Jen's Blog

Friday, December 08, 2006

U.S. vs. Microsoft

U.S. vs. Microsoft
Term Paper
Due: November 11, 2006
U.S. vs. Microsoft

“Suppose only one company made compact disc players. Suppose that same company also produced CDs. What if that company said, "If you want to buy our CD player, you have to buy our CDs as well" (Hayes 1).” This quote given by Hayes is what the United States said that Microsoft was doing in the computer business. On May 18, 1998, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and twenty U.S. states filed suit against the Microsoft Corporation.

The suit charged Microsoft with violating the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Enacted in 1890, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act “enshrines competition as a cornerstone of the capitalist economic system. The idea is that if companies have to compete with each other, they will be forced to offer the best products at the lowest possible prices to attract customers (Hayes 1).” The courts declared that Microsoft abused monopoly power in handling operating systems and web browser sales. A monopoly is defined as “a persistent market situation where there is only one provider of a product or service. Monopolies are characterized by a lack of economic competition for the good or service that they provide and a lack of viable substitute goods (Wikipedia 1).” Ninety percent of all of the personal computers (PCs) in the world use Microsoft’s Windows operating system. “The government claims that Microsoft is using Windows' dominance to gain unfair advantage in another business--providing access to the Internet, the giant network that links the world's computers (Hayes 1).” The main issue in the case was whether or not Microsoft was allowed to combine its Internet Explorer with its Microsoft Windows operating system.

“In 1995, Microsoft began giving Windows users, at no extra cost, its Internet browser--the software you need to connect to and navigate the Internet (Hayes 1).” The court alleged that Microsoft restricted competing web browsers such as Netscape Navigator that were slower to download or had to be purchased. Microsoft stated that the “merging of Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer was the result of innovation and competition, and that the two were now the same product and were inextricably linked together and that consumers were now getting all the benefits of IE for free (Wikipedia 1).” The opposing side stated that Internet Explorer should not be linked with Windows operating system since Internet Explorer kept the price of Windows higher than it would without the web browser and there was a different version of Internet Explorer offered for Mac.

“The trial started in May 1998 with the US Justice Department and the Attorneys General of twenty US states suing Microsoft for illegally thwarting competition in order to protect and extend its software monopoly. Later, in October the US Justice Department also sued Microsoft for violating a 1994 consent decree by forcing computer makers to include its Internet browser as a part of the installation of Windows software (Wikipedia 1).” According to the trial, Microsoft told computer manufacturers who wanted to install Windows on their machines that they could only do so if they agreed to install Microsoft's browser as well. The government stated that this strategy allowed Microsoft to acquire an additional thirty-nine percent of Internet users, taking away customers from other browsers such as Netscape. Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft, stuck to his convictions as he stated that his company did not have a monopoly and that including Microsoft’s browser with Windows at no charge was a great deal for customers. According to Microsoft, “The software industry changes so rapidly that even a 90 percent share of the market can disappear overnight. All it takes is a smart competitor with a better idea (Hayes 1).”

Throughout the trial, Bill Gates was characterized as ‘non-responsive’ and ‘evasive’. Microsoft used the recent merger of AOL and Netscape as a defense to the monopoly claim. “As proof that competition is thriving, Microsoft points to the recent merger of Netscape with America Online (AOL), a popular Internet service provider. Microsoft says the fact that AOL was willing to pay $4.2 billion for Netscape proves the company wasn't damaged by Microsoft--and even that the new alliance poses a formidable threat to Microsoft's dominance (Hayes 1).” The case became more than an issue of unfair business practices. Since the Internet is the way to fast communication and research at the click of a button, the government feels as though no one should have dominance over the future of the Internet.

