In yet another free-market blow to Microsoft’s much-vaunted “monopoly power,” Wal-Mart is offering cheap desktop computers equipped with three non-Microsoft operating systems. Just $199 brings you a bare-bones machine loaded with Xandros; for a little more you can get the same machine with Linspire or Sun’s Java Desktop. Meanwhile, Mozilla’s Firefox continues to gain ground, slowly, on Internet Explorer.
All this is yet another reminder that it is consumer preference and technological innovation, not the FTC or DOJ, that ultimately governs the behavior of large firms like Microsoft. Thank goodness!