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|Microsoft Settles Browser Dispute with AOL|
Microsoft to pay AOL $750M, to Use IE Browser
In conjunction with the $750 million settlement, the two companies announced a seven-year licensing agreement that allows AOL Time Warner to use Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser in its flagship Internet service provider service.
This settlement means almost a certain end to the Netscape browser.
So who wins in this deal? Netscape or Microsoft?
Who wins? Microsoft or Netscape?
I think the stockholders of AOL Time Warner win. $750 million is a lot of money for a company 26 Billion it debt. If AOL is to be spun off from Time Warner, it helps make a stand-alone AOL more likely to survive.
I think that Netscape will cease to exist so those employees lose but that was really very likely because of AOL's debt.
HTML Developers win if they can stop writing for two browsers.
Microsoft has paid a huge amount to clear this case, so their win is hollow isn't it?
Everyone wins if AOL and Microsoft can compete in the marketplace rather than in court.
With Netscape having only 15% of the browser share, the outcome of the browser war was never in doubt. Hopefully AOL will recycle the Netscape folks onto other projects and not give up their expertise.
With $46 billion in cash, this settlement is 'chump-change' for Microsoft's fat wallet.
And as far as Netscape's share of the browser market, I have seen everything from as high as 5% - to as low as 3% - nothing close to double digits in quite awhile.
While many of us lived and breathed Netscape in the mid '90s - I'm not going to miss the added test time between the two browsers.
-Looks like another dot.com bites the dust....
I am just glad to see that Real is not hung out to dry. Real Player is so much better than windows media and looks nicer too.
I also like the intergration possiblities of AOL and MSN Instant Messengers. That would be nice. Although I guess Trillian pretty much already had a handle on that problem. But will ICQ get better integration as well?
|I think the stockholders of AOL Time Warner win. |
I couldn't agree less ;)
|$750 million is a lot of money for a company 26 Billion it debt. |
Sure, but if they'd stuck to the lawsuit, they could have got billions more. It was a pretty clear-cut case. $750 million equates to approximately 2% of Microsoft's cash reserves. Chump change, as netguy says.
|HTML Developers win if they can stop writing for two browsers. |
This will just reinforce the monopoly MS has on the browser market. AOL will now probably use IE for the next seven years, and develops will be encouraged just to code for IE rather than web standards, in the process locking out users of other browsers and operating systems. It'll be a sad day if you will need IE & Windows to use the web.
|Microsoft has paid a huge amount to clear this case, so their win is hollow isn't it? |
As I said, 2% of cash reserves. It's not a huge amount for Microsoft, especially for what they've gained with this deal.
|Everyone wins if AOL and Microsoft can compete in the marketplace rather than in court. |
They'll be collaborating more than competing in the technology field.
|With Netscape having only 15% of the browser share, the outcome of the browser war was never in doubt. |
Firstly, IE has about 95% market penetration. This was gained by anti-competitive behaviour, massive abuse of monopoly status, the deliberate destruction of the browser market, all of which is not only going unpunished, but the deal is so favorable to Microsoft that $750 million should be considered as a great investment rather than compensation.
The deal will mean that AOL will be instrumental in increasing the hold on the market of not just Internet Explorer, but also Windows Media Player, MSN Messenger and the nascent MS "Palladium" digital rights management technologies. Microsoft also has a tentative accord meaning that they could in the future gain access to AOL/Time Warner content - all this whilst removing the threat of the anti-trust lawsuit.
The only reason why AOL agreed to this was that they were so desperate for cash they were prepared to sacrifice Netscape and the Mozilla project just to reduce their debt by about 3%.
Folks might want to keep in mind that while this agreement includes giving AOL a license to MSIE on a royalty-free basis for seven years, it does not require AOL to use it and AOL representatives were quoted as specifically denying that they committed to doing so. AOL still has good reason to keep Netscape in development as a lever against Microsoft: They want to insure that the AOL icon remains on the Windows desktop. I don't mean to imply that I think AOL is at all likely to ever switch. Only that they have at least one good reason to keep that option available. There are other reasons as well, and the settlement certainly takes some of the financial pressure off the Netscape division for a while.
With the X-Box and MSN, Microsoft is clearly taking aim at AOL's bread-and-butter market. And AOL has demonstrated that they can incorporate Netscape into their software with their nearly-identical CompuServe client software. Since there are obviously strong-willed personalities involved on both sides here, the current state of Mutually Assured Destruction could blow up at any time. That means no webmaster should ignore the chance, however small, that it is still the case that overnight over 20 million users could start switching browsers.
"IE has about 95% market penetration. This was gained by anti-competitive behaviour, massive abuse of monopoly status, the deliberate destruction of the browser market, all of which is ... going unpunished"
I have heard this drivel over and over again and I'm tired of it. (Yes, I'm grumpy today.)