The Department of Justice ultimately said that Microsoft should have to remove their browser from the operating system or include a rival browser. Microsoft responded hastily, “Forcing Microsoft to include competing software [such as a rival browser] in our operating system is like requiring Coca-Cola to include three cans of Pepsi in every six-pack it sells,” he says. “And saying that we must remove Internet technology from Windows is like telling Coca-Cola that it must take something out of its formula.” (Hayes 1).” The government however stated that they do not wish for Coke to sell Pepsi, they only want for the public to have a choice in flavor. On November 5, 1999, the judge stated that Microsoft’s dominance in the market for operating systems in personal computers was a monopoly and Microsoft made strategies to crush its competitors. On April 3, 2000, the judge “issued a two-part ruling: his conclusions of law were that Microsoft had committed monopolization, attempted monopolization, and tying in violation of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act, and his remedy was that Microsoft must be broken into two separate units, one to produce the operating system, and one to produce other software components (Wikipedia 1).”

On September 26, 2000, in the appeal, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the judges ruling against Microsoft saying that the judge had improper opinions about the defendant due to a leak of interviews to the media during the case. The appeals court did however affirm the judge’s ruling on monopolization. The Department of Justice announced on September 6, 2001 that it would no longer try to break up Microsoft and would seek a lesser antitrust penalty instead. The Department of Justice reached an agreement with Microsoft to settle the case on November 2, 2001. “The proposed settlement required Microsoft to share its application programming interfaces with third-party companies and appoint a panel of three people who will have full access to Microsoft's systems, records, and source code for five years in order to ensure compliance (Wikipedia 1).” The DOJ, however, did not require Microsoft to change any of its code nor did they prevent Microsoft from tying other software with Windows in the future. Microsoft’s obligations as required by the settlement expire on November 12, 2007.

There is criticism over the antitrust case against Microsoft. Some critics say that the proceedings were an “unjustified assault on a business that held a large market share merely by outcompeting its rivals (Wikipedia 1).” Some critics believe that the U.S. vs. Microsoft case set a dangerous precedent that shows future government involvement in an industry that was relatively free, which will ultimately lead to the halt of technological progress. Consumers want a web browser that is easy to come by and use. A web browser that is packaged with the operating system is the most convenient. Microsoft did not profit by packaging Internet Explorer with Windows, therefore, critics feel as though Microsoft should not have been sued.

My feelings towards the case is that Microsoft is clearly the top competitor in operating systems and if what they say is true about consumers wanting the easiest and most convenient web browsor rather than those that you must download of subscribe to, then there should be no worries on Microsoft's end if they were to include a competitor's product in their operating system. In the long run, competition is of the consumer's benefit because it allows for a buffer to keep costs low. If a new cola product came out on the market that cost 20% more than coca cola and had less taste, coca cola drinkers will still continue to drink the cheaper, more flavorful coca cola. The same goes for Microsoft's web browser. There is no need for Microsoft to crush their competition and eliminate them if the competition present is not a strong threat. Competetion not only keeps prices down but it also helps promote technological increases in the field, which can only be a positive for the community and for Bill Gates and Microsoft.


Sources

Hayes, Susan. "The U.S. Versus Microsoft (antitrust lawsuit)." 02/08/1999. Scholasti
c Update. 8 Dec 2006 http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-9327708_ITM.

"United States V. Microsoft." Wikipedia. 12/01/2006. 8 Dec 2006 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Microsoft.


I pledge that I have neither given nor received any unauthorized aid on this paper.

Jennifer D. Guyer *This typed name serves as my signature.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Interview on Technology Improvements

