Re: Critical Optimism in Pessimistic Times

Technotranscendence (
Sat, 24 Jan 1998 23:39:17 -0500 (EST)

At 06:12 PM 1/24/98 PST, John Montgomery <> wrote:
>Bill Gates capability to rapidly monopolize the very new industry of
>computer software and internet browsers is simply symptom of a business
>man taking full advantage of a new situation and technologies.
>Government is slow to react, but has begun to see Bill Gates as a threat
>and are trying to break his monopoly. To say Mr. Gates desires to
>conquer the world is not being pessimistic but instead being highly
>paranoid. I'm sure the government has it's eyes on Bill Gates since
>there are many paranoid people in government. My question is will the
>government in it's present form be able to keep up with the Bill Gates
>of the future. As new technologies rapidly develop, can we afford to
>depend on government to restrict abuses? As technology evolves at a
>mind boggling speed, shouldn't we design a government which can keep

There are a few funny things here. First, John and others are suggesting
breaking an alleged monopoly (Gates' businesses) with a real monopoly
(government). In other words, to keep some people from getting too
much power, they want to give other people even more power. That
strikes me as odd.

Second, what about the Gateses of the past? Microsoft is not the
first startup to sweep through an industry and leave the old elite
and others panting. Ford nealy had a monopoly on cars. Have
you driven a Ford lately? Most people don't today. Was it the
government that worked some magic to make other car companies
compete? No. In fact, tariffs and import quotas help to keep Ford's
competitors out, but yet it moves. Honda, Toyota, Chrysler, etc.
all make cars and compete with Ford.

Third, the personal computer software market is relatively new. As it
matures, not only do I think more competitors will break into it, but
consumers will demand more of an OS. Maybe this will be more
than Gates and Microsoft can deliver. If so, competitors will eat
his company alive. If not, then perhaps it is because he is giving
the people what they want.


Daniel Ust