The Internet Wars TL

"Or: What if Sun Microsystems did not offer an insultingly small amount of money to acquire Apple in 1996?"

Everyone knows the Big Four of the IT industry: Alphabet, Amazon, Apple and Meta. If you're so inclined, then you can add Microsoft to the list to form the Big Five. These five companies took control over most aspects of your day-to-day digital life by forming monolithic fiefdoms over given aspects of the internet - Google has over 90% of the search engine market, Facebook and Instagram combined form about 80% of the social media market, so on and so forth. Competition might exist between the Big Five in some cases (i.e., smartphones between Google and Apple, or with cloud computing), but most of the time the other four will simply accept the dominance of one in their given niche.

Well, what if that isn't the case? In this timeline, we shall explore an internet landscape where the default interaction between the big tech companies is fierce competition (not unlike the console wars), rather than oligopolistic interdependence (I'm not gonna pretend to fully understand what I typed just then). This TL wouldn't just focus on the internet either - the effects of the PoD on areas such as the entertainment industry shall also be explored.

For example, instead of one company owning the extremely popular video sharing site with 75% market share (in the West, at least), what if two companies continues to fight over dominance of the video sharing market? What if those two companies also fight over the browser market, and the mapping platform market, and the social media market, and you get the idea.

This is my first timeline, but I've certainly read many others since I made this account in 2018. Please give me plenty of constructive criticism, I will need it. Suggestions will also be appreciated, since I haven't really come up with many ideas that someone seeking to write a timeline should've.

Pre-thread posts (I thank everyone who responded to these posts since your responses heavily shaped the first parts of this TL)
IGG's Test Thread
How can Microsoft split up before 1996?
How exactly could Apple go bankrupt in the 90s?
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1997 – Sun Microsystems, Inc. Finalizes Acquisition of Apple Computers, Inc.

Sun Microsystems, Inc. Finalizes Acquisition of Apple Computers, Inc.

Cupertino, CA – August 10, 1997

Sun Microsystems, Inc. announced yesterday that it has completed the acquisition of Apple Computers, Inc. for $3 billion or around $25 per share of Apple stock, after securing all necessary regulatory approvals. Apple, which has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March 1997, announced in May that it will sell itself to Sun after considering offers from other companies such as IBM and Philips. As part of the deal, Sun agreed to pay off Apple’s remaining debts worth over $1 billion, partly by selling off Apple’s non-software and non-computer hardware assets, such as Apple’s range of peripherals and the Newton series of personal digital assistants.

A potential merger between Sun Microsystems and Apple Computers has been discussed as far back as 1988, with some of the first proposals being that of an Apple acquisition of Sun. These discussions occurred intermittently over the next decade, with talks between the two companies occurring in 1991, 1993 and 1995. Only after bankruptcy did Apple’s board of executives finally consider accepting Sun’s offer.

The acquisition of Apple is the first step in Sun’s attempt to break into the consumer-oriented PC market, which is currently dominated by Microsoft and their Windows operating system. Sun plans to retain the Apple brand and structure (a large factor in Apple’s acceptance of the deal), with a version of Sun’s Solaris operating system assumed to replace the aging Mac OS currently running on Apple’s Macintosh computers.

Apple is currently headed by Gil Amelio, who replaced former CEO Michael Spindler last year. Amelio is projected to remain the head of Apple within the corporate structure of Sun Microsystems.

Neither Sun nor Apple had success with producing low-end mass-market products. What makes them think that by banding together, they could do any better? – an anonymous pundit, on Sun’s acquisition of Apple.

IOTL, Sun’s low offer of $25 per share was deemed outrageous by Apple executives. The effort to reject the offer was led by Gil Amelio, who proceeded to oust Michael Spindler out of the company due to his inability to find a suitable buyer for Apple (among other things) and replaced him as CEO. Amelio proceeded to make big changes in the company, ending in the acquisition of NeXT in 1997. Amelio himself ended up getting ousted by Steve Jobs later that year. While he didn’t end up directly saving Apple (it was during his tenure that Apple’s stock hit a 12-year low, hence his ouster), I believe that some of Amelio’s actions laid the groundwork for Apple's return to profitability, which was continued by Jobs (it helped that Microsoft came over with a handy $150 million investment).

According to Jobs, Apple was 90 days until bankruptcy when he returned in 1997.

