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Letters God alone knows what people used to talk about before Microsoft locked horns with the EU. Well actually, it was the weather, but these days you rarely see farmers leaning over five-bar gates discussing the possibility of rain with their neighbour. The conversation is more likely to begin: "So, Wurzel, do you think it's right that the EC should demand the unbundling of products from Windows Vista?" - to which the correct reply is: "Dunno mate, although I thought Foot and Mouth was about the worst thing that could happen until the missus told me about the possible consequences of built-in web browsers. She's on tablets from the doctor because of it..."

So, is the Beast of Redmond the force of international evil some claim it is? No, said Clay Ryder in a provocative piece yesterday. Over to you lot...

Thank-you for introducing a tough of sanity in the insane world of Microsoft bashing. You make a lot of good points, and I imagine the Linux heads will bury you in angry email now. But I liked your article.

Don Mitchell


Well said. You don't see the EC telling Ford or Renault they can't bundle mats with their cars because it's not fair on the manufacturers of the aftermarket mats draped over the walls in Halfords. If I buy a car and I don't like the mats that come with it, then I go and buy a different pair that are more suited to me. It's nice however to have a pair included for the drive home and until I do buy new ones. That goes for Windows on my computer too. Bundling MediaPlayer 9 with it didn't stop me downloading Winamp, nor did the default MSN home page setting deter me from immediately changing it to Google. But at least for the first few hours/days there was something to play a couple of mp3's with. I neither am a Microsoft butt-licker, but I am tired of whining europeans with nothing better to do telling a company it can't include freebies with it's products.

Heavens, what of the wooden fork I received with my chips at lunch time? All those plastic cutlery manufacturers will be up in arms.

I salute you

Phil Bate


Good article about Microsoft and the persistent efforts of government bodies to prevent the operating system from growing naturally.

I'm starting to believe that Microsoft should turn round and give the EU the middle finger. Imagine the uproar in the IT community if Microsoft turned round and said something like "Fine. We're not going to sell Windows Vista in Europe. People can stick with Windows XP.".

The IT community would speak out in unison in Microsoft's favour, begging the relevant EU authoritarians to let Microsoft sell Windows Vista - and I bet that more than enough arguments explaining why Windows Vista is welcome and beneficial to the business community as a whole would be readily forthcoming. In fact it would almost be ironic to see even the 'nix fanatics realise that a world (or just the EU) without regular updates to Windows is not a good thing, but of course they'll readily deny that there is anything good about Windows until they've experienced what a lack of Windows updates and innovation can mean first-hand.

I'm not a Microsoft fan in the sense of willingly bashing Linux, I'd even go as far as to say I despise the software titles that are little more than 'bloat ware' slapped onto a CD then sold for a hefty price. Nevertheless, there is no denying that Microsoft has done something that no other company has successfully achieved thus far. Microsoft has made an easy to use operating system that runs on an extremely diverse range of hardware, capable of running the majority of today's software titles, and has levels of standardisation and interoperability that Linux distribution makers can only dream of.

Craig Bellcurren


Clay what an excellent article!

I'm one of many systems administrator with a large user base, and to be honest who want to pay for anything nowadays.

I want to be able to turn on my pc, log in, access my email, get on the internet and do what ever i want. I don't want to have to buy a pc, take it home and then suddenly realise i have to shoot off to a shop and get a copy on internet explorer/firefox/netscape or even opera just to get on the internet. And most non geeks will find it extremely annoying, most have a hard enough time wondering why DVD dont play on their PC, until you tell them that they have to buy PowerDVD, WinDVD or Nvidia's decoder.

I'm all for a level market place, buy maybe these rivals should work with MS (not that MS would be happy), and during setup ask which browser they want to install as the default (presumably of course people would be missed out or get annoyed because MS tell them that there code isn't strong enough etc etc etc). And then maybe even microsoft can say look you;ve install windows <what ever version> now you need anti virus and maybe firewall software choose from this list <nod, avg, mcafee, norton, authentium,, list goes on....> and then ask which video software they want, music software, .............. needless to say most users would then not vote for the idiots that put some of these rules/laws into power. God can you imagine if they made it compulsory to have those message on corporate versions of windows... the Remote installation service would only be used for imaging then. I can see 1000 workstation installs taking year!.

Anyway I'm with you, just wish the EU would find something else to complain about.

Stuart

That's enough group-hugging. Cue the opposition:


Thanks for the article, but I stopped reading at: "Is it at all odd that the Redmond crew decided to be less than helpful to Netscape going forward?",

as there's a difference between 'less than helpful' and a $750,000,000 antitrust settlement. Co-incidentally, it's about the same difference as between an opinion piece and flamebait.

Cheers

Gareth


Dear Clay,

You missed the EU point.

This is about a vendor leveraging their dominance in one market to gain dominance in another. Would you not complain if Exxon decided to only make their petrol compatible with cars that had Exxon security, Exxon CD/MP3 players, and Exxon tyres? Of course you would.

And it is extremely well documented that MS shoved Netscape out of the market once the realised the true potential of the web browser platform. Tying IE to Windows was a deliberate move on behalf of Microsoft to own the browser platform - and they were found guilty of this by the US Supreme Court, so please don't dress it up as Microsoft "responding to the will of their customers".

Microsoft's history is littered with dozens - nay, hundreds - of examples of this anti-competative behaviour. This is the EU's genuine concern; that by allowing MS to "bundle" media player and DRM technology with Windows, they will effectively control these markets by dint of shipping their dubious - but ubiqituous - operating system.

Everything else is just spin.

Lindsay Bruce


Sorry to rain on your parade, but IE is based on Marc Adreesen's browser (see IE's Help->About). I guess if Microsoft had been planning all along to have a web browser in Windows 95, it would have been developed by them from scratch rather than being a tweaked version of an open-source program.

