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MS to be fined 2.4m per day by EU?

By Mirob · 49 replies
Dec 25, 2005
  1. You guys read this, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4552214.stm?
    This code is Microsoft's personal property, is the EU above the law? What is the EULA for any way?

    They may just want KFC's recipie too.
  2. beerabuser30

    beerabuser30 TS Enthusiast Posts: 200

    I agree, Microsoft doesn't have to disclose anything.
  3. omegaweopon

    omegaweopon TS Rookie Posts: 25

    I can understand hating microsoft. Everyone does. But thats going too far.
  4. Mirob

    Mirob TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 476

    No matter what, it hurts us users. Thay pay it it comes out of our pockets. Thay give up the code malware will come from every where.

    I think the bean counters at the EU, and bean counters at MS are counting away. The EU has gotten money out of them before making up stupid laws and are just doing it over again.

    I think thay should just raise prices for the EU and pay the fine.
  5. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    That doesn't make sense, Windows is already just a big conglomerate of APIs that can be used and called from any program that connects to them. How much more "open" do they have to get for Pete's sake?!

    Windows is already about as interoperable as it can get, which is why it's so dang buggy in the first place! Maybe it is time to go to MAC...
  6. Mirob

    Mirob TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 476

    That's the point. If you want Apple, use it. Linux use it. Why does it need to be compatible? SD and memory stick isn't, so sue Sony?

    Windows is a far better choice. Easy to setup and use, and many times more programs. MS works on it every day, some reason my copys seem to work just fine.

    More info http://business.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,13130-1960595,00.html
  7. Triton

    Triton TS Enthusiast Posts: 82

    Microsoft embraces interoperability

    March 24, 2004
    "Microsoft abused its market power by deliberately restricting interoperability between Windows PCs and non-Microsoft work group servers"

    "To the extent that any of this interface information might be protected by intellectual property in the European Economic Area (6) , Microsoft would be entitled to reasonable remuneration. The disclosure order concerns the interface documentation only, and not the Windows source code, as this is not necessary to achieve the development of interoperable products."

    "Interoperability is all about different software products working together. Microsoft embraces interoperability—through our products today, with the new generation of XML-enabled software, through technology and IP licensing, and in our partnerships with companies that are dedicated to helping software products work together."
  8. Mirob

    Mirob TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 476

    "Microsoft embraces interoperability—through our products"--with other Microsoft products only it would seem.

    I realy dont get the whole media player thing. By the time I'm done installing drivers and programs, I have to start unistalling players I have so many. If I want Real player I can use it, or WinAmp if I like. I have ATi stuff too. Apple's Quick Time on the start up? I dont get that eather.

    Any one buy Windows "N"?

  9. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    Well MS just won't pay that kinda money so the EU can just stand around and talk about this idea of theirs. MS's lawyers will obviously oppose such an idea and IMO, it looks like they are trying to earn money from this whole charade. And besides, releasing their code would mean decreased security, just as Mirob said.
    But, looking at the other side of the coin, it would affect MS's monopoly as the undisputed king of the OS world to a great extent.
  10. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Actually, Windows uses a lot of undisclosed API functions, this is about them.

    US DOJ covered this in their United States vs. Microsoft case, but in the end they did nothing to change the situation (And why would they have done anything, Microsoft is a US company after all).

    http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/ms_tuncom/major/mtc-00030631_ex12.htm , read the chapter "Restoring Lost Competition".
  11. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    I'll have to read that when I get some time.

    Surely, however, such OS-only APIs aren't 100% NEEDED by outside software for full compatability?
    I mean, two engines in two vehicles don't have to be compatable in order to use the same tires on both cars.
  12. shoe3k

    shoe3k TS Rookie

    You cant force a company to make its code open source. Who knows what this would do to them, financially, security and risk for users and businesses.

    They're going to fine them? They can fine them all they want, all MS has to do is not pay them. They will ban the sales of their O/S in that area but all the people have to do is order it online which will be a loophole.

    This kind of stuff is just ridiculous to hear.
  13. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    There are two schools of thought on code.

    1. is that code is intellectual propety subject to patent and privacy rights.

    2. the second is that all code should be free

    I take the middle road. I am a big proponent of open-source (free software) written by programmers to be freely distributed. Quality examples of this are all around like openoffice.org, mozilla, thunderbird, 7Zip, firefox, and others.... Many of these are either equal to or superior to commerical equivalents. This will force commerical enterprises to compete by offering better quality products (a good thing) and improved customer service - something sorely lacking in the computer industry.

