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Winsocking the competition

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1 Author(s)
Stern, Richard H. ; Ablondi Foster Sobin & Davidow, Washington, DC, USA

Users are throwing bricks at Microsoft for nuking other companies' WINSOCK.DLL entries in Win 95. Users gripe that when they access Internet via either Win 95's MSN (Microsoft Network) or its remote access features, their WINSOCK.DLL file is renamed WINSOCK.OLD. Microsoft then writes in a new WINSOCK.DLL that permits use only of Microsoft's MSN software. Unless a Internet-using program can access WINSOCK.DLL, the program cannot get to the Net. For example, use MSN once and Netscape is unusable after that, because it cannot fire up without accessing WINSOCK, and it can't do that any more. Even one test run on MSN automatically kills any Net browser competitive with MSN. The user is therefore wed to MSN for any access to the Net, and divorce from MSN is tough to make stick. The only way to beat the problem is to use a special Win 95 version of the competitive program, and they are mostly not yet on the market. Is this tactic legal? The facts surrounding the MSN Net browser issue are not completely clear. Conceivably, this is, as Microsoft claim just a technology problem. The author looks at this issue

Published in:

Micro, IEEE  (Volume:15 ,  Issue: 6 )

Date of Publication:

Dec 1995

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