/read/edit functionality into Word without Adobe Acrobat being purchased.

If Microsoft would have opened up word (doc & docx) format & provide full documentation about it. It will allow other to easily create office application that are leaner, better and cheaper than Microsoft 's own bloated word. Open office is only viable alternate because people have working very hard to reverse engineer the doc format. The reason they have to is because majority are using that format instead of more open formats such as html/ODF/PDF etc. Even today open office sometime has a hard time working with doc format and causes some data to be lost in transition.

For those who may reply to my post that it is within microsoft 's right to limit information about their word format please understand that in order for better interoperability for not just today but in order to save the trillions of terabits of information we must have interoperability and ISO standard format be used for anything and everything that is used for communication. IF TCP/IP was not ISO standard which is well documented and open we would have so much trouble getting so many different platform to work on the internet.


RE: WTH
By MonkeyPaw on 10/22/2007 5:42:08 PM , Rating: 2
My above post is a failed attempt at sarcasm in response to the original post that suggested that MS sell nothing at all. I guess "250 2GB partitions" wasn't a big enough exaggeration. Oh well.


RE: WTH
By Proteusza on 10/22/2007 12:03:32 PM , Rating: 5
Why is it that the Americans always cry foul when a ruling such as this was passed? Last I checked, Europe wasnt struggling economically.

Frankly, a free and fair market assumes that all involved players, will play fair. We know this not to be the case, it has been demonstrated time and time again. Enron, Dell Bait-and-Switch, Comcast, Intel (proved guilty in Japan and EU - does that make Japan commie bastards too?).... I could dig out more if I wanted.

You can keep your so-called "free" and "fair" market. I'll take the reality any day.


RE: WTH
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/22/2007 1:31:15 PM , Rating: 1
Actually, last time I checked several European countries were struggling economically.

Italy, France, and Germany come to mind right off the bat, would have to dig to see about the others.

---Unemployment Rates 2006---
France - 8.7%
Germany 10.8%
Italy - 7%
USA - 4.8%

That's a pretty big problem if you ask me.


RE: WTH
By mdogs444 on 10/22/2007 1:36:12 PM , Rating: 1
Currently, the US economy and unemployement rates are very good in comparison to how they have been in the past. Many years ago, a 5% unemployment rate was accepted and considered normal. However, of that unemployment rate are also college students who do not work, as well as people who do not want to work, as well as people in between jobs. So the actual 4.8% is high to compared to the real unemployment rate.


RE: WTH
By Ringold on 10/22/2007 10:13:33 PM , Rating: 1
Minor correction: those people aren't counted in unemployment statistics. To be unemployed one must not have a job and be actively seeking employment. That weeds out all those individuals and is an international standard (though is hides more people in some nations than others -- such as Sweden). I'd have to google but only about 2/3 or less of the population actively partakes in the labor market.

What we've got now is very close to full employment; everyone that wants a job and can get a job has a job, with a small portion of the population going through structural unemployment.. people who want a job but have no useable skills and therefore will remain unemployed until they do something to improve themselves and make themselves employable. Still called full employment, though, as structural unemployment is expected and very healthy.


RE: WTH
By Eckstein on 10/22/2007 1:38:28 PM , Rating: 2
WTF does this have to do with the topic?!
Dude, considering your posts over several topics, it so blatant obvious that you must have some kind of sexual desire to bash against Europe for some reason.


RE: WTH
By mdogs444 on 10/22/2007 1:55:47 PM , Rating: 2
Was he not responding directly to questions/statements from another user here, who just happened to be defending Europe?

So its a double standard - Europeans can bash Americans, but as soon as we do it, its not allowed.


RE: WTH
By Locutus465 on 10/22/2007 3:55:03 PM , Rating: 2
I guess since it's hip to hate MS and American's that would be the case, yes (in both cases).


RE: WTH
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/22/2007 3:31:56 PM , Rating: 1
The Above Poster decided to bring european economy into the line of fire, implying that its doing very well. My objective is counter-point. I think I made a good argument that several European member nations are infact strugging ecnomically.


RE: WTH
By Proteusza on 10/23/2007 5:26:33 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure how unemployement is an indicator of economic success or failure. Very high unemployment is bad, but unemployment of 10% and under?

Besides, as another poster pointed out, do those figures include students in university? Those so rich they dont have to work?

I admit to not knowing enough about the finance world to be able to tell who is really doing better. The point is, Europe isnt destitute or bankrupt. And I've heard many accounts that America is at its lowest point economically in decades. highest inflation etc.


RE: WTH
By Kuroyama on 10/23/2007 7:33:02 AM , Rating: 2
Perhaps you don't know that unemployment is calculated differently in each country and not at all directly comparable? Consider the tables on the first few pages of the followed OECD report:

http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/36/30/35024561.pdf

In terms of official unemployment Japan is in better shape than the US and has been so for 12 of the last 15 years. Kind of contradicts what you've thought about Japan in the 90's.

How about the typical bugbear, France? Looking at post-college age adults (25-54 say) France has a labor force participation rate of 86.6% and unemployment of 8.5%, while overall 79.2% of people in this age group work. In the US the numbers are 82.8%, 4.6% and 79% respectively. Hmm, isn't that odd, MORE adults can work in France than the US! Moreover, the difference in labor participation rates ENTIRELY explains the difference in unemployment levels! Let me posit the obvious hypothesis, many people in the US who do not seek work (and hence aren't counted in the labor force), would in France claim to be seeking work in order to collect the nicer unemployment benefits. And considering how much some European friends complain about leeches who game the unemployment system, I rather suspect this hypothesis is not far from the truth.

Before someone points out that "things aren't that simple", realize that this is my entire point. Don't talk about "a pretty big problem" unless you know what you're talking about.


