Somebody doesn't like the EU Commission finding Microsoft guilty of antitrust violations and fining the company. The Senator from Microsoft's home state, Patty Murray, is speaking out against the EU Commission's decision, which is being officially announced today:
"'This ruling is yet another example of the EU assaulting a successful American industry and policies that support our economic growth,' said U.S. Senator Patty Murray, a Democrat from Microsoft's home state, Washington. . . .
"Murray called on the Bush administration to 'engage' the EU in settling the case. 'The EU has now directly attacked the authority of the United States and our economy in general,' she said in a statement. 'American jobs and economic interests are threatened,' she said."
Um. "Engage"? She doesn't mean sending in troops or anything, does she?
Wait a sec. Who assaulted who? Isn't the issue whether Microsoft broke the law over there? If they did, does she suggest it shouldn't matter, because they simultaneously give Americans jobs? The article points out that corporations that do sufficient business in Europe are subject to their laws, something they could avoid by not doing business there. They could also avoid consequences by not breaking any laws. I believe that would entail reading them.
Microsoft is saying that they had no way of knowing they were breaking EU laws and that the fine is too high, because MS does only 30% of its business in Europe.
"Microsoft's chief European lawyer, Horacio Gutierrez, argued the EU's reported fine appeared to be twice what it should have been under guidelines of the European Commission, the EU's executive body, to account for the company's global operations. Microsoft does about 30 per cent of its business in Europe. . . .
"The company also argued it could not have known its behaviour would infringe EU law and thus it should not be fined at all. EU Competition Commissioner Mario Monti 'has said clearly the reason he wants a decision is to get a precedent, so clearly there isn't one currently,' Microsoft spokesperson Tom Brookes said."
Those MS foxes. So smooth and clever. The problem with that argument is the Commission could have fined them considerably more than they did. There will be a press conference later today, where Mr. Monti, brave soul, will address these issues. By the way, here's some financial information on Ms. Murray.
If Ms. Murray means troops, they'd better send some to grab Linus and toss him in the brig. There's no other way to clear this up. He's likely to keep coding otherwise. His high treason in writing Linux is killing the proprietary software industry, it seems. All you other coders better be ready to pay for what you've done too. Be ready, you evil GNU-ers. Mr. Palmisano, I think they mean you, too. A Microsoft representative, who spoke on a panel at a conference last week, wondered if there can even be a software industry if there is open source:
"How will the for-profit software industry fair [sic] if the open-source model continues to proliferate? According to Microsoft Distinguished Engineer Jim Gray, it might not survive. Commenting during a panel discussion at the Software Development Conference and Expo West (SD West) in Santa Clara, Calif., last week, Gray asked: 'How will there be a software industry if there's open source?'"
So, the solution to this problem is, what, Microsoft Distinguished Engineer? Kill off free and open source software? That sounds fair. No antitrust issues there.
The only problem with imprisoning all the coders is a lot of them have day jobs. This could have an impact on the economy too, especially the software industry. Mr. Gates was bemoaning the other day that fewer and fewer young people in the US are choosing to become programmers. He went to MIT and other colleges and universities to encourage students to choose computers as a career, without much success.
Psst. It may be because they heard about outsourcing, and they're no dopes. They're good at math at MIT. They've figured out that 2 + 2 = no jobs here soon. Or maybe they're worried about being asked someday to deep-dive into SCO's code and then disappearing. They never did find those missing MIT guys SCO told us about, did they? Just poof. Maybe they got sucked into a black hole. Or the Bermuda Triangle got 'em. It's just safer to go into finance, all things considered.
The headline about the survival of the for-profit software industry is appropriately misleading: "At SD West: Microsoft exec asks if for-profit software can survive open source". Survival? Yipes. Sounds like it's a murder rap, Linus. Manslaughter, at a minimum. You'd best pack a bag of toiletries and things and have it ready. I'm pretty sure they let you have a toothbrush, even in solitary.
The misleading part is the implication that open source means it's for free. It's free as in speech, not as in beer, folks, remember? I just spent a pretty penny on Mandrake's latest. I know I can get it for free, but I like the convenience of having the CDs, so I can easily reinstall from time to time. I also like Mandrake, in part because they like the GPL, so I like to pay them.
But if the whole world decided they'd rather have free as in beer software and pay for services instead, whose business is it? We're the customers. We get to buy what we like. It's called free market capitalism. Microsoft believes in capitalism, doesn't it?
I'd like to explain something to Mr. Gray. Here's how capitalism works. You who wish to sell to us need to figure out what we like and provide it. You can't ask governments to force us to like your products. Well, you can, but that's not capitalism. Free markets, remember? Free? You know what the word free means, don't you? As in free to choose? Free will? Freedom?
Tip: In case you want to know, here's what I don't like about your proprietary software. You've locked it up so tight I can't enjoy using it. And I can't see the source code. That bothers me, because there's been a history of security issues and backdoors and calling home and ports left open by default. I don't like that. I'm not crazy about the business ethics you display. Then there's the EULA. It makes me feel like a criminal. It reads like terms of probation.
So there you are. If you could please fix your product to meet my software needs, and work on your business practices so as to build up some trust, I'd be happy to consider your product. Well, you'd have to make your software more secure first, too, but you know that. And hold the DRM. Deal?
I didn't think so. Well, we all have choices. But if you insist on selling a product increasing numbers of people don't want, you're not being killed off. It's called suicide.