Also, did anyone notice that Bob Dole (who was one of the original test
cases for Viagra, Robin Quivers told us yesterday) has been hired by
Netscape to lobby against Microsoft's "monopoly", along with Robert
Bork? Whiners. Nobody likes a whiner. Also, nobody likes a winner.
> If Microsoft succeeds not through unfair advantages but by offering
> the best product for the best price, then modern antitrust policy is
> working as it should.
I liked the following line from the below article:
> Once a technology laggard, the government "is leading the charge on NT
> in some ways, pushing it into more advanced uses that you see in most
> corporations," said Mathew Mahoney, an analyst for IDC Government, a
> research service in Falls Church, Va.
------------------ 8< included article below ------------------------------
DESPITE ANTITRUST EFFORTS, MICROSOFT RULES IN GOVERNMENT OFFICES
by STEVE LOHR
Even as it steps up its antitrust pursuit of Microsoft Corp., the
government is becoming increasingly dependent on the company's software.
The U.S. Army, Navy, Social Security Administration, Health and Human
Services Department, Defense Logistics Agency, Postal Service, Coast
Guard and, yes, the Justice Department, Microsoft's antitrust
antagonist, have all started programs to use Microsoft software on tens
of thousands of desktop computers.
Part of the push toward Microsoft involves the company's office
productivity and communications programs like its Word for word
processing and its Excel spreadsheet, which in many federal offices are
replacing software from Wordperfect and Lotus. But the biggest move
involves sales of Microsoft's industrial-strength operating system,
Windows NT, which is becoming more and more popular in corporate
"Microsoft and especially Windows NT are just taking over the desktop in
the federal government," said Robert Dornan, senior vice president of
Federal Sources Inc., a research firm in McLean, Va. "And I don't see
anything on the horizon that would undermine its success."
To be sure, the spectacle of Washington's beating Microsoft with one
hand while buying from it with the other is not as glaringly
contradictory as it might seem. The antitrust confrontation with
Microsoft, the Justice Department insists, is not intended to hobble the
company but to protect competition and innovation in the software
The focus of the investigation, as the department considers filing a
major antitrust case against Microsoft, is on accusations that the
company is using its near-monopoly in the market for personal computer
operating-system software to gain an unfair advantage in the new markets
of Internet software, new media and online commerce.
But if Microsoft succeeds not through unfair advantages but by offering
the best product for the best price, then modern antitrust policy is
working as it should. "That's right," a senior Justice Department
official said on condition that he not be identified by name, because "I
certainly don't want to throw them a bouquet."
Feeling embattled these days, Microsoft is uncharacteristically touchy
about the success of its government business. An executive in its
Washington office observed, "Now remember, we lose sales, too" -- not
exactly the take-no-prisoners ethos long espoused by William H. Gates,
Microsoft's chairman, or Steven Ballmer, the executive vice president in
charge of sales.
Microsoft started its government business in 1986 with a one-person
office in Washington. Today, the company has 120 people in its federal
systems unit, about 20 more than a year ago. Given the Justice
Department's antitrust investigation, and all the resulting public
attention, the Microsoft staff refers jokingly to the Washington office
as "ground zero."
Still, the Washington business is thriving. The company does not
disclose its government sales. But industry analysts estimate that in
the current fiscal year, ending in June, its government sales will be
about $380 million, up nearly 40 percent from the previous year.
The far higher sales will probably come over the next several years as
large installations of Microsoft software gain momentum -- especially
for Windows NT, which is typically used for big networks of PC work
The Social Security Administration, for example, began a program last
year to install 70,000 Windows NT work stations, running off 5,000
Windows NT network server computers, by 2003.
And the U.S. Postal Service is replacing its 80,000 point-of-sale
terminals nationwide with Windows NT work stations.
"These government customers are very big, so when they make a decision,
the rollouts can be huge," said Pete Hayes, general manager of
Microsoft's federal systems business.
To the government, the appeal of Microsoft products is the potential
cost saving and the ease of using its industry-standard programs. In
many cases, Windows NT systems are replacing systems that use the Unix
operating system, initially developed for scientific and research
purposes. With the steady improvement in PC performance, personal
computers can match the performance of Unix work stations at perhaps
half the price or less, by some estimates.
Once a technology laggard, the government "is leading the charge on NT
in some ways, pushing it into more advanced uses that you see in most
corporations," said Mathew Mahoney, an analyst for IDC Government, a
research service in Falls Church, Va.
The Air Force is an example of that. In a pilot program, it is beginning
to experiment with moving some of its vital command-and-control
operations -- which range from mapping battlefields to spotting enemy
fighter jets -- away from bigger, more costly computers onto personal
computers running Windows NT.
"People in the industry say that Windows NT can take over these
applications at far less cost," said Col. Richard Picanso, director of
the command-and-control computer systems at Hanscom Air Force Base in
Bedford, Mass. "We want to see how much of that is marketing hype and
how much of that is real."
He's smooth and smart and pretty, and he reads his lines so well...
-- Negativland, from the album "Dispepsi"