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.