Everyone's favorite demon, Bill Gates, continues to get his proverbial ass kicked by the U.S. Department of Justice this week after his monopolistic company, Microsoft, got well and truly beaten up last week in America's center stage of courtrooms.
Last week it was the turn of Intel (the soon-to-be subject of another antitrust battle) to tell tails on the classroom bully, Microsoft. They reeled out reports of a multimedia technology they were forced to shelve after Microsoft had effectively threatened to end their 'friendship' if Intel continued to develop the technology.
The week before we had heard similar claims of 'playground bullying' from Apple. They (Apple) alleged Microsoft had deliberately written code to make Apple's QuickTime multimedia technology appear to not work properly on Windows machines. While Netscape alleged that Microsoft made it impossible for users of Internet Explorer 3 to download Netscape 4. All of which Microsoft denies.
The fact remains though, that Bill Gates is attempting to take control of what is potentially the most powerful media on the face of the planet. The Microsoft monopoly machine continues to grind its way through internet services day by day showing little concern for the battle behind closed courtroom doors. Recently the company bought Link Exchange, a popular advertising banner swap company. All this goes on in the background, without it would appear, anyone, noticing or indeed worrying about it.
The browser war continues to rage with Netscape seemingly introducing yet another version of their Navigator browser, every week, (we're now up to version 4.0.8 or 4.5 depending on which version of Navigator 4 you use!) while Windows users can already use a Beta version of Internet Explorer 5!
Various sources this month have also claimed that Netscape is now the leader in that 'war'. However one should bear in mind that part of the 53% market share Explorer claims to now have could be attributed to both AOL and CompuServe using a 'badged version' of Explorer. In reality, Netscape is still ahead of the browser war in a 'head to head' battle, but no one can argue with the fact that they are losing ground... and fast. Netscape claims that they have lost 88,000,000 dollars in their war with Microsoft because they are now forced to give away a product that they used to derive an income from, due to the fact Microsoft made their web browser free of charge.
It's no secret that I despise Microsoft. Their tactics seem so underhand as to be criminal, the way they (and ultimately Bill Gates) are trying to control everything to do with the internet is worryingly sinister. Microsoft isn't giving away Explorer for nothing, no business would do this. There is a cost, but as yet no one knows what that cost will be.
I'd love to say I am 100% Microsoft free, but the fact is I'd be lying if I did. I use Outlook Express as my chosen e-mail package. The truth is that I honestly believe it is the best e-mail package available for the Mac. Even Explorer on the Mac is a tidy piece of software. But I refuse to switch my default browser from Netscape because I feel so strongly about the ill intentions Bill Gates has.
My friend Will and I have spoken about the pros and cons of the two browsers many a time. Indeed last night he bombarded me with a collection of features that are only available to him in Explorer, features like the 'download manager, etc., that I have to admit are priceless to a surfer. But while Will wins the argument on logic I can't help but feel as if my best friend has 'lost his salvation' or something!
Like some mad religious nutter, I yearn for the day when Will tells me he has accepted Netscape back into his life as his default browser! Sure the path of Explorer is wide and full of joy right now, but hey... there are fables aplenty about wide and narrow paths! What makes it all the worse, is that Will is a passionate Mac user, and was long before I'd even thought about owning a computer.
Perhaps though, the U.S. Department of Justice will put an end to this 'war'. Maybe Bill's plans to become the most powerful man in the world will be halted. Who knows? Maybe Microsoft will be broken up into pieces by the U.S. government. Speculators are suggesting that this is the most likely outlook (no pun intended) for them at the moment. And I hope they are right because as I say, they have made some good software, software that I'd be happy to pay a price for one day.