RE: WTH
By mdogs444 on 10/23/2007 8:41:47 AM , Rating: 2
You do understand there is a difference between unemployment, and people participating in the workplace - I hope?

All this goes to prove is that people who are trying to find work in the US are finding work more easily than those in France. It also goes to prove that there are more adults in the US that do not need to work - its called Retirement - in this age range, thus again proving that our economy is taking care of its workers better than France.

quote:
MORE adults can work in France than the US!


In short, No. It means that more adults in France HAVE to work than in the US.


RE: WTH
By Kuroyama on 10/23/2007 9:13:28 AM , Rating: 2
You do understand that workplace participation is different than the number of people who want to work? I already explained part of that difference in my first post, so I'll leave it at that (note http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2007/06/unemploymen... nicely reinforced my point). As for "more adults in France HAVE to work than in the US", that contradicts so many "France is bad" stereotypes about France that I'll leave it to you to decide which is your favorite.

In any case, please explain why Japan's unemployment rate is consistently lower than that in the US if things have been so "dismal" there for the last 15 years? Answer: unemployment rates are not at all directly comparable, which was my sole point in rebutting the "Europe is bad because unemployment is high" post


RE: WTH
By mdogs444 on 10/23/2007 9:33:43 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
As for "more adults in France HAVE to work than in the US", that contradicts so many "France is bad" stereotypes about France that I'll leave it to you to decide which is your favorite.


That makes no sense. How would France's economy be better if more people have to work because they cannot afford to retire at such an age younger than 54? That means the opportunity for extreme career advancement opportunities, and the ability to make enough to live happily without working is not as common in France as the US.

Although I am not the one who posted that Japans economy has been dismal, I will take a stab at the answer. Japans unemployment rate has been steadily adjusting in the 4.6%-5.6% range since 1999, with the 5.6% being back in 2003. Prior to 1999, the unemployment rate was figured to be around 2.1% in 1990, and had steadily gotten worse until the 2003/2004 year. What this goes to show is that Japans economy & unemployment rates were not always on the "up and up" every year, but have been getting better since labor force problems in 1999. Therefore, what you state as "consistently lower" is not accurate. The US has always considered a roughly 5% unemployment rate to be "full employment".

I agree that solely looking at umemployment rates does entirely justify an economy, but it is a very good indicator.


RE: WTH
By Kuroyama on 10/23/2007 10:13:54 AM , Rating: 2
Noone but me posted about Japan, and this was intended again to rebut the use of unemployment figures to "prove" that Europe is bad, i.e. the 90's were dismal for Japan and exuberant for the US and yet their unemployment was generally better than ours.

Re France, you don't honestly believe that a 3.8% difference in the labor force participation rate is due to pre-55 retirement, do you? If anything this may act in the opposite direction as you propose, because for instance French train engineers can retire at age 50, and French school teachers after 30 years (so often before 55). In fact, the labor force participation rate among French aged 55-64 is only 39.6% vs 62.3% in the US. I suppose "the ability to make enough to live happily without working is not as common in the US as in France"?

Since apparently you are not aware of negative stereotypes of French "socialism", here are a few. "French are all collecting social benefits", "France taxes away all the jobs", "socialism is bad for employment", etc. etc. I'm sure some of the more creative Dailytech posters have much more vivid ways of saying this :-)

Anyways, I am tired of this discussion. I think I have posted sufficient information to refute simplistic use of unemployment figures and your "Americans retire early" claim. Europe is not paradise, but neither is their "socialism" causing the economy to fall into deriliction. I know that there is no convincing the "Europe is dismal" crowd of anything else, so why bother wasting any more time.


RE: WTH
By Kuroyama on 10/23/2007 10:36:51 AM , Rating: 2
One final comment:
quote:
Therefore, what you state as "consistently lower" is not accurate. The US has always considered a roughly 5% unemployment rate to be "full employment".


My claim was entirely accurate. If we are going to compare Apples and Oranges, as the OP did, then this should be done across the board, and without a doubt the Japanese unemployment rate has been consistently lower than the American rate, often significantly so.

If we use your preferred mode of comparison, to "full employment", or equivalently the NAIRU "Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment", then again do it across the board. The latest estimates of full employment rates I can find in a quick search are from 1999 (see page 22 of the OECD report on this http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/27/46/18464874.pdf ). As of '99 France's NAIRU was estimated at 9.5% while in the US it was 5.2%. US and French unemployment rates have consistently hovered within 1% of these rates, so vs NAIRU France again doesn't come out particularly bad.

Remember I am not claiming kudos for France, and by all reports they should make structural changes in the economy, but I am arguing that things in Europe are not particularly bad.


RE: WTH
By mdogs444 on 10/23/2007 9:33:43 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
As for "more adults in France HAVE to work than in the US", that contradicts so many "France is bad" stereotypes about France that I'll leave it to you to decide which is your favorite.


That makes no sense. How would France's economy be better if more people have to work because they cannot afford to retire at such an age younger than 54? That means the opportunity for extreme career advancement opportunities, and the ability to make enough to live happily without working is not as common in France as the US.

Although I am not the one who posted that Japans economy has been dismal, I will take a stab at the answer. Japans unemployment rate has been steadily adjusting in the 4.6%-5.6% range since 1999, with the 5.6% being back in 2003. Prior to 1999, the unemployment rate was figured to be around 2.1% in 1990, and had steadily gotten worse until the 2003/2004 year. What this goes to show is that Japans economy & unemployment rates were not always on the "up and up" every year, but have been getting better since labor force problems in 1999. Therefore, what you state as "consistently lower" is not accurate. The US has always considered a roughly 5% unemployment rate to be "full employment".

