Microsoft Competes in New
Areas"> "Microsofts competing in a lot of new areas, and to be effective in those areas, it has to cooperate more broadly. For example, Microsoft wants to be more competitive on the Web; therefore, it has to make sure its Web services and technologies like Silverlight work with other operating systems and browsers," he said. These legal challenges could also lead to greater choice of software applications that run on and interoperate with Windows, and could help force Microsoft to build software and services that compete entirely on their own merits, rather than leveraging the huge installed base of Windows to get a head start, Rosoff said."Once a precedent like this is established, it tends to be applied to other companies. And both IBM and Google keep their core technologies closed. Similar actions will now take a fraction of the time this one did. The goal for the EU was to have a broad impact on the technology market with clear long-term implications beyond Microsoft, which had most of a decade to get ready for this ruling; others likely wont have anywhere near that much time," he said. To read more about why the Department of Justice says the Microsoft settlement promotes competition, click here. For his part, Microsofts Smith also pointed to positive changes over the past two years, particularly the dialogue that Microsoft had with the European Commission about issues to do with Windows Vista that fell under the scope of the 2004 decision. One of these was security, and how consumers would benefit if Windows were made more secure. "We had a very constructive dialogue with the Commission on that point. It was a dialogue that enabled us to improve the security of Windows and yet build in more choices, so that computer manufacturers and consumers who wanted to use someone elses security features instead could do so more easily. That may be a sign of one type of dialogue that it would be productive for us to have in the months and years aheadwe will have to see," Smith said. He also pointed to other large companies, like Apple, Google and IBM, which all have large European market share for particular technologies. "Apple has a 70 percent share for digital music in Europe; Google has near 80 percent share for searchin some countries in Europe, it has over a 90 percent sharewhile IBM has almost 100 percent share for mainframe computers in Europe and the rest of the world," Smith said. The reason for this is that IT tends to be an industry that is characterized by successful companies having large market shares, he said. Googles market share could be larger than previously thought. Click here to read more. "Sometimes, those market shares last; in many others instances, they are fleeting. It is very clear that we all have the need to look to Europe and the European Commission under the terms of this decision, and it is equally clear to me that this decision will occupy, as it should, the thoughts and discussion of many people, in the months and years to follow. It is one of those decisions that have that kind of extraordinary impact," Smith said. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
But analyst Enderle pointed out that both IBM and Google could find themselves on the other side of the legal fence in the future.