The article "Making Microsoft Safe for Capitalism" was written in 1999 by James Glieck. This was during the concluding days of the third phase of the
Microsoft anti-trust case filed by the Justice Department. The article reviews Microsoft's business climate, its business strategies, corporate culture, and finally proposes recommendations regarding what the appropriate actions for the Justice Department would be.
Microsoft is a young, fast moving company of 18,000 employees. It is hardly an organization on the scale of previous anti-trust actions taken against AT&T, IBM, or Standard Oil. Microsoft controls monopolies of a very subtle and abstract commodity that are every bit as critical as natural resources or manufacturing. Microsoft controls the architecture and standards for the design and development of almost all software. Some of this control is obvious, but other aspectsthe more leveraging aspectsare invisible to the average consumer. At the time of this article, nearly one-half of the world's total PC software revenue went to Microsoft. It's estimated that 80-90% of the world's personal computers run Microsoft software. The real power, however, comes from a much more cloaked sourcethe business strategy of the company and the character and ethics of its mission.
Microsoft's business monopoly exists entirely in probably the narrowest band of specialized software--the operating system. However, it has used this monopoly to leverage integration, marketing, and development of applications to its advantage. The key that sparked the interest of the Justice Department was the launch of Windows 95 and Microsoft's decision to place a little icon on the desktop that simply said "The Internet". Previously Microsoft had successfully bundled together other applications with the operating system. This practice increased consumer reliance on Microsoft's applications and didn't start or stop with just the "Internet" icon. However, this was the... [continues]
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