I agree that solely looking at umemployment rates does entirely justify an economy, but it is a very good indicator.


RE: WTH
By Ringold on 10/22/2007 10:10:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You can keep your so-called "free" and "fair" market.


An American that claims a "fair" market doesn't know their history too well..

Find me the word "fair" in the Declaration of Independence, Constitution or Bill of Rights.

http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/inde...
http://www.ushistory.org/documents/constitution.ht...

It's not there -- and for good reason. Fair is an opinion and the single most effective way to justify government intrusion to private life at every level.


RE: WTH
By smitty3268 on 10/22/2007 12:23:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If i were MS, id pull all MS products off the shelves in europe and stop selling my OS completely there.
That's as ridiculous as saying McDonald's should stop selling food in the US because of that stupid coffee lawsuit. Do you really think it is a good business decision for them to pull out of the largest market in the world? Especially since they'll just pass any extra costs onto the consumer.


RE: WTH
By mdogs444 on 10/22/2007 1:24:46 PM , Rating: 2
The point was not a literal one, just some "food for thought" as a joking possibility to payback the EU. MS would not pay the fine if they did not plan on continuing business there.


RE: WTH
By Donkeyshins on 10/22/2007 3:27:02 PM , Rating: 1
<humor>

No. McDonald's should stop selling food in the US because their food is unhealthy, inedible shit.

</humor>

Thank you, thank you. I'll be appearing in the lounge all weekend.


RE: WTH
By Ravenlore on 10/23/2007 4:55:01 PM , Rating: 2
That would be GREAT!! let MS stop selling in Europe the second largetst maket and let a few companies in Europe develop a better alternitive. Europe works with many other countries which also frown apon MS total control of its market place. A Real alternitive to MS that cost a lot less would challange MS around the world.

Natrually MS already knows this which is why they will not do it. Some money is better than NO money, and a lot better than the loss of total control they have!!


RE: WTH
By defter on 10/22/2007 9:50:51 AM , Rating: 5
"Free market" doesn't mean that a monopoly should be able to screw everybody freely.

In a free market, everybody can compete and barriers of entry are relatively low. Unreasonable fees for just [b]interoperability[/b] are just decreasing the competition.

If I could decide, interoperability information would be usable by anybody without any fees, and patents could only cover the inner working of the product.


RE: WTH
By mdogs444 on 10/22/07, Rating: -1
RE: WTH
By Eckstein on 10/22/2007 11:31:01 AM , Rating: 5
The difference between Dell and Microsoft is that the one is just the second largest producer of PCs in a highly cometitive market and the other one a company that owns 97% of the PC client OS market and clearly abuses this monopoly.


RE: WTH
By mWMA on 10/23/2007 12:36:22 AM , Rating: 1
You could easily start a new company however you cannot sue DELL unless they are unfairly compete against you.

Microsoft is a different beast by that comparison. That is company that might force you sell every PC you make in your new PC factory with Windows OS if you wish to offer windows as a OS selection at a reasonable price to your customers.


RE: WTH
By John Cowan on 10/22/2007 10:30:17 AM , Rating: 2
Most of this discussion is based on a false premise. The patents that Microsoft is licensing are not some kind of God-given property right. They are government-granted (specifically EU-granted) monopolies. The "negotiation" talked of is the same kind of "negotiation" you make with a robber when he agrees not to steal all your gold because he doesn't want to arouse the attention of your powerful friends. He'll only take what he thinks is safe, and that's just what Microsoft is doing here. Nothing could be further from a genuine free market.

We may consider ourselves lucky that we have to pay only a "nominal" amount to the pickpockets from the public purse. Or we can rise up and end these monopolies, and declare the freedom to use what ideas we want, when we want.


RE: WTH
By MightyAA on 10/22/2007 11:08:46 AM , Rating: 2
What?
A robber gives nothing back, so you used a bad analogy. To me, it's more like a monopoly "public utility" (airlines, power, water, etc.). MS is being treated like a public utility that is regulated by the government. Thing is, public utility monopolies are fairly necessary due to infrastructure, whereas loading a new OS hardly qualifies as having to rebuild the entire city infrastructure.

Hopefully, the EU left MS enough incentive to continue to develop and do business there. But I'm sure as another poster mentioned, it just means they'll charge more.


RE: WTH
By Ringold on 10/22/2007 10:19:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Or we can rise up and end these monopolies, and declare the freedom to use what ideas we want, when we want.


For a brief history of what this kind of liberal crap does for an economy, I refer you to the economic history of China from 1800-2000 with respect to property rights.

Relatively well off -> Lost all property rights -> Almost the poorest nation on Earth -> regains property rights -> eye-popping prosperity so glorious that even the most cold-hearted capitalists can't help but shed a tear as they welcome hundreds of millions to the global middle class.


RE: WTH
By mdogs444 on 10/22/2007 10:21:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
liberal crap


Its nice to see someone out there with the same mentality.


RE: WTH
By twwdv on 10/22/07, Rating: 0
RE: WTH
By agent2099 on 10/22/2007 11:15:11 PM , Rating: 2
Well I think the EU's argument would be the "free market" only works when there is competition involved. Microsoft has a monopoly so it needs to be regulated. Now I know it's not that simple but I think this is the justification according to the EU.


Follow their lead
By shabodah on 10/22/2007 10:55:38 AM , Rating: 3
I really think the rest of the world needs to follow the EU's lead. I'm not against capitalism, but in a 100% free market, you are always going to end up with a monopoly at some point. Thus, some sort of measure needs to be made to prevent this from occuring. You can argue that the price MS charges is what the market can bare, but, the market doesn't and hasn't had a choice in decades. I'm all for the same sort of sanctions being used against other companies with similiar tactics, and honestly, I'd love to be able to run OSX on my PC.




