Microsoft Corp. should be forced to offer a modular version of its Windows operating system in addition to the fully integrated version of the product, according to the nine states and the District of Columbia that have refused to sign off on the proposed
Microsoft Corp. should be forced to offer a modular version of its Windows operating system in addition to the fully integrated version of the product, according to the nine states and the District of Columbia that have refused to sign off on the proposed antitrust settlement between Microsoft and the Department of Justice.
In an amended version of their remedy proposals filed with the District Court in Washington on Monday, the states said that a clarification was necessary relating to Microsofts abuse of commingled code and products to maintain its monopoly in the operating system.
"As a result of discovery, we have concluded that, in addition to Microsofts fully integrated version of the operating system, the company should be required to offer a modular version that will allow equipment manufacturers and others to make their own decisions on adding middleware products that consumers want such as browsers or media players," Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said.
Microsoft would therefore not be required to provide numerous versions of the operating system, he added.
While the changes were largely minor, the revisions clarified "the reasonable and responsible remedies we are seeking in our continuing effort to stop Microsofts illegal behavior. The proposal is entirely consistent with the objectives of our original remedy proposal, and the proposed changes are only minor modifications to make our remedy more clear and precise," Miller said.
Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler told eWEEK on Monday that the revisions were surprising because they appeared to be a last-minute change in process and was not forecast in last Fridays pre-trial statements. Microsoft was reviewing the filing and had no specific comments, he said.
"While it seems that the states are realizing that many aspects of their first proposal are unworkable, Im not sure that the proposed changes adequately address all these issues, and any minor changes will most certainly not solve all the problems raised," he said.
Jonathan Zuck, the president of the technology advocacy group ACT (Association for Competitive Technology) and a supporter of Microsofts legal position, said the states had once again missed the point.
While the amendments had addressed some of Microsofts concerns, they continued to "ignore the harmful effects of their proposal on small and midsize software developers that make up the lions share of the industry."
"These changes do not address the $80 billion cost of their proposal to independent software developers and consumers. They are playing trial and error with the crown jewels of our nations economy, those entrepreneurial technology companies that fuel innovation. Lets leave this to the industry and consumers, not a bunch of lawyers playing eenie meenie minie moe," he said.
The $80 billion figure was found in a recent economic study on the states proposed remedies by Stan Liebowitz, an economics professor at the Management School for the University of Texas at Dallas and presented by ACT.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.
He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.
He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.
He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.
He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.
He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.
His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.
For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.