MozillaZine

July 27th is Mozilla Community Day at the O'Reilly Open Source Conference!

Tuesday July 10th, 2001

If you are going to the O'Reilly Open Source Conference in San Diego this month, be sure to check out Mozilla Community Day, which is happening the last day of the conference. Mozilla Community Day is open to all, whether or not your are attending the Open Source Conference. To find out more, visit this page for info and a listing of some of the topics that will be discussed!


#106 Re: Re: Too little, too late

by AlexBishop <alex@mozillazine.org>

Thursday July 26th, 2001 7:57 PM

You are replying to this message

Have a look at this article from 'The Washington Post':

<http://www.washtech.com/news/media/11421-1.html>

It seems that AOL are going to make deals with OEMs to have AOL's software (not just the online service but other products as well) promoted as heavily - or even more heavily - than Microsoft's in Windows XP. The OEM will receive $35 each time a user signs up with AOL as a reward for conspiring in this plan. The article specifically mentions how "AOL also is seeking to give an advantage to Netscape, its own Web browser" (I don't like the reference to Netscape belonging to AOL. I know it's true but you're going to get new users thinking that AOL always owned Netscape and that AOL had the foresight to pioneer Web browsers or, even worse, that IE was always dominant). I presume that the version of Netscape will be 6.1.

Microsoft says that the action is "completely anti-consumer" and will "eliminate consumer choice", which I find rather amusing coming from a company that's trying to force its Web browser/email client/instant messenger/media player/digital photography software/Web portal/ISP/unified login/vision of a .NET-powered future onto everyone.

Some groups have said this agreement is anticompetitive, but I'm not too sure of the legal status of this. Using a monopoly in one area (say, operating systems) to gain a monopoly in another (say, Web browsers, email clients, instant messaging, digital media, digital photography, Web portals, Internet access, unified login services or the entire future in general) is, I believe, anticompetitive and illegal under US law. However, I'm not sure that using vast amounts of money to open up new distribution channels is. On the other hand, it could be argued that AOL is paying OEMs to put a competitor's products at a disadvantage, which looks like less stable ground. Anyway, to me AOL doesn't really seem to be planning anything that Microsoft isn't already doing. And their motive doesn't really seem to be to gain new markets (as it was for Microsoft), but rather to protect existing ones (though Microsoft has shown that it's possible to break the law doing this). More levelling the playing field, if you will.

However, if it isn't anticompetitve, it certainly looks damn annoying. The article speaks of pop-ups that will keep on appearing, you know, just to remind you how great AOL is.

Basically, the point I want to make is that it looks like PCs could be shipped that are set up so that Netscape 6, a Mozilla-based browser, is easier to access than IE. Which can only be a good thing.

Of course this is all speculation from AOL internal memos, so it's likely that not all the proposals will be implemented.

Alex