Palm Says Microsoft/DOJ Settlement Is Inadequate

In accordance with anti-trust law, the Department of Justice has published comments submitted on its settlement of the anti-trust suit against Microsoft. Palm Inc.'s comments are very critical of Microsoft and the settlement itself.

Palm starts off by accusing Microsoft of "already engaging in actions designed to unfairly extend its personal computing operating system monopoly into the mobile computing market by eliminating competition and preventing free customer choice." According to Palm, the settlement between the DOJ and Microsoft doesn't do anything to stop what Microsoft is already doing and doesn't do anything to prevent future uncompetitive actions by Microsoft.

Earlier in this case, it was ruled that Microsoft does have a monopoly in desktop operating systems. Despite a commonly-held belief, just having a monopoly isn't illegal. What is illegal is using that monopoly to take over other markets. Microsoft has been found guilty of doing this and the settlement between the company and the DOJ and nine states is intended to prevent this from happening in the future.

This settlement has proved quite controversial. Some of the states that were originally a part of this case are looking for a much more restrictive settlement, on the grounds that this one is the equivalent of a slap on the wrist. There will be testimony from witnesses, including ones from Palm, on this in March.

In its comments on the proposed settlement, Palm says handhelds are a threat to Microsoft's monopoly on desktop computers as they can already perform many of the information storage and retrieval functions of a desktop PC and will take on more of the functions traditionally handheld by PCs as they develop further.

Because of Microsoft's monopoly, in order for handhelds to work with desktop computers they have to work well with Microsoft Windows, Office, Exchange, Visual Studio, and others. There are no real competitors so there are no options for handhelds to turn to.

According to Palm, Microsoft has already taken steps to insure that handhelds that don't run Microsoft's Pocket PC OS are at a disadvantage when working with Microsoft Office and other products, even if that means deliberately changing the applications

Palm referenced an email from Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates that ordered its developers to alter Microsoft products to ensure that Microsoft's "PDA will connect to Office in a better way than other PDAs even if that means changing how we do flexible schema in Outlook and how we tie some of our audio and video advanced work to only run on our PDAs." This email was written less than thirty days after the conclusion of the original trial in this case.

This is an example of exactly the uncompetitive activities the Sherman Anti-trust Act was designed to prevent. Handhelds running the PPC OS will work better than their competitors, not because they are designed better, but because Microsoft has a monopoly in desktop operating systems.

According to Palm, Microsoft continues to do this sort of thing. In the near future, Microsoft plans to roll out its ..NET initiative. This will involve removing many Microsoft applications from users PCs and handhelds and instead have them served by an Application Service Provider (ASP), either over a company's internal network or over the Internet.

Microsoft has refused Palm access to information and software interfaces necessary to let Palm to make its products interoperable with some Microsoft products and technologies, including some elements of .NET. Also, Microsoft has attempted to force Palm into deploying .NET software on Palm handhelds under terms that would put the Palm OS business at a prohibitive disadvantage.

Having, hopefully, established that Microsoft is unfairly using its monopoly, Palm turns to the settlement that is supposed to prevent it from doing so in the future. From Palm's standpoint, the single biggest fault with the settlement is that "it does not appear even to attempt to address handheld industry competition." All the remedies are about desktop computers and their software.

It doesn't discuss .NET at all. As Palm says, "It fails to ensure that Microsoft will not use distributed Internet-based (.NET) applications to eradicate the competitive threat of non-Microsoft platforms".

It doesn't force the company to give out information Palm needs to make its apps work as well with Windows and Office as Microsoft's own handheld software does.

Some people may feel that Microsoft has a right not not cooperate with companies it views as competitors. However, because Microsoft has a monopoly, it is in a very odd situation. While it can continue to have a desktop monopoly, it can't use that to to gain monopolies in other areas, like handheld computers.

