Forrester analyst: EU action against Microsoft too little, too late to affect Redmond

How will the EU’s antitrust ruling against Microsoft affect home PC market and European consumers?

“It gives other software companies a window of opportunity. After this ruling, original equipment manufacturers can start offering preinstalled alternatives to Windows Media Player. Hewlett-Packard is already trying this with iTunes. Companies like Apple Computer and RealNetworks will be on their doorsteps to offer QuickTime and RealPlayer. This could hurt Microsoft, as consumers start to turn their home PCs into entertainment centers to play music downloads and video clips,” Paul Jackson, Senior Analyst for Forrester Research writes for CNET News.com.

“The bundled Windows version will still beat the stripped-down one. Microsoft need not worry too much: Regardless of the strides that RealPlayer, QuickTime and DivX make, content companies like Walt Disney and Roxio, the owner of Napster, have already committed to Microsoft for digital rights management and Windows Media Player. If Monti had given his verdict two years ago, these players would have had a chance. Now, it is too late. Consumers will continue to vote with their browser by (unknowingly) downloading Media Player with their first bit of licensed content–just as in the Explorer case a few years ago,” Jackson writes. “Furthermore, apart from a dedicated group of consumers antagonistic to Microsoft–the hip Mac fans and home Linux mavericks–consumers will care even less about the inner workings of their PCs, phones and set-top boxes.”

Full article here.

19 Comments

  1. “Furthermore, apart from a dedicated group of consumers antagonistic to Microsoft–the hip Mac fans and home Linux mavericks–consumers will care even less about the inner workings of their PCs, phones and set-top boxes.”

    As much as I hate to admit it, he is correct on this point. Most of my friends that use Windows can care less about nearly every aspect of it. It is part of that mental illness discussed here in December (see opinion December 2003) in left column.

  2. Apple needs to advertise brilliance and ease of Mac OS X! My Mother is one of these people who just don’t car as long as it works and she can get done what she needs, which is mostly E-mail and web surfing. She has an old Compaq that never works right and crashes constantly and I keep preaching Macintosh is the answer, but no response. I purchased a new PowerBook last month and her husband bought my Pismo (whch is in mint condition and will last another 2 years or so easy) and he an amateur computer user in every sense of the word. I showed him some basics and he has had no problems figuring it out on his own and now he loves his computer and can’t get enough. This from a guy who still has a Beta machine for watching movies and loves his old typewriter. My Mother finally gets it and is going to get a 17inch iMac. It took seeing her husband with no tech sense whatsoever master the day to day functions of a computer with relative ease and almost no learning curve. Also, I convinced my girlfriend to buy a PowerBook 12inch to travel with and she loves her computer. What is even more wonderful about that is her Father is a die hard Windows programmer and Mac hater and even he is constantly amazed at how easy it is for his daughter to do all the things he takes for granted on his frankenstein Windows boxes. He told her before she bought the Book that she would have incompatibility problems galore and she has not had one. Its been nice to watch him eat his words.

    Mac OS X is the key Apple, use to open the door.

  3. As a Mac user I must say that this stupid DoJ bashing is nonsense. Apple largely has no one to blame but themselves for their low market share. This is a free enterprise and a free country and the government needs to stay out of these affairs as much as possible.

    Maybe if Steve Jobs did a better job of marketing OS X and Macs in general, they’d be much farther ahead than where they are. He’s done a brilliant job with the iPod and iTMS and therefore it’s no coincedence they both dominate the market. So why hasn’t he done the same with the Mac and OS X??? Instead of people looking to the government to bail them out, Apple needs to look in the mirror. Besides, like the story says, it’s not like this EU ruling has any teeth to it either.

  4. There is one set of laws for the rich, be they companies or people, and another set of laws for the rest of us. It is like that the world over and it has always been like that. Why is anyone surprised?

  5. Sean, I can see where you are coming from, but the case against Microshaft is not some new ideas meant to harm Microsoft. Rather, it’s about enforcing old laws that prohibit a known monopoly from abusing their monopoly position and stifling other companies. Microsoft is huge, and has untold billions of dollars of assets at their control. If they were allowed to go unchecked, they would put even more companies out of business and further increase their position.

    I think the very best example of this was the IE vs. Netscape example. Netscape originally had a far superior product. MSIE sucked. (Yes, I know this changed later, but I’m talking about earlier). Netscape was a fairly inexpensive product. MS decided to give away IE just to kill Netscape. So Netscape competed, gave theirs away. Both companies lost money. MS’s loss didn’t kill them. Netscape’s losses helped kill their product. Fast forward to the future and now MS says that now that they have accomplished what they set out to do (kill Netscape, further their monopoly), they are not even going to develop the browser any more.

    Unfortunately, the DOJ prosecuted the case and even won, but MS wiggled out of it and really had no impact. That is the complaint at this point.

  6. No, the DoJ bashing isn’t nonsense. If the sheople hadn’t been content for so long with the lopsided EULA that gives them squat for a warranty and rights on software, the DoJ would have gotten involved alot sooner. Laws could have been put into place that required software manufactures to put out working products. Software developers should be held responsible for the mess that their crapware causes. Yes, I’m talking about the billions in revenues lost each year to destructive or at least disruptive worms, trojans, and other viral type stuff. If software developers had been held accoubtable in the early days, rather than hiding behind the one sided EULA we would have much better products now.

