Microsoft and Federal Government Reach Tentative Settlement

Wednesday October 31st, 2001

MSNBC is reporting that Microsoft has reached a tentative settlement with the Federal Government. The deal calls for a 5 year consent decree that forces Microsoft to release Windows without a variety of currently bundled programs like Internet Explorer, MSN Messenger, and Windows Media Player.

As you may know, the US Government has had consent decrees before, and Microsoft has completely ignored them, we feel. As in the past, we expect the version of Windows without the bundled packages to be almost identical in price to the current version of Windows. The last major question remaining is whether the State Attorneys General agree with the deal. We hope they do not, and push for much harsher punishment.

#36 Well, this is a bit lame

by AlexBishop <>

Friday November 2nd, 2001 10:02 AM

You are replying to this message

I haven't read the text of the deal yet but I read CNET's analysis <> of it. The way I see it, Microsoft would never sign up for a deal that actually restricted their business practices. They would either make sure the deal had enough loopholes in it so that it didn't actually work, only agree to a deal that they can implement in such a way that it has no effect whatsoever or, sign up for a deal which doesn't even seem to do anything in the first place. Looks like they've secured all of the above.

I seem to remember earlier in the trial that Microsoft were forced to make a version of Windows 95 sans IE3. Microsoft made this version in such a way that it didn't even boot up. What's to stop them doing the same thing with this 'lite' version of Windows? And even if the lite version does boot, what's to stop Mirosoft requiring you to install Internet Explorer/Windows Media Player/Windows Messsenger to use Office/Encarta/Solitaire?

The end to restrictive licensing practices sounds all well and good except it's only for five years. So say PC vendor X is a good little minion and carries on preinstalling its PCs with Microsoft software whereas PC vendor Y chooses to go with rival software. After five years Microsoft is allowed to begin practicing favourable pricing again. Do you really think that they're not going to take X and Y's policies over the last five years into account?

Where's the restrictions to stop them using their monopoly to promote MSN, Windows Media (the format could be as important as CDs in the future) and Passport? Why are the practices only designed to 'prevent' future abuses rather than to punish them for past ones? Why did the DOJ not exploit the appeals court ruling more?

The biggest joke is that if Microsoft blatantly ignore this consent degree (like they did the last one) then it just gets extended for two years. What's the point of extending a decree that they're already ignoring?

Somebody please tell me that I've completely misunderstood this and that the deal will actually restrict Microsoft. Please.