No. of Recommendations: 0
The stock market should love Judge Jackson's decision -- it just decided (probably) to overrule the free market and put a clamp on
Microsoft, which will enable (maybe) their competition to make more money. Great for investors, maybe not best for consumers.

Then again, maybe it is.

I own stock in Microsoft and many of their competitors. I also use several of their products, and have for some time. I don't own the
stocks, nor do I use products, because their management is nice. Bill Gates is tough, probably ruthless, maybe devious in dealing with the
competition. Build up a company from scratch and you might get a little touchy too when it becomes "us vs. them". I do know that I have
many options when it comes to computer software, and I choose Microsoft products, when I do, because they are the best, not because
there are no other choices.

Assuming you use an Intel-based PC, you do not have a choice, consequently no product can be better. This is why the judge found as he did.

One of the biggest complaints against Microsoft is the tie between Windows and Internet Explorer. They give IE away for free to gain
loyalty and market share, then combine it with their other major product (which is probably nearing its practical end), and don't
significantly raise the price. As a business owner, that sounds pretty smart; as a consumer, that sounds pretty good. I know I didn't get
hurt, and I also didn't need to buy Win98. Maybe we'll be better off without them, but I doubt it.

The DOJ demonstrated that the bundling of Internet Explorer was expressly to deny competing applications (Netscape, Java, etc.) access to the Windows platform. By denying entry, Microsoft maintains their monopoly and stifles innovation and invention that would most likely improve the productivity of consumers. Microsoft had no interest in browsers, internet technology, or even general networking until they realised that these technologies would provide developers an OS independent development platform. They could write Java or standard browser based applications that would run just as effectively on non-Microsoft operating systems. That is the threat that awoke the sleeping bear.

My biggest concern about the decision is not whether Microsoft was bad or if the market liked it. I'm more concerned with the DOJ and
the 30+ other actions similar to this case that are either in process or pending this resolution. Maybe if the DOJ were listening to the
consumer rather than the biggest political contributors, I wouldn't be nervous.

The problem here is that the consumer is not well informed of the technology available, nor how much better their computing life would be had it not been for Microsoft. I've seen reports that billions of dollars of productivity are lost each year due to lost work and data from system crashes. The most tragic impact that Microsoft has had is that we, as consumers, have been conditioned to accept products that do not properly perform the tasks we bought them for.

Even Windows can be made better and more friendly. Hewlett-Packard was noted in the FoF has having made significant enhancements to the user interface and system startup process. They had the highest customer satisfaction rating and the lowest trouble call rate in the industry. When they buckled to Microsoft's pressure to present Windows according to the Microsoft specification, their call volume tripled and customer service ratings sank.

You really need to read the judges findings and not pick up on the various spins in the media. I was initially concerned that Judge Jackson would not understand the real issues involved in this case. Considering his completely non-technical background, he did a fantastic job of, not only understanding the issues, but of clearly stating them in his findings. I expected a very dry and boring read. It was clear, concise, informative and understandable. Seriously, if you haven't read it, please do and revisit your comments. I'd be very interested in how they change.

I've been in computers for over 20 years, so let me tell you some surprising things from my experience: Operating systems do not have to crash. Applications can run without flaw. Multiple applications can run on the same machine without "conflicts". Bugs in software can be fixed by the vendor (quickly, and at no charge as well!). We have been doing all these things for years on a variety of operating systems. Microsoft has not made computers more accessible to consumers. Intel did that. Microsoft software has simply made them function. Other operating systems and applications make them function alot better.
Print the post  


What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.