Essay, 3 pages (600 words)

Anti trust claims

Anti Trust Claims During the past decade Microsoft has been abused as a monopoly power on Intel-based personal computers in its handling of operating system and web browser sales. The concern central to the case was whether Microsoft was permitted to package its flagship Internet Explorer web browser software with its Microsoft Windows operating system. Bundling the two giants together is suspected to have been in charge for Microsofts victory in the browser wars as every Windows user had a copy of Internet Explorer. It was further alleged that this restricted the market for competing web browsers like Netscape Navigator or Opera that were slow to download on a modem or had to be purchased from a store. The underlying questions were whether Microsoft manipulated its application programming interfaces (APIs) to favor Internet Explorer over third party web browsers (McMillan, 2003).
The antitrust case against Microsoft set a dangerous example that foretells increasing government regulation in an industry which was formerly relatively free of government intrusion and that future technological progress in the industry will be hinder as a result. Microsoft was not really making any profits from Internet Explorer, and its marriage with the operating system was due to consumer expectation to have a browser bundled with the operating system. Instead, Microsofts true anticompetitive wallop was in the discounts it offered to Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) preventing other operating systems from getting a footing in the market. According to Microsoft the merger of Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer was the result of innovation and competition. However the browser is still a distinct and separate product which did not need to be coupled with an operating system since a separate version was available for Mac OS.
Microsoft operating systems dominates approximately 90-95% of operating systems in computers and has become an innate standard for home and business computer applications. It is fairly obvious that Microsoft is the leading firm in the market for computer operating systems. The question in the current Microsoft antitrust case is whether or not Microsoft has used its monopoly to restrain trade in violation of federal antitrust statutes (Brennan, 2002).
Microsofts decision to integrate Internet Explorer into the operating system was intended to purge the competitive threat posed by Netscape and Sun Microsystems Java programming language. This action, I believe, is a natural extension of the Windows environment and that it should not be faulted for providing a free program to all users. Every product has a life cycle comprising of maturity and saturation phases and thus to elongate the product’s life cycle company has to take measures to maintain its sales and remain competitive in the market. The recent purchase of Netscape by AOL is an evidence itself and reflects the dynamic and competitive nature of the software market. To me it’s a first mover strategy which is a valid and legal act because in a competitive and dynamic market like software one has to remain a step ahead with innovation and creative ideas. Even if we see the issue with consumers’ perspective who are the ultimate beneficiaries of such wars the package of internet explorer and Microsoft operating system as much more convenient than to buy and get them installed individually.
To sum up, companies should try to fight the battle with creative ideas and innovative techniques and not by creating disputes and posing charges because it is an unhealthy and nonproductive way of competing. The rule to win this game is to stand out and dare a change.
Timothy J. Brennan, (2002, May). Do Easy Cases Make Bad Law? Antitrust Innovations or Missed Opportunities in United States v. Microsoft. Retrieved from (http://www. aei. brookings. org/admin/pdffiles/related_02_08. pdf(
Weil, N., & McMillan, R. (2003, May). AOL, Microsoft settle Netscape suit. PCWorld. Retrieved from (http://www. pcworld. com/news/article/0, aid, 110930, 00. asp)

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