If it did, Microsoft could potentially gain more and more monopolies and eventually come to control the entire U.S. economy. That is what happened near the end of the 19th century with Standard Oil and preventing this is the purpose behind the anti-trust legislation being enforced against Microsoft.

Thanks to Alan Hoyle for the tip. -Ed

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Sad sad story.......

Emma @ 2/18/2002 9:19:44 AM #
So much for the so called DOJ settlement. It was even less than a slap on the wrist.

Shame on Microsoft for depending on these sort of repulsive tactics to maintain dominance. It only shows they've run out of ideas and their days as a major tech force are numbered.

RE: Sad sad story.......
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 9:28:12 AM #
You can thank the Bush administration. Everything about the Microsoft settlement changed when he came into office. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer just like when his old man was president. BTW not toe Palm; shutup and innovate.

RE: Sad sad story.......
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 9:34:10 AM #
I'm so pissed off at this story that I've decided to cancel my .NET service in protest.

Maybe my Pc and windows will follow next. (Hey the new iMac doesn't look so bad you know!)

RE: Sad sad story.......
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 9:51:35 AM #
Quit sniveling and build a better mousetrap then. I started off with a PalmPilot in 1997 and then moved to Windows CE in 1998. I went through 3 WinCE devices before I returned to the Palm OS in 2001 and I will stay with it. Handspring was very enticing and convincing with their expandability. So it can be done, swaying people away but first off, you need to have the better machine and then market it better.

The whole Microsoft suit was not borne out of MS being a monopoly rather Bill Gates failure in the early 1990's and pony up a big campaign I mean contribution to the Clinton administration. I guess the $50,000 wasnt enough compared to the 1 ro 2 million dollar "gifts" that were given by other big wigs in the industry.

So my advice to Palm is to shut up, build the better product and take them on head to head. And, in the mean time, quit sniveling...Whineing is for the rest of the world to do, not Americans.

RE: Sad sad story.......
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 10:06:06 AM #
Build a better mousetrap?

Sure, but not when the "better mouse trap" is judged by how well it connects to the MSFT mouse tunnel!
(You've got to make the tunnel dimensions available first).

RE: Sad sad story.......
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 10:06:10 AM #
Did you read the article at all? Or do you reject all evidence that doesn't fit in with your preconceived belief that everything Microsoft does is good and the government is pursuing poor innocent Microsoft. Palm, PalmSource, etc. can't build a better product as long as Microsoft has the ability and the will to deliberately change Windows to break Palm's applications.

Many people have asked why PalmSource doesn't just give up on the Palm Desktop and connect directly to Outlook. Here's your answer, Microsoft won't let that happen. As soon as Palm did so, Microsoft would change Outlook to break Palm's connection to it. And will do so as many times as it takes.

This isn't about the Palm OS being better that Pocket PPC or vice versa. It's about Microsoft using its PC monopoly to make a handheld monopoly.

Read that email from Bill Gates again. This isn't accidental. They is a deliberate plot by the Chairman of Microsoft to break the laws of this country. So which is it, is Bill Gates an idiot or a crook?

Doesn't this make you angry at all? Microsoft has seen it can't beat Palm fair and square so it is willing to use dirty tricks. If it can't win through fair competition, it will just cheat.

RE: Sad sad story.......
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 12:04:52 PM #
Onece upon a time there were no computers, Microsoft didn't have the monopoly then. They just built a good system. I like Linux not as user friendly as MS but more stable.

RE: Sad sad story.......
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 12:13:45 PM #
"Onece upon a time there were no computers, Microsoft didn't have the monopoly then. They just built a good system. I like Linux not as user friendly as MS but more stable."


RE: Sad sad story.......
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 1:08:12 PM #
Ahem.....if you believe that Republicans have any true effect on the DOJ's case, and if you believe that a Republican leadership is one where "the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer", then you know as little about America as those that are trying to hijack our planes.

And even if the rich ARE getting richer, don't put the cart before the horse. It takes RICH people to have enough capital to START a business and fuel the economy.....IT'S AS SIMPLE AS THAT.

