By Stan Gibson  |  Posted 2008-06-25 Print this article Print

Meanwhile, Gates grasped what Brynjolfsson calls the new economics of information so well that Windows' commanding market share attained monopoly status, arousing scrutiny of Microsoft's business practices.

Not only would Microsoft sell multiple products in one package, the company would also bundle--or integrate--applications and utilities into Windows.

This practice led to an antitrust trial, when the company combined its Internet Explorer browser with Windows in the mid-1990s. Including Internet Explorer for "free" with Windows was an attempt to catch up with the pioneering Netscape Navigator. The strategy worked, sending Navigator into a tailspin from which it never fully recovered.

The antitrust trial recalled an earlier day, when John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil was the target. Like Gates, Rockefeller was the richest man of his day, and some of his business practices challenged a fundamental sense of fairness in the minds of many citizens.

Indeed, the Microsoft antitrust trial focused animosity that had been simmering in the industry for years.

Gates had quickly gone from being David to IBM's Goliath to being Goliath himself, creating a long list of bitter rivals, including IBM, Lotus, Novell and Sun. The CEOs of those companies found Gates' practices infuriating. So did the judge in the antitrust case, Thomas Penfield Jackson, who stepped over the line of judicial propriety when he expressed scorn for Gates and his company's tactics in press interviews, a blunder that led to the overturning of Jackson's breakup order on appeal.

Stan Gibson is Executive Editor of eWEEK. In addition to taking part in Ziff Davis eSeminars and taking charge of special editorial projects, his columns and editorials appear regularly in both the print and online editions of eWEEK. He is chairman of eWEEK's Editorial Board, which received the 1999 Jesse H. Neal Award of the American Business Press. In ten years at eWEEK, Gibson has served eWEEK (formerly PC Week) as Executive Editor/eBiz Strategies, Deputy News Editor, Networking Editor, Assignment Editor and Department Editor. His Webcast program, 'Take Down,' appeared on He has appeared on many radio and television programs including TechTV, CNBC, PBS, WBZ-Boston, WEVD New York and New England Cable News. Gibson has appeared as keynoter at many conferences, including CAMP Expo, Society for Information Management, and the Technology Managers Forum. A 19-year veteran covering information technology, he was previously News Editor at Communications Week and was Software Editor and Systems Editor at Computerworld.

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