Microsoft May No Longer Be Appealing

The long-running feud between our favorite technology vendor and the European Union antitrust watchdog may finally be winding down. The European Court of First Instance ruled largely against Microsoft in the company's appeal of a previous ruling -- that Microsoft Windows server software and media player unfairly leveraged the company's dominant market position. The 2004 ruling by the Competition Commission was based on Microsoft actions that go as far back as 1998.

The court did rule in Microsoft's favor in one instance, rejecting the Competition Commission's ruling to appoint a third party -- which was being paid by Microsoft -- to monitor the company's compliance. Microsoft still has to pay fines and restitution valued at over $600 million.

I originally thought that this would be the last appeal left for Microsoft, but there's apparently one last possibility: an appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Communities. According to the article linked above, Microsoft has two months to appeal, though the appeal would be limited to points of law only. That means the findings stand.

Although the law may finally be winding its way to a conclusion, has justice been done? Tell me what justice is at [email protected].

More on SCO's Chapter 11 Filing
In yet another chapter of what is one of the longest-running soap operas in tech today, the SCO Group has filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The timing of this filing -- the Friday before its trial with Novell was supposed to begin -- is seemingly based more on self-preservation than a lack of cash. The Chapter 11 filing stays that trial until the bankruptcy matter is resolved, if ever. It will also stay the upcoming IBM trial until its scheduled beginning should it remain in Chapter 11.

Legal analyst Roger Parloff suggests that SCO may have taken this action to try to gain the support of the bankruptcy court in its ongoing legal offensive. It's the responsibility of the bankruptcy court to maximize the value of the assets of the company, so Parloff speculates that SCO is hoping that the bankruptcy judge assumes jurisdiction for the trial that it has already largely lost in summary judgment. It's a long shot, he concludes, and may only delay the inevitable.

This Groklaw post, which lists everyone to whom SCO owes money, is interesting reading.

Boston Outduels Silicon Valley for VC Funding
In the first half of 2007, venture capitalists (VCs) invested $464.2 million in Web 2.0 startup companies, according to a report released by Dow Jones VentureOne.

While 25 Silicon Valley companies snared $91 million of that money, Boston-area companies beat that number handily, with 10 companies receiving $102 million. Cambridge startup n2N Commerce garnered the lion's share of this money, with $30 million of funding.

The VCs spread money around quite a bit, with companies in Southern California, the Pacific Northwest and overseas also receiving substantial amounts.

Are we due for a tech bubble again? Send me your thoughts at [email protected].

Mailbag: Much Ado About Spam
Readers excercise their right to free speech by sounding off on spammer Jeremy Jaynes and his lawyer's contention that spam e-mails should be protected by the First Amendment:

I read the article regarding Jeremy Jaynes and cannot believe the man was convicted and sentenced to prison and yet he is is free while the case is appealed!

I work for a medium-sized company and I would say that 80 percent of our inbound traffic is spam and gets (thankfully) blocked. But it is a difficult job to keep up with the posers and scam artists out there. Companies spend tons of money trying to protect their users from spammers and home users do the same for their families. The fact that these people make money off of this burns me up, especially as we spend so much to keep them out. They should be in jail.


You hit the nail on the head, bro. It costs money to use the Internet, send e-mail, etc. A convicted spammer should be given a bill for the estimated cost.

You don't happen to have Jaynes' e-mail address, home mailing address or phone number, do you? I have some time on my hands and am pretty annoying (at least that is what my wife told me last night). In any case, I'd bet he would not like to be bothered by a low-value interruption (spam) of any sort. Again, if you have any contact information for him, I have two or three minutes of time available per day for the next 30 years (if I live that long).

Imagine 1,000 people calling him once a week and hanging up for the next 30 years, every other day. That is the kind of annoyance spam produces, and that is only if it is looked at from the time-reducing, annoyance angle; add in security and it is very dangerous.

Right on the money, Doug. I would definitely agree. Spam laws should be made stronger, not weaker. If some of these spammers would use their creative skills in a positive way, we might we be surprised at what could be achieved!

What's the line? Do unto others as you'd have others do unto you? So, let Jaynes get signed up with his personal and business e-mail accounts by his own spam services. I wonder how he'd get anything done. If he's such a proponent of this "free speech," he shouldn't have any reservations. Does he use any anti-spam tools? Hmm, why would he bother since it's free speech?

Another cost implication of spam, let alone the line costs: PC time is employee time spent sorting through spam filters looking for legitimate e-mails. There's an entire industry built to prevent this "free speech." Corporations spend quite a bit of money on anti-spam services and tools. I'd rather those budget dollars go elsewhere.

It seems to me that a case can be brought against spammer Jeremy Jaynes that his e-mails were not anonymous -- they were fraudulent. He did not send his e-mails anonymously, he sent them under the guise of stolen and fictional identities. Representing yourself as someone you are not in order to transact business is fraud.

I would be quite happy if all of the spam I received was truly anonymous. It would make it very easy to filter out.

I fully agree with what you said. Spamming should be illegal and the laws should be tougher. As an IT manager, I am more aware of the adverse effects spam plays on the business world. On an average day my company (a global manufacturing company) receives anywhere from 60,000 to 100,000 e-mails a day. Over 90 percent of those e-mails are spam. That is an enormous amount of garbage clogging up our e-mail systems. If we didn't purchase products and services to filter out this "anonymous free speech," we wouldn't get any work done, at least not via e-mail. I say prosecute the spammers to the fullest extent of the law.

As a network administrator, I spend a great deal of my day dealing with the gargantuan pile of spam we receive every day. It interferes with physicians caring for their patients, nurses communicating with each other and patients communicating with clinical administrators -- and for what? The laws are not strong enough, the penalties are not strong enough and the rewards for spamming are too great.

The Internet is not free; my mail servers use electricity and we have to pay for the bandwidth the spammers steal. They fill up our storage drives and make us jump through hoops to seperate the good mail from the bad. They try to steal our users' passwords and financial information for personal gain. They do not work for a living; they steal it. So what price freedom? With all the talk of the U.S. government monitoring electronic communications, why don't they hunt down the spammers and put them all behind bars? Fifty years ought to do it.

I use the Internet for work and for those folks to try and hide behind the free speech constitutional right is very sad. When I give an opinion or say something, nothing is attached, hidden or otherwise deviously placed in the sounds I utter. When I read a magazine there are no trojans, rootkits or other reactive software placed on the page. It does not cost me anything to listen to anyone or read anything, but the cost to consumers on crashed computers, ill-gotten information and plain underhanded behavior experienced by spam...

I think they should be ashamed of themselves for misusing our Constitution in such an obvious attempt to make ill-gotten gains by tricking people.

All of this stuff should be opt-in, not opt-out. I pay for my phone and its bandwidth, and I pay for my Internet service to my house and its bandwidth. I should have final say in what I allow to come over that service I pay for.

Join the fray! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to [email protected].

About the Author

Peter Varhol is the executive editor, reviews of Redmond magazine and has more than 20 years of experience as a software developer, software product manager and technology writer. He has graduate degrees in computer science and mathematics, and has taught both subjects at the university level.


comments powered by Disqus