Brad Chase: AOL chose IE because of technology

Vice President Brad Chase will be the next executive taking up the defense of Microsoft Corporation in its antitrust battle with the government. Chase, who is currently in charge of Windows marketing and developer relations, participated in negotiations with America Online (AOL) that ultimately convinced the online giant to bundle Internet Explorer, not Netscape, with their service. The court released Chase's written testimony this week and in it, he contends that superior technology, not corporate bullying, got AOL to use IE. "While placement in the Online Services folder \[in Windows\] may also have been important, \[AOL's\] Mr. Colburn focused on different issues, making it clear that AOL would not have chosen Microsoft as its supplier of Web browsing software if we had not had superior technology," Chase says of conversations with the vice president of AOL. "Specifically, he stated that Microsoft's technology was better suited to providing AOL subscribers with a seamless experience when they went to the Web. He also emphasized the importance of AOL controlling the user experience of its subscribers, and said that Microsoft alone offered AOL the ability to do that."

AOL CEO Steve Case also told Chase and Brad Silverberg, another Microsoft VP, that Netscape had been "arrogant" in its dealings with them.

"Mr. Case also told Mr. Silverberg that he had asked Rich Schell, then Netscape's senior vice president of client development, for particular features in order to adapt Netscape's Web browsing software for AOL's use," Chase said. "According to Mr. Case, Mr. Schell's response was: 'You'll get what we give you, when we give it to you, if we decide to give it to you.'"

And as for the DOJ charge that Microsoft held a position on the Windows desktop over AOL like a noose, Chase says it was the other way around: AOL asked to be placed on the desktop.

"\[Microsoft CEO Bill\] Gates expressed frustration at \[AOL's\] focus on getting an AOL icon on the Windows desktop," Chase says. "Gates said he would not agree to that demand."

Microsoft eventually reached a compromise with AOL, so that an Online Services folder was created on the Windows desktop (and Start menu), containing links to AOL and other large online services

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