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Posted Jun 18, 1998

My Two Cent's Worth

By Steven Wynkoop

This department of Justice thing just really rubs me wrong. I'm not an extremist and, while I do rely on a significant portion of Microsoft technologies to accomplish my work, I'm not completely blind to the sometimes seemingly harsh tactics Microsoft employs. But wait, there's more to this than meets the eye, as there is with much of Microsoft's seemingly vicious tactics.

With Internet Explorer, Yes, Microsoft is making a play to be THE web browsing tool of choice. No surprise there. You'd be ill-advised to enter any business without aspirations of being the best contender in your chosen marketplace.

It makes sense to (finally) start folding the browser into the desktop and overall operating system. It's in agreement with Bill Gates' original, and now famous, "information at your fingertips" vision. Who cares where the information you need resides -- you just want to get it!

The DOJ injunction request just doesn't make sense.

This is why the probe and injunction request just really don't make any sense. It's like mandating that SQL Server isn't allowed to start working on row-level locking because that would give it an edge in the database marketplace.

Access isn't allowed to have Web-based tools integrated into the application - that would make it too easy for users to get the information from their systems out to the 'net. No kidding.

Let's get serious. NetScape is good for the industry. NetScape and IBM and Sybase and Oracle all feed each other and the competition with Microsoft. You can't regulate and legislate feature sets and integration between a vendor's products, that just smacks of "poor little NetScape, they can't compete so let's make sure they survive."

NetScape doesn't need pity, it just needs to continue to innovate, continue to improve Navigator and run like heck to keep after Microsoft. It's a necessity! Both NetScape and Microsoft have killer browser products. It's due to each other's influence that standards are acknowledged, pressure is applied to provide features and so on.

All of this makes perfect sense. So why is the DOJ finding it necessary to start getting involved in integration. I'm certain that the DOJ has had time to investigate features, to understand where this industry is going, and to ensure that it is aware of the vision of all companies involved. I'm certain of this because if they haven't, they have no business playing big brother, no business getting in the way of competition.

The DOJ may have legitimate concerns about distibution, but hold-on -- this is only the beginning. When it becomes quite obvious that "Internet Explorer" is really a core component of Windows '98 and Windows NT 5, what then? Will they force some components of the operating system to be packaged separately?

...and what of the fact that NetScape has even eyed and worked toward replacing the desktop with a web-enabled version - a version based on NetScape. I'm assuming, of course, that the DOJ will also step in then and... tell Microsoft to help 'em out. In the name of competition of course.

Just my 2 cents.

Reader Comments - send yours today!

This is the first issue of "My 2 Cents" and, I'm glad you're here. This section will be the repository for articles that basically give me a chance to spout and pontificate about goings on in the industry... If you have a suggestion for an article, please send me a note.

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