Ask a family member if the increase in technology has caused them any difficulties over the years.
I interviewed my Aunt Dawn. Of all of my aunts and uncles, my aunt Dawn is the only one who has not had to use the computer for a day to day job. I did not want to interview someone who has had a lot of experience with technology throughout their adult lives.
I asked my Aunt a few questions about her experience with technology over the years.
Question #1: What changes in technology have you seen or experienced throughout your life?
Answer: Well, a few years ago when cell phones became the new big thing, I felt a little lost and I would say that I felt a little unsettling to see young teenagers using their phone so quickly and easily and all I knew how to do was type in the number and press the call button.
Question #2: Have improvements in computer technology had an impact on any aspect of you life? Have you noticed an increase on computer technology?
Answer: Yes, I have definately recognized an increase in computer technology. Your Uncle Paul and I have had a computer in our house for years but still to this day I am only comfortable doing the basis computer tasks. I can send emails and use google.com but I would not say that I am very good at it.
Question #3: What impact does the computer have on your everyday life?
Answer: Well, I like to send emails to your mother and keep in touch with church. Whenever Katie (my cousin) needs to research something for school, I try to help her. But Katie knows how to use the computer better than I do! I know you and Mikie (my brother) must be professionals on the computer.
Question #4: Do you feel left behind with all of the technology improvements? Is there anything that you would like to learn a bit better?
Answer: I guess I do not feel 'left behind' per say but it is a bit discouraging somehting when I see young children walking around with the new state of the art cell phones and I still have this old brick. This is all I need tho since I would not know how to use a camera phone or send a text message...I think that is what it is called. Other than email, I'm not sure what else I would want to learn on the computer. I guess I would like to be able to help Katie a bit better whenever she gets on and needs help with something.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Black Hat Hackers HW

Black hat is used to describe a hacker (or, if you prefer, cracker) who breaks into a computer system or network with malicious intent. Unlike a white hat hacker, the black hat hacker takes advantage of the break-in, perhaps destroying files or stealing data for some future purpose. The black hat hacker may also make the exploit known to other hackers and/or the public without notifying the victim. This gives others the opportunity to exploit the vulnerability before the organization is able to secure it.
The term comes from old Western movies, where heros often wore white hats and the "bad guys" wore black hats.

John Draper was an original phone phreak who introduced "phreaking" which is to use knowledge of the phone system to gain free access to phone services. He found out that a 2600 KHz tone used on the phone could gain him access to AT&T's switching system and could be used to place free long distance phone calls. He discovered that from using a plastic whistle that he found in a cereal box.

At the age of 17 Mark was a master of computer and telephone technology. He led the New York City MOD (Masters of Deception) hacker gang. MOD was good at invading systems such as AT&T, Bank of America, and the NSA using a mastery of UNIX and VAX knowledge from very basic equipment such as the Commodore 64. The Nov. 1989 headlines read that a gang had crashed the computers at the New York public TV station, WNET, leaving a message, "Happy Thanksgiving you turkeys, from all of us at MOD." In July 1992 Mark Abene and 4 others were arrested for a series of computer break-ins. What was intended to be a message to all hackers from law enforcement, turned out to make Abene into a folk-hero. The story was made into a book called "The Gang that Ruled Cyberspace" by Michelle Slatalla and Joshua Quitlne.

He was the son of a chief scientist at the National Computer Security Center, a division of the National Security Agency (NSA). As a first year graduate from Cornell University he accidently unleashed an internet WORM in 1988. It resulted in infecting about 6000 computers which subsequently crashed within 8 hours bringing a tenth of the internet at the time down. He was the first person to be convicted under a new law made in 1986 - the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. He made the worm on computers at the university with hard-won efforts at finding security loopholes in UNIX networking.

Monday, November 13, 2006

youtube video

I tried finding a youtube video but it said that my computer did not have the latest version of adobe something or another. I remember watching one lately tho that showed a busy intercection and then all of a sudden you see this car fly through the light and avoid hitting every single one of the cars in the intercection. It was crazy and looked almost impossible. I dont remember how I found it, I think it was under 'most popular videos of the day".
There is also the video on crazy beer pong shots that is pretty cool. You can find this video at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=qWZy7LNuOLk.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Anything interesting on a classmate's blog?

As a homework assignment, we are asked to look on several of our classmates' blogs and write about anything that we found interesting.
First, I found Mel's blog to be very pretty. The flowers on the sides and all of the colors looked great together. Makes my blog look pathetic lol.
In reference to interesting content, I liked Derek's blog because it includes other posts besides the ones that are required for homework.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

/.com and digg.com Anything Interesting?

