Government Wants Two Microsofts

Friday April 28th, 2000

The U.S. Government has issued what it feels is the best remedy to keep Microsoft from leveraging it's monopoly any further. Microsoft part 1 would be just the operating system, and part 2 would take control of applications like IE and Office. Microsoft has until May 10 to submit their comments on this.

This bodes well for the Web developer community. Up to the present day, the IE development team has worked to support Microsoft's developer customer base, not Web developers in general or standards compliance goals. This is clear in the posts from Microsoft representatives on the WSP Standards mailing list.

With no guarantee that their browser will be included on any PC distribution, would the IE team not be forced to deal with standards compliance and interoperability? If they had to compete at the same level as their competitors, would it not bring about a change in attitude? And with no OS monopoly revenues to support browser development, I wonder if Microsoft would be forced to act as Netscape did -- turning to Open Source and the developer community for assistance.

Microsoft's IE development team has created a de facto platform built on numerous proprietary extensions and tight OS integration. With the loss of this tight integration, and with new platform competition from Mozilla's XUL, would the IE team acknowledge the necessity of cross-platform interoperability? Or would they stay a Windows-and-Mac-only development team that lacks interoperability across even those two platforms?

What do you think?

#1 RE: pressuring IE browser for standards

by guyh

Saturday April 29th, 2000 2:27 PM

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Regardless of the outcome of the MSFT antitrust trial (and it may be years in coming), the best way to hold the Seattle gang's feet to the fire is the existence of an alternative which IS standards compliant. On top of that, if this browser runs on multiple platforms, is embeddable for applications to customize, and has a small enough footprint for cell phones and handheld devices to use, you've got a winner!! I cannot emphasize this last point enough, since we are on the cusp of the 4th revolution: communications for the masses. MSFT may well "win" most of its case on appeal, but lose the war as the ego of Mr. Bill relegates the desktop to a smaller and smaller part of the information society. The world needs a real alternative to IE for the wireless internet, to avoid a MSFT dominated universe. As it becomes clearer that the Evil Empire has such grand designs, Mozilla will attract tremendous sponsorship from everyone else, if only to champion the underdog and preserve freedom of choice. No man is God, and this includes John Rockefeller and Bill Gates. Their sin is pride, and his ego ultimately will be his own undoing...