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RE: The Problem with Microsoft

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Playing Devil's advocate for a moment - don't we have a monopoly situation
in something as small as Dolby Noise reduction systems which are used on
probably 90% of the audio equipment being sold. How about those little
numbers issued in the local TV guide that allows a user to automatically
program their VCR. There are no other companies competing with VCR Plus. If
this is by choice, does this make for an illegal monopoly.
If you do not have a choice of local phone service, public utilities (ie,
gas, water and electric) - is this considered a monopoly.
Is it ethical to breakdown a geographic area and distribute the rights to
one Cable company to serve the area? Yes there are other choice - as their
are other operating systems. The problem is that there is not the number of
services nor is there the number of compatible software.
Microsofts problems appear to be exasperbated by the fact that software
developers are not supporting other operating system other than those
compatible with Microsoft. As I mentioned, Microsoft supported Apple to help
keep them alive by altering their software to work within Apples operating
I guess my point is that none of the operating systems represent more than
10% of the market that Microsoft captured. Unless this is due to some
strongarm tactic as was accused, I can't see that Microsoft should be blamed
because the developers of software that uses their operating system  choses
to develop for the most popular system.

Dennis Wish

-----Original Message-----
From: Christopher Wright [mailto:chrisw(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, October 21, 1998 8:44 AM
To: SEAOC Newsletter
Subject: RE: The Problem with Microsoft

>I think there still is a Mac OS
Damn right there is. And it's still the best.

The issue is Microsoft's use of a near monopoly to control the market to
its own advantage. That runs exactly opposite to the principle of a free
market and works toward entrenching one company's technology, which is
certainly in the interest of no one except Microsoft.

The fight between NBC and Edwin Armstrong in the thirties over FM
broadcasting is a good example of the use of money and power to deprive
the public of advanced technology. NBC had the same stake in AM
broadcasting as MS has in Windoze. High quality FM broadcasting put that
stake in jeopardy and David Sarnoff was able to keep FM off the market
throughout the '40's and early '50's by strong-arm tactics. They
eventually failed but not before Armstrong was destroyed and high quality
radio broadcast service set back 10-15 years.

Suppose, for example, Bechtel, Boise-Cascade or American Gypsum decided
to buy the residential or small building design market. With a choke hold
on the market they could afford to do what ever they wanted with Code
requirements and claim 'economies of scale' or 'consumer demand' or some
such nonsense. And they'd have the staff to put all the engineering
stamps they wanted on just about anything that would sell. I wouldn't
dare guess the reactions of the SE community, but 'What the hell, that's
economic progress,' probably wouldn't be among them. The free market is a
very useful thing, but, like free speech and a free press, there's no
divine protection against monstrous abuses.

Christopher Wright P.E.    |"They couldn't hit an elephant from
chrisw(--nospam--at)        | this distance"   (last words of Gen.
___________________________| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)