Is The Microsoft Pyramid Scheme is begining to Crumble? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

A very long article, but one that shows what a ponzi world we live in, Take the time to read the whole article and think about the ramificatins. If MS stock falls, we all fall....

Live well and party till the lights go out!

-- Helium (, February 24, 2000


The judge in the Microsoft antitrust trial compared the software giant to John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil yesterday, further damaging the company's efforts to keep from being broken apart.

Federal Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's blistering comments came as the landmark case entered a new phase in which lawyers and the judge are trying to determine whether Microsoft's hardball business tactics in the high-tech industry violated arcane antitrust laws drawn up to control the railroad barons at the turn of the century.

But it was the specter of the most famous antitrust case in history -- the government breakup of Rockefeller's Standard Oil in 1911 -- that dominated the day's legal discourse.

Microsoft lawyer John Warden was arguing forcefully that the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant did not violate antitrust statutes, when Jackson interrupted him and declared he saw little difference between the Windows operating system that powers 90 percent of the world's personal computers and the 19th century oil monopoly controlled by Rockefeller. "Mr. Rockefeller had fee simple (absolute) control over his oil. I really don't see a distinction," Jackson said.

Standard Oil, which at one time controlled 90 percent of the American oil market, was broken up into 30 companies as a result of a 1911 decision by the Supreme Court.

Microsoft has been facing the same fate since a damaging Nov. 5 finding by Jackson that the company was a monopolist.

Weeks of court-ordered settlement talks before federal appeals judge Richard Posner have failed to make progress as Microsoft continues to maintain its right to innovate and resist efforts by the Justice Department and 19 states to impose "structural remedies," including possibly breaking up Microsoft into three or five companies.

Microsoft spokesman Mark Murray told The Post that settlement talks would continue.

But, with Jackson expected to issue his final verdict on the case in five weeks, time for a settlement is clearly running out.

Most legal and industry analysts believe that the company is already planning to drag the case out in hopes of getting Jackson's rulings reversed in the Appellate Court -- or possibly getting a better settlement deal with a new presidential administration.

-- Helium (, February 24, 2000.

Bold off

-- Helium (, February 24, 2000.

-- Helium (, February 24, 2000.

Bold off?

-- Helium (, February 24, 2000.

even less bold...

-- Possible Impact (, February 24, 2000.

Helium, you are so bold! Anyway BG is in with the NSA so he doesn't have to worry. For now.

-- canthappen (, February 24, 2000.

Not bold, but fearless link to Bill Parish.
(sorry for the extra post, we fixed it at the same time)
((An extra bump in the Recent Answers list))

-- Possible Impact (, February 24, 2000.

Bold off!

Off, I say!

-- DeeEmBee (, February 24, 2000.

What's truly bizarre - Standard Oil is being reconstructed with no opposition from the Clinton adminastration. Exxon and Mobil are merging. Right now. Exxon is the biggest US oil company and Mobil is second biggest. Third place isn't even close. And the kicker is: Exxon and Mobil are two of the parts Standard Oil got broken into! This is the most amazing violation of the letter and spirit of the antitrust laws imaginable, but nobody even notices.

-- rebel (with@ina.cause), February 25, 2000.

Rebel, the sheeple aren't noticing because the MEDIA aren't telling them to do so.

-- canthappen (, February 25, 2000.

The Antitrust laws are an uncompliable mess and an embarrassment to the country, and should be completely eradicated.

Now, I am not an expert in the antitrust laws, but the following is my understanding:

A good example of the contradictory silliness of these laws is that if you charge prices which some bureaucrats judge as too high, you can be prosecuted for a monopoly or for an "intent to monopolize." If you charge prices lower than those of your competitors, you can be prosecuted for "unfair competition" or "restraint of trade". And if you charge the same prices as your competitors, you can be prosecuted for "collusion" or "conspiracy."

So, good luck to any business person who'd like to know ahead of time if he/she's doing the right thing.

If those in power are really interested in simultaneously lowering the cost of government and freeing up production, the elimination of these laws should be the first order of the day.

-- eve (, February 25, 2000.


Now you're being silly.

You aren't prosecuted if you charge high prices - you are prosecuted if you charge high prices and have an effective monopoly which no one can break.

You aren't prosecuted if you charge lower prices - you are prosecuted if you charge lower prices with the intent of running them out of the market completely or out of business so you can raise prices again.

