Re: Common carriers Re: A letter to Joe

Jeff Bone (
Mon, 18 May 1998 14:07:42 -0500

> What do you believe are the *minimum* concessions

Glad you asked. These are what I see as the initial *minimum*

(1) Unbundle the browser *user interface* immediately and forever.
(2) Require Microsoft to *facilitate* OEM customization such as boot
and desktop screens.
(3) Require Microsoft to allow OEM customers to *suppress* all MS
branding if desired.
(4) Define "operating system" and prohibit mandatory bundling of MS
non-OS and OS products.
(5) Require Microsoft to immediately halt its tying and exclusionary
licensing practices.
(6) Separate Microsoft into 3 companies: OS, applications, and content
/ services.
(7) Enforce strict "Chinese Wall" between MS operating companies thus

There are other things I can think of, but those get past my major

This whole thing pains me greatly, as I'm essentially a free marketer /
libertarian at heart. The crux of the problem is that free market
requires just that --- a free market --- and a market dominated by a
single player is not free. Nonetheless, natural monopoly isn't
necessarily a bad thing --- and make no mistake, Microsoft is
*essentially* a monopoly --- but I do *not* believe that Microsoft is a
natural monopoly. Rather its position or power has been gained through
tying practices, exclusionary practices, and other actions that, if not
illegal, are at least anticompetitive through leveraging parts of the
Microsoft business to support other parts.

The goal in this action should be to enable a software market where
there is more innovation, more choice, and more creation of wealth,
where products compete on technical merit --- i.e., a free market. The
MS position that the antitrust suit hurts innovation and the consumer is
nothing but hogwash. Choice is good; the inability to effectively
compete with Microsoft stifles competition for all but a select few of
the larger software companies in this market, and this stifles creation
of wealth and reduces consumer choice.