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Orrin Hatch: Netscape vs. MS

  David Dunn Wrote:  
  	> Unfortunately, although I completely agree that Microsoft will
  	> dominate the desktop browser market in the near future and
  	> Netscape a non-entity in that market, I can't agree with the
  	> that this will occur because Microsoft is using unfair
  	> (I'm a technologist, not a legal expert, so my definition of
  	> 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	
  	> from 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 
  If "unfair practices" means bundling IE4 with Win95, but prohibits any
  challenge to Microsoft's predatory pricing strategy with its Internet
  products, then you may be right, I suppose.   To be fair, I have also
  heard some fairly negative opinions about IE4--but not from people
  developing in JavaScript.  You are presumably the expert, here.
  On the other hand, as a UNIX advocate, can you honestly say that
  Microsoft's IE for UNIX is comparable to Netscape Navigator 4.0.3 for
  UNIX?  Navigator 4.0.3 seems to have some bugs left, but it  runs on
  every major UNIX variant, including Linux.  Did you know that
  Microsoft's IE for UNIX preview page touts its "true cross-platform
  compatibility," and appeals to corporations to "standardize on 4"--and
  is currently released for Solaris 2.5.1 only?  Microsoft's commitment to
  cross-platform compatibility is near zero, but that doesn't stop them
  from telling the public--and corporate executives Microsoft hopes will
  "standardize" on Microsoft applications, locking out competitors--that
  just the opposite is true.
  More to the point, in my view, Microsoft's takeover of the browser
  market--as with other markets--has NOT been fair, or feature-based, even
  though IE 4 is now an impressive product.  
  The first three releases of Internet Explorer were NOT competitive with
  Netscape, feature for feature, and major corporations announced they
  were standardizing on Netscape--until Microsoft announced they were
  giving their browser away free, while continuing to upgrade it
  A few months after the release of IE, Microsoft did the same thing with
  IIS, the *free* Microsoft webserver.  I remember when my company sold
  Netscape Enterprise Server for Windows NT and UNIX for > $900.00 per
  node--to happy customers.  Other webservers had a similar pricetag.  Not
  surprisingly, the bottom pretty much dropped out of the NT webserver
  market when Microsoft started giving away a fully supported commercial
  product--or should I say, integrated this product into its Windows NT
  operating system.
  In 1993, when Microsoft make its famously late entry into the browser
  business, it was reported (I don't have a citation here, I was reading
  far to many trade zines at the time...) that Microsoft had allocated
  upwards of a thousand programmers to code Microsoft Internet
  applications--nearly all of which were in some fashion given away
  "free"--subsidized by profits from Microsoft's other activiites.  (I'm
  not trying to indulge in hyperbole here--I'd appreciate correction on
  the number of developers involved in these efforts.)  Obviously, the
  fledgling Netscape corp had way to counter this kind of competition.
  Yet, had Netscape not paved the way, it seems highly unlikely there
  would have been serious Microsoft involvement in the internet in 1993.
  The IIS giveaway has been far more damaging to the market than the
  browser giveaway, in my view, because the webserver market had
  previously been heavily dominated by UNIX, the major competitor of
  Windows NT.    
  Throughout 1993 and 1994, UNIX gained significant, new corporate
  acceptance and record numbers of non-technical users became UNIX-saavy
  during these early days of the Internet.  Web developers loved UNIX, and
  loved the UNIX-centric development tools like Perl and the new Java
  programming language.  By late 1995, corporate IT managers were
  returning to their UNIX-hating ways.  NT is the corporate web server
  platform of choice today, even though UNIX has been the choice of
  professional web developers right up to the present.  (On this, see the
  Netcraft surveys, http://www.netcraft.co.uk/Survey/ .)  
  Matt Benjamin