Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Is Microsoft still a monopoly?

Source: Redorbit

15 years ago the Federal Government brought an antitrust suit against Microsoft, alleging monopolistic and predatory behavior. The company had been giving away Internet Explorer with its Windows 95 operating system, thus assuring itself victory in the browser war that it was fighting with Netscape. Most users were surprised. Why should the government attack a company for giving away its product?

The proceeding took about two years, ending in a settlement where Microsoft shared some of its programming code with other software developers. Browsing programs proliferated. Currently there are four major browsers, with several minor platforms out there.

Source: Wikipedia

The fight for share between Microsoft and Google (Chrome), Apple (Safari), and Mozilla (Firefox) has led to more innovation, with features like improved privacy protection, accelerators, and tabbing now standard. And these browsers are still free. So was the government’s anti-trust suit justified? The initial order to break Microsoft up was reversed on appeal. Based on how the breakup of AT&T ended, sharing the code seems to have worked out better for consumers.

Adam Smith noted that big businesses do conspire against the public, often using government regulation to do so. When it comes to browsers, increased competition has helped us all.

Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Chief Investment Officer
Phone: 603-224-1350
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By |2017-07-17T12:23:08-04:00January 2nd, 2015|Global Market Update|0 Comments

About the Author:

Mr. Tengdin is the Chief Investment Officer at Charter Trust Company and author of “The Global Market Update”. The audio version of each post can be heard on radio stations throughout New England every weekday. Mr. Tengdin graduated from Dartmouth College, Magna Cum Laude. He received his Master of Arts from Trinity Divinity School, Magna Cum Laude and received his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 1992. Mr. Tengdin has been managing investment portfolios for over 30 years, working for Bank of Boston, State Street Global Advisors, Citibank – Tunisia, and Banknorth Group. Throughout his career, Mr. Tengdin has emphasized helping clients manage their financial risks in difficult environments where they can profit from investing in diverse assets in diverse settings. - Leave a comment if you have any questions—I read them all! - And Follow me on Twitter @GlobalMarketUpd

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