You aren't prosecuted if you charge the same prices, only if you collude with your "competitors" to charge the same price.

The basic principle is that you can't attack competition, which is the cornerstone of capitalism and is GOOD for the economy, good for the consumers, and yes, even good for the companies!

-- lurker (, February 25, 2000.


I never said you would be prosecuted in those circumstances. I said you could be, the implication being that in my first example, for instance, prosecution could occur whenever a bureaucrat with some extra time on his hands happens to "feel" that it's "an effective monopoly which no one can break." And the same principle applies to the others.

Further, not being able to "attack your competitors" or in other words, "compete", is the precise antithesis of capitalism. That is, assuming you're not using force or fraud in your tactics.

I think that certain absolute monopolies are indeed bad for the economy. Like the public schools and the post office. Potentially transitory ones, like Microsoft, I have no problem with. Even if Microsoft were to remain a "monopoly" indefinitely (which is unlikely), from the products Bill Gates has given us, he more than deserves it, in any case.

-- eve (, February 25, 2000.

Just a correction/clarification of my previous post:

My statement that started with "Further, not being able to 'attack your competitors,'"

should instead have read, "Further, being forcibly prevented from 'attacking your competitors...'"

-- eve (, February 25, 2000.

"Even if Microsoft were to remain a "monopoly" indefinitely (which is unlikely), from the products Bill Gates has given us, he more than deserves it, in any case."

You have obviously never done more than try to use 'Power Point' to create a few slides and check your webmail accounts.

No offence, but if you had you would realise what trash M$ actually produce.

-- a programmer (, February 25, 2000.

91. Although Netscape declined the special relationship with Microsoft, its executives continued, over the weeks following the June 21 meeting, to plead for the RNA API. Despite Netscape's persistence, Microsoft did not release the API to Netscape until late October, i.e., as Allard had warned, more than three months later. The delay in turn forced Netscape to postpone the release of its Windows 95 browser until substantially after the release of Windows 95 (and Internet Explorer) in August 1995. As a result, Netscape was excluded from most of the holiday selling season.

92. Microsoft similarly withheld a scripting tool that Netscape needed to make its browser compatible with certain dial-up ISPs. Microsoft had licensed the tool freely to ISPs that wanted it, and in fact had cooperated with Netscape in drafting a license agreement that, by mid-July 1996, needed only to be signed by an authorized Microsoft executive to go into effect. There the process halted, however. In mid-August, a Microsoft representative informed Netscape that senior executives at Microsoft had decided to link the grant of the license to the resolution of all open issues between the companies. Netscape never received a license to the scripting tool, and as a result, was unable to do business with certain ISPs for a time.

102. Microsoft was not content to merely quash Intel's NSP software. At a second meeting at Intel's headquarters on August 2, 1995, Gates told Grove that he had a fundamental problem with Intel using revenues from its microprocessor business to fund the development and distribution of free platform-level software. In fact, Gates said, Intel could not count on Microsoft to support Intel's next generation of microprocessors as long as Intel was developing platform-level software that competed with Windows. Intel's senior executives knew full well that Intel would have difficultly selling PC microprocessors if Microsoft stopped cooperating in making them compatible with Windows and if Microsoft stated to OEMs that it did not support Intel's chips. Faced with Gates' threat, Intel agreed to stop developing platform-level interfaces that might draw support away from interfaces exposed by Windows.

108. The discussions over multimedia playback software culminated in a meeting between executives from Microsoft and Apple executives, including Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, at Apple's headquarters on June 15, 1998. Microsoft's objective at the meeting was to secure Apple's commitment to abandon the development of multimedia playback software for Windows. At the meeting, one of the Microsoft executives, Eric Engstrom, said that he hoped the two companies could agree on a single configuration of software to play multimedia content on Windows. He added, significantly, that any unified multimedia playback software for Windows would have to be based on DirectX. If Apple would agree to make DirectX the standard, Microsoft would be willing to do several things that Apple might find beneficial. First, Microsoft would adopt Apple's ".MOV" as the universal file format for multimedia playback on Windows. Second, Microsoft would configure the Windows Media Player to display the QuickTime logo during the playback of ".MOV" files. Third, Microsoft would include support in DirectX for QuickTime APIs used to author multimedia content, and Microsoft would give Apple appropriate credit for the APIs in Microsoft's Software Developer Kit.

