States ask for Microsoft oversight until 2012
Microsoft could quash Web 2.0 by breaking IE, California-led group argues
Computerworld - A group of state attorneys general urged a federal judge on Tuesday to hold Microsoft Corp. to a 2002 antitrust settlement another five years so that the company can't stymie embryonic Web 2.0 rivals of its Windows operating system.
According to six states -- California, Connecticut, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota and Massachusetts -- and the District of Columbia, Microsoft could use its Internet Explorer browser as a "chokepoint" to block moves that might unseat Windows dominant position on the desktop.
"Microsoft has the ability -- by virtue of IE's dominance and its resulting control of Web standards -- to use the browser as a chokepoint with respect to consumer access to the Internet-centric technologies that currently represent the most promising nascent platform threats to Windows," the states claimed.
Key agreements nearing sunset
Key parts of the consent decree that Microsoft struck with the U.S. Department of Justice and 20 states back in 2002 are scheduled to expire Nov. 12. In August, federal regulators and those from New York, Louisiana, Maryland, Ohio and Wisconsin told Kollar-Kotelly that the decree had done its job. The group of five other states plus Washington D.C., dubbed the California group, disagreed.
They cited a number of reasons in the new motion why Microsoft should be watched by the court until November 2012, including a fear that the company could use its market-leading IE browser to stop or hinder Web-based threats to Windows.
"Because Web-centric technologies are so dependent on Web browsers and servers for access to consumers, they are particularly susceptible to impediments that Microsoft could interpose were the Final Judgment to expire now," the California group stated in the 23-page filing. "Many of the 'new' or 'emerging' technologies cited by Microsoft's experts are dependent on a 'standards-based' browser to access computing functionality delivered by servers. For the vast majority of PCs, that browser is IE."
In essence, the states argued, Microsoft has the power to obstruct Web 2.0 moves that might make its Windows moot. "The threat that these technologies pose to Microsoft's Windows monopoly through their ability to erode the applications barrier to entry depends, in large part, on Microsoft's willingness to maintain IE as a standards-compliant browser and to continue supporting cross-platform implementations," the filing read.
Microsoft hasn't hesitated to kill cross-platform support in the past; for example, it terminated IE on Mac OS X and Solaris years ago.
Moreover, without a watchdog, Microsoft could thwart attempts by the likes of Google Inc., with its Google Gears, and Adobe Systems Inc., with its Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR), to add offline capabilities to Internet-based applications.
- Virtually Delivered High Performance 3D Graphics "A picture is worth a thousand words." That old phrase is as true today as it ever was. Pictures (i.e., those with heavy...
- Who does NSS Labs "Recommend" for NGFW? In 2012, NSS Labs found that most available NGFW solutions "fell short in performance and security effectiveness." In 2013 NSS Labs noted "marked...
- CIOs Deliver Productivity Breakthroughs with Intelligent Digital Signage Retailers have long recognized the influence that digital signage provides over a shopper's point-of-purchase decision making process.
- Improving Business Value of WAN Optimization Want to achieve faster ROI with WAN optimization? Read the latest IDC report and discover how you can cut IT costs without compromising...
- Live Webcast IBM FlashSystem V840: Leveraging Software-Defined Flash to Drive Your Business With end-to-end, tightly integrated functionality and super-fast flash technology, products like IBM FlashSystem V840 Enterprise Performance Solution empower businesses to leverage the efficiency...
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different....
- IBM FlashSystem V840: Leveraging Software-Defined Flash to Drive Your Business With end-to-end, tightly integrated functionality and super-fast flash technology, products like IBM FlashSystem V840 Enterprise Performance Solution empower businesses to leverage the efficiency... All Networking White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!