Feeds

Ghost of US vs MS laments Redmond's 'antitrust immunity'

'Freedom to destroy freedom and competition'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

With the expiry of the final appeal deadline in US versus Microsoft this week Andrew Chin, who assisted Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson in the case, has gone public, describing the outcome as a wasted opportunity on the part of the government. Writing in the Raleigh News & Observer, Chin says the consequence is that there will be no final ruling establishing whether or not Microsoft illegally tied IE to Windows, and that the law of competition in the software industry will remain unstable.

And he notes that "the road not taken - pressing Microsoft to offer a neutral choice of Web browsers for use with Windows" has begun to look more attractive in the light of recent security alerts. "By tilting Windows users toward Internet Explorer... over the past nine years, Microsoft has ensured that many consumers are using a less secure browser than they would if offered a neutral choice, and prevented other software companies from competing for these customers on the merits," he says.

The DC Court of Appeals' conclusion that Windows and IE are "physically and technologically integrated", Chin says, has created a "special antitrust immunity to license Windows and other 'platform software' under contractual terms that destroy freedom of competition... The courts have missed a golden opportunity to affirm the freedom to compete in the information age."

Meanwhile, today in Brussels Microsoft argues that its being forced to offer a version of Windows with no Windows Media Player would strike "at the very heart of Microsoft's business model and design of Windows", which strikes us as not necessarily constructive from the point of view of Microsoft's appeal, given that Microsoft's business model and design of Windows are fairly widely thought of as problems that ought to be tackled. Should the appeal fail, Microsoft will have to comply with an earlier Commission requirement that it offer Windows sans Media Player in Europe.

Earlier in the week, however, Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said the comply would comply with the decision of the court, and had already spent millions putting itself in a position which allowed it to do so. This tends to imply that Microsoft has a compliant version pretty much ready to roll, despite WMP now being officially part of Windows in ways apparently similar to the way IE is. Allegedly. So it's possible we could see Microsoft just doing it, and skipping the protracted huffing and puffing about how broken Windows would be if it had to do it. On the other hand, near the beginning of the antitrust circus it did briefly 'comply' with a similar ruling on IE by putting out a version of Windows which was very broken indeed. So don't bet your life. ®

Related stories

MS EC appeal kicks off
EC 'supports special interests of rivals' - Microsoft
MS has Media Player - less Windows, just in case...

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
'People have forgotten just how late the first iPhone arrived ...'
Plus: 'Google's IDEALISM is an injudicious justification for inappropriate biz practices'
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.