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I need a new monitor

The one I was using has been short-circuited by the diet vanilla coke I spewed on it after reading Joel's comment that:

"Microsoft took over the browser market fair and square by making a better product"

Microsoft took over the browser market by integrating a decent browser (FOR FREE) with their monopoly OS, and making it very difficult for the other guy (WHO WASN'T FREE IN MANY CASES) to even get distributed.

Good lord, people. Those who ignore history are bound to repeat it.

(thank god there were no blogs back when IE killed Netscape, or people would be claiming that Microsoft beat IBM fair and square).

MD
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Maybe you don't remember, but after Netscape 4, and before FireFox, IE was pretty darn appealing.

Of course, IE hasn't progressed since and is now threatened by Mozilla again.

Fred
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Christ, I remember how bad Netscape was -  I gladly switched.

DJ
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

No, Coke's better! No, Pepsi! :-P

Wisea**
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

I remember the one reason I switched away from Netscape - it was unable to reflow text in a browser window. This meant that if you resized the browser, Netscape had to reload the page.

Think about that - every time you want to grab an edge and, say, make a browser portrait instead of landscape so you could see two browsers (or a browser and another app) at the same time - page refresh. If a form was involved, you get the "resubmit form data?" prompt.

And there was no way to undo it - once Netscape thinks you're resizing, the old content was gone.

That alone was enough pain to move to IE.

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Vanilla Coke is nasty...

Yo
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Anytime I hear someone say Microsoft has a monopoly OS I simply place that person's comment on my IDIOT radar.

A monopoly is an exclusive ownership through legal privilege, command of supply, or concerted action (to settle or adjust by conferring and reaching an agreement). Not one vendor or world government has ever agreed to give, settle or confer upon Microsoft any OS monopoly. So, the reality is they have NO MONOPOLY. What they have is an OS that most computer users prefer to own - hence their dominance in that arena.

With regards to Internet Explorer, after a few years of being behind the intelligence curve, Microsoft finally realized that it better enhance the OS with this capability, else the new browser technology might make the OS obsolete. In my opinion for a company to give away one technology to enhance the sales of another product is legitimate and done every single, waking, moment of the day. One simple example is the CD players that now ship with most cars. Do any of you people remember your dad's car that came standard with a nice FM-AM push button radio?

I’ve installed Firefox and will give it a shot. Who knows, it might warrant a switch at some point in time.

I don't know what to tell you people that have this hatred fixation on Microsoft. I think there are two type of computer nerds out there that have an opinion about Microsoft. They either have a religious, faith based opinion that Microsoft is evil and the source for all of IT's issues or either they think Microsoft is simply a business, conducting business like any other business.

Herschel Horton
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Didn't the government find MS a monopoly? Doesn't
that pretty much mean they are monopoly for
discussion sake?

son of parnas
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Microsoft's monopoly-->

We shall overcome
We shall overcome
We shall overcome some day

Oh deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome some day

Karthik
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

a de facto monopoly is still a monopoly, regardless of whatever outdated, arcane definition you want to tag onto the word.

If you believe that Microsoft doesn't engage in some EXTREMELY anti-competitive activities, bordering (or crossing right into) the illegal, then you've got your head very very far up another part of your anatomy.

muppet is now from madebymonkeys.net
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Herschel,

The only thing worse than an anal know-it-all is an anal know-it-all that is wrong:

(from dictionary.com)
Exclusive control by one group of the means of producing or selling a commodity or service: “Monopoly frequently... arises from government support or from collusive agreements among individuals” (Milton Friedman).

You are on my IDIOT radar. Monopolies are not restricted to those given by governments.

bub
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

I don't care if MS is a monopoly or not.  Their products work pretty much most of the time.  They do more than what I need most of the time.  Monopoly or not, that is a win on a pure business basis.  I don't care how they got to that point...that's history and I don't see how it really matters.

If their products sucked, I'd find something better, but my experience has been that for the most part, they ARE the something better.

<sigh/>
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Where can I buy one of these IDIOT radars? Sounds handy.

sgf
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

In fact, Microsoft does have a monopoly on the Windows operating system.  Certainly not on just ANY OS, but the Windows OS they do.  They control all that stuff that "defines a monopoly" for that OS.

Then the question becomes, since they are the sole supplier of the Windows OS, what anti-competitive practices are they allowed to use?

They did in fact use their leverage with Windows to prevent vendors from supplying Netscape with their PC's.  I believe that is where the courts decided they crossed the line.

AllanL5
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

The legal definition of monopoly is "the ability to raise the price of a product at will"

If you think about it, this makes sense, it also concisely defines our *fear* of a monopoly - that a company has enough control of its market to gouge the consumer.

Think of a cable company pre-satellite, absent regulation - they can pretty much charge what they want for cable TV, because there's no other way to get your Friends fix every week. Admittedly, at some price competition will magically appear because it's cost effective, and for any luxury you're always competing against people simply doing without, but those are really the only bounds on pricing.

The problem in antitrust law is that there's really no way to objectively test that position. You can *guess* that it's going on, or assume it, but prove it? Tough question. So the courts have adopted the "percentage of market" guideline to define a monopoly. This is still fraught with problem areas - most notably defining the market and deciding what percentage makes a monopoly. The Jackson court defined the market as "desktop operating systems" and since MS held 90+%, held that MS was a monopoly in that market.

Again, the standard note that being a monopoly is not illegal; abuse of monopoly power is.