Bush (and more importantly, his cabinet) are the best thing that have happened to this country in a long time.

Have fun in your make-believe world.

Clue up, bud.

RE: Sad sad story.......
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 4:25:55 PM #
Oh boy! Update your reality, man. You're spouting the exact reasons why the Sherman Anti-trust act was created and why Microsoft is in violation of it.

As for Bush and his cabinet, they are the worst thing to happen to this great nation since the McCarthy era in terms of civil rights, conservation and basic police-state enforcement tactics. Intelligent people not in the pocket of big business will do everything they can to make sure this usurper is dethroned in 2004!

My god, your post makes you sound like the Enron CEO! 8-)

RE: Sad sad story.......
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 5:22:40 PM #
"The rich get richer and the poor get poorer ..."

This is probably the most fatuous of Marx's slogans (which is saying something). It is also wrong.

Let's put it in perspective: The slogan was first written in England in the 1850s. Are there any industrial workers today who are poorer than those who toiled in the 'dark satanic mills'? No, working conditions and standards of living today are vastly better than they were in the 1850s. Are today's plutocrats richer than those of the 1850s? Taking into account changes in purchasing power and the impact of income taxes, it is false to say that the rich are richer than they were 150 years ago.

If you want to use ridiculous slogans like these, fine, but they only weaken your case.

RE: Sad sad story.......
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 8:29:04 PM #
"As for Bush and his cabinet, they are the worst thing to happen to this great nation since the McCarthy era in terms of civil rights, conservation and basic police-state enforcement tactics. Intelligent people not in the pocket of big business will do everything they can to make sure this usurper is dethroned in 2004"

1. Obviously you're not intelligent, and you're a whining idiot who doesn't know a thing about reality yourself. Take a course in Microeconomics and Macroeconomics (when you get to college, I bet you're still in Middle School). There's a reason that big business got big--and it wasn't b/c of the government, it was b/c they're educated, got ahead, made money. They're intelligent, and they vote intelligent. That usually equals Republican. Only fairy-tale Hollywood folks (spoon-fed and the real spoiled millionaires) and the people they influence (which is unfortunately alot of gullible people) believe your liberal lie.

2. Bush is a man of principle, which has been foreign to the White House for 8 years prior to his arrival.

3. If you really think he had anything to do w/ the DOJ ruling, you need to go read the Constitution once again (or have you not gotten that far in school?)

RE: Sad sad story.......
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 8:52:25 PM #
That fool isn't worth replying to.

He probably voted Democrat in the foolish hopes that he'd get his Social Security when he retires (he won't anyway....none of us will, nor should we)

When the government can run and execute an effective postal system, i.e. mail delivery, *MAYBE* I'll consider pumping more money into it (i.e. DEMOCRAT), until then, I'll pass on giving money to people who want to fart out babies and collect free money, and keep whittling away at some future invention that will make the lives of Americans BETTER. One that will create jobs, and opportunity for people of varying levels of education. Now THAT's a REPUBLICAN...a REAL American.

I'm so sick of this case.

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 9:47:03 AM #
I wish the government would just end this thing. MSFT has provided so much good for our country - great products, jobs, platform for others' products, investor return, charitable contributions, taxes-paid, and this is the thanks they get - attempted crucifiction. What a shame. I think we should be honoring MSFT, not crucifying them.

RE: I'm so sick of this case.
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 9:56:34 AM #
Crawl back to your hole. You should indeed be sick of your master Bill....asking his staff to play around with code just to shut out rivals. What a joke the great Microsoft has become!

BTW pls don't talk about 'great products'. It's precisely tactics like the above that killed a lot of truly great products and must NOT happen yet again.

RE: I'm so sick of this case.
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 9:59:57 AM #
"...great products.." LOL!

Thank you Microsoft
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 10:16:08 AM #
What would all the virus writers and crackers do without MSFT? They owe their entire existence to Windows.

