Microsoft Trust, Antitrust and the Antichrist

Dennis Faas's picture

Do you trust Microsoft? Is Bill Gates the Antichrist?

While a new computer user may not know a thing or two about Microsoft, its trustworthy practices, Bill Gates, and the Windows operating system -- the usual response from most experienced computer users is: "no way," and "yes!"

I guess the first thing that comes to my mind regarding antitrust and Microsoft is the Netscape scandal: most people refer to it as the browser war. I suppose this antitrust scandal is most pertinent because of all the media attention it received at the time. It pretty much set the wave for other lawsuits to come forth.

If memory serves correct -- many moons ago, Netscape (an Internet browser company) sued Microsoft because the Windows Operating System (OS) did not provide users a choice of whether or not to install the Internet Explorer browser during the initial OS install. Instead, it was "hard-coded" into the Operating System. You got it whether you wanted it or not. Netscape complained that this gave Microsoft an unfair competitive advantage because Windows users were more inclined to use Internet Explorer to surf the Net since it was already installed on their system. Or, as Infopackets Reader Bob T. states: " There was/is nothing preventing users from installing NS on their machines. Complaining because it is not an option is like Chevy buyers complaining that Ford radios are not an option on their new car. I believe NS successfully relied on the ignorance of the judges to push an unworthy lawsuit. Unfortunately that has been happening a lot lately in this country. "

Ok -- so why is that an unfair advantage?

Simple: He who controls the browser can control many other things. Have you ever noticed that when you mistype an URL in Internet Explorer address area, the Microsoft Network (MSN) Search web site appears?

You can bet that this wasn't done by chance. It's been incorporated into the browser as a "convenient" AutoSearch function, which is set by default to point to the MSN Search web site. The end result is that you only see what Microsoft wants you to see on their search site: pop up ads, big flashy advertising banners, and of course, their search results.

By the way, there's really no telling if the search results MSN provides are skewed -- providing "favorite" web site searches to float near the top. Then again, there isn't really any way of knowing that on any search engine since they all use different methods.

I could go on and list some of the antitrust issues that Microsoft is connected with, but there just isn't enough space in this newsletter. The whole purpose of this article was to let you all know that I received an email from a fellow Infopackets Reader regarding last week's newsletter entitled, "Windows Media Player Vulnerability Security Issue."

Eliécer V. pointed out that there is an End User License Agreement (also known as the EULA agreement) that basically states if you install the Media Player patch on your system, you agree to let Microsoft modify your computer the way they see fit (in the future). This is Microsoft's "handy" idea, just incase another security breach comes about.

The URL Eliécer has provided makes for a good read. He writes: " In reference to your ad of downloading the patch to prevent vulnerability in WMP 6.4, 7.1, or XP, please be careful and read the following article (because Microsoft is Micro$oft). "

So what does all that mean?

Basically, you need the patch or someone is going to hack into your system. But when you get the patch, Microsoft forces you to agree to let them send you any patches that might be "required" in the future. If you don't accept this agreement, you don't get the patch. Who knows -- future updates may include some sort of "new release modification" to media player that haphazardly takes over your computer... kind of like that AutoSearch feature that points you to the MSN Search pages when you search for a non-existent web site by mistake.

Remember: He who controls the browser controls many other things.

Ok, I'll stop repeating myself.

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