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Schumer: Listen to customers on XP row

A reader writes that consumers have the ability to choose what's right for themselves without the assistance of a government body.


Schumer: Listen to customers on XP row

In response to the July 25 article "Microsoft under pressure on Windows XP":

In his press conference, Senator Schumer asked Assistant Attorney General Charles James to "not settle with Microsoft unless they agree to a global settlement providing open access for competitors to offer their software application products on an equal basis with Microsoft applications."

What exactly does this mean?

Is the senator suggesting that Microsoft be required to add Real Media's Jukebox software, and Eastman Kodak's Digital Imaging Software, as part of Windows XP before it ships, or to remove all the features that Microsoft has integrated into XP, creating a clean slate, thereby allowing consumers to choose what software they want to install?

The senator's statement to the press was, for the most part, vague and non-specific--giving evidence, I think, of his apparent lack of understanding in regard to the technology behind Microsoft's Windows XP. Regardless of what Microsoft integrates into Windows XP, that will not stop consumers from purchasing third-party software and installing it on their computers. It seems that the senator fails to realize that much of the third-party software purchased by consumers is directly related to the lack of features "bundled" software is often plagued by--whether tied to the Windows operating system by Microsoft, or part of another product by a different company.

Consumers have the ability to choose what's right for themselves. We don't need a government body to assist us in that area. What I believe really bothers consumers is that a political body would have the gumption to stifle technological innovation as a result of lobbying pressures from competing companies.

After all, the consumers are supposed to be at the heart of this issue; but where are we? Thus far, it has been a battle between the politicians and Microsoft, with little consumer interaction. My suggestion to the senator and other political bodies would be this: Quit squabbling with Microsoft, be quiet for two seconds, and listen to what consumers are really saying, rather than hearing what you want and discarding the rest. Progress might actually be made that benefits everyone, from consumers to third-party vendors to government officials.

David Young
Wilmington, N.C.