And on the Microsoft legal circuit...

And on the Microsoft legal circuit...

Summary: As the Redmond litigation world turns: Updates on the Eolas vs. Microsoft patent infringement case and the ongoing oversight of Microsoft's compliance with the Consent Decree in the Department of Justice suit against Microsoft.

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TOPICS: Browser, Microsoft
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For those who like their long weekends peppered with a little legal sauce, here are a couple of links:

Eolas and Microsoft settle patent case; Terms not yet disclosed

The abridged history: Eolas claimed Microsoft's Internet Explorer violated its patent for accessing interactive content on Web pages. Microsoft was ordered to pay $500 million (before it appealed) and agreed to change the way IE handled embedded multimedia content. Eolas announced on August 30 that the pair had come to terms. No word so far on what the settlement terms are (or what this will mean to the future of IE).

Did the Consent Decree curb Microsoft's anticompetitive behavior? States are split

California and a handful of other states told the judge overseeing Microsoft's compliance with the terms of its antitrust settlement with the U.S. government that the Consent Decree has done little to curb Microsoft's anticompetitive behavior. A group of other states that were part of the government's case against Microsoft disagreed. The next regularly scheduled oversight hearing in the matter is September 11.

Topics: Browser, Microsoft

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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16 comments
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  • Tick, tick, tick

    [i]California and a handful of other states told the judge overseeing Microsoft?s compliance with the terms of its antitrust settlement with the U.S. government that the Consent Decree has done little to curb Microsoft?s anticompetitive behavior.[/i]

    And this matters any more -- how?

    Come November, whatever effect the case might or might not have had becomes moot as the Decree expires. After November Microsoft can once again [1] do as they please without any trace of legal oversight.

    [1] or "still" -- what[b]ever[/b].
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • However...

      Those state AGs with concerns could take MS right back to court, assuming they have sufficient evidence to back up their concerns. The US DOJ wouldn't have to do a thing.
      John L. Ries
      • Depends on objectives

        [i]Those state AGs with concerns could take MS right back to court, assuming they have sufficient evidence to back up their concerns. The US DOJ wouldn't have to do a thing.[/i]

        Yes it would, same as last time. Cite Federal preemption and takeover, then sign a consent decree that basically maintained the [i]status quo ante[/i].

        Either way, though, you have to bear in mind that the process will take at a minimum more than one Presidential administration, and every change of management in the DOJ is another opportunity to drop the whole thing.
        Yagotta B. Kidding
    • Huge changes in the landscape

      IE marketshare - down
      Windows marketshare - down

      and, the #1 thing that the [b]entire[/b] case depended on:
      Windows is forced onto everyone who buys an x86 computer - FALSE

      Thanks to Apple and Dell (and thousands of smaller PC stores but they never seem to count for whatever reason), I have a choice of 3 OSs when I go to the store to buy my x86 compatible computer. It was a stupid, artificial decision to exclude Apple from the personal computer market just because they happened to use a different CPU (even though the end result to the user was [b]exactly[/b] the same) but now even that stupid, artificial distinction is no longer tenable.

      Even if MS's behavior hasn't changed at all (which is ludicrous considering how many deals MS has signed with Linux distributors), the damage to the consumer is no longer there. The proof of that is Apple's switch to Intel and Dell's switch to Linux.
      NonZealot
      • Exactly

        At this point, it's more a matter of lingering resentment that Microsoft "got away with it" than it is concern about freeing the market. Justice delayed is justice denied, and all that. People really didn't want the market to improve, they wanted Microsoft punished.

        Carl Rapson
        rapson
        • Translation

          Stop punishing poor, innocent, persecuted Microsoft (who never did anything wrong in the first place). They've suffered enough.

          Tell you what: when MS starts being more concerned with quality and customer service than with marketshare and profit margins, I'll consider buying from them (but not before). This assumes that I can have some confidence that I'm not helping to put someone else out of business by doing so.
          John L. Ries
          • THANK YOU JOHN

            AS I READ YOUR POST...it is Thursday eve at 7:50 PM EST...mindful
            not Patch Tuesday! My XP PRO system just auto updated with a XP update as well as a patch to the Windows Media player 11.

            For the past year using strictly Microsoft software, Windows Live
            Mail & Messenger, Windows Live One Care, and Java enabled my office system has performed flawlessly. NO SPAM..NO VIRUS...and
            NO PROBLEMS. Please note auto update timing, I think you will find the customer service is much improved.
            CustomComputers
        • Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

          I first heard that phrase from an attorney general. She is now the governor of the state of Washington. One of the more interesting changes the Washington State Supreme court made to the state justice system involved illegal charging of consumers. The president setting case involved a class action involving business and occupation (B&O) tax. Auto dealer(s) were itemizing the tax and passing it on to consumers in direct violation of state law.

