Internet World: Microsoft says Britain doesn't want it split

Microsoft's UK MD claims British IT industry wants a single OS and to avoid a break up - IDC analyst says the technology industry thinks otherwise

The British IT industry does not want Microsoft to be broken up as punishment for anti-competitive practices, says Microsoft's UK managing director Neil Holloway, at the Internet World conference in London Tuesday.

According to Holloway, the software company has such a crucial role in the "third stage" of the Internet's development that breaking it up would be unthinkable.

"Microsoft is providing the software that are the building blocks of the Internet," says Holloway during his keynote speech at the conference. "We see our role as pivotal in providing the building blocks for the industry to take advantage of opportunities in the next five to 10 years."

Holloway says Microsoft is so important to the future of the industry in the UK that it does not want the company to be broken up or to have its source code opened up. "If you talk to IT managers, they want a single OS. They also think that having different flavours of Windows would be a headache," he says.

Sales Manager with British company LinuxIT Peter Dawes disagrees, claiming that the industry doesn't hang on Microsoft's every move. "It think it would be best to make sure that Microsoft doesn't maintain its restrictive practises," he comments. "The size of Microsoft has made it arrogant and enabled it to abuse its position."

Holloway repeats the familiar company position that Microsoft will overturn the ruling of the Department of Justice, despite the current legal wrangling. "We will not get broken, there is absolutely nothing to justify it. We're confident that through the appeal system justice will prevail for Microsoft and for consumers," he says.

IDC analyst Toni Picardo, however, says that these words should be take with a pinch of salt. "Microsoft is trying to put fear, uncertainty and doubt into peoples heads," he says. "and that, if anyone touches Microsoft it will cause a recession."

Picardo adds that, contrary to Holloway's suggestion, the technology industry is probably keen to see Microsoft clean up its act. "They want to see Microsoft competing on a fair footing and producing better products. Not ones with a lot of bugs and holes in them," he says.

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