Micro$oft and Yahoo.
by Mark Brown
Usage: Creative Commons attribution with email back to me at markbnj at excite dot com
When asked about my feelings about the news this morning that Microsoft (MS) is seeking to acquire Yahoo (Y) for almost 45 billion dollars, my stomach churned. You see, Microsoft IS a monopoly that controls almost 90% of the market for computer operating systems.
I remember a few years back, a group of people in the United States sued Microsoft, claiming that MS was a monopoly(*). Among the different solutions, I liked one in particular. It was to split Microsoft into three different parts. An Operating Systems company, an Applications company, and an Internet company. If we fast forward, (or look back to the year 2000, when our society was first being taken apart by the current president, George W. Bush), we see that the Bush administration stopped the anti-trust prosecution and settled with MS.
I am both FOR and AGAINST this merger.
Microsoft is worried about its survival. Of course it wants to, and should be allowed to compete against Google. Now that Google has introduced live Google-Documents and Spreadsheets, Microsoft has (and has had) every right to compete, and compete hard against competitors.
Yahoo, and the companies that it owns are the most traveled to web location. Microsoft is an industry laggard in the Internet. Together, they can better compete against Google.
Google is the new Microsoft. Microsoft is no longer the incumbent. Google is the market leader. It is not fair to precent Microsoft from attempting to compete against Google.
Microsoft is a monopoly. The US gave up its monopoly fight when it changed to a republican administration in 2001. The European Union didn't give up its fight, and won certain concessions from Microsoft.
It's time to use this proposed merger to DEMAND that Microsoft divide itself into parts.
Part ONE: Operating Systems and Languages
Part Two: Applications
Part Three: Internet, hardware and other companies
I feel that this MUST be an absolute requirement for any acceptable permutation of permission to be given by the Department of Justice. Microsoft has not changed any of its business practices. I think that once the Operating Systems Company is freed from the other two businesses, a great deal of benefits to everyone who uses a Microsoft computer will happen.
Without a separation of the OS from everything else, it is allowing Microsoft TOO much power to compete, and will even surpass Google, because of it's monopoly on the desktop.
An additional point I would argue for is that once Microsoft discontinues support for a version of its operating system, that the now discarded code should enter the public domain, and become open-source software. This will lead to new innovations, and even allow Microsoft to eventually compete for support contracts for its old unsupported OSes.
Essentially, I think it's both a good move, and a bad move. Good for Microsoft and Yahoo, but terrible for consumers and other citizens of the United States. The negative effects of the deal can easily be mitigated by requiring Microsoft to divest itself (and the Yahoo Mail servers too) into different parts. I think this way, the playing field will be fairer to everyone, including everyone who uses a non-Apple (or non-LINUX) PC in the world.
By suggesting that older operating systems be recycled, we can encourage more competition and make our system much fairer.
Remember the following items from the DOJ anti-trust suit:
Internet Explorer is (STILL) distributed and required in Windows. IT cannot be removed from WINDOWS XP/2000/Vista.
(*) You do remember that the Department of Justice sued Microsoft, don't you? The US settled, and the European Union (EU) didn't settle, and THEY got more then US consumers did.