Anyway, my belief is that the Netscape browser will continue on as before. It's been irrelevant for quite a awhile now, anyway but AOL has kept it alive AS INSURANCE.
The world's major online services provider (AOL) simply cannot afford to be at the mercy of Microsoft to provide a browser. They need to keep some kind of an alternative at hand. It's just good business sense.
Doesn't cost that much to keep it alive.
Plus, I think they're using NN7 as part of the MAC AOL client
and their Compuserve client. Why switch back to IE if it's working?
>>>This was gained by anti-competitive behaviour, massive abuse of monopoly status, the deliberate destruction of the browser market, all of which is not only going unpunished, but the deal is so favorable to Microsoft that $750 million should be considered as a great investment rather than compensation
Well put. There's some real spin going on here eh? ;)
In my own simple minded way of looking at things I think it all boils down to one thing. Microsoft has an image problem due to past behavior. Not if, but when the time is ripe, a competitor will decimate their market share.
Hmmmm, I'm no expert on mozilla's development and the gecko engine, but it appears that the open source community has latched onto it to the extent that aol's sponsorship/involvement is irrelevant. Granted it would have been great to see aol adopt it, but I think a growing linux community is going to keep it alive.
City of Munich adopts linux over microsoft as of two days ago [forbes.com]
But beyond mozilla or netscape (and I do think netscape is dead), competition is good for developers and end users. It pressures companies to inovate and be more standards compliant. I think that we are going to wish for something to keep the heat on microsoft, I know I already do.
I stirred up a hornet's nest with my last comment! ;) I am particularly concerned by the effects of Microsoft having leveraged themselves into a monopoly position in the browser market and got away with it.
IE is being used as a way of keeping users in the Windows field and away from other operating systems, be it Linux or OSX or something else. Having all the users of AOL switching to a Gecko browser would have shaken up the market considerably, and forced MS to innovate with IE (or rather, bring it up standards, both in usability and "web standards"). In the interests of full disclosure, I am writing this using the excellent Mozilla Firebird browser, on, ermmm, Windows 2000 (it's for Photoshop, honest!).
There's nothing wrong with a company having a monopoly to create a standard. Because ATT was a monopoly for all those years, phone service across the country is standardized. Today we have lots of choices in equipment and features, but the basic service - dial 7 or 10 numbers - area codes, exchanges, etc. is standardized. Not by a think-tank of geeks, but by the company that owned the standard.
Who elected the W3 Consortium to be the keeper of the standards? Why should a company with 95% of the browser market care what the "consortium" thinks about it?
Microsoft is the defacto standard in web browsers. Until something better comes along or another company can carve a niche.
Is it tough to do? Yes. Why aren't we crying about Intel's monopoly over chips? Because thanks to that monopoly competing computer makers, mother board makers, etc. have a standard around which to build.
Let IE be the standard.
(Let the tomatoes and arrows fly.....)
A good article on the matter from the BBC (a less biased souce than me!):
|Microsoft is the defacto standard in web browsers. Until something better comes along or another company can carve a niche. |
IE became dominant because they used their monopoly in the OS market to destroy competition. This fact was established during the case by the US government, during which Microsoft was found guilty. MS got away virtually scot-free then, and it has happened again now. There are loads of better browsers out there, Mozilla, Opera to name two, but they are hindered by the fact that IE comes preinstalled in Windows, and that Windows comes preinstalled on their PC.
|Who elected the W3 Consortium to be the keeper of the standards? Why should a company with 95% of the browser market care what the "consortium" thinks about it? |
And who elected Microsoft? They bought their dominance. The W3C is a consortium of members, including Microsoft, IBM, Sun, and interested parties from across the technology, industrial and educational fields. It may not be perfect, but it doesn't claim to lay down the laws, and it works to keep the internet open to all. A hell of a lot better that one company working to make the web into its private fiefdom.
So is there some backdoor piece of code AOL can now activate to delete all existing copies of NN4?
>So who wins in this deal?
It's strange how a possible court battle between what appears to be two rivals can turn out this way:)
Long term my money is on the one with $40+ billion in cash overwhelming the one with $25+ billion in debt!
|So is there some backdoor piece of code AOL can now activate to delete all existing copies of NN4? |
Let's hope so ;) - Just as long as they leave Moz/NS6+ alone ;)
I never believed Microsoft should be sued just for being a very successful company.
It makes absolute sense to add other brand software of theirs to other software. Aka adding IE to Windows.
Everyone has a choice, and as long they can uninstall it or not use it. Then everyone else can just whine and complain.
purchase of Netscape ($2 Billion) (recent past)
headaches and woes
= $750 million settlement from MS
heh heh, that just about sums up the whole AOL experience with their "purchase" of Time Warner.