Now, what if Sun didn’t offer to buy Apple for such a low price? With great effort, Sun president Scott McNealy along with their executives were convinced not to make an offer to buy Apple below $35 per share (Apple’s stock price around 1996[1]), out of a belief that this will offend Apple executives and remove any chance of Apple acknowledging any future offers from Sun should they make one. McNealy (noted for being a tightwad[2]) refused to make such an offer, and after being informed of Apple’s financial issues opted to wait until Apple’s situation was more desperate before making their move.

Without a Sun offer to screw up, Spindler manages to convince the board to let him stay for a couple more months (perhaps for around 90 days?) as he continues to look for a buyer, before the board loses its patience and ousts Spindler in favour of Gil Amelio. By the time Amelio took the helm at Apple, it was too late. As he was about to pick up his phone to call Jean-Louis Gassée for his BeOS, Apple defaults on its creditors; the company has gone bankrupt.

[1]: It would still be a hard sell given Apple was worth $50 per share in the previous year.

[2]: He was also noted to be a “raging capitalist”, which would’ve affected his decision just as much.
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1997 – The state of Apple, post-acquisition
Holy crap do I not know much about computers specs in the late 90s. Please tell me if I made a mistake in describing the computer in the post, or whenever I start talking nonsense.

Sun Microsystems Looking for Buyer for Newton Inc.

Menlo Park, CA – August 19, 1997

Sun Microsystems, Inc. announced yesterday that they spun-off the newly acquired Apple’s Newton division and are seeking a buyer for the new company.

After Sun’s acquisition of Apple just over a week ago, the former was also saddled by the latter’s immense debts of over $1 billion. Therefore, it can be assumed that the spin-off of the Newton division is the first of a set of actions by Sun to relieve itself of some of its obligations to Apple’s creditors.

Newton Inc., now responsible for the MessagePad series of personal digital assistant devices, was split from Apple due to a noted disinterest by Sun executives in the field of PDAs. Despite the limited sales of the Newton MessagePad, the devices have a devout userbase that a potential buyer might be able to tap into after an acquisition.

Yet Another Apple Division Spun-Off by Sun

Menlo Park, CA – August 28, 1997

Just over a week after creating Newton Inc. from Apple’s PDA development division, Sun Microsystems, Inc. has once again spun-off another part of Apple into a new company with an intent to sell.

Pear Peripherals, Inc.[1], as the name suggests, now owns what used to be Apple’s range of mice, keyboards, displays, printers, scanners, speakers and the QuickTake digital camera. In a similar case to the Newton, Sun was disinterested in maintaining Apple’s range of peripherals, and instead opted to sell the rights to the devices in an effort to pay off Apple’s outstanding debt.

Apple’s New Macintosh PCs Hit The Streets

Cupertino, CA – November 8, 1997

Apple released a new version of the Macintosh personal computer yesterday – the first since becoming a subsidiary of Sun Microsystems back in August. Called the “Macintosh Ultra” (or MacUltra for short) to complement the Sun Ultra series of workstations, this new range of Apple computers has moved away from the PowerPC CPU architecture of the Power Macintosh. Instead, the MacUltra is powered by a 300 MHz UltraSPARC II microprocessor. The MacUltra is shipped with the “Macintosh Solaris” operating system – a version of Sun’s Solaris OS with a classic Mac OS-derived desktop environment and full compatibility with classic Mac OS applications. However, it is possible to install other operating systems on the device, such as NeXTSTEP or Linux.

The MacUltra, which appears to be a less-expandable version of a Sun Ultra computer, is Sun's first attempt at creating and marketing a product for the consumer market. Sun themselves said as much, encouraging higher-end users to consider switching to the Ultra 30 or the Ultra 450. The MacUltra released to a price of $1799, with horizonal desktop and vertical tower models available for purchase.

Notably, the MacUltra does not come with any other software pre-installed. This even includes Java, Sun’s popular software platform used to run many popular programs and web pages. Sun and Apple claims that users deserve a choice of what they can install on their machines, in contrast to other platforms such as Microsoft Windows which come with several programs bundled with the system. However, Sun did release "Mac Essentials" alongside the MacUltra, which is a disk containing programs such as Java, Netscape Navigator and ClarisWorks Ultra, an updated version of the ClarisWorks suite of productivity software[2]. The disk is available for purchase separately.

