IANAL (I am not a lawyer), but this looks like about as blatant a violation of monopoly power as I've ever seen - forcing a competitor to pay for the monopolist's advertising. If Microsoft goes through with this, it's certain to generate new anti-trust charges and/or greatly support the call for tough penalties in the current case.
I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft's legal department forces a recall on this policy. I would, in fact, expect to see a flat out denial that their words ever meant what they say, because that's Microsoft's traditional style. If there is no recall, then you can be sure that Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer are making the legal decisions, and that means real trouble for the Redmond firm. Those two have no grasp of either law or ethics.
As for Steve Ballmer's complaints, gee Steve, it sure wasn't "egregious" and "limiting market choices" when you were doing it, was it? Let's all shed a tear for poor Mr. Balmer.
[ Update: - 9-Aug-01 Mr Allchin has stated that the MSN/MMP icon conditions had always been stated to the OEMs, just not in the public announcements (see update above). This statement by Mr. Ballmer is completely inconsistent with this statment, implying as it does that AOL was pulling a fast one on Microsoft. It looks as though someone is lying here. ]
In other news, the Department of Justice has indicated it's ready to play tough with Microsoft in court.
- Andrew Grygus
- Automation Access
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