Re: Microsoft

Warrl kyree Tale'sedrin (
Wed, 29 Apr 1998 23:57:44 +0000

> From: (Tony Belding)

> Kris Ganjam <> wrote:
> KG> The alleged purpose of the Antitrust laws was to protect competition;
> KG> that purpose was based on the socialistic fallacy that a free,
> KG> unregulated market will inevitably lead to the establishment of
> KG> coercive monopolies.
> That "socialist fallacy" falls very closely in line with historical fact in
> many industries, particularly those which depend upon huge capital
> investments. Banking, for example.

Where, we observe, no monopoly has ever come into being, or been
sustained, without government intervention to protect it.

> KG> But, in fact, no coercive monopoly has ever been or ever can be
> KG> established by means of free trade on a free market.
> And if anyone finds an example -- such as Microsoft -- then we'll ignore it,
> since it does't fit into our theory.

Actually, there are two things more important than our theory that it
doesn't fit:

* the definition of "monopoly"

* the definition of "coercive".

Although to be fair, Microsoft's
> monopoly *is* enforced by the power of the US Government, in the form of many
> copyrights and software patents. Just imagine how quickly Microsoft would
> crack down in the courts on any company that produced a MS-Windows compatible
> OS!

We don't have to imagine this, as an operating system exists which is
(a) substantially compatible with MS Windows, (b) substantially
superior to MS Windows, and (c) substantially less expensive than MS

It is distributed worldwide via a wide variety of channels,
including in the US where it can be picked up even in bookstores (new
*and* used).

I hear that the Red Hat release 5.0 is even easier to install than

Microsoft has initiated no court action.

> Microsoft *obviously* have a monopoly.

Monopoly: the circumstance of being ahead of most of the competition,
and running as fast as you can in hopes of staying there.

Have you told the US Federal Trade Commission about this new
definition? It'd be a nice addition to their collection (which
already includes "the condition of being the tenth-largest company in
a market" and "the condition of not being in a market at all").

> No other company is legally able to
> produce operating systems compatible with the huge majority of software
> available on the marketplace -- software designed for MS-Windows.

Incorrect, as proven by the fact that such an operating system exists
and is widely available in the US via multiple distributors.

> There are
> not only legal obstacles preventing any other company from muscling in, but
> also technical roadblocks: MS have very intentionally made their OS large and
> complex, and its inner workings occult, and subject to periodic change, so
> that it's impractical for any competitor to attempt cloning it. (They were
> stung once by DR-DOS, so obviously Mr. Gates doesn't want that happening
> again.)
> I make no secret of my antipathy toward Microsoft.

Your antipathy, unfortunately, causes you to overstep reality.

> This company has
> single-handedly set back the development of the computer industry 10 years or
> more.

I think IBM had a much larger hand in that.

But then, IBM is officially not a monopoly. Even the government
admits it, after spending more than a decade and many millions of
taxpayer dollars trying to prove that it it is. And the government
never had any successful action against IBM, so cannot claim any
credit whatsoever for the fact that it is not a monopoly.

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