Feeds

MS slammed for antitrust deal violations in XP, Win2k SPs

Can't even comply with a toothless deal, says ProComp

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

ProComp, the Sun-, Oracle- and usual suspects-backed lobbying group set up to push for tougher measures against Microsoft, has launched an attack on WinXP SP1 and Win2k SP3, saying they contain clear violations of the MS-DoJ proposed antitrust settlement terms they're claimed by Microsoft to comply with. That is not of course to say that ProComp would be happy with those terms even if the Service Packs did meet them - it would not - but it has taken the opportunity to send an extended and reasonably well-researched 'told you so' to the DoJ, listing six claimed violations, and it intimates that its study of Microsoft's API disclosure procedures will follow shortly.

ProComp's study, we are pleased to note, supports several of The Register's preliminary observations on SP3; it does major on XP SP1, but the two are similar in intent and execution. The new 'Set Program Access and Defaults' item introduced with the stated aim of allowing users to hide access to Microsoft middleware and substitute other products is confusing, and will only make it easier to substitute products if those products have been redesigned to comply with, er, the new Set Program Access and Defaults.

ProComp notes that you could do something pretty similar with add/remove, and actually if Microsoft was really complying rather than doing the old dumb insolence stuff (we paraphrase a tad here), then the system could check the hard disk to see what possible rivals were installed. Which is true enough - Microsoft's quick enough to check out what you've got when you're using, say, Windows Update.

Which brings us onto 'and another thing.' In order to download SP1 you need to be running Internet Explorer, so if you've already bundled it off somewhere into the bowels of your hard disk you can't get either your bugfix or the the compliance routines. This, according to a Register reality check we just performed, is not entirely true. Start at the Microsoft front page, go to get SP1 and opt for express install and you do get kicked to Windows Update which then tells you to clear off if you're running Opera pretending to be Mozilla (which we are today). But follow the network install link instead and it will allow you to download in a single file, while the link that went live slightly ahead of MS announcing SP1 is still here.

ProComp would however argue that it's the front door route that counts, and that people having to figure their way around the barbed wire for themselves is just the same old story, not compliance. Which seems reasonable. And as it took us a whole five seconds to insert the link above, Microsoft putting it on the get SP1 page would also seem reasonable.

But, erm, here comes ProComp with another objection or two. Set Program Access and Defaults has a non-obvious name, no instructions with it and you can only get it attached to SP1/SP3, when it is in essence a trivially small routine. Not everybody is going to have the facility to download a very large service pack, if there are known issues with their own setup they may not want to apply the service pack, and $10 for the CD version looks like Microsoft making itself more money out of not pretending to comply with the settlement when it's not really doing so.

Well yes, that would also seem reasonable. There is, furthermore, an interesting claim made in the document. Many OEMs do not, it says, intend to start shipping new machines with SP1 applied until next year. Naturally they need some time to check it with their hardware, but they have had it for a while, and they could have had it tested and installed for the Q4 sales (cross fingers) rush, so what's their problem? It's not as if there aren't any security rollups in SP1...

In addition to the gripes above (which cover three claimed violations), ProComp has these. Shop for Music in the MyMusic folder has IE popping up straight away, no matter what you selected (this is valuable research - The Register does not know anyone who'd be likely to ever try this). Set Program Access and Defaults does not disable the .NET Common Language runtime, and the implementation of the system in Win2k is substantially less intuitive than in XP.

The Register was equally baffled by both, but as it is also baffled by add/remove these days, what do we know? We do however have a vague feeling that once upon a time add/remove was somewhat more intuitive than it is now. Are we right, or are we losing it? Anyway, the full ProComp document, in terms far more outraged and colourful than we feel inclined to muster, is available here. ProComp itself is here. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
ONE MILLION people already running Windows 10
A third of them are doing it in VMs, but early feedback focuses on frippery
Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM
Honestly, it’s a piece of piss
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Torvalds CONFESSES: 'I'm pretty good at alienating devs'
Admits to 'a metric ****load' of mistakes during work with Linux collaborators
Sway: Microsoft's new Office app doesn't have an Undo function
Content aggregation, meet the workplace ... oh
Do Moan! MONSTER 6-day EMAIL OUTAGE hits Domain Monster
Customers freaked out by frightful service
Ploppr: The #VultureTRENDING App of the Now
This organic crowd sourced viro- social fertiliser just got REAL
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
NetWare sales revive in China thanks to that man Snowden
If it ain't Microsoft, it's in fashion behind the Great Firewall
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.