So Microsoft wins a round in the court battle over Internet Explorer's alleged patent infringement, meaning that Gates & Co. can hold off for the moment on forking over some $566 million to the University of California and Eolas Technologies.
At the same time, the beginning of the end of IE may be upon us. Upstart, open-source browser Firefox has made the first appreciable dent in IE's market share since IE clobbered Netscape back in the '90s. As this Wired story shows, IE still has a gigantic 92 percent market share, with the rest split between Firefox (4 percent) and all other browsers (4 percent).
The most amazing stat in the story? The chart (left col, click on second one in "Story Images") that shows the plummeting of Netscape from 80 percent plus dominance in a decade ago to virtually zero today (a function less of MS's supposed monopoly and the inability and unwillingness of Netscape to deliver timely and effective upgrades on its signature program).
I suspect that sort of chart worries MS a lot more than the patent infringement case.
Back in our November 2001 issue, Dave Kopel and Joseph Bast took an eye-opening look at "Anti-Trust's Greatest Hits: The foolish precedents behind the Microsoft case." A grand tour of the major antitrust actions in the 20th century, it hammers home the moral that creative destruction is a harsh mistress.