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general.rule
December 5th, 2007, 08:29 AM
Being new to Linux and the OS world I wonder why Micorsoft has not been split up into several companies since it doesn't even need proof that its a monopoly? I remember I read somewhere there had been some actions in the past against that but failed. I wonder how they failed since so many big players were involved like the government and many other large companies. How MS survived and remained intact uptill now as a monopoly in a free market world? And is that still possible to break up this monopoly company? What do you think? Isn't that surprising?

khurrum1990
December 5th, 2007, 09:18 AM
Hi, first of all no matter what law suits u run on Microsoft the fact is that no other company has revolutionized computing like Microsoft did. Many small companies tried to compete but they sucked. Think about this, there r other systems like Apple Mac OS X. Apple is even worse then Microsoft if u ask me, cause Microsoft still gives u a choice whereas with Apple u r stuck to what they offer u.

billgoldberg
December 5th, 2007, 10:24 AM
The EU actually fined MS and MS need to pay (hundreds of) millions euro to the EU.

Forgot where it was all about, i think the fact IE and WIMP come standard with Windows, but can be wrong about that one.

R_U_Q_R_U
December 5th, 2007, 01:46 PM
Uh, maybe because a "monopoly" requires state sanction, much like the old AT&T before 1984 or the electric companies or cable companies. Since MS operates in a relatively free market NO ONE is forced to buy or use its products. After all, every single users of Windows can switch to Ubuntu today and MS can do NOTHING to stop them.

The fact that 90+ percent of computer users CHOOSE to use Windows is their choice, and not any coercive force applied to them. Now some believe the MS has bot like control over people that causes them wake and march down to Compustore and buy Windows. But it is not the case. MS competes, and does so effectively given their large market share. If you want to beat MS you have to effectively market a better product. If Apple did not make what many think are poor marketing decisions in the early 1980's you would be railing against Apple today and Bill Gates would be working at a burger joint.

I always suspect the motives of those who would use the state to try to force people's choices. MS and Windows has no such force. No matter what contorted arguments the EU or even the US Justice Department make, the bottom line is that people can choose Linux, Mac or no computer at all.

n3tfury
December 5th, 2007, 01:59 PM
Uh, maybe because a "monopoly" requires state sanction, much like the old AT&T before 1984 or the electric companies or cable companies. Since MS operates in a relatively free market NO ONE is forced to buy or use its products. After all, every single users of Windows can switch to Ubuntu today and MS can do NOTHING to stop them.

The fact that 90+ percent of computer users CHOOSE to use Windows is their choice, and not any coercive force applied to them. Now some believe the MS has bot like control over people that causes them wake and march down to Compustore and buy Windows. But it is not the case. MS competes, and does so effectively given their large market share. If you want to beat MS you have to effectively market a better product. If Apple did not make what many think are poor marketing decisions in the early 1980's you would be railing against Apple today and Bill Gates would be working at a burger joint.

I always suspect the motives of those who would use the state to try to force people's choices. MS and Windows has no such force. No matter what contorted arguments the EU or even the US Justice Department make, the bottom line is that people can choose Linux, Mac or no computer at all.

very well said.

phrostbyte
December 5th, 2007, 03:43 PM
They were going to be split in 2000 by Clinton. But Dubyah's (our current president) Department of Justice overturned the ruling.

People who think Microsoft didn't violated any crimes or don't deserve to be split really don't know anything about the case.

Nano Geek
December 5th, 2007, 04:12 PM
Hi, first of all no matter what law suits u run on Microsoft the fact is that no other company has revolutionized computing like Microsoft did. Many small companies tried to compete but they sucked. Think about this, there r other systems like Apple Mac OS X. Apple is even worse then Microsoft if u ask me, cause Microsoft still gives u a choice whereas with Apple u r stuck to what they offer u.Choice. Do you mean choice between the cheep version that doesn't do much, or the expensive version that dose most of what you want it to do?

lordofchaos1984
December 5th, 2007, 04:19 PM
Hi, first of all no matter what law suits u run on Microsoft the fact is that no other company has revolutionized computing like Microsoft did. Many small companies tried to compete but they sucked. Think about this, there r other systems like Apple Mac OS X. Apple is even worse then Microsoft if u ask me, cause Microsoft still gives u a choice whereas with Apple u r stuck to what they offer u.


Dude there is one thing you NEED to realize.

<RANT>
IF IT WERE NOT FOR APPLE CREATING THE ORIGINAL MACINTOSH, SYSTEMS MIGHT NOT HAVE THE GOOD LOOKING GUIs LIKE WE HAVE TODAY. WE MIGHT JUST NOW GETTING GUIs TAHT LOOK LIKE WINDOWS 3.1. PLUS WE MIGHT HAVE THE OSX86 FULLY INTEGRATED INTO MAC OS SOON.
<END OF RANT>

sorry about screaming

Linuxratty
December 5th, 2007, 04:33 PM
. How MS survived and remained intact uptill now as a monopoly in a free market world? And is that still possible to break up this monopoly company? What do you think? Isn't that surprising?

Because,according to N Chomsky,,in reality we don't HAVE a free market...Free markets are hated here..The free market talk is yet another big,fat lie fed to us Americans by the powers that be.

boast
December 5th, 2007, 04:34 PM
same reason AT&T is back together. $$$$


Apple is even worse then Microsoft if u ask me, cause Microsoft still gives u a choice whereas with Apple u r stuck to what they offer u.
Apple made this program called bootcamp.

