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A user of a computer connected to the Internet can publish a page on the Web simply by copying it into a specially designated, publicly accessible directory on a Web server.Some Web resources are in the form of applications that provide functionality through a user's PC system but actually execute on a server. Internet content providers ("ICPs") are the individuals and organizations that have established a presence, or "site," on the Web by publishing a collection of Web pages.It follows that, if one firm controlled the licensing of all Intel-compatible PC operating systems world-wide, it could set the price of a license substantially above that which would be charged in a competitive market and leave the price there for a significant period of time without losing so many customers as to make the action unprofitable. Microsoft enjoys so much power in the market for Intel-compatible PC operating systems that if it wished to exercise this power solely in terms of price, it could charge a price for Windows substantially above that which could be charged in a competitive market.Therefore, in determining the level of Microsoft's market power, the relevant market is the licensing of all Intel-compatible PC operating systems world-wide. Moreover, it could do so for a significant period of time without losing an unacceptable amount of business to competitors.Web clients and servers transfer data using a standard known as the Hypertext Transfer Protocol ("HTTP").
Since its inception, Microsoft has focused primarily on developing software and licensing it to various purchasers. In 1981, Microsoft released the first version of its Microsoft Disk Operating System, commonly known as "MS-DOS." The system had a character-based user interface that required the user to type specific instructions at a command prompt in order to perform tasks such as launching applications and copying files.The home page is usually a hypertext document that presents an overview of the site and hyperlinks to the other pages comprising the site. PCs typically connect to the Internet through the services of Internet access providers ("IAPs"), which generally charge subscription fees to their customers in the United States. Online services ("OLSs") such as America Online ("AOL"), Prodigy, and the Microsoft Network ("MSN") offer, in addition to Internet access, various services and an array of proprietary content.Internet service providers ("ISPs") such as Mind Spring and Netcom, on the other hand, offer few services apart from Internet access and relatively little of their own content. A "Web client" is software that, when running on a computer connected to the Internet, sends information to and receives information from Web servers throughout the Internet.Second, Microsoft's dominant market share is protected by a high barrier to entry. Middleware technologies, as previously noted, have the potential to weaken the applications barrier to entry.Third, and largely as a result of that barrier, Microsoft's customers lack a commercially viable alternative to Windows. Microsoft was apprehensive that the APIs exposed by middleware technologies would attract so much developer interest, and would become so numerous and varied, that there would arise a substantial and growing number of full-featured applications that relied largely, or even wholly, on middleware APIs.