The Microsoft Monopoly

I've been mostly supportive of Microsoft in their current legal troubles. I mean, it's hard to imagine a monopoly without a barrier to entry (beyond labor). There just isn't any valid barrier to entry in the OS market (as is amply proven by the Linux successes).

And even if MS is a monopoly, they shouldn't have legal trouble unless they are harming consumers. Note, consumers. Not competitors. As a programmer, I can tell you that MS has provided a great deal of benefit to consumers not just by providing a decent product. The greatest benefit is that by providing a pax Microsoft, I can develop a product for the windows platform and be confident that 80% of my customers won't have trouble with it. Ever wonder why so much software is available for windows, but not so much for OS2, Linux, or Macintosh? It's because as a developer, you can reach the largest market by developing for the MS platform. You add significant cost for each OS you add to the mix. If there were an even mix of Operating Systems, my expenses would be huge. And the choices in the market would be correspondingly smaller.

Now, Microsoft isn't an honorable company. They keep pushing initiatives that are, at best, dubious. The latest one is a doozy. Basically, in order to combat piracy, they are refusing to ship discs with any new PCs you might order. So you buy the software without actually receiving the software. Not good.

When Microsoft does something disingenuous like this, they should be called on the carpet and forced to cough up.

But breaking them up just because their competitors complain seems a little precipitous to me.

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8. June 2000 13:02 by Jacob | Comments (0) | Permalink

Congressional Offense

The following list (or one similar) has been sent to me by a number of people--so I've decided to just post this response to all of you. Please don't be offended because I didn't respond privately.

I find this list misleading at best. Notice that it is all 'accused' and 'arrested'. Not convicted. The worst one is 'stopped' for drunk driving. I've been stopped for drunk driving and I've never been drunk in my life. You can be stopped for drunk driving if you make one too many lane changes. Or if a cop is suspicious and wants to check something out.

You also have to realize that being in congress increases your profile and that means that you are open to more groundless accusations than most people. Also, being in congress means that you have to live in multiple states and move between them a lot. That leads naturally to credit problems. Finally, if you look at percentages, those numbers are actually pretty low for the general population.

The only number that could be of concern is the high percentage of failed businesses (20% of them). That is, unless you know that only 1 in 100 new businesses actually survive longer than two years. The successful businesses are almost all run by people who have learned from what they did wrong in their prior failures.

You all know I'm not someone to defend government incompetence, but this list is just unfair and misleading. On the other hand, if someone has a list of convictions . . .

Can you imagine working at the following Company?
It has a little over 500 employees with the
following statistics:

*29 have been accused of spousal abuse
*7 have been arrested for fraud
*19 have been accused of writing bad checks
*117 have bankrupted at least two businesses
*3 have been arrested for assault
*71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit
*14 have been arrested on drug-related charges
*8 have been arrested for shoplifting
*21 are current defendants in lawsuits
*In 1998 alone, 84 were stopped for drunk driving

Can you guess which organization this is?
Give up?
It's the 535 members of your United States
Congress. The same group that
perpetually cranks out hundreds upon hundreds of
new laws designed to
keep the rest of us in line.

18. January 2000 12:54 by Jacob | Comments (0) | Permalink


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