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Microsoft

Microsoft Overcharged Industry US$10B 132

Jordy writes "Well this report just came out today, a report that Microsoft has overcharged the computer industry $10 billion dollars for it's OS. Microsoft rebutted this and issued it's own press release stating that it's OS was comparable to other OS's. They list, amoung others, Sun Solaris as a comparable product to Windows98. You can read the highlights in an article at news.com." The report is rather interesting, actually, and has some fairly intriguing pricing data in it. Update C : The news.com link has been fixed.
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Microsoft Overcharged Industry US$10B

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  • I miss those old times when a 486/66 w/ 12MB of RAM was the fastest box on the block.

    Yeah, I remember when, long ago when I didn't keep up with technology that much, my cousin telling me about his new computer. It was 66 MHz! I couldn't believe it! I was, at the time, using a 16 MHz thing with 4 MB RAM!

    Wow, things have changed

  • An anonymous coward was caught spewing forth:
    > For most people: computer == Intel Based PC

    Sorry, that's a wussy excuse.
    And how so? This industry has now become more of perception rather than anything else. How can you say the perception of something doesn't affect how it will do in the market? Simple math will tell you that my assertion above is perfectly logical!
  • "I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit...it's the only way to be sure."

    Eric
    --

  • Damnit jim, he added "'s on the URL and broke it :)

    Here Is the Correct Link [news.com]
  • Lots of good comments here.

    I think, however, that a lot of you are falling for Microsoft's ploy. They would like you to focus on the retail price of the software, because that looks good for them. However, the article talks about a 35% - 40% profit margin for Microsoft vs. a 6% average for the industry. This is where the meat of the argument lies.

    It's interesting to note (to me, at least) that the fact that they can do this satisfies the definition of monopoly under anti-trust law.

    The question that arises is how they manage to have profit margins that are six times higher than the rest of the industry. Microsoft would have you believe that it's because they sell superior software, but it doesn't take much inspection for that premise to fall apart. A close look will show you that if you remove Windows' dominant market share, the whole house of cards comes tumblin' down.

    If Windows doesn't have the vast majority of the market, can they get away with raising licensing fees of OEM's who offer alternatives? No - the OEM's will stick to those alternatives and leave Windows in the cold.

    If Windows doesn't have that market share they also can't get away with raising licensing fees for OEM's who don't also want to license Office; this makes the market for office suites much more competitive, as people aren't faced with the prospect of replacing software they already have. In Microsoft's defense, they couldn't get away with this if Office weren't adequate to the task at hand, but as the market atrophies that adequacy becomes less and less necessary.

    Also, I think it deserves bearing in mind that Microsoft got where they are today in no small part through the government's restraint of IBM. The government protected them (and others) when Big Blue could have squashed them flat. Don't cry for them when they get a taste of their own medicine.

  • Posted by djtobkin:

    "Windows 98 upgrade sells for about $88 while IBM's OS/2 Warp upgrade is $149 and Sun's Solaris 2.6 Intel operating system is $380, Microsoft said." - news.com

    Maybe so, but Sun only charges commercial non-profit organizations... Any student can order the Solaris Operating System CDs for only the price of media, shipping, and handling (about $18). In other words, why doesn't Microsoft give away it's comparable product (Windows 95/98) or even the upgrade to people who don't want to use it for commercial use... i.e. students, home users, non-profit organizations... This doesn't sound like that much of a deal anymore, does it?

  • Posted by sunstorm:

    What does Red Hat pay you dude?

    Cheers
  • Posted by sunstorm:

    Apple locks you into MacOS because PPC Linux and MkLinux don't support one of their notebooks properly?

    Microsoft locks me into MS-DOS because my old 8088 isn't supported by Windows!

    Cheers
  • Posted by Phantom of the Operating System:

    >Please note that in the midst of its questionable >business practices, MS has manged to finesse the >law, which is a socialist medium used to curtail >the progress of competition in a truly free >market.

    sorry, it makes you sound like you think they can do whatever they want. If they murdered, would you shrug and say "hey, free market"?

    -phantom
  • Slightly off-topic: I saw an ad somewhere for an OS/2 4.1 upgrade CD for about $40; apparently IBM plans to start shipping some time this quarter.

    Aside from the fact that IBM is as usual too late and hesitant about this, it could be a good sign. Especially if IBM can finally get some mass marketers to preload OS/2 -- which they might be able to do if they're aggressive and if they make the licensing terms attractive enough -- both of which are , for IBM, improbable.

    Still, one can hope. I love Linux, but OS/2 really is a nice piece of work....

    Craig

  • I installed the nearly-free [-beer] Solaris X86 on my desktop at work as an experiment, and I can see why Sun is interested in Linux on UltraSPARC.

    There's no question that Solaris is a heavy-duty, high-performance OS. Its SMP is way ahead of Linux 2.[12].x, and so on and so on. But I found it quirky and difficult to set up, and full of little gotchas -- like, for example, after you've filled in your nameservers in resolv.conf, there's yet another obscure little file that you need to edit to tell Solaris to use DNS to resolve hostnames!

    Again, not surprisingly given its commercial orientation, its hardware support sucks compared to Linux. Its ppp is such a nightmare to set up that Sun itself recommends the free pppd as a substitute!

    Solaris x86 has a terrible time understanding large IDE (LBA) disks and partition tables; I had to give it a whole drive to itself. And so on and so on.

    So I think it's fair to say that for ordinary desktop use, Solaris is indeed more "hard core" than Linux. Companies who need the (great and undeniable) advantages of Solaris and Sun hardware, either in the machine room or on desktops, will have gurus available to set it up properly. And if I were a Sun guru at work, I'd probably be happily running Solaris at home, too.

    But I'm not, so I'll just stick with good ol' Linux. One very valuable lesson I learned playing with Solaris, though, is just how confusing and frustrating initial setup of an unfamiliar system can be. It renewed my sympathy for Linux novices, and made me resolve to be even more patient and helpful.

    Craig

  • Wow, I'd really love to see the Windows 98 system equivilent of the UltraSparc 360 farm at work. Only 2Gb of RAM per system. Wow, maybe IE wouldn't have to swap.
  • Buy what!?

    BeOS? Great OS, easy to use, but eraly in developement cycle and has limited hardware support and commercial grade apps.

    OS/2? Give me a break. OS/2 is dead, save for hardcorp believers (no offense to them).

    Linux? Free, good hardware support, apps out the yang, but can you imagine the Average Joe trying to use Linux? And X-Windows is _STILL_ a pig, even on today's hardware.

    Solaris? See Linux.

    GEM? Hah! That corpse has been cold for a long time.

    You want to jaunt down to Computer City and buy a computer? You buy Microsoft.

    You want to play commercial games other than DOOM and Quake? You buy MicroSoft.

    You want to be able to take work home with you? You buy MicroSoft.

    Where's the damned choice? I've been investigating migrating to an alternate OS for years. I've tried OS/2, Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, BeOS, and a few others. I've tried to get away from MicroSoft but I can't. My employer uses MicroSoft and when I take work home I need to use MS apps. The games I play (which is the primary use my primary computer gets) all run on Windows 9x (some run on NT but not many).

