October 4, 1996
Questions answered by Brock Meeks of HotWired:
- How committed are Microsoft and Netscape open standards?
- Shouldn't software manufactures set standards?
- Which browser, Microsoft's or Netscape's, is better?
- What does the battle mean for the Internet and computer users worldwide?
- Is Microsoft playing fair?
- What actually is Netscape claiming that Microsoft has done wrong?
Related Online Resources
The NewsHour's Tom Bearden reports on Microsoft and Netscape's browser war.
Browse the Online NewsHour's cyberspace coverage.
Hans Chen of Farmington Hills, MI, writes:
Netscape was right in challenging Microsoft's business practices. Microsoft's business strategy is to constantly out-do competitors in the software market by including "free" software for most of their computers. Take for example word processors. On nearly every new computer sold now a copy of Microsoft Works in included, convenient for the user however this does tend to eliminate the demand for other company's word-processing software. Microsoft's dominance in the software market is growing each day. Even though they say that they don't have anti-trust practices, there are many examples to refute this. For example, some sights are only letting people using Microsoft's explorer 3.0 to enter. I wonder who supplied them with that software.
Derek Treuer of Miami, FL, writes:
Netscape was right to challenge Microsoft. Healthy competition in software (and hardware) is beneficial to both users and producers. When one company seeks to monopolize a market, users and other producers should attempt to maintain a balance - an open marketplace. Microsoft has a verifiable track record of attempting to totally dominate markets. Sometimes their product is excellent, sometimes not. I would prefer to see ongoing competition in the development of the Internet, in all it's facets - including Web browsers.
Edwin Mizrahi of Valhalla, NY, writes:
Netscape and Microsoft must compete for the dollars of the Internet consumer. No company, no group or individual has a moral right to any consumer's time or money without their consent. This means that they must provide without the use of for, which mean the use of a regulatory body to restrict the other from offering their product as they see fit. If Netscape could offer their browser (Netscape 1.0) for free which was within their right to use their property as they saw fit. Then Microsoft can and ought to be legally allowed to give away their browser (Explorer 3.0) for free.
James Mallas of Las Vegas, NV, writes:
I am a dilettante when it comes to computers. Recently I downloaded a copy of Netscape Navigator rather than the Microsoft version for no other reason that I fear a monopoly by Bill Gates and Microsoft. I am very uneasy with Mr. Gates and feel that he is to computers what Newt Gingrich is to politics. Their egos make me feel most uncomfortable. This is just a feeling on my part and I have no tangible evidence to be writing this.
Carole Scureman of Louisville, KY, writes:
I think Netscape had a right to challenge Microsoft. I think the competition will actually be to the benefit of the computer user. They will keep sharpening their systems to compete giving us better and faster technology. I personally have been leaning towards the Internet Explorer because I prefer their e-mail program and other little perks they have added.
Isaac Zhao of Perth, Western Australia, writes:
I support Netscape. For long I wish there is some rival against the bulky, slow, resource hungry Windows. Now Netscape gives hope. Also, if Microsoft dominates the PC market, there will bueno competition, and we will all be [expletive] by MS as much as it likes..
Alex Katsanos of New York, NY, writes:
Netscape should absolutely challenge Microsoft. People give Bill Gates too much credit. What he does well is have lots of programmers and takes what he likes from your hardworking software development team and puts them into his own products. Someone has to stand up to this techno-bully. This Netscape anti-trust stuff is just the tip of the iceberg for the underhanded brand of business that Microsoft regularly practices .Bill Gates is really the Emperor without any clothes. It's time to takeoff the rose colored glasses and see him in the buff. I am very biased in this because I am a Macintosh fan and he has done everything he can to make his "ported" products function or should I say barely function on our platform. To me this is ammunition for anti-trust action.
John Wyncott Ft. Lauderdale, FL, writes:
As a MacIntosh computer user, we have to wonder why there seems to be a Windows/PC-only philosophy/mentality among some Network providers. Yes, Netscape is right to challenge the scope of Microsoft. Microsoft Windows is a poor excuse for an operating environment. Their philosophy is to apparently brainwash the marketplace, and then only provide what they can currently deliver. They don't necessarily support past versions.Netscape works fine with most Macs, PCs, and workstations. However free WEB browser service for Windows only users exists with Microsoft, MCI and AT&T. Why didn't they just pick Netscape or an equivalent browser for their users access? Something is going on behind the scenes that motivates companies to be a provider with only PC software (free for first 5 hrs.) However free access is currently excluded for non-PC users. Bad Business Strategy !!
Donna Johnson of Seattle, WA, writes: The only reason I use the IE is because it was a free download. I would prefer to use the netscape product. MS support is not so great!
Don Hyde of Quincy, IL, writes
Netscape is fighting for us
Microsoft is already so totally dominating the desktop marketplace that it is essentially without competition. This means that it is in a position to set prices and terms for both operating systems and application software in that market. They are one of the most aggressive companies in any industry. In the past, that, more than their technical prowess has carried them into their dominant position.The company has been wisely managed and has plowed a lot of the profits from that dominance back into R&D. This has been good for users as they have vastly improved their products. Windows is now two pretty good operating systems, after years of being a really embarrassing kludge and a bane to programmers everywhere who were forced to program for it due to its dominance.
Irene Benson of Las Vegas, NV, writes:
Microsoft's dabbling on the shaky side of ethics is no secret to computer users. I will continue to use Netscape as a matter of principle.
Kevin Talbot Dallas, TX, writes:
Netscape is right in charging Microsoft with using it's control over the desktop to destroy it. Microsoft GIVES away both their browser and their Web server software to users. (The browser comes free with Windows/95 and Windows/NT. The server comes with Windows/NT Server.) This essentially makes it impossible for Netscape to compete. Netscape cannot afford to give away their products. While it is true that Netscape dominates the browser market, this is because people have been using the Netscape browser without paying for it.If this is allowed to continue, Microsoft will successfully destroy Netscape, and take control of the Internet.