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Three Times The Microsoft Legal Issues

I’ve got three tabs open with Microsoft legal issues, so its time to unload them all at once, real fast:

There’s an Iowa class-action demanding hundreds of millions from Microsoft for stifling competition and forcing them to suffer under Windows, as well as overcharging for the operating system. The lawsuit only remains after other similar ones were settled because the plaintiffs want cash, not vouchers.

“I don’t take coupons,” she said.

Microsoft asked the European Commission to open up its antitrust hearings to the public, believing that the trial has gotten to the point where they can no longer expect fair treatment. Microsoft believes that if the public sees what’s going on, they’ll jump to Microsoft’s side.

The EU said no, saying the law prohibits that type of transparency.

You know, I don’t think you can have a fair courts system if you hold everything in secrecy. Then again, I guess Europe has always had a very different idea of what a “democracy” is.

Finally, Microsoft has filed lawsuits against eight eBay sellers who are selling pirated Microsoft software on the online auction site. Microsoft found the offenders through Windows Genuine Advantage, which replaces pirated MS software with the real thing if the buyer rats out the seller.

March 16th, 2006 Posted by | General, Law | 5 comments



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5 Comments »

  1. I find your words “You know, I don’t think you can have a fair courts system if you hold everything in secrecy. Then again, I guess Europe has always had a very different idea of what a “democracy” is.” extremely offensive given the recent NSA wiretapping thing. Not to speak about Guantanamo…

    Nonetheless, I’m european and would like the EU Comission to open up the hearings to the press. But I can say that, can you stand up to your country’s policy of wiretapping?

    Comment by Mauro Rita | March 16, 2006

  2. It is one thing to wiretap terrorists to protect lives, and another to conduct industry regulation in secret. They aren’t in the same league. If you approve of wiretaps (and I’m not saying I do), at least you could argue that security is an overriding need, and that revealing the wiretaps would help the terrorists. Letting Microsoft get a fair shake in the public eye is a big difference.

    As for how I feel about my country’s wiretapping, I’ll only say this: I live in New York City. I’ve been shot at by Muslim terrorists in the Middle East. I understand that sometimes we have to be tough to stop terrorism. I don’t like the idea of giving up civil liberties, and I worry that my government is lying about its true motives, but I can understand how, at face value, wiretaps could be very useful in keeping me alive.

    Comment by Nathan Weinberg | March 16, 2006

  3. Still, I believe that the EU should open the hearings. So I agree when you say industry regulation should be done openly and transparently.

    What I don’t understand is how can a respected blogger like yourself put the European Union in such a undemocratic and generic light given your government’s recent behavior on issues way more important than business regulation.

    I’ll let your audience decide what is worse and at the end of the day reflect on the use of the word democracy and the role governments play and how they play it.

    Thank you.

    Comment by Mauro Rita | March 16, 2006

  4. Just one more thing, this has got nothing to do with terrorism and is still about Microsoft getting a fair treatment. I’m sorry if things got out of hand but please don’t call us undemocratic.

    Once again, thank you.

    Comment by Mauro Rita | March 16, 2006

  5. So much thoughts, but only ten fingers to type…

    First off, I definitely don’t always agree with the European Union and their courts (I’m from the Netherlands, by the way). In this case, I currently see _no_ reason whatsoever _not_ to open up more information.

    Europe has done some bad things for my country, and at times, they scare me a lot. Just think about software patents (we’re safe for now, luckily…) and the data retention legislation of which I don’t know any way we can still stop it. Most of our (Netherlands) government was against data retention. Had it been an issue on a smaller scale, instead of being a European matter, we could’ve prevented it. Thanks to Europe, that wasn’t possible.

    The European Union could be awesome, but they aren’t. Simply because they are not only creating possibilities and making cross-country actions easier, they are also trying to control the countries themselves. That’s something I do not want.

    The Netherlands has been – in my opinion – fairly progressive. Or rather, I tended to agree with laws applicable in the Netherlands.

    I want gay marriages to be allowed. Euthanasia should be a possibility. Our soft drug policy should not be tightened. Data retention is not something I want. I don’t want to touch software patents with a ten foot pole.

    In my view, the European Union is in a position to harm the freedom we have in the Netherlands, and they seem not to dislike removing bits and pieces of that freedom.

    All of this probably sounds VERY negative, but the EU can also do a lot of positive things, and has done so before. I’m just saying I, living “there” myself, am sceptical of the EU.

    About that paragraph that has been quoted before: it kind-of hurt a bit, but I have to admit I’m not sure how you intended it. Don’t restrict yourself because of two visitors of your blog, though.

    About the matter itself: I read a Dutch article, and the comments to it made some good points… [http://tweakers.net/nieuws/41324] I have also understood that Microsoft’s reply in this matter was about the decision itself, and did not specifically address the previously addressed issues.

    What I have always found interesting is that there are good points to be made on both sides of the statement “Microsoft has a monopoly”.
    1) They do, because a lot of software simply isn’t available for other platforms, leaving you no choice if you want a fully functioning system, without having to spend unreasonable amounts of time making software yourself.
    2) They don’t, because even if software is only available for Windows, the same tasks can be performed on different operating systems.

    One thing I think is undebatable; a side-effect of Digital Restrictions Management is a multimedia-only vendor lock-in.

    Anyway, I’ve been rambling for way too long already, and I’m sorry about the topic-hijack. I just felt like making some points (of course, people will disagree… I’ll have to remember to check back here).

    Comment by Tim | March 16, 2006

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