"The government's antitrust suit against Microsoft has provided
plenty of surprises the last two years. But surely one of its most
remarkable byproducts is that a nerdish bit of computer plumbing
called middleware has emerged as the star of the case and a focus
of public-policy debate in the Internet age."
"In his legal ruling last month, Judge Thomas Penfield
Jackson had no doubts about what so frightened Microsoft that it
repeatedly violated the nation's antitrust laws. "Middleware," he
wrote, "threatened to demolish Microsoft's coveted monopoly
"And when the Justice Department and states suing Microsoft
called earlier this month for the company to be split in two, the
rationale for such a harsh remedy was largely to make the world
safe for middleware -- a layer of software that acts as a
technology translator between the basic computer operating system
and the various applications programs that people use to carry out
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