Digg.com seems like it is a good site to find random articles but I do not see the site as being useful to me. I did not find any of the articles interesting. I do like how there is a menu on the left hand side so you can choose to only look through sports articles or articles on technology, etc. It seems like there are also a lot of articles posted on the site. In my mind, the more articles, the better for the site and its visitors.
I was unable to find /.com site at first because I had the address wrong. When I went to slash.org I was able to find the site however I did not find the site to be very interesting. The site that I was directed to appeared to be a repair service site for computers and gaming systems. I would not consider using this site in the future just because I do not need a console repair service.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Selling Points of Commercials

Tech Blog:
1. Flat-keyboarded Atari 400. The selling point of this commercial showed that if you purchased this PC for your child, your children would be able to speak a different language frequently.
2. Commodore VIC-20. The selling point was to show that this computer can teach you and that learning is important. The computer wasnt just used to play games.
3. Another commercial for the Commodore VIC-20. This commercial showed how the entire family can learn and play games on the computer
4. The Commodore 64. The selling point of this commercial was to show that everybody chooses the Commodore 64 over any other type of computer out there on the market.
5. Commodore 64. The selling point showed that if college students have a PC in their dorm then they will do better in school. This made parents of college students think that they better buyt their son or daughter a PC if they are going to succeed well in school
6. The Coleco ADAM. The selling point showed that kids will be better organized if they have a PC, thus leading to better success in school. They stress the point that being organized will allow their kids to get good grades. The little girl in the commercial was super excited when her mom told her that she was getting an ADAM. What mother wouldnt want to please her daughter like that??
7. The Texas Instrument 99/4A. The selling point of this particular commercial is the $100 rebate and the big memory it has stored on the computer.
8. The Kaypro II. The selling point of this particular commercial was the price of the Kaypro, which was $1200. You got the entire package for $1200.
9. The Apple Macintosh "1984". It was the introduction of the 'new computer' and it definitely drew the audience in because it had such a powerful message.
10. The IBM personal computer and it used a famous silent movie star in the commercial. Actors are used to help sell their products.
11. The Windows 1.0. The selling point of this particular commercial was showing all of the special features for just $99.
12. The Amiga 1000. The commercial showed that it would be important to have the computer in order to help with graphs.
13. The Tandy 1000. The selling point of this particular commercial discussed how there was no better value out there. The Tandy has incredible speed and is highly productive at such a low price.
14. The IBM PS/2. The selling point of this particular commercial discussed advancing the art of business. The major stars of the time starred in this commercial.
15. The Apple II. Again, the selling point of this particular commercial discussed how computers will allow students to keep up with school.
16. The Apple Powerbook. The selling point of this particular commercial showed that the Apple computer could take you anywhere. Very short commercial.
17. The Apple Newton. The selling point of this particular commercial showed that you could take the Newton anywhere.
18. The IBM ThinkPad 701C. The selling point of this commercial showed that it had a full size keyboard, full size screen and it was only 4.5 pounds.
19. The Windows 1995. The selling point of this commercial showed that windows allowed you to do whatever it was that you needed to be done on your computer.
20. Packard Bell. The selling point of this commercial showed that a Packard Bell computer could do so much for you then any other computer.
21. IBM. The selling point of this commercial shows that IBM has been running since 1960’s showing that it is a reliable computer.
22. The Gateway 2000 computer. The selling point of this commercial shows that the cow spots on the box meant that you were getting a trustworthy and reliable computer.
23. The Apple Think Different computer. The selling point of this commercial showed that a bunch of famous, influential people try to change the world for the better. The Apple Think Different computer 'will change the world for the better'.
24. The iMAC. The selling point of this commercial showed that you can choose the color that you wish your computer to be.
25. Pets.com. It showed that anything that you may need for your pet is available on the websute.
26. Windows XP. The selling point of this commercial showed that at a reliable cost, you could have the power to do whatever you like on your computer.
27. Apple Switch computer. Again, the selling point of this Apple commercial showed that you could take this computer wherever you go.
28. IBM Linux. The selling point of this commercial showed that this Linux commercial could make a difference in the world.
29. Apple Get a Mac. The selling point of this commercial showed that if you get a MAC instead of a PC you will have more fun and be able to do more things.