Saturday, July 27, 2002

Microsoft is getting bold again. NY Times ace John Markoff reports on .Net:

"We still get people saying to us, `what is .Net?' " said Mr. Gates. ... computer software should be subscribed to as a Web-based service rather than purchased as a product they own and use, as most is today. ... Microsoft also warned today that the era of "open computing," the free exchange of digital information that has defined the personal computer industry, is ending.

The idea is that Microsoft will own the controlling software on most of the world's computers, and that it will be able to restrict functionality and extract revenue streams to a greater extent than it has ever been able to do before. It will continue to ship Windows with virus-enabling features until people demand a secure product. The Microsoft will introduce Palladium (or Longhorn or some other name) purportedly to solve the security problem, but it will also make Microsoft the gatekeeper for music, movies, and even web browsing.

You can hope that Microsoft would use its monopoly power in a responsible manner, but that is very unlikely. It was convicted of the most egregious antitrust violations, but the appellate court stopped any meaningful enforcement. Now the settlement agreement is toothless, and even gives Microsoft free license to commit more anticompetitive behavior.

John reports that Microsoft is lobbying to stop open-source laws in S. America.

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