Neuauflage des Browserkriegs

PRINCETON: Zehn Jahre nach seiner Gründung droht Google, den „Browserkrieg” der 1990er Jahre – als Microsofts Internet Explorer seinen Rivalen, den Netscape Navigator, erledigte – neu zu entfachen. Diesmal freilich ist es Googles Chrome, der verspricht, das der Softwarebranche insgesamt zugrunde liegende Wirtschaftsmodell umzuwerfen – und zwar nicht nur aufgrund seiner technischen Innovation, deutlich verschiedene Arten von Software mit einem Internetbrowser zu verknüpfen. Vielmehr macht es hiermit zugleich ein Programm wie Windows, das bisher den Zugriff auf alle Arten von Software regelte, unnötig.

Googles neue Technologie ist beeindruckend und wird sich – wenn die anfänglichen Sicherheitsprobleme erst einmal gelöst sind – ohne Zweifel für viele Verbraucher als praktisch erweisen. Die grundlegende Neuerung aber liegt woanders: Chrome ist ein Durchbruch, weil er einen völlig neuen Ansatz in Bezug auf ein durch den rechtlichen und aufsichtsrechtlichen Rahmen der Wettbewerbspolitik bedingtes Dilemma in den beiden wichtigsten Rechtsräumen weltweit – den USA und der EU – bietet.

Zwischen 1995 und 1997 verdrängte der Internet Explorer den Navigator fast völlig, obwohl ursprünglich der Navigator den meisten Anwendern das World Wide Web zugänglich gemacht hatte und seine Dominanz unangreifbar schien. Wesentlicher Vorteil des Internet Explorer war weniger die Technik, sondern, dass Microsofts Programm Windows die Betriebssoftware der überwältigenden Mehrheit aller Personalcomputer war. Daher konnte ein Browser – und tatsächlich auch andere Mediensoftware – im Rahmen eines kompletten Softwarepakets in die Windows-Grundstruktur eingebunden werden.

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