ECIS, the European Committee for Interoperable Systems, has gained intervenor status in the EU v M$, a case about tying the IE browser to that other OS. ECIS published a report that documents well the long history of anti-competitive acts and harm to consumers done by M$. You must read it.
Here are some excerpts:
“This anti-trust thing will blow over. We haven’t changed our business practices at all.”
— Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and then-CEO (1995)3
“If we own the key “franchises” built on top of the operating system, we dramatically widen the “moat” that protects the operating system business…. We hope to make a lot of money off these franchises, but even more important is that they should protect our Windows royalty per PC…. And success in those businesses will help increase the opportunity for future pricing discretion.8
” Most operating systems are purchased by original equipment manufacturers (“OEMs”), such as Dell and HP. OEMs preinstall operating systems on the computers they manufacture before selling the computers to consumers. In the late 1980s, Microsoft began requiring OEMs to pay Microsoft a “per processor license fee” for each computer they shipped, regardless of whether they installed Windows on the computer.28 This arrangement gave OEMs a powerful incentive not to pay for and install competing operating systems. In 1994, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) filed an antitrust suit against Microsoft challenging this conduct, resulting in a consent decree under which Microsoft agreed to stop using per processor license fees.29 But the anticompetitive practice had already been quite effective in reducing competitors’ share, particularly when combined with Microsoft’s other actions directed against DR-DOS.30 The DOJ consent decree also sought to impose some forward-looking relief by prohibiting Microsoft from bundling other products into its now-dominant Windows operating system. The decree included a proviso that permitted Microsoft to build “integrated” products, however, and Microsoft later took the position that, under the
decree, it could bundle “‘a ham sandwich’ in the box with a PC preinstalled with Windows 95”and “require OEMs to take the whole package.”31
” Also in the mid-1990s, Microsoft took a series of steps to punish IBM for promoting a competing operating system and personal productivity application suite. At the time, in addition to developing software in competition with Microsoft, IBM was also a major OEM, selling personal computers. As such, IBM was a major customer of Microsoft’s. Microsoft retaliated against IBM for developing competing software products by charging IBM discriminatorily high license prices for Windows, delaying licensing negotiations with IBM for Windows 95, and withholding technical support.33 Microsoft informed IBM executives that it would only stop treating IBM less favorably than other OEMs when IBM ceased competing with Microsoft’s software offerings.34 This resulted in $180 million in lost revenue for IBM,35 and other damages IBM eventually brought suit against Microsoft and Microsoft settled the claim for $775 million.36
This goes on for 33 pages and leaves no doubt that M$ is not a reliable provider of IT in an open market. There are details of which I was not aware but this document puts everything in one place. I was not involved with servers in the 1990s so I was interested to read how M$ obtained dominance in servers on the LAN. Embrace, extend, extinguish all the way. They kept changing things so that no one could interoperate with them. I saw that in my recent struggle to get a terminal server running GNU/Linux to authenticate with 2003. What a waste of time and barrier to migration. How much easier it would have been to start up LDAP and use only GNU/Linux but how many organizations of any size want to expose their accumulated data to a risky/uncertain changeover?
M$ is a monster. It is horribly real. We must avoid dealing with it as customers. Let is starve. How sad that justice is so delayed in these matters.