USA v. Microsoft

Why did this case ever exist? From what I can gather Microsoft was accused of having a monopoly on web browsers. Seeing as all web-browsers are free right now, this lawsuit makes no sense. In 1998 were browsers really being sold on discs, and there was not one single free alternative?

Web browsers are free right now, but in the 1990s, they weren’t. Netscape, for instance, cost $49.

Didn’t the European authorities give Microsoft grief pretty recently over the fact that it bundled Internet Explorer in with Windows? Now that was pretty effing stupid, because in this day & age, I doubt you can even find a web browser that can’t be gotten for free.

There are many ways to make money off a “free” software. Sometimes the client (e.g. browser) is free, but it works best with the server from the same company, which isn’t free. Sometimes a software is free for personal use but there’s a corporate version with tech support that can be purchased for a fee. Sometimes the company makes money by advertising through it (e.g. web search engines), or taking a cut of purchases made on that system (e.g. Android OS is free, but they take a cut of every app store sale).

Slate’s Matthew Yglesias says “The Justice Department Was Absolutely Right to Go After Microsoft in the 1990s” —

One of the issues was that Microsoft didn’t give other browser developers access to certain APIs, so that they were at a speed disadvantage.

Even now you can’t make Chrome the default app for the newest Windows. I can’t recall the precise details, but when you try you get a message that says your browser requires some specific function that, entirely by coincidence I’m sure, IE has and Chrome doesn’t. :dubious:

You can still use Chrome, but it won’t integrate with the main Windows page.

I have Chrome set as my default browser on my laptop. Not sure what you mean by “integrate with the main Windows page.”

MS is pushing their Edge browser. In fact, IE is not even in the start menu or on the task bar on a clean install of Windows 10.

In this day and age I doubt you can even find a web browser that you can get without already having a web browser to buy it with. Catch-22! :slight_smile:

Not really of course since you can sneakernet or email or … the install package onto the browser-less machine. But these are real barriers to the less technical folks. For locked-down systems like iPad or phones the only way to get an app on the device is to have a browser and get the app from the store. Which just happens to not sell any competing browsers because of concerns for “compatibility” and “consumer safety”. Of course.

I take it you’ve never had an iPhone, or if you did have one, you’ve never looked in the App Store for web browsers? Because plenty are available. I currently have Firefox and Chrome on my phone and formerly had Opera.

apt-get install firefox

yum install firefox

Oh, Windows. Never mind. Still, Internet Exploiter (or Edge) is still included with Windows. The primary use of these fine software products is to download an actual browser. :smiley:

And since MS was beaten around the head and shoulders, the bundled browser doesn’t have that much of an architectural inside track. (To my knowledge, the only advantage is that internal use of HTML rendering in things like native GUIs is handled by the guts of IE, in the form of the underlying libraries. For actual no-kidding browser stuff, no aftermarket browser is meaningfully impaired compared to IE.)

What I find funny about talk of Microsquish running a monopoly is that it’s nearly impossible to find a car radio that is equipped to handle Andriods instead of in in addition to iphones. It’s nearly impossible.

Android is from Google, not a Microsoft product. Microsoft has Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile.

True, but car stereos are still a monopoly for Apple.

IMO what Hocus Pocus is suggesting is that Microsoft gets all the bad press for being a monopolist, but Apple is the one who’s actually a monopolist today.

And the market penetration of Linux amongst the clueless non-technical rubes I was referring to is? To within 3 sigfigs it’s zero. Next.

Besides, as I said, I was mostly kidding about the seeming paradox of needing a browser to accomplish online purchases of software.

And how well does apt-get work on an iPhone?

I don’t remember ever paying for it.
Kid today :slight_smile: don’t know what is like back then. A browser would have to be downloaded over a very slow connection, possibly dial-up. Most did not come with fancy install packages. And most people were petrified of doing anything so complicated as downloading software. Floppies they could handle. (Maybe Netscape on a floppy cost $49.) So if the computer did not come preloaded with Netscape, it was not going to be used.
Not to mention that my oldish HTML book is full of examples of IE specific html constructs.

Not really. There are plenty of Android USB controlled stereos, if you want steering-wheel or in-dash controls. Or you can just use an Aux input and controls on the phone.

I’m not even sure what this means. I have an android, and my car can play any music on it via Bluetooth, just as it can manage hands-free phone calls and text messaging to/from it. What will a car stereo do for an iPhone that it won’t do for an android?

I don’t really understand that. Why would bundled IE have blocked the rise of Google? They were already huge long before Chrome was a thing.