|Tuesday, April 4, 2000||
Volume 65, Issue 125
Whitlock on education
Ed De La Garza
Lions and tigers and Microsoft, oh my!
This column appears today thanks, in part, to research done on a Netscape Web browser. It was typed, in fact, on a Macintosh computer.
So let's just begin by saying that this editorial, coming to you now, is hard proof that Microsoft does not have a monopoly on the computer industry, and never has.
On the other hand, as federal judges have stated, that doesn't mean they didn't try, and aren't trying as we speak.
If you're random Joe college student, you might be taken aback to find out that Microsoft plans to release the X Box, a platform video game system, within two years, so that they can compete with Sony, Sega and Nintendo for a share of your television time. Well, if you watch MSNBC they've already got some of your time, but let's move on.
Speculation about how "big brother" Microsoft might affect your future couch-potato days aside, U.S. District Courts have upheld the decisions of lower courts in the Netscape-initiated anti-trust lawsuit against Bill Gates' brainchild.
Basically, and in a context that applies to you, the argument goes like this: Try using Netscape on any random computer. It looks nice, and is a convenient method for accessing the Web.
Now, if you're on a PC, and running Windows ‘98 or Windows 2000, surf around for a little while. Count the minutes until Netscape crashes on you. That was pretty quick, huh?
Repeat the process with the system-integrated Microsoft Explorer. See the difference?
Netscape says Satan, or Bill Gates, fused Windows ‘98 to its Web browser specifically so that Netscape would have problems using your computer's memory.
And even if that's all true -- and we can't contest it since we've never seen the inside of Mr. Gates' head to determine his motives for combining Explorer with Windows -- would it really call for chopping this nasty Goliath into itty-bitty baby companies, just so its competitors can gobble them up later? That's the plan Netscape's representatives seem to be calling for.
And what's with 19 states filing suit against the company? Do we think Microsoft caused cancer? Does running Windows make your body spontaneously reject breast implants?
Forgive us for going a bit far, but someone has to act as a balance for the job somebody -- the media, Microsoft's competitors, take your pick -- has done in turning Bill Gates into the kind of monstrous figure that was once only found in cartoon caricatures of Hitler and Mussolini.
Microsoft is guilty of violating anti-trust laws. Punish them for that
before you punish them for being bigger than you are, or for creating some
of the best computer-interface software in the world.