I wish

First, my opinions are not those of my employer.

Second, I point you to the article titled EU fines Microsoft record $1.4bn.

Third, I bring your attention to a comment about the fine following the article:

Microsoft MUST be brought to account for its’ practice of dominating by exclusion. If the company, Microsoft, continues to practice in a manner which refuses to be competitive, then it should be excluded from the EU. Nicholas Carton, USA
Nicholas Carton, Saint Louis, Missouri USA

Fourth, my opinion:

If people only knew how much time and effort MS spends groveling and trying to please these socialist jerks…

I am sometimes (and this is one of those times) of the opinion MS should tell the EU, “Then do without any of our products. Not only will your languages not be supported but all future versions of our software will not run without having at least intermittent Internet access and will not run if said Internet path traverses any part of an EU country.”

But that’s an emotional response without looking at the cost/benefit numbers. Rational analysis will require looking out for the stockholders best interests on a number of fronts. I know such a response would allow competitors access to a cash cow as well as cutting off MS income from this source. I just can’t help wondering at what point the EU will push MS too far and the numbers no longer add up to continue trying to please the greedy socialists.

I wish MS were in a position to demonstrate to the EU they need MS more than MS needs them and had the courage to follow through on a very forceful demonstration of that.


20 thoughts on “I wish

  1. I don’t think there is any cash cow for competitors. Linux is the only real alternative (since Apple won’t be licensing Mac OS X for non-Apple hardware anytime soon) so MS won’t be handing any money to anyone. And you are right. The EU would come back crying within a quarter.

  2. John Galt! Very good observation.

    Even if there were no O/S’s of significance available it would open the door for web based computing where the local machine needs little more than browser capability. The server market would use various flavors of Unix and despite having some significant birthing pains would probably succeed without competition from MS.

    With that example of MS “being a bully” it would encourage others to shun MS and to pay more (not just in money, but in time, convenience, features, reliablity, security, etc.) for non-MS products.

    Like I said, my emotional response is different than a rational one. I’m not in a position to look at all the numbers and predict the outcome but I doubt it will turn out the way I would “like” it to.

  3. I agree with your emotional response,, but then I’ve already made up my mind to go to Linux, when MS stops supporting XP Pro. πŸ˜‰

  4. So wait… You advocate tools so that 110lb women can defend themselves against 200lb rapists, and yet you seem to be grumbling about how some 110lb countries are using legal tools to defend themselves against 200lb companies? πŸ™‚

  5. Years ago, in our rent-to-own business we had a very high customer default rate. We tightened up on credit, requiring credit checks on all accounts prior to approval, etc.. Emotional response– people are essentially stealing from us and that must be stopped.

    The credit default rate went to near zero, but our bottom line sank into the pits as well. The cost of doing business is that you grit your teeth and take it, over and over and over, and smile about it.

    The laws favor the deadbeat in almost every way imaginable (go ahead and get a small claims judgment and see of you can talk the local LEO, who’s outside your voting jurisdiction, into getting it executed, for example, or go to that Bankruptcy court creditors’ meeting– you’ll be the only creditor there as the others have learned it’s a waste of time). In that sense I suppose we have a consumer-driven society. In the sense of that which makes modern life possible, we have a producer-driven society (but don’t tell anyone– it’s a secret). How we love to hate the producers, and the bigger and more successful the producers (the more people they have served with their innovation and hard work) the more we are expected to hate them.

    I blame coercively funded education. To espouse the American Principles of Liberty (and their economic incarnation, capitalism) or to even let on that they exist, is tantamount to institutional suicide for a public school system, isn’t it? Yes, there is definite conflict of interest there. Yes there is.

  6. Tim, yeah, like instead of producing something new and fantastic that billions of people want, MS went in and started robbing people at gunpoint.

  7. It’s the EU that is using the gun to rob people. The rules they impose are vague and they get to decide if they have been met or not. MS can do everything as per the written law as best they can then when “judgement day” comes the EU decides MS has not complied. MS is required to pay hundreds of millions that go not to MS competitors that were supposedly hurt, but to the EU. MS again attempts to comply and again the EU says, “You didn’t comply. Send money.” Repeat.

    It’s quite a racket.

  8. I don’t particularly care for some of the ways that MS conducts its business, or the design ethic behind some of the products and frameworks. But I stopped complaining when I realized that doing so invites government to try and “fix” it.

    Linux is not a competitor, it’s more of an alternate standard. Actually, it’s just a kernel, the rest of it is mostly the GNU System. Operating systems like GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, or OpenBSD are wide open, and provide the tools and information for the system manager to do whatever he pleases, however he pleases — even if that way is wrong. Windows forces users to do things its way, which is often times inefficient, yet safer.

