Last week, Computerworld reported that a technical committee of the U.S. government's anti-trust regulators have been given a copy of Windows 7 (the current name of the next generation of the Windows operating system that will be the successor to Vista) so they can test and analyze it with an eye toward controlling new features that they consider to be "middleware" (such as the search feature in Vista).
Every time the company adds new features that were previously provided by third party software (such as the anti-spyware tool that was included in Vista, the built-in firewall that was first added in XP, even back to the first inclusion of a web browser in Windows), competitors who make those third party products raise their voices in protest.

The third party vendors have a valid point. If Microsoft builds everything into the OS, the market for third party products could go away, or at least decline substantially (there will always be a market for the best products among those savvy users who aren't satisfied with the basic functionality provided by the built-in features).
That brings us to the decree imposed on Microsoft in 2002, which set up the technical committee just for the purpose of monitoring Microsoft and put it under the jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court. That decree was supposed to expire in 2007 but the judge extended it to 2009. It requires that when Microsoft adds new "middleware" features to its operating systems, it has to help its rival integrate their own products into Windows.

Some have speculated that this will discourage Microsoft from adding new features to Windows 7 so as to avoid new charges of anti-trust violations from the regulators.

The amount of government control to which Microsoft is subjected is pretty unique, and it's not just in the U.S. As the article above notes, "No one's telling Apple, for example, that it can't include iTunes with Mac OS X." Yet the European Union forced Microsoft to make a version of Windows that doesn't include Windows Media Player.;intsrc=kc_top

Operating System:
Windows XP Home Edition
Software Version:
Product Name:
ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite

Message Edited by Prof_Fate on 03-20-2008 11:34 AM

Message Edited by Prof_Fate on 03-20-2008 11:34 AM