While the Cat's in Court (5/31/98)

Microsoft continues to bend like the willow once the government antitrust threat exhibits the potential to uproot them completely. You've probably heard about the recent concessions it's made to PC manufacturer Gateway-- Gateway is now allowed to ship its Windows 98 computers with a custom screen that allows customers of its "Gateway.net" online service to choose whether they'd rather use Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator. That's a pretty serious departure from Microsoft's previous stance, which was pretty much "Explorer or nothing." While this concession is a special case (since most manufacturers don't have their own ISP's), it's still worth noting as an example of how Microsoft is willing to deal when the antitrust action starts to heat up.

In fact, longtime industry luminary Don Crabb makes it clear in one of his recent articles that, in his opinion, there's no way Microsoft would have agreed to such a scenario before the Department of Justice and the attorneys general of twenty states filed suit against Microsoft a couple of weeks ago. And he also notes that NEC has figured out how to "unbundle" Internet Explorer from Windows 95, and they plan to ship systems with a CD-ROM that allows their customers to install either Netscape or MSIE. "We did it, and we did not ask Microsoft's permission," states a NEC engineer. But we bet Microsoft won't do a thing to stop them.

Note to PC manufacturers-- if you've been longing to do something that was likely to annoy Microsoft but you didn't want to risk their ire, now's probably the time to give it a shot. ;-)

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The above scene was taken from the 5/31/98 episode:

May 31, 1998: Up in the sky: it's a bird, it's a plane, it's... AltiVec! Meanwhile, Microsoft is either worried enough or distracted enough by its current antitrust entanglements to relax the tight anti-Netscape reins on its Windows licensees, and according to Jerry Pournelle, BYTE is apparently dead after all...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 753: Isn't It a Soft Drink? (5/31/98)   Confused by all the recent hype about AltiVec? Perplexed because you thought AltiVec was the site of that free Rolling Stones concert gone horribly wrong? Never fear-- there's a great overview of AltiVec technology available that can bring you up to speed...

  • 755: Cross Purposes (5/31/98)   Looks like we may have announced BYTE's return a little too quickly, as we hadn't yet noticed ex-columnist Jerry Pournelle's take on this before our last broadcast. CMP Media's rosy press release about the buyout of BYTE claimed that the publication would be returning in a few months after a "refinement," but Jerry notes that he returned from a trip to Israel to find the whole staff sacked with one day's notice, and "few if any" employees offered positions with CMP...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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