          The president set is that class actions are allowed in cases where the over charging is owing to an illegal act. In addition it was ruled that the class action can be brought from out of state.

          One fact of life in Washington state is that the $32 bucks that Microsoft overcharged for bundling IE into windows has not yet been dealt with. Other states have reached settlements. Washington State has yet to even try. Now some out-of-state law firm stands to make millions representing Washington state consumers. I suspect it has already happened. I have 3 Windows licenses that apply. Thats 94 bucks and more than a few beers. I am really looking forward to that - even delayed.
          mighetto
      • Rubbish

        "Thanks to Apple and Dell (and thousands of smaller PC stores but they never
        seem to count for whatever reason), I have a choice of 3 OSs when I go to the
        store to buy my x86 compatible computer. "

        And this is thanks to the Consent Decree signed. Before MS threatened OEMs and
        prohibited them support alternate OS and middleware.

        "It was a stupid, artificial decision to exclude Apple from the personal computer
        market "

        They weren't. They we actually listed as one of the parties negatively impacted by
        MS behaviour.

        "Even if MS's behavior hasn't changed at all (which is ludicrous considering how
        many deals MS has signed with Linux distributors), the damage to the consumer is
        no longer there. "

        What has IP deals with Linux distributors to do with desktop competition? If
        anything I'd have thought it proves MS is functioning the same (threatening
        competitors) with different tricks.

        The damage to consumers is everywhere: where are the 100% interoperable
        workgroup servers in the non-MS camp? They don't exist because MS still hasn't
        even documented their own interfaces.

        Thankfully the EC isn't as easily bought off as the US. See MS bribery post below.
        Richard Flude
  • Time to break up the Bloatfarm

    One might as well expect water not to be wet or tigers to have stripes as expect the Bloatfarm not to continue its vicious anticompetitive behavior.

    It is, of course a mystery why the Bloatfarm cannot simply act like a normal competitor and produce well thought uot work instead of Bloatware.
    Jeremy W
    • Buzz off, moron. <nt>

      nt
      M.R. Kennedy
      • Revenge of Larry Ellison; ComputerWorld Report

        On this, the Friday before labor day it is more than appropriate to remind all in the industry that before Microsoft was found guilty of antitrust violations, it was dealing with a permatemp problem.

        Bill Gate's Dad formed a law firm specifically to address that permatem problem which is described as follows.

        Spin off companies from Microsoft hired talent that owing to age sex, family inclination, other were not going to be hired by Microsoft itself. They were given offices on Microsoft property but otherwise got non of the benefits of being employed by Microsoft - specifically stock.

        The company Bill Gates' dad formed had a key man. That key man was Abramoff - the same lobbiest not squealing from jail about tricks he used for influence peddling.

        Today we discover through ComputerWorld, that prior to votes taken on standards, Microsoft Solution Partner firms joined standards bodies. If you view Microsoft Solution Partners as permatemps - and I think this appropriate in many cases, then the joining amounts to staking votes.

        Larry Ellison, owing to the America's Cup Competition, is active in Swiss politics and I suspect he and his operatives are behind the news breaking on vote manipulation by Microsoft.
        mighetto
        • 11 hour - States ask to extend Microsoft oversight

          I think Judge KK kind of has to extend the antitrust remedies into the next administration. I believe Microsoft officers admitted wrong doing.

          http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/microsoft/2003880138_microsoft12.html
          mighetto
  • Big MS News

    "Just days after Microsoft's attempt to buy the Swedish vote on OOXML came to
    light, SIS declared its own vote invalid. The post at Groklaw references a
    ComputerWorld article with revelations from Microsoft: 'Microsoft Corp. admitted
    Wednesday that an employee at its Swedish subsidiary offered monetary
    compensation to partners for voting in favor of the Office Open XML document
    format's approval as an ISO standard. Microsoft said the offer, when discovered,
    was quickly retracted and that its Sweden managers voluntarily notified the SIS,
    the national standards body."
    http://politics.slashdot.org/politics/07/08/30/211227.shtml

    Anyone surprised? Expect a JC blog anytime;-)
    Richard Flude
  • Legal Sauce: M$ Manipulation of the Sweden Vote

    Since we're talking about legal tidbits, what about your comments on Microsoft's manipulation of the Swedish vote on OOXML, Mary Jo?

    Here's a link to the Swedish Standards Institute press release:
    http://www.os2world.com/content/view/14874/2/
    mannyamador
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