A Little Bit of History Repeating

The people at Microsoft might be feeling a little nostalgia this week as they gear up for their next big moves in the electronic world. First, the new mandatory for the XBox360 may cause older XBox360s to crash. But no fret, all red ringed 360s will be replaced by Microsoft. And just when you thought you’d never see it again, hello old friend, how I wish you’d never returned. This is in preparation for the newly added XGD3 disc standard for XBox360s.

Many XBox360 user’s have cited this fast response as a keynote to 360s superiority over the PS3. Both these are two different problems. The difference between your friend pitching a Wii remote through your TV or your neighbor stealing your cable, internet, and identity. One is much easier fixed than the other. For now, let’s agree they have their own pros and cons respectively.

The second piece of de ja vue for Microsoft is the end to their Antitrust settlement. This was a monopoly case to keep Microsoft from bundling all of their wares in order to get the upper hand on web browsers through computer sales. You may think “Well that didn’t work”, and you’d be right. It was supposed to keep Internet Explorer from being bundled with Microsoft computers. The loophole is that the install disks came with Internet Explorer separate, set up had it as an option instead of mandatory, and the source files were open to third parties. Since then we’ve seen this same around the way bundling with allot of manufacturers, Apple comes to mind. The argument being anyone can make a Mac OS product, just like anyone can make a Windows OS product.

What does the end of this Antitrust settlement mean to you? It means Microsoft can, if it wants, to make mandatory bundles of their products, and make using non-Microsoft products more difficult. This would force Windows users to use Microsoft products, and could monopolize the software market, which is what was hoped to be prevented before. This could also bring other companies to obligatorily bundle their products and shut 3rd party makers out. This may or may not be a bad thing. The PC over Mac loyalists (which I find irrelevant because Microsoft owns both) could see an easy to use and set up Microsoft network in which you would have one MSN email account to use everything Microsoft owned: Skype, MSN Messenger, Outlook, and others I’ve forgotten. The downside is, if the market was monopolized and the competitors bought out, which Microsoft is known for, they could choose to charge you whatever they wanted for use of their bundled service. That’s the reason why we stop monopolies to begin with.

This is all speculation of what could happen. There is no word from Microsoft that they intend to do anything stated or try something new due to the end of the Antitrust agreement.


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