Micro$oft Monitor

Published by NetAction Issue No. 15 October 27, 1997
Repost where appropriate. See copyright information at end of message.


Microsoft Monopoly on Competitors' Turf
Microsoft Under the Microscope
Seeking Sponsors
About Micro$oft Monitor

Microsoft Monopoly On Competitors' Turf

A NetAction survey of Silicon Valley retail consumer electronics stores found Microsoft's operating system monopoly firmly entrenched on the home turf of the company's major competitors.

The survey report is on the NetAction Web site at: http://www.netaction.org/msoft/survey.html.

Even in the heart of Silicon Valley, Microsoft controls the market. NetAction found the Windows operating system installed on 100% of the IBM compatible personal computers sold in retail outlets in four Silicon Valley communities. Moreover, even though the area is Apple Computer's backyard, NetAction found surprisingly few Apple computers for sale in area stores.

NetAction conducted the survey to determine how much choice consumers really have when purchasing a computer for home use. Although several companies manufacturer IBM compatible computers, differences between products are essentially cosmetic since all of them come equipped with the same operating system.

The communities that NetAction visited -- Mountain View, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale -- are the heart of Silicon Valley, home turf for Microsoft's most outspoken competitors, and home to some of the most technically-savvy consumers in the nation since the technology industry is the area's major employer.

The survey results underscore the need for more vigorous enforcement of antitrust laws to prevent Microsoft from leveraging its operating system monopoly to gain control the Internet.

If Microsoft's strategy is successful, the company will ultimately control the gateways that consumers use to reach the Internet, the content they view on the Internet, and the commercial activities consumers engage in online. With the Internet's emergence as an important sector of the U.S. and global economy, this would give Microsoft unprecedented control over society's economic, political, and cultural activities.

The survey was conducted on September 30, 1997. NetAction visited eight retail stores: Circuit City, Comp USA, Fry's, Good Guys, Office Depot, Office Max, Radio Shack, and Sears. The survey found:

Microsoft Under the Microscope

In the wake of last week's move by the Justice Department to sanction Microsoft for violations of the 1995 consent decree, NetAction's Executive Director was invited to debate the pros and cons of the government's action with Forbes Magazine columnist Peter Huber. A transcript of the program is on the CNN Web site, at: http://cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/9710/21/cf.00.html.

Seeking Sponsors

NetAction is seeking sponsors to provide financial support for the continued publication of the Micro$oft Monitor. Sponsors will be acknowledged in the newsletter and on NetAction's Web site. Contact Audrie Krause for additional information, at: or by phone at: (415) 775-8674.

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:

601 Van Ness Ave., No. 631
San Francisco, CA 94102

To learn more about how activists can use the Internet for grassroots organizing, outreach, and advocacy, subscribe to NetAction Notes, a free electronic newsletter published twice a month.

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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.