RE: Follow their lead
By Eckstein on 10/22/2007 11:40:30 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm not against capitalism, but in a 100% free market, you are always going to end up with a monopoly at some point.
No. The whole point of a free market economy is that no monopolies are allowed to exist.


RE: Follow their lead
By FITCamaro on 10/22/2007 12:36:22 PM , Rating: 2
And as part of that free market, one company is allowed to buyout all the other companies as they get bigger and have more money. This in turn creates a monopoly.


RE: Follow their lead
By Eckstein on 10/22/2007 12:50:35 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I guess you will learn around the 8th class the basic concepts of a free market economy.

What you state there is called a classic "market failure".


RE: Follow their lead
By TomZ on 10/22/2007 12:47:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
No. The whole point of a free market economy is that no monopolies are allowed to exist.

Wrong, where did you get that idea? A free market can naturally lead to monopolies. For example, Microsoft got to its monopoly status in serveral markets, not due to government decree, but because the market simply chose their product most of the time, e.g., Microsoft Office.


RE: Follow their lead
By Eckstein on 10/22/2007 1:03:04 PM , Rating: 2
When such a point of monopoly is reached, you don't have any competition, thus it isn't a market.
So a government that wants to insist on the dynamics of a true free market economy won't allow this to happen.

What is so difficult about these simple casual relations?


RE: Follow their lead
By TomZ on 10/22/2007 1:51:52 PM , Rating: 2
Well, for one thing, just having a monopoly doesn't always cause a bad situation for consumers. It's what the company does with a monopoly - not the monopoly itself - that is a problem. For example, it could be argued that the natural monopoly Microsoft has with Office has actually been good for consumers since it defined a number of de-facto file formats used by all businesses around the world. Without Office, data interchange between 'n' different office suites would probably be a real problem (point of inefficiency) for businesses.

Luckily anti-trust laws recognize this fact and only go after companies that do certain things with their monopoly, rather than attacking monopolies regardless of how they behave.


RE: Follow their lead
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/22/2007 3:43:03 PM , Rating: 1
Indeed. Being a monopoly isn't a crime, using it to strangle consumers is. Anti-monopolistic laws are written to protect the consumer, not other businesses. Consumers (to the best of my knowledge) have not been harmed by Microsoft. Although if you want to scale things accordingly, take the Retail copy of Vista Ultimate ($400 US) and match it up against a Retail copy of say Mass Effect ($60). Mass Effect while being great value at $60, and having maybe 100 hours of replay value (If you play 100 hours of a single RPG like that, you have other problems but I digress) That's roughly 60 cents an hour. Now take Vista Ultimate and you get a rough cost of 4 cents an hour for ONE YEAR.


RE: Follow their lead
By Jack Ripoff on 10/22/2007 8:53:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
For example, it could be argued that the natural monopoly Microsoft has with Office has actually been good for consumers since it defined a number of de-facto file formats used by all businesses around the world. Without Office, data interchange between 'n' different office suites would probably be a real problem (point of inefficiency) for businesses.


That would be true if Microsoft Office's file formats were interoperable, which they aren't. Thus it could as well be argued that Microsoft has abused its monopoly spreading proprietary file formats in order to lock customers into their products.


RE: Follow their lead
By mdogs444 on 10/22/2007 9:18:03 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
That would be true if Microsoft Office's file formats were interoperable, which they aren't.


Thats not true. The Apple OS word processing program iWork can open microsoft files and use them. Refer to apples site where it blatantly states:

"Import your Microsoft Word documents into Pages ’08 with ease. Whether they’re Microsoft Office 2007 (Office Open XML) or earlier Word files, Pages will open them. Pages imports not only the text, but also the styles, tables, inline and floating objects, charts, footnotes, endnotes, bookmarks, hyperlinks, lists, sections, change tracking, and other elements of your original Word document.

Pages ’08 also opens AppleWorks word processing documents, as well as files saved in Rich Text Format (RTF). It imports a wide assortment of audio (AAC, AIFF, and MP3), image (EPS, JPEG, PNG, PDF, PSD), video (MOV), and other media types."

There is also Corel Word Perfect, which on there site states: "With Corel WordPerfect Office X3 you can open, edit and create Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents*. "

Sun Star Office site also states compatibility with MS Office.

So would you like to revist your statement, Jack Ripoff?


RE: Follow their lead
By Jack Ripoff on 10/23/2007 9:07:58 AM , Rating: 2
If you had absolutely any experience with office software you'd know things aren't that simple.

Microsoft Office's legacy binary file formats aren't documented and thus can not be implemented without reverse engineering - which isn't 100% accurate. This means that, even after years of reverse engineering, competing products still can't understand/handle those file format's 100% correctly.

Microsoft Office's new file format is better documented. It still isn't interoperable however, as it relies on behaviors specific to Microsoft products, references other undocumented and proprietary Microsoft "standards" (e.g.: WMF) and is generally inconsistent and difficult to implement on a non-Microsoft platform. Furthermore, it provides absolutely no way to preserve features specific to other office suites like OpenDocument does.

If you don't believe me, see for yourself. Pick a complex Microsoft Office file (a financial spreadsheet with graphics, a text document with complex formatting or a presentation with plenty of animations) and try opening it with any competing product (AppleWorks, Lotus Symphony, OpenOffice.org/StarOffice, WordPerfect, ThinkFree, AbiWord, Gnumeric, etc). Do the opposite as well: create a file with another Office suite, save it in Microsoft's file format and open it up in Microsoft Office.

Those file formats rely so heavily on Windows that even Microsoft's own software can't handle those files correctly on other platforms. Try exchanging files between Microsoft Office for Windows and Microsoft Office for Mac and you'll see.


