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Seattlement Letters Some letters prompted by our coverage of the decision by Judge Consonant-Klatter to uphold the DoJ-Microsoft deal.

Judge backs MS-DoJ deal, Microsoft now in the clear?
MS settlement rotten with loopholes
Oops! Court posted MS verdict almost two hours early
How did Microsoft end up policing Microsoft?
In victory, Microsoft morphs into IBM, and loses it
'You're still guilty,' judge in Sun et al antitrust case tells MS


I think Judge KK was selected to return a verdict. The fix was in, thus no reason for the Judge to strain herself with any great exertion. There was, and will be no direct bribery; rather the people who gave Judge KK the case with be promoted, and Judge KK will be promoted, and the money involved in this purchase will be at such a remove that it cannot be traced back to the "donor".



I'd say the question is more like "how long before judge Kollar-Kotelly turns into Supreme Court Judge Kollar-Kotelly"? After all one favour deserves


another in the good old honest world of corporate capitalist politics.



Julian Pilfold-Bagwell

Far from being meaningless busy work the decision in this level of detail imho was designed to do one thing -- make it impossible to mount an appeal on a legal basis. So far the reaction of the States seems to be leaning that way as well. Not only did she dismiss the arguments she humiliated the States in the process.

Bryan McCormick



Andrew, I'm scared. I'm scared out of my pants. Although American laws don't effect us Brazilians I was hoping for some kind of choke hold on Microsoft or, in the very least, an opening of APIs to level the battlefield


Andre Kajita




I lived through the 1984 breakup of AT&T and worked at Bellcore, which operated under court-ordered self-policed restrictions on its practices.


The training sessions for managers opened and closed with the statement that "You personally can go to jail for violating these rules." Once the message that the judge can send members of the MS board to jail for contempt for failing to enforce the settlement sinks in, I think the decision to make MS police itself may be an effective one.

Michael E. Cain

These readers makes the case, now repeated far and wide, that the conclusion in the civil case was intended to create a remedy that encourage competition, rather than punish the defendant.

I think that you are misled by your desire to see MS punished. A civil case is not about punishment, it's about _remedy_.

Punishment is meted out in criminal cases, where the standard of evidence is higher; I don't think that the DoJ could have gotten a conviction had it been required to prove its case "beyond reasonable doubt".

A remedy in a civil case, OTOH, is supposed to achieve its goal (that is, remedying a justified grievance) with a minimum of pain for everyone involved, _including_ the accused party. That also implies that only existing misdeeds can be remedied; forward-looking remedies are not in the cards.

You also mention how the provisions of the settlement would deny a fair hearing to, say, start-ups. The fix for that is simple: Loser-pays. Plus it would also put those disgusting ambulance-chasers in their place.

Cheers,
Felix Casza



Are you aware that the proceeding was limited to determining and ordering a remedy rather than punishment? Are you aware that, without a criminal proceeding, punishment was not even an option? Given your pretense to respect for "the American constitution", I would expect you to understand these facts.


If you followed the trial, you would have observed that Microsoft (through its witnesses) entered significant hard evidence and analysis to the effect that the consequences of their illegal behavior were of little moment. You would have further observed that the Plaintiffs produced nothing in the way of rebuttal to counter that evidence.

So your baseless claim that "the Judge is deciding the legality of the punishment" and your shock that the judge decided "to give up any notion of dispensing justice" are way off base. You insinuation about her having been bought is a vicious and morally indefensible libel.

-Larry Brasfield
Mercer Island, WA

I'm not sure what "…of little moment" means, on which your defense of the Seattlement rests. My litmus test of how seriously the Judge took the case is the composition, function and scope of the Technical Committee.

The AntiTrust action only arose because the earlier Consent Decree, agreed on in 1994 and ratified the following year, was treated contemptuously by Microsoft.


I have often called the proposed settlement a "fake settlement". And, it was.

Now we have a "fake decision" to back it up.

Forcing Microsoft to distribute a bare bones OS (which was about the best solution that the alt camp could have expected) would have dented the ability of Linux to satisfy that segment of the market. And, that segment is huge indeed. Any one part of that market is not very large, but Linux (unlike Microsoft) is well suited to plaster a number of OS distributions well suited for just about every nook and cranny out there. And, best Microsoft on quality and price in each one them.

