Does Microsoft Answer to Anyone?
There has been a lot of talk recently about the European Union fining Microsoft for its deliberate monopolistic behavior. This has been big news on the Blogs lately but for those of us who have watched Microsoft over the year, it’s business as usual. The case against Microsoft has been in the courts for over four years. Apparently, Microsoft made $50 billion with its current behavior they can afford the multi-million dollar daily fines
In the 90’s as a consultant for Gateway 2000 I was part of a group making a deal to include the Netscape browser as the default startup on new Gateway computers being sold. Everything was looking good and I was almost done with a cool TV/Video plugin for the desktop when I was told to stop. It seems Microsoft had put so much pressure on Gateway that not only was the project dropped but some folks were asked to leave after appearing in court as witnesses in the governments antitrust case against Microsoft.
Want to kill off a competing browser. Include yours for free.
Want to create a new video format you can control? Just include a cool Movie Maker program in Windows and don’t allow people to remove it.
Want to kill off Word Perfect, once the standard in Word Processors? Integrate Word and Microsoft Office into your operating system and give it access to functions not available to others.
Want proof how integrated Office and Windows are? You only need to look at this weeks Windows automatic update. Not only does Windows update its own components, it automatically will update security flaws in Office!
The issue of Microsoft Security has also been in the blogs lately. Sunbelt’s President Alex Eckelberry makes a good case that shows how Microsoft is trying to take over the security business with the use of predatory pricing. ( More Info ). It caused so much Email, Alex had to follow it up with “Is Microsoft resorting to bribes”. There’s a good history of Microsoft’s feet dragging at FindLaw.com.
Of course, it brings up the basic question, Why doesn’t Microsoft just produce software that doesn’t require an entire business segment devoted to protecting its users? As I’ve said before, if Microsoft spent as much on development as they do on lawyers they would do fine.