RE: I'm so sick of this case.
rigter @ 2/18/2002 10:21:37 AM #
This Bill Gates reminds me of George Bush.

Both fail to notice that the world is actually bigger than their own back yard.
Both think in black and white: if you're not with us, you're against us.
Both do not accept people who have an opinion of their own.

I won't even comment on the first poster's "great products". That person needs medical assistance.


RE: I'm so sick of this case.
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 10:33:41 AM #
The USA and the rest of the world is a much better place because of great men like George W. Bush and Bill Gates. Thank God for them.

RE: I'm so ... whatever ...
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 10:35:16 AM #
The Register is salivating of this one:

"...This quite sensational document opens up a new chapter in the competitive saga, and means Microsoft has a new, wealthy public opponent of a kind it's not encountered before..."

RE: I'm so sick of this case.
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 11:14:04 AM #
There's a tradeoff to be had in any situation. A wise (albeit somewhat derranged) man once said " put somebody with the power at the controls, and you watch that old buggy rock." A lot of responsibility goes along with the kind of influence Microsoft has. Unfortunately, Mr. Gates seems to feel that the responsibility he has to be attentive to is only societal in nature.

While I applaud his charitable contributions, it just doesn't make up for the fact that the bulk of his wealth comes at the expense of choice, and through that, the jobs of a multitude of small companies that would have had a chance were it not for the cannibalistic tactics Microsoft has employed throughout the years.

Microsoft has not CREATED jobs. Quite the opposite, in fact. The Internet was publicized at the right time, but not solely by Microsoft. The PC price wars resulting in consumer purchases at the scale they were was also not Microsoft's doing. What Microsoft DID do during this period, was to cement their monopoly and discourage or bankrupt competitors using its deep pockets.

What innovation occurred during the reign of Gates was done depsite him, not due to him. Get that right at the least.

RE: I'm so sick of this case.
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 11:48:32 AM #
If it was not for Bin-Laden, Bush would still think Afghanistan is in the Carribean!!!! or somewhere around there!

And if it was not for Bush the case (M$) would be settled by now!

Just my 2c!

RE: I'm so sick of this case.
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 3:00:29 PM #
Thank God for Bush. If we had Clinton or that phony Gore and his bearded-sandal-wearing liberals, we'd still be trying to negotiate with Bin Laden while getting terrorized and suicide-bombed while Gore is busy polling on public opinion. God bless GWB!!!!!!

RE: I'm so sick of this case.
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 3:32:07 PM #
Ahh yes, honest ol' Dubbya. Too bad he's so far in Enron's and other big companies' pockets he's ruining the economy. Remember all those years of prosperity? Then the Republicans were elected and now we've got huge budget deficits. The Onion said it best when Bush was first elected: "Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity is Finally Over".

RE: I'm so sick of this case.
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 4:44:04 PM #
The prosperity began in 1981 when Reagan took office. By the way, I partially blame 9-11 on that scoundrel Bill Clinton - if he wasn't so busy getting BJ's in the Oval Office and gutting the CIA, the FBI, and the military, maybe 9-11 would have never happened.

RE: I'm so sick of this case.
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 4:44:42 PM #
Actually, the economy began to fall apart under Clinton. The economic prosperity that Clinton and Democrats love to take credit for actaully had more to do with his predicessors than with him. Sadly, the Democrats continue to point fingers at the president with regards to Enron. Leiberman was more involved in that mess than the president, and he's running the investigation!? When all the dust has settled, the Democrat's alligations will have been proven false, but no one will know or care because the Democratic press will have moved on to other issues to complain about.

I for one am very supportive of the president. It bothers me that he is being compared to Bill Gates. One is a leader who has rallied the country since September 11th, the other is indirectly responsible for the production of software that is exploited hourly around the world by hackers.

If Clinton were in office, he'd probably give a full pardon to Microsoft anyway!

