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Microsoft Internet Explorer Mozilla Netscape The Courts United States

Internet Explorer Antitrust Case Set To Expire 176

Posted by timothy
from the all-seeing-and-wise-benevolent-gov't-saved-us dept.
jbrodkin writes "The judgment in United States vs. Microsoft is on the verge of expiring, nearly a decade after antitrust officials ruled Microsoft unfairly limited competition against its Internet Explorer browser. Microsoft has two more weeks to fulfill the final requirements in the antitrust case, which is scheduled to expire on May 12. Although Netscape ultimately didn't benefit, the settlement seems to have done its job. From a peak of 95% market share, by some estimates Internet Explorer now has less than half of the browser market. Microsoft, of course, filed its own antitrust action against Google this week, and even commented publicly on the irony of its doing so, noting that Microsoft has 'spent more than a decade wearing the shoe on the other foot.'"
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Internet Explorer Antitrust Case Set To Expire

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  • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob&hotmail,com> on Thursday March 31, 2011 @11:54PM (#35685496) Journal
    The settlement did nothing. It was Mozilla and Firefox which revived competition in the browser market.
    • by RoFLKOPTr (1294290) on Friday April 01, 2011 @12:00AM (#35685514)

      The settlement did nothing. It was Mozilla and Firefox which revived competition in the browser market.

      This. The field of web browser development was almost completely stagnant before Mozilla came along. Since then, the web has made massive strides in usability and function, which would not have been possible without Mozilla (and later Google). No antitrust settlement could have caused new browsers to emerge.

      • by ehrichweiss (706417) * on Friday April 01, 2011 @12:11AM (#35685564)

        I don't know if I need to remind you but Netscape was essentially Mozilla's code and they even said it in the EULA around 1994 or 95: "Remember, it's spelled N-E-T-S-C-A-P-E but it's pronounced 'Mozilla'"

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by RoFLKOPTr (1294290)

          I don't know if I need to remind you but Netscape was essentially Mozilla's code and they even said it in the EULA around 1994 or 95: "Remember, it's spelled N-E-T-S-C-A-P-E but it's pronounced 'Mozilla'"

          Netscape was Netscape Communications' code. "Mozilla" was simply a codename (and useragent) for the browser back in the day. When I said "before Mozilla came along" I was referring to when Netscape essentially died and forked off into what was formally and officially called Mozilla which later split into Firefox et al.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by hairyfeet (841228)

          But their code was absolute shite until they forked it as F/OSS as Mozilla. I know the theory loved by the tinfoil hat wearing crowd here is poor wittle Netscape beaten to death by the big bad MSFT, but you know what? Speaking for myself and the countless greybeards that had been actual customers of NS (hell I probably still got my NS4 disc in one of my storage lockers somewhere) who all ended up switching to IE I can tell you that it wasn't that we liked IE per se, it was that NS 4 was shit. It wasn't even

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            BSODding an OS tells something about the host OS too.

          • by wvmarle (1070040) on Friday April 01, 2011 @03:14AM (#35686246)

            (anybody remember the NS blink tag?)

            You mean that was not an html standard? I didn't know. And boy do I remember that... horrible. Makes the text involved so hard to read, especially when used on not a single word but a complete paragraph. My regard of the html standards board just went up :) At least they didn't invent that horror.

          • by Andrei D (965217)
            I still remember that, in my early days as a Linux user (circa 2000), I had a relatively decent machine. I was using Red Hat 6.2 with XFree86 and Window Maker at the time. Netscape was indeed slow, so I clocked it to see how long it takes to start (display the home page): 51 fucking seconds.
          • by Tim C (15259)

            Thank you. I generally end up writing something along these lines every time IE vs Netscape stories are published; I stuck with Netscape because I hated IE, not because it was better (or even any good). IE4 was on a par, and IE5 blew it away.

            I'm glad I'm not the only one that remembers those days.