Lewis A. Mettler, Esq.



I would have been surprised if the Judge actually did her job and put something better forward. It's weird to see that 95% of the IT business is experiencing Stockholm Syndrome. MS has part of IT by its balls and is squeezing it. Most would not accept it from a car, house or news paper but America is screaming: Common, Squeeze harder!!!


Sven Busselot



Since you've been writing about the Microsoft debacle^H^H^H^H^Hcision, have you given any thought to the timing of the decision's release? Not so much the two-hour head start MS got on the rest of the market, but rather the choice of release date. Do you think it might be significant that the most important antitrust decision in decades - one that would very likely move the stock markets higher if decided for MS - gets released on the Friday before the closely fought US midterm elections? Dominate the weekend headlines, and bump the markets up just before election day?


Bruce McDiffett?

I applaud the members of the Reg who took the time to dig into the ubiquitous legalize of the Settlement without committing suicide.

This goes to show one tried and true tenant of a national legal system, which is that obfuscation of the law works very well for whichever party is in power and therefore is endorsed by just about everyone.

Arthur Barlow



Is there, in fact, anything that would prevent Microsoft from using the committee as a washing machine for anything they don't want to ever enter a court of law? Just carbon-copy all internal documents to the committee, and they become inadmissable. Or would that be stretching it even more than MS could manage?


Jason Blalock




I don't live in USA and with luck never will. It used to amaze me how Americans think they are free because they are protected by the constitution. After reciting their pledge of allegence since kindergarten I guess the logical and analytical part of the brain gets supressed. Watch enough Coke ads and you might start believeing "Coke is life" instead of being caffiene, sugar and carbon dioxide - all poisons. To many times I have seen this blindlness in Americans: "We are free, the constitution protects us.". When their freedoms are violated, they largely ignore it because they can't comprehend that this could be happening to them.

Charles Manning
New Zealand



It is true that unfettered capitalism is a bad thing for a society.


The US was never intended to be a democracy. Education in the US is among the worst in the world but our children feel the best about the education they receive. Our government runs on fictitious "surpluses" and the value of our money is dependent on interest rates and the stock market. The government, all three branches, consistently launches programs and engages in practices for which it has no Constitutional authority.

In the future, please limit your comments to the matter at hand (like the ridiculous ruling in the Microsoft case) rather than making political statements advocating the institution of socialist practices in the United States.

David Cooney



You ask, "How did we get here?"


Simple: America has the best government money can buy and the Bush administration, in particular, is very easily bought.

Microsoft contributed millions of dollars in cash and services to the Bush coup d'etat, er, sorry, "election campaign" and is now getting what it paid for.

Simple, eh?

Bill Meahan



This case I think was more about politics than anything. Clinton's Justice Department clearly was going to show Gates and Co. what is was like to find oneself on one's knees in the Oval Office. Bush's Justice Department, rife with the Good Ol' Boy predilection, favors making deals behind the church house during Sunday service with money, moonshine and sly winks, while babies and their mothers pray for peace. Not that I necessarily favored all that might have happened with William Jefferson Clinton's "Who's Your Daddy" approach. But Bush's "We're on the market for a Sugar Daddy" mantra leaves a bad taste period.


You're spot on in regards to long term competition.

Due to the lock that the American leviathans have on the American tech sector anybody that even wants to attempt to dominate MS would be forced to wage their war in developing markets around the world and not here.

Where 20th century Justice has yet to catch up to the 21st. century realities, China and India are shaping their countries' educational, industrial, and economic growth around long term technological goals and there will be dividends to bear.

Also, with a lot of the proposed legislation that I've seen from various countries around the world created literally with MS in mind and then other US companies as an afterthough, some fledgling tech companies might need to incorporate abroad just to have the kind of protections that small businesses should have here.

[Funny that you draw the analogy to the cell phone industry because I, born and raised in Los Angeles have grown tired and aghast at the state of cell phone tech, or the lack thereof in my city.

Late 2000 I used to go to Nokia's International site almost weekly to see what I might be getting, praying that something would trickle to the sad and barren NokiaUSA site. Why oh why can't I get some of the beautiful phones being sold in Africa, Asia, and Europe that do so many magical things.]

Michael De Bose
®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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