Microsoft Versus the Department of Justice Essays

Microsoft Versus the Department of Justice Essays

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Microsoft Versus the Department of Justice


In today’s high-tech ultra-fast paced world, there can be no debate as to the importance of personal computers. Personal Computers control virtually every aspect of our daily lives. Businesses, regardless of their size, have local area networks, company Intranets and high-speed wide area networks. Billing, inventory and invoicing would be impossible without help from our Personal Computers. Stocks, bonds and commodities are traded in the markets around the world entirely by computer. The Banking industry relies enormously on Personal Computers for every transaction. Communicating without email, fax transmissions and other forms of computer aided information transfers would be unimaginable. The media would be unable to produce news and information for the masses in the timely manner we know today. Law enforcement agencies, from local police, to field agents of the F.B.I. depend on computer databases for crucial information. Air traffic controllers rely on their computers to safely land and route thousands of planes into airports around the world everyday. Even the military depends on computers to defend our very own borders and interests. With the important role that Personal Computers serve in society today, is it really a good idea to have one company exclusively control the technology running virtually every aspect of our lives?

Ninety percent of all computers sold worldwide are IBM or IBM compatible clones. Microsoft's infamous operating system licensing agreements required all personal computer makers to pay Microsoft a royalty on every computer they manufactured, even when no Microsoft product was loaded on the machine.(Kaphing 1) This forced the Personal Computer makers into only using the Microsoft operating system. They could not choose a different Operating System even if they so desired, because at that time all of the Personal Computer clone manufacturers were small start up companies, having very limited capital. They couldn't afford to pay both Microsoft and another company for a different operating system. In 1994 The United States Justice Department barred Microsoft from engaging in this sort of extortion, but it was already too late, the Operating System monopoly had been realized.

After the 1994 decision, Microsoft resorted to a new anti-competitive tactic. Yet another ...


... middle of paper ...


... and largely as a result of that barrier, Microsoft’s customers lack a commercially viable alternative to Windows.

Microsoft possesses a dominant, persistent, and increasing share of the world-wide market PC operating systems. Every year for the last decade, Microsoft’s share of the market for Intel-compatible PC operating systems has stood above ninety percent. For the last couple of years the figure has been at least ninety-five percent, and analysts project that the share will climb even higher over the next few years. Even if Apple’s Mac Operating System were included in the relevant market, Microsoft’s share would still stand well above eighty percent.

It was proven in court that many of the tactics that Microsoft has employed have also harmed consumers indirectly by unjustifiably distorting competition. The actions that Microsoft took against Navigator hobbled a form of innovation that had
shown the potential to depress the applications barrier to entry sufficiently to enable other firms to compete effectively against Microsoft in the market for PC operating systems. That competition would have conduced to consumer choice and nurtured innovation.

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