(en) Ralph Nader takes on Microsoft

Anonymous (nobody@REPLAY.COM)
Fri, 10 Oct 1997 20:20:32 +0200 (MET DST)

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Consumer Advocate Ralph Nader announced today plans for the "Appraising Microsoft and Its Global Strategies" Conference to be held on November 13 and 14 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. Scheduled participants include Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems, Former Federal Trade Commissioner Christine Varney, Gary Reback of Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati and Roberta Katz, General Counsel of Netscape Communications and others. In separate letters to Microsoft CEO Bill Gates and Vice President Al Gore, Nader invited both to attend the conference and make presentations. In his letter to Gates, Nader urged the Microsoft executive to share his insights "as one of the dominant corporate architects and philosophers of the information highway" and to dialogue with the conference participants who are among the few still willing to speak publically of their concerns, findings and recommendations. Nader also noted serious concerns raised by Microsoft's overwhelming market power. "Self-censorship brought on by the detailed fear of Microsoft retaliation - itself seen as a many pronged cluster- is not healthy in any economy," he wrote. The two-day conference aims to bring together industry leaders, academic specialists, writers, consumer activists and government officials to discuss and debate the business practices of Microsoft and the impact of those practices on our society. Nader said the conference may include an "incognito section," which would allow people to attend without revealing their identities. "People have compared it to the witness protection program," Nader joked. It's this atmosphere of unspoken threat Nader believes is the real danger Microsoft poses to business. "There's a level of censorship and fear and intimidation that isn't healthy for innovation, for the business consumer, or for the end consumer," he said.

Conference topics include: The Microsoft Antitrust Consent Decree that wasn't. A Consumer Framework for the Digital Age, The Federal Government and Antitrust Enforcement: Where is the beef? The Digital Commerce Toll Road and The Theory of Increasing Returns. Microsoft vs. Java No one should own the alphabet. Browsers beware: The choice you make today may preclude your choices in the future. Consumers Unite: You have nothing to lose but your blues. An overview of the Microsoft strategic business plan and how they accomplish their goals. The appropriate antitrust framework for the next century. On the digital commerce toll road.

Conference participants include Garth Saloner of Stanford University, Morgan Chu Esq. of Irell & Manella, Vice President for Huntington Bancshares William Randle, CEO & President of NetChannel Philip Monego, Caldera CEO Bryan Sparks, Audrie Krause of NetAction, Bill Wendle of The Real Estate Cafe, Ralph Palumbo Esq. of The Summit Law Group and Steve Susman Esq. of Susman and Godfrey among others. For more information about the conference and registration materials, go to www.essential.org/appraising/microsoft

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