          • by ArhcAngel (247594)

            Yes, I remember those days well. I also remember Windows 95 doing all those things all by itself. Not even running any programs. Not to mention the lengths Microsoft went to make sure competing products were at a disadvantage. [wikipedia.org]

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            /NS4 crashes hard and BSODs OS with it/ $&^%$^%$&^$&^$!

            ABSOLUTELY NOT. The OS DECIDED to crash. Nothing an application can do can crash an operating system, short of a forkbomb, and if that can crash your OS here's a nickel, get a real OS.

            When NT blue-screens the problem is a driver, hardware, or NT itself. The problem was NOT your web browser.

          • by morgauxo (974071)
            I actually liked Netscape, at least until it turned into adware around version 5 or so. Did Netscape 4 make a computer crash? Maybe. How would I tell, given the state of Windows back then? If you didn't have the latest bleeding edge hardware of the time IE slowed your machine to a crawl once it started merging into the Windows Operating System. And then there was Netscape for Linux. I don't remember any crashes there, not in the browser or the OS.
      • As a Chrome user I agree 100%. Mozilla got their shit together and stopped producing bloatware (Navigator, Communicator, etc) which split the market.

        If it wasn't for Mozilla I don't think Chrome would exist.

    • Yeah back then Netscape was actually WORSE than IE.

      Microsoft may have stepped on their toes, but Netscape themselves were to blame for blowing away their own feet.

      I used Netscape from 1.x till 4.7. And at the ending stages Netscape was inferior. It was slower in rendering and crashed more. Trust me I tried to look for alternatives to IE at that time.

      Mozilla and Mozilla based versions of Netscape (e.g. Netscape 6) were crap too and not worth the megabytes of download. I tried Opera too but it just didn't fit
      • "Mozilla only got usable a few years ago (2005? 2006? Barely usable too - still had many memory issues back then) and that's when it started gaining marketshare." I would say sometime around 2004, it was the first time I used Firefox. I loved it instantly, tabbed browsing and everything. I wondered why everyone wasn't using it already. I don't know about memory issues, but it was already much more secure than Internet Explorer.
      • Mozilla only got usable a few years ago (2005? 2006? Barely usable too - still had many memory issues back then) and that's when it started gaining marketshare. If you think I'm trolling or talking shit, just look at Google Chome - it has gained so much share in a far far shorter time than Mozilla took.

        I've been using Firefox on and off since before 1.0. I had no problems with it back then. It was horrible compared to the standards of today, but it was still better than fucking IE6. I think we could attribute Chrome's rapid market share gain at least in part, though, to the fact that people are now aware of (and actively seeking) newer better ways to browse the web, and it has been backed by a multi-billion-dollar household name since the get go. Firefox really started the alternative browser trend, so it

      • by LostMyBeaver (1226054) on Friday April 01, 2011 @03:02AM (#35686200)
        I have to say that Netscape was our best friend. Their code has become such crap that it gave us the chance to not only catch up, but to run free.

        Frankly, the lawsuit mentioned was one of the worst things ever to happen to many other companies. Mac, Linux and everyone else was completely left without a browser capable of performing online banking, reading news sites etc... The lawsuit caused Netscape to become a litigation company and their development just fell to pieces. Their server packages were amazingly bad and the day they added Javascript support and "layers" to their browser, everything just fell to pieces.

        That left it up to us to come in and make waves. We became "the other browser" sure, our market share at the time sucked. Lars Knoll was still working on the first release of his amazing code.... imagine a browser written in such a way that the code was readable and manageable. But, what it really came down to is, Netscape's focus on litigation damn near ruined the entire computer market for anyone that wasn't willing to simply just become another Microsoft shop.

        You want to know what REALLY killed BeOS? It was Netscape. We were too small to make the BeOS version, so we used a small Swedish company run by a group of incredibly bright and talented developers. Even now, years after Opera bought that company, the VP of engineering is the guy who ran that group, the guys making the screaming fast rendering contexts and other technologies which keep Opera in the top two at all times really has a lot to do with those guys. But, we just didn't have the resources to do it back then. As a result, Be would either have to make their own browser (they didn't have the manpower or inclination) or Netscape could have made one. But, without a reasonable browser, users had to reboot their machine into Windows to be able to run IE or Netscape to surf the web.

