Quid Pro, Microsoft?
Friday, September 7, 2001 by Dave Winer.
A quick piece after the bewildering Bush Administration decision to drop the tying charges against Microsoft, and to unilaterally declare that they would not seek the breakup of Microsoft.
It's so puzzling because it's not balanced by a quid pro quo of any kind by Microsoft. Since when do lawyers negotiate this way? This imbalance leads me to believe that an agreement has been reached and that we're now seeing the first stage of its execution.
Alternative theories raise serious ethical or competence questions about the government. Is this how the Bush Administration plans to negotiate with other governments? Would we take down our military before getting a balancing commitment from other countries' military? What is going on in Washington?
Separating the Web browser from Microsoft is still the best remedy for past, present and future antitrust sins, absent a realistic developer philosophy at Microsoft including self-restraint.
The browser is the choke-point that Microsoft holds over the rest of the industry. Eight judges decided that Microsoft attained its monopoly in browsers through illegal tying. That the government is unilaterally letting them off is totally unacceptable.
After the sweeping Court of Appeals decision in favor of independent developers, the Bush Administration had nothing to say to us, our investors and users. We're business people too. We pay taxes and vote. This is an issue I will vote on in 2002 and 2004. This should cost Republicans quite a bit of support in future elections.