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Richard Young thinks the DoJ’s finding on Microsoft is a guidebook for the PC illiterate

A final judgement in the Department of Justice’s case against Microsoft is still at least months away, and it would be remarkable if the company didn’t sue for some sort of peace in the affair. After all, if the case was one of Microsoft’s products, they’d be apologising for all the bugs in version 1.0 and announcing that version 1.01 would be much better – “but wait ’til you see v2.0, out next year!”The last paragraph captures the tone of the “Findings of Fact”, and it isn’t at all pretty:”Most harmful of all is the message that Microsoft’s actions have conveyed to every enterprise with the potential to innovate in the computer industry. Through its conduct toward Netscape, IBM, Compaq, Intel, and others, Microsoft has demonstrated that it will use its prodigious market power and immense profits to harm any firm that insists on pursuing initiatives that could intensify competition against one of Microsoft’s core products. Microsoft’s past success in hurting such companies and stifling innovation deters investment in technologies and businesses that exhibit the potential to threaten Microsoft. The ultimate result is that some innovations that would truly benefit consumers never occur for the sole reason that they do not coincide with Microsoft’s self-interest.”But for anyone befuddled by the state of the computer market, how computers work and what place various companies and their technologies occupy in the industry, the report is a find – a kind of “Computer Industry for Dummies”. It’s perhaps going to far to suggest that it could be repackaged as a drama, but this isn’t the dull legalese that permeates English court decisions at all. The early paragraphs in particular could be extracted and used to educate the technologically illiterate as to exactly what all this stuff actually does.So if you would like to know your APIs from your AOLs or your Java Virtual Machine from your Middleware – or even what a thin client is, or, in basic language, how the Internet works, try it for yourself at

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