147. The consumer who receives a CD-ROM containing a free browser in the mail or as a magazine insert is at least spared the time and effort it would take to obtain browsing software from a retail vendor or to download it from the Web. But, just as the consumer who obtains a browser at retail or off the Web, the consumer who receives the software unsolicited at home must first install it on a PC system in order to use it, and merely installing a browser product takes time and can be confusing for novice users. Plus, a large percentage of the unsolicited disks distributed through "carpet bombing" reach individuals who do not have PCs, who already have pre-installed browsing software, or who have no interest in browsing the Web. In practice, less than two percent of CD-ROM disks disseminated in mass-distribution campaigns are used in the way the distributor intended. As a result, this form of distribution is rarely profitable, and then only when undertaken by on-line subscription services for whom a sale translates into a stream of revenues lasting into the future. The fact that an OLS may find it worthwhile to "carpet bomb" consumers with free disks obviously only helps the vendor of browsing software whose product the OLS has chosen to bundle with its proprietary software. So, while there are other means of distributing browsers, the fact remains that to a firm interested in browser usage, there simply are no channels that compare in efficiency to OEM pre- installation and IAP bundling.
153. Because of the separate demand for browsers and operating systems, firms have found it efficient to supply the products separately. A number of operating system vendors offer consumers the choice of licensing their operating systems without a browser. Others bundle a browser with their operating system products but allow OEMs, value-added resellers, and consumers either to not install it or, if the browser has been pre-installed, to uninstall it. While Microsoft no longer affords this flexibility (it is the only operating system vendor that does not), it has always marketed and distributed Internet Explorer separately from Windows in several channels. These include retail sales, service kits for ISVs, free downloads over the Internet, and bundling with other products produced both by Microsoft and by third-party ISVs. In order to compete with Navigator for browser share, as well as to satisfy corporate consumers who want their diverse PC platforms to present a common browser interface to employees, Microsoft has also created stand-alone versions of Internet Explorer that run on operating systems other than 32-bit Windows, including the Mac OS and Windows 3.x.
By constraining the freedom of OEMs to implement certain software programs in the Windows boot sequence, Microsoft foreclosed an opportunity for OEMs to make Windows PC systems less confusing and more user-friendly, as consumers desired. By taking the actions listed above, and by enticing firms into exclusivity arrangements with valuable inducements that only Microsoft could offer and that the firms reasonably believed they could not do without, Microsoft forced those consumers who otherwise would have elected Navigator as their browser to either pay a substantial price (in the forms of downloading, installation, confusion, degraded system performance, and diminished memory capacity) or content themselves with Internet Explorer. 781b155fdc