Playing to the audience
In the past, it seems you've played out a lot of the case against Microsoft in the media. Will that continue in Netscape's case?
Well, certainly a portion of it is going to be played out through the media because it's very important that people understand these issues and discuss them. It's far more important that they be discussed on programs like this than they be discussed in courts, because I think once people understand that their choices are being restricted in an artificial way, they're going to be very upset and demand changes.
So how do you answer Microsoft's charge that you're just a publicity hound?
I don't answer that charge. The kinds of allegations we've made about Microsoft's conduct have now been confirmed in the press. Those charges are independently verifiable. I'm not really the issue here. The issue here is Microsoft's conduct. I have no control over consumers, but Microsoft, through its monopoly of the desktop operating system, has enormous potential to harm consumers. So that's where our focus really ought to be: not on me, but on Microsoft.
Is the fact that Microsoft is sort of this great American success story an impediment to stopping them?
Well, I look at Microsoft and I say, "Bill Gates benefited enormously when he was in his 20s because there was an open market and free competition." Shouldn't Marc Andreessen have that shot? Shouldn't other people who are coming along have that same shot? Microsoft has certainly been successful, but the truth is the entire American software industry has been successful. The American software industry dominates the international landscape. I would say between 40 and 60 percent of all of my clients' business is done overseas. So if you look at the balance of payments, the American software industry is sort of keeping us afloat. If any one company came to dominate that industry, I think that edge would be lost.
Is Bill Gates the problem at Microsoft? Would things be different if he weren't at the helm?
I don't know the answer to that. I don't know Bill well enough to make that kind of assessment. Obviously, he has also surrounded himself with very intense people, and I have to say in many respects that's good. I think the concern at the moment, though, is that there is a broad feeling that they think that Microsoft can flout consumer choice; that they might be bigger than the government; that they can do essentially whatever they want to do and the government won't step in.
So I don't see the issue as being one of whether Bill Gates continues to be at the helm. I hope he continues to be at the helm. I see the issue as being one of whether the government is going to step in and have a role here. In those situations where the government has stepped in, Gates backed off. Take Intuit, for example. When the government said they were going to challenge that, he took his marbles and went back up to Redmond. If the government stood up a little bit here, there would be a lot more competition and a lot less monopoly.
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