Opening Windows III: Would promoting OEMs fix it?
But how do you decide which OEMs, and what they're allowed to do?
Special Report As far as Windows is concerned the needs of the OEM PC makers are pretty narrow, but promoting the OEMs as part of a solution might still attract Judge Jackson. No major PC OEM is going to want to licence a version of Windows built by a rival OEM, but if enough of them had the right to tailor their own versions it would make an impact, so it's a possible solution. One obvious difficulty, however, is where you draw the boundaries. If you just give access to say, the big five, you're promoting them unfairly above smaller rivals. But if you give general access, you're probably taking an axe to the whole Windows business. And what restrictions do you place on their use of the code? If you let them do entirely what they like with it, at least some of them are going to start using it in conjunction with non-Windows operating systems - that L-word again. Or alternatively, it brings us to class of 95 member number three, Sun. The ability to run Windows applications has been an on/off project of Sun's for years, and it's worth remembering that once upon a time Sun (with tongue approximately in corporate cheek) called for Microsoft to relinquish control of its Win32 APIs for the greater public good. Sun would still be very happy if this happened, but although there's an outside chance it would have been willing to run with a Windows clone as a desktop OS four years ago, doing so now would be in complete contradiction of its current strategy/propaganda. Sun thinks the PC is dying, that it'll be replaced by powerful servers and billions of appliances, so what the hell would Sun want to get into this doomed killing ground that is the Wintel space for? That's basically the bottom line for all of Microsoft's big enemies. In the mid-90s those who tried to compete head-on in the PC market failed, and in the intervening years they've developed alternative strategies designed to cut Microsoft at the pass. They won't want to compete directly at client level, because they don't see that market as having a future, and they're almost certainly right. ® Next part: Is the relevant market a dying market? Back to first part: Special report: If the judge opened Windows source, would anybody come? Complete Register Trial coverage