Micro$oft Monitor

Published by NetAction Issue No. 8 August 19, 1997
Repost where appropriate. See copyright information at end of message.


Something's Fishy
A Byte Of Apple
See You In September?
Locating Antitrust Laws
About Micro$oft Monitor

Something's Fishy

Picture a big fish that vaguely resembles Bill Gates, mouth wide open, swallowing up all the little fish he encounters as he swims through the sea. NetAction envisioned just such a fish when we set out to create a logo for the Consumer Choice Campaign. We wanted an image that would convey our concerns about Microsoft without words.

You'll find the results of our creative endeavor on the NetAction Web site, at http://www.netaction.org/msoft/winfish.html, along with instructions on how to post a copy of the logo on your own Web site. If you're concerned about the Microsoft monopoly, help spread the word about the Consumer Choice Campaign by catching the fish and displaying it prominently on your Web site.

A Byte Of Apple

When Steve Jobs stunned MacWorld earlier this month by announcing that Microsoft was investing $150 million in Apple, some industry observers speculated that the move might help Microsoft avoid further antitrust charges, since Apple represents one of the few alternatives to the Microsoft Windows-Intel processor combo. A more likely explanation is that Microsoft bought itself an ally against a more formidable competitive threat -- Sun Microsystems' Java programming language.

Aside from some positive PR, it seems likely that the value of the Apple investment to Microsoft is Apple's agreement to collaborate on the Java programming language to ensure consistent operation on both Windows and Macintosh platforms. Since Microsoft does consider Java a competitive threat, the $150 million investment in non-voting stock is a relatively inexpensive way to get Apple to follow its lead on Java.

Moreover, Apple's agreement to make Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) the default Web browser for the Mac, and Microsoft's pledge to continue offering its Office business productivity software suite for the Mac platform for another five years, are likely to strengthen Microsoft's control of the browser and application software markets. So, all things considered, the MacWorld announcement should have set off alarm bells at the Justice Department. The fact that it hasn't just underscores the agency's apathy toward antitrust enforcement.

On a more positive note, the Justice Department is now investigating Microsoft's purchases in the video streaming market to determine whether the company violated antitrust laws by purchasing VXtreme and investing in Progressive Networks.

Got something to say about the Apple investment or Microsoft's forays into video streaming technology? Tell it to the Justice Department by writing to .

See You In September?

With the help of some dedicated volunteers, NetAction is making progress in organizing a September 15 visit to Congress to tell our representatives why Microsoft's move to monopolize cyberspace is a threat to consumers.

There is still time to register to participate, so circle the date on your calendar, and visit the NetAction web site to sign up: http://www.netaction.org/lobby-form.html.

As we explained when we first announced the event, only a few members of Congress really understand the Internet, and even fewer understand why Microsoft is a threat to the Net's continued growth and development. Since we can't rely on the Justice Department to stop the Microsoft monopoly, we must educate Congress and convince our representatives to put pressure on the Justice Department to vigorously enforce the laws intended to protect competition. Congress needs to hear from real people -- Internet users like you who understand the Microsoft threat and can talk about your experiences with Microsoft products.

So if it's at all possible, please plan to participate. Even if you've never done anything like this before, you can do it. NetAction will provide you with background material to hand out to your representatives, buttons to wear during your visits, and a brief lesson in lobbying techniques to help you communicate effectively with your representatives.

If enough of us speak out, Congress will listen and the Microsoft monopoly will be stopped!

Locating Antitrust Laws

Laws aimed at protecting a competitive market are not unique to the United States, and Charles Mueller, Editor of the Antitrust Law & Economics Review, is attempting to compile a list of all the countries that have enacted antitrust laws. Micro$oft Monitor readers who have information about antitrust laws in nations other than the United States can contact Charles directly at .

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.