So in order to fix things you're for making them worse?

Story: Superior Linux Technology not Stopping Microsoft - Time to Call Uncle SamTotal Replies: 11
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Dec 15, 2005
4:11 AM EDT
While nobody in their right mind can argue with MS's anti-competitive actions, dragging the government into it is a joke.

First and foremost.... "Microsoft's tenacles reach in and around many people within the PC world to the extent they represent a pandemic. To extricate them, requires government intervention." ...... is not only wrong, it's borderline offensive. It's not the government's job, furthermore, if the government were to do the job that *WE* are supposed to do the end result will be a screwed up computer industry.

I doubt any of us want that. Getting rid of MS's dominance is a very real and achievable goal, but not at the demise of the computer industry. And that's exactly what'll happen if govt intervention is pushed for and actually happens. Look at what the government has done to healthcare. No thank you, I prefer having the ability to get affordable computers.

If this is your opinion tom, WTF are you using linux for in the first place? If you, and I... and anybody else who uses linux.... if all of our efforts are in vain, why are you(we) trying? Why do we all hand out knoppix disks if we quite simply cannot win? Why are you kicking linux users in the head? We keep making inroads into the market, and every passing day MS is sweating a little more...... and now you are telling us all that we should just stop. That we are wasting our time.

You don't deserve the web traffic you get for propaganda like this.

Dec 15, 2005
5:31 AM EDT
Did we read the same article? And the section you quote is completely out of context. Did you read the rest of the article, or just get that far and decide to flame? Seriously. The "government intervention" is from the justice dept. in the form of actually enforcing the current anti-trust laws, and congress looking into any possible collusion between current and past administrations interceding on the part of MS in an inappropriate manner. Certainly, nothing in the article suggested regulation of the computer industry, which is what you seem to be going on about.

But certainly, if the administration and/or congress are actively aiding MS, or even just turning a blind eye to any illegal activities they may or may not be engaged in, and we don't get that changed, then we've already lost. Unlike in the movies, the spunky underdog rarely wins when the big boys pile up on him.

Dec 15, 2005
7:10 AM EDT
halfmnhlfamazng: Under sound economic theory, governments regulate markets. Who else would you suggest? The inmates haven't done a very good job of regulating themselves, thus you have the Securities Act of 1933, the SEC Act of 1934, the Clayton and Sherman acts among others.

The US Government came very close to breaking up Microsoft once and they should finish the job. That can't hurt the industry. If it does, it wasn't an industry in the beginning. If we have to start over, then we should.

One gentleman said it very well: What opportunity?

Dec 15, 2005
7:32 AM EDT
HalfManHalfAmasing, I think you jumped the gun here. Contrary to what you are accusing tom of, I am sure that he doesn't want Government regulating the IT industry any more than you do. If you read and understood his articles, you would have noticed that.

Tom believes in enforcing the law. He is unhappy with the current government for their complacency by not enforcing the law. MS was convicted of breaking the law and was allowed to get away with it many times. We, as developers and advocates of FOSS, are striving very diligently to compete against MS and counter its illegal tactics, are we to keep idle ignoring this complacency? Certainly not. What Tom is talking about in this article is this persistent attitude by the government. This is not acceptable and he is letting us know the history and facts, so that, as citizens, we do something about it. One way is by writing to our reps. to either shape up or ship out. Is that bad? I don't think so. Those in government has responsibilities and if they are not going to be up to these responsibilities, they will be replaced, otherwise, we don't need the government.

I too not very hopeful about the government taking any serious initiative, but every bit helps to get rid of this monstrous illegal monopoly we have been plagued with for a long time. Please be more thoughtful next time.

Dec 15, 2005
9:27 AM EDT
While nobody in their right mind can argue with MS's anti-competitive actions, dragging the government into it is a joke.

Read the article more closely -- for that matter, try staying abreast of what the media as a whole continues to say about Microsoft and their good buddies, the [U.S. Federal] government. The government is already "dragged into it". The real point of the article is to get the government dragged out of it. That is, out of actively supporting Microsoft and into actively enforcing its own laws -- laws which Microsoft is not only convicted of actively violating, but continues to show no sign of doing otherwise, nor has any incentive of stopping as long as the government continues to lobby for them.