I imagined the MacUltra as a Beige PowerMac G3 but with Sun parts. Here are some of the specifications:
(if I missed anything, then assume it's the same or similar to the PowerMac G3)
  • Processor: 300 MHz UltraSPARC II, upgradeable up to 733 MHz
  • Graphics: Sun Creator Series 1 with 5 MB of RAM[3]
  • RAM: 128 MB SDRAM, expandable to 768 MB
  • RAM slots: 3 168-pin DIMM
  • Expansion slots: 3 PCI slots
  • Expansion bays: 2, for 3.5-inch SCSI devices
  • Storage: 6 GB hard drive
  • Media: 32× CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, 1.44 MB floppy disk drive
  • Ports: 3 mini-DIN-8, 1 ADB (Apple Desktop Bus), 1 DB-25, 1 DA-15
  • Internet: 100BASE-T Ethernet (Fast Ethernet)
The average Mac user found the MacUltra absolutely annoying to set up compared to a PowerMac. Since the computer doesn't come with any programs except for a file manager, one would have to buy Mac Essentials or some other third-party suite[4], then install the programs that they need to actually start using the device after booting up the computer for the first time.

Meanwhile, without a Microsoft deal to bring Office to the Mac (and Sun's less-than-stellar relations with MS), the MacUltra has, at worst, an arguably inferior suite of productivity programs with file formats that are incompatible with the more popular MS Office, influencing the professional crowd[5] such as offices and office workers looking to do work at home to get a Windows computer instead.

It was with the MacUltra that the idea of Mac gaming started dying. The MacUltra did support OpenGL, while Sun did recognise that Mac game companies do exist and would list many down in their list of Mac developers. However, they would ignore them in marketing and basically everywhere else[6]. As a result, companies such as Bungie, who at that point were famous for their excellent Mac games, started publishing their games on Windows as well. After former Mac-only franchises received good sales on Windows while doing abysmally on the MacUltra, many Mac game developers switched fully to Windows and never looked back.

Finally, unlike OTL Apple who had a mindset that Mac and Windows could live together and focused on things Windows didn't have a solid grasp on such as video-editing software, Sun's Apple would instead position itself as the main competitor to Microsoft. In an effort to challenge Windows' hegemony, they went back to the old Apple mindset of insisting that their device was a business computer, and a superior one to Windows PCs at that. Of course, the MacUltra was unable to use Microsoft's plethora of proprietary formats that everyone and their mother used and were used to. This put them in yet another disadvantage in the OS market.

Sun will eventually figure out how to create and market a product to the lower-end consumer market, and that product will save them from the slump caused by the dot-com bubble bursting. However, it will take several years and a court ruling against a certain monopolistic company before that happens.

[1]: The name was chosen because it’s fruit-themed, definitely not because the company sells PEARipherals.

[2]: Claris, as a subsidiary of Apple, was acquired along with it. Claris became a separate branch to Apple, producing software for Sun’s workstations and even other operating systems such as Windows or Linux. In an attempt to create a popular alternative to Microsoft Office, Sun released the free, open-source OpenWorks in 2002.

[3]: The Sun Creator only supported 2D graphics, however the Sun OpenGL libraries provided software fallbacks, allowing it to be used, slowly, with 3D apps. (taken directly from the source)

[4]: More than 90% of the people who got a MacUltra also got Mac Essentials – most stores bundled them together.

[5]: With a price of $1799 when the average computer price has dropped to $1300, and without a cheaper equivalent like the iMac, it's mostly just professionals who considered getting a MacUltra.

[6]: After killing the Pippin project, a Sun executive famously said, "We are not in the business of making toys," referring to gaming in general. That comment did wonders in killing the Mac gaming market.
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Apple’s New Macintosh PCs Hit The Streets
Loved our conversations leaded into a timeline, i always love when that happens...and OUCH FOR SUN, seems they will have to start from scratch and seems they might have sold a potential gold mine with PALM but well them. but damn how we come of PC, that PC is even weaker than the GameCube.
And this timeline has just earned a watch from me. I love this time period and the PowerPC era of Macintosh. (saying someone who owns a Power macintosh 7300/200 that I bought last year while Texas delt with snow. lol) So I'm not familiar with Sun Microsystems' history so I like to see how this goes. Keep up the good work!
1997 – US v. Microsoft, Part 1
I got this thing written before I started this thread, so I might as well post it. I'll put the sources in the final part of this series of posts.

Whenever I’m referring to “operating systems”, most of the time I’ll be talking about operating systems targeted towards desktops (i.e., the consumer market). Microsoft never really had as much of a monopoly with server OSes and the like compared to desktop ones. While MS did hold almost 40% of the market share in that area in 1999, Linux was quickly proving to be a worthy competitor.