        The world has changed... you can port FireFox or WebKit to a new platform in days (for a crap build, but still functional), if you can interest Opera (which typically isn't hard to do) they can port to a new platform as quickly as they can write a handful of classes and a new Makefile. The reason IE has lost market share isn't because the lawsuit did anything, it's because the other browsers are all equal to or better than IE.

        That said, WebKit has become so good as of late that if Microsoft didn't have to support all the IE infrastructure that they do, switching to WebKit would be a great idea for them. Oh... well, there is another catch to that. If they did that, the whole world would be in an uproar complaining about how Microsoft is trying to be WebKit by absorbing it etc...

        I don't think however that Microsoft is bothering to compete with other browsers anymore. Their developers have a competitive spirit and should, and they should be proud of what they manage to accomplish, but Microsoft doesn't really benefit at all from competing with other browser now. What's the market case for it? Really, there are now 3 great browsers on Windows (Opera, Chrome, FireFox) and Internet Explorer. They are all getting faster and faster, getting more features, the standard web can now do most of what needs to be done without non-standard extensions, in 5 more years, the web standards might even be as capable as Flash Player. There will always be a need for plug-ins if for no other reason but DRM. But, let's face it, Silverlight was proof that Microsoft isn't trying to alter the basics of the web anymore. They're not trying to make new Microsoft only extensions to the standards, but instead decided that a plug-in which could be run on all browsers would be good enough instead.

        Oh, and Chrome and others let you even choose Bing and stuff over Google if you choose to. So, Microsoft still makes their money no matter what browser you use, even if it's Safari (why would anyone use that?) on Mac with Bing.

        So, the business case for competing with the other browser vendors is just not there anymore. Internet Explorer is just another p
      • by BZ (40346)

        > it has gained so much share in a far far shorter time
        > than Mozilla took.

        There are two important differences:

        1) Chrome is operating in an environment where websites are NOT just authoring to IE anymore; site compat is somewhat easier to come by and hence user adoption is easier.

        2) Chrome has had a huge marketing campaign going for it starting the monent it was released. It's advertised in huge and expensive ad campaigns on subways. It's advertised on Google's web properties. It's advertised via

    • That, and the free UNICES turned out to be so useful as servers that Microsoft was not able to pwn the internet with its own "standards".

    • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday April 01, 2011 @01:14AM (#35685820) Journal

      The settlement did nothing. It was Mozilla and Firefox which revived competition in the browser market.

      Well, that's kinda the point, isn't it? Anti-competition measures, by their very definition, enable others to fairly compete on their merits without being strangled by monopolies. For Netscape it was already too late, and they weren't actually better than IE5+, even once the barriers were removed. When something that was better did finally appear (Mozilla, and ultimately Firefox), it competed on its merits - and the result is most impressive.

      Oh, and Opera? In the relevant time period this was Opera 5 & 6. Back then it was a good browser - very fast, certainly, and with a nice set of UI features - but in terms of supporting newer web standards it was even worse than IE6 (which was actually pretty good at the time it was released... it just stagnated quick afterwards).

      • Correlation is not causation. It's likely that Firefox, Crome, Opera, etc, would all be exactly where they are today without the settlement. The settlement doesn't appear to have helped or hurt anyone's participation in the market.

        (And I'm not sure any barriers were removed, actually. You still can barely buy a machine without Windows, and it will have IE and I think only IE on it. That was the complaint.)

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      TFA and TFS both talk about "milestones" that have to be reached.

      Unfortunately neither gives a clue on what those milestones are!

      Anyone, please? I'm curious what the terms were (in simple human language, not legalese), and which MS reached and which not.

