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Re: US Sen Hatch on MS

  Gerry Britton wrote:
  >  From Infoworld today:
  >  http://www.infoworld.com/cgi-bin/displayStory.pl?97113.esenate.htm
  >  U.S. Senate committee to look at Microsoft's Internet influence
  > [...]
  >  Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, [...] during an
  > interview with
  > the Wall Street Journal published Monday.
  >  "Microsoft now has the ability to virtually annihilate any
  > competitive product it wants by bringing it into the next version
  > of Windows," Hatch was quoted as saying. "There's evidence that
  > they are aggressively seeking to extend that
  > monopoly to the Internet, and policy makers have to be concerned
  > about it."
  The above quote from Senator Hatch seems to echo the sentiments of
  many people subscribed to this list and those who initiated this
  list.  The prevailing view seems to be, for example, that by
  the IE browser into the OS, Microsoft is going to eventually dominate
  that market and take all of the market share away from Netscape.
  Unfortunately, although I completely agree that Microsoft will
  dominate the desktop browser market in the near future and make
  Netscape a non-entity in that market, I can't agree with the viewpoint
  that this will occur because Microsoft is using unfair practices
  (I'm a technologist, not a legal expert, so my definition of unfair
  is based solely upon what I feel is ethically correct and not upon any
  body of law. I say "unfortunately" because, while I try to stay away
  techologically based religious fervor, I am definitely
  not a big fan of Microsoft and have worked hard to stay away from their
  technologies in the internet arena.  I come from a UNIX background.  My
  company is a UNIX oriented company.  We love UNIX and have been big
  supporters of Netscape.)
  I would like to suggest
  that Microsoft is going to dominate the browser market
  not because of unethical and monopolistic practices, but because
  the current dominant player, Netscape, is really blowing it
  (sorry, I couldn't think of a more eloquent way of making that
  Here's why:
  My company has been engaged for three years
  developing corporate intranet applications which target the
  Netscape browser (meaning, to run our intranet application, users must
  use the Netscape browser).  During that time period, Netscape has been
  dominant browser in the marketplace.  We have been early adoptors of
  their technology innovations and our applications rely extensively upon
  JavaScript (which we think is a great development tool).  During this
  time period, however, we have been increasingly frustrated by
  the poor reliability of their products and the failure of their
  products to work as advertised.  The cost to us has been project
  overruns resulting from attempts to work around Netscape's bugs and,
  in some cases, dissatisfaction from our customers.  Of course,
  throughout this time period there was no viable alternative
  to Netscape.  IE 3.0 was much
  worse, for our purposes, then Netscape.  But, along comes Microsoft
  IE 4.0 and Netscape Communicator 4.0.  Wanting to take advantage of
  both of some of the features available in the next generation of
  browsers and hoping for increased reliability and speed, we start
  looking at NS Communicator.  What do we find?  We
  find that our applications are now slower than before and, in most cases
  do not even run.  In desparation, we try the applications on IE 4.0.
  Amazingly we find that
  our JavaScript apps run faster and much more reliably on IE 4.0 than
  on Netscape Communicator - considering that JavaScript is a Netscape
  innovation this is almost to much to believe.
  Netscape was in a dominant position in browser
  market.  They had a very loyal following of companies like mine, ISP's,
  and users.  Even though MS IE is free, my customer base will
  gladly stick with, and pay for, Netscape browsers if we recommend it
  to them.  However, given the extreme reliability problems we see
  with Netscape, there is no way we can continue to recommend it
  and expect to stay in business.  Individuals from other companies
  I've talked to relate experiences similar to ours (although my
  sample size is hardly statistically valid, every company I have
  with recently that develops intranet or internet related applications
  has indicated that they are migrating away from Netscape technologies
  for the same reasons).  Sadly, this migration is also occuring on
  the Web server front.  We've had very bad
  experiences with using Netscape LiveWire for web enabled database
  applications and no such problems with Microsoft's Active Server Pages.
  So, my resoning based on my company's experience, is that
  it is too simplistic to assume that Microsoft
  is dominating markets simply by incorporating their technologies into
  their base OS offering.  Sadly, in this one example they are going to
  dominate because their product is truly better than the
  competition's (note that I did not say their product is good: as noted
  in an earlier posting there is a lot wrong with IE 4.0, but I
  am forced to evaluate things relatively, not absolutely).
  David Dunn			| Email: david.dunn@vc3.com
  VC3, Inc.			| URL:	 http://www.vc3.com
  712 Richland St. Suite F. 	| Phone: (803) 733-7333
  Columbia, SC 29201		| Fax: (803) 733-5888