DOJ, states concerned about Vista antitrust docs

The U.S. Department of Justice and state attorneys general are concerned that Microsoft is revising deadlines that it agreed to as part of its antitrust settlement. At issue are changes that Microsoft says it needs to make in the schedule for releasing documentation related to Vista, according to a court document filed Tuesday. "Plaintiffs are concerned that Microsoft has not been able to meet its original schedule and are particularly troubled that at this late hour in the program, Microsoft is still discovering protocols that should have been included in the original documentation," the DOJ and the states said in a joint status report. "Plaintiffs are discussing this matter with Microsoft and will report to the court further at the status conference."

The plaintiffs and Microsoft attorneys are due to meet with U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly next Tuesday for the status conference. Such conferences are held periodically so that the judge can assess whether Microsoft is complying with requirements of the 2003 antitrust order against the company. As part of the judgment, Microsoft is required to provide technical documentation for its software to help ISVs make their products interoperable with Microsoft's. On Feb. 15, Microsoft said that it needed to modify the schedule for documentation because protocols that must be documented were added to the Vista Server after the initial schedule for rewriting documentation was set or because those protocols were "inadvertently overlooked."

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News source: InfoWorld

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Hmmm:

Microsoft said that it needed to modify the schedule for documentation because protocols that must be documented were added to the Vista Server after the initial schedule for rewriting documentation was set or because those protocols were "inadvertently overlooked."

So... that's the same Vista Server that was not released yet and in fact is not scheduled to be released until late this year?

Interesting... I guess props to MS for trying to update documentation for something that is still in Beta, and not just hand over the incomplete docs?

So, when it is the EU , everybody complains and say that the EU is evil and bad and crappy, and poor microsoft they have done nothing... and now microsoft is back to being evil again?

You also have to remember, the DoJ is imposing a horrendous task of creating documentation rewritten for distribution outside of their organization for millions of lines of code. The problem is two fold in that they have to make it detailed enough to satisfy the politicians that the other companies paid off, and yet still keep this own processes protected so they don't cut their own throat. This is a requirement that is not imposed on ANY other company. I can only imagine the cost for doing this willingly would be tens of millions of dollars. The DoJ cannot be conceited enough to think that MS will spend that kind of resources (money, man power, etc) on a judgment from on high. Personally, if I were MS I would be petulant and start requesting the same level of documentation from every other software developer just to see how long such a system could last. Can you imagine Apple having to do the same?

Oserus said,
The DoJ cannot be conceited enough to think that MS will spend that kind of resources (money, man power, etc) on a judgment from on high.

Actually, they can, because if Microsoft doesn't comply, the DoJ can easily shut Microsoft down, permanently.

Oserus said,
This is a requirement that is not imposed on ANY other company.

No other software company has a monopoly like Microsoft and/or had to agree to this type of settlement for anti-competitive practices. Remember, this IS an anti-trust case.

Oops! Actually, Microsoft does not have a monopoly. Let's see why:

On being anti-competitive: This stems from the whole "IE is a part of Windows" argument from Microsoft. Apple received no punishment for bundling Safari with OS X but Microsoft does for bundling IE with Windows? That's a double-standard plain and simple and completely ground-less.

On being a monopoly: If you consider the number of people who voluntarily chose non-Microsoft operating systems and other software it is more than significant enough to prove that there is a variety of choice in software and that no monopoly exists. How can a Microsoft monopoly exist when you can have a fully-functioning computer that has no trace of Microsoft software on it? Get an iMac and delete the Office test drive. No trace of Microsoft and a fully functioning computer that is inter-operable with Windows-based computers. Does that sound like a monopoly to you? Keep in mind that each person or business *voluntarily* chooses what software they use. Since there is no choice in a monopoly situation the idea that there is an OS monoply is absurd. If there was a monopoly you Mac fans would not have macs plain and simple.

Saying that Microsoft is a monopoly is like saying that your cell phone provider is a monopoly... even though you could easily switch to a competitor and place calls to the monopolist's network just as easily as if you didn't switch.

Sorry, but having a solid market-share does not automatically put the company in a monopoly situation. It's just simple economics.

