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Deja Vu

A long, long time ago...
I can still remember
How that browser used to make me smile.
And I knew if it had a chance
That it could make a website dance
And users would be happy for a while.
(Many apologies to Don McLean)

Before the Web exploded, there was Netscape. And it was good. Netscape made some money using a business model that is very similar to those used by many open-source software based business models. Give away a free "lite" version of its software to propagate usage and sell a professional version with a few more features.

And then Microsoft smelled the trail of gold leading to Netscape's door. Enter Internet Explorer. Free. Bundled (eventually tightly integrated) into the operating system forced upon purchasers of new PCs.

I can???t remember if I cried
When I saw IE and Netscape collide,
But something touched me deep inside
The day that Netscape died.

Deja Vu. This time it's not a browser, but anti-spyware. The worldwide market for anti-spyware software reached $97 million in revenue in 2004, up 240.4 percent from a year earlier, according to IDC analysts. And Microsoft smelled the opportunity to subsume yet another market. It acquired GIANT Company Software, Inc. in December 2004 and its technology is what is now known as Windows Defender, a component of Windows Vista, which is due out this year.

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