Small Business Susan

So how much money has been wasted?

http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,139492-c,internetexplorer/article.html  $521 million


http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/329766_msfteolas31.html $60 to $70 a share for the shareholders in dividends


http://www.theinquirer.net/en/inquirer/news/2006/08/23/microsoft-and-autodesk-lose-product-activation-patent-suit $158 million


How many billions of dollars have been spent that provided no benefit, protected no clients, gave no needed features?


http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f227500/227585.htm 
First, the California Movants argue that extension of the Final Judgment is necessary to “pry open” the OEM channel to non-Microsoft web browsers.(7) They make no showing, however, that any conduct by Microsoft (either in violation of the decree or otherwise) has foreclosed the OEM channel to third-party browsers. Rather, they simply state that to date, no OEM has shipped a non-Microsoft web browser as the default web browser. This is a non sequitur. The Final Judgments do not mandate that OEMs, who are not parties in this case, install non-Microsoft web browsers as a default. The Final Judgments only seek to ensure that Microsoft does not block the OEM distribution channel.



Funny, I don’t see any non Apple browser shipped in the Macintosh.  Nor do I see any other OEM channel other than Apple.  Okay so one could argue that they aren’t in a “monopoly” position, but why not ensure that from the get go that monopolistic practices aren’t followed by manufacturers?  Why is it that in the supposed “name of ensuring competition”, that all I see is companies being forced to pay patent settlements in millions of dollars. 


In reading some of the stuff on http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f227500/227585.htm is there anyone else besides me wondering how much money has been spent in “compliance” that gives no value, provides no real competition, provides nothing other than making a bunch of attorneys rich?  I thought this country was founded on capitalism and building a better mousetrap theory? 


I mean given the unofficial survey I did of college students on the train home where I saw two MacBooks, two Vista laptops and one XP, hasn’t mere “mousetrap” provided more leveling of the playing field than any judicial ruling that required the removal of a media player, a browser and what not?


How much money has been spent on this stuff?  Has it added security?  Has it provided more competition?  Has it really?


http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f225600/225691.htm 
Changes to Internet Explorer were delivered to consumers on August 14, 2007, and changes for Windows Media Player were delivered on August 28, 2007. Microsoft plans to incorporate the changes to Windows XP into Service Pack 3 and will make its proposed changes to the code available for review by the TC in the near future.


Somewhere in http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/ms07-045.mspx is something that the DOJ demanded as part of it’s settlement.  What it is, I don’t know.  How it has security impact is debatable.  Questionable, even.  But because some Judge or Attorney who probably still runs Windows 98 and Word Perfect deemed it appropriate, something they deemed as increasing competition is probably in that patch.


I think my favorite read is this section:  http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f225600/225658.htm  …. titled ” The Final Judgments Have Protected the Development of Competing Middleware Products” where they argue that due to the Judgements applications and browsers like Firefox, iTunes, Google, software as a service has been impacted, enhanced and protected by the Final Judgments.

Since the entry of the Final Judgments, there have been a number of developments in the competitive landscape relating to middleware and to PC operating systems generally that suggest that the Final Judgments are accomplishing their stated goal of fostering competitive conditions among middleware products, unimpeded by anticompetitive exclusionary obstacles erected by Microsoft.


To argue that the settlements by the DOJ have in any way impacted the rise of iTunes is laughable.  To argue that the DOJ had a hand in increasing Firefox penetration is hilarious.  THEY BUILT A BETTER PRODUCT THAT SOLVED A NEED.  Basic business 101.  It had nothing to do with the millions of dollars …potentially billions of dollars that have spent on these lawsuits.


Is the marketplace changing? 


Do posts like the links at the bottom indicate a mood shift, a reevaluation of the marketplace?  And were a SINGLE one of these posts….  influenced at all by what the Department of Justice did ….or is it all the result of businesses building something for a customer base?   I’d argue that the DOJ/EU judgments did nothing to impact or foster competition.  Sure, the marketplace is moving.  Changing.  It did before and will again.  Technology should evolve.  But it has nothing at all to do with judgments that were made.


So… how much money has really and truly been wasted… in the name of competition and anti-trust… and patent enforcement….and …well all of that….. and as consumers of software we haven’t seen an impact?


Are any of these posts a result of the DOJ settlements/judgments?  Or are the just an acknowledgement that times change and so do businesses?




1 comment so far ↓

  • #   Vlad Mazek on 11.30.07 at 12:05 am     

    Whoa, whoa, wait a sec there.

    The restrictions that DOJ placed onto Microsoft, and the afteraffects that only us who work with Microsoft closely enough know as a part of their internal policies and reservations over overly ambitious projects, were nothing but a good thing for both the consumer and the business.

    Now I agree with your opinion that it is not governments duty to level the playing field so businesses can compete better, but aftereffects of neutering Microsoft to a large extent has allowed for things that are around today.

    How quickly do we forget the evil Microsoft that bullied the customers, clients, partners, distributors and everyone even marginally involved in the IT field… Many products we see today, in the shape we see them in, are a direct result of governments around the world agreeing that there is tad too much danger in allowing a single company to abuse its monopoly to stifle others from l, l & pp.

    Microsoft is neither a victim nor a friendly company. If they were not stopped in time I am sure they would have behaved like the iTunes/iPod combo. Imagine only being able to run Internet Explorer, only use Windows Media, only access web pages served by IIS server and it pushing its might to make sure none of the OEM partners would ever be allowed to install anything else or lose their right to sell Windows?

    -Vlad