Congress: Clear the Air and Stop Preloads

Posted by tadelste on Dec 17, 2005 5:22 AM
Lxer Day Desk; By Tom Adelstein, Editor-in-Chief

LXer Day Desk: 12-16-2005

American consumers do not like living in the dark when it comes to products we buy. In that respect, we don't believe citizens of other countries do either. So, with consideration to the people who drive the US economy, we would like some straight answers to questions which should shine some light on an area of darkness with which we lived far too long.



1. Does the US Administration lobby on behalf of Microsoft and if so should it cease and desist from such activity?

2. We ask Congress to evaluate the administration's role with regard to Microsoft's monopoly.

3. We ask Congress and the President to prohibit Microsoft preloading agreements.

4. We ask for Congress to perform a comprehensive review of Microsoft's political activities including and starting with the House Ethics committee's failure to investigate the links between Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff, Preston Gates &Ellis and the BSA.

5. We request Congress to enact laws requiring Original Equipment Manufacturers to disclose their policies with regard to selling Microsoft products.

6. We ask for schedules of payments to and from Microsoft and OEMs be disclosed immediately to the public so we can ascertain the influence exerted on consumers buying computers and computer related products.

Consumer consumption determines the health of the US Economy. Some of us would prefer a return to manufacturing, distribution, exports and technological innovations. But poor decisions in the past have painted us into this corner.



As consumers, we need more information about the products we buy. Today, for example, we know about the employee discounts for most automobile manaufacturers. We know a lot more about the availability of generic drugs versus name brand drugs whose patents have run out.



Now, we believe we need to know more about the computer systems offered to us in stores and off web sites. So, we believe consumer advocates should lobby for a small set of simple requests with regard to the US computer industry as it affects consumers.

Gives us the answers to these six questions or requests discussed below:



1. Does the US Administration lobby on behalf of Microsoft and if so should it cease and desist from such activity?



In particular, we feel courious as to why the US Justice Department lobbied on behave of Micrsoft when the South Korea found Microsoft guilty of anti-trust. In an article entitled U.S. Wades Into Korea's Microsoft Controversy Chosun.com states:



The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday took the unusual step of sharply criticizing a decision by Korea’s Fair Trade Commission to fine Microsoft W33 billion (US$33 million) in an antitrust case, which it said went “beyond what is necessary or appropriate.”



(It went on to say)

FTC director-general Kim Byung Bae said it was rare for the U.S. Justice Department to issue a statement on the matter since it was customary to respect decisions by partnering institutions. That was why the Korean government made no comment on a recent decision by the department to fine Samsung Electronics for price-fixing, Kim said. Asked if the U.S. statement could lead to a full-scale trade war, Kim said the FTC decision was based solely on whether Microsoft violated antitrust law or not, so it was not a trade issue.



We're also concerned about the Administration's attempts to convince the European Union to back off on Microsoft.



2. We ask Congress to evaluate the administration's role with regard to Microsoft's monopoly.



Our reference here relates to the fact that Microsoft and the Department of Justice reached settlements in which a District Court objected:



The judge found it odd that Justice initiated a massive antitrust probe, found significant violations in the large market and only wrote a complaint alleging minor anticompetitive practices.

He felt the decree didn't work in the public interest because: 1) It declined to provide the Court with the information it needed to make a proper determination. 2) The scope of the decree was too narrow. 3) The parties did not address other anticompetitive practices. 4) The Court was not satisfied that enforcement and compliance mechanisms were satisfactory.



We wonder why the Department of Justice and Microsoft jointly appealed the Court's decision.





3. We ask Congress and the President to prohibit Microsoft preloading agreements.



We feel that as long as Microsoft maintains their preloading agreements with Original Equipment Manufacturers, no one can break the Redmond Company's grip on the computer market. We believe it maintains an unfair monopoly restraining trade.



While we can see the power of preloading an operating system today, we didn't think much about it in 1992. Today, 95% of the people who own computers use what comes on their PCs.



Preload agreements seemed like a clever marketing tool. In the least they gave someone an edge. At the other end of the spectrum under the Sherman and Clayton acts they should be potentially felonious.



Back when these agreements started, preloads gave OEM's a good price on DOS. But OEMs had to agree to buy Windows, too. They would have to pay for DOS and Windows for every computer they shipped, whether DOS and Windows were on it or not.


4. We ask for Congress to perform a comprehensive review of Microsoft's political activities including and starting with the House Ethics committee's failure to investigate the links between Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff, Preston Gates &Ellis and the BSA.

Recognizing that the Chairman of the House Ethics Committee represents Redmond, Washington, we wonder if he is so disposed as to keeping potential wrong doing from disclosure. We have knowledge of the Gates foundation contributing to the foundation Tom DeLay allegedly used to launder contributions to other candidates.



5. We request Congress to enact laws requiring Original Equipment Manufacturers to disclose their policies with regard to selling Microsoft products.



We don't know what agreements exist today because disclosure goes beyond the scope of the US Government's enforcement of their agreement with Microsoft. Everything is done in secret without public disclosure.




6. We ask for schedules of payments to and from Microsoft and OEMs be disclosed immediately to the public so we can ascertain the influence exerted on consumers buying computers and computer related products.



We simply want to know if Microsoft's monopoly position results in funds going back and forth between OEM's and Microsoft. For example, does Microsoft reward OEM's for recommending Microsoft XP?

When Congress returns to work in January, we want these questions put on the Congressional agenda. We also request these questions be considered priorities.





Related Story:
Superior Linux Technology not Stopping Microsoft - Time to Call Uncle Sam


Return to the LXer Features

Subject Topic Starter Replies Views Last Post
Whatever happened to four missing threads? mvermeer 6 1,785 Dec 19, 2005 11:57 AM
Preloading is unstoppable! sxf 4 1,581 Dec 19, 2005 10:47 AM
Unusual Influence bigpicture 0 1,273 Dec 17, 2005 12:58 PM
Swinging the pendulum pendraco 9 1,623 Dec 17, 2005 5:34 AM

You cannot post until you login.

LXer

  Latest Features
Scott Ruecker (Phoenix, U.S.): LXer Weekly Roundup for 14-Sept-2014
Sep 14, 2014

Scott Ruecker (Phoenix, U.S.) : Interview With Richard Kenner of AdaCore
Aug 29, 2014

Carla Schroder: Test Sites for Heartbleed OpenSSL Vulnerability
Apr 09, 2014

penguinist: Better Than a Quad-Head Display: My Adventures with "4K" 2160p and Linux
Mar 31, 2014

Dr Tony Young: Replacing KDE4 with Xfce
Mar 07, 2014

Dr Tony Young: Removing/Disabling The Semantic Deskop in KDE4 Running on openSUSE 13.1 Part 2
Feb 18, 2014

Dr Tony Young: Removing/Disabling The Semantic Deskop in KDE4 (and firing up Thunderbird) Part 1
Feb 08, 2014

Dr Tony Young: KMail Complexity - and a little Patience
Jan 26, 2014

Carla Schroder: Linux Nerd New Year's Resolutions
Dec 29, 2013

Carla Schroder: Fedora 20 Released With New, Newer, and Newest
Dec 17, 2013


View all

  Search Features

Search LXer Features:

[ Copyright © LXer | All times are recorded in Central Daylight Time (CDT) ]

[ Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | About us | rss | Mobile ]

Login