Last week, I maintained that a forced Microsoft breakup would be one of the biggest competitive threats facing SQL Server and that integrated browsing is necessary for transparent and seamless Internet access. This week, I discuss a breakup's potential unintended effects on server solutions—including SQL Server.
Few people have noted that the government's proposed breakup plan penalizes Microsoft's server technologies, including SQL Server, as the plan tries to fix supposed problems on the desktop. No one argues that Microsoft has monopoly market share in the server market. In fact, Microsoft's healthy presence in the server market has spurred UNIX vendors to create better products for less money. But a Microsoft breakup could create fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) in some corporations and give UNIX platforms an unfair federally mandated advantage and indirect stamp of approval.
In February, Microsoft shocked the database world by posting the world's fastest TPC-C numbers using SQL Server and Windows 2000—shattering the myth that Windows performance could never catch up with UNIX performance. Those results have forced intense competition and cost-cutting in the database market, which is good for consumers—whether or not they use SQL Server. And later this year, Win2K Datacenter Server will be available running SQL Server 2000 on 32-CPU "mainframe PCs" from Unisys, Compaq, and other companies. These machines will offer price-performance ratios never before seen in the database server market. This level of competition and consumer benefit is exactly what the government claims a Microsoft breakup will ensure. But can Microsoft continue to offer amazing price-performance breakthroughs in the server arena if the courts define innovation?
I'm disturbed that no one on either side of the debate is discussing the potential for devastating and unintended consequences in the world of enterprise-class database and server technologies. But the Microsoft antitrust trial isn't over. We can still affect the outcome. I believe that most people think the breakup attempt is a waste of taxpayer money and that, if successful, it will have unintended destructive consequences for innovation in technology and other arenas—for consumers and for the overall American economy. This is a call to action. Tell your elected officials how you feel.
If you're interested contacting your elected officials, visit the Web sites for the Association For Competitive Technology (ACT) and Americans for Technology Leadership. ACT works with companies; TechLeadership supports individuals. Both sites offer valuable resources to help you keep the reins of innovation in the hands of IT professionals and out of the hands of government.
Regardless which camp you're in, to learn more about Microsoft's position in the antitrust case, read the company's 39-page appeal. Click here. Amid standard legalese, you'll find some interesting material.