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Did MS pull a fast one on AOL?

Joel writes, "Microsoft has settled the lawsuit with AOL, agreeing to pay AOL $750,000,000 in a complicated deal that allows AOL to continue to use Internet Explorer for several years. I'm not sure why the second part is interesting."

In light of the recent news that "IE6 SP1 is the final standalone installation", I think this could be an interesting way of lulling AOL into complacency.

Let's say that the rumors are true, and IE development is at a standstill. What's to prevent Microsoft from putting a ton of resources into the MSN browser and zooming past a totally unprepared AOL?

This would leave AOL with some poor options:
* stick with the vanilla IE6, long surpassed by a superior MSN, or
* get Mozilla/Netscape/Phoenix/Firebird to the point where it could be comfortably used by existing AOL users

Thoughts?

http://www.joegrossberg.com

Joe Grossberg
Monday, June 02, 2003

"IE6 SP1 is the final standalone installation"

This doesn't mean anything to me. Does anyone really think IE development is even remotely at a "standstill"? Is AOL required to use IE?

pb
Monday, June 02, 2003

I think "final standalone installation" means "you have to be running Windows XP to get anything newer".

I could be wrong about this.  (I hope so.)

Pat Rice
Monday, June 02, 2003

I interpreted "final standalone installation" as meaning that IE will be treated as a component, instead of an application, in the future.

Joe Grossberg
Monday, June 02, 2003

(maybe this is obvious). Making the browser part of the OS would make the browse contribute to the revenue stream of OS upgrades. Having the browser separate reduced the need for frequent OS upgrades.

njkayaker
Monday, June 02, 2003

"Microsoft has settled the lawsuit with AOL, agreeing to pay AOL $750,000,000 in a complicated deal that allows AOL to continue to use Internet Explorer for several years."

I wish MS would give me 3/4 of a billion dollars to prevent me from using Mozilla.

www.MarkTAW.com
Monday, June 02, 2003

Heh. This User Friendly strip sums it up nicely:

http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20030601

Joe
http://www.joegrossberg.com

Joe Grossberg
Monday, June 02, 2003

One thing MS have got for their dosh is access to aol messenger clients.

If you remember a year ago there was more cat and mouse played between MSN and AOL then in any Tom and Jerry cartoon.

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, June 03, 2003

I'm continually amazed that AOL isn't doing everything it can to eliminate any and all dependencies they have on MS products (including Windows); given that MSN is it's main competitor and MS's record of, let's say, agressive business practices.

Back when AOL had some money, I was sure that they were going to create an MS-free AOL platform. The scenerio went something like this:
Buy some PC manufacturer (Gateway looked like a good buy at the time).
Create a linux based system who's primary purpose is to run the newly written AOL linux client.
Call the computer "the AOL Computer, by Gateway". Linux, if mentioned at all, is in very, very small print.
Fill in the gaps with non-MS software (mozilla, open office, evolution, etc.).
Sell them at Wal-Mart.

The target audience is new computer buyers and AOL users who primarily use their existing computer to access AOL.

And I think that AOL could sell enough of these in a short enough time to get a critical mass to overcome the no-commercial-software-for-linux problem. That is, software vendors would start targetting this platform.

Of course, now that the AOL division of AOL TW is essentially worthless, this is much less likely...

Bill Tomlinson
Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Build their own hardware platform? Repeat after me: "AOL is a content provider. AOL is a content provider. AOL is a content provider."

_NOT_ a software company. Why should they care whether they use MS software or not? In fact, they'd rather use the most familiar thing for their users, to reduce the barriers between the users and the content.

Netscape is still useful only as a brand, not for the browser technology. This has been true for years.

d4
Tuesday, June 03, 2003

d4 asked why AOL would care if people use MS products. I thought I answered that already.

MSN is the only real competitor to AOL and past MS practices show that MS will modify their other products (particularly Windows and IE) to promote and support MSN over AOL. So reducing their reliance on MS products to access AOL reduces their risk that MS will screw them over.

Bill Tomlinson
Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Мне самой нравится только несколько ее песен, но я буду рада, если сайт обьединит ее настоящих фанатов и сможет удовлетворить любопытство тех, кто только узнал о ней. О всех обновлениях сайта я стараюсь писать в "новостях". Желаю Вам приятного знакомства с этой неординарной личностью.

sdcs
Wednesday, June 04, 2003

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