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Wednesday, 7 June, 2000, 22:03 GMT 23:03 UK
Will splitting up Microsoft work?
Windows disc
Will new products continue to roll out?
By Dan Kusnetzky, VP system software research, IDC

Now that Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson has published his decision, it is time to contemplate what it would mean to have two Microsoft companies rather than being able to deal with just one.

One of the two companies now owns all of Microsoft's operating environment technology (Windows), while the other owns Microsoft's applications, development tools, database, middleware, serverware, professional services, hardware, media content and communications media.

What changes will consumers and organisations see in the short term?

In a few words, not very many.

If this decision is not overturned by a higher court, there will be many changes in the long term but, for now, very little will change except to whom the cheque is addressed and for how much.

Windows will continue

Organisations who are committed to using Microsoft software are very likely to continue using Windows, Office, BackOffice and the like.

It would just be too costly for them to rebuild their information technology infrastructure, retrain all of their people, and repurchase application, development, database, middleware and serverware software for another platform.

No, what is most likely is that they will continue to use Microsoft's software but will now have to negotiate with two companies rather than one as before.

Organisations who were never committed to Microsoft's software are likely to pat themselves on the back and tell themselves that here is another reason why they were right to make the decisions that they did.

Consumer choice

Consumers are likely to continue to purchase systems having Microsoft software preinstalled because they have little other choice.

Changes will happen. It's just going to take some time. It takes twelve to eighteen months to engineer new software, test it, document it and prepare it for market.

Once this time has past, consumers and organisations may find that they have a choice of Office on Linux or Windows on some other microprocessor besides one based upon the Intel architecture. They may even be presented with Microsoft Linux. Who knows?

See also:

07 Jun 00 | Business
Microsoft broken up
07 Jun 00 | Business
Will the ruling affect you?
07 Jun 00 | Business
Has Microsoft stifled innovation?
07 Jun 00 | Business
Microsoft: No longer the biggest
04 Apr 00 | Business
Microsoft vows to fight on
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