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RE: The Problem with Microsoft

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-----Original Message-----
From:	Dennis S. Wish PE [SMTP:wish(--nospam--at)cwia.com]
Sent:	Wednesday, October 21, 1998 11:15 PM
To:	seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject:	RE: The Problem with Microsoft

Bill Polhemus confuses questionable ethics with morals.

[Bill Polhemus]  

Well, the "difference" is subtle:

[QUOTE MODE ON]

Main Entry: eth·ic
Pronunciation: 'e-thik
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English ethik, from Middle French ethique, from Latin ethice, from Greek EthikE, from Ethikos
Date: 14th century
1 plural but singular or plural in construction : the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation
2 a : a set of moral principles or values b : a theory or system of moral values <the present-day materialistic ethic> c plural but singular or plural in
construction : the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group <professional ethics> d : a guiding philosophy 

[QUOTE MODE OFF]

[Dennis Wish]  

 Nothing that MS is  doing affects the morals of our society - 

[Bill Polhemus]  

For the most part, the morals (and ethics) of our society is not necessarily "affected" by what an individual, or even a company, does.  Microsoft can be as immoral or unethical as it wants to be, for example, and that won't affect my own morals and ethics.

[Dennis Wish]  

the manner in which you compete is
an issue of business ethics and this will be a difficult issue to resolve
since our constitution nevery anticipated specific technology issues.

[Bill Polhemus]  

I don't see how their being "technology issues" makes any difference.

The constitution didn't anticipate the advent of the railroad, either, but the railroad barons were reigned in nevertheless, as were the large-scale industries that burdgeoned during the nineteenth century.

[Dennis Wish]  

 Let me ask a questions. If Microsoft is (lets say) unethical for giving
their Browser away to the public to keep Netscape from competing, how
ethical is it for Netscape to follow suit and release their product on the
market to help destroy other competitors. 

[Bill Polhemus]  

I'm not sure that we're not straying from the topic.  As far as I'm concerned, MS is not a danger because they can destroy competitors--after all, ultimately that's the desired effect in most industries.  MS is a danger because they can and will (and have) stifled advances in the technology sector that most of the rest of the business world--including structural engineering consultants--rely upon as part of their business infrastructure.

Unless they have adequate and realistic competition, they will not be spurred to invest in development.

Further, I don't believe that we need to use the "club" of the DoJ to "force" them to compete.  What we need are customers who will open their eyes and realize that it's in their own interests to support alternatives to MS products.  And I firmly believe that it is not necessary to give up quality to do this.  It may take some additional effort on your part--after all, the easiest thing is just to go with the flow--but I think it will be worth it.

If MS sees that it can no longer bamboozle the business world with flashy marketing, and that it has to actually innovate and stay up and ahead of the competition, they and we will all be better off.

[Dennis Wish]  

  Is it more ethical for one company
to have a monopoly or two to share the market and kill off all other
competition?

[Bill Polhemus]  

I agree with this assessment.  It is no more "desirable" to have only Ford and GM, than just GM.

[Dennis Wish]  

 Let's assume a company, who anticipates that a tool within their software is
a key element to the future of that software, integrates it into their
product.

 [Bill Polhemus]  

Let's be even more realistic.  Let's assume that such a company has come up with a brilliant product concept, and that it threatens to outshine the inferior efforts of the staid, conservative market leader.

Then, lets assume the market leader simply swoops in and buys out the 

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