Microsoft: consummate competitor

Microsoft Corporation is probably one of the most successful American businesses. Products, such as Windows, that MS made helped bring about today’s computer age. No other products combine the number of features, low cost and ease of use such as Microsoft products do.

There was no reason to bring Microsoft to trial. The trial (spectacle) was nowhere near impartial; Judge Jackson had clearly made up his mind about Microsoft from the very beginning. He ignored previous rulings from higher courts that were supposed to guide him to a fair decision and instead determined on his own what the new rules of anti-trust laws are. So, a man who had little understanding of technology and slept through a good deal of the court case decided the future of my company. Is this supposed to help America stay at the forefront of the digital economy?

The GW Hatchet editorial (Predatory practices, p. 4, Thursday, April 20) mentions that the court case centered on software bundling (including Internet Explorer with Windows). How did this hurt consumers? Just because IE was included with Windows, it didn’t stop consumers from being able to use Netscape. As a matter of fact, the judge found that there was no sign that including Internet Explorer with Windows hurt distribution of Netscape. Consumers got a free Web browser (Internet Explorer). Even better, it was a good product.

The initial versions of Internet Explorer weren’t any good, and that’s why Netscape was used by more than 80 percent of people using Web browsers. But once IE 3.0 came out, all of a sudden Netscape couldn’t match up. That is what really killed Netscape in the browser war – its inability to improve and offer more than what Microsoft offered. So, don’t blame Microsoft when Netscape just couldn’t hack it. Netscape didn’t improve; they became inferior. They lost.

The editorial is right: Microsoft is a victim of its own success. To the government and Microsoft’s competitors, it’s not fair that Microsoft’s success isn’t shared with others. What they don’t seem to realize is that business is business. Personally, I’m glad that I work for a company that does not rest on its accomplishments. I’m glad that Microsoft is cutthroat and tries to seize every opportunity. I’m glad that they don’t share. I’m glad that the company always wants more: more customers, more products, more features and more money. What would be the point of a company that just tried to maintain the status quo?

Consumers put Microsoft in the position it’s in; they bought Microsoft products. Microsoft offers the best bang for the buck; people are usually able to do what they want when using an MS product. When they aren’t, Microsoft tries to remedy that in the next version. Consumers are not forced to buy Microsoft products. They choose to buy Microsoft. There are lots of alternatives; it’s not Microsoft’s fault if those alternatives aren’t as easy to use.

Microsoft came in and made user-friendly software that is intuitive and appealing. And for those of you who are about to say that Microsoft ripped off the design from Apple, both companies actually got their ideas from Xerox.

-The writer is a software test engineer for Microsoft Corporation and graduated in 1998.

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