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Deleting Ms Gouge Blackmail Tactics Pc Vendors Offering A Competing Browser Had To Pay More For Windows.

Fri., Feb. 13, 1998

It’s an American dream come true if there ever was one. Smart kid just out of college with more ideas than money starts up a software company in a garage. Soon that company, Microsoft, becomes the defining name in the Information Age. That’s the Bill Gates we love to love.

But with all his billions and a huge share of the software industry, a new Bill Gates has emerged. Meet the monopolist with a pocket protector. A success story who wants to make sure no one else succeeds as he did.

In its zeal to be a major force on the Internet, Microsoft introduced the Internet Explorer web browser. This was a logical move for a company that wanted to stay on the leading edge of the Information Age.

What wasn’t logical, or fair to competitors, was Microsoft’s method of marketing its new product. Company officials have admitted they require PC makers to equip their machines with Internet Explorer if they want to license Microsoft’s hugely popular Windows operating system.

Microsoft charges more for Windows 95 if computer makers choose to use a competing Web browser in their software bundle. Microsoft is crushing the competition not because it offers a superior product, but because it can blackmail vendors to use its software. U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno put it as well as anyone when she said, “Microsoft is unlawfully taking advantage of its Windows monopoly to protect and extend that monopoly and undermine consumer choice.”

Already, millions of computer users are essentially locked into using Windows because there are so few competitors. Could Windows be improved upon? Sure, but with Microsoft controlling so much of the market, any improvements in operating systems will likely have to come from Microsoft.

A free market system doesn’t work well without competition. It’s the fuel that feeds the fires of innovation. The result is better, and usually less expensive, products for the consumer. Gates and Microsoft have contributed mightily to computing. But if Microsoft controls the industry by unfairly using its tremendous clout to force out competitors, we all suffer.

As innovative as Microsoft has been with its software, it still needs some federal guidance once in a while to ensure that the free market survives the Information Age.

, DataTimes MEMO: For opposing view, see headline: Marketplace losers take alternate route

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = EDITORIAL, COLUMN - From both sides

For opposing view, see headline: Marketplace losers take alternate route

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = EDITORIAL, COLUMN - From both sides



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