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Slack says Microsoft is back up to old bad tricks, “browser war” style – Ars Technica

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Slack—the now-nearly ubiquitous, purple work-chatting platform—has filed a formal complaint alleging that tech titan Microsoft is unlawfully abusing its power to squeeze newer rivals out of the market—almost the exact same accusations Microsoft infamously faced 20 years ago.

San Francisco-based Slack filed a complaint with the European Commission detailing “Microsoft’s illegal and anti-competitive practice of abusing its market dominance to extinguish competition in breach of European Union competition law,” the company said today.

The complaint centers on Microsoft Teams, the company’s chat and video-conference platform. Teams is a competitor product not only to Slack but also to popular conference service Zoom, Google’s Meet and chat services, and other video services. Slack alleges that the way Microsoft bundles Teams into its distribution of Office—widely used enterprise software such as Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel—gives Microsoft an unfair advantage against the competition.

“What we are asking for is Teams be separated from the Office Suite and sold separately with a fair commercial price tag, so it competes on the merits with our products,” Slack’s general counsel, David Schellhase, explained. “Competition and antitrust laws are designed to ensure that dominant companies are not allowed to foreclose competition illegally.”

“Microsoft is reverting to past behavior,” Schellhase added, referring to a landmark US antitrust case against the company from the late 1990s. “They created a weak, copycat product and tied it to their dominant Office product, force installing it and blocking its removal, a carbon copy of their illegal behavior during the ‘browser wars.’ Slack is asking the European Commission to take swift action to ensure Microsoft cannot continue to illegally leverage its power from one market to another by bundling or tying products.”

The European Commission does not necessarily have to investigate Microsoft just because Slack has filed a complaint. Based on the EC’s current strong interest in probing alleged anticompetitive behavior from tech companies such as Apple, Google, and Facebook, however, the commission seems primed to take the accusations seriously.

All of this has happened before…

When most people think about antitrust law, they think about monopolies being broken up. The last time a company in the United States was forced to break up, though, was January 1, 1984, when AT&T split into the seven regional “Baby Bell” phone carriers. (By the time 30 years had passed, all of those smaller firms had once again merged back into either AT&T or Verizon.)

But antitrust is about way more than just monopolies. It covers a whole range of anticompetitive behaviors. At the highest level, competition law basically says that it’s fine to be dominant in your market—but that it’s illegal to use that position to cheat or to bully other firms out of competing against you.

The last time the Department of Justice tried to break up a company, however, the conglomerate in the hot seat was… Microsoft. In 1998, the DOJ took Microsoft to court, alleging the company was behaving as an illegal monopoly and also that it was harming companies such as Netscape by unlawfully bundling its Internet Explorer browser with the Windows operating system.

In May 2000, the court ruled that Microsoft had indeed broken the law, and the next month, it ordered Microsoft to be broken up: one company to produce Windows, and another to produce all other Microsoft software, such as Office and IE. Microsoft all but immediately appealed and eventually won out, reaching a settlement with the DOJ in 2001.

That settlement avoided any breakups, instead requiring Microsoft to share its APIs with third-party companies. Internet Explorer remained the Internet’s most commonly used browser until Google’s Chrome finally surpassed it in popularity about five years ago. (Chrome itself now faces some of the same allegations of stagnation and anticompetitive behavior.)

“They want to kill us”

Just last month, The Wall Street Journal ran a deep dive into Microsoft’s Teams strategy, writing, “Microsoft’s Teams software gives it a hook to lure and keep customers for its broader portfolio of services based in the cloud, where companies increasingly store their data and run applications.” The paper went on to describe the relationship between Microsoft and Slack as “an especially intense feud.”

“They want to kill us, as opposed to have a great product and make customers happy,” Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield told the WSJ.

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Sobeys confirms COVID-positive employee at Ocean Park Safeway – Peace Arch News

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Grocery retailer Sobeys Inc. has confirmed that an employee at its Ocean Park Safeway store has tested positive for COVID-19.

