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December 16, 1997updated 03 Sep 2016 6:36pm

MICROSOFT’S COMPLIANCE WITH COURT HAS LITTLE EFFECT ON IE

By CBR Staff Writer

Although Microsoft Corp has made a big show of complying with last week’s preliminary injunction issued by a US District Court, it is playing its hand in such a way as to effect little or no change in its practice of bundling Internet Explorer with Windows. Microsoft sent a memo to its customers on Monday explaining that they now had the option of removing all IE files from Windows 95. It also provided instructions for the complex process of removing the extensive IE code. But the memo also stressed that if the IE files are deleted the whole product won’t function as originally designed (read: the computer won’t work). Microsoft is blaming that on the court, asserting that it has proposed a poor solution. To alleviate that problem, the company says it has come up with – even though the court ruling did not require it – an alternative version of Windows 95 from which the IE functions can be stripped with minimal loss of operating system functionality. The problem here is that the version being offered is the original OEM version of Windows 95, which is more than two years old and has serious limitations. It doesn’t support today’s larger hard drives, advanced graphics technology or the Universal Serial Bus, and therefore has little or no appeal for Microsoft customers – especially because it is being offered at the same price as the current full version. It also can’t run software which requires HTML support, such as Intuit Inc’s Quicken 98. Given the options Microsoft has come up with – essentially, no new version of Windows 95 is being offered – most OEMs and resellers have no choice but to continue shipping the same IE-bundled version of Windows 95 they’ve been shipping. The only question now is whether the Justice Department will ask the District Judge to rule on whether Microsoft’s actions are in compliance with the spirit of the ruling and not merely the letter of it. Some in the legal community feel that this may well happen, and that the software giant may be acting a little too brazenly in its very literal compliance with the court order. Microsoft has appealed the preliminary injunction and it will most likely be several months before any decision on the appeal will be handed down.

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