News and commentary from the cross-platform scripting community.
Mail Starting 5/19/98
From the moment I heard about the way that the government went about this lawsuit (force inclusion of Netscape as an alternative to forcing exclusion of IE), I thought that a _great_ response for Bill Gates would be to just up and include _every single web browser for Windows that he can find_. Put 'em all -- Spyglass, Opera, 1X, Netscape, and even a text-based lynx (and perhaps even simple HTTP clients like Frontier!). Don't put IE on the desktop, but DO put a location bar on the desktop (like you can do with Active Desktop in IE4), and let that location bar send the right API calls to whatever browser you've configured as your default.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jason Levine);
Sent at Tue, 19 May 98 16:21:06 -0400;
If nothing else, it would (a) get the government the hell off of their backs, at least about this piddly little issue, and (b) reinforce the importance of the web browser as a universal interface for static pages, dynamic pages, applications, and everything else that you can do with a computer.
I found the text of the DoJ's complaint (as filed with the courts?) at:
From: email@example.com (Rob Davenport);
Sent at Tue, 19 May 1998 07:59:34 -0700;
Re:US, States File Microsoft Anti-trust Suit
and found it enlightening - the media seemed to be focusing on seemingly trivial issues, but reading the text of their complaint makes it clear (to me at least) that the DOJ has been doing its research and is concerned about bigger issues. (Of course, this only comes about when a sufficiently large number of other big companies feel they [and therefore the economy] are threatened by MS's potential monopoly on consumer Internet access. Follow the money.)
When they look at application software they will see that it used to be a vibrant and diverse market, and the practice of bundling suites of applications first wiped out diversity, and then concentrated market share in Microsoft's suite.
From: BCFrancis@aol.com (BCFrancis);
Sent at Tue, 19 May 1998 07:36:16 -0700;
Re:US, States File Microsoft Anti-trust Suit
Wasn't MSFT late to suites, and then caught up with a vengence?
This whole discussion also belongs to a metathread called "Be careful of what you wish for..." Will a thousand flowers bloom if Microsoft is made to change its ways? Perhaps. Will the software industry welcome the ongoing attention of antitrust investigators? I doubt it. Is there any turning back now? Certainly not.
Please save me a seat at the Intel tribunal.
Microsoft was the first to do suites. They were late in the application business, a relatively minor player, and their differentiator was the Office bundle. The other leading apps companies were WordPerfect and Lotus, they were the ones who were late with their suites.
Thank you for your favorable report on your visit to Maine. I am an advocate of software developement as an engine of economic development for the State and word of mouth advertising is the best there is. Also kudos for your presentation, both entertaining and informative.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John M. Brown);
Sent at Tue, 19 May 1998 09:08:37 -0400;
Thanks for the plug
Some more thoughts on the browser/OS debate. Homes are being wired with Cat5 cable now. I don't think it is a stretch to foresee a gateway "server" with Cable TV input, DVD library, hard disk, printer etc. The network clients might be screens with some limited computing capability and a network interface; you might interact with the client with a small handheld device like TV's now or for more functionality with a keyboard/mouse. In this setting the difference between OS and application will have little effect on the consumer. You turn on the screen, you select a TV show, a DVD movie, you check email, you look up the weather in NY, you compose some correspondence, you pay some bills and check your bank balance. The consumer will not care what application is fulfilling the request. I am not sure if this points toward a single dominant vendor for both client and server or if the two will be independent and each device will operate according to network protocols.
What a setup! The answer is in a vendor-independent communication protocol. We're working on such a proposal. Keeping it really simple for web developers is key.
Don't you think that in light of state and federal governments' actions against Microsoft, Steve Jobs' decision to get out of the Mac-Clone business almost seems like a good idea in hindsight? He circled the wagons before the shit hit the fan.
From: email@example.com (Will Cate);
Sent at Tue, 19 May 1998 06:17:35 -0400;
Jobs saw it coming?
The states, especially, seem ready to dig into a big ol' pile of Microsoft money like so many wild dogs gorging on a dead bison. This is not going to be fun to watch.
So I'm one of the 100,000 lucky @Home users, in one of their cable pilots.
From: amy@ComCAT.COM (Amy Wohl);
Sent at Tue, 19 May 1998 06:37:32 -0700;
So far, it's mainly bandwidth (great) and not very many services. Because only small numbers of us are connected in any one community, you have to know who else is in on the fun. I'd expect this to be much more ubiquitous in two or three years, particularly in neighborhoods like mine where every house has a PC (or two or three) and paying twice as much for much better bandwidth is fine.
In the meantime, my home connection (cable) is now faster than my office connection (ATM), so sometimes I take download-intensive stuff home. We're thinking of buying a CD-writer for the house! Ah progress...
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