Ah, I see the rumors of Francis Dec's demise were greatly exaggerated.
You pretty much got it - the core of Microsoft's argument was 100% vindicated by history. It's one of the little quirks of nature:
1. Bundling DOES help the consumer. Apple is the proving point. The users crave a unified bundled approach. Even to the level MS never envisioned, hardware, service and software.
2. An upstart competition could arrive at anytime and take MS's market share, because unlike natural monopolies on resources, the human capital needed to fight MS was readily available to competitors. Google, Apple, Blackberry, all came from nowhere to drink MS's milkshake.
3. The browser is a natural part of the operating system and it's unfair to force MS to accommodate competitors who someday would be more profitable or powerful than MS.
4. MS doesn't have the ability to set prices which is a critical part of the monopoly power. This is so obviously true. MS exerts almost no price pressure on the market these days.
Your politics are backwards. Nationally, the car dealers are associated strongly with the conservatives in the GOP. Many, many, many car dealers are owned by Republicans.
Nate Silver correlated the data nicely back when the major makers were on the verge of bankruptcy.
It's better than 8-to-1 correlation (i.e., a fairly strong correlation).
The problem is that, adjusting for inflation, it should be dramatically less. That's the trend. The major outlier is for raw materials which are more costly to extract and process for use.
In the 1950's a decent Westinghouse consolve TV cost about $1000. Inflation adjusted to today, that's about $9000. You'd be hard pressed to spend $9000 on a TV today unless it was a big theater setup or was quite exotic. That's because technology has replaced the need for many expensive raw materials, improved production (including moving it overseas), and driven out the excess.
Auto manufacturers have a problem, and they are the ones driving cost inflation, trying to convince Americans to spend more and more of their income each year on automobiles. For the last two generations this has been through fictionalization of automobiles - you are buying a payment, not a product. That has started to lessen, but record low interest rates have prevented a major crash in sales, and actually led to some good years against a trend of decline.
There is a large untapped market for a car marker who builds the same model of car, with no changes other than manufacturing refinements, for 7-15 years, direct to consumers. From a manufacturing theory perspective, there are something like 7,000-10,000 drivers in an auto production line. 10 years is about what you could expect to optimize the supply chain for each driver, maybe half that if you are very good at managing supply chain. This type of company is stymied by three things:
a. cheap credit money which makes it cheaper to buy a new car than to maintain and run older cars,
b. regulatory creep which increases requirements continually and
c. consumers willing to spend a large slice of their income on flashy cars and status symbols.
And in the end, car dealerships do deserve to undergo a radical change in their structure. They are inherently bad for customers.
For one - they make money in ways that customers are not aware of. The most insidious being "point spread". You walk in, buy a car, and they make money selling the car (fair), future service either under warranty or direct to the consumer (fair), and more importantly, on the financing. You might qualify for a certain rate, but they get a big chunk of the difference between your best qualifying rate and what they convince you to pay. So you qualify for a 3.5% rate, but they get you sign on the line for 9.9%, and they get roughly 50% of the point spread between 3.5% and 9.9%, which on many financing arrangements, is far more than the profit involved in selling the car to begin with.
Second, they do an only okay job with service. They do not typically do as a good job as independent shops, and for warranty work, face little competitive price pressure.
Finally, they are effective local monopolies and do not always respond to market pressure. Because of brand monopolies, there is not as much competition as they would have you believe. The car market is deeply segmented, and so there are not as many brand choices in a price/demographic band as you might think. On paper there are 15 manufacturers selling through dealerships in a market. But for a single random consumer, there are likely 3 or 4 options that meet the basic criteria of type and price range.
In many small towns or areas, the local car dealer is the wealthiest person in town. There is a lot of profit standing between the car maker and the consumer. And in the end, this excess is needs to be wrung out of the system. Manufacturer's should not be able to prevent car dealers from selling and servicing cars, but long-term, the concept of a franchised car dealership needs to be scaled back. Channel conflict is inevitable.
The older you have become, the more exceptions you have encountered which shatter common stereotypes. By the time you hit 70-80 years of age, the whole of humanity probably seems like am unweighted random behaviour generator.
This is beautiful.
Participation in fraud and selling stolen goods is hardly capitalism.
Maybe you should look at how things work in the real world instead of believing what a bunch of philosophers tell you they think ought to happen. Hint: Karl Marx and Ayn Rand both developed economic theories that were entirely logical and self-consistent.
selling US government secrets to the remnants of the old Soviet Union is now called 'free market capitalism'
Yes. Yes, it is.
What, you were expecting something more idealistic? Sorry, sucker, welcome to the real world.
Yes. This is an important distinction. "They also laughed at Bozo the Clown."
Hoyle wasn't purely a crank, of course. He was a very good scientist, who had made major contributions to his field, but who just couldn't accept new ideas past a certain point, and thereby became a crank. This phenomenon isn't universal by any means, but it's sadly common.
The actual benefits from pharmacogenetic testing for Warfarin metabolism are swamped by all the other factors which affect Warfarin metabolism (eg diet and other meds).
The FDA disagrees, and so does the evidence. And there are a whole lot of areas where pharmacogenetics is starting to have an impact on treatment. In any case, pharmacogenetics is a subset of pharmacogenomics; for example, as I mentioned in another comment, the lab where I work is working on expression-based tests for prediction of altitude sickness and setting up drug trials.
The clinical trials framework that's evolved over the decades isn't really equipped to deal with personalized medicine, but that's starting to change. Where I work, we're starting to understand the genomic basis of altitude sickness and putting together treatment trials on that basis. This is an area where the potential market is pretty large, of course, and for rare diseases that affect small numbers of people it's going to be harder, but if we can develop a generally accepted body of protocols for individualized trials then it should be possible to apply this to smaller groups as time goes by.
Urgh. Good point.
I'll bet there's a model that could take all stuff this into account, and sufficient data to estimate the parameters. But trying to figure out what that would be feels too much like work.
If you look over the past 500 billion years, the geological record shows that there is a mass extinction event roughly every 62 million years.
So we have records of about, what, eight thousand mass extinctions? Wow, I had no idea.
Too many people suffer and die from too many diseases that we more or less understand, but can't effectively treat. I hated it when I worked in hands-on patient care, and I hate it now in the lab. We are, finally, getting there."
Okay, makes sense. So we probably already have the data available to do a pretty good analysis of impact periodicity.