According to an Aug. 11 post on the company’s website, the employee last worked at the 12825 16 Ave. store on Aug. 1. The same list notes three employees at the 8860 152 St. store have also tested positive for the virus this month.

“Where required, we will communicate with customers who have shopped in the impacted location, with store signage, outlining our steps to manage the situation,” an introduction to the ‘COVID-19 tracker’ page notes.

Sobeys “will follow the direction of public health every step of the way” when an employee tests positive, the website adds.

Steps include store closures and deep-cleaning as directed; working with public health to identify close contacts; and notifying employees who require two-week isolation.



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

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Google's Lookout app now available in Canada with new updates – MobileSyrup

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Google has announced that its Android Lookout app is coming to Canada, along with updates to the global verison of the app that should help better assist people who are blind and have low vision.

The app utilizes a smartphone’s camera and sensors to help recognize objects, text and gives the user spoken feedback, earcons and signals to help identify their surroundings. 

The Lookout app also ow sports a ‘Food Label’ mode that identifies packaged foods by pointing the handset’s camera at a label. There’s also a new mode called ‘Scan Document’ that captures an entire document’s content in detail in order for it to be read aloud by the app’s screen reader.

Additionally, there’s a new, more accessible design that’s more compatible with TalkBack, Google’s Android screen reader. Google says it made these changes to the app based on feedback from the blind and low-vision community.

The Lookout app is available on Android devices with more 2GB of RAM and running Android 6.0 and later. The app is also available in French, Italian, German and Spanish.

You can find the Lookout app in the Play Store here.

Source: Google Canada Blog

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Multiple staff at Safeways in Metro Vancouver have examined constructive for COVID-19 – CA News Ottawa

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“We will continue on to update the COVID-19 tracker beneath to be transparent with you wherever we have been notified of conditions of COVID-19 in our outlets.”&#13
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Sobeys Inc. states that a selection of workers at two of its Metro Vancouver Safeway suppliers examined favourable for COVID-19.

On its COVID-19 tracker, the business lists all of the current optimistic conditions as properly as the stores that the workforce work at. 

“We will continue to update the COVID-19 tracker under to be transparent with you in which we have been notified of cases of COVID-19 in our shops,” writes Sobeys.

“Out of regard for our teammates and their confidentiality, we will by no means release any individual info about our folks. We will always do everything we can to guidance our teammates and make certain their protection.

“Wherever expected, we will connect with shoppers who have shopped in the impacted place, with retail store signage, outlining our ways to regulate the condition.”

Listed here are the modern cases verified cases of COVID-19 that Sobyes has listed on its web page:

  • Aug 4: Personnel in Surrey analyzed beneficial for COVID-19. The last working day the worker worked was July 30. (Safeway, 8860 – 152 Road, Surrey)
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  • Aug 9: Worker in Surrey tested beneficial for COVID-19. The last day the personnel worked was August 1. (Safeway, 8860 – 152 Avenue, Surrey)
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  • Aug 11:Personnel in Surrey examined constructive for COVID-19. The final working day the staff labored was August 1. (Safeway, 8860-152 Road, Surrey)
  • &#13

  • Aug 11: Employee in Surrey tested optimistic for COVID-19. The final working day the personnel worked was August 1.(Safeway, 12825-16 Avenue, Surrey)
  • &#13

Sobeys notes that all scenarios will be taken off from the tracker just after 21 days from their initial reporting date, except if new facts is gained from Community Health.

COVID-19 is distribute by respiratory droplets when a human being who is unwell coughs or sneezes, whilst it can also be spread when a balanced particular person touches an object or surface area, like a doorknob or a desk, with the virus on it, and then touches their mouth, nose or eyes right before washing their arms.

According to Vancouver Coastal Overall health, symptoms to enjoy out for may consist of exhaustion, reduction of urge for food, fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, decline of odor and/or diarrhea.

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