    I’ve been plugging away with GNU/Linux for over twelve years now, as a hobby and also in a production environment. I love it, but it requires motivation to learn it well enough to use it to its full potential. In other words, it will never reach the market share of Windows, because it’s easier to pay someone in Redmond to decide how to manage your systems.

    And that’s okay with me, because when I talk to someone else in the industry, or a potential job candidate, and they say something like, “I’m okay as long as I’m shown exactly what steps to follow,” I know that this person is still employable — just not in my department.

    And I agree with you, Joe. They’re playing a game. It’s called: “How much cash can we liberate from Microsoft before they decide the European market isn’t worth the hassle?” If I were in charge, I would exclude Solitaire and Reversi from the Euro distributions. That ought to cause riots in offices across the continent.

  9. Well, Microsoft’s entire business model is erected on the foundation of a government granted monopoly. All the EU would have to do in response to a MS pullout is declare Microsoft’s operating system to be in the public domain. Anyone could copy it, and make derivative works. European countries would get all the benefits, with none of the money going back to Microsoft.

  10. Not the first bad thing to come from Brussels, and certainly will not be the last. It will get worse.

  11. Sebastian, I think you forgot about the activation keys and updates.

    An activation key is only good for something like three installs. Without an activation key the software will only run for a limited time.

    Without updates the first major security flaw found means your machine is probably going to be part of a bot net within a month or two.

  12. Once again the corrupt commies in Brussels have decided that a company has too large of a market share, and has broken the unwritten/vague rules and needs to be fined so that the marketplace is ‘fair.’ Once again commies take from the productive and give to the worthless. I personally hope that MS does leave the EU market; I doubt it will be long before the EU reconsiders the fine, if MS revokes and cripples all the MS servers/workstations in the EU. It would be a good thing, I wonder how much work the EU could do if they can’t open Outlook, or run the workstations in the offices. How exactly do you get taxes if you can’t get the ownership information out of the workstations?

  13. Microsoft currently allows you to download critical security updates even without a legal software license. You only need to pass genuine activation if you want useful but not critical updates or non-patch downloads (updated Media Player, PST fixer).

    If any part of the EU decides to discount Microsoft Window’s copyright, they’d open so wide a ditch that they’d never get out. Berne Convention rules state that *every work*, whether or not it has a stated copyright, must have copyright protection for its author’s lifespan plus 50 years. There’s not as many valuable copyrights from countries inside the EU as within the US, but they’re still a pretty sizable count. It really, really would not be hard for such a thing to start an impressive trade war.

    That might not stop them from trying, but it’ll certainly put a damper on any attempts.

    But, yes, who is John Galt, and what’s this Directive 10-289 that we’re hearing about?

  14. “Tim, yeah, like instead of producing something new and fantastic that billions of people want, MS went in and started robbing people at gunpoint.”

    Well, that’s kinda what they do sometimes. I worked at Inktomi some time ago, and at one point, MS came to us and said “OK, we want $MM from you for licenses this year, and if you don’t give it to us, we’ll sue you and get you audited, and we are pretty sure that we’ll find something out of compliance somewhere, and then we’ll get $MM x 2. Your choice.” The $MM figure was well over what the software that we used from them would have cost list. Plus, we’d already paid for most of that when we had bought our Dell hardware originally. So yes, we felt like we had just been robbed at gunpoint.

    Also, I worked at Netscape sometime before that. There, it was even worse. We’d go in and make a sale of some of our server software, and they would find out about it, and go to the customer and _pay_ them to use their software just to get us out of there. Buy them hardware, cash, free support, whatever; anything to get us out of there. The customer would always say “we liked your stuff better, but… I just can’t justify turning down free money.” So yes, we felt like we were being strangled by somebody much bigger than us.

    So: In my mind, just like we need guns to defend ourselves from larger/stronger/more aggressive people, it seems like smaller companies/governments/etc need some tools to defend themselves from larger/stronger/more aggressive entities such as corporations. MS certainly is large and aggressive. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to pull the trigger on them if they are attacking somebody. Of course, the definition of “attack” here may be hard to define, but that’s what courts are for. And as I understand it, that is what is happening here with MS.

  15. Tim; This touches a sore spot that exists in most of us who have been in business of any kind. It’s a long story and maybe this is the wrong place to get too deep into it. I with my business of ten employees have had to compete with business 100, and 1000 times larger. Any large retailer, Wal Mart comes to mind, can beat any smaller business on price. They can also put astonishing pressure on their suppliers (being the suppliers’ biggest account) and so on.

    This is known as competition, and it’s a tough, fight-every-day world in a free market.

