Does Microsoft's Web-Browser Policy Violate Antitrust Laws?

By Katz, Ronald S.; Barbour, Haley | Insight on the News, June 1, 1998 | Go to article overview

Does Microsoft's Web-Browser Policy Violate Antitrust Laws?


Katz, Ronald S., Barbour, Haley, Insight on the News


Yes: Microsoft is `marketing' its browser based on its monopoly of operating systems.

Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman, recently was quoted as saying that "the entire PC industry has a large stake in the introduction and success of Windows 98," Microsoft's latest operating system. He does not seem to realize that this is the problem -- an entire industry should not depend on one product of one company in a properly working competitive economy.

Those who support a broad government case against Microsoft usually say something negative about the company and then assert that government should participate in the competitive process. I do not subscribe to those views, although I support a broad government case against Microsoft. Such a case is necessary because it is the job of the government to create a level playing field for all competitors. Right now, because of the nature of technology, there is no such field. In fact, it is not much of an exaggeration to say that Microsoft owns an important part of the playing field.

It is, however, in the nature of technology that someone must own part of the playing field because useful technology demands standardization. Our society would not have progressed beyond the Tower of Babel if, for example, every telephone company had had to build competing facilities such as long-distance switches, or every airline had had to build competing facilities such as airports. Can you imagine not being able to talk to your neighbor because she subscribed to a different telephone company?

These inefficiencies don't occur in our society because we require that these essential facilities be shared by competitors. In fact, it is the antitrust laws that require that they be shared. This fact is not government interference in the competitive process. Rather, it is the creation of the environment within which the competitive process can occur.

The government must create that environment in our most critical industry -- high technology. That is why the government should bring a broad antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft.

Microsoft is not evil, but it does control an essential facility for reasons not entirely relating to its superiority. Microsoft is clearly one of the great success stories of all time. As a matter of fact, Microsoft's core product helped to bring order out of chaos. This product was the operating-system software of a personal computer, the software that does the internal housekeeping chores that enable a personal computer to run. This operating-system software is different from so-called applications software which does the tasks -- such as word processing or creating a financial spreadsheet -- which customers purchase computers to do.

In order to understand why the government should bring a broad antitrust case against Microsoft, it is important to keep this distinction between operating-system software and applications software in mind. Microsoft's operating systems have been labeled using variations of the names DOS and Windows. Names of some Microsoft applications software include Word (for word processing) and Excel (for creating a financial spreadsheet).

At the time Microsoft's first operating system came out, it was just one of many. In the late seventies and early eighties, each brand of personal computer had its own proprietary operating system, and most applications software would work only with the operating system for which it was designed.

This situation became very inconvenient for customers. If they wanted to use applications software that did not run on their current computer, they literally would have to buy a new computer. This situation created a tremendous need for computers to be compatible with one another.

Therefore, the nature of our technological economy created an overwhelming need for a company -- any company -- to create a standard. It could have been IBM. It could have been Apple. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Does Microsoft's Web-Browser Policy Violate Antitrust Laws?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.