Sporkman
December 5th, 2007, 04:59 PM
The fact that 90+ percent of computer users CHOOSE to use Windows is their choice, and not any coercive force applied to them.

Not exactly - people choose computers, not operating systems. The computer vendors choose the OSs.

bonzodog
December 5th, 2007, 05:31 PM
Uh, maybe because a "monopoly" requires state sanction, much like the old AT&T before 1984 or the electric companies or cable companies. Since MS operates in a relatively free market NO ONE is forced to buy or use its products. After all, every single users of Windows can switch to Ubuntu today and MS can do NOTHING to stop them.

The fact that 90+ percent of computer users CHOOSE to use Windows is their choice, and not any coercive force applied to them. Now some believe the MS has bot like control over people that causes them wake and march down to Compustore and buy Windows. But it is not the case. MS competes, and does so effectively given their large market share. If you want to beat MS you have to effectively market a better product. If Apple did not make what many think are poor marketing decisions in the early 1980's you would be railing against Apple today and Bill Gates would be working at a burger joint.

I always suspect the motives of those who would use the state to try to force people's choices. MS and Windows has no such force. No matter what contorted arguments the EU or even the US Justice Department make, the bottom line is that people can choose Linux, Mac or no computer at all.

This is wrong on so many levels I really do not know where to start.

People use Microsoft Windows on their systems because they ARE NOT given a choice at point of purchase when they buy a system from a high street retailer. We call them OEM agreements.

People use windows on their systems because, since the late 80's it's been default installed on all x86 PC's purchased.

Only recently have retailers and OEM manufacturers started to relent and offer alternatives like Linux or No OS.

In order for Joe public to use Linux on his system at present requires that he wipe his hard disk and install it. Joe Public is not capable of even re-installing windows in 95% of all cases.

So, Microsoft ARE playing unfair by sealing these agreements with manufacturers to ship computers with it pre-installed, no other choice available.

However the EU plan to change that by making the very idea of OEM agreements Illegal, and requiring that a choice IS available off the factory floor, and the manufacturer has to install the OS that the customer ordered. This will require that Joe Public actually sits up and learns what an OS is, how it works (basically), and what the choices are, and how to make the best decision.

Shinbu-Otaku
December 5th, 2007, 05:44 PM
This is wrong on so many levels I really do not know where to start.

People use Microsoft Windows on their systems because they ARE NOT given a choice at point of purchase when they buy a system from a high street retailer. We call them OEM agreements.

People use windows on their systems because, since the late 80's it's been default installed on all x86 PC's purchased.

Only recently have retailers and OEM manufacturers started to relent and offer alternatives like Linux or No OS.

In order for Joe public to use Linux on his system at present requires that he wipe his hard disk and install it. Joe Public is not capable of even re-installing windows in 95% of all cases.

So, Microsoft ARE playing unfair by sealing these agreements with manufacturers to ship computers with it pre-installed, no other choice available.

However the EU plan to change that by making the very idea of OEM agreements Illegal, and requiring that a choice IS available off the factory floor, and the manufacturer has to install the OS that the customer ordered. This will require that Joe Public actually sits up and learns what an OS is, how it works (basically), and what the choices are, and how to make the best decision.

so true, but it is just a matter of time till the bubble bursts for MS, they are paying companies left right and center to make sure they get these agreements, but thanks to Vista people are turning there noses up at them, i know people who bought a Vista computer, went home, see what rubbish they were sold, went back and either demanded there money back or for it to be replaced with XP/Linux/Mac dependant.

It is all just a matter of time, and the EU is making the first steps, also, in Japan since Vista was released MS sales have dropped DRAMATICALLY, and Mac sales have risen at an INCREDIBLE rate, just goes to show you cant just assume that because you're the biggest that you are the best.

(p.s. here is a graph about the MS/Mac in japan statement:

http://www.akihabaranews.com/en/news-15091-Apple+vs+Microsoft%3A+what%27s+going+on+in+Japan%3 F.html)

JAPrufrock
December 5th, 2007, 07:14 PM
"Trust-busting" usually occurs during liberal administrations. It is almost impossible to do anything to monopolies during conservative administrations, like the one the US has now. I wouldn't hold my breath.

jgrabham
December 5th, 2007, 07:20 PM
The fact that 90+ percent of computer users CHOOSE to use Windows is their choice, and not any coercive force applied to them.

Ah, but if you do anything to your Xbox 360, theyll void the warranty, and block you from xbox live (both of which you paid for in the first place)

epimeteo
December 5th, 2007, 07:51 PM
The fact that 90+ percent of computer users CHOOSE to use Windows is their choice, and not any coercive force applied to them.

I wont comment this, its useless. It's like a car buyer saying that when he bought his car he wasn't forced too, even if there was only one car seller in town.

MS does make exclusive contracts with computer manufacturers (they can't even install other OS). MS does buy the concurrence (kills the market opponents). MS does practice monopolistic policies and stands to them (makes users to only use their file formats, like in office 2007). I could continue because I've seen what MS did in the last 25 years, I was there.

If all this isn't controlling the market, I don't know what it is.

n3tfury
December 5th, 2007, 08:32 PM
Ah, but if you do anything to your Xbox 360, theyll void the warranty, and block you from xbox live (both of which you paid for in the first place)

um, why WOULDN'T they void the warranty?

R_U_Q_R_U
December 5th, 2007, 09:12 PM
This is wrong on so many levels I really do not know where to start.

People use Microsoft Windows on their systems because they ARE NOT given a choice at point of purchase when they buy a system from a high street retailer. We call them OEM agreements.

People use windows on their systems because, since the late 80's it's been default installed on all x86 PC's purchased.