    Our challenge as the small guy, is to be creative in finding ways to attract customers to our products and services. I’ve written about this to the music industry at length. If all I have to offer is the same product as my competitors, but at a higher price, I’m dead. We have to offer something the customer cannot get at Big Retailer– knowledge, service, comfort, faith, even our own in-house products, etc.– the whole experience. Either that or we can lobby for restrictions on our competition. That often works too, but it’s a cop out, and requires corruption of government.

    On the other hand, if all Big Retailer has to offer is a low price, he is vulnerable to my smaller business, more technical knowledge and better customer experience model.

    If a Big Company has a great product, good service, a good track record, and so on, all of the above, then you have a different challenge– you either go into another line of work, go to work for Big Company, or, if you’re really creative, you come up with something fantastic that no one else has to offer. Many companies are doing this in the computing world as we speak. I don’t know the total dollar figure of all personal computing-related sales in the world, but we can point to only a few individuals who made the personal computing model into a reality, making possible the whole industry and all the jobs and products that come from it.

    Someday, MS will be only a blip on the total scene, and hopefully it will have been because of someone else’s genius, coming up with something as creative and ground-breaking as the original PC concept, rather than because of government imposed restrictions.

    When it comes to your property rights verses Big Company’s property rights, that’s where government is supposed to step in and see that each interest is having their rights protected. If this is not happening, then we have a problem with government. All too often however, government can become the perpetrator instead of the protector. Offering incentives for an account certainly should not be made a crime.

    If Big Company is sued by the government for billions of dollars, it will not help you in the slightest– they’re not going to give you that money and set you up oin the bisiuness of your choice with guaranteed job security (unless you go to work for the government). If Big Company is sued for the wrong reasons, it endangers your rights along with theirs, and when you come up with your ground-breaking idea, you’ll be looking over your shoulder for the government interventions against you. Some people are just fine with that scenario.

    In short– the bigger the company, generally, the more small opportunity niches are created in their shadows. Find them, but don’t expect Big Company’s cooperation when you’re competing with them.

  16. As much as I am not a fan of Microsoft, they are currently being extorted big time… Eight or Nine hundred million last time 1.X billion this time…

    They really need to do what apple did in France. When the French gov tried to pass a law that would make apple open up the iTunes store. Apple said gee guys, we tried to be fair but if you want to legislate us out of a competitive business we will just close down the store in france. Once Apple stated that, France waved the white flag faster then, well then the french normally do.

    Personally I am going with the John Galt outlook…

    Tell the EU that this is their notice. At the end of this year Microsoft can no longer justify the business case to do business in the EU and will no longer sell or support the Windows Desktop operating system in any EU countries. Microsoft would be pleased to start working with the EU if at some point in the future doing business in the EU is supported by the business case.

    See how long it takes for them to buckle under the outrage of the business and consumers in the EU.

  17. Linux came from Europe.

    Germany gave a major contract to SuSe YEARS ago.

    Where the EU gets off claiming that Microsoft is discouraging competition I cannot fathom. I don’t like MS, but I don’t like highway robbery either. Next thing you know it will be a fine against the US because the US Military makes up more than X percentage of NATO which encourages EU reliance on the US for security, after all if we weren’t strong they would have to be strong.

  18. Lyle,

    I’m quite aware of what competition is, having been in business for myself and as a part of many innovative companies. This sort of stuff is one of the things that frustrates me the most about the computer industry. The superior technology/company/product rarely wins in my experience, and it’s because of this sort of stuff, which is frustrating to me, because I often have to deal with the fallout of crappy technology. πŸ™‚

    It sounds like you are saying that the 200lb companies should win whenever they encounter the 110lb companies. That it is OK for might to make right. Is that really the case? If so, where is the space for innovation? Just like we should be free in our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, it seems like companies and governments should be free to bring innovative ideas to the market or use innovative products from their vendors of choice without being crushed. Doesn’t it seems reasonable to give them tools to defend themselves from that?

    But I think I may see where our disagreement lies. I see government being, in this case, just like another corporation, and as such, it seems quite reasonable for them to bring suit, just as it would be reasonable for my company to bring suit if they were being abused by MS. Now, if they were making laws saying “2% of MS and only MS’s income must go to the government”, I’d feel differently, but it doesn’t look like they are doing that to me. And sure, the money isn’t going to me, but that’s fine. It’s going to the injured party; the government bringing the suit. However, it does have an indirect effect that _is_ beneficial to me. If I create a company in the EU that MS wants to “aggressively compete” with, they will hopefully think twice about doing that because I may bring a similar suit to bear on them.

    As for this specific case, yeah, I think it would be cool if MS took their toys and went home. πŸ™‚ I’m sure some very interesting things would come of it. But in my analogy, that is just like the 200lb rapist saying “Curses! Those EU people have guns! I’ll go back to the US where they don’t allow such stuff!”. To me, that sounds great. πŸ™‚ It would be very interesting to see what happened next!

    Have fun!!

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