I'm so sick of republicans.
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 10:53:34 PM #
Yeah, I'm sure that Clinton would have given MSFT a TOTAL pardon.

I mean, after all, he's the one that gave the justice department the green light to prosicute them, right? He would of course want them to get off as light as pos...

Wait. Why diden't he squash this earlier? Your idea don't fly. Sorry! Go back to listening to Rushie-poo tell his little supply-side fairy tales and come back when you've got something that makes sense.

RE: I'm so sick of this case.
skoty @ 2/19/2002 11:14:58 AM #
Sorry, that last comment I made was a little tongue in cheek. Everything else I said was serious though. Why didn't you refute any of my other comments?

Probably becuase the economy DID begin to fall apart under Clinton. And because Leiberman is involved in the Enron investigation just so he can cover his own ASS. And also because I'm right, the president should not be compared in any way to the man who makes the world feel insecure about using computers because his operating system is hacked hourly.

(Has anyone else noticed that Windows 2000 is having critical updates posted about once a week lately?)

If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definately isn't for you.

Things WE can do...

rigter @ 2/18/2002 9:41:32 AM #
This could hardly be news to those who have followed the trials so far. Microsoft uses every trick in the book to keep competition out.
Changing existing code to screw up third party programs is nothing new. Forcing hardware resellers to bundle their products with MS software is nothing new either.

The whole new licensing strategy around XP/.NET means only one thing: more control and more cash for Microsoft (well, that's two actually).

But we should admit that we're at least part of it.
Who are all these people who keep buying this software? That's us. Even if you're not paying for it. If you're using it you are contributing to its popularity.

I refuse to 'upgrade' to XP.
I don't want WinCE or any derivative.

It is time to UPGRADE my main machine at home to Linux. I used to work dual boot, but I will not even try to install XP anymore.
Modern distributions like SuSE and RedHat come with every application you could dream of, including office.

You're part of the problem too. The standard desktop is Windows. Mac is kind of supported, too. Why not Linux? Mac OS X is Unix-based. Porting that to Linux should be easy. Again, why not?

Reviewers check Windows performance and mention Mac software if it's there and consider it a bonus.
Ed, why not Linux?

These office applications know how to deal with office file formats. Many companies still use office95 or 97. If you can use a neutral file format for them, why not use a neutral file format anyway?

And as for which pda....
Only Palms and Handsprings are readily available over here. The only Sony around here is the N770C, costing more than 500 euro.
The Edge is coming down in price fast (279), so maybe that's a nice candidate?


putting up flame shield

RE: Things WE can do...
peter167 @ 2/18/2002 10:33:13 AM #
Hey, man. I agree with you.

But the problem is that sometimes we don't have choice. If you are going to buy a new PC, the chance of having Windows OS preloaded is 99%. Under windows OS, the chance of having MS Office is another 99%. The WMP is another 99%.

Linux is not mature yet for non-commercial users.

What are we going to do? Or say .. What can we do?

RE: Things WE can do...
rigter @ 2/18/2002 10:40:39 AM #

Many harware sellers will sell you a machine without windows if you ask for it. There is also an initiative going on for a Windows Refund.
This page: calls itself their homepage. Must be more of them around.

Many companies and indeed governments are considering a switch to Linux for at least a significant part of their machines. You don't have to change all of your machines at once. Mail servers, file/print servers, intra/internet servers will perform fine with Linux. Usually even better than their Windows counterparts.

Major companies like IBM, SUN and on and on support Linux with their products.

The point is: you've got to start somewhere. Why not now?

Just say yes.


RE: Things WE can do...
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 11:00:02 AM #
The MSFT-bashers are all talk, no action. They all run Windows and Office and IE but they cry about MSFT monopoly. Hypocrites!!! Go buy a Mac or Linux and shut up!!!! These are the same "life is not fair" "oh woe is me" loser crowd always blaming someone else for their own misfortune. Well, many of us like MSFT and their products. I hate Macs - do I complain? No! I just don't buy one. And then you have the programmers who all bash MSFT but they will freely admit that they make a lot of money of off piggybacking off of MSFT products. Stop your bittccchhing and get over it. thgis country needs to move on already.