C_Guy said,
Oops! Actually, Microsoft does not have a monopoly. Let's see why:

Whether or not you agree that Microsoft has a monopoly is irrelevant. The courts decided that they do and that's what counts.

C_Guy said,
On being anti-competitive: This stems from the whole "IE is a part of Windows" argument from Microsoft. Apple received no punishment for bundling Safari with OS X but Microsoft does for bundling IE with Windows? That's a double-standard plain and simple and completely ground-less.

Since MS has a monopoly, they are held up to different standards.

C_Guy said,
Saying that Microsoft is a monopoly is like saying that your cell phone provider is a monopoly... even though you could easily switch to a competitor and place calls to the monopolist's network just as easily as if you didn't switch.

I cannot easily run Windows applications on non-Windows OS's. Wine is a good implementation of the Win32 API, but nowhere near complete. So I cannot easily switch from one vendor to another, as you describe in your cellphone analogy.

I'd say that the USDOJ lawyers know a little more about monopolies than us (search for the word monopoly). MS may not be a pure monopoly in every strict definition of the word, but it is close enough to warrant them to settle on anti-competitive charges. And it is close enough for the majority of people to consider them a monopoly. Remember, competition is healthy for the industry and good for the consumer. That is why antitrust and other similar business practice laws are on the books. It's not to punish companies and/or markets, but to protect them and the rights/freedoms of consumers.

"Remember, competition is healthy for the industry and good for the consumer. That is why antitrust and other similar business practice laws are on the books. It's not to punish companies and/or markets, but to protect them and the rights/freedoms of consumers."

Competition IS good for the market, on that I agree. The problem is that somehow the DoJ, and you, seem to think that gives companies the right to use Microsoft's work against Microsoft. If I build a killer car, that does not give you the right to know my specs just to create a radio to compete against the radio I have already installed. Like any other business, you get to do your own homework and figure out how to make the radio work with my car. If you don't wish to then you have a choice and I have a choice. If I find that having my car compatible with your radio would increase my sales, I'll either make my car compatible, or work with you to make it easy for you to make your radio compatible. Also, you have a choice, you can either do your homework on your own to make your radio compatible, or you can go make radios for other cars, there are plenty of them out there. The consumers have a choice, and make the driving choices for both parties. If they like your radio enough, they will make thier car choice based on what it's compatible with, or if they like my car more than they like your radio, so be it. In either case, the government has no business being in the middle. If we let them in the middle, it just makes it easier for them to do other things that may next affect YOU personally.

Oserus said,
The problem is that somehow the DoJ, and you, seem to think that gives companies the right to use Microsoft's work against Microsoft.

No one is using MS's work against MS. They have a monopolistic stronghold over sectors of the industry that they have been found guilty of misusing by participating in anti-competitive practices. Microsoft realized what they were doing was illegal and agreed to the terms of the settlement. The spirit of this settlement was to help foster competition and complimenting products in the sector of the market that Microsoft holds Monopolistic powers. That is nothing but good for the industry (including Microsoft) and especially the consumer.

Remember, MS agreed to this settlement in good faith... that is what this all about. If you want to do business in a jurisdiction, you have to follow the rules, regulations, and laws of that jurisdiction. Very black and white. The USDOJ is just upholding the court's ruling and the laws on the books.

Alright. If this is "good" for the consumer then you obviously would agree that Apple and any other software company that participates in the *exact same* actions (the prime example, of course, is bundling a web browser with an operating system) should be subject to the same crap that Microsoft has to deal with because of it.

There is no logical or legal reason why Apple (or any other software company) should get away with this but not Microsoft.

Let's ask the DoJ to apply these rules, regualtions, and laws to everyone, not just the company they want to pick on.

After all, this is about being "fair", is it not?

"They have a monopolistic stronghold over sectors of the industry"
Agreed, they have a strong market position. My question is, if these judgments are to help that situation to encourage competition in those markets, then it IS using MS to compete against MS. If it is not meant to weaken MS position in the makrets they have a strong position, then it is pointless expenditure both on MS's part and ours as tax payers.

