ECIS slams Microsoft over Vista

As Microsoft Corp. gears up for the consumer launch of Vista, rivals slammed the new product, claiming that it breaks the very same European antitrust laws that its operating-system predecessor, XP, fell foul of in 2004, and that it will be riddled with bugs.

"Microsoft has chosen to ignore the fundamental principles of the Commission’s March 2004 decision," said Simon Awde, chairman of the European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS) in a statement Friday, adding that the new product goes even further, by leveraging its desktop dominance to compete on the Internet.

ECIS filed a formal complaint about Vista to the European Commission's antitrust division a year ago. The Commission said at the time that it would examine the complaint carefully. That examination is understood to be still ongoing, however Commission spokesman Jonathan Todd wasn't immediately available to comment.

On Friday the ECIS described Vista as "the first step in Microsoft's strategy to extend its market dominance to the Internet." Microsoft’s XAML markup language inside Vista was designed to replace HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), an industry standard used for publishing material online, it claimed.

XAML is designed to be dependent on Windows, and therefore not interoperable with other systems, ECIS said.

In addition, Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 will introduce the Open XML file format called OOXML in a move to replace the ODF industry standard.

My problem with issues like this is that they sound good however, they are bad for business.  I don't know these ECIS people in Europe, but they have no right to run around and attempt to controls features in products.  I have a fundamental problem with it.  If MS wants to put a feature or not put a feature into their product, it is based on whether or not the marketplace will accept the product.  Their dominance in the marketplace is based on the fact that their customers are paying for the products, nothing more.


  • You are absolutely right Wally. Just another liberal anti-production organization trying to stop progress. They are probably all for the socilistic philosophy of Linux and other Source Available to Hackers applications. As far as I am concerned, when liberals get bent out of shape over something, then it most likely is a great thing.

  • I was reading Wally's post about how ECIS slams Microsoft over Vista...

  • "Their dominance in the marketplace is based on the fact that their customers are paying for the products, nothing more."

    I don't know who this ECIS is, nor do I necessarily agree with them, however if you go back to the Adam Smith theory of the invisible hand, the market is not just those who are paying for the product, but all consumers in the market.

    It is perfectly reasonable, rational, and desirable for consumers who do not feel their needs are being met to advocate and complain. This is a recognition that the free market involves not just producers, but also consumers.

    In time, if the complaining voices resonate, they can effect the market. Again, that is reasonable, rational and desirable. It is therefore in the best interests of the producer to judge the market and respond. If the complaining voices are strong, they must surely change their product and adapt.

    As a sidenote, if you feel the complaint is not valid because the product performs a feature in such a way that it is a benefit to you, then it is your right to similarly speak up.

    The point is, that the "market" is not solely about those who buys. It also includes those who do not buy, who refuse to buy, or whose needs are not being met by market producers.

    This does not mean I think we should see government action enforcing an action. But it certainly means that people have a right to their opinion, whether you agree or not.

    Again, I don't follow ECIS, or really know or feel if their complaint has any merit. However I frequently hear this myth about the way markets work and I wanted to counter it.

  • The Other Steve,

    MS dominance in the marketplace is because their customer's pay for their products. If their products were inferior, then their customers would not pay for it. It was not MS that caused WordPerfect to originally turn up their nose at Windows. When WordPerfect finally shipped a Windows product, it was a horrible product. This left MS with the marketplace for windows word processors. It was a similar story for Lotus 123 and spreadsheets. Since then, no one has stepped up with a quality word processor. OpenOffice is not well accepted. It is not a myth that MS Word and Excel are better products. That is from this that has produced their dominance in the marketplace.

    As for ECIS, I might have been too heavy handed with my thoughts on them. It sounded like they were a part of the EC, which they may/may not be. Their name is fairly confusing. If they are not a part of the EC governing body, then they have a right to complain. if they are a part of the EC governing body, there job should be more towards stating policy and less about complaining about a feature in a product.

    As for my usage of the term marketplace, I think it was fine. I did not state that the marketplace was only those that will buy from MS. Clearly, the marketplace for a product are those that have the potential to purchase a product within a certain timeframe.

  • On a lighter side, I find it interesting how the ECIS implicitly gives XAML & OOXML a boost by legitimizing them as competitors to HTML & ODF.

    The funny part is that they neglect to recognize how many times Microsoft has thrown out technology and had it flop. Even if the Windows OS has a monopoly on the desktop, it doesnt guarantee that any of its features will also monopolize other markets.

    Take the browser wars for example. The only reason why Microsoft succeeded for so long was the lack of any decent competitor. Then one day, after years of neglecting IE, some new releases from the Mozilla guys changed the story in a short period of time. The same can happen if Java/XUL/SVG et al can do what FireFox did to the browser wars.

    The ECIS has once again dropped their pants and shown the world their incompetance.


  • So.... why aren't they whining about xml being supported in pretty much every product? THAT is more of a html killer (remember, xhtml is xml).

    freakin idiots. be universal in your application of rules. if ms can't include a media player, no one else should be able to.

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