Comments
Microsoft Shows Tech 'Monopolies' Don't Last
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 4   >   >>
David F. Carr
50%
50%
David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
7/18/2014 | 10:15:39 AM
Absolutely nothing?
Much as I hate to disagree with the boss, I'm not sure government antitrust had "absolutely nothing" to do with Microsoft losing its dominant position. I'd rate court/government intervention a 10% factor to 90% missed opportunities for Microsoft, entropy in the market, and smart moves by competitors.

Maybe a little bigger than 10%. It's no fun to run a race with lead weights around your ankles. The court action reflected the late 90s duel between Microsoft and Netscape (and others) over Microsoft's attempt to leverage the Windows/Internet Explorer combination to make itself dominant in web-based as well as desktop computing. IE faded partly because of poor software design, relative to the competition, but also partly because Microsoft wasn't able to maximize the advantage it had there relative to the competiton. MS also had to step carefully with other product introductions that might provoke court / Justice Department intervention.

The rise of the smartphone / tablet / smart gadget market, which made Microsoft's desktop dominance less relevant (and helped boost Apple's Mac/iPhone/iPad/iPod ecosystem) has been the bigger factor in recent years, and I'd agree that was absolutely independent of antitrust. Or at least 90%.
RobPreston
50%
50%
RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
7/18/2014 | 10:26:24 AM
Re: Absolutely nothing?
Diagree with me any time, Dave! But I still fail to see how the government's moves to protect Netscape (a company that no longer exists) and promote browser competition contributed to the rise of Android and the smartphone and tablets and other Windows competitors. The innovations of Apple and Google and others not aided by the antitrust efforts are responsible, no? Are you saying that the trustbusters slowed Microsoft down enough to let those innovators steal a march on Microsoft?
D. Henschen
50%
50%
D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
7/18/2014 | 10:33:36 AM
Great analysis and long-term perspective. Where does open source fit in?
You are absolutely right about free-market forces working faster than government intervention to reshape IT. Where does open source fit in here? Just one more market force? Some say the model is a game changer in putting IP in the hands of the community. It has reshaped the database business and is a foundation of the big data world.

Granted, there always seems to be the commercial support and "enterprise" software layer on top, so detractors might say it's just a new way to get people hooked on commercial offerings. I honestly vacillate between seeing open source as huge and seeing it as, ultimately, just another model for making money on software -- even if startups and get started and self support for years before opting for commercial support options. What's your view?
David F. Carr
50%
50%
David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
7/18/2014 | 10:41:02 AM
Re: Absolutely nothing?
No, I'm saying it was a factor, not the dominant factor. The rise of personal devices other than PCs is probably a bigger one.

Netscape was probably a goner by the time the government acted, and it may well have failed anyway. Remember when they wanted us to pay for the browser and Microsoft made theirs free (bundled with Windows)? That was probably never a winning strategy; other free browsers would have come along and undermined them there.

Still, there's no way to re-run the experiment and watch history play out again without the antitrust action. But I imagine that in that alternate history, Microsoft would have been a little bit stronger competitor and might well have leveraged it's position on the PC a little bit more, and its smartphone and tablet offerings would have won a little more market acceptance as a result.

Of course, if that alternate history still featured the same UI revamp for Windows 8, all bets are off.
Whoopty
50%
50%
Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
7/18/2014 | 11:13:50 AM
Chip makers
I've enjoyed watching the large chip makers become supplanted in recent years. While AMD might have given Intel a run for its money in the desktop market during the early 64bit dual core era, the latter has always maintained its performance crown. However in recent years, with the growth in mobile and smaller form factor computing, Intel seems lost in comparison.

AMD has the notebook market tied up, ARM, Qualcomm and others have bigger stakes in the mobile market. 

And Intel wants to reinvent the desktop to somehow bring people back. It's interesting stuff. Perhaps its own anti-trust fines have prevented it from domineering as it once did. 
soozyg
50%
50%
soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
7/18/2014 | 11:46:08 AM
staying ahead
Microsoft's announcement Thursday that it's cutting 18,000 jobsfrom its payroll,

I remember years back, about 5 years into Bill Gates's rise, there was all kinds of commenting and articles about how he seemed to be swallowing up everyone and everything around him. All the technology, all the companies, all the personel. When asked why he was doing business in hyper-speed, even after he was a billionaire, he responded with something like "I always have to stay ahead of the curve." Oh well.
soozyg
50%
50%
soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
7/18/2014 | 11:53:47 AM
today's market
the free market has a way of sorting things out -- faster than ever in this day and age

Yes, I can see that. With tech companies coming and going so quickly, the order of things gets figured out very quickly these days.
stevew928
50%
50%
stevew928,
User Rank: Ninja
7/18/2014 | 12:28:38 PM
Re: Absolutely nothing?
I seem to remember being fairly disappointed with the government's actions, considering all the damage Microsoft did to the industry. But, what I think it did accompllish, was to slow down Microsoft's blatant efforts to hold their monopoly by any means. So, while the anti-trust penalty was merely a slap on the wrist, without their continued efforts to thwart any competition, they lost the ace up their sleeve. Normal innovation in the industry killed the giant that had little innivation.

But, I'm still left scratching my head a bit over the whole investor thing. What did investors have to do with it? If anything, they *reacted* insanely late, maybe helping nail the coffin.
stevew928
100%
0%
stevew928,
User Rank: Ninja
7/18/2014 | 12:32:19 PM
Re: staying ahead
The problem was that was just a bunch of baloney. Microsoft wasn't staying ahead of any curve. They were using all sorts of tactics to hamper innovation and retain their position. He probably really meant the financial curve.
stevew928
100%
0%
stevew928,
User Rank: Ninja
7/18/2014 | 12:37:19 PM
Re: Absolutely nothing?
I'd maybe even put it a bit more strongly. While I'm sure *eventually* Microsoft would have been taken down by someone.... I'd say that had the government not stepped in and at least tripped up Microsoft's plans and actions, it's hard to say where we'd be right now. Microsoft was dominating by preventing industry innovation. They might have not been able to keep everyone else down forever, but they were doing a pretty good job of it.
Page 1 / 4   >   >>


IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
InformationWeek's IT Perception Survey seeks to quantify how IT thinks it's doing versus how the business really views IT's performance in delivering services - and, more important, powering innovation. Our results suggest IT leaders should worry less about whether they're getting enough resources and more about the relationships they have with business unit peers.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014
InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A roundup of the top stories and community news at InformationWeek.com.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.