In an unrelated note, Sun Microsystems gained a very slightly higher market share in the server hardware market ITTL, as Apple’s attempt at making server hardware[w] didn’t get around to getting cancelled before the buyout, therefore some users ended up switching to Sun when they killed the project themselves. They will still be losing out to hardware running Windows NT and Linux, at least before the year 2000 comes around.

[w]: It did not sell well – turns out that if your company is literally a step away from bankruptcy, releasing a new product in an area you have absolutely no experience in wouldn’t be the greatest idea.

Text in quotes signifies events not directly connected to the trial, but nonetheless affected its events.

Timeline of U.S. v. Microsoft – 1994 to 1997

Wired News Report, 11th of April 2002
  • July 15, 1994: In a consent decree, Microsoft agrees not to make the sale of its operating systems conditional on the purchase of any other Microsoft product, among other things.
  • May 26, 1995: Microsoft CEO Bill Gates distributes a memorandum to his executive staff, in which he discussed the coming importance of the Internet to Microsoft’s business and described how the Internet would transform communications.
  • August 21, 1995: After months of legal wrangling, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson officially approves the 1994 consent decree.
  • March 4, 1997: Apple files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection[1][2].
  • October 27, 1997: The U.S. Department of Justice files a complaint demanding a $1-million-a-day fine against Microsoft for its alleged violation of the 1995 consent decree, claiming that Microsoft overstepped its bounds by demanding PC manufacturers bundle the Internet Explorer web browser with their hardware products before being able to obtain a Windows 95 license.
  • November 8, 1997: Sun Microsystem’s Apple branch releases the MacUltra[3].
  • December 5, 1997: Jackson hears the opening arguments in the case.
  • December 11, 1997: In a preliminary injunction, Jackson orders Microsoft to stop requiring PC makers to ship Internet Explorer along with Windows 95, while rejecting the government's request for a contempt-of-court citation and a $1-million-a-day fine.
  • December 15, 1997: Microsoft appeals against the ruling from four days ago.
  • December 19, 1997: Jackson uninstalls the desktop icon for Internet Explorer in a demonstration held in his own courtroom – absolutely nothing happens, despite Microsoft claiming that such an action would destabilise the system.
[1]: While completely separate to the case, the bankruptcy of Apple – Microsoft’s largest competitor in the OS market – is commonly cited to be the most significant outside factor that affected the trial’s proceedings and judgement.

[2]: Future interviews detailed an atmosphere of dread in the Microsoft executive offices after Apple announced their bankruptcy.

[3]: The MacUltra of course did not sell very well. Conspiracy theories have spread about Sun purposefully bungling up the release of the new Mac in order to drive more people into Windows’ already massive userbase, thus influencing the courts into dishing out a worse judgement to Microsoft as a result. These rumours are yet to be confirmed.
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Now to figure out the identities of the companies that Sun sells Newton and Pear to...
Any ideas?

I've got Part 2 of US v. Microsoft under way, and I could tell you right now that it's much more divergent from OTL than Part 1 was.

Of course is just the direct access icon, who was the fool here, damn Microsoft was a mess back them.
I can't believe that Microsoft tried to pass deleting a desktop icon as system-breaking IOTL either.
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that Sun sells Newton
Palm, the irony of palm getting his competitors for peanuts when OTL apple disrupted them.

The other could be anyone, from SanDisk, western digital, etc.

I can't believe that Microsoft tried to pass deleting a desktop icon as system-breaking IOTL either.
People are luddites that's how but yeah should have uninstalled everything and nothing would have changed, as people still used diskettes for software
1998 – US v. Microsoft, Part 2
Needless to say, this timeline is a heavily abridged version of the actual events. I considered putting the notes as sub-points in the list, but even with them separate it still ended up looking like a massive wall of text – it will be even worse if I put in every minor detail about what every party in the trial did.

As always, please point out any implausible bits, especially since we’re heading towards the more divergent parts of the case.

