Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

M$ remains unrepentant, says antitrust judge

Filed under
Microsoft

Microsoft Corp. is still trying to "leverage" its Windows operating system monopoly to control all software markets, said the former judge who ordered the company's breakup in the U.S. government's landmark antitrust case.

"Nothing has changed, to my observation, in the five years that have elapsed since my decision," said Thomas Penfield Jackson, who retired last year as a federal judge. He said the settlement of the government's case hasn't diminished Microsoft's power in the marketplace or changed its business strategy of trying to expand its monopoly.

"Windows is an operating-system monopoly, and the company's business strategy was to leverage Windows to achieve a comparable dominion over all software markets," Jackson said yesterday in Washington at a conference sponsored by the American Antitrust Institute.

Jackson's 2000 decision ordered the breakup of Microsoft, but in 2001, a U.S. appeals court overturned that element, leaving the company intact. It upheld his findings that Microsoft illegally protected its Windows monopoly for personal computer operating software by squelching competition from rival Netscape Communications Corp.'s Web browser.

The Bush administration, which inherited the case from the Clinton administration, settled with Microsoft once the company agreed to let computer makers promote rival software products.

Jackson defended his decision to grant the Clinton administration's request to break up the company. "The Microsoft persona I had been shown throughout the trial was one of militant defiance, unapologetic for its past behavior and determined to continue as before," he said.

Jackson said he "had no illusions that an order less drastic than that advocated by the government would meet with Microsoft's even grudging submission."

Jackson didn't criticize the settlement negotiated by the Bush administration, which drew objections from half the 19 states that had joined the Justice Department in suing Microsoft.

Still, he noted that Microsoft hasn't "fared so well in Europe." Antitrust enforcers ordered it to sell a Windows version without a music and video player and to grant competitors access to information on the operating system's inner workings.

"Microsoft has won the browser war in the United States," Jackson said, noting that Netscape's Navigator, now owned by Time Warner Inc., "has only a small fraction of the browser market."

Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake said the company won't comment on the former judge's remarks.

Microsoft supporter Jim Prendergast disputed Jackson's description of the software industry. "Five years later, the industry has certainly been competing as vigorously as ever," said Prendergast, president of Americans for Technology Leadership, a pro-Microsoft group. "You can run three or four different browsers that are widely available now on your laptop. The settlement was a much more reasonable approach" than Jackson's breakup remedy, he said.

The appeals court that overturned Jackson's breakup order also disqualified him from overseeing further proceedings in the case because he had granted interviews to reporters during the trial. In his speech, Jackson said the appeals court "concluded that my indiscretions in allowing two journalists to confer with me in chambers, off the record, during the trial disqualified me from presiding over further proceedings."

Writer Ken Auletta, who wrote a book about the Microsoft case, based in part on interviews with Jackson, quoted the judge as comparing Microsoft executives to members of a drug gang because of their unrepentant attitude in court.

The judge who replaced Jackson on the case, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, rejected calls by the states for tougher antitrust remedies.

Jackson said the breakup would have promoted competition by creating a company that sold software applications, including Internet browsers and another that sold operating systems for computers.

"The rationale was to enable the divisions to compete -- the former for applications from independent software suppliers as well as with its now independent counterpart, and the counterpart to write applications for nascent operating systems that might someday offer worthy competition to Windows."

Jackson said he ordered the breakup without more hearings because each side would continue to produce "equally eminent experts" who "were in good faith in almost total disagreement about every issue in the case."

"Time, moreover, was on Microsoft's side," Jackson said. "Microsoft would continue to do what it had been doing until some court told it to stop. A remedies trial would postpone that indefinitely."

