U.S. federal judge scolds Microsoft over abandoned exclusive music demand

“The federal judge overseeing Microsoft Corp.’s business practices scolded the company Wednesday over a proposal to force manufacturers to tether iPod-like devices to Microsoft’s own music player software,” The Associated Press reports. “Microsoft abandoned the idea after a competitor protested.”

“In a rare display of indignation, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly demanded an explanation from Microsoft’s lawyers and told them, ‘This should not be happening.’ Legal and industry experts said Microsoft’s demands probably would have violated a landmark antitrust settlement the same judge approved in 2002 between the company and the Bush administration. The government and Microsoft disclosed details of the dispute in a court document last week,” AP reports.

“The judge said Microsoft’s music-player proposal – even though it was abandoned 10 days later – ‘maybe indicates a chink in the compliance process.’ She made her remarks during a previously scheduled court hearing to review the adequacy of the settlement,” AP reports. “The disputed plan, part of a marketing campaign known as ‘easy start,’ would have affected portable music devices that compete with Apple Computer Inc.’s popular iPod. It would have precluded makers of those devices from distributing to consumers music software other than Microsoft’s own Windows Media Player, in exchange for Microsoft-supplied CDs.”

Full article here.

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Related article:
After protest, Microsoft backs off on exclusive music contracts – October 20, 2005


  1. Why a scolding only? I mean, they are currently being fined for monopolistic practices and this is a big “screw you” to the Justice Department.

    Time to break up MS and let the OS division go under while the Applications division brings Office to Linux!

    MDN word: meaning

  2. And in other news, Microsoft has just announced plans to purchase the beleaguered U.S. Federal government for pennies on the dollar. Due to the seceret nature of the agreement, SEC and DOJ officials will not be allowed to investigate the deal brokered by Vice President Dick Cheney over a lunch meeting with the Microsoft Board of Directors. He was quoted as saying that this action is a pre-emptive strike against something evil. Google is expected to surrender to this new nation within the week.

  3. Isn’t some whiney Republican going to complain that we are making something political? Oh no business isn’t political. Microsoft isn’t political! Cry, whine, moan. Why do you make everything political? <sob> Republican pansies. I mean Democrats suck too, don’t get me wrong but c’mon!

  4. “And meanwhile iTunes remains locked in to iPod only, Apple happily disables support for WMA formats in the iPod chipsets, and Apple refuses to license Fairplay to anyone else.

    So much for equity.”

    You seem to be completely missing the point. Apple manufactures both the hardware (iPod) AND the software (iTunes). Microsoft doesn’t.

    Apple can limit their own products however they want, but asking a third party manufacturer limit their products to do so (as M$ was doing) is a totally different story.

  5. “And meanwhile iTunes remains locked in to iPod only, Apple happily disables support for WMA formats in the iPod chipsets, and Apple refuses to license Fairplay to anyone else.”

    Using your flawed logic, why won’t a PS2 play Xbox games and/or vice versa then? Why won’t a DirecTV dish pick up Dish Network programming? Why does a Sirius satellite radio not receive XM signals?

    The bottom line is that Apple doesn’t have any deals with third parties forcing them to limit their products to work only with iTunes. They don’t have any deals with third parties at all because they market the entire solution themselves. Nobody sells iPods but Apple. Nobody writes iTunes software but Apple. If you can’t see the difference then you’re crazy.

  6. Bush sucks. 39% approval rating, baby! Go f$(3 yourself Republicans; you’re heartless scum that are so shortsighted we’ll be fixing your fiscal rampage for generations (not to mention the degradation of the Constitution, needy, and morals of our nation).

    Okay, Mac relevant: Microsoft got a slap on the wrist the minute the Bush administration took charge of the Justice Department. Coincidence? I think not. The Clinton administration had many corporations’ backs nailed to the wall. As long as republicans are in power we will continue to see 98% of America skrewed for the wealthies 2%.

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