    Most average consumers do not even know there _IS_ and alternative (and God help them if they try to buy a system from a retail outfit without Windows already on it).

    Let us not forget that many OEMs can't sell anything other than MicroSoft OS or they face losing their price breaks. Do you think they're going to screw up that revenue stream?

    When you can walk into a retail store and buy a PC with any OS you want (and Macs don't count (Apple is damn near dead as it is) THEN I'll give your point a little consideration.

  • If memory serves, for a monopoly to be considered "natural" the optimum size for achieving economies of scale must be greater than the total market for the product. It is (was anyway) more efficient to have one power company supply electricity to a town, city or region and have one set of power lines than to have 3 to 6 competing power grids, therefore each power company is granted a regional monopoly and regulated by a Public Utility Commission.

    I see no evidence that this economy of scale is at work in the computer software industry. Microsoft's market power doesn't stem from scale related economies, it comes from historical accident reinforced by predatory business practices.

    Microsoft is almost certainly a monopoly but to call it natural is to imply that it is somehow benign and beneficial to consumers.

    Greg
  • The figure is way to low Howmany PC with windows pre-installed only to be removed when you install a real operating system ie Linux, OS/2 or BE.
    Ron.
  • Actually, Notre Dame has set up an special agreement with Microsoft for the distribution of MS software. The pricing is $10 (US dollars) per CD per year. So, Win 98, upgrade or full, is $10. Win NT is $10, as with MS Office 97 Pro. Visiual Studio w/ MSDN library is $50. Not a bad deal, except it's a yearly contract.

    Unfortunately, the next shipment is supposedly time-bombed, to enforce the yearly contract.
  • From the cnet news.com article:
    Windows 98 upgrade sells for about $88 while IBM's OS/2 Warp upgrade is $149 and Sun's Solaris 2.6 Intel operating system is $380, Microsoft said.

    Something must be screwed up in my head. Last time I check, Windows 98 was/is designed for personal use (NT supposedly for the networked business environment, but that's another story). I don't know; maybe this Slashdot article [slashdot.org] five months ago (doesn't "sells" indicate the present, as in "a lot sooner than a week ago"?) about Solaris 2.6 (Solaris 6?) being free ("free beer") for personal use [sun.com] (except for the $15~$40 shipping & handling costs) were just illusions and figments of my imagination.

    Also, why is W98 upgrade compared to OS/2 upgrade and to full Solaris 6? (For that matter, I don't know anyone that would use Solaris 6 as a mere desktop OS unless they're totally hard-core. Server, I can understand, but personal desktop?)

  • Anyone who suffers in the free market just isn't working hard enough. Its called survival of the fittest.

    MS is fit.

    That last statement seems to imply that MicroSoft is in a free market. I'll have to dig out an econ textbook and look up "free market" again. I don't quite remember all the requirements for a free market.

  • What alternative do you propose for using it as a workstation and running a CAD package? (And please don't say Linux ... of course, you can, but for good reasons, some people will use Solaris to run their apps).

    My apologies on vagueness. I was thinking more along the lines of "weenie" apps used at/for home, e.g. Word, RandomRecipeProgram, and other so-called "user friendly" apps. People doing CAD on Solaris are the "hard-core" type I was talking about (serious CAD on W98? Perhaps NT, but I'd still laugh). To me, it seemed that MicroSoft was insinuating that Solaris is also intended to be just word-processing web-browsing platform, or whatever other piddling task W98 does. I'm quite aware Solaris can be used as a desktop OS, but not in same sense as W98, which MicroSoft also seemed to be implying.

    I guess my point is that Solaris and W98 aren't even in the same league to fairly compare prices (-to-performance ratio).

  • Actually, in usability studies, MS-Windows consistently looses to OS/2 and MacOS. In many instances, it looses to Unix.

    Here where I work, we use X-Terminals on the desktop. Our programs are very easy to use, and the desktop is locked down. Although we have a few people who would prefer PCs on their desktops, most of the comments we recieve are along these lines: "The system here is so much easier to use than the one at my last workplace."

    More money is spent on MS-Excel and MS-Word classes than internal training. This is the entire, ambiguous 'TCO' people talk about so much. PCs have a notoriously high total cost of ownership.

    And there have been file managers for X-Windows for many, many years.

    This doesn't address the home users, but MS made most of its money off businesses, not home users.

    But in any case, this is all old news. And the only people who will gain from a class-action suit is the lawyers. And if there's a group of people I hate more than I hate Microsoft, it's lawyers.

    - Tony
  • A monopolist, even in a "natural monopoly", will charge whatever the demand curve indicates that they are allowed to by the market. The prevalent solutions indicated by case law and current (and past, Chicago School be damned) economic thought are to either:

    (1) End the monopoly by force (i.e. require competition [see AT&T Breakup, Telecom deregulation])

    or

    (2) Heavily regulate the monopoly to limit its profits beyond its marginal cost (i.e. public utilities such as gas and electric and water).

    Note that the second is really only used for what used to be called a "natural monopoly," which is when a monopoly exists by some natural condition of the industry where the consumer is ultimately helped by the monopoly (such as not having differing standards and supplies for water to the house....the distribution of water makes a lot more sense as a regulated monopoly when you look at how it benefits consumers).

    The only question is how badly the courts will dismember Micro$oft, and if they don't, and even if they just find against Micro$oft, how much penalties get assigned (remember that antitrust is a finding of fact w.r.t. future legal decisions, and all that is left is damages if someone can say that M$' illegal activities damaged them, and they get triple damages).

    For example, Netscape (or now AOL) can argue that Microsoft killed the browser market and did so in an illegal fashion (which is a finding of fact by the court), and they can then argue that this hurt them $5bn in potential profits, and M$ then owes them $15bn, or just declares bankruptcy. The only thing to be argued about is the damages, not whether or not M$ needs to pay.

    God I love antitrust law.

    And as an aside, go to the microsoft page and try to vote in their poll about what to do with them....you have to register with them to do so, thus removing your ability to vote anonymously. Gotta love that kind of gumption.
  • Wrong. In a free market Microsoft has the right to do whatever it wants to do to earn money, so long as that money is earned by honest means. Lying, cheating, theft, and even murder are not "honest means" by anyone's definition. According to U.S. law, a corporation is legally a lot like a person; this gives it legal rights and responsibilities. And MS is nothing but a common swindler.
  • Windoze is one of the most competitively priced OS's in the market? Keep on dreaming, Billy. Let's see, you have Solaris and OS/2 costing more. However, let's broaden our views a bit, shall we?

    Let's go with OS's which are suitable to be used as clients, and compare them with Win98. Win98 costs roughly $150. MacOS costs less than $100. BeOS clocks in at $80 last time I looked. AmigaOS... it's not being sold much anymore, but I believe it's cheaper too.

    Now, let's look at servers. Win95 can be used as a server, but onyl with a 5-client license, so let's throw it out and look at NT. Now, you limit the client numbers on that like the greedy scumbags you are, so let's look at your "unlimited-client" license, which I believe runs close to $10,000. MacOS X Server offers the same license in a more powerful operating system for a tenth of that. Linux and the various BSD-variants do the same, but they do it for free (or at most the cost of a distro, which is about $50). I won't go into other Unices, but I'll bet you they're cheaper too.

