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by Franki

Microsoft was found guilty of anti-competitive behaviour by the US DOJ a few years ago, and got what many see as a slap on the wrist as punishment for their crimes. Their punishment didn’t really do much good, but it didn’t actually do any damage either. Now flip to 2005 where Microsoft have again been found guilty of anti-competitive behaviour, this time by the European Commission. Microsoft have appealed the decision, but in the mean time they are being forced to comply with the punishments which include a half a billion Euro fine, offering a version of Windows without their Media player (and not being allowed to call it “reduced media edition”) and most importantly, to offer information on their protocols to third parties who wish to create software that is interoperable with Windows on the client and server.
That last one is where this little story kicks in. Microsoft appear to have viewed this ruling as a way of excluding their biggest competitor (Open Source) from being being compatible with their products, and to create another huge revenue stream by selling licenses requiring royalties on each product sold that used the information covered by the license. Does anyone there remember that this was supposed to be a punishment for their anti-competitive behaviour?

Microsoft have made it clear (to me at least) that they want to choose their own opposition, and they’ve also made it pretty clear that they want Sun to be their main competitor by making several press releases touting Sun/MS interoperability programs. They want Sun as their “competitor” I suspect, because Sun is a traditional software company that they have proven in the past they can win against. Linux and other Open Source has already proven itself immune to Microsoft’s normal “competitive practices”, it can’t be bought or crushed because it isn’t owned by any single corporate entity, criticizing it seems to hurt Microsoft more then OSS, lawsuits don’t appear to be working (SCO), security is not an effective selling point for your software when your own house is not even made of glass, but rather of sand, and cost comparisons don’t seem to look so good unless Microsoft pays for the research. So what can they do? Why they can make sure that OSS software can’t have access to any of the interoperability data and help along their chosen competitor who is apparently not smart enough to realise that they are but a pawn and that this will only last till MS doesn’t need them any more.

Don’t take my word for it, read this ZDnet article covering the same issue in a more humorous and factual manner then I have here. It should be noted that the EC are not happy with the progress of Microsoft’s compliance, and may end up fining them 5 million a day till they reach compliance with the court appointed sanctions.

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  Time  in  Don's  part  of the world is:   December 9, 2018, 9:58 pm
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