The Microsoft-US Department of Justice (DOJ) browser war is over.
Well, at least according to Netscape it is.
Netscape international marketing manager Linda Lawrence says Netscape expects the recent actions on the behalf of the DOJ, the Japanese Government and the European Union (EU), to “effectively constrain Microsoft’s anti-competitive practices” in 1998, will open up many new distribution opportunities for Netscape.
Coupled with Netscape’s recent announcements about making Navigator and Communicator free, and allowing people access to the Communicator 5.0 source code, Lawrence is optimistic.
“We believe the browser war is over. We believe the DOJ will begin to increasingly ensure the customers have a choice.”
The Japan case Lawrence refers to is Japan’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) review of the integration of Win95 and Internet Explorer (IE), as well as a review of Microsoft’s package offered to PC manufacturers — which bundles a word processor and spreadsheet program.
The EU issue revolves around Microsoft’s contracts with ISPs being in line with EU competition rules. Microsoft has cross-promotional agreements with up to 24 ISPs under which it helps to promote the various ISPs, in exchange for them promoting Micro-soft’s browser technology.
It seems the European Commission (the legislative body of the EU) and Microsoft are close to an agreement on the issue, with Microsoft expressing a willingness to revise its contracts to comply with the EU rules. However, there are other Microsoft--related cases which are still under investigation.
In the US case, Microsoft has agreed to offer computer manufacturers versions of Win95 that have no direct access to IE, complying with the December preliminary injunction issued by a district court judge. However, under both the court’s preliminary injunction and the new agreement, computer makers can continue to install Windows 95 with IE if they wish.
In the agreement reached between Micro-soft and the DOJ the company said it would offer computer makers two new licensing options for Windows 95, which deny direct access to IE but which still leave all or nearly all of IE in Windows 95, and there would be ways for users who buy either version to activate the browser.
Microsoft also says that the agreement with the DOJ preserves its appeal of the injunction which is scheduled for April 21