"Throughout its decade-long antitrust skirmish with the U.S.
government, Microsoft has fervently maintained it is not a monopoly
- that there are numerous alternatives to its market-dominating
Windows operating system, its Office suite of business
applications, and its browser, e-mail and back-office technologies.
But can you really run a business in today's high-tech, wired world
without relying in some way on Microsoft technology? The answer,
according to systems integrators, computer consultants and even
Microsoft rivals, is a resounding yes - and no. Why the hedge?
Because, they say, business realities are defined by the line
between what's possible and what's practical."
"Though the company is correct in asserting that the software
industry continues to crank out alternatives to Microsoft products,
including its industry-dominating Windows operating system (OS) and
Office suite of business applications, the "Microsoft-free"
office remains more myth than reality - even among the company's
competitors, the group most eager to break free of the software
"I view the non-Microsoft office as the Holy Grail of
computing," said Mark Slosberg, vice president of e-business
solutions at EpicEdge, a Sun Microsystems-authorized systems
integrator that counts among its clients Chevron, Exxon, Federal
Express and Monsanto. "Freeing yourself from Microsoft-based PCs on
the desktop is difficult to do. It's not practical. Just try to
find a non-Microsoft PC when you walk into a computer store today.
It's not easy."