Thursday, July 20, 2006

Cringely 1997 - WinTrust, IE and the death of Netscape

In a recent column Cringely mentioned that his archives go back to 1997. Net eons ago. And so they do. Here he writes about something called WinTrust, which sounds like Google Checkout. (Anyone remember Microsoft Wallet? No, I didn't think so.) He also claims that the future of the net is in Cybercash (no, didn't happen), online transactions (duh) and advertising (oh, yes).
I, Cringely . November 17, 1997 - Take a billionaire to lunch | PBS

... And then there's WinTrust: Microsoft is laying the groundwork so that all electronic transactions will go through Redmond. This may be the real reason Microsoft is pushing IE4 onto the OEMs so hard.

Cybercash, online transactions, Internet advertising. The browser is simply the front door to these innovative services/profit centers. The only way to make sure everyone will see those centers is to make sure everyone uses Microsoft's browser. Netscape has no interest in enabling WinTrust, so Netscape must die. Microsoft will gladly give away the browser for free regardless of the presence of Netscape just to be sure they can control the online gateway. From a business standpoint, this is sheer brilliance. But to some folks it's Big Brother coming from Washington state instead of DC.
Cringely was claiming Microsoft's original agenda was not a defensive move against Netscape, but rather an offensive move to direct all transactions through Microsoft. In retrospect, I don't think they were so clever.

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