Something about Microsoft, or Europe demands it share

Something about Microsoft, or Europe demands it share

Summary: An order to release source in Europe is, in fact, an order to release it worldwide

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TOPICS: Legal
23

OK, OK, I give.

Let's talk about Microsoft.

Europe wants Big Green's "crown jewels," the code that it uses to glue applications together. It wants open source developers to be able to link their programs to Windows, transparently, as part of the settlement on its antitrust case with the company.

Microsoft doesn't want to give. So it's appealing the European Commission's June order to do that, to the Court of First Instance (I love that name).

Spokesman Tom Brookes said the order has "far-reaching implications for the protection of our intellectual property rights around the world.” He's right. An order to release source in Europe is, in fact, an order to release it worldwide, including to Americans whose courts have been far more Microsoft-friendly.

Fair? Unfair? Discuss.  

Topic: Legal

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23 comments
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  • What the EU is asking

    What the EU is asking is the equivalent of Pfizer to release all intellectual property so that a generic lab can mass produce the same drugs.

    Why would Pfizer want to do that.
    After all hasnt Pfizer spent billions to develop the drugs.
    The EU wants to develop their own software industry and do that they are forcing Microsoft to give away its intellectual property for free so that others can benefit.
    What a bunch of crooks the EU commission is
    zzz1234567890
    • Major misconception

      ---Why would Pfizer want to do that.
      After all hasnt Pfizer spent billions to develop the drugs.---

      Not that you're guilty of this, but I want to head this argument off before it gets to this point--something everyone should know is that, despite what Big Pharma wants you to believe, they spend far more money on marketing than they do on actual research and drug development:

      http://www.projectcensored.org/newsflash/#prdisease
      The pharmaceutical industry spends twice as much on public relations and marketing than it does on drug research and development

      http://www.twnside.org.sg/title/twr131n.htm
      A NEW report by the consumer health organisation Families USA refutes the pharmaceutical industry?s claim that high and increasing drug prices are needed to sustain research and development. The report, Off the Charts: Pay, Profits and Spending by Drug Companies, documents that drug companies are spending more than twice as much on marketing, advertising, and administration than they do on research and development; that drug company profits, which are higher than all other industries?, exceed research and development expenditures; and that drug companies provide lavish compensation packages for their top executives.
      tic swayback
  • Not exacly source

    As long as they open up the API's and documentation on those, they should not have to disclose any actual source for their programs, sine (in theory) with only the APIs software should be able to link with them transparently and play nice together. Unless Microsoft would not make use of such APIs and program statically or use a HUGE .h file to include all functions' deffinitions (a la windows.h), they should be able to do that, IMO.
    thetargos
  • STOP, it is NOT the EU that wants it, it's the competition.

    Do not forget for one moment that this has NOTHING to do with the average consumer and that the "complaints" came from mostly US competitors that didn't get what they wanted in a REAL court.
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • ... and the people in the EC...

      ... who want to gain control over how business is conducted in Europe.

      Don't forget the essential contribution of Mario Monti. If he'd decided to use a different case for his power grab, the complaints against Microsoft would be forgotten by now.
      Anton Philidor
    • So you're going on record

      as objecting to administrative agencies instead of judges making decisions regarding Microsoft?
      Yagotta B. Kidding
    • If the end result is competition and then better quality and more options

      why is this a bad thing? That is, besides threatening the multi-billion $$$ MS's income?
      michael_t
    • Right in a way...

      But what's a REAL court? Do you mean that a non-U.S. court is not a REAL court, or that U.S. law should be followed around the world?

      Just asking.
      DanaBlankenhorn
    • Average consumer

      We only have to go back a couple of weeks for an example,
      published here on ZDNet, claiming otherwise :

      http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9590_22-5838530.html
      [quote]
      Police IT: Why we swapped Linux for Microsoft
      ...
      "Any changes made were done due to interoperability issues.
      Where there are no such issues and the open source solution
      best meets the business needs it will be retained."
      [/quote]

      The EC demand for interoperability information disclosure would
      help the open source community develop 100% interoperable
      products, which is why MS is fighting this.

      MS was found to have abused its monopoly on both sides of the
      Atlantic (so I don't know where No_Ax's "REAL" courts are
      located), the EC is trying to correct this position by allowing
      competitors to compete.
      Richard Flude
  • NO AXE IS RIGHT

    This is all about the competition trying to dismantled a good company via the courts. Why get off your butts and compete with a real product when you can get the courts of a foreign land to do your dirty work for you?