Timeline of U.S. v. Microsoft – 1998

Wired News Report, 11th of April 2002
  • January 22, 1998: Facing a contempt citation, Microsoft signs an agreement giving computer makers freedom to install Windows 95 without an Internet Explorer icon.
  • April 12, 1998: Microsoft attains more than 90% of the operating system market, with around 60% to Windows 95 alone[1][2].
  • May 15, 1998: Windows 98 releases, with Microsoft, three days prior, successfully arguing that previous injunctions against Windows 95 should not apply to the new OS[3].
  • May 17, 1998: Internet Explorer overtakes Netscape Navigator as the largest web browser by market share[4].
  • May 18, 1998: The Department of Justice and the Attorneys General of twenty U.S. states (and the District of Columbia) sues Microsoft for illegally thwarting competition in order to protect and extend its software monopoly[5].
  • August 27, 1998: Gates gave his deposition to the attorneys representing the states in the trial; he was described to be "evasive and nonresponsive".
  • October 12, 1998: The court hears opening arguments in the first day of the antitrust trial.
  • October 13, 1998: Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale takes the witness stand.
  • November 2, 1998: Microsoft chairman Bill Gates testifies in a videotaped deposition that he never intended to keep Intel out of the software business.
  • November 5, 1998: Intel Vice-President Steven McGeady quotes a senior Microsoft vice president as having stated an intention for Microsoft to "extinguish" and "smother" Netscape and to "cut off Netscape's air supply" by giving away a clone of Netscape's flagship product for free, while behind the witness stand[6].
  • November 10, 1998: Sun Microsystems wins a crucial ruling when a federal court tells Microsoft to stop selling products that contained an incompatible version of Java[7][8][9][10].
  • November 24, 1998: America Online, with support from Sun Microsystems[11], announced that it would acquire Netscape Communications for US$4.2 billion.
  • November 25, 1998: Head of Sun’s Apple division Eric Schmidt[12][13][14] gives a detailed testimony to the court on Microsoft’s usage of the “embrace, extend, extinguish” doctrine with concern to Java.
  • December 18, 1998: Internet Explorer reaches 70% market share, mirroring Netscape Navigator’s position just over three years ago.
  • December 27, 1998: Microsoft attains more than 95% of the operating system market, after good sales for Windows 98 during the latter half of the year.
[1]: Ever since Apple went bankrupt, Mac users had been moving over to other platforms over fears of Mac support suddenly vanishing if Apple liquidates, with a good majority changing over to Windows. This continued even after Sun’s buyout, with many users opting to switch to Windows rather than MacSolaris due to issues mentioned in previous posts.

[2]: OTL, all versions of Windows combined held about 87% of the market in 1998, with MacOS holding 5% (compared to TTL, where MacSolaris only holds a bit more than 2% of the market in 1998).

[3]: This allows Microsoft to blur the line even more between IE being a separate product to Windows 98 or not, which understandably made just about every party currently on the other side of the court from Microsoft rather unhappy.

[4]: More people using Windows means more people using IE; more people using IE means they pass Netscape in market share earlier than OTL. Between this, the Windows 98 release and Windows gaining 90% of the market earlier in the year, the suitors starts to build a rather persuasive case about how Microsoft, currently on track to achieving almost 100% of the OS market share before the next millennium, was looking to “finally eliminate” their competitors in the browser market.

[5]: The DoJ also sues Microsoft for violating the 1994 consent decree by once again forcing computer manufacturers to include Internet Explorer as a part of the installation of Windows software.

[6]: Microsoft’s attorney responded by unveiling e-mails and pretrial statements from other Intel executives that paint McGeady as out of step with Intel's policies toward Microsoft at the time, while accusing McGeady of fabricating his statements. Meanwhile, the DoJ immediately worked to rehabilitate McGeady’s image; Jackson focused on whether or not McGeady actually represented Intel as a whole.

[7]: Microsoft argued that after Sun acquired Apple, Java became “essentially tied to the Macintosh platform” and in return, it was only fair that Windows can get its own optimised version of Java. Sun countered by detailing how they designed Java to function identically in “as many platforms as we can” including their own Solaris, how Java didn’t even come included with Solaris and by extension MacSolaris, and finally accused Microsoft of using its “embrace, extend, extinguish” or EEE doctrine to break Java’s portability by making Java applications written on Windows incompatible with other OSes.

[8]: To my knowledge, OTL Microsoft didn’t bother arguing and simply acquiesced to the court, and paid Sun $2 billion in another lawsuit to settle any remaining issues. Over here, they decided to argue, but they still lost.

[9]: Thanks to Sun being Microsoft’s main competitor in their most dominant market and Sun’s general dislike of MS (as opposed to Apple who made peace with them IOTL), the two companies’ relations are much more contentious ITTL.

