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Digital DilemmasPower, Resistance, and the Internet$
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M.I. Franklin

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199982691

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199982691.001.0001

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Who Rules in the “Internet Galaxy”? Battle of the Browsers and Beyond

Who Rules in the “Internet Galaxy”? Battle of the Browsers and Beyond

Chapter:
(p.65) 3 Who Rules in the “Internet Galaxy”? Battle of the Browsers and Beyond
Source:
Digital Dilemmas
Author(s):

M. I. Franklin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199982691.003.0003

In 1998 the US Department of Justice took Microsoft to court, charging it with anticompetitive practices. In 2005 and then in 2007 the corporation finally buried the hatchet with the European Union by granting partial access to its source code. Since then attention had shifted to the power of integrated search engines and social networking sites as the response to desktop-dependent internet uses and applications. In the so-called Web 2.0 settings, Google holds the pole position. Google's hegemonic position in this respect as a global brand that champions “internet freedom” and speaks for younger generations of computer users has put Microsoft on the back foot even as the latter still dominates the global PC and operating systems software market. This chapter reconstructs the Microsoft antitrust case in light of this next generation of power struggles over computer-mediated communications. In both scenarios, corporate moves to enclose the internet indicate a longstanding standoff on the one hand between vested commercial interests where intellectual property rights and security concerns are fundamental working principles and, on the other hand, advocates of a socially inclusive and equitable internet based on nonproprietary software, peer-to-peer exchange, and low-cost access to the web. Each perspective denotes a particular ethos about freedom, regulation, and openness; and each in turn represents a different view of the internet's future.

Keywords:   Microsoft, Google, integrated search engines, internet freedom, antitrust case, intellectual property rights, internet

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