The monopoly Issue
I strongly refuse to agree with the idea that Microsoft is a monopoly. The charges put forward against Microsoft of engaging in anticompetitive and exclusionary practises were strategies by its competitors to curb Microsoft’s growing popularity and success.
Microsoft was legally practising its technology advancement and competition plans to gain more market control. For instance, the case of the Netscape’s navigator and Microsoft’s internet explorer, the Department of Justice alleged that Microsoft blatantly and illegally tried to monopolise the browser. Using its market control power, Microsoft strategized on how to popularise its browser by bundling the IE with its operating system, after Netscape refused on dividing the browser market. If the Netscape’s navigator was superior to Internet Explore as was asserted by many practitioners, then consumers would gone ahead to buy and install Netscape’s browser other than using the Microsoft’s browser. Previously, Netscape controlled the internet browser market, but it was after the introduction of the internet explorer it started losing to Microsoft browser due to it superiority qualities thus the rise of its IE shares from 5% to almost 50% by mid 1998.
Furthermore, Netscape had plans of using its navigator technology to make Microsoft’s Windows obsolete, but on discovering this Microsoft strategized by bundling its IE to its operating system as it did with other of its software application. Finally, as the also viewed, consumer had a variety of alternatives for computing solutions. Microsoft therefore, was not a monopoly but rather firm, that had acquired market control through it innovativeness in software technology.
However, there were cases of anticompetitive activities in Microsoft.
In order to prevent such cases of interferences and malpractices in future, I am of the opinion that Microsoft be split. This would ensure a levelled playing ground for all competitive firms in the market place and ensure consumers obtained their computing solutions from the desired and preferred source.
Furthermore, this would encourage more software technology inventions and development in operating systems and application systems than ever before, exposing consumers to a wide variety of technology.
Microsoft’s market dominance
On whether Microsoft used it market power to prevent potential competitors from challenging its market dominance position in operating system, I would say no. Consumers looking for computing solutions had options from which to make their selection. Among the choices were a variant of UNIX’s operating system, Mac 05 and of course Microsoft’s Windows.
Microsoft used its innovation, value for products and constant product improvement besides its business strategies to capture the market. This is what its competitors lacked hence made it difficult for them to penetrate the market while at the same time Microsoft became dominant. For instance, Microsoft strategized on how to promote its operating system by introducing application software’s that operated on windows. On my personal opinion, this was a strategy rather that a restriction.
Judge Jackson’s Remedy
According to Judge Jackson’s final judgement on November 5, 1999, in his findings of fact, some of the remedies were appropriate while others were too harsh for Microsoft. For instance, splitting Microsoft was an appropriate move for this would bring and allow more software application manufactures on board the system. Prohibiting the operating system and applications businesses from merging or going into agreements with one another or other enterprises will ensure a more favourable market conditions to all parties.
On other hand, ordering Microsoft disclose its technical information and communication interfaces used in Windows was a too harsh Judgement as it was a bias against Microsoft in favour of its competitors.