The Verdict

On the verdict

There’s been a lot of coverage of the verdict of the Microsoft case today. There were a lot of news trucks in the part of the Seattle area where I work. The web log traffic has been heavy too.

Dave Winer thinks that the decision still contains some really strong teeth against Microsoft and in favor of Independent Software Vendors (ISVs). He thinks “the judges put in writing some basic principles about how platform vendors must deal with independent developers.”

Thomas Madsen-Mygdal has been excerpting the decision of the appellate court, highlighting sections that upheld the ruling of the lower courts.

Slashdot has more than 1000 comments on their reporting of the article.

On the competition

I have some thoughts on how all this will play, but one point I have to make from the Mac-using population: the decision does throw into pretty sharp relief the issues facing the Mac platform. From the case:

The District Court found that consumers would not switch from Windows to Mac OS in response to a substantial price increase because of the costs of acquiring the new hardware needed to run Mac OS (an Apple computer and peripherals)and compatible software applications, as well as because of the effort involved in learning the new system and transferring files to its format.
Findings of Fact ¶ 20.The court also found the Apple system less appealing to consumers because it costs considerably more and supports fewer applications.

I guess that’s the challenge for Steve. He’s got a brand new operating system that has a combined heritage of 17 years of the Mac and more than 30 years in Unix. Is that enough to keep the platform from falling into irrelevancy? I’ll keep using my PowerBook until it’s pried from my fingers (or I upgrade to a new model), but I have to hope that the early burst of activity I’ve seen with new apps for the platform will help reverse some of the trends of the past few years.