  • wrong (Score:3, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday March 31, 2011 @11:59PM (#35685510) Journal
    I always thought the outcome of the anti-trust suit was completely wrong. Yes Microsoft was engaging in horribly unethical behavior, but what they did with Netscape wasn't very bad, really. They should have the right to bundle whatever software they want with the OS. The whole attempt to make it inseparable from the OS was a bit dodgy, but Google is essentially trying the same thing with Chrome OS.

    The thing Microsoft did that was REALLY bad was not allowing OEMs to use Windows if they offered other operating systems, even if they still offered Windows. That is a clear and obvious abuse of a monopoly, and should be punished. And yet for some reason the focus was still on Netscape.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      To settle its own antitrust suit back in 2002, Microsoft had to agree to new Windows licensing requirements and "a prohibition on retaliation against OEMs for promoting competing middleware and operating systems." Although roughly nine out of 10 desktops and laptops still run Windows, Department of Justice documents say "these provisions are working as planned," and note that "Dell has begun to ship PCs loaded with the Linux operating system in place of Windows."

      I have to say, it's all part of the same

      • I don't trust Google, but I don't trust any big corporation.

        Do you trust anyone? I mean really? Is there a reason to trust the little guys any more than the big guys? I thought our reason for having contracts was basically because we can't trust anyone.

        • You shouldn't say bad things about the Corporation. The Corporation loves you.

        • Is there a reason to trust the little guys any more than the big guys?

          I think there is. While it is true that trust can be betrayed by anyone, there are differences between a small organization and a large one (small business vs large corporation). It is generally easier to get access to the owner of a small business as opposed to the CEO of a large corporation. In addition and also related, a large corporation will usually have more layers between the top and bottom strata of their workforce. This very often leaves (upper) management without any concept of a connection t

        • Do you trust anyone? I mean really? Is there a reason to trust the little guys any more than the big guys?

          Well, yes. Thing is, individual persons have ethics, and you can usually assess if they are compatible with yours when you meet with them and talk to them (sure, there are good conmen, but on average this still holds).

          Corporations don't have ethics (aside from PR veneer). People constituting them do, but corporations are structured such that any ethical concerns are diluted over a large body of people where no-one in particular is blamed; and for those cases where a decision must be made at a single point,

          • So, a couple of people here have responded saying that ya, they trust the little guys sometimes. But really, how much would you trust them? Would you do business worth a million dollars without a contract? What about 10 thousand dollars? What about five hundred. We don't even get married without a contract, and hopefully you are marrying someone you can trust at least as much as anyone else.
            • Depends on how much I (think I) know that someone. On a few occasions, I have trusted people with what amounts to several thousand dollars.

            • by jbengt (874751)

              We don't even get married without a contract, . . .

              Umm, marriage is a contract, by definition.

            • While a contract can delegate the issue of trust to enforcement by a governing body they have another benefit as well. A contract clearly states what is expected of each party. Friends can often have falling outs when one does work or service for the other and things don't go as anticipated by either party. It's often not a matter of trust but of expectations.

              For large corporations contracts and policies are implemented to control expectations. As a result expectations may be clear to the consumer as
        • by wvmarle (1070040)

          There is one reason to trust the big guys more than the little guys: the big guys have more to lose for doing things wrong.

          In general one may assume that a business is there to do business, and make money, long term. Trust is one of their main assets: lose it, and you lose your business.

          However the prerequisite for this is proper government regulation of businesses (big or small), and proper checks and balances, in an open society. When it comes to privacy these days the US government unfortunately can no

        • Is there a reason to trust the little guys any more than the big guys?

          A couple of reasons, yes:

          First, small companies typically don't have large teams of lawyers on the payroll. This means that a lawsuit is as expensive for them as it is for you, so it's in their interest to resolve any problems before they get to the stage where you'd consider suing them.

          Secondly, there is the idea of personal accountability. When I deal with a small company, I usually deal with a single individual who has the authority to make decisions. At the very least, I deal with someone who has

        • by jbengt (874751)

          . . . basically because we can't trust anyone.

