Microsoft’s Controversies

Since its founding, The Microsoft Company has been at the center of several controversies. In 1982, there were allegations that the Company’s cofounder, Bill Gates, had bought an operating system (OS) from his friend (Levy, 1998). Afterwards he sold the OS to IBM without his friend’s consent. Although Gates benefited significantly from this transaction, his actions were viewed as unethical because Gates never acknowledge his colleague’s contribution.

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In 1995, Microsoft unethically forced other software companies out of the market. The company incorporated an application, Internet Explorer, into its Windows OS. Thus, this OS’ users did not have to obtain a web browsing application for their personal computers separately. In this regard, Microsoft increased the Windows OS price. This implies that the browser was never free as they claimed. In my opinion, the government should have sued the company for violating the antitrust laws because the Microsoft’s act adversely affected other software companies. The penalties could have prevented the company from further exploiting its monopolistic status.

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In 2000, the court found Microsoft guilty of violating the antitrust laws. Judge Jackson ordered the Company to split into two smaller companies to avoid the violation of the state and federal antitrust laws (Chapman, 2010). In my opinion, the judge’s ruling was justified because it allowed a fair competition in the software market.

In the year 2004, the European nation found Microsoft guilty of abusing its monopolistic powers in its software sales. Because of the damages it caused, the Company paid a fine amounting to 497 million Euros (Chapman 2010). I think that the ruling was justified since the company was guilty of the offence that had adversely affected the software market across Europe. Furthermore, the company earned supernormal profits through its unlawful acts.

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Microsoft unethical behavior in the market adversely affected several software companies. In 1997, Microsoft exploited its monopoly to undercut Netscape’s web browser in the market. As a result, Netscape shut down its operations leading to enormous job losses (Chapman, 2010). I think that the relevant authorities should establish appropriate public policies to cub the conflicts the Operating System industry. This approach will integrate the public in identifying unjust software developers, considering that they are the major consumers of computers’ Operating Systems.

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