[10]: In both OTL and TTL, Sun CEO Scott McNealy appeared in a congressional hearing along with Bill Gates and Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale before the suit started, with McNealy and Barksdale attempting to impress upon the congressmen the danger of Microsoft's monopolistic practices. This time, since he considers Sun as Microsoft's direct rival in the desktop OS market as well, he and his representatives will appear much more frequently in the context of the trial.

[11]: “As part of the deal, Sun will pay more than $350 million in fees, plus significant minimum revenue commitments during the next three years. In exchange, AOL will buy Sun hardware and services worth $500 million.” –

[12]: Yes, he’s the same guy that became Google’s CEO IOTL.

[13]: It didn’t take long for Gil Amelio to get ousted from Sun, becoming a scapegoat-of-sorts for Apple’s dire financial situation right before the acquisition. Schmidt, with a high level of technical expertise and having already held several high positions in the company, was chosen to lead Apple in his place, butterflying his move to Novell – overseeing the MacUltra's release was his first major action after getting the job.

[14]: He was sent to the court due to the fact that he was one of the first developers of Java. Who can better talk about EEE in the trial than a man forced to deal with it first-hand?
November 24, 1998: America Online, with support from Sun Microsystems[11], announced that it would acquire Netscape Communications for US$4.2 billion.
Damn, who believes those things worth those things? If anything my pricetag for Nintendo being one trillion might be too low now.

Regardless that's the informatic business it seems, I'm not a lawyer but there nothing could be against MS, especially now sun bought apple anyway
Some thoughts on TTL US v. Microsoft
You might be able to tell from earlier posts that I'm angling for a government victory in US v. Microsoft. I'm gonna share some of my thought process on why I think its possible for Microsoft to get split-up given the course of events that happened ITTL, and some insight of what will happen after Microsoft gets split.

Part 3 (hopefully the last part) of US v. Microsoft will come out soon. I might do a post about the other things that happened in 1998 as well, while I'm at it.

There are many reasons why Microsoft managed to win the trial OTL, but some of the most important in my opinion were:
  • Judge Jackson proving time and time again that he was not an impartial judge.
  • Microsoft, despite owning 93% of the desktop OS market around the year 2000, managed to present itself as still having competition (thanks to a resurgent Macintosh and a rising Linux). Since funding Apple was determined to be an action that does not squelch competition, I believe that Microsoft was also seen as supporting competition to some extent, leading to less people believing that a Microsoft split-up was necessary.
  • The trial lasting long enough that George Bush managed to get inaugurated in 2001 before it ended. Keep in mind that IOTL, Jackson’s findings that Microsoft should be split up went untouched during appeal despite a change in judges – the new government was simply disinterested in breaking up Microsoft, which led to a settlement that basically made Microsoft share proprietary Windows programming interfaces to third-party developers while allowing Microsoft to continue bundling software with Windows. Microsoft's behaviour did not change whatsoever – they were hit with a lot more antitrust lawsuits after 2001, almost all going towards Microsoft's favour.
Meanwhile, ITTL:
  • While Microsoft’s actions and remarks still proved grating to Jackson, he managed to keep his mouth shut once the prospect of MS losing became more likely. A couple of years later during an interview about the case, Jackson delivered an epic beatdown against Microsoft that let loose everything he’d been holding back since 1997.
  • Apple, whose MacOS was number two ever since Windows 3.1 became a hit, went bankrupt in 1997. Sun, with zero experience in the area and a server and workstation business to fall back on in case of disappointing results, didn’t push for a presence in the lower-end desktop market like Steve Jobs’ Apple did, and the hole in the market was filled by none other than Windows. Microsoft “optimising” (read: appropriating) supposedly platform-agnostic products such as Java led to more and more people moving over to Windows since the superior versions of products were there. With just over 97% of the market and without the presence of a visible (if not large) competitor, the argument that Windows still had viable competition was getting harder to justify (not helped by the many examples shown of Microsoft using their massive market share to beat down potential competitors).
  • The trial will conclude in the prosecution’s favour while Bill Clinton was still president due to the first two points. Future studies of the case notes that the Justice Department did just about everything they legally can to get Microsoft split up before January 20, 2001.
Simply put, Microsoft’s more dominant position ITTL (thanks to Apple’s bankruptcy) only strengthened the resolve of their opposition to see the company get punished in some form by the court. Microsoft was unable to prolong the trial further than it did IOTL, given more parties are actively piling on MS ITTL. Microsoft had less opportunities to place witnesses from their camp, while the opposition had more opportunities to place witnesses from theirs, such as Eric Schmidt and Jean-Louis Gassée (spoilers for Part 3). The court itself, disgusted by the actions that Microsoft did in an attempt to keep an upper hand in the trial, will manage to keep quiet for long enough in order to not jeopardise the chances of Microsoft getting punished (as opposed to OTL where Jackson, the judge presiding the trial, badmouthed Microsoft in the press during the course of the trial, destroying any notion of impartiality).

