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The Microsoft Antitrust Case
The case against Microsoft was brought buy the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as several state Attorneys General. Microsoft is accused of using and maintaining monopoly power to gain an unfair advantage in the market. The case has been under observation for a long time, but the Justice department is having trouble coming up with substantial evidence against Microsoft. Specifically, the Department must prove:
That Microsoft has monopoly power and is using it to gain unfair leverage in the market.
And that Microsoft has maintained this monopoly power through "exclusionary" or "predatory" acts(Rule).
Some say that Microsoft is only taking advantage of its position in the market and using innovative marketing strategies to attract new customers. They have chosen to implement a market development strategy to attract new customers who are looking for a system that has Internet capability. Microsoft feels that by integrating their Internet Explorer web browser technology into Windows, they are only improving its overall functionality available to the customer.
Microsoft began expanding into the browser area because of increasing threat from Netscape and Java. Java is the programming language used to make Netscape. Programs that are written in Java can work on any PC, whether it has Windows on it or not. That is why there is a great threat to the Windows environment. The more Netscape is used, the more other vendors will begin writing Netscape compliant programs and the more Java will be used, which puts a damper on Windows. So Windows introduced their Internet explorer to combat the increasing Netscape usage. It did not do this to create a monopoly, but to protect itself. If people realize that Java programs can be run on ANY PC, then they will realize that they do not need to buy Windows.
Some say that Microsoft began it's "illegal" agenda when it began requiring PC manufacturers to sign a license agreement that said that if they were going to have Windows preinstalled on their new systems, that the Windows Internet Explorer must also be installed. Although it is possible for consumers to install other browsers onto Windows and use them, critics say that Microsoft still has an unfair advantage. It also keeps other browser companies from being able to consult with PC manufacturers to put their browser on the PC from the beginning. PC manufacturers did not hesitate to comply with Microsoft's new standard because they did not want to lose the ability to manufacture computers with Windows installed on them, as Windows holds a great market share and most consumers only buy PC's with Windows already installed on them. It would be detrimental for a company to refuse compliance of Microsoft's new standard. This is another complaint of critics. That manufacturers had no other choice but to do what Microsoft said, out of fear of their own company losing profits.
Microsoft also "pulls the strings" it has with other ISP's and software companies. There is a lot of software that is not made by Microsoft that comes with the Windows package. Some of these include, AOL, Prodigy, AT&T, Quicken, just to name a few. Microsoft gives these companies and their icons and programs are displayed on the Windows desktop. In return, these companies must give preferential treatment in promotion and the like to Microsoft. One example is AOL's new 4.0 browser is specially designed to work best with the Micro
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