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>Why is it Microsoft's responsibility to make Linux run on the hardware that runs their software? What is your stance on Nook Tablet, Kindle Fire etc.?

I disapprove of Android vendors locking their bootloaders as well. However, this is an entirely different landscape. Microsoft's penetration on laptops and netbooks means that they have the ability to block out competing operating systems unless OEMs (that have to negotiate contracts with Microsoft) go out of their way to provide a different model with a differently implemented UEFI. Considering the number of manufacturers selling Linux computers now, that seems unlikely.

Regardless, I even granted that there isn't a business reason for them to be friendly to competing operation systems, it's just disappointing to see them resorting to this. I have to wonder if it's in part because of how far behind they are in terms of phones/tablets.

>I believe they were referring to x86 machines, not ARM.

Does it matter? The conversations that were playing out were discussing Microsoft's intentions wrt to UEFI.




According to the article, "For non-ARM systems, Microsoft requires that Custom Mode be enabled." It seems incredibly likely that OEMs will "go out of their way to provide a different model with a differently implemented UEFI."

I'd imagine it does matter which architecture was being discussed.


>Microsoft's penetration on laptops and netbooks means that they have the ability to block out competing operating systems

ARM laptops and netbooks and PCs won't run x86 apps, so I fail to see how MS's penetration will allow them to block out competing operating systems.

>Regardless, I even granted that there isn't a business reason for them to be friendly to competing operation systems, it's just disappointing to see them resorting to this. I have to wonder if it's in part because of how far behind they are in terms of phones/tablets.

Their strategy seems to be to subsidize the licensing cost of the OS by selling Metro apps from the Windows Marketplace. This model will get into trouble if the user loads Android on it. Anyway this is the same model that Amazon, B&N and to some extent Apple uses.


ARM laptops and netbooks and PCs won't run x86 apps, so I fail to see how MS's penetration will allow them to block out competing operating systems.

The ability to run x86 apps is irrelevant. Full-fledged Linux desktop distributions have been available for ARM desktops, laptops, nettops, etc. for a long time. Microsoft is entering this existing market with a product that anticompetitively excludes Linux from the market by preventing users from upgrading their OS (as has been traditionally available on Microsoft-targeted computing platforms) through the same kind of license agreements with OEMs that got them into trouble with Be.

Their strategy seems to be to subsidize the licensing cost of the OS by selling Metro apps from the Windows Marketplace. This model will get into trouble if the user loads Android on it. Anyway this is the same model that Amazon, B&N and to some extent Apple uses.

It is not the responsibility of users and OS vendors to preserve the flawed business model of their competitors. Microsoft's competitors shouldn't be forced out of the operating system market just because Microsoft wants to sell its own licenses below "cost" (whatever that means for something that has virtually no cost to duplicate).


>The ability to run x86 apps is irrelevant

It is very relevant. Can you tell why the EU requires Windows to display a browser selection box on first boot to Europeans, but is okay with iOS totally BANNING the use of non-Safari browser engines?

>Full-fledged Linux desktop distributions have been available for ARM desktops, laptops, nettops, etc. for a long time. Microsoft is entering this existing market with a product that anticompetitively excludes Linux from the market by preventing users from upgrading their OS (as has been traditionally available on Microsoft-targeted computing platforms) through the same kind of license agreements with OEMs that got them into trouble with Be.

Why is it not anti-competitive for Apple to ship their hardware with a completely locked bootloader? Can Microsoft claim they're being anti-competitively blocked for shipping an OS for the iPad? How is it legal for the Kindle Fire and Nook to ship with locked bootloaders?

>It is not the responsibility of users and OS vendors to preserve the flawed business model of their competitors. Microsoft's competitors shouldn't be forced out of the operating system market just because Microsoft wants to sell its own licenses below "cost" (whatever that means for something that has virtually no cost to duplicate).

Similarly, Microsoft should be allowed to sell the software they create on their own terms.

No cost to duplicate doesn't mean there was no cost to create it. Or do you propose that the first copy cost $5 billion and then the rest are freely reproduced and distributed?


> Can you tell why the EU requires Windows to display a browser selection box on first boot to Europeans, but is okay with iOS totally BANNING the use of non-Safari browser engines?

Because the restrictions placed on Microsoft were a reaction to several anti-competitive business practices in which MS was effectively forcing OEMs to prop up a Windows+IE monopoly. OEMs were not allowed to remove IE, and as previously noted in US v MS, were often not allowed to install any other browser. OEMs were charged more for Windows licenses were they to offer any machine without Windows as well as mandating OEMs pay fees for each computer sold whether or not it was sold with Windows pre-installed in order to retain their license. This along with market pressure induced OEMs to focus production on Windows-only offerings, creating an anti-competitive environment in the larger, general-use OS market.

To the second point and this...

> Why is it not anti-competitive for Apple to ship their hardware with a completely locked bootloader?

Apple is the OEM. As far as iOS devices are concerned, they own the lot. I presume you didn't intend for them to be included here, but for their x86 devices (iMac, etc), you can install any compatible OS you want.

> How is it legal for the Kindle Fire and Nook to ship with locked bootloaders?

