Microsofts Tenets: Old Words in New Bottles

Opinion: Don't be fooled: There are no real concessions in Microsoft's ballyhooed new golden rules of engagement. (Microsoft Watch)

For Microsoft historians whove kept tabs on Microsofts dealings with its PC and software partners during the past decade, the words "Microsoft" and "principle" make strange bedfellows.

It was 10 years ago this coming October that the U.S. Department of Justice filed its antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft, based on what the DOJ considered a breach of terms outlined by a 1994 consent decree with Microsoft.

After years of damning testimony, via which Microsofts unscrupulous business practices involving its OEM partners came to light, the company was found guilty of abusing its desktop Windows monopoly.

Since then, Microsoft has been slapped with a number of additional antitrust suits, here and abroad.

Thats all ancient history, company officials insist: Microsoft has learned its lesson.

To prove it, the Redmond software maker issued this week 12 "new" tenets, or guiding principles, that Microsoft officials are claiming will ensure that the company will play nicer with its partners and customers.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read more about the 12 principles for Windows development spelled out by Microsofts general counsel.

Officials of the company issued these principles—a week after it was fined $357 million by the European Commission for failing to play nice, by the way—in order to "promote competitive opportunities and otherwise enhance the appeal of Windows to developers and users."

I have to agree with Jupiter Research analyst Joe Wilcox: There is next to nothing new in these "new" tenets.

The majority are restatements of promises and commitments that Microsoft has been required to make under terms of previous antitrust settlements.

/zimages/4/28571.gifRead the full story on Microsoft Watch: Microsofts Tenets: Old Words in New Bottles

/zimages/4/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.