Only recently have retailers and OEM manufacturers started to relent and offer alternatives like Linux or No OS.

In order for Joe public to use Linux on his system at present requires that he wipe his hard disk and install it. Joe Public is not capable of even re-installing windows in 95% of all cases.

So, Microsoft ARE playing unfair by sealing these agreements with manufacturers to ship computers with it pre-installed, no other choice available.

However the EU plan to change that by making the very idea of OEM agreements Illegal, and requiring that a choice IS available off the factory floor, and the manufacturer has to install the OS that the customer ordered. This will require that Joe Public actually sits up and learns what an OS is, how it works (basically), and what the choices are, and how to make the best decision.

No my friend, YOU do not get. In a free society, NO ONE is FORCED to use a computer, buy a computer, look at a computer. To claim MS has monopoly power implies they have the force to make YOU buy a computer, use a computer or even look at computer. MS does NOT have this power. All your gobly gook talk about OEM agreements and so forth fails to address the fundamental fact that millions of people - of their OWN FREE WILL - buy a computer with MS software on. Many actually WANT TO!

Your argument is that people are too stupid to know what they are doing. I think this is arrogance beyond belief!

R_U_Q_R_U
December 5th, 2007, 09:20 PM
I wont comment this, its useless. It's like a car buyer saying that when he bought his car he wasn't forced too, even if there was only one car seller in town.

MS does make exclusive contracts with computer manufacturers (they can't even install other OS). MS does buy the concurrence (kills the market opponents). MS does practice monopolistic policies and stands to them (makes users to only use their file formats, like in office 2007). I could continue because I've seen what MS did in the last 25 years, I was there.

If all this isn't controlling the market, I don't know what it is.

You really do not address the OP point. The issue is whether MS is a " monopoly" that the state should destroy. Now many free market thinkers would argue that the only time you can have a monopoly is when the state enforces one. For example, in the USA the only seller of First Class Mail service BY LAW is the USPS. Try to set up you own FIRST CLASS mail service and people with badges and guns will come to shut you down.

MS does NOT have anything like the power of the state to FORCE anyone to buy anything. You don't have to buy a computer. Millions of people do not. If you want a computer you can put anything on it you want. MS cannot force you to buy or use anything that they manufacture.

So while some claim MS "controls the market" they have utter contempt for individuals who make the buying decisions. This argument is arrogant and wrong.

Nano Geek
December 5th, 2007, 09:21 PM
No my friend, YOU do not get. In a free society, NO ONE is FORCED to use a computer, buy a computer, look at a computer. To claim MS has monopoly power implies they have the force to make YOU buy a computer, use a computer or even look at computer. MS does NOT have this power. All your gobly gook talk about OEM agreements and so forth fails to address the fundamental fact that millions of people - of their OWN FREE WILL - buy a computer with MS software on. Many actually WANT TO!

Your argument is that people are too stupid to know what they are doing. I think this is arrogance beyond belief!But it's fairly well known that Microsoft uses bully tactics to keep computer sellers selling Windows and recommending Windows in their adds as well.

Depressed Man
December 5th, 2007, 09:26 PM
No my friend, YOU do not get. In a free society, NO ONE is FORCED to use a computer, buy a computer, look at a computer. To claim MS has monopoly power implies they have the force to make YOU buy a computer, use a computer or even look at computer. MS does NOT have this power. All your gobly gook talk about OEM agreements and so forth fails to address the fundamental fact that millions of people - of their OWN FREE WILL - buy a computer with MS software on. Many actually WANT TO!

Your argument is that people are too stupid to know what they are doing. I think this is arrogance beyond belief!

I think we've been over this before. And what I said, was that if you don't use a computer..well your badly F***ed in a society. Most jobs require you to use a computer in some shape or form.

And Monopolies don't have to force you to use buy their product. They just have to engage in anti-competitive process. For example when Theodore Roosevelt busted a few monopolies/trusts, you didn't have to use railways for example. You were just badly screwed if you decided not to.

That sounds like your arguement right there.

Dimitriid
December 5th, 2007, 09:35 PM
All your gobly gook talk about OEM agreements and so forth fails to address the fundamental fact that millions of people - of their OWN FREE WILL - buy a computer with MS software on. Many actually WANT TO!

Not true. Computers include that little sticker that says "Designed for Vista". People is forcing into an EULA as soon as they turn on their computer. In many cases computer manufacturers claim that they already accepted the EULA for you and that just by buying the computer you already bought Microsoft Windows Vista and that you are NOT entitled to a refund: thats fraud. Thats buying something you did not agree to buy when buying a computer with no chance to decline the terms and conditions imposed by Microsoft.

More over, there is the issue of system monitoring. Microsoft which basically sells only software, says he is entitled to monitor your hardware at all times, with the excuse of seeing what hardware changes you make in which case you are voiding the EULA and need to purchase another copy. That means when you buy a computer its a product, a physical thing, when you buy the os, its a license to use their software. But the software license thinks he is entitled to know what goes on in the hardware aspect. That means even though HP says I own this computer, I am only entitled to used as they specify and that they allow Microsoft to spy on you, on a license you never actually agreed to uphold, without being able to qualify for a refund on the OS License you never accepted without facing significant, often even legal, opposition from the PC Manufacturer.

