At the Microsoft antitrust trial, for instance, one of the biggest charges Microsoft is fighting is that it strong-armed powerful companies like America Online, Compaq and IBM through its control of the Windows desktop -- for the purpose of controlling the browser software that helps set the home page. MORE >>
Who owns the customer is a basic question of marketing. When it comes to the Web, that has been translated to who's the home page and, for the computer, who's on the desktop. As the networks of the future take form, the answers are already valued in the tens of billions of dollars.