By now everyone is familiar with the case U.S. vs. Microsoft. What is all this about? According to my two articles, Microsoft, the world’s leading software company, is being sued by the Justice Department joined by 19 states.
As we all know, Microsoft dominates the personal computer’s operating system. Almost every computer in schools, libraries, offices, and home is equipped with either Windows 3.X, Windows 95, or 98. As far as browsing the web, there are three major browsers: AOL, Netscape and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
When Windows 98 came out, it already had Microsoft’s Internet Explorer installed, compared to Netscape which users had to pay $50 for the program before being acquired by America Online.
Basically Microsoft is being sued for having an illegal monopoly over personal computer’s operating system and repeatedly quashed competition to preserve its market domination. After the findings, Government lawyers said they would consider proposals to break up the company.
In Microsoft’s defense, citing a 1990 ruling from the 4th circuit appeals court, Microsoft claims that “a desire to increase market share or even drive a competitor out of business through rigorous competition on the merits is not sufficient” to prove it intended to establish an illegal monopoly.
An important point in Microsoft’s argument is the copyright law. According to Microsoft, it has a right to “prohibit unauthorized modification” of Windows and bar computer markers from removing icons or Internet Explorer.
Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle said in a statement, “Both consumers and the industry would benefit from a fair resolution of this case. The current mediation provides both parties a unique opportunity to resolve this dispute in a way that strikes a balance between the importance of our antitrust laws and innovation.” Leading the lawmakers believes it would be best if both sides reach an out of court settlement.
It’s going to be interesting to see what will happen to this case. Will the U.S. break up the software giant or will Microsoft keep on dominating the operating system market. I would like to see both sides settle this case out of court. It would definitely benefit both parties. Since a majority of computers are using Windows 95 or 98, it makes the compatibility part easier for all consumers. Microsoft standardized the software’s to be used on Windows and creates fewer conflicts with other operating systems such as Mac and Linux. It’s better for users because we do not have to learn to operate more than one operating system.
Imagine yourself typing up a project at work using Microsoft Word. There wasn’t enough time to finish so you decide to bring it home. You put the disk in at your home computer only to find that it’s not compatible with the Linux operating system. If that were the case today, we would have to own two or more computers with different operating systems.
As far as the competition goes, I think Microsoft is doing an extremely good job to maximize profits. This market is very competitive and Microsoft knows there is a lot of money to be made. Microsoft developed a product that is in high demand. With the Internet getting so popular, everyone would like to own a PC. As an employee of an Internet Service Provider called Every Ones Internet, I get an up close and personal view of how fast the Internet is growing. Each day I would sell at least 20-25 Internet accounts. With the falling prices of computer chips, there’s a high demand in computers. A PC is similar to a television; soon every home and office will have at least one computer.
Microsoft is definitely not slowing down, with the introduction of Windows 2000, Microsoft claims this is their best product ever. They have spent one billion dollars for the production of Windows 2000 and by 2001, most computer users will upgrade to Windows 2000.