Common carriers Re: A letter to Joe

Dr. Ernest N. Prabhakar (
Sun, 17 May 98 14:22:53 -0700

This really isn't as shocking as it sounds. The technical term is
"common carrier." I believe it originally applied to railroads. If
someone owned all the rails in a region, they were designated a common
carriers, and required to carry trains belonging to someone else. This
reduced the benefits of a vertical monopoly. Of course, it only worked
if everyone had standardized on the same track sizes.

The same policy has been applied to oil pipelines and broadcast signals.
I think there were some discussions over whether that applied to IP
network links, but that may have been obsoleted nowadays.

So, making MS a 'common carrier' is not really that enormous a change
from prior policy. It -is- a paradigm shift for the software industry,
but it was just as traumatic for those ohter industries, and they've
managed to deal with it.

Rohit, is that more or less accurate? I'm too tired to do the web
research, as I was climbing 60-foot rope courses yesterday...

-- Ernie P.

> As seen in:
> "Talks between Microsoft, Justice Department collapse"
> <
> > "We don't believe that's a reasonable demand, that' the
> > government getting involved with the design of
> > our product," Cullinan said. "This is like asking Coke to ship
> > three cans of Pepsi with every 12-pack."
> (Cullinan being MS spokesman Jim Cullinan).
> Hmm. Well if we're going to pull stupid out-of-context
> quotes out for derision, that ploy can be put in the anti-MS
> direction as well as the anti-Sun.
> Yes, Mr. Cullinan, I suppose that if Coke owned 90+%
> of the grocery stores, supermarkets, and vending machines,
> yeah, I suppose we just
> might insist that they devote shelf space to Pepsi
> right there beside their own.
> Get a life.
> Ron