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Microsoft shows unusual smarts
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21 May 1997

Lots of people are now following the legal battle that's shaping up between Ticketmaster and Microsoft over links from MS's Seattle Sidewalk site.

In case you're not already aware, TicketMaster has taken exception to the way that Microsoft has linked to their site and is claiming that it's unfair. After a bit of discussion, both sides have run off to their lawyers in a bid to settle the matter.

Of course the argument often used in cases of disputed linking is that the linked-to site could always configure their system so as to disable unwanted links - and indeed that's exactly what TicketMaster ended up doing as an interim measure.

Just to show that Microsoft can think on their feet, they've joined in the game of one-upmanship by directing their ticketmaster links through a number of search engines. You can see the effect if you click on the "Ticketmaster" link on this page.

This effectively kills two birds with one stone as far as Microsoft are concerned. Technically speaking, they no longer link [directly] to TicketMaster and at the same time, the defensive mechanisms installed on the TM site are neatly sidesteped.

TicketMaster have announced that they'll continue their suit against MS - but one must ask - on what grounds?

One has to wonder whether TicketMaster are really confident of their ability to win the suit - majority share-holder Paul Allen has just sold his 55% stake to Home Shopping Network Inc. Maybe he's seen the first lawyer's bill!

Now the thing that I (and no doubt many others) are waiting to see is exactly how Microsoft handles the situation when someone builds a web site which links to the guts of one of its ventures in a way which the giant doesn't like. Will we see another of the famous Bill Gates "about face" moves?

  • 640K is more than enough memory
  • OS/2 is the future of operating systems
  • The Net isn't important
  • We don't need no stinkin Java!

Look for "Microsoft sues xxxx over unfair Web links" sometime soon. In fact, I would not be surprised if someone builds a site consisting almost solely of links into the bowels of Microsoft's offerings solely to pose a challenge to Microsoft's stance on this issue.

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