Re: Why Microsoft is a Threat to Freedom

Chris Thompson (
Tue, 4 Nov 1997 09:25:23 -0500

Lee Daniel Crocker writes:
> > Why Microsoft is a Threat to Freedom
> > [the usual tripe...]
> While I have nothing against a voluntary consumer boycott, why is
> it that the MS-bashers always seem to want someone to use guns, like
> the FTC, rather than actually competing with them? Why are those
> who don't like Microsoft's tacics not using those same tacticts,
> since they obviously work? (And don't give me any bullshit about
> how morally upstanding a company Netscape is). Why do they always
> complain simultaneouly that (a) Users must be told to band together
> to stop using MS products, and (b) MS products suck? Obviously,
> one of those two must be wrong, because if the products sucked, you
> wouldn't have to tell anyone not to use them.

I have the dubious distinction of spending time on Linux based IRC
Channels, where, as you can imagine, anti MS sentiment is rather
Rabid. My comment to all of these people who chide me when I say that
I dont have anything specifically against microsoft, is that I refuse
to bash Microsoft and Bill Gates just because it's cool and hip to do
so. Instead of getting indignant, just dont use their
software. There's almost nothing I do during the course of my day I
cant do with Linux. And the stuff that I cant, I keep a win95 box
around for. (Though it's sorely underused.)

Their habit of lashing out at MS reminds me of a sitcom I saw many
years ago where a group ofstudents staged a sit-in at their school
(To be socially conscious), but in absence of any real pressing social
ills, they were protesting the replacement of real bacon bits on the
cafeteria salad bar with Baco's. Dont have anything to protest? Make
something up.

> Here's a free clue: the MS monopoly /will/ fall, as every so-called
> monopoly in history always has, despite the fact that the government
> will do everything in its power to keep it in power. And it won't
> be because some clueless group of whiners staged a boycott; it will
> be because someone with courage, vision, talent, and creativity will
> have made a better product. If you want to hasten that day, fine:
> don't avoid MS products; just keep buying good ones. Innovation is
> what kills monopolies, and MS has never innovated in its life.

I'll address this in two points. First, not being an Econ expert, I'll
ask the honest question... Is DeBeers not a monopoly? and if so, are
we worse off for it?

Second, I agree. MS will be split, much like the Baby Bell's. OS,
Apps, and Internet are the obvious splits. Perhaps a divestiture of
mice keyboards and joysticks. The point is, however, while their
so-called monopoly doesnt particularly bother me, they do practice
some rather underhanded methods. THAT is what will limit MS. The DOJ
and FTC, if they successfully hamper Microsoft's ability to illegally
coerce companies, will make them play on a more even field. And quite
frankly they cant compete on products alone.

> Someone should go the idea futures exchange and make the following
> proposition, so that I can buy shares:
> "By January 1, 2010, Microsoft Corporation (or the aggregate of all
> sub-entities it may have been ordered to split into) will own less
> than 50% market share in its product with highest sales."

I'd buy some shares of that. Who picks up the lost market share? A
rejuvenated Novell? Borland? Corel? Their new Video Network Computer
uses Linux as its OS and they own WordPerfect 8. At the risk of
sounding like a blind Linux Zealot (I'm not) I do see the Free
Software movement making huge strides here.

Christopher A. Thompson - I do not wish it to be misconstrued that at - no time was I not in total disagreement.