Somehow it seems fitting that Netscape/AOL are finally going to court over Microsoft’s tactics in the browser wars.
“AOL Time Warner has been using the political and legal system to compete against Microsoft for years,” Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler said. “Every chance they get, they choose litigation over innovation. Where Microsoft invests in new products, AOL is investing in lawyers and lobbyists to put roadblocks in Microsoft’s way.”
Hmm…Microsoft tries to take the “innovative high road” with their statement in reaction to the lawsuit. The real issue of course isn’t about innovation, it’s about tactics used to defeat competitors. Innovation is pretty limited as a potential solution when you’re prevented, for example, from doing deals with PC manufacturers who have had their hands tied by contracts with an operating system supplier.
On the other hand, as a consumer, I use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer because it’s the superior product. Innovation was the differentiator. It was also for AOL — who integrates their client side software not with Netscape but with IE. I’d really hate to see the remedy (as AOL seems to be asking for) of stripping Windows of IE so that competition can be restored to the browser market.
Maybe the remedy will just be billions of dollars changing hands?