RE: POL: Reaction to Microsoft Ruling

From: Max More (
Date: Mon Apr 17 2000 - 18:17:12 MDT

At 08:18 AM 4/17/00 , Peter McCluskey wrote:

> (Max More) writes:
> >Oh really? Then would you care to explain how Microsoft managed to achieve
> >an even larger share of the office suite market on the MacOS than on its
> >own OS?
> There are more plausible hypotheses than I would care to list. Your
>observation only rules out a small portion of the ones that have been

It's probably pointless to go into this further, unless there is some way
of testing the alternative hypotheses. The relative success of the Office
programs on the Mac seems to me to be prima facie counter-evidence to the
anti-MS brigade. I didn't mention other evidence the presenters gave, such
as the clear correlation between Microsoft's entry into a certain market
and a fall in software prices in that market. (I experienced this with ExI,
in buying database software. MS Access was a bargain, the best DB
program--for ExI's purposes--out of the several that I had used, and it
pushed other DB makers to reduce prices.)

> >I'd have to dig out the authors and their book, but at a Cato/Forbes ASAP
> >conference, I saw it convincingly demonstrated that Microsoft's success in
> >each area of software directly correlated with the comparative quality of
> >their products according to computer magazine reviews. (For instance,
> Each area that they chose to study. As far as I recall, they didn't study
>some important areas such as operating systems.

I don't know about that without getting the book. However, my point was
that they showed compelling evidence against the idea that Microsoft got
significant leverage in application software from controlling the OS. I
wouldn't want to say they extracted *no* advantage, just that it's less
that envious competitors want to admit.

> Showing that such a correlation exists only shows that technical competence
>was one of the strategies they used, not that it was their sole strategy.

Of course. I was puzzled why you thought that I believed otherwise until I
re-read the passage to which I was responding:

> >>player in those areas too. I don't think you can seriously believe
> >>that they've accomplished this success based solely on the technical
> >>merits of their products.

Just to clarify: Certainly I do *not* believe that technical competence was
the only factor. Some other factors include superb management, superior
business strategy, a policy of hiring the best programmers, effective
marketing, a strong focus on developer relationships, and a relentless
drive to improve on imperfect products.

Look, *someone* has to defend Microsoft these days!

[Disclaimer: I own Microsoft stock. However, it constitutes 2.5% of my
portfolio and I've defended Microsoft for years before I bought their
stock...I also own stock in people who hate Microsoft, particularly Oracle.]

Max More, Ph.D.
President, Extropy Institute.
CEO, MoreLogic Solutions. or

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