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M$ Monitor: Browser Blues

  The Micro$oft Monitor
  Published by NetAction          Issue No. 7                    July 31, 1997	
  Repost where appropriate. Copyright and subscription info at end of message.
  * * * * * * *                         
  In This Issue:
  Browser Blues: A NetAction Report on Consumer Choice in Web Browsers
  About The Micro$oft Monitor
  Browser Blues: A NetAction Report on Consumer Choice in Web Browsers
  A NetAction survey of the top Internet service providers (ISPs) concludes
  that Microsoft's marketing strategy is preventing consumers from choosing
  the browser they use to access the World Wide Web, and the integration of
  Internet Explorer (IE) into the Windows 98 operating system will only make
  matters worse.
  These are the primary conclusions of "Consumer Choice in Web Browsers," a
  NetAction Report released today.  The full report is available on
  NetAction's Web site, at <http://www.netaction.org/msoft/browsers.html>.  
  In addition to the survey results, the report includes recommendations for
  actions consumers can take to ensure choice in Web browsers.  
  NetAction is also asking Internet users concerned about Microsoft's
  anti-competitive marketing practices to participate in a September 15, 1997,
  visit with Congress.  Information about the event is on the Web at
  Participants are encouraged to register by completing the form on
  NetAction's site <http://www.netaction.org/lobby-form.html>.
  NetAction surveyed Internet service providers earlier this month to
  determine how much choice consumers actually have in the browser they use to
  access the Web.  With the Microsoft Windows operating system installed on an
  estimated 90% of personal computers on the market today, the Redmond-based
  corporation has a near-monopoly in the market for PC operating systems.  The
  company is now positioning itself to dominate Internet commerce, in part by
  controlling consumer access to the World Wide Web.  
  As part of this strategy, the company plans to integrate its IE Web browser
  into Windows 98, which is scheduled to be released early next year.  Linking
  IE to Windows is expected to have a profound effect on browser use.
  However,  NetAction's survey reveals that Microsoft's marketing efforts
  already limit choice.  That's because most of the popular ISPs have
  agreements with Microsoft that require them to include IE in the start-up
  software provided to new customers.
  The survey found that only two of the twelve largest ISPs serving the
  consumer market give customers a choice of browsers with their start-up
  software.  While this benefits Microsoft's bottom line, it doesn't benefit
  According to the survey, the three largest ISPs serving consumers -- America
  Online, Compuserve, and Internet MCI -- all bundle IE into their start-up
  software.  Only one of these providers lets consumers know they have the
  option of downloading and using Microsoft's main competitor, Netscape Navigator.
  Navigator currently has a major share of the browser market, and a recent
  survey of Internet users found that a significant majority (81.13%) expect
  to use a Netscape browser in the next twelve months.  But the results of
  NetAction's survey suggest that these expectations are unrealistic, since
  it's likely that most consumers will use the browser provided by their ISP.
  Microsoft's marketing strategy assumes that consumers prefer not to make
  choices.  NetAction assumes that consumers do want choices.  Certainly,
  there are some consumers who would rather have everything provided for them
  in one simple package, but others would rather make their own choices.
  About The Micro$oft Monitor
  The Micro$oft Monitor is a free electronic newsletter, published as part of
  the Consumer Choice Campaign <http://www.netaction.org/msoft/ccc.html>.
  NetAction is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to educating the
  public, policy makers, and the media about technology-based social and
  political issues, and to teaching activists how to use the Internet for
  organizing, outreach, and advocacy.
  To subscribe to The Micro$oft Monitor, write to: <majordomo@manymedia.com>.
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  NetAction is supported by individual contributions, membership dues and
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  Krause by phone at (415) 775-8674, by E-mail at akrause@igc.org, visit the
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  organizing, outreach, and advocacy, subscribe to NetAction Notes, a free
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  Copyright 1997 by NetAction/The Tides Center.  All rights reserved.
  Material may be reposted or reproduced for non-commercial use provided
  NetAction is cited as the source.  NetAction is a project of The Tides
  Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.