IBM Cloud Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Microsoft Cloud, IBM Cloud

Microsoft Cloud: Article

The EC & Microsoft Contemplate Beating Their Swords into Plowshares

The EC said Wednesday that a final settlement of the browser issue could be all of a month or two away

After 10 years of trench warfare and a body count of close to $1.8 billion in fines, the European Commission is getting ready to pass Microsoft the roach of concord and close the book on the case.

The EC said Wednesday that a final settlement of the browser issue, Europe's updated version of the old Netscape case that saw Microsoft branded a monopoly in the first place, could be all of a month or two away.

All it will take is group think and none of Microsoft's browser rivals finding too big a hole in the terms of the pact during the next month while the EC conducts what it calls a "formal market test" of the proposed remedy.

Browser makers, hardware OEMs, trade associations and consumer watchdogs will have until November 7 to comment.

The EC, which realizes it's going to hear grousing, says it's prepared to listen to substantive complaints but figures "Microsoft's commitments would indeed address our competition concerns."

The European Committee for Interoperable Systems, the trade group that includes Sun, Oracle, IBM and Opera, which initiated the browser complaint to the EC, issued a statement to Reuters saying, "the settlement does not appear to deal with the inadequacies of Microsoft's standards compliance, unfair pricing practices or other concerns related to patent abuse or standards manipulation."

The remark is off point since the EC's statement of objections never touched on those things. Of course it would serve the purposes of Microsoft's enemies if the EC was hung permanently around its neck like an albatross.

Anyway, after a month of video conferences with the EC, Microsoft has agreed to make further concessions in the "ballot screen" proposal it came up with in July, basically adjusting it to the objections raised in August when the EC conducted what it calls an "informal market test."

The July proposal followed Microsoft's threat to remove Internet Explorer from any Windows operating system it shipped in Europe.

OEMs will continue to be able to pre-load any darn browser they please and the wrath of Microsoft will not descend upon them. They can chuck Internet Explorer completely if they like.

Existing and future Internet Explorer users in Europe are going to start to see the so-called ballot screen turn up on their PCs - whether they like it or not - explaining what a browser is and offering them a choice of 11 other browsers besides IE.

There'll be a "tell me more" button for each of the browsers so the companies can make their pitch and users will be able to turn off IE and tuck it in a separate cache on their hard disk if the sight of it so offends them. They don't have to but they can.

They'll be able to install as many browsers as they like and turn them on and off at will, using any of them for their default.

Of course it may be idle to remark that even people who have trouble mastering the light switch can do this already but they don't have a cute ballot screen where the icons representing the top 12 browsers by market share in Europe will be displayed in two rows: a row of the top five, including IE, laid out in alphabetical order so IE doesn't get any preference and a second row of the next seven by market share again in alphabetical order.

Since the settlement is good for five years, the identity of these browsers could change, which is one of the ostensible reasons why Microsoft has made the browser screen a simple web page rather than a Windows application like some of its critics wanted. It says it's easier to update. And Microsoft has agreed the EC can have lingering oversight of its behavior regarding the ballot screen.

It will be interesting to see if market shares change.

In a press conference called for four in the morning Microsoft time Wednesday, the company's general counsel Brad Smith remarked that distribution of the ballot screen via Windows Update will be limited to IE users. Microsoft's browser rivals don't want their own users to have any choices.

And to prevent still another antitrust investigation from raising its ugly head, Microsoft also kicked in another concession that it wasn't ever asked to make and that Smith characterized as "the single biggest legal commitment in the history of the software industry to promote interoperability."

The company has agreed to reveal more about its Windows, Window Server, Office, Exchange and SharePoint workings to third-party developers, including open source developers who were bound to complain about it to the EC anyway.

It says it'll provide technical documentation so third-party products interoperate better with the Microsoft widgetry. It's also committing to support certain standards like the OOXML rival ODF (OpenDocument Format) and to "fully" document how these standards are supported.

For a "nominal sum," Smith said, third parties will be able to get the specifications and legally binding warranties.

And just to make sure that Symantec and McAfee don't stir up more trouble with the EC for Microsoft, it said it would disclose certain programming interfaces in its security products.

The interoperability pledge is contingent on the EC accepting the browser settlement, which is now supposed to be more usable and evenhanded than the July draft proposal.

Smith used some run-on question about Yahoo at that four-in-the-morning press conference to reflect that every time the subject of competition and IT came up during the last 10 years everybody turned and looked at Microsoft. It's time somebody else had a turn, he said, and offered a few suggestions: Google and search; IBM and the mainframe; and Oracle and Sun.

His quip about IBM proved prophetic because a few hours later it was discovered that the Justice Department has opened a preliminary investigation of Big Blue's behavior in the mainframe market contrary to its undertakings to the DOJ years ago.

This time, people being subpoenaed say, the probe's not going to take 13 years like it did the last time, suggesting it could be a highly entertaining winter watching IBM squirm. The European Commission is also being lobbied to bring a statement of objections against the giant supra-national.

Oh, yeah, about Yahoo. It's still unclear, Smith said, whether the EC has jurisdiction or whether the German national authorities do the review.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
BnkToTheFuture.com is the largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech, Bitcoin and Blockchain companies. We believe the future of finance looks very different from the past and we aim to invest and provide trading opportunities for qualifying investors that want to build a portfolio in the sector in compliance with international financial regulations.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...