That is most certainly not people choosing Microsoft product, that is people being bullied by corporations ( Microsoft and their allies, Computer Manufacturers ) into accepting the terms of a license you never actually agree on. Refusing to even consider selling their products unless you agree to a third party's License and that third party only is the equivalent of refusing to sell a car if you do not agree to an insurance agreement with a specific insurance company and nobody else, refusing to refund the costs of the terms, allowing the insurance company to monitor how you use your car and refusing to honor the warranty if you decide to switch insurance companies. Not only that it would be the car company saying "When you bought the car you agreed to this contract with the insurance company, without even reading, we agreed for you and that is the only way to get a car otherwise we wont sale and no car manufacturer would sell you a car"

Is somebody forcing you to buy a car? Not really you can always walk. But if you want to have a car somebody IS forcing you to pay for insurance. If you want to have a computer somebody IS forcing you to pay Microsoft. So you can either go buy an overpriced car from a company with little or no way to provide support and parts for your car on you can buy individual pieces, built your own car and make it work and maintain it yourself constantly, all because you wanted a different, cheaper insurance company.

That is forcing the consumer without choice, that is Monopoly.

pjkoczan
December 5th, 2007, 09:36 PM
No my friend, YOU do not get. In a free society, NO ONE is FORCED to use a computer, buy a computer, look at a computer. To claim MS has monopoly power implies they have the force to make YOU buy a computer, use a computer or even look at computer. MS does NOT have this power. All your gobly gook talk about OEM agreements and so forth fails to address the fundamental fact that millions of people - of their OWN FREE WILL - buy a computer with MS software on. Many actually WANT TO!

Your argument is that people are too stupid to know what they are doing. I think this is arrogance beyond belief!

You're absolutely right. I can download Linux drivers for all my peripherals from the mfr's websites, or they even come on a CD that came when I bought it. I saw Linux system requirements for when I signed up for my home network service. I can phone tech support and they'll happily debug my problem no matter what version of Linux I'm running. I can go to the local computer repair shop and ask them to install Linux.

Oh, wait, no, none of those things happen. Vendors don't make Linux drivers (sometimes they don't even release apis, leaving the OSS community struggling), I only see Windows and, occasionally, Mac minimum requirements for products and services, and most commercial tech support will only service Windows and Mac. Most have never heard of Linux (and even fewer have heard of BSD or Solaris).

You are right that there is a choice, in the purest sense of the word. However, with computing being a near-necessity in today's world, and with Microsoft's well-documented bully tactics, OEM agreements, and overwhelming market share, it is an *incredibly* skewed choice.

Sporkman
December 5th, 2007, 10:39 PM
To claim MS has monopoly power implies they have the force to make YOU buy a computer, use a computer or even look at computer.

No, that's not what a monopoly is. A monopoly is when only one company or interest controls a disproportionate supply of something.

boast
December 5th, 2007, 10:47 PM
i dont think cars should come with engines. I'd like to be able to buy a camery without a toyota motor.

Why don't they let me choose what type of engine I want?

DarkOx
December 5th, 2007, 11:51 PM
Microsoft has what's known as a "natural monopoly", which means that the company has a monopoly because the barriers to entry are too high in that market.

Think about the money that's gone into Ubuntu, to get it where it is today. And that was with the solid base of Debian to work off of, plus numerous other companies all helping with Linux development. For an entirely new consumer OS to rise, and compete with Microsoft? Very difficult indeed. Hence, monopoly.

As for why they haven't been split up yet, that's mostly likely due to a combination of factors. First, Microsoft won its past settlement over bundling IE with Windows, creating a president in its favour. Secondly, Microsoft has been on (relatively) good behaviour since; at least in the sense that it hasn't been leveraging its OS dominance to undermine competition in other markets to the obvious extent it had against Netscape.

R_U_Q_R_U
December 6th, 2007, 12:51 AM
No, that's not what a monopoly is. A monopoly is when only one company or interest controls a disproportionate supply of something.

Afraid you are totally and completely wrong.

The late economist Murray N. Rothbard defined monopoly in Power and Market as "The only viable definition of monopoly is a grant of privilege from the government. It therefore becomes quite clear that it is impossible for the government to decrease monopoly by passing punitive laws. The only way for the government to decrease monopoly, if that is the desideratum, is to remove its own monopoly grants. The antitrust laws, therefore, do not in the least “diminish monopoly.” What they do accomplish is to impose a continual, capricious harassment of efficient business enterprise." p.60.

As Dr. Dominick T. Armentano, professor emeritus in economics at the University of Hartford (Connecticut) points out "Antitrust theory and history are both a myth and a hoax. The laws were never intended to help consumers (Robert Bork's protestations to the contrary) and their long historical track record is that they have not helped consumers. They have, instead, punished innovative and efficient business organizations while protecting less efficient competitors and every state-sanctioned monopoly. They have tended to make consumers poorer and the overall economy less efficient and they deserve to be repealed, not reformed. That the antitrust paradigm still can find support among a majority of economists, lawyers, and the public is a testament to intellectual laziness, to the power of special interest, and to decades of successful myth making. "

He says "Despite so-called regulatory reforms, this pernicious trend in antitrust enforcement has continued. The best and most recent example is, of course, US v. Microsoft (2001). The heart of the antitrust case brought by the Department of Justice and 19 state attorney generals in 1998 was that Microsoft's decision to integrated its Web browser, Explorer, into its Windows 98 operating software system illegally excluded competitive browsers, such as rival Netscape's Navigator, and evidenced an intent to "monopolize" in violation of the Sherman Act.

Since Microsoft allegedly held a "monopoly" in operating systems and employed its monopoly power to exclude competitors unfairly, trial court judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, having agreed with the bulk of the government's argument, found the company guilty of illegal monopolization and ordered the firm regulated and divested. On appeal, however, important parts of this decision, in particular the divestiture order, were overturned and the lower court judge rebuked.

