We all know that the Microsoft “settlement” (read: bowing to Bush’s fear of angering the wealthy) was essentially nothing. We knew it then and we know it now. But now Colleen Kollar-Kottelly and Microsoft’s lawyer are praising the settlement’s positive effects. Right away, when the guilty part is happy with the settlement, you can be sure the settlement was toothless.
Why do they think it’s effective? Firefox. Firefox is proof that the settlement worked. No level playing-field, no open access to APIs, no dynamic market, none of the things they touted would happen after the settlement. After decades of Microsoft’s abuse of antitrust laws and of harming of consumers, we get a web browser as our prize. And we are to believe that the browser wouldn’t have existed without the settlement. I’m sure there are many people on the Mozilla team who would argue that.
But even if Firefox is the one thing that made the world a wonderful place and all was right in the industry again, here’s the simple version: Microsoft killed Netscape illegally, were convicted of it twice, and as a settlement, we get the browser born from Netscape as proof that all is wonderful. In other words, Microsoft killed someone and their punishment is that they have to allow that person’s child to live. And that child is our proof that justice works.
Is Firefox really a threat to Internet Explorer? Not according to Microsoft. In November of last year, after Firefox 1.0 was released, Microsoft said that Firefox is not a threat to IE. What did the 2002 settlement change in the last four months?