          If you've ever walked across a bridge, ridden in an airplane, crossed a busy street with a green light, etc., you've trusted complete strangers.

    • Re:wrong (Score:5, Informative)

      by bloodhawk (813939) on Friday April 01, 2011 @12:10AM (#35685560)
      but they did allow OEM's to use other operating systems. The issue was that they gave preferrential pricing to OEM's that agreed to pay based on the number of machines they shipped, hence the best pricing came by licensing for every machine. bas
      • Re:wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

        by phantomfive (622387) on Friday April 01, 2011 @01:41AM (#35685912) Journal
        Now, my memory is that the contract was based on more than the number of machines they shipped. That's what Intel got convicted of not long ago. But Microsoft was going even farther, limiting OEMs.

        I remember back then our purchasing manager told me about a conversation he had with some OEMs (we didn't want Windows), and they basically said they couldn't give us computers without Windows because of Microsoft. If you're influencing your resellers like that, then you are abusing your monopoly position. This is part of how they crushed OS/2 warp, which was a far superior OS at that time.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm going to have to disagree on 2/3 of your arguments. First of all, yes what they did with Netscape was terrible. The anti-trust judgement was brought because it was a classic case of monopoly abuse. Microsoft used their exceedingly dominant position in Operating Systems as leverage to gain ground in the Web Browser market. Integrating IE into the OS really only did 2 things: 1) ensured that the average user would never look any further for a web browser (in fact, most new users weren't, until the last f

      • I'm going to have to disagree on 2/3 of your arguments

        ok, but let's look at history. Do you remember active desktop? Microsoft, once they discovered the internet, began to conceive that the desktop was just a portal to the internet, a window to the world, so to speak. They took it so far that filenames became and acted like links instead of normal double-click icons. They had the idea that software run on the desktop would be like a hybrid local/remote thing. This is where the name .net came from, even though a large chunk of the .net api has nothing to do wit

    • Don't forget their use of bundling to enter the media technology sector. The inclusion of Windows Media Player with windows killed off Winamp and just about every other small media player there was, and then they made sure their WMA format became established by including a WMA-only CD ripping capability with the OS. The WMA format is so horrible it failed to displace MP3 even with that advantage (It's the only audio file format I know capable of carrying a virus), but without that bundling it would probably
  • by mfh (56) on Friday April 01, 2011 @12:09AM (#35685542) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft does some things right and other things really wrong, but never only one or the other... their forced efforts are always a sad uneven mixture of the two.

    IE has always been terrible. Perhaps when Netscape was just starting out, IE may have been somewhat better from a UI standpoint only, with fancy hooks into the OS of the day... but standards trump bells and whistles and IE cannot compete against browsers coded correctly. This is typically because the philosophy of these other products available is to create something that delivers web content safely, rather than trying to control the internet by stifling web development into a proprietary lock-in scheme designed to generate wealth rather than deliver what people want.

    • by Grygus (1143095)

      Not really disputing your main point but I think you took it too far; IE 5 was the best browser for a time, and IE 9 seems pretty strong, even if it's not the best.

      • It is precisely the openness of Firefox etc that makes them better browsers.

        If you want to debug your web application you are free to dive right into the browser's source in your debugger and figure out what they are doing with your content. IE will never have this capability (at least for the masses) whereas it can be easily enabled in firefox by simply installing the debug package.

        • Wow really? Have you ever gone into the browser's source code? I've never even thought of trying that. Does it help??
        • by Aphrika (756248)
          I'm pretty sure that if you need to look at a browser's source code to fix a problem in a website, then you're doing it wrong.

          IE has the F12 developer debug tools since IE6 and they do the same job as the Firefox ones as far as I'm aware.
      • Indeed. I did most of my dicking around developing web pages when IE4 was out, not IE5, but IE4 was head and shoulders above Netscape from a developer's standpoint. Accordingly, it also was superior from a user standpoint because web pages which utilized IE's capabilities could offer a better experience.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by drsmithy (35869)

      IE has always been terrible. Perhaps when Netscape was just starting out, IE may have been somewhat better from a UI standpoint only, with fancy hooks into the OS of the day [...]