The government's charges were always baseless. The plaintiffs first argued that Microsoft held a monopoly in operating systems (a near 90% market share) and that they had leveraged that market power into the browser market to crush Netscape. But the government's market share numbers were grossly inaccurate. To arrive at a so-called monopoly market share, the trial court accepted a definition of the relevant market ("single user desktop PCs that use an Intel-compatible chip") that conveniently excluded all of the computers and networking software made by Microsoft's major rivals such as Apple, Sun, Novell, and a host of other companies. In addition, counting only licensed systems allowed Judge Jackson to exclude arbitrarily all of the operating systems sold at retail, those downloaded from the Web, and all "naked" computers shipped without any operating system installed at all. These factual errors narrowed severely the actual competitive market and simply turned Microsoft into the "monopolist" the government required for its antitrust violation. If market share is meaningful at all in antitrust analysis (extremely doubtful), Microsoft's actual share of any realistic relevant market was less than 70% and not enough for any monopoly designation.

But if Microsoft had no actual monopoly, then its battle with Netscape over the browser market takes on a totally different perspective. When Microsoft first integrated its browser into its operating system software, it was Netscape that held the bulk of the browser sales. It was Netscape that held the "dominant" market position in browsers and it was Microsoft that was attempting to better compete by improving the terms of exchange for PC consumers. Microsoft proceeded to fully integrate its browser and effectively reduce its price to zero and consumers responded favorably; Microsoft's browser did more business and Netscape's browser did less. Nor was the Netscape browser ever unfairly "foreclosed" or "excluded" from the market; PC users downloaded millions of copies of Netscape's browser during the period of alleged exclusion by Microsoft. Thus, the entire government's case was an attempt to regulate innovation and consumer choice at the behest of ambitious attorneys and disgruntled competitors. That Microsoft eventually emerged victorious in this particular case at the appellate level (after a decade of litigation some of which involved the FTC) does not mitigate the absolute folly of this persecution."

http://www.mises.org/story/2694

Mateo
December 6th, 2007, 01:12 AM
Some people are living in 1999. Take off the tin foil caps. Microsoft is not to be feared anymore. Their recent projects have been flops with the exception of xbox360 (Vista - flop, Zune - flop, Live.com - flop). Their company's stock has been on the decline for several years. They are barely more relevant than Yahoo. No one bashes Yahoo, no one cares enough to. Stop living in the past, Microsoft still has the most widely used OS, but so what, OSes are old hat. The market doesn't care about OSes any more.

R_U_Q_R_U
December 6th, 2007, 01:17 AM
Microsoft has what's known as a "natural monopoly", which means that the company has a monopoly because the barriers to entry are too high in that market.

Think about the money that's gone into Ubuntu, to get it where it is today. And that was with the solid base of Debian to work off of, plus numerous other companies all helping with Linux development. For an entirely new consumer OS to rise, and compete with Microsoft? Very difficult indeed. Hence, monopoly.

This is absolute nonsense.

The very fact that there are other operating systems, like Linux, available at much lower cost than Windows means the barrier to entry is not there at all. There is nothing to stop anyone from creating or enhancing FOSS software. Microsoft has no control over what others offer in the market (aside from copyright and patent issues).

Even if it were true that is "very difficult" to create an entirely new OS this proves nothing with regard to market entry.

Any other existing firm in the economy (or any new firm with access to capital) would be perfectly free to compete with any would-be monopolist, free to innovate, free to improve product, free to increase its own output, and consumers would be free to take advantage of that competition.

The economist Thomas J. DiLorenzo says "The theory of natural monopoly is an ecnomic fiction. No such thing as a "natural" monopoly has ever existed. The history of the so-called public utility concept is that the late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth- century "utilities" competed vigorously and, like all other industries, they did not like competition. They first secured government-sanctioned monopolies, and then, with the help of a few influential economists, constructed an ex post rationalization for their monopoly power. This has to be one of the greatest corporate public relations coups of all time. "By a soothing process of rationalization," wrote Horace M. Gray more than 50 years ago, "men are able to oppose monopolies in general but to approve certain types of monopolies. . . Since these monopolies were 'natural' and since nature is beneficent, it followed that they were 'good' monopolies. . . Government was therefore justified in establishing 'good' monopolies." In industry after industry, the natural monopoly concept is finally eroding. Electric power, cable TV, telephone services, and the mail, are all on the verge of being deregulated, either legislatively or de facto, due to technological change. Introduced in the US. at about the same time communism was introduced to the former Soviet Union, franchise monopolies are about to become just as defunct. Like all monopolists, they will use every last resource to lobby to maintain their monopolistic privileges, but the potential gains to consumers of free markets are too great to justify them. The theory of natural monopoly is a nineteenth-century economic fiction that defends nineteenth-century (or eighteenth century, in the case of the US. Postal Service) monopolistic privileges, and has no useful place in the twenty-first-century American economy."

Zoiked
December 6th, 2007, 01:42 AM
same reason AT&T is back together. $$$$


Apple made this program called bootcamp.

That lets you run Windows XP or Vista on a mac. I believe hes talking about there crappy programs like iTunes, Quicktime, and Safari.

Also, This Monopoly stuff is just plane stupid. I don't see how Microsofts gets all these fines but Apple just sits there making people use there ****** programs. Thats just like Suing KDE for having Amarok or Konqueror installed. Stupid!

akiratheoni
December 6th, 2007, 01:45 AM
This is absolute nonsense.

