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another microsoft gem

I read this first over at the Wall Street Journal but then found a CNET article on it.

Last year Microsoft actually lost a court case, against the EU, for predatory practices (sounds like something from the Discovery Channel, doesn't it?) in the market for media players/formats. Essentially the EU forced Microsoft to distribute Windows without forcing Windows Media Player to be bundled with it, essentially allowing customers to choose.

So what did MS do? It said "fine". Then it went and called this product "Windows XP Reduced Media Edition". Then it also removed the ability to do some basic things, such as playing music CDs (something that even Windows 95 could do).

If you are a consumer, and are offered, for the same price, a machine with "Windows XP Home Edition" and another with "Windows XP Reduced Media Edition", which one are you gonna get? I can hear the Shadow-like laugh in the background when the MS representative says (in the article) "We believe this name complies with the commission's orders".

You know, it's stuff like this that pisses people off about Microsoft. Maybe you could argue that it's MS's "Darwinian" attitude that allows it to post record profits and market gains, even when most in the tech industry consider it passé.

But isn't there a point when MS just has to say, "okay guys, we've misbehaved, how do we make things better?" instead of fighting tooth and nail for every single tiny scrap of whatever. I have stated more than once here that Microsoft's desktop monopoly is not necessarily illegal in itself, it's the predatory practices and the illegal actions taken to maintain and defend that monopoly that are the problem (sadly, it's also in question whether the monopology would have gotten this far without those illegal actions). Maybe if MS started to differentiate the monopoly itself and what they do to maintain it, then things would get better, don't you think?

No, I'm not holding my breath. But hey, it's Saturday morning. I thought it was Friday. Let's give the lad some leeway.

Bonus: a post from November 2003, where I wonder if WinFS will be delayed again ("never say never" eh?), some more day-dreaming about MS embracing, or at least not actively attacking, the Web (sure), and some Descartes thrown in for good measure.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on January 29 2005 at 12:55 PM

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