The Internet Wars

‘Microsoft’, the name means a lot, doesn’t it? When we hear this name the word that runs through our mind is ‘Windows’, which is a series of operating systems that has run through two decades now with the largest market share. The person if any that would come to our mind would be Mr. Bill Gates, the once richest man on earth who has had his share of controversies.

Believe it; the internet was not so fascinating when it was first introduced. It had just plain text pages which one had to go through to find out relevant information. The giant of that time, Microsoft once ridiculed the idea that internet would make itself available into every house. Coming from such a company this notion was as if the word of god, but then only those out of ordinary did extraordinary thing that made a difference to the world. The internet was starting to get categorized and as expected Microsoft was not much into the proceedings, only busy into its Windows.

This was probably one of the biggest mistakes that Microsoft made, as a group of students from a reputed university became successful in designing a browser that was a gateway for a common man into the web world. This browser was named ‘Netscape Navigator’. When it was first introduced no one had imagines anything close to it and hence this advantage played into the hands of the browser and it sold in millions in a short span of time.

By this time Microsoft was furious with its ignorance and its dwindling reputation among the masses. This called for a meeting between the Netscape people and the Microsoft. There are different versions that one can hear about what happened in it but I would write here the version that the majority of the people believe. The Microsoft people put two choices in front of Netscape, one was to be in the market after sharing all the codes with Microsoft and the other one was to be thrown out of the market once the Microsoft copied the browser. In simple words Netscape was bullied.

This meeting as expected was not successful and hence Microsoft devoted all its resources into creating its own browser. They were on war and finally came out with the famous ‘Internet Explorer’. To distribute it they again used their power in hand to force the companies to not sell custom installed Netscape Navigator but the integrated in Windows their Internet Explorer. This move ultimately led to a wide increase in the Internet Explorer usage and the subsequent decrease in the Netscape Navigator distribution. The Netscape people were not ready for such a move since they were already playing in millions and still rejoicing their success over Microsoft. They were hence taken aback from this new problem. They tried to come up with the more advanced version of Netscape Navigator but by this time the Internet Explorer had already made a firm grip. The Netscape team also filed a suit against Microsoft but unlike Microsoft they needed continuous funds to remain active in the market. This ultimately marked the downfall of the Netscape Navigator. The internet war was won by Microsoft.

If one is to think that this was the ultimate triumph of Microsoft then it is a grave mistake. The Microsoft faces another enemy in the form of government. The government threw question to Bill Gates to which he played upon like a toy. The company paid huge fines and their dominance was deeply shaken. After this there have been many players as we can see around us, like the extremely popular Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Google’s Chrome and many more.

One can certainly say that the war is on.

Saurabh Kumar