Christopher Pratt (cpratt) wrote,
Christopher Pratt
cpratt

The root of all evil.




Let's say that you have bought a new computer. You decide you'd like to buy some music for it.


Mac OS X:


You start by going to Mac Help and searching for "buy music."



Because your new Macintosh computer has come bundled with both iTunes and Safari, Apple of course directs you to the Apple Music Store, an application that is tightly integrated with the Mac operating system. Regardless of which Web browser is installed on your system - Opera, Mozilla, Netscape 7, or Internet Explorer, you cannot buy music using any other Web browser - there is no way to access the Apple Music Store except through iTunes.


Windows:


You start by going to Windows Help and searching for "buy music."



Because your new PC has come bundled with both Windows Media Player 9 and Internet Explorer, Microsoft of course directs you to the Shop for music online feature, a feature that is tightly integrated with Windows XP operating system. Regardless of which Web browser is installed on your system - Opera, Mozilla, or Netscape 7 - Windows XP will use Internet Explorer to launch the Shop for music online Web site. You cannot buy music using any other Web browser - unless you copy and paste the link from the IE window into [for example] Mozilla 1.5.


A few quotes:


1. "The [United States] government is raising concerns the world's largest software maker is trying to use its dominant Windows operating system to influence where customers buy their music online. Lawyers for the Justice Department and 19 state attorneys general have formally complained to a federal judge about a design feature of Windows that compels consumers who buy music online to use only Microsoft's Internet browser and steers them to a website operated by the company. Microsoft's design "may be inconsistent" with the settlement, government lawyers wrote in court papers asking U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to intervene if the problems aren't resolved." - Wired


2. "The dispute centers on a design feature in Windows XP called 'Shop for Music Online,' which lets consumers purchase compact discs from retailers over the Internet. When consumers click the link to buy music, Windows opens Microsoft's browser software even after consumers specify that they prefer using rival browser software. If the dispute isn't resolved by week's end, it could become the first test of Microsoft's landmark antitrust settlement, which was approved by a federal court in October 2002." - AP


3. "The dispute affects one of the central tenets of the antitrust settlement: improving the ability of rival software vendors to compete against Microsoft's own programs running on Windows. One settlement provision allows Microsoft's own programs to launch only if rival software "fails to implement a reasonable technical requirement." -The Washington Post


4. "Only with a Mac do you find absolutely flawless integration of hardware and software. Only with a Mac do you get an operating system built by the same people who built the computer it runs on." - the #1 reason for switching to a Mac [according to apple.com]


5. "The recording industry is finally coming to its senses. After years of pathetic, half-hearted efforts to create legal online music downloading services, the five major labels have finally permitted a company to put up an online music site that's attractive, fairly priced and offers nearly unrestricted song downloads. That company is Apple Computer, which is branching out into a new line of business with its online iTunes Music Store." - The Wall Street Journal


My comments:

Well, I only have two.

1. If a consumer has installed a third party browser such as Mozilla, and if they happen across the Shop for music online feature, and if it doesn't open in Mozilla but in IE, do you think that they would buy something from this Web site if it had appeared in Mozilla, but not in IE?

2. Given that this is a minor [verging on unused] feature in Windows XP, why doesn't Microsoft simply say "Oops, we goofed - we'll issue a patch that opens this link in the third-party browser installed on the system" instead of fighting it? What's the point of that?

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