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Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

(Mike Elgan's latest series of columns, asking if the government should interfere with Microsoft's runaway growth, sparked an intense debate. For more, see Mike's February Explorer column, or visit http://www.winmag.com/people/melgan/monopoly/.)

Should Microsoft be punished for success? In a word, yes. Microsoft gained prominence because its application development division had inside knowledge of the Windows operating system, knowledge that was not available to other companies. If the playing field had been level, things might have been different. There are times when it is necessary for some governmental body to step in to redress wrongs. A wrong has occurred here; Microsoft should be split up to redress it.

W. Perkins via the Internet

I love Windows 95, but I hate Microsoft. By including preloaded Microsoft software with most new PCs, Bill Gates gets an unfair advantage. Separate the Win95 OS from the rest of Microsoft's software, and let the people decide what software they want. Split Bill in two, and let the competition have a fair chance.

Doug Schiano via the Internet

The most efficient form of government may be a benevolent dictatorship [Bill Gates], but I prefer democracy instead.

Thomas H. Eng via the Internet

We wonder sometimes why we [the United States] get our butts kicked by foreign business, and then we try to destroy one of the few extremely successful companies competing in a vast global market.

Scott A. Vander Sande via the Internet

When Mr. Elgan says that Bill Gates controls software sales, is he saying that no person buying software is capable of thinking on his or her own? I don't know that I agree with that assumption.

Scot Billings via the Internet

There's only one circumstance under which it would make sense to break up Microsoft: If MS could prevent the entry of new players into the market, such a move would be justified. But in fact, the industry is growing so fast and in such innovative ways that within the total universe of commerce touched by computers, Microsoft is in fact a small player-in a precarious position. MS is a new guy on the block, with a brief history of success. Can anyone guarantee its success? Of course not.

Ronald Tobey via the Internet

Interesting ... we have a government that's broken wanting to mess with a company that works. Bad idea.

Paul Bary via the Internet

While it may not be the best solution to split up Microsoft, we also cannot allow it to take over the computer industry. The intellectual definition of monopoly: a company that has become so large and powerful that when a revolutionary idea comes along, the behemoth company is there to copy it.

Mike Walton via the Internet

Copyright (c) 1997 CMP Media Inc.

Windows Magazine, March 1997, page 26.

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