The very fact that there are other operating systems, like Linux, available at much lower cost than Windows means the barrier to entry is not there at all. There is nothing to stop anyone from creating or enhancing FOSS software. Microsoft has no control over what others offer in the market (aside from copyright and patent issues).

Even if it were true that is "very difficult" to create an entirely new OS this proves nothing with regard to market entry.

Any other existing firm in the economy (or any new firm with access to capital) would be perfectly free to compete with any would-be monopolist, free to innovate, free to improve product, free to increase its own output, and consumers would be free to take advantage of that competition.

The economist Thomas J. DiLorenzo says "The theory of natural monopoly is an ecnomic fiction. No such thing as a "natural" monopoly has ever existed. The history of the so-called public utility concept is that the late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth- century "utilities" competed vigorously and, like all other industries, they did not like competition. They first secured government-sanctioned monopolies, and then, with the help of a few influential economists, constructed an ex post rationalization for their monopoly power. This has to be one of the greatest corporate public relations coups of all time. "By a soothing process of rationalization," wrote Horace M. Gray more than 50 years ago, "men are able to oppose monopolies in general but to approve certain types of monopolies. . . Since these monopolies were 'natural' and since nature is beneficent, it followed that they were 'good' monopolies. . . Government was therefore justified in establishing 'good' monopolies." In industry after industry, the natural monopoly concept is finally eroding. Electric power, cable TV, telephone services, and the mail, are all on the verge of being deregulated, either legislatively or de facto, due to technological change. Introduced in the US. at about the same time communism was introduced to the former Soviet Union, franchise monopolies are about to become just as defunct. Like all monopolists, they will use every last resource to lobby to maintain their monopolistic privileges, but the potential gains to consumers of free markets are too great to justify them. The theory of natural monopoly is a nineteenth-century economic fiction that defends nineteenth-century (or eighteenth century, in the case of the US. Postal Service) monopolistic privileges, and has no useful place in the twenty-first-century American economy."



I do like your arguments, but I'm getting tired of reading quotes from people who I don't care about... paraphrasing + linking to the source would be better to my eyes, I think.

blastus
December 6th, 2007, 01:53 AM
The very fact that there are other operating systems, like Linux, available at much lower cost than Windows means the barrier to entry is not there at all.

A barrier to entry is called a barrier to entry because it's just that, a barrier to entry. If there were no barriers then there is no barrier to entry. In this case there are barriers to entry and one of the major ones is called the "applications barrier to entry."

Unless of course you wish to argue that no-one has ever brought up the fact that one of the major reasons why people don't use Linux is because the applications they use on Windows aren't available on Linux. And one of the major reasons they aren't available on Linux is because Linux isn't a popular target yet.

The network effect helps reinforce the applications barrier to entry and vice versa. This is simple economics. This is the whole point of a barrier to entry--it's a barrier because it is difficult to break. All you need to do is read the U.S. Justice Department's findings against Microsoft to know what all this is about--unless of course you believe the U.S. Justice Department, the EU, and many others don't have a clue what they're talking about. If so that's fine, there are some people who believe that too.

Scotty Bones
December 7th, 2007, 03:01 AM
Some people here seem to be confusing monopolies and utilities. Yes, utilities are monopolies by nature but only because redundant infrastructure is a complete wast of a society's resources (imagine 3 power companies servicing your area, each with their own cables strung out all over your town. Where I'm from the power grid was built back in the 70's and to modernize just the one city would cost billions. Imagine if you had to do that 3 times.). That is why they are sanctioned by and regulated by the state and thats what makes them a special case. Real "corporate" monopolies on the other hand, are companies, that once they have gained considerable enough control of a market, stifle and attempt to eliminate all competition, preventing any new comers into the market, and solely dictate the course and policies by which the market will run.

So... is Microsoft a monopoly, yes indeed they are. Is there competition... not really. Ok, so we have the Mac. Mac's are NOT PC's, they have their own software and hardware. Until recently, these machines could not run the windows OS or software and didn't even use the same CPU's as PC's. They were a custom system built to address a niche market that Microsoft didn't provide good support for. However, now that mac's are gaining popularity, they are trying to reach out into the general market area that MS dominates. They still do not hold enough of the market share to be considered a true competitor.
So what about Linux (servers aside) , same problem as the Mac, not enough market share to be considered a true competitor yet. Then again, Linux is a special case as well. There is no corporate entity for MS to drive out. Ok,ok, so what about companies like Red Hat and Canonical. Well, these companies are based on supporting and building on a community project instead of creating their own new products. I'll go ahead and pick on Canonical. They did not create Ubuntu from scratch; they borrow from Debian, a community project, and Debian borrows from the Linux Kernel Project, again not a company. As well as many other projects like Gnome and KDE. Other than running off at the mouth, This makes Linux, in general, a much more difficult target to hit.

Although no one is forcing you to by a computer, in todays rapidly growing society computers are becoming more of a necessity than a novelty. So whats the problem here; MS controls and dictates the market. What do I mean? Well, take a walk down the hardware isle of your store of choice, and what do you see; "Designed for Windows XP" or "Designed for Vista", and its on almost everything. Why is this, did they do it just for fun? MS has been able to gain such a strangle-hold on the industry that they can now tell hardware manufactures "If you want to sell your product to the masses, you have to design it to work with our OS. " and then just when you think your done being their bitch, they come back and say "Now your going to submit your drivers for testing and pay a hefty fee to get a digital signature for it, otherwise it won't work.". Now, up through XP and the 32 bit version of Vista you can get away without the digital sig for the most part. However the future of computing is in 64 bit, in that version of Vista the digital sig is a requirement for all hardware devices, there is no way around it. This requirement is part of their slow move to enforce the Trusted Computing Platform. (Which, needless to say, is bad news for us all.) This is no way for an OS to operate, it needs to be the other way around. HW manufactures need to be the ones innovating with the OS adapting to it.

