Re: what if microsoft disobeyed the breakup?

From: Matt Gingell (
Date: Sun Jun 18 2000 - 03:23:20 MDT

> Suppose I started selling dirt, at the price of 30$/ounce. I set up an
> internet business,, and take credit cards, and ship dirt to
> whoever wants it. I'd assume that nobody thinks that I should not be allowed
> to do this. Obviously, it's a stupid idea, but there's no reason I should
> not be allowed to do it. But then assume that people start to buy it. I do
> an IPO, I become a billionaire, and people spend maybe 5% of their incomes
> on my dirt. They're using it to decorate the floors of their homes suppose.
> I make deals with construction companies telling them that if they want to
> put Haradon Dirt in any of the homes they construct, they have to put it in
> every single one. I imagine that at this point, there would be a suit
> against me by carpet manufactureurs for anti-competitive practices, and
> accusations that my dirt is unfairly priced, which would also be the basis
> of many suits.
> So at what point would my freedom to produce and sell a product be a
> secondary consideration to the effect on society that it has?

It is a fuzzy line - at what point does free speech become incitement
to riot or libel or whatever? The exclusionary contracts in your
example start getting you into the grey area between your freedoms and
everybody else's, but it's not like anybody really _needs_ a chic dirt
floor or they couldn't buy it from someone else. So long as you're not
the sole supplier of some magical anti-cancer dirt, or you've bought up
all the economically exploitable sources, I'm content to let you do
whatever you like with it.


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