Micro$oft Monitor

Published by NetAction Issue No. 5 July 1, 1997
Repost where appropriate. See copyright information at end of message.


[Net]Escaping IE
Senators Step In
Beyond U.S. Borders
About Micro$oft Monitor

[Net]escaping IE

If you can't get your PC to stick with Netscape Navigator as your preferred Web browser, NetAction wants to hear from you. At a recent conference at the University of California at Berkeley, antitrust attorney Gary Reback demonstrated how newer versions of Windows 95 continue to open Web sites with Microsoft's Internet Explorer even after the user has selected Netscape Navigator as the default browser.

If this has happened to you, NetAction would like to hear from you as soon as possible, by E-mail at: , or by phone at 415-775-8674.

Senators Step In

Last week, three members of the U.S. Senate asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to take back responsibility for the government's investigation into Microsoft antitrust violations. The investigation was initiated by the FTC in 1990 but was transferred to the Department of Justice (DOJ) when the FTC's four sitting Commissioners deadlocked in 1993 over how to proceed with the case.

Although Justice officials signed a consent decree with Microsoft in 1994, industry complaints of anti-competitive practices have continued. Now that there are five Commissioners at the FTC, many Washington insiders want the investigation returned to the FTC because of the agency's stronger track record on antitrust enforcement.

Both the FTC and DOJ have authority to initiate antitrust action, but neither agency will investigate a company that is under investigation by the other agency.

The request to transfer the investigation from Justice to the FTC was made by Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., in a June 25 letter co-signed by Sens. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, and Craig Thomas, R-Wyoming. Burns indicated that he had received complaints about the investigation from a number of companies. Stevens and Burns serve on the communications subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee.

Two days later, Sen. Slade Gorton, R-Wash., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., circulated a letter to their Senate colleagues urging them not to sign Burns' letter and defending Justice's efforts.

Consumer pressure is needed now to convince other senators to join Burns, Stevens, and Thomas in urging that the case be transferred. Please call your senators today. Tell them that the Justice Department is soft on Microsoft, and urge them to support Senator Burns' request to transfer the case back to the FTC.

It's especially important that residents of Washington and Arizona ask Senators Gorton and McCain to retract their June 27 letter urging Senate colleagues not to sign the Burns' letter. Residents of Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska should thank Senators Burns, Thomas and Stevens for their efforts!

All Senators can be reached through the Congressional switchboard: Phone: 202-224-3121

If you're not sure who your Senators are, check the online Congressional directory, at: http://www.congress.org/

Beyond U.S. Borders

Complaints about Microsoft's anti-competitive activities aren't limited to the United States, even though the company is subject to this nation's antitrust laws. Since launching the Consumer Choice Campaign, NetAction has heard from concerned cyber-consumers in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia who want to mobilize within their own borders to pressure regulatory authorities to stop the Microsoft monopoly.

Since several individuals have asked NetAction for assistance in contacting other consumers who share their concerns, NetAction will serve as a clearinghouse for cyber-consumers who want to mobilize in other nations. If you are a resident of a nation other than the U.S., and you would like to be in contact with other cyber-consumers in your country who want to mobilize against Microsoft, send an E-mail message to NetAction ( ). We will send you back a list with the names and E-mail addresses of others in your nation who are interested in mobilizing to stop the Microsoft monopoly.

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: . The body of the message should state: subscribe monitor. To unsubscribe at any time, send a message to: . The body of the message should state: unsubscribe monitor.

NetAction is supported by individual contributions, membership dues and grants. For more information about contributing to NetAction, contact Audrie Krause by phone at (415) 775-8674, by E-mail at , visit the NetAction Web site at: http://www.netaction.org, or write to:

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Copyright 1997 by The Tides Center/NetAction. 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.