Micro$oft Monitor

Published by NetAction Issue No. 1 May 21, 1997
Repost where appropriate through May 31, 1997. See copyright information at end of message.

IN THIS ISSUE:

WebTV Windows of Opportunity
About Micro$oft Monitor

ACTION ALERT: WebTV Windows of Opportunity

The U.S. Department of Justice's request for additional information about the Microsoft-WebTV deal has opened windows of opportunity for cyber-consumers who want to ensure that cyberspace stays competitive. NetAction is urging Internet users to contact the Justice Department immediately and insist on a thorough investigation into Microsoft's proposed $425 million acquisition of WebTV Networks.

To urge the Justice Department to investigate this deal thoroughly, send E-mail to: and tell federal officials, "Don't Be Soft On Microsoft."

Here's why Microsoft's WebTV deal is a bad deal for cyber-consumers:

Right now, WebTV is the only provider of technology that lets consumers use their television and a set-top box to go online. In a move that some observers saw as a sign of Microsoft's intent to capture the emerging digital television market as well as expand its existing market for Windows software products, Microsoft announced on April 6 that it would buy out WebTV. Microsoft critics believe the acquisition will enable Microsoft to monopolize the market for software used in set-top boxes.

"This is about Microsoft's plan to take over the world," suggested Anders Schneiderman in the April 1997 issue of ENODE, a monthly electronic newsletter about the Internet and Society.

Schneiderman added, "If Microsoft can get WebTV to thrive, it may be able to change its corporate culture enough to win the race for NC software."

If Microsoft gains control of the market for stripped-down network computers, it won't be long before cyber-consumers are at the mercy of a Microsoft monopoly. By speaking out now, Internet users can help convince antitrust officials to take a hard look at the WebTV deal and impose whatever conditions are necessary to ensure a competitive market.

Although Microsoft has dismissed the Justice Department's request for additional information as routine, many industry observers see the government's action as significant because of Microsoft's past history >f confrontations over antitrust issues. And even if the action *is* routine, consumer pressure can help stop the Justice Department from rubber-stamping the deal.

That's why NetAction urges cyber-consumers to contact the Justice Department now to demand a thorough investigation into the Microsoft-WebTV deal.

Here's what you can do right now:

Send an E-mail message to:
In the subject line, write: Don't Be Soft On Microsoft
In the message body, write: As an Internet user, I expect the Justice Department to conduct a detailed investigation of the Microsoft-WebTV deal and, if necessary, impose conditions on the deal to prevent a Microsoft monopoly.

If you'd rather describe your concerns in your own words, go for it! Just remember to be brief. The point is to let Justice officials know that you are concerned.

Spread the word by forwarding this alert to friends, neighbors, and colleagues at work.

Distribute this alert through May 31, 1997.


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.

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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.