Microsoft doesn’t deserve free advertising

Both major TV channels in New Zealand ran major stories on the launch of Microsoft Vista a few months ago. The TV One version was basically a wide-eyed and breathless advertisement for the product. TV3 provided something slightly closer to news (as opposed to advertising).

Microsoft should have to pay for its advertising like everyone else. There are other organisations much more worthy of charity treatment. And it is not as if there is a shortage of actual news stories involving Microsoft. For example:

EU official: Microsoft’s behavior ‘unacceptable’
Commissioner bashes Microsoft for continuing to gain market share using tactics outlawed in 2004 antitrust ruling

European competition commissioner Neelie Kroes hit out at Microsoft in comments to European parliamentarians Thursday, saying it is “unacceptable” that the company continues to gain market share using tactics that were outlawed in the Commission’s 2004 antitrust ruling against the software vendor.

Three years later Microsoft still hasn’t complied with the main demand imposed by the European antitrust ruling: that the company share interoperability information inside Windows at a reasonable price to allow rival makers of workgroup servers to build products that work properly with PCs running Windows.

“Microsoft is constantly gaining market share and that is what is worrying in the workgroup server operating market,” Kroes said, referring to server operating systems used to allow a team of people in an office to sign in, print and share files.

She told the parliamentarians that Microsoft’s market share in this sector has continued to rise since the 2004 antitrust ruling. When the Commission began its antitrust investigation in 1999 Microsoft held between 35 percent and 40 percent market share. By 2004 it rose to around 60 percent and now it stands at between 70 percent and 75 percent.

“That’s unacceptable,” Kroes said.

Withholding the interoperability information is an illegal competitive tactic, the Commission said in 2004. Offices full of PCs running Windows are easier to connect together using Microsoft’s workgroup server, than using the server of a rival such as Sun Microsystems Inc.

This unfair advantage would eventually result in Microsoft taking over the workgroup server market, the Commission predicted at the time of the ruling. The latest server market share figures appear to confirm that analysis.

Creating modem applet for Xubuntu

Install xfapplet using synaptic. Add to taskbar. Configure to include modem. Right click to activate.

BTW being able to switch from Ubuntu (GNOME) to Xubuntu (XFCE) using logout, is very handy. Don’t even have to redo the wireless network connection.

[Update] – it wasn’t quite so smooth doing all this with my grandparents’ Dapper Xubuntu setup although I got there in the end. Issue 1 – needed to add a repository with xfapplet in it (it wasn’t there in my grandparent’s Dapper setup). Issue 2 – if you resize the pixel size of the icons on the XFCE taskbar, anything added on the Gnome panel doesn’t resize – and may even become invisible! 🙁 Issue 3 – the taskbar was missing, and even if you ran xfce4-panel to restore it, it disappeared on relogin etc. Solution – looking at setting for sessions. Hid hibernate and sleep and made it automatically save session settings. Success! Phew!