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They did make it costly for OEMs to install competing browsers: https://www.justice.gov/atr/file/704881/download

Abusing their market position (only viable desktop OS) to promote IE and attempt to get a stranglehold on the web is a significant part of what got them in trouble.

Excellent book covers the situation in more detail: https://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Windows-Fumbled-Future-Micro...

You could straight up download Netscape on your Windows box. The question isn't 'in what ways was Microsoft bad'. I think it's reasonably established Microsoft was bad. The question is, how is this parallel to what Apple does today. To me, naively at least, it seems like 'not parallel at all'. Where am I getting this wrong?

> You could straight up download Netscape on your Windows box.

I couldn't imagine tying up the phone line that long. Think of the expenses.

Well, every other magazine had a cd-rom with applications such as netscape for that purpose.

Or borrow from a friend.

Having to source the application yourself is hardly equivalent to the app being banned from the app store...

Bundled third party applications with the OS is, and has always been, a nightmare.

That part you’re getting wrong is that the anti-trust scrutiny comes _just_ from being hugely successful. That wasn’t enough - it was about how Microsoft achieved that success with Windows and how they were using that success in the OS market to unfairly influence the browser market.

What I’m saying is that Microsoft didn’t get scrutiny for bundling a browser with windows (they got scrutiny for a bunch of other business practices related to that) which is the part of the story that does parallel what Apple does. Bundling useful feature in the OS, which happens to hurt competing solutions, isn’t new and isn’t a problem. The problem lies in their other business practices. Saying Microsoft didn’t make it impossible to install other browsers is wrong, because for a major participant in the market (OEMs) it was in fact impossible to install competing browsers without paying a price that made the end product not viable in the market.

90s Microsoft and today’s Apple situation don’t really parallel, but they don’t not parallel for the reasons you brought up. You’re still ultimately right, but the justification was based on a misunderstanding (or miscommunication) of the history that I think muddies the waters.

>edit: more background: just being a monopoly isn’t illegal if you get there and stay there legitimately. Anticompetitive behavior is the illegal part. https://www.classlawgroup.com/antitrust/unlawful-practices/m...

I'm not sure I said any of the things you're explaining to me and I'm doubly unsure why you're explaining them to me given that you appear to agree there isn't much of a parallel.

>It's not like Microsoft ever made it impossible to install Netscape or a competing office suite.

OEMs were market participants who bought windows (aka customers) for the purpose of reselling and we’re prevented from exercising the usual freedoms in how they configured that software (“made it impossible to install Netscape”). Impossible is maybe a stretch but Microsoft was waving a very big stick at anyone who dared defy them.

> They got regulatory scrutiny because they were the hugely dominant OS in ways iOS isn't.

They got regulatory scrutiny not because they were big but because of their bad behavior. Modern Google got that same scrutiny long before they achieved anything resembling Windows’ dominance. Microsoft avoided scrutiny for a long portion of its rise while it wasn’t blatantly engaging in anticompetitive practices.

It’s not about agreeing or disagreeing. It’s about having a solid understanding of the history that helps understand the present. Taking shortcuts like ‘Microsoft was investigated because they were really big’ is misleading when there were deeper more nuanced reasons for the investigation. Saying they didn’t make it impossible to install competing browsers may be technically correct, but it paints a very incomplete picture when in fact Microsoft was vigorously trying to make sure that no one would be exposed to any browser other than IE and no other operating system than Windows.

There is one interesting parallel to the Microsoft case I’d like to highlight: Microsoft was required to document all of their APIs and protocols within 3 months of release. Apple using proprietary APIs to e.g. give Apple Music unique features is clearly anticompetitive and Microsoft got in trouble at least partially for similar behavior.


Please, this isn’t a personal attack just trying to share interesting information :)


Wait, no. You're the one who's typing giant walls of text at me that I didn't ask you for and aren't at odds with anything I said. Also, you're the one who's running with the assumption I apparently know nothing about the Microsoft case. I don't think it's a personal attack but I do think it's weird and inexplicable and it's even more weird that now you're apparently pleading with me to what? Keep typing huge walls of text at me? Let's call it a day here.

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