Re: Bill Gates

Brian Atkins (
Sun, 05 Oct 1997 01:30:12 -0400

> > Regardless of
> > how grudgingly they may have felt about being locked in, or how much
> > they lied to themselves about wanting reliable software (no one
> > really wants reliable software, they just think they do), the fact
> > is that they signed the checks.
> True, but it was for compatibilities sake. Microsoft's domination seems
> to be an example of positive feedback: the more people have Microsoft
> software, the more other people want to buy it so they can have > compatible
> software. Do you have any ideas on how this monopoly might be felled?
> (which to me seems inevitable, but I'm not sure how)

Logically, in order to break such domination you need to make the
compatibility issue irrelevant. If people don't have to worry
about compatibility, then competition becomes possible again and
"lock-in" dies. The Internet/open standards movement is the
way to solve the problem, and it _does_ solve the problem as
long as everyone sticks to the standard (both providers and users).
It falls apart the instant you use those "cool Netscape frames"
that aren't part of the HTML standard. The same thing is happening
with Java- Microsoft is slowly but surely corrupting it by adding
Windows-only features that will entice developers to tie themselves
(and the users of their software) to the Windows platform. It seems
that even in "internet land", MS finds ways to lock people in. The
only way to break the cycle is through personal diligence on the
part of developers to reject MS and embrace true cross-platform
solutions. And even then, that only takes care of the OS monopoly.
They have a whole other monopoly on software, and curing that
hasn't even begun yet (unless you count XML??).

The future has arrived; it's just not evenly distributed.
                                                       -William Gibson