      You clearly have no idea what you're talking about.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Perhaps when Netscape was just starting out, IE may have been somewhat better from a UI standpoint only, with fancy hooks into the OS of the day

      In terms of web standards IE5 and IE6 were significantly better than competing versions of Netscape. And, no, this wasn't back when Netscape "was just starting out" (that was way before IE1!), but it was in the last days of Netscape.

      trying to control the internet by stifling web development into a proprietary lock-in scheme designed to generate wealth rather than deliver what people want.

      Um, did you miss the whole Netscape proprietary <layer> thingy, when there would be sites on the Net that would say "This website requires Netscape Navigator"?

      • by yuhong (1378501)

        It isn't just <layer>. It began when then-Mosaic Netscape introduced <center> and <font> and some new attributes when they released 0.9 in October 1994. By 1995 Netscape had gained a monopoly, and other browsers (including early MSIE) had to copy their tags. This monopoly effectively killed HTML+/HTML 3.0 which browsers other than Mosaic/Netscape that existed in 1994 (like Viola and Arena) already supported. W3C ended up creating 3.2 to standardize some of the new Netscape/Microsoft tags a

        • by yuhong (1378501)

          And I forgot to say MS continued to add their own extensions to particularly CSS, all while not fixing their non-compliance of CSS1 until IE6.

  • Yes the IE6 monopoly was bad for the web, but people forget that the Netscape monopoly from 1995 or so was bad too. It for example killed HTML 3.0 (which existed even before Netscape as HTML+), and delayed CSS adoption for years (the first draft of CSS dates back to around the time Netscape 0.9 was released) in favor of tags like <FONT> and <CENTER>.

  • by ackthpt (218170) on Friday April 01, 2011 @12:41AM (#35685698) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft should have been split into 3 companies, but when George W. Bush rolled into Washington DC, he viewed every Clinton move as garbage and disregarded it. Really would have been a good thing for Microsoft, in the long run, one of the three was bound to ditch the crappy OS and build a better one without all the legacy garbage and bundling everyone's products for free.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Black Parrot (19622)

      but when George W. Bush rolled into Washington DC, he viewed the rule of law as garbage and disregarded it.

      There; I've fixed it for you.

      • by KiloByte (825081)

        George W. Bush [..] viewed the rule of law as garbage

        You mean, like most of recent US presidents? Clinton was half-decent, but Obama is Dubya-level bad.

        Although we shouldn't single out the US too, it's a popular thing all around the world.

        • but Obama is Dubya-level bad.

          Be serious. Look at everything he has done to prosecute war criminals, to prosecute the people and censure the corporations who collaborated in illegal wiretapping, to close the Guantanamo Bay gulag, to end US adventurism in the Middle East, to stop the undeclared Drone Wars against the people of Pakistan, to ensure that we consistently intervene in humanitarian crises without regard to the presence of oil or the color of said humans' skin, - well, the list just goes on and on!

    • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Friday April 01, 2011 @01:10AM (#35685804) Journal

      I blame Microsoft for creating a marketplace that made Linux popular. Yes, one of the biggest reasons why Linux became successful, especially on the server market, was because there was no viable alternative. That created the opening that allowed Linus' creation to grown and be nurtured for years completely ignored by Redmond. It was too small, and wasn't a threat. It was a toy, just a college kid's cute experiment.

      Then the internet bubble hit, and it was expensive Netscape Server or Less Expensive IIS, and the pesky upstart OS and Apache, both FREE (libre, gratis), Small ISPs who couldn't afford Unix or Windows NT servers started using it. And against all odds, it became popular. Holes were patched quickly as they were found, showing how nimble Open Source Code could be, and better than proprietary code that was constantly being hacked while websites waited for updates from the vendors.

