Also, it is to remember that however large Microsoft, spawn of IBM, and Intel, might collectively be, which is large, there are a wide variety of competitors. In the context of a war, Microsoft is well entrenched and it's supply (distribution) network is large and powerful. Linux's supporters tend to have more heart behind their cause.
For any of their failings, Microsoft makes some good software. Ten years ago, they made Word and Excel that worked on Windows and Macintosh, then and now the prevalent personal computer operating systems. The personal computer, besides techy hobbyist and professional use, was and is in many ways a replacement and extension of the typewriter, the officeplace icon until the advent (bad word) of PCs. Obviously a huge non-niche market is software that replicates that functionality. On that note, note that neither of the behemoths in question manufactures printers.
I use Windows software and prefer it to Macintosh and UNIX software. Largely that is due to familiarity. When I started using PCs, besides game-oriented Commodore dabbling as a teen, it was Macintosh environment, with good things. About ten years ago, there was AppleTalk, PostScript printers, QuarkXPress, Excel and Word, each of which exist today, although I hear its called OpenTransport. The thing about that is that these kinds of software have been around and been solidified for these ten years, only making bigger. Some might argue that competitors have risen and fallen, and even that it would be difficult for any replacement set to gain adequate market share for survivability, viz. Sun StarOffice acquisition in light of Corel or Lotus. At any rate, most types of software for personal use are available without porting on the Windows OS. It is certainly true that UNIX software is better in ways for server as opposed to workstation use, and overall better for this purpose. My Linux machine sits and runs for weeks with a full complement of server software and a kernel I compiled myself.
Alexander Bell developed the telephone. In the fast and loose freewheeling days of early telephone deployment, over ten or twenty years the infrastructure was made for thousands of people to talk on the phone. In the last five years, millions have turned on to the Internet.
Microsoft has paved itself a way into large scale use, and economically and obviously they would to preserve and expand that venue, and it is a lucrative one, and as it is software, reproducible at near-zero margin, one that invites the most high economy of scale, like any other form of redistributable media.
Peter C. McCluskey wrote:
> email@example.com (Robin Hanson) writes:
> >Peter McCluskey wrote:
> >>I'm fairly confident that an independant Intel would be beaten if it
> >>priced chips as if it had a full monopoly, and I suspect this competitive
> >>pressure has an effect on prices that is comparable to the benefits of a
> >The question is how much this threat would be reduced by a merger. Merged
> >threats, such as Apple offered bundling its OS with Motorola chips,
> >would still be feasible.
> I doubt that anything has a chance if it avoids Intel compatability and
> Microsoft compatability at the same time.
> I'd guess that there's currently a 40% chance that Linux or something
> similar will beat Microsoft. My estimate would drop below 10% if Intel
> and Microsoft merged with no regulatory strings attached.
> >Actually, the same analysis applies if there is *any* market power.
> >In this case, D(P) represents the effective demand each firm faces
> >taking the other firms into account. Unless there is an exact price
> >threshold, such that sales are zero above that threshold and 100%
> >of the market below that threshold, a firm has some market power.
> Ok, you've convinced me that they should set prices as if they were
> a single firm. My objections are to letting them develop standards as
> a single firm. It looks like we would probably both be satisfied if
> they were encouraged to collude on pricing, but not allowed to merge.
> Peter McCluskey | Critmail (http://crit.org/critmail.html):
> http://www.rahul.net/pcm | Accept nothing less to archive your mailing list