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Microsoft's strategy is even more complicated that that of Netscape. Microsoft has the same advantages as Netscape with its browser software Microsoft Internet Explorer, but also has the advantage of the Windows 95 and 98 software, which integrates Internet Explorer automatically on all the PCs produced by manufacturers who have signed agreements with Microsoft.

In addition, Microsoft integrates the chain vertically, since it is found :
- in the creation of economic communities' sites, such as Carpoint for cars (http://www.carpoint.com) or Expedia for travel (http://www.expedia.com) ;
- in the publishing of specialised software (Money) ;
- in the creation of standard exchange transactions, such as OFX for online banking ;
- in the creation of regional guides (which themselves include shopping malls) ;
- in the commercial Web servers, in which part of the system's intelligence will be integrated ;
- in shopping assistants (I imagine that Microsoft is actively working on the integration of Firefly's technology into its commercial Web servers) ;
- in Internet access (mobile phones by satellite, cable networks in the United States...)

It's not difficult to define the strategic position that Microsoft will attain, since its aim is to become an indispensable intermediary of online business.

But Microsoft still hasn't won the battle, as browsers need equipment to function. The manufacturers of computers, of mobile phones which will soon be systematically equipped with Internet access, of Web TV (Internet on television for all the family) and of autoware (in-car computers which will offer Internet access) are the ones who chose which browser system to install on their equipment. Sometimes, they even create their own software, thus short-circuiting Netscape or Microsoft. But it's often the case (as with that of IBM and Compaq) that the manufacturers sign agreements with portal sites, so that the browsers installed in their machines connect automatically to the portal site in question.


There are yet other systems of equipment which will be able to identify instances of buying by Internet, combined with online commercial services, which will lead to several different means of access for the same person. In the same way that today, the same person telephones either from a call box, a mobile phone, a hotel phone, from his home or even by a cable network, tomorrow the man in the street will be able to connect to Internet from his car, his palm-top computer, his desktop computer or his portable phone. He may even connect automatically (for example, when he passes the bar code on his bottle of detergent under a bar code reader installed on his dustbin, which will automatically buy the item in the cheapest supermarket, or when he presses a red button on his watch to receive the sports results, tourist information, a guide or a repair service).

The access terminal manufacturers will have the chance to forge a new link in the e-business value chain.

 

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If you enjoyed this site, we obviously share values: we have written it in 1999 !

We haven't updated it online as the vision still is more and more relevant: the more the internet matures, the closer it gets to our vision.

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