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Is This Microsoft vs. Netscape All Over Again?

What happens when one of the world's most powerful companies is given a slap on the wrist? It waits for the pain to subside in a few seconds -- then it's business as usual.
In the case of Microsoft, the slap on the wrist was the rather weak 2001 DOJ antitrust settlement which centered largely on Redmond's ill treatment of Netscape and Navigator.

Microsoft was not broken into two pieces and was instead allowed to keep bundling IE with Windows 95 and 98 (the company had essentially burned the browser into the OS, though it was technically possible for the technically savvy to extricate it), but had to make the playing field almost equal for other browsers.

Eleven years later, it seems Microsoft may be up to its old tricks.

The Mozilla Foundation, which is really the remnants (healthy as it is) of Netscape, is complaining that the playing field for browsers in Windows RT is about at level with K2.
Apparently, outfits other than Microsoft can go ahead and write a Windows RT browser -- it just won't work very well and won't "perform many of the advanced computing functions vital to modern browsers in terms of speed, stability and security to which users have grown accustomed," a Mozilla lawyer argued.

The lawyer claims this violates European antitrust restrictions on the interplay between Windows and browsers. Microsoft is arguing back that Windows RT really isn't Windows. Huh? Time for the Redmond marketing aces to earn their keep with yet another name. The only credence to this argument is that Windows RT essentially is a new platform with a new UI, new back-end processor, (I assume) new APIs and a new application library. Maybe there are new rules.

With the iPad and cheap Android tablets, Windows RT is riskier than a Vince Neil left turn (Bing his driving record). Why would Microsoft do anything to throttle back (something Neil should have done) support for new software? You tell me at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 05/11/2012 at 1:19 PM


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Reader Comments:

Mon, May 14, 2012

Hello...McFly...how about some concerns over the Safari monoply on iOS? Get really...the anti-competitive Microsoft rhetoric is really pretty stupid and insane. How about getting on with some decent journalism?

Mon, May 14, 2012

Doug, really... your article is as hysterical as it is biased. Windows RT is for tablets running on ARM processors. It's crazy to claim Microsoft has a monopoly in tablets. Worried about a monopoly in tablets? Look to Apple and break them up. ;)

Fri, May 11, 2012 Kenneth Jackson

All other browsers for iPad are pretty much Safari skins... Is this actually what passes for journalism these days? Yes, time for the DOJ to step in considering the monopoly Windows RT holds in tablets. What is that? 0% market share?

Fri, May 11, 2012 ibsteve2u Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Well, that clears that up...no need to target Windows RT as a host O/S.

Fri, May 11, 2012 Pakeha California

You need to be realistic and stop creating panic where there is none. Unless you want unsecured connections between devices, networks, et. al.

Fri, May 11, 2012

I don't hear anyone bring up the point the on the IPAD its pretty much the same way. While there may be other browers such as opera, but they do run run as good as safari on the IPAD, and they don't have access to the same APIs as safari.

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