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 11:09:03 AM #
Microsoft-bashers use MS products becouse they know they're good, its not becouse they have no other choice
they of course have to pretend

RE: Things WE can do...
peter167 @ 2/18/2002 11:18:43 AM #

It is interesting for the idea to get refunded, but I don't know how the process works, and personally I have not tried myself. I bought clone computers most of the time.

Yes, the commercial users are switching to Linux. It is a definite trend. Unless Linux and Linux-based software companies get the money paid by commercial uses and re-invested into future development, end users will have a difficult time to switch away from Microsoft.

Some of us have tried Mandrake and/or Redhat. How easy is to use that? If I ask my neighbor just to try it for a few weeks, they will quit using it in maybe just the first hour. Not all people all techies. And people are afraid to "break" their computer.

Linux is not mature for non-commercial uses (end-users) yet.

RE: Things WE can do...
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 11:18:48 AM #
If Microsoft is so great, why do you feel the need to defend it? Surely you believe that Microsoft is greater than some pesky old government. Who cares that they have been found guilty of breaking numerous laws? Might makes right. The ends justify the means. Charging $300 for a measly bug-fix is OK because Microsoft can force you to do it. And if you give in, you must like it, right? And the woman who gets raped was asking for it, too.

Everything Microsoft does is right. It's great that soon Microsoft will control all desktops, servers, handhelds, home electronics, cars, phones, cameras, and anything else electronic. That's not too much power for one company and one man to have. I trust Bill Gates to be absolutely honest and it doesn't make me nervous that soon he'll have total control of almost every part of my life. He would never, never abuse that power for his own personal profit.

Brought to you by the Campaign to Give Bill Gates Absolute Power

RE: Things WE can do...
montyburns @ 2/18/2002 11:22:44 AM #
I walk the walk and talk the talk as much as I can.

I run StarOffice instead of Office. I use Netscape Mail instead of Outlook. Windows 2000 is only around to play my games - there are alternatives to Microsoft.

I like my Palm!

RE: Things WE can do...
sir_tez @ 2/18/2002 11:24:29 AM #

I'd also like to see a report on current Linux support for Palm devices. I know there are a few programs out there but I'm not about to experiment with them on my own m505 : ) I'd love to see Palm Desktop ported to Linux though. In fact, that could tie in well with IBM's and Sun's push for Linux mindshare.


Sir Tez
IT is a rough life

RE: Things WE can do...
Ed @ 2/18/2002 11:30:34 AM #
Sir Tez, I'd be happy to do that but I'm limited by the fact that I don't run Linux. It's hard enough writing about Windows-only apps when I use a Macintosh. If you would be interested in putting something together based on your own research, I'd be happy to print it.

News Editor
RE: Things WE can do...
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/18/2002 11:42:25 AM #
Yes, when I called or mailed palm for Linux support there was not much coming back but that right now they can not support that platform!!!!!

It seems they are not doing enough themself!!

There are enough projects out there trying to connect the pALM platform to something else but linux and Palm is to arrogant to support them!!
They're diging their on grave!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RE: Things WE can do...
justincase @ 2/18/2002 12:26:33 PM #
Having been a Linux/Palm user for a while, there are many good tools currently available that will allow you to connect to most palms. I'm currently using JPilot w/MAL sync plugin (for Avantgo). JPilot looks very similar to Palm Desktop. I also use the Gnome conduit to sync to the Ximian Evolution mail client (similar to Outlook). There are a lot of different tools out there, some better then others, but the support is quite good. Newer versions of the kernel will allow you to sync via USB (>2.4.6 I believe) with a tweak or two. Overall, I find KDE and Gnome support quite good.

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