But there's an interesting thing about the legal definition as opposed to the percentage definition - the legal definition provides a firmer understanding of what may make a monopoly from the structural point of view, instead of just looking at what people happen to use. (Sure most people get red cars, but that's only because they cost the same as blue cars; if red cars cost $5k more, would people still buy them? Not in the same numbers)

Look at Google for example - sure everyone uses it, but does that give them a monopoly on web searching? Look at the legal definition - could Google start charging $1/search? No way - their market share would evaporate overnight. So they don't control the ability to raise prices on their market at will. Ergo - no monopoly, from a legal perspective.

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Philo,

Regarding google.  You and I are not their customers.  Advertisers are their customers.  And from the stories and anecdotes I've heard regarding their treatment of customers, they might even fit your definition of a monopoly =)

Ben Allison
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Salad Cream!

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

I heard them nazis were coming this way.

RP
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Philo,

You are mostly correct especially with respect to your point about the ability to charge monopoly rents.  Clearly you are arguing that Microsoft does have a monopoly, not just on deskto OS but on Office software as well.  The Software industry is uniquely susceptible to the creation of monopolies because of  standards and network effects.

I agree somewhat with the OP but I also thing that ultimately IE because much better than Netscape.  I think though, this is likely the result of Microsoft having an infinite warchest to spend on fending off this threat to its monopoly while Netscape actually had to sell the browser to make money.  Once Microsoft stopped them from so doing (Kind of like the "dumping" of TVs we were so pissed off about in the 1980s) they had to devote their resources to other projects and basically stopped developing the browser around version 4.7

name withheld out of cowardice
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

"Anytime I hear someone say Microsoft has a monopoly OS I simply place that person's comment on my IDIOT radar."

And anytime I see someone like you come to the aid of the convicted monopolist I simply write you off as a fanboy.

Quad
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

+++Microsoft took over the browser market by integrating a decent browser (FOR FREE) with their monopoly OS, and making it very difficult for the other guy (WHO WASN'T FREE IN MANY CASES) to even get distributed.+++

Microsoft took over the browser market by integrating a much better browser as of the 3.X series with their monopoly OS.  But they would have beat NetScape even if Windows was not a monopoly OS because NetScape's browser was increasingly of poor quality and the company's development efforts were second rate compared to MS.

+++Good lord, people. Those who ignore history are bound to repeat it.+++

Quite true!

+++thank god there were no blogs back when IE killed Netscape, or people would be claiming that Microsoft beat IBM fair and square).+++

Microsoft beat IBM fair and square.  Actually, to claim otherwise is rather silly.  IBM was a behemoth; MS a gnat.  When an elephant is toppled by a mouse one does not whine about the unfairness of it all.  IBM bears almost complete, direct responsibility for EVERYTHING it underwent in the late 80s and early 90s.

rick (author of "In Search of Stupidity: Over 20 Years of High-Tech Marketing Disasters," which chronicles IBM's massive stupidity during the time frame discussed above.  A book intended to counteract some of the lamentable and continued ignorance about what actually happened in the history which is repeated ad nauseum by people who don't know!)

rick
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Philo wrote:

"Look at the legal definition - could Google start charging $1/search? No way - their market share would evaporate overnight. So they don't control the ability to raise prices on their market at will. Ergo - no monopoly, from a legal perspective".

Go ahead and look at http://www.albion.com/microsoft/findings-14.html once that Kool Aid wears off.

By your very own defintion Microsoft is a Monopoly since they have increased the price of the OS without losing market share. 

It does not make sense to argue that just because someone gives away something for free they are not a monopoly. Many monopolies do that to drive the competition out of business and once they succeed in doing that raise the prices.

Do you think any VC would be interested today in anyone who wanted to make a better OS/Browser/Word Processor/Presentation program? The only way people can compete with Microsoft is using the free software model.

Code Monkey
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

"By your very own defintion Microsoft is a Monopoly"

Was. That document was dated 1999, and I wasn't arguing that point. I was pointing out (in the context of IE) that "percentage of market share" does not necessarily mean "has a monopoly"

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

> (thank god there were no blogs back when IE killed Netscape, or people would be claiming that Microsoft beat IBM fair and square).

www.jwz.org

Invented blogging in my opinion.

christopher baus (www.baus.net)
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

At the time MS won the browser war there was a large quality difference between IE and Netscape.

IE run without crashing and rendered pages fast.

Netscape crashed, crashed, crashed. It also was slow and had lots of strange quirks.

So, in my opinion MS could have won the browser war even without integrating IE into Windows.

IE simply was a much better browser. Netscape was buggy and crashed.

I don't understand why people don't remember.

Manager in Germany
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

So, MD, never let the facts get in the way of a good Microsoft bashing, hey?

IE replaced netscape not because it was bundled but because it was faster, crashed less, got more pages right and generally knocked the spots off Netscape.

I remember. I remember because I was going through the great anti-microsoft phase all hip youngsters go through at the time and I resisted the switch for the longest time.

Mr Jack
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Man, both sides of this argument are stupid.  Who cares about Monopoly definitions or illegal practices... The fact of the matter is that there are still lots of people out there that BUY computer products and consumer "voting" is the only thing that matters.  None of the arguments posted here told me how they were forced to make a purchase in the first place.  SO WHAT if YOU decided that you would buy that computer, even though it came with Windows and IE both. "I couldn't help it, it would have cost more to buy a computer with no OS and install my own." BAH! When you go down to the car dealership and buy a car off the lot and pay for those dual-alloy wheels just because they're on the car, you don't come here and whine.  When you want a specific set of items in a purchase, you custom order and pay for it.
When MS blows up their competition's HQ or hires an assassin, then I want to hear complaints.

Steamrolla
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

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