    Microsoft, competitively priced? Don't make me laugh.
  • I'm not sure if the article was referring to the US computing industry or that of the world as a whole. If, however, it was referring to only the US, that means that Microsoft has bilked every man, woman, and child in this country out of $40.

    I don't know about you, but I want my $40 back, thank you very much.
  • A lot of the blind Microslaves counteract these arguments by saying "but Microsoft doesn't force anyone to buy Windows." I suppose this is true. It's also irrelevant. Why? Because Microsoft's marketing is geared in such a way what it has made the computing industry think it is forced to buy Windows. This is every bit as bad; perceived reality is infinitely more important than actual reality because it is percieved reality on which people act.
  • Here's the difference. In good marketing, people know there are alternatives, but think they should choose a given product.

    The way Microsoft's marketing goes, there are no alternatives; one must buy their product or fact the consequences. It's somewhat akin to extortion when you think about it.
  • Technically that's a flame. Why are MS products the better. Show me even one thing MS does that isn't done better by some other product, and use of proprietary MS protocols or specific programs does not count.
  • MacOS and BeOS are cheaper. Keep in mind that BeOS runs on Intel boxes and you have an OS for the PC (and a more powerful one at that) which is cheaper than Windows.
  • When Apple made the switch over to that licensing systen (with system 7.1), Jobs was no longer at the company. He was out with NeXT and Pixar. I think it was Spindler who was responsible for that one (or was it Sculley?)

    I don't like Steve Jobs very much myself (though he's much better than Amelio was). But don't make him the scapegoat.
  • click here [news.com]

    regarding the article, I find the idea of a class-action suit against MS (mentioned at the end of the article) very interesting. That would definitely be one way to punish MS, if the Judge doesn't want to break them up into baby Bills.

  • who cares what browser people use in the first place?

    for example me. as you told, competion in browsers market broght us a lot of good features. and that's why i care what browser is used by most of people. why? because as you can see in OS maret, same way it can end with browsers. a lot of features nobody wantsd for a lot of money. all because of there is no (to be more precise: there WAS no) competitor

    i care for which browser is mostly used because i prefer no browser got real majority. to ensure quality.

  • let MS rest in peace
    ... after fingting them out of dominant position

    by the way, while i'm saying "fight them out of dominant position" I mean push them out by group of competitors (competing with each other at the same time) not replace it by something other (even Linux)

  • yours too, because when talking for example about minimalisation of porting effort there are more ways to do that than just make ONE dominant platform. examples? java and source code compatibility (like on UNIXes). even those two methods (theire principles) are better than your one desktop concept because they do not remove competition. and as you surely know, competition is esential for quality! (and for posibility to choose as well, for low prices too, etc. etc.)

    while talking about browsers, there rules same principles I mention above. while having cometiotion, we get a lot good browsers with a lot good features with minimum of bugs and with CORRECT html implementation. without competition? a lot of html tags no one knows what they are for, a lot of features nobody know what they are for and how to use them, a lot of bugs, little choises, etc.

    do I state esentials of competition clearly enought? do you understand that MS' ways of "achieving users's benefits" are fundamentaly wrong?

  • natural monopoly can be water and elektricity supply, railroad transportation in small countries ... BUT computer software is not candidate for natural monopoly! as long as there are no natural superior programmers in the world and they can not change employer

  • ... should US government buy MS from bill? or take MS from bill? second is better while existing in kapitalism society. and why to perform that? because regulating something which is not yours is denying right of the owner (as MS shouts it) - except by make some new law, but that's hard because with aproach you mentioned (It's not illegal to be a monopoly, but it is illegal to violate anti-trust laws.) someone still can find some hole in law

    and after adoption of MS by USA, what should do other countries? buy MS from USA?

    so at the end, it looks to me like the best solution to ensure competition in that market, not to try to establish legal (maybe regulated, and by whom?) monopoly

    so maybe i again missunderstand you but i can think only one other solution: Open Source Society: only in such a society we can function well will just one or two OS, one or two HW platforms, one or two car makers, etc. because anyone can freely alter those products and if he make it right others will adopt that change

  • maybe it is accident, but training and support are still needed for MS products and this support and training is not for free (i suspect it is not accidend but another market dominated by MS, but who knows :) so i do not agree about that $20B savings for training

    and even in case it's true, what are the loses (in billions of US$) caused by crashes, damages, ... caused just by bugs in MS software? you can't efectively work wile saving and backuping every minute

  • but while using netscape i'm not happy too (lot of bugs)

    so i agree with you that this war is not good (for users)

  • Do you think it would have made a differance if Windows was cheaper? Do you think Microsoft would have sold more copies? I didn't know it was a crime to lower your costs to increase your profits. They probably would have been pissed if Microsoft would have been selling a Windows update for say, $60 instead of $100, Using their monoply to sell their OS below what other retail OS sell for. What do you think? (I'm just making points, I really don't like Microsoft)
  • ...not only that, I brought a Coke INTO Pizza Hut and was asked to put it away or leave. The bottle was empty.

    --
  • That also means I'm free to advocate against MS with no real knowledge.

    So just back of and let me help other companies compete against MS, we're using a new strategy that concentrates on getting MS sued by everyone - so far it's going great!

    While the suits are busy suing MS, us normal people use every opportunity to advocate against MS. So why are you defending them, after all this is competition? Oh, I see you're just part of the MS team. Well that's OK too, but this time our FUD will win.

    --
    Pirkka

  • The CFA's full report is still in MIME quoted-printable format, except with the MIME headers stripped off. This leaves lots of "=" signs lying about and completely destroys several of the tables that were created with massive bursts of non-breaking spaces. Alas, if only the zippies had heard of munpack...
  • A long while back, PepsiCo bought KFC, Pizza Hut and other fast food chains, and switched them over to Pepsi instead of Coke. Shortly after this, most of the competition to these restaraunts switched completely to Coke since this helped weaken their competition.

    When is the software industry going to realize the same thing can happen here. Some developers I know defend Microsoft, saying so-and-so should have "stayed out of Microsoft's way". As if waiting for Microsoft to toss crumbs to the birds is a fine way for an industry to work. This is why it is so expensive to maintain a network of computers; any cost savings resulting from software you write has the potential to impact Microsoft's earnings (remember the Citrix story?).

    Linux for the server; MacOS for the desktop and there's no way Microsoft could continue to choke an entire industry - they will need those hands to SWIM.

    Maybe then MS would stop trying to make everyone's life difficult, for thise who don't choose 100% Microsoft (like when FrontPage98 erases industry-standard imagemaps and deliberately replaces them with MS-only "web bots").
  • The issue I see (and have always seen) with having MS control the browser is this: If all the browsers are IE, and MS makes it hard to follow standards with a non-compliant browser, they can easily persuade developers to use MS dev tools. With that, they can use the leverage of the needed tools to gain server installs, by using proprietary server-side items.

    So we have monopoly dominos... desktop to browser, browser to dev tools, dev tools to server.

    It's just MS being MS. Great businesswise, but it really sucks for us people that actually like using computers, and care how computers help PEOPLE in the future.
  • I dislike NT and I despise Windows 9x, but I really doubt the figure takes into account all the training needed to teach people that cp means copy or that file names with different cases are not the same. In my old tech support days, I had a few calls from mac users who didn't know what a folder was ( that was one of those 3 hour calls that came in at 4:59pm ).

