Linuxtopia.com: What can we do about Microsoft?

[ Thanks to Dave
for this link. ]

“The two obvious, seemingly simple punishments are now out of
the picture. An idea that has gotten much more weight behind it
lately is to make Microsoft open up the Windows source code. Many
people look at the quality and value of Linux, Apache, and other
Open Source programs, and think that the same features could be
replicated in Windows.
Allowing developers of competing
products to view the code of the platform they are developing for
seems like a good idea on the surface, but upon closer examination,
we see that it is no better than the previous ideas.”

“The problem again stems from Microsoft’s size. The specific
problem this time, however, is the size of their programs. Windows
2000 is approximately 60,000,000 lines of code. It is far and away
the largest, most complicated program ever created. The fact that
it’s so big will create scores of problems for other developers
trying to learn something from the code. Programmers will be
overwhelmed. Netscape 4 contained fewer than 1,000,000 lines of
code, and it took approximately 4 months to organize the code
enough so that they could release it to the public. There is just
no way that the opening of the Windows source code will be

“This leaves us with essentially one option: a corporate
breakup. There are two types of breakups that can be considered.
The first is a horizontal breakup, where Microsoft is divided into
a group of companies, and each company gets one of the mother
company’s flagship products. A method commonly suggested is to
breakup Microsoft into an Internet division, Operating System
division, and Office Software division. This would essentially
solve the problem of bundling software, as the Operating System
division could not force a computer maker to include a web browser,
because a different company now sells the browser. However, in the
long run, this simply creates a group of smaller, more concentrated
monopolies. Microsoft Office has a larger market share than
Microsoft Windows does, and Internet Explorer has a 70% share. The
horizontal split therefore treats the current symptoms, but doesn’t
touch the root problem.”