Microsoft-AOL Truce Draws Mixed Reaction

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-05-30 Print this article Print

While many in the IT industry are welcoming yesterday's settlement, others fear it will strengthen Microsoft's drive to control the distribution of digital and other multimedia content over the Internet.

While many in the IT industry are welcoming yesterdays settlement news between Microsoft Corp. and AOL Time Warner Inc. as being good for innovation and a move away from litigation as a means of resolving differences, others fear it will strengthen Microsofts drive to control the distribution of digital and other multimedia content over the Internet. AOL Time Warner Inc. on Thursday said it had settled the private antitrust lawsuit that its Netscape Communications unit brought against Microsoft last year, and Microsoft agreed to pay AOL Time Warner $750 million and help the content company combat online piracy.
Al Gillen, an analyst with International Data Corp. in Framingham, Mass., was not surprised by the news, saying it was "pretty much all over for Netscape except for coming to some kind of settlement with Microsoft." But the fact that the deal brought better interoperability between the AOL client and Microsofts Windows software would be good for consumers, he said.
"This has been necessary for some time, and greater cooperation between them should also be good for the development of Instant Messaging technologies going forward," he said. But while Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates on Thursday noted that the agreement with AOL Time Warner did not provide for interoperability between the companies Instant Messaging systems, it did create a framework for discussions about it, he said.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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