It's no secret that the Bush'es and the Gate's are good friends of multiple generations. Before Bush Jr. took over, it seemed certain that Microsoft, the convicted monopolist and anti-trust tortfeaser, was going to be a broken company... literally. Ironically, no sooner than the would be "Mr. President" raised his right hand and "swore" to support the laws of this country than did the DoJ reverse its push for breaking up Microsoft and, instead, suggest a list of menial "oversights"... "oversights" which amounted to little more than a "wristslap" composed of a warm handshake with both hands and a smile. At that time did the "government" drag itself through the doors of the Microsoft "gentlemens' club" and take on the mantle of Microsoft defender.

It's not the government's job, furthermore, if the government were to do the job that *WE* are supposed to do the end result will be a screwed up computer industry.

Then what is the government's job, if not to enforce its laws and ensure that the country's "free trade" and "fair competition" based economy is maintained and adhered to... BY ALL?!? Since Bush's re-election Microsoft seems to have become even bolder as the government's two hands stay even more warmly clasped around the right hand of Bill. We've read about numerous anti-competition "goings on" around the world regarding Microsoft: EU, Australia, South Africa, Japan, Korea and more, and everywhere there has been the U.S. putting in its two bits for Microsoft. Why is that?

Another of the [U.S. federal] government's "jobs" is the regulation and taxation of foreign commerce (foreign companies doing business in the U.S. and visa-versa) -- thus being, in fact, not only its principal reason to exist but also its principal source of revenue. One could, therefore, surmise, though incorrectly, that the government has a vested interest in helping Microsoft (any U.S. company for that matter), with its troubles abroad. Afterall, Microsoft is one of the "richest" companies in the world, ranking 203rd on Forbes' "Top 2000" list for the world in terms of assets, though on this basis there are @ 55 other U.S. companies over it (my quick counting may be off by one or two). Yet, I do not recall much media coverage regarding the U.S. sticking its nose into the troubles of those companies abroad -- er, is it because those big companies are not as arrogant, pushy, and "above the law" feeling as Microsoft and, therefore, do not get into as much "trouble"? Not likely! In any case, it is not "assets" which the government gets to tax but, rather, profits.

In terms of "profits", Microsoft ranks 12th on the same list, with eight other U.S. companies topping it. In the number 1 spot is ExxonMobil, another company which has a track record of difficulty keeping itself out of hot water yet, which this government has upheld a similar track record of "no holds barred" over putting the stick to! Obviously, merely protecting "vested interests" is not a compelling force in the government's support of its 9th most taxable domestic revenue source! In the case of Microsoft, unlike with Exxon (not to mention, a couple of the other Microsoft beaters on the profit list), the government is clearly not doing its job by putting shackles on Microsoft, rather than the warmly clenched hands which it currently puts forth.

I doubt any of us want that. Getting rid of MS's dominance is a very real and achievable goal, but not at the demise of the computer industry.

I have a friend who is fond of saying he "votes with his wallet" (er, just not in the same sense that Microsoft does ;) ). "Getting rid of MS's (sic) dominance" in this way is certainly preferable in a "free economy" to the government "doing its job" and enforcing "competitive practices". Yet, when the government also refuses to that job in the case of a clearly malicious "competitor" and market dominator, there is no way to make such a "vote" that does not still directly benefit the "voted against". In the end, the consumer may have their "choice", but that choice was in fact not "free", nor "cost effective".

The point the article makes is clear and correct: the effect of such a "vote" currently bears no consequence to Microsoft -- you buy a "preloaded" computer, you pay MS regardless of what you eventually might "overload" on to it. Paying twice for a "choice", is no "choice" at all, it is an election with forced consequences. Yes, there has been much bally-hoo in recent years over offers of PCs "preloaded" with Linux; yet, until very recently those have all been from small 2nd and 3rd tier "players"... "players" who don't "deserve" the big discounts MS baits its OEM contracts ("taxes") with in the first place.

The most recent announcements by Dell and HP so far amount to 'naught. In the case of HP, at least, they have a vested interest of their own in Linux, but truly little motivation to make a big play with "Linux preloaded" as long as they still have to bite it with MS' "OEM tax". Until the government "drags itself out of" the MS camp and, instead, truly enforces the "fair trade"/"fair play" standards on which this country was founded, upon MS, not only will "Linux preloads" continue to be relegated to niche corners of the PC marketplace where the "MS tax" has little bite, but the "freedom to choose" your O/S will continue to be both costly and at risk, or obtainable only by the technophile, the geek, and the grassroots "elite".

