Re: POL: Reaction to Microsoft Ruling

From: David Blenkinsop (
Date: Thu Apr 06 2000 - 14:01:02 MDT

Technotranscendence wrote:

> Dominick T. Armentano, Mises Institute adjunct scholar and author of
> "Antitrust: The Case for Repeal," has the following reaction to the
> Microsoft ruling:
> "The ruling by Judge Jackson is obscene but not unexpected. Microsoft has
> been losing this case almost from day one. (Why the markets reacted so
> sharply to an all but forgone outcome requires an explanation.) Their
> defense at trial was weak and unconvincing; yet given the nature of
> antitrust law, no rational defense was really possible.

I've got nothing against Microsoft, and I like my Windows98, even though
I sometimes wonder why I paid extra to get it when it works much the
same as Win95. I mean OK, so the navigation toolbar can be used a bit
more like 'net browser navigation, no big deal, folder hierarchy is just
the same, etc.

Unfortunately for MS, they seem to have been quite unable to be
straightforward or forthright about their reasons for managing at least
one key issue the way that they have. Specifically, as an actual user of
Win98, I can confidently report that it was totally unnecessary for them
to insist that a Microsoft web browser be packaged with every copy of
Windows98 -- in other words, there was no *technical* necessity for then
to market things that way. For anyone who's used a browser running under
Windows, it's readily apparent that the browser is a separate program.
However, Microsoft chose to market Windows "only with browser" -- and if
there's an easy, problem free way for the user to uninstall their
browser, they sure haven't been advertising that.

Maybe this is picky, but I would feel better about MS if they had said
all along that including the browser was strictly a case of marketing or
packaging, it being their commercial right not to offer anything less
than a package deal if they don't want to? Also, the voluntary uninstall
option ought to be right there somewhere in the Internet Explorer Start
Menu folder, with every assurance that Win98 will work right without
this "extra" in place, if that's what an individual user wants to do. As
far as saying that Windows won't run without MS Internet Explorer, well,
if MS does things in a way that unnecessarily restricts its customers,
that counts for more than all the complaints of a thousand competing
companies, it seems to me.

Maybe I should try for some analogy here, I mean sheesh, next thing you
know, Ford Motor Co (say) might insist that their cars won't run without
the "integrated hubcaps" or something; at some point the presumption of
customers' intelligence and freedom to choose ought to be placed
foremost, don't you think?


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