Unmitigated Gall dept.
January 15, 2001 2:58 PM   Subscribe

Unmitigated Gall dept. AOL calls for the breakup of Microsoft because monopolies are a bad thing.
posted by Steven Den Beste (6 comments total)
This is sort of like Eminem condemning someone for low moral standards.
posted by tiaka at 3:40 PM on January 15, 2001

What exactly does AOL have a monopoly in?
posted by kindall at 4:37 PM on January 15, 2001

Good point - sort of. AOL may not have a monopoly on internet service, but it isn't from lack of trying. This quote was especially interesting:

The 25-page brief covers familiar ground already trodden by parties supporting the DOJ's case, such as Microsoft's violation of U.S. antitrust law as embodied in the Sherman Act and the company's harmful conduct towards its competitors, notably Netscape Communications, now part of AOL.

So I suppose you could spin this as AOL seeking justice on behalf of their struggling little acquisition.

Or maybe Steve Case has serious ethical concerns about monopolies that I've not been made aware of.

Or it's just another example of the kind of harmful conduct that AOL accuses Microsoft of, pursued through the courts rather than the marketplace. That would be gall.
posted by varmint at 5:15 PM on January 15, 2001

The fear is that AOL may now have a monopoly on a lot of content through Time-Warner and may choose not to make it accessible to other outlets. I don't think the concern that they have a monopoly on internet access is valid under today's conditions.
posted by rushmc at 7:18 PM on January 15, 2001

You can't have a monopoly on some of a market. AOL may be part of the big circle-jerk of media oligopolists, but they aren't close to a monopoly--not nearly to the extent that MS had/has/threatens to have over the browser and desktop markets. Now if we were allowed to treat the Big Seven media giants as arms of one octopus (heptapus?) and call *that* a monopoly, that would be different.

And--not that I think we're in any danger of forgetting this--Microsoft tried to put Netscape out of business with (arguably) illegal tactics, and largely succeeded. They had a chance to defend themselves in court, and basically blew it. When AOL acquired Netscape, they also acquired Netscape's grievances. Why is it that if AOL acts out of self-interest rather than "ethical concerns," that's "gall?"
posted by rodii at 9:48 PM on January 15, 2001

Well, I guess I settled *that*. :)
posted by rodii at 3:25 PM on January 16, 2001

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