BREAK UP MICROSOFT? A RECORD RESPONSE--AND MOST SAY `NO'
When BUSINESS WEEK asked readers to weigh in on the future of Microsoft Corp. in our Apr. 20 issue, we had no idea what we were unleashing. Impassioned responses came flooding in from Tibet, Israel, and Germany, from 15-year-olds and grandmothers, from English professors, cops, and big-time corporate chief information officers. All in all, more than 5,000 people responded--a record for BUSINESS WEEK. The verdict, according to 67% of voters: The Justice Dept. should keep its hands off Microsoft. Here is a sample of comments, followed by a collection of letters to the editor about the Cover Story.Return to top
AN E-MAIL SAMPLER FROM BILL GATES'S FRIENDS AND FOES
We must be living in a great time of happiness, peace, and wealth for the Justice Dept. to have the time to badger great companies. I wish you had polled us on how would we like our tax dollars spent. What would we have voted for? Do more to fight violent crime. Bill Gates isn't the reason we lock our doors and watch our backs at the ATM.
The Horne Family
Flower Mound, Tex.
You left out an important choice: keep talking about it. The limelight has already toned down Microsoft's more predatory practices with respect to [PC maker] contracts.
I am an outsider with no voting rights. But I think you should leave Microsoft alone and remember all those jobs Bill Gates created for Americans. He will be able to keep those people employed if you let him go on developing software.
[We're] for splitting up Microsoft. As long as it stays one behemoth, it will be under Bill Gates, whose tactics will never change. Those who favor doing nothing are like the conservatives in the last century, when railroad robber barons ignored the public good. Microsoft, like the railways, provided many benefits, but it will do damage as well.
Tsee Yuan and Tsee Yung Lee
Microsoft has only begun to exploit the advantages that can accrue to the company that controls the operating system. Even separated from the applications company, the company that controls the OS is far too dangerous to leave unregulated. We should regulate the OS business as a worldwide public utility.
I vote for Microsoft becoming two separate companies. A lot of my DOS games no longer work in Windows 95, and maybe they will be more attentive to the compatibility of their operating system if they are a single operating system company.
Michael Johansen, 15 Seattle
Harsh as it may sound, the best course is to break Microsoft up into two separate companies. No matter how benevolent an organization is or is not, nothing beats competition.
Culver City, Calif.
The correct alternative is: Justice should apologize profusely to Microsoft and to the voters for wasting Microsoft's and the taxpayers' money.
You missed an ideal solution for the government to deal with Microsoft. Instead of trying to break up or regulate Microsoft, why not stop being its biggest customer?
Our tax dollars have been helping to fund Bill Gates's monopoly. The government and many publicly funded institutions use enormous numbers of personal computers and Microsoft software. Even where the Macintosh is being used, computer managers using government funds are replacing them with Windows machines. This could be easily reversed.
ChicagoReturn to top