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Re: EU anti-trust case, FSFE, Samba

From: Ciaran O'Riordan
Subject: Re: EU anti-trust case, FSFE, Samba
Date: 20 Sep 2007 16:20:51 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.09 (Gnus v5.9.0) Emacs/21.4

Byung-Hee HWANG <> writes:
> anyone to explain about the information's meaning?

Microsoft has a dominant position in the desktop operating systems market.
In the EU, dominant positions are legal, but you are not allowed to use a
dominant position in one market to influence another market.

Microsoft configured their desktop operating systems to use a secret
communication protocol, and they configured their server operating systems
to also use this secret protocol.

This meant that Microsoft's server operating systems had an advantage over
everyone else's server operating systems - because everyone else didn't know
the secret protocol.

(This would be ok if MS didn't have a dominant position in the desktop
market, but it's not ok when they do have a dominant position.)

So, when people were buying server software, they were buying Micrsoft's
server software because it was the only one that could use all the features
of the secret protocol.  This is bad for the market because competing
products are being ignored and consumers are not able to choose the best.

So, in 2004, the European Commission told Microsoft that the only way to
undo the harm, to fix the market, was to publish this secret protocol.

FSFE stepped in and argued that if Microsoft has to publish the protocol,
free software developers must be able to use it.  (So, no patents, no
licensing fees, no non-disclosure agreements, etc.)  FSFE also argued that
Samba is the only real competitor to Microsoft's server software, so Samba
must be able to use the published information.

The European Commission agreed.

Then Microsoft ignored the ruling, then they delayed, then they published
some useless information, and then they appealed to the Court of First

On Monday, the Court of First Instance rejected the appeal and confirmed
that the European Commission's ruling was correct.

So now Microsoft must publish the secret protocol.  (But it won't happen
immediately, they will continue to delay, but the fines will continue to

Microsoft can appeal one more time, but they can only appeal the legality of
the case, they cannot appeal the facts or the substance.

CiarĂ¡n O'Riordan __________________ \ _________ \  GPLv3 and other work supported by \   Fellowship:

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