Oh, Microsoft and the DOJ

I was just reading TechMeme, saw that Microsoft and others want us (the government is us, remember) to look into Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick.

That made me remember back to 2000 when Microsoft would send MVPs like me constant pleas to help out in its fight against the government. “Keep innovation free” the pleas used to say. Microsoft was under attack by the DOJ and wanted us to write letters to editors, tell our friends all about how Microsoft was being persecuted. Etc etc etc.

I was sympathetic to Microsoft back then. I thought it was under attack from competitors who had sour grapes cause they had — to put it politely — had their asses kicked in the marketplace by a smarter, stronger, faster, competitor.

OK, OK, I can hear some of you calling “shill, shill” right now, but sit down and wait for a second before you throw more tomatoes at my screen.

Isn’t it funny how there’s been a total turnaround at Microsoft in just six years? Instead of asking us to help poor old persecuted Microsoft out now we’re being asked to have the government look into the business of Google.

Now, you might not agree with me about either case, but I’ll be consistent at least. I was in Microsoft’s side against the government last time (they asked nicely). But I’m in Google’s side this time. Sounds a lot like Microsoft is now the company who had its ass kicked in the marketplace and is running to government regulators to get some relief.

How ironic.

114 thoughts on “Oh, Microsoft and the DOJ

  1. As much as I dislike Microsoft (why did the US Government chicken out of breaking them up a few years ago?), I have to agree with them on this one. Not so much in terms of the market share/antitrust issue – any business that seeks to pollute my screen with ads deserves any price gouging it suffers – but from a user privacy point of view combining Doubleclick’s tracking cookies with Google’s user database is something approaching ‘evil’.

  2. As much as I dislike Microsoft (why did the US Government chicken out of breaking them up a few years ago?), I have to agree with them on this one. Not so much in terms of the market share/antitrust issue – any business that seeks to pollute my screen with ads deserves any price gouging it suffers – but from a user privacy point of view combining Doubleclick’s tracking cookies with Google’s user database is something approaching ‘evil’.

  3. Google ran whining to the DOJ because Microsoft added a serach box to IE7, that was fully customizable, allowing the user to set the default search engine and multiple secondary search engines, and upon installation, retained the settings of IE6′s old (but little used) search pane. (When I upgraded to IE7, the default search engine was Yahoo, not MSN/Live, because IE6′s search pane default had been set to Yahoo from when I installed Yahoo toolbar at some point).

    Google whined about this, while the default browser on OSX, the browser that 95% of Mac users use (i.e, the browser that enjoys monopoly share on OSX), has its search box LOCKED IN TO GOOGLE, with no option of changing the default search box, or even an option for adding secondary search engines.

    Of course, the DOJ laughed and told Google to go screw themselves, but its not like Google is above running to the DOJ like hypcritical cry babies.

  4. Google ran whining to the DOJ because Microsoft added a serach box to IE7, that was fully customizable, allowing the user to set the default search engine and multiple secondary search engines, and upon installation, retained the settings of IE6′s old (but little used) search pane. (When I upgraded to IE7, the default search engine was Yahoo, not MSN/Live, because IE6′s search pane default had been set to Yahoo from when I installed Yahoo toolbar at some point).

    Google whined about this, while the default browser on OSX, the browser that 95% of Mac users use (i.e, the browser that enjoys monopoly share on OSX), has its search box LOCKED IN TO GOOGLE, with no option of changing the default search box, or even an option for adding secondary search engines.

    Of course, the DOJ laughed and told Google to go screw themselves, but its not like Google is above running to the DOJ like hypcritical cry babies.

  5. I don’t want to dive into the posts and the spin that is placed on this though I actually read each and every one – even the ones that were completely absurd.

    What I will say is that there seems to be some mistakes in the belief that we are the government. We, assuming you speak of the United States of America, are not the government. We are not *gasp* a democracy. We are a republic. (Recent spin-doctors have turned the term into “constitutional-republic.”)

    Either a dictionary or a good history book will reveal the differences. They aren’t exactly subtle differences either. But, I digress…

    Oh, yes, I am an MVP but frankly I could care less about your debate other than to say, “Good luck with that.”

  6. I don’t want to dive into the posts and the spin that is placed on this though I actually read each and every one – even the ones that were completely absurd.

    What I will say is that there seems to be some mistakes in the belief that we are the government. We, assuming you speak of the United States of America, are not the government. We are not *gasp* a democracy. We are a republic. (Recent spin-doctors have turned the term into “constitutional-republic.”)

    Either a dictionary or a good history book will reveal the differences. They aren’t exactly subtle differences either. But, I digress…

    Oh, yes, I am an MVP but frankly I could care less about your debate other than to say, “Good luck with that.”

  7. @52 “Most recently, Microsoft used lobbyists to pressure members of the Senate Committee on Governmental Operations (COGO) to remove the words they didn’t like from a Senate bill requiring open standards in government computing.”

    Hey! Wait a minute! Since when did businesses start using lobbyists to gain an advantage?

    And I wonder what possible motive Google would have had in hiring lobbying firm PodestaMattoon.

  8. @52 “Most recently, Microsoft used lobbyists to pressure members of the Senate Committee on Governmental Operations (COGO) to remove the words they didn’t like from a Senate bill requiring open standards in government computing.”

    Hey! Wait a minute! Since when did businesses start using lobbyists to gain an advantage?

    And I wonder what possible motive Google would have had in hiring lobbying firm PodestaMattoon.

  9. Hey “Anon” @52.

    I suspect you do not know that Sandi does not work for Microsoft and MVPs are not Microsoft employees.

  10. Hey “Anon” @52.

    I suspect you do not know that Sandi does not work for Microsoft and MVPs are not Microsoft employees.

  11. >you do the strike through and update with other blog posts, why not with this?

    Because I think the post is still factually correct. Microsoft asked many many groups and people to defend it in various ways. I remember getting many emails and other information both from Microsoft and other MVP members. It might not have been specifically THROUGH the MVP program, but they definitely asked me to help out.

  12. >you do the strike through and update with other blog posts, why not with this?

    Because I think the post is still factually correct. Microsoft asked many many groups and people to defend it in various ways. I remember getting many emails and other information both from Microsoft and other MVP members. It might not have been specifically THROUGH the MVP program, but they definitely asked me to help out.

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