Netscape applauds disciplining of Microsoft

There was a predictable 'they had it coming' attitude over Microsoft's punishment by the US Justice Department today.

Most pleased was Netscape, which warmly applauded the Department's action. "We support the DOJ action," said Sophie Callies, European marketing communications director. "It's important to have a competitive market based on customer choice. It's not Netscape versus Microsoft even if it's more visible between them and us; it affects a lot of companies. All we want is a level playing field."

Callies said that although Web browsers are widely available on magazine cover disks and through other sources, the bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows 95 was a step too far. "It's totally different. What we're talking about doesn't propose a choice. The consumer doesn't know how to choose a browser."

Callies said a positive spin-off could be gleaned from Microsoft being forced to detail bundling agreements it has made with PC vendors. "The good news is that these covert agreements with OEMs will be public now and we will be able to understand how PC manufacturers are obliged or not obliged to bundle IE," she said.

Mike Newton, vice-president of Dell UK and Ireland said: "We would like every PC we ship to be equipped with Internet capabilities. The question is: what is an operating system and what is an application? Microsoft would like IE to be seen as part of the OS."

Dan Sylvester, senior vice-president of sales at Corel, said: "One thing we can say for sure is that the lawyers are dancing with glee."

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