      I know, I was there, in one of those ISPs (Yay Slackware). Since then, I've done Debian, SuSE, RedHat, Yellowdog, Ubuntu and a couple roll your own distros. I credit, almost entirely, the monoculture that was Microsoft, for the rise of Linux. Not because I like Microsoft, but rather because I can look back and see the utter apathy that the monoculture rested upon.

      • by doktor-hladnjak (650513) on Friday April 01, 2011 @02:48AM (#35686124)

        Don't forget the implications of the BSD/AT&T lawsuit in the early 90s on the rise of Linux. Even Linus himself has admitted that had 386/BSD been available to him (i.e., not caught up in a major lawsuit which delayed development and release of other BSD derivatives), he probably would have never written Linux.

      • by drsmithy (35869)

        I credit, almost entirely, the monoculture that was Microsoft, for the rise of Linux.

        Really ? Because it's not like Linux was being used for tasks that Windows would frequently have been seriously considered for.

        Linux was displacing commercial UNIX systems (Solaris, et al). Windows was displacing Novell servers in SMBs. These are mostly distinct and separate markets.

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          Back in the day, people that were accustomed to the WinDOS desktop monopoly desperately wanted to extend that to the server room but were unable to. The product simply wasn't up to the task. NT was in fact built and marketed as a "Unix killer".

          The idea that Microsoft had nothing to offer the crowd that's prone to run Unix is just self serving historical revisionism.

          In fact, being able to ditch WinDOS for NT in those days made the Windows desktop experience a lot more bearable.

          Microsoft's engineering mediocr

    • by bmo (77928)

      And from an investor point of view, Microsoft is worth more broken up into its constituent parts than as a whole. Entire forests of deadwood.

      "Lion Food" in the Jargon File is out of date. It should be Microsoft managers now.


    • by devent (1627873) on Friday April 01, 2011 @03:32AM (#35686326) Homepage

      Funny, because this "legacy garbage" is the only reason why Windows is still so popular. In addition, the "legacy garbage" (aka ActiveX, ask the people in South Korea why they can't use anything but IE. http://blog.mozilla.com/gen/2007/09/21/update-on-the-cost-of-monoculture-in-korea/ [mozilla.com] ).

      How about they build a new Windows, without the 'legacy garbage' and every mom and pop need to buy all the software they all love and use again for no reason other than the older version doesn't run on the new Windows?

      Would be nice if Windows would start to compete with other systems on fair grounds and not how well Windows application can be run on the different systems (which no matter how well your system is, Windows will always run Windows applications better).

      After decades we finally have somewhat of a fair ground where Microsoft Office needs to compete on fair grounds and not how well the office suites can open and save Microsoft Office documents. But of course that move was undermined by Microsoft with their OOXML format.

      Yes, Microsoft should have been split up and the new companies should have been under control by the feds. Further, the APIs and the document formats should be opened up, for Wine, Samba, and OpenOffice. The judgment did in fact nothing at all and you can see how well the governmentcooperation relationship is doing.

      • by robmv (855035)

        The same Apple did with Mac OS X, emulating OS 9 and deprecating old APIs gradually

        • by devent (1627873)

          Yes, would work, if there were only a fraction of Windows applications out there, like on the Mac. And If Windows would only be run on a few hardware components.

          • by robmv (855035)

            Why is hardware an issue?, do Windows 95 drivers work on Windows 7?, regular people do not upgrade Windows over old hardware, they buy new hardware with Windows. Probably upgrades are more common on corporate computers, if you have some business application that require some special hardware then continue using your old Windows because it will be supported, oh wait that is happening right now with Windows XP, and if you do not have plans to upgrade your applications in 10 years of support of the old OS, ple

      • by jank1887 (815982)

        > and the new companies should have been under control by the feds

        you had me up until that point.

    • Have you ever used a clean install of Windows? I don't think you will find anyone else's products bundled with it. Sure, Sony will bundle a bunch of crap with their computer, but that isn't Microsoft, that is Sony.

