Microsoft Antitrust Editorial Essay, Research Paper
Microsoft: The Big Bully Stealing Your Lunch Money
A monopoly, by definition, is a business or group that engages in unfair and often unethical business practices to control an industry and eliminate all competition that might lessen their profits. The government has passed two main antitrust laws, The Sherman Antitrust Act and The Clayton Antitrust act. The Department of Justice has brought many trials against companies that appear to be violating the antitrust laws. Two notable cases are the IBM and AT&T trials. Both AT&T and IBM have since split into separate companies after their trials. Today the Department of Justice has a case against the software giant Microsoft. Microsoft has been the driving force behind much of today’s commercial software and hardware. The question is: Does Microsoft have a monopoly on the computer market?
Microsoft is the dream of a pioneer named of Bill Gates. The company was started in Seattle in the Early 1980’s. It has based its success on the exploitation of smaller software writers and vendors. One of their first major projects was the operating system called DOS. DOS was sold to IBM and used as their primary operating system on all PC’s. Microsoft is known for their Windows products. Windows is a graphical interface that gives users, both novice and amateur, quick and easy access to their files. Bill Gates created Windows by copying the operating system first used on Apple Computer’s Lisa, later renamed Macintosh. Microsoft simply made a few changes to the OS and renamed it Windows. Microsoft has been under investigation since the early 1990’s. On May18, 1998 the Department of Justice, 20 states and the District of Colombia filed an antitrust suit against Microsoft. They felt that Internet Explorer should not be distributed free with the new versions of Windows. Netscape is a company that makes the Netscape Communicator, a similar product to the Internet Explorer. Both of the products (browsers) enable users to access World Wide Web pages on the Internet. Netscape is a free product, however people must download the browser from the Internet. Netscape felt threatened because, Internet Explorer was also free. However, users do not have to download I.E., it is already installed with their Windows operating system.
As the case has proceeded many other companies have filed cases against Microsoft. One most notable is Sun Microsystems. Sun created a programming language named Java. Later Microsoft produces a language called J++, a language almost exactly like Java. Microsoft’s J++ was only readable on computers using Microsoft’s products. Microsoft rewrote Java because they saw it as the power house language of the Internet and a possible threat to the Internet Explorer product.
I believe that Microsoft is becoming a monopoly. They are using their size and strength to weed out smaller competitions. Being an Information Systems employee and a Management Information Systems major, I witness first hand the power that Microsoft possess. Computers are becoming a large part of everyone’s life. Microsoft is using name recognition to keep smaller vendors from competing. People who are less familiar with computers and software see Microsoft as the best company with the best products. Bill Gates knows this and is exploiting this fact. This is keeping smaller companies from growing and creating better and more innovative products.
The suit against Bill Gates and his company is still in the courts. It is in the hands of the U.S. government to decide the fate of Microsoft. I use as many non-Microsoft products as possible. I hope my efforts will help keep smaller software companies in business.