RE: Follow their lead
By mdogs444 on 10/23/2007 9:13:31 AM , Rating: 2
I dont have experience with other office applications - I am going by what the competition is stating in their product features.

If the other product developers felt so strongly about this as you do, then they would not be advertising product compatibility. They would acting like the EU stating monopoly.

Another possibility - from what you stated:

quote:
Those file formats rely so heavily on Windows that even Microsoft's own software can't handle those files correctly on other platforms. Try exchanging files between Microsoft Office for Windows and Microsoft Office for Mac and you'll see.


...That there cannot be a monopoly if MS cant even get their application to work. That would give them no edge over anyone else, because according to you, none of them work.


RE: Follow their lead
By Jack Ripoff on 10/23/2007 12:21:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If the other product developers felt so strongly about this as you do, then they would not be advertising product compatibility.

Yes they would in order to improve sales.

quote:
They would acting like the EU stating monopoly.

Actually many of them do.

quote:
...That there cannot be a monopoly if MS cant even get their application to work.

Read my post carefully so that you don't misunderstand me. I said Microsoft Office's file formats can't work 100% correctly outside Windows. The proof is that not even Microsoft itself has achieved that.

quote:
...according to you, none of them work.

As I said before, you don't have to believe me. You can test for yourself and see the results. You will notice that, other than Microsoft Office for Windows, no office suite can understand Microsoft Office's file formats perfectly, not even Microsoft Office for Mac - which is from the same vendor. That evidences that those formats are tightly integrated to Microsoft's platform, thus making them non-interoperable.

quote:
I dont have experience with other office applications - I am going by what the competition is stating in their product features.

This is a good opportunity to grab some competing office suites and start testing.


RE: Follow their lead
By Locutus465 on 10/22/2007 2:18:47 PM , Rating: 2
No monopolies like de beers :)


RE: Follow their lead
By FITCamaro on 10/22/2007 12:37:58 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I really think the rest of the world needs to follow the EU's lead.


I nearly had water shoot out of my nose when I read that. Thank you for the laugh.


RE: Follow their lead
By Eckstein on 10/22/2007 12:57:26 PM , Rating: 2
Don't you get tired reflecting your lack of education with hate against things you don't even understand or know with hundreds of infantile comments here?


RE: Follow their lead
By mdogs444 on 10/22/2007 2:19:58 PM , Rating: 2
There is a difference between understanding it and not agreeing with it.


RE: Follow their lead
By FITCamaro on 10/22/2007 2:37:09 PM , Rating: 2
I may not have a degree in economics(its in software engineering), but I don't need one to express my beliefs that only require simple common sense.

To me, socialism is for retards. It's nothing but a tax on those who are successful so those who are poor and lazy can have free things. I prefer a society where you earn what you have, or you don't have anything. Now that doesn't mean I like those who have what they don't deserve and haven't earned (those born into wealth), but they aren't evil people either. Sorry but a world like that of Star Trek doesn't work. Mankind is inherently greedy and some will always want more than others. And on the flip side, some will always want others to do the work for them so that they can be lazy. What reason is there to work when everything is provided for you even if you don't?

You believe Microsoft has done something wrong by creating a product that billions use and largely like. And one that they wish to protect the IP of. I don't.

They spend a lot of money to develop Windows, and thus are entitled (in my mind) to charge whatever they want for it. If they charge too much, people will gradually shift away from it. This obviously is not the case. Just as they are entitled to not release interoperability information if they don't want to. They release plenty of information though on Windows and how to program for it. They shouldn't have to give out details of its lower level workings though if they don't deem it to be necessary. Why should they have to give you their code so you can make money off of it and potentially take away their business? What kind of business model would that be?

Sure I wish Windows and Office was cheaper. But to me, paying $100-130 for a product I'm going to get 5-7 years of use out of is a reasonable amount of money to pay. Hell tax software is around $20 a year. That amounts to about the same cost over the same period of time and it provides almost no value compared to Windows.


RE: Follow their lead
By Ringold on 10/22/2007 10:24:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I may not have a degree in economics(its in software engineering), but I don't need one to express my beliefs that only require simple common sense.


Don't feel disadvantaged. This guys first post in this thread showed he doesn't have one in economics either. :P

I suppose he might from a European university, which could explain his modulated views on what a free market is, but 90% of those don't cut bread with me.


RE: Follow their lead
By mdogs444 on 10/22/2007 2:22:50 PM , Rating: 2
I think my heart skipped a beat when I read that, so you aren't alone FITCamaro...


RE: Follow their lead
By Donkeyshins on 10/22/2007 3:30:53 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, because it is Microsoft's decision that you can't run OS-X on a non-Apple PC.

Idiot.


RE: Follow their lead
By FITCamaro on 10/22/2007 4:29:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm all for the same sort of sanctions being used against other companies with similiar tactics, and honestly, I'd love to be able to run OSX on my PC.


You need to read his post. He's saying he's for this kind of enforcement on other companies. Like Apple.

Me personally, I'm not for it at all. But if its going to happen, yes, they should be fair about it. But since this is just about getting money from companies with plenty of it, they won't. Apple doesn't have the money Microsoft does so the EU won't hit on them as hard. If Apple were to one day rule the OS world as Microsoft does now though, yes, then they'd sue Apple for their anti-competitive practices.


RE: Follow their lead
By AmbroseAthan on 10/22/2007 5:01:44 PM , Rating: 2
Honestly, I have been pondering this a bit. (My degree was a BSBA, and soon back for MBA I think, most likely marketing/strategic planning; given only as background for this thought).

Apple right now has gained alot of love for their OS/computers/iPods. Whether you hate them or love them, you have to admit Apple has done well in growing its "brand" name in the minds of the Consumer. Right now, with Apple having switched to Intel, OSX has moved a few steps closer to being PC-compatible.

