05 January 2006

Objectionable lesson in monopolies

This Korean article is a short, sharp lesson in what happens when you allow Microsoft to stealth their way into control of your systems:

According to Naver, the country’s largest portal site, more than 98 percent of its users were using Internet Explorer (IE) as of late last year. However, OneStat, a Dutch web monitoring company, said that almost 20 percent of Internet users in the U.S. and Western Europe are not using IE. More than 15 percent of Internet users in the world are also using software other than IE when using the Internet.

This means that Korea’s dependency on Microsoft is uniquely high. Experts say that this is because functions, such as Internet banking, the online issuance of civil affairs documents, and online games, are not conducted on web browsers other than IE.

Kim Jeong-hyeon, vice president of Apple Korea, said, “When Microsoft announced last year that it would end support for Windows 98, the Korean government had to visit Microsoft’s headquarters and beg for continued support,” criticizing, “If we ignore users of other software, the monopolistic influence and arrogance of Microsoft in the Korean market will be aggravated.”

The government is also aware of the problem. Last June, the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs decided to include “web standardization” in its assessment criteria regarding public organization homepages. That was a measure aimed to make public services, such as the online issuance of civil affairs documents, possible without having to use a certain company’s software.

It hardly needs spelling out, but because certain leaders seem to be unduly thick when it comes to such issues:

If you don’t constantly go out of your way to guard against them leading you by the nose, you will wind up begging at Microsoft’s doorstep too.

Microsoft have become a problem, like cane toads or prickly pear. An individual plant (website or workstation) is not a problem, but taken together, they’re a plague.

I hope that’s clear enough? (-:

Also, count me as another vote for bailing out of the AUS-US FTA. What do we have to do to organise a referendum or whatever?

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