Re: Common carriers Re: A letter to Joe

Jeff Bone (
Mon, 18 May 1998 18:32:29 -0500

> It's just a big money and power grab. Period.

Nonsense. Nobody who is watching this case expects anything to happen
other than injunctive relief followed by modifications to business
practices. Nobody expects the antitrust suits to seek any sort of
actual or punitive damages. The issue is simple: has Microsoft
violated existing antitrust / anticompetitive laws? If so, they need to
come into compliance with those laws. So, I don't see how this is a
money and power grab at all. It's simply a matter of prosecuting the
laws we have. Maybe those laws are wrong, but they are what they are.

> 5) ... People buy MS products because they get the job done at a
reasonable price.]

You're confusing consumer and corporate buying dynamics. People don't
buy MS, corporations do --- and the rest of us get stuck in a no-choice
world as a result of a complex feedback loop. The fact of the matter is
that there is no such thing as a "home computer" anymore, so the "rest
of us" get stuck buying whatever the corporate market buys... this is
compounded by the fact that software developers go where the market
share is, which leads to greater market share as people buy the platform
to get the apps, etc. etc. The weak link in all of this is the mindset
of most buying decision makers in the corporate segment; just as it was
true that "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" back in the 60s and
70s, so today "nobody ever got fired for buying Wintel." We end up
buying MS operating systems and the boxes that run them because most of
the commercial software out there that we, as consumers, want to run
runs on Windows, and THAT happens because developers go where the market
share is, and THAT is Windows because corporate buyers are risk and
change averse. So, IMO, people do *not* buy MS products as a rule
because they get the job done at a reasonable price (though they may be
just that) but rather because there are increasingly fewer
alternatives. If you want a scapegoat for that situation, blame Apple
for not winning the hearts of those corporate buyers back in the
mid-late 80s, or the UNIX vendors for being such a nation divided and
focusing on the high end during that timeframe... or whatever.

Let me pose a number (6) for your list....

(6) They are technically savvy and like building great, non-vertical
software *products.* They believe that they want to be able to do just
that --- build products --- as a career, and believe they should be able
to fund, grow, and prosper from companies created to do just that, and
believe that Microsoft's ravenous appetite and tendency to move in every
possible interesting product direction prevents their ability to do that