Zaine posted about MS and Open Source, and this is a related issue. From the same annual report:
We are subject to government litigation and regulatory activity that affects how we design and market our products.
As a leading global software maker we receive scrutiny from government agencies under U.S. and foreign competition laws. Some jurisdictions also provide private rights of action for competitors or consumers based on alleged anti-competitive conduct.
This doesn't apply to other companies and it's a double standard.
The whole "monopoly" thing just doesn't wash for me. There are (and ALWAYS have been) many different operating systems available. If anyone is to blame, then blame IBM and HP for making their OSes insanely expensive so that nobody could ever afford them.
MS has a reasonably priced OS and other products that are constantly under unfair attack.
If anyone else were to develop "monopolistic" software, would they receive the same treatment? Doubtfully.
As an experiment, try developing some software for left-handed hispanic parapalegic lesbians living in Atlanta to keep track of their iguana collections. Then price it at $10,000 and make sure that it's proprietary closed source and that you've used a lot of anti-piracy measures and copy protection along with a file format that is impossible to reverse engineer. Make the license very strict as well. You'll have a monopoly, but nothing would ever happen.
i.e. Scale matters.
Maybe I'm just grumpy today, but I'm just sick of the "let's beat up MS" thing. They've done more good for computing than any other company.
This is the exact same issue as the entire music thing. The RIAA just isn't intelligent to figure it out though.
e.g License your music for ALL devices, the iPod, the Zune, or whatever. But just get whatever they want figured out.
The issue is when you're big and you want to license your product. Ummm... Hasn't this all been done a trillion times?
These issues aren't that hard to figure out. They might involve some thought and a little bit of work, but they are very, very far from difficult.
At the moment I'm negotiating some patent licensing and it's all just pure Hell trying to get anywhere. Again - similar issues. I wish they'd just get their ducks in line...