Microsoft & Monopoly comment


There is one way to make Microsoft into a fair and productive member of the industry: Make all formats and protocols when end user data is moved open and accessible to developers.


This includes email protocols (Hotmail does not use standard POP so a third party cannot build and email system which is compatible for Hotmail users) and document formats such as Word. (a third party cannot maintain a professional word processor when Microsoft changes the Word format secretly, making reliability to read and write Word documents very difficult to maintain.

Let Microsoft do what they want to, but let other developers compete in a realistic environment where access is guaranteed whenever the end user moves his or her information.

It is not the tying together of the operating system, Windows, and the applications, Word, Excel, Explorer and so on that is the problem, it is the monopoly of access to the users data which creates the problem. An information environment where users may work on their documents on Windows using Microsoft programs and then continue on another operating system and/or another application would foster healthier competition and bring innovation into computer business.


State of refusal

Microsoft is due to release on 9 September a 133MB upgrade for its Windows XP operating system called Service Pack 1.

Among the bug fixes and security updates are a set of tools that let people hide the existence of Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, Windows Messenger, and Windows Media Player.

The tools banish all appearances of these programs from the desktop screen, the start menu and the taskbar on the bottom of the screen.

Microsoft has been forced to make it possible to hide these programs as part of a deal it brokered with the US Department of Justice during a long-running dispute over fair competition.

The Department of Justice charged Microsoft with abusing its 90% share of desktop computer operating systems to unfairly promote its own products.

By making it possible to hide the programs, the Justice Department is hoping that Microsoft rivals, such as Real Networks, will prosper because they will be able to use their programs as defaults instead of those of Microsoft.

An icon in the Control Panel section of XP gives access to the new program hiding system.

Nine US states have refused to accept the settlement that produced this upgrade and are seeking stricter penalties. US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has yet to rule in this case.

Even before the appearance of the XP update, many Windows users have turned to software produced by Lite PC that strips out unwanted applications from Windows 98, 2000 and XP.


Update on 9th of September 2002 from BBC News Online: Monday, 9 September, 2002 : "Windows plays fair with rivals", addressing only a small part ofthe problems: "Software giant Microsoft is upgrading its Windows XP operating system to make it compliant with US Government rulings on fair competition. The latest update to the operating system contains software tools that allow many of its components to be hidden. The US Government demanded the changes during the closing stages of an anti-trust case in which Microsoft was found guilty of abusing its market dominance. The update also fixes many security loopholes and vulnerabilities in the software."

Update on August 19, 2004from Guardian Online, illustrating another example of the power of monopoly, changing borders, being the worlds defacto reference tool for many: "Of course we offended Kurds by doing this but we had offended the Turks more and they were a much more important market for our products. It was a hard commercial decision, not political.",12597,1286066,00.html

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