Geekspeak: May 6, 2002

Charting Microsoft's legal arguments.

In court testimony last month, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates asserted that the computer industry in 1983 was dominated by vertically integrated providers but that the industry now is far more competitive across every layer of the IT stack.

To put it politely, this is a carefully drawn picture, unless anyone actually believes that the logos were ordered alphabetically across each row as merely a matter of convenience. In the resulting arrangement, Microsofts logo appears four times but is spread across three different columns. IBMs and Suns logos are likewise not aligned. Moreover, IBM is unaccountably omitted from the category of consulting; Apple is omitted from operating systems and peripherals; Microsoft itself is omitted from peripherals and consulting. Sun is omitted from computers, which appears merely spiteful, as well as from consulting. Presenting Hewlett-Packard and Compaq as separate companies seems, shall we say, retrospective.

Aligning the logos, and at the same time correcting these and other omissions or distortions, eWeek Labs offers the alternate view at the lower right.

The result is not definitive, and Gates is correct in claiming that different vendors offerings are far more interoperable than before, but the game is not being played on the level playing field that the original chart seems designed to suggest.