Microsoft and Federal Government Reach Tentative Settlement

Wednesday October 31st, 2001

MSNBC is reporting that Microsoft has reached a tentative settlement with the Federal Government. The deal calls for a 5 year consent decree that forces Microsoft to release Windows without a variety of currently bundled programs like Internet Explorer, MSN Messenger, and Windows Media Player.

As you may know, the US Government has had consent decrees before, and Microsoft has completely ignored them, we feel. As in the past, we expect the version of Windows without the bundled packages to be almost identical in price to the current version of Windows. The last major question remaining is whether the State Attorneys General agree with the deal. We hope they do not, and push for much harsher punishment.

#48 Nope, I think it's AOL

by Kovu <>

Saturday November 3rd, 2001 4:34 PM

You are replying to this message

AOL has called the shots, as far as I'm concerned, since acquiring Netscape. They tried to paint it like a merger: it was an acquisition. If Mozilla was supposed to be "done" in 1999 according to Netscape, that's one thing. But what speaks volumes is the fact that AOL has really NOT pushed Netscape at all, or even tried to, in any real way, anywhere. A company who built fame on shoving its product down everyone's throats is, for some strange reason, seemingly entirely incapable of distributing Netscape anywhere.

Did the Microsoft deal say that AOL couldn't make a worldwide ISP using Netscape? I doubt it. Why haven't they tried doing so? They have ISPs for new users (AOL), geeks (Compuserve), and an open demographic for an ISP for Netscape-class users (Internet savvy business types) that they haven't leveraged at all. Did the deal with Microsoft say that AOL couldn't make Netscape CDs free like AOL CDs? Did it say that Netscape itself couldn't create its own partnerships to help the browser share out?

My point is just that all Netscape has really done in the last few years is put out an early browser that many people HATED: Netscape 6. Even Netscape themselves has said they "went under the radar" deliberately. Why? Because if AOL "undid" the damage Microsoft had done to Netscape, the trial would be irrelevant. All Netscape tech management aside, I'd bet that AOL never had any intention of really pushing Netscape until this trial was over. I would go as far as to say that AOL may well have purchased Netscape at least in part to "hide it" for the duration of the trial. I think they hate Microsoft that much. I bet Netscape hated Microsoft badly enough to agree to "going under the radar".

Even now AOL PR is still trying very hard to de-emphasize the Compuserve Gecko beta. Their last actions on that subject: AOL 7.0 STILL has IE in it, and when asked about when the Compuserve 7.0 version would be out, AOL said something vague like "we have no idea when CS 7.0 will be out, or what browser it will use. We're still testing." or something like that.

Note that Microsoft has brought up this very same point, and I think it's the one thing they're right about. AOL is walking on eggshells not to ruin the outcome of the antitrust trial, and the result is a deliberately IE-skewed market that makes Microsoft look really, really bad.

Now, I don't hate AOL. They have kept Mozilla alive, open source, and properly funded, and have sheltered Netscape (perhaps too much) after the company was beta to death by Microsoft. With the CS beta and the recent loud boom that was the end of the AOL/Microsoft partnership (I nearly wept with joy), I think that AOL is finally on their way to really pushing Netscape, or at least Mozilla. However, I still think AOL is being as quiet about it as humanly possible to avoid making any waves in the antitrust movement against Microsoft. It's just short of corporate sabotage, I think. Like PredatorA waiting to dine on PredatorB after BigAssRockA breaks PredatorA's back.