In example, if MS is forced to assist Adobe, who is not a direct competitor yet, then it is an unfair burden on MS since Adobe was not hurt by MS alleged monopolistic behavior. If MS is forced to assist Corel, who is a direct competitor with it's Word Perfect suite, (forgive me if I am behind on who owns WP this week) then it is using MS's resources to compete against itself.

"Remember, MS agreed to this settlement in good faith"
It was costing millions of dollars a day to just defend itself against the DoJ. There was no reason guilty or innocent to continue such an expenditure in a fight it had little chance of winning. There comes a point where it is cheaper just to nod and agree than to continue arguing. (Basic math, a 100 million dollar agreement with the DoJ without admission of guilt is a heck of allot cheaper than fighting out for another five years.)

C_Guy said,
There is no logical or legal reason why Apple (or any other software company) should get away with this but not Microsoft.

While I'm usually quite vocal over Apple, I don't see any merrit in your example. In Windows I'm stuck with IE and it can't be easilly removed. If it is removed then it breaks other things in Windows. On a Mac if I don't want Safari I can remove it easilly and it doesn't impact the rest of the system because it was artificially tied to the OS.

C_Guy said,
Alright. If this is "good" for the consumer then you obviously would agree that Apple and any other software company that participates in the *exact same* actions (the prime example, of course, is bundling a web browser with an operating system) should be subject to the same crap that Microsoft has to deal with because of it.

There is no logical or legal reason why Apple (or any other software company) should get away with this but not Microsoft.

Let's ask the DoJ to apply these rules, regualtions, and laws to everyone, not just the company they want to pick on.

After all, this is about being "fair", is it not?


I would agree if that company used its monopolistic powers in a sector to unfairly practice illegal anti-competitive behavior. That is why MS settled... they knew they were guilty and could not win. Remember, the DOJ only enforces the laws on the books. If you don't like these laws, do something to change them.

Oserus said,
"They have a monopolistic stronghold over sectors of the industry"
Agreed, they have a strong market position. My question is, if these judgments are to help that situation to encourage competition in those markets, then it IS using MS to compete against MS. If it is not meant to weaken MS position in the makrets they have a strong position, then it is pointless expenditure both on MS's part and ours as tax payers.

In example, if MS is forced to assist Adobe, who is not a direct competitor yet, then it is an unfair burden on MS since Adobe was not hurt by MS alleged monopolistic behavior. If MS is forced to assist Corel, who is a direct competitor with it's Word Perfect suite, (forgive me if I am behind on who owns WP this week) then it is using MS's resources to compete against itself.

"Remember, MS agreed to this settlement in good faith"
It was costing millions of dollars a day to just defend itself against the DoJ. There was no reason guilty or innocent to continue such an expenditure in a fight it had little chance of winning. There comes a point where it is cheaper just to nod and agree than to continue arguing. (Basic math, a 100 million dollar agreement with the DoJ without admission of guilt is a heck of allot cheaper than fighting out for another five years.)


What MS was doing was illegal. They admitted guilt by settling. Case closed and now they are dragging their feet like they do in all legal scenarios hoping that the political climate will change. Business wise it is smart, ethically it is evil.

This is kind of fun... do some research on MS political campaign contributions (via employee PAC and other sources). It wasn't until the very first USDOJ case that the boys and girls in Redmond even cared about politics. Now they are one of the country's largest donating bodies.

Will be tons of microsoft bashers posting here. So i will post this before that happens.

Anyway if you actually read what is stated it says mcirosoft themselves is saying they forgot protocls and need a revised schedule so they can include them.

Microsoft didnt have to say anything and could have left those protocas out anyway.

Microsoft is trying but of course people will bash them anyway.

majortom1981 said,
Microsoft didnt have to say anything and could have left those protocas out anyway.

They do have to say something. In this case they can't withhold documents, evidence, etc. if they know that it exists. MS would get into even more hot water if they kept quiet (and me thinks they know that )... don't for a minute think they are doing this for moral reasons, it is for purely business and legal ones.

If they are stalling, then they should just be done with it and hand it over. If they are not stalling, then it makes them look pretty incompetent.

IMHO, Microsoft's legal strategy in anti-trust/ant-competitive practice cases has been to stall until the political climate is more favorable for them. That is what they did in the US DOJ case in the late 90's and what they are attempting to do in the EU case today.