    Arthas
    JamesNT
    • they're trying

      but Microsoft is so entrenched and have people locked in so tighly, the barrier to entry is unbelievably high. The EU is trying to lower the barrier to entry. It's competition. I know we hate that, but the Europeans insist upon it for some reason. If this happens, MS will have to compete on quality, not rely on lock in. This is just not acceptable in America.
      MikeHunt
    • Might be

      true, but... MS has it's own history of dirty deeds. What comes around goes around. It's just business. Something like cold war in the techno world..heh..
      xstep
    • Stupid Berkeley! Why on earh did they release the TCP/IP

      code for everyone to use and develop their communication protocol stacks that allowed all the various apps to interoperate over the WANs and LANs?

      What was the benefit of making available the codef that 'glued together' all hosts in the Internet?

      These people are so ... dumb ;-) ! Aren't they? --m
      michael_t
      • re: TCP/IP

        Nice post! and why not go all the way back and call Vint Cerf,Yogen Dalal and Carl Sunshine stupid for the first formal specifications of the Transmision Control Protocol in 1974? Was Microsoft around then? lol
        xstep
  • Dana, you know better

    [i]Europe wants Big Green's "crown jewels," the code that it uses to glue applications together. It wants open source developers to be able to link their programs to Windows, transparently, as part of the settlement on its antitrust case with the company. [/i]

    All the EC is requiring of MS is what the DOJ got from IBM for decades: open publication of specifications for interoperability, in particular interface protocol specs.

    The "source code" spin comes from one of two sources, you pick:

    1) It's a flat-out lie in an attempt to spin those very basic interoperability requirements as "source code," or
    2) Microsoft is so incompetent that they don't [b]have[/b] specifications outside of source code.

    Either way, you owe your readers better than to repeat a blatant untruth.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • Take it further Y.B.K.

      The EC ruling explicitly states source code is not required. From
      the ruling:

      "The disclosure order concerns the interface documentation
      only, and not the Windows source code, as this is not necessary
      to achieve the development of interoperable products."

      Is it too much to expect that someone on ZDNet would actually
      do some research before spouting off? I keep reading the same
      ill-informed position every couple of weeks.
      Richard Flude
  • It will be good for all

    including MS in the long run.

    When 3rd party apps can use the same framework to provide this service, then the customer will have a choice in where to go to to obtain it. More apps appear that are compatible with MSs framework and this opportunity for competition improves the quality of all solutions, including MS's.

    MS w/o competition has managed to put itself at the BOTTOM.

    Good work Europe... ;-)
    -m
    michael_t
    • At the bottom

      Of course, you'll offer evidence other than your opinion to back up your assertion that MS is at the bottom. You can start by defining scope of your discussion: the bottom of what? Next, you can specify what you're talking about: Windows? Office? Exchange? Halo?

      I look forward to a relevant, unbiased, FACT-based technical discussion. Don't keeep me waiting too long...
      Real World
      • Still waiting (nt)

        .....
        Real World
  • All the undocumented APIs, it?s a dream

    I already said that a bunch of times and I?ll repeat this again and again, I?m not a Microsoft advocate. However, I admit that when I used to be a software manufacturer by myself (a French that actually emigrated to the USA) , I had my worst times when trying to ?technically? deal with them, when it was obviously simple and pleasant with IBM! They (both of them) had actually hundred (not to say thousands) of undocumented APIs in their respective OSes. Now, to their defense, as well as for the defense of any single developer, what if they had to document any single one of them. They then should have to support any single one in their future releases, that is not always doable (not to say desirable).

    Further and as far as I know, the DOJ never ever obtained from big blue the spec of all its OSes. Am I wrong?

    Having been a ?tiny? competitor if both these two huge corporations, I surely understand the frustration of some developers who can?t find an immediate answer to their technical question. Now, doing a little bit of research often solve the problem.

    Finally, as a matter of fact, there is no more software industry in EU but mainly only labs working for large US corporations. So if there are competitors to start that new ?cold? technological war over the EU operation theater, they surely are American fellows that did not succeed within their own DOJ.

    Just my two cents.
    Furball Tipster.
    furballtipster