Re: Why Microsoft is a Threat to Freedom

Arjen Kamphuis (
Tue, 4 Nov 1997 20:17:40 +0100

At 21:23 3-11-97 Lee Daniel Crocker <> wrote:
>> 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?

Guns? Real or otherwise? Haven't seen those. What's the FTC, some US
Federal agency?

>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).

The fact that a tactic works is not always a reason to use it, the way
Saddam Hussein runs Iraq obviously works, he's still got his job unlike Mr.
Bush. That doesn't make it OK (I think). The people at Netscape problably
aren't angels but at least they don't treaten my free choice in Operating
systems and PC-applications.

I use OS/2 for most 'small' stuff and AIX (IBM UNIX) for 'big' stuff.
Haven't been able to find a good mailer for OS/2 (something that can beat
Eudora) so I use a Win 3.X box for that. OS/2 is pretty good, but you don't
find as many nice app's on the net. The same for games, most are designed
to run under DOS or W-95 (which is basically DOS with a nice shell). I
really regret that IBM didn't market OS/2 correctly since it has always
been (technically) better than windows.

>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.

Was is not the US governement that broke up the monopoly of Standard Oil,
thus ending a monopoly that consumers and the competition could not break?
How about the diamond monopoly that DeBeers company has, they own more than
95% of all the diamond mines in the world and are working hard to buy those
that remain, they have been dictating prices for a century or so now. Their
monopoly can only be broken by a new technology (Like MNT) that makes
diamond mining obsolete, but even then they may buy the patents of such a
discovery and thus keep control.
It is well known that Shell (Royal Dutch Oil) frequently buys patents for
solarenergy and hydrogen fuelcells and puts them in a vault.

>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,

Anbody that tries to make a M$ competing product will be aquired by MS or
will be cut of with technical incompatibility tricks. That failing, the
legal team of MS will create some clever licensing article that makes it
illegal for end-users to effectively use such a product in combination with
any MS-product (they tried that against Netscape).

>and MS has never innovated in its life.

Here we agree 100%
And in spite of this they (effectively) have a monopoly, so talent and good
product are apparently only (a small) part of the equation. Carpet-bomming
marketing technique also has a lot to do with it.

Daniel, with all due respect, why do you have such an unshakeble faith in
the free market mechanism as the best, only and ultimate resource
allocator? Isn't it a bit dogmatic? While free market is probably the best
system in many cases it is _far_ from perfect and in some situations other
mechanisms can complement it. There's nothing wrong with aknowledging that
some things can't and won't be solved by market forces.

The idea that there is a single method/solution/answer to all problems is
(IHMO) denying the complexity of some of those problems. How much would
people have been willing to pay to win the cold war? I don't think the
zillion dollars it cost. But it was money well spent considering the
alternative and, in retrospect, maybe even a good investment with the
technology spinn-off and the Chinese market opening up and such...

>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 read something about the 'idea future exchange', anyone have an URL? Thanx.
If it happens, I'll buy y'all a drink (or ten ;-).
If it doesn't, I'll buy y'all a drink too (I'll need one).


Arjen Kamphuis | RAM-disk is NOT a repair instruction. |