  7. My point is why should anyone even care really? Apple is doing fine as a company. They’re profitable and have a ton of cash in reserves so it’s not like they’re going away anytime soon. I hate M$ as much as anyone, but it’s not like people don’t have better alternatives readily available to them if they will just open their eyes. As long as Apple is healthy and is putting out top quality hardware and software like they are right now, I’m simply not going to worry about what M$ does. As for the lemmings that use Windows because they have no concept for the alternatives available, well, in my opinion that’s their problem. Government intervention certainly isn’t the answer I know that. Before you know it, they’ll be sticking their nose in to what everyone is doing, including Apple, if they get too involved. I’ll take the status quo over that alternative any day of the week.

  8. I only have one thing to say about all this – and this is a proven statement by experts – “a monopoly strangles innovation”.

    Human history is littered with innovation and greatness just look at picasso, de vinci or the wright brothers amongst many others, innovation moves society and the human races development forward – If microsoft becomes the only company that controls all this technology/software etc then the human races development is doomed.

    I just hope that there is somewhere in the world some 12yr old kid in his bedroom who is in the progress of inventing the next revolutionary step forward.

    One things for sure, human progress and innovation comes from inside the individual and not from massive corporations.

  9. Pete Burrows:
    Your post is self-contradictory in the following sense:
    If innovation comes from the individual, whether it is a 12-year-old somewhere or the next Jobs & Wozniak in their garage, then the monopoly corporation CAN’T stifle it. The monopolist becomes complacent and creates an opportunity for a smaller competitor to swoop in–witness the opportunity currently created by Windows’ disastrous security problems. But the benefit of switching to the innovative small-fry must outweigh the benefit of staying with the monopolist. I think secure G5 servers and OS X will start a trend in the direction of Apple, regardless of what the EU or DOJ do–I guess we’ll see.

  10. “As a Mac user I must say that this stupid DoJ bashing is nonsense.” – Sean

    Yupe. Microsoft never stifles innovations. Of course, news like this one is a myth perpetuated by Microsoft haters.

    Newly Released Documents Shed Light on Microsoft Tactics


    Among the documents introduced in court this week was a letter from June 1990 in which Bill Gates, Microsoft’s chairman, told Andrew S. Grove, the chief executive of Intel at the time, that any support given to the Go Corporation, a Silicon Valley software company, would be considered an aggressive move against Microsoft.

    Other evidence presented by the plaintiffs’ lawyers at trial yesterday gave an account of how Microsoft violated a signed secrecy agreement with Go and showed that Microsoft possessed technical documents from Go that it should not have had access

    [Snipped]

    The events surrounding the failure of Go have often been cited as a reason for the animosity between Silicon Valley executives and Microsoft. Go was one of the most prominent efforts by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to create software for tablet-sized devices. In addition to an all-star cast of technologists, the start-up had backing from major industry players like I.B.M., Intel and AT&T.

    The plaintiffs contend the new documents show that Microsoft violated nondisclosure agreements with Go, and then used that information to build PenWindows, a competitor to Go’s PenPoint operating system. The documents included Microsoft’s internal e-mail messages showing that it had detailed knowledge of Go’s product plans.

    The documents also suggest that Microsoft sought to pressure Intel to cancel its plans to invest in Go. On June 28, 1990, Mr. Gates wrote a letter to Mr. Grove trying to convince the Intel executive that he should back a version of Windows for portable computers, then code-named Windows-H, rather than Go’s PenPoint software.

    No, sir. Corporate blackmail, corporate espionage, NDA violations are the signs of a responsible company that supports innovation.

  11. The EU is as silly as the UN. Their anti US underpingings are obvious. Not that msft should not be taken to task for 14 year old emails, nobody.

    iSteve’s first post is the best. No one really cares about this stuff as long as windows works, and, amazingly, it limps along. As for that old opinion piece, iSteve I think it is pretty evident that the defenders of wintel have a decidedly koolaid free view of the world, compared to the mac crowd.

    Hope I spelled your name right.

  12. How old the documents is besides the point. What matters is placing trust that Microsoft behaves well is silly. How many consent decrees have Microsoft violated? Furthermore, defending Microsoft’s claim of freedom to innovate sounds very ironic considering that Microsoft itself places roadblocks to prevent innovations. As the document also shown, Microsoft stole technical documents to use in its project, PenWindows. This is only a piece of info that gets into the public view. How many more have been victimized by Microsoft?

    Now, pehaps no one cares about this stuff, but isn’t that a sad reflection of our society? What does that tell you that one can steal, cheat and destroy one’s competitor and is allowed to get off without punishment? Really, if you care a bit about fairness, you should care about his. If you care about the state of technology, you should care about this. Killing innovations doesn’t do anybody but a few good. Can you imagine what could have been? If KoolAid-free world is that cynical, I will drink KoolAid voluntarily.

  13. Hmmm, who’s KoolAde works better?

    The brand that has 89% of all drinkers, or the brand that has only 6?

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    The CORPORATE notion of killing competitors is apparently a good thing. I guess, no one in the ‘free’ world needs more than ONE choice.

    Stalin would be so proud.

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