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   Technology StocksMicrosoft: Windows 97


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To: Daniel Schuh who wrote (70)3/25/1997 11:28:00 PM
From: damniseedemons
   of 74
 
Dan, I know the hack was at usenet. The advantage of people who do things there, is that it's all anonymous. Fazendin is a fool for posting the patch at his personal web page. I agree that they're using him as an example, and I agree that they should use him as an example.

>Microsoft whining about piracy in general doesn't impress me when they are trying to drive Netscape out of business by giving stuff away, or paying people to take it.>

Two important points:

1) The software belongs to Microsoft, and they can do whatever they want with it. For IE, they want to give it away for free. For Office, they want to charge money for it. It's not up to users to choose not to pay for Office and rationalize that by saying IE is free.

2) Pirating software is explicitly illegal. Cut-throat competition is not illegal (and questions of ethics don't come into play here).

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To: damniseedemons who wrote (71)3/25/1997 11:50:00 PM
From: Daniel Schuh
   of 74
 
Sal, first of all, you said they "caught the guy who hacked the dll". Some random guy who posted it on his web page is not, by any reasonable use of the language, "the guy who hacked the dll".

Second, predatory pricing comes under antitrust law. You can say cut-throat competition is not illegal, but that's for the courts to decide. Just as it's for the courts to decide whether somebody putting some usenet post on their web site is illegal. Is Microsoft sueing DejaNews? Of course, for DOJ to investigate Microsoft is "unfair", but for Microsoft to sue some poor, naive, perhaps foolish, 22 year old is just nifty, eh? As to what is explicitly illegal and what isn't, excuse me if I don't take your word for it.

And, of course, Usenet is by no means anonymous, although it is possible to post anonymously. Just like it is here. But of course, I'm sure you'll come up with some tortured reasoning how you're right and I'm wrong. Whatever.

I know you may follow the Reg line that business ethics, like military intelligence, is oxymoronic. That's fine. You don't believe in antitrust laws, I don't believe in drug laws. I'm not particularly concerned about software piracy, in this case anyway. If Microsoft wants to do something about it, it shouldn't be spreading around office 97 CD's for $5. It was totally predictable that it would be hacked. You think that's a big ethical flaw on my part? Fine, enjoy your nike profits and don't think too hard about who makes those $180 sneakers, and where the ghetto kids get the money to pay for them.

Cheers, Dan.

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To: Daniel Schuh who wrote (72)3/26/1997 12:12:00 AM
From: damniseedemons
   of 74
 
Nick asked me if they "caught the guy who hacked the dll." I said, yes, and that's my mistake for skimming his post and not thinking about exactly what he was asking. Sorry.

I do believe in antitrust laws. Who told you otherwise? But the fact is, the DOJ hasn't come to a conclusion about whether or not Microsoft has broken the law. I know I already consider what Fazendin did as illegal (and really stupid), but that case is much more clear-cut (to me) than the question of Microsoft's business practices. And just so you be clear, I never once said that it's "unfair" for the DOJ to investigate Microsoft. I admit that there is a question of what Microsoft is doing, so an investigation is in order.

I don't know what you're arguing about with usenet being anonymous? Like I said, you can post anonymously in newsgroups. But it's difficult (if not impossible) to create an anonymous (as in, untraceable) website.

About business ethics. We just have different values. I do think I'm more practical, though; because as I say, if Microsoft isn't doing it to someone, someone will have no problem doing it to Microsoft. Sort of the "better them than us" mentality.

The Nike thing was a cheap-shot---you know better than that. Crime for money is a much deeper social issue. And it's not like their sole reason for stealing or selling is just to buy those Nikes.

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To: damniseedemons who wrote (73)3/26/1997 8:39:00 AM
From: Daniel Schuh
   of 74
 
Why is what Fazendin did illegal? He posted information publicly available on usenet on his web pages. He didn't steal, sell or distribute Microsoft software. What law did he violate? Aiding and abetting violation of Microsoft End User License Agreements? What statute does that come under? How about free speech, or is Microsoft like the war on drugs, where constitutional rights don't count for much?

Maybe, unlike everybody else who likes Microsoft, you didn't say that the DOJ investigation was "unfair". I have a somewhat hard time time taking that seriously when you make broad statements like "cutthoat competition isn't illegal, software piracy is".

Yeah, Nike was a cheap shot, and out of context and irrelevant here. Truth is, in the global economy it's pretty hard to avoid this stuff. I make an exception for Nike, though, because the founder had this Harvard Business school thesis about roaming the world looking for cheap labor, then he just did it. As an investor, of course, you shouldn't think about this kind of stuff.

To tell the truth, I don't know much about the law and software piracy, but I don't think you do either. I'd guess it comes under copyright law, and I have no idea how that would apply in this case. Since this is a civil action, I presume Microsoft is using some contract or other torts angle. There's not going to be a real hearing on this unless some bleeding heart ACLU-type org. picks up on it, which is improbable. In America, justice is like everything else, you get what you pay for, and Microsoft can pay for a lot. I doubt that naive and foolish Fazendin can afford much at all.

Cheers, Dan.

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