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Microsoft's new Internet 7 explorer browser discriminates against small business

Microsoft is not neutral. Microsoft's new anti-phishing feature of its Internet Explorer 7 web browser blatantly discriminates against the 20.6 million sole proprietorships in the U.S.A in favor of their net neutrality allies: Google, Amazon, eBay and Yahoo and IAC.

  • Microsoft's new Explorer browser will be one of the most blatant non-neutral forms of Internet discrimination in the history of the Web, because when Microsoft rolls out this new browser with its Vista upgrade in 2007, the overwhelming majority of Americans will be using this new discriminatory Microsoft browser to supposedly gain "free and open" access the Internet.

The 12-19-06 Wall Street Journal article "Software to spot "Phishers" irks small concerns" is a must read to understand this problem. Kudos to the reporter, Riva

  • The article explains how Microsoft's new software would work; it would turn the web address bar "green' for web addresses confirmed as legitimate and not a phishing scammer site.
  • The browser won't turn "green", signalling approval of the business as legitimate, for those not verified by Microsoft, which includes the Nation's 20.6 million sole proprietorships.
    • These small businesses are understandably furious about the obvious discriminatory implication that they are all lumped into the scammer category because Microsoft was too lazy to institute a fair system with the equivalent of due process. Microsoft has constructed a classic "guilty until proven innocent" dilemma for all these twenty million small businesses.
  • What is supremely ironic is that these are precisely the type of Internet-dependent individuals, entrepreneurs and businesses that Microsoft alleges that they want to protect against Net discrimination. These businesses also constitute the core of entrepreneurialism, growth and job creation in the United States.

Listen to some of the quotes in the WSJ article and the non-neutral discrimination problem becomes apparent:

  • "'This is a ticking time bomb that is going to explode,' says Champ Mitchell chief executive of Network Solutions...'The Internet has been great for American small business,' by giving them wide exposure at a low cost, he says. 'Microsoft all by itself is getting ready to tilt that field again at a 80 degree angle toward large businesses.'"
  • Greg Waldron, CEO of Waldron Co, an online seller of water fountains said: "this is a huge benefit for the Amazons and the Overstocks of the world...They are making every small and unincorporated company look like one of those second type of phishing sites."
  • Ms Murphy, an online seller: "It just seems like an excuse to shut out the small business like myself and make sure we don't take too many dollars from the big boys."

As I wrote in my recent open letter to Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's net neutrality position presents a huge consumer and regulatory liability for its rollout of Vista and its transformation to a web services model.

  • Microsoft knows that the FCC's net neutrality principles apply to Microsoft and the other online application companies. The FCC's principle four says: "consumers are entitled to competition between among network providers, application and service providers, and content providers."
  • Has Microsoft gotten amnesia that it was found to be a monopoly and to have illegally discriminating against the Netscape browser in favor of its own Explorer browser? And doesn't Microsoft's Explorer browser still have more market power still than almost any application in the Internet space?
  • What is Microsoft thinking? Aren't they creating a two-tiered Internet where the few big companies are deemed by Microsoft to be honest, while all those twenty million small businesses are deemed to have suspect honesty. Isn't Microsoft undermining the Internet's first amendment, net neutrality?
  • Could Microsoft practically be using its browser market power to "block, degrade and impair" small competitors from competing against Microsoft and its big online allies? This new feature has the convenient effect of ensuring that a lot of little potential competitors to Microsoft's many new online businesses never get out of the crib. What better way to knock off your competition than by undermining their ability to compete by blanket labeling them all security risks?

Isn't it ironic that online companies like Microsoft allege that broadband carriers have the potential to discriminate so they deserve preemptive regulation, but when companies like Microsoft, who have vastly more market power and market share than any broadband carrier, actually discriminate against tens of millions of innocent americans, that is OK? What kind of "principle" is that?

Redmond. You have a problem.