    Oh yeah, did these people check the pricing of commercial unix software? I know Solaris has those really cheap deals now, but a 5 user copy of AIX for old PPC we got would pay my tuition for a semester.

    In an ideal world, everyone would be running linux x-stations hooked up to a beefy quad-xeon... and everyone would have a limited edition Carmack Ferrari F50... it just ain't gonna happen ;-)
  • - I did work for a company that contracts with Microsoft. But they're not paying me anymore :-)

    - I guess I should have thought my statement out more. What it all boils down too is that you can find data that says anything. Unix is easier than Windows, Windows is cheaper than Unix, MacOs is a technically superior operating system... I have a hard time believing any article that whips out figures like this.
  • and that means with NOBODY in control, neither guvmint nor Microshaft.

    Adam Smith's invisible hand only works when there are so many consumers and producers that no one individual can influence it. M$ long ago passed the point of being too big for a free market.

    --
  • by kellman ( 8394 )
    SunOS is NOT comparable to Win98. That is like comparing Mercedes to Yugos.
  • Nobody's being forced to buy Microsoft.

    You don't need Microsoft in your home:

    - you can buy other OSes
    - you can buy game boxes cheaply
    - you can run your household without MS Money, trust me (or anyone from the pre-computer era)
    - you can still have a social life without AOL

    Business users aren't forced to choose Microsoft either. Any corporation/small business who does not investigate Unix/Mac/IBM alternatives to MS deserves to be abused by Microsoft, although $100 a PC hardly makes a dent in most company's budgets.

    Of course, the real cost of buying an OS has very little to do with the nominal price tag, so the whole article was basically irrelevant. Some companies (wrongly or rightly) believe Microsoft has a lower total cost of ownership. The ones that made the wrong gamble on choosing OSes have paid the price and have gone out of business by now. Gosh, free markets are so cruel--you make dumb purchasing decisions and you go out of business. :)


  • Your argument may be correct, but you should clarify some points:

    1. Are we focusing on the fact that Microsoft has a monopoly in the OS market or browser market?

    If it's the OS market you're talking about...

    1. First and most obviously, of course, what about IBM, Sun, etc.? Is Microsoft a monopoly or just a market leader?

    2. Couldn't you argue that Microsoft is in fact a natural monopoly. Having just one prominent desktop platform benefit consumers tremendously, as well as a lot of software vendors. For example, Netscape only has to write their portal software for one desktop OS to get 95% of the market (although they don't stop there, of course). A restuarant software vendor can write its software for NT only and get lots of sales. Think of all the software that corporations have not had to port, because there is no PepsiSoft operating system.

    3. What specific laws has Microsoft broken in the OS arena? It's not illegal to be a monopoly, but it is illegal to violate anti-trust laws. What anti-trust laws are you suggesting they violated?

    If you're suggesting that Microsoft has a monopoly in the browser market, I think you're on firmer ground, since they obviously leveraged their OS leadership to undermine a source of profit for Netscape. Of course, before Microsoft, Netscape was a monopoly of sorts. And Netscape charges for their product, but they have never aggressively seeked payment, since they know that their real long-term value is as a portal.
    The browser monopoly, of course, is another monopoly. Having one major browser platform greatly simplifies the job of webmasters everywhere. That is, having one major browser platform will greatly simplify the job of webmasters everywhere once Microsoft really does have a monopoly with browsers. I am one of the many Netscape users that DOJ seems to think either don't exist or don't matter.

  • A lot of people who oppose the DOJ suit would favor government actions against corporations that pollute the environment, exploit workers, withhold crucial resources from consumers, etc. MS may be unfairly competitive, but they're hardly a threat to civil society.
  • Just this statement alone raises interesting questions:

    Public opinion is with MS now and will continue to be because people are afraid to question the tenets of capitalism.

    Here's a couple thoughts:

    1. A lot of people are very content in America and don't question capitalism enough. This is bad. But it's not real bad--some times ignorance is bliss.

    2. Most Americans who question capitalism only somewhat rigorously find it hard to come up with something better. I suspect this is somewhat do to lack of imagination, but also somewhat due to the inherent goodness of capitalism and obvious badness of certain alternatives.

    3. People who make reasonable critiques of capitalism often are unfairly maligned as cross-the-board Marxists. For example, I've read RMS, and I think he is unfairly portrayed as more extreme than he really is. I think anyone who is not a die-hard capitalist would agree with his implied premise that capitalism is better for some things than others and that software is not exactly where capitalism shines.

  • Trust me. My roommate just bought a Mac. He didn't buy it on the black market, either. Oh, and it was a laptop too.

    Did you know that you can't order a Coke at Pizza Hut?
  • Where I live (Washingon, DC), food and water is plentiful, health care is so so, and software is relatively cheap. Grossly oversimplifying here, here's where I give credit:

    food - unfettered market capitalism means I eat sushi today, Indian tomorrow, and buy oranges at the supermarket for under a dollar

    water - most of my water is provided by municipal government; it is extremely cheap and reliable, but tastes funny; because of funny taste, I have to buy water filters (but they're easy to get and cheap, due to unfettered market capitalism)

    health care - not sure how well it really works, or where to assign credit or blame

    software - I use a lot of good free software (gcc, Perl, emacs, countless utilities) and lots of reasonably cheap commercial software; I am anti-DOJ, but pro-open-source; I think capitalism doesn't inhibit software availability, but it does cause some wasted overall economic utility

  • Sorry,

    But it is true. MS Windows is one of the cheapest OSes available to run on the PC. There are few that are cheaper or free. However, if Justice plans to throw the price of the OS in Microsoft's face then all they will end up doing is playing the OJ glove trick.

    Let's see... on Mac you only have ONE commercial choice (Be used to be a choice, which is still is provided you don't have a G3 - because be proprietary they won't let Be in on the specs). Mac OS is NOT cheap. They have a monopoly on their side.

    The problem with MS is that by their own success they got even more successful and larger. Try to find apps in a store for other than Windows.

    So what was the point of this news article? If anything it supports MS's claim about pricing. OS/2 has always been priced too high.. its one reason I gave up following it. Any of the commercial Unix softwares is priced in la-la land.

    The question that begs to be anwsered... just what does Justice consider a fair price for an operating system? When will Justice tag other manufacturers about their proprietary stance on their platforms? Since they are beating on MS for dominating their market why not beat on Apple? After all its not like you can go outside of Apple easily for your OS. Hell, Apple went out of their way to stop clone makers. If that isn't the definition of a monopolistic attitude then nothing is.

    MS is a bunch of money-hungry we have to control the world of PCs, but they are not unique in their actions, and definitely not unique in the monolopistic state that Justice claims.

    (ps ... I work on an AS/400 - as if anyone else could write an OS for it... )

    Stop MS from short-selling the server market. Just get off the desktop market for PCs. No one cares, and its better that there is one dominating standard. The best bet for Justice is to prevent Microsoft from creating exclusive deals for their server and hand-held Operating systems. That is where real competition still exists. If Justice had come to the desktop around the time OS/2 and Win 3.1 were fighting it out they could have made a difference. Now, they are just making press stories.

