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osOpinion: Brer Bill and the Briar Patch

May 26, 2000, 05:47 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Matt York)

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"Splitting Microsoft into Applications and OS divisions will not, despite their protestations, impact the ability of either company to continue to "develop and innovate". Instead, it will simply create two companies for investors to buy shares in. In the short term at least, the interest in them is likely to make their combined total worth greater than that of the original parent company. The sum of the parts will be greater than the whole. So, financially speaking, it makes sense to split."

"Except now that the DoJ is suggesting the idea, MS is crying fowl. Is it really because this punishment is a fate worse than death? Or is it because they know that it will not hurt their company in the slightest? I'd suggest that it will make them even stronger. It works like this:"

"Once the DoJ and the Courts decide on a "punishment" for Microsoft, put in place some measures to ensure they don't break the law again, that's it. So Microsoft splits, separates Explorer out of Windows and publishes the OS APIs... Once that happens, the DoJ have hamstrung themselves. They won't be able to go back to Judge Jackson in a year and cry foul, claiming that MS has outmaneuvered them again... In the interim, Microsoft separates Explorer, then re-works all their other key apps, like Office, so that the help system *must* have Explorer to exploit "advanced" features. People will load it for that and nothing else. Then they will move some of the more useful (and currently secret) APIs away from the OS and into application dll's."

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