Then you have the OEM's, schools, governments and such who MS gives extreme discounts to, to use their product on the condition they do not use any competing products. There is some small progress like DELL's offering, but without proper promotion and advertising this really is a pathetic attempt. To those of are you who are blabbing on about "MS doesn't have that kind of power", then much to learn you have, my young padawon. The scary thing is, they do. All you have to do is check out the member list of the TCPA that MS spearheads, which includes over 200 member companies, including all the major players in the IT industry. Thats some serious backing, so think again.

So, is MS ever going to fall? No...but their OS dept may (huge maybe). They are already beginning to see signs of the drain with their resent release of Vista. No amount of service packs is going to fix this one. Sales are slipping around the world (with exception to their OEM sales, which make up the bulk) and people are moving back to XP by the droves. If Vienna is even half as bad as Vista, things are going to get a lot worse for MS. I think the real killer for MS OS's will be the Trusted Computing Platform. Even as ignorant as the masses are on the subject, once they really find out about this little gem, I think that will be one of the large determining factors for a mass migration (hopeful thinking though) .

Will MS ever be split...Nope. They already solved that problem. Why did they come under fire in the first place? Does the government really care? Well, yes, the government does care. However, what they care about is money. it's not republicans vs democrats, just flip a coin and choose one, they are all bureaucrats and they are all as greedy and corrupt as MS. There is no such thing as an honest politician. The reason the government was slamming MS was because they (government) realized that they (MS) were not paying anyone off. They had not contributed a single cent to either party. As soon a MS started paying up, the case just kind of disappeared. It's sad to say, but thats how things work in this country now. We won't get any help from the govt (hopefully we get some overseas help) , so it's up to us, the consumer, take them down or at least force them to change the direction of their policies and actions.

Jammerdelray
December 7th, 2007, 03:34 AM
Microsoft has paid their fines, Apple is a lot worse in that you have to buy their hardware and OS only from them.

phrostbyte
December 7th, 2007, 04:16 AM
Some people are living in 1999. Take off the tin foil caps. Microsoft is not to be feared anymore. Their recent projects have been flops with the exception of xbox360 (Vista - flop, Zune - flop, Live.com - flop). Their company's stock has been on the decline for several years. They are barely more relevant than Yahoo. No one bashes Yahoo, no one cares enough to. Stop living in the past, Microsoft still has the most widely used OS, but so what, OSes are old hat. The market doesn't care about OSes any more.

The way I look at it, I like Linux, I'd like to go to the store, any store, and buy computers with Linux on them, or the ability to easily install Linux (FULL hardware support).

I have a theory that if Microsoft was gone, or at least their infinite money supply was gone, this "dream" will be closer to reality.

So to hell with Microsoft.

tehkain
December 7th, 2007, 04:51 AM
The fact that 90+ percent of computer users CHOOSE to use Windows is their choice, and not any coercive force applied to them.


How you can say that with a straight face is beyond me. Microsoft has participated in many anti competitive practices/antitrust actions and makes no effort to conform to industry standards. They also have a massive set of lobbyist taking advantage of the complete lack of tech knowledge in the governments of the industrial world. If we were in any other industry Microsoft would have not made it past the US vs MS 2000 case(it would have came out far worse, but not dead).

Eric Raymond said it best "The thing a lot of people somehow missed is that the courts affirmed the findings of fact – that Microsoft is indeed a coercive monopoly."

I dont think microsoft should be split up, I just would like Politicians to be educated before they make choices. The FSLC and OSI are examples for some decisions. Like Ron Paul not limiting the internet because he doesnt understand it enough to allow its freedom to be destroyed.

Depressed Man
December 7th, 2007, 04:57 AM
That lets you run Windows XP or Vista on a mac. I believe hes talking about there crappy programs like iTunes, Quicktime, and Safari.

Also, This Monopoly stuff is just plane stupid. I don't see how Microsofts gets all these fines but Apple just sits there making people use there ****** programs. Thats just like Suing KDE for having Amarok or Konqueror installed. Stupid!

The thing is Microsoft engages in practices that either do put them in the monopoly category, or put them darn close to it. These can include certain deals with other companies.. "conditions" of the deal that prevent that dealer from selling another operating system on those computers, etc..

With Apple, they control both the hardware and software. So they're selling you one product combined. They're not making deals with anyone but themselves. They couldn't care less of what you do with it after you get their Macbook. Heck they've advertised that the fastest Vista PC is a Macbook (Pro I think?). It might be against warranty, but then again some warranties are written paper thin, and others are strict.

As with KDE (though this is an interface and not an operating system) and so on.

Application wise it's pretty interesting. Since MS will have their own stuff included in an OS, and so will any other OS (well for Linux it's generally just open source software). This can lead to problems depending on how big of market control you have (e.g. Microsoft and IE..or recently Windows Media Player I think).

Though, as long as your not blocking people from installing other programs onto there (say foobar2000 cause I hate WMP) then shouldn't be anything wrong with it.

