Zeldman on Microsoft
Microsoft recently lost a patent suit which, in principle, could force it to eliminate plug-ins -- destroying Flash, Real, Java, and essentially everyone else in the Web client space. Zeldman suggests that Microsoft wanted to lose the case.
I think it unlikely that the Eolas patent will stand up, but it's perfectly plausible that Microsoft might try this on the off-chance that it could use its browser monopoly to get de facto ownership of broadband media. That's the upshot of making Windows/MSIE/MediaPlayer a monolithic standard; Windows would effectively have to be built in to every TV system. The target here wouldn't be Macromedia and Real, but CBS and ABC/Disney; Microsoft could end up owning a toll-booth on the broadcast and cable television highway, and that's a mighty big brass ring.