Simply put, Amazon and Barnes & Noble are not in the OS business. They don't stand to gain an unfair advantage from excluding another OS from their device and they are not forcing a third-party business to act on their behalf to support such an advantage. IMHO, Amazon is more likely to find trouble in areas such as their redirection of requests to market.android.com to their own app store though they still let you side-load apps and download them directly through the browser.


Which makes the licensing of Android phones even more ironic. MS is using the patent system to do to phone manufacturers what MS did to PC manufacturers decades ago.


It is very relevant. Can you tell why the EU requires Windows to display a browser selection box on first boot to Europeans, but is okay with iOS totally BANNING the use of non-Safari browser engines?

I'm not European, so I'm not very well informed on their approach to antitrust issues, but my guess would be that either they just haven't gotten enough complaints about/gotten around to prosecuting Apple, or Apple's lack of a monopoly in their respective market gives them greater leeway.

I could imagine them saying, "It's not the processor that's relevant. It's whether something can be classified as a computer or an appliance." Would you say that a Linux- or BeOS- or OS/2-based PC should be treated differently from the same PC running Windows, just because it can't run "x86" [Windows] apps?

Why is it not anti-competitive for Apple to ship their hardware with a completely locked bootloader? Can Microsoft claim they're being anti-competitively blocked for shipping an OS for the iPad? How is it legal for the Kindle Fire and Nook to ship with locked bootloaders?

So far the phone/"giant phone" tablet and netbook/tablet PC/desktop markets have been treated differently. With traditional forms of computing, there is a greater expectation of flexibility of the system. Maybe that will change to the point where consumers expect to be able to install their own OS on a smartphone as well, and I for one hope it does.

Similarly, Microsoft should be allowed to sell the software they create on their own terms.

I agree, so long as those terms don't include explicit or de facto exclusions of their competitors from the market. What we're discussing now is exactly such an exclusion.

No cost to duplicate doesn't mean there was no cost to create it. Or do you propose that the first copy cost $5 billion and then the rest are freely reproduced and distributed?

I'm fully aware of the separate costs of creation versus distribution. I am a hardware/software startup founder myself. My point is that Microsoft needs to figure out how to make money without anticompetitively excluding others from the market. Their decision to sell anything below their actual costs is simply not my problem as a consumer, nor should it be any government's problem.


From memory when I read one of Microsoft's yearly filings on Edgar that the windows OS unit reported a 89% profit margin or something similar.


Apple doesn't have a monopoly in any market except, arguably, MP3 players. The rules are necessarily different for companies that have monopolies.


>Can you tell why the EU requires Windows to display a browser selection box on first boot to Europeans, but is okay with iOS totally BANNING the use of non-Safari browser engines?

Your information is very old. The App Store has approved third-party web browsers for over three year now.

http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2009/01/third-party-web-br...

>Why is it not anti-competitive for Apple to ship their hardware with a completely locked bootloader?

It is. Don't confuse "anti-competitive" with "illegal." If you want the DoJ to pursue an anti-trust case against Apple, you're free to push for that. The market realities will make it a hard sell.


Third party web browsers are still required to either use the system WebKit or run all scripts remotely (like Opera Mini) - Firefox wouldn't be allowed, for example.


Why is it not anti-competitive for Apple to ship their hardware with a completely locked bootloader?

Because there is a large market for non-iOS based phones.

The market for non-Windows based laptops is much, much smaller (basically OS X).


>Because there is a large market for non-iOS based phones

What about tablets?

>The market for non-Windows based laptops is much, much smaller (basically OS X).

ARM laptops are way different. For starters, they wont run any programs that run on other laptops.


What about tablets?

Q4 2011 tablet numbers: 11.1m iPad/6m Android (including Kindle Fire and Nook)[1]

ARM laptops are way different. For starters, they wont run any programs that run on other laptops.

.NET programs will run fine. Win32 programs can be recompiles with a WinARM target (the Win32 APIs still exist in ARM Windows[2])

[1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/dec/25/ipad-tablet...

[2] http://stackoverflow.com/questions/8254846/does-windows-8-ar...



I think it is pretty reasonable to assume the parent meant "they wont run any Windows programs that run on other Windows laptops"

As I noted in my reply, he's mostly wrong about that too.


> is okay with iOS totally BANNING the use of non-Safari browser engines?

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/opera-mini-web-browser/id3637...


Sorry, that's not a browser, it can't even run Javascript. It is basically a web proxy.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opera_Mini Unlike ordinary web browsers, Opera Mini fetches all content through a proxy server that reformats web pages into a format more suitable for small screens.[32] A page is compressed, then delivered to the phone in a markup language called OBML (Opera Binary Markup Language).

Browsers like Firefox and Opera Mobile are explicity banned by Apple.


It is a browser. It is a poor browser, but it's a browser.

FUD elsewhere.


Not to mention the XBox.


Many Linux operating systems have been fully operation on ARM for some time.

Besides, this issue is much larger. What happens when Windows 9 comes out and is signed with a different set of keys. Obsolescence is now even easier for OEMs and Microsoft to "let" happen.


I think this is wrong.




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