By JAMES ROWLEY
BLOOMBERG NEWS

More in Tux Machines

Red Hat and Fedora

  • Red Hat, Logicalis in digital transformation partnership in Latin America
    PromonLogicalis, a provider of information technology and communication solutions and services in Latin America, and Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world's leading provider of open source solutions, announced a collaboration that aim to help organizations navigate the digital transformation of their infrastructures to pave the way for cloud and the software-defined technologies, and to advance open source technology awareness in the region. Open source is delivering significant advancements in many areas of technology through community-powered innovation, including cloud computing, mobile, big data, and more. And, as companies embrace modern technology as a competitive advantage via digital transformation efforts, many are turning to open source because of the flexibility and agility it can enable.
  • Red Hat Inc. (RHT) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Hold”
  • An Easy Way To Try Intel & RADV Vulkan Drivers On Fedora 24
    Fedora 25 should have good support for the open-source Vulkan Linux drivers (particularly if it lands the next Mesa release) while Fedora 24 users can now more easily play with the latest Mesa Git RADV and Intel ANV Vulkan drivers via a new repository. A Phoronix reader has setup a Fedora Copr repository that is building Intel's Vulkan driver from Mesa Git plus the RADV Radeon Vulkan driver re-based from its source (David Airlie's semi-interesting GitHub branch). Fedora COPR, for the uninformed, is the distribution's equivalent to Ubuntu PPA repositories.
  • Meeting users, lots of users
    Every year, I introduce Fedora to new students at Brno Technical University. There are approx. 500 of them and a sizable amount of them then installs Fedora. We also organize a sort of installfest one week after the presentation where anyone who has had any difficulties with Fedora can come and ask for help. It’s a great opportunity to observe what things new users struggle with the most. Especially when you have such a high number of new users. What are my observations this year?

Linux Devices

  • 96Boards SBCs host Intel Joule and Curie IoT modules
    Gumstix announced two SBCs this week, based on Intel Joule and Curie IoT modules and built to 96Boards CE and IE form-factor specifications, respectively. At Linaro Connect Las Vegas 2016, where earlier this week Linaro’s 96Boards.org announced a new 96Boards IoT Edition (IE) spec, Gumstix announced support for 96Boards.org’s open SBC standards with two new single-board computers. Both SBCs will be available for purchase in October.
  • ORWL — First Open Source And Physically Secure PC, Runs Linux And Windows
    ORWL is the first open source, physically secure computer. Using a secure microcontroller (MCU) and an ‘active clamshell mesh’, the device makes sure that nobody breaks the security of the system. Its maker, Design Shift, has also launched a crowdfunding campaign on Crowd Supply.
  • Purism Is Still Hoping To Build A GNU/Linux Free Software Librem Smartphone
    Purism, the startup behind the Librem laptops with a focus on free software and user privacy/freedom, still has their minds set on coming up with a GNU/Linux smartphone. Purism continues selling their high-priced laptops and their Librem 11 is forthcoming as an Intel-based tablet/convertible device with stocking station. Next on their horizon they want to produce "the ideal no-carrier, Free Software phone running a bona fide GNU+Linux stack."

