How Times Change

FEBRUARY, 1999:  During testimony in federal court, Microsoft presents a video to show how Internet Explorer cannot be removed from Windows 98 without degrading system performance and other negative impacts.  Government attorney David Boies catches a small mistake in the video, and it is discovered that the video is actually spliced from two machines.  Microsoft’s Jim Allchin claims this was an honest mistake, that IE must be bundled into the operating system, and to remove it would hinder innovation. In the end, Microsoft wins the browser war.  (See also: NY Times)

OCTOBER, 2006:  Microsoft ships Internet Explorer 7, the first major release of a browser from Microsoft in several years.  Microsoft is no longer embroiled in competition with Netscape, and instead faces eroding market share by open-source rival Firefox.  Apparently whatever happened in 1999 which made IE so tightly coupled with the OS is now irrelevant, because this browser is no longer has unified navigation with the shell (see here), can easily be installed and uninstalled, and even runs side-by-side with IE6.

I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth, but which one is it?  I guess technology has improved and now Microsoft has the technology to no longer bundle browsers.  Of course, Netscape had this technology in 1993.  On the positive side, IE7 is a huge leap forward, and its great that users can choose to either use IE6, IE7, or Firefox.  Choice is good!

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