Re: what if microsoft disobeyed the breakup?

From: phil osborn (
Date: Mon Jun 05 2000 - 23:28:07 MDT

>From: "John Clark" <>
>Subject: Re: what if microsoft disobeyed the breakup?
>Date: Sun, 4 Jun 2000 12:41:09 -0400
>phil osborn <> Wrote:
> >MS, to me, represents the triumph of a fundamentally idealess
> >yuppy oligarchy in using a corrupt system to sell amazingly shoddy
> >to an ignorant market. [...] The Apple II was the WORST possible
>choice for
> >an "educational computer." [...] They put the money into MARKETING,
> >instead of product or R & D. [...] also used dirty tricks
>Ok, so maybe everybody made a mistake but you, maybe Apple and Microsoft
>make nothing but junk, maybe we should all be using a Commodore 64, maybe
>you are smarter than the market, but my question to you is, do you think
>Janet Reno is as smart as you? And do you think Janet Reno is as moral as
>so you can trust her not to use dirty tricks as those evil greedy
>multinational satanic
>capitalistic corporations did?

You think I trust Janet Reno? Come on. Don't put words in my mouth.
Sometimes even Hitler was right. That doesn't mean that I support Nazism.
You just don't seem to realize that Microsoft is part of the same vicious,
corrupt system as Reno. Let them go at it, I say.

"everybody made a mistake but you"? I'm not defending Commodore - heaven
forbid. They set a new standard for sleaze and double-dealing under
Tramiel. Virtually everyone hated them during his reign, and for good
reason. If they had reached the position that MicroSoft has, we would
probably be twice as bad off, minimum. Except that Tramiel was so openly
arrogant and villianous that someone would have nuked him long before
that... Jerry Pournelle, in his book on personal computers, would not even
mention Commodore, even though they dominated the market of the time.

The C64 outsold the Apple II by a major margin. Check your history. I
don't like being painted as a lone nut - especially when it's not true. It
was the most popular single model of personal computer ever made. And, who
bought it? Individual users and private schools. Who bought the majority
of Apple II's? State purchasing agents. I consulted with private schools
during that period. The few who put out the big bucks for the Apples had to
drag most of the kids to them. They had to lock the kids out of the rooms
with C64's or Atari 800's.
> >Don't outcompete, don't make a better product. Just use the legal
>The very motto of Microsoft's competitors who are cheering the "Justice"
>department thugs on.
> >This is the kind of yuppy scum slease that I expect from our class
>of new
> >oligarchs who treat everything as negotiable.
>As a charter member of Yuppie Scum Sleaze International I see nothing wrong
>with negotiation and my goal is to make Justice a commodity.
> >As an anarcho-capitalist, objectivist libertarian from the '60's on
>Good God, what happened to you?
I learned my trade - professional revolutionary. Trust is a commodity as
well. Societies that treat everything as negotiable don't have much of that
commodity. Stability, dependability are essential to good planning. I can
cite many, many examples of the disasters coming out of the "everything is
negotiable" position.

China, for example. For a couple millenia now, China had all the basic
capital to have made the leap forward to a modern society moving straight
toward the singularity. The problem is that they always eat it all up
fighting themselves, until it reaches a terminal phase and a new hoard of
barbarians sweeps the corruption away and then quickly falls into the same
trap themselves. Today the typical Chinese business has the Peoples Army as
a silent partner. Yesterday, it was the local Mandarin official.
Regardless, a huge percentage of the productive capacity goes into paying
for "protection."

What you want is to be able to depend upon contracts, including implicit
ones that a common law jury would support. No one has the right to invite
you out on their boat and then extort from you to carry you back to shore.
It was implicit that you never would have gotten on the boat if that had
been the deal. That's not a negotiable position.

Many non-Chinese companies who have tried to do business there recently have
gotten seriously burned when they discovered that to the typical Chinese
businessman contracts are just a statement of temporary convenience. After
committing resources in good faith, they suddenly find themselves being
asked to renegotiate from a much weakened position. (Then they discover
that the Chinese interns have faxed or emailed their entire business back
home, including all the intellectual property which was their stock in

There are many ways to interpret the idea that everything is negotiable, and
some of them I would probably agree with. Justice is a commodity in the
sense that it has to be provided by someone, hopefully at a mutual profit,
in a competitive market. Justice, however, has a specific meaning. It
isn't just whatever gunpower you can afford to hire, and if that's the way
it works in the society you live, then you're in a heap of trouble... And
we are, but not beyond fixing.
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