    ..
  • "Get off Microsoft's back" ??????

    Get real. Microsoft is on the backs of all of us. There is a MAJOR difference between gool old fashioned hardball business and using an obvious monoply in the desktop OS market to leverage yourself into, and others out of, existing and nascient markets, solely for the reason of protecting your monopoly. If you don't see this then there is probably no hope for you.

    No one can fault MS for playing hardball, but those jacks cross the line. In the words of the Klingon, "They have NO honor!".

    Their notion of competing is killing the infant new competitors before they can grow up to actually compete, or using their monopoly power to prevent other companies large and small from even TRYING to compete. This is not competition, this is cowardice.

    MS is NOT about capitalism or competition, it is about poor quality, bloatware, hypermarketing, Spinnovation, vapourware, and doing everything possible to NOT to have to compete. They FEAR competition. They FEAR it.

    If they focussed on true innovation, regardless of the money they pour into 'research', (meaningless if nothing comes out of it except MS-Bob, and talking paper clips), and software quality, instead of making sure so competing products have a chance to compete, they, and all of us, would not be in the mess they are in now.

    Go take a history lesson, and read the facts.

    MSH
  • This position paper is interesting in (at least) two particular respects -- it supports / clarifies MS' possession, 'sins', and abuse of 'monopoly' power by:

    (a)(being able to get away with) using a combo of bundling / bloat / ('integrated' & unintegrated) functionality to (eliminate competition and) actually increase prices AND force 'migration' to ever more powerful computers / systems quite despite the

    (b) sharply contrasting (rapid) price declines of hardware (quite despite MASSIVE ongoing performance / functionality gains which have come out of that sector itself)

    Parenthetically one might well ask what hardware / systems price declines (& configurations) might have looked like if a 'monopolist' had not been (artificially) increasing the bloat in hardware / systems needs & requirements -- one 'logical conclusion' is that hardware prices might have come down even (much) faster & the market for larger / high-end systems would have been slower to develop -- in this sense, the MS 'monopoly' probably has (substantially) 'propped up' & 'changed the landscape and configuration' of the hardware segment also...

  • Talk about mixing apples and oranges! Is any of this post relevant or even factual?
    Very clever use of red herrings and argument switching, and confusing the general
    with the specific. Also note the use of the two wrongs make a right argument.

    But it is true. MS Windows is one of the cheapest OSes available to run on the PC.
    There are few that are cheaper or free.


    A quick tour around the net produced these prices for PC and Desktop OS's:
    (obviously not a definitive or complete survey)

    Linux free or nominal cost, less than $50, for CD
    MS DOS 6.22 upgrade $46.95 from beyond.com
    PC DOS 7.0 upgrade $51.45 from beyond.com
    MacOS 8.5 $99 from Apple
    BeOS R4 $99.95 ($69.95 special offer) from Be
    Amiga OS 3.1 $90 to $104 (depending on model) from Compuquick
    Windows 98 $177.95 from beyond.com
    Windows 95 $178.94 from beyond.com
    OS/2 Warp 4.0 $275 from IBM
    Windows NT Workstation 4.0 $281.95 from beyond.com

    These are the prices for the OS by itself.

    So, while the statement is *correct*, since there are so few desktop OS's, Windows
    is at the high end. Next time, check the facts.

    Caution, content free statement ahead!
    However, if Justice plans to throw the price of the OSin Microsoft's face then
    all they will end up doing is playing the OJ glove trick.


    Here comes the old apples and oranges trick, flavored with rumor and innuendo (the
    Apple won't share with Be argument - LinuxPPC shows how real that one is, see also
    here. [geocities.com]) along with that problem with the facts, see prices above.
    Let's see... on Mac you only have ONE commercial choice (Be used to be a choice,
    which is still is provided you don't have a G3 - because be proprietary they won't
    let Be in on the specs). Mac OS is NOT cheap. They have a monopoly on their side.


    Curious. The article was about MS not Apple, and yet here we have Apple dragged in
    as a red herring. So if what Apple is doing is wrong then it is ok for MS to do it.
    Clever argument indeed.

    And a bogus one. Yes Apple has a monopoly on Apple systems. MS has a monopoly on
    Windows. No one else makes Windows. IBM did for a time, but MS went out of their
    way to stop IBM. Another example of an apples and oranges argument. The monopoly
    MS has is with the desktop OS market. That's what the article is about.

    The problem with MS is that by their own success they got even more successful
    and larger. Try to find apps in a store for other than Windows.


    Can you say monopoly? But the point that there are plenty of applications for Windows
    is not a problem. The problem is that MS uses its monopoly power to set prices above
    the industry norms. That's the point of the article, the profit margins. Its called
    gouging, and it is in no way good for the consumer.

    So what was the point of this news article? If anything it supports MS's claim about
    pricing. OS/2 has always been priced too high.. its one reason I gave up following it.
    Any of the commercial Unix softwares is priced in la-la land.


    The point, as I mentioned above, is that due to their monopoly hold on the desktop OS
    market, MS can set the price to whatever they want. Again, it is the profit margin
    that is the key number here. Capitalism is designed to prevent such price fixing. If the
    market cannot then the Government needs to step in. Thus we have antitrust law.

    The question that begs to be anwsered... just what does Justice consider a fair
    price for an operating system?


    Say what? Have you completely missed the point of not just the article but the entire
    trial? This has nothing to do with the price of operating systems. The article raises
    a specific question about the price of MS OS's in relation to the market and whether
    or not MS abuses their monopoly on desktop OS's when it comes to pricing.

    Stay tuned for more Apple bashing. (Feel free to skip this part as it is irrelevant
    blathering.)
    When will Justice tag other manufacturers about their proprietary stance on their
    platforms? Since they are beating on MS for dominating their market why not beat on Apple?
    After all its not like you can go outside of Apple easily for your OS. Hell, Apple went
    out of their way to stop clone makers. If that isn't the definition of a monopolistic
    attitude then nothing is.


    MS is a bunch of money-hungry we have to control the world of PCs, but they are
    not unique in their actions, and definitely not unique in the monolopistic state
    that Justice claims.


    MS is not unique in their desires to rule the market. They are unique in that they
    do have an monopoly on desktop OS's and seem to be using that monopoly illegally.

    (ps ... I work on an AS/400 - as if anyone else could write an OS for it... )

    I hope you are keeping your skills up to date, because MS is hoping to take over this
    part of the business with Windows NT. Now I think the AS/400 is a fine system. Until
    recently I too worked on them. But why aren't you leveling your monopoly/proprietary
    arguments against the AS/400? Could it be that you like the AS/400 but dislike the Mac?

    Stop MS from short-selling the server market. Just get off the desktop market for
    PCs. No one cares, and its better that there is one dominating standard. The best
    bet for Justice is to prevent Microsoft from creating exclusive deals for their
    server and hand-held Operating systems. That is where real competition still exists.
    If Justice had come to the desktop around the time OS/2 and Win 3.1 were fighting
    it out they could have made a difference. Now, they are just making press stories.


    Why change your argument now? Why shouldn't there be "one dominating standard" for servers
    and handhelds? Why is competition good in these markets but not in the desktop market?
    Wouldn't a Windows everywhere be the logical extension of your "one dominating standard"
    argument? And by using their profits from their desktop monopoly, they will be very
    nicely situated to go after these markets.

