As you might expect, I received a lot of email about the DOJ investigation of Microsoft today. After sifting through all of this mail, and reading the numerous stories printed everywhere from InfoWorld to USA Today, I've hit upon a few interesting points:
- Despite the fact that I am sometimes (incorrectly) labeled as a Microsoft sycophant, I think the DOJ, not Microsoft, is right here. On the other hand, products like Windows 95 OSR 2.5 and Windows 98 really negate the whole issue as far as I'm concerned.
- The announcement occurred on the day Microsoft was to release its quarterly earnings. Coincidence? Is the government trying to purposefully hurt Microsoft's stock price? I think so. In fact, that sounds like the basis of a nice little lawsuit to me.
- Oh, the irony: One beautiful side-story no one touched on yesterday was that PC makers nagged Microsoft so much about IE 4.0 and Windows 95 that Microsoft is going to give them a special version of Window 95 called OSR 2.5 that will *include* IE 4.0 right in the install code. Meanwhile, the DOJ court filing is centered around complaints that Microsoft is forcing them to include IE 4.0. Who is forcing who here? And more importantly, which company, exactly, was it that complained to the DOJ? I bet it wasn't a PC maker.
- A correction from Bud Aaron: the 1994 consent decree does not specifically mention software bundling; it required Microsoft to stop collecting fees from computers that didn't have Windows installed. Of course, the DOJ complaint does center around the bundling of IE 4.0, which the District Attorney describes as "separate" from Windows 95, using 15 pages of Microsoft documentation as evidence.