    HOWEVER, I do realize that a private commerical company has the right to make a profit through the sales of its software.

    The problem with M$ is not that it's code is proprietary - (It has a right to protect it's own interests....) it's that its software is ubiqutious and is a monopoly. Good or bad, M$ window$ is one of the best Operating Systems that ever came about. Where this can be an issue with governments is through security issues. This, however, is changing. Governments have a tremendous amount of power and influence to change the software used on their computers. Many governments are getting rid of MS Word and switching to open source software. The military often uses propritary operating systems and software to protect its own interests for example.

    A smart company will realize that it is not always wise to conceal all their code, nor is it always wise to make all their code free.... this is more of a marketing and management issue than a software issue.
  14. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    I think it should be fine to copyright and protect code, and have the right to sell it.

    BUT I also think that, if somebody were so inclinded, they could write their OWN code to do EXACTLY the same thing. For example, how MS patents the "way" in which software can automatically install itself. Which is why Linux, for so long, required command lines to install, because of patents on auto-installing code. My details are fuzzy on this, but it's something like that.

    The way I think is that, there is only SO MANY ways to program something! I mean, if 5 companies patent and copyright 5 ways of doing one objective, that pretty much means nobody else can program their stuff to do that as well. So they are force to find a new way entirely. That is just dumb.

    It's like saying, "I copyrighted 1+1=2, so nobody else can use it". Alright, so in order not to infringe, my program uses 1+2-1=2, and I copyrighted that. Now company three, not to be sued by company 1 or 2, writes his code like 4/2=2. And so on and so on. It is retarted I think. In the programming world, in order to complete a task, there is only so many ways and so many languages you can use to complete a task, if everybody has copyrights on all the different ways to code, how the heck can they program something without eventually mimicking or downright writing the same code for the same task!?

    I think it's great that MS has their own proprietary code and rights to their software. But I don't think they should be able to stop someone, from writing a new OS, entirely from scratch, to EXACTLY mimick Windows. If I see a program that is really cool, and want to take the months or years it would take to write it myself, I think that should be allowed, so long as I don't steal THEIR code, but instead write it myself. Even if I use the same programming language, and end up using some of the same techniques.

    I bugs me to think that I could write a program, and then have some big muscle company pour their wrath down on me, saying they own the rights to X and Y and I can't do that in my program. People should creative freedom to use these languages and write WHATEVER they want to, even if it mimicks or downright copies some other software. I mean, hey, if they spent all the time and research to write it from scratch, so be it.
    This is OK in the open source world, which is why there are 10s of Linux distros that all look and act about the same. But only ONE Windows OS.

    Anyhow, maybe my thinking is screwed, but I'll stop rambling now.
  15. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    I see no problem with M$ copyrighting the way they program their software. If its so good that you want to use it, then follow their rules.... otherwise invent a way around it or make up a new system....

    Bad software gets ditched, good software gets used. I don't see a problem with M$. Now if you find or invent a SIMILAR (yet different) to achieve the same end, then I don't see where M$ has a right to step in and try to block you. As long is it isn't exactly the same.
  16. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    The problem lies in the fact that they can copyright "ideas", so to speak. Like for example, say MS or somebody copyrighted autorun CDs. Then no other OS could autorun a CD upon insert, or it would infringe.

    Or for example, copyright the "address bar" idea, so no other browser could have what is deemed an "address bar". Or the "start menu" or anything else you can think of.

    Those types of copyrights are a no-no in my book. Or another example is the company now known as Linspire, their original name was Lindows, but MS decided to sue them because it sounded "to much" like Windows.
    Silly crap like that bugs me.

    Hopefully, because these types of copyrights and lawsuits are reletively new, they will sort out the details properly; and not let the software giants deside who can do what with their programs.
  17. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    I don't see the problem. Inventions are merely ideas put into place.
    Patents protect those ideas.

    IF MS came up with an auto-run CD first, then so be it. Other companies will have to be more innovative.

    The same argument has come up for a lot of inventions outside of computing. The telephone is an example.
  18. Mirob

    Mirob TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 476

    The whole windows idea is Apple's. I remember seeing those little Macs with black and white screens, thats the first time I seen a graphic bases OS.
  19. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,168

    I was under the impression that Patents were there to protect inventions - not Ideas, and as such they protect the methods invented to put ideas into material form. For example, I could design and patent a hydrolytic carburettor, but that wouldn't mean that somebody else couldn't design and patent a better way of doing it.