    And that scares the hell out of me.

    SteveM
  • It's more like comparing a Peterbuilt (or Mercedes truck) to a blow-molded plastic tricycle.
    But when the tricycle crashes, how can the tech support tell you to close all of the windows, shut it down and restart it? Tricycles don't have windows! (Or is that option available in Tricycles Plus?)
  • Here in Windsor, University Students get the special discount of about 3% from the regular store price, for both OS, and Office Suite, more than twice the price of the competing Office Suite from Corel's normal edition, which is available for around $35 for students, with no time restrictions. Anyone wonder why Windsor switched it's intro to computers course over to teach Corel's suite instead of Micro$oft's?
  • Well, $99 is less than the $120 that it costs for a non-upgrade install of Win98.(Not much, but still less.)

    Both are at the most the equivalent to the differences between 98 and 95.
    They hardly add anything new anymore, and force uses of the older machines to upgrade to use them.

    Can't say I've got much experience with the differences between the various flavours of MacOS (I need three buttons, dammit!) but from the people I know who use it, none have complained that the more recent versions were any less stable than the older ones (Unlike Win95/8) so maybe there's even less difference?
    Besides, I seem to recall seeing Win95 (temporarily) on several Mac machines, so there is a common market for both, even though the owners of those machines generally go back to MacOS rather quickly. (You have no Idea how upset some Win95 users get when they see '95 on a machine, but only one mouse button.) That means that (at least for some of their machines) Mac dosen't have a comercial monopoly after all.

    Sorry, a hundred bucks isn't cheap. 40 is.
    Ah! I see you've been looking at the Linux/FreeBSD CDs available in many bookstores. You can get the same CDs for less elsewhere, but the packaging isn't as pretty, and in some cases you get less commercial tech support. Other than that, or maybe Be, I'm not sure what OS you can get for your computer that costs that little. A pirated copy of Win98 on a burnable CD bought here in Canada? (99% of the cost is for the blank CD, the rest for the Jewel case, right? Ok, that's a bit exagerated. I'm still feeling bitter about that.)
    Personally, I don't think either of Win98 or MacOS is that badly priced, but maybe that's because I had to go out and buy a copy of IRIX. *shudder* Now that is an OS with a large price tag.
  • We were discussing OSes. The prices on Office Suites are very comparable, Lotus and Wordperfect both have charged nearly 500 bucks for their professional versions...
    Ok, here we go: Inmac, Volume 186, pages 72-73 (Canadian prices, U.S. people make exchange as needed):
    Software Graphics & Design/Operating Systems/Office Suites:
    MS-Office 97 Professional: $839.95
    MS-Office 97 Pro Upgrade: $499.95
    MS-Office 97 Standard: $679.95
    MS-Office 97 Standard Upgrade: $343.95
    Corel WP Suite 8: $529.95
    Corel WP Suite 8 Upgrade: $ 159.95
    Sorry, I couldn't find the price on the Win95 version of Applixware. A shame, since it has everything MS-Office does, and the last time I saw it it was less money by far than any of the others here.)
    Hmmm... initial purchace... $839.95, $679.95, or $529.95 Hmmm...
    Upgrade? $499.95, $343.95, or $159.95. Hmmm... I think I see a trend here. And what's more, the Corel one includes Dragon NaturalySpeaking (page 76, $69-$199, depending)
    Plus, there's a $50 mail-in rebate from Corel, nothing of the sort for M$.
    But you're right, we're talking about OSes, like OS/2's 'integrated browser' that they gave up on in favour of Netscape 2.01 long ago. (Of course, the OS/2 people I know are still stuck with Netscape 2.01, but it's better than the bloated beast 4.x turned into anyways.)
    As for the battle for the desktop being over? Neah, it's only just started. Heck, it dosen't even matter if MS wins or loses the trial, the damage is done, the lights are on, and people have been made aware that something's not right. That's really all that was needed, and the DOJ has served it's purpose quite nicely. Honestly, the best thing that could happen here for the sake of the general consumer and the OS/Software market in general is Microsoft being let off with a hefty (for anyone else) fine, and a "warning". Why? Microsoft can go back to being complacent in their 'Monopoly', the DOJ can say "We sure showed them!", and in the mean time, people everywhere will have been getting actual information about what's going on that wasn't spoon-fed to them by Micro$oft's advertizing people.
  • "1. Are we focusing on the fact that Microsoft has a monopoly in the OS market or browser market?"

    --Microsoft has a monopoly on the desktop OS market. It has TRIED to extend this monopoly into the browser market. To a huge degree it has succeeded, and it is by entrenchment--via OS "integration" and exclusionary contracting--and not by virtue of any advancement in technology that it maintains any gains it has made. It has shown no sign of even any INTENT to alter its future business practices. We are talking about the browser AND the OS, because Microsoft has made it impossible to do otherwise.

    "1. First and most obviously, of course, what about IBM, Sun, etc.? Is Microsoft a monopoly or just a market leader?"

    --The only sense in which the word "monopoly" does not apply to Microsoft is the sense in which it is used in the board game. I'm sick of the debate on this issue, and won't say anything else.

    "2. Couldn't you argue that Microsoft is in fact a natural monopoly."

    No. (Though some pundits may disagree.) The nature of a "natural monopoly" is that it is ultimately inevitable. Microsoft Windoze as a "universal" computer OS is NOT, nor has it ever been, inevitable. The United States (and the world at large for that matter) has not yet--emphasis on the "yet"--reached the stage where desktop computers are a general public necessity, and moreover the technology of computing is EXTREMELY amorphous today, and is likely to be so for quite some time. This situation may change--and it probably will change--in the future, however.

    "3. What specific laws has Microsoft broken in the OS arena? It's not illegal to be a monopoly, but it is illegal to violate anti-trust laws. What anti-trust laws are you suggesting they violated?"

    --This is clearly a prejudicial assertion. There are, strictly speaking, no laws governing the "OS arena"--though there may be when Microsoft loses this round of the trial and if the DOJ prevails. I suggest you hop on over to the DOJs website to find out precisely which aspects of anti-trust law Microsoft is accused of violating. /.is hardly a place for any legal treatise.

    The last part is a bit involved, so . . .

    Agreed on the first part about undermining the source of profit for Netscape (because this is obvious, as you note). Yes, one could view Netscape prior to Microsoft's marketing attack as a "monopoly of sorts"--it WAS, in fact, a virtual monopoly. HOWEVER, Netscape did not attempt to MAINTAIN that position by illegal business practices, to my knowledge, nor was it ever in the position to leverage its product to anull all competition, a position which Microsoft IS in and which Microsoft moreover seeks ruthlessly to maintain at the cost of competition in the marketplace. Linux and Open Source advocates in general are accutely aware of this fact; it is of concern moreover to anyone using an alternative OS.

