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Leo Rivera
Leo Rivera

Imbroglio Download PC Game REPACK



22. No operating system designed for a hand-held computer, a "smart" wireless telephone, a television set-top box, or a game console is capable of performing as an adequate operating system for an Intel-compatible PC. Therefore, in order to adopt a substitute for the Intel-compatible PC operating system from the realm of "information appliances," a consumer must acquire one or more of these devices in lieu of an Intel-compatible PC system.




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23. It is possible that, within the next few years, those consumers who otherwise would use an Intel-compatible PC system solely for storing addresses and schedules, for sending and receiving E-mail, for browsing the Web, and for playing video games might be able to choose a complementary set of information appliances over an Intel-compatible PC system without incurring substantial costs. To the extent this substitution occurs, though, it will be the result of innovation by the producers of information appliances, and it will occur even if Intel-compatible PC operating systems are priced at the same level that they would be in a competitive market. More importantly, while some consumers may decide to make do with one or more information appliances in place of an Intel-compatible PC system, the number of these consumers will, for the foreseeable future, remain small in comparison to the number of consumers deciding that they still need an Intel-compatible PC system. One reason for this is the fact that no single type of information appliance, nor even all types in the aggregate, provides all of the features that most consumers have come to rely on in their PC systems and in the applications that run on them. Thus, most of those who buy information appliances will do so in addition to, rather than instead of, buying an Intel-compatible PC system. Not surprisingly, then, sales of PC systems are not expected to suffer on account of the growing consumer interest in information appliances. It follows that, for the foreseeable future, a firm controlling the licensing of all Intel-compatible PC operating systems could set prices substantially above competitive levels without losing an unacceptable amount of business to information appliances.


146. The relatively few users who already have a browser but would prefer another can avoid the retail channel by using the Internet to download new browsing software electronically, but they must wait for the software to transmit to their PCs. This process takes a moderate degree of sophistication and substantial amount of time, and as the average bandwidth of PC connections has grown, so has the average size of browser products. The longer it takes for the software to download, the more likely it is that the user's connection to the Internet will be interrupted. As a vanguard of the "Internet Age," Navigator generated a tremendous amount of excitement in its early days among technical sophisticates, who were willing to devote time and effort to down-loading the software. Today, however, the average Web user is more of a neophyte, and is far more likely to be intimidated by the process of downloading. It is not surprising, then, that downloaded browsers now make up only a small and decreasing percentage of the new browsers (as opposed to upgrades) that consumers obtain and use.


147. The consumer who receives a CDROM containing a free browser in the mail or as a magazine insert is at least spared the time and effort it would take to obtain browsing software from a retail vendor or to download it from the Web. But, just as the consumer who obtains a browser at retail or off the Web, the consumer who receives the software unsolicited at home must first install it on a PC system in order to use it, and merely installing a browser product takes time and can be confusing for novice users. Plus, a large percentage of the unsolicited disks distributed through "carpet bombing" reach individuals who do not have PCs, who already have pre-installed browsing software, or who have no interest in browsing the Web. *39 In practice, less than two percent of CDROM disks disseminated in mass-distribution campaigns are used in the way the distributor intended. As a result, this form of distribution is rarely profitable, and then only when undertaken by on-line subscription services for whom a sale translates into a stream of revenues lasting into the future. The fact that an OLS may find it worthwhile to "carpet bomb" consumers with free disks obviously only helps the vendor of browsing software whose product the OLS has chosen to bundle with its proprietary software. So, while there are other means of distributing browsers, the fact remains that to a firm interested in browser usage, there simply are no channels that compare in efficiency to OEM pre-installation and IAP bundling.


153. Because of the separate demand for browsers and operating systems, firms have found it efficient to supply the products separately. A number of operating system vendors offer consumers the choice of licensing their operating systems without a browser. Others bundle a browser with their operating system products but allow OEMs, value-added resellers, and consumers either to not install it or, if the browser has been pre-installed, to uninstall it. While Microsoft no longer affords this flexibility (it is the only operating system vendor that does not), it has always marketed *40 and distributed Internet Explorer separately from Windows in several channels. These include retail sales, service kits for ISVs, free downloads over the Internet, and bundling with other products produced both by Microsoft and by third-party ISVs. In order to compete with Navigator for browser share, as well as to satisfy corporate consumers who want their diverse PC platforms to present a common browser interface to employees, Microsoft has also created stand-alone versions of Internet Explorer that run on operating systems other than 32-bit Windows, including the Mac OS and Windows 3.x.


