Re: Merge Intel & Microsoft

Ross A. Finlayson (
Fri, 01 Oct 1999 14:16:58 -0400

Robin Hanson wrote:

> Ross A. Finlayson wrote:
> >Here's another question in a similar vein, how would it ever be possible
> >to unmerge Microsoft and Intel? It would likely not be.
> >Economists vary, but many might posit that Intel and Microsoft comprise
> >a duopoly. ... there are still enough competitors, and more or less
> >always will be, that Wintel can not exercise a monopoly's price fixing
> >... that being the fact that a technical monopoly does not exist, or
> >if it does it is not leveraged to its full classical economic extent,
> >... it is kind of like the phone system, which happens to
> >be regulated. By the same token, there should not be barriers to entry
> >in any shape or form, but it's not like there isn't already.
> >Considering Microsoft business tactics ... obvious and near
> >insurmountable technical predisposition towards their own products
> >...I think that merging Intel and Microsoft
> >operations would not be good for either, operationally.
> I feel like I'm reading one of those clever AI programs that can put
> words together well in sets of three or so, but make little sense
> beyond that. Ross's words are familiar, but he's not talking the
> language of economics I know.
> Intel and Microsoft a duopoly, even when their products aren't at
> all substitutes? Microsoft doesn't have price-setting power, but has
> made strong barriers to entry? Raising profits a lot wouldn't be
> good for the companies "operationally"? Companies once merged
> can never be unmerged?

How about this sole change, The Windows OS on Intel architecture machines demonstrate a monopoly, or, at least, they collude.

Any code to work on Windows machines that involves the user interface or almost any of the operating system services must be programmed to specifications founded, developed, and controlled by Microsoft and available only on Microsoft machines. This is a barrier to entry, or rather, a barrier to entry to or exit from Microsoft programming.

> Maybe I'm really in a circus fun house. For a moment I was fooled
> into thinking a mannequin was real. I'll smile and acknowledge
> the art of the construction, and be on my way to the next exhibit.
> Robin Hanson
> Asst. Prof. Economics, George Mason University
> MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030
> 703-993-2326 FAX: 703-993-2323

Uh... OK. This isn't the first time I have been compared to a Turing machine. I'm human, if that makes any difference. I even have some economics training.

Ross F.