You might say that Apple didn’t disappear – of course it didn’t, since Sun bought them. Then in that case it could be argued that there was competition, since Apple still exists and they still hold the second largest desktop OS market share, right? Well, in this timeline Apple is firmly against Microsoft as part of Sun; IOTL they ended up being sort of neutral in the matter, given Microsoft literally gave them money and a version of Office for the Mac. This puts just about every OS developer that isn't Microsoft in the camp of the DoJ, who all collectively argued that Microsoft's actions were making it impossible for the OS market to thrive.

The solution that will be chosen, of course, is to split Microsoft’s operating system away from Microsoft’s applications. It doesn’t really matter too much if Windows still has ~97% market share, but if Microsoft loses their ability to force everyone to use their products for the sole reason that they came with the OS, actual competition would be able to form among software developers in fields they were unable to before, such as web browsers and office productivity suites. While the OS market will continue to be dominated by Windows for a little while longer, Microsoft will simply become one of many software developers for the platform, forced to innovate to remain at the top. Of course, given that they will keep a lot of the money that they owned prior to the split, they’ll still have quite the advantage over all the little start-ups that began with venture capital, and indeed they will grow larger; even larger than when they had Windows. However, at least some of those start-ups will have a chance now, instead of being forced to choose between becoming appropriated by a monopoly or dying.

Needless to say, this will change how tech companies approached their business right after Microsoft split. No longer will IT companies try to construct their own walled garden computer ecosystem; Microsoft tried that once – look what happened to them. Instead, companies in the post-split era will often just try to hold on to a niche and stay there and compete with other companies that tried to do the same approach with the same niche. Some bigger companies will try and pull a Microsoft while avoiding the mistakes that they did, by making sure that their platform can support every app, and that their apps can support every platform. Eventually, some these large companies (Microsoft included) will gravitate towards a viewpoint that the best approach to the reinvented software industry is to play at every field, and to make the best possible products for each of those fields. It just so happens that some of the biggest fields to play for is on the internet.

And so, comes the Internet Wars.
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will gravitate towards a viewpoint that the best approach to the reinvented software industry is to play at every field, and to make the best possible products for each of those fields. It just so happens that some of the biggest fields to play for is on the internet.
JAJAJA, if something learned of RIM, Symbian, IOS AND Android is that they wanted to be the top dog in their market but was the pioneer and the outsider(otl apple and android/google) that become a duopoly mostly because people forget a little detail, the average tech user is just a step onward from a luddite, even them if more competitions can make some people make better software stores(I point to you apple and google stores, the same STEAM) I wonder if Steam or an equivalent would get Shermaned ITTL, because they're a PC centric software that is walled gardened.
JAJAJA, if something learned of RIM, Symbian, IOS AND Android is that they wanted to be the top dog in their market but was the pioneer and the outsider(otl apple and android/google) that become a duopoly mostly because people forget a little detail, the average tech user is just a step onward from a luddite, even them if more competitions can make some people make better software stores(I point to you apple and google stores, the same STEAM) I wonder if Steam or an equivalent would get Shermaned ITTL, because they're a PC centric software that is walled gardened.
Yeah, people will always gravitate towards the biggest market players - that's how natural monopolies occur, after all. While there's more of a reluctance for platform developers to actively try and keep software developers exclusive to their platform, exclusive software will inevitably still be created for the biggest platforms because that's what the consumer wants. The situation almost proves Microsoft's point that the average Joe doesn't care about antitrust regulations if they can get something with some semblance of convenience. Of course, the idea that a Microsoft-like split could occur again still scares the crap out of the big tech companies, which leads to them competing more often than co-existing (and potentially getting flagged for anti-competitive behaviour).

