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?

#10 What keeps them from working together???

by Dan6992

Sunday April 30th, 2000 4:53 PM

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What would prevent MS2 from just licensing the source of IE to MS1 so they could build their OS around it? This way the IE team would get sufficient revenue from their product to continue development and the IE/Windows combo would still rein as king of all electronic media! This could also have the side effect of making IE an even more integrated part of Windows, making the two indistinguishable from one another. Obviously they would be forced to offer the licensing to other companies to so they wouldn't break any more laws, but who would want to pay for the license to the IE source when they can simply use the free ActiveX control to integrate it into a product (or better yet get the Mozilla source for free). Even if they break the company into two I don't see anything changing except that we will have two giant Microsofts to rule the business.