      As others have said, the main reason that Windows is so popular is that it has great legacy support. In fact, I find it a refreshing change compared to Apple who completely changed platforms requiring everything to be recompiled. Now that is fragmentation.
    • by Locutus (9039)
      yes, it was the career politician John Ashcroft who was appointed US Attorney General under the G W Bush regime and immediately called for taking Judge Jackson off the case. What I always found interesting about that particular anti-trust case was that the Judge appointed to the case, by luck of the draw, turned out to be the same Judge who was told to settle the previous case some 8 years earlier. So this Justice knew from previous experience what tricks Microsoft played and how they got away with one and
  • "Although Netscape ultimately didn't benefit, the settlement seems to have done its job"

    Sure, so much competition was restored to the browser market by the settlement that Mozilla/Firefox had to be built FOR FREE by thousands of people and then given away FOR FREE for TEN YEARS to get where we are now!

  • IE vs Something (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alphatel (1450715) * on Friday April 01, 2011 @05:59AM (#35686766)
    This was a poor anti-trust suit which didn't address the real problem at the time - Microsoft giving OEMs rebates for NOT installing other OSes. IE had very little to do with the bad practices at MS. In the interim, yes Google really has been much more anti-competitive in a myriad of ways, but nothing as prominent as Intel paying to NOT have AMD chips or Ma Bell charging you more because they owned everything.
  • Settlement did nothing. Mozilla gained its share with nails and tooth, and actually it was Eu that struck the biggest blow to microsoft skullduggery with browser ballot box.

    You know, the antitrust case in Eu that did NOT stagnate, and expire.

    Ironically, in usa, case stagnated and is now expiring. Tells a lot about u.s. justice system.
  • > Microsoft, of course, filed its own antitrust action against Google this week, and even commented publicly on the irony of its doing so, noting that Microsoft has 'spent more than a decade wearing the shoe on the other foot.'"

    How is what Google does equivilent to Microsoft strongarming the OEMS to make iExplorer the default browser on the desktop, coercing the OEMs into removing third party browsers, hacking the API to make using third party browsers a jolting experience etc ...

  • A stacked deck (Score:4, Informative)

    by Brian Kendig (1959) on Friday April 01, 2011 @11:17AM (#35688708) Homepage

    For all of you who are pointing out, with some rightness, that Netscape Communicator 4 had quality issues - let me remind you of something.

    This was the time period when Microsoft had decided to, as a Microsoft executive stated during the antitrust trial, "cut off [Netscape's] air supply". For each product Netscape was trying to make money on - web servers, proxy servers, ecommerce solutions - Microsoft was giving away a workalike product for free, funded with the earnings from Microsoft Windows.

    And, at the same time, Microsoft was forcing its OEM partners to keep Netscape Communicator off the computers they sold. Any company that refused would no longer get volume licensing discounts on Windows, which would then price their computers out of the market.

    So Netscape was starved for cash at the same time as it had to put in a lot of effort to keep up with the extremely-well-funded Internet Explorer. There was no way that Netscape could have survived, much less competed, against this.

    • Yes, and after they destroyed netscape, they raised the price of Internet explorer and IIS. Right?

      More than a decade later and all that stuff is still included in the OS at no extra cost. That would seem to indicate that there is no market for browsers or web servers. Otherwise, they would have started charging for them by now.

      I mean, come off it. Regardless of what people say "in the heat of battle", it doesn't change the fact that there was no opportunity to make money anyways.

    • by alphatel (1450715) *

      This was the time period when Microsoft had decided to, as a Microsoft executive stated during the antitrust trial, "cut off [Netscape's] air supply".

      So anytime a US company tries to beat another US company at the same game, that's anti-trust? I think that's actually the definition of competitive.

I never cheated an honest man, only rascals. They wanted something for nothing. I gave them nothing for something. -- Joseph "Yellow Kid" Weil