マイクロソフトインターネット開拓史―ウィンドウズとウェブの統合 単行本 – 2002/9
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The inside story of how a small band of agitators at Microsoft staged the stunning turnaround that transformed the company from an Internet laggard into such a dominant force that it was accused of monopolizing the industry.
1993. Microsoft's Windows software ruled the desktops of America. Nine out of ten personal computers ran the operating system, and most applications--from word processors to spreadsheets--couldn't function without it. When Bill Gates peered into Microsoft's crystal ball, he saw a world of Windows.
Then the Internet burst on the scene, and suddenly Gates's Windows-oriented future didn't look so bright. The Internet ran on UNIX, not Windows. The World Wide Web, not Windows, linked information in a global electronic library. A new software program called Mosaic, not Windows, made finding and reading Web documents as easy as skimming a magazine. Moreover, companies with little stake in Windows--Netscape, America Online, Sun Microsystems--were laying first claim to the Internet frontier.
The Internet was the future of computing--and the world's largest software company wasn't ready for it. Yet four years later, Microsoft's Internet metamorphosis was so complete that the Department of Justice slapped the company with the broadest antitrust action since the breakup of AT&T. In How the Web Was Won, veteran Seattle Times journalist Paul Andrews chronicles, for the first time, the most remarkable business turnaround of the 1990s: the story of Microsoft's turbulent journey from Windows to the Web--and of the handful of Internet believers who led the charge.
Taking the reader into the mind of Microsoft, Andrews reveals how the company struggled first to comprehend and then capitalize on the Net. How twenty-two-year-old Internet hound J Allard was shocked to learn that nobody at Microsoft seemed to know anything about networking computers when he arrived in late 1991. How Steve Ballmer, Gates's Harvard buddy and second in command at Microsoft, lit the Internet fuse with a head-scratching e-mail in December 1993. How Gates's technical assistant, Steven Sinofsky, discovered in early 1994 that Cornell University, his alma mater, was more "wired" than the world's most successful software company. And how by mid-1995, awash in the rising tide of Netscape, America Online, Java, and the Web, Bill Gates assigned the Internet the highest level of importance, launching an effort that, in a matter of months, would provoke the Justice Department, competitors, and industry analysts to warn that Microsoft could someday rule the Internet.
Based on three years of reporting and more than 100 interviews with the prime movers driving Microsoft's Internet strategy and deployment, How the Web Was Won captures the explosive drama and high-stakes gamesmanship of Microsoft's epic struggle for Internet supremacy. The result is an illuminating portrait of a software empire under siege and an intimate look at the fiery competitiveness that kindled its dramatic reversal of fortune. --このテキストは、絶版本またはこのタイトルには設定されていない版型に関連付けられています。
You do get some interesting history about early dealing among internet players, but again, it is so up Microsoft's butt, that it becomes a bad read.
All I can say is: Ah-hah. Ah-hah. The appeals court may have found that MS maintained its monopoly illegally, largely because it didn't provide sufficient evidence that it needed those contracts with PC makers to protect the proprietary elements of Windows. And they may be right (although I think the general rapacity of the software industry is enough). But it agreed with nothing else, and I think the author of this book has been more than vindicated against his critics.
Yes, he had access to top MS officials, and probably shares their views of things. But you don't need that to agree that Netscape did everything all wrong ... they walked out of the HTML 3 standards conference, made their browser as incompatible with IE as they could just because they were so afraid. Their entire business plan could be summed up as "Bill Gates must be incredibly dumb and tone-deaf, so we'll make all the noise we want about how we can make them irrelevant and they won't notice until it's too late. Oh, and if this somehow doesn't work, let's get the Justice Department to sue them."
Well, it tells you a lot about this strategy (as if you couldn't guess) that Netscape today is just another cog in the AOL Time Warner media machine. The author is particularly good at noting what has not been much noticed elsewhere ... how Netscape, especially in the infamous 1995 meeting, seemed to be working hand-in-glove with Justice to create the appearance of improper competition on Microsoft's part (Funny how, when Larry Ellison (and Bill Gates' biggest service to America is keeping that guy from taking his place, believe me) pays people to sniff through DC trash to find connections between MS and DC lobbying groups, the news is more about the latter aspect of the story than the former).
But the larger issue that this book doesn't get into is how the New Economy guys, all devout members of the Church of the Invisible Hand, were done in by their own economic beliefs working too well.
That basically went that MS would become, and remain, hidebound and lazy like all companies with little real competition (of course, many companies have said they competed against Microsoft, which comes as a real surprise to anyone who has used many of their products ... Linux especially). After all, hadn't IBM and Apple before MS? Our laissez-faire theory tells us so, that economics will trump all human ability ... right?
Well, no one ever thought to imagine that maybe a company that has achieved the kind of market dominance that MS has might just retain the competitive instincts that got it there (as plainly logical as that might be). You're going to have to wait a while for MS to get soft. The story is not that it was easy to win the web war or that MS shouldn't have been at risk of losing it in the force place. It was that they got into it at all. The market is supposed to reward supertankers that turn on a dime, isn't it? (In fact, I believe MS's problems may have come from it being too eager to compete sometimes, owing to Gates' oft-cited paranoia that somewhere out there are two guys in a garage building the future that he won't see coming until too late. But should he be penalized for not forgetting his own company's history?....
Along the way, it was hilarious at first but scary later on to see how standard business practices, and things that would be recognized as smart moves in any other business, were invariably transformed into flaws whenever MS did them. Add lots of features to your OS so a broad segment can find it useful? "Bloatware." Keep in mind your customers who are just casual end users? "Dumbing down the operating system?" (Reminds me of Dilbert: "Hey, you're one of those condescending Unix users!" "Here's a nickel, kid. Go buy yourself a better computer") The looniest was, and still is, Linux, dedicated to the principle that people who don't make money from what they do do a better job than people who do. (And this system is often pushed heavily by some of the most libertarian, pro-free enterprise types around! I still do not get it)
So, seven years after the Web became the Internet's killer app, Microsoft has won, and IMO deservedly so. Deal with it. If you weren't in their tent, you should just cash out, shake Bill Gates' hand like a good sport, recognize that they won because they just played a better game, go enjoy a nice retirement and stop wasting the public's time.
Having over thirty-five years in the computer industry from mainframe fortune 100's, geared-up mini's, and now the fantastic PC's I found the book reminiscent of how the software world really works behind the scenes.
Even though the book is more technical than most people might appreciate, I recommend it to all who have an interest in today's technological advances and how things get from point "A" to point "Z".
It also gives some insight of how our Justice Department works for the people. I don't mean the citizen-type-people (like you and me). But, I mean the people of companies who can't take the heat of the marketplace, so they call on Uncle to do their dirty work.