212. When Gates became aware of what the OEMs were doing, he expressed concern to Kempin, the Microsoft executive in charge of OEM sales. On January 6, 1996, Gates wrote to Kempin: "Winning Internet browser share is a very very important goal for us. Apparently a lot of OEMs are bundling non-Microsoft browsers and coming up with offerings together with Internet Service providers that get displayed on their machines in a FAR more prominent way than MSN or our Internet browser." Less than three weeks later, Kempin delivered his semi-annual report on OEM sales to his superiors. In the report, he identified "Control over start-up screens, MSN and IE placement" as one interest that Microsoft had neglected over the previous six months. The ongoing imbroglio with Compaq was prominent in Kempin's thinking, but he also recognized that establishing control over the boot process was necessary to ensure preferential positioning for MSN and Internet Explorer.


244. Microsoft's first tactic was to develop and include with Windows an Internet sign-up program that made it simple for users to download access software from, and subscribe to, any IAP appearing on a list assembled by Microsoft. In exchange for their inclusion on this list, the leading IAPs agreed, at Microsoft's insistence, to distribute and promote Internet Explorer, to refrain from promoting non-Microsoft Web browsing software, and to ensure that they distributed non-Microsoft browsing software to only a limited percentage of their subscribers. Although the percentages varied by IAP, the most common figure was seventy-five percent.


248. In September 1996, Microsoft announced the availability of the "Internet Explorer Access Kit," or "IEAK." By simply accessing the correct page on Microsoft's Web site and clicking on a box to indicate agreement with the license terms, any IAP could download the IEAK, which included a copy of Internet Explorer. With their technical knowledge, sophisticated equipment, and high-bandwidth connections, IAPs found it very convenient to download Internet Explorer and the IEAK from Microsoft's Web site.


289. In return for Microsoft's commitments, AOL agreed to base the proprietary access software of its flagship online service for Windows and the Mac OS on Internet Explorer 3.0 and to update that software as newer versions of Internet Explorer were released. Another provision in the agreement provided that "AOL and AOL Affiliates will, with respect to Third Party Browsers, exclusively promote, market and distribute, and have promoted, marketed and distributed, Internet Explorer on or for use by subscribers to the AOL Flagship Service." Specifically, AOL agreed to ensure that in successive sixmonth periods, neither the number of copies of non-Microsoft Web browsing software it shipped (through any sub-channel, including GNN), nor the number of new subscribers accessing AOL (including GNN) with non-Microsoft Web browsing software, would exceed fifteen percent of the total number of copies of proprietary access software that AOL distributed through any channel (i.e., through the Windows desktop or otherwise). AOL retained the right to distribute non-Microsoft Web browsing software to subscribers who affirmatively requested it, as long as doing so did not did not raise the relevant shipment quotients above fifteen percent. AOL also retained the right to provide a link within its service through which its subscribers could reach a Web site from which they could download a version of Navigator customized for the AOL service. At the same time, however, the agreement prohibited AOL from expressing or implying to subscribers or prospective subscribers that they could use Navigator with AOL. Nor did it allow AOL to include, on its default page or anywhere else, instructions telling subscribers how to reach the Navigator download site. In any event, as the Court has found above, downloading large programs over the Internet involves considerable time, and frequently some frustration, for the average user with average hardware and an analog connection. The prospects were slim that many AOL users (who tend to be novice users with average equipment) would expend the effort to download Navigator when they already had browsing software that worked well with the AOL service. Finally, while the agreement permitted AOL (subject again to the fifteen-percent shipment quotas) to distribute non-Microsoft Web browsing software when requested by third-party providers, distributors, and corporate accounts, it obligated AOL to use all reasonable efforts to cause the third party to distribute that software on its own and to minimize the use of AOL's brand name with the distribution. 041b061a72


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