Leftovers: OSS

  • Asterisk 14 Improves Open-Source VoIP
    Digium, the lead commercial sponsor behind the Asterisk open source PBX project announced the release Asterisk 14 this week, continuing to evolve the decade old effort, making it easier to use and deploy.
  • Yahoo open-sources a deep learning model for classifying pornographic images
    Yahoo today announced its latest open-source release: a model that can figure out if images are specifically pornographic in nature. The system uses a type of artificial intelligence called deep learning, which involves training artificial neural networks on lots of data (like dirty images) and getting them to make inferences about new data. The model that’s now available on GitHub under a BSD 2-Clause license comes pre-trained, so users only have to fine-tune it if they so choose. The model works with the widely used Caffe open source deep learning framework. The team trained the model using its now open source CaffeOnSpark system. The new model could be interesting to look at for developers maintaining applications like Instagram and Pinterest that are keen to minimize smut. Search engine operators like Google and Microsoft might also want to check out what’s under the hood here. “To the best of our knowledge, there is no open source model or algorithm for identifying NSFW images,” Yahoo research engineer Jay Mahadeokar and senior director of product management Gerry Pesavento wrote in a blog post.
  • Cloudera, Hortonworks, and Uber to Keynote at Apache Big Data and ApacheCon Europe
  • Vendors Pile on Big Data News at Strata
    Cloudera, Pentaho and Alation are among vendors making Big Data announcements at this week's Strata event. Vendors big and small are making news at this week's Strata + Hadoop event as they try to expand their portion of the Big Data market. Cloudera highlighted a trio of Apache Software Foundation (ASF) projects to which it contributes. Among them is Spark 2.0, which benefits from a new Dataset API that offers the promise of better usability and performance as well as new machine learning libraries.
  • New alliances focus on open-source, data science empowerment
    How can data science make a true market impact? Partnerships, particularly amongst open source communities. As IBM solidifies its enterprise strategies around data demands, two new partnerships emerge: one with Continuum Analytics, Inc., advancing open-source analytics for the enterprise; and another with Galvanize, initiating a Data Science for Executives program. Continuum Analytics, the creator and driving force behind Anaconda — a leading open data science platform powered by Python — has allied with IBM to advance open-source analytics for the enterprise. Data scientists and data engineers in open-source communities can now embrace Python and R to develop analytic and machine learning models in the Spark environment through its integration with IBM’s DataWorks Project. The new agreement between IBM and Galvanize, which provides a dynamic learning community for technology, will offer an assessment, analysis and training element for Galvanize’s Data Science for Executives program. This program empowers corporations to better understand, use and maximize the value of their data. The program will support IBM’s DataFirst Method, a methodology that IBM says provides the strategy, expertise and game plan to help ensure enterprise customers’ succeed on their journey to become a data-driven business.
  • Apache Spot: open source big data analytics for cyber
  • Chinese open source blockchain startup Antshares raises $4.5M through crowdsourcing [Ed: Microsoft-connected]
  • August and September 2016: photos from Pittsburgh and Fresno
  • Libre Learn Lab: a summit on freely licensed resources for education
    Libre Learn Lab is a two-day summit for people who create, use and implement freely licensed resources for K-12 education, bringing together educators, policy experts, software developers, hardware hackers, and activists to share best practices and address the challenges of widespread adoption of these resources in education. The 2nd biennial conference is Saturday, October 8th, and Sunday, October 9th, at the MIT Tang Center. The keynote addresses will be delivered by the FSF’s own Richard M. Stallman, former Chief Open Education Advisor Andrew Marcinek and founder of HacKIDemia Stefania Druga. At the event, there will be a special tribute to Dr. Seymour Papert (the father of educational computing) by Dr. Cynthia Solomon.

Security Leftovers

  • Friday's security advisories
  • ICANN grinds forward on crucial DNS root zone signing key update
    The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is moving -- carefully -- to upgrade the DNS root zone key by which all domains can be authenticated under the DNS Security Extensions protocol. ICANN is the organization responsible for managing the Domain Name System, and DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) authenticates DNS responses, preventing man-in-the-middle attacks in which the attacker hijacks legitimate domain resolution requests and replaces them with fraudulent domain addresses. DNSSEC still relies on the original DNS root zone key generated in 2010. That 1024-bit RSA key is scheduled to be replaced with a 2048-bit RSA key next October. Although experts are split over the effectiveness of DNSSEC, the update of the current root zone key signing key (KSK) is long overdue.
  • Cybersecurity isn't an IT problem, it's a business problem
    The emergence of the CISO is a relatively recent phenomenon at many companies. Their success often relies upon educating the business from the ground up. In the process, companies become a lot better about how to handle security and certainly learn how not to handle it. As a CIO, knowing the pulse of security is critical. I oversee a monthly technology steering committee that all the executives attend. The CISO reports during this meeting on the state of the security program. He also does an excellent job of putting risk metrics out there, color coded by red, yellow, and green. This kind of color grading allows us to focus attention on where we are and what we’re doing about it.