    The final point you make is very interesting to me, since, as I see it, proprietary web technologies have been both a blessing and a curse to web developers--on the one hand the competitive nature of companies marketing browsers (and also of companies responsible for other internet technologies) has benefitted developers by ultimately advancing ALL technologies. It has also been a royal pain in the ass--the issue has been and is still really one of multiple vendor COMPLIANCE that isn't necessarily being adhered to thoroughly. Perhaps it just isn't in the nature of a competitive commercial marketplace to be compliant with a public standard, and one is hoping and complaining pointlessly . . . . But one browser by one company for all? That to me seems like it would lead only to stagnation in overall technology developement. (Ditto this last for OSs, for that matter.)


  • Not only is Solaris not in the same ballpark as Windoze98, not in the same LEAGUE--it isn't even the same damned GAME! First they tried comparing Windoze98 upgrades to other desktop OSs' full installs, now THIS?
  • Oh I don't know the last time I talked to anyone who was capable of talking back--whether they agreed with me or not--I think they had a brain. Of course, they didn't mind USING their brains. You seem to mind using yours, however.
  • --The only idiots I've seen in the courtroom are Microsoft's lawyers--either that, if they're playing straight, or they're playing underhanded and looking for a reversal on appeal by pissing off the judge so badly he screws up technically.

    "Sorry,

    But it is true. MS Windows is one of the cheapest OSes available to run on the PC. There are few that are cheaper or free.

    *Wrong. You haven't had to go shopping for OS software in awhile, have you? Do some pricing. EVERYTHING is cheaper than Microsoft's products, with one possible exception that I'm unsure of. Honestly, how you can say this straight if you know whereof you speak absolutely baffles me.*

    However, if
    Justice plans to throw the price of the OS in Microsoft's face then all they will end up doing is playing the OJ glove trick.

    *Which is?*

    Let's see... on Mac you only have ONE commercial choice (Be used to be a choice, which is still is provided you don't have a G3 -
    because be proprietary they won't let Be in on the specs).

    *This last isn't the entire story, actually. The actual situation, from what I've read, may be somewhat different from the way Be Inc. tells it. See http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Hills/9067/ BeOS_Petition.html*

    Mac OS is NOT cheap.
    They have a monopoly on their side.

    *Huh? When an upgrade costs you $20-30?(Last I heard.)Sure they have a monopoly; but they have only 5% of the overall desktop market!*

    The problem with MS is that by their own success they got even more successful and larger. Try to find apps in a store for other than
    Windows.

    So what was the point of this news article? If anything it supports MS's claim about pricing. OS/2 has always been priced too high..

    *This is the one exception--though I'm uncertain about the specifics.*

    its one reason I gave up following it. Any of the commercial Unix softwares is priced in la-la land.

    *Unix is not a "general-purpose" OS. Windoze 98 is.*

    The question that begs to be anwsered... just what does Justice consider a fair price for an operating system?

    *No. That isn't the question. I haven't read or heard anything about anyone wanting to set up fixed pricing for OSs, if that's what you're hovering around.*

    When will Justice tag other manufacturers about their proprietary stance on their platforms? Since they are beating on MS for dominating their market why not beat on Apple?

    *Indeed, why not--IF Apple or someone else winds up doing the same thing . . . *

    After all its not like you can go outside of Apple easily for your OS.

    *No. You can go INSIDE Apple easily for your OS--at least for a server and more limited desktop workstation--with MKLinux (though this may change with Apple's pushing OS X now). OUTSIDE there's LinuxPPC. But we shouldn't be considering SERVER OSs, of course; the issues involve desktop OSs, so you probably have a point, even if it isn't (yet) significant to a large number of people--the way the issues involve Windoze and desktop computer users.*

    Hell, Apple went out of their way to stop clone makers. If that isn't the definition of a monopolistic attitude then nothing is.

    *There's something to this too, perhaps.*

    MS is a bunch of money-hungry we have to control the world of PCs, but they are not unique in their actions, and definitely not unique
    in the monolopistic state that Justice claims.

    *Unique? You mean unique in the industry? I disagree--I don't see anybody else "integrating" browsers, or any other advanced application technology for that matter, WITH AN OS. Microsoft is $300 BILLION unique.*

    (ps ... I work on an AS/400 - as if anyone else could write an OS for it... )


    Stop MS from short-selling the server market. Just get off the desktop market for PCs.

    *But that is THE market we're SUPPOSED to be talking about here, isn't it?*

    No one cares,

    *Just call me "no one."*

    and its better that there is one
    dominating standard.

    *Bullshit.*

    The best bet for Justice is to prevent Microsoft from creating exclusive deals for their server and hand-held Operating systems. That is where real competition still exists.

    *Now that Microsoft has murdered all the rest? (Or rather, tried to.)*

    If Justice had come to the desktop around the time OS/2 and Win 3.1 were fighting it out they could have made a difference. Now, they are just making press stories.

    --But press stories matter--to ALL users, not just corporate execs and techies and geeks, but to Ma and Pa Kettle in Kentucky. That's why this little article and what it relates is important--it helps open the eyes of consumers to the facts which lie beyond the obscurantist PR of Microsoft.
  • Where did this Office Suites thing come from? True, the abbreviation "OS" could stand for "Office Suites" but it can also stand for "Open Source"--a confusion which I realized was probable --even if it obviously wouldn't make sense--after I made the post using "OS software." I didn't even think of "Office Suites," though. WERE you discussing Office Suites? I don't think you were. I wasn't. Interesting little accidental detour, though, from another person's response to this little diatribe of yours.

    The statement re Be: You obviously didn't bother with the URL I provided. I use and moreover love using BeOS, think it's the best GUI-run desktop OS on the (Intel) market for ANY general purpose, even with current app limitations considered. The specs you seem to be thinking of involve Apple's proprietary motherboards, and NOT the G3 itself, which Be can (and does) run on--with older PowerPCs equipped with G3 upgrade cards. You know this alone from Be Inc.'s own official statements.
    Be Inc. however may not be telling the whole story, regardless of Apple's stance.

    Re: MacOS upgrade not twenty bucks? No. It's not--it's $19.95. There are some restrictions for non-iMac owners, though; iMac owners can upgrade forever, apparently. There may be some other upgrade pricing-plan available of which I am unaware. In any event, the full version of MacOS 8.5 is $99. The upgrade-only for Windoze98 is $89. And good luck upgrading over Windoze95--or worse 3.1--you'll need it. And yes I've read the stories re people having problems with upgrading to MacOS 8.5--which have occured in less than 1% of total upgrades performed. Versus Windoze upgrades, which result in serious problems 25% of the time--and this number is probably conservative. I'd feel safer dealing with the Apple upgrade product, to say the least (I've done it with no hitches, actually). Moreover, Microsoft offers nothing similar to the deal Apple offers with its OS software, to my knowledge, and in fact Microsoft has considered plans to charge users annual fees for usage alone.
    BeOS upgrade from 3.x to 4 is $25, no limitations I'm aware of, free if you purchased 3 within 30 days of the debut of 4 (though I understand they've fudged this to extend the date of original purchase limitation by up to a month). The full is (like the upgrade for both Intel and PowerPC COMBINED) $69.95. You should know this. Any version your heart desires of Linux is basically free, or cheaper in any given distribution than any of the aforementioned OSs.

