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Its crazy that even today diehards defend the DOJ's insane war on MS in the 90s. Do you guys really want to pay for browsers or every single thing in a OS ala carte? MS was in the right here (the browser is just part of the OS) and the judgement just empowered OEMs to go apeshit with crapware and bundling, helping make the MS experience a lot crappier than it should be.



Trick is that it was not a war on browsers, it was a war on servers. In particular, intraservers.

Netscape, as best i can tell, pretty much seeded the idea of using web tech on the office network.

And this was a direct threat to the market share of MS on that network.

Thus MS rolled out IIS and IE, with the latter working closely with the former (as was the case between Netscape Navigator and Enterprise server).

So in the end the "browser war" was a proxy war for the office network.


> Its crazy that even today diehards defend the DOJ's insane war on MS in the 90s.

Its crazy that even today, diehards continue to misrepresent the DOJ prosecution of MS in the 1990s.

> Do you guys really want to pay for browsers or every single thing in a OS ala carte?

The basis for the DOJ prosecution of MS wasn't that it was illegal in general to include a browser or similar application as an included feature of an OS, it was that it was illegal for a market participant with monopoly power in a particular market to leverage that monopoly power in an effort to monopolize an existing distinct market.


People I think defend it in the same way as prosecuting Al Capone for tax evasion: we'll take what we can get. In the context of things like the "Halloween memos", funding the SCO controversy, and various other bits of anti-interoperability work people were just grateful for an impairment of the platform monopolist.

Nowadays Apple has a policy of banning all other web browsers and even program interpreters from its platform. This isn't really acceptable either, but there doesn't seem to be any prospect of doing anything about it.


Apple doesn't ban web browsers, they couldn't give a rat's arse about that. They ban PROT_EXEC.

Apple's position is essentially that iOS already has a perfectly good JavaScript engine (JavaScriptCore) and the security risks of allowing apps to use mprotect/mmap far outweigh the benefits of allowing other JS engines.


Your starting point is wrong there: the DOJ wasn't against them for making it free, but for bundling it with their OS.

They could offer it for free all they want. Similar in the EU, they weren't against them for it being free, and once they stopped bundling it and windows media player, they were off the hook (even though they still offered them for free).


There's room for improvement here. The case wasn't against them bundling it with their operating system, they're perfectly free to do that. It wasn't about them being a monopoly either, which also is perfectly allowed.

The DOJ was against them as a result of abuse of monopoly power. Using their market dominance with Windows, they attempted to strangle out Firefox by demanding that their reselling partners would not also bundle Firefox on their Windows-based computers. If they did bundle Firefox, they would lose their Windows certification.

Free = allowed

Bundling = allowed

Monopoly = allowed

Leveraging partner relationships to unfairly disadvantage a competitor = antitrust violation.


The browser was ultimately mid-level on the list of grievances the DOJ had with Microsoft. That's why MS can bundle IE and Edge with the operating system today and nobody cares, including the US government.

If all Microsoft had done is bundled a free browser with the OS, it would have never stood up in court in terms of anti-trust prosecution. It would have been a laughable case.

What the DOJ got them on, was restraint of trade issues with OEMs, restrictions on API access, deep integration of IE into the OS (lying about being able to remove it), and market place conduct through leveraging their monopoly, leading to (in the DOJ's opinion) harm to consumers. Microsoft also basically taunted the bull in the countless ways they tried to jam the government, the ways they acted like assholes at every turn (including to the judge), the quotes that came out on things they said about competition, etc. They ended up with nearly everyone against them and looked like the ultimate bullies. If you want to have a bad time, be a monopoly and pretend you're more powerful than the US Government, and pretend you can stone-wall them.


>That's why MS can bundle IE and Edge with the operating system today and nobody cares, including the US government.

No, the only reason MS is suddenly bundling more, including Anti-Virus, is because the judgement expired in 2011.

>If you want to have a bad time, be a monopoly and pretend you're more powerful than the US Government,

Or from a realpolitik stance, if Netscape has more friends with the Clintons than you do (which they did), you're going to have a bad time. A lot of "careers" were made at the DoJ over this asinine case, that changed nothing for the better.


That is incorrect. Microsoft has always been allowed to bundle things, except for the brief period between the original verdict and the appeal.

Bundling was the surface issue, but the antitrust violation was their undue exercise of monopoly power by refusing to let vendors bundle non-Microsoft software and using their Windows-compatible certification program as the stick to that particular carrot.

From Wikipedia on the settlement: "The proposed settlement required Microsoft to share its application programming interfaces with third-party companies and appoint a panel of three people who will have full access to Microsoft's systems, records, and source code for five years in order to ensure compliance.[24] However, the DOJ did not require Microsoft to change any of its code nor prevent Microsoft from tying other software with Windows in the future."


> Or from a realpolitik stance, if Netscape has more friends with the Clintons than you do (which they did), you're going to have a bad time. A lot of "careers" were made at the DoJ over this asinine case, that changed nothing for the better.

Its kind of amusing that you point to such a "realpolitik" explanation and yet would leave out that the reason it changed almost nothing at all (for better or worse) was that the Bush Administration, which was more MS friendly, came to office at the end of the case, and the Bush Justice Department abandoned any effort toward imposing any significant sanctions.


MS got up to a lot more than just bundling browsers


For instance, around the time this article was written, someone from Microsoft was sitting across the desk from me (this is in Seattle) and told me "you can re-engineer our product to use our technology, or we will bury you". Re-engineering would have made us microsoft windows only, and dependent on them for everything... and we would have lost all our value because it doesn't make any sense technically (the guy didn't understand what we did.)

Well, it's now been almost 20 years, and Microsoft has still never released what they claimed they were going to release and have us build on top of them.

So yeah, I have no love lost for Microsoft. Yet they're still not as evil as Google.


Could you elaborate more on what makes Google more evil in your opinion (honest question)?


That's not the way I remember it.


people want to ala carte their entertainment even today and many will do it even it cost them more.


So they want to buy a DVR, pay for a DVR OS, pay for a DVR browser, pay for a DVR movie store, and then finally pay for a movie to rent on the DVR?


Very few people.




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