April 25, 2002

Charlie Cooper on Our Need to Keep Microsoft Running Scared

2002-04-25: Charlie Cooper, Executive Editor/Commentary | CNet: "The integration of Internet Explorer into the operating system has been a disaster for innovation"

Flipping through Bill Gates' written testimony on the eve of his appearance in a Washington court this week, you're left with no doubt that the man believes what he says. The synopsis of his 155-page cri de coeur is that Microsoft's ability to innovate would be indelibly crippled by the adoption of proposals submitted by nine states opposing an earlier remedy worked out with the Justice Department and the remaining states in the antitrust lawsuit. My two cents: You can never predict the future, but you can sum up the past.

When it comes to accessing the Internet via browsing software, that verdict was in long ago: The integration of Internet Explorer has been a disaster for innovation. In the absence of a viable rival, Internet Explorer has advanced only in fits and starts. Ever since America Online acquired Netscape in 1999, Microsoft hasn't really needed to exert itself to develop a killer Web browser. Things were a lot different before Netscape sued for surrender. When the browser battle raged at full flame, the rivals constantly pushed each other to improve their respective Web offerings. (If the forward and back buttons are the height of user functionality, then we're in a lot of trouble.) Without fighting the question of whether Netscape was done in by its own mistakes or by Microsoft's illegal exploitation of its desktop monopoly, it must be said that its removal from the scene as a serious contender has been a Net loss for us all.

Charlie Cooper, Executive Editor/Commentary | CNet

Posted by DeLong at April 25, 2002 03:35 PM | TrackBack

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