Will Microsoft try to ‘netscape’ Google with Windows Longhorn and would it work?

“Not long ago, I went to Washington for a dinner given by a friend. She wanted to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the end of the Microsoft antitrust trial, which she had covered for a news agency and I had covered for Fortune magazine,” Joseph Nocera writes for The New York Times.

“The trial… woke Microsoft up to the fact that it was truly hated in Silicon Valley. It’s been trying to make nice ever since. It has settled a series of private antitrust suits – for some $3.5 billion – brought by rivals like Sun Microsystems. And it has worked assiduously to turn former enemies into allies. (Sun, which now holds joint news conferences with Microsoft, is a prime example.) At Microsoft, there is a lot less ‘my way or the highway’ than there used to be,” Nocera writes. “This is not an insignificant change – but it’s not what the antitrust trial was really about. The central issue was whether the company had an inalienable right to bundle new software products – a browser, a media player, antivirus software, a ‘ham sandwich,’ as Microsoft once put it – into its operating system. Whenever it does so, of course, it gives itself a huge home-court advantage: its software is suddenly available on over 90 percent of the world’s PC’s, and is usually the ‘default’ product as well.”

Nocera writes, “During the trial, Microsoft argued that when it added features to Windows it was helping consumers. To the company, its right to ‘innovate’ – as it invariably called the practice – was sacrosanct. The government argued that folding its version of a competitor’s product into its monopoly operating system was a deeply anticompetitive act. And here’s something that might surprise you: The Microsoft trial did not settle this critical question.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: That journalists hold parties to commemorate the anniversaries of trials they’ve covered is fairly scary in and of itself. Back to thrust of the article: Nocera questions whether Microsoft’s Windows monopoly can do to Google what they did to Netscape, if Microsoft decides to include Internet search in Windows Longhorn. Nocera writes, “Microsoft has Windows. That’s the main thing that hasn’t changed in the wake of the antitrust trial. That used to be enough. We’re going to find out if it still is.”

58 Comments

  1. Of course the trial settled nothing. Everybody got hung up on the stupid browser thing instead of focusing on the strong arm business practices of this predator monopoly.

  2. If it uses the same engine as MSN search, then no – it won’t affect the majority of windows users. MSN search sucks. Nowhere near as many results as Google and most of their results are irrelevent. Simply put: if users find can’t find what they are looking for with Longshot search or whatever they call it, they will revert back to Google, Yahoo or another search engine.

  3. Of course it will. These days, MS has no choice- they are a huge monopoly. In a sense, they’re their own worse enemy- by ultimately leading themselves into an obusive monopoly position, every technology that they provide for their customers will step on the toes of some other company who is trying to do the same. MS has enormous resources ($$$$$), and as such, can buy themselves into pretty much any position they want.

    The two money-making products coming out of Redmond are Office and Windows. EVERY other technology lost money last year, as well as year over year (xbox, .net, MSN, etc). But since they have $40 billion in the bank, they can afford to take losses to keep these products competing in their respective markets. This is an unfair advantage- their products are used by over 90% of the world (in some instances), and yet they offer no proportional advantage over other similar products, and in many cases, offer an inferior product.

    People are invariably tied to Office (esp the .doc format), and WMA will prove to be a similar circumstance for consumers in the future. Are they better formats? Doubt it. But millions will use them because they have to, or because they don’t know any better.

    MS can undercut the competition for similar reasons.

    I agreed with the original DOJ decision- split Windows and Office. That would have forced Office to compete in its respective market, without the Windows revenue. Other than that, it’s a Microsoft world, and we just have to deal with it.

  4. Microsoft is a “criminal” predator monopoly. They truly have shown no remorse for their past or current sins, and (ask the EU) they continue to sin. They know the advantage of “search” in all its incarnations and will do what they can to wreak havoc against Google.

    Microsoft’s days as the all-powerful monopolist are numbered. Their major successes are Windows and Office, both cash cows. Anyone competing directly against either is usually crushed. Elsewhere, Redmond has left a river flowing with red ink.

