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Re: [vox] [ot] OS/2 and Linux, why has IBM changed?
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Re: [vox] [ot] OS/2 and Linux, why has IBM changed?

On Fri, May 09, 2003 at 12:38:23PM -0700, Joel Baumert wrote:
> There are a number of cases that could cost Microsoft in excess
> of 10 _billion_ dollars to resolve. It is not a matter of the
> money to litigate... I am talking about what happens when they
> lose. There are a couple that look very bad for M$. For example:
> http://archive.infoworld.com/articles/hn/xml/01/01/08/010108hneolas.xml

This still doesn't cause a $50 billion cash reserve to fall under a 
'reasonable amount for normal business operations'; e.g., paying out
massive amounts of cash because your company was too cheap to do its own
work isn't a 'normal business operation' (Well, unless your company
donates large sums of cash to Presidential campaigns...)

> Hmmm... The shareholders  may loose as much as 40%, but they 
> get to keep the other 60% of the dividend. Many companies do
> not generate a dividend because the money is double taxed, 
> ultimately reducing the value of that case to the shareholder.
> If minority share- holders have a problem with the practice 
> they can sue M$, if there is something unethical here. This 
> part of the discussion comes down to a public policy decision 
> that is _very_ complicated and not really logical.

Many minority shareholders *have* complained to MS, but they haven't
wanted to go as far as a lawsuit, because it would devalue their
holdings.  Catch-22.

> They are either guilty or not guilty... Tax dodging is only a
> crime if you operate outside the legal framework. This is 
> something that the auditors should not allow. They wouldn't
> happen to be Andersen Consulting customers, would they :-)?
> I dodge taxes with the mortgage deduction, but because of the
> tax law this is not illegal, just the opposite it is 
> encouraged.

The colloquial definition of 'tax dodge' usually implies that the dodge
lies outside of the legal framework; I didn't think that I needed to
stipulate it.  Microsoft's cash hoarding *is* in violation of IRS

> I agree that 50+B is probably out of line for the needs of the
> company, but they have an easy out... They could go on a buying
> spree and drop that reserve down. Hmm... NVidia and ATI look
> like good targets.  How about ASUS, ABIT, and IWill as well.
> What is Creative Labs or other sound card companies worth?

Again, not really a 'normal business practice', and I have a feeling
that the SEC might have something to say about such a merger -- then
again, given the current political climate, the SEC would probably
approve the merger of the U.S. federal government and Shell Oil (forgot;
that happened last week).

The other bit is that these companies would have to go with the merger;
which, in the case of companies like ASUS and ABIT (both based in
Taiwan, IIRC) won't happen -- the Taiwanese government probably wouldn't
allow it.

> If vendors do not cooperate with Palladium, just buy them...
> Linux drivers... screw you... We do not release proprietary
> information, figure it out for your selves... But if you do
> we will put you in jail under DMCA. Be careful what you ask
> for... you might just get it.

You have outlined many of the reasons why I am thinking about moving the
hell out of the U.S. in a year or two. *grin*

> No... I think that you miss the general problem with Microsoft.
> They can lose money in one area for an extended period of time
> because they subsidize or include the cost of that product within
> the flagship OS or Office packages. The lock on document formats,
> APIs, drivers, developer mind share, standards steering all 
> complement each other to allow for M$ in every PC type contracts,
> which are truly a competition killer.  Splitting the companies
> would allow other "Office" competitors to be bundled with the
> OS. This is a problem for M$ when free or near free software
> can replace apps on one side or the OS on the other.

Right, but if you allow both sides to partner on the bundling issue,
then they can make agreements like, "We'll provide access to OS source
code to any company that has correctly implemented Microsoft Word 2009
document formats as provided by this test suite...", which still allows
them to give office a *huge* advantage over other office suites.

> > That's actually covered by contract law already; the terms of a contract
> > cannot be changed unless both parties explicitly agree to the change.
> > This is probably why Microsoft has never tried to test the EULA in
> > court -- it really is unenforcable.
> Sure... If you want this security patch, you will agree to the new
> XYZ terms. Otherwise your server is going to rooted (Admin'd) by any
> hacker that notices. I grouped these two areas together because
> a set of bug fixes should not dramatically change the agreement.

Contracts signed under duress are not binding; were I a locksmith and
you a homeowner, and there was a serial killr roaming around who could
pick my locks in a second, and I told you the only way I would change
your locks out was if you signed a contract that gave me the right to
sleep with your sixteen-year-old daughter, then that contract would not
be considered binding.

> http://www.informationweek.com/story/IWK20020816S0001
> Maybe this type of extortion is already covered by contract 
> and/or liability law.

That's a patent infringement case which Microsoft is losing; I'm afraid
I don't see how it relates...?

> I suspect that the current culture within Microsoft stresses
> innovation over due diligence :-), though probably not bordering
> on what could be defined as gross negligence. I am not saying that
> product liability laws applied to software are going to be a healthy

I would definitely say it is gross negligence; I refer the court to
Exhibit 'A', the most recent Passport exploit... *grin*

> thing, but watch... It will be the largest growth area for the
> legal industry since toxic mold, asbestos, and breast implants.

Hence why I plan on getting a law degree after I'm done with my
anthropology degree. *grin*

Don Werve <donw@examen.com> (Unix System Administrator)

Yorn desh born, der ritt de gitt der gue,
Orn desh, dee born desh, de umn bork! bork! bork!
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