Eight years ago this week, Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson
I should note at the outset that I'm not a lawyer and I haven't talked to any lawyers about this topic. I'm less interested in the narrow legal case of whether Microsoft violates antitrust law than in the state of Redmond's power. Does it still carry a big enough stick to make the rest of the technology market cower?
The PC Market
You could certainly argue that in one area directly addressed in the antitrust suits--Microsoft's alleged
But whether because of the antitrust suits or because of other market factors, Microsoft doesn't seem to be using its power to muscle competitors off the desktop.
Windows in Decline?
Trends suggest that the power of Windows may decline over the next few years. Most reviewers of Apple's new Leopard operating system have noted that it's superior to Windows Vista. And as virtualization products such as Parallels make running Windows software on a Mac seamless, individuals, at least, probably won't feel as tightly bound to the Windows platform.
Long-term, however, the greater threat to Windows' continued dominance is probably the Internet itself. As so much of our work--sorting through e-mail; finding information; organizing our lives; creating documents, spreadsheets, and other files--migrates online, the Internet becomes in effect everyone's operating system. What makes any particular PC that you happen to be