    Re price-fixing. I've read the original document in some detail now, and yes--contrary to my impression from the news.com article--there is mention of "price-fixing." Kick me for being unattentive. But I still disagree fiercely with the entire thrust of your post. To my mind, of commercial vendors Be Inc. has the fairest of the deals mentioned up above, with respect to upgrades. Full-product? Price should not be based upon what the market will bare, which is the situation now with Microsoft, but upon demand based upon economy of scale. I might pay ten cents for a Windoze CD ROM. It makes a pretty coaster.

    Integrating browsers: As I think I hinted at at least I am not at all familiar with OS/2. So I'm uncertain just what browser "integration" would involve--I'd be willing to bet in the dark though that there's never been anything as extensive as what Microsoft has done with IE and Windoze, and at any rate the motivation is clearly not the same. Bundling browser software and "integrating" it is NOT the same thing, though the effects are--IE cannot be easily removed from Windoze98 by the ordinary user. IE and Cyberdog and any other bundled software CAN be got rid of without much hassle or technical knowledge.

    Your conclusion(s)? Bullshit again. The war is not over by a long shot. And f there is no need for competition, as you seem to think, then the source code for Windoze must be made public, or users and developers both are in deep, deep shit--there is essentially no competition now, and, ahem, where are we?

    If the "costs are cheaper with one OS standard," then how can a tiny company like Be sell its product for less than half the price of Windoze, and moreover give away upgrades?
    And hope to survive, let alone expand? Or maybe they'll start charging Microsoft-style prices next year--but I doubt it. In general, the damned software business needs restructuring--radical as it may sound, and I honestly think that this is exactly what will happen over the next couple of years, and Open Source will play a huge if not pivotal role in the remaking of the software industry. And--surprise--I agree with you about what (among other things) the DOJ should do about preventing Microsoft from hard-coding Windoze (or being obscure re APIs) to keep programs from working or force people to use Microsoft products. But that's not enough, really--and I don't think that Microsoft would really abide by anything. They'd surely try to find a way around not playing their own products as favorites, whether it's legal or no. They break a new rule every day, it seems to me. Hey--maybe this is what you meant by the OJ "glove trick."
  • I've never seen a monetary price for beta software.
    I can: The windows98 beta, $30 per disc.


    Add to that: Windows2000 beta, on sale as we speak (type?).

    Actually, MS beta = anybody else's alpha
    MS shipping = anybody else's beta
    So what we're actually experiencing is alpha software FOR SALE.
  • Apple does not support Linux directly

    Uhh...they WROTE mklinux. They STILL have one engineer actively developing it. The rest of your post is just as misinformed.
  • Oh whoops. Suddenly anyone who does not agree with unfettered free market capitalism is a tree hugging whining whinging lefty communist? Is that really what they teach you in school - I pity you lot who use these arguments. Free market capitalism is always good, anything else always bad? That sort of dogma makes the seeds to an unimaginative and rather stagnant society. Like the Catholic Church in Europe 500-1500 AD, for example.

    The underlying doctrine/assumption behind free market capitalism is that everyone is in one way or another a megalomaniac. Any study of human history will reveal this to be true, and by and large capitalism seems to works fairly well (excluding unemployment, poverty and other minor faults). But eventually this small fish grows up and becomes a big shark, hungry for ever more, eating everybody up that comes in its way.

    No one was ever meant to succeed in becoming God and hold the rest of the universe at ransom, because that would cost too many votes. So someone has to step in before real harm is done. The DOJ is just about the only thing that Microsoft cannot put out of business, and that's merely because they're lawyers.

    So this is why the same system that gave Bill Gates and everyone else a license to be megalomaniacs is now withdrawing this license before the Gods start to run the masses into the ground. That is why Steve Jobs is not in court. He may be a megalomaniac, but Jobs is not about to monopolise the server market, the handheld market, and force Apples down everybody's throats (whoops!). Paradoxical isn't it?
  • "Oh yeah, did these people check the pricing of commercial unix software?"

    Apples and oranges. A MS OS can hardly be compared to UNIX, which can handle many more processors, much more memory, many more devices, and can handle hundereds users all at the same time. However, if you look at comercial UNIX, most of the flavors are similar in price (HP-UX, AIX, Solaris, etc) and they all compete with each other. But, I suppose this will change as Linux continues to get closer to the scalability of comercial UNIX.

    "In an ideal world, everyone would be running linux x-stations"

    With the Linux making it into the server world, and with the progress of GNOME and KDE, this is not impossible - total world domination!

  • Microsoft has sold millions & millions of Windows 3.0 to NT's and brags that they have 95% of the desktop market.
    Since most all of those customers will upgrade the crashprone OS, it is a sales sure-thing.
    So I ask; Is $98 for the Win95 to Win98 price the discount price for the USA to pay en-mass?
    Would the price for the same upgrade be lower if they sold MORE copies (i.e. >96% of the mkt.)?
    At what percentage of the market cornering will the quantity discount price "kick-in"?
    If they fall to 90% of the market will the future upgrades cost a whole lot more?
    Is this to be ignored?
  • No one has ever forced to buy mac. Mac doesn't own 95% of the desktop market. Your arguement is completely invalid. That is like stating that Amiga was a monopoly because DOS wouldn't run on it properly (or at all..it used a 68K chip like early macs, rather then an x86)

    When you pay that "inflated price", you're paying for the hardware. Which, because Apple's hardware is the best (next to Alphas and SGI MIPS that is), you should expect to pay top dollar. They've always had performance years ahead of their wintel counterparts. The OS costs you nothing at all. This is true because the OS is what is selling the hardware...not the other way around. Also, Apple has announced that they're embracing linux -- you will be able to order BTO PowerMacs with Linux running on them...

    Oh, and BeOS does run on a G3. The bug wasn't Apple being proprietary, which I remind you it has every right to be, but Be was being stupid, and Apple did have a bug in their OpenFirmWare....screw beOS It, there's an OS that will never succeed. It just takes them longer to develop for G3s then it does for x86.
  • Ok. pricing is in line with other products, if not cheaper. But that is not the problem. MS acts like a monopoly which does not benefit consumers. They charge too much. And stifle competition.

    MS sells tens of millions of copies.
    Solaris, tens of thousands.

    MS makes money off of nearly every intel computer whether or not you use it's software. In fact people buy MS windows emulators, so makes money off off solaris and irix and macintosh OS computers.

    MS makes it's OS most desirable by using it's monopoly in office applications, which are truely overpriced. $799 my @$$.

    They have been caught, and they are trying to figure out how to handle it, without admitting it.
  • "Did you know that you can't order a Coke at Pizza Hut?"

    But I don't get charged for a Coke AND a Pepsi when I order the Pepsi.

    I don't like having to pay for an OS that I am not going to use when I buy a computer (Intel PC). I am not even asking to have another OS pre-installed. It seems that I pay for the latest MS OS when I buy new H/W whether it is installed or not. I understand that most vendors install Win9x to verify the H/W, but even if they reformat the HD to ship to me, I still pay tribute to Rebmond. This blows...

    -- hgc
  • >Its called capitalism people. In the free market
    >MS can do what ever if pleases in order to
    >compete effectively.
    Um... no. One has to consider things like law when living in a country, no matter how free. The laws that govern how one may compete are exactly what is at issue here.

    Wait... what am I doing? Trolls don't think!
    /me slaps forehead.

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay

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