15
Feb

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 Joneses, Noorda said.
Noordas 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 de-clined
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 1990s, 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.
Its 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 Noordas 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.)

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