Brian taking on the whole wide world


Microsoft Corp has aroused the anger of a North Dakota programmer, a David who has taken on the software Goliath because he believes he is being forced to promote its Internet Explorer Web browser.

Mr Brian Glaeske of Fargo, North Dakota, has complained to the US Justice Department that Microsoft effectively requires him to provide its Web browser in his accounting software, which has nothing to do with the World Wide Web or the Internet.

"Microsoft should not be permitted to force third party developers to redistribute Microsoft Internet Explorer in order to use (new) features," Mr Glaeske wrote Mr Joel Klein, the Justice Department's top pursuer of antitrust allegations.

Mr Glaeske is a small fish in the Web browser wars but his complaint - one of many received by the Justice Department - demonstrates why Justice is doing battle against the world's biggest technology company, in a fight that could determine the future of the software industry.

The Justice Department has already alleged Microsoft is illegally bullying personal-computer makers into using its Web browser by threatening to withhold permission for the use of the Windows 95 software system.

Mr Glaeske's complaint is about a different path that Microsoft could take to get its Internet Explorer on personal computers everywhere.

If consumers must have Internet Explorer to run programs they are less likely to use the browser of rival Netscape Communications Corp.