If I was Apple though, I would continue to hold out for a bit. Right now, Microsoft does have a very strong grip on the market, as they rightly should I feel. Their OS/Office software has helped the business world tremendously, and the free market put them where they are now. Whether they are abusing that power now, is for someone else to decide.

With the hammering Microsoft has been taking; with Vista not living up to the hype as much as people hoped it would, Microsoft would face some decent competition if OSX ported to the PC before Vista or a newer MS-OS came to market. The timing is perfect right now for Apple to pounce into the PC market and start stealing some of MS's thunder with the current Apple love and MS displeasure. While I think OSX would have tremendous trouble on the business side of the world, I would not be surprised to find the consumer side would easily accept OSX as a real alternative to Windows (Linux and such are great, but the mass market needs OSX/Windows like operation and simplicity).

I do think someday OSX will be PC-compatible, and it is only a matter of time until Apple makes its move. Currently, the market is primed for Apple to step in and create some competition, especially is microsoft takes a few more marketing/PR hits in the coming months.

Disclaimer: While not a programmer, I do understand the amount of effort on Apple's part to make this happen. I am not expecting this tomorrow, but I would not be surprised if they could do it by '09.


Wow
By Alexvrb on 10/22/2007 9:20:46 AM , Rating: 2
Are they going to do "the right thing" and extend this kind of bone-you-hard requirements to other software giants?




RE: Wow
By zombiexl on 10/22/2007 9:51:51 AM , Rating: 1
Maybe, now that MS has grabbed their ankles and accepted it. ALthough probably only if they are US based.


RE: Wow
By defter on 10/22/2007 9:58:24 AM , Rating: 2
What other software giants (with a similar revenue and profit) exist?


RE: Wow
By zombiexl on 10/22/2007 9:59:40 AM , Rating: 2
Obviously you havent heard of Oracle...


RE: Wow
By FITCamaro on 10/22/2007 10:29:07 AM , Rating: 2
Or Apple and Adobe.


RE: Wow
By FITCamaro on 10/22/2007 10:31:03 AM , Rating: 2
Side note: They may not make as much, but that shouldn't determine who has to follow what rules.


RE: Wow
By Xavian on 10/22/2007 10:32:57 AM , Rating: 2
Adobe is tiny compared to Microsoft and Apple is 1/2 Microsoft's size at most (and thats with considerable success of the i<product> stuff, not their software).


RE: Wow
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/22/2007 11:25:17 AM , Rating: 2
Let's see..... Oracle, Remedy, Adobe. These companies have insane licensing fees that make Microsoft looks like a saint. Try getting a license for Oracle or Remedy, then try getting one for a Microsoft SQL Server, they really are worlds apart in pricing and how that price is calculated. Oracle is also pretty much a monopoly. On the hardware side we have CISCO and Intel. EU is already after Intel, so I can only assume CISCO isn't far behind.


RE: Wow
By Spivonious on 10/22/2007 12:42:59 PM , Rating: 2
Just to further support your post, to license Oracle 10g is $40,000 per physical processor, plus $10,000 for each logical processor after the first.

So, if I wanted to put it on a machine that has dual quad-core Xeons, it would cost me $140,000.


RE: Wow
By Ringold on 10/22/2007 10:29:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So, if I wanted to put it on a machine that has dual quad-core Xeons, it would cost me $140,000.


Do they at least call you the next day? :/


RE: Wow
By Donkeyshins on 10/22/2007 3:40:34 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed - Apple is 1/2 Microsoft's size and has less than 10% of the OS market. However, what company controls over 70% of the personal digital media player market? Any guesses?

Sounds like Apple is ripe for the picking based upon the EU's ruling about Microsoft. Not to mention the fact that you can't (legally) install the Apple OS on other systems and it comes with an integrated media player and browser.


RE: Wow
By Screwballl on 10/22/2007 10:25:21 AM , Rating: 1
Even though it doesn't have as much of a monopoly on its given market, EA is very close.


Not trying to rag on Europeans...
By Locutus465 on 10/22/2007 10:17:19 AM , Rating: 2
But Europe sucks... At the very least European governments suck royally... I hope individual European citizens don't take offence, this isn't directed at you...

Seriously, these penatlies are overly harsh and should not be considered legal. I really do hope to see sanctions against the EU over this...




RE: Not trying to rag on Europeans...
By zombiexl on 10/22/2007 10:28:10 AM , Rating: 2
Who's going to sanction them?


RE: Not trying to rag on Europeans...
By Locutus465 on 10/22/2007 1:13:31 PM , Rating: 2
US Government trade sanctions, better yet UN trade sanctions... Whatever it takes to get the European government to get their heads out of their asses... Microsoft should not receive harsher punishment simply because it is cool to hate them, that is wrong.


RE: Not trying to rag on Europeans...
By Strunf on 10/22/2007 6:13:11 PM , Rating: 2
Usually its the WTO that deals with this kind of stuff... but even the US have been more than punished by the WTO without really having any effect at all, the fact is that big countries like the US, EU, China and others are have such a power that the WTO is useless "against" them.


RE: Not trying to rag on Europeans...
By Eckstein on 10/22/2007 11:37:18 AM , Rating: 2
"Europe sucks" because they fight anti-capitalists like Microsoft. Sure.

So I bet you would be glad if you would get rid of your economy and replace it with something that is directed by individuals like Bell, Gates and Co.?


RE: Not trying to rag on Europeans...
By nofranchise on 10/22/2007 11:46:30 AM , Rating: 2
Yessss... that is the answer! Let us throw down the shackles of government and leave running the country to people who's only goal is to make profits for their shareholders! It is BRILLIANT!

