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Salon: How the Web Was Almost Won

Nov 16, 1999, 07:28 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Tim O'Reilly)

[ Thanks to Karyn Hunt for this link. ]

"Just how close did we come to a Net ruled by Microsoft? The "server wars" show a grim counterpart to the browser wars."

"In the study of history, it is often the things you don't notice that make all the difference. Connie Willis' wonderful time-travel mystery, "To Say Nothing of the Dog," posits that the entire course of World War II might have depended on such small details as a cat saved from drowning, a missed train and a nosy church warden. In a similar way, I find myself fascinated by the untold story of what we might call the war for the Web."

"The Justice Department's antitrust suit and Judge Jackson's finding of fact have focused on how Microsoft used its operating system dominance to wrest control of the Web browser market from Netscape. Perhaps even more significant is the untold story of Microsoft's attempts to corner the Web server market. As someone whose company competes directly with Microsoft, (we sell a Web server called WebSite that runs on Windows NT, and we are active in promoting Perl, Linux and other open-source technologies), I've been privy to some of the not-so-small details that have guided the course of this recent history. And, it seems to me that if it weren't for the work of a small group of independent open-source software developers, the Justice Department intervention might have come too late not just for Netscape but the Web as a whole."

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