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What Is the Choice?

  	The narrow question is whether Compaq had a right
  	to put Netscape's browser on the "desktop" that it
  	sold new with Windows as its operating system. That
  	MS violated Compaq's rights and the MS/Justice
  	agreement not to further promote monopoly or 
  	engage in  predatory business practice -- predatory 
  	in that such practice would destroy Netscape to the 
  	detriment of all of us.
  	The Windows owner (MS) said no. If you want to
  	sell with Netscape, write you own operating system 
  	or buy one -- but you can't offer our Windows.
  	Although there are non-Windows systems, Compaq 
  	can find none likely to be as acceptable to enough 
  	potential customers.  Too many will want to use
  	Windows-required applications with their computer.
  	What are we to do about this? 
  	If the Justice Department did not exist, everyone 
  	would steal parts of programs from each other (more 
  	than they presently do), and there would be no big 
  	Microsoft.  Lots of applications sellers would have 
  	stolen what they needed to include a windows os 
  	for free with their application.
  	Microsoft is dependent on copyright and patents and
  	law enforcement for its giant size.
  	Because nothing is perfect, we may assume that the
  	desktop of the future will be much easier to use than
  	MS Windows.  If we want that to happen, we must
  	protect competition in selling operating systems.  In 
  	effect this means computer sellers must be allowed to
  	buy and sell Windows from its sole supplier but then
  	offer it to the public anyway they want to (that does
  	not weaken Windows as an operating system.)  
  	If MS claims that what is sold is  NOT  the "real" thing,
  	then Compaq should be free to remove the Windows
  	name, pay nothing to MS for it, and rename it
  	the Compaq OS:  
  	               The fact that much of the code would
  	     have come from the old Windows is not as
  	     significant as the fact that we cannot tolerate
  	     monopoly in software stemming from copyright 
  	     protections that spread from a de facto standard 
  	     operating system owned by a single predatory
  	     supplier to all lucrative applications.
  	If we did not use anti-trust to prevent monopoly,
  	a single bank or merchant would own the whole 
  	country, including every lucrative business in it.
          John Gelles                   email  address: myturn@vcol.net
          http://www.myturn.org   ;    http://www.rain.org/~jjgelles/
          The Web addresses above argue for economic rights and
          wealth  creation,  and for individual and national  security,  
          to be financed by credit and protected against inflation by 
          full automation and  saving --  not  by  high  interest,  high 
          unemployment and high taxes.