You are also conveniently forgetting that Microsoft was already acting like a bully in the early 1990s (e.g. the Stacker saga where MS-DOS 6 was given disk compression by the simple expedient of copying code from a partner's product).

Of course at that time all we through they needed was an ASBO - the real bully of the day was IBM. And the preferred tool of both the IBM of that day and the modern Microsoft is vendor lock-in - the reduction of which appears to be the EU's goal.

Mark Honman


One word: Bullshit.

To say that anti-virus vendors are at fault for making email hard-to-use is just ludicrous. If MS had thought about security in the first place, there wouldn't even be an anti-virus market, because there wouldn't be any viruses out there. MS *created* the virus ecosystem by virtue of their feature-focussed, ease-of-use approach that made security the absolute last priority. And despite all their words about how serious they are about security, they've still gone and made Vista "backwards compatible" with earlier - fundamentally insecure - versions of Windows - so how secure is Vista going to be? I think the rest of the world has every right to complain about MS as long as they continue to put ease of use first.

Colin Sharples


"With Windows 95, the first consumer-based internet oriented operating system"

Hilarious :-) Absolutely the best dead-pan delivery out of many many...

Thanks for that - as good a troll as one of Orlowski's anti-wiki tirades!

Keep up the good work.

This one will run and run, we have no doubt. Tune in next week for another exciting episode of EU and MS: Clash of Titans.


Seasoned Reg hacks know that you're not a proper Vulture Central journo until you've been well and truly flamed. New boy Chris Williams can now consider himself initiated, thanks to this magnificent outburst provoked by said writer's observations on George Bush and his assertion that climate change is not driven by human activity:

Chris - aside from showing your ignorance and stupidity, why are you bothering to put a silly opinion piece on pseudo-science wacko consensuses into a computer news site? Or were you having another bad day getting your brain to work rationally? Everyone 'knew' that freon was destroying the ozone layer - until somebody in the scientific community noted that the magnetic poles are reversing (as they do every now and then). The fluctuations in earth's magnetic field are, of course, changing the paths of cosmic rays that produce the ozone - so the ozone layer appears to be misbehaving. There were all kinds of wackos screaming that we had to eliminate freon - and there still are plenty of them around. Yes the earth is warming up. It warms up and cools down regularly and has been doing so for millenia. concocting some total bullshit about greenhouse gases and getting all the stupid morons aroused over imminent crises doesn't change anything except the volume of nonsense. Reduce global greenhouses gases like water vapor and carbon dioxide - Just Stop Breathing, you idiot!

Nils Dahl


Not hot enough for ya? Try this:

Chris,

Let me use a liberal's debating tactic on you (the same tactic used in your article - resort to childish name calling)

Are you a total MORON? There are MANY SCIENTIFIC EXPERTS who say the EXACT SAME THING as Bush stated w/ far greater scientific credentials than your own!!!

Can't liberals READ UP on a subject before spewing their venom and end up looking like IMBECILES?

There are experts in the US, in Britain (the Royal Geographic Society), and other institutions that have stated that global warming is happening, but it is a very complicated process to determine why and that there is NO CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE that it is being solely, or even majority caused by man...

The Wall Street Journal (ever heard of it?) had an excellent in-depth story on the whole debate surrounding global warming and about how it is more caught up in emotional global geopolitics than in real science...

Why is it that liberals DON'T LIKE DEBATING DIFFIRENCES OF OPINION, but would rather immediately move to CHILDISH NAME CALLING?????

Peter G

Lovely. Now let that serve as a warning to liberals everywhere.


Mercifully, some readers managed to pull some real debating points from the piece. Sort of:

Sir - Climate change theology is a new cover for racism. Between 1940 and 1970, world temperatures declined slightly. Since 1970 world temperatures increased slightly. But on the strength of this feeble fluctuation, politicians and environmentalists are calling for draconian global curbs on greenhouse gas production. This could only be achieved through draconian curbs on industrial activity (we dont let poor people build nuclear reactors), which could not help but devestate the livelihoods of the world's poorest people.

I am sure there are many genuine, caring people who advocate radical environmentalism, but politicians and scientists are in a position to know better. How then can they be so flippant about shattering peoples lives and dreams? Perhaps because they do not care? Or perhaps because they like things just as they are, with the West on top and the most destitute people of the world denied any realistic chance of catching up?

Eric Worrall


I have come up with a simple scheme to illustrate to the US president the problems with his attitude to human induced climate change.

It's simple - we hold him down, stuff his pockets with $40,000 worth of quarters and throw him in the Atlantic.

As he sinks into the depths of the Ocean he can take comfort in his belief that there is no scientific evidence that his weight has anything to do with his descent and we can all learn a lesson from him as he gasps his last rather than damage his own personal economy.

The lunatics are truly running the asylum and it's getting warm in here.

Stuart

That may well be true, but didn't it turn out nice again?


Finally, Naomi Campbell is in trouble again for allegedly hurling a mobile phone at her housekeeper. The unfortunate victim claims she ended up with severe cranial trauma as a result. How, we wondered, could a modern slimline device cause such damage? Here's your answer:

Naomi used a jewel-encrusted Blackberry.....

That's official and on the record.

Her alibi, when the police got involved, is that her maid was lying about being beaten with a Blackberry, She showed police a standard mobile as a way of defense,

Then she was cuffed.

Name supplied.

Well, the word on the street is that Ms Campbell does indeed own a Blackberry 8700g adorned with Swarovski crystals. It's reckoned to be the PDA equivalent of James Bond's Rolex Oyster Perpetual - attractive and highly functional but also doubling as a handy weapon when you're in a tight spot. ®

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