Tuesday, March 12, 2002

Comingling vs Bundling vs Tying It's ironic that if, back in '95, Microsoft simply offered two versions of Windows, priced identically, one with I.E. and one without, the antitrust trial would not have happened. Doing this was not a big deal for Microsoft, OEMs would have usually included I.E. (especially is arm twisted a little) and maybe included Netscape as well. But they didn't and the rest is becoming history as we speak. If they had only bundled the two products together instead of tying them, the court would not have had a case.

Some of Jim Allchin's testimony outlines how pointed litigators are getting about "componentizing" code. Clearly someone who knows about technology is designing this line of questioning. At stake is how much power OEMs have in piecing together OSes for their customers. If Microsoft "componentized" Windows, customers could sub in best of breed middleware, or just use simpler, cheaper middleware options, and probably be happier (they would certainly be more secure). Doing this would lower the application barrier to entry that protects their Window's OS monopoly, so they are against it, denying that it's even possible. This claim is a lie, and if not, should worry users. Monolithic complicated systems are insecure, unstable, and bad network citizens.

So, bringing events back to 1995 -- the court may ask Microsoft to offer a componentized version of Windows.


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