    As far as I can tell, this isn't about the code. From what Mict says above, there are many undisclosed API's used by Microsoft in it's OS. It's these API's that allow MS to integrate its proprietary formats and additional software (eg, Media Player) more tightly than the competition are able to, and so give themselves a significant commercial advantage by doing so. The argument is one of whether that commercial advantage is fair or not, or whether it constitutes an abuse of MS's almost monopoly like position.
  20. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    You are not allowed to copyright "ideas" in the material world. You can't just walk in a patent office and copyright a "personal skooter that hovers and flies". You have to have a working model to patent it.

    If you link, say, the telephone example, to MS code, here is what I see.

    The telephone is made up of a "board" of some kind, speaker, mic, buttons, handset, bla bla. But it's "function" is to enable voice talking between two people over a wire. Now I can understand them wanting to patent and copyright their circuit board, their buttons, their handset, their "technology". But I DON'T see how they could copyright the "idea" of "talking between two people over a wire". That idea should NOT be copyrightable. So a million people can invent phones to talk over a wire.

    Now MS, on the other hand, has the right to protect their own code and do what they like. But this, in no way, should prevent others from also writing THEIR OWN code to pretty much do the same thing. Why not?

    BUT, this gets hairy, because these vendors want "IN" the MS code so they can integrate more fully into the OS. This would be like saying Panasonic HAS to open up its circuit boards to allow "add ons" to their phones. They don't have to do that at all. And neither should MS. Except that MS has a monopoly, so there is no choice.

    It's all so stinking confusing. Just remember we are in the early days of computers and the Internet. The "founders", if you will, in these fields are still alive and kicking, this is first generation. I hope they just work it out properly, that's all.
  21. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,168

    Surely an API set isn't the same thing as the code itself?

    To use the phone analogy, an entire industry has built up around creating addons for the phone (let say answerphones for example). This industry is competative because all parties involved know how to interface completely with the phone system (API's) even though the owners of the phone system haven't disclosed how the system is structured internally (code). They have simply made available all of the hooks required to integrate with the internal structure of the phone network.
  22. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    That sounds right, except in this case, MS owns all the APIs, or simply chooses NOT to create the APIs in the first place. They have the monopoly.
    But so did one company have the monopoly back in the split of the phone company into "baby bells". Which is what they tried to do to MS, splitting them up. Though that just fizzled out.

    Phone companies, by law now, have to allow others into their closed system to use the phone lines. Hense DSL providers over your local phone company's wire.

    Why doesn't MS just DETACH all the "free" programs from the OS, and make them freely downloadable instead? Or come on an "extras" CD?
    I don't understand why they are so fierce in forcing their IE and Media Player on people? These programs are free anyway, why can't they just take them out? They won't loose money on free products. Then everybody would be happy.
    When XP came out, or maybe it was SP1, they removed MSJava. So why can't they just remove IE and MP and others?

    Heck, they could make those apps a complete installer right on the desktop of a newly installed Windows if they wanted to.

    The fundamental problem here is that IE is more integrated into Windows then any 3rd party software developer could even attempt to get. IE is so integrated, you can't even remove it without doing it manually and possibly hurting something! It is so integrated that when IT crashes, your whole Explorer may crash as well.

    IMO, I don't want ANY software being THAT integrated into the OS. It's bad enough IE can take down your whole desktop. Imagine if now you can install 10 other programs that are just as attached and able to take you down? Instead I like the programs running in their own processing "bubble", so they can crash in any way, and ONLY that program needs to be closed, without hurting anything else.
  23. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    I've removed IE before and ran into a heap of problems..... youy simply can't do it. The only thing I use IE for now is windows updates and websites that aren't compliant with standards.

    I've since put it back.
  24. KillerPrince

    KillerPrince TS Rookie

    i mean what is EU really? cmon now there fining ms. bunch of bull
  25. Mirob

    Mirob TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 476

    As I see it, many governments are switching to linux and thay want to keep using Windows on a few machines.

    Thay want thier cake and eat it too, so to speak. The EU is helping them.

    MS has too fight this or thay will loose more market.

    I think everyone posting in this thread is American. What do Europeans think?
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