Judge Mostly Approves Microsoft-DOJ Settlement in Antitrust Case

Friday November 1st, 2002

United States District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has issued her opinions in the Microsoft antitrust case. The ruling covers both Microsoft's settlement with the US Department of Justice and also the harsher remedies sought by the nine non-settling states. Slashdot has links to relevant documents in PDF format. From what we understand, Kollar-Kotelly has ruled that the Microsoft-DOJ settlement is in the public interest and recommended only a few changes. Most of the non-settling states' concerns have been rejected. Slashdot sums up the judgement as "a massive win for Microsoft." More stories at CNET and WinInfo.

UPDATE! Further articles can be found at Reuters, CNN/Money and BBC News.

ANOTHER UPDATE! The Register has a story on the ruling and an analysis piece that concludes that the settlement has too many loopholes to be effective. The New York Times also has a report and analysis (both articles require free registration). Finally, CNET has expanded its coverage of the ruling and Computerworld has a report with a variety of quotes.

Microsoft's opinion of the ruling is available in the Legal News section of their site. Documents include a brief statement and a transcript of a press conference held on Friday.

#1 Microsoft vs. We The People......

by fletchsod

Friday November 1st, 2002 3:41 PM

Not a so perfect settlement. Look like we're still a loser!!!! It probably wouldn't matter much because Microsoft can't compete with the open-source because Microsoft said it can't make profit from it. This prove that Microsoft depend on money, the root of all evil, so sooner or later, Microsoft will fall.

#2 Netscape = Dead Dog

by Kovu

Friday November 1st, 2002 4:13 PM

If you want to read my opinion of the settlement, see :)

#3 Re: Netscape = Dead Dog

by schapel

Friday November 1st, 2002 7:20 PM

> ...Because if AOL for PCs switched to Gecko tomorrow, suddenly Netscape would have > like at least a 40 percent share...

Whoa! You're way off here. From looking at you can see that AOL browsers get only 5-6% of page access. And even if AOL released a version of Windows software that uses Gecko tomorrow, that wouldn't mean that suddenly all AOL users would be using Gecko. Users will tend not to upgrade if they have a working version of software. For example, even two years after Netscape 6 was released, more people use Netscape 4 than all Gecko browsers combined! Similarly, it would take years for most AOL users to shift over to the Gecko-based version.

I'll repeat this yet again -- while IE is shipped on all Windows and Mac computers, IE will have over a 90% share for the next several years. It doesn't matter what happens with Gecko-based browsers. Non-IE browsers need to fight for that less than 10% of the market that's left for them.

The best we can hope for is that non-IE standards compliant browsers are used enough that web developers realize they need to code to real web standards, not just for IE and Netscape 4. As long as that happens, why does it matter how many people use Gecko-based browsers?

#4 The last straw? Bill Gates' infamous deposition

by DeepFreeze3

Friday November 1st, 2002 9:40 PM

Remember that? There he was on videotape being deposed, doing the lamest impression of Bill Clinton that I've ever seen. "Is" didn't mean is, "truth" didn't mean truth. And what about those e-mails? Every single time the opposition would show him one he wrote to somebody & asked him about it, he'd always give "I don't recall" as a response. How pathetic!!

From day one, Microosoft said that Netscape & the government we're a bunch of damn liars. Well, who looks like the liar now? They've given in on every thing!! I guess now they're starting to learn that it's fair competition, or nothing else ... the hard way. ;-)

#6 Re: Re: Netscape = Dead Dog

by tepples

Friday November 1st, 2002 11:20 PM

> you can see that AOL browsers get only 5-6% of page access.

That's partly because, as you point out, many AOL users just fire up IE. But I can see another reason for AOL's weak showing: AOL performs aggressive caching on web pages, which hides the pageviews from the stat-gathering scripts.

#9 Re: Netscape = Dead Dog

by schapel

Saturday November 2nd, 2002 8:32 AM

According to there are more than 600 million people online. According to there are 35 million AOL users. That means less than 6% of people online use AOL. Surprise, surprise, 5%-6% of page hits come from AOL users.

It doesn't look like there's significant skewing of AOL page hits statistics due to page caching. Even if there is, all anyone can see is the skewed statistics. If AOL released Gecko-based software today, and every AOL user switched to the new software immediately, Gecko-based browsers would still generate less than 8% of all page hits. That's nowhere near the 40% claimed. And we know that neither will happen. At best AOL will release Gecko-based software for Windows in a few years, and it will take years for most of their users to switch over.

Just relax. Mozilla is not getting more than 10% share any time soon. It's okay. Keep breathing. It's not the end of the world!

#10 Do AOL users matter? I'm leaning toward a "yes"

by asa

Saturday November 2nd, 2002 1:51 PM

Last time I looked (nearly a year ago and I don't have links to back this up but so what. i think it was all on c|net) AOL was about 6% of the worldwide online audience. But that's not the interesting figure. The interesting figure was that it was about 25% of the US market where about 70% of ecommerce takes place. That makes AOL users a huge chunk of the online purchasers accounting for something like $10 billion in holiday quarterly sales and that means that web authors who hope to make money will have to take AOL users into consideration when they write web pages.

These figures could be somewhat off and they're definitely not current but the general picture, if my memory serves me well, should point out that AOL users are an important group.


#5 WTF?

by DJGM2002

Friday November 1st, 2002 10:07 PM

Quoted from the article @ BBC News Online . . . ""Nine other states believe the settlement is too lenient but the judge said she believed there was "little, if any, legitimate justification" for tougher sanctions.

Attorney General John Ashcroft welcomed the ruling as a "major victory for consumers and businesses"."" I have one question . . . what the hell kind of weed have THEY been smoking?!?

#7 People just dont get it

by johann_p

Saturday November 2nd, 2002 4:10 AM

I find it amazing that exactly that country that most despises communism for opressing a one size fits all policy upon people happily submits to a company like Microsoft. Computers are nothing without an OS and it is a fact that practically all computers are now running the OS's of one single company. Computers are used by practically all people, for nearly every aspect of everyday life. And the grand nation of commercial competition and freedom allows one company to have complete control over all these aspects, and get bigger still (I only say DRM - the alliance of MS and the entertainment industry, and TCPA/Palladium, the final step to taking the bit of control they have out of the hands of users). Unfortunately the EU (where I am living) joins into the stupidity and requires me to fill out Word and Excel forms instead of taking steps to at least fight MS across the atlantic and protect their own interests. Oh well ...

#12 It's a matter of politics

by dipa

Tuesday November 5th, 2002 1:32 AM

Well, I really don't like politics discussion here but I wanted to answer this one. I think your concerns are valid. It seems to me that, at this point, US government (pls don't say that justice could be independent, anywhere in the world) wants the extremely sensitive IT sector to remain in a well controlled US-based monopoly. It's easier to have very close ties with MS only than with a bunch of smaller competitors. I could say more but I feel I already went too far with this. Sorry.

#8 MS settlement rotten with loopholes

by jrepin

Saturday November 2nd, 2002 8:26 AM

Really muuuuch to soft for criminals like Microsoft.

#11 Analysis on the Ruling

by AlexBishop

Monday November 4th, 2002 11:56 AM

Didn't want to update the article again in case people are getting bored but this is some of the best analysis I've read about the Microsoft ruling.