Computerworld 1000: IE4 bundling issue divides users

Users are evenly divided on the Microsoft, US Department of Justice wrangle, but overwhelmingly support Microsoft's bundling of IE 4.0 with Windows 98. That's the result of a straw poll we conducted among 20 of the Computerworld 1000 top New Zealand companies.

Users are evenly divided on the Microsoft, US Department of Justice wrangle, but overwhelmingly support Microsoft’s bundling of IE 4.0 with Windows 98. That’s the result of a straw poll we conducted among 20 of the Computerworld 1000 top New Zealand companies.

Seven of the 20 we talked to felt the Department of Justice was justified in trying to stop Microsoft integrating the two products, while nine respondents were opposed to the action. Four said they either didn’t know or weren’t sure.

Rodney Comer, a programmer consultant at Novartis, believes the market should control the size of companies, not an external regulatory body. “Netscape claims to have 70% of the market, so it’s had a fairly good chunk of the pie anyway,” says Comer.

Fifteen respondents felt Microsoft should be allowed to bundle IE4.0 with Windows 98, while only 15% believed it should not.

Crown Worldwide system manager David Collins feels it is a cut and dried issue. “MS developed it — they can do what they want with it. If somebody wants to run Netscape they can go out and purchase it and run it alongside.”

But Charles Whitwham, computer systems manager for Pacifica Shipping, sees Microsoft’s actions as having a darker purpose. “It’s taking away consumer choice. If you want to buy a Microsoft product, you’re going to have to accept what they bundle with it.”

On the question of Microsoft’s dominance of the Windows’ market, 80% said it was a bad thing, although more than half put conditions on that. Waipa District Council corporate services manager John Mills believes Microsoft’s dominance is good for business users but bad for personal users, a sentiment echoed by many of the respondents.

Users seem tired of constant upgrades and would like to see products being more stable before they purchase them.

“People don’t want to keep upgrading more and more each time, they want to reach a plateau and say enough,” says Mills. Only three of the respondents felt Microsoft’s market dominance was unequivocally a good thing.

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