    Already, more nimble, alert and active competitors are doing well. Apple. Google. Linux. Once Linux solves their fragmentation with a unified desktop interface (and installation), Microsoft will be severely damaged.

    As it is, their market share erosion will merely continue unabated, slow, steadily draining the company. Currently, the company continues to miss revenue and profit objectives.

    The Redmond FUD machine is running overtime to counter Apple’s bold media and music initiatives and Linux’s advancements into business.

    Desperation has settled into the cocooned minds of the OS behemoth and they’ve now begun attacking their cohorts and confidants. Chipmaker Intel is first to feel the wrath as Microsot breaks tradition and pushes hardware using IBM (Toshiba, Sony, Apple, et al) chips.

    PC makers are in Microsoft’s targets as the Xbox is nothing more than a PC without a keyboard or monitor yet could become a fast, cheap way for Microsoft to sell hardware, too.

    Tera Patricks
    Mac360.com

  5. Doesn’t Apple package ilife (with new systems) and safari, quicktime, dashboard, and other applications into osx releases? Granted the apps kick much booty, but i fail to see how this is any different then what Microsoft is doing.

  6. “Doesn’t Apple package ilife (with new systems) and safari, quicktime, dashboard, and other applications into osx releases? Granted the apps kick much booty, but i fail to see how this is any different then what Microsoft is doing.”

    You can delete everyone of those aformentioned apps and not worry about your system being effected – with the exception of Dashboard and QuickTime frameworks – the QT Player can be deleted. The reason for the latter two is because Dashboard (and Exposé) rely on the dock and QuickTime frameworks are used by tons of apps – Finder, Mail, Safari and many third-party products.

    What MS has done is intergrate (as in unseperable) products like IE and Windows Media Player into the OS. Big difference.

  7. Also, you have remember that Apple has the postition of Dell and MS (yucky comparison). That is to say they make the OS and sell the system. This allow them to bundle whatever software they want to on their systems – much like Dell does (but better).

  8. Frankly, it’s Microsoft’s operating system and they should be able to do whatever the hell they want with it. Besides, packaging stuff with the OS always backfires on you – look at what happened to IE. They bundled IE, competing browsers fell out of the mainstream, IE had no appreciable competition and therefore languished for a long time while alternative browsers gradually improved. Now IE sucks beyond all comprehension and kickass browsers like Firefox and Safari are positioned to dominate the browser arena. (I hesitate to call it a market.)

  9. Good Sir Java – you are kidding right?! 90% of Windows users out there don’t realize that alternative browsers exist! IE is the only thing they know and use …

  10. macdaknife and Amin: The difference is that MS has a monopoly position in the OS market.

    Personally, I think MS should be allowed to bundle whatever they want as part of the OS. But as inaminit said in the first post, as an OS monopoly, it is illegal for MS to force hardware mfrs to pay for Windows on units which did not have Windows installed, or to force the hardware mfrs to not bundle competing software by threatening to take away Windows or to pay more for Windows. And MS should not be allowed to steal technology from its small company partners in order to put in the OS.

  11. If the paradigm shift were to become a tsunami and Apple gained 85% market share in the next 5 years, would the fact that they design the hardware and software keep them from being considered an evil monopoly?
    When you click Slideshow in Mail, it opens iPhoto automatically. There are plenty of instances where many of the Apple apps are integrated into one another and into the OS.
    I am a true lover and proponent of Apple’s products, but I don’t feel that they are as inseparable as we’d like to think.

  12. “Could Apple be sued for bundling all of its software “ilife” and other apps into its operating system?”

    Correct me if I’m wrong please (I don’t have Tiger) but I don’t believe that Apple bundles iLife with Mac OS X installations at all. Apple does bundle it with their new computers though, which is totally different from what M$ does. It is exactly the same as bundled software on any PC OEM like HP or Dell.

    Further, these apps are separable from the OS, unlike most of the M$ apps.

    –mAc

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