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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu, 12 Sep 96 11:19:46 -0700
Subject: Browser Mania
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From: Network World
Senate demands end to browser development
WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP, Sept. 2, 2002) - Senate Majority Leader Ray Noorda
(P-Utah) today demanded that the Department of Justice order Microsoft and
Netscape to cease development of new Internet browsers, saying the
ever-escalating battle for Internet dominance had sapped the American
economy of its vitality.
In an impassioned speech before the Perotista-controlled Senate, Noorda -
once a key figure in the information technology industry - claimed American
workers and shoppers are so consumed with downloading new browser versions,
Netscape plug-ins and Microsoft ActiveX Controls that they no longer have
time to produce anything of value or to consume products. "We have been
transformed from a nation of thinkers and doers to a nation of downloaders
worried about whether we are keeping up with the technological Jones'es,"
Noorda's comments came only a day after Netscape released Version 407 of
its Navigator browser, which includes the ability to listen to AM radio from
any laptop. Version 407 had just completed its 37-hour beta trial, while
versions 408-441 are in development. (Microsoft, which has been criticized
of late for slipping behind Netscape in the browser race, vowed to deliver
Version 405 of its Internet Explorer "before the next major religious
holiday," though company spokesman Jim Manzi declined to specify which
religion the company was referring to.) Mark Gibbs, author of IDG Books'
bestselling Deleting Old Browsers for Dummies, said the continuing
instability in the Internet market has virtually halted development of new
applications. "How can you build to a platform that only lasts 51 days?"
asked Gibbs. "The only apps being developed now are crossword puzzles and
3-D, rotatable crossword applets."
According to research firm International Data Corp., the average PC user
now has 62 browsers installed. That has significantly limited the usefulness
of the desktop machine because each "browser/operating system/object
bucket/API repository" consumes a minimum of 1G bytes of storage and
requires 256M bytes of RAM to operate (somewhat less if the touchscreen
option is disabled). Intel Corp. recommends the use of at least a 757-MHz
Decadium processor to support current browsers.
"There is no capacity left to run any other application," said IDC Chief
Executive Officer Bob Frankenberg. "Our PCs, in essence, are simply
containers for browsers."
In the late 1990's, it was hoped that the browser model of accessing
information would actually allow for the development of simpler, less-
expensive desktop devices that would rely on applications and data housed
on Internet servers. But the dream of the so-called Internet device died
with the release of Internet Explorer Version 231, which cracked the 800M-
byte storage requirement and supported some 250,000 ActiveX Controls.
"It's a shame, really," said former Oracle CEO Lawrence Ellison, who was a
vocal proponent of the Internet device idea at the time. "We could have been
freed from the Web of Microsoft control, no pun intended. But Bill
outmanuevered us again," added "Big Larry" Ellison, who now runs the Used
Cars 'R' Us operation on the Auto Mile in Redwood City, Calif.
In response to Noorda's call for federal intervention, the Justice
Department issued an electronic press release available on its Web site
(www.bookem.com). "We firmly believe the free market is the best arbiter of
whether development should continue on Web browsers and servers."
(This statement best viewed with Internet Explorer Version 396.)
© 1996 Peter Langston