No cutting corners, no problems! And so what if we've got monopoly? As long as it works, it's fine!
Who cares about progression, development and freedom to choose?

As long as we've got cattle and corn to eat and porn to watch, who's gonna complain?

I say nuke the EU, stop making those God awful hybrids, replace the US government with boardmembers, let the oilcompanies loose on Antarctica, cut down the Sequioas, raise cattle everywhere, and abolish abortion.


By Oscarine on 10/22/2007 1:24:09 PM , Rating: 2
obviously there is some middle ground between what you are ranting about and plausible solutions.


By Locutus465 on 10/22/2007 1:26:05 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft really isn't that much of a monoply anymore, look at what many European nations are doing.... Switching to Linux... There you go, if you *really* don't like Microsoft, then don't use their products, but these sanctions are unfair. Honeslty I find it funny that the EU government body is thumping their chest over how tough on monopolys they are, then you take a look at a compnay like De Beers... Why not attack them? The various recording industry groups world wide?


RE: Not trying to rag on Europeans...
By Locutus465 on 10/22/2007 1:14:51 PM , Rating: 2
Ironic that you call Microsoft the anti-capitolists... Since captiolism is what the EU is attacking with this judgment...


RE: Not trying to rag on Europeans...
By Eckstein on 10/22/2007 1:26:07 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know what you mean with "captiolism", but it pretty simple to understand that if someone controls literally a whole market and absuses this by making it practically impossible to other to create competition, than this is a total negation to the captialistic idea of a free market economy.


By Locutus465 on 10/22/2007 2:17:28 PM , Rating: 2
Captiolism referes to an economy run with little to no government intervention... In a pure capitolist economy there would be no government regulations at all... History does teach us that a pure capitolist economy does work about as well as communisim did in practice (excluding nations like China which have integrated capitolist elements into their economy's). This is why we do have things like government sactions, federal (and global) regulations etc. I think the EU is over stepping these bounds...

I'm all for free trade, but capping Royalties is insane, it doesn't help anyone... It's clear that the EU ruling has more to do with punitivly punishing Microsoft rather than actually encouraging free trade.


Can the government really set a royalty price?
By zombiexl on 10/22/2007 9:20:10 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Royalties for said information will be a one-time payment of €10,000 ($14,348 USD).


Seems like a very strange and questionably legal thing to do. It also sets a very broad precident.




RE: Can the government really set a royalty price?
By defter on 10/22/2007 9:52:58 AM , Rating: 2
Goverment can't, but courts can.


RE: Can the government really set a royalty price?
By zombiexl on 10/22/2007 10:02:35 AM , Rating: 2
Not sure about the EU.

In the US courts can't make laws they are there mearly to interpret the law and how it applies to a given case. Of course that doesnt stop them from doing it anyway.


By Murst on 10/22/2007 5:25:11 PM , Rating: 2
In europe they can't either. This isn't a law, it is a judgement.

Laws don't set precedents (its already the law). Judgements can set precedents, although the courts try to be very specific usually so it doesn't spill over.

Of course, sometimes they don't try to be very specific, and that is also on purpose. For example, we wouldn't want "separate but equal is not equal" (or whatever the phrasing) to be a narrowly interpreted judgement, but a very broad one.


Fining, yes.. but
By Dfere on 10/22/2007 9:51:59 AM , Rating: 2
I haven't heard of any case like this before- where an administrative commission not only fines, but sets commercial rates for royalties?

Perhaps this even reaches further than their charter allows, and MS knows it? So they do not adopt the rates, change access info, pay the fines (which stops interest and penalties), and fight a new court battle later. Sounds like a good strategy....

In the US most commissions can only fine, and occasionally force an action to be taken (usually under threat of more fines or administrative sanction). WOW. Wish I knew more about EU law.....




RE: Fining, yes.. but
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/22/2007 11:35:37 AM , Rating: 2
Given my limited knowledge of EU law, they are legally not allowed to set these kinds of limits. These limits would need to be set by the courts or Microsoft. Yea, I don't know about this... I suspect more will follow in regard to this in the coming days/weeks. I doubt we have heard the end of it.


RE: Fining, yes.. but
By crystal clear on 10/22/2007 11:50:47 AM , Rating: 1
"the agreements will be enforceable before the High Court in London, and will provide for effective remedies, including damages, for third-party developers in the event that Microsoft breaches those agreements,"

This is an agreement between two parties & not a decision handed down by the commission.

The agreement is enforceable before the High court in London.

Both parties have agreed to the contents of the agreement-
in this case M.S. & the EU commision.


RE: Fining, yes.. but
By crystal clear on 10/22/2007 11:57:22 AM , Rating: 2
The agreements will be enforceable before the High Court in London, and will provide for effective remedies, including damages, for third party developers in the event that Microsoft breaches those agreements. Effective private enforcement will therefore complement the Commission's public enforcement powers.

http://www.europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?...


Its official
By crystal clear on 10/22/2007 11:11:11 AM , Rating: 1
Press conference
Brussels, 22nd October 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen

I want to report to you today that Microsoft has finally agreed to comply with its obligations under the 2004 Commission decision, which was upheld last month by the Court of First Instance.

I have been in almost daily contact with Steve Ballmer over the last two or three weeks. As a result of final contacts that took place early this morning, I am now in a position to present to you the results of those highly constructive conversations.

Under the 2004 decision, Microsoft is obliged to provide information allowing third party developers of work group server operating systems to develop products that interoperate with the Windows desktop operating system. Microsoft has previously offered to license this information to developers on terms that the Commission thought wholly unreasonable.

Following our intensive discussions, Microsoft has now made substantial changes to its provision of this information, introducing the changes that I asked for.

