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MS Remedy Poll Now Up

by CHRIS NELSON | Below you will find descriptions of the choices in the most recent MozillaZine poll, "If you needed to propose a remedy at the end of the Microsoft trial, it would be to ______."

Some of these descriptions are taken directly from email we received, while some are summaries of the essential idea.

Break MS into Separate Divisions

This particular idea had many variations, but here's one possible solution: Microsoft should be divided into three distinct corporations. One should be devoted to their Operating System work, another to their Application work, and another to their Internet businesses and portal work. They would be prohibited from collaborating, or sharing secret information.

Publish all Windows APIs

Microsoft should be forced to release *all* their APIs for Windows and Office, and release complete specs for all their file formats, and be forced to keep these error free and up to date, and add in any new APIs or file formats as they are created.

Any specification should be complete enough that a third-party implementation should be capable of running *any* application that MS sells.

Completely Modularize Windows

Make everything that is not part of the core OS (drivers, event handling, APIs, etc.) into a swappable module. The OS would be extensible, but instead of integrating browsers, disk tools, voice recognition, and user shells, Microsoft would have to program in a series of hooks that would allow others to write replacement modules that exhibited the same behavior to the OS. MS could ship with IE, Scandisk, Win2001 shell, etc. but OEMs and end users could plug in Netscape, Nuts 'n Bolts, Microsoft Bob2000 shell, etc.

Prohibit MS From Entering Into Exclusive Contracts

Rather straightforward. Microsoft cannot enter into contracts with OEMs or other agencies that limit those agencies' ability to enter into deals with Microsoft competitors.

Line Up All Takers to Give Bill G. Wedgies

Revenge was a popular motif in our readers responses!

Levy Financial Penalties that Go to Non-profit or Free Software Projects

Fine Microsoft and use the money to aid the development of free alternatives to Microsoft software.

Treat MS as a Utility

This one actually uses a number of different ideas already in the poll, but with the novel twist of the remedy applying to all MS holdings that have a 60% or greater marketshare. Here's the potential remedy as described by one of our readers:

Microsoft should be forced to act like a utility in those markest where it has a dominant position, say > 60% of the market share. (At this moment, that would be Desktop OS's and Office software.)

As a utility, it should be forced to do the following:

  • Deal with any customer (no exclusive contracts, no lock-out of single vendors)
  • Have fixed and public prices, depending on volume (no special deals)
  • Supply raw material, and let the clients make any changes they want before re-selling
In addition, MicroSoft should be required to publish all interfaces; any material on APIs should be available to their competitors on the same date as it becomes available to other departments within MicroSoft.

Allow OEMs to Ship Products from MS Competitors, Irregardless of Current License Terms


Open the Source Code to Windows Under an Appropriate Open Source License

Also pretty self-explanatory. We decided not to pick out a particular license for this response.

Do Nothing

Don't enact any remedy, and let the market do what it wants.


That's all of them! Thanks again to everyone who took the time to contribute solutions!

Got a response? TalkBack!

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