IT managers vote for Microsoft to split

Three times as many computer managers in the UK want to see Microsoft broken up as want to see it left alone.

Three times as many computer managers in the UK want to see Microsoft broken up as want to see it left alone.

Guy Campos

Three times as many computer managers in the UK want to see Microsoft broken up as want to see it left alone.

This is the crushing finding of this week's Computer Weekly/Harvey Nash Big Question poll.

Forcing Microsoft to make Windows an open-source product and restricting its business practices are also twice as popular as leaving the company alone.

Readers were responding to the recent US Court judgment that found the company guilty of abusing its dominant market position.

One Computer Weekly reader called for Microsoft to be barred from the Internet altogether, "Microsoft's dominance of the desktop has been beneficial but this is a battle to stop Microsoft stifling the Web," he said.

Another said a breakup was necessary to protect the marketplace.

There was concern that open source and business restrictions would not benefit the consumer. Several readers said open source could cause problems with a lack of standards in the future while restrictions would be unenforcable.

Some Microsoft defenders considered its competitors a worse alternative. "If forcing innovation means providing greater opportunity for the likes of Larry Ellison to force technologies such as the network computer onto us, then I say, stay as we are."

Others said Microsoft would split into several companies, regardless of the court's decision.

"The speed of innovation is such that if Microsoft wishes to compete over the long term, it will need to split into relatively smaller, more agile, focused units," a reader said.

The big question

Which remedy would you prefer in the Microsoft case?

a) Split Microsoft into consumer, operating system and application companies?

b) Force the company to make Windows open source, allowing users to develop and share extensions to the operating system?

c) Curb acqusitive business practices and those that stifle technological innovation?

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