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2003 May 09 11:18

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Re: [vox] OS/2 and Linux, why has IBM changed?
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Re: [vox] OS/2 and Linux, why has IBM changed?



On Fri, May 09, 2003 at 09:29:16AM -0700, Don Werve wrote:
> On Fri, May 09, 2003 at 08:39:47AM -0700, Eric D. Pierce wrote:
[...] 
> So it's not a matter of nothing being 'unduly harsh', but being 'just
> harsh enough' to make sure it doesn't happen again.  In Microsoft's
> case, the penalties would have to be quite harsh, simply because of the
> deapth and breadth of their monopolistic abuse.  Personally, I would
> mandate that Microsoft:
> 
>     (a) Pay stockholders back for the illegal withholding of dividends
> 	over the past twenty or so years (that's why they've got $50 
> 	billion in the bank).

I am not sure why you would require this. I'm not sure what the
illegal thing that Microsoft has done here. They may need that
money here shortly to protect themselves from a number of patent
and antitrust actions that are winding through the courts.  If
they spend that money they could be in serious problems if they
have multi-billion dollar patent losses.

> 
>     (b) Pay reparations to the companies they have shunted out of the 
>         marketplace through their illegal practices (IBM, Netscape, 
> 	AOL/TW, etc).

Agreed.

> 
>     (c) Split into two seperate companies which are disallowed from 
>         partnering with each other for a period of five years; an 
> 	applications company, and an OS company.

I think that should be allowed to partner, but would have
completely different management, stock, and would have to offer
the same agreement terms to any taker.  This could obviously be 
abused, but separating the shareholders from an operating system
and applications group should fundamentally change the value
equation.

I think that Microsoft is in for significant legal and market 
pressure in the next decade that may make it difficult for such
a large company to compete as it has in the past. Essentially,
I think that their days are numbered, not that they are going
to disappear, but that they will become less relevant as we move 
foreword.

> 
>     (d) Provide software refunds to individuals forced to pay for
> 	bundled OS and application licenses.

ABSOLUTELY! 

I would probably add another item. You cannot change the
licensing agreements with maintenance patches. I think that
going forward it will be more likely that product liability
laws will be applied to software without regard to the EULA.
Software companies will probably have to face increasing 
pressure from trial lawyers for sloppy releases and this 
will fundamentally change the way that software is produced.

Joel
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