On Thu, 6 Apr 2000, David Blenkinsop wrote:
> Maybe I should try for some analogy here, I mean sheesh, next thing you
> know, Ford Motor Co (say) might insist that their cars won't run without
> the "integrated hubcaps" or something; at some point the presumption of
> customers' intelligence and freedom to choose ought to be placed
> foremost, don't you think?
Well, you can come up with absurd analogies either way. If I have no
credible alternative to buying a Ford, can they require that I purchase a
life-time service contract along with it? Bill Gates said, back when the
latest round of this stuff began, that forcing Microsoft to ship Netscape
with Windows is like forcing Coke to put a can of Pepsi in every six
pack. In fact, it more like saying if Coke owned ninety-nine percent of
all the supermarkets in the world then it's ethical to force them to carry
at least a few competing products.
Of course freedom is important, but competition and choice are important
too. The task of government regulators is to draw an optimal, principled
compromise between the two.
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