109. Jobs reserved comment during the meeting with the Microsoft representatives, but he explicitly rejected Microsoft's proposal a few weeks later. Had Apple accepted Microsoft's proposal, Microsoft would have succeeded in limiting substantially the cross-platform development of multimedia content. In addition, Apple's future success in marketing authoring tools for Windows 95 would have become dependent on Microsoft's ongoing cooperation, for those tools would have relied on the DirectX technologies under Microsoft's control.

141. Still, had Microsoft not viewed browser usage share as the key to preserving the applications barrier to entry, the company would not have taken its efforts beyond developing a competitive browser product, including it with Windows at no additional cost to consumers, and promoting it with advertising. Microsoft would not have absorbed the considerable additional costs associated with enlisting other firms in its campaign to increase Internet Explorer's usage share at Navigator's expense. This investment was only profitable to the extent that it protected the applications barrier to entry. Neither the desire to bolster demand for Windows, nor the prospect of ancillary revenues, explains the lengths to which Microsoft has gone. For one thing, loading Navigator makes Windows just as Internet-ready as including Internet Explorer does. Therefore, Microsoft's costly efforts to limit the use of Navigator on Windows could not have stemmed from a desire to bolster consumer demand for Windows. Furthermore, there is no conceivable way that Microsoft's costly efforts to induce Apple to pre-install Internet Explorer on Apple's own PC systems could have increased consumer demand for Windows.

170. Microsoft's technical personnel implemented Allchin's "Windows integration" strategy in two ways. First, they did not provide users with the ability to uninstall Internet Explorer from Windows 98. The omission of a browser removal function was particularly conspicuous given that Windows 98 did give users the ability to uninstall numerous features other than Internet Explorer -- features that Microsoft also held out as being integrated into Windows 98. Microsoft took this action despite specific requests from Gateway that Microsoft provide a way to uninstall Internet Explorer 4.0 from Windows 98.

171. The second way in which Microsoft's engineers implemented Allchin's strategy was to make Windows 98 override the user's choice of default browser in certain circumstances. As shipped to users, Windows 98 has Internet Explorer configured as the default browser. While Windows 98 does provide the user with the ability to choose a different default browser, it does not treat this choice as the "default browser" within the ordinary meaning of the term. Specifically, when a user chooses a browser other than Internet Explorer as the default, Windows 98 nevertheless requires the user to employ Internet Explorer in numerous situations that, from the user's perspective, are entirely unexpected. As a consequence, users who choose a browser other than Internet Explorer as their default face considerable uncertainty and confusion in the ordinary course of using Windows 98.

From 'Findings of Fact - United States v. Microsoft Corporation'

Plenty more if you want it...

-- a programmer (, February 25, 2000.

a programmer,

Thanks for your input. I haven't had a chance yet to review your materials, but the only things that would upset me here, and for which the company and/or its officers should be punished would include but not be limited to, the following:

If Microsoft committed fraud against the other companies, such as contractual fraud or committed a forcible offense against the companies, their officers or products, such as patent infringement, threatening someone with physical harm, physical destruction of property, blackmail, libel, etc. etc. And even then, the punishment should not look to any breakup of the company; you'd punish the individuals responsible.

Re Power Point: Boycott it (if you can), spread the word, write letters to periodicals and other publications within the industry, contact the company, contact competitors, use a substitute or try to get by without it.

And if you respond please keep in mind that I don't know very much about computer hardware or software. I'm more comfortable discussing it from the broader principles, e.g., economics.

And of course no offense to you, either.

-- eve (, February 25, 2000.

To clarify and amend my statements on punishment:

Perhaps the company could or should be fined in some instances.

-- eve (, February 25, 2000.

Eve, we have only had the Findings of Fact so far. The Findings of Fact only set out what the judge considers to be the facts of the case, so words like 'fraud' and 'illegal' won't be mentioned.

The legality or illegality of Microsoft's actions (with respect to Anti-Trust law) will be described when the Findings of Law are released, which will be very soon. Perhaps we could return to this discussion then.

-- a programmer (, February 26, 2000.

a programmer,

That's cool. See ya then...

-- eve (, February 26, 2000.

Hard to get a decent discussion about derivitives these days. :(

-- number six (, February 26, 2000.

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