I have stuff planned for Steam. In a nutshell, Steam will be less-dominant in the digital distribution market, but that's all I'm gonna say for now.
I have stuff planned for Steam. In a nutshell, Steam will be less-dominant in the digital distribution market
Mostly if by design to avoid being shermaned, but steam depuration( or lack of one) let's the launcher itself being a mess too. But even them that is something interesting too
1998 – Motorola to Buy Both Apple Spin-Offs

Motorola to Buy Both Apple Spin-Offs

Schaumburg, IL – January 5, 1998

Motorola, Inc. announced yesterday that they have finalised the acquisition of both Newton Inc. and Pear Peripherals, Inc. from Sun Microsystems for $300 million. Motorola reportedly acquired the former Apple divisions in an attempt to supplement Apple's presence before their acquisition by Sun.

Motorola collaborated with Apple on such projects as the PowerPC CPU architecture along with IBM, as well as being one of the companies permitted by Apple to create Macintosh clones before Apple's buyout. Furthermore, Motorola released a Newton OS-based PDA in 1995 called the Motorola Marco, that introduced wireless communications to the platform. While disappointed that future Macintosh computers are likely never to return to PowerPC, Motorola stated that they expected the switch to occur after Sun's buyout of Apple, since "Sun has had a long history of producing their own hardware".

In a recent statement, a Motorola spokesperson said that "We are interested in furthering the innovation that the Newton platform has impressed on the field [of personal digital assistants]". Given Motorola's existing relationship with the Newton, it is projected that the company will continue to innovate upon the technology started by Apple in 1993, especially in light of the successful launch of the competing PalmPilot series of PDAs from Palm Inc. While more devices such as the Marco are expected, Motorola has stated that, "...we aim to apply Newton technology to our mobile phones as well".

Motorola has also given words about their acquisition of Pear Peripherals, which holds Apple's set of keyboards, mice and printers, among other products: "Apple developed some of the best-quality peripherals for computer systems. With our acquisition of Pear [Peripherals], these products will form a crucial part of our future plans for the computer market". It is still unclear what exactly these plans are, but the company has confirmed that PowerPC will be at the centre of the project.

IOTL, Motorola had a rather messy divorce with Apple after Steve Jobs terminated Motorola's clone contract in a heated phone call. This led to Motorola ceasing their special relationship with Apple with concern to PowerPC CPUs, causing them to kick Motorola out of the AIM alliance in retaliation. ITTL, it was Apple that was ripped out of the AIM alliance by a third party. Motorola, of course, was dismayed by the course of events. However, with encouragement by IBM who themselves lost a valued customer, Motorola decided to take advantage of a terrible situation by buying the bits of Apple that Sun offered; Pear as part of an attempt to start a series of "spiritual successors" to the Power Macintosh that ran on PowerPC, and Newton because since Sun was offering it, they might as well.

A couple of years later, IBM and Motorola are joined by a couple of Japanese companies to form the STIM alliance, but that's a whole other story.

Pear Peripherals ceased to exist after Motorola's buyout – it was dissolved into Motorola's fledgling computer division. It wasn't like the company had that much of an identity anyways; it was a holding company for Apple's peripherals and nothing more.

Newton Inc., meanwhile, had a more interesting fate. The Newton OS continued to live on, powering the Motorola MessagePad series of PDAs and serving as the foundation for the company's early series of smartphones. When Motorola was offered an invitation to join the Symbian consortium in October 1998, the company declined, opting to keep developing the platform they just acquired a couple of months ago. Instead, Motorola turned Newton Inc. into a licensing consortium itself. However, barely any companies joined Motorola in their venture, with all the other big phone developers opting to side with Symbian.

That is until Psion, the original developers of Symbian, attempted to sell their 31.1% stake in the company to Nokia, which will turn them into the majority stakeholder of Symbian Ltd.
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is still unclear what exactly these plans are, but the company has confirmed that PowerPC will be at the centre of the project.
Sony and Toshiba?, fun fact, Sony got the idea of working with IBM after seeing how Nintendo got the Gekko(GameCube CPU) at such low cost and amazing horsepower made Sony to consider working with them as they were surprised both Nintendo and IBM efficiency, of course, Kutaragi was too over the moon we got OTL Cell... but that's another story. but seems did GameCube happen as OTL?

I even forget about Motorola, such sad fate OTL
Yeah, the Gamecube's internal architecture will largely be unchanged. There will be differences concerning other aspects of the console, but again, that's for another time
Seems So, as i thought an early collapse of AIM would derail the powerPC upgrades but those might stays, GC might have been vital for MS and Sony in that regard