As for quotes from economists.. I could really care less about what they say unless it's specifically regarding internet, operating systems, etc... The thing is, times change. Theories, especially scientific ones have to adjust for that, which is why nothing in science is 100% correct. What economists wrote about monopolies before may not even apply in the digital age. It's the same thing with Psychology, right now in the field we have to see if what we learned before about humans is changed when computer interfaces is added. How does the internet change, say social psychology as a field. It use to be that sitting on your computer was a sign of no life. Now you can chat on AIM/MSN/Yahoo/whatever, write on message boards, etc..that's certainly signs of social activity. In cognitive psychology (the field I'm going into) we look at the test and measures we had before, see how they relate to the internet. Say spatial awareness and google searching.

Scotty Bones, sadly that's right. Government isn't going change anything.

Jammerdelray, I think they paid their EU fines. For the USA case I think they got a slap on the wrist.

Scotty Bones
December 7th, 2007, 05:12 AM
OK, I apologize for the double post, but I have to respond this one.



Uh, maybe because a "monopoly" requires state sanction, much like the old AT&T before 1984 or the electric companies or cable companies.

No, monopolies do not require state sanction, thats a utility.
Rockafeller's steel company was not state sanctioned, and it was a monopoly.
Read the first paragraph of my first post for clarification of my point.


Since MS operates in a relatively free market NO ONE is forced to buy or use its products. After all, every single users of Windows can switch to Ubuntu today and MS can do NOTHING to stop them. The fact that 90+ percent of computer users CHOOSE to use Windows is their choice, and not any coercive force applied to them. Now some believe the MS has bot like control over people that causes them wake and march down to Compustore and buy Windows. But it is not the case. MS competes, and does so effectively given their large market share. If you want to beat MS you have to effectively market a better product. If Apple did not make what many think are poor marketing decisions in the early 1980's you would be railing against Apple today and Bill Gates would be working at a burger joint.

True, but the problem is 90% consumers out there do not realize that there are alternatives. If you were to stop random people on the street and ask them if they know what Linux is, the overwhelming answer you will get is "whats Linux?" So the question is: If you don't know an alternative exists, are you really being given a choice? No.
Here is another point. If you want that shinny new computer over there, chances are extremely high that it has windows pre-installed on it. You do not get the choice to purchase that computer without it, therefor you must pay for windows as well as the computer (since the cost is calculated in).

That fact is most consumers are incapable of understanding the difference between HW and OS (sad but true). All they know is that they press the power button and windows starts up. To them, thats there computer, its an all-in-one deal. You have no idea how many customers want to send their computers in for repair because they are getting Win32_Generic_Host_Process errors. It really is insane. You can generally walk most of them through fixing the issue, but there are some who just refuse to listen, thinking there is something genuinely broken on the computer.

Favoring an OS by pre-installing it on an overwhelming vast number of new computers without giving an alternative choice at the time of purchase could be construed as a coercive force. Where is the competition there? I cant argue about the marketing, as it seems to be the only thing MS can get right.



I always suspect the motives of those who would use the state to try to force people's choices. MS and Windows has no such force. No matter what contorted arguments the EU or even the US Justice Department make, the bottom line is that people can choose Linux, Mac or no computer at all.

Obviously your unfamiliar with these two acts (thank God they didn't get passed)
a) SSSCA (Security Systems Standards and Certification Act)
b) CBDPTA (Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act)

These were heavily pushed by MS and the rest of the TCPA. If these bills had passed, it would have effectively killed linux and open source in general. These acts would have require every piece of software (and HW) to contain a digital certificate that would have to validate against both an embedded "fritz" chip in the computer (you mobo probably already has one in it.) and against a validation server on the web. If a piece of SW has been modified in any way, it will fail validation and not be allowed to execute. That kind of defeats the purpose of open source, not to mention the hefty price tag associated with the certificate. This would effectively create a complete MS lock-in. For more info on the subject check this out http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/tcpa-faq.html

DarkOx
December 7th, 2007, 06:42 AM
The very fact that there are other operating systems, like Linux, available at much lower cost than Windows means the barrier to entry is not there at all.The very fact that there are other operating systems, like Linux, available at much lower cost than Windows means the barrier to entry is not there at all.

The only alternatives in the desktop market are Mac OS X, which as an already established player before Microsoft did not have to incur massive development costs when first creating their OS in order to compete with MS, and Linux, which has had its development costs spread out among many different firms.

If there aren't any barriers to the market, then why haven't other firms entered the desktop OS market? There's certainly profits to be made there. As the only way that a desktop OS has entered the market post-Microsoft has been through an industry collation of developers (Novell, IBM, Red Hat, the community etc.), and even then remains a niche player, then I would say something is discouraging people from entering into the market.

I agree that this isn't the same as a federally regulated utility. Obviously, it's possible to enter the market, but clearly at great difficulty: look at all the money, time and man-hours that have gone into Linux over the years. Admittedly not all of this has gone to desktop enhancements. But it still costs so much (not just coding, but forging relationships with hardware manufacturers, marketing the new OS, etc.) up front that it's not a risk any firm is willing to take. I'd say that's a barrier and part of the reason Microsoft faces such light competition on the desktop.

blueturtl
December 7th, 2007, 10:57 AM
I didn't see a straight-forward answer in here anywhere so I'll provide one:

Microsoft was convicted on the monopoly charges as well as quite a few anti-competitive practice charges. However the recently (Bush) appointed attorney general John Ashcroft didn't take any action after the case ended (http://media.www.dailyutahchronicle.com/media/storage/paper244/news/2001/09/07/WorldReport/Bush-Wont.Pursue.Microsoft.Lawsuit-90230.shtml). [2] (http://www.iht.com/articles/2001/09/07/micro_ed3_.php)