I told Microsoft that its royalty rates were too high for the patents they claim are applicable to the interoperability information. In response, Microsoft has slashed its requested royalties for a worldwide licence, including patents from 5.95% to 0.4% - less than 7% of the royalty originally claimed.

I told Microsoft that the royalties for access to its secret interoperability information were unreasonable and had to be reduced. Microsoft has now abandoned its demand for a royalty of 2.98 % of revenues from software developed using licensed information. That percentage royalty has become a nominal, one-off payment of €10 000. This is all that has to be paid by companies that dispute the validity or relevance of Microsoft's patents.

The Commission will now adopt a decision as soon as possible on the pending non-compliance case regarding past unreasonable pricing for the interoperability information, on which the Commission sent a Statement of Objections on 1 March 2007.

I told Microsoft that it had to make interoperability information available to open source developers. Microsoft will now do so, with licensing terms that allow every recipient of the resulting software to copy, modify and redistribute it in accordance with the open source business model.

I told Microsoft that it should give legal security to programmers who help to develop open source software and confine its patent disputes to commercial software distributors and end users. Microsoft will now pledge to do so.

I told Microsoft that developers who sign licensing agreements with them should have the means to ensure respect for the 2004 decision. Microsoft has now accepted that it must give legally binding guarantees to licensees about the completeness and accuracy of the information it provides and that the licensee can obtain effective remedies, including damages, from the High Court in London. These private enforcement tools come on top of the Commission’s powers and continued vigilance to ensure that Microsoft complies with its obligations in this area as in others.

I also said that Microsoft had to provide complete and accurate technical documentation – and backed that demand with additional fines last year. I can now say that Microsoft has substantially respected this obligation. That said, Microsoft’s obligation to document its protocols is an ongoing one – the documentation needs to be maintained as its products evolve, and new issues may arise once it is being used by developers. But as of today, the major issues concerning compliance have been resolved.

Put together, these changes in Microsoft's business practices, in particular towards open source software developers, will profoundly affect the software industry. The repercussions of these changes will start now and will continue for years to come.



there is more to it,refer tp the link below.

http://www.europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?...




RE: Its official
By crystal clear on 10/22/2007 11:14:31 AM , Rating: 1
However, I want to stress two points.

First, Microsoft has ongoing obligations to continue to comply with the 2004 Decision. If new issues arise in relation, for example, to the completeness and accuracy of the interoperability information, then Microsoft must address those issues immediately.

Second, the March 2004 Decision, as confirmed by the Court of First Instance last month, also sets a precedent with regard to Microsoft's future market behaviour in this and other areas. Microsoft must bear this in mind.



Same link as above.


RE: Its official
RE: Its official
By TomZ on 10/22/2007 12:32:00 PM , Rating: 1
Wow, the sheer arrogance of that press release is amazing. Talk about exaggerated self-importance and gloating. Unbelievable. I feel bad for you Euros.


RE: Its official
By tmouse on 10/22/2007 2:48:28 PM , Rating: 1
Wonder how long its gonna take the trojan and virus writers to capitalize on this. They are already too good just using guess work, now......


Funny
By Murst on 10/22/2007 2:51:03 PM , Rating: 3
Sometimes these comments on DT just get so funny.

One day, we'll get a post about Pirate Bay or software patents and people will go on how great laws in Europe are.

The next day we'll get a story about MS antitrust and people will go on about how horrible EU laws are and that MS isn't a monopoly, and even if they are, its all good anyways.

Then the day after we'll get a story about telecos in the USA and people will complain about the evils of having an oligopoly (not even a monopoly!).

Man, people need to wake up and realize they can't have their cake and eat it too.




RE: Funny
By Ringold on 10/22/2007 10:35:18 PM , Rating: 2
The people praising European laws as they regard to patents are generally not the same people who, the next article over, are attacking the EU's general style of government.

As for the US telco's, I think Masher's made a convincing case that the problem is crippling regulation at the final mile. Not caring enough to dig deeper, and not doubting Reagan's maxim of if it moves tax it and if it keeps moving regulate it, that's enough explination for me. I'm sure tons of people would disagree, and perhaps I would if, again, I cared to dig and found something contrary.

In other words all I think you're seeing is that it's not a monolithic culture at DT. :)


Wow
By Polynikes on 10/22/2007 2:05:56 PM , Rating: 2
Talk about a punishment not fitting the crime. MS had every right to appeal the decision, and in the meantime the EU had the audacity to fine them for non-compliance? And that much? For what? Wanting to negotiate its royalties, which is a freedom that is standard practically everywhere else? That's just wrong.




RE: Wow
By Murst on 10/22/2007 5:19:30 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, but I got to disagree here.

If there is a verdict, and you don't comply, there should be fines.

Now, in this case, if the verdict is pay a fine, you pay it, and appeal it, you should (and would) get your money back.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work like this in the USA in civil cases, which tend to drag on and on. Fortunately, it does work like that in criminal cases. The last thing I'd want is a convicted serial killer to go free because he appeals.


She looks like a real B*tch
By Fnoob on 10/22/2007 9:31:35 AM , Rating: 3
Just imagining Balmer up against this wench conjures up visions of DeVito in "My Cousin Vinny"; without the happy ending.

As much as some like to bash MS here, this really sounds like the got the whole fist up to the elbow.




I'd of played hardball
By Nik00117 on 10/22/07, Rating: 0
RE: I'd of played hardball
By Strunf on 10/22/2007 6:15:07 PM , Rating: 2
what makes you think we don't have anti-virus :P


By lemonadesoda on 10/22/2007 5:17:04 PM , Rating: 2
That's an interesting precedent. EU determining what royalties may or may not be charged. I hope they look into other industries too, esp. publishing and music. ;P




"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA

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