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ZDNet: Would MS breakup harm Apple?

Apr 07, 2000, 00:15 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Tony Smith)

"Take the proposed break-up of Microsoft, in particular the much-discussed separation of its productivity applications business from the rest. The motivation here would be to break the hidden ties between Windows and Office. Fine, but Office Inc. would by necessity operate a different business model than Microsoft as a whole would. That could easily force the newly independent company to consider its support for the Mac carefully indeed. Perhaps it would be better off devoting its development efforts to a Linux release?"

"The one aspect of a break-up that might help Apple would be the spinning off of Windows itself, or rather leaving Microsoft offering just the operating system and little else. The advantage here lies in PC vendors choosing alternatives to Windows, such as Linux or Solaris, Sun's version of Unix. Over time, with a wider variety of operating systems on offer up front, the coupling in buyers' minds between the PC and Windows would be broken. That would leave the Mac as one hardware/OS combination among many, and therefore less likely to be dismissed as "incompatible with the industry standard.""

"Unless, of course, Linux became the de facto industry standard, though an Intel version of Mac OS X might work wonders in such a situation. Or Windows' dominance is maintained simply because so many people have gotten so used to it. Just because investors appear to be dumping Microsoft stock in droves doesn't mean users will."

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