by Go Inside Premier Members

May 21, 1998

[Publisher’s Note: On May 18, 1998 the following questions from GO INSIDE Magazine Premier Members were sent to Microsoft and Waggener Edstrom (Microsoft’s outside PR arm) for answering. We informed Microsoft and Waggener Edstrom that we would publish these questions with or without answers because we need to show you that we are doing our best to get answers to the questions you fairly ask. As of today, Microsoft and Waggener Edstrom have yet to respond to your questions or even acknowledge receipt of our email. If and when we get answers, we’ll post them for you here.]

Q. What’s the fuss about including Netscape Navigator in Windows 98? The historical precedent has been set by Microsoft itself in assuaging a similar issue when Windows 95 was released. The MSN setup icon on the desktop was seen as an unfair advantage at that time, and in order to avoid legal action by AOL, Microsoft agreed to include the AOL logo and setup package in Windows 95 even though AOL was not using Internet Explorer as their browser of choice. How is the issue with including Netscape Navigator in Windows 98 any different than your decision to include AOL in Windows 95?

Q. How do you explain the online folders in Windows 98? I can click and join and install the software for AOL, Prodigy Internet or CompuServe, etc. You include their software on your CD without pause and they all compete with MSN for members. Is it because they all use Internet Explorer as the browser of choice? Are there any online service providers with setup software on the Windows 98 CD that includes Netscape Navigator as the only browser of choice? If not, why not, and doesn’t that prove the DOJ’s contention that you reward those who please you and you unfairly punish those who choose to compete against you?

Q. If Internet Explorer is paramount above Netscape Navigator, why not include both browsers and let the customer choose between the two? Wouldn’t that save you time and money and embarrassment in the marketplace?

Q. Has this DOJ action against you made you look like you’re cheating customers by unfairly closing off choices that rely in part and in full on your underlying Operating System in order to run anyway?

Q. Why can’t Internet Explorer be separately bundled from the Operating System? You know the OS since you created it and you know the secrets to quickly binding a program into the Warp and Woof of the OS, so why not avoid this mess and just let IE integrate as a separate entity?

Q. Why isn’t the new Plus! for Windows 98 functionality included with Windows 98? Why bundle that suite of enhancements separately? Why isn’t that new Plus! functionality seen as vital to the Operating System and embedded within it like Internet Explorer?

Q. If you’re allowed to control and influence the Internet by binding Internet Explorer into Windows 98 as the DOJ appears to fear — what’s stopping you from binding Office 99 and Money 99 and Publisher 99 and so on in the next revision of Windows?