There are at least two continuing AntiTrust Crimes that the new Obama administration might want to take a look into now that the US Justice Department and specifically its AntiTrust Division will likely be fumigated and deloused … uhh given a broader and more balanced mandate. The first is Internet Explorer.
Despite being found to be the source of monopolistic practices, under the Bush administrations guidance the Antitrust Division:
a)allowed IEs 90%++ monopoly to persist for 5 more years;
b)allowed Redmond to stop all feature and functional update to IE for 6 + years in a bid to make the Windows PC the Web Client of choice;
The Vista Crime
One of the items in the Letter of Agreement between Justice and Redmond was that PC OEMs were supposed to be able to package their choice of Microsoft OS software however they cared to choose. Problem – Microsoft has cutoff Windows XP to consumer buyers of PCs as of June 3oth 2008 (it was effectively off the shelves in our area by mid March). But then Microsoft later made available a down grade version of Windows XP for Business users. But this is only available until January 31, 2009 and to business users who have to pay extra for the downgrade Win XP software (depending on whether you are buying from Dell, HP, or Lenovo) the downgrade costs effectively $100-150 more – the price of a new copy of Win XP on eBay. Dell is currently the only vendor that I can find that pre-installs the downgrade. For everybody else it is a torturous 2-4 hour Win XP install.
But there is more. After Windows XP was “discontinued” in June 2008, Redmond saw fit to make Win XP available on minibooks like the Asus Eee and its many clones from HP, Dell and others. So why is this version available and for regular desktop and laptop PCs it is “discontinued” and unavailable. So much so that if you go to Staples, Circuit City or Best Buy you simply will not find a laptop or PC desktop loaded with Windows XP – ready to go. Yet Windows XP outperforms Windows Vista. And as for application software and hardware compatibility, again Windows XP is a clear winner. Talk about monopolistic manipulation of the market in defiance of the spirit and letter Antitrust Consent agreement.
But some will argue that Microsoft has already been chastised for these crimes. IE is continually loosing market share to Firefox and company while Vista has created a cavernous credibility problem for the whole Windows Brand. But these are the very slow, almost glacial reactions to unfair monopolistic practices that Economists warn is the downside to monopoly market corrections. Hence, the new Obama administration might want to take a look at what has been happening in Redmond.