Re: Free Market Economics

Bobby Whalen (
Sat, 12 Jul 1997 11:50:20 PDT

On Fri, 11 Jul 1997 John K Clark writes:

>Be specific! I gave a number of facts, which one was wrong?

>>Rockefeller did not have to lower his prices everywhere, only in
>>those places he was opening new gas stations. History shows this
>>worked quite well to his advantage.

>The only crime Microsoft and Intel have committed is in being
>successful, a peculiar sin for a Extropian. Imagine the screaming we
>would hear if Apple had won and had "unfairly" crushed Microsoft.
>Apple would not only be king of software but of hardware too.

I only pick on 'successful' companies if they have gained their success
in unscrupulous and anti-competitive ways, as Microsoft has.
For sure Apple has made a bunch of crummie business mistakes. Not least
of which was refusing to allow clones to enter the market until
recently. Apple has been quite anti-competitive in its treatment of the
clone vendors. Thus Power Computing will start building Wintel
machines. This in turn has caused Apple's stock to plummet. Despite the
fact that the Mac platform is great, Apple is getting exactly what they

>It's true that if you were starting from scratch lots of people could
>make a more consistent, more elegant, system than Wintel, but
>Microsoft and Intel didn't have that luxury. Everything they made had
>to be compatible with everything they made before, this imposes a
>severe burden, but a burden the most popular operating system in the
>world MUST bear. If everything else was equal they would be better
>than Wintel but everything else is not equal. These systems have
>some small technical advantages but that is countered by enormous
>practical disadvantages, they will not operate on the type of
>computer most people have and it will not run billions of dollars
>worth of popular software that took thousands of man years to write. >
It's perfectly valid to take such things into account when deciding
>what system is really superior. When a standard is set it's just not
>worth going to a new one unless you get an astronomical improvement.
>The market has decided that the Apple or Next or Bee is not a huge
>advance of that type. Maybe the market is wrong but I know
>it has a better understanding of such things than a bunch of hack

You make a very good point. And if I were to buy a new computer today
it would be Wintel for the exact reasons you specify. My only
contention, is they have become the de-facto standard by stifling
progress on many other fronts. So the way I see it, Free-Market
Economics is not necessarily best for technological progress - at least
in the short-term.

Bobby Whalen

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