Yes, I "vote with my wallet" and use Linux -- and will continue to do so as long as the choice and "freedom" remains mine -- not only because it is technically superior in my eyes, but also because my freedom to do so is equally, if not more so, important to me. Yet, I am also one of the fortunate minority, among one of those aforesaid "groups", with the ability to circumvent the "MS tax" almost completely by "white boxing" for myself. Though, in the case of my laptop... MS' tentacles still got to reach deep into my wallet... an "election", not a "choice".

Dec 15, 2005
9:44 AM EDT
RE: Getting the Government in the middle of IT

I believe that the government governs best by governing least.

I was not convinced that we needed the antitrust trial against Microsoft, that it would fall to its own hubris.

I'm still not convinced that we needed the antitrust trial, but we got it and Microsoft was found to have a monopoly that it abused in anti-competitive ways.

That finding of fact, upheld by a unanimous Appeals Court, changes everything.

That finding obligated the government to act, to restore some semblance of competitive balance.

The government has failed miserably.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure what the answer is, as Microsoft has a PILE of influence in the government. I believe that the antitrust trial went the way it did only because we have civil service protected people in the Justice Department and an independent Federal Judiciary. I don't think the Clinton administration wanted to handcuff Microsoft any more than the Bush administration did. Microsoft owns the state of Washington, and, as we saw, carries a lot of weight in Massachusetts, both Democratic strongholds. For that matter, Bill Gates is a Democrat!!

No white knights on the horizon -- unless -- we can convince somebody that there are enough votes in these issues to tip an election somewhere.


Dec 15, 2005
10:16 AM EDT
While I agree with many points, I'm not a libertarian. I do see the advantage of less government but not always. I'm also challenged by the less government argument when it comes to effective government and formal ethics. Under Aristotle, we need a market without "insiders" having more information that every one else. That creates an unfair market. Commodities and fungible goods should reside in efficient markets.

In fact, people rarely know when an unfair market exists. So, ethics should guide and regulation should follow ethics.

Regulators have failed the technology markets. That's it in a nutshell.


Dec 16, 2005
6:30 AM EDT
---------Under sound economic theory, governments regulate markets. Who else would you suggest?------------

You and I. It was not the government who took down Enron. And it won't be the government who takes down MS.

Dec 16, 2005
7:03 AM EDT
halfmnhlfamazng: Enron ran out of cash. Enron wasn't a monopoly. Enron isn't Microsoft.

But, the government took down Standard Oil, AT&T, shuddered the old IBM, de-regulated many industries. We don't often have monopolies. But when we do, it's their job.


Dec 16, 2005
7:07 AM EDT
The wheels of Government's are huge and powerful, but many times are too slow and not very effective. Governments are effective when they enforce the laws that are in existence.

So far, the government has failed against MS. "You and I" can't face MS alone for obvious reasons, and the government is what we have to resort to for proper actions to be taken. To achieve the desired results, neither people nor government alone can, but the combination of both will.

Dec 18, 2005
2:28 AM EDT
------------We don't often have monopolies. But when we do, it's their job.---------------

I disagree. Especially when we are doing such a good job of getting into the market. We have IBM, Sun, Apple, and all of these other companies on our side. Game makers are increasingly starting to let out news reports about linux ports, and we have a graphics company(xgi) who is seriously considering open sourcing it's entire driver. Etc. Etc. Etc.

It's our job. And we're doing it damn well.

Dec 18, 2005
4:07 AM EDT
half --

Had we never gone to court, I would agree with you. We did, however, go to court and Microsoft was found to illegally abuse its monopoly, a finding so clear that it was upheld by a unanimous Court of Appeals.

Linux certainly has done a fine job of getting into the server and embedded systems markets, but the desktop remains a vast wasteland. Given Linux success stories around the world, lack of traction in the United States looks a little fishy.

Not that it's a slam dunk.

A case could be made that all of US industry is falling into the same trap that battered the US steel industry after WWII. The Japanese, having to rebuild their entire industry, rebuilt with the latest and greatest basic oxygen process technology, while US companies held on to their old inefficient open hearth plants. American steel took it on the chin.

The US was the first country to computerize on a massive scale. Perhaps we're just being fat, dump and happy while the rest of the world prepares to land another haymaker.

In that case, the government could, at the very least, lobby for change in cases like the Massachusetts ODF fiasco. Last I looked, protecting US interests in foreign trade was a very legitimate government activity, albeit one with a different set of tools.

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