Actually, at the time the all-stock buyout of Netscape by America Online was valued at $4.2 billion. Of course, that was November of 1998 when AOL's stock was selling between $80-100 per share. Today those shares are worth about $15.00. I don't know what headaches and woes people are referring to, but it hasn't been any significant trouble for AOL as a company. The division hasn't shown a profit on their balance sheet, but it hasn't been a huge drain and it has kept Microsoft from taking the kinds of steps I discussed before, which could be disasterous to the point it could truly threaten AOL's existance.
Microsoft wasn't sued for being a successful company. Microsoft was sued for using their dominance in operating systems and office productivity software to dominate the browser market. People forget that back around 1995, both Netscape and Internet Explorer were software packages that sold for about $30-$40.00. Netscape was available for downloading, ostensibly for the education market only, a practice kept more in the breach, as they say, but that was the idea. One day Microsoft approaches Netscape and offers to carve up the browser market in a deal where Netscape would discontinue its Windows version in exchange for Microsoft discontinuing its Macintosh version. When Netscape turned the deal down, the boys from Bellvue decided they'd play hardball by, as one staffer put it in an EMail, "cutting off their oxygen supply." They made Internet Explorer a part of the Windows package and also made it free for downloading. Suddenly, every Windows upgrade package, every copy of Microsoft Office (including the separate product packages for Word, Excel, etc.), and every new PC came with a copy of Internet Explorer pre-installed at the same time that Netscape's primary revenue stream was essentially cut off and PC vendors were threatened with higher licensing fees and no access to beta versions of Windows if they included Netscape. Does anybody truly believe that MSIE would have achieved the position it enjoys today save for these facts?
|I think the stockholders of AOL Time Warner win. |
That would be nice...but it's not realistic. The stock has to go up $47.94 for me to break even. (And I didn't buy anywhere near what many people did.)
It's doubtful that will happen...and breaking even isn't a win anywhere I've ever been.
Clock Ticks for Netscape After Microsoft Pact [story.news.yahoo.com]
|The pioneer of commercial Web browsers, the software used to view the Internet, was dealt a potentially mortal blow this week, when owner AOL Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:AOL - news) said it would use Netscape's archrival, Microsoft Internet Explorer, royalty-free for seven years |
Laisha, sell at $15 and buy MSFT, 5 years from now compare the gains.
I see Steve Ballmer sold $1.37 billion in the last two weeks and no real dent occurred. Maybe Bill told him to write a personal check to AOL?....LMAO.
Bill has of course been selling MSFT for years and it still goes up, not often you can catch Gates playing a bad hand! Although he has used most of the diversification to good use.
Their cash reserves are getting beyond reproach, watch them mop-up by using that cash over the next five years.
They got the DOJ out of the way, that battle won't be sought again anytime soon, now the field is relatively clear, except for a contingent $3 billion in pocket change to the EU.....which is no real issue!
Thought I would pitch in ... if your HTML itself is clean, then having your page display properly in either mozilla or IE is no problem.
I use mozilla, and it is very RARE for a page not to render properly. Plus I could get into why mozilla is superior as a product [firebird really] but no need for that :)
Biggest problem is that I have found IE treats '\n' as the equivalent of a damn space .... most annoying thing I have ever found.
Well, AOL dont encourage use of anything but Windows, it has been made very difficult for Linux users to connect AOL as AOL use their own proprietry protocol.
Maybe AOL and Microsoft are looking for world domination? ;)
taking the (very) safe bet ... is that why you're named percentages? <GRIN>
Did somebody just say RealPlayer was GOOD? You have to be smoking something. None of the media players are any good, but M$ has the least offensive. They seem to win a lot of things by being the least offensive, which is ironic.
AOL really proved how you can take an inspired, bright young company and take all the heart and drive out of it. I wonder if they weren't working at M$' bidding all along.
The Netscape browser was the best, back in the day. Don't forget that! The ONLY reason IE is good now is because M$ was forced to actually compete. Now NS is awful, and it should be laid to rest.
|I never believed Microsoft should be sued just for being a very successful company. |
Everyone has a choice, and as long they can uninstall it or not use it. Then everyone else can just whine and complain.
And to the M$ worshipper.. it's hard to tell the greater of your naivete or your arrogance.
Little yellow guy: What shall we do today...?
Big Butterfly: Same thing we do everyday,little yellow guy,try to take over the world!
G.Guy: (Evil Laughter)...FOOLS!
|HTML Developers win if they can stop writing for two browsers |
This will only happen when all the popular browsers have perfect support for web standards. As long as Microsoft controls the market with no real competition, this will never happen.
|Everyone has a choice, and as long they can uninstall it or not use it. |
Really, I can uninstall Internet Explorer? Show me how.
AOL gets IE and Media Player free for 7 years...
[edited by: tedster at 11:37 am (utc) on June 2, 2003]
[edit reason] added from another thread [/edit]
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