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RE: Microsoft And Windows 98

  	I watched a dog-and-pony by MS yesterday.  As a lawyer and a user, I 
  found my take on the IE tying to be modified.
  	Later today I will defragment my local hard disk.  It wasn't all that 
  long ago that I could buy a utility which would defragment.  In fact, I 
  had to buy it separately, because defragmenting wasn't part of DOS.  
  Defragmenting is not strictly speaking a natural part of an operating 
  system -- there is very little involved in running actual applications 
  which entails using the defragmenting possibility -- but I am right glad 
  to have it packaged with later DOSes, and with Windows.  For all I know, 
  defragmenting is still part of Norton Utilities, and if I ever have 
  occasion to buy that package I would expect to at least try out its 
  defragmenter (if I remember, the Windows version is from Symantec).  In 
  the meantime, the Windows tool works reasonably well, as far as I can 
  	The IE option appears to be, not central to, but tightly tied with, a 
  number of normally-used activities in Office97 products.  All of them 
  could in theory, I suppose, be accomplished without that option, but it 
  appears to me to be useful, and efficient in several ways.  That is not 
  true for all uses.  For at least some of the IE (or IE-type) functions 
  built into the applications, it would be possible to use, say, Netscape 
  (as the MS rep said, some of the features use IE only because it was his 
  default browser).  And it would no doubt be possible to recode any 
  sections that use specifically-IE code to accomplish things not exactly 
  "browser" activities.
  	But why?  IE appears to be "tied" to the current crop of apps (and 
  apparently even more tightly tied to Win98 and its apps) not just in the 
  antitrust sense to which DOJ/FTC objected, but also in a functional 
  sense.  Breaking that tie would seem to be inefficient from both MS's and 
  the user's point of view.  
  	Which is not to take a stand on whether, in the course of all this, 
  Redmond is trying very hard to lock everybody else out of doing 
  Michael E. Etchison
  [opinions mine, not the PUCT's]