Re: POL: Reaction to Microsoft Ruling

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Thu Apr 06 2000 - 19:08:21 MDT

Billy Brown wrote:
> David Blenkinsop wrote:
> > 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.
> <snip>
> > 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?
> I believe what they actually said was that it is a competitive necessity for
> any modern OS to come with a bundled web browser. Since I can't think of a
> modern OS that doesn't come with someone's browser, I think this is a
> reasonable claim.

I'm sure if they issued a web server for free with their OS as well,
you'd see whining and crying from Red Hat and Inprise, as well as a
dumping lawsuit by Corel and the Canadians in the WTO.

> > 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.
> Well, this is a good example of the MS approach to system optimization.
> What happened was once they decided they needed to include the a browser
> with every copy of the OS, they started thinking about how to do that
> without generating more complaints about code bloat. So, they basically
> went through the IE feature list, found everything that duplicated
> functionality they wanted to be part of the OS, and started integrating the
> duplicated features.
> The fact that this lets them claim IE is an essential part of the OS was
> probably a factor in their decision, but it makes good technical sense too.
> Why implement multiple systems for things like screen rendering, hyperlink
> navigation, and XML support if you don't have to?

Hey, Gates was only following the lead of people at Sun, Oracle,
Netscape, and Novell who were claiming that 'the network is the
computer'. Assuming this logic, the browser should be the primary
interface of an operating system. Once he jumped on the bandwagon and
played fiddle better than anyone, they started crying to big Uncle Sugar
about Billy not playing fair. Little Lord Larry Ellison pouted and
stomped his little footy.

> So, what they have now is a software library that implements almost all of
> the IE functionality, and is also used by Windows wherever it presents a
> similar feature. The IE program itself is just a thin wrapper around this
> functionality. You can remove IE, but you can't get rid of the COM
> components that implement most of its features without breaking the system.
> OTOH, you can also use those components from your own programs, which is a
> nice benefit for ISVs and other sophisticated users of the OS.

Yes, they ought to just go back to calling their browser 'File Manager',
merge it with "Network Neighborhood", use all the new hooks and DLLs,
and retire the IE name.

> > at some point the presumption of customers' intelligence and freedom to
> choose
> > ought to be placed foremost, don't you think?
> I've never understood why people think this is an issue. You are perfectly
> free to use any browser you want. You can get rid of the IE icon and menu
> item if you want to, and since browsers are free there isn't even a cost
> issue involved. So, how is the fact that MS decided to build an HTML engine
> into their OS hurting anyone other than Netscape?

I know. I've had a preference for, and used as a default, Netscape since
I first got on the web (before that I was using galacticom's Worldcom
BBS software), and I've never had trouble using it with windows, or as
the default browser.

Mike Lorrey

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:09:06 MDT