To the voting members of the United States Senatorial Investigative Council, en re Microsoft
The names Rockefeller, Carnegie, Astor, Vanderbilt, and Whitney are synonymous with American big business and voluminous wealth. Each man not only led but dominated his industry by successfully and consistently producing the highest quality product which appealed to consumers not only practically, but financially; they were always one step ahead of their competition. Historically, Americans have always feared such domination by a single person. The United States Constitution, the template by which Americans function as a nation, was drafted in an effort to ensure that no individual ever gains a degree of superiority. Government legislation has attempted to demote if not destroy the members of America s highest class for similar reasons. The anti-monopoly laws created after the Industrial Era met Rockefeller and Carnegie and the two-and-a-half year investigation and eventual conviction of Michael Milken are both examples of the American people and their government unfairly attempting to lessen that which is not necessarily excessive and govern that which only appears to supersede legislation.
Today, William Gate s Microsoft, the standard for personal computer software and operating systems around the world, is under legal fire for violating anti-monopoly legislation and anti-trust rulings. They have been accused of illegally and inadvertently requiring computer makers to include Microsoft s Internet Explorer as part of the Windows Operating System, thus creating a monopoly on the browser market. The likes of Netscape, America Online, and smaller services such as AT&T WorldCom are the victims of such requirements, and have allied with the United State Senate to bring formal charges against Microsoft.
Monopolistic action includes but is not limited to the intentional harming of a competitor in an effort to augment one s own success. Such practices have been deemed illegal by numerous legislative bodies across the country. Microsoft, though it does require the inclusion of its browser as part of Windows software, has done absolutely nothing illegal. At no time has Microsoft impeded the success of its competitors. It has only used its position in the operating systems-market in an attempt to advance its position in the browser market, a luxury gained not by illegal or monopolistic means, but solely from their unparalleled success in the software industry. All makers of personal computers are allowed to include several browsers as parts of their pre-installed software package; they can also include icons (a shortcut to a program which is placed on the desktop allowing the user to activate it with the click of a mouse button) of those browsers on the Windows desktop adjacent to the Microsoft Internet Explorer icon, which in theory equivocates the appearance and accessibility of all products.
In addition, the simple inclusion of a browser does not require a computer user to register his or her Internet account with Microsoft. Microsoft does not benefit from simply including its browser in Windows; the consumer must desire to open an account with Microsoft, a desire which stems from proper marketing and product reputation and quality. Netscape, America Online and AT&T all have the option of displaying an icon on the desktop adjacent to Microsoft s, in which case the decision of choosing a browser would be left with the consumer. Microsoft s inclusion of its browser in no way obstructs any company s ability to successfully market its product, thus it should not be held legally accountable for hindering the success of a competitor.
Monopolistic practices are illegal in America, as amended to the Constitution in the early 1900 s. However, Microsoft has in no way created a monopoly on the market by requiring that Internet Explorer be included on the Windows desktop. A lawsuit accusing them of such is invalid and saturated with inadequate evidence. Microsoft must be allowed to continue producing all of its products, for it has benefited the personal computer world much more than it has harmed it. Should they in any way restrict the likes of Netscape from being compatible with Windows, an anti-trust lawsuit would be not only viable but necessary. But until such an obstacle is created at the hands of Microsoft, it have done nothing illegal, and should not be burdened with accusations.